September 21, 2003

New Tech Central Station Column

My new Tech Central Station column is up: An Open Letter to the Party of Wilson and Roosevelt.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 21, 2003 10:08 PM
Comments

Excellent article, though I still don't understand your (and others') ideological commitment to what's left of the Democratic party. I'm also a lifelong democrat, but my disillusionment with their recent performance will likely change that.

As for the fall of the House of Saud, I believe it's going to happen but there will be no invasion. The US and/or a collition of Western nations will sieze the richest Saudi oil fields south of Kuwait to protect them from sabotage and to sustain oil production. The Arabian peninsula will likely erupt in a multi-sided and exceptionally bloody civil war with no clear group to assist. Others will rush to war from all over the Muslim world in an effort to control Mecca and Medina. It will be horrific and no one will be able to do much of anyting to stop it.

Part of the Iraq strategy (coupled with supporting the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela) has been targeting OPEC while looking for ways to keep up world oil demand in the event of a major OPEC disruption. In 2000 I would never have thought it, but these days I'm glad we've got oilmen in the white house.

Posted by: Joe Maller at September 21, 2003 10:42 PM

I hate to ask the obvious question, but do you really think that we can guarantee pipleline security in the context of a region-wide low-level conflict? It seems to me that the entire region's production is basically dependent on a reasonably high level of tolerance for commerce; if that goes, then it doesn't matter how many troops we have in there, we aren't going to get any crude.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 21, 2003 11:11 PM

I think it's a very good article too, but I don't understand the committment to ANY political party at this point in history. That may have beocme a reactionary concept in itself. Also, I think you may even slightly undersell, if that's possible, how grave the situation is. This is not less but far MORE serious than Vietnam. This is a geunine conflict of civilizations. That was a waste of our effort

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at September 21, 2003 11:12 PM

Great article, as usual. A couple of comments (as usual).

Howard Dean, darling of the anti-war activists

More like "darling of the former anti-war activists, and moreso of the people who were anti-war but never active." The core of the anti-war crowd generally appear to be somewhere between jittery and horrified of him. See here, here, here, and here to start (Sample: "he is a self-described pro-AIPAC Zionist, and he believes the Palestinian violence is not due to the occupation but to ‘terrorism itself.’" Solution? "Switch to Green or vote Kucinich")

Later on you wrote:

Maybe it's too much to expect Dean to reverse his stance on Iraq.

Well, maybe. My understanding of his current position is that he agrees that we cannot leave Iraq in any condition other than a stable democracy, which I think we would all agree with. So I was going to suggest that his current position is not in need of reversal, and that no one would expect him to play "revisionist historian" (thank you, W) and recast his opposition to the war. But in the process of researching this position I found the following quote prominently displayed on the home of the Dean campaign's promisingly named Iraq Truth Center:

It only becomes more and more clear every day what a mistake this administration made in launching a preemptive war in Iraq. The evidence mounts that not only did the Administration mislead the American people and the world in making its case for war, but that it failed to plan adequately for the peace.

I'll agree that hat's a position that could use some revising. I'd also much rather hear about the future than the past, but I guess that's politics.

(Why do I keep ending up defending this guy? There's no way I'm voting for him :P)

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 22, 2003 12:11 AM

I couldn't take the internal conflict any more, so I have a bit of a Dean takedown on my site. Kimmitt, I'd love to have your response.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 22, 2003 01:02 AM

I stopped by.

Actually, I'm on a pretty serious high; we just had a pair of nicely successful grassroots events here in Honolulu over the weekend. It's so good to be connecting with people who have been disillusioned about the process and are getting involved not just in Presidential politics, but also slowly in state and local politics -- which is desperately needed in this state.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 22, 2003 02:25 AM

Great article

I have to say that I am presently terrified by the perspective that a Democrat could win in 2004 or 2008 (BTW I am not an American). Because all Democratic candidates seem completely unable to deal with WOT. Because they are courting the most lunatic fringe of the pacifists, that they are ready to withdraw from Iraq and thus handle a major propagandistic victory to the Islamists. That at the question "Why they hate us?" they are unable to give the straight and blunt answer: "because they are fascists who dream in a world dominated by them, a world where non-muslims would be either put to death or reduced to a condition far worse than the one of a negro in former South Africa (about the life of anon-muslim under Shariah law read http://www.dhimmitude.org), where raped women are stoned to death for adultery if they can't produce four male, muslim witnesses." Until the Democratic party doesn't come to his senses and start producing Wilsons and JFKs it will be real bad to have a Democratic president.

A few thoughts now.

1) It is refreshing to find someone, specially if he is a liberal, who tells the truth about the Islamist (ie militant Islam) movement: they are the opressers of the wretched of the earth. I would have given concrete examples from the genocide and restablisment of slavery in Sudan,
to the opression of Shias in Saudi Arabia, to the plight of Kabyls in Algeria, to the huge sums of money who, through the hadj, are stolen from miserable countries like BanglaDesh to fill Saudi pockets. BTW: Koran says Muslims must travel to Mecca. It never tells that this money should profit to the sole Arabians...
Notice that the Wahabis and Al-Quaida supported and approved all the preceeding opressions.

2) About Saudi Arabia: in an ideal world Saudi Arabia gets divided in three: the Shias who are the legitimate owners of the oil-producing region get their own state. But notice that they wouldn't have the aura of being the rulers of Mecca and Medina. The Hashemites would be the rulers of them, but they wouldn't have the oil money. THe Wahabis would get the desert. :-)
In a less ideal world forcing a transfer of power to the Hashemites would be too difficult. But the Shias still get their state and thus deprive the Wahabis of the money they need for their religious propaganda and support of wahabi-oriented mosques.
<

Posted by: JFM at September 22, 2003 02:41 AM

Because they are courting the most lunatic fringe of the pacifists, that they are ready to withdraw from Iraq and thus handle a major propagandistic victory to the Islamists.

Okay, I need you to find me statements from the following candidates which indicate a desire to withdraw from Iraq before a functioning state has been established:

Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Bob Graham, and John Kerry.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 22, 2003 03:50 AM

Good article. I hope it helps the situation.

Posted by: Moe Lane at September 22, 2003 05:39 AM

Great piece, but I do have to quibble on one minor point: I don't think it's fair to say that al qaeda is "primarily made up of Saudis." And basing that assessment on a sample like 15 of 19 hijackers is definitely shaky.

I don't think anyone knows the real numbers -- much less the demographics -- of qaeda rank and file, but from everything I've read, the leadership has more Egyptian representation than any other nationality.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at September 22, 2003 08:25 AM

Bill - A large percentage of the prisoners held in Guantanamo are Saudi. Saudi money and Saudi nationals have been involved in nearly every Islamist terror attack in the past two years. Al Qaeda has been called ‘a Saudi operation’ by terrorism analyst Peter Bergen. Robert Baer, formerly with the CIA, states in his book "Sleeping with the Enemy" that the 9/11 attacks were a result of the civil war brewing within Saudi Arabia, and that al Qaeda received millions from Saudi princes.

Kimmitt – as a Dean supporter, what do you think he plans to do about the Saudi situation?

Posted by: mary at September 22, 2003 08:41 AM

Well done. As you say, the Democrats must support without apologies the spread of liberalism and democracy to all. IMHO, the old anti-Vietnam War, anti-military left are costing the Democratic party a lot of middle-America support.

However, I would respectfully criticize the examples of pre-emptive war you cite in support of the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine goes far beyond what Israel did in the Six Day War and the Osirak bombing.

In the Six Day War, Israel's enemies had moved their forces to the front and were about to invade -- Iraq was hardly in the same position with respect to the U.S.

Further, Israel's bombing of Osirak proved the utility of military action short of invading and occupying Iraq.

Beyond this one criticism -- thanks for saying what needs to be said.

Posted by: Oberon at September 22, 2003 08:45 AM

Thanks for writing this article. I just left OIF a couple of weeks ago, and will be back there in another couple of months, though I'm hoping it will be after the holidays so I can spend time with my family. But take it from one who will be involved in the WOT for many years to come; I am terrified of a Democratic victory in the upcoming presidential race(s) if it means we leave Iraq before we can help establish a self-supporting democratic government. I don't care if I've got to be over there for years to come, I am convinced that my children will live in a safer world if we succeed in that mission, and that they will live their lives in fear (or worse, if the Islamists are succesful) if we don't.

Posted by: Diggs at September 22, 2003 09:19 AM

Some of these issues have also been discussed by Reason's Ronald Bailey at:

http://www.reason.com/links/links013003.shtml

and a discussion of his paper was later held at:

http://www.reason.com/0308/fe.rb.forcing.shtml

Posted by: Salamantis at September 22, 2003 11:00 AM

Kimmit,

If there were tribes of Bedu roaming the Arabic deserts anymore, there might be a substantial risk of endless hit and run raids. Of course, then we would follow the camels into the desert with helicopters, (or maybe just Predator drones to save on maintenance) and gun them down. The thing to keep in mind is the parts of "Lawrence of Arabia" where they lost. In reality, we are rounding up the leadership and keeping them, not just letting Jose Ferrer cough behind a handkerchief and letting them go.

The opportunities for surprising the Ottomans viewed with such clarity by T.E. Lawrence are not being provided by the Coalition. You see, we read "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom", too. The advantage of a liberal society is that you get to read more than just comforting dogma, and if you have integrity, you can learn from it.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at September 22, 2003 11:50 AM

Kimmitt – as a Dean supporter, what do you think he plans to do about the Saudi situation?

Could you be a smidge more specific?

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 22, 2003 12:23 PM

"We're off course by just a smidge."

"Excuse me, stewardess, what exactly is a smidge?"

"In space terms, that's about half a million miles."

(Yeah, yeah, the original line was "a tad". Sue me.)

Posted by: Oberon at September 22, 2003 02:02 PM

Oberon--
One thing I rarely hear mentioned is the relationship of current military technology with the evolution of pacifism.

In Vietnam, our policy of carpet-bombing in Cambodia and at Vietnam border had a nightly visual public record... making it easier for the anti-war movement to justify their opposition. Civilians did die in great numbers, and the sad fact is that civilian populations were not scrupulously avoided. One can understand not wanting your country to be part of that, especially when one wasn’t yet aware of the future killing fields of Pol Pot.

Now, we are able to strike precise targets. We are able to pinpoint command and control, military targets. I would venture to say that Iraqi Freedom was the most accurately targeted aerial bombing campaign in history: great effort was made to avoid killing civilians, and it was successful.

If this had been a xenophobic crusade, a war against Muslims as many jihadists would like the Arab Street to believe, we wouldn’t have bothered.

But the instincts fostered during the 60's in reaction to indiscriminate bombing have not accepted that techology has advanced to the degree that we can actually conduct a merciful aerial assault! Michael Medved was in a debate with Dave Ross and Mike Webb and the audience jeered and scoffed when he mentioned that our "shock and awe" campaign would spare innocent lives because of precision aiming.

Of course i can't expect the antiwar types to be up on the latest GPS missiles, seeing as how they don't understand that Kansas topsoil is often more radioactive than depleted uranium, but I would hope that after the evidence of the precautions we've taken, some of their blind rage could be dissipated.

Posted by: bleeding heart conservative at September 22, 2003 04:47 PM

Hey bleeding heart,

What's your source on the Kansas topsoil- depleted uranium factoid. I'd like to know more.

Posted by: Browning Porter at September 22, 2003 04:55 PM

You're probably not going to find too many people who were convinced, before the war, that it was going to be an all-out attack on civilian Muslims and that have now, after the war, gone back to evaluate the success of their hypothesis. Just holding the former opinion demands a lack of attention that isn't likely to be corrected, especially when paying attention now might cause one to think that they were, in fact, mistaken.

It would also be a mistake (not that you're necessarily making it) to believe that all of those opposed to the war held that view on pacifistic grounds.

I was opposed to the war. I would now, however, be interested if somebody with more brains and resources myself could whip up a chart of average daily Iraqi civilian deaths caused by coalition forces during the course of the war, and compare it with average daily Iraqi civilian deaths caused by Hussein over the prior 30 years. It might be revealing.

Posted by: Christopher Luebcke at September 22, 2003 04:56 PM

...the deaths from the current anarchic crime wave might be useful information, as well.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 22, 2003 05:03 PM

Why would we have to take Mecca and Medina? Just the oil fields, refineries, pipelines, and the Ports like Jubail.

The Saudis would soon be left with the choice of grudging cooperation, or starvation.

IT would be messy but at least doable. We simply do not have the stomach for the brutality required to control a hostile country.

Posted by: tallan at September 22, 2003 05:03 PM

Michael,

The Democratic party you remember is dead. It will never come back. The new Democratic party is rotten to the core with tranzi socialists.

They no longer believe in liberalism and they've lost their faith in America as the indispensible bastion of freedom. They've lost their soul.

Your cry for help will not be answered.

Posted by: HA at September 22, 2003 05:24 PM

Kimmitt,

A death tally from the current "anarchic" crime wave would be useful only if one could separate the killings which were reprisals (which are in a sense mandated by the Arab "honor" code) for thirty years of brutality that Iraqi's have suffered. The wonder is that there are not 10 fold more reprisal killings than have been reported. It is after all an Arab custom to either kill in reprisal or accept blood money. I would have assumed your nuanced view of the situation would have informed you to a greater extent.

Excellent article Michael.

Posted by: RDB at September 22, 2003 05:26 PM

HA,

What is a "tranzi socialist"? I've no idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 22, 2003 05:45 PM

Michael,

Here is the short answer:

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/glossary_archives/001967.html

Here is the long answer:

http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/archives_roll/2002_04-06/fonte_ideological/fonte_ideological.html

Posted by: HA at September 22, 2003 06:14 PM


Browning Porter:"What's your source on the Kansas topsoil- depleted uranium factoid. I'd like to know more."

I meant in general, just about any topsoil, as in Kansas, is often more 'radioactive' due to naturally occuring uranium, as DU.
DU's not radioactive enough to be worth talking about... especially considering:

"Uranium is a naturally occurring, ubiquitous, heavy metal found in various chemical forms
in all soils, rocks, seas and oceans. It is also present in drinking water and food. On
average, approximately 90 µg (micrograms) of uranium exist in the human body from
normal intakes of water, food and air; approximately 66% is found in the skeleton, 16% in
the liver, 8% in the kidneys and 10% in other tissues.
Natural uranium consists of a mixture of three radioactive isotopes.

For the same mass, depleted uranium has about 60% of the radioactivity of uranium."
"Direct contact of depleted uranium metal with the skin, even for several weeks, is unlikely
to produce radiation-induced erythema(superficial inflammation of the skin) or other short
term effects. Follow-up studies of veterans with embedded fragments in the tissue have
shown detectable levels of depleted uranium in the urine, but without apparent health
consequences. The radiation dose to military personnel within an armoured vehicle is very
unlikely to exceed the average annual external dose from natural background radiation
from all sources."
"As a component of the natural environment uranium is likely to be present as a trace
constituent in all foodstuffs. It may become incorporated into the bulk of the food or
may alternatively adhere to the surface of foodstuffs as particulate contamination, with
root vegetables often containing higher levels. Other sources of uranium in the human diet include dusts and soils both inadvertently
and deliberately eaten and uranium derived from cooking and serving wares."

http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/en/Depluraniumintro.pdf


Tungsten is actually more toxic than depleted uranium, and that's in everyone's KITCHEN.

Posted by: bleeding heart conservative at September 22, 2003 06:28 PM

I'm an independent who has usually voted Democrat in the past but won't next year. I've become increasingly disgusted by the actions and rhetoric coming from the left since 9/11, like this nonsense from a nutty professor who has decided that Gore's blue states need to secede and join Canada.

Forget Wilson and Roosevelt, I'd settle for a Scoop Jackson in the Democratic Party right now. A huge defeat for them in 2004 might be the best thing for the party if it helps bring them to their senses.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 22, 2003 07:05 PM

Michael,

In your article, you are asking the Democrats to re-examine their foreign policy (because no one will elect them in their current state).

What does the Democratic Party think of itself? They still haven't gotten over their loss of Congress in 1994, Florida 2000, and their losses in 2002.

Michael, they don't think they are wrong. They think HORDES of people are supporting them and their positions but STRANGE THINGS are occurring that are stifling people's votes, super conspiracy that they are losing an election. They are not accepting the possibility that people are rejecting their ideas (such as their view on the Terror War).

Your article was a remedy. But it does no good because your party doesn't think it has a virus.

Posted by: Jonathan at September 22, 2003 07:18 PM

Or we could, y'know, actually stick to our principles and put forward a case to the American people.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 22, 2003 07:40 PM

C'mon Jonathan. Hordes of people do support Democrats -- in 2000, the presidential vote was as close to a tie as we could possibly get. Fact is, our country is evenly split in a way that is truly extraordinary.

More generally, I often see right-wing comments to the effect that the Democratic base is all anti-war fringe (except when the Dem base is all minorities, granolas, and trial lawyers). Do conservatives really believe this, or do they exaggerate to to give Democrats a bad image?

Posted by: Oberon at September 22, 2003 08:05 PM

Kimmitt: Or we could, y'know, actually stick to our principles and put forward a case to the American people.

The problem, Kimmitt, is that the Democrats have abandoned their liberal principles, which I made clear at the end of my article. That's why me and so many others may not be able to support them this time around.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 22, 2003 09:01 PM

Kimmitt –

I was offline for awhile - to be a smidge more specific:

Recent polls are now showing that a majority of Americans do not consider the Saudis to be our allies. Dean says ‘that Bush will not confront the Saudis,’ and implies that he will.

Has Dean ever given any indication that he’s willing to confront the Saudis? Did he, like Rep. Frank Wolf, hold a protest in July 2002 in front of the Saudi Embassy urging the release of an American citizen being held in the kingdom against her will?

Has he said, as Joe Lieberman did in October, that ‘Saudi leaders 'have to decide which side they're on,'

Has he acknowledged that the Saudis have been funding terrorism around the world, as John McCain did when he said:

"If anyone came to my hometown in Phoenix, AZ and set off a bomb on a bus and killed 18 people and injured 100 of them, my citizens would expect us to respond,"

"Do you want to call that a cycle of violence? You can call it what you want, but these acts of terror, these organizations, funded by the Saudis, at least encouraged by Yasser Arafat, are inexcusable in their tactics—and their results are horrendous."

Did Howard Dean ever say or do anything to indicate that has any plans to ‘confront the Saudis’ and their support of terrorism before those poll results were published? His only interest seems to be in confronting Bush. If he hated terrorism and oppression as much as he hates this President, I might actually consider voting for him.

Posted by: mary at September 22, 2003 09:17 PM

If he [Dean] hated terrorism and oppression as much as he hates this President, I might actually consider voting for him.

I certainly would, I have no doubt about that at all. And that's exactly the problem with the activist wing of the Democratic party. They want to defeat Bush, and the rest of us want to defeat terrorists and evil (whoops!) dictators.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 22, 2003 11:42 PM

Yes -- Dean's statements well predate the polls.

http://www.deandefense.org/archives/000646.html

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 12:09 AM

And defeating Bush is an absolutely necessary first step in defeating terrorists and dictators; his foolishness and obesience to the Saudis are big parts of why things are not better than they are.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 12:10 AM

Great note, Michael, and last comment. The WSJ online notes that part of the anger of democrats against Bush is similar to the anger of reps, 70-55 years ago, against FDR for being a "traitor to his class"; and locking the reps out of power.

Note the fairly non-democratic filibuster against a qualified Hispanic -- because he was Hispanic.

On another principle, the dems have desired to have gov't schools to help the poor learn to read. The fact that most black kids graduate from gov't schools w/o being able to read means the system is broken; as it has been since women's lib has allowed qualified women to get better jobs than being teachers.

So what is the dem principle? Helping more poor kids learn to read -- or supporting gov't schools, no matter how bad they are? (I know you oppose vouchers, too, M.)

I'm really glad Kimmit is here, and I hope Dean gets better. It would be a start if he, or any dem, could admit that booting out Saddam is good -- even if they think it was done in a bad way.

BTW, I predict M. will vote Dem (most likely Dean) in 2004; because Dean will have captured the radical activists enough, and can start positioning himself towards a moderate future.
And, except for the good Iraq stuff, Bush is terrible. But he'll be reelected. (Not with my vote.)

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 23, 2003 12:15 AM

I like to call this the Human Rights War. It makes it clear that we might cooperate with dictators (like Pakistan or China), but their violations of HR makes it unlikely they will really be allies.

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 23, 2003 12:18 AM

Kimmitt: defeating Bush is an absolutely necessary first step in defeating terrorists and dictators...

Sorry, Kimmitt. You have it exactly backwards. Howard Dean would have left Saddam in power. I will not vote for anyone who wishes we left Saddam in power, and there is no way you can tell me leaving Saddam in power equals the defeat of dictators. That is definitionally false on the face of it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 23, 2003 12:29 AM

"Do conservatives really believe this,"

Some do.

"or do they exaggerate to to give Democrats a bad image?"

Some do that, too, either for the stated reason, or in reaction to the insults and blanket observations bandied their way, or else just for kicks (the last can be a deplorable yet strong temptation).

The rest of us - which, by the way, is the majority - don't do either; we instead try our best to distinguish between the moderates, the liberals and the freakazoids. Admittedly, this is not always successful, but the millenium is young.

Posted by: Moe Lane at September 23, 2003 06:03 AM

Dean says 'Alternative energy sources are practical, economically viable and good for our environment - this is absolutely true, but how is this 'confronting' an oppresssive, terror supporting regime?

I'd be happy if all cars & trucks were required to use a hybrid engine, like the Toyota Prius - there should be windmills lining every shore, the great plains should be filled with them. Every new house should have solar cells incorporated into the roofing structure. But even if we did these things, how long would this take to have an effect on the Saudis' income - and their support of terror & bad philosophy - ten years? Twenty? Islamists have already killed millions around the world. This gives them a lot of time to kill more.

Beneath your link, a commenter asked "What is Dean's stance on all the kidnapped American children and what if any solutions does he pose to getting them released?" That question was never answered. Congressman Wolf ® did confront the Saudis about that issue.

The Dem's anger towards Bush is hard to miss, but it seems to be the result of anger about the 'stolen' election and Clinton's impeachment. If they are angry about the actions of terrorists and dictators, they don't express it very often. In the past, Democrats have expressed the same obeisance to the Saudis that Bush has.

Posted by: mary at September 23, 2003 07:44 AM

The two parties have weakened, almost died, come back, flip-flopped and changed roles time and time again. Party loyalty in the American system is a phenomenon I never understood. Perhaps it's some emotional thing that's hard to articulate?

In the past there was a significant isolationist wing in the Republican party, and their descendants, the doctrinaire Libertarians and self-described "paleocons", hate Bush just as much as the extreme leftitsts do. Some even go so far as to criticize him for promising to have a "humble" foreign policy in the campaign and not following through, as if the enemy he ended up confronting was not, you know, a bit different than the one he war-gamed against.
The only issue is who is going to follow through on fighting this world-wide war that's been thrust upon us. For whatever reason all of the Democratic candidates have defined themselves to some degree by their opposition to fighting this war in the way that Bush is fighting it, or to fighting it at all. If HRC or Chuck Schumer or Evan Bayh were running that might be a different story, but the crop that's out there now all seem to feel like they have to tout their anti-war credentials to win the primary.

Kimmit asked when the Democratic primary candidates are making these speeches indicating that they're ready to cut and run in Iraq. Turn on C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2. All of them are doing it at those "fire up the base" type events that are always on, even Lieberman, even Dean, despite whatever noises he made to the contrary a couple of weeks back. It really surprises and disappoints me, but it's true.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at September 23, 2003 08:08 AM

Michael, you said, "terrorists and dictators." Since defeating Saddam made defeating terrorists more -- not less -- difficult, then my statement is most certainly defensible.

Gimme a quote from any of the Dem candidates I listed saying we should leave before we set up a stable government in Iraq.

The Dems have approved multiple conservative Bush Hispanic appointments. It has nothing to do with Estrada's race; it has to do with his views and refusal to release information to Congress.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 02:01 PM

I do not have access to any information regarding any specific confrontations between Gov. Dean and the Saudis. I plead that his attention as Governor is going to be less internationalist than a US Rep's approach (as well as being, of course, more executive) -- and that therefore fewer opportunities have presented themselves.

The Dean Campaign is extremely accessible; if you have a question, they'll answer it quickly. Give them a little context in the question -- or send it to me with said context and I'll pass it along -- so they can respond more fully.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 02:12 PM

Saddam was bad. What follows may or may not be worth the American resources and lives spent in deposing him.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 02:14 PM

The idea that defeating Hussein actually made terrorists more difficult to defeat just does not acknowledge reality. It's an emprically provable fact that it has helped to defeat Islamist terrorists and will make further efforts easier:

1. Without Saddam Hussein there is one less source of funding for Palestinian terrorists.

2. We also defeated the Al-Qaeda connected Ansar-al-Islam group in the north or Iraq as part of the same operation.

3. Jihadists the world over are now turning more attention to realtively smaller scale attacks on US troops, UN workers and fellow Mulsims in Iraq instead of attacks on civilians on Western soil.

4. Whether you agree that there is any possibility of a Saddam/9-11 link or even a Saddam/Al-Qaeda link there is a lot of evidence from many credible sources indicating meetings between his intelligence agents and various Jihadist terrorists. His government clearly supported the jihadist cause. NOw his government is no more. This helps to defeat terrorists. To say it doesn't isn't merely to have a difference of opinion, it is to firmly refuse to acknowledge facts.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at September 23, 2003 02:47 PM

Oberon,

Look at the long term view. Democrats have lost the House, lost the Senate, lost the White house. They used to dominate as state governors but now their only big weight governor is Gray Davis and he's on his way out.

The Republicans should have lost in the 2002 elections (as off year elections are when the opposing party gains). Each election cycle, a third of the Senate goes up for re-election. In 2002, most of the seats were Republican. So in order to gain seats, Republicans would have to defend all their current chairs along with knocking off a Democratic Senator or two. In 2004, most of the seats will be Democratic. The Democratic Party could lose 6 Senate seats.

My point is saying that the Democrats have lost quite a bit. They are in denial about the CAUSE of their losses. They think STRANGE THINGS occurred which caused them to lose an election from votes not being vote, from sneaky Republican tricks, and so on. Condemnation is easier then self-realization.

Candidates whose policy on the Terror War is no policy are not going to get elected. When they lose, they will say, "People's votes didn't get couunted." "It was a dasterdly Republican trick!"

Maybe they ought to re-examine their own positions and see why they lost. But they will not do this. They are too elitist and think their ideas on the Terror War (for example) are brilliant and magical.

They have to lose their ego if they want to get elected. And when they whined about California's Recall candidates making everything into a 'circus', they are realizing what regular people think of them.

And it is anything BUT intelligent and brilliant.

Posted by: Jonathan at September 23, 2003 02:55 PM

The Dems lost because they failed to present a clear alternative. Bush's incessant lying was a bonus, as well.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 03:21 PM

Michael,

What did you think of the John Fonte article?

Posted by: HA at September 23, 2003 03:25 PM

Kimmett,

Are you usually so pessimistic and negative? Isn't their a slim chance things could go well in Iraq?

By the way, I'm not a Republican. Never voted that way in my life. I guess I'm an alienated moderate at the moment.

Posted by: d-rod at September 23, 2003 04:33 PM

Kimmitt,

Saddam was bad. What follows may or may not be worth the American resources and lives spent in deposing him.

For once we agree. If what follows is the result of a Democratic victory in 2004, the lives and treasure will have been spent in vain. The Democrats will cut and run because this is what the fifth-column base of the party will demand.

If the Democrats win 2004, Bin Laden will be proven right. America will be proven weak and decadent. It will be a disaster.

Mark my words.

Posted by: HA at September 23, 2003 05:23 PM

Kimmitt,

Bush's incessant lying was a bonus, as well.

Bush has not lied on a single occasion. The only lies are the smear campaign being waged by the Democrats to undermine the President in a time of war.

You and the disgraceful Democrats behind this campaign have blood on your hands. Even some Democrats are beginning to recognize this.

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/0903/22international.html?urac=n&urvf=10642377116960.8839345774896111

It is good to see there is at least one Democrat who still believes in putting America first. You sure don't.

Posted by: HA at September 23, 2003 05:27 PM

Do I get to bust out the fruitcake word once I get accused of wishing this country harm? Because I really am sick and tired of being told that because I do not share some damn fool's idea of how to run this country, I do not love it, humanity, or common decency.

Are you usually so pessimistic and negative? Isn't their a slim chance things could go well in Iraq?

I am an optimistic fellow. There is a slim chance things could go well in Iraq. I do not care to bet the security of this country on a slim chance which it will cost us a trillion dollars to take.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 23, 2003 06:54 PM

Kimmitt,

Do I get to bust out the fruitcake word once I get accused of wishing this country harm?

The only thing I can see you busting out is Das Kapital. Marx is the only "damn fool" whose ideas you seem to agree with.

If you and the Democrats were behind Bush on Iraq and shredded him on everything else, I could respect that. I would even evaluate the candidates based on their positions on other issues.

Instead, the primary has descended into a baseless smear campaign against Bush. The nature of this primary has convinced me that the Democrats cannot be trusted with national security.

Posted by: HA at September 24, 2003 03:24 AM

Excellent article. I posted a portion in juxtaposition with a recent Mark Steyn article on the same topic at my political discussion site.

http://landv.net/IC/index.php?act=ST&f=5&t=583&hl=&s=8ed0d0c2ebca9d1e56d4c55687711288

Posted by: alanH at September 24, 2003 09:08 AM

I think the Terror War is the most dangerous war we have ever had to face, and I am not so sure that the human race is going to survive the next few hundred years. I have never voted for a Republican in my life, but I don't believe the Democrats are serious about the dangers of Islamofacism.

Therefore, I plan to vote for Bush and other Republicans in 2004. I hope other former liberal Democrats will take this step.

Posted by: Djimmi Woman at September 24, 2003 07:31 PM

Why do you feel that the dangers posed by fundamentalist groups of Muslims are greater than, for example, those posed by the Soviet Union, which had enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on earth several times over, or the Axis powers, which conquered multiple industrialized Powers and caused the deaths of sixty million people?

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 24, 2003 10:44 PM

Kimmitt, it is unlikely but possible that a Muslim country will go thoroughly fascist, acquire nuclear weapons, and martyr itself by launching them all. Neither the Soviet Union nor Nazi Germany was motivated by a suicide-cult mentality. Both cared for their own survival.

Imagine the carnage after even one nuclear strike. Imagine what would happen if New York or Tel Aviv were destroyed with a nuclear weapon. The aftermath would be a lot worse than what happened last century. Not world-ending, but worse than anything so far.

Al Qaeda promises to turn the United States into "a sea of deadly radiation." The Soviet Union was capable but unwilling to do this. If Al Qaeda or anyone similar gets the capability, they will pull the trigger.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 24, 2003 10:57 PM

If you feel this way, then why do you think that invading Iraq was more intelligent than a laserlike focus on Al Qaeda? If we are truly in a struggle for our survival against a suicidal enemy, why would we possibly spend our limited resources destroying a non-suicidal, thoroughly rational enemy, however foul? Why would the plight of the Iraqis be relevant?

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 25, 2003 12:03 AM

Kimmit, there was a TCS article a few months ago making an important point: the islamofascists are using the tools of Western Civ., tools (& weapons) their own civ has NOT yet been able to create. The Second World commies, x-USSR & China, copied a lot of the industrialized organizations of the West in order to copy the weapons.
In creating the organized economic structures needed to make modern weapons, the Second World became very very close to the First World in many ways. Many of those ways internally work, strongly, against suicide. MAD worked against commies. MAD fails against fanatics.
Most Muslim countries remain Third World, non-industrialized.

It seems TNR has a fine debate going about "Bush Hatred"; only the first part of which I read.
http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=debate&s=chaitponnuru092303

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 25, 2003 12:29 AM

(I've change blog addresses, but it remembers my bw limit extended one, not: tomgrey.motime.com ?)

::"Liberals hate Bush not because he has succeeded but because his success is deeply unfair and could even be described as cheating. " *** Bingo *** But only barely more true than false. Leftists increasingly seem to hate almost all success.

A successful Dem must have a positive vision of a successful America, and successful Americans.

The Iraqi campaign, as a democratic, successful, market oriented country is created, will provide Bush with a visionary promise for the ME. Unless the Dems convince folk that the cost is too high, so the US has to run-away (with honor???). As long as Iraq (or WMDs) is the focus, the Dems lose.
If Dems were focussing on an alternative success plan for Iraq: local Iraqi councils & Iraqi police, backed by US forces who "normally" take their orders from locals; huge increase in NGOs working with local Iraqis; much more language training in Arabic (& offers to teach English); public/ internet bids for reconstruction projects, with a preference for Iraqi majority owned companies ... and claim support for this, whether Bush is doing it or not, to stop Iraq from being the vote decider.

But Bush hatred is too strong for this.

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 25, 2003 01:18 AM

Wait, so any non-industrialized country is populated and led exclusively by suicidal fanatics? I'm lost here.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 25, 2003 01:52 AM

Kimmitt,

If you feel this way, then why do you think that invading Iraq was more intelligent than a laserlike focus on Al Qaeda?

Because Al Qaeda is just the tip of the iceberg. Al Qaeda didn't just appear spontaneosly. Al Qaeda is the inevitable result of allowing terrorists sponsoring states to use terrorism as their primary instrument of foriegn policy.

Al Qaeda exists because for decades we rewarded terrorism. Saddam, the Assads, the Iranian mullahs, the Saudis, Arafat, Hezbollah, Gadaffi, etc. have been killing Americans and achieving their objectives.

Focusing "laserlike" on Al Qaeda is like mowing the weeds but leaving the roots. In order to uproot the weeds, we have to force the terrorists sponsoring nations to stop supporting terrorists and begin uprooting them.

They won't do this because it is the right thing to do. They will only do this if they believe that they will lose power if they don't. We have to change the equation. The old equation was terrorism = success. The new equation needs to be terrorism = regime change.

The overthrow of Saddam was the first step in that direction. If Bush is not re-elected, the old equation will remain but with a corrollary: overthrowing a terror regime = electoral suicide.

Posted by: HA at September 25, 2003 03:02 AM

"The strong do what they can, and the weak do as they must." It is so very sad that we have not managed to build a world where the Miletians' lament does not apply.

Posted by: Kimmitt at September 25, 2003 07:13 PM

Kimmitt,

Postmodern gibberish. In your world, there are no good sides and bad sides. Just strong and weak sides.

You have it backwards. The bad will do what the the good will let them get away with. Just in case you are uncertain, America = good, Saddam = bad. Care to argue that one?

If the good side is weak, the good side is screwed. The bad side interprets magnanimity as weakness.

Posted by: HA at September 26, 2003 02:46 AM



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn