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October 05, 2004

Comments

Brad DeLong has the best smackdown so far of the Rovian propaganda blitzkrieg regarding the "global test" quote.

All one needs to do is ask why perchance such propagandists feel the need to cut out the "No president through all of American history has ever ceded and nor would I the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America" part of the quote.

Game for the readers playing along at home: pick the most appropriate two-word phrase from Bush's comments in the debate that, taken completely out of context, could be used for advantage by those of large mouth and little conscience.

You wrote:

"I wrote earlier that when politicians lie, it's worse than when the rest of us do, since in addition to all the things that are wrong with lying in everyday life, when politicians lie they undermine our democracy."

Of course, it's even worse for a professed Christian to lie, because George W. Bush is breaking one of the Ten Commandments:

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

So, George W. Bush is damning his soul to eternal torment in order to win an election.

To me, that says a lot. How Christian is this behavior?

George Bush, breaking a Commandment.But he's not worried unless the media call him to task for it. How concerned can he be about his immortal soul?

Not very. He'd rather listen to Karl Rove than to Almighty God.

Riffle

Beat that strawman, Mr. President, beat it!

Just read the sentence before and you will relize that Kerry is talking about when it is acceptable to take pre-emptive action. The jist is if you have to do it, you'd better be sure you're right about the reasons you give to the American public and the world.

To steal a line from the Simpsons:

I'm not calling the President a liar, but I do have this footage of him with his pants on fire.

The problem is that Kerry likes to have it both ways. Classic Kerry format: Generality--One Thing, Specifically--The Opposite. He has made a his entire political life out of that style of dodge.

Let's talk about Iraq he says.

Generality:

No president through all of American history has ever ceded and nor would I the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

What were we talking about? Oh, Iraq:

But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do it in a way that passes the test. That passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing. And you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

Generality: I won't leave Iraq till the job is done.

Specificity: I won't tell you what the job is and I will focus all of the rest of my rhetoric on the mythical availability of European troops and focus my only concrete plans on beginning to draw down the troops within six months.

Generality: I can get more international help. (footnote 1)

Specificity: Ha, you didn't think I was going to give hints about who did you? Belgium has promised me ten bucks!

(Footnote 1) I never said substantially more you suckers.

Hilzoy, you make the following claim: "But there is no more evidence that Kerry would do this than that Bush would, and just as much evidence that he would not."

That is not correct. Kerry has spent his entire public life suggesting that he is more likely than Bush to give international powers a veto over US policies. Your claim properly framed is: "Kerry says that he would not do this." That is his general claim. When you follow up the specifics it looks much worse. See also his unusually foolish claim that we can't ask anyone to cease nuclear research when we do it ourselves. He makes general claims and then dramatically undermines them when forced into specifics. Considering his record, that suggests that his general claims are not what he really thinks.

Ohh. Bad formatting. I hope this fixes it.

Forgot the test line.

No president through all of American history has ever ceded and nor would I the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do it in a way that passes the test. That passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing. And you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

Sebastian:
So you could maybe explain to me how you find these statements in any way contradictory? I find the meaning quite clear, viz.,

We have the right to protect ourselves, preemptively if necessary. If we do, we must make very sure we have good reason.

What's not to like?

(fixing HTML)

Sebastian claimed: That is not correct. Kerry has spent his entire public life suggesting that he is more likely than Bush to give international powers a veto over US policies.

Really? And you can provide cites to specific instances when Kerry did?

Instances that don't date back to the 1970s, I should add. Unless you'd care to bring up Bush's youthful indiscretions while we're at it.

Like I said over at Tacitus--keep hammering on this line of attack. By all means, please do, it's such a winner. I've already called the BC04 campaign and given them my encouragement.

And while you're at it, get used to saying "President Kerry".

Homeboy lies all the time about Kerry's position.

He's really running against "Democratic Strawman."

Democratic Strawman, you see, luuuuuvs taxes and wants to raise them at the first opportunity (actually, under Kerry's proposal 98% or so of Ameericans will get a tax cut). Democratic Strawman wants the government to be in charge of your health (actually, Kerry's plan does no such thing). Democratic Strawman opposes missile defense (Kerry actually supports more testing, but not deployment until it's ready).

And so forth.

Democratic strawman still believes that Muslims are incapable of democracy, according to the debate transcript.

So from this statement Kerry clearly defines global test thusly:
1. "your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing."
2. "you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

I assume no one objects to the first part. So the objection is that Kerry only wants to preempt threats that we can prove exist?


riffle added:

Of course, it's even worse for a professed Christian to lie, because George W. Bush is breaking one of the Ten Commandments:

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

----
I would like to point out that this is why the Swift Boat Vet's message is so important. John Kerry testified before Congress, accusing his fellow soldiers and sailors of having a policy of commmiting war crimes.

He also used the Christmas in Cambodia story, which -again -is in the Congressional record, to hammer Reagan's policy (with "Nixon's War" as the straw man.)

I think that these cases of false testimony - to Congress - attacking his fellow Americans in support of the Communist regimes in Vietnam and Nicaragua - more closely fits the definition of "bear false witness against thy neighbor".

DaveC: John Kerry testified before Congress, accusing his fellow soldiers and sailors of having a policy of commmiting war crimes.

Do read John Kerry's Winter Soldier Investigation Testimony before you claim what's not so, won't you? Kerry testified before Congress on behalf of "an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified". He reported what other veterans had told him, and what he himself had witnessed. To decry him for doing this is to put yourself on the side of those who decry Joseph Derby.

He also used the Christmas in Cambodia story

It appears that Kerry was, most likely, in Cambodia in January, not on Christmas Day. However, the point he made is still valid: Nixon lied when he said there were no US troops in Cambodia.

I think that these cases of false testimony - to Congress - attacking his fellow Americans in support of the Communist regimes in Vietnam and Nicaragua - more closely fits the definition of "bear false witness against thy neighbor".

I think you should look at the facts of the case - which support Kerry - before you accuse someone of bearing false witness.

I agree that everybody should read the winter soldier testimony before Congress April 22, 1971:

http://www.pbs.org/greatspeeches/timeline/j_kerry_s.html


Here is the specific accusation:

"...we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free-fire zones; harassment-interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions; the bombings; the torture of prisoners; all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam."

And a bit of poetry:

"The Army says they never leave their wounded.

The Marines say they never even leave their dead.

These men have left all the casualties

and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude"


--

Did the Army and Marines leave all the casualties? I think not. So maybe that was in fact that was poetry.

Was war crimes official policy? I think not. And in this case the allegations have serious consequences.

--

Also from the Winter Soldier testimony:

"In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart."


--

John Kerry was against fighting for freedom in 1971.
He was a major factor in the Communist takeover of Vietnam and Cambodia, because his testimony eventually led to a Democratic Congress dropping all funding for the support of the South Vietnamese.

And the world stood by, watched, and did nothing as millions died in the second half of the 1970's.

"...Kerry has spent his entire public life suggesting that he is more likely than Bush to ..."

Now that is a criticism that somehow lends itself to objective measurement tools...

The "Global Test" spin seems to reverse the claim in Kerry's statement in regards to World Support from the Past tense to the future tense...
"...you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."
"... that you did it ..." is past tense and does not even come close to saying that you get approval before acting. It suggests that you do the work necessary to know that you that your decision is based on seeking and vetting all relevant information, and using military strike as a last option...

This is what the current administration did NOT do as evidenced by the constant shift in rationales for the war...

A major emotional selling point during the run up to war was the Nuclear threat potentially posed by Sadam ... As noted by Condi Rice in her comment on the "...mushroom cloud" for which the "aluminum tubes" served as the only physical proof for supporting the threat claim that Sadam was "re-building" his nuclear capabilities... It was presented that the only use for these tubes was Uranium enrichment. Once the administration turned the arguement into "... we will be nuked in 4 years" there was a dramatic shift in support for the coming war both among the general public and even among Democrats... This served to shut off debate... ("with us or against us", "Anti-war demonstrators are traitors")

Well the truth appears to be that the administration and Condi Rice had been informed by the agencies with the expertise on such matters that the tubes were not suitable for centrifuge enrichment and had the specifications that mirrored standard artillery rockets... Condi, as NSC director, claimed that she was aware of a "general dispute" but did not know the details at the time of her statement... She found out later... That is either incompetence or deception there is no in between... What is her job as NSC director other than to vet the accuracy of such critcal information? If she did not know the specifics of the dispute prior to the public statement then why did she not find out??? When did she find out the specific questions raised, (1 month, 3 months, 6 months later) and why did she not correct the public record when she was made aware??? ...

The IAEA were claiming at the time of the start of hostilities that there was no evidence that Iraq had re-started it's nuclear development as they were aware of the real use of these tubes... The UN had inspector's back on the ground but were told move them out as the US was not going to ignore the unequivocal proof and we were going to enforce the "Serious Consequences" on their behalf...

We were wrong and our so called proof was transparent and false... Our credibility in the world (friend and foe alike) is diminished...

That is the point,
The questions raised should have been thoroughly vetted and when the IAEA and the UN questioned the wisdom of not giving the the Inspector's more time (while maintaining pressure and building a coalition) should have been respected... If the evidence was bulletproof and we needed to pre-emptively attack there is there is nothing in Kerry's claim to prevent it but ALL relevant intelligence needs to be vetted... But this administration sold itself on the war then found the "evidence" to support its own belief, and now there is no credibile proof to show the "doubters" in the world....

So Sad...

and you might want to Google around to see how the Hmong are being treated in Laos today, if you care.

From March 2004:

"Reliable information that we are receiving on a daily basis from inside Laos continues to detail the horrific plight of hundreds of captured and surrendering Hmong and Laotian civilians and rebels who are being summarily executed, brutally tortured, raped, or are simply disappearing at the hands of Pathet Lao and Vietnamese military and security forces as a result of a recent series of ongoing military offensives directed in at least three provinces in the country," stated Philip Smith, executive director for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA). "

DaveC: He was a major factor in the Communist takeover of Vietnam and Cambodia, because his testimony eventually led to a Democratic Congress dropping all funding for the support of the South Vietnamese.

That is really blatant nonsense. Further, to argue that not the Vietnam war, but the ending of the Vietnam war, was responsible for the millions of deaths in South Asia, is just... if I had a superlative for nonsense, I would use it.

You can argue details about Kerry's testimony before US Congress all you like: the relevant point is that Kerry was speaking on behalf of a group of Vietnam veterans. You can certainly argue that he may have overstated the case or that he may have been mistaken. To argue that he should have distorted or omitted or refused to testify is just plain wrong, though. And unless you're prepared to withdraw your nonsense claims about Kerry being the single person most responsible for millions of deaths in South Asia, I'm in no mood to argue details witn you.

Look, what I said was John Kerry was a big player in the antiwar movement, which convinced the US government AS A WHOLE to get out, all the way out of Vietnam and not to give any support to the South Vitnamese government.

And there were consequences for that.

George McGovern attempted to get Congress to declare war on Cambodia when it became obvious what Pol Pot was doing. But the US was out, and it was not so easy to get back in and stop Pol Pot - who was the single person most responsible for millions of deaths.

Do you know about the relationship between Communist Vietnam and Cambodia? Hint: not pals.

What is the hypothesis about how we would have stopped the Cambodia genocide if not for that dastardly John Kerry?

Look, what I said was John Kerry was a big player in the antiwar movement, which convinced the US government AS A WHOLE to get out, all the way out of Vietnam and not to give any support to the South Vitnamese government.

Did the antiwar movement really do that? Or was it simply that the US government had realized that it was in a war it could not win? Or was it the widespread unpopularity of the Vietnam War? You can blame that on the "antiwar movement" - but the government had far more resources with which to convince people that the Vietnam War was a good thing. If a popular movement succeeds in convincing enough people that it's not, and thus changes government action, that's usually called democracy, and is not usually considered to be a bad thing. I'm still not seeing where you come from blaming John Kerry for the whole antiwar movement. He took part in it: that was his right, as it is the right of any US citizen.

It's arguable that it was the US interventionist policies that sufficiently weakened Sihanouk's governance so that the Khmer Rouge could gain power in Cambodia. It was the Communist Vietnam government who eventually invaded and overthrew Pol Pot: and thereafter, the US government supported Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in exile. None of this can be put down to Kerry's door, nor to the anti-Vietnam War movement in the US.

Jesurgislac, you give Sebastian too little credit. I'm sure that with his trusty thesaurus he can find a way to twist anything into anything he wants. The man has a gift.

"Further, to argue that not the Vietnam war, but the ending of the Vietnam war, was responsible for the millions of deaths in South Asia, is just... if I had a superlative for nonsense, I would use it."

I see that you know very little about Vietnam and Cambodia after the Vietnam war.

Katherine, you are very specific about Communist Vietnam and Cambodia not being friends. You obfuscate the changing relationship between China, the USSR, Vietnam and Cambodia. In short, they were very close friends until 1976 when Cambodia became more pro-China and less pro-USSR/Vietnam. In 1979, Vietnam installed their own wholly controlled government in Cambodia, so I would suggest that calling them 'not-friendly' is accurate only in the sense that Cambodia was wholly subjugated by Vietnam--a position which I submit would be impossible if the US had not fled from Vietnam. Cambodia of course had no chance, as it was being fought over by its vicious USSR-tied master and the even more vicious Pol Pot. I suppose that is one of the good things about leaving all of those countries to Communism--they got to kill millions of each other while they fought to decide which brand of Communism was better. But as support for Jesurgislac's contention that the ending of US involvement in the Vietnam war was not responsible for the killing of millions in South East Asia is rather weak.

Do I have specifics about Kerry and international politics? Absolutely.

He repeatedly castigated Reagan for not giving in to the Sandinistas. He went on multiple trips to Managua to meet with Comandante Ortega. He offered Reagan a Chamberlain-style appeasement ending to the conflict, and professed to be insulted that Reagan did not accept it. And this was independent of the Iran-Contra issue.

He was a signatory to the "Dear Commandante" letter to Ortega promising to undermine Reagan's policy against the Sandinista's and encouraging Ortega to hold out against pressure by Reagan to reform.

About Ortega and Nicaragua: "'They just want peace. They don't want their daughter getting blown away on the way to teach! Or their sons disappearing. It's just terrible. I see the same sense of great victimization."

This about the country blowing away daughters in Costa Rica. This about a country coordinating with Castro for bloody revolutions throughout South America.

He suggested that Ortega was the leader Nicaragua really wanted, and this was proven false when Reagan's policy forced elections there. Ortega has never won an election where he could not kill his political opponents.

He opposed the funding of almost every major weapons program during the first eight years of his time in the Senate.

He repeatedly compared Reagan's foreign policy as that of 'a dime-store cowboy' who engaged in a "bully's show of force".

"It's arguable that it was the US interventionist policies that sufficiently weakened Sihanouk's governance so that the Khmer Rouge could gain power in Cambodia."

It is more arguable that letting Communism run unchecked in SouthEast Asia allowed all sorts of murderous dictators to gain power and terrorize their populations.

And after seeing that, Kerry was ok with that happening again in South America with Castro supporting revolutions there.

Sebastian Holsclaw: I see that you know very little about Vietnam and Cambodia after the Vietnam war.

I think you should pay attention to what I said: "not the Vietnam war, but the ending of the Vietnam war". I admit my knowledge of Vietnam and Cambodia is superficial, but admit at least that the Vietnam War itself killed Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Lao by the millions: and had a distorting and terrible effect on that region.

He repeatedly castigated Reagan for not giving in to the Sandinistas. He went on multiple trips to Managua to meet with Comandante Ortega. He offered Reagan a Chamberlain-style appeasement ending to the conflict, and professed to be insulted that Reagan did not accept it. And this was independent of the Iran-Contra issue.

The Sandinistas were the democratically-elected government of Nicaragua. Reagan's decision to support the contra terrorists rather than democracy was one of the worst South American decisions any President has made.

Reagan ought to have respected the result of the 1984 election in Nicaragua, and worked with government the Nicaraguan people had voted for. (There was an 83% turnout for the 1984 election in Nicaragua - far better than even Rumsfeld anticipates for the promised elections in Iraq.)

He opposed the funding of almost every major weapons program during the first eight years of his time in the Senate.

Oh, come off it. Seriously. That was a pure RNC invention, and was taken apart in detail here.

"He repeatedly castigated Reagan for not giving in to the Sandinistas."

Another way of putting that was "He repeatedly urged Reagan not to fund terrorists."

It is more arguable that letting Communism run unchecked in SouthEast Asia allowed all sorts of murderous dictators to gain power and terrorize their populations.

And after seeing that, Kerry was ok with that happening again in South America with Castro supporting revolutions there.

Whereas the governments that the U.S. supported in Central America in the 1980s included no murderous dictatorships whatsoever. (Costa Rica doesn't count--it stayed clear of U.S. influence.)

Reagan's Central America policy was a bloody dirty mess, and Kerry's opposition to it gives me confidence that his foreign policy will support actual freedom, where freedom is not just defined as "regimes we like right now."

It is easy to win an election when you get to kill members of the opposition party and terrorize their families.

"but admit at least that the Vietnam War itself killed Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Lao by the millions: and had a distorting and terrible effect on that region."

I'll admit that the USSR and China attempting to militarily control south-east asia caused all sorts of terrible effects. Assigning the blame to the US for fighting them is not morally correct in my view. This is especially evident when you inspect what happened after Communists won in those countries--the killing did not cease when the American forces left. The killing would have proceeded if the American forces had never come. Communists kill people by the millions whether or not they interact with American troops.

It is easy to win an election when you get to kill members of the opposition party and terrorize their families.

That was the Contra strategy, yes: that's what the Iran--Contra arms sales funded. The Sandinistas, to the contrary, practiced political pluralism and ran fair elections. The transfer of power in 1990 when they lost the election was quite literally the first peaceful transfer of power in Nicaragua by democratic election. cite

Reagan was wrong to support the contras over democratic government, just as Bush was wrong to support the military coup in Venezuela, not so long ago. Fostering democracy, in deed as well as word, matters - and that means accepting the results of fair elections (and 400 foreign observers in Nicaragua in 1984 agreed the results were fair) even if you don't agree politically with the government elected. Kerry was right to oppose Reagan's terrorist-supporting policies, all down the line.

I'll admit that the USSR and China attempting to militarily control south-east asia caused all sorts of terrible effects. Assigning the blame to the US for fighting them is not morally correct in my view.

Plainly you're not very well-informed about the history of South-East Asia prior to the Vietnam War. The US began support of the French colonialist government in Vietnam in 1950. cite. Ho Chi Minh's original declaration of independence (September 2, 1945) was solidly based on the American declaration of independence: the nationalist movement in Vietnam did not begin as a knee-jerk anti-American movement.

The US had a chance to work against USSR and Chinese involvement in Vietnam and opted instead for supporting French colonialism against Vietnamese nationalism. This was a horrendous mistake, one that led, inexorably, to a situation where the US were fighting an unwinnable guerrilla war in Vietnam.

Communists kill people by the millions whether or not they interact with American troops.

Wouldn't it therefore have been far better for the US to support Ho Chi Minh in 1945?

Seriously, this goes beyond party allegience: it's a thundering mistake for the US to assume that it can override the will of another nation's population just by military force. The Vietnamese wanted an end to French colonialist rule: the US should have supported that.

The transfer of power in 1990 when they lost the election was quite literally the first peaceful transfer of power in Nicaragua by democratic election.

Actually, it occurs to me that I'm not absolutely certain about that - but certainly it was the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in Nicaragua in many years, and it was the Sandinistas who are responsible for that, not the terrorists that Reagan funded.

"Reagan's Central America policy was a bloody dirty mess, and Kerry's opposition to it gives me confidence that his foreign policy will support actual freedom, where freedom is not just defined as "regimes we like right now."

The fact that you count the Communist client Sandinistas as 'actual freedom' indicates that your idea of actual freedom doesn't track well with mine.

The fact that you count the Communist client Sandinistas as 'actual freedom' indicates that your idea of actual freedom doesn't track well with mine.

Are the contra terrorists then your idea of "actual freedom"?

Cambodia of course had no chance, as it was being fought over by its vicious USSR-tied master and the even more vicious Pol Pot.

You're omitting a rather important fact: Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge came to power because of a) the "secret" bombings of Cambodia and b) the CIA-backed coup that overthrew Sihanouk and installed the military dictator Lon Nol.* Our hands are remarkably dirty in this affair, too.

* From what I understand, Lon Nol was far more vicious in his private life than Pol Pot. How Lon Nol remained a garden-variety (indeed, subpar) right-wing dictator while Pol Pot ranks near the top of anyone's list of psychopathic tyrannical monsters of the 20th century is one of those things I'll never really understand.

I phrased this poorly:

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge came to power because of...

The implication there is that of sole causality, which is clearly incorrect. It would be better to say that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge came into power after the secret bombings and Lon Nol's coup, both of which gave them enormous popular support. My apologies for the confusion.

I'm not at all sure what you are trying to say about the Contras in your link. A) those drug reports have not been confirmed by further investigation, including investigation by other press sources. B) Even if it is true that some of the Contras later became involved in the drug trade, how does that intersect with the argument?

Sebastian on Viet Nam ends up sounding a lot like Sebastian on Iraq.

That is, criticism of bad policy (i.e., the anti-Viet Nam war movement) is the reason why the policy fails, rather than it being bad policy. In Iraq, its calling Allawi a puppet that's the problem rather than him being a puppet.

History lesson for Sebastian: the war in Viet Nam was not lost because of protests at home. It was lost on the ground in Viet Nam because of horrible policies. Protests at home broke the will of people to keep tolerating those screw-ups on the ground in Viet Nam (as well as tolerating the official government lying about events on the ground in Viet Nam -- surprise!! -- now we have people losing faith in Bush because of his nonstop lying about Iraq.)

One big difference -- Johnson bowed out rather than trying to preserve his presidency by compounding the lying. Bush has decided that the BIG LIE is the way to go to maintain power.

Or perhaps you are an advocate of the stab-in-the-back theory of history to explain lost wars.

I'm not at all sure what you are trying to say about the Contras in your link. A) those drug reports have not been confirmed by further investigation, including investigation by other press sources. B) Even if it is true that some of the Contras later became involved in the drug trade, how does that intersect with the argument?

Frankly, I'm just having fun coming up with any number of links to information about the contras which invariably demonstrate that Reagan was wrong to prefer contra terrorism over democratic government. There's a lot of them. The principle is the same in any case: if you support democracy, you have to support democracy even if the government voted in is one you disagree with. Reagan failed that test. So did George W. Bush. I myself am unsure why you're being so adamant in support of the terrorists - it doesn't seem to fit with your professed principles.

But if you want more about the links between Contra terrorism and drug-running, and Kerry's opposition to Reagan's foreign policy, here.

The fact that you count the Communist client Sandinistas as 'actual freedom' indicates that your idea of actual freedom doesn't track well with mine.

I see that I did not make myself at all clear, for which I apologize. I do not think that the U.S. should have supported the Sandinistas, or that that would have been support of 'actual freedom'. But I also think that the U.S. should not have supported the worst governments in Latin America--the El Salvadoran government, for instance, committed a massacre that was at least ten times as bad as any the Sandinistas are even accused of (and that's the not awfully trustworthy Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writing). Other US-supported Central American governments were not so great, either.

The fact that Kerry dissented from a policy of promoting terrorism and state-sponsored killing in Central America gives me confidence that his foreign policy is based in moral sense rather than raw U.S. political advantage. For instance, I would hope that Kerry will decide that total uncritical alliance with Islam Karimov, people-boiling tyrant of Uzbekistan, is not wise. Making his enemies our enemies is not good for us in the long term.

That's what I mean by "actual freedom." And I think criticism of Reagan's Central America policy accords with that very well.

Oh--and "Communist client"? The whole point was that we can't judge how free a country is by whether or not it's an American or Communist client, or (these days) an "ally in the war on terror." I think you've provided ample evidence that John Kerry will recognize this.

Sebastian
The core of the matter in Iran Contra was that it was against the law. The executive branch does not have the authority to override passed legislation except with a veto.
Do you see it otherwise?
Do you feel even democratic presidents should usurp the constition when they feel like it?

"That is, criticism of bad policy (i.e., the anti-Viet Nam war movement) is the reason why the policy fails, rather than it being bad policy."

Actually I don't believe I have ever introduced the idea that Vietnam policy failed because of the anti-war movement. I think it failed because we refused to engage in it as a real war with the objective of defeating the enemy where they lived in the North for far too long.

You ought not go to war unless you intend to win. Going to war for a stalemate is typically bad.

"The fact that Kerry dissented from a policy of promoting terrorism and state-sponsored killing in Central America gives me confidence that his foreign policy is based in moral sense rather than raw U.S. political advantage."

Kerry didn't just dissent. He actively supported the Sandinista government.

Sorry, Sebastian. I screwed up in reading the thread. The words I was reacting to were actually DaveC.

Your analysis of the failure of Viet Nam is dead on.

Kerry didn't just dissent. He actively supported the Sandinista government.

Yes, Sebastian. It was the democratically-elected government of Nicaragua. It was the government that Reagan ought to have supported - if democracy had mattered to him.

It is perhaps worth noting that Kerry is not the first Democrat to say we should be able to justify radical actions to the world community. That honor belongs to the very first Democrat, Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps you'll recall these words:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation

Dern hippie radical!

trilobite, we justified our actions to the planet just fine: it's just that a lot of them - including, apparently, you - didn't like those justifications very well. That's fine; it's a free planet. Well, actually it isn't, but the millenium is young.

But nowhere did we ask for permission to start a Revolution... and the asking for international permission before projecting American force has been a hallmark of Senator Kerry's foreign policy for decades. If you like that notion, go ahead and vote for him with my compliments. But, please, don't misquote Jefferson.

Hilzoy,

Maybe, this is where Bush gets his lies:

http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=352185

He supports a volunteer Army, "if and only if we can create the controls for it. You're going to have to prepare for the possibility of a national emergency, however." Kerry said that the United Nations should have control over most of our foreign military operations. "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations."

"If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no."

So who does that make a liar... you, Kerry or Bush?

IMO, none of you are really liars. Kerry said it when he was young. He has a history of wanting to have things both ways. He has a mixed record on defense. Bush nailed him on it. You just don't like Bush and tried to nail him on it. And you think you did based on the facts. I'm fine with that. I don't agree. But, Bush was right also.

Statements like this don't help either:

"If I'm president, I will not only personally go to the UN, I will go to other capitals. . . . I will immediately reach out to other nations in a very different way from this administration. Within weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the UN and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world."

("We need a new Security Council resolution to give the United Nations real authority in the rebuilding of Iraq. . . . This shift of authority from the United States to the United Nations is indispensable.")

"The United Nations, not the United States," he writes, "should be the primary civilian partner in working with Iraqi leaders to hold elections, restore government services, rebuild the economy, and recreate a sense of hope and optimism among the Iraqi people."

I guess I'm sort of waiting for a retraction of the Bush is a liar meme on this thread...

Just an idea of what that might sound like, "Bush is a liar about everything else under the sun, but in this instance it seems he wasn't actually lieing. John Kerry has actually stated that the U.N. should direct and disperse U.S. military troops. Bush used the fact that John Kerry has made statements that seem to contradict each other and highlighted the worst of the Senator's public comments. Also, I personally would like to apologize for calling our President a liar in this instance. I was mistaken."

There... that do it.

Smlook: I guess I'm sort of waiting for a retraction of the Bush is a liar meme on this thread...

Why? You haven't yet proven your case that Bush didn't lie. Indeed, to the best of my knowledge, you've never even tried to show that Bush doesn't lie: you've simply complained a lot that other people "call Bush a liar".

Yes, Jes your right as you always are. It's obviously only black and white. Bush is a liar, despite the relveant fact that Bush said:

Senator Kerry's approach to foreign policy would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions.

And Kerry said:
"I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations."

Basically saying that if the U.N. which represents some 140 foreign governemtns approves that we attack Afghanistan after 9/11 then that's okay. If the U.N. says no then we can't.

Smlook, you obviously never bothered to read Hilzoy's post beyond the title.

Your only effort to try and show that Bush didn't lie was to ignore the speech Kerry made that Bush was actually referring to, and cite a statement made by Kerry over thirty years earlier, which - you claim - proves Bush wasn't lying.

It doesn't. Kerry made a very clear statement about the "global test" in a debate. Bush lied about it. Your fishing up speeches made by Kerry from the early 1970s does not make Bush's lie about Kerry's debate statements any less of a lie.

To repeat the obvious: If you want people to stop pointing out when Bush lies, you need to show that Bush isn't lying. If you can't do that, better just to walk away from the argument.

smlook,

That Kerry quote you linked to appears to be from 1970. Given that Kerry has, in the intervening 30 some years, specifically said otherwise (as in the quote given by Hilzoy above), and has in fact stated a position completely contrary to the one the president is attributing to him, I think it's quite fair to call Bush a liar in this specific instance.

And now I'll go back to lurking.

"and has in fact stated a position completely contrary to the one the president is attributing to him"

And this is what you guys fail to accept. Kerry has expressed multiple versions of what he might do. You choose to ignore the statement that you don't like and focus on the one where he said what you wanted him to say.

If Kerry was Bush saying two different things would make him a liar according to the standards here.

And you choose to ignore Kerry's statements and actions as a whole on the subject. You want to take one statement he made and say that is all he ever meant. Bush obviously had a different approach and it doesn't make him a liar.

Have fun with that...

Smlook: You choose to ignore the statement that you don't like and focus on the one where he said what you wanted him to say.

Funny; it seems to me that's exactly what you're doing.

Hilzoy pointed out that Bush lied about what Kerry said in one of the Bush-Kerry debates. She's right: Bush did.

You choose to ignore this, because you don't like it when Bush lies, and keep pointing to a statement Kerry made more than thirty years previously, because if you can claim that Bush was referring to that statement, rather than (as he obviously was) referring to the point Kerry made during their recent debate, you can assert that Bush wasn't really lying.

Now my question for you is: why bother? You've tried and tried and tried to get us to believe that Bush was referring to a speech Kerry made in 1970, not a debate he had with Kerry a few days earlier. I doubt if you're even really convinced yourself that Bush was referring to Kerry's 1970 speech, and you've certainly not managed to convince anyone else. Why keep dragging this out? Why is it so important to you that people shall not point out when George W. Bush tells a lie?

smlook,

Can you point us to an instance of Kerry saying that we should subordinate our military to the UN, in, say, the past decade? Quotes supporting a strong role for the UN in resolving conflicts don't count. I mean, specifically, that Kerry has said that foreign governments or the UN should have a "veto" on our use of military power. That is what Bush asserted Kerry's position to be, and, absent any statements from Kerry to justify it (particularly as he had specifically denied holding such a position in the recent past) it is a lie. I really don't see how you can deny this, even with your 30 year old quote-mining.

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