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January 24, 2007

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Goodness Gracious

"...Pelosi's introduction by this president, this scion of a dynasty of mediocrity, reduced her to status of somebody's daughter." ...Adele M Stan, TAPPED

If Bush was on fire...

I watched the Mavericks. And the Weather Channel. I read both speeches, of course. Takes me a long time to think, sometimes. Trying to not get too excited about Webb so early.

I Made a Movie ... on joshtpm suggestion, kinda funny

Yglesias noted Dem's applause at stopping a Nukular Iran, and like wants to stop the Next War. I think that's a good idea.

It was, instead, a speech that might have impressed me if I had just beamed in from Jupiter.

I believe that 26% of Americans just did... and I think that if you have a matter transmat beam that lets you do that, you should share.

What did you think?

I wonder (if Webb became the Democratic candidate for President) what method of swiftboating his military record the Republican Party would pick?

I wonder (if Webb became the Democratic candidate for President) what method of swiftboating his military record the Republican Party would pick?
[Jesurgislac]

That's easy:
He survived that grenade, so it can't be that heroic. Who says that the "saved" comrade wouldn't have suffered only such minor scratches too? He probably bribed the committee to award him the NC. Is there any proof that the bunker was actually occupied ot that the grenade was not one of his own that he mishandled.....
The Shock Troops for Truth will find enough and if they have to make it up 105%.

I have my cynical day today

Stephen Poole had a similar comment to Andrew's: President Bush’s State of the Union address last night contained much crucial information, particularly the climactic assurance that:

The State of our Union is strong.

- which will have reassured the millions worrying that California was planning to secede.

His take is worth reading.

I intended to watch, but decided to go get groceries instead.

Remember the overton window.

Step one is to put escelation into loony territory. Don't distractp people with pie in the sky ideas. Make it a sharp contrast between someone sending people to die, and people wanting to have actual goals.

From there you de-escelate by having a tactical level discussion, now that the strategic battle is over.

From here you can branch into a cost/benefit analysis which shows the difference between goals and mule-headed deference to a proffered approach.

Only at this level can you start offering alternatives. Otherwise the binary dichotomy kicks in and people don't listen.

You have to back them down from that first.

I'm not sure Bush has the capacity to experience empathy at all. I think to him the idea of someone else suffering is purely an abstraction in his mind.

In particular, I find it quite callous, insensitive, and arrogant for a US President to talk about the "Iraqis not being ready yet" after just recently having invaded their country, fired most of the officials who know how to run power plants and water treatment centers, and allowing an era of lawlessness, looting, and civil war to break out in a country full of people who have never attacked US soil.

Bush: "All we are saying...is give war a chance..."

I mean, really, what would it take for the President to say that the state of the union wasn't great?

Gerald Ford said it in 1975. Stagflation, unemployment, the aftermath of Watergate . . .

One of the only benefits of being older than dirt is that you remember this kind of stuff.

Bush: I'm talking a lot. But I'm not saying anything.

Qest que c'est...

Webb and Social Signifiers

Here is some praise of Jim Webb by Ian Welch of the Agonist, saying that the signals many use to identify liberals are based more on style and culture, and have kept people from looking at many of Webb's populisr positions.

"What this is about, though, is about style - it's about the ability to act as a smooth courtier and not ruffle feathers. You're conciliatory, diplomatic, you are outwardly tolerant of people who aren't like you, especially in terms of race or sexual orientation.

You're smoothed around the edges. You're "sensitive". You don't give offense easily, and don't want to.

The right wing on the other hand is rougher, they ruffle feathers, they don't come from the major metropolitan centers, or the coast, they appear less tolerant and they give less of a damn about comity and good will and all that" ...IW

There is a lot more about Webb.

The "Democrat" Party has forgotten too much of its baseball-bat carrying tradition, I think.

I've noticed that, too. After the election one theme arising from national level pundits was that conservative Democrats had saved the party by winning. Tester and Webb were put forth as examples. In truth, neither is the least bit conservative. They look like stereotypes of conservatives, though. This is a lesson for Democrats to take heed of while mulling over our primary choices. I vote almost entirely based on issues, but many people do not. Lots of people vote for style. If we want to increase our chances of picking a winner for the national election, we need to factor style into our calculations.
I am thrilled with Webb and glad that I had the chance to give him some money.

Great white father speak with forked tongue.
One thing that got my attention is this idea of a "to be available for services when needed around the world". Pretty ambiguous. An Army reserve for old soldiers who miss the shooting; an over 40 Foreign Legion is what came through for me.

The civilian reserve corps sounded like this year's out there idea. Is there anything to it?

The way he sold it, it sounds like a great opportunity to be dragged around the globe at low pay against your will, just like soldiers. Is there something more to the idea, something that would actually attract people to doing it?

Not entirely OT: the Wikipedia featured article for today seems timely (despite intermittent vandalism). [N]or shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; ... nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

""Continuing the assault, he approached a third bunker and was preparing to fire into it when the enemy threw another grenade. Observing the grenade land dangerously close to his companion, First Lieutenant Webb simultaneously fired his weapon at the enemy, pushed the Marine away from the grenade, and shielded him from the explosion with his own body. Although sustaining painful fragmentation wounds from the explosion, he managed to throw a grenade into the aperture and completely destroy the remaining bunker."

It's been almost 24 hours and no swiftboating of Webb yet. Is the RNC's fax machine broken?

I was talking about the SOTU yesterday evening over dinner, and said that Webb was a brilliant strategic choice, because it allowed for him to be introduced as "Former Reagan cabinet member and current Democratic Senator".

Don't know whether they actually did that, but the idea of being able to play the Reagan card against the son of the man's Veep amuses me greatly. And the more I see of Webb's rebuttal, the more impressed I am with him, as a politician and as a person.

I mostly agree with your assessment. But then you lost me bringing in Bush’s TANG service. I understand you wanted to compare Bush’s service to Webb’s – but I don’t get that in the context of discussing the speech. Do Webb’s responding remarks concerning Iraq carry more (moral) authority than Bush’s remarks on Iraq due to the differences in their service?

I think that makes the disclaimer on the chickenhawk argument a little weaker, as does this:

I don't think that anyone who had any idea what war was like, either for civilians caught in the crossfire or for the soldiers, would ever think of a war as a way of building up political capital. I mean: how could you possibly think anything of the kind?

That reads to me like an argument for requiring combat experience for the CiC. If I buy the theory that Bush took the country to war for vain and petty reasons, in part because he had not experienced the horrors of combat himself – then I am ready for a new amendment to the constitution requiring combat experience for the CiC. The problem with that of course is that every generation or so we’d have to start a war anyway just to have a pool of potential presidential candidates…

"I don't think that anyone who had any idea what war was like, either for civilians caught in the crossfire or for the soldiers" ...hilzoy

"That reads to me like an argument for requiring combat experience for the CiC" ...OCSteve

Nah. Empathy and compassion are requirements, and combat experience isn't the only way to gain empathy. In fact most of us humans have it. The sociopaths are exceptions.

Maybe the little box thingy in Bladerunner?

OCSteve,
I don't think hilzoy was saying that Bush took us into war for vain and petty reasons because he had no combat experience, just that she can't imagine anyone with combat experience going to war solely for the purpose (or mainly) of building political capital.

I, and I don't think hilzoy, don't believe that a CiC has to have had combat experience. But I do think that a CiC that goes to war and puts American lives on the line in order to bolster his own standing should probably be charged with treason. Of course, that is a very hard thing to prove.

This interview Wolf did with the Veep is interesting.

"in which he says things that are flatly false in a way that suggests that he's addressing himself to a group of brain-danmaged second graders ("Our enemies are vicious people. They hate freedom. They don't want people to have a choice about who will govern them. That's why Hamas has launched a campaign of terror in the West Bank and Gaza. That's why there are death squads in Baghdad. And that's why that same enemy struck us on 9/11. Etc., etc., etc.")"

Sheesh! While "gross oversimplication" might fairly characterize some of those statements, I scarcely think they're so far from the truth, (As opposed to the entire truth.) to be fairly described as "flatly" false. Or if the bar is to be set that low, politicians of both parties rarely manage to open their mouths without uttering flatly false statements.

Brett B: I think that it is true that our enemies are vicious people; and not generally true that they hate either freedom or people choosing who will govern them (and false that that's their motivation in being our enemies.) The "flatly false" part was meant to be the idea that groups who actually won popular elections are fighting because they are against popular elections, and that Hamas and the Shi'a who form death squads are in any sense "the same enemy" as (a) one another or (b) the emeny who struck us on 9/11.

OCSteve: I don't ask for service. I do ask for some understanding of what we ask of our troops.

That part got into the post because I was reflecting on Webb's statement that our leaders owe the troops "a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it." (And, as I've said on various occasions, we owe the troops our best effort to choose leaders who do recognize this.) I think Webb is deeply, deeply right, and I was very glad he said it. And that got me to thinking about how we do not, as far as I can tell, have a leader who does recognize that, which led to the quotes I put up. Sorry if it wasn't clear.

Clarification: when I said that it's "not generally true that they ("our enemies") hate either freedom or people choosing who will govern them", I didn't mean to imply that they are necessarily all in favor of these things either. There are lots of things I don't hate but also don't fervently support, including the entire class of things I don't think much about at all.

OCSteve: That reads to me like an argument for requiring combat experience for the CiC.

There's a logical fallacy there.

1. Only someone who had never experienced combat would begin a war for vain and petty reasons.
2. It does not follow that everyone who has never experienced combat would then begin a war for vain and petty reasons.

In shorter form:

1. All dogs are green.
2. But not all green things are dogs.

Note: this is not a "chickenhawk" argument. I am not saying that people who haven't served don't get to comment on, or appreciate the sacrifice of, those who do. That would be silly. But I think it's different when you try to wriggle out of fighting in a war you support, when there is a draft in place. The draft means that you might be obligated to serve; it's not a matter of failing to volunteer. That you support the war means that you think it's a good idea for someone to fight and die in it. That you try to wriggle out of it means that even though you think it's fine for someone to fight and die, you want it to be someone else, not you; and that you don't just want this in the sense of hoping not to be drafted while being prepared to do your duty, but in the sense of taking steps to avoid going off to war.

At the risk of threadjacking, isn't this actually the classic chickenhawk argument? it's true that a lot of people use the term carelessly, and have diluted its meaning in doing so, but I've always understood the above to be the more rigorous application of the term. In other words, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton both avoided compulsory service in Vietnam, but Clinton openly opposed that war, while Bush supported it. Ergo, Bush is uniquely unqualified to lead us in a military conflict in a way that Clinton was not. Or so the argument would go.

Oh, and the above isn't in any way meant to support OCSteve's interpretation of Hilzoy's post, that interpretation being deeply flawed, in my view.

Hilzoy: I don't ask for service. I do ask for some understanding of what we ask of our troops.

Can’t argue with that. But to take that to the extreme, only a combat vet truly knows what troops will experience in combat. (I know you said “some understanding” and not “complete understanding”.) To that extent Bush could only have as much understanding as other civilians (talking to a combat vet, including his father, news reports, etc). So I disagree that he either had no understanding at all (unless we want to discount other civilians of his generation) or that he had a good understanding but chose to do it anyway simply for political gain. I think the most likely case is that he truly thought he was doing the right thing. I know it’s impossible to derive motive from action though.


John Miller: I don't think hilzoy was saying that Bush took us into war for vain and petty reasons because he had no combat experience, just that she can't imagine anyone with combat experience going to war solely for the purpose (or mainly) of building political capital.

Understood. I’m just saying that if I accept this to be true, then I want a CiC with combat experience to lessen the chance that it could ever happen again.


Jes: There's a logical fallacy there.

I’m sure you are right, but I said, “in part because he had not experienced the horrors of combat himself”. As with my reply to John, if I accept that it is easier for a person to start a war for vain and petty reasons when that person lacks combat experience, then I want the combat experience as one more factor to dissuade that person from starting a war for vain and petty reasons.

Or something like that anyway. In any case, I didn’t get how that material fit within the context of the speech. Now I think I have a better understanding of what hilzoy was going for.

Oh, and the above isn't in any way meant to support OCSteve's interpretation of Hilzoy's post…

Wouldn’t dream of assuming that :)

". Only someone who had never experienced combat would begin a war for vain and petty reasons."

Which is nonsense, of course. A guy named Napolean comes to mind. Hitler experienced combat. A fair number of people throughout history seem to have experienced combat and thought it glorious for whatever reason and I don't think it's all a matter of dictators either, though they are the most obvious and crazed examples.


I'm happy to bash Bush and I'm not totally averse to chickenhawk arguments, but I don't want to support the notion that combat experience is either a plus or a minus for a Presidential candidate. So I won't.

Ok, well, we're getting out of "flatly false" territory, and into "not sufficently nuanced" territory, IMO.

Vicious? Check.

Hate freedom? I think "despise freedom as it is commonly understood in western culture" would be more accurate, but a politician speaking to a western audience is entitled to presume that understanding legitimate. So, check.

Don't want people to have a choice about who governs them? A fair characterization of most of our enemies, IMO, (The test isn't whether you win an election, it's what you do if you lose one.) and certainly no more a mischaracterization than describing what passes for democracy in places like the PA as "popular elections". Again check.

Same enemy? Depends on how you define the enemy, of course. He doesn't make a secret of defining them differently from you. Check.

A bit of hyperbole there, Hilzoy.

B. Bellmore - well, perhaps a bit of hyperbole, I think if you tie hilzoy's statements to those at the end of that passage, especially the last one, "And that's why that same enemy struck us on 9/11." I don't think "flatly false" is too much of a stretch, i.e., while they might be vicious, hate freedom, and not want people to choose their own gov't, none of those was a sufficient (or even necessary) reason for them to attack us on 9/11.

That's how I took her comments anyway, YMMV (and, of course, she has followed up above).

"Jim Webb, by contrast was awesome:"

Mabye we need to get Publius over here to talk about objective reality again. I typically find it painful to watch Bush speak, but it was just as painful to watch and listen to Webb.

While one might appreciate Webb's message... if you could understand it... to say he was awesome is just weird adoration. I'm still trying to reconcile the no precipitous withdrawal and leave in short order comment. Hilzoy should be careful with her heart. I have a sneaky suspicion that Webb might soon break it.

OCsteve,

"I think the most likely case is that he truly thought he was doing the right thing. I know it’s impossible to derive motive from action though."

But that's exactly the expertise that exists at Obsidian Wings. Those who post here know exactly what motivates Bush. Big Oil, Revenge for his Daddy, spoiled rich kid, stupidity, Cheney... and so on. Oh, I forgot political capital.


"And nothing I've seen from Bush to date suggests that he has the wisdom and leadership to get it right... "

Can anyone point me to some posts were Hilzoy thinks Bush has any wisdom or leadership ability to get things right?

Thanks.

Finally Hilzoy makes a great point we can find common ground on:

.. don't think that anyone who had any idea what war was like, either for civilians caught in the crossfire or for the soldiers, would ever think of a war as a way of building up political capital. I mean: how could you possibly think anything of the kind?

Yes, how? I think the most reasonable assumption would be that its just not true. But don't let reason stand in the way...


Well, I take that back. After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of supporting the enemy today there may be people willing to put our soldiers in danger for political capital.

But that's not my opinion. It's the General's. You know... those General's that Bush should listen to, but the Democrats get to ignore.

General David Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. When asked if he could get his job done in Iraq without additional troops, he replied: “No, sir.” ,b>When asked if a congressional resolution of disapproval of the “surge” could encourage the enemy, he said, “That’s correct, sir.”

Makes one wonder why they would proactively encourage the enemy.

xbril - do you think the invasion of Iraq "proactively encourage[d] the enemy"? Why or why not?

"Well, I take that back. After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of supporting the enemy today there may be people willing to put our soldiers in danger for political capital."

Gee, did xbril just call Senator Hagel a traitor? This is getting fun, Brett followed publius over. Umm, not that Brett...never mind.
...
"I think that it is true that our enemies are vicious people"

Objection. I can certainly imagine an Iraqi citizen, so damaged and disappointed by the last dozen years, maybe having lost family members as collateral damage, roasting in the dark with foul water and ne sewage system...

who would wish America and Americans harm and not be a "vicious person".

Accepting responsibility for this war means we have to understand why there are people who don't like us anymore and that they have just cause.

Makes one wonder why they would proactively encourage the enemy.

Because they're all Sooper Dooper Sekrit Stealth Mooooslims and want us all to convert as soon as possible to the strictest, most militatant version of Islam around. Isn't that patently obvious?

*sigh* I thought we could get past this kind of cartoon-level thinking, with lack of nuances.

The Senate may have taken an imprudent course (though I doubt it), but the namecalling and lack of cogent thinking here is not very convincing to me.

"I don't think hilzoy was saying that Bush took us into war for vain and petty reasons because he had no combat experience, just that she can't imagine anyone with combat experience going to war solely for the purpose (or mainly) of building political capital."

I want to be a little nuanced here. I would say that Bush has approached war in the way he has (with not enough troops, declaring victory too early, etc.) with an eye toward political capital but not that he went to war for the purpose of building political capital.

Now I'm not in his mind so I could be wrong.

I mean, criminy, hilzoy. America backed Saddam for umpteen years, helped him with his chemical weapons (iused against the Kurds) them blew up and wrecked the country, and today is sending missles and morters into a Baghdad hi-rise. Abu Ghraib, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

At what point does an Iraqi, in his own country, have a right to shoot back in simple self-defense, and not be judged evil?

Clearly xbril is aligned with Sen. Lieberman and the forces of light against Sen. Warner and the other traitors.

By the way, can anyone point me to some posts where Hilzoy thinks kittens are not cute?

Oh my goodness... I forgot that Webb : <> declared the Korean War over. Someone should tell the Korean's.


"Gee, did xbril just call Senator Hagel a traitor?"

I don't remember using the word traitor. I'm pretty sure I said something about doing things to gain political capital... much like Hilzoy did.

Has anyone accused her of calling Bush a traitor yet? For someone reason I don't think that will happen.

"xbril - do you think the invasion of Iraq "proactively encourage[d] the enemy"? Why or why not?"

You go first:

So you think they amendment is about sending a message to Islamic fascists about our resovle to fight them?

Do you think amendment will solidify their belief that we are a "paper tiger"... not my words, but bin Ladens.

"After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of supporting the enemy today" ...xbril, 10:38

"voted in favor of supporting the enemy" is very near the legal language foe treason. We usually worry much less about the motivations and justifications.

But don't worry about it. Apparently morality and legaiity have disappeared into the fog of war, and all we got left is survival, tragedy, and the buddy on the left and the buddy on the right.

War is hell.

"xbril - do you think the invasion of Iraq "proactively encourage[d] the enemy"? Why or why not?"

You go first:

Um, no. You were asked first. Proper courtesy would have you give an answer, at least.

xbril: So you think they amendment is about sending a message to Islamic fascists about our resovle to fight them?

Do you think amendment will solidify their belief that we are a "paper tiger"... not my words, but bin Ladens.

I think that the fact Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still free men six years after their agents attacked Americans on our own soil says a hell of a lot more about our "resolve to fight them" than choosing not to pour more blood and money into the pointless waste of a war in Iraq ever will. Ditto for the fact that the Taliban has been allowed to regroup and go on the offensive in Afghanistan. Schoolyard bluster is no substitute for actual results, and Saddam's broken neck is no substitute for those of the sons of bitches who actually attacked us.

Here's what I posted at slacktivist:

I missed most of the speech, and just came in on this:
Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea.

What a silly idea -- a tall black man wanting to be a doctor. He's much better off as a basketball player. Argggh, what a repellant man!

Do you think amendment will solidify their belief that we are a "paper tiger"... not my words, but bin Ladens.

Do you not mean Chairman Mao? (As, clearly, the notion of a paper tiger is alien to a desert dwelling culture.)

So you think they amendment is about sending a message to Islamic fascists about our resovle to fight them?

Islamic fascists? Like Saddam Hussein and Ba'athist insurgents? The ones that are hated by OBL and by the Shi'a of Iraq (and, incidentally, Iran and their Hizballah buddies. (You know, `Muqtada! Muqtada!'))

Words mean things. When you use them to mean totally different things, it is polite to tell people that.

It was the difference between a real man and a spoiled frat boy acting in the role given to him. Also, it was a stark contrast between plain, honest talk to the American citizenry and Rovian/Bush spin that insults our intelligence.

The statement that we're giving "aid and comfort to the enemy" needs some parsing.

"Enemy," for example. What does that mean, exactly? If "enemy" is "anyone who dislikes the US," then we have more of 'em than Carter has little liver pills. Are we supposed to send US armed forces after all of them? Goodness, that's a lot of troops. And a lot of theaters.

Should we define "enemy" as anyone who not only dislikes the US, but is in a position to actually (vs. potentially) harm us? That narrows the field a bit.

However, it plainly excludes the Iraqi militias. Not only are they focused on killing other Iraqis, but they lack the logistical capability to come thundering over here and start killing us.

(*Now, they are quite obviously killing our troops - but I would venture the radical notion that the main reason they're killing our troops is because our troops are an occupying force in Iraq. That is, our troops are within the militias' reach, and are in what the militias believe, for some reason, is their own country. If US troops left Iraq and came home, I doubt the militias would follow them.)

So, Iraqi militias aren't a clear and present danger to the US. Fighting them does not, therefore, defend the US. Fighting them achieves very little, in fact - other than, oh, creating a lot of widows and orphans in the US, further inflaming hatred of the US, and allowing Al Qaeda and the Taliban to regroup in Afghanistan.

In fact, it seems that keeping US troops in Iraq is not only not protecting or defending the US, but is itself giving "aid and comfort" to those enemies who really and truly want to and can harm the US.

So, if we want to start accusing people of giving "aid and comfort" to our enemies, perhaps we should cast a suspicious eye at those who want to keep our troops in Iraq and send even more of them over there for no good reason. Starting with the Bush Administration, and working our way down to... well, xbril, for one.

we have more of 'em than Carter has little liver pills

Don't bring Jimmy Carter into this! :^)

(ps where did you pick up this phrase? My mom used it all the time, I thought it was an Brit thing)

(ps where did you pick up this phrase? My mom used it all the time, I thought it was an Brit thing)

I'm curious too, although when reading it my first thought was why not 'Ted Kennedy'

(ps where did you pick up this phrase? My mom used it all the time, I thought it was an Brit thing)

You are showing your (lack of) age, lj.

There used to be a heavily advertised product called "Carter's Little Liver Pills," a sort of patent medicine, I suppose. I'm not sure what it was supposed to cure, unlike say, Geritol, which took care of "iron deficiency anemia," or "tired blood."

Anyway, Carter's pills were small, and came in jars containing who knows how many. Hence the phrase.

LJ:
Like so many other patent medicines, Carter's Little [Liver] Pills were supposed to cure just about everything (I gather it was basically a laxative). However, their efficacy was mostly in the mind of the consumer - and, btw, seem to have been a home-grown (or home-brewed) American product.

Depends on how you define the enemy, of course. He doesn't make a secret of defining them differently from you.

And, inasmuch as words have definite meanings, wrongly. This is not a trivial point.

A random bit of speculative insight that struck me tonight: Bush is apparently not bothered by ruins.

Most of us are, to some degree; we see something broken and we'd prefer that it be fixed. This can be a useful humanitarian impulse, and it can be abused in lots of ways, but it strikes me as a basically good idea. "What will it take to make that whole again?" is one of those questions that helps define a society and keep it chugging along.

Upon reflection, it seems to me that this isn't something Bush feels. The sight of a big hole in the middle of New York, a major port city half or more in tatters, the multitude of blights in Iraq, don't inspire that sense of something being wrong that is is in any sense his business.

Thanks for the googling that I should have been doing. My mom came over from England as a teenager in the early 50's I think, so I guess she picked up the phrase here. link

Anarch: because it's your line of work, I point out this wonderful comment

"Dan Riehl is basically the stupidest person alive, ever. Everything he says is stupider than every stupid thing ever said, combined, including everything Riehl ever said, including the statement that this sum is not stupider than. The fact that what this is logically impossible is simply a tribute to how stupid Riehl is. The laws of mathematics would rather kill themselves than deal with his stupidity. Words? Words never stood a chance."

Emphasis in original. Prompted by this, which in turn was prompted by Jim Webb's having brought up Iraq. (Or, as Riehl put it: "And of course at a time when we have so many in harms way, with more to follow under the direction of the rightfully elected Commander-in-Chief, naturally Webb and the Democrats would have to bring up Iraq." Cite.)

Xbril: Can anyone point me to some posts were Hilzoy thinks Bush has any wisdom or leadership ability to get things right?

Hilzoy only started posting here (I think?) in 2004, at which point no reasonably well-informed person could believe that Bush had any wisdom or leadership ability to get things right: that was why Bush lost the election, after all... ;-p So you'd have to look for posts from a lot earlier - on Hilzoy's previous blog, if one existed, which I presume it did.

So, to repeat the question: xbril - do you think the invasion of Iraq "proactively encourage[d] the enemy"? Why or why not?"

Or, as Riehl put it: "And of course at a time when we have so many in harms way, with more to follow under the direction of the rightfully elected Commander-in-Chief, naturally Webb and the Democrats would have to bring up Iraq."

That, right there, is an early step on the road to fascism. ANd for all my faults, that's not a word you see me use often. Constitutionally speaking, Bush is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; too many of these nimrods speak, write and behave as if he is the Commander-in-Chief of us.

". Only someone who had never experienced combat would begin a war for vain and petty reasons."

Which is nonsense, of course. A guy named Napolean comes to mind. Hitler experienced combat. A fair number of people throughout history seem to have experienced combat and thought it glorious for whatever reason and I don't think it's all a matter of dictators either, though they are the most obvious and crazed examples. [Donald Johnson]

Don't know about Napoleon, but Hitler didn't go to war to gain political capital for himself. He believed that because Germany had the power to conquer it also had the (racial) duty to do so. It is as if Bush had openly declared that the US would take the Iraqi oil because they could and that would be justification enough.
A better example for military men going to war for internal political capital would be the Argentine military junta trying to take the Falkland Islands from Britain. It vastly increased their popularity until the adventure failed (then they were out of power quite soon). On the other side, the decision to accept the Argentine challenge probably saved Maggie Thatcher's political neck.

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