August 27, 2003

Terrorism and Activism

This guy helped build a bomb that was used to blow up a nightclub in Bali. Almost 200 people, mostly Australians, were killed.

He has some special words of thanks for the anti-war movement. (Hat tip: Tim Blair.)

I want to thank the Australian people who supported our cause when they demonstrated against the policies of George Bush. Say thank you to all of them. [Emphasis added.]
First, let’s dispense with the obvious.

This man is evil and insane. His perception of reality is, shall we say, a bit off.

I won’t be a jerk and say the folks in the anti-war movement support the terrorist’s cause. Because they don’t. The anti-war crowd consists largely of the same people who supported the liberation of East Timor from Indonesia, which is on the short list of grievances that put Australia on the terrorist hit list in the first place. Western leftists and human rights activists are singularly responsible for one of the “root causes” of terrorism. They antagonized the enemy. They “created more terrorists,” to borrow their terminology.

However. The creep goes on.

Be careful about making friends with America because actually America wants to control the world . . . all of us will be colonised so we have to be careful about making friends with the USA.
This is the Australian leftist position. It’s also the European leftist position and, to a lesser extent, the radical leftist American one.

So there is an ideological overlap between terrorists and leftists. It may be secondary, and it might even be accidental. But it’s there.

I have some advice for the anti-war activists who find this uncomfortable.

You need to stand unflinchingly against terrorism everywhere, always, forever. This “of course we are against terrorism” line doesn’t cut it. At least one terrorist thinks he’s your buddy. He said it, not me.

When you reserve most of your judgement, criticism, and wrath for Western governments while speaking barely a word against Islamofascist death squads, it sends funny signals to our enemies. I know you don’t support terrorists and fascists. Well, when the victims are Jews it looks like some of you do.

But the rest of you don’t, and your message is not getting across. Louder, please. Draw a line in the sand.

Your domestic political opponents are not your enemies. Hamstringing America and defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism.

Your enemies are those who are trying to kill you. Make the proper distinctions. Get your priorities straight. Trust me, you don’t want to hear Osama bin Laden, or whoever is making those audio tapes, say he’s your pal. It could happen if you don't watch it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 27, 2003 11:24 PM
Comments

Michael,

Nicely said. I just had a conversation with a very smart friend who still is thinking that the Islamists are just using religion as an excuse to justify their activities. A lot of people simply refuse to confront the reality that the Islamists are genuinely working to create a global Islamic revolution according to a narrow and intolerant practice of Islam.

While I could go the rest of my live never hearing Lee Greenwood's music again and count myself lucky, it is probably worth at least a little effort to grant ourself as Americans some honest pride. As part of that, we should stop accepting the petty, tasteless, and untrue excuses for wit that pass as political commentary. Establishing the entire scope of your political identity as only what will fit on an intolerant bumper sticker certainly plays into the hands of Islamist monsters like this.

If you are not outraged, you have a sense of self-worth and some knowledge of anger management.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at August 28, 2003 01:17 AM

This quote is the best thing to happen to LGF since 9/11. I responded to Dan Darling's inclusion of it in his briefing at Winds of Change thusly:

Abdul Ghoni could have thanked my goddamn dog; it doesn't mean my dog did anything to help him, knowingly or otherwise.

Here's what I did: I thought that we were being lied (not a misspelling) into war (I gather you agree but approve, Michael); I thought the war was a bad idea, would cost a lot of lives and have negative repurcussions, not in the least because I felt it was motivated as much by a desire to wag the dog away from the less-than-glorious hunt for OBL in Afghanistan as well as a flailing economy; and so I said as much to a lot of people, in person and online, and on a couple of occasions I and my two-year-old went and marched down the street with a bunch of other soccer moms and dads to express solidarity with each other's concerns.

To connect a logical chain between my activities as a dreaded "anti-war protestor" and this asshole's murderous undertakings and ambition would require half a dozen MacGyvers with a fully funded research department at their disposal. It just doesn't stick.

Michael says:

So there is an ideological overlap between terrorists and leftists. It may be secondary, and it might even be accidental. But it’s there.

If you accept that all leftists are anti-American, okay. I wouldn't know, I'm not a leftist. But you smoothly drift away from "leftist" and into "anti-war activist" as though the two were interchangeable.

I have some advice for the anti-war activists who find this uncomfortable

That's me.

You need to stand unflinchingly against terrorism everywhere, always, forever.

Of course I'm against terrorism.

This “of course we are against terrorism” line doesn’t cut it. At least one terrorist thinks he’s your buddy. He said it, not me.

Really? I thought he was referring to Australian leftists. And I don't give a shit if he thinks he's my buddy, I'd put a fucking bullet through his goddamn forhead as fast as Mike Hendrix would.

When you reserve most of your judgement, criticism, and wrath for Western governments while speaking barely a word against Islamofascist death squads, it sends funny signals to our enemies.

But I don't. I am (or more accurately, was) an "anti-war activist", not an "anti-American leftist."

(Not even gonna bother with NJSolidarity, that time I know you didn't mean me)

But the rest of you don’t [support terrorists and fascists], and your message is not getting across. Louder, please. Draw a line in the sand.

Again, you seem to have thrown the liberal-leaning suburbanite weekend-anti-warrior with the radical anti-Western leftist. The former party to which I once belonged had no such cohesion then or now; it's not like all us middle-class marchers are getting together every Tuesday night, singing the internationale and failing to come to agreement on measured terms condemning terrorism.

I can only get my own message across. I do it places like this, in my personal interactions, and by partaking of my civic duties as much as possible.

Your domestic political opponents are not your enemies.

Never said they were.

Hamstringing America and defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism.

Waaaaaiiiit a minute... Is this about Dean?

Your enemies are those who are trying to kill you. Make the proper distinctions. Get your priorities straight. Trust me, you don’t want to hear Osama bin Laden, or whoever is making those audio tapes, say he’s your pal. It could happen if you don't watch it.

Again, could be my dog. What if he thanks George Bush for inspiring a new generation of terrorists? Are LGF and the Freepers going to storm the White House looking for Dubya's traitorous head?

It's one thing to be assumed guilty and forced to prove yourself innocent. It's another thing altogether to be assumed guilty because, while you wouldn't believe anything else this sonofabitch might ever say, you're willing to accept without any supporting evidence that the people who protested the Iraq war (the Iraq war, fer chirssakes) were on his side. I gotta say, I'm dissapointed.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 01:46 AM

Christopher,

I've read a lot of your posts. I definitely know you are no terrorist sympathizer. I have no doubt you would put a bullet through the creep's head.

I wouldn't go that far, myself. I still oppose capital punishment, but I'm beginning to waver when it comes to these guys. I don't want them being used as bargaining chips in hostage situations. Still, I would not personally pull the trigger on a terrorist in a cage (out in the open is another story), though I can't blame those who would.

I take your point about anti-American leftists being different from anti-war liberals. I've made the same point myself on the blog and in articles I've written. I try to make distinctions as best I can.

The problem for you is that anti-American leftists and anti-war liberals show up at the same rallies. You get lumped in with them whether you like it or not. (As do I, in some quarters, since I am still at least slightly left-of-center.) I know there is a big whopping distinction, but the Bali creep doesn't. (Neither does Ann Coulter, but she should know better.)

You have made it abundantly clear that there is a line between you and, for example, the Palestinian Solidarity crowd. I guess I should just say that you are doing exactly what I wish more people would do. And thanks for doing it. Really. Consider yourself exempted from every criticism I made in this post. When I said "louder, please," I know I didn't need to say it to you.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 28, 2003 02:05 AM

Chris… It is late, I just finished blogging the Ten Commandments issue here. So please forgive me if I sound bellicose and if I didn’t read your reply carefully enough… but I think I heard you say:

You were against the war because you thought we were being lied to about Saddam’s threat level. You thought we should be going after OBL instead. And you worried that Iraq would only bring us needless deaths.

Do I have that right?

Also you thought that the war in Iraq was an attempt to “wag the dog away from the less-than-glorious hunt for OBL in Afghanistan as well as a flailing economy”.

And you took your two-year-old to “march down the street with a bunch of other soccer moms and dads to express solidarity with each other's concerns”.

What did you mean by “the concerns” of the soccer moms and dads?

Also… I am starting a family of my own and am considering issues like taking my son to a rally or protest… I THINK that I think that I wont do this.

To me it is like taking a child to court, church, or into the voting booth. I want to teach my child ABOUT religion and politics, but I don’t want to brain wash them INTO one view or the other. Also, I have seen too many rallies and marches turn violent (from one side or the other) and that scares me.

Do you have any advice to a new father-to-be?

Meanwhile, does it matter if Bush benefited from turning your attention to the war in Iraq and away from the hunt for OBL (frankly I doubt that your attention was too far diverted by this)? Does it matter how much of a threat (to us) Saddam was? And I cant see that it matters how many deaths (on either side) the war cost.

Saddam ignored 12 years of UN resolutions to disarm and prove it. This alone should motivate you to either support sanctions or war. And didn’t we all decide that sanctions only harm the innocent, not the dictator? So war it is, no? Otherwise, what good is the UN?

Saddam is guilty for nearly two million Iraqi deaths. The Americans have been blamed for less than 5,000 souls in this latest war. Ok, ending ANY lives is serious business, but I think this action falls into the lesser of two evils… and while this logic might seem a bit weak to you, I think it sure is tough to argue that we should have taken the MORE evil path... and left this man in power, with his children’s prisons and athlete torture faculties, (WMD or no).

Meanwhile it has been two years with no follow up to 9-11. Instead the fanatics are flocking to Iraq to impale themselves on the rifles of US and British soldiers. So how can you say we have abandoned the “war on terror”? It is not as if OBL isn’t being harried by continued Spec Op raids in Afghanistan or like he is finding it easy to travel these days. Meanwhile his lackeys are all in Baghdad instead of NY. That’s ok by me.

But to get back to Michael's point... I don’t think it matters if YOU don’t accept the association of yourself with the Bali Bomber. The point is that HE sees you as in his camp. And this helps him to do what he did.

To refer to a recent court case in England, I believe it was, where to father's assaulted the boy they believe "date raped" their daughters... the courts gave them a light sentence and they received many calls in support... one of the men sighted this support as the reason that he felt NO REMORSE for assaulting a boy who might be innocent.

Whether you like it or not you are "guilty" of offering terrorists aid and comfort just by your participation in anti-war rallies, the confusion might be all in their heads, but the connection remains.

That sucks, I know. And I am not arguing that you shouldn’t go to a rally in support of your values.

But Mike is urging you to clear up the confusion. I believe that he thinks that too few Peace Movement participants denounce terrorism loudly enough and take policy positions that support this stance publicly enough.

Maybe you do, maybe many do, but Mike thinks that it is not enough and I cant say that I disagree with him.

Posted by: sblafren at August 28, 2003 02:58 AM

What Christopher doesn't realize is that the world doesn't organize itself according to his intentions. While he may not intend to give aid and comfort to terrorists, the actual effect of his actions as an anti-war activist are to do exactly that. As our friend from Bali noted.

The way to avoid this is to target Islamofascism first, and not as a throat-clearing gesture on your way to attacking the common enemy shared by the Islamonutters and liberal/leftist/whatevers. See, the Islamofascists see you attacking their enemy, they see you not attacking them in any meaningful way, what conclusion are they supposed to draw? They don't care about your intentions, they care about your actions, and your actions are consistent with their goals.

Posted by: R C Dean at August 28, 2003 04:04 AM

Um, just because the KKK shares, say, Andrew Sullivan's position on affirmative action does not mean it's accurate to say there is 'ideological overlap' between Andrew Sullivan and the KKK.
"Your domestic political opponents are not your enemies. Hamstringing America and defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism."
The liberal critique of the Republicans is that they are doing a crappy job of fighting terrorism, and the Democrats would do much better. In other words, the goals of defeating the GOP and fighting terrorism are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: sym at August 28, 2003 04:26 AM

Christopher,

We could hunt OBL for however long it takes. If we get lucky and find him in a few hours, or get lucky and find him in 10 years it wouldn't matter. He's not the heart of the problem.

He's a major player and symbol of the problem, but the problem is an ideology.

We can't defeat that ideology by killing/capturing OBL. It's also true we can't defeat that ideology directly with military means, but it can accelerate that defeat... which is good because that means less people need to die.

In regards to Saddam, it's suppose it's true that we can contiue past practices of "looking the other way" and use him as a weapon against that ideology but I have at least 2 problems with that. First, in spite of the many fundamentalists he killed it wasn't really helping was it? Secondly, I'm sick of that game. We had to put up with that crap during the Cold War and we're still having to put up with it in a few places like Korea. But lets at least fight our own battles in a war that is really important to us.

Posted by: Van Gale at August 28, 2003 04:36 AM

Have any of you seen those tapes from the Anti-War protests. The scariest one is the one showing the Pro-Palastinian side of those marches. Where the one old white haired lefty statest that, "Israel is not where the Jews should be, but he had heard Madagascar mentioned as a suitable spot." Of course, the Nazi's also mentioned Madagascar as a suitable spot.

I am not Jewish, from the south and still do not understand the hatred of Jews I see, from both the Far Left and the Far Right. My wife is always asking me why people hate Jewish people, and I never have an answer for her. It makes no sense to me at all. I dated a Jewish girl and the only differences to me came around Christmas time, well that and her Grandmother called me a Goi(sp?).

Anyway, be careful, remember what your mother said, "Who you hang out with, is who you will be associated with."

Peace and keep up the good Work Michael.

Posted by: James Stephenson at August 28, 2003 05:20 AM

CL:

and on a couple of occasions I and my two-year-old went and marched down the street with a bunch of other soccer moms and dads to express solidarity with each other's concerns.

These marches are often marred by violence--is this any place for a two-year-old?

Posted by: slimedog at August 28, 2003 05:32 AM

“Your enemies are those who are trying to kill you.” This is something that most Americans seemed to grasp immediately after 9/11. Unfortunately, there were some who didn’t get it then, and who don’t get it now. Sometimes they’re called anti-war activists, sometimes they’re called leftists. I know that they’re offended by the term ‘idiotarians’. I guess most anti-fascists and anti-terrorists would be equally offended by the term ‘freeper’, if they knew what it meant. I don’t read the Free Republic very often, but it has something to do with that, doesn't it?

Like Michael, most people assume that our enemies are those who are trying to kill us – and most people follow Sun Tzu’s advice and try to know their enemy. Books about Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, religion and politics in the Middle East are very popular. Sites like LGF, which publish news about the Middle East, are also popular.

Readers of LGF know who Sayyid Qtub is and why he was important to the Islamist movement - they know about Al Muhajiroun, Sheikh Abu Hamza, the Finsbury Park Mosque and the true meaning of hudna. How many anti-war activists can say the same thing? I’m always shocked to find out how little anti war activists know about Islamist terror groups. Since they’re intelligent people, I have to assume that they haven’t learned about these groups because they don’t believe that the terrorists are the enemy. If they are interested in fighting terrorism, they should probably learn more about actual terrorists.

In contrast, most anti-war activists have done extensive research on the lives of Bush I & II and errors (real or perceived) made by the American government.

sym said – "The liberal critique of the Republicans is that they are doing a crappy job of fighting terrorism, and the Democrats would do much better." That’s encouraging. What, exactly, are the Democrats planning to do to fight terrorism?

Posted by: mary at August 28, 2003 06:58 AM

Evil? Yes. Insane? Not necessarily. We've come through a century in which evil has too often been reduced to mental illness - an excuse that it seldom deserves.

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at August 28, 2003 07:13 AM

Long before talk of war in Iraq, the anti-war left (or whatever you want to call them) seemed to announce over and over that we had "seen the enemy, and he is us." It's the justified backlash against that moral blindness that led, in some measure, to blogs like this one. The Christopher Hitchens Effect, as I call it, has been wonderfully bracing and clarifying.

That being said, it's a rather cheap shot to associate Ghoni's demented ravings with all but the most demented appeasers (Ramsey Clark springs to mind...).

The Islamist threat we face is the bastard child of anticolonialism (especially the Nasserist strain) and religious reductivism. Sure, it shares rhetoric with legitimate anti-imperialism. Those who oppose an American imperium, as many who marched against the Iraq war did, do not deserve to be lumped in with this fanatic's hate speech.

And anyway- someday a brutal Afghan warlord or Iraqi Shiacrat on the rise might tip his hat to those of us who supported military intervention in their countries, and I'd hate to think it implied "ideological overlap."

Posted by: Matt at August 28, 2003 07:34 AM

Speaking of Ramsey Clark (the most evil lawyer in the world - quite an accomplishment), I think that is exactly what Michael is driving at. Anybody who supports ANSWER or to a certain extent NotInOurName is actually giving aid and comfort to the bad guys, intentionally or not. And some groups, the Unitarian Church in particular, did exactly that and had a link to ANSWER as a source of information about the war in Iraq. This by the way lost the UU church a bunch of my $$

Posted by: DaveC at August 28, 2003 08:57 AM

Well said, but entirely too gentle. There's plenty of overlap between the isolationist anti-semitic Right and the anti-imperialist pro-Palestinian Left-- in fact, I defy anyone to outline meaningful differences remaining between, say, Pat Buchanan and Gore Vidal. And way too quickly both come down to blaming the Jews.

The Left as organized today is sick, contaminated by this kind of evil. It is time to reclaim a liberal position that utterly renounces the Left, just as a few socialists and labor leaders forcefully rejected the Stalin-contaminated parts of socialism 60 years ago.

Posted by: Mike G at August 28, 2003 09:05 AM

the goals of defeating the GOP and fighting terrorism are not mutually exclusive.

I didn't say they are.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 28, 2003 09:19 AM

Sym,

just because the KKK shares, say, Andrew Sullivan's position on affirmative action does not mean it's accurate to say there is 'ideological overlap' between Andrew Sullivan and the KKK.

Of course. But he does not obstruct any government effort to jail race murderers. If he did, he would have a problem.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 28, 2003 09:24 AM

Wow.

Okay, first, Michael, thanks.

Sean, I worried about OBL somewhat, but more than that, I worried that our inability to find him or Mullah Omar put political pressure on the White House to come up with a high-profile (and geographically fixed) threat; I worried then and still do that the White House is not skilled at thinking about more than one thing at a time, and that we turn our attention to Iraq while leaving Afghanistan in shambles, risking a repeat of what happened after the Soviet withdrawl. I didn't feel that Iraq was nearly as great a threat to us as an Afghanistan allowed to slide into chaos once again. By "concerns" of other marches, I meant people who shared my views as well as lots of others, but all with the general theme that attacking Iraq was the wrong thing to do.

My two-year old wasn't old enough to understand what we were doing there; I took here there because I thought it would be fun for her, and she had a blast. I didn't try to explain it to her at all.

You and several others mentioned that anti-war marches turn violent and ugly. Let me make two points: First, I live in San Jose, CA, which is, while not the most exciting metropolitan center of the world, a city of about a million people and easily the safest large city in the country. It's incredibly diverse, and at pretty much any large gathering that doesn't involve the cut-rate distribution of alchohol, there just aren't problems like that--not even at peace marches. Second, by and large the ugliness that happened at other marches was carried out solely by black-masked cowards who at least usually had the decency to split off from the rest of the marchers who wouldn't dream of being lumped together with those scum. But we just didn't expect to have any problems like that down here, and we didn't (SF is 50 miles north and a much more appealing target for those idiots, thank God).

To the question, does any of that matter now? The answer is, much to the dismay of my former compatriots, no, it doesn't matter at all. It doesn't matter if going to Iraq was motivated more by politics than national security, it doesn't matter if claims of WMD stocks, delivery systems and close ties to Islamic terrorists were inflated, misrepresented or simply invented. As even Howard Dean knows, we're there now, and to leave Iraq as anything other than a stable, peaceful democracy would be a far greater disservice to them, us and the world than going there in the first place.

whew, to be continued...

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 09:47 AM

R. C. Dean,

What Christopher doesn't realize is that the world doesn't organize itself according to his intentions.

Really? Thanks for clearing that up; it explains a lot.

While he may not intend to give aid and comfort to terrorists, the actual effect of his actions as an anti-war activist are to do exactly that. As our friend from Bali noted.

He said that. I'm waiting for someone to demonstrate that there's more to it than this single psychopath's rantings.

Regardless, should Nike have been culpable in that mass suicide in California several years ago, just because the cult members thought their Air Jordans were going to help them get to the mother ship? I can't help what this idiot thinks. What if he says that the consumption of oil pumps money into terrorist organizations--does Chevron have some explaining to do?

The way to avoid this is to target Islamofascism first, and not as a throat-clearing gesture on your way to attacking the common enemy shared by the Islamonutters and liberal/leftist/whatevers.

I don't share a common enemy with these people. The fact that you think I do demonstrates your ignorance of the wide spectrum of reasons that people were opposed to this war. The world is not organized around your neat little categories.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 09:55 AM

Van Gale,

First, in spite of the many fundamentalists he killed it wasn't really helping was it? Secondly, I'm sick of that game. We had to put up with that crap during the Cold War and we're still having to put up with it in a few places like Korea. But lets at least fight our own battles in a war that is really important to us.

There were a lot of good arguments to be made in favor of the war; many of them are getting made retrospectively (my favorite is the "flypaper theory"). None of those arguments were used by the administration as primary or sufficient causes for war. Perhaps I focused to much on my indignation at the ham-handed attempt at deception that I felt was taking place, where I should have tried to see the brighter side and find a good reason behind all the bullshit.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 10:02 AM

mary:

In contrast, most anti-war activists have done extensive research on the lives of Bush I & II and errors (real or perceived) made by the American government.

I seem to recall a few people on the other side of the aisle putting a few hours in on Clinton's private life as well. Wasting time on frivolity is an activity open to all comers.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 10:15 AM

Christopher - As someone who voted for Clinton, I agree that no one should waste time on that sort of political bickering. Moderate Democrats and Republicans often have more in common with each other than they do with the extremists on the left and the right.

We should try to learn from mistakes made in the past. As Neville Chamberlain said, those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are bound to repeat them.

(maybe Chamberlain didn't say that. Oh, well, he should have)

Posted by: mary at August 28, 2003 10:47 AM

The pro-Saddam activists should be divided between those who knew what they were doing and those who did not. I think for a lot of the marchers, it was their first time being involved in political protest so I can cut them some slack. A few in the anti-war crowd were legitimate pacifists (ie. would not resort to violence for any reason, even to protect their own children) and I can respect that as well. Those on the far left, the organizers and angry speakers of the movement were clearly misleaders and, along with the Franco-cowboys, on the wrong side of history.

Political bickering has come into play and many have put partisan issues above humanitarian ones. Most of the WMD flack, the 16 words, etc. are simply intended to chip away at Bush’s strong points; credibility and defense. Aside from all the pre-war and post war “concerns”, we should come together and accept that invading Iraq was the right thing to do, and that this war “Is In Our Name”.

Posted by: Dave at August 28, 2003 11:05 AM

You know what scares me about the Bali Creep? When I look at his face, he just seems like a human being like any other. He doesn't LOOK like a madman. I don't see the insane disconnect that allows him to blow up hundreds of innocent people.

(BTW, my surfer/artist son told me he had been to that Bali bar several times. I'm an atheist but I thank God he wasn't there that night.)

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at August 28, 2003 11:09 AM

Here's a definition of "freeper" from someone who thinks he's center. Kinda funny how much the description of "freeping" reminds me of this.

Posted by: grs at August 28, 2003 12:18 PM

Way to frame the debate:

"Hamstringing America and defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism."

Anyone who disagrees with your method of dealing with the threat which Islamic terrorists present is automatically hamstringing America. I can see why you're leaning rightward as time passes; you seem to be acquiring the basic "disagreeing with my philosophy = hating America" concept which is central to conservatism.

I like this blog, but I'm damned sick of being told I hate America or love dictators when I disagree with its owner.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 28, 2003 03:11 PM

I'm damned sick of being told I hate America or love dictators when I disagree with its owner.

You protest too much, Kimmitt. I never said you hated America or love dictators.

If the Bali bomber thinks you're on his side, take it up with him. I thought I made it clear in my post that he is wrong. As long as you aren't one of these people.

And as for this: defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism, I simply mean that defeating terrorism should take priority over defeating Republicans. The two goals are not mutually exclusive. The reason I feel the need to say this is because too many people think Bush is the enemy and pay little attention to the real enemy.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 28, 2003 03:31 PM

Not one single death. Not one single enslavement. Not one.

That, my friends, is each your personal standard. Death or enslavement are what you will move heaven and earth to avoid in your personal life. You will take any action, call any policeman, hire any lawyer, fund any army, demand any national defense program and more, to avoid enslavement or death. For your own person. Don’t scoff and don’t lie to yourself. If your head is pushed under, you will fight for life. Your own. And you will do what it takes. That is as it should be.

Broadly then, there are only two questions about this. One is how soon will you will recognize that a fight is necessary. The second is, are you the kind who is willing to countenance the deaths and enslavements of others in an effort to keep enslavement and death from your personal door.

In reading this thread, and the one previous regarding the bombing of UN personnel, I am struck by the detached intellectuality of it all. You (most of you) sit comfortable here behind the shield and argue the tiny merits of one type of protest in the streets over another, whether Leftist motives are pure, whether Rightist motives are mendacious. Does the Center have the best perspective.

The real victims out there don't care. And that shit would be out the window were the sharp knife at your neck. You know it. So what about your sister? Does your personal commitment to saving your personal ass extend to her? Your parents? Your friends? Beyond?

I say to you that the measure of your humanity is taken in the nature of what you will DO about the threat of death or enslavement to others than yourself. Ultimately to anyone.

Look at it all with the steel a half inch into your neck, your toes an inch from the shredder blades, and see what you get. Ask yourself if it matters whether it's you or a brother halfway around the world. You must, because someday it may come to you and you will need to know what to do. And why it came, and why it wasn't stopped in time.

Posted by: Stephen at August 28, 2003 03:51 PM

I doubt that there are a lot of Bush = Hitler types left in the Democratic party, either. I'm not involved in the party at all myself, though. Am I wrong?

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 03:51 PM

Stephen,

Damn, man. Nice reality check. Thanks.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 28, 2003 04:28 PM

We’re free to have dissenting opinions in this country and not have our tongues cut out with sharp knives by government thugs. We are lucky that the majority of Americans had the humanity and good sense to be anti-Saddam.

Howard Dean’s position is pro-Saddam in the sense that, were he president, Saddam and his boys would probably be murdering ordinary Iraqis for several more decades.

Posted by: Dave at August 28, 2003 05:09 PM

Mary,
"What, exactly, are the Democrats planning to do to fight terrorism?"
Well, that Dean post below is a start. And the Dept. of Homeland Security was a Dem idea. There's a long answer to your question that I'm probably not equipped to give, but the big lefty blogs have been making some good consistent critiques. It does seem like too many Dem candidates don't place a high priority on coming up with a foreign policy platform...But just wait till Wesley Clark announces.

Michael,
"Of course. But he does not obstruct any government effort to jail race murderers. If he did, he would have a problem."

I don't understand the analogy. Are there any leftists arguing that Abdul Ghoni should not be jailed? Is this about the war on Iraq?

Posted by: sym at August 28, 2003 05:18 PM

About lefties attacking Bush more than we attack Islamofascists, that can be somewhat explained by the fact that Bush's actions have far more impact on American lives than do the policies of Mubarak or Assad, or even Saddam. It would take a lot of time to preface every criticism of Bush with a condemnation of the dozens of brutal third world tyrants currently in power. Very very few people, not even Noam Chomsky, are actually pro-Saddam or pro-Mugabe, in the sense of pledging support for them. It's safe to assume that everyone is against dictatorships.

Posted by: sym at August 28, 2003 05:31 PM

Howard Dean’s position is pro-Saddam in the sense that, were he president, Saddam and his boys would probably be murdering ordinary Iraqis for several more decades.

You need to get more than three tinker toys to work with. By your argument the President is pro-every-sitting-dictator-yet-to-be-dispoed. Don't insult us.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 05:49 PM

Sym,

Christopher Hitchens has spent his entire career criticizing the bejeezus out of Western governments. Yet no Islamofascist, no matter how deranged, would ever call Hitchens a comrade.

The reason for that is very simple. As critical as Hitchens is of America and the West, he knows that communism, fascism, and terrorism are worse. He has his priorities straight. He does not spend 99 percent of his time criticizing Bush, leaving only a meager 1 percent for anti-terrorist throat-clearings.

Here's some advice. Make a list of the bad guys in the world. Rank them. Then focus your energy on the top of the list.

If you do that, the Bali bomber might stop thinking he's your pal.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 28, 2003 05:57 PM

Okay, there are two options here:

1) This terrorist son of a bitch is a damn liar, and it doesn't matter what he says. In that case, the discussion is over, and any attempt to link the terrorist to the Left is an emotional appeal designed to avoid the appearance of intellectual bankruptcy while concealing, Enron-like, the zero-value-add of the core argument -- i.e. "anyone who voices policy views counter to my own is a traitor on the side of the terrorists."

2) This terrorist son of a bitch is telling the truth, and the reason he fights against the US is because he honestly believes that the US is imposing a colonialist (or neocolonialist) rule on the rest of the world, as per the desires of the PNAC. This means that Leftist critiques of the war on Iraq (not to mention the causes of 9/11) (NB) are_absolutely_correct. The reason for terrorism is (real or perceived) US imperalism, and the US can get out from under the terrorist threat by ceasing such activity (or creating the perception of ceasing such activity).

In short, either you're up to your usual antidemocratic tricks in this area, or you're absolutely wrong about how to pursue the war on terror. My vote's for option 1, but then I don't rely on the veracity of terrorists to bolster my case.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 28, 2003 06:57 PM

Great post, Michael. Maybe this will be a much needed wake-up call to the Anti-Bush Left. The Left spends all of its time obsessing about alleged lies regarding WMD's (do they forget that everybody thought Saddam had WMD's before the war?), and places virtually no emphasis on the fact the one of the worst dictators on the planet has been removed from power. Some priorities.

Saddam had twelve years and a relatively simple mission: account for his weapons. He did not do this, and he paid the price. Frankly, I find it impossible to conjure up even a single tear for the fall of his reign. The Left seems to have buckets-full of tears. Where in the world did they find them?

The Left has no answers for a problem that has done everything up to and including hitting them in the face to get attention: A certain group of Islamofascists wants to kill us for no other reason than because we are Americans. I cannot take seriously, let alone support, a group of people who simply refuse to confront reality.

I think most Americans agree with me, and if the Left doesn't wake up, it faces many years in the wilderness. As a Republican, I am not upset by this. As an democrat and an American I am dismayed: If the Democrats lose their electoral viability by virtue of not having a credible voice on security matters, we all lose the benefits of a "loyal opposition."

Posted by: Ben at August 28, 2003 06:59 PM

Finally, I'm honestly surprised that the people advocating so heavily that it is immoral for the US not to risk its sons and daughters' lives invading every country where injustice can be found have time to blog. I'd think that said opinion would lead inevitably to a moral requirement to personally share that risk -- but then, it's always easy to send someone else (or their kid) off to die. I've got a young man in one of the classes I'm teaching who might be shipped off to Iraq any day (I'm writing up a lesson plan for him to help him finish the course if the timing ends up being appropriate), and it breaks my heart that he's going to have his life put into danger over such stupid, ill-advised policy by men who obviously care more for their dreams of world conquest than for him or his family.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 28, 2003 07:04 PM

The ongoing contention that Saddam was an Islamic terrorist because he was a bad man and happened to be Muslim is typical of the exceedingly poor thought common on the Right. There are a few people who want to kill us because we are Americans, and we're going to have to deal with them. There are a lot of people who have other, more specific grievances against the US -- and we're going to have to understand those grievances if we wish to find some kind of security without killing a billion people.

As a Democrat and an American, I despair, because the incapacity of the Right to make even the simplest of distinctions means that we will continue to engage in stupid and counterproductive actions until and unless it is electorally defeated -- and since the Right tends to hold the belief both that the Left is actively traitorous and that democratic institutions are not incredibly important (witness the death of electoral system reform once the Republicans took the Senate), I am not at all certain that an electoral victory for the Left would produce a peaceful transfer of power.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 28, 2003 07:11 PM

So, Kimmit, by your logic, I can't support firefighters unless I'm willing to join up and become one?

Posted by: blogaddict at August 28, 2003 07:23 PM
We've seen similar sentiments before
IRAQI President Saddam Hussein has hailed the "humane positions" of millions of demonstrators who took to the streets over the weekend to protest against a possible US-led war on Iraq.
"The pioneering and humane positions expressed through the demonstrations that recently took place should be viewed with esteem and kindness," said Saddam, who was chairing a cabinet session.
"We hope that everybody works for the establishment of peace, based on justice, equity and kindness among peoples."
More than 10 million people held street protests in cities around the world over the weekend.
Iraq's state-run media reported the demonstrations as a victory for the regime of Saddam Hussein.

There's no doubt that the vast majority of Aussie anti-war types would be horrified to be associated with such people. Many held anti-war convictions for the best of reasons. Some even had alternative solutions they were willing to share. But such protestations need to bear in mind that obviously the terrorists of AQ and JI see such protestors - especially the more overtly anti-US ones - as some sort of fellow traveller.

Not that any such gratitude prevented these swine from trying to kill as many Aussies and other infidels as possible - regardless of where their thoughts on the US or the war in Iraq (or East Timor for that matter) may have actually lain.

Because to them, we are all deserving targets regardless of what we do.

If this twisted thanks from a terrorist doesn't bring home to some people that this is indeed a war of ideas between those who desire some form of a liberal and tolerant society and those who wish for either a return to the mythological ideal of a world united under Sharia or an apocalyptic showdown, then nothing much more will shake their delusions. It's hardly Manichean to be diametrically opposed to such people and their goals regardless of whether you much like Bush or not. No-one ever accused the Islamofascist footsoldiers of philosophical complexity. The enemy of my enemy and all that is quite sufficient for them to see who their allies, unwilling or otherwise, are.

Posted by: bargarz at August 28, 2003 08:00 PM

Kimmitt,

Saddam had to be dealt with because he is part of a very large problem we have in the Middle East. I am well aware of the fact that he is not OBL; however, are you aware of the fact that his well-known dream was to lead the Islamic world back to its glory days of the 7th Century? Saddam is not the same man as OBL, but he shared a common goal -- advancing the Islamic (broadly defined) cause at our expense.

Saddam defied us for 12 years, and we ignored his provocations. One of the problems we have in the Middle East is a lack of credibility, which arises from our inaction in dealing with provocation. Saddam called our bluff--repeatedly--and we folded--repeatedly. Today we are paying for that, because our threats to use force carry no weight. (And please don't think I am changing course -- I think that there were other reasons for the war as well -- I reserve the right to have more than one reason for supporting something).

Finally, Kimmitt, I am astounded by the Left's focus on "why they hate us." I could care less because we have a much larger problem -- the FACT that they want to kill us. Let's focus on fighting them (on their turf, preferably) before they kill us in fact.

(As an aside, I am again pleased to find one of my theories confirmed: everyone on the Right is either stupid or evil. The Left cannot seem to deal with the fact that some people of intelligence, integrity and good-will can honestly disagree with them. Note the ad hominem attack -- that the Right typically engages in "exceedingly poor thought." Get a grip).

Posted by: Ben at August 28, 2003 08:16 PM

"As a Democrat and an American, I despair, because the incapacity of the Right to make even the simplest of distinctions means that we will continue to engage in stupid and counterproductive actions until and unless it is electorally defeated -- and since the Right tends to hold the belief both that the Left is actively traitorous and that democratic institutions are not incredibly important (witness the death of electoral system reform once the Republicans took the Senate), I am not at all certain that an electoral victory for the Left would produce a peaceful transfer of power."

If you really believe that, why haven't you started up the Second American Civil War yet?

Posted by: Moe Lane at August 28, 2003 08:21 PM

Stephen-

I agree with your comments in that we each need to expand the scope of our sympathies and human allegiance.
But everyone please remember that plenty of people had to suffer death and enslavement in the course of our just fight against totalitarianism, and many braver souls than myself laid it all on the line to protect their fellow humans from the predations of the US and its allies during the Cold War. A few of those individuals even populate the marches and rallies that would have kept Saddam in power.

Remember that the Kurds gassed in Halabja died in the streets with barely a whimper of regret from the American population. That's a moral oversight we should all keep in mind as we congratulate ourselves for our newfound internationalism.

To us Americans, the novel sense of our own vulnerability and the profound evil nature of our enemies has created an almost intoxicating sense of moral mission. Hopefully the solidarity that blogs like this celebrate will continue for generations hence.

Teach your kids what it felt like to suddenly see the world full of not only new enemies, but new allies- long-suffering and martyred allies whose only hope might be the wise and moral use of US power. They must not be abandoned.

Posted by: Matt at August 28, 2003 08:41 PM

I thought that idiotic "chickenhawk" argument had been put to rest long ago. As for Osama bin Laden his vanity is so great that he could not have resisted sending out videos of himself calling for support of Saddam's Iraq against the Great Satan, the US. Since he did not, and taking into account other indications, the best guess is that he is worm food in some cave in Afghanistan. We still have troops and intel people looking for him. If he is alive we'll get him one day. Meanwhile he is on the run, if alive, and his ability to plan and organize terrorist actions is severely limited. All due to the "incompetent" Bush Administration.

As for the Democrats doing better than the Bush Administration at fighting terror, Clinton had eight years and several high-profile terrorist attacks to encourage him to get off his rear and do something. The Clinton Administration never did, except in a wag the dog fashion. There is no evidence the Dems would do better than the Packs at fighting terrorism, and eight years of evidence to the contrary.

Now as to Iraq, I shall explain several reasons for the Iraq war. In no particular order:

1. We were at war with Iraq, and have been for 12 years. During that time we and the Brits flew a third of a million air sorties to enforce the no fly zones. At times our planes were shot at and shot back. Those were acts of war. Now that war is over.

2. We stopped Saddam from becoming another Dear Leader Kim with nukes plus a big oil income. Saddam is a man who started two wars to steal other people's oil. What do you suppose he'd do once he got nukes?

3. We destroyed a supporter of terrorism.

4, The biggest supporters of terrorism are Iran, Syria, and the Wahhabist Entity. We now have an American army in Iraq in the central position between them, able to strike, if necessary, in any direction. We can use this to threaten and bring power to bear on them, or to use force against them if necessary. Our Special Operations Forces can operate better from Iraqi bases against terrorists and their support infrastructure, and we are in a better postion to acquire intel about the terrorists.

5. Our victory raises the prestige of the US and will encourage people there to think us the stronger. Remember Bin Laden's comment about strong horses and weak ones, and which one people like better? Showing ourselves the strong horse there is valuable. People will incline towards us if they think we are the stronger. There is a Russian proverb that goes "We are right who are with the strong." There's probably an Arab equivalent.

6. Most importantly, this allows us to reform Iraqi political culture, and through it the wider Arab political culture. The Bush Administration is getting at the roots causes of terrorism. Contrary to the simple-minded equation of root causes with economic problems, the actual ones are to do with the political culture of the Arab/Muslim world. Arabs states are governed exclusively by tyrannies, and this is what gives rise to terrorism, for the Islamist movement is a desperate attempt to do something about the terrible political situation the Arab world finds itself in. "The Closed Circle" by David Pryce-Jones, many books by Bernard Lewis and "Hidden Hand" by Daniel Pipes are good sources of information on this problem. The Bush Administration is far more sophisticated about the problems of that part of the world than its critics are.

Finally, as for the hysterical shouts against "American Imperialism" they are sheer paranoia. Liberals who don't want to be taken for leftists should not parrot such leftist tripe.

Sorry for the length of this comment.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at August 28, 2003 08:55 PM

sym: Your argument that the "pro-Saddam" criticism would apply to Bush re: every dictator not yet deposed ignores a key difference: Although I don't, in the abstract, support the removal of every world dictator (because it is hard to do and not every dictator is the mortal threat to our security that Saddam was), if any leader in this country embarked this country on a national effort to free any nation, I might not jump up and down with enthusiasm, but I sure as hell wouldn't get in the way and try to stop it. Getting in the way is pro-dictator.

Posted by: rds at August 28, 2003 09:30 PM

rds, that was actually my comment. Getting in the way was pro-there-are-better-ways-of-spending-our-resources-right-now, and anti-you-are-picking-an-easy-target-because-the-difficult-targets-are-politically-unsatisfying. It may not have been correct, but it wasn't pro-dictator. I don't despair, but come on, it's a pretty coarse distinction. Critical thinking, class, critical thinking.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at August 28, 2003 10:51 PM

Finally, Kimmitt, I am astounded by the Left's focus on "why they hate us." I could care less because we have a much larger problem -- the FACT that they want to kill us. Let's focus on fighting them (on their turf, preferably) before they kill us in fact.

I'm well aware that this is the Right's position; what I fail to grasp is why we would want to begin the fight without knowing how we would go about winning it. The purpose of the fight is not to kill anyone who disagrees with US foreign policy (or maybe it is, and we're starting overseas and then coming back home to finish the job, I dunno). The purpose of the fight is to provide security to the United States, and there are two components to that -- generating as few new terrorists as possible and dealing with the ones which exist and will exist based on our mere existence.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 29, 2003 02:34 AM

Michael,
"Here's some advice. Make a list of the bad guys in the world. Rank them. Then focus your energy on the top of the list."

Writing "Mugabe is an evil bastard whose penis fell off because of the syphilis" (it's true, read Steyn) over and over again does not really accomplish much (though it is somewhat cathartic). Mugabe knows he is evil, I know he's evil, you know he's evil. Since he is a dictator, there is no way that my helpful suggestions for Zimbabwe policy improvement will ever be taken into consideration. Because the US is a democracy, critiques of Bush can actually change things. The only way I could change things in Zimbabwe is by advocating invasion (which I'm not prepared to do, though I would not demonstrate against it either.) And again, Mugabe's evil policies don't affect my life. Bush's stupid policies do.

In the Times today Gen.Abizaid says that we need more non-American troops in Iraq, as that would help our image among the iraqis immensely. French troops, Muslim troops, anything but just Americans. Last I checked Abizaid does not hate America. I bet he wishes the Bush gov't hadn't spent the last year systematically pissing off the world. If Bush had shown some patience and diplomacy, he could have gotten many more countries on board (even Arab countries!), and this postwar stuff would be going a lot better right now. It also would not be costing a billion dollars a week.

"If you do that, the Bali bomber might stop thinking he's your pal."
I personally supported the war (ambivalently), because getting rid of a dictator is never a bad thing. That evil fucker is no pal of mine. But still, point taken.

Posted by: sym at August 29, 2003 02:55 AM

"I am not at all certain that an electoral victory for the Left would produce a peaceful transfer of power."

For that to happen, the Democrats actually have to win an election. We aren't going to give the White House, Senate and Congress away because the Democrats yell real loud.

Bush won in 2000. Gore challenged the Florida vote. In my book, that looks like Gore tried to steal the election and lost.

The Democrats are already ramping up their "the voting machines are biased" rhetoric, so that they can launch right into that post 2004 - when they lose. Of course, if they win the voting machines will have been fine.

Seriously man, think about what you are saying. The Republicans don't have to steal an election because Democrats don't win elections anymore. The reason they don't win elections anymore is because people like that nut on the mainpage is giving some of you the thumbs up and "Joe Sixpack" dosen't like it very much.

Posted by: Roark at August 29, 2003 04:15 AM

It's not that the voting machines are biased; it's that they are so easily biasable -- and do not generate a paper trail -- so that the veracity of any election which includes them is called into question. You'd think that anyone who cared about democracy would want to have an absolutely unimpeachable record and result for a given election. Actually, I do think that anyone who cares about democracy would feel that way, which is part of why I consider the current Republican leadership (and many of its supporters) to be antidemocratic. They don't care about whether the election was fair or free; the important thing is that the right guy wins.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 29, 2003 04:32 AM

Of course, when I read this, from an ex Romanian KGB guy, "Our Western left-wing organizations, like the World Peace Council, existed for sole purpose of spreading the propaganda we gave them. These very same groups bray the exact same themes to this day. We always relied on their expertise at organizing large street demonstrations in Western Europe over America'swar-mongering whenever we wanted to distract world attention from the crimes of the vicious regimes we sponsored. "

From this article: http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20030820-081256-6822r.htm

And then notice that most of the large demonstrations were put on by the World Worker's Party, a bastard child of the afore mentioned group, I wonder really who pulls the lefts strings.

Let me recount some things, World Trade Center Bombed in the 90's, Clinton arrested a cleric but did little else.

Clinton refused our boys in Somalia the use of armored vehicles, because he did not want us looking like imperialists. Nevermind the fact we were there to help people. Ending up becoming Black Hawk down. And what do we do, we run with our tails between our legs. If you are the opposition, what do you think? Hey we are winning.

Saddam attempts to have former President Bush killed. What happens nothing. A few tomahawks sent into Iraq.

The Cole is bombed, Clinton destroys a tent in Afghanistan and an Aspirin Factory in the Sudan. What do the bad guys think, hey we are winning and the Americans are stupid.

A truck bomb is used to kill American soldiers in SA, again a few Tomahawks. Opposition, hey again we are still winning, we killed a bunch, they destroyed a few empty tents.

All leading them to rightfully believe we are paper tigers. That we run in the face of adversary, we are soft.

9/11, it happens not because of what America has done, but what she failed to do in previous attacks. They viewed us as weak, and that Allah was protecting them from the Americans. So we declare war on Muslim Extremists. Now Saddam has been supporting Muslim Extremists for years, giving solitude, money and various other things to support the cause in Palastine. So he immediately jumps to number 2 on the list. Behind the Taliban.

We take out the Taliban Government in Afghanistan and now the world knows we are serious. Including one Saddam Hussein. Yet he still pays the members of the Suicide Bombers families, he still celebrates their cause. He still hides Terrorists in Iraq, including one of the men who hijacked that cruise ship and killed the Elderly Jew.

And yet all we hear is "Peace in our Time". Well guess what, the only way we could have peace is to follow Shia law, because that is the objective of our enemy. Do you want that? Since that is the only appeasement they will accept to stop their war, are you willing to do that? Oh yes, and they also want to kill a certain people? So are you ok with the Genocide of a race?

Do you even understand the enemy? Sun Tzu spoke of that as the most important rule of Combat. You anti-war people, do not understand the enemy at all. They want you to follow Shia, or die. Are you willing to do either? Because if you aren't you need to check which side of the movement you are on.

Sorry about the length.

Posted by: James Stephenson at August 29, 2003 06:17 AM

Kimmit how do you feel about those Democrat lawyers sent to Florida after the election to try and get Absentee votes stricken from being counted, because military voters typically skew republican.

Did you mind that at all?

Posted by: James Stephenson at August 29, 2003 06:19 AM

Dave:
Howard Dean’s position is pro-Saddam in the sense that, were he president, Saddam and his boys would probably be murdering ordinary Iraqis for several more decades.

Christopher:
You need to get more than three tinker toys to work with. By your argument the President is pro-every-sitting-dictator-yet-to-be-dispoed. Don't insult us.

No. The comparison is between real-life possibilities, and you're bringing hypotheticals into it. Let's take the example of, say, Chavez. Bush isn't doing anything to depose Chavez right now. Bush's opponents aren't calling for Chavez to be deposed either. But Bush has just deposed Saddam, while his opponents tried to stop him doing so. So, with Bush in power, we have one of these two dictators left, while, with one of Bush's anti-war opponents in power, we'd have both of them left. One versus two. See?

The anti-war left were defending Saddam (regardless of their intentions) from a real threat from Bush that Saddam was actually facing. You're bringing non-existent threats not actually faced by any dictators into the argument. Proving what?

sym:
It's safe to assume that everyone is against dictatorships.

No, it's very dangerous to assume that. Lots of people support dictatorships.

ANSWER are a front group for the WWP. The WWP were (and still are) in favour of Stalin's invasion of Hungary. They're not against dictatorships. They've been fighting to bring the whole world under the yoke of a Communist dictatorship for decades, and they've made a lot of recruits in the last couple of years. I assume, rightly, that those new recruits aren't against dictatorships either.

Kimmitt:
I'd think that said opinion would lead inevitably to a moral requirement to personally share that risk -- but then, it's always easy to send someone else (or their kid) off to die.

Where do you stand on the issue of wheelchair-bound people being rescued from tall burning buildings? How about the old or the infirm? And how does your position differ from "Every man for himself"?

sym:
Um, just because the KKK shares, say, Andrew Sullivan's position on affirmative action does not mean it's accurate to say there is 'ideological overlap' between Andrew Sullivan and the KKK.

Actually, yeah, it does. That's exactly what ideological overlap is. The key difference here is that, if the KKK organised a march against affirmative action, Sullivan wouldn't go on it. His attitude would be "We may have one goal in common, but I will never lend any support to such people, and I will never do anything that might give the impression that I support them generally." Contrast this with the supposedly liberal and civilised people who feel that opposing Bush is so important that it's worth marching with totalitarian Jew-hating killers for.

sym:
If Bush had shown some patience and diplomacy, he could have gotten many more countries on board

The problem isn't the number of countries on board: last I checked, there were over 50. The problem is that all those countries (apart from the UK) have so underinvested in their militaries for so many years that the only support they can offer is rhetorical.

Besides, 14 months of asking people to do what they've already agreed to do is pretty damn patient, if you ask me.

Posted by: Squander Two at August 29, 2003 07:10 AM

"Kimmit how do you feel about those Democrat lawyers sent to Florida after the election to try and get Absentee votes stricken from being counted, because military voters typically skew republican.

Did you mind that at all?"

Of course not. They were just trying to "protect" the election results while Al Gore drug the case into every court possible. Somehow because they lost all of those absurd court challenges, the Republicans still "stole" the election. I would counter that the facts show that the Democrats were just unable to steal it.

To counter that, the Democrats have been a quest to reinstitute felon voting rights in Florida.

But of course, people like Kimmet care very little about "Democratic" ideals unless it benefits Democrats. They are happy to turn a blind eye while the army of lawyers descends on a state - subverting both state and federal election laws - in an effort to undo an election. But you better believe we are going to hear all about that "fraud" that is inherent in voting machines - right up until those voting machines are either done away with and we are back to a system that can be tied up in courts for months and months, subjected to biased paper ballot counting that might go the Democrats way next time or until the voting machines produce Democratic winners. Nothing would be worse than an electronic system, not subject to the fuzzy interpertation that will do nothing to enhance voting relaibility and do everything to add the flawed, and corruptable, human element.

Posted by: Roark at August 29, 2003 07:58 AM

Of course not. They were just trying to "protect" the election results while Al Gore drug the case into every court possible.

Revisionism. It was Bush's side which initiated every court action. There is no question there was plenty of 'funny business' with the election results in FL ranging from people legally entitled to vote not be able to as well as absentee ballots being counted which weren't postmarked or received in time.

Back on topic, though. I fear this subject is just more of Michael's schtick.

Posted by: JadeGold at August 29, 2003 10:23 AM

Jadegold,

Ah yes, it's the "shtick" accusation again. I'm not supposed to say any of this stuff unless I formally become a Republican first.

I suppose you think it's also wrong for Andrew Sullivan to criticize the yahoo wing of the GOP, for the same reason?

Don't be an idiot.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 29, 2003 10:42 AM

Michael,

Excellent post, as usual. It puts clearly into focus what I'd witnessed almost everyday working in a copy shop (a collective, no less) in a very leftist environment being asked to copy the most offensive and un-peaceful anti-war posters I've ever seen: Bush with a Hitler moustache, Bush wearing a Nazi uniform with arm extended, or the text equivalent, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld pictured with text something like 'the real Axis of evil...get the warheads out of Washington' with the glaring omission of other administration officials of say African-American descent, and on and on. (By the way, I referred all of these customers to my far(er) left co-worker comrades who were not offended to make these copies). One of the last examples I saw convinced me that this obsessive hatred of George W. Bush had reached pathologically fetish proportions; it was a charcoal piece of G.W. pictured bound and gagged with duct tape, drawn with fear in his eyes. Now, given the fact that Saddam Hussein had literally tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people and not one poster addressing this fact, or one even remotely critical of him, had ever crossed our counter, what am I left to conclude? This obscene truth inversion whereby George W. Bush, instead of the man responsible for actual epic mass murder, became the grand repository of any and all 'lefty' anger was business as usual in the copy shop. And this happened over and over again, by many different customers, not just the same couple of fanatics.

‘Lefties’, if you go to protests and stand next to this kind of display without confronting folks about it or maybe suggest they carry a more specifically 'No War in Iraq' placard instead, or if the organizers of such events don't actively discourage this 'Bush = Hitler' kind of sign (yes, they have the ability to do this as evidenced by the London protests: ANSWER's security worked to actively remove all anti-Semitic placards as there were an embarrassing number of them), then you and they are giving tacit approval to this kind of rage filled delusion parading as "peace".

Did the stress of 9/11 cause the left's blind spot to metastasize into full blown cancer of the eye? Some ‘lefties’ seem to have no depth perception left at all, a totally flattened world view permeates their relativist vision as large chunks of reality go totally unnoticed.

Oh Yeah… Michael, my husband and I have been wanting (and trying, e-mails we sent you were returned 'undeliverable mail') to thank you for being a continual source of support for people like us (proud liberals for liberation) who were beginning to think that the entire left had gone plum loco after 9/11. Your blog, and the blogs of other like minded folks on your sidebar, have seen us through some alienating months here in Western Massachusetts. A while back I’d written to Roger Simon describing my plight, to which he wrote a sympathetic post on his blog that spurred a bunch of comments, mostly supportive, one of which was from you. You deftly pointed out that my home-made button “Baathism Is War In Iraq” (which was also meant as an answer to the lefty button “No War In Iraq”) was inspired from an old lefty slogan “Fascism Is War”.

Thanx again for your intelligent insight!

Posted by: Cara at August 29, 2003 11:37 AM

I think it is fair to characterize the main difference between the opposing sides in what was the central question concerning Iraq as follows: Was regime change required in Iraq or was it not? France openly stated they would veto anything the U.S. proposed that was not a continuation the diplomatic effort.

Howard Dean and the anti-war crowd were de facto on the same side as the French, whether or not they denounced Saddam as a monster. This analysis is sound critical thinking. Their utter failure to understand or accept the necessary requirements to bring about compliance with the U.N. resolutions and end the sanctions and liberate an oppressed people in this case makes them pro-Saddam, but certainly doesn’t automatically put them in the same camp as America-haters. But true America-haters are certainly delighted by their presence. I was in Bali just before the blast, and it really seemed like the last place on earth that terror would strike.

Posted by: Dave at August 29, 2003 11:57 AM

Thanks, Cara. :)

Sorry you couldn't send email. I have a yahoo address, so I don't know why it wouldn't go through.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 29, 2003 12:00 PM

Sorry Michael, it is schtick. Drawing comparisons to those who opposed the war and the Indonesian terrorist is schtick.

It's also pathetic.

Posted by: Pug at August 29, 2003 01:53 PM

Pug,

Read what I wrote. I very specifically said the anti-warriors are not in league with the Bali bomber.

In my post I said: I know you don’t support terrorists and fascists.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 29, 2003 02:10 PM

We're well aware that you said, "I know you don't support terrorists and fascists." It's just that you then followed it up with an essay on why and how we support terrorists and fascists.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 29, 2003 03:16 PM

Roark, have you even read any of the technical critiques of the computerized voting systems? They are simply not reliable counting methods. There could be computerized voting systems which would be reliable counting methods, but they do not currently exist. It's that simple.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 29, 2003 03:26 PM

Kimmitt,

Either read what I write, or don't bother commenting. Act like a troll, and I will ignore you.

I said: your message is not getting across. Louder, please.

That is the whole point of my post.

Terrorists think you're on their side? Don't blame me.

Once again you spend all your ammunition on your domestic political opponents (like me) and don't even seem to notice that it was a terrorist who said he is on your side.

I am not the one who said it. I actually defended you of the charge. You are projecting your anger onto the wrong target. Again.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 29, 2003 03:34 PM

One of the ideas you presented was that "when terrorists appear to agree with you, you need to take steps to make sure everyone knows that this is a stopped clock issue." The idea is arguable (Islamic terrorists resemble fundamentalist wingnuts far more than they resemble secular leftists), but it was presented.

The other was very clearly stated when you said,

"Hamstringing America and defeating the Republican Party is not more important than defeating terrorism."

In other words, disagreeing with your opinion regarding foreign policy is "Hamstringing America," and defeating the Republican Party electorally cannot possibly be a necessary step on the road to defeating terror (necessary because of the extreme shortsightedness of Republican policy prescriptions). If that's not what you mean, I understand that text is a thoroughly imperfect medium and a rewrite might be useful, but in the context of your other writings, it appears that you're dipping again from the "objectively pro-Saddam" (terrorist, communist, et cetera) well.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 29, 2003 05:01 PM

Kimmitt,

If you are asking in good faith for a clarification, here it is:

Terrorists are or should be higher on your sh*t list than Republicans. Conservative and Centrist Americans are not your enemies. They are your countrymen. They are your allies against an enemy who is trying to kill you. Disagree with the right and the center all you want, but do not forget that we are all in this together, and that we are all on the same side.

You can disagree with my ideas all you want. I am wrong as often as the next person. My advice to you is to be careful what form your disagreement takes. Don't give the bad guys the wrong idea. I don't think you're a terrorist-symp. I don't know how many times I need to say that before it sinks in.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 29, 2003 05:13 PM

Sorry I came in late.

I've read through the posts through August 29. There's a point that hasn't been raised.

When Amrozi & Co killed 200 people in Bali there was a mass gathering in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) before Parliament House; the tone and theme was grief, shock and solidarity with the victims and their families. For several days after, the Parliament steps were covered with flowers and banners saying PEACE.

When the Bush administration took enforcement of a UN resolution into their hands, there was a demonstration larger than had been seen for some years. Bigger and more heterogeneous than the demos against education cuts and anti-union actions of the past few years, at least.

Me, I was shambling along with them, in a conviction of total defeat on every side. The UN, the Arab League, the Iraqi population suffering under sanctions, my own pacifism, all futile, nothing to offer.

But there was one bright side. In Indonesia, they would be watching, and what they would see was that Australians (a) did not wish to return evil for evil (b) had not made Muslims the enemy © were not mere followers of the US. They wouldn't get those messages from John Howard. They would be reminded or made aware that there is a strong popular sentiment here for peace and trust.

(This was at a time when in Djakarta there were people running from house to house, shouting "It's on the Internet! War against Islam! Bush is coming, prepare,prepare!")

Word came back, from an Aussie student in Djakarta. He had been practically feted by Indonesian fellow students. Why? I don't know. Maybe the universities are under the Islamic extremist spell. I think in some measure it was realizing that the West is not a monolith and is not marching as one toward an apocalytic war against the Muslim nations. That fear is a prime recruitment tool in any extremists' hand.

I purely do not care what comfort terrorists may find in anti-war demonstrations. Terrorists are marginal. What the common people perceive outweighs that consideration a million to one, because in the long run it determines what governments will do.

Posted by: Jonathan Burns at August 29, 2003 07:42 PM

What the Islamists were trying to provoke was a massive realiatory attack to proke a war between civilizations. What the US did was a measured response, but a firm response, which was what was needed. There is no way that the WOT can be resolved with no casualties on either side. Fortunately the Ozzies, Brits and Eastern Euros, among others (the Arab States under direct threat) joined our side of the matter. Fortunately we didn't nuke Baghdad, Tehran or Mecca.

We must have a strategy for fighting the WOT. This is why the Dems in Congress approved the war in Iraq, even if they are backing off now. We absolutely need to do something because there is no moderate leader of the future for the Islamists - we have to create one.

The US strategy has been to sit and wait for their enemies to grow old and die - USSR, Castro, Khomeini, etc. But unlike, say, Khaddafi's sons, the bad guys in Iraq, Al Queda, etc. are relentless. We attacked Iraq not so much because of Saddam, but because Uday and Qusay guaranteed 50 more years of killing of their own citizens and Saddam had tipped his hand of general war against his neighbors to secure over 75 % of the world's oil.

If you can offer a better strategy, then do so. But the alternative was to sit and wait for the next disaster, which is unacceptible from my point of view.

I believe that this is what Michael is saying. The political, and even idealistic positions must take a back seat to our survival and to the future of liberal ideals, such as religious freedom, rights of the individual, etc.

Posted by: DaveC at August 29, 2003 10:44 PM

"Revisionism. It was Bush's side which initiated every court action. There is no question there was plenty of 'funny business' with the election results in FL ranging from people legally entitled to vote not be able to as well as absentee ballots being counted which weren't postmarked or received in time."

Wrong. Directly from the PBS webpage.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/election/july-dec00/fl_11-27.html

JIM LEHRER: Vice President Gore formally challenged the Florida presidential vote today. His lawyers went to court in Tallahassee to contest the results in three Florida counties. Last night, Governor Bush was certified the winner in Florida, by 537 votes.

The first challenge was thrown down by Gore. You are the one engaging in revisionism. Facts are facts and they do not change with time.

Posted by: Roark at August 30, 2003 05:16 AM

The Dems in Congress approved the war on Iraq out of craven political calculation (with the exceptions of Lieberman and Edwards, who shared the President's vision of invading any country with a Muslim leader that pisses us off), not because of any ongoing belief in an overall vision.

I guess I'm alone here, but I just don't believe that we are stuck in a war with 1/5 of the population of the world. We are dealing with an escalated version of the same security situation we've handled for the past fifty years; the difference is that terrorists have become more sophisticated and are no longer content with the bones the House of Saud throws to them. We need to ask ourselves if it is really worth the money and lives lost in conquering and attempting to rebuild ten to fifteen countries in response to the finite threat we currently face.

Osama bin Laden is bad, but in terms of threats to US security, he's not a tenth of a Hirohito, who actually fielded a real live army that conquered US territories. Saddam Hussein is bad, but he's not even as damaging as Cold War Castro to US security interests.

Posted by: Kimmitt at August 30, 2003 11:38 AM

Kimmit - don't bother, they're not listening. Didn't you get the memo? Everything is different now. What's the use of lavishing trillions on war toys unless you get to use them? We're going to use force to control the situation, just like McNamara's (or was it Abrams? or Westmoreland?) "weight and mass" in another political conflict we were in once. It'll work out just as well, I'm sure.

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Posted by: Squander Two at September 1, 2003 07:24 AM

Michael IIRC you previously held the belief that talking about economic "root causes", and blaming US foreign policy for terrorism is stupid. I agree.
How come, that you entertain the possibility that protests could have anything to do with terrorism?
If someone claims US foreign policy X justifies blowing Americans up you rightly don't bother to look for "ideological overlap", you don't question the "priorities" and "distinctions" of US foreign policy. Why do you care what this particular piece of shit offers as his explanation?

Posted by: markus at September 1, 2003 08:26 AM

Markus,

Michael's not talking about the justification or the explanation or the causes of what this man did. He's talking about the man's ability to recognise the difference between help and hindrance, between friends and enemies.

Posted by: Squander Two at September 1, 2003 04:13 PM

Right, and who's to say his judgement is any better on that score? Since the Left wants something he absolutely hates (secular democracy for everyone), the fact that he's wishing for something means he probably should be afraid if he gets it.

This man wants a religious war with the West -- Christianity vs. Islam. The Right wants to give it to him. The Left wants to transcend the question.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 2, 2003 07:18 PM

The Left wants to transcend the question.

Transcending the question does not exclude fighting back. And most people on the right are quite uninterested in a religious war, although Pat Robertson cannot be taken down and disgraced enough.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 3, 2003 03:57 PM

Hey, if we're disgracing folks going out for religious wars, please toss on Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, that Misha prick at the Rottweiler, Jerry Falwell, Charles Krauthammer, and most of the rest of the conservative opinion-making set.

All of whom supported the Iraq war, by the way, which should finally put to rest this whole "guilt by association with the stopped clock" meme.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 3, 2003 06:07 PM

In the tradition of the Left in which you identify Kimmet, how in the Hell can you say the Left wants to transcend the question? Maybe you want to transcend the question, but that is wishful thinking at best. Why have we never seen any non-violent protest leaders like MLK Jr. among the Palestinians? How is it that a war Islamist fascists declared against the West cannot in involve discussing or holding accountable the “religion of peace”?

We are tossing these questions at you, because you seem to be participating in this particular discussion, not the religious right.

Posted by: Dave at September 4, 2003 11:31 AM

And yet Kimmet never answered my Question. These people want to bring Shia Law to the whole of the world. Are you willing to appease them in this?

Are you willing to sacrifice your god given rights to bow before men who claim to doing Allah's work?

Are you?

I know you will not answer me, because you do not want to face the truth of it.

Posted by: James Stephenson at September 4, 2003 12:38 PM

Read this article about a book written by an Al-Quada leader, after you answer my question Kimmett, then come back to me please.

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/4879.htm

Posted by: James Stephenson at September 4, 2003 12:45 PM

Why have we never seen any non-violent protest leaders like MLK Jr. among the Palestinians?

Because none of their leaders has been brilliant enough to import Indian concepts of Ahisma and active nonviolence into a culture which had not previously used them? I'm hardly a major Palestinian scholar; for all I know some leader tried to get a nonviolent protest movement going and choked on a fish bone before it got anywhere. Certainly folks like Rachel Corrie are trying the nonviolent route, but they don't seem to be terribly effective.

At any rate, I already have answered your "Question." We are not at war with 1/5 of the world's population; Saddam had no desire to see the US follow Shia law; the war on Al Qaeda and associated Wahabbist groups has extremely little to do with Iraq.

Just because a guy is Muslim and is bad doesn't mean he's part of Al Qaeda. This kind of sloppy thinking is what turns the US from a shining city on a hill into just another brutal conquering empire.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 5, 2003 01:13 PM

Christopher Luebcke sez

"I don't share a common enemy with these people. The fact that you think I do demonstrates your ignorance of the wide spectrum of reasons that people were opposed to this war. "

And that such is ignorance is so widespread is your problem. You are the one not being heard, and Michael Totten is trying to help you understand why, so you can get heard.

What you need is a "no assholes" antiwar movement. Anyone who has any association with ANSWER is not allowed to join. Anyone who shows up with a "Bush = Hitler" sign gets thrown out of the demonstration. Anyone who mentions the phrase "American Imperialism" gets instantly blackballed.

I might actually spend a few minutes listening to an antiwar movement that is clearly pro-American in motive and pro-freedom in ideology.

Posted by: ralph phelan at September 5, 2003 05:19 PM

Stephen sez:
"And yet Kimmet never answered my Question."

Actually he did:
"I guess I'm alone here, but I just don't believe that we are stuck in a war with 1/5 of the population of the world. We are dealing with an escalated version of the same security situation we've handled for the past fifty years; the difference is that terrorists have become more sophisticated and are no longer content with the bones the House of Saud throws to them. We need to ask ourselves if it is really worth the money and lives lost in conquering and attempting to rebuild ten to fifteen countries in response to the finite threat we currently face."

He sees no need to "appease" Islam, nor to fight it. He thinks we should just absorb the blows and get on with our lives.

I guess I'd sum this up as "Terrorism isn't really a big enough problem to desrve all this effort. Losing 3000 dead every couple of decades is less costly that going in and rebuilding the entire Mideast." It's an attitude that makes me itch, but I can actually see the logic of it. If not for the potential of a nuclear or biological attack far more destructive than 911, I might even agree with it.

Posted by: ralph phelan at September 5, 2003 05:34 PM

That's not how I'd sum it up -- I'd be more like, "After we destroy Al Qaeda and bring Afghanistan into some semblance of normality, we will have massively improved our security situation. At that point, we will have to assess what continuing threats we face and the appropriate response to them." Let's keep in mind that one of my major issues with Iraq was that it was a distraction from our work in Afghanistan and Pakistan against the folks who actually did perpetrate a terrorist attack on American civilians.

And anyone who's really worried about a nuclear or biological attack isn't looking at Iraq; he or she is looking at the Russian nuclear and biological stockpiles, staring concernedly at Pakistan, or watching the Bush policy toward North Korea with slowly mounting horror.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 5, 2003 11:36 PM

Bush's policy towards North Korea seems to be an attempt to avoid the blackmailing and lies that the Clinton/Albright WH fell for, putting us more at risk, while promoting multilateral diplomacy. Do you think Bush's policy towards Charles Taylor in Liberia was a disaster? It is instructive that Howard Dean was quick to join the Euro-elites in a rush to show force response, rather than a measured response favoring a relatively peaceful transition of power. Dean appears to feel that its more important for the chocolate makers to like us, rather than demonstrate good global leadership.

Posted by: Dave at September 6, 2003 11:40 AM

Liberia's a separate issue; I'm happy Charles Taylor is gone, but with his Al Qaeda ties, I'd prefer if he were in US custody.* Another major humanitarian crisis is brewing as the cease fire between the rebel factions is disintegrating and the basic functions of government are not working appropriately; it doesn't look like Nigeria's going to send in enough troops to keep order, so things could go very bad very quickly.

*but then, we've established that Al Qaeda is higher on my shitlist than it is on the President's.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 6, 2003 09:33 PM

But had we left Al-Quada alone, would we have 3000 dead every couple of decades?

No, had we sent a few missles in, punished no one, that would have emboldened them further. OBL has consistently called America Paper Tigers, because of our unwillingness to fight back. Why else would he think he could fly planes into our buildings and we not fight back. He was stupid.

Saddam sure he may not have seen like a direct threat, but he was. He actually tried to have a former president killed. He support Hamas and Hezbullah and not to mention the terrorists families.

Now reports are that Qadaffi is also straigtening up, that Syria is starting to back down. Do you think these things happened because we played nice? No, they did these things because they know that World War IV is underway. It started in the early 80s in Lebanon, and we ran. It continued through the 80 with bombing and planes going down, and their biggest attack, was 9/11. Unlike those who are willing to see 3000 of our country men dead every couple of decades, I am not.

They blame us for their decline from a world leading region. When they need to look inward. When the Islam world was at the height of its strength, it was one of the most Religion Tolerant societies in the world. More so then Christianity. More so then it is now. They actually employed Jewish people to translate books into Arabic and Aramaic. Could you see any of the radicals doing that today? No.

We are not at war with Islam, we are at war with the Klan with a Koran. When the US rightfully went after the KKK, it was not a war against Christianity, it was a war against the KKK. We are not at war with Islam now, and never will be. We are at war with the Klan with a Koran.

But you people seem to be willing to sit back and take the blows. My god, what has happened to your spirit? Would you mind if they killed a loved one? A friend? A Parent? After all it is just small blows. I knew no one who died on 9/11, but I cried for them just the same. And I for one am not willing to see more Americans die, because we are unwilling to put a stop to it.

We will win this war, like we have won others, and the world will be a better place because of it.

Posted by: James Stephenson at September 8, 2003 05:31 AM

SADDAM IS NOT, WAS NOT, AND NEVER WILL BE AN ISLAMIST RADICAL.

Thank you.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 8, 2003 11:30 AM

Anti-war leftists now seem to be moving to the position that al queda has always been higher on their shitlist than Bush’s. Along with this notion is the idea that the U.S. can only do one thing at a time. The idea that Iraq was a distraction from the war on terror is nonsense. OBL’s leadership cadre has been isolated and weakened , his organization unraveling along with his ability to commission or organize terror. But, if they are regrouping in Iraq, it must be time to go in for the kill don’t you think Kimmet?

Posted by: Dave at September 8, 2003 01:04 PM

They aren't regrouping in Iraq; they are regrouping in Afghanistan. They are taking advantage of our stupidly extended front in Iraq to do damage in an area where they have more resources and can more easily fade into the population while generating local support.

Yes, Osama bin Laden and his organization have been higher on my shitlist than they have been on Bush's for some time now. Witness:

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
- G.W. Bush, 3/13/02

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 8, 2003 08:23 PM

The war on terror has never been about just OBL or even al Qaeda or “a dream of world conquest”. It is explicitly about ending terrorists with global reach and the states that sponsor them. On this topic, Dubya and Rummy always have been perfectly clear, hence your quote. Iraq openly sponsored terrorists and bragged about it. Philosophically and strategically, al Qaeda says that it is vital to prevent any normalization and stabilization in Iraq. “Muslim militants should make sure that the United States does not succeed in holding elections in Iraq and creating a democratic government”. Of course, Kimmet, I’m sure you have better intelligence from sources close to Howard Dean and can debunk all of this. It just appears to many of us that the war on terror is actually lower on your priority list than say, Bush-bashing.

Posted by: Dave at September 8, 2003 11:26 PM

Kimmet,

Did Saddam pay the families of Suicide bombers cash?

Did he support Syria with tons of money, money that was probably directed to Hamas/Hezbollah?

Did he not try to hit Israel with Scuds during GW1?

Did he not try and build the largest dang Artillery piece ever just so he could bomb Israel?

Wow, in the old saying, "walks like a duck, talks like a duck, must be a duck". "pays for terrorists, harbors terrorists, wants to destroy Israel, must be a radical islamist."

Posted by: James Stephenson at September 9, 2003 05:50 AM

Since the maintenence of a Christian in high-level command and the outright suppression of Islamic groups in Iraq is not consistent with your thesis, while all of the actions you describe as well as the ones above are consistent with the idea that Saddam is a secular strongman who seeks nothing but his own power -- by whichever means he sees fit -- I must disagree with your conclusion.

And I agree entirely that Bush took an area which was not vital to the war against terror and made it a major battleground in the war against terror. That was part of the argument against the war -- that we were opening up new fronts which were favorable to the terror groups we are fighting and unfavorable to us.

The security of the American people and continuing to point out President Bush's manifest miserable failures to safeguard that security are rather compatible goals. President Bush heads an Administration which protects us very badly, and so it is important, in the context of a democracy, to continue to discuss this fact so that we can then elect a different President who would do a better job, Rumsfeld's petulant whining to the contrary.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 9, 2003 06:22 PM

Name one foreign terrorist act committed here in America since 9/11.

I believe we can both safely assume the Anthrax was probably internal terrorists, like Elf or Militia groups.

Posted by: James Stephenson at September 10, 2003 09:53 AM

You're likely right regarding the anthrax.

There must be more criteria to "is Bush doing a good job protecting us?" than "did we suffer a terrorist attack on US soil recently?" Certainly, an attack on US soil would be a strong indicator of failure, but a lack of attacks on US soil is merely an indicator of possible success. There are other factors to take into account, such as attacks on US nationals in other countries (Saudi Arabia bombing, Bali nightclub) and military losses incurred.

Not to mention the question of whether or not he's doing it without breaking the bank.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 10, 2003 07:15 PM

What Rummy said:

"I said to the extent that the terrorists are given reason to believe that he might prevail in some way and they take heart from that and it leads to more money going into these activities or that leads to more recruits or that leads to more encouragement or more staying power on the part of the terrorists obviously it makes our task more difficult.

The next sentence is, that does not mean there should not be debate. That's the context. There should be debate and discussion on these things. We can live with that. We can live with a healthy debate as long as it's elevated and reasonably civil. Now that is a very balanced statement".

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sblafren wrote: "Saddam ignored 12 years of UN resolutions to disarm and prove it. This alone should motivate you to either support sanctions or war. And didn’t we all decide that sanctions only harm the innocent, not the dictator? So war it is, no? Otherwise, what good is the UN?"
Not much, apparrently. Besides, did Iraq sign the UN charter? If not, the UN cannot claim jurisdiction over Iraqi affairs. What Saddam did during his reign was indeed heinous, but where were the Iraqi underground movements? Where was the revolution of the Iraqi people? In the late 1700s, American colonists freed themselves from the most powerful country in the world (at the time). Iraq wasn't even the most powerful country in the Middle East. Someone once wrote that nations deserve the governments they have. That includes the United States for continuing to elect selfish special-interest panderers that send American troops to die in a war that should never have happened. That may be a selfish perspective for me to have, but I am an Army wife, and my husband deploys this coming September.

However, since we are already there, I think that American forces have done a lot of good. Along with weapons of war they bring the tools of peace. They have set up clinics, they are teaching Iraqis how to build stronger infrastructures for their buildings, they are training Iraqis to defend themselves against the radicals. I was thrilled to see teams from Iraq and Afghanistan at the last Olympics. We should quit arguing about whether we should have gone there or not in the first place. It's a moot point. We're there. We need to concentrate on doing the most good we can and then stepping out as soon as possible so that Iraq and Afghanistan can do their democracy thing by themselves.

My apologies for getting off topic.

Posted by: Heather at November 29, 2007 02:09 AM
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