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December 08, 2003

Comments

Hmm.

1. I'm pretty sure you're wrong about Biden-Lugar. IIRC it didn't require UN authorization, but it required Bush go back to Congress if he didn't get it.

2. I don't know enough about the sanctions to comment. I do think Hussein was contain-able, you deal with your most pressing threats first, and he was far, far, far from being that. You've noticed the lack of biological and chemical weapons, I'm sure. Maybe not indefinitely; certainly for several years.

3. Dean's seven point plan was released in April shortly after the statue fell. It's not surprising that it's changed. It would be a little surprsing if it hadn't.

4. He's being optimistic about the possibility of support from other countries, but that's true of almost every Democratic candidate and I don't know why everyone is so sure they'd fail. They should be forced to answer the question "if we don't get international support, then what?"; so far it's barely been asked.

1. I'm pretty sure you're wrong about Biden-Lugar. IIRC it didn't require UN authorization, but it required Bush go back to Congress if he didn't get it.

Well, I hate to rest only on the cite to Reason magazine in the blog entry (which indicates otherwise) -- or to indulge in a battle of IIRCs -- but as I understood Biden-Lugar, Bush only needed to make a finding that negotiations with the UN had failed. There was no requirement for a second vote. (This story from CNN seems to support Reason's report, although it's not free of ambiguity.)

oh, and 5. He opposed the $87 billion because it was added onto the deficit, but would've supported it if it paid for with a partial repeal of the tax cut. The article you link to is saying that we never should've gone in in the first place. Personally I really dislike the "$87 billion would have paid for XYZ at home" meme since it confuses those issues, but it's probably inevitable.

"Oh, yeah, and contrary to what you have heard from ANSWER, Saddam wasn't the kindest tyrant on the block, either."

It's quotes like these that convince me, at times, that 'Von' is in fact a character created by Macallan in order to make a little mischief now and again. (And we haven't heard much from Mac lately, so....hmmm.)

Not that anyone in their right mind would disagree with the sentiment, after all, few tyrants are kind, that's why we call them tyrants. It's more the reflexive dragging of ANSWER into the middle of things, a straw horse maneuver favored by, well, you get the idea. (Not to mention the oddly condescending note the permeates the statement. But hey, thanks for the heads-up re Saddam.)

Small point, admittedly. But great oaks of rhetorical mendacity are often grown from little snarky acorns.

Here are some sources on Biden Lugar:

The TNR agreed with me at first, but after readers wrote in and they examined the resolution they agreed that "the teeth were more like dentures".
http://tnr.com/primary/index.mhtml?pid=1009

The ACLU endorsed Biden Lugar:
http://archive.aclu.org/news/2002/n100202a.html

Bush objected to it because it "ties my hands":
http://idsnews.com/story.php?id=12000

Here's another article:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DJ04Ak01.html

It doesn't sound like the same thing to me. It sounds like a responsible, sensible compromise. Dean was prepared to go to war if the UN approved it or if the president came before Congress to certify that

"the threat 'to the United States or allied nations posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program and prohibited ballistic missile program is so grave' that force was required to defend the United States or its allies."

And let's bear in mind that this resolution never even came to a vote. I don't think you can deny that Dean made his position clear and stuck his neck out on Iraq a long, long time ago, when every other serious candidate would not.*

*Kucinich isn't serious; Bob Graham was not a candidate then.

Oh, and as for the Kerry drinking game, given the now laughably infamous Rolling Stone interview, and the pig squealing* coming from the usual suspects in its aftermath, maybe we need a word change from 'Vietnam' to the more expressive....

Well, you know. Don't want to violate the posting rules.

If nothing else, the whole dust-up gave Andy Card the opportunity to say this:

"I'm very disappointed that he would use that kind of language," Card said. "I'm hoping that he's apologizing at least to himself, because that's not the John Kerry that I know."

When think of all the times I should've apologized to myself...

*If this offends, please substitute 'sheep bleating'.

Ahh, yes: criticize your own, and out come the long knives.

Katherine, I'm presently standing by Reason magazine's (supported, apparently, by TNR and CNN) characterization of Lugar-Biden. But, since I don't have the time to track down the actual amendment, I'll reserve judgment until later.

It doesn't sound like the same thing to me. It sounds like a responsible, sensible compromise.

It was. And I supported it at the time. But the point is that it in fact authorized Bush to take the exact action he took, so long as he certified that he had reached a dead end at the UN. Dean repeatedly neglects to mention this.

I don't think you can deny that Dean made his position clear and stuck his neck out on Iraq a long, long time ago, when every other serious candidate would not.

Yes. And, but for the grace of God (and Saddam's eternal mandacity), it would have been cut off with the finding of Iraqi WMD.

Small point, admittedly. But great oaks of rhetorical mendacity are often grown from little snarky acorns.

So you don't like one snarky put down of ANSWER, Harley? Fine. Ignore it and respond on the merits.*

von

*I'm going to continue to include snarky put-downs of idiots on the left, just as I will snarkify idiots on the right (wait for the LGF post, friend). And, no, I'm not a figment of Macallan's imagination.

I don't your characterization of my cites is at all accurate, von. Everyone who cares: read 'em yourself.

It only authorizes Bush to go to war if he is prepared to tell Congress that the WMDs pose an immediate threat to U.S. or its allies. I suppose Bush would've been willing to do that, but it's now clear he would have been dishonest to do so. And this shows a problem with DEAN's integrity?

I think Harley's reason for objecting to the ANSWER quip was the feeling that you were associating them with the leading Democratic presidential candidate, not a defense of ANSWER's honor.

I think you dislike Dean on a gut level and you have a very strong confirmation bias, honestly. You make some decent criticisms of him but most of them apply as much or more to every other candidate. (You support Clark and you're saying Dean's pre-war position is muddled?) I don't think you're fair at all--though obviously, I'm far from unbiased myself.

All right, I could do this all day but I really need to recuse myself to study. Have a pleasant tomorrow.

Oh, and as for the Kerry drinking game, given the now laughably infamous Rolling Stone interview, and the pig squealing* coming from the usual suspects in its aftermath, maybe we need a word change from 'Vietnam' to the more expressive....

I gotta say that I like foul-mouthed Kerry far more than stiff Kerry.

Okay, we're getting into tiny details and Creative Blog Writing 101, but...

Putting down ANSWER is easy, fine with me, and I look forward to the LGF post.

However. As to the merits...

There is no rhetorical reason for the Saddam line. The post isn't about ANSWER or proving that they are idiots. It's about Dean being wrong. And the Saddam line suggests that anyone who agrees with Dean, or who opposed the war, is not mindful of Saddam's character, or didn't know about it, or agreed with ANSWER about it, or...and this is the tree that grows out of that snarky acorn (cuz even poorly conceived jokes have consequences, yes?)....that anyone who opposed invading Iraq objectively supports Saddam. (The equivalent, by the way, of saying that anyone who opposed starting WWIII with the Soviets back in the day, was objectively pro-communist.)

And now off to the periodontist for painful work that will make this modest irritation a fond memory.

I don't your characterization of my cites is at all accurate, von. Everyone who cares: read 'em yourself.

Katherine, the only relevant question is: under Biden-Lugar, was Bush required to seek additional authorization from Congress before attacking Iraq? The answer appears to be "no," which is all that I, Reason magazine, CNN, and the ACLU (among others) are saying.

From Katherine: I think Harley's reason for objecting to the ANSWER quip was the feeling that you were associating them with the leading Democratic presidential candidate, not a defense of ANSWER's honor.

From Harley: There is no rhetorical reason for the Saddam line. The post isn't about ANSWER or proving that they are idiots.

The ANSWER quip was to remind all of us that there is a significant minority of Democratic voters that are all-too-willing to excuse Saddam as "not all that bad." These people must be opposed, and they must be opposed by both the right and the left.

For the record, however, Dean is not in that minority. And, yeah, patriots of good moral and intellectual fiber can oppose the war -- I'm married to one.

I think you dislike Dean on a gut level and you have a very strong confirmation bias, honestly.

Perhaps. Or perhaps I think Dean's stance against the war was a mistake, and his foreign-policy ditherings are going to be dangerous for the U.S. unless they are corrected.

Ahh, Von, my good man, battling the defenders and the explainers on the left side of the aisle.....Good show.

Hypothetical: If Kerry had voted AGAINST the war, would he be sinking like a stone fish right now? Would Dean even exist?

You said it "differed little" and "authorized exactly the course Bush took," actually.

Significant minority didn't know how bad Saddam was? Well, I guess it depends on what the definition of "significant" is.

As for the WMD, I actually think the possession of chemical and biological weapons* was a stupid reason for us to go to war alone, since it took a slim possibility that he would give such things to terrorist and used them against us and made it a near certainty.

On the other hand, it would have been a good justification for the UN to enforce its resolutions and a good excuse to remove a nasty, nasty dictator. And if we're going to have a new doctrine of "War because we say so" it might be our good for our credibility and standing in the world if our stated reasons are not false. Before the war, we were in a situation where everyone knows the guy's guilty but you don't actually have the evidence to convict him. I thought it was important to get the evidence.

We agree on one thing: his plans going forward in Iraq are not what they should be, and he'll have to get them in clearer shape as the nominee. I fully expect him to do this, you fully expect him not to--I guess we'll both see.

*Nuclear weapons are another story.

Navy, my guesses are no and no. (And probably not Clark either.) I don't know if the Democrats would be better or worse off as a result--Kerry's got more experience than Dean in foreign policy and less of a foot-in-mouth-habit, but Dean's got some other assets that Kerry lacks.

Hypothetical: If Kerry had voted AGAINST the war, would he be sinking like a stone fish right now? Would Dean even exist?

Navy -- I think Kerry would be sinking like a stone regardless Iraq because, well, he's Kerry -- Boston Brahmin, kinda stiff, Senatorial type. The kind of guy who just doesn't play in the grass or at the roots. (And, this coming from a Kerry supporter.)

As for Katherine's criticism that I'm somehow changing the standards on Dean --

You said it "differed little" and "authorized exactly the course Bush took," actually.

Yes, and, Biden-Lugar indeed "differed little" on the relevant points and "authorized exactly the course Bush took." Dean is being disingenuous regarding his record on Iraq. He should not get a pass because he's "not Bush." Dean has repeatedly said that he would not have given Bush the right to unilaterally invade Iraq; in fact, the measure he says he would have supported (we'll never know, since Dean wasn't actually in the hot seat) did give Bush the right to unilaterally invade Iraq.

Significant minority didn't know how bad Saddam was? Well, I guess it depends on what the definition of "significant" is.

No. A significant minority willing to excuse Saddam's excesses or minimize his crimes for political gain.

We agree on one thing: his plans going forward in Iraq are not what they should be, and he'll have to get them in clearer shape as the nominee.

That's presuming he becomes the nominee.

And, no, I'm not a figment of Macallan's imagination.

Yes you are.

It would not have given Bush the right to do what he did. It gave him the ability, if he was willing to affirm something to Congress that was not true. But then again Bush probably had the ability to go into Iraq all along, given how lightly Congress' war power is regarded. Bush, Hastert, et. al obviously thought there was a difference; so did Biden and Lugar.

(For that matter, I'd argue that Bush didn't make a serious effort to go through the UN after a certain point. Not that France and Germany were--in the final weeks it seemed like only Canada and England were acting like responsible adults.)

You're right that he might not be the nominee. I'd put the odds of his nomination at about 60%. This has been the week for everyone to decide "It's Dean" and act accordingly; I don't really know why. So I got sloppy.

Okay, back from the dentist and the novocaine is starting to wear off and I'll be brief.

Mac.... :) (and where've you been?)

Von...

"...there is a significant minority of Democratic voters that are all-too-willing to excuse Saddam as "not all that bad."

As the latter is jaw-droppingly insane (I'm going with that instead of 'one of the dumbest things I've ever read'), I've got to ask for some kind of proof, anecdotal or otherwise. I live smack dab in the heart of Hollywood, the teeming center of the Wacky Celebrity Left, and I've got my problems with same, but the sentiment you're describing is simply not one that I've ever heard. Ever. Nor have I ever come it across it at countless lefty blogs. Nor have I heard anything similar from the leftward posters at any of the latter sites. Now maybe this is just bad writing. Maybe you need to check definitions for 'significant' before using it as a modifier. Whatever the case -- uh, oh, novocaine wearing off, blood boiling, this can't be good -- that's a weirdly insensate formulation that requires some editing. Tho' a simple DELETE would work just fine.

As the latter is jaw-droppingly insane (I'm going with that instead of 'one of the dumbest things I've ever read'), I've got to ask for some kind of proof, anecdotal or otherwise.

Harley, you're right it was poorly phrased and, as written, simply not correct. (Given ANSWER's excesses, however, "jaw droppingly insane" is a bit of an overstatement, no?)

Here's the clarification: "A significant minority [is] willing to minimize Saddam's crimes for political gain."

Okay, took a couple vicodin and am feeling the love, brother, and by all means let the sunshine in.

However.

Minimizing Saddam's crimes.

Aw, cripes. Which ones? If it's Safirian Dementia re Prague, Atta, and Saddam? Forget it. Mass graves and genocide and torture? You bet. But again, I've really never heard anyone say, "Hey, I admit, Saddam was a strict disciplinarian, but he only tortured on national holidays." Now, there those who might minimize Saddam's threat. But that's another argument.

For political gain.

I'm just not clear on the latter. ANSWER nutjobs don't gain anything politically ever. Seriously. What constitutes political gain for these creatures? The puppets hold up? Instahack puts up photos and thumbs his nose at them? The only folks on the Left who have the 'political gain' option are the ones who are actually in the game. And again, I'm just not aware -- but of course, could be wrong, and hey I hang out with a pretty enlightened crowd -- of anyone who is seeking political advantage (by which we're talking election, yes?) by pretending Saddam wasn't a very bad bad man. A monster, even.

You description of Dean's position:

Dean took the incredible position that "[w]e could have contained Saddam Hussein indefinitely" with sanctions, and thus nothing needed to be done on Iraq.

That's not the argument Dean actually made. The word "sanctions" never even appears in the transcript. The full quote:

"George Bush's father had it right. We could have contained Saddam Hussein indefinitely. We were flying over his country. He had no air force. We were bombing him when we needed to, in response to anti-aircraft fire.

I'm very disappointed in you.

While I'm at it, you wrote:

Dean's suggestion that "sanctions could continue indefinitely"...

I didn't see this quote. Where did it come from?

BTW, von, you know you get under my skin about Dean because you argue against him better than just about anyone else, right? But a blood oath is a blood oath. :)

Rumors flying that Gore is about to endorse him...Zounds.

Oberon, what exactly was Dean's position on Iraq? Really, I'm curious.


I didn't see this quote. Where did it come from?

It's my characterization of Dean's position, not a quote from Dean. The context makes that clear, but, for added clarity, I've replaced the quotes with *'s

I'm about to embark on a five hour flight, so they'll be no further response from me until late. Until then.

von

Have a nice flight. I hope you get a good movie.

Where am I imagining you're going? I forget.

So does that mean if I perfect my Macallan modification Web script, I can port it over to a Von module, too?

My God, I could create an empire of blogospherians echoing my every thought! Now, if only I had any worth echoing...

:)

p.s. How come my candidate is the only one to drop out? This is so not fair. Every other Democrat gets to have fun but me. What a gyp.

Matt, you're for Graham? Look at it this way - you have the satisfaction that your guy had the maturity to pull out of the contest when it was clear he had no shot. The maturity to do what's best for his party and his country (hint to Kucinich, CMB, Lieberman, Sharpton - you're burning time the real candidates need to prepare to confront GWB.)

Good luck with your empire - but don't keep spoiling the joke by advertising it ahead of time.

Matt, don't know if you saw it, but Graham's appearance on The Daily Show was priceless, and I mean that in a good way. Nice sense of humor, and he even got Steven Colbert to sing his Theme Song.

"Harley suggests that I'm either a puppet of arch-conservative Macallan (of Tacitus fame) or 'jaw-droppingly insane.'"

Hey, von, Harley's referring to your comment, not you. Damn, not a use-mention mistake.

By the way, my least favorite pundit is now Charles Krauthammer, former shrink.
This column isn't jaw-droppingly insane but it's a start.

Well, rilkefan was kind enuf to point out the first mistake ('jaw droppingly insane'), so I'll point out the second. I didn't say you were anyone's puppet. I in fact suggested that you were Mac using an alias to create a devilishly clever alter ego.

I didn't say you were anyone's puppet.

Funny how it keeps drifting back to puppets on this site.

"Funny how it keeps drifting back to puppets on this site."

Their methodologies and beliefs... displease me. Either that, or I'm just a one-trick pony who has channeled his loathing of street theater into slightly more acceptable outlets. You make the call.

You wouldn't change your vote after seeing your candidate depicted with octopus arms? And here I thought you were progressive. Us sophisticated types know when we see someone a storey tall wearing a cowboy hat and eating the world, he is a bad person.

Still waiting to see who Mummenschanz is going to endorse in the upcoming.

I thought Mummenshanz endorsed Dean today?

Macallan, you imagined me going to Hartford. And let me take this opportunity to congratulate Sheraton (really, all the hotels of the Starwood Alliance) on their high speed internet connections.

As for the rest: My goodness gracious. Has "must-defend-Dean-at-all-costs" deprived ya'll of all sense of proportionality and play? You're right, Harley did not say that I was Macallan's puppet -- he in fact said

It's quotes like these that convince me, at times, that 'Von' is in fact a character created by Macallan in order to make a little mischief now and again. (And we haven't heard much from Mac lately, so....hmmm.)

So I'm really much more like Macallan's muppet, ya see, 'cause (according to Harley) he got his hand right up my . . . .*

Look, any one of you gonna dispute my attacks on Dean? Harley's shot down my straw man -- bad, bad von for mentioning stupid ANSWER in a post about Dean! So, I suppose I award kudos to him. But, how about dealing with the issues. Is anyone gonna square his Fox News Sunday Comments with a reasonable view on circa-2002 Iraq? No? Anyone gonna tell me what his current plan on Iraq is? No?

"Impressive defense" is not a term that comes to mind, folks. C'mon, ya'll can do better.

von

*That's a joke. But, understand, I'm a left-leaner who's gently prodding Dean. And you can't counterpounch on the issues?

hey, there were 5 points in my first post. you only responded to one.

that said, I'm out of comission for the next 24 hours. for real this time. for really real.

hey, there were 5 points in my first post. you only responded to one.

Well, four. But, for clarity, I wasn't addressing Katherine. Now that she's called me out, however -- perhaps I can provide a fulsome response tomorrow evening. I'm (sadly) tied up all day.

Is anyone gonna square his Fox News Sunday Comments with a reasonable view on circa-2002 Iraq?

His view (and the view of millions of other people) was reasonable. One way to deal with Saddam's potential WMD threat was aggressive inspections backed up by military force. It's seems pretty obvious to me that it was possible to contain Iraq while we focused on Al-Qaeda.

I guess I don't understand why so many on the pro-invading AND on the anti-invading side can't see that reasonable arguments existed on the other side.

Would anybody like to explain "aggressive inspections"?
Explain, while you're at it, what happens when a large Iraqi unit opposes a small US unit. Is that war? Is the US unit in a tactically advantageous situation?
Now, when this is done in front of a shifty-looking laboratory building which proves to be filled with orphans, and the entire world says, you wanted to kill children?
Or we find a half-dozen Sarin-filled shells, the world wants to know why we will go to war for half a dozen artillery shells (incredulous inflection)?
SH could work aggressive inspections the same way he worked the UN.
It's a bogus argument, meant only to cover up the anti-do-anything side's intent to do nothing with a veneer of hard-mindedness.

Hey, first Instapundit reference!

(pause)

Hey, it's Kewl Beanz to us Righties, 'kay?

Oh, man. Our commenters lean right as it is. And an anti-Dean post, no less.

(Actually, it's pretty cool.)

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