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August 24, 2006

Comments

From the linked article:

"I would add that determination is not a plan, either. We know Bush is determined."

And thus ends the argument over the No End but Victory case that all we need to prevail is will.

Yow:

"Charles stops by every once in a while to remind everyone that RedState does not really have a party line on anything and we don't censor front page contributors. But, if there is one thing I think we can safely say is that RedState stands behind Donald Rumsfeld."

Pretty much every word of Erick's story leaves me speechless.

The Party is free to vote on the Comrade-Secretary's performance!

via TBogg:

Oh, no. These assholes don't get to unshackle themselves from Bush and his failed policies, to include any wars he's already started and any he plans on starting, and retreat back into "We're Reagan Conservatives!" until they apologize publicly for voting for the son of a bitch twice, and do some significant community service, and then sign papers saying they will never, ever again speak in a room with more than three people who are not of their own immediate family.

Ideally I want to see their asses painting up a bunch of schools in Iraq, and I want these bastards to pay for the paint themselves.

Jesus, the mess these people have made of the planet, and we're supposed to trust that there's some reason for optimism and accept that it's all the media's fault, that the liberals caused all this and they were just sitting there watching in passive voice? Screw them. Screw them all.

The whole system is so broken I don't think we'll ever fix it, and they're already making plans to announce that Bush just didn't kill enough people because he was too compassionate and too scared of the liberal media.

Screw them. Tie Bush around their necks, tie Iraq around their necks, like a fucking millstone, and let's watch the whole conservative, paleo or neo, sink deep into the ocean trenches. You failed, boys. Failed badly.

And one of the consequences of failing this badly is that you have to shut up and let actual adults take charge and clean this shit up. I don't give a rat's ass whether you're ready to live with it. Sit down, and don't raise your hand again until you have something useful to say.

-D. Sidhe

It's not Monty Python, but:

Let's not forget the horrible way the Bush Administration has handled the PR war in this country. They have been totally unable to control the dialogue on any number of issues. The Left, and usually the extremists among them, have been able to dictate terminology, talking points, and memes nation wide for far too long. Why can't the Administration get out a clear, intelligent message that will give people something solid to counteract at least some of the lies being spread by the Left. It's like they don't care. I know Rove is supposed to be a genius and I'm clearly missing something, but I'm having trouble seeing it.

judson: I haven't been policing this much recently, since I don't like being a policeperson in general, but: one rule of the site is no profanity. This is not just because we're squeamish wimps; it's because some people read this at work, where filters are an issue; and also because we find it helps keep the place civil.

Likewise, no incivility. Calling people assholes fails on both counts.

What Charles thinks passes as something resembling fact or fact-based opinion:

Our substandard performance in Iraq is the sole reason for Bush's low approval ratings, and it has hobbled his ability to push forward other parts of his agenda.

Comport that with the Social Security failure which predated the drop in the polls, and the ongoing failures on budgets, corruption, Katrina, well, just about anything the Republicans try to do. The whole agenda has been a failure.

A better information war. This lesson should have been reinforced in the wake of the Israel-Hezbollah War, where Israel was mostly unscathed militarily but took an embarrassing drubbing in the media.

Unfortunately, the one thing the Republicans do well is the information war. The problems are substantive. Better propaganda is not going to help.

And why did Israel take an embarrassing drubbing in the media -- a bad publicity director and an unfair media? Maybe its because they failed to achieve through military action their stated military aims, which is most books is a "defeat." Not the end of Israel kind of defeat, but a setback no matter how you cut it. Not something that a better media campaign can soothe.
____

Finally, conservatives who now finally call for more troops, after arguing strongly throughout 2004 that no more were needed, have no credibility. And how many more? And were do they come from? And does it make sense to now try to stuff a civil war back in the bottle? Even those Republicans calling for more troops are not calling for enough to do the much harder job created by past failures (if anything effective can be done with more troops - a big if).

I am sure in the same breadth with which Charles utters this "plan," he will fault Democrats for not having a "plan."

This reminds me of the words of a local talk show host who was in-country not so long ago, who said that "hope is not a plan".

Was that back in '03? I heard that phrase a lot back then.

No matter, we're on to Iran!

Judson is OTM.

Pretty much every word of Erick's story leaves me speechless.

Rumsfeld for President ? wow. those guys are really loyal to Bush Brand Republicanism.

Oh, my. Well, democracy is messy. I'm looking forward to the day it gets all over those guys.

Over at the former HoCB, a thread is now open.

D. Sidhe: "Oh, no. These assholes don't get to unshackle themselves from Bush and his failed policies, to include any wars he's already started and any he plans on starting, and retreat back into "We're Reagan Conservatives!" until they apologize publicly for voting for the son of a bitch twice, and do some significant community service, and then sign papers saying they will never, ever again speak in a room with more than three people who are not of their own immediate family."

I can understand the sentiment, but how do you propose actually making them do that? By law? Should the republic be suspended and the Bill of Rights not reinstated until the right-thinking get their proper revenge?

Maybe it's partly self-serving because, while I was never a Bush voter, I was on the wrong side of this particular issue for a while. But when people start making their lists of all the things we should do to punish Republican voters once we get back in office, it strikes me as really not helping them change their minds or their votes. Most people don't vote on the basis of who will punish them adequately for their past political transgressions.

I'm not interested in punishing Bush voters in the sense of go to jail or be fined or lose voting rights. I am interested in seeing them get the blame for the President, party, and policies that they supported.

I am even more interested in seeing them understand the connection between their actions and those actions' consequences. For instance, it will be interesting to see which conservatives apply any lessons from Iraq to the case of Iran.

"I would add that determination is not a plan, either. We know Bush is determined."

Do we really? He is determined not to "back down", but he doesn't do a lot of things you might expect from "determined". Like push for authorization to expand the number of people in the armed forces. (Which, I'll repeat, he should have done immediately after we started in Afghanistan even if he wasn't planning on going into Iraq).

which conservatives apply any lessons from Iraq to the case of Iran

The lesson is clear -- send more troops this time.

So, let's see. If we needed 300,000 troops to do a decent job in Iraq, and Iran has a population that is just under 3 times as large, that would suggest about 850,000 troops for Iran.

Nice. Should take care of any remaining unemployment problems.

But of course, I imagine those disaffected Irani youth will shower our troops with roses. All the American soldiers who will be able to get out of the service early because conquering Iran is so easy will be able to open florist shops when they come home.

The lesson is clear

It is, but you've missed it kenB: the lesson is that this time you take out the true evildoers standing in the shadows ruining an otherwise perfect plan. Then we can be greeted like the liberators we really are.

Seb: I think, as I said in my 'failures of will' post, that he honestly does not get the fact that caring about something involves more than really really wishing it would happen; that it involves, say, hard work and careful thought about how to accomplish it. He is "determined", in the sense that he won't back down, but he doesn't do any of the things you might expect to follow from that, because he doesn't see that they're necessary.

And why should he? Nothing in his life has ever suggested the need to try hard and think clearly. (I mean this quite seriously. It was what first really spooked me about Bush, back in 1999: the thought: oh God, one of those rich kids who honestly have never gotten the idea that it's just not OK to coast by on names and connections. For context, I am speaking as someone who knows people like that, not indulging an anti-rich kids prejudice. George Bush and I are from different parts of the same class, so I recognized him.)

"George Bush and I are from different parts of the same class"

Which of you had to clean the blackboard?

I am interested in seeing them get the blame for the President, party, and policies that they supported.

No problem. I accept the blame. And if I had a do-over, I wouldn’t change a thing, except push for more troops in the post invasion phase. If we had secured the border with Iran and ruthlessly put down any and all insurgents we would be (mostly) out of there by now.

Hindsight is a great thing no?

I’ll take the blame for supporting freeing millions of people and attempting to plant the seeds of democracy in the ME. The bottom line is that we can transform it, or we can destroy it, but the old status quo can no longer be tolerated. Therefore in my mind, those who oppose our attempts to transform the region doom it to the alternative.

I’ll take the blame, but you won’t find me apologizing or regretting my support. The alternative could be a lot lot worse. It still may be before all is said and done.

Not disagreeing with hilzoy's analysis, but there's the additional issue of Bush's and his supporters' tendency to mistake ideology for reality. There is a deep seated opposition to just looking at the facts and figuring out what to do a la those practical Swedes. Social Security was attacked, not in an attempt to address a real problem, but for ideological reasons. All the disrespect for science comes from people who are much more comfortable believing and applying their beliefs than learning and creating. The refusal to deal with the health care crisis (except to use it to serve the interests of lobbyists) is another example. All the determination in the world won't help if a person or group is so blinded by their preconceptions that they can't learn or plan. Bush and the Republican party leadership in general are too ideological to be competent.

Hindsight is a great thing no?

nobody needed any hindsight to know that Bush wasn't up for doing what was required. you only needed to look at how he left the job unfinished in Afghanistan to know how he was going to handle Iraq.

i don't hate at all saying "I told you so".

Steve, I challenge your right to designate yourself to be the changer or destroyer of the Middle East. For Chirst's sake, get a prespective. We lost three thousand. That doe not make it right for us to decide that the people of the Middle East either have to do things our way ro die. How many people are you willing to kill because you have decided the status quo can't be tolerated and that even chaos and war is your preferred outcome, from the safety, of course, of your home? Talk about American Exceptionalism! What a classic example of how an ideology, can be lead to absolute folly.

Not everybody's willing to give up on blaming our lack of will:

    Think about it. Currently, the U.S. has an arsenal of 18 Ohio class submarines. Just one submarine is loaded with 24 Trident nuclear missiles. Each Trident missile has eight nuclear warheads capable of being independently targeted. That means the U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria or any other state that supports terrorist groups or engages in terrorism -- without risking the life of a single soldier.

    Terrorist supporters know we have this capacity, but because of worldwide public opinion, which often appears to be on their side, coupled with our weak will, we'll never use it.

yeah... think about it

and don't forget to check out the comments on that ClownHall article. there's no shortage of Will over there !

there must be a god watching over us and guiding us day to day - because humans really are too stupid to survive.

Dantheman: it was always me.

lily: I think that the lack of concern for reality is, in Bush's case, enabled by his never having had to concern himself with it. It just never got in his way. Funny thing, that.

"It still may be before all is said and done."

Those opposed to nuclear annihilation are appeasers and guilty of handwringing

Greenwald should use shorter titles. The "nuke-em-all" talk is accelerating ominously. I have taken this very seriously for like decades, ever since listening to table talk in the early (Cuba) and late (losing Vietnam). The way I figure, in this country a)nukular disarmament is quite unlikely; b) a smaller military and the limiting of military options will lead to frustration for the hawkish and the greater fetishization of nukes;so c) I want the 50s army back. With forced bases around the world and much adventurism and tens of thousands of casualties.

Because I listen to OCSteve. Because I listen and believe the alternative will be billions dead. I really believe I will see America use nukes in the next few years. It is worth a ton, almost any price, to prevent that.

People wonder why I hate. But people also I think don't take OCSteve and his allies seriously. They don't wanna believe it. Maybe I am a bad person for believing.

Hey Bob! I saw this bit in comments at Sadly No and thought of you:

DAS said,

August 22, 2006 at 17:13

Actually, it took a lot more personal courage to go to canada than it did to go to vietnam. I know many guys who will say they wish they would have had the courage to stay out of the war. Hell, it was easy to shut up and do what you were told… - mikey

Actually, the key issue in Vietnam was class — and Vietnam was what allowed the GOP to wage a divide and conquer strategy and win the class war for the rich.

Poor and working class stiffs generally had no choice but to fight in ‘Nam. They didn’t have the resources to make it to Canada, get student deferments, or what not (that is why Bill Clinton should get a total pass on his Vietnam war activities — for someone of his socio-economic class to have pulled off what he pulled off required extreme smarts and chutzpah … and why what he did in ‘Nam is so different than GW “Skipping out even on TANG” Bush). The middle class had a choice: they could risk Vietnam or risk protesting it. Of course, the middle/professional classes take great risk in avoiding the war, but they still had a choice, whereas the poor/working classes did not. It was resentment of the working classes of the large scale professional class sitting out of the war and protesting it that the GOP was able to use with such skill to sour those working classes on the liberalism both they and the professional classes had previously espoused — and this resentment is why so many who would benefit even from social liberal policies tend to view us “effete, latte sipping liberals” with suspicion: because our class allowed us to protest a war we didn’t believe in.

Of course the irony, as people note, is that those who so resent the upper-middle classes for their ability to sit out ‘Nam end up voting for rich folk who didn’t even have to take risks and protest to sit out ‘Nam.

But at the heart of the “effete, latte sipping liberal” meme lies a class divide and jeolousy over what the upper-middle class was able to do w.r.t. ‘Nam while the grunts got shipped off to die — a divide exploited ever since by the GOP and their lackies in the media who start shouting “don’t play at a class war” whenever class, the real third rail of American politics, is even brought up.

cleek - I thought only the WOPR got to play Global Thermonuclear War, guess Mr. Williams wants to play too.

"The bottom is that we can transform it, or we can destroy it, but the old status quo can no longer be tolerated. Therefore, in my mind, those who oppose our attempts to transform the region doom it to the alternative."

It's odd what does, and does not, get through the filters at work.

O.K., since transforming the region (let's nuke Newark, New Jersey, too, since it seems so recalcitrant to democracy) seems to make things worse by the day, I need an estimate of what it's going to take to destroy it.

I want explicit numbers of nuclear bombs used (that will be the only way to kill the insurgents), ballpark figures on the portion of the 1.3 billion of the Muslims in the world who will need to be butchered and incinerated, and a good round number of the number of U.S. troops who will be lost going to house-to-house if the nukes don't do the job. Also, a price tag would be nice.

Will a draft be required? And will my 16-year-old go the way of all flesh before his time? I need to know up front, cause I'd rather be the one to kill him then let the terminally glib on either side get hold of him.

Also, I require the names, addresses, and mother's maiden names of all who got us into this mess, namely, placing the Shi-ite majority in power in Iraq, who then
could make common cause with the Shi-ite regime in Iran.

That was so real-politik of the smart guys. I feel so warm inside now that Saddam is no longer around to be a thorn in the side of the Iranians.

If World War III is what folks want, I think it's only fair that EVERYBODY in the world gets a taste. I want a neo-conservative Slim Pickens strapped to every bomb and I want to hear the yippy-kyos all the way down.


cleek -
Jiminy H. Cheesegraters. Those commenters on the Williams "essay" were just . . . whew. First strike nuclear glassing of Iran and Saudi Arabia - those guys are just ALL FOR IT:

Time and diplomacy was an option we had in the past, these options no longer exist, and regardless of what the rest of the world would think, without question, the United States has to strike first. Even the possibility of giving Iran a 30 day warning is a offer that should no longer be an option that is on the table.

No reservations except doubt that Bush has the balls. Plus invocation of Lincoln in the service of a call for the hanging of Sulzburger and Keller.

Wow. Wha-how.

"without risking the life of a single soldier."

So we are going to nuke the entire countries? Are we then going to go to war with Russia and China simultaneously in order to get ahold of a sufficiently large nonradioactive oil supply? The grandeur of the plan impresses me.

Public Acceptance of Evolution, by Country courtesy of ComingAnarch. For those who think these issues, or any issues, can be dealt with via rational discussion. America isn't Latvia or Portugal. We are an extreme outlier.
...
Frank, I am not sure what you meant above. If you don't know me, I was blue collar in the Midwest in 1970 and was up to my elbows in Vietnam draftee vets. Didn't know any officers, knew 1 or 2 non-coms, knew dozens of grunts. As far as their resentments or political attitudes, we all barely achieved consciousness until 1975. I was gone by 1980, so it is very possible that my drinking buddies of the 70s, as they settled down became Reagan voters.

I am aware of the objections. It is complicated. I do believe the Republican (and some Dem/s) ideal military (smaller, lighter,faster) has the main purpose of creating a climate of terror without ever changing anything. Like Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, etc.

All this talk about invading Iran, but no one's actually answered this for me:

What are we going to invade with? The 135,000 troops that are currently busy in Iraq? The 50k or so in Afghanistan? The 350,000 or so that are either just back from Iraq or Afghanistan, or about to rotate in?

There's no "Army" left. We don't have a few divisions lying around, kicking their heels. They're all rather busy right now.

Are we going to air strike our way to victory? I mean, what's the actual plan here. It's one thing to run around screaming "IRAN! IRAN!" but invade with what?

Bob, I'm not sure what you think can actually be done about this.

Bob I'm not claiming credit for the thought in my earlier post I just saw it on SN and thought it was interesting. I figured since Vietnam was formative for you that you might have an interesting take on it thats all.

Cleek- I love your poem:

apologies embarass;
hairshirts, how they itch!
flagellation stings him;
penance? for Catholics;
confession’s for the guilty;
pardon’s not his to give;
‘mea culpa’ hints at weakness;
punishment? no, none for him

"No reservations except doubt that Bush has the balls."

You know I didn't grow up scared of the Soviets. What was scarier, the commonists, or the guys who thought the minimum wage and EC Comics were almost as bad as the commonists.

The dreaded "Islamofascists" can kill thousands, tens of thousands. The guy in the White House who believes Riverbend and a billion others "hate us for our freedom" has his finger on the Red button.

I have known where the greatest threat to peace, freedom, security, human rights, life & limb resides. Unfortunately, like Eloi, the left has lost its taste for violence, so some kind of appeasement is all I have left.

The best handling of Walter Williams I ever saw was on the old "Wall Street Week" with Lou Rukeyser.

Rukeyser, a bonafide conservative, asked his panel of experts what they would do with interest rate policy (at that time) if they were Fed Reserve Chairman. Williams said "Lou, my first act as Fed Reserve Chairman would be to abolish the Federal Reserve" (We'll leave aside whether he could overstep Congress in that way, I thought to myself, while parenthetically thinking, too, how can conservatives possibly believe affirmative action is the source of all our troubles).

Lou instantly looked down at his notes, shuffled them, swivelled his chair slightly and then looked up at the next guest and asked "What about you ..?"

Williams has a favorite ice cream, I'm sure. And I'm sure he believes all other flavors should be abolished, or nuked, or something.

As for the commentariat on the thread, they would break in the second week of Marine training. Just cleaning up the urine and feces would pretty much bankrupt the government.

OT: more enlightened analysis from Redstate.

Did Moe Lane REALLY used to be 'moderate'? And why is (supposedly moderate, frequently AWOL from ObWi) von trying to smear Webb as anti-papist?

My head hurts...

Talk about denial... azizhp's response to the Samir Sumaida'ie story that Charles linked to:

A more concerted effort to get Iraq trained to Level 2 status or better

Here I think you're being unfair. It seems clear that the best possible effort has already been made to do this. The problem is not lack of effort, its lack of resources.

Dream on. This does not look like the best possible effort.

mattbastard,
that thread is very interesting but this comment was either amazingly oblivious or so sharp that one doesn't notice it until they see the blood.

Steve, I challenge your right to designate yourself to be the changer or destroyer of the Middle East.

Challenge my perspective, my beliefs. In short, give me an alternative. The UN? A corrupt, feckless, powerless joke, as most recently demonstrated by this recent crisis. Should we depend on the EU? Right. Russia? Should we depend on the sanity and/or concern for civilization of the Mullahs? The Saudis? If you grant me my premise – then convince me that change is somehow worse than genocide…


Because I listen to OCSteve. Because I listen and believe the alternative will be billions dead. I really believe I will see America use nukes in the next few years. It is worth a ton, almost any price, to prevent that.

Thank you. That is my point which I rarely seem to get across. I know what we as a country, as “civilized” people are capable of. Right now 90% of the country does not see this conflict as a fight for survival. Forget nukes – we killed many more hundreds of thousands in WWII with simple incendiary bombs than we did with nukes. If and when a 10 times 9/11 event happens we will get there. I have no doubt we will survive – I just hate to think of what we will do when we get fully riled up.


people also I think don't take OCSteve and his allies seriously.

They should. I’m not sure I have any allies – just me and mine. All I can say is study history. If you don’t think we can and WILL wipe out a large portion of the earths’ population if pushed to it – think again. You apparently think that is what I want – some kind of bloodlust… Wrong. I am for transforming the region – killing the cancer, even at the cost of American blood, rather than the quick and simple solution. If I truly thought as you imply, I would never have been in support of the whole Iraq war – I knew it would cost thousands of American lives. We have many nukes getting past their shelf age – I could easily have said “use them or lose them” back on 9/12. I did not. I supported shaking up the ME.

O.K., since transforming the region (let's nuke Newark, New Jersey, too, since it seems so recalcitrant to democracy) seems to make things worse by the day, I need an estimate of what it's going to take to destroy it.

A couple of keystrokes, dual key turns, and 30 minutes. Surely you know that.

If World War III is what folks want, I think it's only fair that EVERYBODY in the world gets a taste. I want a neo-conservative Slim Pickens strapped to every bomb and I want to hear the yippy-kyos all the way down

I prefer Bruce Willis – but I won’t rile Hilzoy with the profanity.


Unfortunately, like Eloi, the left has lost its taste for violence, so some kind of appeasement is all I have left.

Speechless.

"Did Moe Lane REALLY used to be 'moderate'?"

For those with memory, the devolution of Moe Lane has done wonders for my confidence in my instincts and intuition.

...
"Bob, I'm not sure what you think can actually be done about this."

Charley, I wrote and deleted three answers. It's a tough country. I am kinda Leninist. Wait for the catastrophe, and be prepared to get all radical when it comes. I think the necessary and sufficient catastrophe may be a while off, but I see that the radicalization proceeds apace. I am pleased with Lieberman;may he win an inexplicable landslide, change caucuses, and provide the marginal vote for Justice Rogers-Brown as Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and HRC say "we thought Joe was our friend." This would please me much more than Lamont winning. We are too far gone for that to be helpful.

Erick, at Redstate, my sole reason for favoring a Draft.

He trembled before Rush, like Monica second-guessing the toppings she ordered on Bill's first pizza.

Erick claims "no Party-line" at Redstate.

Well, even Lenin's shellacked corpse needed the occasional renovation.

I think the SDS has some punks like him, early on in the mid-Sixties. Before they went on the run.

Just because I couldn't resist after OCSteve's invoking of 9/11 times 10.

Kim Jong Il: It will be 911 times 2356. Chris: My God, that's... I don't even know what that is! Kim Jong Il: Nobody does!

Team America: World Police

LJ: the mind boggles (adding to my headache;)).

Bob - reflexive hawkishness from the right (including those who claim to be less-than-rabid in their conservatism) is (obviously) not surprising, just...disturbing, I suppose. That said, I'm starting to prefer right-leaning folks like OCSteve who don't attempt to disguise their bloodlust in fuzzy rhetorical camouflage.

'Civility' means they say 'sorry' before sticking the shiv in your back.

If and when a 10 times 9/11 event happens we will get there.

I think it will only happen if we remain complicit in allowing this administration to rachet up the rhetoric. The broken up British plot, which was apparently well under control and even if it had blown up ten airliners in midair, would not have been as catastrophic as 9-11, was generated by decentralized groups with no contact or control. An ounce of prevention is equal to a pound of cure, and I'm thinking that we have to eliminate the fear mongers from the body politic in such a way as to discourage fear mongering, which kind of goes to the heart of the discussion between Matt and lily round about 4:30. I'm beginning to think that there has to be a middle ground where they might be ridiculed and cast out, so that they end up like Pete Rose or Ben Johnson. To do that, I think we need the help of some people like OCSteve to hold their tongue, at least for a moment, while we are running people out of town on a rail. I wish I had Thullen's sense of humor to make this sound a bit more palatable, but there it is.

Andrew: it pains me that the posting rules preclude me from posting the lyrics to 'Freedom Isn't Free'.

:-(

That said, I'm starting to prefer right-leaning folks like OCSteve who don't attempt to disguise their bloodlust in fuzzy rhetorical camouflage.

OK – I admit it is a waste of bandwidth to try to explain my position on a lefty blog. If you can’t see that I clearly tried to explain why I support change over genocide (bloodlust) then I admit I can not express myself well in this medium.

To do that, I think we need the help of some people like OCSteve to hold their tongue, at least for a moment, while we are running people out of town on a rail

Curiosity peaked – can you expound on that?

matt,

I feel your pain. I'm occasionally tempted to reel off with Kim Jong Il's favorite question myself.

Pretty much what I expected, getting little love today, but I didn't expect two rebuttal posts at Redstate.

It's hell when you don't march to the beat of anyone's drummer, Charles. You get it from all sides. I suppose that's a factor in what draws people to party politics.

Give an alternative to killing jillions of people so you can feel like something has been done to change the Middle East?

What exactly was so bad about the Middle East that we would be justified or obliged to cause chaos there, supposedly to benefit the Middle Easterners who manage to stay alive through our intervention? There are lousy governments all over Africa but no drum beat to go to war with thhem. The North Koreans are both crazy and seeking nukes, but no rightwing yammerring about WW3 with them. What has the Middle East got that makes it OK in some people's minds to set off a chain reaction of violence toward an unknown result with no justificatioon other than an impatience with the status quo? Why are Middle Easterners so expendable?
The neocons were only interested in terrorists for the excuse they offered, The neocon goal was simply power, make the US the One Superpower.. That isn't a goal any decent human would support.

For most Americans the war in Iraq was a response to 911. Supposed to be a fight against terrorism. That's a dumbed-down understanding of an even dumber policy: the idea that military intervention in Iraq would set off a series of other upheavals resulting eventually in the spread of pro-American governments which would magically end support for terrorists. Sort of a Great Game played by academics and politicians who didn't know anything about the Middle East and were too in love with themselves and their lovely ideology to think of the thousand ways things could go wrong. It is just plain immoral to play with hhuman life that way.

The alternative? Well we could have responded to terrorism with the practicality of people who live in the real world. We could have taken domestic security seriously, focused on international intelligence gathering, worked to control the flow of illegal nuclear materials, and concentrtaed on finishing the job in Afganistan. We could committed ourselves to the l honest broker role between Palestine and Isreal. None of this would have provided instant gratification or quick sure results or vicarious thrills for the armchair warrior. However, there wouldn't be eitherr the current levels of support for terrorism, hatred for us and Isreal, increase in Iraniann influence, return of the Taliban to parts of Afganistan...etc

The only positive result of our invasion of Iraq is that they have a paper democracy. It is an open question whether or not they can get stability without destroying their democracy. Those millions of "freed" people now live in fear of fundamentalists and their crazy rules, death squads and random violence. I suppose yu share Bush's frustration with their ingratitude. All of the other results (other than the paper democreacy) of this war have been bad and the idea that creating chaos in order to shake things up on the assumption that a positive chain reaction will be set off is totally dillusional now.

So blame yourself.

Just because I couldn't resist after OCSteve's invoking of 9/11 times 10.

Andrew:

I have not seen it, I know they could revoke my VRWC card for admitting that, but I haven’t.

On a serious note – I know that as a military officer you have studied history. In my experience, officers tend to go well beyond what history is required of them, and study it quite a lot.

Assuming I am not wrong, can you give me your response to my comments? Do you believe that we as a country are capable of much worse than has occurred to date, and that shaking things up in the ME is much preferable to what we could have, and still may have to do? In short – do you think I am totally off base? For obvious reasons I respect your opinion. {salute}

Pretty much what I expected, getting little love today, but I didn't expect two rebuttal posts at Redstate.

You're just not Red enough for them Charles.

OCSteve: a kinder, gentler form of 'cancer extraction' ("hey, I think Americans should die, too!") doesn't make the consequences any less devestating. That said, I withdraw the portion of my comment that was directed towards you. I misread what you had written (that'll learn me to post on the fly at work;-)).

Andrew: this thread is in dire need of a montage...

OCSteve,

Clearly our history demonstrates that we are capable of quite amazing feats of mass destruction. From the campaigns against the Indians to the bombing campaigns over Germany, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, we've shown an impressive ability to kill people when we're trying to get our way. Of course, we seem to have mellowed significantly over the past few decades (which isn't to say we're not willing to kill, only that the limits are much lower than in the past; even the worst estimates of deaths in Iraq pale next to the deaths we inflicted to win WW2).

As to your second question, I was of the belief that disrupting the status quo in the Middle East was preferable to letting it continue to fester. I have come to regret that belief, as I'm unconvinced what we will leave behind will be noticeably better than what was there before. That doesn't mean I think you're totally off base, but I do think that the unintended consequences of our actions in the Middle East are more significant than we anticipated (and we still don't know what else may come of it). While I remain concerned over what will come of future terrorist attacks, I am unconvinced that our current course of action will assist us in preventing them.

Charles: did you expect Erick to endorse Rumsfeld for Prez?

Because, in all honesty, that really threw me for a loop.

I accept the blame.

Spoken like a man who knows the true value of talk, OCSteve.

I just hate to think of what we will do when we get fully riled up.

Yeah, that's how it is when your girlfriend's watching isn't it? "Hold me back, fellas! Grr... Hold me back or I'll beat the pants off those dirty Islamofascists! Snarrrl... Hold me back I say, or I'm afraid I might do something terrible! Hisss..."

Jeez, between OCSteve and bob mcm I suddenly feel like listening to The Final Cut. Not a great album by Pink Floyd standards (better by the Roger Waters solo standards that ought to apply I guess), but boy howdy that guy can write some heartbreaking songs. After that maybe I'll cheer myself up by watching Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.

Re Webb, I suspect that his "new friends" on the net are well aware that he's pretty much Southern paleo and a Reaganaut. And that Lamont's not exactly progressive either. Hank Johnson OTOH -- I think he's gonna catch a lot of people by surprise (assuming he wins).

BTW it turns out Webb's article would be an okay argument against co-ed warfighting if it were edited down to about 1000 words, and there's a pretty funny moment when he observes that the military is, in a sense, a "socialist meritocracy." Yes, he really says that (I guess he couldn't quite bring himself to say Communist meritocracy, even though that would technically have been more accurate).

matt,

Good point. Even Rocky had a montage. (And, for the record, I give huge points to David Weigel, guest-blogging for Andrew Sullivan, for this post title.)

I'm not Andrew, but I can point out that we already "shook things up" in the ME - and the results are appalling.

Now, it's quite possible that you (along with the gang at RS) believe that turning more ME countries into abbatoirs, a la Iraq, is a good thing. Maybe you believe that reducing the ME - and any other Islamic state, from Pakistan to Indonesia - to enormous Killing Fields will somehow "keep America safe."

If you believe that, then there's nothing I can say to you, because we have no values in common.

I'm not Andrew

Ah, but without IP tracking, can we be sure of that?

sock here--

just dropped by to say: I'm not Andrew either!

Andrew: I nearly did a Danny Kaye on my keyboard when I read that. (Weigel's been doing a bang-up job at the Daily Dish this week - and I'm not just saying that because he cleverly incorporated a reference to one of my all-time fav movies;-)).

Hi OCSteve,
I took what you were saying as we have to pull up before going over the edge and didn't assume you were advocating 2 key turns to successful democracy. As such, I hope that you would agree that this administration and its enablers have, in lieu of dealing with the problem, have made it worse, whether by stupidity or design. So what needs to happen (imho needless to say) that these folks be treated as being the same toxicity as Nixon's inner circle was after Watergate. Maybe they can be rehabilitated in 20 years, but for the moment, they need to be shut off from public opinion and kept away from sharp objects. In order to do that, some more thoughtful folks are just going to have to bite their tongue and not bellyache about 'liberal bias' in the media and such. The only court that matters at the moment is the court of public opinion and I realize that is more like a kangaroo court, but it seems like the only thing that is left.

I believe that because the military class and the civilian class in the US is so separated, we have reached this juncture. It seems to be that Israel tried their own version of fear mongering, and now, the reservists are up in arms about trying to do something for the sake of public opinion rather than for actual results, but that starts much earlier and is much stronger because of the extent that there is less of a gap between those who serve and those who are protected. When I get back this pm, I'll try to flesh that out a bit more, but thanks for hanging around on this.

Charles: did you expect Erick to endorse Rumsfeld for Prez?

Nope, but I know that the RS directors wrote an editorial a few months ago supporting Rumsfeld, which makes it the official RS position.

Andrew:

Thanks for that frank response. I can understand it – even if I don’t totally agree with all of it. Specifically I disagree with lumping Germany and Japan into: “we've shown an impressive ability to kill people when we're trying to get our way”. Korea and Vietnam – arguable, but not those other two.


“While I remain concerned over what will come of future terrorist attacks, I am unconvinced that our current course of action will assist us in preventing them.”

Can you say what would have? What would have worked better? After all, there has not been a significant attack on US soil in almost 5 years. How can you disprove a negative?

Spoken like a man who knows the true value of talk, OCSteve.

Don’t try the chickenhawk bit with me – I have walked the walk, and I will again if the country ever needs a 44 yr. old overweight, nearsighted soldier. I tried to re-up on 9/13/01 and they said “don’t call us”. I will take that POS M16 into the desert (which I hate with all my being) any day this country wants me to. You game?

Steve, I do understand yopur passion and belief that changing the ME would be for the best. And perhaps it would be.

I do have two problems with what you are saying. The first is that your are presenting a false choice. Transform or genocide. I don't see it that way. We could have left it (and by this I basically mean Iraq) alone. We could have finished the job in Afghanistan, which we didn't do, leaving it to probably become a failed state again.

The second problem is that you apparently believe the only way to affect the transformation is through military means. even if competently done, I doubt if it owuld have made any difference. As my son said when he came back from Iraq is that no matter when we leave, no matter what state Iraq is in when we do, civil war will erupt.

However, it appears part of your wish is coming through. The ME is being tranformed. Iran is more of a power broker than before, Israel is somewhat diminished, Lebanon's fragile democracy may be a shambles, and Iraq may well end up as neither a democracy or even a single unified country.

Spekaing of Iran, the moderates there and elsewhere in the ME have also been transformed, many of them into radicals.

I think the biggest problem many of those who advocated our massive response in Iraq have is that they really believe that terrorists can actually really threaten or destroy this country.

If we allow them to, perhaps, but this administration is doing their work for them. I think lily laid it all out above. Gosh even George Will has come around to saying that using military means is not the way to defeat terrorism.

"After all, there has not been a significant attack on US soil in almost 5 years. How can you disprove a negative?"

Unfortunately, this is one of the lamest statements I hear. The assumption is that if we hadn't done what we did, there would have been one.

Since so much was accomplished by the first one, why have another. Terrorists like to scare people. Bush has been doing that ever since 9/11. They don't need to.

I'm not Andrew either, but I think the best alternative I've heard here was Lily's:

"The alternative? Well we could have responded to terrorism with the practicality of people who live in the real world. We could have taken domestic security seriously, focused on international intelligence gathering, worked to control the flow of illegal nuclear materials, and concentrtaed on finishing the job in Afganistan. We could committed ourselves to the l honest broker role between Palestine and Isreal. None of this would have provided instant gratification or quick sure results or vicarious thrills for the armchair warrior. However, there wouldn't be eitherr the current levels of support for terrorism, hatred for us and Isreal, increase in Iraniann influence, return of the Taliban to parts of Afganistan...etc"

In other words, act like grown-ups instead of frightened kids. Sounds like an excellent alternative to spreading a fall-out cloud around the world that would solve absolutely zero problems.


Actually, the only part of Lily's post I disagreed with was this:

"...make the US the One Superpower.. That isn't a goal any decent human would support."

I personally was and am all in favor of making the US the one superpower. The US has its flaws--the last six years have shown that it is too easy for its government to be taken over by a criminal coup, for instance, and for its Constitution to be abandoned by a terrified populace.

But when the US is functioning, and when its Constitution is being followed and respected, then there is no other country in the world that more thoroughly deserves a place of political and military pre-eminence.

If the US should continue in the paths of illegality and unrighteousness, god forbid, then I don't think having a military rival will make it any saner. And if, as I hope, it returns to its senses, then a military rival will not help the world, either.

And I want to go back to running surpluses, as we did under Clinton, so that we don't finance China's run at being an economic superpower.

No, I'm happy to see the US be the one superpower again. I just want to make sure that it is the real US, the US of Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, and FDR, instead of the hijacked and perverted criminal regime we have had for the last six years.

Charles: that's truly disturbing. I fully agree that Rumsfeld needs to go ASAP. Can't say I'm surprised the sentiment isn't shared by the RS elite, though.

I misread what you had written (that'll learn me to post on the fly at work;-))

I hear you there matt, I often respond to a post in a hurry and then have no time for days to follow up and see if I should respond to someone. Feels like a driveby – but we can’t all spend our days here :) That said – thanks for the clarification.

turning more ME countries into abbatoirs

CITY GENT #1: Uh, did you say 'knives'?

MR. WIGGIN: Uh, rotating knives. Yes.

CITY GENT #2: Are you, uh, proposing to slaughter our tenants?

MR. WIGGIN: Does that not fit in with your plans?

CITY GENT #1: No, it does not. Uh, we-- we wanted a... simple... block of flats.

MR. WIGGIN: Ahh, I see. I hadn't, uh, correctly divined your attitude towards your tenants.

john miller:

"After all, there has not been a significant attack on US soil in almost 5 years. How can you disprove a negative?"

Unfortunately, this is one of the lamest statements I hear. The assumption is that if we hadn't done what we did, there would have been one.

Since so much was accomplished by the first one, why have another. Terrorists like to scare people. Bush has been doing that ever since 9/11. They don't need to.

John Mueller, in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs:

...Americans are told -- often by the same people who had once predicted imminent attacks -- that the absence of international terrorist strikes in the United States is owed to the protective measures so hastily and expensively put in place after 9/11. But there is a problem with this argument. True, there have been no terrorist incidents in the United States in the last five years. But nor were there any in the five years before the 9/11 attacks, at a time when the United States was doing much less to protect itself. It would take only one or two guys with a gun or an explosive to terrorize vast numbers of people, as the sniper attacks around Washington, D.C., demonstrated in 2002. Accordingly, the government's protective measures would have to be nearly perfect to thwart all such plans. Given the monumental imperfection of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and the debacle of FBI and National Security Agency programs to upgrade their computers to better coordinate intelligence information, that explanation seems far-fetched. Moreover, Israel still experiences terrorism even with a far more extensive security apparatus.

It may well have become more difficult for terrorists to get into the country, but, as thousands demonstrate each day, it is far from impossible. Immigration procedures have been substantially tightened (at considerable cost), and suspicious U.S. border guards have turned away a few likely bad apples. But visitors and immigrants continue to flood the country. There are over 300 million legal entries by foreigners each year, and illegal crossings number between 1,000 and 4,000 a day -- to say nothing of the generous quantities of forbidden substances that the government has been unable to intercept or even detect despite decades of a strenuous and well-funded "war on drugs." Every year, a number of people from Muslim countries -- perhaps hundreds -- are apprehended among the illegal flow from Mexico, and many more probably make it through. Terrorism does not require a large force. And the 9/11 planners, assuming Middle Eastern males would have problems entering the United States legally after the attack, put into motion plans to rely thereafter on non-Arabs with passports from Europe and Southeast Asia.

If al Qaeda operatives are as determined and inventive as assumed, they should be here by now. If they are not yet here, they must not be trying very hard or must be far less dedicated, diabolical, and competent than the common image would suggest.

[...]

A fully credible explanation for the fact that the United States has suffered no terrorist attacks since 9/11 is that the threat posed by homegrown or imported terrorists -- like that presented by Japanese Americans during World War II or by American Communists after it -- has been massively exaggerated. Is it possible that the haystack is essentially free of needles?

OCSteve: Civility may be in its final throes in this increasingly partisan atmosphere, but inaccuracy is never acceptable.

;-)

Steve, I do understand yopur passion and belief that changing the ME would be for the best. And perhaps it would be.
I do have two problems with what you are saying. The first is that your are presenting a false choice. Transform or genocide. I don't see it that way.

Thanks for the civil response. I get that less and less these days and most times I don’t know why I bother (on left of center blogs) but I don’t like the echo chamber either. I like popping in here because it is mostly a good group – even if I disagree with 95% of them :) Hilzoy is a joy, and Gary can wear me plum out. The addition of Andrew is a big plus because he is an authority figure to me (don’t let that go to your head dude! – yes, after many years since EOS, I still give automatic respect to an officer – but like the butterbar, you have to earn it and so far you have.)

I understand about “false choice”. But I do see it that way. I have tried for years to reconcile the madness there with western civilization – and I can not. It really has come down to a “us or them” scenario for me. Not the masses – but the leaders, the influential imams, etc. So in my mind taking out the leaders, putting in new leaders (friendly to us or only partially so) is a step in the right direction – and much preferable to what I see as the potential outcome here.

I am not a bloodthirsty warmonger. I am just apprehensive about the current state of affairs – and I do not get all my info from BushCo or Karl. I truly think that the day may come when we will be forced to do something truly horrific – so I prefer anything to that. Regime change is nothing to what I see coming.

Re Erick the Innocent and Rumsfeld: I notice Erick makes an exception because Rumsfeld is too old.

It's always something with these people.

Although, the habit of asking oneself rhetorical questions and answering them, as Rumsfeld does as others watch, does seem a little, I don't know, advanced.

Also, OCSteve, thanks for your service to the country. I'm sure you're not itching to nuke, but maybe there is a middle-ground long slog of wrenching terrorism ahead of us for 50 years and maybe the region transforms slowly and not very well, but good enough to avoid the big one.

Read some Graham Greene, if you haven't already, regarding good intentions. It could be that good intentions and genocidal intentions end up in the same place.

I like Democracy, too. Others don't, yet.
So what else is new? They might vote to kill us, if they got the chance.

I demand a recount, in Ohio and Tehran.

As to proving a negative, Oliver North stated on Fox News soon after the 9/11 attack that Al Qaeda had blown its wad. That was it.

When he proves it, get back to me.

OCSTEVE: "I am just apprehensive about the current state of affairs."

You speak for everyone here, I expect. That you are apprehensive is a good thing. It's those who think they might like whatever is going to happen who are the ones who won't be fit to live with the rest of us when all is said and done.

Steve, civil is what I am all about. At least you are able to present a cogent argument explaining why you feel the way you do. Our real disagreement lies in the assumptions and premises we work with, which obviously lead to different conclusions.

Like the other John, I also wish to thank you for your service. My son is one of those officers so please also at least consider his opinion. When he left for his tour in Iraq, he thought it was a good thing.

No longer. He does not think his fellow soldiers died in vain, because he feels they died to protect each other. But he does feel that we will have done no good over there.

You speak for everyone here, I expect. That you are apprehensive is a good thing. It's those who think they might like whatever is going to happen who are the ones who won't be fit to live with the rest of us when all is said and done.

My fear exactly. Thank you for enunciating it so well. “Bad Moon Rising” CCR? That is what I feel like, and even the better outcomes may be awful. Interesting times be damned.

Incidentally, Charles, since everyone pretyy much ignored you on this thread, and we can't have that .......

............ how come all of a sudden your dissatisfaction is so important and mine has been ignored since November of 2000?

I (we) are the Dissatifieds. Find another name. The "Pissed Offs" is taken, too.

My son is one of those officers so please also at least consider his opinion. When he left for his tour in Iraq, he thought it was a good thing.

Absolutely! Your son and his comrades are obviously the best source of what is really going on there. I give what any of them have to say 1000 times more weight than the front page of the NYT.

Those front line reports were all optimism for a couple of years. Depressingly less so the last year. I will not argue with the grunts on the ground – and no one should. So I readily admit that things are not all good. I am not going to cheerlead BushCo – I just don’t see a viable alternate solution.

Tell your son from me, thank you for his service {salute}.

Cleek- I love your poem
Frank- thanks. yet i defer to Ms. Parker - of course.

OCSteve: Regime change is nothing to what I see coming.

it is certainly interesting how utterly terrified the right is these days. besides those who are eager for Rapture, in the past week or so, the right has collectively decided that it's Now or Never, Us or Them, Kill Or Be Killed, War Of The Worlds, yadayadayada. if this is what a handful of pissed-off radicals can do to half our country, i cannot fathom what the height of the Cold War was like.

all of the terrorists in the world couldn't bring down the USA, let alone all of Western Civ. Russia could have incinerated it all in mere seconds. now that's an existential treat - Islamic terrorism directed at the west ? that's orders of magnitudes less of a threat. by comparison, it's a nusiance. it's certainly nothing to get all "First strike" about.

frankly, it looks like there's a part of the conservative psyche that simply craves an external threat, and will seize whatever's handy in order to fill that need. it's sad, because these are the same people who also tell us they're the Real Men in charge of protecting us all. well, i don't want yuor protection.

it is certainly interesting how utterly terrified the right is these days. besides those who are eager for Rapture, in the past week or so, the right has collectively decided that it's Now or Never, Us or Them, Kill Or Be Killed, War Of The Worlds, yadayadayada. if this is what a handful of pissed-off radicals can do to half our country

It is certainly interesting how utterly un-terrified the left is these days. Do you take this seriously at all? I don’t cower in my bunker at night. I realize that I am more likely to die commuting to work or being hit by lightning than via a terrorist attack. But we can’t do anything about weather or much about traffic fatalities can we? Should we not do anything? Iranian nukes don’t bother you at all? Rapture huh? I am not the least bit religious and I dare say that that the fringe religious zealots bother me more than you – just as I would hope that the fringe on your side bothers you.

i cannot fathom what the height of the Cold War was like

I think you may be very correct there.


it's a nuisance

Tell that to the families of 9/11, Khobar Towers, the Cole, Beirut Marines, African Embassy staff…

“Us or them”? Yes, I do think it will come to that, and not too far in the future. Am I terrified or are you sticking your head in the sand. Time, unfortunately, will tell.

well, i don't want yuor protection.

Well, you get it anyway. Fortunately for you, your protectors do no not discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, or political beliefs. Even after this exchange – you would get it anyway. You think any soldier would ask your political party before rescuing you from a situation you most likely got yourself into? Hardly. Firefighters or police officers out there want to speak up? Does politics come into play?

You get it anyway. Question – if you found me dying on the road with a big placard stating my political beliefs, would you help me? I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

It is certainly interesting how utterly un-terrified the left is these days. Do you take this seriously at all?

Speaking for me, why should I be terrified of Islamic terrorism? I've lived in its shadow for nigh on 20 years -- grew up in Asia, got regular letters from the State Department reminding us not to go certain places lest we be kidnapped and/or killed for the crime of being an American -- and I'm not gonna let it get me down. The f***ers deserve to be put away, of course, but as cleek noted they're not even remotely an existential threat; they're a bunch of vicious, murdering thugs, more on par with the Mafia than the Cold War Soviet Union. The one exception, of course is...

Iranian nukes don’t bother you at all?

They bother me substantially less than unsecured Russian nukes or Pakistani nuclear technology being sold on the black market, fwiw, both of which threats Bush has done next to nothing about. How about you?

Tell that to the families of 9/11, Khobar Towers, the Cole, Beirut Marines, African Embassy staff…

Let's be brutally utilitarian here: count the dead. Compare them to the major war of your choice. How many orders of magnitude disparity is there?

As I said, they're vicious, murdering thugs; so what? They need to be stopped, of course, but invoking a nuclear firestorm as a countermeasure (or response) is just plain unhinged.

[I'm not saying you advocate that, incidentally, just that it's flat out ludicrous to compare the two.]

Well, you get it anyway. Fortunately for you, your protectors do no not discriminate on the grounds of race, religion, or political beliefs. Even after this exchange – you would get it anyway.

FWIW, I don't think cleek was talking about the soldiers, but the bedwetters on the right who would wreck our foreign policy and what moral high ground we might have left by unhinged acts of aggression, rather than -- as lily said upthread -- "respond[ing] to terrorism with the practicality of people who live in the real world".

[Nice turn of phrase there, btw.]

Question – if you found me dying on the road with a big placard stating my political beliefs, would you help me? I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

I'll take that action any day of the week; remember, the (mainstream) left aren't the ones talking about the other side being traitors, pro-terrorist or what have you.

I’m sure that the average German was sincerely scared of the toxic cancer of communism and the Jew, and that the Germanic people were going to be the first and last line of defense.

All fascist societies in Europe and Latin America believe genocide and authoritarianism are necessary to combat the collapse of Western society …by any means necessary Praise God! And generations after always express surprise at their forefather’s radical paranoia.

Don’t try the chickenhawk bit with me

Actually the "chickenhawk bit" hadn't even occurred to me; I don't doubt that you're defending your home and family every bit as ferociously as your Muslim counterparts are defending theirs. Even more ferociously, since you have the Big Red Button and all they have are AKs and RPGS and hijacked airplanes.

No, I was just contemplating what it must have cost you, at work, and at home, and in terms of wrestling your demons, to take personal responsibility for the invasion of Iraq. Plus all those years when you were trying to reconcile the madness there with western civilization... Wow. How many of those years did you spend further east than Rhode Island?

I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

Your moral superiority to "a lot of the left" has been noted for the record. That's good, cause I hear St. Peter grades on a curve.

if you found me dying on the road with a big placard stating my political beliefs, would you help me? I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

Well, there's plenty of heated rhetoric on both wings, but I think it's probably a mistake to take their extreme statements very seriously. I dare say most of them, when encountering an actual suffering human being rather than a mental caricature, wouldn't do any less for the ideological opponent than for a neutral party. But maybe I'm just a starry-eyed optimist.

OCSteve: Question – if you found me dying on the road with a big placard stating my political beliefs, would you help me? I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

God, that's bitter. Does your big placard say Get a Brain, Morans? Or Liberals are godless and Hillary's husband is a rapist? What are you envisaging your placard saying that's so hostile, so horrible, that you're certain "a lot of the left today" would walk right past it - the way an ideologically-pure right-winger would walk past you if your sign said anything like this?

the answer would be no

As noted, this calumny is the daydream (and excuse) of fascist wannabes everywhere.

What I don't get about The Dissatisfieds is how they don't get what a huge mistake it has been for the President to pursue such a divisive politics at the same time as calling for war. I'm not sure it would have made any difference, but it sure seems to me to underline how little determination the Administration really has.

I was calling for massive ME Transformation 4 years ago, famously "50 million men in the ME for five years and 5 million for fifty years" sio I do not lack sympathy for Steve's position. Unfortunately I had to face the fact that adequate resources will not be competently allocated...at least not without a 9/11 or larger domestic event. If I still sometimes bring it up, it is because I am certain another 9/11 event will likely happen within the next generation, and I would prefer that transformation remain an alternative to isolationist withdrawal or nuclear holocaust.

I do not at all feel culturally or ideologically threatened by Islam. There is zero chance woman will be forced to wear burquas in Dallas. The military threat of suitcase nukesor whatever is serious, but that is not even an existential threat.

The existential threat comes from the overreaction. As charley asked, I do not know how to rid America of exceptionalism and xenophobia and paranoia.

Aww, I have no answers, and this just goes beyond depressing.

It takes a very, very special kind of person to spend five years calling his political opponents traitorous terrorist appeasers, then turn around and in a single breath accuse them of a lack of both compassion and gratitude. And by "special," I mean the kind of special that rides a short bus to school.

Since ol' Steve has been willing to take on the burden of Iraq, once this whole thing plays out, can we try him for war crimes? I think it might teach him a very valuable lesson on a number of fronts.

Also, a ban, please, on euphemisms such as "shaking things up in the Middle East." Have the balls to call it what is is: Killing people.

Tell that to the families of 9/11, Khobar Towers, the Cole, Beirut Marines, African Embassy staff

i italicized a couple of words there for a reason, ya know. but if you want to misrepresent what i wrote, i guess i can't stop you.

Question – if you found me dying on the road with a big placard stating my political beliefs, would you help me? I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

if that's really what you think, then i suggest you step away from all political discussion for a while. partisan bickering has poisoned your thinking.

if you found me dying on the road with a big placard stating my political beliefs, would you help me? I think that with a lot of the left today, the answer would be no.

I should take some responsibility, as it is possible for my call to 'make these people as toxic as possible' may have been interpreted as not wanting to help OCSteve in the middle of the Santa Monica Freeway. Honestly, I believe I would render aid and assistance to any right winger in distress, but I might hesitate to pound on Dick Cheney's chest lest the Secret Service think I was attacking him and blow me away.

But when I say make people toxic I mean accept that some people need to be made an example of. Looking at the screenplay of A Few Good Men after Andrew posted about it, this line of Jessup's struck me

I hate casualties, Matthew. There are casualties even in victory. A marine smothers a grenade and saves his platoon, that marine's a hero. The foundation of the unit, the fabric of this base, the spirit of the Corps, they are things worth fighting for.Dawson and Downey, they don't know it, but they're smothering a grenade.

I feel like using some folks to smother the grenade and give notice that any other grenades will be smothered in a similar manner.

The Redstate comment thread linked to above has Von and Moe arguing about James Webb's paleo-conservative tendencies, suggesting that he's got the same thoughts as George Allen, he's just finessed them better and as a result, the left embraces him, which presumably makes the left the side of hypocrisy. You know what? If James Webb is smart enough to play ball with us and deplane from the Hindenberg before it explodes and George Allen Jr. is not, too bad for ole George. Drag Macaca George around RFK by his heels. Speculate about issues with his father (who apparently had an excellent relationship with the black players he coached) and wonder why a boy raised in LA has such issues with non-white folks. If he's going to try to stay with the Republican ship of state, he's going down, and I'm not going to save him while he's gripping the ship's wheel, especially when there are others who are swimming like hell to avoid getting pulled down.

I've said several times that I am sympathetic to Bob's analysis and feelings towards the whole mess we are in, though I have expressed doubts. But it is becoming more and more clear, with manipulated terror alerts, accusations of treason, and a refusal to work to solve problems, that this administration has to, to borrow a leninist image, get dumped in the ashcan of history and sooner, not later.

The harsher words above by others, I don't share, not because I don't think that conservatives are wrong, wrong, wrong about almost all of this Middle East mess, but that if anyone is going to bother to discuss things (and by discuss, I mean real discussion, laying out premises and ideas), I'm going to assume that there at least exists the possibility of changing their minds. But this administration and its enablers are not discussing anything, so I'm not going to waste any time worrying whether they are being treated unfairly for this statement, or getting misquoted out of context for kerfluffle #1239384. I'll try and be as accurate as I can, but that's the limit of it. If that gets interpreted that I'm not going to help you out of burning wreck, too bad, and if you ask if I will, I'll just tell you to wait and see what happens when you get in that situation, as I'm not going to bother to reassure you that I will do something when the time comes.

I think Anarch had the right response to OCSteve's question. The left's rhetoric gives no reason to believe they would not help a dying person due to his beliefs. On the other hand, the Ann Coulters and Michael Savages of the world continue to use rhetoric which not merely would suggest that not only would they not assist a dying liberal, but believe it is their affirmative duty to kill liberals, dying or not.

partisan bickering has poisoned your thinking

With respect, cleek: pot, kettle.

I'm not exactly squeaky-clean on this front, either. It's best to just cut it out, though. The nonstop snark certainly doesn't help.

So, suggestion: before you accuse others of having an overly sharp tongue, it's best to take the edge off your own.

steve, serious question here:

you write:

"It really has come down to a “us or them” scenario for me. Not the masses – but the leaders, the influential imams, etc. So in my mind taking out the leaders, putting in new leaders (friendly to us or only partially so) is a step in the right direction – and much preferable to what I see as the potential outcome here."

I don't have that much to quibble with there--I hates me some imams, too, as well as some non-imams like Ahmadinejad.

But how does your concession that it is the leaders, not the masses, go along with the desire to see a lot of nuclear devices unleashed on the ME at large?

I mean--do you know of some new Imam Bomb class of thermonuclear weapons that will kill only imams, not the masses?

Maybe you were thinking you'd try selective assassination first, before radioing the Ohio Class Subs. (We tried that with Saddam. Turns out it's really hard to kill one guy from far away).

But once you have granted that "the masses" really are not the ones doing the 'us or them' thing to us, how can you contemplate killing several hundred million of them, even as a fall-back to selective assassination?

That just looks weird.

It doesn't really look like a serious attempt to solve the problem, even in the terms in which you have defined it. It just looks like a frustrated, desperate desire to smash the chessboard cause you can't think of any good moves.

But that's after you have conceded that smashing the chessboard would kill several hundred million people who are not the problem.

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