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February 29, 2004

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given their clear lack of clarvoyance when it comes to matters as significant as the rationale for invading another country

National Security, Eddie, they said it loud and clear apparently you were not listening (must have whinning, "why aren't they listening to me?").

"...but it does indicate it's time to replace the current Administration with one a little less opaque."

Hell, no. This administration takes Need-To-Know seriously; I'd expect any hypothetical successor to take it equally seriously*. In fact, I'd demand it.

Moe

*Note that I am not saying that either a Kerry or Edwards administration would be loose-lipped; neither has a name for being leakers, after all. I simply disagree that 'less opaque' would be automatically a Good Thing.

This administration takes Need-To-Know seriously...

Perhaps too seriously on some matters?

CEO goes to the Board of the Directors and says "I am going to borrow $50 billion dollars and buy Company Y"

Board asks why are we taking such a risk? CEO says "Profits. It will increase profits" Board says, uhh, can we have little better breakdown? CEO says "Why do you not want more profits"

"National Security, Eddie, they said it loud and clear" this is nothing more than an insult, Timmy. Of the worst possible variety

"Perhaps too seriously on some matters?"

Very possibly. Reason #44454232 why we need Congress to get more heavy hitters (on both sides of the aisle) specializing in foreign policy: during the Cold War you could at least count on informed bipartisan oversight. These days, it's the think tanks and the existing bureaucracies that are originating most of the opinions. Not optimal.

>but it does indicate it's time to replace the current Administration with one a little less opaque.

Hmmm, I would have thought that it indicates it's time for the current Administration to start being less hypocritical.

National Security, Eddie, they said it loud and clear apparently you were not listening

Apparently you were not reading, Timmy...the missing clarvoyance accusation refers to the unfound WMD...they claimed they KNEW where they were...they're clearly in need of a little help in such matters....

Edward, when you turn of the light the roaches start running.

The only problem with this attack is it ignores the lack of options critics have.

How can you ignore something that's not there? And how can one be a critic, lacking opinion? I'm so confused.

that would be turn off the light

Timmy woofed: National Security, Eddie, they said it loud and clear

Sure they did, Timmy. What they didn't say was why National Security required an invasion of Iraq. (Or rather, they did, but as we now know, they were lying - they made claims about WMD, lying about Saddam Hussein's nuclear program, and using lying rhetorical tricks to link Saddam Hussein with 9/11 in people's minds.)

Jes, still struggling with you antiwar position I see.

What do you find so disturbing? What metric are using to determine failure? Because if George W. Bush lied, you still have to reconcile yourself with the disheartening spectacle of freedom of the Iraqi people and the rapid unraveling of a M.E. nuclear weapons bazzar which ultimately threatened this nation.

Because if George W. Bush lied, you still have to reconcile yourself with the disheartening spectacle of freedom of the Iraqi people and the rapid unraveling of a M.E. nuclear weapons bazzar which ultimately threatened this nation.

Timmy, the champion of the "let the people decide" approach to self rule...what if we twist your golden rule to suggest the estimated 10,000 innocent civilians who were killed by US actions had a say in the whole damn thing...

Do you think they'd have voted for the quick means to this end, knowing it would cost them their lives, or perhaps that they would have voted for a more measured, diplomatic approach, given that Iraq posed a threat to the US no more imminent or serious than a mild case of athlete's foot?

Because if George W. Bush lied,

Oh, for heaven's sake, Timmy. Yes, Bush lied. Get used to it.

you still have to reconcile yourself with the disheartening spectacle of freedom of the Iraqi people

That's still a hope rather than a certainty, Timmy. Hadn't you noticed? It still looks rather like Chalabi might end up in Hussein's place, thanks to Bush & Co's inability to plan anything beyond "We'll bomb them into submission so easily!"

and the rapid unraveling of a M.E. nuclear weapons bazzar which ultimately threatened this nation.

*blinks* Timmy, what? Is this the latest fantasy from DickCheneyLand? Are you still dreaming that Iraq had nuclear weapons?

The only problem with this attack is it ignores the lack of options critics have.

As the self-proclaimed presenter of the award, let me tell you why I give it out. The options critics should have is to criticize words spoken, words written and actions taken (those should be plenty enough 'options'), not to try to divine the innermost thoughts that your adversaries may or may not have.

To me, folks saying stuff like 'Bush wants war!' etc. detracts from civil debate because the premise for making such statements rests on unfounded speculation. Conversations on issues soon devolve to attacks. Trying to use telepathy instead of directly addressing the issues is also a diversionary tactic. There are plenty of 'options' out there, but some have more value than others. If you have to resort to mindreading, then to me it means you haven't mustered a sufficient counter-argument and have opted for the lazy way out.

If you have to resort to mindreading, then to me it means you haven't mustered a sufficient counter-argument and have opted for the lazy way out.

OR...If you have to resort to mindreading, it might just be because the Administration is unbelieveably uninformative and secretive.

Still not an excuse.

Once again, late to the party. Still, I have to ask whether your point could have been made and discussion begun without targeting Slart and Bird by name. It's an important issue to be sure, this decision on how much openness one expects from an Administration, but to target them specifically to make your point seems to bend the posting rules a bit by itself, not to mention that targeting them on the main board of OW, for things they say in the comments section of Tacitus seems a bit, I don't know, off.

Not that I'm any type of watchdog or anything and its probably not even my place to say being a guest (and an univited one at that) here, but it just seems to me a line was crossed that maybe shouldn't have been.

Good point(s) Crionna.

Bird Dog wrote:

As the self-proclaimed presenter of the award, let me tell you why I give it out. The options critics should have is to criticize words spoken, words written and actions taken (those should be plenty enough 'options'), not to try to divine the innermost thoughts that your adversaries may or may not have.

Well put, the rest is simply making up stuff and trying to attribute it to the other side.

Oh, for Pete's sake. Target me all you want. I didn't take it as a personal attack (which might involve, among other things, posting my name, address, telephone number and measurements).

But that's just me. My only objection to this whole discussion strikes at the root: when you don't know, it's perfectly ok to speculate wildly. I wouldn't go there; there lies extreme hazard of ridicule. My personal approach would be something like:

1) Develop hypotheses.
2) Gather information to support.
3) Gather information to negate.

If there's enough of 2) to breathe life into it, and if it's still alive after a valiant struggle with 3), then it's good material for public discussion.

But that's just me.

Also, the assertion that the administration is opaque is self-evidently true. What's not obvious (and what has yet to be supported) is the idea that this administration is inordinately opaque.

but to target them specifically to make your point seems to bend the posting rules a bit by itself

hmmm....

sincere apologies if Bird Dog or Slarti were offended. I assumed neither would be, but that may be because I've always accepted my Carnak Awards with a grain of salt and a sense of humor.

I didn't intend this post to become so serious...perhaps I need to be more liberal with my emoticons.

I was hoping to spur a dialog about whether the Bush Administration should be more forthcoming and open and perhaps you're right...perhaps the references to other bloggers confused the issue...I honestly thought BD and Slarti would see the trackbacks as gentle ribbing and flattering...I've expressed sincere appreciation for both of them (and it was here on OW that Slarti was making his telepathy retort).

I guess somethings don't translate well in writing.

Slarti and Bird Dog, if you took offense, please know it was not the intention.

Yes, in principle, you can only critique what someone actually writes or says, but I'd submit that the current Administration has pushed what can be called "technically true" to the breaking point... and with their stated need for "disinformation" it's not a high crime to suggest there may be more behind a particular statement than the Administration's willingly acknowledged.

Slarti beat me to the punch.

It's hard to defend this without inviting more of the same feedback about singling out particular bloggers...and I do think there's a dialog that transcends Tacitus and OW...this is certainly not the first cross-blog-referencing post on either.

No offense taken, Edward, no need to apologize. Actually, the topic is worth a debate since we're basically talking about reasonable ground rules for dialogue.

*blinks* Timmy, what? Is this the latest fantasy from DickCheneyLand? Are you still dreaming that Iraq had nuclear weapons?

M.E. nuclear weapons bazzar, Jes, you ought to get out more often.


Was that bazaar or bizarre, Timmy?

Hussein not only called all the shots for AQ, personally having planned 9/11, Jes, he was also the mastermind behind the Pakistan/Iranian/Syrian/Jordanian Nuclear Weapons Bazzaar (the fact that these other countries didn't really like him was a very clever cover for their operation)...like Timmy said, you really ought to get out more often.

Slarti beat me to the punch.

You say that like it's a new thing...

Ok, just to be extra-clear: what Edward has done has failed to offend me in the slightest. Don't be outraged on my behalf.

what Edward has done has failed to offend me in the slightest.

darn...well, if at first you don't succeed...

Outraged? Naw, call it, I dunno, disappointment.

Just seems there oughta be a difference between posts and comments. And this seemed to me more the latter not the former. Aaaah screw it.

Back on topic. I'm with BD and Slart. I'd rather The Administration err on the side of too little info out than too much. And I'm with The President. I'd rather err on too much concern about crazed dictators than not enough. Better thousands of deaths than millions.

Just seems there oughta be a difference between posts and comments

Being new at this, I'll take that as constructive criticism and try to remember it, Crionna...thanks.

Back on topic. I'm with BD and Slart. I'd rather The Administration err on the side of too little info out than too much. And I'm with The President. I'd rather err on too much concern about crazed dictators than not enough. Better thousands of deaths than millions.

Are you referring to the number of Iraqis who were supposed to have died as a result of the UN sanctions – you know, part of the “containment” policy that was offered as the alternative to regime change?

I think it was actually closer to the hundreds of thousands but it's a fair point to make whenever you hear someone criticize the regime change to point out that the only other alternative being offered would have been worse in terms of innocent deaths.

Thorley, Thorley, Thorley,

The containment you disparage was part of the call for regime change. To equate the invasion with regime change is revisionistic. It clearly accelerated it, but it was not the only option.

With regards to the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi's you casually throw out there, my understanding is that the vast majority were murdered before the first Iraq War, when the US was relatively quite warm and fuzzy with Hussein, and shortly after (following the uprising...you know, the one Bush Sr. encouraged, but then didn't support)...so until you can be a bit more accurate, you might want to reconsider that comparison.

(disclaimer: this comment has been edited to combine two overlapping comments)

Edward that is how it was meant. Thanks for seeing that which was obscured to me by my own poor commenting.

WRT the cost in lives of containment, it was indeed that which figured into my support for the war. In March 2003 I noted that "Based on Iraqi government figures, UNICEF estimates that containment kills roughly 5,000 Iraqi babies (children under 5 years of age) every month, or 60,000 per year. Saddam Hussein is 65; imagine containing him for another 10 years. Believe UNICEF and 10 more years kills 600,000 Iraqi babies and altogether almost 1 million Iraqis." The full text of Walter Russell Mead's article where I got those numbers in The Washington Post is here.

So, it would seem to me that the civilian death toll of war was less than that of containment.

Back on topic. I'm with BD and Slart. I'd rather The Administration err on the side of too little info out than too much. And I'm with The President. I'd rather err on too much concern about crazed dictators than not enough. Better thousands of deaths than millions.

That wasn't exactly my point. My point was more along the lines that it's much better to be merely ignorant than irrationally ignorant.

And, although I think that government should in general be more open, I think that certain specific parts of government should remain closed. Building highways? Open. Funding for shrimp research? Open. Funding for defense? Open. Actual defense technologies? Closed.

I wrote:

Are you referring to the number of Iraqis who were supposed to have died as a result of the UN sanctions – you know, part of the “containment” policy that was offered as the alternative to regime change?

To which Edward replied:

With regards to the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi's you casually throw out there, my understanding is that the vast majority were murdered before the first Iraq War, when the US was relatively quite warm and fuzzy with Hussein, and shortly after (following the uprising...you know, the one Bush Sr. encouraged, but then didn't support)...so until you can be a bit more accurate, you might want to reconsider that comparison.

Actually if you bothered to read my earlier post, you would see that I was only referring to Iraqis who died as a result of the UN sanctions and made no comment about Iraqis who were actively murdered by the Baathist regime in Iraq. In terms of the lives lost by sanctions alone, it more than outweighs the claim of 10,000 civilians dead from the Iraqi liberation.

This is however a textbook example of what happens when you try to argue about the fantasized motivations or in this case fantasized arguments of your opponents rather than what they actually said.

Was that bazaar or bizarre, Timmy?

Slarti, bazaar, as in mktplace

Edward: Oh, right - the New Theory that Saddam Hussein was responsible for all the evils in the Middle East, so that's why invading Iraq was good for...

Slarti & Bird Dog: I know we disagree a lot, but I'd like to say, separate from my disagreements, that I very much appreciate your reaction to Edward's post.

Slarti, you claim: 1) Develop hypotheses.
2) Gather information to support.
3) Gather information to negate.

but given you limit (here) "gathering information" to what the administration says it's doing, rather than what its actions prove it's doing, your argument is necessarily limited, especially when dealing with an administration that lies as much as the Bush administration does.

but given you limit (here) "gathering information" to what the administration says it's doing, rather than what its actions prove it's doing, your argument is necessarily limited, especially when dealing with an administration that lies as much as the Bush administration does.

Sure. You can fill in the blanks with conjecture.

And then you can blame the universe for not providing you with enough information. Epicycles, on the house.

your argument is necessarily limited

Who said it was an argument?

Actually if you bothered to read my earlier post, you would see that I was only referring to Iraqis who died as a result of the UN sanctions and made no comment about Iraqis who were actively murdered by the Baathist regime in Iraq.

When you're right...your're right...I misread that. You're right.

This is however a textbook example of what happens when you try to argue about the fantasized motivations or in this case fantasized arguments of your opponents rather than what they actually said.

And when you're wrong...you're wrong. Lumping a misread in with the telepathy charge may provide a nifty bit of parallelism, but it adds to the confusion.

And when you're wrong...you're wrong. Lumping a misread in with the telepathy charge may provide a nifty bit of parallelism, but it adds to the confusion.

Which just goes to show you what can happen when you think you know what the other guy is thinking.

We need a bit more order around here...all sorts of nonsense are seeping into this thread.

1. Bush's Administration is extremely secretive. The White House Press Corp, whose job it is to inform the nation about the President's ideas and performance are on record saying Bush's team make it very difficult for them to do their job. This began long before 9/11.

President George W. Bush was "already no fan of free information flow," said the journalist. "After 9/11, when a lot of government secrecy was justified in the name of national security that became easier." (from Bumiller describes media's battle to cover a secretive White House)

2. The Bush Administration rejects the notion that "what they say" is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (i.e., sometimes it's only "technically correct" and sometimes they misspeak). Granted misspeaking is only human and should not be considered a crime, but when one argues you can only criticize the Administration for exactly what they say, BUT the Administration can reject a critique of what they said exactly by playing the "all-too-human" misspeak card, it becomes a bit gray around the edges.

3. The Administration has noted that it will need to use disinformation to win the War on Terror. Only with the Administration focussed on the War and managing to tie just about any domestic issue to it, where should we expect the "disinformation" to end and the truth about it's real motivations to begin?

Sure. You can fill in the blanks with conjecture.

Or you can do the common-sense thing: You can look at what the administration is doing.

Aren't you interested in the real world, Slarti? Or do you get all your news via Republican speeches?

And then you can blame the universe for not providing you with enough information.

Well, no, Slarti. The universe provides me with information... ;-) ...but the Bush administration tells lies about what it's doing. But since you think that it's impossible to tell what the Bush administration wants to do by looking at what it's doing, but claim that the only way to tell what they want to do is to pay attention to what they tell you, no wonder you think the universe doesn't provide you with enough information! You're sitting in a cave, looking at shadows on the wall. Bush does a nifty Deformed Rabbit, so I'm told.

Or you can do the common-sense thing: You can look at what the administration is doing.

And then (and this is the fun part) you can completely make up a motivation that fits! And since it fits, it's right! Isn't it?

but the Bush administration tells lies about what it's doing.

Hmmm...all of the time, some of the time, or just sporadically?

but claim that the only way to tell what they want to do is to pay attention to what they tell you, no wonder you think the universe doesn't provide you with enough information!

Where did I say that? Look, it's ok with me that you either didn't read or didn't understand anything I've said in this thread, but please don't blame me for it. But let's try one more time: there's a difference between possible explanations and actual explanations. My objection WRT the mind-reading bit addresses that distinction.

And then (and this is the fun part) you can completely make up a motivation that fits! And since it fits, it's right! Isn't it?

Um - Slarti. Are you trying to claim that when a government does something (invades Iraq, sets up a prison camp in Cuba) we should assume it to be wildly improbable that they intended to do it? Bush & Co invaded Iraq. Are you claiming we should just assume it all happened by accident, that at no point did Bush & Co ever actually decide to invade Iraq? Trying to argue that we can't tell what someone's motivations are by what they do makes you look a little absurd.

Hmmm...all of the time, some of the time, or just sporadically?

You'd have to define the difference between "some of the time" and "sporadically" for me, but I'd say "some of the time" is probably accurate.

Where did I say that?

You claimed it repeatedly on this thread at February 28, 2004 09:12 AM, at February 28, 2004 09:58 PM, and at March 2, 2004 09:10 AM. (If you wish to retract your claim that you can't possibly tell what Bush & Co want to do from what they actually do, feel free to go back and answer my question at February 28, 2004 07:57 AM on that thread.

Um - Slarti. Are you trying to claim that when a government does something (invades Iraq, sets up a prison camp in Cuba) we should assume it to be wildly improbable that they intended to do it?...Trying to argue that we can't tell what someone's motivations are by what they do makes you look a little absurd.

Don't make me use the word conflate, Jesurgislac. Intention and motivation are so completely different in meaning that if you don't get it, I'm going to have to be content to let you suffer along with that disability. Since most of the rest of your comments are similarly misguided, my work here is done.

You claimed it repeatedly on this thread at February 28, 2004 09:12 AM, at February 28, 2004 09:58 PM, and at March 2, 2004 09:10 AM.

You're going to have to show me. Nothing I said there seems to support your claim. In fact, that entire discussion was about your claim that the administration said something (which they didn't), and your subsequent failure to support that claim.

Since most of the rest of your comments are similarly misguided, my work here is done.

Ah well. When you get to the point where you just can't win, I've noticed you tend to duck out with some such phrase. ;-) Never mind.

You're going to have to show me.

I did. I guess you're happier watching Bush do Deformed Rabbit on the cave wall.

I have to conclude that you're being either accidentally or deliberately obtuse, and I can't decide which is worse. Again, if the distinction between intention and motivation eludes you, consult a dictionary. It ought to embarrass you enormously to have to beat this to death in public. But, just to be complete:

intention (n) 1) A plan of action, design. 2) An aim that guides action. 3) The import, meaning.

motive (n) 1) An impulse that causes one to act in a particular manner.

Further evidence that you're unable to understand extremely simple arguments:

As evidence that I maintain you can't tell what someone intends to do by what that person actually does, you cite a bunch of posts by me that maintain that you can't tell what someone is thinking or what motivates someone by what that person does. Idiocy, Jesurgislac, sheer idiocy.

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