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September 20, 2004

Comments

Ive always felt that Novak was about 2 inches to the left of Buchanan.

I read this story this morning and was going to blog on it tonight. But since you already did, I'll just say that this would be one of the things that could turn me against Bush.

Boy I find these anonymous sources annoying. I wonder if it is an 'unimpeachable' source.

Oi! No shrinking violet, here, but I thought "pull out and pray" was my quasi-offensive turn of phrase. (See Big Swinging Governments.) Heck, I even got grief from the liberal wing of the readership -- of course, I was using it to criticize John "Pull out and Pray" Kerry, but that hardly explains it. ;-)

(Indeed, it was a multi-layered discourse on Kerry's relationship to his Church on reproductive issues, and the transcendency of the guilty-Catholic conscience as applied to the current structural faux-plutocratic hegemony ..... ahh, never mind.)

Crutan, my honor is besmirched. Sabres at dawn!

Von,

You know...even as I credited crutan, somewhere in the back of my cobwebbed mind a tiny, tinny voice cried out..."you've read that before...you've read that before...don't pull a Dan Rather...research and be sure."

Apologies to you and Crutan both.

;-)

At this point, I think it's salient to explore whether Bush's strategy was or was not ribbed for Halliburton's pleasure.

My apologies, Von.

In my defense, I did quote "pull out and pray" in that other thread because I was certain that it was a phrase that belonged to someone. It has been bandied about of late but the original phrasing is surely your creation.

So, in an effort to de-smirch your honor, Von, I hereby award you any and all credit for the phrase "Pull out and pray" regarding strategies in Iraq.

Hopefully this will assuage your need for satisfaction!

crutan

Speaking as someone who opposed the war but thought that once we were in, we couldn't just cut and run, I think that this is just completely appalling. Completely. And there are various other really troubling bits in the article: e.g., Wolfowitz as Secretary of Defense and Rice as Secretary of State. Not to mention the idea that it would take a really "resolute" President to just stand by and watch an Iraqi civil war. (Resolute wouldn't be my word for it. You can see the spinning begin already.)

UGH.

I think that this is just completely appalling.

What's the this that's completely appalling?

Sorry -- it's the cutting and running that's appalling.

You mean the purported cutting and running. Or are you taking the Novak story as gospel?

I'm confused Eddie.

We all agree that at some point U.S. Armed Forces, should leave, correct?

At one end of the spectrum, some people, like Howard Zinn, think we should leave today.

At the other end of the spectrum, some people might think, we should stay indefinitely, like our military committment to South Korea.

The question is, At what point, should U.S. leave?

My view: We should leave after we've: (1) taken out as many Sadr, Baathist, Zarqawi, Islamo-Terrorists as possible and (2) stabilized the Iraqi govt, so that they can govern their own people mindful of the balance, between order, security and freedom.

I don't see all the fuss about the hypothetical contingencies outlined by anonymous sources in the Novak piece, sorry.

Navy,

For me it boils down to "we broke it, so we own it." Bush promised we'd leave only after we had ensured every Iraqi had a say in their new government. That means after a stable democracy is in place. Cutting and running before then is breaking that promise.

I believe the US should leave when a legitimate fully sovereign government is in place and either asks us to leave or we're confident they're stable enough that we don't need to be there.

Of course, this does blow to smithereens any neocon dreams to pressure other nations in the ME to behave via our troops being stationed in Iraq, but I'm happy to let them cry into their Cheerios over that one.

but I'm happy to let them cry into their Cheerios over that one.

Me, too.

Much as I'd love to shake my partisan stick over this, I'll believe the article when I pry the facts from Novak's cold, dead hangs. He could well be right -- the reportage here is more or less on his beat -- but there ain't no way in hell I'm listening to what he says without additional confirmation.

I'll believe the article when I pry the facts from Novak's cold, dead hangs.

Or hands, even. Begone, scary visual image! Return to the bowels of Novak's cold dead hangs!

...well, that just made it worse. Drat!

Eddie,

Comments below:

For me it boils down to "we broke it, so we own it."

We "broke it" implies that it was functioning well under Saddam, before we came. I'm sure you don't believe this, so you need a new metaphor.

Bush promised we'd leave only after we had ensured every Iraqi had a say in their new government.

Yes.


That means after a stable democracy is in place.

Too high a hurdle. You can't expect a country to go from Saddam's dictatorship to democracy in a year or two. It took time, money and committment to transform Japan and Germany from warmongers into democracies.

Moreover, I'm not confident that Arabs in the Middle East are even want democracy. Too many folks blowin' up innocents. Too much oppression of women. Too much cultural/religious issues to iron out.

Yes, I hope for democracy, but stability short of democracy is much more realistic a goal (and more reasonable).

Cutting and running before then is breaking that promise.

Yes, assuming the bar is reasonably set.

I believe the US should leave when a legitimate fully sovereign government is in place and either asks us to leave or we're confident they're stable enough that we don't need to be there.

I like it.

Of course, this does blow to smithereens any neocon dreams to pressure other nations in the ME to behave via our troops being stationed in Iraq, but I'm happy to let them cry into their Cheerios over that one.

Doesn't add anything to your point. Neocons aren't bogeymen. They may be right, they may be wrong. Who cares what they think, though?

Cheers, ND

Anarch, FWIW I thought you were making some sort of statement as regards the state of Novak's manicure. But "hands" does make more sense.

Slarti -- trying for more and better clarity:

Given the source, I think that this is probably a trial balloon being floated by the administration. I don't take Novak as gospel generally, but I do think he tends to have good sources in the administration; good enough that he probably wouldn't say something like this unless it were being thought about (or the administration wanted to let people think it was being thought about.) I mean: he'd have ways of checking, and I assume people would have steered him off this one if it were completely off base. I find the idea that we are thinking about doing this, if true, appalling.

I was kind of angry earlier. For what it's worth, I would have been less angry if I thought that the administration had done its very best to get Iraq right from the outset. Probably the single thing that I mind most about this administration is its cavalier attitude towards a lot of things that I think really matter, and this particular article sort of pressed all my buttons on that score.

(It would take a "resolute" President to sit by and watch while Iraq fell into civil war, indeed.)

It's Novak, of course. As we all know, Novak either makes s**t up or repeats what his benefactors in the GOP wish to have broadcast.

If his motivations aren't the former, then it stands to reason there's some political gain to be had by the GOP by tossing these sweetmeats to the adoring faithful.

It's likely Bush is trying to reassure the part of the GOP that doesn't belong to the 'tacitus-kill-them-all-let-God (our God is bigger than Allah)-sort-'em-out' faction--there will be an end. This faction, while not completely adverse to the notion of war from the standpoint of US losses, is greatly distressed by the economic toll an indefinite Iraq war brings.

I believe the US should leave when a legitimate fully sovereign government is in place and either asks us to leave or we're confident they're stable enough that we don't need to be there.

I'd guess that Iraqi political parties in January's elections will all have "We will ask the US to leave as soon as we are elected" as plank #1.

Off at a slight tangent, but this is really bad:

US soldiers in Iraq used to have free access to the Internet from "Internet Cafe" style banks of computers. They don't, any more: a blocking program called WebSense is being used to prevent soldiers/reservists getting access to some websites. Some websites are being censored because they're giving casualty figures for Iraq: some because they're "tasteless". There appears to be no right of appeal.

"Something about being censored tends to make me enraged. Make sure you put in that if I had no doubt before I had no [eff]ing doubt now: I'm not voting for people who censor. If they treat decorated vets the way they've been doing, what hope does someone like me have? It's part and parcel of the same damned mindset. I've had it up to here, and as soon as I can, I'm getting out." cite

I'm going to miss Gin's regular posts: it was the one sure way I had of knowing she was still okay. (Well, I can hope she'll send e-mails. But her livejournal was a quick way of letting a lot of friends know that as of X hours Nday she was just fine, which is a reassuring kind of thing to know about a friend in a warzone.) The Pentagon has decided, in its infinite wisdom, that soldiers serving in Iraq can't be allowed to get their own impression of what's going on: and as part of that, access to livejournal is blocked.

If I needed another reason to be angry with this administration, I've just got one.

Okay (deep breath) "really bad" in the context of things that could happen and things that have happened is a bit of an exaggeration. But pointlessly outrageous. The Iraqis have free access to the Internet. What the hell is the motivation for keeping active-service soldiers from having the same access?

Navy Davy,

We have created a nation that has no army, just a "National Guard" of undertrained, underequipped, poorly led men. We have disolved the previous army, letting its trained men find whatever employment (or trouble) that they can find. We have a neighbor (Iran) that would be happy to take a big chunk of territory (South Iraq.)

So, when we leave in 1 year, what's to stop the Iranians from coming in? Or is that the Plan by which we get in a war with Iran?

"It's Novak, of course. As we all know, Novak either makes s**t up or repeats what his benefactors in the GOP wish to have broadcast."

I'm really not sure about the former, and am inclined to believe that when you think that is what is happening, it's really the latter. No factual basis, just a hunch.

And what a fine trial balloon this is. "They" will find that a great many GWB loyalists are not interested in the least in the great Neocon Game, and would be very happy just to get our guys out and let Iraqis kill each other.

(I spent last week in Montana, and was surprised how widspread that exact sentiment is, from people who were gung ho in 3/03).

This is fun!

I knew when the Novak story hit that the pro-war/pro-Bush faction would take maybe ten minutes to go from "Bush is better than Kerry because Bush will stay the course in Iraq and Kerry will just leave" to "Well, if Bush wants to just leave, that's fine."

This, after a hundred or so posts claiming that the gloomy news coming out of Iraq was all motivated by anti-Bush partisanship: "Look! That General? He worked for Clinton; obviously he hates Bush! And that one? He's been against the war from the start; why should we believe him?" and "No! The war's going as well as can be expected. You liberals want everything to happen right now; nation-building takes time if you're going to do it right, and God Bless George Bush He's Resolved to Do It Right."

Not to mention all the ponderously-reasoned posts over the past year, at least, explaining how a stable, democratic Iraq was absolutely vital to US interests in the region and security here at home.

LMAO!

You sure y'all didn't get whiplash, changing your stance that fast?

CaseyL,

Are you suggesting that our fellow right-wing American's morality and ethics are relative to the positions of the Republican alpha male?

CaseyL,

Are you suggesting that our fellow right-wing American's morality and ethics are relative to the positions of the Republican alpha male?

Yes, and yes.

Marvelous example of pack-animal behavior.

CaseyL: Uh, which exact members of the "pro-war/pro-Bush faction" are you referring to? Everyone I've read either doubts Novak's credibility (especially when coupled with his laughably absurd lineup of second-term nominees and his role in the Plame leak, which landed the administration in hot water for no good reason--hardly an act that will endear him with the already tight-lipped inner circle) or thinks it's a phenomenonally stupid idea. Or, more often than not, both.

I'm fairly confident that CaseyL isn't talking about me.... right? Because I would be incredibly angry if Bush suddenly cut and ran.

What the hell is the motivation for keeping active-service soldiers from having the same access?

I can think of a couple that involve security, but if this is just to keep the truth from getting around, I agree that this is a bad move.

Or it could be simply that the US Armed Forces have discovered that the servicemen are downloading far too much pr0n, and have taken measures to put a stop to that.

I too feel confident that CaseyL isn't talking about me, because of the whole posting rules thing. And because it's completely lacking in nuance.

Slarti: I can think of a couple that involve security, but if this is just to keep the truth from getting around, I agree that this is a bad move.

From what feedback this move has been getting, it seems that the spread of the banned sites is far too broad for it to be a security measure.

As far as I'm concerned, a serviceman (or woman) on active duty ought to be allowed to download as much pr0n in their offduty time as he or she feels like. If that's the motivation, it's also a bad move. Specific items of pr0n may be illegal, but banning all pr0n is treating servicepeople as if they were children. Not a good move.

too broad for it to be a security measure

Is this really something we ought to leave up to your judgement?

As far as I'm concerned, a serviceman (or woman) on active duty ought to be allowed to download as much pr0n in their offduty time as he or she feels like.

Me, too. But the armed services may not permit these activities on their equipment. My employer doesn't. I was attempting to browse the blogosphere last week while on jury duty, and I couldn't even access most blogs, because of the same kind of filter.

I'm not saying this definitely doesn't suck, I'm just saying that you don't know for sure.

Slarti: Is this really something we ought to leave up to your judgement?

Certainly not. But I'd be glad if you can explain to me how banning the Victoria's Secret website is a security measure. That's what I mean by "too broad". Do you feel that in this respect my judgement is wrong?

But the armed services may not permit these activities on their equipment.

Apparently, most of the army bases in Iraq have banks of computers for use by servicepeople in offduty time - web cafe style. Technically speaking, these are military computers, I suppose. But practically, they're supplied for private use by servicepeople. They're not used for work, they're used for play, for communication with home, and yes, probably, for downloading pr0n. It's these computers which have suddenly been locked out of a wide number of websites by WebSense.

Jes,

I have a friend working in IT over there right now. I will email him and see what he says.

Bandwidth may feel like it is unlimited in the U.S., but it is truly not... and certainly is not over there.

I don't profess to know what they are doing, but I do know that he complains about alot of guys jacking around with the systems over there... it's just like over here you have the contractors/military guys trying to play nice together.

That's what I mean by "too broad".

Fine. Filters, though, tend to be unreasonable. Websense, in particular, is so stupid that when I repeatedly got locked out of websites (oddly, not this one) I clicked on the link given on the Websense page that was supposed to point me to the courthouse's rules of use...and that, too, was blocked by Websense.

I agree that it's probably not a smart move to filter like this, especially if some serviceman can be made just a wee bit happier by being able to buy a gift for his/her spouse over the internet. But it's not my call.

Blue: I have a friend working in IT over there right now. I will email him and see what he says.

Ask him if he minds having what he says passed on to a servicewoman in Iraq who's kinda annoyed at having her access curtailed for no obvious reason. If there is a sound technical reason for the curtailment, it might make it more bearable for her.

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