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April 12, 2004

Comments

You had me until you said "McCain."

I wouldn't have been voting for Bush anyway, but to quote the previous resident at 1600 Pennsylvania, I feel your pain.

Whether you thought going into Iraq was a good idea or not, it seems obvious now that the Bush League, having caught this particular tiger by the tail, has no idea what to do with it.

Tomorrow's press conference should be entertaining.

Interesting rant von.

I have far too many reasons not to vote for Bush to list (here anyway...no promises about the future)...

I voted for Edwards in the NY primary, so I'm not going to go out of my way to defend Kerry, but to use a metaphor that's getting lots of play in lots of circumstances...if you're in a car and the driver seems determined to drive the car off a cliff, any other passenger who would stomp on the brakes and stop the impending plunge would be better behind the wheel at the point.

I watched Bremer and just guffawed at his answer on Meet the Press...damn good question, I'd say...

...I'm beginning to suspect that W's having some kind of nervous breakdown and no one knows how to proceed there...

We are at a critical period in Iraq and the president looks forward to talking to the American people and updating the American people where we are in Iraq right now and where we are headed,'' said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

I think they need to retire the phrase "the president looks forward to talking"...clearly he doesn't.

I came within nine-tenths of exploding in a modified version of this very rant when it appeared the FMA was going to be social issue no. 1 . . . . but then the FMA dropped off the radar screen.

the FMA dropped off the radar screen

Everyone is holding their breath...don't expect anyone to forget about this though...Log Cabin Republicans are resolute in not helping Bush...and given that Bush got an estimated 1 million gay votes in 2000 (we're they high at the time?)...he sure as hell better have firmed up his base on that issue.

"we're" s/b "were"

and no, I'm not high...

Don't say you weren't warned. He ran two oil companies into the ground. He did a good job at the Texas Rangers, if by good job you mean getting a whole neighborhood condemned by eminent domain, to seize real estate to build a baseball stadium.

His saturday press conference was terrible. "The FBI didn't tell me what to do!" How many other blunders has he made, with the same pathetic excuse? That we just don't know about?

Seb. Holdsclaw is wrong on this one. Never mind the "hindsight" issue. Go read the transcript. They show a man constitutionally incapable of learning from his mistakes.

Funny thing about the 9-11 Commission, outside of the normal leaks, no one has seemed to mention the PDB Clinton received in 1996 detailing that OBL was planning to attack the US with planes loaded with explosives. Clinton arranged a Commission headed by Gore now Von can you tell me what that Commission accomplished, other than generating money for the DNC.

Perfidity by the Dems in a time of war, now what would you call that Von. And thus I will not be voting for Kerry.

Perfidity by the Dems in a time of war, now what would you call that Von. And thus I will not be voting for Kerry.

Hey, I might not be voting for Kerry either. And, as I posted on Moe Lane's PDB thread, I don't think much of the "coulda shoulda woulda done more on 9-11" argument vs. Bush.

Let me see if I understand this, Timmy. You'll be voting for Bush, despite the total screw up that Iraq is, despite all the stonewalling with the 9/11 commission, despite all the lost good will around the world, despite the recklessness of his environmental record, despite his recklessness in interpreting the WMD data, despite his recklessness with regard to the deficit, and despite his willingness to amend the Constitution for political gain, because you thinks the Dems are perfidious?

I don't think that word means what you think it means...if it did, you couldn't vote for Bush and stil adhere to your standards.

You're great for pulling out some equalizing sin by Democrats to sweep away the mistakes Bush has made, but why you think he'll be any better if you re-elect him just totally escapes me.

Von, given the title, I figured you would be able to mix “Operation Bojinka” with the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security and be able to comment on the net results (other than fatter DNC coffers) combined with the dem's partisanship of the 9-11 Commission to date.

Always tough to fight a two front war, both here and in Iraq. Reminds me of Nam and the Democrats, including Kerry.

Just something to think about as you discuss Full Disclosure, speaking of that no mention of Iran in the current events, well that figures.

Eddie, see my comment to Von and then get back to me.

Always tough to fight a two front war, both here and in Iraq. Reminds me of Nam and the Democrats, including Kerry.

TtWD, continuing the thought, that McGovern is unpalatable does not require me to vote for Nixon, who's equally unpalatable. I've struck Bush from the list, but don't think that this is an endorsement of Kerry.

After all, long ago I helped found the campus Libertarian group at my university. I may just return to my roots, this time 'round.

Is your argument that Democrats are not supposed to question the Commander in Chief during wartime, even if they believe, fully believe, that he is making some huge mistakes?

This isn't about 9/11 and what Bush or Clinton should have done.

Von's anger was inspired by a reluctance by this administration to communicate who we're turning Iraq over to on June 30th. Perhaps that's of little consequence to some people, but on April 12th it strikes me as gross incompetence and arrogance for the Administration to say nothing about it. When Biden and Lugar and Bremer, three people who should have some clue what we're doing, all criticize the President (directly or implicitly) for not communicating what the plan is here (and you don't have to read too much between the lines to understand that it's infighting that's holding things up here...and you don't have look outside the Oval Office to know who's responsible for that), what conclusion are you supposed to come to? That everythings's gonna be alright? Just go back in your houses, nothing to see here, the President's in control?

He looks nothing at all like a President in control Timmy. No amount of finding fault with the Democrats (war time or not) is going to explain that away.

Even if he pulls out some miracle solution at the twelth hour, why all the secrecy? Why the constant appearance that politics comes first and everything else somwhere later?

So you've spotted some partisanship at play here...how does that justify Bush's lack of communication? I might, I don't know...but I can't see it.

So let me get this straight, Paul Bremer's interview has made you decide not to vote for Bush in the upcoming presidential election?

The confusion in Iraq is not, in my opinion, a reflection of Bush ability or competence at all, but rather completely explained by the level of development, intellectually & socially, of the residents. The Baathists and Sunnis, who held positions, are hunted and/or are troublemakers. The Shiites are less educated religious fanatics who only know theocratic structures. There is no one to hand power to yet. Bremer's admission just is a candid evaluation by a realist.

However, the handing of power is a symbolic gesture mandated by the international community - regardless of its validity.

Blaming Bush is preposterous. The UN has practically dictated the immediate handover to "Iraqis" and blackmails the US over aid with this silly, and obviously premature, action.

Your contempt should be reserved for the UN and Annan, Chirac, Schroeder and all the others whose eagerness to deal with anybody other than the US for financial gain and contracts in Iraq is so painfully apparent to the educated observer.

Bush has been beaten over every US soldiers death. The international community has said basically said, "hand over Iraq then we might help" Bush schedules a handover - knowing full well that the US will still be the guiding force and a necessary presence, yet he also knows that politically the left will pulverize him if he ignores the UN and orders more US troops sent to Iraq to make up for the international community's self-interest.

Bush is nailed either way. Either way the left will write his actions as a "failure" and a policy disaster.

When we look closely at his decision, to symbolically hand over power to some sort of Iraqi council, we see that when compared to the alternative this is the better choice, politically and US politics will largely determine Iraq's future and Bush knows this.

If Bush is defeated - Iraq will quickly be turned into a theocracy as Kerry hands it over to the UN and pulls out troops. Realistically, you have two choices, and your vote helps one or the other. The Iraqi's future, too, lies in your hands.

Bush has to be re-elected to help Iraq form a democratic government over the next few years. He, by far, has the most vested interest of any politician to see Iraq succeed. The rest, have the reverse, good reasons to see Iraq turned into a disaster zone and a convenient scapegoat in Bush.

Micromanagement of war is never good. LBJ did that in Vietnam and it was a disaster. Bush clearly gives the lead to his cabinet and the special appointments. Only when they mess up does he get involved. However, his hands off approach is preferable to an approach which tries to micromanage all the events from a distance.

That the media shows only failure and conflict is no surprise, but the success and peace in large parts of Iraq are not to be ignored, no matter how much the media, and the left, wishes to "Vietnamize" Iraq.

Think it out. Imagine you have family living in Iraq. Will removing Bush from office help or harm them?

It's that simple.

If Bush is defeated

Wrong.

That would be America, bro.

Timmy, can you source your comment on "Operation Bojinka"? All I'm finding is a FrontPageMag story and a Village Voice article with Mylroie as the ultimate source. Neither are entirely trustworthy as sources.

Also, who declassified the 1996 PDB briefing? Where can I read it?

(In such a case though, doesn't that make Dr. Rice's failure to connect the dots more egregious? Given that she [or her aides] could have consulted back to 1996 to learn more about what modalities OBL could have used?)

Imagine you have family living in Iraq. Will removing Bush from office help or harm them?

Imagine you have family living in Iraq. Given the complete balls-up Bush & Co have made of the occupation to date, thanks to an utter lack of forward planning, do you seriously imagine that this family, suffering through disasters that Bush & Co chose not to think about, would want you to elect Bush for another 4 years?

Think about it.

I'd agree that Bush had "the most vested interest of any politician to see Iraq succeed." Indeed he did. But the occupation so far has been a catalogue of horrible mistakes. Bush & Co were planning for the Iraq war, so we now discover, for over a year before the invasion: yet they apparently invested no time at all in considering how the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq could best be carried out. If Bush didn't think of working hard to make Iraq a success before the invasion, and if (as it seems) he's not capable of learning from his mistakes in the year since the invasion, why do you think he should have another four years to mess Iraq about?

Or, put another way: If the threat of losing the 2004 election doesn't make Bush work harder to make Iraq a success, why do you think winning the 2004 election despite his failures in Iraq would get him to make Iraq a success?

SDAI-Tech1 -- I'll respond to your reasonable post this evening. I'm swamped now. Obviously, Bremeer's comment was not the sole reason -- it was more a "straw/camel's back" issue.

Von wrote:

One item on the list has caused me to temporarily lose my vision in rage. On Meet the Press this morning, Paul Bremer was asked "to whom will we transfer power on June 30?" (From memory, transcript not available yet.) His response? "That's a good question." (Not, for example, "the IGC.").

Wrong freakin' answer.

It also is not an accurate representation of the answer that Ambassador Bremer gave:

MR. RUSSERT: June 30: You're going to turn the keys over to the Iraqis. Who do you turn them over to?

AMB. BREMER: Well, that's a good question, and it's an important part of the ongoing crisis we have here now. We've always said that there are two dimensions to dealing with the problems of Iraq. One, of course, is the military dimension, which we're working on right now, but the other is to give a political perspective for the Iraqis to have more and more responsibility. We've been working on that for months. We are now working with the secretary-general of the U.N.'s special representative here, Mr. Brahimi, to figure out the best way to get a representative government in place before the end of June so it has a little practice and then turn over sovereignty to it on June 30. And I'm confident that working with him and with the Iraqi people, we, in fact, will get that. We'll get a representative government in place before June 30.

In other words to the Iraqi representative government which we are working to help the Iraqis get in place prior to the June 30 target date. Quite a bit more than the "that's a good question" which Von tried to mislead people into thinking was the sum of Bremer's answer rather than as the intro into his explanation of what the situation is and the approaches to dealing with it.

TW

(1) This is twice in the span of a week that Von has misrepresented someone’s comments in order to try to justify one of his rants about the situation in Iraq. I would strongly encourage any right-of-center posters who had previously thought him to be more credible to verify any “facts” or representations of the arguments he criticizes for themselves before assuming that any criticism he makes is either factual or an accurate representation as this increasingly is turning out not to be the case.

Hold it, Thorley.

which Von tried to mislead people into thinking was the sum of Bremer's answer rather than as the intro into his explanation of what the situation is and the approaches to dealing with it.

First, I reposted a comment, and I expressly indicated that I didn't have the transcript in front of me. I was going by what I heard/remembered -- expressly not the transcript. I provided it so that others could understand where I'm coming from, and take that into account when they read my posts (believing, as I do, that bias inevitably enters into everything. There was no intent to mislead -- so quit your J'cussin.

Second, I in fact did not "misrepresent" what Bremer said. If you read the full, transcript quote, you'll find that Bremer does not, in fact, know to whom we'll turn over Iraq on June 30. There was no misleading entry -- so quit your J'cussin for this reason as well.

Third, David Broder (not, incidentally, a liberal) had a very similar reaction later on Meet the Press (near the end of the same transcript):

MR. BRODER: And the calendar works against the president at this point on Iraq because he is insisting on that June 30 hand over-date. And when you asked Ambassador Bremer, "To whom are you going to hand power," his response was, "That's a good question, Tim." That is not a good answer. And when we do not know--and not only don't we in the press know, not only does Tim Russert not know, but we've had the leading members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Lugar and Senator Biden, say, "Nobody in the administration is talking to them about what we think will happen or what we want to happen in Iraq after June 30th."

So, apparently David Broder is guilty of the same misrepresentation.

I'll respond to your other cite in a moment. Watch yourself, however: Disagree with me on the facts? Fine. Disagree with me on the analysis? Fine. Think I'm spinning? Fine. Correct my mistakes? Fine.* Accuse me of lying -- not fine. Particularly when it ain't true (like here). :-)

von

*Sorry Sidereal.

Thorley, as far as I can tell, Von was less misrepresenting and more condensing, as - to my eyes - Ambassador Bremer's answer does boil down to "We don't actually know yet".

Thorley, as far as I can tell, Von was less misrepresenting and more condensing, as - to my eyes - Ambassador Bremer's answer does boil down to "We don't actually know yet".

"to figure out the best way to get a representative government in place before the end of June"

Composed of whom? Clearly Bremer doesn't know or isn't offering that information. Therefore 'that's a good question' is a fine summation.

Because you disagree with that summary does not make von a liar.

(1) This is twice in the span of a week that Von has misrepresented someone’s comments in order to try to justify one of his rants about the situation in Iraq.

Thorley, I've re-read O'Sullivan, as well as my response to you (take another look at the thread you linked), and I think I can safely say: Neener, neener -- I'm right. And leave it there. (Or, von recap: The difference between you and I on O'Sullivan is that I'm reading O'Sullivan carefully. You're not.)

Oh, and if you want to call my clamoring for more troops and more money to stabalize Iraq a "rant": Guilty as charged. I don't like to lose. (And I prefer overkill to the alternative.)

Naturally, von defends himself (not that he should have to) more ably.

"*Sorry Sidereal."

Will you or I ever be able to write that way un-self-consciously? Maybe. Anytime soon? No.

Gotta agree with von here.

That was a non-answer.

"That's a good question" is a time-honored "holy cow I have no idea let me stall for time" technique.

Von wrote:

First, I reposted a comment, and I expressly indicated that I didn't have the transcript in front of me. I was going by what I heard/remembered -- expressly not the transcript. I provided it so that others could understand where I'm coming from, and take that into account when they read my posts (believing, as I do, that bias inevitably enters into everything. There was no intent to mislead -- so quit your J'cussin.

Got it, Von is invoking the “faulty biased memory” defense even though the transcript was well available at the time he decided to post his rant on Obsidian Wings.

Second, I in fact did not "misrepresent" what Bremer said. If you read the full, transcript quote, you'll find that Bremer does not, in fact, know to whom we'll turn over Iraq on June 30. There was no misleading entry -- so quit your J'cussin for this reason as well.

In fact Von did. Bremer was asked to whom we would be turning over power on June 30 and his answer was to the representative government of Iraq, which we are still working to help them establish (1). Moreover, in the earlier portion of Von’s rant he wrote:

On Fox News Sunday, Senator Lugar went through a laundry list of items that need to be accomplished by the deadline: introduce the necessary security council resolutions; find, propose and confirm an ambassador; prepare the Iraqi Governing Council to receive power; etc., etc.

These items will require an extensive amount of work in order to be accomplished by our self-imposed June 30 deadline. Ignore, for the moment, that we could have been (and should have been) working on these items over the last few months.

Ignoring of course the fact that Bremer had actually said:

We've always said that there are two dimensions to dealing with the problems of Iraq. One, of course, is the military dimension, which we're working on right now, but the other is to give a political perspective for the Iraqis to have more and more responsibility. We've been working on that for months.

It is pretty clear from reading this then that Bremer had actually said that we had been working with the Iraqis for months to take over civilian control of their country by June 30. Funny how Von tried to give the impression that they had not. Nope, no misrepresentation there.

I'll respond to your other cite in a moment. Watch yourself, however: Disagree with me on the facts? Fine. Disagree with me on the analysis? Fine. Think I'm spinning? Fine. Correct my mistakes? Fine.* Accuse me of lying -- not fine. Particularly when it ain't true (like here). :-)

Debatable only insofar as there is a meaningful distinction between “misrepresentation” and “lying” of which I only stated that Von was engaging in the former.
TW

(1) I am going to be charitable and assume that no one was stupid enough to actually expected Bremer to provide fuel for the “new representative government of Iraq is just a puppet for the United States” crowd which is what would have happened if he had given a more complete answer by actually providing names or speculation as to who would be in the government.

(In such a case though, doesn't that make Dr. Rice's failure to connect the dots more egregious? Given that she [or her aides] could have consulted back to 1996 to learn more about what modalities OBL could have used?)

Tom, apparently in the handoff no mention was made by the Clinton Admin. I suspect it reflects that the WH Commission accomplished nothing as well, unless raising money for the DNC is an accomplishment.

I suspect you will now ask the question, why Dr. Rice didn't take the time to read all of the PDBs since their inception, course that begs the question why Clinton didn't pursue the, wait, I didn't forget to mention the airline payoffs, did I?

Debatable only insofar as there is a meaningful distinction between “misrepresentation” and “lying” of which I only stated that Von was engaging in the former.

Hmm. I'm not seeing much daylight between the two. (I suppose "lie" implies intent on my part, while "misrepresentation" can be w/ or w/o intent. 'Course, your post implied intent by me, so it seems a moot point.) But thanks, I guess.

I think my response still holds up. I'll refer you back to it. (Gonna accuse Broder of "misrepresenting" the exchange as well?)

I am going to be charitable and assume that no one was stupid enough to actually expected Bremer to provide fuel for the “new representative government of Iraq is just a puppet for the United States” crowd which is what would have happened if he had given a more complete answer by actually providing names or speculation as to who would be in the government.

Now, this is a new thought. Two responses: (1) 60 days before the holdover is a bit late to be playing games such as these, if that indeed is the intent. (2) You assume we'll provide the names; I would have been satisfied with merely outlining the process. ("Consulting with Iraqis to determine the process" is not, in fact, a process.) Indeed, providing names would be a good way to ensure Iraq descends into Civil War -- whenever they were provided.

Timmy's old enuf to vote?

The confusion in Iraq is not, in my opinion, a reflection of Bush ability or competence at all, but rather completely explained by the level of development, intellectually & socially, of the residents. The Baathists and Sunnis, who held positions, are hunted and/or are troublemakers. The Shiites are less educated religious fanatics who only know theocratic structures.

There is no one to hand power to yet. Bremer's admission just is a candid evaluation by a realist.

However, the handing of power is a symbolic gesture mandated by the international community - regardless of its validity.

Blaming Bush is preposterous. The UN has practically dictated the immediate handover to "Iraqis" and blackmails the US over aid with this silly, and obviously premature, action.

Your contempt should be reserved for the UN and Annan, Chirac, Schroeder and all the others whose eagerness to deal with anybody other than the US for financial gain and contracts in Iraq is so painfully apparent to the educated observer.

Bush has been beaten over every US soldiers death. The international community has said basically said, "hand over Iraq then we might help" Bush schedules a handover - knowing full well that the US will still be the guiding force and a necessary presence, yet he also knows that politically the left will pulverize him if he ignores the UN and orders more US troops sent to Iraq to make up for the international community's self-interest.

Bush is nailed either way. Either way the left will write his actions as a "failure" and a policy disaster.


Product of Viet Nam:

As for blaming Bush, make sure you understand me correctly: I am blaming Bush for making the essential question of the occupation (to whom will we hand power on June 30?) a question that we are incapable of answering -- indeed, a question we probably cannot answer. That is indeed a failure of leadership.

Consider this: if I say, "we will sell 50% more"; you ask "to whom and how?"; And I say, "that's a good question" -- I've failed as a leader, right? I framed the goal and, yet, I haven't the foggiest clue how to reach it.

Onward to your next (very good) points in a moment -- I'm tied up for the next few minutes.

Hmmm...either I have a posting echo or "Product of Viet Nam" needs to get an original speechwriter. ;-)

Hmmm...either I have a posting echo or "Product of Viet Nam" needs to get an original speechwriter. ;-)

Either way, I owe both of you a response. It'll have to come tomorrow, though. Sorry & good night.

"Funny thing about the 9-11 Commission, outside of the normal leaks, no one has seemed to mention the PDB Clinton received in 1996 detailing that OBL was planning to attack the US with planes loaded with explosives."

In accordance with Timmy's expressed concerns, I strongly urge everyone not to vote to re-elect Bill Clinton this November.

"The Baathists and Sunnis, who held positions, are hunted and/or are troublemakers. The Shiites are less educated religious fanatics who only know theocratic structures."

"The confusion in Iraq is not, in my opinion, a reflection of Bush ability or competence at all, but rather completely explained by the level of development, intellectually & socially, of the residents. The Baathists and Sunnis, who held positions, are hunted and/or are troublemakers. The Shiites are less educated religious fanatics who only know theocratic structures."

"There is no one to hand power to yet. Bremer's admission just is a candid evaluation by a realist.

However, the handing of power is a symbolic gesture mandated by the international community - regardless of its validity.

"Blaming Bush is preposterous. The UN has practically dictated the immediate handover to "Iraqis" and blackmails the US over aid with this silly, and obviously premature, action."

Ah. The problems are all the fault of the UN. There's no one in Iraq to hand over power to.

This was, of course, beyond anyone's power to predict. Blaming Bush is ridiculous.

Solution: point out the flaws in Bill Clinton's policy.

Bush: no responsibility.

To blame: Clinton, UN.

Got it.

Damn the UN and Bill Clinton for getting us into this.

Thank goodness we're not generalizing about Iraqis, or declaring them not ready for democracy.

In accordance with Timmy's expressed concerns, I strongly urge everyone not to vote to re-elect Bill Clinton this November.

Take the Laugh Point, damn your eyes. :)

In accordance with Timmy's expressed concerns, I strongly urge everyone not to vote to re-elect Bill Clinton this November.

I always the 9-11 Commission was enacted to get to the root causes of our 9-10 situation, as compared to a DNC political rally, guess I was wrong.

Here's what I blame on the Bush League:

1) Disbanding the Iraqi Army. With the exception of units like the Republican Guard that were personally loyal to SH, telling the Iraqi Army that their paychecks were coming from Uncle Sam and that they had new orders would have worked out better than the current situation of 500,000 pissed off unemployed young men with automatic weapons.

2) Failing to secure ammo dumps, stop looting, and impose law and order respectfully. Those unsecured munitions, by the way, are showing up in the IED's that have killed and maimed so many American kids. Thank you, Bush League.

3) Having anything to do with Ahmad Chalabi (except, perhaps, prosecuting him ourselves, or handing him over to the Jordanians.) Continuing to pay him $300,000 + a month for "intelligence" is apalling.

I, in my pre-coffee state, find myself agreeing with Timmy. The commission should be looking for the cause of the failure that permitted 9/11 and if that failure lands squarely on Clinton, we need to know that.

My understanding is that the Commission had equally tough questions for Clinton and his people, but as he's no longer in office that would not, and appropriately not, be as newsworthy as the tough questions for the current administration that is seeking office again.

I wasn't happy with the tone of the Dems' questions for Rice, but I do think a bit of adversarialness can help shake out some truths that might otherwise not emerge. The agressiveness did directly result in the PDB being declassified, I believe.

The commission should be tough on Clinton & Co, but it should be equally tough on Bush & Co.

I always the 9-11 Commission was enacted to get to the root causes of our 9-10 situation, as compared to a DNC political rally, guess I was wrong.

Complete agreement with you, TtWD. Vietnam & SDAI -- your response is coming around noon EST (which is noon CDT, which is 1 EDT -- freakin' Indiana still doesn't observe Daylight time).

Von, on daylight savings time, you do understand that if it had been enacted farmers would have had to work one hour longer, or so I've been told. :)

So, who here has managed the occupation and transfer to democracy of a traditionally authoritarian country?

No one? I am surprised. I hear a lot of complaining over how the occupation has been "botched" and "mis-managed" with no reference to a better occupation from the past.

All men are fallible. This includes President Bush, and even the saintly John McCain. The President has undoubtedly made several poor decisions regarding Iraq. How anyone can think that another president would do a much better job is beyond me. I fear that such a person would expect too much from his leaders.

You want to vote against Bush, von? Fill your boots. Just don't complain when John Kerry turns out to be just as "incompetent" at solving Iraq as Bush is now. And, don't complain at the resurgence that our enemies will enjoy upon seeing apparent American weakness and lack of resolve.

Oh, and by the way, I think that Thorley was right. You did misrepresent Bremer's response. It was fine to leave your original comment, but you should have attached a further explanation when posting here, I think.

You want to vote against Bush, von? ...don't complain at the resurgence that our enemies will enjoy upon seeing apparent American weakness and lack of resolve.

Help me with the logic here Nathan.

If Kerry resolves to win the peace in Iraq (which he has done), electing him somehow displays weakness and lack of resolve on our part? How?

Edward,

Well, it seems to me that a change in government during wartime from a more unilateral, militaristic approach to a more multilateral, diplomatic approach would hearten a nation's enemies. Also, I would guess that individuals accustomed to authoritarianism see change in government as a major sign of weakness for the policies that the previous government held.

I am not saying that Kerry would necessarily be weaker in Iraq than Bush (that is a different discussion). I am saying that he would be percieved to be by our enemies. Naturally, if Kerry's policies are much better than Bush's then he is worth electing, regardless of the "bump" that jihadis would plausibly enjoy.

Nathan,

Thanks for the explanation.

I've read other statements like that and have always interpreted them to mean that we need to keep the current administration in power in order to send the message to our enemies that getting them is our top priority as a nation.

To some degree I understand that. However, it seems incompatible with the American system of democracy, which is built on the idea that every four years we have a legal opportunity to readjust our executive government to suit our own best interests, independent of what message that may send to our enemies. We had enemies during the Cold War and we never insisted we not change governments because of the symbolism during that time.

I've noted before that bad economies and wars come and go...I vote on longer-term issues than those. I have many longer-terms reasons to oppose Bush. Whatever momentary joy electing Kerry might bring al Qaida is but a drop in the bucket. Kerry's not running a platform of appeasement. He's proven he's not afraid to fight. I can't imagine their joy will be long lived.

Vietnam/SDAI -- I actually drafted a cogent and detailed response (well, for me), which got deleted when my firm's system crashed. I don't have time to recreate it. So, until another day.

Nathan -- same for you -- though I'd note (as for misrepresentation) that David Broder interpreted/remembered Bremer in the exact same manner as me. As for the rest -- I still think my initial response resolves it.

Or, better yet, just see K Drum's latest: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com I wouldn't endorse all of it (i.e., I still think the war was a net positive, unlike Drum), and I'd add a bit here and there, but I think it provides a pretty complete picture.

Edward,

Fair enough.

von,

I only commented regarding misrepresentation because, based on your excerpt, I had thought that Bremer had given a flippant and content-free response.

I had thought that Bremer had given a flippant and content-free response.

OK, I understand your point.

Von,

Happens to me all the time. It works along a proportion time spent without saving file/ probability of system crash ratio. The longer I've worked on something the greater the likelihood of a system crash. Sometimes one feels one can't recreate it, other times one can.

My main concern lies with the big picture. Bush & the republicans or Kerry & the democrats are inconsequential when compared to the future of the Middle East, the world and the ability of the US to inspire the rest of the world to reshape itself in our individual-freedom based society.

I know communism has fallen out of favor, but theocracism (did I just invent a new word?) is flourishing in the Middle East, and when mixed with global socialism, presents a threat to the freedom of all future generations.

Individual freedom and rights are the cornerstone of the US system and are what make it vastly superior to the EU or any other nation on earth. When I see folks dismiss the US as a tyrant and work towards socialistic societies, I get very concerned.

When the UN and EU work against the US for their own interests, I am concerned. That they really don't comprehend the superiority of our Constitution and government is quite clear, and until one knows why individual liberty is more important than social entitlements, than one is often going to work unknowingly against mankind's best possible future.

Iraq is just a piece of the larger puzzle. If we fail here, we can expect the future life of the Middle East to be quite dismal. We can expect the EU to sink and freedom will have to compete unfavorably with larger populations living under socialism/communism and theocracism for many centuries into the future.

SDAI-Tech1 sez "...until one knows why individual liberty is more important than social entitlements...". Will you elaborate on this point more, please? I've always felt that social programs were good to a certain degree (altruism when you can afford it, I think), but I've not considered the ramifications of such programs vs individual liberty (probably because I just assume liberty will be there). What're the concerns?

I'd be more than glad to explain...

A society that imparts more gravitas on entitlements such as healthcare or social security in old age, views the collective well being of the society as more important than the individual components. This society determines the needs of the members and sets up a system of entitlements that best fit what they can afford (or not) to provide to their citizens.

While it seems benevolent at first glance, it has hidden downsides and can prove detrimental to the individual good of any specific citizen.

Collective medicine generally will not go out of their way to provide costly procedures to sick patients. In Germany, for example, as part of the socialist belt tigthening due to EU membership, folks over 85 must now pay for their own major operations. In a system that develops total dependency upon the government for healthcare - this throws these individual cases into a serious plight and they often don't get these operations. The problem is they treat oldsters with an attitude that is common in socialized countries, "You've outlived your usefulness - you are now a burden on the rest of us." (i.e. the 13,000 French oldsters deaths due to lack of providing adequate cooling for these citizens)

Whereas in an individual-based society each individual does not become dependant upon the state and the state doesn't view oldsters as a problem.

Socialism tends to sponsor a certain laziness and decreased work ethic. (example: government employees anywhere in the world;-) If you know you will be housed and your healthcare will be provided for you (or that your job is secure) - where is the impetus to generate a whole lot of capital for yourself and the society?

That is why socialist governments tend towards mass poverty rather than mass wealth. In such a system, as entitlements are cut back, it is as if their freedoms diminish simultaneously. In the US individual freedom is never really repealed because it is not as much based upon state based entitlements. So individual wealth is more attainable under a individual-freedom and capitalistic governing body.

The bottom line is that people become dependant upon a socialistic system and when it cuts back, which it MUST do as it grows, QOL goes down drastically. In the US, with less state control, taxation and legislative barriers,anyone can bounce back or become very wealthy without becoming reliant upon state subsidies and entitlements.

I know of what I speak. I have relatives in Germany and know the pluses and minuses of a socialist system. Home ownership, car ownership and land ownership is taken for granted here and these things require a much higher threshold of effort and earning power to break in Germany. The gas prices we are experiencing here are still cheap when compared to the highly taxed gasoline in Europe and elsewhere, and individuals must rely on state provided transportation to a much greater degree. The EU has caused increased unemployment and higher taxation and things are far worse than they were before joining.

In essence, in socialized nations you are a sardine in a can and must conform to the shape of the can. In the US, you are free to shape your life, your priorities and live in any manner you please. You start with less, but have the opportunity to get much, much more. The Bill of Rights don't exist in these nations and an individual's worth and freedom to choose is simply much higher in the United States.

As a socialized system sinks, it spreads misery equally since all are so dependant upon it. In America, fortune and failure are largely individual, the citizens are also more adaptable and quality of life is generally much higher. The poor in the US still live like the middle class do in many socialized countries.

Look closely at Sweden. They rejected the EU yet have a socialist government. Why did they reject the EU? It is simple. Sweden sits on the largest pool of oil in Europe. Their socialist system can reward them with a super high quality of life for as long as this oil holds out and their population stays small. Sharing their wealth, as EU nations are forced to do, would do what it has done for Germans - cause drastic cutting back in entitlements while increasing their work hours and taxes.

Sweden, as a socialist nation, knows all too well that it is unsustainable and would cause a lowering in their quality of life. (QOL) They do not want their money shared and used to prop up any poor former soviet republics or even Italy, France, Belgium and Spain.

Socialism on a global scale would be an unmitigated disaster. Mass poverty would be the result and the healthcare would be the worst in the world. Life expectancy would drop and as in these socialist nations, a few who can siphon the cream from the top live better than 98% of the rest of the citizenry.

When your life is provided to you by the state, when companies are state managed - forget about suing your boss, or having a sympathetic court system to hear your individual pleas if you feel you have received an unfair shake. You are out of luck. Likewise, when a socialist state has targeted you as a troublemaker the whole body of the government can make your life much worse and finding a job, much more difficult. Remember in these nations you don't have individual freedoms - you have group entitlements and your individual situation is of absolutely no significance to anyone.

The socialists really don't know what they are missing and we just look across the pond at the free healthcare and shrug and say "that would be nice" The US is unique and individual freedom and capitalism are the tools that created our wealth and individual prosperity.

I could ramble on, and I'm sure there are some libertarians out there who could take these comparisons much further and go into greater detail - but hopefully I've shed a bit of light on the disparity.

Thanks. I get where you're coming from, and the context of your statement is clear to me now. My chief political concerns center around the individual, as well, and as such, I suppose I share your concerns, though probably not with the same urgency. If we keep a Texan (even one from Conn.) in the White House, I really don't fear for my liberties; though, allowed to swing too far in any given direction, I think any philosophy can be detrimental.

And in the original vein of this thread, I have to say I still don't know who I'm voting for. Wars may come and go, but I still believe in "you broke it, you bought it," so we need to stay in Iraq 'til it's fixed (whatever fixed means*). Who's more likely to do the right thing, I wonder. Absent that concern, there's the whole social agenda thing. Who's less likely to impinge upon individual rights and liberties? And in the end, who will best manage the daily business of running the country?

I can't say I'm impressed with the management skills displayed by Pres. Bush (one important aspect of which is the ability to clearly communicate). And I'm really worried about what I perceive to be an unbalanced tilt to the far right, socially. But I'm also not sure what, if anything, Kerry is all about, even after watching him come up through the primaries.

I'm afraid that, this election, either way, I'll be holding my nose when I vote. But I console myself with the fact that I live in California, and my vote won't matter that much, things are so lopsided here.

But I will say this--ABB means "Anybody But Boxer" to me.

*And I think anybody who believes that the 30 Jun delivery date means we're actually handing over all controls is naive. As a software developer, I know that hitting a milestone is often done just to satisfy a check mark on someone's list, but that the development continues unabated, perhaps even under the covers.

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