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August 02, 2010

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I guess I don't find it surprising, but I do find it very disturbing. It suggests that the invasion-to-be was a well-known secret... everyone knew it was going to happen, but they all pretended that it wasn't.

The worst part of it is that, by not only supporting it but doing so enthusiastically, they completely robbed themselves of the ability to run against it once it was a mess. And they still haven't learned their lesson.

During that time, on the few reliable Political bLogs I was familiar with, it seemed as if it was an “off the record” known fact that the invasion of Iraq was a done deal among Democrats and Republicans.

Apparently, the few "leftists" in the Democratic Party were out of the loop.

I think you also have to take into account that this was only a couple of days after the attacks. Perhaps the shock that it had happened at all was still raw. Most Democrats came to their senses and agitated for actual evidence of Iraq's involvement.

I guess this is old news, but I still have it in me to find it a little shocking that Democratic Senators were openly talking about invading Iraq right after 9/11.

Not to anyone who was listening at the time. The current thinking on the left is that some Democrats fell for Bush & Cheney's lies, while most were clever enough to see through them. In fact, many Democrats said virtually the same thing the administration was saying. That said, some of Cheney's comments were well beyond what the intelligence showed, which turned out to be a handy excuse for everyone who enthusiastically supported the invasion at the time, but needed cover when the progressives made opposition to the war the litmus test for the presidency beginning in '04.

It doesn't surprise me but it does make me feel sick.

In a way I fault the Democrats more than the Republicans. It's possible that the Republicans believed all the rightwing bullshit that was being pushed to justify the invasion. But did any Democrat in Congress believe that stuff? A Democratic Congressperson working daily with Repubicans would have to be beyond stupid to believe anything they said. It should have been obvious that the Bush adminsitration people and the Republicans in Congress were mostly idiots, ideologues, religious fanatics and jingoistic asshats.

Or were the Democrats just so afraid of the jingoism being kicked up by the Republicans that they played along? I think that's a more likely explanation. Disgusting.

Debbie, respectfully, the idea that Iraq

Sorry about the mis-fire - Debbie, respectfully, I can understand some level of angst over Iraq, and I suppose it depends on what was actually said. But if there was actual *invasion* planning, that can't be written off to shock.

Re-reading, I see that it's possible that Prescott mis-heard, or mis-interpreted. Maybe the claim was that we had to wrap up business in Iraq, and free up our military resources stationed there. If so, I thought that myself - not that we should invade, but that we should demand that *something* be done.

Then again, if he did mis-interpret, who can blame him, given how it came out?

"We have to do *something* about Iraq" followed by lots of support for the war could easily cause him to think that the "something" was "invade" rather than "force the Security Council to take some action".

That said, some of Cheney's comments were well beyond what the intelligence showed

We're all adults here and should feel free to use the L-word.

Here is the tally for the House and Senate votes on the AUMF against Iraq.

In the House: 215 R's for, 6 agin, 82 D's for, 126 agin.

In the Senate: 48 R's for, 1 agin, 29 D's for, 21 agin.

So, significant party-line divergence, but overall obviously strong support.

I still have it in me to find it a little shocking that Democratic Senators were openly talking about invading Iraq right after 9/11. Washington is very strange.

The United States is very strange.

Here is the simple reality: after 9/11, we wanted to kick the living sh*t out of some Muslims. Iraq was a handy target.

Get your head around that, because it's all you need to know.

The evidence, the WMD hand-wringing, the votes, the public argument, the UN dog and pony show, all formalities.

We wanted to kick Muslim ass. Various folks, in a position to influence policy, wanted, for various reasons, to have Hussein's head on a platter.

Kismet. It was all over but the shouting.

That really, really is all there is to it.

The current thinking on the left is that some Democrats fell for Bush & Cheney's lies, while most were clever enough to see through them.

I'm sure there's a much wider variety of opinion "on the left" than that. However, that assessment is consistent with the facts: 111 congressional Democrats voted for the AUMF, 147 voted against.

In fact, many Democrats said virtually the same thing the administration was saying.

So what? This is also consistent with what the "current thinking on the left" according to you.

That said, some of Cheney's comments were well beyond what the intelligence showed, which turned out to be a handy excuse for everyone who enthusiastically supported the invasion at the time, but needed cover when the progressives made opposition to the war the litmus test for the presidency beginning in '04.

I know it's hard to believe now, but in 2002 it was possible for intelligent people to assume that Cheney wasn't completely talking out of his ass on when it came to gravest possible matters that governments face.

Dubya his own self said this on signing the AUMF:

The debate over this resolution in the Congress was in the finest traditions of American democracy. There is no social or political force greater than a free people united in a common and compelling objective. It is for that reason that I sought an additional resolution of support from the Congress to use force against Iraq, should force become necessary.
That's an excerpt. The emphasis is mine. I don't know whether he mumbled or shouted the bolded part. I do know he said exactly the same thing a few days earlier when he was pushing for the AUMF.

I have no doubt that most Congressmen who voted for the AUMF knew perfectly well, in a bipartisan way, that Bush was lying about that.

--TP

Heck, Congressional Dems were happy to get an AUMF to vote on instead of letting GWB assert some kind of Commander-in-Chief's Special Presidential Authority (that's what the "additional" references in the above; BushCo throughout insisted the AUMF was superfluous, but they'd decided to ask Congress anyway, 'cause they were nice that way).

Anyhow. Yes. It's remarkably easy go along with everybody else, even with something so stupid and venal.

The whole damned country lost its collective mind and politicians were mostly governed by shear panic. Dems were afraid of being seen as soft, and Repubs were just plain afraid because that's how the right wing spends their days and nights. And we didn't have a President who could reassure the country and focus our response because he and his vice president were both scared shitless too; you can see it in their faces in the video shot that day and in the days immediately afterward.

Fear and panic usually result in seriously flawed decisions. We're still living with the absolute chaos those decisions, made in fear, created. And from what I've seen, there's no stomach for going back to this country's roots in constitutional law. I had hopes that Obama would lead the way towards that, but I have been seriously disappointed. I now only hope we don't slide into totalitarianism, but it's a vanishing hope.

Look, we can all agree that the Democrats suck but are we really going to try and pin the Iraq war on them? Read what Enrique Arroyo wrote, 57% of the Dems in congress voted against AUMF versus 2.6% of the Repubs. Yes, a majority of the Dems in the senate voted for AUMF but we all know that the senate is far from a representative body and yes we thought there would be another vote just as we thought there would be another vote in the UN and as much as I knew Bush and Cheney and the rest were lying even I foolishly thought that they would not lie about everything.

What is the point of this post, the Dems got rolled, we know that. But to try and conjure up that ole false equivalency, the parties are just the same, heck, what's the difference?

57% versus 2.6% is the difference.

The Democratic Party is not "The Left"...it hasn't been, since WW2.

But the Republican Party IS THE Right.

The war chant in the U.S. switched very suddenly from "WMD" to "Free the Iraqi People." We did not lose our collective mind; plenty of people detected the blatant b.s., and there was still time for the Senate to cut the crap.

Much like the O.J. Simpson trial, which was fascinating to see how the prosecution would succeed in losing the case despite a mountain of evidence -- it was extremely fascinating and horrifying to see how the USA would succeed in rationalizing our mighty rightness despite huge, steaming heaps of b.s.

That said, some of Cheney's comments were well beyond what the intelligence showed, which turned out to be a handy excuse...

If we're going to be faithful to the actual record, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz, Feith, dozens of GOP Senators and Reps, media mouthpieces, pundits and "journalists" made numerous statements about Iraq's nuclear program and alleged ties to al-Qaeda that ranged from exaggeration to outright lies - with the former unsupported by the evidence, and the latter directly contradicted by the evidence.

And, as mentioned above, some Dems were enthusiastic war supporters. This hurt those Dems with the party faithful (not sure Hillary Clinton was ever able to outrun that shameful moment). Others went along with the Bush administration's war drive out of craven political considerations (I'd put John Kerry in this boat) and fear of being made to look "weak" on terror.

Hell, the lies were so pervasive, and the propaganda campaign so effective, that to this day, a sizable portion of Americans still think Iraq had WMD and was behind 9/11.

The percentage of credulous Americans goes up when you isolate Fox news viewers of course. Which I'm sure is just a convenient phenomenon for anti-war Dems.

My personal favorite from the hit parade of "threat" claims: the drones of doom.

If it wasn't for all of the dead people, it would be laughable.

Nah, russell, that was nothing compared to the Saddam "suitcase nukes."

Was on the cover of the New York Post - which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Again, just a convenience for regretful Democrats.

Not only did Saddam have nukes (as implied by the cover), but he was able to master the technological leap of getting the weapon into a small enough form to fit in a suitcase.

Oh, and after all that improbable scientific achievement, he was going to just give some away to al-Qaeda. 'Cause, you know, that's what leaders tend to do after many decades spending billions and billions to acquire nukes. They usually give them away to groups that want to destroy them.

Oy.

Funny, it may not have been in "liberal" circles, or in "DC insider" circles, but I recall hearing that an Iraq invasion was in the works just as soon as Bush was inaugurated.

Perhaps that was because of the massive order for desert pattern cammo gear that went out in early 2001. SOME people could see what was coming; 9/11 (may have) delayed the schedule and made the propaganda war against the US public easier. But regardless, some excuse would get ginned up.

Yes, of course many Dems were going to vote for it, regardless of whether it made sense, because the alternative was to be completely smeared going into the 2002 midterms.

If there was any "Bush lied to us" regret, it was because Iraq wasn't a nice, neat, "invade, set up puppet, get out" operation like BushCo claimed it would be. Iraq had been continuously demonized in the American mind for the previous decade; no politician was going to go out on a limb to protect Iraqis from mass slaughter.


The fate of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis was sealed with a 5-4 vote in the USSC in December 2000.

Funny, it may not have been in "liberal" circles, or in "DC insider" circles, but I recall hearing that an Iraq invasion was in the works just as soon as Bush was inaugurated.

According to Paul O'Neill, Bush's first Treasury Sec, Iraq was the first order ot biz discussed at the first principals meeting way back in early 2001.

But then, most of the Bush admin's national security team was clamoring for an invasion of Iraq while Clinton was still Prez - formally petitioning Clinton to invade via a letter on PNAC letterhead.

9/11 was a pretense, not a cause.

I guess this is old news, but I still have it in me to find it a little shocking that Democratic Senators were openly talking about invading Iraq right after 9/11.

In terms of pure political calculation, they were absolutely correct to do so.

It's been said before, but it bears repeating: What politician or pundit in this country has suffered adverse career consequences to their career as a result of being completely and utterly wrong about Iraq?

Thomas "Suck on This" Friedman is still a respected columnist at the most influential newspaper in the country. Over at the Atlantic, Megan McArdle has declared that while those who opposed the war were in some vaguely technical sense "right," they're still wrong, because shut up I went to a better school than you did. Turn on your TV and there's Bill Kristol, grinning impishly at the prospect of people dying by the tens of thousands in our inevitable war with Iran. And so it goes.

When it comes to militarism, there is no such thing as "beyond the pale" in this country. And it's going to be our undoing. I used to think that the references to "Rome 2.0" over at Unqualified Offerings were merely good for a chuckle, but I'm increasingly thinking that it's actually uncannily accurate.

Google "premature anti-fascism" some time.

The people who were wrong are still right, even though they were wrong, because they're "sensible" and "respectable", while the people who were right were right too soon, or for the wrong reasons, or because they're not "serious", or they're wild-eyed hippies, or whatever. No matter that at least hundreds of thousands showed up in DC, in February, to protest invading Iraq, and millions worldwide.

"We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." - Condeleeza Rice

"We cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun, that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." - George W. Bush

I recall hearing that an Iraq invasion was in the works just as soon as Bush was inaugurated.

A Clean Break, a foreign policy paper drafted for Netanyahu in 1996 by Perle, Feith, and Wurmser, calls for the overthrow of Hussein as a way of reining in Syria.

Letter to President Clinton urging an invasion of Iraq, signed by Abrams, Armitage, Bennett, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Perle, Kristol, Khalilzhad.

Letter to Gingrich and Lott urging them to urge Clinton to invade Iraq, signed by the same crew.

And Iraq is singled out for attention in the DOD's Defense Strategy paper of 1992, where it is identified as a potential regional hegemon in the middle east, and thus a possible threat to our access to oil. Author Wolfowitz, at the request of Cheney.

Iraq was named as a target of military reprisals for 9/11 within hours of the attack.

When opportunity knocks, you open the door.

BushCo throughout insisted the AUMF was superfluous, but they'd decided to ask Congress anyway, 'cause they were nice that way

Same goes for the UN, even more obviously, since the UN said "no."

Hell, the lies were so pervasive, and the propaganda campaign so effective, that to this day, a sizable portion of Americans still think Iraq had WMD and was behind 9/11.

This was a couple of years ago, but still well after the BS had been thoroughly discredited - I had a discussion with my wife's aunt in Cleveland during which she very emphatically told me that it was PROVEN that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 along side AQ. She was incredulous when I told her that that had been shown very convincingly (and very publicly) to be a fabrication and one that made no sense given the opposing ideologies involved. She was looking at me like I was the crazy one. If she didn't demonstrate an utter lack of knowledge on the background of the subject, she probably would have had me wondering if I really was the crazy one. Her certitude was powerful, even though she was completely wrong.

I should add that my wife's aunt is at least smart enough to have earned a six-figure salary in management in the banking industry, for whatever that's worth. It's not like she was some crazy shut-in who didn't competently interact with many people, some fairly well-educated, on a daily basis. How someone can manage that while, at the same time, failing to notice some other very obvious and important things is a mystery to me.

Russell has it.

Also, things like this are among the reasons I'm very happy Dodd is on his way out. He's not the worst Democrat in the Senate, and he's good on some issues--but for the issues on which he's bad, he's just /terrible/.

Nate: The people who were wrong are still right, even though they were wrong, because they're "sensible" and "respectable", while the people who were right were right too soon, or for the wrong reasons, or because they're not "serious", or they're wild-eyed hippies, or whatever

Yeah. And because of this, people who were continuously right for years and years can continuously be dismissed as unserious wild-eyed hippies who obviously don't know what they're talking about.

We just somehow, unseriously, in our wild-eyed hippy-type anti-sensible disreputable way, manage to be right all the time. Even though we obviously don't know what we're talking about because what we say contradicts Received Opinion.

"We wanted to kick Muslim ass. Various folks, in a position to influence policy, wanted, for various reasons, to have Hussein's head on a platter.

Kismet. It was all over but the shouting.

That really, really is all there is to it."


I, too, agree with Russell. I was working in Colorado Springs at the time, the Mother House of the evangelical right and a place where the military pervades everything. I saw a disturbing wrinkle on this: even if Saddam and Iraq haven't been shown to have anything to to with it, Iraq clearly would have done it, if given the chance. Plus, he's Evil. So even if the available evidence doesn't show that invading Iraq is correct (take that, you snivelling lawyers), it's still clearly the right thing to do. There was no uncertainty at all -- that was the scary part.

I don't agree that most of the Democrats merely wanted to kick Muslim ass, although that attitude prevailed among the public to a shameful degree.

As for Democratic leaders, there were those in favor of taking a hard line against Saddam Hussein because they believed the story of WMD and wanted the flexibility to make a show of force to give muscle to the prospect of consequences if weapons inspections didn't go forward. Perhaps they were deluded (obviously, they were) but I think it's fair to think that they actually believed that Bush would have acted responsibly in, at least, letting the weapons inspections go forward.

We know now that there were no WMDs, and that there was willful fraud on the part of the administration, but, as Enrique Arroyo said above, it is possible to think that people could have trusted Cheney in the early years of the administration at least not to be a boldfaced liar. That the leaders in the Executive Department, with access to classified intelligence, would blatantly defraud the public merely to invade a nation for no justifiable reason, was something that many people just couldn't get their minds around. I know I had trouble thinking that there was absolutely no basis for the claims they were making, even though I was against the war on the grounds that any invasion without proof from the inspectors was illegal, and that any threat being hidden from the inspectors was contained by having our military ready. The "readiness" aspect (military support for the inspection process) was one of the reasons many Democrats agreed to the AUMF, and the only convincing argument I could see put forward. It was unforgivably reckless for them to hand him a blank check.

Clearly, Saddam Hussein was a source of bipartisan concern before Bush II. Clinton had bombed; there were horrifying sanctions, etc. That people in government wanted to promote regime change was nothing new. To do it by invading the country was new.

That the leaders in the Executive Department, with access to classified intelligence, would blatantly defraud the public merely to invade a nation for no justifiable reason, was something that many people just couldn't get their minds around.

Really? It wouldn't have been the first time.


Various folks, in a position to influence policy, wanted, for various reasons, to have Hussein's head on a platter.

Only because he stood in the way of U.S. and British corporate control of Iraqi oil supplies.

A desire to kick Muslim ass, resident in only a minority of Americans was only one of the various types of ignorance and incredulity exploited on behalf of a conquest that had the same objective of all conquest since time began: THEFT.

If you, like me, were completely dumbfounded by the way Democrats jumped on board the Iraq War train prior to the invasion, seeming to have lost their

But for folks like me, we're dumbfounded that you're dumbfounded and we're kinda sick of how you prop up the two-party duopoly with a nonsensical faith in Democrats that seems predicated on nothing more substantial than a vintage McGovern bumpersticker?

Are you also dumbfounded that Obama is widening the war in Afghanistan? That his idea of leaving Iraq is to keep 50,000 troops in place as 'advisors?' That where privacy and civil rights are concerned, the ACLU finds him more egregious than Bush/Cheney?

Dumbfounded isn't the word. You're just dumb.

That his idea of leaving Iraq is to keep 50,000 troops in place as 'advisors?'

Huh? How do you figure?

Thus far, he's been removing troops right on schedule as per the SOFA, which he said he would follow upon taking office.

Please explain.

Also, you must refrain from personal insults on this site. It violates the posting rules.

This is a warning.

That his idea of leaving Iraq is to keep 50,000 troops in place as 'advisors?'
--

Huh? How do you figure?

Sorry. It was a misreading of a Reuters story today which I have since reread. Still, 50,000 troops sure is a lot of 'advisors' to retain after 'combat operations' have ostensibly ceased.

Also this alleged drawdown is running in parallel with State Department busily trying to build up a paramilitary in Iraq complete with Blackwater security contractors, Blackhawk helicopters and armored vehicles.

Presumably, you and our host are 'dumbfounded' that Democrat Hillary Clinton who, as a candidate, vowed to ban the use of private contractors for military use is now heading up this effort to militarize the State Department with private contractors.

I guess, if like a lot of Democrats, you don't really object to permanent colonial occupations of illegally attacked sovereign countries if it doesn't involve American troops (and I'll believe that when I see it anyway) this ain't a bad thing.

And besides, you can split hairs all you like over Iraq, the one item from my list that you have cherry-picked to contend with. The fact remains this is president who is both a warmonger and a civil rights shredder.

The point stands: your dumbfoundedness has no rational basis.

I don't agree that most of the Democrats merely wanted to kick Muslim ass, although that attitude prevailed among the public to a shameful degree.

As for Democratic leaders, there were those in favor of taking a hard line against Saddam Hussein because they believed the story of WMD and wanted the flexibility to make a show of force to give muscle to the prospect of consequences if weapons inspections didn't go forward.

IMO both of these points are apt.

The general desire to kick Muslim @ss (I would count it more than a minority) created political pressure for military action, and a lever that the executive could use to move Congressional votes.

I also agree that there were folks in Congress who, in good faith, wanted the threat of invasion to enforce WMD inspections. The specific "proofs" of WMD in Iraq that were presented were crap, often laughably so, but it wasn't clear exactly what Hussein *did* have.

But why the urgency of invading Iraq, prior to the completion of inspections, with the no-fly regime and other sanctions in place, with a war in Afghanistan underway, and in the absence of any credible association with 9/11?

See the paper trail.

"Sweep it all up"

I guess, if like a lot of Democrats, you don't really object to permanent colonial occupations of illegally attacked sovereign countries if it doesn't involve American troops (and I'll believe that when I see it anyway) this ain't a bad thing.

You may be dumbfounded by the dumbfoundedness, but this doesn't at all follow, particularly considering that the dumbfoundedness is rooted in thinking that things like the above are so obviously wrong that it's dumbfounding that supposedly sane people would support them. That's not exactly advocacy, support or indifference. It's more like shocked opposition.

Presumably, you and our host

Um, I am your host. I and I if you like.

Still, 50,000 troops sure is a lot of 'advisors' to retain after 'combat operations' have ostensibly ceased.

The SOFA does not require these to be only advisors at this point. Force protection is allowed, as well as trainers and advisors. So some combat troops are contemplated.

Presumably, you and our host are 'dumbfounded' that Democrat Hillary Clinton who, as a candidate, vowed to ban the use of private contractors for military use is now heading up this effort to militarize the State Department with private contractors.

Presumably, you're about as good at reading minds as you are at identifying the site's host.

No, this does not dumbfound or surprise me. Although that fact may dumfound you.

I guess, if like a lot of Democrats, you don't really object to permanent colonial occupations of illegally attacked sovereign countries if it doesn't involve American troops (and I'll believe that when I see it anyway) this ain't a bad thing.

Do yourself a favor:

Either ask me my positions, or read the vast half-decade long record that I have produced writing for over half a dozen blogs and published periodicals.

Because your "guess" looks pretty foolish.

And besides, you can split hairs all you like over Iraq, the one item from my list that you have cherry-picked to contend with

Not cherry picked. You made an assertion, I inquired. This is called "discourse."

The fact remains this is president who is both a warmonger and a civil rights shredder.

I have criticized, quite loudly and quite frequently, his foreign policy in Afghanistan and, to a lesser degree, Iraq, and his civil liberties record.

So, again, check your references.

The point stands: your dumbfoundedness has no rational basis.

The point stands, I never claimed to be dumbfounded.

The point stands, I never claimed to be dumbfounded.

I apologize. I presumed general dumbfoundedness based on:

1. The post which admittedly was not written by you

2. My general impression of liberal Democrats the vast majority of whom seem dumbfounded by things Democrats do that are perfectly in line with what Democrats have previously done. This is a very large group possibly outnumbered only by those who twist themselves in knots finding reasons to like things when done by Democrats that they find morally reprehensible when done by Republicans or objecting to them and hoping that with a few carefully phrased blog posts a leopard will change its spots.

I confess, I am not aware of your opinions on anything that you haven't posted in these comments. I come to this site by way of the occasional humorous excoriation of it by people I respect. I find dumbfounded Democrats so objectionable -- ignorance and credulity are pet peeves -- I decided to mouth off on this visit.

I appreciate your lesson in 'discourse' on SOFA, but it was not a substantive reply to the substance of my comment which underneath the invective was an assertion that there is nothing factual on which eternal liberal Democrat dumbfoundedness rests. I think anyone expressing this dumbfoundedness should stop assuming that everyone finds it self-explanatory and describe the basis for it. They should begin by enumerating all the ways in which the Democrats have substantively stood against a murderous, criminal foreign policy since, say, World War II.

At the risk of encouraging your sidetracking onto the Status of Forces Agreement, I'll say that I don't really care if Obama, representing the vastly more powerful party that signed of on it, is keeping to its lousy rules which allow for more troops remaining after 2010 than even riff-raff like Pelosi and Reid publicly support. And let's also note the wiggle-room given the U.S. by Article 27 that allows our government to undertake military action, "or any other measure," inside Iraq's borders "In the event of any external or internal threat or aggression against Iraq". According to a 2009 report by NBC "military commanders, despite this Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government that all U.S. forces would be out by the end of 2011, are already making plans for a significant number of American troops to remain in Iraq beyond that 2011 deadline" on the not foolish assumption that the agreement would be renegotiated.

And then there are those pesky contractors.

We'll see. I promise to be dumbfounded if we're really out by 2011 and we can count on your friend Jacob here and his ilk to be dumbfounded if we're not.


the dumbfoundedness is rooted in thinking that things like the above are so obviously wrong

No it's not. I reckon Jacob here is not surprised when Republicans behave in accordance with their history. He is only perplexed when Democrats do.

Note the selective editing.

So, girard, Jacob shouldn't have been dumfounded in 2002 because of things that happened in 2009 and 2010? That's your argument?

So, girard, Jacob shouldn't have been dumfounded in 2002 because of things that happened in 2009 and 2010? That's your argument?

I must say, the past two comments make adherence to the site rules extremely difficult.

By implication and as my subsequent posts should have made clear, Jacob should not have been surprised by the events of 2002 based on how Democrats have behaved historically. This history is available to anyone with a web browser. In my view, the onus is on Jacob and his like to tell us exactly why they are surprised anew each time the Democratic party colludes with warmakers and profiteers. There seems to be an animating myth of a Real Democrat somewhere, a Ghandi or Tom Joad like figure it seems, who has never to my knowledge attained elective office. Against this fella, just about all real (small r) Democrats compare very poorly, dumbfoundingly so! Year after year after year after year...

I mentioned Obama's execrable record - also not at all surprising - because it is the subject of a great deal of remaining dumbfoundedness despite the dumbfoundingly revelatory 'betrayals' of 2002.

I was (rhetorically) asking Jacob and those who sympathize with his quandary if they're done being dumbfounded. I know the answer.

I appreciate your lesson in 'discourse' on SOFA, but it was not a substantive reply to the substance of my comment which underneath the invective was an assertion that there is nothing factual on which eternal liberal Democrat dumbfoundedness rests.

It was, in fact, a substantive reply to one of the assertions you made. Nothing more, nothing less. Nor did it purport to be something more, or less.

It was exactly what it was. It was not, however, cherry picking or nitpicking or hair splitting.

They should begin by enumerating all the ways in which the Democrats have substantively stood against a murderous, criminal foreign policy since, say, World War II.

US foreign policy has generally been pretty undifferentiated over the past years, regardless of the party in power.

However, there are more decent Democrats than Republicans on this score, and there always have been.

People like Bernie Sanders, Wellstone (RIP), Kucinich, Feingold and others.

See, ie, the Dems that voted against the AUMF. See, ie, the Dems that vote to force withdrawal from Afghanistan now.

We need more and better Dems, as they are our best shot. The GOP aint.

I must say, the past two comments make adherence to the site rules extremely difficult.

Exert yourself.

There seems to be an animating myth of a Real Democrat somewhere, a Ghandi or Tom Joad like figure it seems, who has never to my knowledge attained elective office.

People like Bernie Sanders, Paul Wellstone (RIP), Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold and others.

All held elective office. Senators. Representatives.

See, ie, the Dems that voted against the AUMF. See, ie, the Dems that vote to force withdrawal from Afghanistan now by cutting off funding.

We need more and better Dems, as they are our best shot.

This is going to a very predictable place.

To better leopards, without spots!

Later.

In my view, the onus is on Jacob and his like to tell us exactly why they are surprised anew each time the Democratic party colludes with warmakers and profiteers.

In my view, it's perfectly sufficient for Jacob, or anyone else, to simply express their surprise, if surprised is what they are.

And actually, "I didn't expect them to behave that way" is, in fact, a perfectly adequate explanation for being surprised.

In my view, if you want to state that someone is mistaken in their views, the onus is on *you* to explain why. Abusing them because they don't possess your magic powers of insight is kind of rude.

BTW, are you related in any way to the guy on RedState who posts as "maximos"?

To better leopards, without spots!

Really?

You would say that my list of decent Dems are the same as Republicans?

Bernie Sanders, the erstwhile Socialist Mayor of Burlington (as in, ran as an actual Socialist)?

Feh. Instead of engaging that, you choose to run away. Figures. Poses are easier than actual fact based dialogue.

Feh, good riddance. The dude writes like an indignant parson from a Jane Austen novel.

But his world weariness is impressive

You would say that my list of decent Dems are the same as Republicans?

I'd say they're the exception that proves the rule.

(Not wishing to stand up for girard...but still.)

I come to this site by way of the occasional humorous excoriation of it by people I respect.

Wait, so there's a Naderite blog somewhere that makes fun of ObWi? Anyone know the website?

BTW, girard, you do realize that it's possible to be dumbfounded even if you're aware of past idiocy? I mean, I'm constantly dumbfounded by the crap Glenn Beck says, even though he's said amazingly stupid things in the past. And yeah, I'm also constantly surprised by Democratic fecklessness, even though that has been the defining characteristic of the party for my entire adult life.

Unfortunately, the "two-party duopoly" is pretty much baked-in, so the choice is to vote D or R. And as the Republicans are cuckoo for cocoa puffs, I'll take "kinda bad" over "very, very bad."

But UK, I agreed with the rule!

I said that, to change things, we need more better Dems like these. I didn't say that we already have enough good Dems like these.

And, mind you, there are more "exceptions" than appear on my list, FWIW.

The dude writes like an indignant parson from a Jane Austen novel.

In defense of Austen's parsons, Henry Tilney and Edmund Bertram actually have much better prose styles than girard.

Larv,

IOZ

http://whoisioz.blogspot.com/

I actually read him with some regularity. He's pretty amusing, if a bit pleased with the purity of his cynicism, and a bit self-indulgent with his complete abdication in terms of pushing for any constructive change (unless you count urging on the collapse of society constructive change).

But he is not without insight, as depressing as that may be.

Dumbfoundedness is the bipartisan cigarette shared after political intercourse.

Dumbfoundedness is the bipartisan cigarette shared after political intercourse.

I would say pork is the preferred bipartisan, post-coital smoke. Dumbfoundedness is the state induced by observing the initial intercourse.

John Thullen is the bipartisan belly laugh shared between friends when things are too godawful not to laugh at them.

I must say, the past two comments make adherence to the site rules extremely difficult.

Oh how I sympathize. Sometimes the urge to take a big steaming dump in someone else's living room can be overpowering, even after the toilet training kicks in.

For me, the best course is to avoid living rooms where I feel that temptation.

[Internets broken at my house, and I suck at iPad typing as yet...]

Girard seems most upset at the use of the word dumbfounded, I guess he would prefer that I lie about my reaction? Not sure I get the point of that.

The whole point of the post is that even after the Democratic reaction in 2002-2003 I was still naive enough to think that it was primarily fear of failing to get onboard with a popular war rather than a preexisting shared desire to invade that motivated them. Not sure what reasonable form any further self-criticism could take.

Shorter girard:

"Nader 2012!!11"

Yawn.

But UK, I agreed with the rule! I said that, to change things, we need more better Dems like these. I didn't say that we already have enough good Dems like these.

Point taken. But I get the sense that you're far more optimistic than I am about the prospect of those more-better Dems materializing in sufficient numbers anytime soon.

Point taken. But I get the sense that you're far more optimistic than I am about the prospect of those more-better Dems materializing in sufficient numbers anytime soon.

Hard to say if that's true or not. It's just that I like to go down swinging, so you might mistake my fighting spirit for optimism. I'm not optimistic as much as resigned to the fact that there is but one option, and that is it.

"The exception that proves the rule" doesn't mean what it's commonly used to mean. The word "prove" is used there to mean "test," a connotation of the word prove which is preserved pretty much only in that saying and in the phrase "proving ground."

So, an exception doesn't prove [support] a rule, it proves [tests] it.

I learned that from The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson.

So, an exception doesn't prove [support] a rule, it proves [tests] it.

You know, I wondered if I was using that phrase correctly when I posted the comment, because I remember reading somewhere that it's one of those commonly misused expressions...

Bryson's explanation is widely believed, but according to World Wide Words, the real explanation is a bit different.

This is like the time I learned - via a blog - what "begging the question" really meant. Unless JP is right.

I should say, it seems that JP is right, and this is still like the time learned what "begging the question" really meant.

Eric, I started to write a comment mentioning begging the question, then decided I should get some work done instead.

Ha ha.

But there's a long list of these, language being what it is. I'm not going to go googling to see what other people have said, but two examples that immediately come to mind from my own experience of hearing people use phrases differently:

-- Is a "sight for sore eyes" a sight so wonderful it heals sore eyes (my impression from childhood) or a sight so awful that it creates sore eyes (the way I hear a lot of people using it now).

-- Is a "line in the sand" a line that's so wishy-washy the next wave will wash it away (my impression from childhood), or a firm line that no one had better dare to cross? (Okay, I googled, and wikipedia implies that my childhood impression was badly out of whack. I am not sure I'm willing to give it up, but I don't have time for further research right now.)

The Source-of-all-Knowledge-and-Wisdom has tackled the exception that proves the rule. His ultimate conclusion concurs with that provided by Jim Parish.

I will never trust Bryson again. I'm glad I took a stand, though; that straight dope site is great. Thanks!

JanieM:

In the first instance, sight for sore eyes, the former is the correct usage. I haven't even heard the latter use. But it is weird.

Line in the sand you did yourself.

Here's one that I learned from Gary Farber on ObWi many moons ago: It's not "baited breath" it's "'bated breath."

Which makes much more sense.

Also, an odd one from my youth: I used to read "contents under pressure" as if "contents" was a verb. As in, be careful this thing contents under pressure.

I didn't actually figure that one out until well into adulthood.

Shorter girard:

"Nader 2012!!11"

Yawn.

Shorter Liberal Democrat:

[bending over, spreading cheeks to reveal torn anus]

More and better Democrats, please!

Gag.

You guys really need to work on some new cliches. From your dumbfoundedness to your Nader slurs, it's all a bit robotic. It's what comes of living in a bubble.

Actually, if you really were reading, you'd have seen that I aborted the conversation before it got to third parties, since it bores me too - like talking to someone with Altzheimers - and wasn't relevant. I am resigned to living among lesser-evilists. What I don't like is entertaining their delusions.

I am not a great admirer of Nader btw - he's a poor organizer - but at least you discerned I'm of the left. Not all lib tools are so sharp when pigeonholing. See RedState reference above.

Oh and Jacob, it's not naive to think a trillion dollar mass slaughter was waged out of cold political calculation rather than a "preexisting shared desire to invade" It's deeply cynical (though fully warranted). Calling it naive suggests a moral distinction that only a vapid political careerist would see and surely that's not you.

Feel your feelings baby. Be surprised each time the sun goes up and down and say WTF every time new information reveals a different flavor of cravenness than the one you thought you'd tasted before.

It's important to believe in something.

Hey g, neither you nor your anus responded to my actual argument/comment.

Do you really consider Bernie Sanders to be indistinguishable from a Republican?

I know, you don't want to actually engage in an argument as much as preen about, using gaudy language and strained prose to mask a rather shallow cynicism.

Not all lib tools are so sharp when pigeonholing. See RedState reference above.

The reference wasn't to your political positions, it was to your supercilious tone and your bloated, overweening writing style.

Maximos kinda writes like that. Check it out, you might dig it, political differences aside.

If you want to have a conversation, quit being a d*ck.

If you just want to be a d*ck, maybe you should just p*ss off.

Girard: blah blah blah LIBERAL DEMOCRATS SUCK

Again, yawn.

Rather doubt the fact that I'm a Canadian social democrat who, unlike yourself, recognizes that empty internet posturing != action would have any impact on your tedious purity-trolling. So why should I bother attempting to dialogue with someone clearly disinterested in charting common ground? Have much better things to do with my time, such as waxing my bikini area, or organizing my sock drawer (oh teh neverending to-do list).

Seriously, though -- if you don't want your pristine ideals to be contaminated by ZOMG LIBERAL DEMOCRAT COOTIES!!1 there are ample fora around the tubes to feed your oh-so-cynical lefty egotism.

Freedom of choice, baby.

(BTW, the blithe, ablelist aside re: those living with Altzheimer's perfectly compliments your self-satisfied moral vanity. Spare me the leftist purity of those proudly squinting past the plank. Please.)

since it bores me too - like talking to someone with Altzheimers

1. It's "Alzheimer's."
2. Eat a bag of d*cks.

My wife and I have each lost a grandparent to Alzheimer's, and I'm watching my last living grandparent go through the late stages of it right now.

I'm really, really sorry that its victims are not sufficiently entertaining for our new self-satisfied douchebag of a commenter, but I'm sure it's some consolation that they all die soon enough.

Maybe girard can traipse down to the hospital later and find someone in the burn ward or the cancer ward that will provide some laughs for him/her. (Almost certainly "him.") Let's hope so.

Not to be too prescriptive or anything, so take it as just a suggestion, but I'm thinking that the best advice anyone ever gave me applies here.

Don't bite hooks.

Driving around the countryside doing errands today, I had a flashback to a song that was "#1 for 7 weeks in 1957" when I was 7 years old, Pat Boone's Love Letters in the Sand.

I wonder if that's where I learned to think that lines in the sand were useless bluffs because they would be washed away by the tide. Heh.

I believe my 3:59 strays outside the posting rules. My apologies to all.

And now, I will take Janie's excellent advice about biting hooks.

I wonder if that's where I learned to think that lines in the sand were useless bluffs

Pat Boone will do that to you.

Also, an odd one from my youth: I used to read "contents under pressure" as if "contents" was a verb. As in, be careful this thing contents under pressure.

I had a similar problem with "Dispose of properly." When I was just about old enough to read it, I took "properly" as a noun and the thing I was supposed to be disposing of. I was very confused by that. I think I may have even misread it as "property."

I wonder if "line in the sand" was originally a desert thing rather than a beach thing.

Hogan -- Wikipedia's examples are mixed (or ambiguous). My own associations, as I said, are obscurely rooted in childhood impressions and assumptions.

Still, as a physical metaphor, it doesn't make a lot more sense in the desert than at the beach. A line drawn in the desert sand will be obliterated by wind as readily as a line drawn at the beach will be obliterated by the tide.

The curse of being literal-minded....

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Whatnot


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