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May 13, 2004

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Obviously Friedman is projecting but you have to change liberals to conservatives.

Timmy, that makes no sense.

Mark, projecting which means you change Bush to Friedman. You should get it now.

Apparently, Thomas believed in a really short time line in the Iraqi nation building, either that or he is pursuing some rear action whatever.

meeting got pushed back an hour...

I think what Timmy means is that this sentence should read

It has always been more important for the Thomas Friedman folks to defeat conservatives at home than Baathists abroad.

But then, you'd still be right, Mark. That makes no sense.

Shorter, Friedman is uncomfortable with a conservative fighting a liberal war. And as Friedman's column made no sense, I'm not really sure what I could do with just one sentence.

Maybe this will help you Eddie.

And yes, Friedman is a very good at hyperventilating.

ahh, Timmy, if only that writer had waited for these polls

Bush Ratings Fall Amid Iraq Woes

See Eddie you are still thinking about the election. You should start reading Belmont and as I couldn't get a permalink here is how it reads.

...Those who might regard Lieutenant Oliver's letter as optimistic will find it corroborated by these developments reported by the New York Times. It describes operations against Moqtada Al-Sadr, following an extensive period in which he was progressively isolated from the Shi'ite clergy and community. Not surprisingly, the spearhead against Sadr's forces were Iraqis themselves.

The fighting at the Mukhaiyam Mosque and the warrens of the surrounding neighborhood brought hundreds of American soldiers within a quarter mile of two of the most sacred places in Shiite Islam, the golden-domed shrines of Hussein and Abbas. Though the Americans say they are determined to destroy Mr. Sadr's forces, they have been cautious about bringing the war to the holy areas here and in Najaf. Invading the city centers of either place, they fear, could stir the wrath of Shiite Muslims around the world, even those who dislike Mr. Sadr.

Tuesday night, the Americans made a high-risk gamble by trying to breach the Mukhaiyam Mosque, situated just west of the Shrine of Hussein. The attack was one of the largest operations carried out in the past year by the First Armored Division, which until now was responsible for controlling Baghdad. Fighting raged on all sides of the mosque, with soldiers scrambling through rubble-strewn streets and ducking sniper shots and rocket-propelled grenades. ...

The two dozen or so Iraqi commandos who helped the Americans in the battle were part of the Iraqi Counter Terrorist Force, trained in Jordan to combat insurgents. They acted under the supervision of Special Forces, who instructed them on clearing munitions from the Mukhaiyam Mosque and shrine and from the high school. Special Forces soldiers guided much of the battle on the ground, storming the mosque and setting up a base there to direct troops.

This was not supposed to happen. April was supposed to mark the death rattle of the American occupation in Iraq. It was never meant to lead to joint Marine-Iraqi patrols in Fallujah or Iraqi commandos hunting down Moqtada Al-Sadr in Najaf. Yet the change did not proceed from "more American boots on the ground" nor from the provision of additional guards for the Baghdadi antiquities or an influx of NGOs. Still less was it the consequence of a grant of legitimacy from the United Nations or the messianic arrival of French troops. In fact it coincided with the departure of the Spanish contingent from Iraq. The change sprang from the correct application of the original strategy: building a democratic and free Iraq by recognizing the leadership which arose from the circumstances. It arose not from an imposed set of politically correct commissars in Baghdad but in complementing indigenous efforts with American strengths.

Nearly a hundred years ago, T. E. Lawrence, surveying the ruins of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, shrewdly judged that it lacked, not money, enthusiasm or a base of support but simply the right men, armed prophets who could send forth the message of freedom among the tribes. He did not seek for them in the cocktail party set of Cairo nor even in Mecca, in what might be the equivalent of the Green Zone. But he found them in the desert. In the Seven Pillars of Wisdom he relates his encounter with the man who was to be his chosen instrument against the Last Caliph -- the man who would bring a prophecy, yet not quite the expected prophecy, to a waiting world.

"I felt at first glance that this was the man I had come to Arabia to seek -- the leader who would bring the Arab Revolt to full glory. Feisal looked very tall and pillar-like, very slender, in his long white robes and his brown headcloth bound with a brilliant scarlet and gold cord. His eyelids were dropped; and his black beard and colorless face were like a mask against the strange, still watchfulness of his body. His hands were crossed in front of him on his dagger."

"And do you like our place here in Wadi Safra?" Feisal asked.

"Well," replied Lawrence, "but it is far from Damascus."

"Praise be to God there are Turks nearer us than that".

There are Americans in Washington, but praise be to God, there are some nearer to the ground than that.

I figured he must have read Friedman before he wrote the last sentence.

Arabs and Americans fighting insurgents, I don't know about you Eddie but it gives me the warm and fuzzies.

See Eddie you are still thinking about the election.

The Friedman quote indicates that it's Bush who's thinking too much about the election, Timmy, but...

As for the Arabs and Americans fighting together, I applaud it. I spoke up when Tacitus et al. were crying the sky is falling because the US wasn't simply killing whole cities and then sorting out the dead and said this could be a really good thing.

As for your writer who's convinced the media are helping Bush, he seems a bit confused:

The question then is, will the media wake-up, and realize the error of their ways?

Which is it? Are they helping or hurting him? And if helping him is an error, does that mean the media should purposely try to harm Bush?

Friedman always writes best the further he is from New York. When writing this, he must've been ensconced in his upper west side co-op. Turn Friedman's phrase around and see how you feel about it, Edward: "It has always been more important for the Kerry folks to defeat conservatives at home than Baathists abroad." The shot is just as cheap.

Like BD

See Eddie you think I was discussing Bush when I'm working on a retort to Friedman.

If you take Friedman literally on his points, we would now be discussing regime change in Iraq and Thomas would be complaining that Bush was too slow.

Finally Eddie, I was looking for your comment on Belmont which was the most interesting read of the three.

I hope Wretchard is right.

It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad.

Exactly. Which is why the stormtroopers are poised to kick your door in, Edward.

Turn Friedman's phrase around and see how you feel about it, Edward: "It has always been more important for the Kerry folks to defeat conservatives at home than Baathists abroad." The shot is just as cheap.

Just as cheap, but only fractionally as true. Not all things symmetrize.

Speaking of Wretchard's post, this is an interesting nugget:

"Blair's staunchest supporters insist that the prime minister has wielded influence over Bush. Labor members of Parliament have contended, for example, that Blair advised Bush not to send troops into the heart of the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the recent fighting there and discussed the need for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to apologize for U.S. mistreatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison."

"Just as cheap, but only fractionally as true."

It's statements like this that make me wonder why I even bother.

I thought Friedman was widely considered a conservative. That's why I brough this up. I don't necessarily endorse anything he writes.

Re: Belmont...happy to start reading him (being a huge fan of T.E. Lawrence if no other reason)...what's his home URL?

"I don't necessarily endorse anything he writes."

No, that's cool; I don't endorse everything that I link to, either, and the article itself was worthy of discussion.

Edward here is Belmont I find the style to be compelling and his articles interesting.

On Friedman, first I thought the link was worthy of discussion or I wouldn't have commented on it. Second and related, I believe Bird Dog made the best observation about his writings. Finally, if we had literally followed Friedman's lead (both in Afghanistand and Iraq), we would be discussing the ouster of the Saddam regime now and Thomas would be complaining about it.

All in Edward you continue to do an excellent job, although it is hard to believe that you are wrong on just about every subject you write about. :)

Edward, Friedman is not a conservative but he is an internationalist.

although it is hard to believe that you are wrong on just about every subject you write about. :)

You have no idea how much energy it takes to be wrong on just about every subject. All that conservative wisdom out there to ignore...I need a vacation just thinking about it. ;ppp

Edward, Friedman is not a conservative but he is an internationalist.

Hmmm. I'm an internationalist. Wonder why he and I disagree so often.

Baathists. . right. Friedman can't even get the enemy right.

It's statements like this that make me wonder why I even bother.

I thought it was clear from my phrasing that I don't regard either statement as actually (i.e. fully) true. [I don't even regard them as approximately close to the truth, as I hope my prior postings attest.] The point is that, although the two statements may be equivalent insofar as cheapness of the shot goes [viz Bird Dog's statement], they are not equivalent insofar as truth value -- albeit fractional truth values.

I understand that you disagree with that position but I hope (perhaps in vain) that this clarification no longer makes you hang your head in despair.

"I understand that you disagree with that position but I hope (perhaps in vain) that this clarification no longer makes you hang your head in despair."

Actually, yes. My apologies for not grokking your intent.

No apology necessary: I should've been clearer. I blame the server for making me think y'all are mindreaders ;)

"Just as cheap, but only fractionally as true."

What a cheap response, Anarch. I suppose the Bush=Hitler and Kerry=Hitler 'assymetry' also applies.

What a cheap response, Anarch. I suppose the Bush=Hitler and Kerry=Hitler 'assymetry' also applies.

I don't know about "assymetry" or even "asymmetry", but my point stands: the cheapness of the shot is independent of the truthfulness of the remark, and complaining about the former tends to mask the importance of the latter.

[In fact, it's essentially the broken element of a "moral equivalency" argument, more generally any false equivalency argument, but that's a larger issue.]

I'd respond to your illustration except that I'm not aware of anyone claiming "Kerry=Hitler". If there was substance to your remark beyond mere Godwinization, would you please elaborate?

"Just as cheap, but only fractionally as true."

What a cheap response, Anarch.

Personally, I consider Kerry to be at least as capable of venality as Bush; however, Kerry has not yet been in a position where he has had to choose between defeating Baathists and defeating conservatives (public statements don't count, since it's easy to speak ambiguously enough to play to both sides), so turning the assertion around is fairly senseless at this point.

IOW, one can assert that the converses that Timmy proposed are not as true as the originals without suggesting that "the Kerry folks" are in any way superior to "the Bush folks".

KenB: that's almost exactly what I was going to write, only longer and more turgidly :) I'm still not sure whether Bird Dog had a larger point, though, so I hope he returns to clarify his comments.

KenB: that's almost exactly what I was going to write...

Shoot, I should've just let you handle it and gone to bed early. B-)

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