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July 10, 2005

Comments

"We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home."

Maybe I'm misreading, but it seems clear that:

A) London and Madrid are at home

B) We want to fight them in the countries that give them comfort so that we don't have to fight them at home

C) We aren't done yet

D) The statement is a statement of strategy, kill them where they live instead of letting them kill us where we live

I don't think it has anything to do with the flypaper strategy.

And as we discussed before, whatever one thinks or doesn't think about Al Qaeda contact with Saddam, Saddam was used in the sick Middle Eastern story as proof that the US was a paper tiger (they "couldn't" get rid of him in Gulf War I they could only drive him out of Kuwait) and was defintely involved in all sorts of terrorist activity--which doesn't come in nice discrete packages where you can say "Al Qaeda" is over here which has absolutely nothing to do with any other terrorist organization. So the China analogy isn't quite on spot.

It doesn't mean anything. He says it because it comforts the Reds; he could just as easily have said, "San Dimas High School Rules!"

What's more, you know that, Hilzoy. Which means that this piece is either snark or intends to enlighted the Reds. If the former, it should have been meaner. If the latter...it's just not going to happen. Everyone has to stop believing in Santa Clause at some point.

It means nothing. Empty phrases, devoid of awareness of their meaning. Just a feel-good mantra for the pro-war set.

I thought it was a classic Bushism, Hilzoy: just another buzzphrase. Obviously the US won't be fighting terrorists in the UK or in Spain - nor would we wish you to. (As the recent kidnapping from Italy makes clear, even CIA involvement in anti-terrorist work is probably not a good idea, let alone having the US army invade.)

It is clear that the US military having invaded and occupied Iraq has - as one would expect - zero effect on the ability of a terrorist group to launch an attack anywhere it decides would be a good place to do it. I'm not sure what Sebastian means by "We want to fight them in the countries that give them comfort so that we don't have to fight them at home" - Iraq was one of the countries where al-Qaeda could not operate freely, and has been turned into a country where they can: Afghanistan was a country that was giving al-Qaeda comfort, but the US appears most reluctant to devote extensive resources to ensure that it does not become so again.

Fortunately, after 9/11, London's emergency services had been evolving plans and conducting rehearsals assuming that there was a terrorist strike hitting the London Underground in several places at the rush-hour. This, rather than the US bombing Fallujah or torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib, is what saved lives on Thursday.

If anything, this attack has absolutely crystalized my opposition to the Iraq war, and my opposition to any theorist who suggests that it has any connection at all to "fighting terrorism". Plainly it does not.

The war in Iraq may be useful, as Sebastian seems to suggest, for American self-aggrandizement. But that too has nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

I would go much further and ask, "Is not Baghdad "home", in the relevant sense? And if not, why not? And if not, is that not the larger part of the problem?

I'm not sure what Sebastian means by "We want to fight them in the countries that give them comfort so that we don't have to fight them at home"

Thinking about it, maybe they do mean that we'll fight them in London, and not at home. I heard Bill Kristol on FNS argue that this could happen in London because it allowed more freedom than the US. Maybe that "extra freedom" is considered "aid and comfort to the enemy."

I'm still betting on "San Dimas High School Rules!"

I don't know what it means to Bush, I really don't. It means nothing to me.

Whereas I can't get that Livingstone speech out of my head. It has me thinking: cities like Boston, London, New York, Madrid, Chicago--I don't think I'm taking a serious risk by living in these places & planning to live here my whole life if I can afford it. Sure they're likelier targets, but the health benefits of walking, the environmental benefits, the lower risk of dying in a car crash, of living in a place that makes me happy--these swamp whatever tiny little increase in risk I am taking by living in a big, densely populated city.

But if it ever gets to the point where staying is a serious risk, where people are leaving because it's not safe, where riding the subway or the train is actually more dangerous than driving--maybe it's a risk worth taking, to keep these cities what they are.

If we really would expose ourselves to a significantly greater risk of attack by upholding the Constitution and human rights, if that's not just a false choice used to justify our lowest impulses, our desire for vengeance, bad choices made in a state of panic--maybe that's a risk worth taking, to keep our country what it is.

It's easy to say this now, of course, when we've had these four years free of attack, which I never thought we would get. Probably easier to say this for someone who has no kids, too. And these decisions aren't mine alone. So who knows if I could live up to it, if things got much much worse. But right now, I mean it.

If we really would expose ourselves to a significantly greater risk of attack by upholding the Constitution ...maybe that's a risk worth taking, to keep our country what it is.

Of course it's a risk worth taking. Have we now arrived at the point where this is no longer self-evident, even to Democrats?

We will make Iraq a free and democratic nation by attracting every Jihadi, scumbag, and thug in the world to slug it out on the streets of Baghdad. How can you people be so blind as not to see the genius of this strategery?

D) The statement is a statement of strategy, kill them where they live instead of letting them kill us where we live

I don't think it has anything to do with the flypaper strategy.

I quite literally cannot understand how you arrived at this position, especially in light of this juxtaposition. You've essentially described the flypaper strategy in a nutshell. Is it possible for you to expand on this?

And as we discussed before, whatever one thinks or doesn't think about Al Qaeda contact with Saddam...

In all seriousness: is there any colorable argument whatsoever that Saddam and Al Qaeda had meaningful ties? My understanding was that this question had been conclusively settled years ago, which is why the GOP does a collective averted-gaze whenever Cheney goes off the reservation like that...

I obviously expressed myself very poorly if you would think that's what I meant, especially since everything else I've written would tell you that it wasn't.

In a way of course it's self-evident, when it's presented to you in those terms. But it's not usually presented in those terms, and we don't usually think seriously about either possibility. People who think certain policies are immoral are also most likely to think certain policies are unnecessary or counterproductive. People who think these policies are work are most likely to deny their human and moral costs.

I'm not talking about a dictatorship, a completely unrecognizable country, martial law. I'm talking about the kinds of policies we've already accepted, or that have been advocated by others, or that our country has turned to in the past. And I'm not talking about the current level of danger from terrorism. I'm talking about if it gets a lot worse.

The maybe was largely rhetorical. Or rather, the question is less whether it's worth it than whether I would be able to live up to it if it came to that--and it's more in doubt when it comes to the mundane decision about whether to move away from a likely target than the political stuff.

Anyway, I think most people would think the choice was self-evident, if you presented the question to them the right way, not least because the evidence of increased risk to them is weak indeed, and the evidence of harm to others is quite strong.

Livingstone's was the first speech I've read that made me see that these are real choices that citizens in the Western democracies may have to make--and that actually it's not that hard to see what choices we should make, the hard part will be holding to those choices if the cost of doing so grows. And that is up to us.

here's a maybe less muddled point about the bombings in London:

more and more we ask ourselves, why haven't there been more attacks on the west in general and the U.S. in particular since 9/11?

Some of it is Bin Laden's desire for spectacular attacks, no doubt. Some of it is our policies' success in disrupting Al Qaeda--whether it's destroying the camps in Afghanistan, or capturing individual terrorists here or abroad, or improved security measures.

But, let's face it. It's just not that hard to get conventional explosives onto a subway or a commuter train. You don't need direct orders from Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and you don't need an engineering degree. The security measures necessary to prevent it are too expensive and too time consuming; mass transit couldn't function with the sort of delays we can accept on the airlines. We haven't even taken the garbage cans out of every country. And the stations and the trains are packed at rush hour. You don't even necessarily have to blow yourselves up to do it.

And a large part of the answer, it seems to me, is that for all this Enemy Within talk you get about Muslim immigrants in the U.S. and Europe, for all the justifiable complaints about the INS, for all the disturbing extremism you see in poll results, especially in Europe--if there were enough people here who wanted to kill us, and were willing to risk imprisonment, execution or take their own lives to do so, there would have been successful attacks.

It occurs to me, hearing that "there have been no terrorist attacks in the US since 9/11" that the anthrax murders must have been solved, and their perpetrator found and tried, and somehow I missed it.

Could someone bring me up to date on that one?

Where did you hear that? I hope you don't think you read it in my post, because I didn't actually say it.

Ah, screw this.

Where did you hear that? I hope you don't think you read it in my post, because I didn't actually say it.

I'm fairly sure he's referring to the standard GOP talking point and not to anything you've written, although I don't know the specific genesis of the remark.

D) The statement is a statement of strategy, kill them where they live instead of letting them kill us where we live

I don't think it has anything to do with the flypaper strategy.

I quite literally cannot understand how you arrived at this position, especially in light of this juxtaposition. You've essentially described the flypaper strategy in a nutshell. Is it possible for you to expand on this?

Yes. The flypaper strategy is that if we go somewhere they will come to us wherever that is. Going to kill them in their homes is going to kill them in their homes. Afghanistan was killing Al Qaeda and the Taliban (they aren't the same thing) in their homes. Iraq isn't a flypaper strategy. It also wasn't a going to their homes strategy. It was more of a one-step-at-a-time strategy realizing that no meaningful Middle East change could take place with Saddam sitting there in the middle of it.

Anarch:

In all seriousness: is there any colorable argument whatsoever that Saddam and Al Qaeda had meaningful ties? My understanding was that this question had been conclusively settled years ago, which is why the GOP does a collective averted-gaze whenever Cheney goes off the reservation like that...

Apparently not,

http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/7/10/93433/5162

I don't know why it took me so long to realize that Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror because AQ would rather fight us there than in their home(s). It's flypaper all right, but who's the fly?

It was more of a one-step-at-a-time strategy realizing that no meaningful Middle East change could take place with Saddam sitting there in the middle of it.

It's clear enough that this was the central purpose of the war, regardless of what was said. There are some real problems with it, on its face. SH wasn't running the AQ Khan scam. It's the death of Arafat, not the removal of SH, that opens the way in Palestine, if indeed it's even open. Certainly SH wasn't helping UBL stay hidden. He didn't have anything to do with the people who bombed Madrid or London. Or in SA. One could go on for pages, listing all the bad things in the ME that SH had nothing to do with. All you've really got on the other side are his attepmts at cheap publicity wrt Palestinian suicide bombers, and faith in a domino theory. And the eager whispers of a band of exiles in the pay of the Iranian mullahs . . .

It was more of a one-step-at-a-time strategy realizing that no meaningful Middle East change could take place with Saddam sitting there in the middle of it.

So the domino theory is worth 1,700+ U.S. military lives, uncounted (in the literal sense, but a low-ball estimate is tens of thousands) Iraqi lives, not to mention injuries short of death, hundreds of billions of dollars, and the loss of the world's respect.

All this for "meaningful Middle East change." As CharleyCarp points out, this is very likely the real purpose of the war. How does that square with the "last resort" rhetoric the President continues to state to this day? Just another commonlace lie by a politician?

(and I thought I ran a spell check! "commonplace"; and as usual, a better word than "state" occurs to me after pressing post: "employ.")

It was more of a one-step-at-a-time strategy realizing that no meaningful Middle East change could take place with Saddam sitting there in the middle of it.

It isn't clear to me that the administration has a strategy to effect "meaningful Middle East change" of any stripe, even today.

I'm also convinced that conservatives like Sebastian didn't need any strategy beyond a 'get tough attitude' post 9/11 to justify their support for the invasion of Iraq and wouldn't need a strategy enunciated today but for the disaster that is now 'Mess-in-potamia'.

There is no strategy, never has been, only attempts at justification for policies as yet unstated.

Katherine, I was referring to a talking point, not to your post.

Sebastian, I see where you're coming from as far as the President's statement, but you'd have to agree, I'm sure, that what we're doing *now* in Iraq (and how we got to this point) has nothing to do with the strategy you've outlined.

We created the chaos that is Iraq and by failing in all sorts of ways, terrorists came over the borders, joined insurgents who were already there, and now we can't even help reconstruct the country properly because of the violence.

We're not killing the terrorists where they live. We're not even effectively creating a stable "base" for this grand Middle East plan.

Our soldiers, and the not-nearly-as-strong-as-the-adminstration-claims Iraqi forces and police *are* flypaper.

My broken record: I don't understand why true believers in the long-term strategy that they say is the basis for this war aren't the loudest and most vocal critics of this administration.

B) We want to fight them in the countries that give them comfort so that we don't have to fight them at home

False dichotomy.

B) We want to fight them in the countries that give them comfort so that we don't have to fight them at home

False dichotomy.

Quite correct, technically we could not fight them at all. I didn't mention that option because I didn't think many would agree to it.

From the NYT:

"The number of Reserve and National Guard troops on domestic and overseas missions has fallen to about 138,000, down from a peak of nearly 220,000 after the invasion of Iraq two years ago, a sharp decline that military officials say will continue in the months ahead."

Their active duty stint used to be limited to 1 year in a 6 year period; the Bush Admin increased that to 24 months; most of the part-timers are coming up on that 24-month limit.

Also, with wildfire and hurricane season upon us, State Governors are clamoring to get their Nat'l Guard units back to help with evacuation, rescue, and clean-up.

The armed forces say they can replace the troops rotating out, though nowhere near a 1:1 basis.

"By next fall, we'll have expended our ability to use National Guard brigades as one of the principal forces," said Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army commander who was dispatched to Iraq last month to assess the operation. "We're reaching the bottom of the barrel."

So, what happens then?

Does Bush declare victory and pull our forces out?

Does he attempt to hold Iraq with less than 100,000 troops?

Does he redeploy troops from elsewhere (Europe, Korea, Asia)?

Does he increase the 24-month limit to 36-months?

My guess is he declares victory and pulls out.

Quite correct, technically we could not fight them at all. I didn't mention that option because I didn't think many would agree to it.

Pretty dry sense of humor there, Sebastian.

Quite correct, technically we could not fight them at all. I didn't mention that option because I didn't think many would agree to it.

Fighting them in the countries that give them comfort does not mean that we won't have to fight them at home. Thus, a false dichotomy.

We both know full well that is what I meant, of course, but given your previous foreign policy positions, I understand your evasiveness.

I will, however, make every attempt to spell out, in great detail, any further argument directed to you, as though I were speaking to a petulant and passive-aggressive child.

Sebastian: you said: B) We want to fight them in the countries that give them comfort so that we don't have to fight them at home

someone else pointed out: False dichotomy.

you said: Quite correct, technically we could not fight them at all. I didn't mention that option because I didn't think many would agree to it.

And I still have no idea what you're talking about, unless you mean the bleedin' obvious. Which I at first discounted.

(The bleedin' obvious: the US can't bomb New York City the way it bombed Fallujah, no matter how accurate its missiles, just on account of hearing there may be al-Qaeda supporters there. No matter what Karl Rove* claims about all Democrats being traitors, it would still be impolitic to kill Americans the way the US military can kill Iraqis.)

*It is ironic that only weeks after declaring that anyone who voted against Bush is a traitor, Rove should himself be outed as a traitor.

Iraq doesn't "give them comfort." It's not "where they live." Not in 2002 and not now.

It's just a large and yet more vulnerable version of the USS Cole.

Quite correct, technically we could not fight them at all.

The fourth option is that we could fight them both in countries that give them aid and comfort, and "at home".

Fighting them in both places depends on how well you fight them abroad.

As a statement of strategy--that it is better to fight them abroad than at home--no false dichotomy is implicated.

And felixrayman suggesting that someone is petulant, is well rather rich.

Offering up other people in other countries as targets in order to shield ourselves is as morally depraved as Saddam Hussein putting human shields around military targets.

Offering up other people in other countries as targets in order to shield ourselves is as morally depraved as giving other people smallpox-infected blankets in the guise of charity.

Offering up other people in other countries as targets in order to shield ourselves is morally depraved because it means, apparently, that Bush and his supporters are willing to add more other people in more other countries to our list of acceptable proxy targets.


"Offering up other people in other countries as targets" is not a particularly good distillation of the discussion. Many of the people you are talking about offering up are US military. Many of the people you are talking about offering up are offering support to the terrorists in question. Many of the people are caught in the crossfire.

But talk of 'offering up' is a mischaracterization anyway. The whole point of 'take it to them' rhetoric is that it the terrorist groups cannot be contained, they must be destroyed. So 'offering up' isn't an option anyway. As for choosing a field of battle far from home, of course you should. That is true of any war at any time and most certainly does not have anything to do with smallpox infected 'charity'.

Sebastian: As for choosing a field of battle far from home, of course you should.

Why does this remind me of the story about the man who lost his watch searching for it indoors because he could put the light on, not in his back yard where he'd actually lost it?

Well, actually, what it more strongly reminds me of is the story of the President whose country was attacked by terrorists wanting to attack a country with no connection to the terrorist attack, because there were lots of targets in that country.

But, joking apart:

Fighting them in both places depends on how well you fight them abroad.

So, in your view, it wouldn't be possible for the US to take police action against terrorist groups in the US unless the US was bombing the hell out of Fallujah? Or not?

Bush's comments bizzare? Perhaps he was speaking as an American president charged with doing what he can to protect America,which to date,he sems to have done. Inappropriate or ill chosen perhaps,bizzare hardly. However if bizzare is your thing you may wish to study Cunning[?]Realist[?]. "How did those terrorists manage to slip out of Iraq undetected". The same way they mangage to slip in undetected,perhaps using methods honed to perfection on our own borders. But which terrorists exactly is CR referring to? The London bombers,couldn't be,the Brits are still uncertain as to who they are or where they came from. CR,showing a stratigical and tactical impatience unworthy of such a student of military science,says of osama & al Zawahiri says'no more excuses,find them ,kill them". OK,do you want them before or after breakfast,we'll send a cab out right now and fetch them. I could almost see him stamping his feet on the ground as his handler typed his words in for him. I could go on but why bother. The flypaper strategy; home? Why can I not shake the uncomfortable feeling that there is more anger at Bush then at Islamic murderers,the ones who actually bombed Madrid,London,etc. Why,well look at Hilzoy's last quote/link. Bizzare as a description doesn't even come within shouting distance.

johnt: Why can I not shake the uncomfortable feeling that there is more anger at Bush then at Islamic murderers,the ones who actually bombed Madrid,London,etc.

I don't know, John. Perhaps because you're determined to make partisan political capital out of the attack on London, even on the very day of the attack on London?

Sebastian,

As for choosing a field of battle far from home, of course you should. That is true of any war at any time and most certainly does not have anything to do with smallpox infected 'charity'.

This is of course true, but is only morally justifiable if it is your enemies' turf you are doing the fighting on. If, say, France and Germany decide to have a war, but neither of them wants to deal with the inevitable destruction and civilian casualties and they decide to use Belgium as a convenient battleground, this is neither fair to the Belgians nor is it morally defensible on the part of the French or the Germans. Iraq was not a battlefield in the WoT until we made it one, and it seems rather rude and insensitive of us to keep insisting that it's so much nicer to fight the terrorists there than here.

Jesurgilac re4:29 post The word traitor is being bandied about with a rather loose abandon. You don't like what Rove said but there was not even an implication of treason. Conversely you accuse Rove of treason,when the crime has not been committed,suggested,or hinted at. I would offer to you as an alternative an American president accepting millions in bribes from foreign sources to,among other things,facilitate the transfer of military technology.

It is overstating things a bit to say that it has not been suggested or hinted that Rove committed a crime. Whether or not his comments will prove legally defensible at some point in the future is undertermined, but that shouldn't force us to remain silent on the wisdom of his actions.

johnt: Jes can speak for herself, but I took her claim about Rove to refer to Rove's having outed a CIA agent working on WMD just to score points against a political enemy. This is, as best I can tell, not treason in the legal sense, but it certainly doesn't demonstrate any great concern for our national security either.

The last link in my post was, well, a parody. And a fairly obvious one at that.

"Why can I not shake the uncomfortable feeling that there is more anger at Bush then at Islamic murderers,the ones who actually bombed Madrid,London,etc." -- I don't know, any more than I know why Bill Bennett can't shake the desire to play high-stakes poker. If you're trying to make an accusation, rather than commenting on your own psychological state, I suggest you try to back it up.

The Medium Lobster has the definitive take on the "flypaper" strategy.

You don't like what Rove said but there was not even an implication of treason.

Actually, there was: Rove repeated the fable that "Al Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America's men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals." cite

Conversely you accuse Rove of treason,when the crime has not been committed,suggested,or hinted at.

He betrayed the identity of a covert CIA agent to the world. Whether or not that constitutes the prosecutable crime of treason, it is certainly the act of a traitor.

I would offer to you as an alternative an American president accepting millions in bribes from foreign sources to,among other things,facilitate the transfer of military technology.

We're talking about Reagan, here? Certainly President Reagan facilitated the transfer of military technology to Iraq and to Iran, but I never heard that his involvement in these arms-to-the-enemy scandals was because he'd been bribed. Got a cite?

Sebastian: It is overstating things a bit to say that it has not been suggested or hinted that Rove committed a crime. Whether or not his comments will prove legally defensible at some point in the future is undertermined, but that shouldn't force us to remain silent on the wisdom of his actions.

Should have hit preview. Much more devastating than my comment. ;-)

Katherine, even if you're right that AQ prefers to fight in Iraq than New York, so flypaper works to some extent, what is the end game? If we drive them out of Iraq, they come to New York again, only with more experience. If we lose in Iraq, same thing but they also have a whole country behind them (last time that happened, we lost the Twin Towers). For long-term good, we would have to actually kill them all, and it is very clear that Iraq is actually encouraging more people to join up on their side. If my flypaper didn't kill the flies but fed them until they got bigger, I'd sue the manufacturer.

Re: domino theory - have you noticed that nobody in the mainstream media is drawing the obvious conclusion from the Iranian elections: when you invade the country next door, you increase nationalism and xenophobia? I.e., we just wrecked Iran's latest chance at liberal democracy. Go us.

As for choosing a field of battle far from home, of course you should. That is true of any war at any time and most certainly does not have anything to do with smallpox infected 'charity'.

Also, note that the smallbox blanket story is a Ward Churchill shibboleth, for what it's worth.

smallbox blanket story is a Ward Churchill shibboleth,

One should note that while this particular story seems to be false, the use of smallpox as an weapon against native americans is not

It is also during the eighteenth century that we find written reports of American Indians being intentionally exposed to smallpox by Europeans. In 1763 in Pennsylvania, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander of the British forces....wrote in the postscript of a letter to Bouquet the suggestion that smallpox be sent among the disaffected tribes. Bouquet replied, also in a postscript,

"I will try to innoculate the[m]...with some blankets that may fall into their hands, and take care not get the disease myself."
....To Bouquet's postscript, Amherst replied, "You will do well as to try to innoculate the Indians by means of blankets as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this exorable race." On June 24, Captain Ecuyer, of the Royal Americans, noted in his journal: "Out of our regard for them (1.e. two indian chiefs) we gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.


Thornon, R. (1987) American Indian Holocaust and Survival. Uni of Oklahoma Press
pp 78-79

An interesting book review I read once via "Arts & Letters Daily" speculated that during De Soto's explorations, pigs got loose and spread various diseases among the various Indian nations a couple of hundred years before westward expansion. And from accounts in genealogical background that I've come across, later outbreaks of smallpox among Cherokees happened when the settlers pretty much abandoned members of their parties who were sick, and the Cherokees didn't know to avoid the unfortunates who were left to die in the wilderness. There was quite a bit of intermarriage between the settlers and the Cherokee; Chief John Ross, mayor and chief of Chattanooga (aka Ross's Landing), and Sequoyah (George Guess) are a couple of examples.

Some more medically minded may jump in here, but I think the diseases that pigs can carry, while quite nasty (they including TB and swine fever) are separate from the diseases which typically afflicted later groups (Smallpox, mumps and measles among others).

After Soto left, no Europeans visited this part of the Mississippi Valley for more than a century. Early in 1682 whites appeared again, this time Frenchmen in canoes. One of them was Réné-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. The French passed through the area where Soto had found cities cheek by jowl. It was deserted—La Salle didn't see an Indian village for 200 miles. About fifty settlements existed in this strip of the Mississippi when Soto showed up, according to Anne Ramenofsky, an anthropologist at the University of New Mexico. By La Salle's time the number had shrunk to perhaps ten, some probably inhabited by recent immigrants. Soto "had a privileged glimpse" of an Indian world, Hudson says. "The window opened and slammed shut. When the French came in and the record opened up again, it was a transformed reality. A civilization crumbled. The question is, how did this happen?"

This link has more

I don't believe that pigs can be disease vectors for smallpox, or (I hope Rick Santorum isn't listening) syphillis.

If memory serves, smallpox is human-specific, which is why it was possible to eradicate it.

Hilzoy, I'm disappointed,I thought you were the guardian of the site,the dictator of discourse,the emporer of ethics. Instead you comment on psychological states,as if you know your own. Try it like this,whatever I said was not an insult or attack on any participant on this site. If i can penetrate your deep mind for a moment what does an obvious parody got to do with a particular choice of words? Think Hilzoy,try to think.

Jesurgislac, I guess there's no hope but it was precisely the three partisan comments that I was responding to. Unless you think making negative comments about Bush/republicans is not partisan,in which case,like I said there's no hope. As to your later post I could take the trouble to point out the manifest differences between the 1980's Iran/Iraq and China but then I'd have the same problem as the first issue in this post.

The whole point of 'take it to them' rhetoric is that it the terrorist groups cannot be contained, they must be destroyed.
It's rather optimistic to believe that they can be destroyed, and somewhat counterintuitive to believe that even if they can be it's as simple as shooting people until they stop being terrorists.

And also, Sebastian, while your view of Bush's comments might be the nicer interpretation, it's not what it looks like from here.

"Here" being the UK, of course.

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