October 01, 2003

Joe Wilson: Hysterical Moonbat (Updated)

I said I wasn't going to write about the Wilson/Plame scandal. Okay, so I'm breaking my promise already. The liberals need to be saved from themselves.

Kevin Drum says the Republicans have an odious attack plan to smear Joe Wilson as a radical leftist. Instead, Kevin says Wilson is just a regular ol' liberal.

No, Kevin. Hold back. You really don't want to go there.

Take a look at this piece Wilson wrote for The Nation.

Here is what he says about the liberation of Iraq:

The underlying objective of this war is the imposition of a Pax Americana on the region and installation of vassal regimes that will control restive populations...Nothing short of conquest, occupation and imposition of handpicked leaders on a vanquished population will suffice...Arabs who complain about American-supported antidemocratic regimes today will find us in even more direct control tomorrow.
What complete and utter hysterical nonsense. Surely, Kevin, you don't think this is the liberal point of view. Please say it ain't so.


UPDATE: In the comments some people are defending Wilson from the moonbat charge. I'm not calling him a moonbat because he's against the war in Iraq. I'm calling him that because he thinks we are a bunch of imperialists hell-bent on lording it over the vanquished. Will the left please put that meme to bed. It is a hysterical and defamatory conspiracy theory, not to mention exceptionally counter-productive.

I am not commenting on the other aspects of this scandal right now because I've barely paid attention to it. I don't know enough to have an informed opinion. At least not yet.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 1, 2003 06:39 PM
Comments

Let me be the first to say it--Michael, I'm glad you broke your promise. This is an important issue.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at October 1, 2003 07:26 PM

"Ok one more post on Wilson, but I can quit any time I want."

Seriously, I think this post was worthy.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at October 1, 2003 07:39 PM

um.... we should all keep in mind that this story was broken by Novak, otherwise known as "no facts".

Posted by: sblafren at October 1, 2003 08:14 PM

I don't think you can call him a "Moonbat." He is not some Indy-media crackpot idiotarian. He is an experienced and knowledgeable public figure with an ideology; one that is directly opposed to the Neo-con ideology. I don't agree with it and I know he's got an axe to grind but I don't think it's an effective way to counter him by labeling him a member of the tinfoil hat crowd.

He seems to believe that stability is the key to the region. I saw Roger Simon classify him as an "Arabist." But classifications are not what's most important. He has a point of view. The Neo-con ideology carries great risks so who can say he's entirely wrong or a "Moonbat." He believes firmly that all of the worse case scenarios like Kurdish separatism (spreading to Turkey), Shiite Khomeini-ism, Sunni-wahabbism, etc., will over-take Iraq in a replay of Beruit. Of course the unspoken conclusion is that it's better to prop up Saddam, or at least, leave him be.

Personally, I think he's wrong. To hell with propping up Saddam a-la Kissenger. The Cold War is over. Despite the risks, giving Iraq a democracy, or at least a semi-functional government and society can be done. Whatever happens, anything is better than Saddam. In the end, this really is about "root causes."

It's a shame we have to replay this debate because we're already way past the point of no-return. I have a feeling that, for Wilson and other hardcores who have been forced to the sidelines by the neo-cons, this debate will be replaying for the rest of their lives, even after things are a whole lot better in Iraq.

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at October 1, 2003 08:26 PM

Ok, assume Wilson is a Moonbat.

Is it now okay to violate the law and national security to embarrass moonbats?

I thought not.

Posted by: Oliver at October 1, 2003 08:35 PM

I wouldn't deny that Wilson is an idiot, but don't see how that has anything to do with the "Wilson/Plame affair," other than the fact that Drum was dumb enough to defend him.

All this talk about this scandal being "trivial" -- and comparing it to the petty-scandal-a-week during the Clinton administration -- is truly sickening. Independent of all the hypocritical sophistry being employed to try to downplay this issue, the fact remains that an intelligence operative has been ruined professionally, as is anyone closely associated with her. And isn't it ironic that it was an intelligence operative whose work was in the WMD nonproliferation field?

We don't yet know how high this scandal goes, or if it was even intentional (although six phone calls and one reporter deciding to use this information makes it pretty likely), but no one who claims to care about national security can deny that this is serious. Not Valerie-Plame-getting-whacked-on-the-streets-of-Athens serious, but serious nonetheless.

And all of this "I've tried to understand what this is about, really I did" crap from Conservatives (again, a blatant attempt to compare this to Whitewater) is really pathetic. Murky my ass.

Posted by: Bill Herbert at October 1, 2003 08:42 PM

Boy that didn't last very long! Now that your in, is there any turning back? While I don't think Wilson-bashing is the most elegant way to make one's entry into a matter in which his person or views have now become irrelevant except for those who want to change the subject (but you didn't know that), I can't resist commenting, and this relates to my earlier comment (re: your blog not being a tabloid) suggesting that your views might in fact be of interest.

I do not think that Wilson is a moonbat, even if I vigorously disagree with what he says. We are looking at a political scandal with potential to damage the presidency and directly damage the credibility of the administration on issues at the center of the Wilson affair: Iraq, Middle East, foreign and security policy generally. I think that both you and I (and others among your visitors) probably agree on a great deal of the substance of many of those policies and certainly share a common disagreement with what we both regard as the misguided assumptions and motives of those who oppose such policies. If this scandal damages Bush's political credibility - and I think it will - this could deal a blow to advancement of those policies and to the "good" part of the principles underlying them.

If that is the case, not only is potential betrayal by the Bush administration, at some as yet to be determined level, of the public trust, including yours and mine, a major issue, partisan over-politicization is another. In either case, this scandal is likely to negatively affect or hamstring progress on fundamental issues, such as the building of democratic institutions in Iraq, advancement on the Middle East peace process, relations with our "allies", etc.

I have no great affection for Bush. But I most certainly do not want to see people like Wilson running foreign policy in the near future. For that reason alone, this story is worth following, and weighing in on.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 1, 2003 09:01 PM

Oliver Willis: Ok, assume Wilson is a Moonbat.

Is it now okay to violate the law and national security to embarrass moonbats?

Um, no. Of course not, Oliver.

Whoever did that is a criminal. That ought to go without saying.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 1, 2003 09:31 PM

The question of Wilson's integrity, specifically as regards the reasonableness and objectivity of his views (ie: hysterical moonbat or not) is not some peripheral side show or some sort of knee-jerk blame the victim (my god, two cliches in one clause). One of the most serious aspects of the allegations against the administration leakers is that this was part of some White House effort not only to punish wilson but more importantly to silence any other would-be whislteblowers. I happen not to think this makes any sense. Exactly what whistle was blown? To answer that question --one of absoutely central importance -- one has to determine whether Wilson was a decent, responsible diplomatic player who expressed a well researched and well considered point of view on the "yellowcake" matter and is now being scapegoated for it, or whether he's a moonbat whose findings were based on subjective, ideological prejudgements and poor investigative techniques and whom the leakers targeted in an effort to call his credibility into question (ie: his CIA agent wife who we the leakers believe is anti-war, is the one who got her husband the appointment).

In other words, the possibilities range from a case of a minor crime and a heinous abuse of power, or a major, treasonous offence committed in an anti-American effort to silence a diplomat who dared to tell the truth, etc.

Michael is right that we just don't know yet. And he's also right that weighing the evidence on
Wilson's credibility is one of the things we need do to understand this better.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at October 1, 2003 10:38 PM

Michael is right that we just don't know yet. And he's also right that weighing the evidence on
Wilson's credibility is one of the things we need do to understand this better.

I suppose that makes some sense, but it wasn't my point. What I hope to do is keep the liberals from driving themselves off the cliff with this guy. He and his wife are victims of a hit job, but he's a nut, not a poster boy for principled opposition.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 1, 2003 10:42 PM

Andrew Sullivan points to the ultimate issue:

"... The administration should simply accede now rather than later, it seems to me. In the way that such scandals operate, this will be used by the Dems to do all they can to trash the liberation of Iraq, undermine any thought that Iraq had WMDs, and generally try to hammer this president. You can see why they have seized this opportunity. It's a big break; and they'd be crazy in purely partisan terms not to exploit it. All of which is to say that if anyone in the administration did this stupid, petty, criminal thing, he or she deserves everything they get."

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 2, 2003 02:07 AM

You're right about the Imperialism rhetoric. He has wandered over into moonbat territory. The comments about which actors will play them in the movie may have been a joke but what a flake.

Posted by: Tokyo Taro at October 2, 2003 02:36 AM

You say, "I don't know enough to have an informed opinion." They hear, "there's nothing wrong with wrecking a CIA operative's career and trashing our national security for petty political gain; what are you so worked up about?"

This is the exact same conversation I had with the Crooked Timberites today. I pointed out that they were at risk of making fools of themselves, when the scandal might be nothing but a series of small misunderstandings. I said, "by all means be suspicious, be tenacious in pursuit of the truth. But don't get emotionally invested in the worst-case explanation. That way lies denial." One response: "It's about whether we want to be led by people who betray their own soldiers just because this administration was caught in an outright lie."

If I were George Bush, this kind of thing would really make me grin. I'd probably concoct fake scandals just to hear the sound of blood-vessels bursting.

Posted by: dipnut at October 2, 2003 03:52 AM

I stopped reading Crooked Timber a while ago. Waay too much barking there.

I think this thing will actually go nowhere, once Plame's real job description is found out. (I'm betting it has nothing to do with being undercover--Novak claims he cofirmed her employment with the CIA. I can't see them doing that if she really was undercover.)

I'm alot more interested in the nepotism angle--Did she really get him the job in the first place? What is that all about?

And I'll also lay odds that it all gets forgot about once Arnold is elected governor of California.

Posted by: eric at October 2, 2003 06:19 AM

Michael,

I retract my earlier statement that I do not regard Wilson as a moonbat: the guy is certifiable. I think your statement that this sort of talk is "defamatory and hysterical" and counterproductive is unassailable. This is a basic line for serious, responsible discourse that needs always to be firmly drawn without giving an inch. People like Wilson are pollution in the Democratic Party and "liberal" circles. It is disgusting that these views have a platform in liberal circles and in the wider Democratic Party.

That being said, I still repeat my surprise that you choose to weigh in on the Wilson/Plame scandal by NOT addressing the issue and changing the subject to the sideshow.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 2, 2003 06:22 AM

Mike -- What is wrong about the moonbat charge is that raising it is an attempt to change the subject and draw attention away from the real issue at hand. The apparently hard left views of Wilson are irrelevent to the issue of whether the White House ought to be allowed to engage in Nixonian smear tactics without any consequences.

What you should be writing on is whether or not the Congress should convert the $20 billion in Iraqi reconstruction money into a loan, as the Republicans in the Senate are trying to do now.
Also, about the issue of foreign investment in Iraqi reconstruction. Today's Washington Post has an article in which some lobbyist gloats about how "a new 7-11 in Iraq could put 15 Iraqi stores out of business." Is this good? Should liberal supporters of the war care?

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 2, 2003 06:41 AM

All y'all need to pipe down a bit with the "undercover" nonsense. The CIA isn't really big into the James Bond thing. They do have Operations Officers who go about their business without busting out the CIA business card, right, left, and center - but this isn't really ruining a career, so to speak. For starters, "sources indicate" that she's an analyst - not skulking around in alleyways. For second, how many of you think that - even if she were an OO - that you can do that work decade in and decade out without the guys on the other side sussing you out anyways? That's what the Station Chief position is for - people who've got a lot of good experience, but too many dings in the armor to be much good at milling about in the field.

I've written (well, scribbled, really) a primer on this. Even if none of y'all read it, at least get the terminology straight - it's really embarrassing for people to incorrectly use terms of art to score imaginary political points.

Posted by: Anticipatory Retaliation at October 2, 2003 07:09 AM

first off, Michael, it reflects badly on you, that you couldn't find the time to have a look at the Plame story, but found the time to find something that "discredits" her husband. National security does not seem to be your priority, judging from your actions rather than from your words.

Second, your choice quotes nonwithstanding, Wilson is actually making quite a decent argument, probides one considers ..
third, the timeline. At the time of the Nation column, Feb 03, Wilson had already seen the Uranium-from-Niger claim he discredited in summer 2002 (IIRC) used by the Adminstration several times. He may have concluded then and there, that the rationales offered by the admin were as bogus as the Uranium story and sought alternative explanations. "Remaking the Middle East", which to my knowledge is the current rationale for the war, was a motive of the neoconservatives in the admin and looking at it with disapproval, this plan is "empire".
And Wilson is not saying we (as in the American people) "are a bunch of imperialists hell-bent on lording it over the vanquished", he refers to the neoconservatives: The neoconservatives with a stranglehold on the foreign policy of the Republican Party, a party that traditionally eschewed foreign military adventures, want to go beyond expanding US global influence to force revolutionary change on the region. American pre-eminence in the Gulf is necessary but not sufficient for the hawks. Nothing short of conquest, occupation and imposition of handpicked leaders on a vanquished population will suffice. Iraq is the linchpin for this broader assault on the region. The new imperialists will not rest until governments that ape our worldview are implanted throughout the region, a breathtakingly ambitious undertaking, smacking of hubris in the extreme.

learn to read. better still, start thinking.

Posted by: markus at October 2, 2003 08:05 AM

As far as this story goes, I'm paying attention.

This kind of thing is [i]exactly[/i] why we need two parties in Washington.

If a member of the White House had a hand in outing a CIA agent, I won't be happy. I will jump all over Bush for everything I am worth - as should any self respecting conservative. In addition to the Saudi issues, I think a couple of legitimate points have been made by liberals in their three year journey through hateville that needed to be made.

I just honestly with that they had not destroyed their own credibility by embracing every "anti-Bush" sentiment on the block. The Democratic party - and the liberals that make it up - would do a much better constructive job of helping the United States do well if they would concentrate on helping - and in pointing out issues that really matter, like this one - and leaving their partisan attack-only mode at home.

Now, with that being said, if this issue turns out to be utter crap I am going to lose that much more repsect for liberals in general. They are playing a dangerous game and if it turns out that the White House had nothing to do with this, heads should roll.

Are any liberals honest enough to admit I am right?

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 09:10 AM

Roark

I'll admit that you're right. But only up to the beginning of the penultimate paragraph. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but is in fact just an ugly duckling, I'll say: "Ok, but it sure looked like Saddam had WMD!"

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 2, 2003 09:16 AM

if this was a covert attempt to "out" Plame, wouldn't they have leaked it sub rosa, not through an identifiable "leaker"?

Do any of you honestly think they would knowingly take an illegal, accountable course of action in plain sight?

With the CIA confirming to a REPORTER that Plame worked for them, should Novak have had any compunction about saying she was an analyst there?

Either the CIA is guilty of the same thing as whichever official talked to Novak--a breach in security protocols--- or nobody is guilty of any breach whatsoever. You can't exonerate the CIA while calling the WH official a traitor.

This is a political hatchet job, and Ambassador(Who'll play me in the Movie?) Wilson is leading the charge.

Posted by: Bleeding Heart Conservative at October 2, 2003 09:39 AM

"If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but is in fact just an ugly duckling, I'll say: "Ok, but it sure looked like Saddam had WMD!""

Saddam did have WMD. He used them on his own people.

There is no previous evidence of the outing of a CIA operative by the Bush White House.

I fail to see your analogy; but I do see your attempt to interject a partisian point into what I believed was a pretty reasonable compromise.

Again, another great example of why political discourse in this country is in the toilet. Everyone always has to obscure the present with the seeds of their own agenda and no one gives a damn about the truth.

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 10:45 AM

Roark -- "Amen!" to the last paragraph of your last post.

Posted by: Ben at October 2, 2003 11:38 AM

Roark,

I care about the truth, but I can't find any on this subject beneath the partisan garbage on the left and the right.

Are there any known facts? Any at all? I can't find them, and I think it reflects pretty badly on those who think they have this all figured out.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 2, 2003 11:52 AM

I agree. There is precious little fact in this entire "issue". As such, I think your quasi-refusal to assist the fanning of flames is a smart move.

Novak is the center of the debate - and Novak has said all that he appears to be willing to say. Short of an investigation - which will most likely confirm exactly what Novak said - there is not much more to be known.

Someone related to the Republican party confirmed that Wilson's appointment to investigate claims of "yellow cake" production came through the connection of his wife to the CIA. It was a reasonable question Novak asked - specifically why a Clinton appointee was being tasked with following up on Bush's WMD investigation. Novak got an answer and he went to press. I do, however, have a hard time believing that a covert CIA agent would be used as a point of contact in a political setup that would have been sure to raise questions in a significantly polarized Washington.

There are lots of questions - and I think they deserve to be answered. If anyone related to the Bush White House leaked a covert CIA operatives name to the press, they should be held accountable. If it was done intentionally - and via planning - I think impeachment is totally within the realm of discussion. On that same note, I think we really need to know a whole heck of a lot more about Wilson's wife and her status at the CIA - something that in all of the hysteria seems to be totally overlooked. If she was a known employee of the CIA, how covert was she?

So far this is shaping up to be the feeding frenzy that angry Democrats have been waiting on for three years. The problem is that it is a serious problem - and partisian response is not what I think Democrats are going to get from conservatives.

If Bush outed a CIA operative, liberals will have to get out of the way. Conservatives will eat him alive. On the other hand, if this is all just smoke and mirrors, using national security as a backdrop for partisan politics I think the backlash against the Democratic party will be unlike anything seen to date.

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 12:10 PM

Roark, I repeat:

if this was a covert attempt to "out" Plame, wouldn't they have leaked it sub rosa, not through an identifiable "leaker"?

Do any of you honestly think they would knowingly take an illegal, accountable course of action in plain sight?

Posted by: Bleeding Heart Conservative at October 2, 2003 12:21 PM

"Do any of you honestly think they would knowingly take an illegal, accountable course of action in plain sight? "

Honestly? Yes. I think it is possible that someone in the Bush White House might have been stupid enough to do just that. We all remember the rapid fire pace of the pre and post Iraqi war WMD debate. Accusations flew on a daily basis and spin was non-stop. If push came to shove, I think it is possible - however unlikely - that someone from a White House level might have leaked her name.

Do I think it happened? No.

But again, I think the way to find out is a full, impartial investigation. I refuse to be a partisan who fights against my own principals because standing up for them might let the "other side" be right.

I'm still waiting for someone to address the Saudi issues - and so far i've seen nothing. I'm already not happy with the way the Bush White House has handled many things. If it turns out that Bush had any hand in outing what was a legitimate covert CIA operative, I want his head.

At the same time, if these allegations are based on the outing of a "covert" operative that was no more covert than me I want several Democrat heads. The wife of an ambassador does not really yell "good placement", the usage of her to set up ambasadorial assignments in the WMD investigation does not yell "good judgement" and the CIA's confirmation that she was indeed an employee does not yell "good policy", if indeed she was a covert operative.

The libs are right to call for an investigation on this issue.

And we are right to expect a head to roll at the end - either Bush's if this is legitimate or Wilson and the rest of the liberal partisan whores if it turns out it is just a smoke screen.

Lets find out.

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 12:37 PM

Michael,

I don't get your position. Do we know all the facts? Of course, not. Has that ever stopped you from making reasonable and fair, even if guarded, inferences? We can already pass judgment on the handling of this whole affair by the White House: They're changing the subject! They're suggesting having a picnic in the middle of a rainstorm! (Do you see a duck? - quack! quack! - I don't see a duck.)

I am not pronouncing them guilty of treason. I certainly don't think this will end in high crimes and misdemeanors. But I would suggest that you are pushing a point about non-partisanship towards willful blindness.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 2, 2003 12:52 PM

What is going on??? Mr Novak states that he was told by people in the CIA that she was an analyst and that "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this."

Must we go after this kind of stuff when North Korea and Iran are making Atomic Bombs???? Stupid Stupid Stupid

Posted by: Gene at October 2, 2003 01:17 PM

"We can already pass judgment on the handling of this whole affair by the White House: They're changing the subject! They're suggesting having a picnic in the middle of a rainstorm!"

Actually I think Bush froze all records and has ordered the White House to cooperate with the investigation.

What that has to do with ducks and picnics, I don't know. Perhaps you could enlighten me.

The burden of proof is on the accuser. The claim has been made that George W. Bush, the President of the United States had a hand in leaking the name of a covert CIA operative to the press to discredit a political opponent.

That is a serious charge. It is deserving of serious people to take a serious look and come to a serious conclusion. I, for one, have had my fill of hit and run attacks from the Democratic party. I intend to demand they stick with this accusation and to follow it up by providing what evidence they have supplemented by an impartial investigation.

And despite what you say, accusing the White House of intentially leaking a covert CIA operative's name is indeed treason - at least by my calculations. Don't mince words and don't back down. If you guys have the courage to make the charge, you need to have the integrity to back it up. This is a real issue on the line here.

Democrats need to put their careers on the line and make this charge. They need to stand behind what they believe. Or, for that matter, a Republican needs to do it. Right now this is starting to look like yet another partisan attack against a President designed to drag his popularity down - and I don't think that the Democrats have any intention to follow this up. They want to accuse without proof and then run, covering their political hides while they go.

The answer is no. You guys made the charge. Now prove it.

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 01:29 PM

Gabriel,

I admit it, I am to some extent willfully blind. Look, I don't know what is going on yet. I am averse to scandals, so I have probably paid less attention to this than anyone in this comments section. I am trying to get up to speed now to avoid being left totally in the dust. This looks like it's shaping up to be more important than I initially thought.

But you must understand, I know so little about this that if I were to say anything else at this point I would almost certainly make a fool of myself. I don't have a position yet, so there is no need to try to understand what my position is.

Give me some time to catch up.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 2, 2003 01:31 PM

Do any of you honestly think they would knowingly take an illegal, accountable course of action in plain sight?

Yes. Sometimes smart people do dumb things (see Clinton, affair with intern during $70 million investigation into his life)

If Bush outed a CIA operative, liberals will have to get out of the way. Conservatives will eat him alive.

I doubt it. I know some honest conservatives will, just as some honest liberals criticize liberal scandals (and call ultra-liberals "moonbats"). But right now, I see a lot of right-wingers saying it's pure liberal partisanship.

Posted by: Oberon at October 2, 2003 02:25 PM

Michael - noted.

Roark - I do not look at this from a partisan standpoint. Indeed, I think damage to Bush would be disastrous and certainly unwelcome. I hope there's nothing to it!

But, my God! Have you seen McClellan's press conferences? Can you tell me with a straight face that they were not pure equivocation? What, the president's not even asking anybody questions? No internal inquiry or even curiosity? There's nothing to ask here? This is the worse face the administration could have put on it. The White House is in spin mode and if, as I am currently assuming, Bush himself is not directly involved either before or after the fact, this is probably the most damaging approach they could take.

As for reserving judgment, of course one does - to a point. But I didn't have to wait for an investigation or an impeachment proceeding to form a view, always subject to adjustment - indeed theoretically contradiction - on any of the Clinton Whitehouse shananigans, which I did not regard necessarily as either mere pecadilloes or impeachable offenses.

It is obvious that something bad has happened. The only question is how bad. And we'll see how they spin it from there. Personally, I'm hoping it's not too too bad.

As for Gene's point that we're in the middle of a God damn war and can't afford this distraction - Iran, North Korea, etc. - that cuts both ways. If high level White House officials perpetrated or condoned misconduct in the middle of a War jeopardizing important policy goals, I will be f---ing pissed off! But not primarily at the Democrats. They are the opposition party and you have opposition parties for a reason. Only if and when the Democrats begin to overstate the extent of the wrongdoing for political purposes will I get on their case. And they will deserve it then too. But accountability is accountability. We will see.

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 2, 2003 02:37 PM

"But, my God! Have you seen McClellan's press conferences? Can you tell me with a straight face that they were not pure equivocation? What, the president's not even asking anybody questions? "

It is not George Bush's job to prove that he broke the law. That is the job of the opposition party who made the accusation.

George Bush does not have to prove himself guilty to prove himself non-partisan. Nor does he have to prove himself not guilty. The people who made the claim of wrong doing have that burden - and as I have said several times, they had better be willing to back it up.

Again - what I have seen is that the White House has frozen all records and has ordered cooperation in the anticipation of an investigation. I think, in light of the prelimiary evidence (which is minimal) the White House is acting in a proper manner thus far.

Now its time for the accusers to make their case.

This isn't about GWB and the White House. It is about the facts Democrats claim to have or know. Don't obscure the issue. Its time to prove the accusation - not sling mud at Bush.

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 02:43 PM

Roark,

I politely disagree. There is no accusation specifically. There is clearly ample evidence of potential wrongdoing for which CIA has made a referral to Justice and these circumstances exist independently of any political party. In theory, it is for the investigation process in non-partisan form to make the determinations of wrongdoing, or that's at least the ideal one should strive for. Further, in theory, it is for your and my benefit as citizens, independent of party affiliation (and I frankly have none) that the inquiry is carried out and the facts cleared up. For the moment, it's simply a matter of how it's investigated.

What I'm not willing to pretend to ignore is the White House stonewalling and obfuscation, which inspires no glee in my heart, but only grave concern.

It may be one big misunderstanding, but we don't know that yet, do we?

As for the "it's not about blah blah blah, it's really about blah blah blah". That's just spin. It's like saying, well it's not really about misuse of the FBI to get revenge on ex-White House employees, it's about the vast right wing conspiracy, or the history of hatred, or the history of human warfare, or the evolution of defense mechanisms in mammals.

It's actually about a lot of things, but most directly it's about the facts surrounding the outing of a CIA agent and what degree of wrongdoing, if any, was committed and by whom. Neither mountain out of molehill nor molehill out of mountain, but rather how high is what appears to be a hill over there?

Posted by: Gabriel Gonzalez at October 2, 2003 03:31 PM

Anticipatory Retaliation:
For second, how many of you think that - even if she were an OO - that you can do that work decade in and decade out without the guys on the other side sussing you out anyways? That's what the Station Chief position is for - people who've got a lot of good experience, but too many dings in the armor to be much good at milling about in the field.

Uh, you may be interested to know that two of the most prominent cases of CIA officers being murdered after their cover had been blown involved station chiefs.

But even if Plame's current position in no way involves operations, she has undoubtedly developed associates whose safety could be compromised, or, at the very least, rendered completely ineffective as intelligence resources.

That's the most irritating thing about this debate -- people are acting as if this is only serious if someone's personal safety has been compromised. But unless Plame's operational work has become completely OBE, a circuit has been dropped in our intelligence gathering apparatus.

And I say again, it involves WMD counterproleration, which was the primary stated reason for going to war in Iraq. How can anyone not be deeply concerned, if not outraged?

Posted by: Bill Herbert at October 2, 2003 03:38 PM

"There is no accusation specifically"

I see.

"What I'm not willing to pretend to ignore is the White House stonewalling and obfuscation, which inspires no glee in my heart, but only grave concern."

I see again.

Democrats won't make an accusation because there is nothing to accuse. Yet, it is still incumbent on the White House to disprove a negative.

"That's just spin"

Sure. I'm spinning.

I want a full investigation and the guilty party to serve prison time - either the President (or whomever thought leaking a CIA agent's name to the press was a good idea) or the person who is leading the charge to wrongly accuse or smear the President with near treason accusations.

How is that spin exactly?

On the other hand, your "investigation that is not an investigation" and partisan politics that aren't partisan politics is nothing but pure spin and, on this issue, I think there is no room for it.

We deserve a complete investigation and a complete accounting. I want to know if she was a covert operative or not. I want to know if her employment with the CIA was well know in Washington or not. I want to know if her connection to the CIA was the way her husband was appointed to the WMD investigation and what level of that was common knowledge in Washington. I want to know if Bush or Rove planned to use her employment with the CIA to attack her husband by leaking it to the press.

I am sick of the Democrats trying to get Bush because Clinton got had. They have been itching at impeachment since Bush took office and this is where we have gotten.

Prove the case and i'll support you on getting the man out of the White House - as opposed to the myriad of liberals who abandoned their ethics and stood behind Clinton when his behavior was shown to be totally reprehensible. On the other hand, if this case is not proven I want to see Democrats and the people pushing this "scandal" held accountable for deliberately lying.

Posted by: Roark at October 2, 2003 03:48 PM

Can someone please answer a question for me that's been bugging me since the beginning of this? A couple of years ago Bush was outraged by leaks coming out of Congress and refused to give further briefings except to Congressional leaders. He backed down the next day but I'm sure he had made his point. Granted, these were facts and not names, but I don't think our adversaries are so stupid they can't put things together and determine who the rat in their midst was. I will also grant that some of the leaks regarded technology (cell phones, etc.) but some of them must have involved undercover agents and sources. What is the difference here? Where was the outrage then? This was a bi-partisan leaking, so that may be the answer.

Posted by: Karen at October 2, 2003 04:02 PM

As Janet Reno stated, the chances of an investigation getting to the bottom of this is very small. There are just too many people that knew.

I saw an preliminary estimate that at least several hundred people knew about Plame.

Posted by: tallan at October 2, 2003 04:13 PM

Oliver,

Is it now okay to violate the law and national security to embarrass moonbats?

Is it now okay to convict people without an investigation or trial?

I thought not.

Posted by: HA at October 2, 2003 06:38 PM

Markus,

first off, Michael, it reflects badly on you, that you couldn't find the time to have a look at the Plame story

You make it sound that like the story is out. Nothing could be further from the truth. We don't even know yet if a crime has been permitted. If you want to jump to conclusions, be my guest. But it certainly reflects badly on you to do so.

learn to read. better still, start thinking.

There is more to this than meets the eye. We have a Vichy Democrat moonbat like Wilson being chosen to perform a politically sensitive investigation by a Republican administration. This doesn't make sense.

Maybe you're the one who should start thinking. Michael is right to wait for more facts to come in. Something about this story stinks.

If it turns out that an admistration official illegally leaked a covert agent then that official should be prosecuted. If Bush approved something like this, then he should be impeached. My gut tells me that this isn't going to be the final story tough. Time will tell.

Posted by: HA at October 2, 2003 07:02 PM

HA:
we know VP was working under cover (CIA, Johnson, Cannistraro).
We know Novak's column made her name and job public.
We know it is illegal to disclose such info.
So yes HA, we know a crime has been comitted, unless of course you want to go for some technicalitites like ... well, what exactly?
Certainly, we don't know who did it and how, and we of course need to be careful to not rush to the judgement of individuals here. But about the act itself, there is no doubt at all.
That aside, I criticised MT for not taking the time to form an opinion, you seem to have misunderstood. If MT had said he didn't know enough details yet, but this and that was sure as far as he could tell I'd not have mentioned it. He could have gone for a conditional "if". Instead he "barely paid attention" to what might be a cross breach of national security for no readily apparent reason? As I said, actions speak louder than words.

Concerning Wilson: stop smearing the man Bush I praised to highly. Check the timeline and think again why Wilson might be angry. Tip: His investigation was ignored, the evidence he debunked was used (among other evidence) to justify (among other justifications) a war, his wife was outed. I'm sure you'd be all calm if this happened to you after you served your country for 20+ years.
Whence the focus on why Wilson was sent, that has no connection to this story. If Wilson murdered babies that still doens't justify outing his wife.
"Something stinks"? What, except your rotten denial?

Posted by: markus at October 3, 2003 02:49 AM

Someone tagged HA writes: "There is more to this than meets the eye. We have a Vichy Democrat moonbat like Wilson being chosen to perform a politically sensitive investigation by a Republican administration. This doesn't make sense."

Oh, please. Ever hear the term "career diplomat"? How about "professional detachment"?

As for "Vichy Democrat" -- both Plame and Wilson are on record as having contributed $1,000 each to Bush's campaign, only turning sour on the guy after the hatchet job done by Bush's people on McCain in South Carolina. (Which was some real stomach-turning, racist, faux-moralist mudslinging. Go read about it.) The fact is, Wilson might have been picked by moderates within the Administration because he was simply the best person for the job.

As for Wilson's stance on the war: it's really beyond me why people think you can't be a moderate Republican in your general principles and also hold views like Wilson's. If he thinks he sees imperial ambitions, he's in a long, respectable line of conservative thought if he voices opposition to it. So the only question is: are there imperial ambitions? I think the answer is yes.

The problem is that imperial ambitions require the consent of the governed in a democracy, and it takes a lot of effort to get that consent, especially where war is one of the bigger moves in the plan. If dissembling is the way to do it, ambition will find a way, however.

The WMD pretext was trumped up, and Wilson knew it sooner than most of us. A more recent revision of the casus belli seems to be gaining currency in this forum: this idea that American voters are going to go along with dumping what may turn into hundreds of billions of dollars into building Iraq into a beacon of liberal democracy in the Arab world, while taking military casualties every step of the way. This is the "Real Reason"? Oh please -- this is a line that any intelligent, objective person in the Bush administration must know has a six-month half-life with the electorate. At best. The Bush people are seasoned, savvy pols. They know the American voter.

Flimsy Pretext #1 (WMD, terror links) has run its course. Flimsy Pretext #2 (implanting liberal democracy in a country that most middle east experts across the political spectrum see as stony ground indeed) is a rickety bridge that won't last. So what is the real reason we're in Iraq? Gosh, I hate sound like some leftist, but I'm out of reasonable arguments for anything else. It's about the oil, folks.

Why all this sham? Well, back just before Gulf War I, James Baker said "Make no mistake: this is about oil and jobs." He changed that to "national sovereignty" when he emerged from behind the woodshed ("Jim -- you made it sound like we're just a bunch of ... of ... politicians or something!".) But let's not forget: no politican can frame it so starkly even if it's the truth. We Americans like to imagine we're better than that. Better than ... the French.

Pretexts #1 and #2 were and are propaganda for keeping voters doubts at bay concerning the Administration's ambitions, until those voters were finally ready to feel what the Administration wants them to feel, what it has wanted them to feel since long before Rumsfeld's decision to use fewer troops than he must have known would be necessary to stabilize Iraq in short order. And what is that voter sentiment? It's this: "We're tired of taking this crap -- we've suffered enough. Iraqis just don't get it, despite all our sacrifices on their behalf so far. So let's help ourselves to a share of those huge reserves of easily-extracted oil, and let Iraqis go rot in hells of their own making. A few troops to guard oil fields in a destabilized country? That's a known art. Don't major oil companies manage that routinely, in places like Nigeria and Sumatra? How about getting oil from a repressive regime where 95% of the people hate us? We've got that down to a science: look at Saudi Arabia. (For that matter, look at Iraq itself, back when Saddam was our ally.) So forget nation-building. We're #1, and let's look out for #1. Leave the janitorial stuff to the U.N. Will the world hate us? Then they'll hate us. Haven't they always?"

Bush & Co. may have to run hard to catch this propanda Hail Mary Pass they've thrown to themselves in time for November 2004, but they have an advantage over the opposing team: they know that the ball is in the air. The Dems think Rummy and Cheney and Condi and Wolfie are still in a confused huddle over supposed miscalculations, when in fact they are halfway down the field behind the Dems backs. With enough voter hoodwinking and doublespeak, the Administration could get voters believing that getting the oil is the best of some bad options when dealing with unexpected ingrates like these Iraqis, and that Bush & Co. are the best team to have in power for that purpose.

After all, wasn't it Colin Powell, the born-again adventurer here, who said, shortly after the war, that we've removed the WMD threat and (with a betrayingly-casual hand gesture) "incidentally" liberated Iraq? If it was "incidental" then, it is incidental now. And therefore it will be equally incidental if true liberation doesn't come to pass in Iraq because it's just more than American voters want to pay for in blood or treasure. This is something that Bush et al. surely must have known all along. They do, after all, have some bona fide political geniuses on board. I've always been willing to concede that.

WMD was incidental. Iraqi democracy is also incidental. It's all ultimately about the fact that, one of these days, and maybe soon, Saudi Arabia is going to see an Islamist revolution. We'll need a large backup supply of easily-extracted oil to keep from going into an economic tailspin that will hurt incumbency on both sides of the aisle in Congress and in the White house, indefinitely.

It's pretty easy to figure this out if you just do the math. (Quick: what are Iraq's proven reserves? What are its extraction costs relative to those of U.S. domestic reserves? What? You don't know? Then what are you doing in this debate?)

It's also easy to figure out that you couldn't sell this case to American voters until the case is proven by events, which would be way too late.

And it was equally easy to figure out (for both Bush's team and bin Laden's) that nothing less than a 9/11 could have set the whole thing in motion. It's really just a clever horsetrade in the great scheme of things. But try explaining that to a voter with 2-minute attention span, and some vague sense of conscience that hasn't been overridden by outrage.

-michael turner
leap@gol.com

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 3, 2003 03:37 AM

Michael Turner,

I think it is admirable that you take the time to post such a long raving rant. Not because there is anything at persuasive about what you say. There is nothing remotely persuasive about the cliched canards you trot out unless you are preaching to the moonbat choir. Rather you confirm that you are a card-carrying member of the anti-American moonbat brigade.

I'll pick out a few examples and keep it brief in the interest of Michael's bandwidth:

are there imperial ambitions? I think the answer is yes.

America is an empire. Yup. Heard that one before. Starting with the KGB back in the '50s, continuing with Chomsky, and now you. That is some gift for insight you have.

hatchet job done by Bush's people on McCain in South Carolina. (Which was some real stomach-turning, racist, faux-moralist mudslinging.

Bush is a racist liar. Yup, heard that one before from Louis Farrakhan.

The WMD pretext was trumped up

Try telling that to the Kurds, and the Iranians. I'm sure that after Clinton let Saddam kick out those pesky UN inspectors back in '98 that he was finally able to realize his dream of unilateral disarmament.

hundreds of billions of dollars into building Iraq into a beacon of liberal democracy in the Arab world, while taking military casualties every step of the way...It's about the oil, folks...So let's help ourselves to a share of those huge reserves of easily-extracted oil

Yep, we spent hundreds of billions and scores of lives for a few billion in oil. That make sense. No moonbat stuff here. Move along.

You moonbats said the same thing about Afghanistan. Bush just went there so we could be a pipleline. I have one question. What happened to the Afghanistan pipeline?

MT, you are just another raving moonbat. I've already wasted too much of my time and Michael's bandwidth responding to you.

Posted by: HA at October 3, 2003 04:38 AM

Michael Turner -

Your attempt at attributing cynical reasons for the war in Iraq is laughable.

George Bush stood in front of this nation and stated his intention of beginning an offensive against terrorism in an attempt to protect the citizens he was elected to serve. He said that those who planned and perpetrated criminal acts of terrorism would be hunted and punished. He said that sovereign states who enabled these acts by harboring or funding terrorist organizations would pay a price. Were you not listening?

The invasion of Iraq was a part of this offensive against terrorism. The Bush administration stated that Iraq had, and was developing WMD's. The nations of the world, unaminously as far as the U.N. Security Council goes, agreed with this. The Bush administration stated that the Hussein regime in Iraq harbored and funded terrorist groups. This is a known fact regarding Hammas, among other groups, and disputed chiefly concerning the Al-Quaeda organization. The Bush administration stated that in order to stop the Hussein regime from continuing to enable terrorist organizations from continuing to perpetrate criminal acts against the U.S. and other western nations, and to prevent the Hussein regime from arming these terrorist organizations with WMD's it was his intent to enforce earlier U.N. Resolutions by force - effectively removing the Hussein regime from power in Iraq.

The liberation of the Iraqi people is a wonderful additional outcome of the removal of the Hussein regime. Whatever stability the removal of the Hussein regime from power, and subsequent acts in the 'War on Terror' brings to the Middle East is another happy outcome. But to cynically insinuate that the invasion of Iraq is anything other than the administration's considered reaction to the threat that terrorist organizations present to the people of the U.S. in the face of constant assertions to the contrary on the part of the Bush administration, with no evidence to the contrary, is disgusting. To attribute it to 'the oil', and ignorantly assert that the extraction cost comparisons between domestic and Iraqi crude somehow explains why it would benefit the U.S., or the administration or any of it's members, or anyone who your cynical imagination could conceive of orchestrating this, to invade a country in order to somehow gain some kind of advantage in obtaining oil that can be readily bought on the open market is to my mind the height of ignorance.

The only benefit regarding oil would come if we were to conquer and keep Iraq and it's assets. If you think that is what is going to happen you are a lunatic. It is you who doesn't belong in this debate.

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 3, 2003 04:43 AM

George Bush stood in front of this nation and stated his intention of beginning an offensive against terrorism in an attempt to protect the citizens he was elected to serve. He said that those who planned and perpetrated criminal acts of terrorism would be hunted and punished. He said that sovereign states who enabled these acts by harboring or funding terrorist organizations would pay a price.

What price has Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Iran payed? Frankly, comparatively, None.

On the other hand Iraq, with tenuous ties, at best, to anti-US terrorism, a country which posed no immediate threat to the US, got crushed.

Now if you think fighting anti-Israeli terror is now our job too, then I could see why you think invading Iraq was necessary. But surely we should have taken care of the threats to ourselves first?

Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia? Surely you know the issues there.

Making Iraq part of the WoT is clever politics on the part of the neo-cons, who've wanted to invade it for a decade, for reasons unrelated to terrorism. There's no underground conspiracy: the signed and co-authored documents are out there for all to see. Really, denying the PNAC and strategic economic motivations behind the invasion of Iraq is absurd.

That's what Wilson is upset about (read his interview with Josh Marshall). He thinks Iraq was a distraction from the real fight, and that it will likely create even more anti-US feeling by simple fact that we humiliated Iraq and have continued to (unintentionally, i know) kill innocent civillians in pursuit of their unelected leaders. If he's a loony or "hard-left" or anything else, then you have to question the judgement of Bush I, who used him extensively in the middle east.

But, the fact remains that your attempts to smear Wilson are simply attempts at distraction. Someone in the government, likely in the White House did something terribly wrong, by any standards.

Posted by: ChrisL at October 3, 2003 06:53 AM

But to cynically insinuate that the invasion of Iraq is anything other than the administration's considered reaction to the threat that terrorist organizations present to the people of the U.S. in the face of constant assertions to the contrary on the part of the Bush administration, with no evidence to the contrary, is disgusting

Is that a joke? The Bush administration never claimed that combating terrorist organizations was the sole reason for invading Iraq. If I recall correctly, they mentioned stopping Hussein from possessing WMDs and liberating Iraqi people as additional reasons.

Posted by: Oberon at October 3, 2003 07:23 AM

HA,
For the love of god, could you please quit using the word "moonbat"? It makes you sound like a 4th grader who just learned a new curseword from the sixth graders hanging out in the far corner of the playground. I like the way you twist around and then don't bother to refute them. You simply list a bunch of liberal or fringe bogeymen who might have said something vaguely similar, as if a second-hand ad-hominem attack is a valid counter argument. And yep, we did spend hundreds of billions and scores of lives. But obviously the administration and it's neo-con supporters never expected that to happen, and so it never entered into their considerations. Just look at their statements before the war: The Iraqis will greet us with open arms, reconstruction will be self financing, we'll be out of there in a few months, as soon as we grab Saddam and all of his WMDs. All wrong. The conclusion that they failed to adequately foresee the consequences of their actions can not be used to justify those actions. Try actually thinking and reasoning before you post. I know it hurts, but it's worth it.

Keith,

"The only benefit regarding oil would come if we were to conquer and keep Iraq and it's assets"
Huh? His argument is that we need a source of oil to replace Saudi Arabia, if their oil becomes unavailable due to an Islamist revolution. All that need happen in Iraq is that we install a friendly government willing to sell us oil in that eventuality. We don't currently own Saudi Arabia and it's assets, do we? And please, next time someone insists on claiming that Iraq was a continuation of the "war on terror", I'm going to have to insist on a little bit of proof. You know, things like links between Iraq and al-Quaeda. Actual WMDs that Saddam could have hypothetically given to said terorists. That sort of thing. Evidence and such. Anything more that vaque Cheneyish assertions. Please see above regarding the relationship between thinking and posting.

Posted by: Smokey at October 3, 2003 07:50 AM

To attribute it to 'the oil', and ignorantly assert that the extraction cost comparisons between domestic and Iraqi crude somehow explains why it would benefit the U.S., or the administration or any of it's members, or anyone who your cynical imagination could conceive of orchestrating this, to invade a country in order to somehow gain some kind of advantage in obtaining oil that can be readily bought on the open market is to my mind the height of ignorance.

But why buy it when you can steal it. What? You think that the oil companies are making huge contributions to the Republican Party because they like their stand on abortion? They administration provides security for the oil companies as well as oil service companies like Brown & Root (Halliburton), as well as raiding the treasury to pay for the rebuilding. It's a win win for private industry and the politicians they support. The losers are the taxpayers who foot the bill, and the military who fill the graves.

You don't have to be cynical to see this. I won't assume that you're "ignorant", just naive. Then again, I could be wrong about that too...

I wish I could have explained it as eloquently as Michael Turner, but then he has a greater ability to suffer fools than I do.

Posted by: tbogg at October 3, 2003 08:03 AM

The underlying objective of this war is the imposition of a Pax Americana on the region and installation of vassal regimes that will control restive populations...Nothing short of conquest, occupation and imposition of handpicked leaders on a vanquished population will suffice...Arabs who complain about American-supported antidemocratic regimes today will find us in even more direct control tomorrow.

Someone wanna enlighten me and tell me this isn't EXACTLY what is happening over there? Iraq isn't going to get a government of their own choosing, they are gonna get the one WE decide they can have...which will only extend our influence (read: oil resources) in the region.

Posted by: Dave Buster at October 3, 2003 09:13 AM

Smokey,

For the love of god, could you please quit using the word "moonbat"? It makes you sound like a 4th grader who just learned a new curseword from the sixth graders hanging out in the far corner of the playground.

I use "moonbat" as a polite alternative to schoolyard cursewords which in reality are more appropriate. Next time I'll stick with "treasonous fucking bastard". Feel better?

There is no point in restating the arguments against treasonous fucking bastards like Michael Turner. We've all heard them a thousand times. Your side won't be persuaded by my arguments. My side will not be persuaded by your arguments. The reason for this is that your side and my side have incompatable visions for what America should be.

Your side wants to continue the government takover of society until it approaches something like Europe. You want to subordinate our national sovereignty to transnational organizations like the UN. My side wants to roll back government and reclaim our national sovereignty. There can be no meeting of the minds between you and me. We are in the midst of a Cold Civil War. Lets pray it remains cold.

More on topic, it looks like Ms. Plame should be charged with leaking her own identity. Take a look at this MoDo column in the NY Socialist Times:

At first she said she was an energy analyst, but confided sometime around the first kiss that she was in the C.I.A. "I had a security clearance," grinned Mr. Wilson, then a political adviser to the commander of U.S. forces in Europe.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/02/opinion/02DOWD.html

Stay tuned. There is more to this story than you treasonous fucking bastards will like.

Would you like me to go back to "moonbat" now?

Posted by: HA at October 3, 2003 10:01 AM

ChrisL: On the other hand Iraq, with tenuous ties, at best, to anti-US terrorism, a country which posed no immediate threat to the US, got crushed.

Iraq got crushed? Are you crazy? It got liberated from a fascist. Get a clue, man.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 3, 2003 11:19 AM

HA,

It takes a special sort of ideologue to accuse those he disagrees with of being a "treasonous fucking bastard". Congratulations on confirming for everyone that you are incapable of logic and reason, and can only muster blind, sputtering rage in it's place. The drool on your chin is very becoming, really. In my post, I (as well as the other treasonous fucking bastard, the estimable Mr. Turner) simply implied that you were thoughtless and/or ignorant, neither of which is a mortal sin. In response, we are told that we are guilty of the highest of crimes against our country, the apparent evidence of our crimes being that we fail to share the same opinions as you do. Touche! Although how you divined my feelings about the UN from a single post unrelated to that body, I'm not sure. I suppose that you, like our president, must be psychic. As well as apparently mentally unbalanced.

And by the way, back on topic, to "leak" classified information is to tell it to someone WITHOUT the required security clearances, like maybe Bob Novak. Telling someone who is cleared is allowed, which is good, or else you'd have a lot of people wandering around the CIA saying they just came in looking for the bathroom. I realize that this is a difficult concept for your spittle-choked brain to grasp, but take a deep breath, try to resist the urge to shout accusations instead, and think. You'll know it's working when you smell smoke.

Your brain: try it, you'll like it!

Posted by: Smokey at October 3, 2003 12:09 PM

Smokey,

It takes a special sort of ideologue to accuse those he disagrees with of being a "treasonous fucking bastard".

It takes a special kind of ideologue to engage in a baseless campaign of lies, smears, and innuendo designed to undermine the President and betray your country in a time of war. Bin Laden must be laughing as you moonbats (back to the polite form) prove his thesis that America is decadent and weak. If you guys didn't exist, Bin Laden would invent you.

Michael Totten probably disagrees with me on most issues, yet I don't view him as a moonbat. That is because he hasn't betrayed his liberal ideals in order to oppose this war. Undermines your thesis a wee bit don't you think?

In my post, I ... simply implied that you were thoughtless and/or ignorant

My view of you mirrors yours of me except that I think you and your comrades are treasonous. Thus the impasse. There is and never will be common ground between me and your treasonous, morally and intellectually bankrupt fellow travellers. There is no point in trying because your rot permeates your soul.

Posted by: HA at October 3, 2003 02:31 PM

Michael Totten probably disagrees with me on most issues, yet I don't view him as a moonbat. That is because he hasn't betrayed his liberal ideals in order to oppose this war.

snerk!

So HA, how are things go over there in Iraq? Just look out your tent flap and share the view. You are fighting the good fight aren't you?

Posted by: tbogg at October 3, 2003 03:10 PM

This thread is degenerating. Please be more civil or don't post.

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

HA,
Undermines your thesis a wee bit don't you think?

Umm, no? What "thesis" are you talking about?

I hate to be uncivil, but I really have to respond to this. If you insist on accusing people of treason, it would behoove you to provide evidence of said treason, or at least a reasonably coherent argument. You throw out that word in such a casual manner that I can only assume you have no idea what a serious charge it is. I guess they haven't gotten to that in civics class yet. Don't worry, all the good stuff comes in eighth grade. Just wait a couple more years before posting again.

You and your fellow Coulter conservatives (please note that I do not include all conservatives under this rubric, just the wacko fringe to which you so evidently belong) think that because some people disagree with the radical program of this administration, and dare to criticize the president for embarking upon a ruinous foreign policy, then we must hate America. If I hated America, I'd be organizing Bush '04 rallies instead of responding to hack posters like yourself. Opposition, even criticism of the government and its officials is not treason. That way lies fascism. Opposition to irresponsible government is a duty, not a crime.

If you want to talk about "baseless campaigns of lies, smears, and innuendo," you may want to look in the mirror. Or just read your last few posts. You have conflated me, on the basis of two posts, with my "fellow travelers," whoever they may be, and labelled us all as treasonous because of our (presumed) views. Please point out anything I have said which constitutes treason. I've ridiculed you, sure, which you richly deserve, but as far as I can tell I haven't aided our enemies in any way. Unless, of course, you consider the mere fact of dissent to be treasonous, in which case you should hie off for Burma, 'cause you'd be much happier there.

Unfortunately, there is common ground between us, if only because of our commonality of country. Part of being an American is dealing with all the people who aren't like you and don't agree with you. You can meet that challenge with grace or with spleen (or with mockery, my personal choice). Personally, I think there are many fine conservatives in this world, however misguided. That includes my parents, my brother, and many of my friends and aquaintances. There are even fellow liberals with whom I disagree, as well as a wide variety of other people who cannot be so neatly categorized. That I disagree with them over matters political doesn't mean I think they are traitors to their country. Nor do I think you are a traitor. Just a schmuck.

Posted by: Smokey at October 3, 2003 04:35 PM

Opposition, even criticism of the government and its officials is not treason. That way lies fascism.

I don't like using the f-word in the context of American politics, but I have to agree with this. Treason is taking up arms against your country, not criticizing the president. Even "useful idiocy" does not fall into the category of treason.

From www.dictionary.com: treason: Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 3, 2003 04:43 PM

HA,

Just so we're clear. In the above post I am not accusing you of being a fascist. I am saying that you are misusing a word. It offends other people and it causes you to lose arguments, so it's probably not the best tactic.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 3, 2003 04:45 PM

chrisl-

'What price has Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Iran payed? Frankly, comparatively, None.'

What does that have to do with the invasion of Iraq? In addition, you, and the governments of the countries you've named, might consider that the War on Terror is just beginning.

'Now if you think fighting anti-Israeli terror is now our job too, then I could see why you think invading Iraq was necessary. But surely we should have taken care of the threats to ourselves first?'

Quite apart from considerations of the proper actions we take in concert with our allies, I think the dichotomy between attacks on Israel and attacks on other western nations exist mostly in western minds...not in the minds of the terrorists. To protect ourselves, we need to consider them as one and the same.

'But, the fact remains that your attempts to smear Wilson are simply attempts at distraction.'

Smear Wilson? I said nothing about the affair, chiefly because I know very little about it. I'm trying to catch up but it seems like most of what is reported is speculation.

Oberon:
'Is that a joke? The Bush administration never claimed that combating terrorist organizations was the sole reason for invading Iraq. If I recall correctly, they mentioned stopping Hussein from possessing WMDs and liberating Iraqi people as additional reasons.'

True. The administration gave no 'sole' reason for invading Iraq. Your point about 'additional' reasons is spot on. I tried to express the view, and might have done so poorly, that the administration's actions against Iraq were taken under the rubric of the War on Terror. Surely you recall that the mention of stopping Hussein from possessing WMD's was a concern to us not because he might use them on Kuwait, but because he might give/sell them to terrorist organizations...

Smokey -
'Huh? His argument is that we need a source of oil to replace Saudi Arabia, if their oil becomes unavailable due to an Islamist revolution. All that need happen in Iraq is that we install a friendly government willing to sell us oil in that eventuality.'

Then his argument is wrong. Please name me a government, anywhere in the world, that is unwilling to sell us oil....

'We don't currently own Saudi Arabia and it's assets, do we?

We don't currently own any other nations either, including Iraq. If we decide to keep Iraq, how about we resume your line of reasoning at that time? Otherwise your logic breaks down. If we decide to keep Iraq, I'll be on the front lines in the revolution. Fair?

'And please, next time someone insists on claiming that Iraq was a continuation of the "war on terror", I'm going to have to insist on a little bit of proof. You know, things like links between Iraq and al-Quaeda.'

I've seen some things that are fairly compelling regarding a Baath - Al-Quaeda link, not that it matters a whit. To prove ties between the Hussein regime and other terrorist organizations one need look no further than the statements of the Baath party itself. Otherwise, a simple google search will lead you to mountains of documentation of ties between the Hussein regime and terrorist organizations. So, now that you have proof I'll insist on claiming that Iraq was a continuation of the war on terror. Fair enough?

tbogg -
'But why buy it when you can steal it'

Because it's so damned much cheaper to buy it.

Ha -
Ha from 2+2? I think these guys are all Chris Alger! How about we test them. Ask them what to do on the turn when you raise a big Ace and miss the flop?

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 3, 2003 08:52 PM

HA goes unnamed, and calls me a "treasonous fucking bastard" for a line of argument that I'll admit is speculative, but that is aimed at the kind of people that Harry Truman called traitors for being war profiteers -- back in a more innocent time when war was pursued with certain moral standards. HA goes on to say this:

"You moonbats said the same thing about Afghanistan."

Afghanistan would have been OK with me if the Administration had really installed liberal democracy after the Taliban. But what do we have? The old warlord order. A blind eye turned to the revived heroin trade across the Khyber pass. No wonder the Taliban is making a comeback there. (Most Americans seem to think we've put in a thriving democracy. In fact our sponsored government controls little more than Kabul, and its chief dignitaries travel under American armed guard.)

It was after this unsettling development that I finally had to admit what must really be happening.

HA continues: "Bush just went there so we could be a pipleline. I have one question. What happened to the Afghanistan pipeline?"

Right here, HA:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1984459.stm

I never believed, by the way, that it was all about the pipeline. Getting al Qaeda was the big one. (Too bad they didn't really, eh?) But let's not pretend the pipeline wasn't a contributing factor. Not when Karzai's guards are paid by the pipeline consortium.

By the way, Karzai seems to have worked as a consultant to both CentGas and Unocal before the U.S. invasion. His previous executive experience? Running restaurants in the U.S. Was this the best they could do? Afghanistan, with millions of people, offers no more qualified leader?

Unocal reps claimed it was just conspiracy-theory trash that Afghanistan was going to stabilized just enough for an oil pipeline. Why? Because the topography of the country made any such pipeline infeasible, they said. But they've since actually won a contract for just such a pipeline.

In fact, Unocal's case for not doing Afghanistan pipelines was based on the politics of the situation all along not the rugged terrain, as even the most cursory websearch on "unocal" and "afghanistan" will reveal. (Of course, to do such a search would imply some sort of thirst for the facts. Those trapped in confirmatory bias would never bother.)

HA: "America is an empire. Yup. Heard that one before. Starting with the KGB back in the '50s, continuing with Chomsky, and now you. That is some gift for insight you have."

I didn't say the U.S. is an empire. I said Wilson detected imperial ambitions, and that I've come to agree with him. Nothing in our system of government precludes the emergence of such ambitions, and not much except common decency precludes their expression. (For that matter, some intellectuals are now trying to rationalize an American Imperium in terms of common decency, and I don't see this as faltly wrong, per se, just fraught with dangers under the current Administration.)

My reasoning isn't wrong by association with people who you think have been wrong, HA. It's wrong only if it's wrong. Give me reasons why.

HA: "Bush is a racist liar. Yup, heard that one before from Louis Farrakhan."

Again, my argument is attacked by association, and ad hominem. I didn't say Bush was a racist liar, I said his campaign was guilty of a hatchet job on McCain in South Carolina. This hatchet job had a racist edge, on top of all its other ethical breaches. Take up my original statement. Prove it wrong. In the meantime, don't put words in my mouth.

HA: "Try telling that [that the "WMD pretext was trumped up"] to the Kurds, and the Iranians."

I'd be happy to tell that to any Kurds and Iranians you turn up for me, HA, because the "WMD pretext" I was referring to was that Iraq had such weapons in 2002, not that it had (long since proven) WMD in the 1980s. Nobody doubts Iraq had this stuff in years past, at least up to the very early 90s. But that wasn't the proximate issue.

By the way, some of your beloved, bereaved Kurds helped Saddam's forces mop up after a pathetic Bay-of-Pigs-style attack on Iraq mustered by that convicted-in-absentia embezzler Ahmed Chalabi with funding and moral support from Congress. Note also that the official Kurdish position about the U.S invasion was: opposition. I might also point out that poison gas has been used by Western liberal democracies within living memory, and Iraq was, in the case of Iran, facing human-wave attacks by legions of brainwashed teenage boys. Why isn't Iranian mullah ideology dispensed under totalitarian rule considered a weapon of mass destruction? Millions died because of it, many more than under Saddam's gas attack retaliation. The U.S. had no significant complaint at the time, nor did Israel. Which is unsurprising, when you remember that one of Iran's catastrophically suicidal attacks was named Operation Push to Jerusulem. The White House was glad Iran was being held back with no American casualties and little American expenditure. What's a little gas between friends? As for the gassed Kurds -- our own civil war saw huge casualties of POWs under the default biological warfare of bad prison camp sanitation (which accounted for most of the deaths) and starvation of civilians. Civil wars are bloody. Ours was. This doesn't excuse Saddam. But we shouldn't think we're exempt from the precedents. If anything, we probably introduced most of the precedents.

Conclusion: U.S. foreign policy makers have little or no problem with WMD attacks if they serve its foreign policy purposes, or when they are part of some civil war they don't have much interest in.

HA: "I'm sure that after Clinton let Saddam kick out those pesky UN inspectors back in '98 that he was finally able to realize his dream of unilateral disarmament."

Check your facts. Those inspectors left because Clinton was about to unleash a missile attack on Baghdad. Saddam had inspections halted after accusations that the U.S. was using the inspections as a cover for surveillance beyond the U.S. mandate -- accusations that some inspectors were concerned about, since it endangered their mission if they were true. The inspectors wanted to stay, and wanted the inspections to continue. Saddam did not kick them out. Why does everyone get this one wrong?

And was there such spying? It was certainly reported as fact at the time:

http://www.fair.org/activism/unscom-history.html

HA: "Yep, we spent hundreds of billions and scores of lives for a few billion in oil. That make sense."

This is why I say if you don't have a handle on the numbers, you don't belong in the debate. Where do you get "a few billion"? I admit it's not possible to put an accurate figure on the winnings, but it's not hard to see that there will be winnings. Nobody can predict what oil prices will be ten years from now, when Iraq is expected to be in full production (under one scenario anyway; see below for another), and estimates of Iraqi reserves might change (with some experts recently suggesting that they might double the current estimate, others saying previous confirmed estimates might have to be reduced.) Still, it's not hard to make some reasonable calculations based on some plausible ranges and come up with a nice round figure of $1 trillion in revenue, give or take maybe 30%. Then figure that Iraq's extraction costs are 1/10th those of American domestic reserves, and you're talking a huge profit margin. One way or another, the business case is excellent even if the total stabilization and development outlay goes to $300 billion because the American taxpayer has a conscience after all, while the winnings from which this development might be partly paid turn into a measly $600 billion. Yep, 50% profit margin. Enough to make a serious dent in the projected federal deficit. And that's low-return scenario.

But ... why bother paying the full cost of stabilizing all of Iraq when you can get half of the reward for just controlling the environs of Kirkuk, which has 6% of total world reserves underneath it, and whose security could be guaranteed by some very cooperative and grateful Kurds for a small fraction of the winnings? (Kirkuk slowly being rekurdicized even now, reversing Saddam's attempted Sunni Arabization of it, if I understand the situation.) We could just leave the rest of the mess to the U.N., and will leave it if the U.S. taxpayer and voter gets antsy enough about the occupation. There are several different plausible scenarios here.

Nor is pure profit the only way it works. In fact, the real issue may be keeping Iraqi oil off the market, so as to keep Saudi revenues high, reducing one huge factor in the long-term destabilization of the Arabian peninsula: its declines in per capita income over the last few decades. At the very least, this is a source of leverage, and has huge implications for the War on Terror. Can you imagine what Al Qaeda could do if it could draw 1% of all Saudi oil earnings? (Instead of the much smaller fraction of those earnings it did draw?) Even with very depressed earnings from a Saudi Arabia that's heavily embargoed? Saddam was raking in an estimate $2 billion a year from smuggling oil past the U.N. embargo. If he had seriously wanted to attack the U.S. with WMD, he could have paid for the toasting of dozens of our cities several times over in the last decade. Imagine what a truly motivated terrorist government could do with that kind of money, if it chose. (A very big IF, I believe. But that's another debate.)

I think it was George Washington who pointed out that we all have our price. You think the Bush administration can't work up the figures I produce above? Most of his top people come from industry sectors where people do these kinds of numbers for a living. You think they are beyond the temptations of power and influences\ implied by such wealth? That they are incorruptible? If he were alive today, I'd put the question to George Washington, who famously warned against foreign adventures as well. Then we'd see who the real patriots are.

HA again: "MT, you are just another raving moonbat. I've already wasted too much of my time and Michael's bandwidth responding to you."

I'll let Michael Totten be the judge of his own bandwidth husbandry. Whether HA should be the judge of anything seems to be seriously in doubt.

-michael turner
leap@gol.com

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 4, 2003 12:28 AM

One Smokey had this to say in support of my case:
'[Michael Turner's] argument is that we need a source of oil to replace Saudi Arabia, if their oil becomes unavailable due to an Islamist revolution. All that need happen in Iraq is that we install a friendly government willing to sell us oil in that eventuality.'

In a comparatively reasonable post, Keith Johnson replied:

"Then his argument is wrong. Please name me a government, anywhere in the world, that is unwilling to sell us oil...."

First, I can name one government in the world that was until recently prohibited from selling us oil: Saddam Hussein's, while under the U.N. sanctions. (Except, of course, to the extent that such oil was sold under the humanitarian aid programs, or made it unidentified to world markets through Saddam's fantastically lucrative smuggling operations.)

This is 12% of the worlds reserves, available for much lower extraction costs than most oil in the world. And now it's under Allied control, where the U.S. is over 80% of the alliance.

And here's the other important thing Keith misses: if and when that Islamist Revolution happens in Saudi Arabia, you'll see a government that may very well not sell us oil under its own laws, and will in any case certainly be under embargo for some time as a terror state. But that's 25% of the world's oil reserves, still relatively easily extracted. If the whole Arabian peninsula follows suit, including Kuwait, that's probably 1/3rd of the world's easily-extracted oil reserves. Having all that cheap oil off-line for the indefinite future would be far, far bigger in impact than the arrival of OPEC, because there was still a lot of easily extracted oil in the ground when the cartel formed, and has been lots of time since then to develop other sources. However, those sources won't remain cheap, at the rate they are being exploited. Then it's back the Gulf and its political fate.

It's not about who is willing to sell us oil now. When I say "it's about the oil," I'm taking a very big-picture, long-term view. It's about future supplies in a very different energy-supply world. Islamist revolution in more major oil states (Iran being the harbinger) is a big part of this picture, and we don't know when that world will arrive. Tomorrow? 5 years from now? We just don't know.

But we do know that there was a poll among Saudi Arabian men between the ages of 25 and 41 not long after 9/11, and 95% of them expressed approval of the attack. The writing is on the wall.

When does the powderkeg blow? That's uncertain, but one thing is certain: In the next 10-15 years, oil extraction costs are going to start climbing seriously in most parts of the world. This is going to have economic consequences for the advanced industrial democracies, consequences that will hurt both the Democrats and the GOP. "It is still the economy, stupid." It will also have consequences for the industrial expansion of one-party oligarchical states like China. (Which, in the event of an Al Qaeda Arabia, may go against the embargo and buy that oil, even as Al Qaeda Arabia funds Islamic separatism within its own borders.)

Some have argued against the oil-driven business case for invasion by saying that it will take 10 years to bring Iraq up to full production. Well, I'm sorry, but that actually makes my point for me: whoever controls the supplies of cheap oil in 10 years is going to be in a wonderfully powerful position. If you could hatch some plan that would deliver Fort Knox to you in ten years, would you say that's just too long to wait?

Forget "now." Think long-term. The oil industry does. And so do Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and that oilman-in-office George W. Bush. Think of what the oil industry will owe the GOP for the next 20 years if this Fort Knox grab works out. If it is purely a Fort Knox grab, anyway; in a previous post, I bring up the possibility that raising Saudi revenues to cover social costs and per capita income deterioration in that country, staving off Al Qaeda Arabia, may be the bigger part of a mixed strategy. In any case, that's not inconsistent with my basic statement: it's all about the oil.

-michael turner
leap@gol.com

P.S. Hey, Smokey, thanks for the support, but enough about HA's "spittle." That was gross and uncalled for. I know wilfully ignorant neocon ideologues with impeccable manners and grooming who are capable of such unreasoning invective; some of them I can even count as friends. (Somehow. It's getting harder every day, though.)

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 4, 2003 01:23 AM

Michael -

You describe a murky Middle Eastern political future. I don't argue that; it has ever been so.

Your oil reserve analysis if anything understates the percentage of cheaply-extracted reserves in the Middle East - it only partly accounts for the oil that the Iraqi's, Saudi's and Iranian's have not even bothered to find.

However, you mention that a future Saudi Arabia might refuse to sell us oil. This is very hard to credit. The loudest voice complaining of sanctions in Iraq was of course Iraq. Giving us the finger while they take our money with the other hand is their historical pattern. They can do nothing else. Islam or not, if the people are not eating they WILL rise up and overthrow who ever is running the place.

Yes, oil industry executives think long-term (especially Middle Eastern ones mind you). Long term thinking for the U.S. oil companies produces a longing for a stable middle east - big surprise, heh. A middle east that is safer for foreign investment to ramp up the production in countries like Iran (who some say may not be able to export any oil at all in 7-10 years). The biggest threat to stability in the middle east is a continuance of terrorism, as the people of the U.S. (though they may argue about methods) are clearly finished taking it passively.

I assume you are thinking that the oil industry wants a puppet state model in Iraq (surely you don't think they believe we can get away with just occupying Iraq indefinitely). That's been tried...that's not stable. The response to that model is what we have now (the rise of Arab nationalism in the form of radical Islam). Yes, oil industry execs, and the people of the Bush administration you mentioned do think long term. They aren't stupid, however.

The answer to the oil problem is one and the same as the answer to protecting the American people. Take the offensive against terrorism. Capture them, isolate them, cut off their funding. Share our liberal values with anyone who will listen. Let them run their own nations under systems that we've proven benefit not only themselves but the world. That's where the oil industry, and everyone else, get's value. Long-term thinking. In this case it starts with ridding ourselves of a security problem we've not had the stomach to face before.

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 4, 2003 03:23 AM

Just so that it's on record somewhere:

HA, whoever he or she is, is welcome to come to Tokyo and undertake a citizen's arrest of me, for the heinous crime of "treason." I promise you all that I'll quietly accompany HA to the U.S. embassy, where I'm sure the staff are prepared take up issues like these.

I'll put aside about $500 to reimburse HA the likely costs of a round-trip ticket. That leaves the issue of accommodations (Tokyo hotels are a bit pricey.) However, my wife and I run a small Japanese-style inn, so I think we can cover HA there. Meals? You can get a decent bowl of ramen here for around $3. Conveyor-belt sushi has also become pretty reasonable in recent years. HA could do perform his/her patriotic at little cost. It could be done over a weekend -- no loss of income. And perhaps some of you who agree with HA could front HA the rest of the money needed. But I don't think it would be much, and please consider that you'd sort of be subsidizing somebody's mini-vacation, with a rather small chance of bringing me to justice.

One condition, however: the embassy personnel must in fact detain me on suspicion of treason. Otherwise, HA will get no airfare reimbursement from me. Also, if HA won't pony up for the hotel room charges in the event that the embassy declines the request to detain my heinous criminal person, my wife and I will take HA to small-claims court.

I think this is a fair offer. Anything I might have missed to make it even more balanced? I'm open to suggestions.

Note, by the way, that I have scrupulously avoided any gender assumption here about HA. Really, this is not motivated out of some silly political correctness. It has more to do with wishful thinking -- basically (oh gosh, this is kind of embarrassing) I'd love to walk into the U.S. embassy with a beautiful woman like Ann Coulter on my arm, and I hold out some faint hope that this is, in fact, who HA really is.

Ann, if that really is you: could we take lunch at Tokyo American Club before you turn me in? It's not far from the embassy and the red snapper entree is just sublime. My treat.

Posted by: Michael Turner at October 4, 2003 04:20 AM

Michael Turner -

Since I'm not possibly blonde and beautiful I don't get an invite?

I really like snapper.

Is cynicism a product of paper housing?

Keith Johnson

Posted by: Keith Johnson at October 4, 2003 06:15 AM

tbogg,

So HA, how are things go over there in Iraq.

Ahhh, here come's the "chickenhawk" argument. In your world, only those actively serving in Iraq should set policy. OK sounds good to me. Let's here what the troops think:

http://chiefwiggles.blogspot.com/
http://www.lt-smash.us/

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 09:52 AM

Smokey,

dare to criticize the president for embarking upon a ruinous foreign policy, then we must hate America.

How is his policy ruinous? The only thing that would be ruinous would be to reverse his policy. I am willing to concede that you don't hate America. But I don't think that you understand the real cause and effect relationships which is why your positions are difficult to distinguish from those who truly do hate America.Surely you don't deny that there are those on the left who truly hate America?

Opposition, even criticism of the government and its officials is not treason. That way lies fascism. Opposition to irresponsible government is a duty, not a crime.

How ironic that those who criticize Michael Totten for failing to toe the Democratic party line make allusions to the path towards fascism. If you want to understand the true path towards fascism, try reading some Hayak and Freidman. Then look at the Democratic platform and you might understand that the Democratic agenda is the real thing. If you want to oppose fascism, you should be opposed to statism period. The Democratic agenda is a statist agenda. Whether that is the intent is irrelevent. That would be the inevitable outcome of enacting the Democratic statist agenda.

You have conflated me, on the basis of two posts, with my "fellow travelers,"

I haven't conflated you. You conflated yourself by defending certifiable moonbats.

Unfortunately, there is common ground between us, if only because of our commonality of country.

In other words, you wish you didn't have to share this country with me. The only difference between this statement and my accusations towards you and your comrades is that I make my accusations transparently while yours are more subtle.

There are even fellow liberals with whom I disagree, as well as a wide variety of other people who cannot be so neatly categorized.

Your are correct about neatly categorizing people. For example, if you support the Democratic agenda you are not a liberal, but a socialist (or statist if you prefer). Assuming these are your views you would be better characterized as anti-liberal.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 10:10 AM

Michael Totten,

Treason is taking up arms against your country, not criticizing the president.

From www.dictionary.com: treason: Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

You are ignoring the first half of the definition of treason. You can commit treason in the philosophical sense while not committing treason in legal sense.

The Founding Fathers rightfully set a high legal standard for treason precisely because it is nearly impossible to prove the difference between dissent and treason. It ultimately comes down to intent. The Founders rightfully came down on the side of individual liberty over statism. That doesn't mean that those who knowingly and willingly engage in actions that undermine our security and sovereignty are not being treasonous. I stand by my accusation that those who engage in an unsubstantiated smear campaign against the President in a time of war are treasonous.

Just so we're clear. In the above post I am not accusing you of being a fascist. I am saying that you are misusing a word. It offends other people and it causes you to lose arguments, so it's probably not the best tactic.

I know your not accusing me of being a fascist. No need to clarify. I don't think I am misusing the word either. I think you are ignoring the full definition of the word.

As for this being an effective tactic for winning arguments, that presumes I am trying to win an argument. I'm not. I AM trying to offend those that deserve to be offended. Whether I win an argument is irrelevent. There is no point in debating fine points any more. I just want people to understand the backlash that the anti-Bush smear campaign is causing.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 10:29 AM

Keith Johnson,

Ha from 2+2? I think these guys are all Chris Alger! How about we test them. Ask them what to do on the turn when you raise a big Ace and miss the flop?

No, I'm not that HA. I had to google the reference. Talk about moonbats.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 10:33 AM

Michael Turner,

You take the prize for spewing the greatest volume of nuttiness. You sound like Ramsey Clark. I am shocked and awed by your level of obsession. I recommend therapy.

HA goes unnamed

You've made that reference several times. Are you implying that I should have something to fear by being named?

for a line of argument that I'll admit is speculative

Your arguments aren't speculative. They are bogus. You made the tactical error of making a retro-active "speculative" argument that is easily disproven. You didn't "admit" anything. You were shot down.

Afghanistan would have been OK with me if the Administration had really installed liberal democracy after the Taliban. But what do we have? The old warlord order. A blind eye turned to the revived heroin trade across the Khyber pass. No wonder the Taliban is making a comeback there.

That's rich. Let's hear YOUR grand plan for transforming Afghanistan from its timeless history of tribal warlordism into a liberal democracy. At least there is possiblity in Iraq which has a far more advanced civilization.

HA continues: "Bush just went there so we could be a pipleline. I have one question. What happened to the Afghanistan pipeline?"
Right here, HA:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1984459.stm

I never believed, by the way, that it was all about the pipeline.

Again you back down from your "retroactive" speculation when cornered. That BBC link is 17 months old. My question stands. Where is the pipleline? I know the answer. It lives only in your bizarre mind. This pipeline will never be built because it makes no financial sense whatsover.

You should stick with forward speculation. It gives you more latitude.

Getting al Qaeda was the big one. (Too bad they didn't really, eh?)

That's it. Get Al Qaeda and the job is done. No more terrorism. Now since Al Qaeda's remnants have moved to the tribal region of Pakistan, are you proposing that we invade Pakistan? Or push Musharraf into Civil War? And you wonder why I think you are a moonbat?

HA: "Try telling that [that the "WMD pretext was trumped up"] to the Kurds, and the Iranians."
I'd be happy to tell that to any Kurds and Iranians you turn up for me, HA, because the "WMD pretext" I was referring to was that Iraq had such weapons in 2002, not that it had (long since proven) WMD in the 1980s. Nobody doubts Iraq had this stuff in years past, at least up to the very early 90s. But that wasn't the proximate issue.
By the way, some of your beloved, bereaved Kurds helped Saddam's forces mop up after a pathetic Bay-of-Pigs-style attack on Iraq mustered by that convicted-in-absentia embezzler Ahmed Chalabi with funding and moral support from Congress. Note also that the official Kurdish position about the U.S invasion was: opposition. I might also point out that poison gas has been used by Western liberal democracies within living memory, and Iraq was, in the case of Iran, facing human-wave attacks by legions of brainwashed teenage boys. Why isn't Iranian mullah ideology dispensed under totalitarian rule considered a weapon of mass destruction? Millions died because of it, many more than under Saddam's gas attack retaliation. The U.S. had no significant complaint at the time, nor did Israel. Which is unsurprising, when you remember that one of Iran's catastrophically suicidal attacks was named Operation Push to Jerusulem. The White House was glad Iran was being held back with no American casualties and little American expenditure. What's a little gas between friends? As for the gassed Kurds -- our own civil war saw huge casualties of POWs under the default biological warfare of bad prison camp sanitation (which accounted for most of the deaths) and starvation of civilians. Civil wars are bloody. Ours was. This doesn't excuse Saddam. But we shouldn't think we're exempt from the precedents. If anything, we probably introduced most of the precedents.
Conclusion: U.S. foreign policy makers have little or no problem with WMD attacks if they serve its foreign policy purposes, or when they are part of some civil war they don't have much interest in.
HA: "I'm sure that after Clinton let Saddam kick out those pesky UN inspectors back in '98 that he was finally able to realize his dream of unilateral disarmament."
Check your facts. Those inspectors left because Clinton was about to unleash a missile attack on Baghdad. Saddam had inspections halted after accusations that the U.S. was using the inspections as a cover for surveillance beyond the U.S. mandate -- accusations that some inspectors were concerned about, since it endangered their mission if they were true. The inspectors wanted to stay, and wanted the inspections to continue. Saddam did not kick them out. Why does everyone get this one wrong?
And was there such spying? It was certainly reported as fact at the time:
http://www.fair.org/activism/unscom-history.html

That was breathtaking. Allow me to summarize: America is bad and Saddam is a poor misunderstood dictator. And to top it all off, you use FAIR to support your views? FAIR is a socialist outfit that more or less spews the KGB/Chomsky agenda. If you had set out to make my point, you could do no better. Thanks.

Still, it's not hard to make some reasonable calculations based on some plausible ranges and come up with a nice round figure of $1 trillion in revenue, give or take maybe 30%.

Wow. With those kind of numbers you'd think Brent Scowcroft would have supported the war. Maybe he was cut out of the profits. There is nothing remotely plausible or reasonable about your numbers. Pretty much goes for everything you say. I guess if you are going to lie, you might as well make it a doosey. You sound like Dr. Evil.

(Tokyo hotels are a bit pricey.)However, my wife and I run a small Japanese-style inn, so I think we can cover HA there.

Good. You don't live here. That is encouraging.

beautiful woman like Ann Coulter on my arm,

Imagine. Ann Coulter and Ramsey Clark. Makes Carville and Matalin look tame.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 11:20 AM

HA - I AM trying to offend those that deserve to be offended. Whether I win an argument is irrelevent.

I'd respectfully suggest that the outcome of the "argument" is rather relevant. Slinging mud back and forth is a zero-sum game and I know you're more intelligent than that.

Posted by: d-rod at October 4, 2003 11:25 AM

Michael Totten,

I made this statement previously:

I know your not accusing me of being a fascist. No need to clarify. I don't think I am misusing the word either. I think you are ignoring the full definition of the word.

I reread my post and this statement is ambiguous. The word I'm referring to is treason rather than fascism. I think you are ignoring the full meaning of treason.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 11:26 AM

I'm coming to this thread late, but here's my two cents.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but Joe Wilson smells funny.
I watched Joe Wilson on C-Span 09/29/2003 and besides hitting all of the main arguments against the Iraq war with rote precision, he volunteered some interesting affiliations.

At 1:20.20 in Washington Journal Program - Loose quote:

“I have associated myself with an email campaign at MoveOn.org and with the Win Without War coalition which urges congress not to appropriate 87B until the administration fires Donald Rumsfeld and senior members of his staff. Also they should transfer authority (in Iraq) to the UN ASAP.”

At 1:24.00 in the same program – Loose quote:

(in response to a caller’s question about appearing with Ray McGovern) – “I appeared with Ray McGovern who is head of the VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) and was pleased to do so.”

An interesting footnote on WWW coalition is found at http://www.rockwoodleadership.org/gossip/archives/000039.html which shows the founding of the org at an interesting “activist training” organization that apparently services many ‘usual suspects’.

Info on VIPS and a pretty good layout of the personal animosity of Wilson’s cronies is at www.counterpunch.org/vips07142003.html

So my skepticism is aroused. Is Joe Wilson just ‘some guy’ who went to Niger and reported fairly, or was he part of a machination to stop the Iraq war that was sore enough at Bush to set up a scandal afterwards? The missing connection is between the CIA hand that sent Wilson (an amazingling stupid move, in hindsight) to Niger and the entitie(s) that made the leak.

Posted by: jdwill at October 4, 2003 11:29 AM

d-rod,

I understand your point, but I don't think there are many undecided minds in the blogosphere. By the time someone has gotten this far into a Michael Totten thread, I'm willing to bet that that person's mind is pretty much made up.

Do you see Smokey, Markus or Michael Turner as being open-minded? Is there anything I could say that would persuade them? I don't think so. I think the lines have been drawn and sides chosen. Its now time to fight it out.

This goes deeper than Iraq. The goes to the heart of the direction America is heading. Do we wish to continue the creeping anti-liberal statism of the Democrats? Do we want to contiue their push to subordinate our sovereignty and security to transnational organizations like the UN?

I say no.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 11:37 AM

HA,

I appreciate that you will concede that I'm not a traitor to my country. That's very generous of you, as everyone knows that you, HA, are the true and only arbiter of patriotism. I can once again hold my head up high. Thank you.

A few responses:

How is his policy ruinous?

This administration's foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster. As you have apparently been living in a cave for the past six months, let's start with Iraq. Our forces are currently bogged down in Iraq so that other, potentially more serious threats (North Korea) feel free to do as they please, knowing that our ability to respond with force (or even the threat of force) is limited or nonexistant. Extended deployments in Iraq will surely affect military retention and thus effectiveness. We have introduced and used the doctrine of preventive war, which has encouraged, rather than slowed, nuclear proliferation by demonstrating to the world that the only way to be sure you won't be invaded is to get some nukes, and quick. It also increases the odds that these newly acquired weapons will be used by drastically lowering the standards of what is considered a justified war. The administration has damaged our alliances and started to undo decades of American diplomacy. The exaggerations and outright lies bandied about prior to the invasion have irrevocably damaged our national prestige, caused even our allies to mistrust us, and given invaluable ammunition and recruiting tools to those who truly do hate America. Is that enough? We could discuss the failure to secure Afghanistan and the consequent resurgence of the Taliban there if you'd like.

Surely you don't deny that there are those on the left who truly hate America?

As I am not privy to the innermost thoughts of each and every leftist, I obviously can't speak for them. I certainly think that the number who do is vanishingly small, and no greater than that proportion of conservatives who hate America. Besides, the phrase "hate America" is meaningless. Hate what? The current government? American cultural imperialism? American liberalism? American free-market rhetoric? To lump together all those who disagree with some element of current US policy or culture as "America-haters" is to elide the differences between, say, Osama bin Laden and myself. Both have issues with America's place in the world today, which makes us "fellow travelers" and "america-haters" and thus equally dangerous, right? Are you really so blind as to believe that?

The Democratic party is both socialist and fascist? I suppose it's pointless to ask you to back up such assertions with arguments, as you have shown no sign of doing so with any of your other assertions. Oh, that's right, you cited Hayak (sic)and Freidman. But not any of their arguments. Yep, persuaded me. BTW, Hayek's argument that social democracy and the welfare state lead inevitably to fascism is complete crap, and has been essentially debunked by events in the time since he wrote it. Damn those fascist Swedes! Any day now they'll swarm over Europe and the rest of the world, enslaving us all in their work camps to churn out stylish modern furniture and cell phones. The humanity!

I haven't conflated you. You conflated yourself by defending certifiable moonbats

Oh, right, because everyone who disagrees with you is a traitor, and all traitors are basically the same. Sorry, I forgot. Remind me again how this isn't conflating me with your "moonbats"?

Claiming the Democratic party is socialist is simply ridiculous. It has as much validity as the claim that Republicans are fascists, which is to say none.

And yes, I suppose I do regret sharing a country with you. But not because your view differ from mine, or you belong to a different political party, but because you personally, HA, are a small-minded, reactionary know-nothing who prefers wild accusations, overly broad and baseless generalizations and character smears to actual debate. And because you continue to use that ridiculous Rush-word moonbat as if it had some meaning.

Posted by: Smokey at October 4, 2003 01:25 PM

HA (once again),

And here I thought you had backed off on the treason thing. I obviously gave you too much credit. I will ask you again. If you are going to accuse anyone of treason, please provide evidence of it.

also from dictionary.com:
In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or to an adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Unless you can show that any of us have been feeding and housing anti-american terrorists, your argument seems to fall apart. As for committing treason in the philosophical but not the legal sense, I have no idea what this means. Treason is a legal concept. It has no meaning outside of this. You are simply attempting to redefine it to fit your own preconceptions.

I stand by my accusation that those who engage in an unsubstantiated smear campaign against the President in a time of war are treasonous.

Two points:

1) What is this unsubstantiated smear campaign that you are talking about? Whatever it is, do you have any evidence that the accusations are false? If not, then aren't those asking questions about the administration's conduct justified in asking them? How else would the truth come out?

2) A distinction needs to be made between actual war and rhetorical war. Real wars have clear objectives, avowed enemies, and a point at which victory can be declared, whether it be surrender, withdrawal of forces, or whatever. The war on terror is not such a war. Terror is a method, not an entity, and can never be defeated as such. That is not to say it should not be fought, but simply that the logic of war does not apply. The "war on terror" is a rhetorical war, much like the "war on drugs," the "war on poverty," and the "war on crime." (And those are all proceeding well. Victory is imminent!) The terminology of war is inappropriate to these sorts of conflicts, as it leads to impossible expectations (victory) and promotes an "us against them" mindset, and the subsequent polarizations of opinion make the fight harder, not easier.

Posted by: Smokey at October 4, 2003 02:17 PM

I like this post a lot; it fills in a lot of blanks for me.

Michael Totten is in a corner. If the Bush Administration really does consist of amoral bastards who are so contemptuous of national security that they are willing to burn a CIA asset to get back at her husband for contradicting them, several facts become unescapable:

1) Joseph Wilson was likely telling the truth, and the Administration lied about the Iraq-West Africa connection.

2) The folks planning the invasion and occupation of Iraq are Not Good People. They are petty, mean people who view the United States and its security as their personal property to be used or damaged as they see fit.

3) Therefore, the plight of the people of Iraq simply cannot have mattered to them. A person who is able to burn Valerie Plame as an act of petty revenge is not a person who cares enough about mass murder in Iraq to massively shift US foreign policy when given the opportunity to do so. They are not ideas which can live in the same head.

Thus, the only way to avoid feeling like one has been horrifically duped by this Administration into supporting a war which, it now becomes obvious, was about something much different than the eventual fate of the Iraqi people is to confuse the issue.

In short, it is time to "slime and defend."

Joseph Wilson is pretty fucking pissed. If an Administration under which I served outed my wife as a CIA operative as an act of petty revenge for my whistleblowing, I'm fairly certain that I would be torn between a media campaign and a high-powered rifle campaign. In that context, his statements and actions become entirely reasonable and defensible; this is a man whose wife's career was destroyed -- and whose life was possibly put into danger.

Slime and defend, slime and defend. But never, ever face up to the ramifications of the likely truth.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 4, 2003 06:33 PM

Smokey,

This administration's foreign policy is an unmitigated disaster.

Wrong. The administration has reversed the process of subordinating our national security and soverignty to transnational organizations and agendas like the UN, ICC, Kyoto, etc. While bound to expose (i.e. not cause) conflict, it was necessary step to preserve our freedom.

Our forces are currently bogged down in Iraq so that other, potentially more serious threats (North Korea) feel free to do as they please, knowing that our ability to respond with force (or even the threat of force) is limited or nonexistant.

Wrong. The Iraq campaign has been a tremendous success. A nation of 25 million has been liberated from one of the most tyrannical regimes in modern history. For the first time in history, an Arab nation has an opportunity to build a democracy which could conceivably spark an Arab renaissance. Even the worst outcome of the Iraq campaign was better than the status quo. And we have achieved something closest to the best possible outcome. All we need to do is to remain committed, but your smear campaign is jeapardizing this success.

As for the North Korea canard, are you suggesting that the troops should have been sent into Korea instead? That is just plain stupid. We should be taking our 37k troops out of Korea instead of sending more in. The only forces we need in Korea are naval and air forces to take out North Korea’s nuclear facilities and imnplement a blockade. The South Korean military is perfectly capable of defeating the North Koreans on the ground without our help.

Either way, if you had been watching closely, you may have noticed the administration has been engaging in some quiet diplomacy to get China to lean on NK. Here is some blogs that have covered this from time to time. I suggest you work through their archives:

http://www.denbeste.nu/
http://junkyardblog.transfinitum.net/
http://www.donaldsensing.com/
http://www.windsofchange.net/

Extended deployments in Iraq will surely affect military retention and thus effectiveness.

Maybe. We’ll see how it affects retention. But recruitment has improved because many Americans realize that we are truly in a fight for freedom. Even if you are right, this issue will arise in every military deployment. That is no reason not to use the military. If we're not prepared to use our miliary, we shouldn't bother having one.

If you want to be sure that retention and recruitment collapse, elect a Democratic president and watch the inevitable reversal of policy that will send the message that the left in this country will stop at nothing to ensure that the troops' sacrifices are made in vain.

We have introduced and used the doctrine of preventive war, which has encouraged, rather than slowed, nuclear proliferation by demonstrating to the world that the only way to be sure you won't be invaded is to get some nukes, and quick.

Wrong. Nuclear proliferation exploded as a direct result of Clinton’s appeasement policies. Iran’s, NK’s, Pakistan’s and India’s all started under the Clinton era. If Clinton had the balls to do something about these problems, they wouldn’t have all simultaneously fallen on Bush’s lap.

It also increases the odds that these newly acquired weapons will be used by drastically lowering the standards of what is considered a justified war.

Not only wrong, but bogus. Weakness invites attack. Strength discourages attack. This idea that the Iraq campagin is somehow setting a precedent that will be used to justify wars is absurd. The factors that lead to war have been known since Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War. These factors have never changed and never will. They are encoded in human nature.

The administration has damaged our alliances and started to undo decades of American diplomacy.

Wrong and again bogus. What alliances are you talking about? France? Germany? You don’t actually believe France is an ally do you? France of the “multi-polar” world? France is no ally. Wake up. As for Germany, once Schroeder is thrown out of office, look for our relations to return to normal. If there was any damage done to alliances, it was done by France and Germany, not by us.

The exaggerations and outright lies bandied about prior to the invasion have irrevocably damaged our national prestige,

What lies? This is the smear campagin I’m talking about. You guys keep throwing out allegations that Bush lied to justify his Imperial War For The Enrichment of Haliburton. Yet every one of these allegations has been disproven.

We could discuss the failure to secure Afghanistan and the consequent resurgence of the Taliban there if you'd like.

What would do to secure Afghanistan? Send in the trooops you had previously slated for North Korea?

Yep, persuaded me. BTW, Hayek's argument that social democracy and the welfare state lead inevitably to fascism is complete crap, and has been essentially debunked by events in the time since he wrote it. Damn those fascist Swedes!

Hayek’s argument was visionary and has been proven repeatedly. Take a look at Austria or Argentina for examples. South America and Latin America are filled with case studies that prove his thesis. And let’s not overlook France. Le Pen won nearly 20% of the vote in the last election. And Chirac and de Villepin are near fascists. This is obvious in their open admiration of Napolean and their cozy relationships with thugs around the world from Saddam to Mugabe to Arafat. We are also seeing a resurgance in anti-Semitism in France which is one of the leading indicators of encroaching fascism. Even some French are beginning to see this:

http://www.iht.com/cgi-bin/generic.cgi?template=articleprint.tmplh&ArticleId=112118

And speaking of Sweden, if it was an American state, it would be among one of the poorest somewhere near Arkansas and Mississippi. African Americans have a higher standard of living than Swedes.

The manifestation of Hayek's thesis has been well documented in the book "The Commanding Heights" by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw. You should read it.

Any day now they'll swarm over Europe and the rest of the world, enslaving us all in their work camps to churn out stylish modern furniture and cell phones. The humanity!

You seem to forget that it was only in the last ten years that Europeans were perfectly content to do nothing about ethnic cleansing and death camps in Yugoslavia.

And speaking of death camps, you might as well say that France is a big death camp with 15,000 people die in a friggin' heat wave. What a truly astounding number. That is one way to deal with the looming pension and health care crisis of an aging population.

The war on terror is not such a war. Terror is a method, not an entity, and can never be defeated as such. That is not to say it should not be fought, but simply that the logic of war does not apply. The "war on terror" is a rhetorical war, much like the "war on drugs," the "war on poverty," and the "war on crime." (And those are all proceeding well. Victory is imminent!) The terminology of war is inappropriate to these sorts of conflicts, as it leads to impossible expectations (victory) and promotes an "us against them" mindset, and the subsequent polarizations of opinion make the fight harder, not easier.

I actually agree with you these points. We aren’t engaged in a “war on terror.” Rather,we are engaged in a war against Arab Nationalism and Islamic Fascism.

I also agree that the use of “War on…” jargon for non-war issues is counter-productive.

Hey, maybe we have some common ground after all!

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 07:06 PM

Kimmitt,

Where have you been man? I was beginning to worry about you!

BTW, was your post supposed to be serious or parody?

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 07:22 PM

Correction. This statement in my last post to Smokey:

"South America and Latin America are filled with case studies that prove his thesis. "

should read:

"South America and Africa are filled with case studies that prove his thesis. "

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2003 07:29 PM

HA writes, in response to Michael Totten: "As for [calling people treasonous] being an effective tactic for winning arguments, that presumes I am trying to win an argument. I'm not. I AM trying to offend those that deserve to be offended. Whether I win an argument is irrelevent. There is no point in debating fine points any more. I just want people to understand the backlash that the anti-Bush smear campaign is causing."

Well, there it is: HA's purpose isn't civility, it's to offend whoever he thinks deserves ill-treatment for not accepting his views as some foregone conclusion. You'd think that would be enough grounds for eviction, but no.

In another reader comment section, Michael Totten has tacitly accepted HA's endorsement of him representing "some hope for the left", and followed it up only with a warning to me that if I can't be civil, he's going to kick my ass out of here. (Yes, with the word "ass".)

Unlike HA, I am actually trying win arguments (or learn something important by losing them), and if someone gets offended by my refutation of their poorly-researched statements, I figure that's their problem. Somehow, though, this behavior is less acceptable to Michael Totten than HA's behavior.

The difference? It's obviously not clemency by way of HA's superior command of the facts.

[HA: the last story I read on the Afghanistan pipeline dates from Sep 25th. The 2002 article happened to be convenient. Here's some fresher meat, as of Sep 25 2003:
http://news.morningstar.com/news/DJ/M09/D25/1064514061492.html

While we're here: exactly how does your opinion that the pipeline makes no sense trump that of the Asian Development Bank, which is willing to put up a million dollars toward further study? A cursory web search will reveal that Unocal has always made political stability a precondition for involvement. No mention of problematic topography until the issue of a war-profit motive arose. And no mention of it since the end of the war. Political landscapes change; topography doesn't.]

Could this double standard about civility have something to do with HA's willingness to fawn over Michael Totten? Treasonous fucking bastards would like to know.

Michael Turner
leap@gol.com

Posted by: Treasonous Fucking Bastard at October 4, 2003 10:53 PM

About my estimate of the value of Iraq's oil reserves, HA says: "There is nothing remotely plausible or reasonable about your numbers."

$1 trillion is "not remotely plausible"?

Checking that infamous source of crazed surrender-monkey propaganda, the U.S. Department of Energy,

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/iraq.html

we learn that Iraq has an estimated 112 billion barrels of oil, just from the areas that have been explored (wow, and look at all that natural gas, too!).

$112 billion X $10/bbl = $1.12 trillion.

$10/bbl is quite low by recent standards, and the trend will be higher throughout the world as various non-Gulf reserves are drawn down.

If they can keep Iraqi oil off the market for a long enough time, they might be able to charge $20/bbl. Or more. (And there's a strategic case for doing so, but then what happens to that brilliant idea so many people loved, of paying for Iraq's reconstruction out of Iraq's oil earnings? [Always a non-starter for the next few years, by the way])

Investment required? According to this site, possible as low as $1.144 billion to get things going again. It will go higher, as development expands, but this will still be small compared to the value of the oil.

How about extraction costs? "[P]erhaps $3-$5 billion for each million barrels per day", which puts Iraq's costs at "among the lowest in the world." Note that this isn't up to $50/bbl in costs, but $50/bbl/day. Day after day. Year after year.

I could now go into HA's ad hominem slamming of my link to a FAIR page about the spying under U.N. cover in Iraq -- HA hasn't noticed that it consists primarily of references to reputable news sources. I could do that, but ....

Exercises for you alert readers: pick an HA "fact", and spend no more than 5 minutes with Google trying to settle whether it's true or not. It's fun. For a while, anyway. But ultimately, fishing is more fun using hooks in streams, not using guns pointed into barrels.

Michael Turner
leap@gol.com

Posted by: Treasonous Fucking Bastard at October 4, 2003 11:27 PM

Keith Johnson writes: "The only benefit regarding oil would come if we were to conquer and keep Iraq and it's assets. If you think that is what is going to happen you are a lunatic. It is you who doesn't belong in this debate."

First: we conquered Iraq. If that was a precondition, that's one down.

Second: "keep Iraq"? Even Saddam Hussein was making billions off Iraqi oil without being able to "keep Iraq". "Keeping Iraq" is not a precondition. We only need to keep the oil fields, and access to them.

The Kurds had an autonomy that they prized so much as to oppose the U.S. invasion, that they prized so much as to yield any claim on oil-rich Kirkuk, that they prized so much as to help Saddam kick out Chalabi's forces after he led them on a ruinous CIA-supported campaign against Saddam on some fool's errand of toppling such a strong regime.

Saddam didn't control all of Iraq, and we don't have to, either, if the agenda is really the oil. It is quite possible to lose lots of Iraq and still keep plenty of its oil. In fact, that's probably the easiest way to handle it all -- lose most of Iraq, keep the important parts. Tease the U.N in, for all the tedious, dangerous urban dirty work, and take the nice, clean deserts, where our military forces truly shine. Nor is that the only way to do it -- some figures in the current Iraqi government (such as it is) suggested some months ago that giving up most of the oil in exchange for a freer hand in government was a negotiable point. (I think they shut this person up pretty fast, though. It's too early for ideas like that. A little closer to election time, please.)

Perhaps you should take a more Ottoman Turk view of Iraq -- it's a bunch of territories stitched together under divide-and-rule logic. That worked for Saddam. It can work for us. I fail to see how looking at the picture much as Henry Kissinger must (in his private councils) automatically makes me "a lunatic."

By the way, certain people in this forum keep trying to pigeonhole me as a "leftist". Try as I might on my project of becoming a reasonable liberal, those silly little web polls keep pegging me as more of a libertarian. But maybe that makes me even more of a lunatic to some: a libertarian salted with certain off-the-spectrum leftist opinions, like finding a jalapeno in your strawberry ice cream, or seeing someone wearing a beret with pinstripes. Heh. As if politics were merely a matter of taste.

Michael Turner
[Who will stop signing with "Treasonous Fucking Bastard" when Michael Totten stops trying to reason with HA and kicks him off his blog for both calling me that and then brazenly defending it as an act of patriotism.]

Posted by: Treasonous Fucking Bastard at October 5, 2003 02:19 AM

Michael Turner,

Michael Turner
[Who will stop signing with "Treasonous Fucking Bastard" when Michael Totten stops trying to reason with HA and kicks him off his blog

So this is what you have been reduced to. Calling on Michael Totten to engage in censorship.

I have never and will never call for anyone to be silenced regardless of whether I think they are loyal to this country. That would be a complete betrayal of everything I believe in. It would violate one of the basic principles upon which this country is based. Your call for censorship just affirms my characterization of you.

I am actually trying win arguments

The only way you can win your argument is through censorship. That is why you want me banned. That is why you showed up here to attack Michael Totten for not supporting the party line. What a disgrace.

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2003 04:52 AM

I offer a challange to anyone offended by my use of the word "treasonous" to characterize those engaged in the "Bush lied" smear campaign.

Read this quote from Bin Laden:

In December 1992, bin Laden found the battle he'd been waiting for. The United States was leading a UN-sanctioned rescue mission into Somalia. In the midst of a famine, the country's government had completely broken down, and warring tribes-largely Muslim--had cut off relief efforts by humanitarian groups. Somalians were starving to death in cities and villages, and the U. S., which had moved quickly to rescue oil-rich Kuwait, had come under mounting criticism for doing nothing.

When the Marines landed in the last days of 1992, bin Laden sent in his own soldiers, armed with AK-47's and rocket launchers. Soon, using the techniques they had perfected against the Russians, they were shooting down American helicopters. The gruesome pictures of the body of a young army ranger being dragged naked through the streets by cheering crowds flashed around the world. The yearlong American rescue mission for starving Somalians went from humanitarian effort to quagmire in just three weeks. Another superpower humiliated. Another bin Laden victory.

"After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle, thinking that the Americans were like the Russians," bin Laden said. "The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat. And America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda ... about being the world leader and the leader of the New World Order, and after a few blows they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat."

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/miller.html

It is my view that those engaged in the "Bush lied" smear campaign knowingly and willingly play right into Bin Laden's hand and prove his thesis.

If you can make a convincing argument that the "Bush lied" smear isn't playing into Bin Laden's hand, I'll withdraw my accusation of treasonous behavior.

Until then, I'll stand by this characterization.

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2003 05:34 AM

Michael Totten, leading all this off, said: "I'm calling [Wilson a moonbat] because he thinks we are a bunch of imperialists hell-bent on lording it over the vanquished. Will the left please put that meme to bed. It is a hysterical and defamatory conspiracy theory, not to mention exceptionally counter-productive."

Hey, I wouldn't even mind us being a bunch of imperialists lording it over the vanquished if we did it in a moral and just manner. The Ottoman Turks, for all their ruthlessness, understood justice.

No, I'm more worried about the following kind of thing: "They tell us with straight faces that our national security interests and the future of Iraqi freedom are riding on the U.S. taxpayer: buying pickup trucks for Iraqis at $33,000 each; purchasing 600 radios and telephones for Iraq at $6,000 a piece; spending $54 million for a comprehensive consulting technical study for the Iraqi postal system; shelling out $800 million to train 1,500 Iraqi police officers at $530,000 per; building $400 million maximum security prisons at $50,000 a bed; spending $100 million to enroll 100 Iraqi families of five in a witness protection program at $200,000 a person; buying 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 apiece; shelling out $100 million to pay for 500 experts to investigate crimes against humanity at $200,000 a person; and spending $1.5 million for museums documenting Iraqi atrocities."
[ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42249-2003Oct3.html ]

The highway robbery is already underway. This Washington Post op-ed led off with Wolfowitz's congressional testimony in February to the effect that the occupation could easily pay for itself and the reconstruction costs over the next two or three years. Oh, really? Perhaps they didn't know the disrepair and low capacity of sanctions-crippled Iraq? Sorry, no soap: Studies at the James Baker III Institute (Yes, that James Baker) at Rice University had previously concluded that Iraq was nowhere near being able to do that. ("Guiding Principles for U.S. Post-Conflict Policy in Iraq", Dec 2002).

So What's Wolfie doing up there with his $50-$100 billion per year revenue estimate, if not selling a bill of goods? Really, these are smart people, with excellent connections to the best of minds on the subject, and so they must have known. Why did they lie? Obviously: popular meme of "pay for Iraq's rebuilding with its own revenue" was too good to stomp on with a dose of reality. Why, it bordered on defeatism -- and, of course, coming from a critic of the invasion, it's even treasonous, I'm sure.

Imperialism? That's not a crime, though I think it's not a good road for a republic like ours to travel. And precisely because of temptations like the Fort Knox of oil wealth that Saddam was guarding until spring of this fateful year, and the oil-industry origins of almost everybody in the current administration. A McCain I could have trusted on this invasion. Bush & Co.? Forget it.

Oh, and by the way, HA: by your apparent definition of the word, Michael Totten has already called upon himself for censorship -- and of me -- when he said he'll kick my ass off this blog if I can't be civil. I'm sorry, but that wouldn't be censorship. It's his blog. He's within his rights to do that, to erase everything I've written, and every reply suggesting I've written anything here. He's not the government, and he pays his own site bills.

Posted by: Treasonous Fucking Bastard at October 5, 2003 05:55 AM

HA,

Ummm, I could be wrong here, my grasp of history obviously being inferior to yours, but didn't the Somalia happen during Clinton's presidency? Wouldn't that mean that, by your own logic, those people engaging in smears against Clinton would have been guilty of treason for criticizing the president in a time of war and thereby weakening him? You wouldn't have been one of those people, would you have? I commend you for owning up to your own treasonous activities. Other than that, I don't know what you're trying to say, other than "Bad media! Bad!"

The reason you should be banned is that you continue to make unfounded accusations against myself and other posters. When called on this, you either refuse to back up your charges, redefine words until they suit your purposes better, or just retreat into a "I know treason when I see it" fantasyland where presidents are infallible and doubt is equated with criminal intent. Censorship would be banning you for your ideas. Those being few and far between, most of your posts consist of ad-hominem attacks, simple assertions that your opponent is wrong, arguments consisting of " _____ supports my position in _____ book" without explanation, and continued and unsupported allegations of treason on the part of other posters. Poor logic can be excused, but slander can not. You yourself have stated that your purpose here is only to offend. In short, you should be banned not for the content of your posts, but for your conduct. The only one limiting your speech would be you.

Posted by: Smokey at October 5, 2003 08:17 AM

HA,

While bound to expose (i.e. not cause) conflict, it was necessary step to preserve our freedom.
Yes, like that long-simmering feud with Turkey. Or Mexico. Or Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and the remainder of North America. Glad we got that out in the open. Hey, there's still Australia! And Antarctica! The penguins love us! But we're so much more free now, it's all worth it! (Warning: Freedoms of speech, religion, association, and movement not included)

As for the North Korea canard, are you suggesting that the troops should have been sent into Korea instead?
No, but it sure would be nice to be able to wave this big stick we've got while we're talking to them. Too bad we left it in Iraq. Now North Korea, if they don't already have nukes, are at least far, far closer than Iraq could have been at this time. And who is more likely to sell nukes to rogue groups, a nation sitting on top of billions of dollars in oil, or a nation with yearly famines, a moribund economy, and virtually no exportable goods or technologies except military hardware?

The South Korean military is perfectly capable of defeating the North Koreans on the ground without our help.
And you base this on what? The 2 to 1 numerical superiority of the North Koreans? The substantial advantages of the North in key areas such as artillery and aircraft? North Korea's military probably isn't in prime fighting shape, but that kind of numerical superiority is an enormous obstacle to overcome.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/rok/orbat-comp.htm

You don’t actually believe France is an ally do you?
Well, based on their record of being on our side in every major conflict in our history, numerous treaties and binational accords, and the public statements of both governments, yes, I do believe that. As does every remotely rational person who is not so blinded by their hatred of dissent that they are unable to see the obvious. Again, disagreement equals implacable opposition and malicious intent. What a wonderfully paranoid world you live in.

Even if you are right, this issue will arise in every military deployment. That is no reason not to use the military. If we're not prepared to use our miliary, we shouldn't bother having one.
This is wrong in so many ways. This will not arise in every deployment, only those in which planning is insufficient, troop rotation schedules are repeatedly changed, troops are asked to carry out missions for which they are untrained, and are generally insufficiently trained, supplied, or prepared in any way for the mission at hand. I highly recommend Col.Hackworth's sites for some examples:
www.hackworth.com
www.sftt.org
The point of a strong military is not to be able to use it (unless you admire Hitler, Tojo, and the like). The purpose of a military is primarily the deterrent effect, as well as having the ability to fight and win when necessary. Engaging in unnecessary conflicts weakens the military greatly, and engaging in them based on exagerrated premises weakens the morale and sense of duty of soldiers.

Nuclear proliferation exploded as a direct result of Clinton’s appeasement policies. Iran’s, NK’s, Pakistan’s and India’s all started under the Clinton era
Bwahahahaha! India started their program in the '60s, Pakistan in the '70s in response to India's first test, and N Korea back in the '50s. As the status of Iran's nuclear program is unknown, I don't know how you can assign a date to it's beginning, but what the hey! As long as we're blaming Clinton, why not? India and Pakistan simply announced that they were nuclear powers during the Clinton presidency, mostly due to regional politics over Kashir and China. How you can attribute that to Clinton's "appeasement policies" is beyond me, and as usual goes unexplained.

This idea that the Iraq campagin is somehow setting a precedent that will be used to justify wars is absurd. The factors that lead to war have been known since Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War.
Again, you simply assert that Sun Tzu agrees with you. What factors are you talking about? How are they relevant? And how is it absurd? Prior to this, international law had generally agreed that an threat must be imminent and obvious to justify preemptive war. To engage in war otherwise would bring down the full wrath of the international community, as it did during the first Gulf War. We have demolished that principle. Whatever threat we may have faced from Iraq, it was neither obvious nor imminent. We chose to nip a minor and hypothetical threat in the bud, and to do so we dispensed with principles that have served the world well for many years. War can now be conducted on the basis of assertions. They don't even need to be true.

And speaking of Sweden, if it was an American state, it would be among one of the poorest somewhere near Arkansas and Mississippi. African Americans have a higher standard of living than Swedes.
Please try not to confuse per capita GDP/GSP with standard of living. They are correlated, but you can't simply use GSP as a proxy for standard of living. It is because of it's socialist policies and income redistribution that Sweden can maintain a high standard of living relative to GDP. You can disagree with the effects of those policies with regard to personal freedoms and the free market, or even the basic morality of them, but to claim they result in a lower standard of living is simply wrong.

And speaking of death camps, you might as well say that France is a big death camp with 15,000 people die in a friggin' heat wave.I agree, heat waves are one of the leading indicators of encroaching fascism. Be that as it may, I suspect that the death toll had more to do with the low ownership of air-conditioning than with socialism. Not because they live in a socio-fascist death-camp with such a low standard of living that they are unable to afford AC, but because they generally don't need it. Average summer temperature in most of France is about the same as in Maine. Do you know a many peope there with AC?

I actually agree with you these points. We aren’t engaged in a “war on terror.” Rather,we are engaged in a war against Arab Nationalism and Islamic Fascism.
You miss my point. Those are both ideologies, not entities which can be fought. You cannot fight a war against an idea, you must fight those instantiations of ideas which do occur and which do pose a concrete threat. Ideologies and political movements are best combatted diplomatically and politically, not militarily. And it is in precisely those arenas that we have been most crippled by the missteps of this administration.

Posted by: Smokey at October 5, 2003 10:48 AM

TFB,

Hey, I wouldn't even mind us being a bunch of imperialists lording it over the vanquished if we did it in a moral and just manner. The Ottoman Turks, for all their ruthlessness, understood justice.

So of America modelled itself on the Ottomans you would be happy? Ever heard of the Armenian Genocide? Is that your idea of a "just" empire? The Ottomons inaugurated a century of genocide and you hold them up as a model of virtue. No, you're not a moonbat.

Michael Totten has already called upon himself for censorship -- and of me -- when he said he'll kick my ass off this blog if I can't be civil.

I agree with you on this. I don't think Michael should have threatened to ban you. I can't speak for him, but I suspect at some level he regrets that.

I'm sorry, but that wouldn't be censorship. It's his blog. He's within his rights to do that, to erase everything I've written

Of course he is within his rights to ban or erase anyone. This is his private site. But it would still be censorship.

I of course would not like to be the object of censorship. And I wouldn't want you to be either because every time I provoke you into one of your rants, you become a case study for everything I'm talking about.

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2003 10:55 AM

Sorry about the excessive posting, but this one needs it's own reply:

HA:What lies?

"Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”
State of the Union Address – 1/28/2003

"Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents.”
State of the Union Address – 1/28/2003

"Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas."
State of the Union Address – 1/28/2003

"Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaida."
State of the Union Address – 1/28/2003

"He (Saddam) has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
State of the Union Address – 1/28/2003

"We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."
Bush Press Conference 7/14/2003

"We've found the weapons of mass destruction... For those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them."
Bush, Polish TV 5/29/03

lie - To present false information with the intention of deceiving. (dictionary.com)

I think that justifies the references to presidential lies. If you disagree, please provide evidence that the above statements are true. In the absence of evidence, I will regard them as presumptive lies. And I don't mean in a "philosophical" sense. Stating as fact something which is unsupported by the full weight of the evidence, or claiming as definitive evidence which is in fact very much contradictory, is a lie. The extent of the lies, and whether they were motivated by deceit or ignorance is perhaps an open question. But I see no way of answering it without asking questions. That's the nature of the investigative process. You state a hypothesis (He lied, the white house leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent) based upon preliminary evidence, and then you determine what further evidence would support that conclusion, and what would disprove it. Evidence is gathered and assessed relative to the original hypothetical. But you can't find an answer to a question if you never ask it.

Posted by: Smokey at October 5, 2003 11:25 AM

HA,

You are wrong about the censorship. A hypothetical:

Say you get on a bus. The guy sitting next to you appears to be a Muslim and indeed, states that he is, and in conversation even expresses some support for the Palestinian cause. So you begin shouting imprecations at him, accusing him of being a terrorist, aiding the attacks of 9/11, and being complicit in the deaths of thousands. Is the bus driver justified in pulling over and kicking you the fuck off his bus? Or is that censorship?

Posted by: Smokey at October 5, 2003 11:50 AM

Smokey,

Yes, like that long-simmering feud with Turkey. Or Mexico. Or Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and the remainder of North America. Glad we got that out in the open. Hey, there's still Australia! And Antarctica!

Wrong. The vast majority of European countires supported us. The list includes Italy, Spain, Britain, Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia .

http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2003/02/06022003175020.asp

Most non-Islamic countries in the rest of the world didn’t give a shit whether we attacked Iraq or not. Places like Mexico and Turkey were just looking to exploit the situation to see what they could get out of it.

Clinton would have been guilty of treason for criticizing the president in a time of war and thereby weakening him?

I think the Republican treatment of Clinton was disgraceful. It certainly weakened us and to some extent was responsible for Clinton’s half-assed policies. Whether it is treasonous or not is debatable. I would use a different standard before 9/11 than after.

In short, you should be banned not for the content of your posts, but for your conduct.

Please explain how in a written forum you can distinguish between my conduct and the content of my posts. What a splendid example of your muddled thought.

No, but it sure would be nice to be able to wave this big stick we've got while we're talking to them.

The only thing you’d wave is a white flag.

And who is more likely to sell nukes to rogue groups, a nation sitting on top of billions of dollars in oil, or a nation with yearly famines, a moribund economy, and virtually no exportable goods or technologies except military hardware?

If NK didn’t have nukes, they couldn’t sell them. Clinton shouldn’t have let NK get nukes. You can be assured that Saddam will never have nukes. If we hadn’t attacked, it was only a matter of time before he or his demon spawn successors would have acquired them. And they would have used them too. I know you don’t like it when I recommend books. Maybe you don’t like to read. Nevertheless, I recommend “The Threatening Storm” by Kenneth Pollack on this topic.

The 2 to 1 numerical superiority of the North Koreans? The substantial advantages of the North in key areas such as artillery and aircraft? North Korea's military probably isn't in prime fighting shape, but that kind of numerical superiority is an enormous obstacle to overcome.

Post WWII history has proven time and again that modern militaries from democratic states eqipped with American arms (or even French arms in the case of the Six Day war) will always defeat numerically superior militaries from tyrannical regimes armed with obsolete Soviet era equipment.

Well, based on their record of being on our side in every major conflict in our history, numerous treaties and binational accords,

Wrong. France abandoned NATO. The refused to let us use their air space against Libya. Our first land engagement in WWII was against the Vichy French in North Africa. Also, during the Civil War, France positioned troops in Mexico in order to seize American territory in the event of the dissolution of the nation.

The purpose of a military is primarily the deterrent effect

Exactly. And where is the deterrent if our enemies don’t think we have the political will to use our military?

India started their program in the '60s, Pakistan in the '70s in response to India's first test, and N Korea back in the '50s. As the status of Iran's nuclear program is unknown, I don't know how you can assign a date to it's beginning, but what the hey! As long as we're blaming Clinton, why not? India and Pakistan simply announced that they were nuclear powers during the Clinton presidency, mostly due to regional politics over Kashir and China.

You are absolutley correct about this. Nuclear proliferation goes back decades. I stated my case imprecisely. However, in your over-zealousness to experience a “gotcha” moment, you forgot to consider if these facts support your arguments. Your premise is that nuclear proliferation has occurred due to Bush’s “ruinous” foreign policy. You have now refuted your own premise and made my argument for me better than I did. Thanks.

How you can attribute that to Clinton's "appeasement policies" is beyond me, and as usual goes unexplained.

NK has nukes as a direct result of Clinton’s appeasement policy. This is indisputable.

Whatever threat we may have faced from Iraq, it was neither obvious nor imminent.

The threat was obvious. I agree it wasn’t imminent. Unfortunately for your Big Smear campaign, neither did Bush. Bush went to great lengths to state that we couldn’t wait until the threat was imminent because by then it would be too late. You remember the “connect-the-dots” smear don’t you? Well, you guys smear Bush for not connecting the dots in regard to 9/11. And then you smear him for connecting the dots in regard to Iraq. And then you lie about the case Bush made for going to war.

It is because of it's socialist policies and income redistribution that Sweden can maintain a high standard of living relative to GDP. You can disagree with the effects of those policies with regard to personal freedoms and the free market, or even the basic morality of them, but to claim they result in a lower standard of living is simply wrong.

You once again make one of my arguments for me. Sweden enjoys a uniformly low and declining standard of living thanks to its socialist system. They have achieved an equitable distribution of poverty. So what if they had to sacrifice freedom in order to build their utopia? Do you still dispute Hayek’s thesis? If Swedish style socialism was implemented in the US, we’d have complete societal breakdown due to the collapse in our standard of living.

I suspect that the death toll had more to do with the low ownership of air-conditioning than with socialism.

The death toll is a direct result of France’s socialist policy of using punitive tax policies to discourage energy consumption. The French elite decided that the French people were too unwise to spend their own money as they saw fit. So what if 15,000 mostly elderly people die in a heat wave? Grandma won’t be wasting any more energy, will she?

Average summer temperature in most of France is about the same as in Maine. Do you know a many peope there with AC?

Have you been to Maine in the summer? I have. I lived in New Brunswick in eastern Canada for several years so I know a thing or two about Maine. It can get quite hot in that area in the summer and most people I know had AC.

Those are both ideologies, not entities which can be fought. You cannot fight a war against an idea, you must fight those instantiations of ideas which do occur and which do pose a concrete threat. Ideologies and political movements are best combatted diplomatically and politically, not militarily.

That is a profoundly naïve statement. These ideologies are instantiated in Syria, Iran, Saudia Arabia, Libya, the PLO, al Qaeda, etc. These are either states or transnational organizations hosted and supported by states. These regimes/organizations have all been in power for decades. States can be deterred from engaging in terrorism through the threat of regime change. They can also be coerced into cracking down on non-state actors through the threat of regime change. Diplomacy hasn’t stopped terrorism, its fueled terrorism. That is one reason why it was necessary to attack Iraq and restore the deterrent effect. Now you and the Big Smear people on the left are undermining the deterrent effect that Bush restored.

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2003 07:09 PM

Smokey,

All of Bush's statements were supported by intelligence. You can question whether or not that intelligence was accurate. But if it was not accurate, that would be due to the fact that the Democrats spent a quarter century gutting our intelligence capabilities.

Also, if you think Bush lied about Saddam's WMD program, then you'll have to concede that every single prominent Democrat has also lied:

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
-President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
-President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
-Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
-Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs." Letter to President Clinton, signed by:
-Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
-Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D! , CA), Dec. 16, 1998

"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
-Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Letter to President Bush, Signed by:
-Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec 5, 2001

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them."
-Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
-Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
-Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
-Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
-Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
-Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
-Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002

"[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..."
-Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

In addition, Saddam has extensive ties to al Qaeda and there is much evidence linking him to the 1993 WTC bombing.

http://www.fas.org/irp/world/iraq/956-tni.htm

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2003 07:26 PM

Smokey,

The guy sitting next to you appears to be a Muslim and indeed, states that he is, and in conversation even expresses some support for the Palestinian cause.

Actually, I wouldn't waste my time talking to the guy. I'd get the hell off the bus before he detonated his bomb vest!

You're hypothetical is stupid. It has no relevance to wanting a guy banned from a blog for expressing ideas that you may find offensive but that many others agree with. The heart of the concept of free speech is the ability to express ideas that others may find offensive.

The simple fact is that you and that nut job Michael Turner want me banned because you are losing the argument. It is rather pathetic to see self-described libertarians and/or liberals calling for censorship.

But then, based on your regard for Sweden, I would categorize you as a socialist rather than a liberal. That would explain your aversion to free speech.

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2003 07:48 PM

Being a busy leftist, terrorist nut-job has recently left me only enough time for one HA howler per day. So I thought I'd take on this one:

HA: "The vast majority of European countires supported us. The list includes Italy, Spain, Britain, Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia."

I see. Europe overwhelmingly supported us about invading Iraq just because a majority of national leaders endorsed the invasion. Relatively few put any money where their mouths were. In fact, most didn't pipe up until money was promised them. And very few put more than a handful of bodies in harms way.

Where was Europe, really, on the issue of whether to invade Iraq?

If you include all of Europe's citizens, Europe was overwhelming opposed. Rummy's "New Europe" loved our Iraq-adventure plans? Yeah, right: Hungarian opposition in January was 82% opposed, with 2/3rds of the remainder still opposed if there was no U.N. security council approval.

And why does the leader of Slovenia count for more than millions of opposed Brits, who definitely were going to send troops if Blairites got their way? This accounting is quite beyond me.

Did those leaders favoring an invasion have access to all kinds of secret intelligence from Bush and Blair, that stuff they told us last fall they couldn't reveal to us without compromising important intelligence assets? Remember that? Well, this would be the time to hear about what that intelligence was, wouldn't it? But no. Instead we have David Kay's revelation that he's found a small vial of botox starter, sitting for 10 years in the family freezer of a man who was probably bragging to his neighbors that he could deploy Weapons of Mass Wrinkle Destruction in 45 minutes.

Remember the Azores meeting? Three national leaders on the stage. Only one of them from the European mainland -- and that one attended against the wishes of a clear majority of Spaniards. Who knows if Blair would have been up there, had the lies of his administration been exposed earlier. With Blair unavailable, would the Spanish president have stepped up to the plate? Somehow I don't think so.

With no Britain, and no continental European power on the stage, how much "New Europe" would Rummy & Co. have been able to buy? Do I hear Lithuania for $1.5 billion? No? Let's do this democracy-subversion auction sometime later, then.

The opposition trend has only increased since the war:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A22434-2003Sep3&notFound=true

The only mainland European nation with a significant troop presence in Iraq is Poland (oh that's who Rummy meant by "New Europe". There we see 58% approval of U.S. foreign policy, but with an "actively supporting" segment for Polish deployment in Iraq at only 40% as of Sep 8.

http://quickstart.clari.net/qs_se/webnews/wed/au/Qiraq-poland-poll.RsFi_DSO.html

And that's for deploying Polish troops who don't (yet) have reason to be hated by any Iraqis except by association to the Anglo-American contingent. Polish troops sent to parts of Iraq that are currently relatively peaceful except for fratricidal Shi'ite behavior (for which the Polish deployment was briefly delayed). Not to the Baghdad-Tikrit shooting galleries.

I guess a lot of Poles are happy to take the U.S. foreign aid that was dangled pre-war, but only 40% are willing to put their own bodies, those of their sons and daughters, where their mouths are.

And isn't that the real test? I opposed the first Gulf War (as did then-General Colin Powell, lest we forget, until he was ordered to go in), but when we turned tail after the Turkey Shoot, and left Iraqi civilians flailing in bombed out infrastructure, dangling on Saddam's hook, I was livid. I would have signed up to go to Iraq to help finish the job at that point. Instead, we left Saddam to stabilize his own country, after encouraging uprisings against him, knowing full well how he'd go about that stabilization (how he'd probably have to go about any such stabilization under the circumstances), and saying it was up to Iraqis to overthrow him if they could.

Posted by: Treasonous Fucking Bastard at October 5, 2003 11:22 PM

HA,

The vast majority of European countires supported us.
Their governments may have supported us as a political matter, but the populations of most of the countries you mention were overwhelmingly opposed. The fact that so many governments went against the wishes of the electorate is a tribute to the amount of soft power we can wield. The failure to find WMDs has dealt those governments a tremendous blow, making it much harder to gain their support in the future. BTW, the story that you link to is from before the war. I think post-war data is a little more relevant.
http://people-press.org/reports/print.php3?PageID=683

Places like Mexico and Turkey were just looking to exploit the situation to see what they could get out of it.
That's why Turkey turned down the 4 billion we were offering for basing rights? Greedy bastards! What exactly do you think they were trying to "get out of it"? Or would thinking it through tax your brain too much?

The only thing you’d wave is a white flag.
I am speechless before the power of your argument.

If NK didn’t have nukes, they couldn’t sell them. Clinton shouldn’t have let NK get nukes.
Bad Clinton! Bad!

Post WWII history has proven time and again that modern militaries from democratic states eqipped with American arms (or even French arms in the case of the Six Day war) will always defeat numerically superior militaries from tyrannical regimes armed with obsolete Soviet era equipment.
By all means, state your evidence. What specific conflicts are you referring to? In the case of the arab-israeli conflicts, the key to the Israeli victory was overwhelming air superiority. This is not the case in Korea. And "always"? Like, say in Vietnam?

Wrong. France abandoned NATO. The refused to let us use their air space against Libya. Our first land engagement in WWII was against the Vichy French in North Africa. Also, during the Civil War, France positioned troops in Mexico in order to seize American territory in the event of the dissolution of the nation.
Yes, yes, the French and Bill Clinton are the root of all that is evil. Do you really believe your own arguments, or are you just cobbling shit together out of desperation? How are any of these relevant to the status of the alliance? The Civil freaking War? Are you serious? WWII? We were actually at war with Italy (not France) in WWII, but you list them as one of our great allies in the Iraq war. How is that consistent with your argument? Are you perhaps judging past conduct on the basis of present attitudes? Given the high standards of argument in your other posts, I find that hard to believe.

Your premise is that nuclear proliferation has occurred due to Bush’s “ruinous” foreign policy. You have now refuted your own premise and made my argument for me better than I did. Thanks.
No, I never claimed that Bush invented nuclear proliferation, as you implied about Clinton. My argument was that Bush's policies will speed up proliferation. NK has had a low level program for decades. They have only accelerated it during the Bush presidency, as they believe they need a nuclear deterrent to prevent an invasion. The Clinton (and Bush I) policy of engagement had successfully kept the program dormant. Same for Iran.
Another hypothetical. I know you don't like it when I use hypotheticals. Maybe you don't like to think. Say Fred has a press conference in which he states that Tom, Bill, and Jim-Bob are treasonous fucking bastards, and a danger to national security. A week later, Fred shoots Jim-Bob dead while he's walking out of Debbie's All-Nite Wings 'n Porn Emporium. I'm betting that Tom and Bill are going to try and get themselves a bullet-proof vest as soon as possible, just in case Fred decides to shoot them next (they might avoid porn and wings, too, but that is beside the point). My argument is not necessarily that Bush policy has increased proliferation, although it certainly has in the case of NK, but that it will inevitibly result in proliferation, as a result of perfectly rational decisions by countries who feel threatened by the doctrine of preemptive war.

NK has nukes as a direct result of Clinton’s appeasement policy. This is indisputable.
It is not. I dispute it, which makes it disputable. And disputable points, alas, require argument. Not your strong point, I know, but keep trying.

You once again make one of my arguments for me. Sweden enjoys a uniformly low and declining standard of living thanks to its socialist system. They have achieved an equitable distribution of poverty
But my point was not that Sweden is some socialist utopia. My argument was limited to your claim that Swedes have an lower average standard of living than Arkansans and Mississippians, which is false. I said that socialist policies allow for a high standard of living relative to per capita GDP. Their effect on GDP itself is another question entirely, and not one which I addressed. I realize that it's easier to refute the arguments you'd like me to make, but it's generally frowned upon.

The death toll is a direct result of France’s socialist policy of using punitive tax policies to discourage energy consumption.
No, the death toll is a direct result of it being very, very hot. Do you maybe mean indirect?

Diplomacy hasn’t stopped terrorism, its fueled terrorism.
Did I say diplomacy could "stop" terrorism? I said it was better than military force. The escalation in terrorism in Israel has exactly paralleled the escalation in Israeli military response. The strategy is working so well that they feel it necessary to build a fence to keep out terrorists. Can we construct a fence around our borders?
I'll agree that the threat of regime change can be an effective deterrent to state-sponsored terrorism. The ousting of the Taliban was a momentary high point in Bush policy. But here is the problem: "That is one reason why it was necessary to attack Iraq and restore the deterrent effect." If you want to deter state-sponsored terror, why invade a country with virtually no ties to state-sponsored terror? Maybe because the deterrent effect is secondary to the primary goals of the invasion?

Also, if you think Bush lied about Saddam's WMD program, then you'll have to concede that every single prominent Democrat has also lied:
Your list of Democrats is very impressive, it must have taken you a lot of searching on FreeRepublic, but it is also spectacularly irrelevant to the question. Whether they lied is simply irrelevant to the question of whether Bush did. Does this mean I can assume you admit that there is no evidence to support the presiden't various claims?

In addition, Saddam has extensive ties to al Qaeda and there is much evidence linking him to the 1993 WTC bombing
Can I assume that there is "much" more evidence than a decade-old paper asserting, rather unconvincingly, that Ramzi Yousef was an Iraqi agent? A paper whose author, Laurie Mylroie, has also claimed that Iraq was behind the Kenya and Tanzania bombings as well as 9/11? A paper with more holes in it than Uday Hussein?
http://slate.msn.com/id/116232/
If so, I'd sure like to see it. Maybe you could send it to the White House, too, I'm sure they'd be grateful.

Please explain how in a written forum you can distinguish between my conduct and the content of my posts.
I think my meaning is clear to anyone not willfully blind to it. I distinguish between your disagreements with me and your accusations of treason on my part. The former is fine, the latter is not.

You're hypothetical is stupid.
Pardon me for being uncivil, but I think stupid is using "you're" rather than "your", and is particularly so if done while making allegations of stupidity against others. If you want to talk about stupid, that is.

The simple fact is that you and that nut job Michael Turner want me banned because you are losing the argument.
You're president would be proud of you. Rather than going to the hard work of actually making a coherent argument and supporting it, simply assert victory in the face of all contrary evidence and walk away. Are you busily typing away in your own little George W. Bush replica flight suit? If anyone was still reading this thread, I'd ask the gallery for a judgment of who's winning and who's losing, but sadly, I suspect it's just me, you, and possibly Michael Turner, if he hasn't tired of tilting at windbags.

It has no relevance to wanting a guy banned from a blog for expressing ideas that you may find offensive but that many others agree with.
For the last time, I don't find your ideas offensive, I find your conduct inexcusable. Treason is a serious charge, and must not be levied as casually as you like to do. The host suggested that civility was a pre-requisite for continued posting. Your accusations cross the border of civility, and you should be banned accordingly. After all, what good's a deterrent if you don't have the will to use it?

Posted by: Smokey at October 6, 2003 12:38 AM

Smokey,

I don't really have to time to wade through your post. I have a day job that I need to support my family. That's not easy when over half my income goes to taxes in one form or another.

I will address one bizarre statement because it involves a topic we haven't touched on:

The escalation in terrorism in Israel has exactly paralleled the escalation in Israeli military response.

Wrong as usual. The current escalation in terrorism is a direct result of diplomatic failure. Arafat was offered the deal that everyone said is the only solution and he turned it down. And why should he? He is getting filthy rich laundering the protection money he is being paid. And he would have to give up his dream of destroying Israel and driving the Jews into the sea. So what if his policies have led the Palestinians to misery?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/oslo/negotiations/

The escalation of terrorism is due to Arafat achieving his objectives through the use of terrorism. You have an impressive talent for failing to understand true cause and effect relationships.

If the Israelis want to reverse the escalation of terrorism, they should kill Arafat and the rest of the Palestinian terrorist leadership. If you want to stop terrorism, kill terrorists.

Posted by: HA at October 6, 2003 04:02 AM

HA,

You claim my statement is bizarre, and then don't address it. My statement addressed the escalation of the current situation, not its root causes. The failure of Arafat to accept a diplomatic solution can in no way be construed as a failure of diplomacy. Diplomacy worked. Progress had been made towards a solution acceptable to both sides. Arafat's perfidy doesn't change that. Both sides have apparently decided they would rather wage war than make peace. That Arafat chose this path first does not make Sharon right. The cycle of violent reprisals by both sides has caused the situation to spiral downwards, which is what I said in my post. Or are you arguing that Israel has been successful in reducing terrorist attacks over the past few years?

If you want to stop terrorism, kill terrorists.
Again, I would submit that this tactic is not working very well. Terrorists have been killed, yet terrorism endures, even thrives.

I don't really have to time to wade through your post. I have a day job that I need to support my family. That's not easy when over half my income goes to taxes in one form or another.
And you claim not to like socialism. Without those socialist taxes, you might actually have to read! And think! Socialism is your friend. You can even duck an argument you're losing and then blame it on....you guessed it, everybody's favorite ideology, Socialism! Feel the love. Or the irony. Whichever.

Posted by: Smokey at October 6, 2003 05:43 AM

Smokey,

I've noticed from your posts that your are well informed about facts and events even if you omit those that contradict your arguments. Your problem is that you almost always draw the wrong conclusion. How can that be?

If I assume the BEST about your character, I can only assume that you are hopelessly naive and polyannaish. In order for diplomcacy to succeed, it requires two honorable parties that will live up to their obligations. Negotiations always fail with thugs like Saddam, Kim Il Sung and Arafat.

Consider Arafat's statement on Jordanian TV the very same day he signed the Oslo Accords:

In this regard it is instructive to recall what Arafat told Jordanian television on September 13th, the same day he signed the Oslo accord on the lawn of White House: "Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel."

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/gaffney061902.asp

Diplomacy failed because diplomacy handed Arafat the means to wage his terror war. If Oslo had not occurred, Arafat would still be in exile instead of carrying out his "stages" plan.

The simple fact is that if the Palestinians had chosen the path of Gandhi or MLK, they would have had a state years ago. The problem is they want to destroy Israel and finish Hitler's work. So they chose Arafat's way.

If you believe that diplomacy is going to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, you are a fool. That conflict will go on until one side or the other is defeated.

Posted by: HA at October 7, 2003 04:36 AM

Smokey,

Here is a good example of treasonous behavior by the left. Jonathan Schell writes in the Nation that it is important to lose the war in Iraq:

http://truthout.org/docs_03/090903C.shtml

Do you agree or disagree with his thesis?

Posted by: HA at October 7, 2003 04:48 AM

" Those are both ideologies, not entities which can be fought. You cannot fight a war against an idea, you must fight those instantiations of ideas which do occur and which do pose a concrete threat. Ideologies and political movements are best combatted diplomatically and politically, not militarily. And it is in precisely those arenas that we have been most crippled by the missteps of this administration."

This one still bothers me, Smokey, even after you danced around it partly in your one response.

How would you have suggested responding to the ideology and political movement of National Socialism in the 30's and 40's? Diplomatically? Do you suspect that a non military response to that ideology would have been either sufficient or effective?

Posted by: Ironbear at October 7, 2003 06:29 AM

Ironbear,

If you look at the post of mine that you quoted, you'll see that I recommend fighting those manifestations of repellent ideologies which pose an imminent danger to national or global security. National Socialism was an ideology which was made manifest in Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany (not national socialism per se) posed a clear threat to the rest of the world, and was rightly fought and defeated. Those factors which led to the rise of that ideology were then confronted diplomatically, largely in the form of the Marshall Plan. The failure of National Socialism and fascism in general to be resurgent in the post-war era is a testament to the success of that diplomacy.

BTW, I was surprised to see a new name in this thread. Have you been following it all along? Because if you just sat down and waded through all of this, you must be a masochist or something. I think even Michael Totten has given up. In any event, it's a pleasure to respond to someone who isn't accusing me (or others)of treason.

Posted by: Smokey at October 7, 2003 10:54 AM

Smokey - Those factors which led to the rise of that ideology were then confronted diplomatically, largely in the form of the Marshall Plan. The failure of National Socialism and fascism in general to be resurgent in the post-war era is a testament to the success of that diplomacy.

This statement is very interesting, Smokey. By extending your logic, it seems that the success of post-war Iraqi reconstruction (the new Marshall Plan) may turn out to be instrumental in the defeat of illiberal Islamo-fascist ideologies. I don't think you could argue that the diplomatic and political changes in Germany would have been possible without the pre-condition of a devastating military response.

Posted by: d-rod at October 7, 2003 11:46 AM

HA,

In order for diplomcacy to succeed, it requires two honorable parties that will live up to their obligations. Negotiations always fail with thugs like Saddam, Kim Il Sung and Arafat.
They do not. Diplomacy does not require that the parties involved be honorable, merely self-interested. Diplomacy and negotiation were successful in disarming Saddam after '91, had until the latest intifada kept Israel relatively calm, and until Bush annnounced his doctrine of preventive war, had been succesful in keeping Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung from reviving their nuclear program. Incomplete victory is not failure. Diplomacy is largely a matter of harm reduction, and it's success must be judged accordingly.

I do not dispute that Arafat is more responsible than any other person for the disintegrating situation in Israel/Palestine. He was offered peace, and chose war instead. But it takes two to tango. Arafat may have asked Sharon to dance, even dragged him out onto the dance floor, but Sharon didn't have to start swinging to the beat and shakin' his groove thing. I obviously have no solution to the conflict, or I would be in Sweden right now picking up my Nobel Prize (as well as enjoying the comradeship of my socialist brethren and singing the Internationale until the wee hours, of course). But I do know that current Israeli policy is not working (nor is Palestinian policy, for that matter). Military retaliation, missile strikes on apartment houses, and the razing of innocent people's houses do little to dissuade terrorism, and do much to radicalize those who were not previously radicals. The latest suicide bomber was a law student. Suicide bombers are drawn from the desperate and the dispossessed. It is a mark of Israel's failure that that category now includes essentially the entire Palestinian population.

If you believe that diplomacy is going to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, you are a fool.
[I]f the Palestinians had chosen the path of Gandhi or MLK, they would have had a state years ago.
Please reconcile the contradiction here. Which is it? Could diplomacy have worked or not? Are you full of shit or just a fool?

Back to the treason thing, are we? I'm sure there must be twelve-step programs for people like you. Look into it.

I'll post the definition for you again, since you seem to have forgotten:

treason: Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one's country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies. In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or to an adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Could you tell me what part of the article you cite meets those criteria? What enemy is he aiding? The people of Iraq? But if the war was to free the Iraqi people from Saddam and remove the threat which he posed, then the Iraqi people are not the enemy. You seem to have seized upon the rhetorical use of the word "lose" in order to claim that the author wants us to be militarily defeated. If you actually read the article, rather than just the title, you would see that this is not the case. Again, if you want to make accusations of treason, be prepared to back them up. Specifically, what is treasonous here?

For the record, I don't agree with the article. Complete withdrawal would signal weakness and embolden our enemies in the future. Also, as the invader and occupying power, we are now responsible under international law for security and reconstruction in Iraq. To leave would be to abdicate that responsibility. I do believe that the occupation needs to be internationalized, mostly for practical reasons. But by that I mean sharing power with the UN, not leaving entirely. I know, along with Bill Clinton and France, the UN is the root of all that is evil in the world, but try to get past that. Wipe the froth off your lips and move on. I think we need to turn over political control to the UN, allowing them to head up such areas as day-to-day administrative responsibilities, the establishment of a constitution and the rule of law, public-works programs and their administration, etc... The US would still be responsible for security, meaning large numbers of our troops will still be required (but if we could get the Europeans to send some of their professional national police, such as the Italian Carabinieri, it would go a long way to getting US forces untrained for policing out of daily contact (and conflict) with the populace). No matter what, we will also bear the brunt of the financial burden.

Posted by: Smokey at October 7, 2003 12:33 PM

d-rod,

Sheesh, there are more people still here than I realized. I would have limited my post lengths a little if I had thought I was annoying anyone other than HA.

By extending your logic, it seems that the success of post-war Iraqi reconstruction (the new Marshall Plan) may turn out to be instrumental in the defeat of illiberal Islamo-fascist ideologies.
It may. That's assuming reconstruction succeeds, which is not exactly a safe bet at this point. Most of the more optimistic pro-war types I know tend to this line of argument: The occupation of Iraq will eventually lead to the flowering of a more pro-western culture in the middle east, and that this was the best reason for, and primary benefit of, the war. Again, it may. It may also result in widening anti-american sentiment in the region, the destabilization of neighboring states, and be a major boost to Islamic radicalism, as the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was. Any of these things are possible. Unless we can stop this guerilla war quickly, these possibilities will become more likely, while yours grow more remote.

I don't think you could argue that the diplomatic and political changes in Germany would have been possible without the pre-condition of a devastating military response.
I will agree with you that the reconstruction of Germany (and Japan) would have been impossible without their defeat and occupation. But here is the main place your analogy breaks down: We were forced to rebuild Germany, whereas in Iraq we chose to. And this makes all the difference. In Germany or Japan, we were dealing with the defeated populace of an aggressor nation. In Iraq we have a supposedly liberated people. How can we justify rebuilding their society to our liking? "Sorry, but you shouldn't have been oppressed by a brutal megalomaniacal dictator for twenty years. You really have noone to blame but yourselves." The Germans and Japanese also were shamed by revelations of atrocities committed by their militaries, and largely consented to occupation. There were no post-conflict American casualties in either place. To rebuild Iraq and spread enlightenment throughout the region, we would first need the agreement, or at least the acquiescence of the Iraqis. And that does not appear to be forthcoming.

Posted by: Smokey at October 7, 2003 05:01 PM

Smokey

Diplomacy does not require that the parties involved be honorable, merely self-interested.

And what if the self-interest of one party is in conflict with the terms of a diplomatic agreement?

Diplomacy and negotiation were successful in disarming Saddam after '91,

Wrong. It wasn’t until Saddam’s son-in-law defected in 1995 (if I recall correctly) that the UN inspectors made any meaningful progress. When the UN left in 1998, it had documented remaining WMD stockpiles that Bush referred to. Of course when Bush cites the UN findings you accusing him of lying.

had until the latest intifada kept Israel relatively calm,

Czechoslovkia was calm before Hitler invaded. So was Poland. And now that I think about, just about every friggin’ country was “relatively calm” before Hitler invaded them. The US was calm before Pearl Harbor. Bosnia and Kosovo were calm before Milosevic launched his wars. Notice a pattern here?

and until Bush annnounced his doctrine of preventive war, had been succesful in keeping Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung from reviving their nuclear program.

Wrong. It is now known that NK continued its nuclear program before the ink dried on that disgraceful Carter/Clinton agreement.

But it takes two to tango.

It takes two sides to fight a war, and one side to lose it.

I obviously have no solution to the conflict, or I would be in Sweden right now picking up my Nobel Prize (as well as enjoying the comradeship of my socialist brethren and singing the Internationale until the wee hours, of course).

I can't wait to see the picture of you and Yassar hoisting your prizes together in peaceful brotherhood!

But I do know that current Israeli policy is not working (nor is Palestinian policy, for that matter).

Wrong. Actually, it turns out that since Israel re-occupied the West Bank, Israeli terrorist fatalities have been cut nearly in half. They rise every time Israel loosens its grip. Israel’s policy is working.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1065455551089

Military retaliation, missile strikes on apartment houses, and the razing of innocent people's houses do little to dissuade terrorism, and do much to radicalize those who were not previously radicals.

Wrong. What radicalizes people is a pathological culture that incites anti-Jewish hatred to a a truly disturbing degree.

http://www.memri.org/

[HA]If you believe that diplomacy is going to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, you are a fool.
[I]f the Palestinians had chosen the path of Gandhi or MLK, they would have had a state years ago.
[SMOKEY]Please reconcile the contradiction here. Which is it? Could diplomacy have worked or not? Are you full of shit or just a fool?

The Israelis are one honorable party. If there were a Palestinian Gandhi, there would be two honorable parties. Thus diplomacy would be possible. What don’t you understand? Wait. Don’t answer that question. Your posts are already too long as it is.

You should read and think before you type.

treason: Violation of allegiance toward one's country or sovereign….
Could you tell me what part of the article you cite meets those criteria? …Specifically, what is treasonous here?

If someone wants his country to lose a war, he is most certainly violating allegiance toward his country. The author may try to twist it around to make it look like he wants us to win by losing, but that kind of socially constructed postmodern bullshit doesn’t count for much in the real world. Maybe in an academic environment dominated by intellectual savants and moral retards can such gibberish be taken seriously.

I do believe that the occupation needs to be internationalized, mostly for practical reasons. …I think we need to turn over political control to the UN… The US would still be responsible for security, meaning large numbers of our troops will still be … No matter what, we will also bear the brunt of the financial burden.

Let’s see. You want to internationalize for “practical” reasons. Yet it will take just as many troops and we will continue to bear the financial burden. I fail to see the practicality. Especially when you consider that the UN is dominated by scumbags who want us to fail and will sabatoge every inch of progress we make.

To rebuild Iraq and spread enlightenment throughout the region, we would first need the agreement, or at least the acquiescence of the Iraqis. And that does not appear to be forthcoming

Wrong. Every recent opionion poll has shown strong support among Iraqis for us to stay until an orderly transition can take place.

Posted by: HA at October 7, 2003 06:59 PM

In the 1990s, the Clinton administration conducted a major nation-building intervention every two years, on average. Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, and then Afghanistan also experienced a total collapse of their regimes, local police, courts, and militaries. In most of these cases including Bosnia, extremist elements emerged, organized crime developed and agreement or acquiescence of the population was not “forthcoming”. In Bosnia, over sixty Americans died in combat since the "end of hostilities" was declared. The reason there were no post-conflict deaths after WWII (if that is true), might have had something to do with dropping a couple nukes.

America’s commitment to Iraq is real and extraordinary although reconstruction is happening a brick at a time. A full comparison to Marshall Plan won't be possible for years, but after WWII people better understood that it was a generous and worthy endeavor that would take some time. Predictions of the “Arab street” erupting with ensuing quagmires are made every time American or Israeli power is utilized in the region. Every country is different and the threat we face is different, but evil is always evil.

Posted by: d-rod at October 7, 2003 07:18 PM

Smokey,

Another one of your arguments about Bush's "ruinous" foreign policy bites the dust. Turkey has approved sending troops to Iraq. So much for alienating allies.

As usual you fail to understand cause and effect relationships. The primary reason Turkey opposed our invasion is their fear of Kurdish independence. They were quite content to have Saddam squashing the Kurds.

Their opposition had nothing to do with what is in the best interest of American national security. Their self-interest was in conflict with our self-interest.

If the Turks are alienated by our actions that may lead to Kurdish autonomy, then I say let them be alienated. Or would you prefer to see Saddam continue crushing the Kurds in order to appease the Turks?

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/08/opinion/08SAFI.html

Posted by: HA at October 8, 2003 04:18 AM

Smokey,

You have taken exception to my use of the word "treasonous" to describe the far left. And you want me banned from MJT's blog because of it.

When I use the "T" word I use it as shorthand to characterize those who are violating their allegiance to their country.

If instead of using the "T" word I had just said the left is in violation of its allegience, would you still want me banned?

You attempt to draw a distinction betwween "content" and "conduct" in a purely written environment. If I had chosen a different word or phrase, would the "content" of my speech be unchanged? Would my "conduct" be any different?

According to the thesis you have stated, my use of the word "treasonous" in place of the phrase "violation of allegiance" has made my "conduct" unacceptable. Either way you should be offended.

However, my views remain unchanged regardless of the actual words I use to express them. So really what it boils down to is that I am able to express my ideas as long as I use terms that are acceptable to you. Is this not censorship?

Posted by: HA at October 8, 2003 04:36 AM

And what if the self-interest of one party is in conflict with the terms of a diplomatic agreement?
Then the agreement was fundamentally flawed to begin with. Diplomacy consists of finding mutually acceptable solutions by appeal to respective self-interest. The error made in dealing with Arafat was the belief that he was capable of putting the self-interest of the Palestinians above the self-interest of Yasser Arafat.

Israel’s policy is working.
If the aim of the policy is to create a police state in which half of the inhabitants of the country must be forcibly restrained to keep them from killing the other half, then yes, it is working. If the aim is to enable a peaceful, open and democratic society, then it most definitely is not. What is the endgame in the scenario you envision? The expulsion of the Palestinians? Genocide? The perpetual establishment of an Israeli security state? Avraham Burg had a cogent analysis of the Israeli dilemma recently:
http://www.forward.com/issues/2003/03.08.29/oped3.html

The Israelis are one honorable party. If there were a Palestinian Gandhi, there would be two honorable parties. Thus diplomacy would be possible.
But you have already said that diplomacy is impossible in Israel, and that one would be a fool to believe that it is. A proposition cannot be possible and impossible at the same time. Either diplomacy is possible, or it is not. Either you are a fool, or you are not. In both cases, my money is on the former.

It is now known that NK continued its nuclear program before the ink dried on that disgraceful Carter/Clinton agreement.
If you have evidence for this claim, by all means state it. "It is now known" that you like to make assertions without backing them up. Do you dispute that NKs nuclear stance has taken a turn for the worse during Bush's presidency?

You want to internationalize for “practical” reasons. Yet it will take just as many troops and we will continue to bear the financial burden. I fail to see the practicality.
You fail to see a lot of things which are obvious, so I'll help you out. The practicality lies in laying the groundwork for a working government in Iraq. The money and troops are essentially lost causes. That's a large part of why I object to the war, because it saddled us with tremendous obligations for little tangible gain. But now that it is a done deal, there is no easy way out. Poor pre-war planning has left us with no acceptable exit strategy. Ceding control to the UN is making the best of a bad hand. A bad hand which we dealt to ourselves, I might add.

Every recent opionion poll has shown strong support among Iraqis for us to stay until an orderly transition can take place.
Every? I'm only aware of two, and neither more recent than July. In any event, those polls posed a choice of US withdrawal or occupation. Iraqis want occupation forces to stay because they are the only thing keeping what little order there is in Iraq. They simply (and rightly) fear a power vacuum. If you will read my posts, I don't advocate withdrawal. The polls did not, to my knowledge, ask whether the Iraqis would prefer an occupation under US or UN aegis. Those same polls show that around 5 percent of Iraqis think that a US occupation will be good for Iraq, and nearly 50 percent think that attacks on US soldiers are justified. Strong support indeed.

Another one of your arguments about Bush's "ruinous" foreign policy bites the dust. Turkey has approved sending troops to Iraq. So much for alienating allies.
How does this refute my argument? Turkey's government has made a political calculation that they have more to gain by involvement, but the population is still widely opposed, by about 9 to 1, to sending troops. The percentage of Turks with a favorable opinion of the US has plummeted from about 50% to about 10%. I'd say that qualifies as alienating an ally.
As I said in an earlier post, we have sufficient soft power to enable us to win (or coerce) the cooperation of governments, but by going against their own people, those governments are thereby weakened and less likely to be able to assist in the future.

Posted by: Smokey at October 8, 2003 02:29 PM

Smokey,

You fail to see a lot of things which are obvious

And I don't see things that aren't there. And one thing that is definitely NOT there is any pragmatic reason whatsoever to turn Iraq over to the UN. Doing so would reverse the progress we have already made and be a disaster for the US, Iraq and the entire world.

I'm going to ignore most of your post for the moment to focus on a single point you made which lies at the heart of the debate:

Ceding control to the UN is making the best of a bad hand.

You lefty moonbats repeat this theme like a mantra. I have to ask why. You have already admitted that ceding control of Iraq to the UN will provide no relief in blood or treasure to the US. So how could this possibly make the best of a bad hand? What do we gain for conceding our sovereignty? Or is it the act of a US concession of sovereignty itself that would be the best outcome in your view?

Do you believe in American national sovereignty? Or is American national sovereignty merely an "instance" of an outdated idea of nationalism?

In the final analysis, isn't it really Bush's reassertion of national sovereignty that drives your smear campaign against him? Wouldn't American success in creating a democratic Iraq be the final nail in the coffin containing the rotting carcas of the UN?

Come on. Be honest.

Posted by: HA at October 8, 2003 07:02 PM

Smokey,

Here's further evidence against your "ruinious" foreign policy thesis. Our TRUE allies (i.e. not the French) are lookin into donations in the billions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/09/international/middleeast/09DIPL.html?hp

Do you ever get tired of being wrong?

Posted by: HA at October 9, 2003 04:01 AM

Smokey,

Those same polls show that around 5 percent of Iraqis think that a US occupation will be good for Iraq, and nearly 50 percent think that attacks on US soldiers are justified.

I'd like to see a link to this opinion poll you are referring to. I've never see numbers like that in any poll.

Posted by: HA at October 9, 2003 04:03 AM

Smokey,

Those same polls show that around 5 percent of Iraqis think that a US occupation will be good for Iraq, and nearly 50 percent think that attacks on US soldiers are justified.

I'd like to see a link to this opinion poll you are referring to. I've never see numbers like that in any poll.

Posted by: HA at October 9, 2003 04:03 AM

HA,

Is it treason season again already? I guess I need to get out my idiot gun.

If someone wants his country to lose a war, he is most certainly violating allegiance toward his country. The author may try to twist it around to make it look like he wants us to win by losing, but that kind of socially constructed postmodern bullshit doesn’t count for much in the real world.
And HA may try to twist around definitions to suit his personal idea of treason, but that kind of slanderous reactionary bullshit doesn't count for much outside of HA's fevered brain.

You have taken exception to my use of the word "treasonous" to describe the far left. And you want me banned from MJT's blog because of it.
It's not that I necessarily want you banned, it's that I think that by the established rules set forth by MJT, you should be banned. I know you aren't very good with subtleties, but maybe someone will explain it to you. And I don't think this because you are accusing "the far left" of treason, it is because you insist on accusing other posters to this thread of treason. Do you not understand the difference?

If instead of using the "T" word I had just said the left is in violation of its allegience, would you still want me banned?
No. Treason is a very specific accusation. It has a limited, purely legal meaning which you seem unable to grasp. If you simply say that you think someone is in violation of their allegiances, that would be an opinion, which you are entitled to. It would still show you to be intolerant and small-minded, but it is not nearly the slur that your claims of treason are. I come from a military family, and I take treason very seriously. It is the most severe non-violent crime which can be committed, and accusations of it are the highest possible insult to one's character. If MJT is threatening to kick people for being insufficiently civil, then what could be more uncivil?

You attempt to draw a distinction betwween "content" and "conduct" in a purely written environment.
Because this is a written environment, your conduct is expressed in the words you choose to use. I already distinguished between the content of your ideas and the way you express them. Again, ask someone to explain it to you if it's too difficult.

my views remain unchanged regardless of the actual words I use to express them.
It is not your views that I take issue with here, but your accusations. Your conduct.

So really what it boils down to is that I am able to express my ideas as long as I use terms that are acceptable to you. Is this not censorship?
Are laws against slander then a form of censorship?

Posted by: Smokey at October 9, 2003 04:13 AM

I'm going to ignore most of your post for the moment to focus on a single point you made which lies at the heart of the debate
Translation: I'm not going to argue the points which I have obviously lost, so instead let's go off on some absurd tangent about the threat to national sovereignty posed by the UN.

If you think turning control over to the UN is a bad idea, explain your reasoning. Why? What will be the nature of the "disaster" you so glibly predict? While you lie twitching in your bed at night, visions of black helicopters dancing in your head, the rest of the world realizes that the UN is an institution which provides a forum for all nations to get together and discuss their concerns and address issues pertaining to global peace and security. If these issues require a broad-based effort on the part of the international community, the UN also provides a convenient umbrella under which to organize them. It is a threat to "American national sovereignty," only insofar as any society is a threat to the autonomy of its members. By your argument, NATO is also a threat to our sovereignty, as is each and every international treaty to which we are a signatory. Judging from the inanity of your rhetoric, I expect that you will probably agree that this is the case, and we should be done with them all. If that is the case, there truly is little point in arguing about it, because argument requires two rational parties. I am one. If you were not a raving paranoiac, there would be two rational parties. Thus, debate would be possible.

As for your billions of dollars in aid, talk to me when it actually materializes. I seem to recall predictions of weapons of mass destruction, cheering crowds, plentiful oil wealth, and the like. You'll pardon me for being skeptical about administration predictions.

One poll was by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies. I can't find a website for them, but google should give you some links. The other is the poll by the Iraqi Strategic Research Center. As this is the same poll from which your "strong support" claim presumably derives, I find it curious that you don't already have a link. Ithought you were familiar with "every" recent poll.

Posted by: Smokey at October 9, 2003 10:56 AM

d-rod,

Sorry, I forgot to respond to this yesterday:

Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, and then Afghanistan also experienced a total collapse of their regimes, local police, courts, and militaries. In most of these cases including Bosnia, extremist elements emerged, organized crime developed and agreement or acquiescence of the population was not “forthcoming”. In Bosnia, over sixty Americans died in combat since the "end of hostilities" was declared.
I would submit that Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Bosnia are not all exactly shining examples of success. Kosovo and Bosnia are the only ones that aren't complete clusterfucks, and those were both international efforts and extremely well-financed.

The reason there were no post-conflict deaths after WWII (if that is true), might have had something to do with dropping a couple nukes.
That's as may be, but I fail to see how it helps your argument, unless you plan on dropping some on Baghdad or Tikrit.
BTW, what's up with the "if that is true"? It's a fairly simple matter to verify it, say by googling "american post-conflict casualties germany japan," so why not try that instead of implying that I might be, you know, lying? And while you're at it, you might want to look a little harder at your claim that we suffered 60 post-conflict combat deaths in Bosnia. I don't know what your source for that is, but a study by the RAND Corp. puts the actual number at um, zero. If that is true, of course.

http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR1753/MR1753.ch9.pdf

Posted by: Smokey at October 9, 2003 04:19 PM

Smokey,

And I don't think this because you are accusing "the far left" of treason, it is because you insist on accusing other posters to this thread of treason. Do you not understand the difference?

In order for me to see a difference, you would have to express an opinion that is different from that of the far left. So far you haven't.

The goal of the far left is for America to subordinate its national sovereignty to transnational organizations and agreements like the UN, ICC, Kyoto, etc. One means they have identified is to undermine our resolve so that we fail in Iraq and in our failure we cede authority in Iraq to the UN. If that failure inspires dreams of victory by the Jihadis in accordance with Bin Laden's thesis, so be it. So what if more Americans get killed in the Jihad? Gotta break a few eggs sometimes to realize the "progressive" agenda.

http://denbeste.nu/external/Fonte01.html

The weakness in this agenda is that those who want to advance it must be deceptive. They can't come out and say that they want to subordinate our national sovereignty because any clear thinking American would be horrified. So those who believe in this agenda must hide behind ridiculous fictions like ceding authority to the UN in Iraq is a pragmatic way of making the most of a bad hand.

We have had a long argument about this. I have yet to see any refutation that Bin Laden is depending on people with your views. I have yet to see you express any desire for us to succeed in Iraq independently of the UN. I have yet to see you express that your allegiance is to America above all other allegiances.

The reason you are desperate to get me kicked off this blog is not that I am being slanderous. The reason you want me kicked off this blog is that I am right. This is the same reason you dismissed my reference to Hayek. Because you know Hayek is right. You know that socialism leads to totalitarianism. And therefore Hayek is dangerous to you.

I'll leave you with a quote from Hayek's forward to the 1976 edition of "The Road to Serfdom":

"The important point is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much the effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit. The consequences can of course be averted if that spirit reasserts itself in time and the people not only throw out the party which has been leading them further and further in the dangerous direction but also recognize the nature of the danger and resolutely change their course."

Smokey, you've lost your liberal spirit. I hope you will someday recognize this.

Posted by: HA at October 9, 2003 07:04 PM

HA,
That's a very stirring bit of rhetoric. I can almost hear the soaring strings in the background, and the thumping of the bass as you intone: I have yet to see you express that your allegiance is to America above all other allegiances. This confusion of rhetoric and bombast with facts and reason is characteristic of your posts. You attempt to portray the willingness to participate in international organizations and adhere to treaties as some secret, mysterious goal of the wacko left. But it isn't. The vast majority of Americans support our involvement in international organizations. Several polls on the Kyoto accords found that from 60-80% of Americans approved of it, while only 10-20% disapproved. Most polls find equivalent favorability ratings for the goals of the UN in general, with an overwhelming majority of 80-90% of Americans favoring continued UN membership. Are these 70-90% of Americans all treasonous fucking bastards? The truth is that it is your agenda that is radical, not the left's. It is you who are taking positions contrary to American principles and values. I hope you will someday recognize this.
http://www.americans-world.org/digest/global_issues/global_warming/gw2.cfm
http://www.americans-world.org/digest/global_issues/un/un1.cfm

I have yet to see any refutation that Bin Laden is depending on people with your views. I have yet to see you express any desire for us to succeed in Iraq independently of the UN. I have yet to see you express that your allegiance is to America above all other allegiances.
What must I do to prove my love of country to your satisfaction, oh Great HA? Patriotism is not judged by the frequency of it's assertion, it is not some contest wherein whoever accumulates the most red, white, and blue memorabilia wins. (The prize? An authentic George W Bush defaced, I mean signed, American flag!). I have no need or desire to prove any of these things. You are the one who has asserted them, the burden of proof is upon you to offer evidence of your claims. I'm beginning to think that you really are Ann Coulter posting on the sly. You share the same capacity for reason, the same grasp of what constitutes legitimate discourse, and the same unwholesome affinity for the tactics of the late and unlamented Joe McCarthy.

The reason you are desperate to get me kicked off this blog is not that I am being slanderous. The reason you want me kicked off this blog is that I am right
Umm, yeah, that's it. I secretly fear the devastating power of your logic, your withering refutations of my arguments, and the intensity of your righteous patriotic fury. On Bizarro Earth, I'm sure that's the case. Meanwhile, back in reality, I am trying to make a point about your flagrant misuse of the word treason, your absurd and shameless attempts to justify it, and the difference between simply making accusations of criminal and disloyal behavior and actually backing them up. But I suppose that's too nuanced for you to grasp. And desperate? I think not. Without you, I'd have no one to kick around anymore. Where would be the fun in that?

I fully agree with the quote from Hayek. The American people do need to "throw out the party which has been leading them further and further in the dangerous direction." I'm glad you agree that the Republicans should be removed from power. The Democratic party looks forward to your support in the next election.

Posted by: Smokey at October 10, 2003 07:52 AM

I like to poke my head in on this discussion from time to time, just to see what sort of hideous lie or slander HA has come up with recently. So here's one bit, picked at random: HA says that Jonathan Schell is being "treasonous" in an essay for the Nation entitled "The Importance of Losing the War."

While Schell uses this phrase in his title, and once in the essay, it's pretty clear from reading it that Schell's attention-grabber has one rhetorical purpose -- to assert that our nation-building agenda is doomed, that the best way forward requires "requires admitting mistakes and relinquishing attractive fantasies" about our behavior and our prospects in Iraq. Is this treasonous in and of itself? Then John Quincy Adams was a traitor, when he said of America "...Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy."

I live in a country, Japan, that arguably saw the kind of nation-building we propose for Iraq. However, the situation was really quite different. Japan attacked the U.S. Iraq didn't, and it appears now that it didn't even have the means to do so. So there's your first problem: we broke a basic rule of the international order.

Then we have the politics: Japan's population was savagely bombed by the U.S. (both incendiaries and nukes), which had a peculiar result of legitimizing the Occupation. That result wasn't automatic, though. A very important part of this process was political: MacArthur accepted surrender from Hirohito, then pardoned Hirohito after he accepted full responsibility for all that had happened. Because of this, the Japanese citizens came to see themselves as bearing true responsibility, because they had supported (at least tacitly) the Emperor system in the first place, and therefore they felt they bore ultimate responsibility for the slaughter of so many Japanese by the Americans. Finally, the Japanese saw the American conqueror as a forgiving one -- Hirohito was allowed to live out his life as a figurehead. And they themselves thus felt forgiven for a crime that had actually been committed against them.

Now, this is all rather disgusting and manipulative, I suppose, but there is one thing to be said for it: it worked. Japan is no shining city on a hill, exactly, but it is a liberal democracy.

So I think we made quite a few very big mistakes if we wanted to be considered legitimate nation-builders by Iraqis (whose consent we ultimately need for nation-building): we didn't have a legitimate provocation, then we didn't indiscriminately kill enough Iraqis in response to that provocation, and then we didn't accept a surrender from Saddam Hussein (actually, we tried to kill him from the first day), and much less did we pardon Saddam after some admission of responsibility.

The howls of outrage will follow, I'm sure. One of these will be this: "How can you possibly compare a rather innoccuous figurehead like Hirohito to a butcher like Saddam?!"

If you think Hirohito was a mere innocuous figureheard, I suggest doing some reading. Some exemplary military men were hanged after the Far East Asian War Crimes Tribunal, with absolutely no evidence that they'd engaged in atrocities or that they even knew about them, and plenty of evidence that they enforced troop discipline to prevent atrocities, wherever they saw a problem. But Hirohito escaped the noose unscathed, despite deep complicity in some of the Empire's worst crimes. He was a genocidal war criminal in every way but one: he was never tried, much less convicted. And he is remembered now (if at all) as a quiet, gentle marine biologist only because, politically, nation-building after devastation requires a certain avoidance of true justice, in the interests of stability. Truth is the first casualty of war -- justice is the last.

Which is all the more reason not to engage in conquest and nation-building any more than absolutely necessary, I'd say. And our invasion of Iraq was not absolutely necessary. Schell holds that nation-building under these conditions is impossible. He may well be right. I don't know. But I do know one thing: Schell saying so doesn't make him a traitor.

Posted by: Treasonous Fucking Bastard at October 12, 2003 06:41 AM



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