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October 25, 2007

Comments

"who do you want to be associated with -- a weenie wussified dove or a big manly hairy-chested hawk."

I think this mentality takes shape in Kindergarten, but it takes the shape of being a "cool" boy or a wussy little girl. While no boys wanted to be wussy little girls, many girls wanted to be "cool" so they would cross over and accept and join in the male (hawkish) behaviors and thinking.

This manifested itself in the kind of games that we played as kids. Boys played war based video games, and played contact sports when they went outside. Girls sometimes joined in. But boys very rarely would join the girls in a game of Barbie or dress up. Joining in with the girls (aka feminine) has never been a way to boost your "cool". On the other hand, the girl that could woop on the guys in sports and video games often found herself being popular for her ability to "hang with the guys".

And then, as adults, many women continue to recoil from the feminine because their femininity makes it harder to play with the boys in the corporate world.

Therefore, even though women (doves) make up half the population, their feminine ideas are sidelined in favor of the male (hawk) ideology.

I share your perception that Americans are attracted to war and the trappings of war. We also seem to be more willing than most other countries to consider war as one more diplomatic "tool in the toolbox".

I'm not sure why that is, but I suspect that part of the reason is that no living American has ever lived through war in their own home town. War has always been something that happens to other people, somewhere else.

Wasn't there some idiot, a while back, who tried to overcome the perceptions you identify by calling himself an 'owl', meaning to convey that he wasn't wussy, but also was too smart to be indiscriminately warmongering? But I don't remember who it was or the details (it may in fact be someone I'll be unhappy to have called an idiot).

I agree with Russell. The United States didn't lose 300,000 men in one battle (Stalingrad, say, or maybe the Somme); we haven't looked on the ruins of entire regions leveled by enemy bombers; we haven't had foreign legions occupying our soil for years.

(Yes, of course the ex-Confederacy is something of an exception, but all that happened in 1865, and anyhow pictures of wrecked Richmond have become somewhat abstract in the 140 years since.)

There's a reason why the Germans tend to be wary of using military force. The French and British too. Wander around rural churchyards in those countries: lots of monuments to the Glorious Dead, and lots of names on those monuments. Lots of names.

I like the owl idea. Maybe the turkey would be even better...or the roadrunner. Yes, the roadrunner. He sure knew how to handle that dumb old coyote.

Another problem with getting rid of the hawk/dove labelling system is that you will likely end up with something like the following as opposed to what Publius proposes.

Whichever view is correct, Clinton's actions have elevated Iran even more as an issue in the Democratic campaign and demonstrated anew her possible vulnerabilities among Democrats afraid to use military force in answering our national security issues.

But in developing his views, Mr. Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers who are willing to use military force if necessary to solve foreign policy problems.

If Vietnam didn't get people's heads right, I'm not sure what will.

Isn't one obvious guess that we actually do have a very big, very tough military?

When a really big, strong guy goes around picking fights, you can look for all kinds of explanations--maybe his parents beat him, or he got the criminal-gene, or he watched too much TV. But maybe it's because he can mostly get away with it.

I suspect it's the same for us. If we had a Norway-sized military, we wouldn't look around for dragons to slay overseas, because we wouldn't think we could manage to slay a lot of dragons.

There might be a chicken-egg dilemma in there. (Or a roadrunner-egg delimma.)

Isn't one obvious guess that we actually do have a very big, very tough military?

That's a pretty interesting point, but there may be chicken-and-egg issue there.

Let's not forget the loons.

I think we're going to see a big shift in our attitudes about military force in the next thousand years or so. We're already starting to see how interdependence stabilizes geopolitical relationships. We're already able to run simulations that show where the balance of power is, and how different actions will affect it. It's just a matter of time.

I'd like a different set of animals, but I don't think journalistic shorthand will change any time soon. The term "chickenhawk" was fairly recently coined - maybe we could have "rabidoves" or "dovebadgers" or something.

I agree with Russell. War does not happen to Americans or in America, it always happens to someone else somewhere else, and it has always been this way to people alive today (with the exception of Pearl Harbor). Furthermore, this is the "right" way for things to be.

That's why (in part) the 9/11 attacks were so shocking to people here. Since people couldn't possibly accept that our meddling in the middle east was somehow misguided, wrong, was for anything less than noble intentions or that the people who live there under the regimes we prop up (and depose if it pleases us) might object and eventually react violently.

Thus, the eager acceptance by large portions of the country of the "they hate us for our freedoms" nonsense. I'm sure that some (if not most) of the terrorist do indeed hate our freedoms and culture, I'm also sure that such a hatred was neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for them to attack us.

And so what does this mindset (combined with a good helping of that all-american emotion: fear) and misunderstanding of the motivations of the terrorist get us? The worst fncking possible reaction in the world: the invasion of Iraq. And not only is it the worst reaction, the adminstration fncks it up in just about every conceivable way, all the while saying things are going swimmingly and pointing out that anyone who says otherwise is a lying, leftist, objectively pro-Saddam (if not pro-terrorist), troop-hating traitor. For this the voters return the moronic brownshirt fncks to power for four more years.

And so now we have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of additional people who hate us for the most understandable reasons: we killed their friends and family members and turned their country into the slow motion equivalent of the Killing Fields.

And what is the reaction of Cheney, et. al. to this abomination? That we must now attack Iran, with nukes if necessary. The people in charge of the executive branch of the most powerful nation on earth are lunatics. They have turned the spying and security apparatus of the Federal Government against its own citizens, happily. They started an unnecessary war of choice in Iraq and are itching to start another one. They have turned the Justice Department and the rest of the executive branch into another arm of their brown shirt army. They are a few short steps from throwing their domestic political opposition in prison for being "unlawful enemey combatants" (they don't wear uniforms, dontychaknow?) or for "material support of terrorism" (ZOMG, they're aiding al Qaeda propaganda!!1!!).

[thoughts on appropriate punishment for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, Tenet, Yoo, etc. redacted]

And you just watch, 15 years from now when some Iraqi whose family was killed by a JDAM blows himself up at a mall in Des Moines, we'll have the exact same reaction.

War does not happen to Americans or in America, it always happens to someone else somewhere else, and it has always been this way to people alive today

I agree that this is part of it. But it does not explain everything, otherwise why isn't Canada full of Podhurtz's and Victor Davis Hanson's.

I'm tempted to blame pop culture for giving us a cartoonish view of war. But that's not true either - there is a Platoon or Full Metal Jacket for every Great Escape or Rambo. Although film protrayal of war has gotten much darker since the vietnam years so perhaps this is the last gasp of the 'Greatest Generation Envy Generation'

I agree that this is part of it. But it does not explain everything, otherwise why isn't Canada full of Podhurtz's and Victor Davis Hanson's.

I had Canada at the back of my mind when writing that, and I guess I would chalk it up to lack of a violent revolution, lack of "the South," lack of a civil war (and thus also of the enduring hostility of the loser), lack of the world's largest economy and military, different form of gov't, etc.

I'm tempted to blame pop culture for giving us a cartoonish view of war. But that's not true either - there is a Platoon or Full Metal Jacket for every Great Escape or Rambo.

Yes and for every 24 there's Rendition, but the disparity in the size of the two audiences is vast (FMJ had $46M at the box office, Rambo more than three times that, despite opening two years earlier, Platoon got $137M, of course it won best pic).

For some reason there's no critical self-examination by Americans except by those on the left,* who then get called traitors, commies, and pussies for doing so.

*obvious caveats omitted

For my 2 cents, I'd attribute our warlike tendencies to our intrinsic nature. A quick glance at our nearest relatives, the chimps, shows a disturbingly similar aggressiveness. It's only civilization and governments (recall "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men" ?) that keep these forces in check. We've probably all heard the adage that without education we're just one generation away from being barbarians.

For the US in particular, I'd go mostly with Russell's explanation, along with our consumer-driven economy, which in some cases panders to our worst instincts.

please visit
www.gabrielchristou.blogspot.com

you will see PHOTOS of WHO and WHERE Bin Laden and his NETWORKS ARE….

URGENT…PLEASE HELP…. I CANNOT FROM HERE….. I AM BLOCKED ALL AROUND
FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO THE FBI.

[email protected]

please visit
www.gabrielchristou.blogspot.com

you will see PHOTOS of WHO and WHERE Bin Laden and his NETWORKS ARE….

URGENT…PLEASE HELP…. I CANNOT FROM HERE….. I AM BLOCKED ALL AROUND
FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO THE FBI.

Sorry, nothing but lefty, objectively-pro bin Ladin traitors here, try redstate.com

Perhaps the issue is that the doves are more often Dems and the hawks are more often Repubs. After all, whether due to lack of spine or otherwise, the Dems have shown virtually no aptitude for messaging for many years now - completely inept. With that level of capitulation and inability to get your word out, can there be much surprise that the feckless public is swayed to the GOP side?

Again, I have to point out that Americans in particular have a preoccupation with being "cool". And guns and war are cool.

Take the "cool" video games. First Doom... then Counterstrike... now World of Warcraft.

And the "cool" movies, like the ones listed above. Even in Superbad, McLovin's "coolness" peaks when he's randomly shooting a cop's gun in a parking lot.

And I think Russell is right. The only reason any of this is considered "cool" is because we have never experienced the devastation of a war in our towns. We have no idea what it feels like when entertainment goes away and you need to struggle to find food. We've never had to worry about the bombs landing on our roofs at night. That's not a war reality for Americans. We sleep just fine while fighting two wars.

And my fear is that we won't stop our militaristic nature until that does become our reality.

I'm tempted to blame pop culture for giving us a cartoonish view of war. But that's not true either - there is a Platoon or Full Metal Jacket for every Great Escape or Rambo.

Point of order: By the end of The Great Escape nearly everyone in the cast except Steve McQueen and James Coburn has been machine-gunned to death in an open field at close range. Not very cartoonish.

Yes, but Phil, you forget, everybody who dies in The Great Escape is just another whiny Limey wishing he was home drinking tea and gardening, as opposed to the manly Yanks who live to escape another day!

"But that's not true either - there is a Platoon or Full Metal Jacket for every Great Escape or Rambo."

I take small issue with this. Although all I know about war is what I read and view, I'd point out that, in fact, both Platoon and FMJ are quite unrealistically ungraphic. Even compared to Saving Private Ryan's evocation of battle in its opening storming Omaha Beach sequence, they're anodyne, even if less so than the completely ungraphic previous U.S. fictional war films.

But if you actually see any of the more honest documentaries that show scenes of actual corpses, or actual combat, you'll see that even those don't convey The Real Thing as regards realistic violence, or its real horror.

Similarly, see some films of concentration camps, and compare. To view actual horror and brutality, of war and slaughter, is to view something much more out of the experience of those who haven't seen actual combat, or at least great natural disaster and mass violent death, than, well, Platoon or Full Metal Jacket.

Although Stanley Kubrick did a remarkable job of making East London look like Hue. And I'm a huge fan of the writing of that nut, Gustav Hasford (I tried to buy his The Phantom Blooper, a sequel to "The Short-Timers," [full text of the story] his story that FMJ was sorta-based-on-kinda, back in the mid-Eighties, when I was at Avon, working on, among many lines, the Vietnam line, which already included Michael Herr's Dispatches, as I think I've mentioned here before).

Ugh, it's perhaps not a good idea to repeat the URL, even as dead HTML, of a spam site, so that after the original is deleted, the spam is preserved and lives on. Alternatively, deleting at least part of it, and that alone, wouldn't interfere with the mocking. Suggestion for the future, of course.

America has become warlike, in my opinion, for two primary reasons, although preliminarily, the absence of directly experiencing carnage is why the concept can flourish. But there are plenty of countries who have not experienced carnage that also do not demonstrate much belligerence.

The first is the rise of the military-industrial complex in the US since WWII. Ike's warning has fallen on deaf ears -- his worst fears have come to full fruition. The US outspends the world on the military, and is wedded to a foreign policy based on the active projection of military power into every corner of the world. This powerful institution makes the use of American force the default position. Over the decades, it is no surprise that the opinion has formed that we should use it to further our ends, as opposed to using it for our defense. That is one of the reasons the warmongers rant about WWIV and the dire Islamic threat - this gross exaggeration of threat justifies any level of armed action.

Or as the punch line goes, "I thought he was going to hit me, so I hit him back first."

This giant industry devoted to a bloated defense budget has its reach into many many spheres of American life. Heck -- large segments of the media are now owned by corporate entities with a large stake in giant defense spending. The legitimacy of US warmongering is reinforced in countless ways.

Second, a perverse side consequence of the all volunteer army is that American citizenry is further divorced from any consequences of thinking belligerently. Forget that the US has not experienced carnage directly -- it no longer expects to experience it much at all.

Instead of hawks and doves, it is time to call the "hawks" warmongers, and "doves" the rational ones who commit to war only when it is necessary for defense.

CW:

"We've probably all heard the adage that without education we're just one generation away from being barbarians."

On the other hand, the English, French, and German dead meat piled high in the trenches during World War I, their faces contorted by poison gas, and their bodies riddled with machine gun fire and single bullets fired from hundreds of feet away thanks to finely crafted telescopic sights, were clutching their pocket volumes of Keats, Verlaine, and Goethe as they expired in the rarified air of Western Civilization.

True, a single generation later, with even more history lessons under their belts, Hitler's Germany, which had reached the pinnacle of human cultural achievement, put some its finest minds to work figuring out how to exterminate millions of other fine minds.

Einstein, Oppenheimer, et al, were very puzzled chimps when they ended up placing the laws of the universe at the service of exquisitely efficient barbarism. Give a barbarian an equation and what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.

The adage you refer to was struck from the syllabus by the 20th century.

Also: The Steve McQueen character in "The Great Escape" gives us a clue to the glib nature of our country's use of force and our Hogan's Heros view of war. He managed to hump or parachute to the front lines of the European theater with his baseball glove and a baseball, which he then smuggled into solitary confinement to keep himself busy.

In "Papillon", I half expected McQueen to pull out the glove and ball again to break the monotony of catching and eating bugs in "the box".

The war bloggers, with their lifetime prescriptions of War Viagra, would probably expect to smuggle their bathrobes, slippers, and an XBox into the prison camp box.

In old war movies, particularly those featuring John Wayne, you'll notice the stars rarely wear helmets because we wouldn't be able to see their chiseled features as they stood tall rubbing out the shorter barbarians. Wayne never got a sliver of hot metal anywhere near his brain stem.

This feature was commented on as farce in "Apocalypse Now" as the Robert Duvall character stood, sans helmet, with his cavalry hat and yellow scarf as explosions went off 15 feet away and shrapnel whistled by his ears, as his men cringed nearby.

Someone later sits on his helmet while in a HUEY to protect his privates, his sargeants, and his generals from enemy fire.

Later, in "Saving Private Ryan' there is a scene early on in the first mind-blowing 20 minutes of the movie, as Normandy is invaded, when a grunt gets hit in the helmet by a bullet, removes the helmet to look at the dent, and instantly gets a round right in the forehead.

John Wayne would have thrown his helmet away, given Maureen O'Hara a rough kiss on the jaw, and found the machine-gunner and cold-cocked him, while letting Kirk Douglas take care of the overacting.

Just like the guys at Red State, except that Maureen O'Hara could kick their asses.


"Just like the guys at Red State, except that Maureen O'Hara could kick their asses.

Everything leading up to this point was an example of what you get when Thullen gets pissed off.

That last line, however, was one of the best I have seen in any comment about this subject.

I bow to you, John, in all seriousness and appreciation.

"He managed to hump or parachute to the front lines of the European theater with his baseball glove and a baseball, which he then smuggled into solitary confinement to keep himself busy."

The Air Force Stalag prisoners actually got mail, at least occasionally, via the Red Cross. Neither did the Germans, as a rule, forbid such items from most prisoners (access to such items is included in the Geneva Conventions). So while Hiltz having brought it along with him seems perfectly plausible -- why not? -- him getting them in the mail would also be perfectly plausible.

And there was no "smuggled" into solitary confinement: he walked in with them, and the Germans didn't object. I don't know for sure that that would have happened, but neither do I know that it wouldn't or couldn't have. I suspect it might have depended on the individual camp at the individual time.

So far as I know: anyone with more expert knowledge is welcome to correct me.

Cite:

[...] Merchant Mariners at Milag Nord Prisoner of War Camp in Germany during World War II

[...]

In each compound there were sports fields where the POW could play baseball and volleyball. A great deal of equipment was supplied by the Red Cross and YMCA.

[...]

Mail
In general the delivery of mail was very erratic. The average number of letters received per man per month was 7 and required as many as 61 days for transit. Parcel post packages required about 43 days in transit.

Not much can be done about the framing. Journos will write what they write. But if the attitude towards war is to be changed in our country, reinstate the draft, with no deferment options other than medical. The very real prospect of finding out first hand what it feels like to be a Gold Star parent will change a lot minds.

Aw crap, Gary! ;)

What about the big-screen T.V. and the blow-up doll resembling Claudia Cardinale he waltzed in with him?

I weigh my facts carefully. Then, I place them on a diet. When they are just about to pass out, I use them in a comment.

Not having war on the home soil is too simplistic. Many have pointed out Canada has had the same safety and has a different attitude. Also, by the time of WWI, the part of the USA that had experienced war most directly, the south, was one of the most pro-war regions.

Plus, all countries that have been bombed or war-ravaged are alike. Europe and Japan became much less warlike after world war two, but places like Colombia and Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia,very war ravaged, warlike behavior hasn't occurred.

If being bombed and occupied is what made Europe more pacifistic, why isn't the whole ex-colonial world more pacifistic?

If being bombed and occupied is what made Europe more pacifistic, why isn't the whole ex-colonial world more pacifistic?

I've been bombed and occupied, and that hasn't done much in the way of pacifying me. At least, not for very long.

"What about the big-screen T.V. and the blow-up doll resembling Claudia Cardinale he waltzed in with him?"

No, that was in one of the Rambo movies. Or perhaps it was a Chuck Norris vehicle. Jean-Claude Van Damme?

Arnold Stang?

If you didn't offer me WWII trivia to comment on, why, whatever would I have to comment on?

mightygodking has a somewhat valid point, in that no actual Americans escaped in the real Great Escape, but, hey, it's an American film, and it's a rare film of any nation's cinema that doesn't tend to centers its film characters around people of that nation. And, of course, on the other hand, it's understandable that non-Americans may find Americans inserting themselves into fictional history somewhat irritating.

But I don't see anything implausible at all about the baseball and glove in TGE.

The motorcycle jumps, on the other hand....

There was a threat to American interests in the form of Saddam Hussein combined with the potential for weapons of mass destruction. There was a war. We won it. The threat disappeared.

There was a nation building effort. We gave the population a chance to stand up a representative government. They proved to be either unable or unwilling to leave their Islamic roots. It would have been too much to expect the government to understand Islam in 2002, and the effort at establishing a model government in Iraq was understandable, if naïve.

Now there is the face-saving effort. President Bush doesn’t have the strength to make tough, rational decisions in the interest of the American people. Neither will his successor. The images from Iraq would be too powerful. We’ll be on the streets of Iraq until somebody cuts up our credit card.

At this point in our democracy, it’s not about warmongering, it is about managing images.

"Europe and Japan became much less warlike after world war two, but places like Colombia and Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia,very war ravaged, warlike behavior hasn't occurred."

I'm trying to understand what you mean by this: Pakistan and India have fought two significant wars, and maintain a high level of tension, with frequent skirmishing in Kashmir.

Ethiopia is currently attempting to occupy Somalia.

There are two countries known as "Congo," the "Democratic Republic of," (formerly Zaire) and the "Republic of," aka Congo-Brazzaville.

The former has been in on and off civil war since 1994, killing an estimated ~four million people. In the past decade, the DRC has engaged in what's been called the "Great War of Africa".

Could you perhaps clarify what sort of "warlike behavior" you have in mind that hasn't occurred?

Bill : "President Bush doesn’t have the strength to make tough, rational decisions in the interest of the American people. Neither will his successor. The images from Iraq would be too powerful."

Why don't you be blunt and straightforward as to precisely what you mean, rather than use euphemisms such as this?

Would it be wrong to understand that you mean that we should kill many more Iraqis, and in a much more unrestricted way? If so, would you care to elaborate?

Or do you mean something entirely different by "tough, rational decisions"?

Gary;

I’ll be precise. We should leave or retreat to remote bases. The Democrats should defund the war.

The Russians had General Winter. We have General Mohammed.

Bill:

"There was a war. We won it. The threat disappeared."

And I thought my facts had skipped a few meals! Your facts have undergone liposuction.

That's O.K. We go to to war with the facts we have. When those facts get their butts shot off, we send in reinforcement facts.

"They proved to be either unable or unwilling to leave their Islamic roots."

Now, THAT is the Richard Simmons of facts!

Have you ever appeared in a Graham Greene novel?

_The Comedians_? With dialogue written by the _Dragnet_ scriptwriters...... ma'am?

;) I smile when I write that.

There was a threat to American interests in the form of Saddam Hussein

What was the threat posed by Saddam, and how was eliminating the counter-weight to Iran that Saddam provided in our interests?

They proved to be either unable or unwilling to leave their Islamic roots. It would have been too much to expect the government to understand Islam in 2002,

Did you or somebody else expect them to "leave their Islamic roots?" Do you think that if America was invaded by a Muslim nation that we would be likely to "leave our Christian roots?" That's an interesting theory.

Just as interesting is your erudite thesis that we shouldn't expect our government capable of studying, considering or learning basic facts about another culture. I guess if your model for government is formed on the basis of GWB then there is little reason to expect anything at all of value from it...

Keep up the serious thinking.

Let me clarify what I was saying about colombia and Pakistan - Being hurt by war directly has not made them more paciifistic.

I effed it up by missing the word "not" in the right places.

Bill:

On the other hand, "The images from Iraq would be too powerful" is right on the money.

Again, with the movies .... but "we can't handle the truth!"

Thus Bush's and Cheney's lies, which even they believed.

Maybe one of the truths was that Saddam's disappearance made lots of worse things appear, relative to the managed evil he represented.

"... the effort at establishing a model government in Iraq was understandable, if naive."

Well, there weren't enough first aid stations or bathroom facilities at Woodstock either, but pharmaceutically speaking, Yasgur's mud was luxurious.

John Thullen is a person who I would like to play chess with. For the record, the operative word was ‘potential’.

I told you Bill was scarier....

"Let me clarify what I was saying about colombia and Pakistan - Being hurt by war directly has not made them more paciifistic."

Ah. Well, that makes sense.

But insofar as major war on one's native soil may cause pacificism, I'd say that it happens more widely if the war or wars seem reasonably definitively over, and perceived safety is no longer much of an issue.

A war doesn't have to take place on native soil to have a strong effect of encouraging pacificism, though: Britain after the Great War is a clear and obvious example. So all it would seem to take is having a sufficiently large enough proportion of your youth killed off, in what ultimately seems a fairly pointless and hugely destructive war that goes on for years. It's unsurprising that many nations might say, thanks, we'd prefer not to order another cup of that.

(France, of course, did have a chunk of that war on their native soil, and were also rather inclined towards pacificism afterwards.)

The U.S. has never really experienced anything comparable, save to some extent the Civil War, which did devastate swathes of the South, and killed as many as 50,000 in the single battle of Gettysburg in one day.

But that's dwarfed by the Great War, and WWII's, effects on Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and points hither and yon.

spockamok,
I think what you are missing is that the warlike behavior we see in non-European countries has often been, in some way, related to the notion of proxy warfare by the cold war superpowers, which has often been touted as a good thing. Certainly, things like arm sales bear this notion out.

Furthermore, one could suggest that the whole enterprise of colonialism, which pitted indigenous groups against one another, was setting the stage for this behavior, and the fact that in most places, neither side has been able to completely crush the other, as happened in WWII, also contributes to the problem.

This is not to say that you observing that the notion of being ravaged by war directly causes pacifism misses the mark, but I think that the case with Europe and the American South is that when people realize that the cost of completely defeating the enemy is so high to both the winners and the losers, they tend to avoid it. This also may be why the Dolchstoss/stab in the back theories of post WWI Germany and Vietnam were/are able to get the traction they do. The American South is an interesting example, because the military leaders accepted that the war was over, but Jefferson Davis and others advocated a continuing campaign of guerrilla warfare, and the prevalence of myths of the Lost South suggest that the South is not necessarily a good example of a territory accepting defeat.

Incidentally, following up on Publius's thread of the other week, the dread threat of the Armenian genocide resolution is past for now.

"The American South is an interesting example, because the military leaders accepted that the war was over, but Jefferson Davis and others advocated a continuing campaign of guerrilla warfare, and the prevalence of myths of the Lost South suggest that the South is not necessarily a good example of a territory accepting defeat."

The South didn't engage in much postwar military resistance, but the story of Reconstruction is, of course, the story of thorough ideological resistance, and counter-revolution to crush the newly granted civil rights of former slaves, to push and keep as many as possible in indentured servitude as closely resembling slavery as possible, and to defend the Southern Cause as noble, and then to subsequently begin the Big Lie version of history that the War wasn't at all about slavery (this campaign remains staggeringly successful to this day; lots of otherwise liberal people still actually buy into this ahistoric nonsense), along with the rest of the Birth Of A Nation/KKK version of history.

And that worked terrifically for about a century. Who needed military resistance? Jim Crow wasn't seriously threatened for almost a hundred years after it was imposed as Reconstruction was destroyed.

The US normally wins the wars it gets into. This is partly because it has, historically, carefully chosen its wars.

1812, for instance, the British were, um, occupied elsewhere, so invading Canada seemed like a shoo-in. That one was lost, of course, but since the Poms really screwed up at New Orleans the US can still kid themselves that they did OK.

Mexico -- walkover. Cuba -- walkover. World War I -- with a little help from my friends the British, French, Italians and Russians. World War II -- with a little help from ditto, except the Italians who, frankly, were by then more helpful on the other side.

Korea would have been a walkover except that MacArthur was a loonie and pushed into North Korea. Vietnam was the sequel to a whole series of stupid Third World interventions amounting to beating up babies in their cradles.

Iraq I was a walkover.

Iraq II -- see Vietnam. Except that the US has been able to use armour and air power more effectively to minimise losses.

Hey, why not have a war, if you think you're going to win, and anyway, it's not your kids who are going to die if you screw up, and you've got the Atlantic and Pacific between you and anyone who's mad at you?

As a Canadian, I would suggest two things that would contribute to the different way Canadians and Americans perceive war in general and the Iraq situation in particular:

1. We don't have 200+ years of "Shining City on the Hill" rhetoric coming at us from politicians. Careful reading of what most speakers said about American Exceptionalism over the years indicates that they thought of it as an ideal to strive towards and live up to; the bumper-sticker single quotes often cited can give unreflective people (and after the late 20th century, are there any other kinds?) the idea that simply to be American is to be special and unrestrained.

2. The fact that the President is the head of state. No country with a parliamentary system of government would give the prime minister the kind of exhalted reverence that Americans have for "the Commander in Chief". PM's have to face Question Period a few times a week most of the year and having several dozen people call you a bonehead during that time does wonders to bring you down to earth and keeps the public from venerating you too much.

When a guy like Bush is president, the lack of tough questionning and the excess of reverence can be dangerous.

Germany lost both world wars but only in the second it was impossible to deny that. As Hitler put it, he fought until 12:05 not 11:55. The WW1 legend was that the German army was undefeated before the enemy, so the war itself was not discredited as a useless waste in the first place. A few generals claimed after WW2 that the war could have been won without Hitler's interference but that never got traction and almost nobody was willing to "try a third time" (apart from simply lacking the means).
The economic boom following WW2 has also played a huge role in the unwillingness to risk everything again with no obvious advantages even in the case of success. We are (militarily) weak but rich nonetheless, so why go for adventures?
Canada may be influenced by its close connection to Britain.
As I have repeatedly said, I consider the US mentality close to that of Germany in about 1910. Two ideas would have to be destroyed before that could change: the belief in one's own superiority and the belief that revenge for "injured pride" will make things better.
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OT: There are attempts to blame the fires in Southern California on Al Qaeda (and of course gays, environmentalists,Hollywood liberals and Hillary*). I just wait for claims that Iran copies the Japanese fire balloon attacks.

*She was in the area at the time

Hawk n Dove...

is that like Salt n Slug ?

There are attempts to blame the fires in Southern California on Al Qaeda (and of course gays, environmentalists,Hollywood liberals and Hillary*).

As there are attempts to blame it all on Bush for refusing to sign Kyoto, not having enough NG troops available to help because they are in Iraq, and of course mismanaging the federal response.

Heaven forbid we (both sides trying to make political hay out of tragedy) blame it on a natural phenomenon and a couple of exceptionally evil people (arsonists).

There's fires in SoCal, like, every other year, why the current one is somehow due to global warming is beyond me.

It would be nice if people would stop living in areas prone to natural disasters, but I doubt we're going empty out the entire state of florida and most of california, not to mention the gulf coast and large swaths of the atlantic seaboard.

At this point in our democracy, it’s not about warmongering, it is about managing images.

Which, of course, explains the current warmongering about Iran. Just managing images.

But if the attitude towards war is to be changed in our country, reinstate the draft, with no deferment options other than medical. The very real prospect of finding out first hand what it feels like to be a Gold Star parent will change a lot minds.

Shirer, in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, writes about the reaction of the German populace when war started on 9/1/39 (Shirer was posted to Berlin at the time as a radio reporter for CBS). There was zero enthusiasm -- no parades our public demonstrations of support. Contrast that with August, 1914 -- nothing like experiencing the true nature of war to make one sober about jumping into another one.

On the topic of war movies, looks like people are not up for this latest batch of anti-war flicks:

Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror.


OT (hmm, maybe partially on topic): Gary – The VRWC is on to you:

His memo is sharply critical of Republican policies but also suggests a neurological explanation for Republican message success: By using emotional appeals and warning of dire threats, Republicans can trigger neurons called “amygdalae” in the temporal lobe, which is the seat of the “fight or flight” response in the brain.

Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror.

the people i know who've seen Rendition say it's good, but totally depressing.

so, i'm not interested in seeing it because i don't think i need to be any more bummed-out about this stuff than i already am, and not because i don't want to see anything that's critical of Dear Leader.

nothing like experiencing the true nature of war to make one sober about jumping into another one

My in-laws are/were Greatest Generation folks. Father in law fought in the Phillipines, mom stayed home and built fighters.

When we spoke with them just after 9/11, their first words were "We hope we don't go to war over this."

I note the comments of spockamock et al upthread. Many good points on why lack of direct experience of war really doesn't explain our militarism. Military industrial complex strikes me as pretty likely, actually.

In any case, we have the disease. I don't know what the cure is.

Thanks -

So let's see... in 1993 the Clinton administration, alarmed by the overthrow of a leftists regime in Haiti, slaps an economic embargo on the hemisphere's poorest nation and then INVADES AND OCCUPIES the country.

In 1998 the Clinton administration, frustrated by the fecklessness of the UN - the same UN that allowed the Rwandan genocide to occur because Rwanda's delegation sat on the Security Council and vetoed any foreign intervention...first sent US troops into Bosnia and then, again without UN approval, bombed Serbia to stop them from cracking down on Kosovo.

Apparently, when a Democratic administration uses military force without UN approval it's OK and not a big deal.

And it's also "not a big deal" that US troops are STILL in Bosnia "keeping the peace" but IS a problem if we decided to remain in Iraq for the same motive?

And it's also "not a big deal" that US troops are STILL in Bosnia "keeping the peace" but IS a problem if we decided to remain in Iraq for the same motive?

yes, any two things can be identical, if you choose the right level of abstraction. but once you take the issue to that level, you often lose the ability to say anything meaningful at all about either.

Stalin and Lincoln were both men. how can we despise one and not the other? hypocrisy, that's how!

John is exactly right. And how come no one here is denouncing LBJ's escalation of the Vietnam war, huh? 'Cause he was a democrat, that's why. And how about Democrat Woodrow Wilson's invasion of Russia? That wasn't sanctioned by the UN, and nary a peep from any of the front-page posters here.

Hypocrisy!

There was a threat to American interests in the form of Saddam Hussein combined with the potential for weapons of mass destruction

After WWII, there were japanese soldiers who never accepted the surrender. They fought on somewhere out there on their lonely Pacific islands, living on fish and rainwater I guess.

There are still Russians who think back fondly to the days of Uncle Joe.

And from now until hell freezes over, there will be folks who insist that Hussein presented a threat to the US in March of 2003.

I'm done with that conversation. It's gone beyond the world of fact, or even opinion, and off into the ether of Accepted Truth.

Enough's enough. Time to move on.

So let's see... in 1993 the Clinton administration....

We need to make the discussion of the perfidy of the Clintons useful, or at least entertaining.

How about we start a pool where we can all bet on how many posts it will take in a given thread before the first "But the Clintons..." comment shows up?

There are some software engineers here, somebody could build it and sell it back to typepad.

Thanks -

Russell: We could make a betting game out of it, with guaranteed payoff, since every thread with a comment critical of Bush/Cheney gets "But the Clintons" posts sooner or later.

When we try to figure out why nations are prone go to war, we make a tacit assumption that peace is the normal circumstance. I wonder what happens to our analysis if we make the assumption that war (or at least the pervasive use of violence) is the normal state, and try to figure out why people or nations are at peace.

I also wonder if there's any kind of correlation between the use/acceptance of violence within a country and that country's likelihood of going to war. I'm sure there's examples both ways, but is there a trend?

OCSteve, while I see an equivalence between blaming Bush and environmentalism for the SouCal fires (i.e. accusation of blocking necessary preventive measures), this is not the case with direct claims that Al Qaeda agents or Hillary Clinton personally committed arson. The former is at least open to reasonable debate (there are extremists on both sides and the best form of forest fire management is far from clear), the latter is pure fearmongering (Bin Laden striking again) resp. simply vile (Hillary as Nero lighting a fire for her wild parties). Btw, there are by now also claims that it's all a distraction by illegal immigrants in order to cross the border undetected.
---
There was broad criticism of Clinton for using the military in the "wrong" places from both political sides (wagging the dog anyone?) and from Europe. Whoever claims that we all worshipped at the altar of Bill is either deeply uninformed or spreading deliberate falsehoods.

Um...the "dove" imagery comes straight from antiwar Christianity in the late 19th and early 20th century. It has a long and storied history. I am proud to be associated with it.

You could no more change it than you could change the color of communism from red to purple.

OCSteve (quoting a link):

"By using emotional appeals and warning of dire threats, Republicans can trigger neurons called 'amygdalae' in the temporal lobe, which is the seat of 'fight or flight' response in the brain."

And, Cleek:

"Stalin and Lincoln were both men. How can we despise one and not the other?"

Steve's link mentions Frank Luntz and his recommendations to Newt's Blue Meanies for corrupting the language on behalf of the hive amygdala at the center of the Republican Party's base.

How might Luntz frame an answer to Cleek's question?

On November 1 of 2007, an ad runs in rural South Carolina and deep in the amygdala of Texas (reinforced by robo-calls) referring only obliquely to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Barack Obama.

A hazy reenactment of Lincoln declaring war on the South, interspersed with clips from Civil Rights marches in the 1960s, is interrupted by footage of Stalin gesturing grandly toward a map of the Ukraine and then photos of Ukrainian bodies littering empty fields.

At this moment, a speech by Hillary is excerpted talking about her plans for gummint-run healthcare, alternating with footage of flames consuming California and an unidentified farmer having his tractor repossessed by the IRS as payment of his parent's DEATH Tax.

There is a quick cut to Obama speaking about his vote against the war in Iraq. His face is morphed to the bearded Lincoln, and then to Stalin, and finally to the bearded Osama Bin Laden, as an overvoice repeats the name Obama in droning repetition.

Music: "Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out/they leave the West behind/and Moscow girls really sing and shout/and Carolina's always on my my my my my my my my my mind"

Three days later another ad is run featuring excerpts of an unidentified but vaguely effeminate university professor discussing Lincoln's suspected homosexuality. A dramatization of an ex-CIA operative's claims of odd goings-on at Xmas time in the Clinton White House is depicted, as a stand-in for Hillary festoons the Xmas tree with condoms and butt-plugs. A youngster, identified as the young Barack Obama, is depicted being led by the hand by a tall, bearded figure in robes (morphing instantly from Lincoln in top hat to the tuniced Stalin and back to the tall one in robes) into the Pelosi gay bathhouse in San Francisco with a sign above the door, courtesy of the IRS, reading "Death Taxes Shall Be Paid One Way Or The Other".

As an aside, the raging forest fires in the late 1990s were used to diabolical advantage by the Luntzian brain trust during the 2000 election, even to the point of demonizing Smokey the Bear, a symbol which, remarkably, was concocted originally to warn Americans to be on the lookout for Japanese attempts during WWII to burn down the forests (wood was an important component of battleship construction) via hot air balloon.

My amygdala's reaction to this Luntzian campaign was to hope for Democrats and environmental organizations to run ads insinuating that Republican operatives were sent into the forests to commit arson for election advantage, since I love a good mind game.

Alas, I'm stuck with the amygdala of a College Republican but my limbic system otherwise lights up under the scan as a cross between George Carlin's attitude and George McGovern's 1972 campaign platform.

John Thullen: a cross between George Carlin's attitude and George McGovern's 1972 campaign platform

Another instant classic!


Hartmut: this is not the case with direct claims that Al Qaeda agents or Hillary Clinton personally committed arson

I wasn’t actually intending to be this serious about it, or say anything beyond both sides are being silly trying to score political points out of this natural disaster. But…

I don’t think anyone of any importance is serious about AQ or HRC being responsible. I wasn’t actually aware that the claims had been made, I assumed you were kidding. (I think I saw something like “why worry about terrorists getting sophisticated weapons into the country – look what you can do with a match”.) I think we can all write off anyone who seriously makes either claim.

But Harry Reid was first out the gate with GW. Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Boxer ran out the NG in Iraq bit. I haven’t seen any serious criticism of FEMA, but almost every mention is used as an opportunity to compare this to Katrina. Those aren’t just nobodies we can just write off like some kook claiming OBL or HRC did it.

I think that the environmentalist issue is the only legitimate one to discuss here. I tend to listen to the Forest Service on that.

My thoughts on the arguments re militarism in America:

1) Military Industrial Complex: Sure there are a lot of contractors making tons of money, but they were and have been for years during times of peace. I think there may be a correlation/causation problem with this argument, although I'll not dismiss it.

2) Nobody has talked about how for a period of 50 years we were the world's only hope against communism. We pretty much had to have a "we'll hit you first" mentality. Norway got to have a little tiny military because of us. Now the Finns, they only need a little tiny army. They kick butt.

And I'm not sure the situation has entirely changed, at least not yet. If the Chinese and the Russians later turn back into threats or something else comes up, who's going to stop them? The EU? the UN? What about Iran if it goes nuclear? Aside from us, only the Israelis are much of a threat.

Not that I don't want peace or think global interdependence won't play out in the long run, but we aren't there yet.

3) Names: Since we are going with the animal theme, here's some suggestions:

Bull Moose in Rut: Normally moderately aggressive animal that gets out of its mind at times and attacks anything, including trees in its attempt to get what it wants. "Bull" has a nice capitalistic military-industrial-complex ring to it.

Beaver: Never attacks but capable of making lots of noise when danger approaches. Finds peace through constructing things but thinks all action is constructive, even when it ruins the entire water system. At least it locks up the carbon!

or maybe: Raccoon: Not very aggressive unless provoked but cunning and often lures larger attackers into the water where it can drown them; thinks everyone else's food and shiny things belong to it.

Not quite as imaginative as Thullen's last post (wow, still laughing hard), but all I can do on very little sleep last night.

I'm voting to replace Hawks and Doves with Badgers and Snakes.

bc: Aside from us, only the Israelis are much of a threat.

That's kinda the problem here. We are the only theat now. The Ruskies are quite dimished and China has yet to engage in military imperialism. Right now we the ocnly country running around shooting people for reasons that are not entirely clear to the rest of the world.

In short from the point of view of other countries, for now, we're the new USSR and China is the new US.

On October 25, 2008, wildfires devastated California forests, causing two million people to flee their homes and businesses.

Efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to clear dry tinder from the forests were stymied last summer when President Guiliani's recently appointed INS Director, Tom Tancredo, ordered thousands of undocumented aliens arrested and deported who were working for Forest Service contractors.

The contractors, who reportedly gave campaign contributions to the Republican National Committee to secure contracts for the labor-intensive effort to remove brush and thin trees, said their hands were tied.

Presidential spokesman Glenn Beck was interrupted during his spot-on impression of Benito Mussolini, which now leads off each White House press briefing, by Helen Thomas' question: "Glenn, is there any truth to the rumors that other factors may have come into play that caused the fires to go undefended?"

Beck flashed his famous dimples and said the Department of Homeland Security had identified suspected individuals of Middle Eastern descent (the middle of Mexico just east of Puerto Vallarta) who were attempting to protect weapons hidden in the palatial homes of those suspected of hating America and who live on the, uh, shall we call it (Beck playfully puts an imaginary thinking cap on and impishly looks deep in thought as he casts his eyes to the upper left-hand corner of the room), let's see, the Left Coast?

Beck added that the full budget of the SCHIP program for poor children was being suspended by Presidential Order so that the monies could be diverted to forest cleanup. Blackwater Associates, the international security firm, was said to have set up a staging headquarters in the former home of Hollywood celebrity Rob Reiner, as part of the effort.

Reiner was unavailable for comment, but a spokesman for his amygdala was seen being led away in handcuffs.


I'll make it clearer.

Many have argued - and with good intent - that the US wrongly attacked and invaded Iraq in 2003 because Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States mainland.

The implication is that military force is only legitimate if used in immediate defense of one's homeland from attack.

OK well if that's the principle, if that's the argument, then let's go back in time and see when it's been applied in a principled fashion.

Hence, Haiti 1993: a right-wing dictator kicks out a left-wing dictator and the US invades. Was Haiti a threat to the US homeland?

In 1998-99 we bomb Serbia and then put ground troops in Bosnia. Later we bomb Serbia again over Kosovo. Now was Serbia ever a threat to the US homeland? Did Serbia ever commit acts of war against our troops, warships, or planes?

Yes. They shot one F-16 down. But they weren't a threat to the US homeland.

Many are calling for "something" to be done to save the people of Darfur. But since Sudan will never attack the US homeland, it doesn't look like the US could ever- morally-use force to save civilians being slaughtered somewhere.

Come to think of it, Germany didn't attack the US homeland before we entered WW2 either...but that was "the Just war" because by December 1941 the Nazis had invaded Russia. Overnight the sizable "keep us out of Europe's war" crowd in the US went from pacifism to roaring for war. But in December 1941 Hitler posed no "imminent" threat of attacking the Mainland. So presumably the principle "thou shalt not use military force unless your homeland is attacked first" is not so solid?

I just want to know if this is a principled argument or a partisan one that comes and goes with who's in the White House.


How come one never hears of the porn-contraception-abortion industrial complex? Or the federally funded sex-ed, porn, contraception, abortion, AIDs and STD research complex? They are inter-related, attend each others' functions, give huge amounts of cash (alot of which they receive from the government) back to politicians and each other.... and keep the good times rollin....

And as a bonus that's one "complex" that has little oversight, little "watchdog" journalists hounding, and no negative Hollywood pot shots shaking their fundamental premises. It's all fun and no one is getting hurt and even if they are, "too bad".

If it's the deaths and destruction that makes the "military-industrial complex" so utterly evil, then why the utter lack of concern for "sex-ed....abortion" complex? Far more people are killed and die per year from STDs, cancers, AIDS, and violent abuse from this complex than are killed in Iraq on BOTH sides!

But the military is bad - always, but another group of Americans can make huge amounts of money from the destruction of the weak, lonely, and vunerable....is totally off the hook?

We hate "Big Tobacco" but agitate for the legalization of Pot. You don't think "Big Pot" wouldn't form in a heartbeat if legalized?

If we prefer the "international community" to settle a problem rather than US Marines we need to a) define who exactly this "community" is b) show examples of where this coalition of the capable has ever stopped genocides, wars, or looming disasters without US involvement and c) determine what would make THEM any better to intervene than US?

If we're supposed to mind our own business, why shouldn't the "international community" mind theirs?

Just asking to see if we're coherent in our arguments and principles.

I'll make it clearer.

Thanks for the thoughtful clarification, it's very helpful.

On the question of whether it's ever legitimate to invade another country for any reason other than an existential threat to your own -- I believe you'll find opinion to be all over the map. Some folks would say no, but most would probably say "It depends". Lots of folks would be open to military action in support of humanitarian goals, for example, under certain conditions.

In the case of Iraq, my *personal* issue with how the case for war was made was that it was presented as an existential threat, when in fact it was not. It wasn't hard to know that it was not, and in fact efforts to definitively determine if it was, or not, were interrupted by our government.

Further, we were actively involved in another war, against an enemy who was actively engaged in trying to harm us. That effort was compromised by the decision to invade Iraq, and folks in a position to know about these things were very clear in predicting that that would happen.

That's my point of view. I won't speak for anyone else, but my guess is that it's a not-uncommon one.

Thanks -

"It would be nice if people would stop living in areas prone to natural disasters, but I doubt we're going empty out the entire state of florida and most of california, not to mention the gulf coast and large swaths of the atlantic seaboard."

I'd like a tip on what areas of earth aren't prone to natural disasters. People shouldn't live in the midwest after all, given the tornados, floods, and droughts. In the Pacific Northwest, it's volcanos and forest fires. Where is that doesn't have recurring natural disasters, again?

"Gary – The VRWC is on to you:"

I just noticed John Cole quoting this, with a broken link to me, and responded briefly there.

(The amygdala is mentioned more or less almost every day or so in a popular newspaper piece, in one context or another, actually; this one was one of the few that semi-mangled what it was trying to say.)

"the people i know who've seen Rendition say it's good, but totally depressing."

It's gotten mixed reviews. Ebert really likes it. A. O. Scott wanted to like it, but more or less thinks it was a good failing try. And so on.

I happened to notice that Law and Order: SVU, a program I've almost never watched (along with seeing only a smattering of other L&O shows) did a show the other night revolving around prosecuting a psychiatrist/doctor who supervised torture for the Army in Iraq, which featured a lot of "testimony" from "witnesses" talking into the camera about their experience of torture.

This followed a Boston Legal of the other week in which torture was also on trial in the courtroom. (David Kelley loves to write episodes in which James Spader makes a hugely moving set of speeches about principles like free speech, not being tortured, anti-discrimination, and all those other horrid liberal ideas.)

I mention this because I've not noticed anyone here doing so before.

Brian de Palma's Redaction got a horrible review from George Packer, for what it's worth. OTOH, I don't recall reading him on movies before.

Anyway, for better or worse (undoubtedly both), pop culture isn't ignoring Iraq. Or torture.

How come one never hears of the porn-contraception-abortion industrial complex? Or the federally funded sex-ed, porn, contraception, abortion, AIDs and STD research complex?

*goggle*

"Nobody has talked about how for a period of 50 years we were the world's only hope against communism. We pretty much had to have a "we'll hit you first" mentality."

And nobody is talking about how our interventions in other countries have made them worse places to live for the vast majority of their citizens. Chile, Argentina, Brazil... they were all democratic societies turned upside-down by CIA sponsored government takeovers and Milton Friedman inspired economic policies, paired with state-sponsored terrorism to silence the public. People in these countries, who had jobs, and health care, and social security, found themselves with 40% unemployment and over half the population beneath the poverty line.

These people didn't view us as their saviors from Communism. I'm sure they were much less afraid of the Communists than they were of the CIA, the very people who were 'saving them' from their peaceful societies.

Add to the list Bosnia, and Vietnam, and any other intervention you can think of. These interventions happened with Democrat and Republican White Houses and Congresses. This is a bigger issue than party.

And then we have Iraq. A country taken over by Milton Friedman's followers, who are currently ruling the United States, to become a laboratory for Milton Friedman's radical free-trade (better known as corporatist) policies. And it's not working out well for the Iraqis. Their un-employment rate is huge because all the jobs are being done by multi-national corporations. Their citizens are in constant fear of being 'disappeared' by...whoever. It's not like we're allowed to know. Heath care, education...hell, electricity! These things are memories. So much for being the world's saviors.

And now the citizens of the United States are in danger of being 'saved' by the United States government, which no longer acts in the best interest of its citizens, but instead acts in the best interests of big business. It's been happening for a long time, but our government has been stripping away the New Deal for decades, to the point that it now barely exists. The protections we had against corporations taking advantage of the United States population are almost gone. If we don't focus on this soon, we will not recognize the United States as a democracy much longer.

We need to stop the Democrat vs. Republican bickering and start really investigating and discussing every single person that holds positions of power in our government, regardless of party. One thing that strikes me as I continue to gain a better knowledge of history is how many people in our government have held powerful positions for decades. Dick Cheney was wandering around the Nixon White House, was in the Ford Administration, the Bush I administration, and is now the Vice President. All those new Presidents... but the same people behind the scenes. Do term limits really matter when the only thing that changes from administration to administration is the guy whose picture will hang on the wall?

Honestly, guys... framing the debate as a 'D vs. R' or 'conservative vs. liberal' issue only serves to get us to fight amongst each other, when the real people causing the damage to our country, our daily lives, and indeed the world, are those in power. The super rich, shaping the world in a way that will make them even richer. If we view the struggle in the United States as a battle between the rich and the rest of us, we might have a better chance of turning things around.

"We hate "Big Tobacco" but agitate for the legalization of Pot. You don't think "Big Pot" wouldn't form in a heartbeat if legalized?"

Just for the record - pot doesn't kill anyone. Tobacco does.

How come one never hears of the porn-contraception-abortion industrial complex? Or the federally funded sex-ed, porn, contraception, abortion, AIDs and STD research complex?

We hear about them all the time. If you think that those things are grave threats to the nation, I encourage you to have at them.

I'm not sure they were the subject of this thread, however.

We hate "Big Tobacco" but agitate for the legalization of Pot.

Most folks don't actually, but for those that do, it's mostly because pot is better for you than tobacco is.

You don't think "Big Pot" wouldn't form in a heartbeat if legalized?

That's one very good argument for decriminalizing personal possession and use, rather than fully legalizing manufacture and sale.

Thanks -

Looks like Big Pot has already gotten to Jen...

Honestly, guys... framing the debate as a 'D vs. R' or 'conservative vs. liberal' issue only serves to get us to fight amongst each othe...

D n R are the only viable options at the moment.

on the other hand, their first album, Welcome To The Duopoly was really good. though after their last few... yuck. D.N.R. is right.

"1) Military Industrial Complex: Sure there are a lot of contractors making tons of money, but they were and have been for years during times of peace."

? The last "times of peace" in the U.S. was 1918-1941. The Cold War, with all its subwars and coups and landings, certainly wasn't a "time of peace": it was precisely the time that Eisenhower warned us was so dangerous because of the huge military-industrial complex that had been raised for WWII, and then expanded yet far further in 1947 and thereafter, and that was at the time becoming a permanent structure of massive influence over the government and people of the U.S.

This was, indeed, a revolutionary change in the structure of the U.S. government and economy and politics.

Are you saying Eisenhower was warning of something else? Or talking about some other time? Or that he was prone to leftist hysteria? Or what?

"2) Nobody has talked about how for a period of 50 years we were the world's only hope against communism. We pretty much had to have a 'we'll hit you first' mentality."

What are you referring to? You're claiming that the U.S. engaged in preventive wars during the Cold War? What? Who did we "hit you first"? The Soviet Union? China? Where? Who?

What?

"If the Chinese and the Russians later turn back into threats or something else comes up, who's going to stop them? "

Threat to who or what? What objectively would make the Russians a "threat" to the world, and not the U.S., precisely, would you say?

"How come one never hears of the porn-contraception-abortion industrial complex?"

Because, you know, using contraception doesn't actually lead to abortions. It prevents them. So does sex education, which is also the primary way to prevent STDs, along with condoms. HTH.

"and keep the good times rollin...."

Damn that nasty sex! It's no fun if people aren't ashamed of it!

"Just asking to see if we're coherent in our arguments and principles."

I'm pretty coherent, but I can't address your questions very well, because your premises are uniformly false.

Okay, I'll do one:

And it's also "not a big deal" that US troops are STILL in Bosnia "keeping the peace" but IS a problem if we decided to remain in Iraq for the same motive?
Yes. It seems to have escaped your attention that what people are disturbed by in Iraq is the mass killing, both of Iraqis by many parties, and of Americans.

There isn't, y'know, any fighting going on in Bosnia. No Americans have been dying.

It's difficult to believe this has escaped your attention, and equally difficult to believe that you don't understand that that distinction is what it's all about.

Ditto no Americans dying in Haiti, and neither are we occupying the country.

Secondly, the last time anyone was arguing about how much the UN should be involved in Iraq was 2003, and the point is about as relevant now as arguing over Don Rumsfeld's and George H. W. Bush's support for Saddam in the Eighties.

But if it makes you happy, I've never ever maintained that the the U.S. must never take military action without Security Council approval. Happy happy joy joy?

Oh, let's see: neither do I want to make tobacco illegal, and I'm unaware of anyone around here ever saying anything like "the military is bad."

In other words, John, you are arguing either with some people in your past, or people who aren't here, or with voices in your head, but you don't seem to actually be arguing much with anyone around here, or with many actual liberals.

But I hope that works out for ya.

"D n R are the only viable options at the moment."

You're absolutely right... but we can choose who represents the 'D' and 'R'. We should think very hard about who these individuals are and what they represent.

"Add to the list Bosnia, and Vietnam, and any other intervention you can think of."

You're saying the U.S. intervention in Bosnia is morally the same as that in Vietnam?

Are you sure you want to stand by that?

Could you start with a brief outline of why, please?

"One thing that strikes me as I continue to gain a better knowledge of history is how many people in our government have held powerful positions for decades."

How long have you been studying history?

Thullen, you didn't explain how Giuliani became president by October 2008. Presumably something happened to Bush that not only prevented him from carrying out his duties but also made him unable to pursue his retirement job of continual brush clearing. Otherwise I'm sure he'd have ensured there wasn't enough brush left for wildfires to start.

There's federally funded porn research? By whom? HHS Undersecretary Nina Hartley?

Do they take volunteers for research trials?

Frankly, I'm much more concerned about how the business end of the Republican Party promotes Viagra, but the fundamentalist base rails against contraception and birth control, not to mention abortion.

Something's gotta give there.

Jen:

"Dick Cheney was wandering around the Nixon White House...."

Well, he was in charge of implementing the then-nascent Big Pot initiative. Thus the wandering and the blank look in his eyes when the Secret Service would stop him in the hall and inquire about his reason for being in the White House as they searched for the guy who got into Chuck Colsen's Cheetos stash.

Cheney would murmer the words "put pot under my control" and they thought he said "Pol Pot is a commie troll", so they let him go and yet another career in government service was on its way.

My point with the Bosnia & Vietnam comment is that they were interventions that were sprung by different parties. That no one party hold a monopoly on being interventionist. Truthfully, I don't feel that I know enough about the circumstances behind either conflict to discuss the morals behind them in depth, hence, why I didn't get into those conflicts in my post.

And as for how long I've been studying history, I'd say about 14 years - since 3rd grade. But actual history, honestly, about 4 years. I've come to realize that my elementary and high school historical education consisted mainly of American myths. It's only since getting my bachelor's degree and taking charge of my own education have I learned what my government has actually been up to.

I hope you don't use this information as an excuse to dismiss me as 'some dumb kid'. While the fact that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the like have been around forever may be common knowledge to your generation, it sure isn't to mine. And I'm relatively wealthy, well educated, devout news junkie. While I may be young, I have a different perspective on these issues today, and since my generation is the one whose going to have to foot the bill for these latest wars, I think we should have a say.

(For the record, you haven't said anything insulting or dismissive. It just happens when people learn my age. I also get a lot of flack for admitting I don't know everything, which is something that really kills me about the blogosphere - another thing I'm new to. Everyone seems to assume that we've all read the same books and got the same education, which couldn't be further from the truth)

John Thullen - you're awesome.

Hmm, October 25, 2009 then.

My amygdala went all hinky during the lead up to the Year 2000 debacle and its paranoia is off by a full year.

Gary: I just noticed John Cole quoting this, with a broken link to me, and responded briefly there.

Damn, and I thought I was the first. How’s your hit count today?


Jen Clark: Just for the record - pot doesn't kill anyone. Tobacco does.

No argument about tobacco. On pot though? You need a different dealer… . I’m against the “drug war” but I’m also against those who say pot is harmless.

Jen: That may have sounded harsh. That was not intended. I was going to post something about all the “old commenters” being too snarky with the “new commenters”. Then I did it myself. I apologize.

Anyway… I’ve enjoyed your contributions of late.

Pot is b. a. d. though. And yes, I say that from personal knowledge.

Damn. Now I can’t run for president. I inhaled the crap out-o-that…

OCSteve - it's a matter of fairness. Is pot harmless? No. Not even close. I have a close friend who almost pissed his life away because he used the stuff to shield himself from his problems (he ended up in Iraq, but that's another story).

However, when compared to tobacco, which is chemically addictive and causes cancer in not only the user, but those around the user, pot is by far the better vice.

And when compared to alcohol, which is also chemically addictive, causes liver cancer, and all the other well known behavioral side effects, I'll take a pothead any day.

And it is physically impossible to overdose and die from using marijuana. That's a fact.

Tobacco and alcohol are legal. Pot is not. That's why people are so upset. It's the hypocrisy.

And everyone- please stop inferring that I'm a big pothead. My comment was:

"Just for the record - pot doesn't kill anyone. Tobacco does."

Which is true. I didn't invite everyone over for pot brownies and bong rips.

"John Thullen - you're awesome."

I was once a research subject in a Federally-funded pot research trial that went awry and later hushed up. We donned lab coats and safety glasses for the experiment, as our leader "Raoul" termed the experience.

The next thing you know, our little band of merry volunteers cleaned out the snack section of three 7-Elevens, made further pharmaceutical miscalulations along the way, and fell asleep in front of the gigantic speakers stage right at the Fillmore East.

We awoke after the concert and were whisked to an undisclosed location and debriefed by stern bureaucrats and their groupies. It's all a little hazy, but it's starting to come back to me now.

Little pot was bad fun enough. I don't think I could handle Big Pot sold in the produce section at the A&P.


OCSteve- no offense taken. Thanks for the apology and kind words.

"I don't think I could handle Big Pot sold in the produce section at the A&P."

I could handle it sold behind the counter at a licensed and regulated store, instead of being sold by the crackhead under the nearest bridge.

People are always going to use it. It would be nice if it were safe.

How did we get on this subject anyway?

"There's federally funded porn research?"

There were two Presidential Commissions (though the Meese Commission barely existed, having only a budget of %500,000), in fact.

[...] In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Stanley v. Georgia that people could read and look at whatever they wished in the privacy of their own homes. The "deeply concerned" U.S. Congress, in hope of finding another approach to controlling what many considered to be a threat to traditional American values, authorized $2 million to fund a Presidential commission to study pornography in the United States and recommend what Congress should do about it. Of the original 18 members of the commission appointed by President Johnson, all served to the end of the commission's existence except Judge Kenneth Keating (no relation to his replacement, Charles H. Keating, Jr.), who was appointed Ambassador to India by President Nixon. According to Eli M. Oboler, "Certainly this is as 'representative' a group as could have been put together for such a difficult set of purposes as were those set forth for the Commission" (4226). When a preliminary draft of the report was leaked to a House subcommittee, they discovered "to their unconcealed horror" that the commission's findings were the opposite of what the Congressmen had expected ("Pornography and Politics").

Extremists from both ends of the political spectrum expressed their displeasure during the Commission's proceedings. Two anti-pornography ministers on the commission staged their own public hearings outside of Washington; and at one of the commission's regular sessions a young radical called the project a "blatant McCarthyesque witchhunt," and threw a whipped-cream pie in the face of his questioner ("Pornography and Politics"). Charles H. Keating, Jr., head of the Citizens for Decent Literature and President Nixon's only appointment to the President's Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, requested and received a temporary restraining order from a Federal District Court in Washington, D. C. preventing publication of the Commission's final report ("Court Enjoins"). An out-of-court settlement was reached by the commission chairman and the dissenting members just weeks before the Commission's scheduled expiration date of September 30, 1970, clearing the way for publication of the report ("Porno Cleared" 58).

In the final report, the Commission made the following non-legislative recommendations:
(1) A massive sex education campaign should be initiated, encompassing biological, social, psychological and religious information; (2) There should be continued open discussion, based on facts, of issues relating to obscenity and pornography; (3) Additional factual information should be developed through long-term research; (4) Citizens should organize at local, regional, and national levels to aid the implementation of these recommendations (PCOP 47-49).

The Commission's legislative recommendations were divided into statutes relating to adults, and statutes relating to young persons. In general, with regard to adults, the Commission recommended that legislation "should not seek to interfere with the right of adults who wish to do so to read, obtain, or view explicit sexual materials." Regarding the view that these materials should be restricted for adults in order to protect young people from exposure to them, the Commission found that it is "inappropriate to adjust the level of adult communication to that considered suitable for children." The Supreme Court supported this view. The Commission recommended legislative action prohibiting the sale of sexual materials to young persons, and to protect any person from unwanted exposure to sexual materials either through the mails or through open public display (PCOP 51-64).

Charles Keating went on to fame and fortune and four and a half years in prison for his splendid moral values.

However, rest assured that President Nixon was foursquare against smut.

Coincidentally, I watched Kinsey last night, although I thought that while the acting was fine, and everthing else, that it was merely a watchable film, rather than something much better. Mildly enjoyable, but not all that much to it.

But, then, I grew up in a house where Kinsey, and Masters and Johnson, and the like, were on the bookshelves when I was a child in the early Sixties, and no one would have dreamt of stopping me from reading them.

Jen : And everyone- please stop inferring that I'm a big pothead.

I apologize again if it came across that way. I only twigged because you sounded a bit casual about it.

Anyway – to be clear – I would consider myself an expert on tobacco, alcohol, and pot (and other things I’m not going to cop to here). I am against the “war on drugs” and think it should all be legal and all those folks should be let out of prison.

Still, I think you are taking pot way too lightly. You don’t seem to think it is addictive and you don’t seem to think you can OD or die from it. I have some ex-friends who would beg to differ.

Anyway – again, I enjoy your comments. I don’t mean to be a pain, stick around.

You won’t agree with me on much beyond 2+2=4, but maybe we’ll learn something from each other.

"How’s your hit count today?"

As awful as it's generally been in my last year or couple of relatively infrequent blogging (on occasion a higher-traffic blog will throw me a link and bunch of hits for a day, but it's been a few weeks since the last time).

I was pleased at John's linking, mostly because it's been literally a couple of years since he last had a conversation in e-mail with me, and well more than a year since the last time I heard from him in any way, despite my leaving sporadic comments at Balloon Juice (where, admittedly, I don't participate in threads other than with single comments, as I don't find it a conducive environment to interesting conversation). But I can't recall the last time he responded to an e-mail from me, or linked to me, so it was nice.

I only got maybe 12 hits today from it, though, since you ask. (The post is here.)

"My point with the Bosnia & Vietnam comment is that they were interventions that were sprung by different parties."

Hmm. The U.S. first made fateful decisions regarding Vietnam under Truman, when we declined to support Ho Chi Minh, and supported the French returning to run their colony of Indo-China.

Then Eisenhower really put us in, with us paying some ~80% of the costs of the French military effort in fighting what became the government of North Vietnam.

But it was Kennedy who first committed significant numbers of U.S. "military advisors," and then Johnson who first sent troops to protect U.S. assets, airfields, and forces, and then massively escalated to all-out fighting the war, with over 500,000 troops.

As a result, generally speaking, the Vietnam War has always been called and considered a Democratic War, when put on a party basis, however fair or unfair that is (and decent cases can be made either way, although I would say that the only sane evaluation is that it was a thoroughly bipartisan war).

See also Bob Dole's 1986 "Democrat Wars" debate remarks.

So you're saying that you're differentiating Vietnam, generally considered a "Democratic" war, from Bosnia, generally considered a "Democratic" war, in what way, exactly?

More to the point, both efforts had majority support from both parties in Congres; it wasn't until the late Sixties that many Democratic politicians turned against the Vietnam War; they were both bipartisan efforts, although it's fair to say that there was more Democratic than Republican support for Bosnia, and that in the late-middle and early/end stages of the Vietnam War, more Democrats opposed it.

"On pot though? You need a different dealer… . I’m against the 'drug war' but I’m also against those who say pot is harmless."

Speaking as someone with a lot of past personal experience, I'd agree that it can very well be psychologically abused in ways detrimental to having a good life. It can be abused in a variety of ways, but including leading to a lot of lying around and not doing much of anything, when people's lives could be improved by doing other things, and so on.

It should be obvious that anything that affects the mind can be abused, and have detrimental effects.

But that's just as true, in different ways, of coffee, or excess jogging, or sugar, and a million other things.

If, on the other hand, you're assuming it causes cancer or other physical harm, there doesn't seem to be much evidence for that yet, though I would hardly be surprised if that ever changes.

"Pot is b. a. d. though. And yes, I say that from personal knowledge."

I've known/know people whom I thought/think used it to a point of such excess for so long that it had some detrimental effects on their life. I know plenty of other people who only use it sporadically, at occasional parties and weekends, and of whom I can't see that it's had the remotist "bad" effects.

Again, it's like most things in that regard: it can be used harmlessly, or abused. People have different biochemistries, and lives, and responses. There's no universal response, and I'd have to say that by personal survey, I can't say that the evidence I'm familiar with supports the idea that smoking pot is always bad, or in any way worse an experience, or habit, than having an occasional beer.

It's the difference between having a one or two every other week or so, though, and starting every morning with it. (Either way, alcohol is about 50 times more harmful to one's system and consciousness, though.)

Jen Clark: "I've come to realize that my elementary and high school historical education consisted mainly of American myths. It's only since getting my bachelor's degree and taking charge of my own education have I learned what my government has actually been up to."

Not uncommon, but it depends on what school/school system one grew up with. Mine in NYC were reasonably balanced, more or less, at least in later grades. But I'm about 98% auto-didact, myself.

"I didn't invite everyone over for pot brownies and bong rips."

I do hope you'll invite me over if you're having them, though.

"For the record, you haven't said anything insulting or dismissive. It just happens when people learn my age."

Believe me, although I can't say that I'm perfect on the subject, I couldn't be more sympathetic to this experience and feeling.

Without going into a long autobiography, I was an extremely bright and precocious child, with a super-high reading speed, and a great deal of alienation from my peers, and most humans, as a child.

When I broke out into finally really making friends, and finding a welcoming environment, it was in science fiction fandom in the early Seventies, when I was 13, 14, 15, and onwards. Most of the people I hung out with were at least 10 years older than I was.

And by age 15, I apparently looked highly ambiguous, agewise. I had always been startling adults with how adult I sounded, even back when I was 5, speaking in complete sentences and paragraphs about sophisticated subjects. So by 15, I had long grown closemouthed about giving away my age, and let people simply assume I was older.

I was absolutely solidified in this practice when I let out my actual age of 15 at one party, to someone fifteen years older who had known me as an smart peer for almost two years by then, who then promptly made fun of me for being "just a kid."

By the time I was 18 or so, it was no longer a problem, but for the years prior, believe me, age discrimination, and minor's rights was a passionate cause for me, and I've not left any of that behind, even though I turn 49 on November 5th.

So while I can't swear I've not accumulated some "kids!" responses in my ancient crankiness, if you ever catch me being condescending on the basis of age, feel free to call me on it, and I'll feel duly embarrassed if you're correct.

In any case, while age can perhaps bring more wisdom -- maybe -- and accumulated knowledge (sure, but then there's also the forgetting...) -- it observedly frequently doesn't.

"While the fact that Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the like have been around forever may be common knowledge to your generation, it sure isn't to mine."

It's common knowledge, because we've been around for much of the time Cheney and Rumsefeld have.

Recent history is otherwise commonly a blank spot in many people's education, since pre-college history courses tend to run out before they get there, and most people are uninterested and do little or reading on their own, or get caught up in flakey stuff if they do.

But this gets me into my areas of misanthropy, so I'll go no further, save to, as usual, wish that everyone had a passion for history. Me, I don't know how people can stand to be ignorant of it, but that's pure prejudice. Others doubtless feel the same way about my relative lack of math, or art history, or music theory, or lack of ability with my hands, or whatnot, all of which are virtuous.

Anyway, I didn't wonder how long you were studying history as a trick question; I was just idly curious.

"I also get a lot of flack for admitting I don't know everything"

I don't know most things. I know a tiny smattering of subjects. I just try to, as a rule, stick to only talking or writing about subjects I do know something about.

The number of subjects I don't know much or anything about is infinitely larger, of course.

The only way to gain knowledge is to seek it, knowing how little it's possible for any one perso to know.

The only way to get better at anything is to study one's errors.

What drives me crazy about the blogosphere is how many people feel compelled to express opinions, whether in posts or comments, about topics they obviously know nothing about.

There's nothing wrong with ignorance. We're all ignorant.

But, y'know, if you don't know anything, either ask questions, or shut up and learn. It's the people who post along the lines of "well, I don't know anything about subject X, but it seems to me that...," and then they fill in with their imagination.

If you don't know, go find out. Or shut up. Because other people do know, and you can look it up if you want to find out. Spreading hallucinations and wrongheaded guesses isn't helpful to anyone.

In other words, I wish people would try to stick to informative or entertaining content, rather than just typing without thinking, for the sake of saying something.

But, again, that's just my own prejudices, perhaps.

It goes along with wishing people would realize when they're not qualified to talk on a topic, and act on that.

(Again, asking questions is always in order.)

"You don’t seem to think it is addictive and you don’t seem to think you can OD or die from it."

OCSteve, please do elaborate, with links, if you feel like it, about overdosing and dying from pot.

"OD" in popular usage commonly refers to the heroin experience -- although any chemical will kill one in sufficiently large doses, including H2O -- of injesting too much, which will lead to system shut down and death.

That's what you're saying marijuana does?

Or do you mean "overdosing" on pot in the sense of maybe waking up headachey and uneasy feeling and like you ate too much, because you did? Or what?

Please do expand.

"Still, I think you are taking pot way too lightly. You don’t seem to think it is addictive and you don’t seem to think you can OD or die from it. I have some ex-friends who would beg to differ."

Living or dead ex-friends?

"I don’t mean to be a pain, stick around."

Y'know, that could be one of my mottos.

Gary:

I believe Steve McQueen had a month's supply of porn videos with him in solitary confinement in _The Great Escape_. ;)

Gary: I only got maybe 12 hits today from it, though, since you ask.

What? I thought I had the exclusive. Then later I saw it on BJ and all over. 12 freakin’ hits? Dude – you were robbed.


Pot: You’ll understand that there is a limit to how much I wish to share on a blog while remaining semi-anonymous…

No links. Personal anecdotes. Worth nothing to the audience at large. OD = Emergency Room. Ex-friends = dead. Car crash, gun that should not have been loaded, suicide…

Still alive – folks that barely broke out of it. A couple that never did. It is sooo seductive.

Tobacco will likely kill me. Alcohol will always be a problem I have to watch closely.

Pot? At some point you have to put it behind you forever.

Pot > tobacco > alcohol.

Damn. I was so going to run for CiC…

OCSteve, is your history really that much worse than that of the last guy who was elected?

OCSteve - like I said before, I'm not offended. My "don't call me a pothead" comment was not only directed at you. Some other guy eluded to it earlier too.

And I look forward to future conversation where we will disagree. It's those conversations that make me think outside my little bubble.

Just out of curiosity (I'm not a stalker or anything) which "OC" are you from - CA or FL?

Gary - I appreciate your detailed response.

Like I said above, my knowledge of both Bosnia and Vietnam is limited. My overall point was that both parties have a hand in our interventionist policies, which you have (possibly inadvertently) helped me with when you explained how Vietnam was essentially a bipartisan endeavor.

However, I'm a quarter of the way through Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States, so I should have more information soon.

While I think we both know that I botched up the wording of my argument by using Bosnia and Vietnam as my examples, do we not agree that both parties have been invested in interventionist policies for the past 50 years?

As for my school system, I think that it was a neutral experience, but like all public schools in the 80’s, we had old textbooks that covered only the basic narrative. I then went to a private high school, where I got more education in the way of history, but it came from my AP English teacher. She had us read Catch-22 and gave us an in-depth education on the military industrial complex. She changed my life by opening my eyes.

She was eventually driven out of the school by the other, more “traditional”, faculty members. Tragic.

And I didn’t take your question about my history knowledge as an insult. I opened the door and I’m glad you asked me to clarify. These types of conversations are much more stimulating when the parties know where the other is coming from. Knowing that I’m younger than most other commenters helps explain my perspective.

It goes along with wishing people would realize when they're not qualified to talk on a topic, and act on that.

I understand why you feel this way. But, ideally, we should be happy that these people are at least thinking about these topics, instead of keeping their heads in the sand. I do give points for trying.

There are those people that are going to stick to their guns, despite that fact that their guns are dysfunctional. But there are plenty of others that join these conversations, make an ass of themselves, but then learn something.

I was that ass the other day when speaking about impeachment on the “Give ‘Em a Break” thread. I was gung-ho for impeaching everyone and their mothers. But then Doug hit me with:

“The only way we're going to stop Bushism is by breaking the GOP as it stands now. The Republicans have to learn that you can't screw around like they have been and get away with it. Its not a lesson they'll learn easily or quickly either. They didn't learn last November, and a failed impeachment - and that's exactly where impeachment would lead - would only give them a morale boost when we need to be kicking them in the teeth.”

And he’s officially gotten in my head. Sometimes you’ve got to put yourself out there and be that ass, and take a lot of heat, in order to draw out that comment that will spark a conflict with one’s one views.

While you may be annoyed, you may be helping someone learn.

In my last comment, my italics didn't show up. This line:

"It goes along with wishing people would realize when they're not qualified to talk on a topic, and act on that."

should have quotes around it

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