January 15, 2004

Quote of the Day

Dennis Miller:

I've always been a pragmatist. If two gay guys want to get married, it's none of my business. I could care less. More power to them. I'm happy when people fall in love. But if some idiot foreign terrorist wants to blow up their wedding to make a political statement, I would rather kill him before he can do it, or have my country kill him before he can do it, instead of having him do it and punishing him after the fact. If that makes me a right-wing fanatic, I will bask in that assignation.
Via Glenn Reynolds.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 09:30 AM
Comments
I'm down with the quote of the day thing. Here's my pick: Paul Berman in Slate:
But, yes, totalitarian movements can ultimately be defeated only in the realm of ideas. Millions of people have to be persuaded to change their ideas. Not forced—persuaded. Which is to say, someone has to go out there and try to persuade people.
On this point, which happens to be the most important point of all, Bush has failed us almost totally. It is pretty outrageous. His failure to take up these matters ought to be seen as a calamity. But then, who has been making up for this terrible failure of his? Who has taken up the burden to wage a really extensive war of ideas, a war of TV networks, radio programs, lectures, books, magazines, and everything else? I don't mean something small—I mean a massive campaign. I think the political right is incapable of waging such a war, by virtue of its own militaristic and isolationist instincts. The neocons do sometimes talk about a war of ideas, but, on these matters, neoconservatism is all talk, no action. So, then, this should be the business of people on the left side of the spectrum. But where are the Democrats, on these matters? The left? This is truly a problem, and nobody seems to be doing very much about it, not on a grand scale, anyway.
Posted by: harry at January 15, 2004 09:38 AM

With all due respect to Mr. Berman, I cannot think of a single totalitarian ideology where people were persuaded on a grand scale to change their minds and just give up. Stalinism and Maoism are closest, and both are arguably reformed or out of favor because of persuasion.

Posted by: Jeff Medcalf at January 15, 2004 09:44 AM

Via Atrios: http://atrios.blogspot.com

Dennis Miller Now:

"Well, can you blame me? One of the biggest malfeasances of the left right now is the mislabeling of Hitler. Quit saying this guy is Hitler," he said, referring to Mr. Bush. "Hitler is Hitler. That's the quintessential evil in the history of the universe, and we're throwing it around on MoveOn.org to win a contest. That's grotesque to me."

Then:

Indeed, Miller was especially merciless in bashing Gingrich. Many of his anti-Newt quips compared the House Speaker to Adolf Hitler ? and, by extension, portrayed the GOP Congress as a sinister collection of would-be brownshirts. For example, in his opening monologue on December 23, 1994, Miller joked that Gingrich's forthcoming book would "be available through the Mein Kampf of the Month Club." A few weeks later, he announced the post-election transfer of power on Capitol Hill as follows: "Gingrich and the Republicans took over Congress this week. This is actually Gingrich's second attempt to seize power, the first, of course, being the ill-fated Beer Hall Putsch."

And as Atrios mentions:

http://www.google.com/search?q=Hitlery

Do see all the right wing bigots comparing Hilary to Hitler!

Posted by: anon at January 15, 2004 09:58 AM

Dennis is therefore more credible and more of a model than Friedman. He no longer needs to play to an audience in order to maintain or advance an effete celeb status, which Dennis recognizes as a false path to meaning.

Posted by: Joe Peden at January 15, 2004 10:01 AM

Seems like this Now & Then comparison is trying to ruin Miller's credibility. I look at it as someone who saw the error of his ways back in 1994 and made a change. Its now 2004. Nothing since? Maybe he can say what he said now without being called a hypocrit. Right?

Posted by: Brian at January 15, 2004 10:07 AM

Man, that InstaPundit sure is slow--this one is a month old.

Heh.

Posted by: James Joyner at January 15, 2004 10:08 AM

Yeah, he's seen the error of his ways... That's the ticket!

(Hmm, perhaps to avoid being seen as a hypocrite he may have done what most people in such circumstances do, acknowledge his past behavior and apologize for it.)

Posted by: anon at January 15, 2004 10:17 AM

Paul Berman strongly supported regime-change in Iraq. So let's not misunderstand where he is coming from here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 10:40 AM

Dennis Miller grew up and no longer wallows in idiot analogies, and some people are disgruntled about that. Boo hoo.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 10:44 AM

Michael, I know this. My point is simply that -- however you feel about invading Iraq -- it's quite possible Bush & co. have no idea what they're doing now. Invading Iraq, whether right or wrong, was only a step on a ladder. I don't think Bush has any sustainable long term plan for introducing democracy anywhere else in the Middle East. Big talk, small actions, no results.

Posted by: harry at January 15, 2004 10:55 AM

Harry: Michael, I know this.

I figured you did, since you must have read Berman's piece. I only clarified that for the others on this thread.

I don't think Bush has any sustainable long term plan for introducing democracy anywhere else in the Middle East.

That may be. We have little control over what Middle Eastern governments actually do. We can put pressure on them to behave better, but we can't force them to democratize without the threat or use of force. If we can pressure some of them to make reforms without war, that's great, but we can't control how that process turns out. We can only influence it. It's not the sort of thing that can be planned. The collapse of the Soviet Union wasn't planned, but we did have a hand in it. The thing to do is just keep pushing. They will push back, so any plan would have to be constantly revised anyway.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 11:07 AM

Why does Dennis Miller hate the fifth amendment?

Posted by: Sen. HeyZeus Braunschweiger at January 15, 2004 11:11 AM

"I don't think Bush has any sustainable long term plan for introducing democracy anywhere else in the Middle East. Big talk, small actions, no results."

It took 7 years to establish democracy in Japan. It took 3 years in Germany and they had a history of democratic elections.

So now after less than one year in a nation that has never been a democracy and that had been devastated by 30 years of Arab Nazism (Baathism) some people see failure because Iraq doesn't resemble Canada. Go figure?

As for persuasion of ideas, there is nothing as persuasive as a guided missle with your address on it to change your ideology.

Posted by: Reid at January 15, 2004 11:16 AM

As for persuasion of ideas, there is nothing as persuasive as a guided missle with your address on it to change your ideology.

I would agree that it certainly would change your ideology -- but probably not in the correct direction. I know it sounds appealing to take the macho approach ... but we need to get to the hearts and minds of ordinary people living in the Middle East, men, women and children, people we shouldn't needlessly threaten, people who don't want to be bombed, and people who will respond to persuasion.

And I agree with you, also, that years of totalitarian government is going to make establishing democracy in Iraq tough. I support the work of the occupation and I think we need a lot more troops, money, and planners in the country. I certainly don't think what has happened so far is a failure -- sure, there have been some mistakes that a less arrogant and better prepared plan might have avoided, but I think, in general, we're trying to do the right things in the right way.

What worries me is precisely what I said: I don't think Bush has any sustainable plan. We're already preparing to hand off control ths June when whole sections of the country aren't secure, with major gaps in infrastructure, without progress on a constitution. Like I often say, the American colonies got over 150 years to prepare for Democracy ... Iraq's not going to be ready for it in the next six months.

Posted by: harry at January 15, 2004 11:44 AM

Harry: I know it sounds appealing to take the macho approach ... but we need to get to the hearts and minds of ordinary people living in the Middle East, men, women and children, people we shouldn't needlessly threaten, people who don't want to be bombed, and people who will respond to persuasion.

We need to do both. It's not an either-or proposition. That's basically Paul Berman's point, and I agree with him.

I don't think Bush has any sustainable plan.

I think you are asking for the impossible. No one would be able to come up with a sustainable plan for something like this.

All Bush can reasonably be expected to have is a strategy. What the Democrats need to do is agree with Bush's strategy or come up with an alternative strategy that people can take seriously.

I like Bush's strategy, and I also like Berman's. (Your quote made Berman look like a peacenik, but I want to reiterate that he is not.) What I don't like is a strategy that leaves Saddam in power and subordinates our foreign policy to UN approval by countries who no longer act like our allies.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 11:52 AM

Michael, I think the idea that the U.N. tried to hamper us is far too simplistic. The administration hawks wanted to ignore the U.N. from the beginning. When we brought our proposal forward at break-neck speed fall 2002, everyone knew what we were up to. Predictably, our allies were a bit offended that we had decided to run the world our own way -- their input be damned.

Had we approached our allies and the U.N. diplomatically (and I mean that in both senses of the word) and laid out our case for regime change, asked for their help and input, and put a piece of Duct tape over Rummy's mouth, I think we could have built a much stronger coalition and possibly even gotten the U.N. on board. Having done that, we'd be in a lot better shape in Iraq now.

The U.N. is a tremendously valuable organization -- despite its failures. It's many departments do much good work fighting disease, poverty, and trying to keep peace in nasty places. I'm dismayed that so many have been so quick to dismiss it.

I'm, of course, cognizant that the U.N. needs to change to meet new threats and new realities. Guiding this change could have been a great project. Now, we've just pissed everyone off.

Our terrorism strategy must be both short and long term: in the short term, we need to fight operating terrorist groups who could strike soon. In the long term, we need to modernize the middle east and asia to remove the ignorance and hate. In the short term strategy, our allies, especially in Europe, will be crucial partners. In the long term, just the same. We cannot finance and cannot fight alone.

I do think there can be a sustainable plan. It includes rebuilding our international relationships, setting new priorities for international bodies like the U.N. and alliances like NATO. It means a very long term engagement in Iraq, preferably with greater international logistical and financial support. It means post Iraq invasion reaching out to the people of the Middle East with more than just hard power. It means a very aggressive effort to solve Israel/Palestine. It means dropping quioxtic nonsense like missile defense and a larger investment in homeland security. It means hydogen fuel cells to cut our dependence on oil. It means changing our image from angry hegemon to world leading partner. And, of course, lots of other boring stuff.

Bush hasn't articulatled it. And, sadly, democrats haven't either.

The one plan I won't stomach easily is the Perle/Frum nonsense ... that sometimes pops up in a slightly less sophisticated form as the "kill them all" approach in blog comments.

Well, that's long enough. I better go make sure I still have a job.

Posted by: harry at January 15, 2004 12:32 PM

How about this for an alternative strategy: How 'bout we develop some alternative (non-fossil) sustainable fuel sources so we don't have to keep sending hundreds of billions of dollars (not to mention sending hundreds of soldiers to their graves) every decade or so for the forseeable future? Wouldn't that be a good way to start?

The answer is really quite simple. Getting there is a little more complicated, but Christ, we sent a man to the Moon in eight years because we decided to do it. This seems much less complicated.

Posted by: sen. HeyZeus Braunschweiger at January 15, 2004 12:54 PM
When we brought our proposal forward at break-neck speed fall 2002, everyone knew what we were up to. Predictably, our allies were a bit offended that we had decided to run the world our own way -- their input be damned.
I think the populations of France, Germany, Canada, etc. who opposed the invasion of Iraq because they felt the US hadn't proved the existence of WMD yet (what? we were right?) weren't so offended by the "running the world" thing. After all, that could be blamed on Bush, and if he wanted to have the US military play Calvinball in Iraq, well, who can shed tears over Hussein's departure?

What really pissed people off was the snotty condescending insults aimed at their countries. Every time that someone notable slams one of these countries, do you think that it's not noticed by their populations? Terms like "Coalition of Weasels" and "The Chocolatemakers" are reported in their presses. So even if their leadership were interested in helping the US out, they would then face the wrath of their electorate. I mean, hell, I knew right-wingers here in Canada who quietly cheered when one of our senior government admininstrators said "What a moron" in regards to Bush at a press conference. And now everyone's carefully watching our new PM to see if he'll toadie up to the Bush Adminstration. If he does, he'll be punished at the polls come election time.

I can't even imagine how bad it is in Europe. Tony Blair's going to be lucky to be elected dishwasher in the House of Common's dining room come the next UK election.

Posted by: Stu at January 15, 2004 01:09 PM

I can't even imagine how bad it is in Europe.

Then why spend the rest of your post doing just that?

Posted by: Kurt at January 15, 2004 01:19 PM

How about this for an alternative strategy: How 'bout we develop some alternative (non-fossil) sustainable fuel sources...

Sounds great to me. Let's do that and help democratize the Middle East. I see no reason why we have to do one and not the other.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 01:38 PM

What really pissed people off was the snotty condescending insults aimed at their countries.

I can understand that. And it goes both ways. I'm tired of the US being described as the New Nazi Germany. I don't want to sound like a little kid and say "they started it." But I will say that only recently have I made disparaging comments about Europe, and it is in response to their ramped-up anti-Americanism.

I try to keep my own comments reasonable. "Axis of Weasels" and "Freedom Toast" are not in my vocabulary.

And if France and Germany can't handle comments like "Old Europe" from Donald Rumsfeld, they really do have thin skins.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 01:52 PM

>The U.N. is a tremendously valuable organization -- despite its failures.

The U.N. is one massive failure. And a pathetic joke. It's time to dismantle it and create a REAL international body in its place.

Posted by: Daniel at January 15, 2004 01:54 PM

Anon,

Rush Limbaugh is a hypocrite because he only changed his tune because he got caught in a crime. And you can find him contradicting himself within a two-month period.

Dennis Miller's contradictory statements are ten years apart and have nothing to do with his personal life. Big deal. I said a lot of things ten years ago that I wouldn't say today.

In fact, anyone who hasn't revised any political opinions over a ten year period of time is either remarkably correct about everything or is an ossified reactionary who fears change.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 02:06 PM

‘snotty condescending insults’

After 9/11, a guardian writer called America a bully with the bloody nose. One French writer theorized that the CIA blew up the Pentagon – his book was a best-seller.

Another wrote a soft-porn book about the 9/11 victims, imagining that they cried about the possessions they were about to lose. One British comedian offered his paltry salary to put a hit on President Bush.

A Guardian 'comedy' piece theorized that when they heard about 9/11, the British population secretly whispered yessss….

One British writer claimed that the costs involved with the DNA identification of 9/11 victims was a waste of money, and evidence of how greedy and self-involved Americans are.

This is in addition to the standard characterization of Americans as tacky, fat, hamburger eating, sneaker wearing rubes.

And we’re supposed to feel guilty when we call them Chocolatemakers???

So they can dish it out but they can’t take it. No surprises there. I just wonder, why do the media elites who express this ‘world opinion’ hate Black Americans, Native Americans, Muslim Americans, Irish Americans, Philipino Americans, Polish Americans ..all Americans – so much?

Posted by: mary at January 15, 2004 02:09 PM

Stu,

So you're saying the UN was dragging their feet, the the EU was explicitly trying to derail our efforts because some people here say mean things?

Excuse me? For decades the Europeans have taken great delight in maligning the unsophisticated cowboys, the simpletons, the crass Americans. I follow several French newspapers, and the hostility, hatred, and ridicule of all things Ameican are the majority of what they focus on.

Now their feeling are hurt?!?!?

Stu, you're kidding I hope. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, and the French and Germans are bitter at the decline of their importance in the world, and lashing out at our values (which are different than theirs) makes them feel better about their insignificance...

Posted by: FrancisB at January 15, 2004 02:21 PM

And we’re supposed to feel guilty when we call them Chocolatemakers???

Who said you were supposed to feel guilty? I was explaining why I think it's unlikely that anyone is going to help much with the costs in Iraq, and why future endeavours will probably have to be unilateral.

Please, feel no guilt. It's a fairly useless emotion.

Posted by: Stu at January 15, 2004 02:22 PM

Belgium makes great chocolate. I know. I've been there and eaten their chocolate. They put us to shame. I'm not being flip about this.

Now. If someone over here describes Belgians as chocolatemakers in a derisive tone, thus implying that they can't do anything else, I agree that's rude.

However. If Belgium refuses to help the Iraqi people for this reason, I can think of a lot ruder things to say about Belgium than that they are merely chocolatemakers.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 02:27 PM

So you're saying the UN was dragging their feet, the the EU was explicitly trying to derail our efforts because some people here say mean things?

No, I didn't. At least, I don't think I did. Let me re-read it .... ummm, no I said that people of dissenting countries were offended by, etc. Nothing about the UN dragging its feet, or why it was doing so, or derailing or anything.

Excuse me? For decades the Europeans have taken great delight in maligning the unsophisticated cowboys, the simpletons, the crass Americans. I follow several French newspapers, and the hostility, hatred, and ridicule of all things Ameican are the majority of what they focus on.

You should stop reading those papers. Did you read Le Monde on September 12, 2001, by the by?

I'd also thought that we all have semi-insulting stereotypes of other nations in our cultures, like Dudly Doright for mine, Pepe Le Pew for the French, Colonel Klink, etc, etc. I had no idea they were so sinister. Or were you talking about something else? I admit, the "Bush is a moron" comment was out of line.

Stu, you're kidding I hope. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, and the French and Germans are bitter at the decline of their importance in the world, and lashing out at our values (which are different than theirs) makes them feel better about their insignificance...

Are they? They're just jealous of you? Well, I'd been thinking that the European superstate was probably the next emerging superpower, what with their negotiations for a combined defense force, blisteringly hot economies, and combined currency, but you're probably right, they may still have some kind of inferiority thing going on after the whole WW II/Marshall plan. You may have a point. However, I still think that most people would be offended to find that they were part of an Axis of Weasels (thanks for the correction, Michael).

Posted by: Stu at January 15, 2004 02:37 PM

Stu, the examples I provided weren’t just insults, they were an expression of the European elites’ standard response to an atrocity. They felt very little sympathy (and a lot of contempt) for the Bosnians, the Sudanese, the Israelis, the Iraqis and the Rwandans (the French even helped the Hutu ‘rebels’) – why would they feel sympathy for us?

Maybe the Sudanese were making axis of weasel jokes and I never heard about it, but otherwise, name calling has very little to do with foreign policy.

Europe has been the next emerging superpower for decades. It’s nice to hear that they’re finally making some headway.

Posted by: mary at January 15, 2004 03:43 PM

Stu, the examples I provided weren’t just insults, they were an expression of the European elites’ standard response to an atrocity.

Did you find anything positive about the US? Or weren't you looking?

The examples you gave were all from media or individuals. In a few minutes of searching, I can find all sorts of comparitively vile statements from US sources about European countries who wouldn't toe the line. And not just about Europe, there was a case where an Ebay seller refused to honour a winning bid from a Canadian simply because the man was Canadian, and Canada wasn't sending troops into Iraq.

It's easy to find stuff like that, all the time. Just read Little Green Footballs, or for that matter, any newspaper.

Those kind of statements are not what I'm talking about. Try to find a European counterpart of the "Freedom Fries" incident, where members of the government deliberately insulted the an entire people. Not just a government, a people. Or when has a senior European government official called you guys "weasels"? Or peevishly dismissed your nation as "irrelevant" because you don't agree with them, and you know damn well that you'd be as relevant as all get out if you were on board with them.

Search for "surrender monkeys" on Google, you'll get over 13,000 hits. Do you think that this is an honorable way to treat a country that has been a close ally for over two hundred years, and to whom you owe your existence as a nation?

Do you expect that the next time you go to the French or the German people for help that they'll be clamouring to rally to your side? I mean, if you don't care, fine, it's not a problem. But don't be complaining about it when your tax bill arrives.

Posted by: Stu at January 15, 2004 04:11 PM

Stu,

How about the time the French Foreign Minister was asked which side he hoped would win the war in Iraq. The US or Iraq? He said he had no opinion.

Now that is offensive. That was from the French foreign minister. No opinion if a fascist dictatorship defeats a democratic ally in war.

Feh.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 04:28 PM

Yah, sure is too bad that Bush tax cuts mean that we are cutting back on police funding. Sure is too bad that the war in Iraq means we can't fund things like port security. Sure is too bad that 75% of chemical plants failed to actually tell anyone what their plans were about them there terrorists by the Dec. 31st deadline. Sure is too bad that the police in 1 of 10 terrorist meeting spots on the east coast interstate system didn't know their town was targetted.

Sorry, but I just don't see the Republican administration being serious about the war on terror. And until I do, Dennis Miller's "The Democrats are soooo wussy they don't want to go on bombing runs" schtick just isn't convincing.

Posted by: Dan at January 15, 2004 04:37 PM

Dan,

If you want to call the Republicans wusses, you need to do it from a position of strength.

I left the Democrats because I can't stand the wussiness any more. Same with Dennis Miller. It is the reason we are fed up.

I can see why you might think it would be schtick coming from a life-long Republican, but when life-long Democrats start talking this way, you might want to be a little less dismissive.

No one, I mean no one, is running to the Democrats because they think the Republicans are wusses on foreign policy.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 04:41 PM

Harry-

A sustainable plan isn't what gets things done. Sustained effort is what gets things done. The Administration has put forth a sustained effort, and there is every indication it will continue to do so until its' goal is reached. The Administration's opponents seem to feel because there is no 'plan' to reduce a very difficult, but obtainable, long-term goal to something simple, easy and relatively effortless, there is a massive show of incompetence involved. Besides that, the Administration has not made public any detailed plan for evaluation by you or anyone else. So on what basis, other than uninformed speculation, do you make your assessment?

Anon-

You may be right about Miller, and you be wrong. But the minute you bring the likes of Atrios into the mix, many of us have to assume you are wrong. It's like linking to Hesiod...nothing good can come of it because there's nothing good about it.

MJT-

Good points. What I find interesting is that none of those critical of Bush posting here have chosen to take Berman up on his challenge. What Berman failed to point out in his book was that while Bush may have failed to use the 'war of ideas' to fight fascism, much of the Democratic Party has failed to feel a need to take up the war of fascism, period.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at January 15, 2004 04:43 PM

Sorry, last sentence should read "war against fascism". Freudian slip, there.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at January 15, 2004 04:45 PM

Dennis: What Berman failed to point out in his book was that while Bush may have failed to use the 'war of ideas' to fight fascism, much of the Democratic Party has failed to feel a need to take up the war of fascism, period.

I remember at one point in the book he said "The Party of Roosevelt can be the Party of Roosevelt."

He meant that the Democratic Party was not currently behaving as the Party of Roosevelt, and that it ought to be. He could have banged the point home further, but I got it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 04:56 PM

Also, Dennis, I think Berman wanted to rally others on the left to his point of view without putting them on the defensive.

He hasn't been kicked out of the left, as I have. So who knows? Maybe they listen to him more than they listen to me. Also, he is more invested in the left than I ever was, so I can understand why he uses that particular strategy.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 15, 2004 05:01 PM

Stu, Americans are headed towards Mars and Europeans are headed toward Venus. Personally I'd like to keep a foot in both camps, but my legs aren't that long. Our differing philosophies, interests and propaganda diets have been long in developing, so were not just going to come together easily anymore and I don't buy the idea that these "insults" did anything to change the matter. If Bush said something was black, Europeans would say it was white.

Posted by: d-rod at January 15, 2004 05:30 PM

How about this for an alternative strategy: How 'bout we develop some alternative (non-fossil) sustainable fuel sources...

And then when the economies of the middle east collapse because we're not buying their only commodity-oil-and they fall into anarchy and death because of it, then they'll blame us for causing them to fall into poverty and misery.

When you're dealing with anti-americanism, you can't win dude, trust me. They'll find a reason to target us.

Posted by: David at January 15, 2004 06:39 PM

"But, yes, totalitarian movements can ultimately be defeated only in the realm of ideas. Millions of people have to be persuaded to change their ideas. Not forced—persuaded. Which is to say, someone has to go out there and try to persuade people." -- Harry quoting Berman

Harry, why are you so intent on such self-delusion? This is a question for you to answer to yourself.

Posted by: Joe Peden at January 15, 2004 07:28 PM

I respect Berman's quote cited by Harry above. Berman is a capable guy, his Terror and Liberalism being a precocious and seminal justification for the war on terror. I don't agree with him -- I believe he's criminally short-selling neoconservatism, and he seems inured here to the contribution of "people on the left side of the spectrum" to the anti-liberal oeuvre, past and present.

But I respect Berman's statement because he is recognizing the most annoying aspect of the opposition, whose stance really seems little more than anti-Bushism. That is, Berman defenestrates Bush while pointing out that the Left hasn't suggested one damn thing of value with which to replace him.

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano at January 15, 2004 07:57 PM

Let's do that and help democratize the Middle East. I see no reason why we have to do one and not the other

I guess this is Michael's bleeding heart personality kicking in... I don't see a need for America to democratize the Middle East. Actually, I see it as an arrogrance that we could possibly accomplish it. The middle east is a very large region with nearly a billion people. I think just biting off Iraq is more than the American willpower can sustain. Unfortunate, but true. The electorate may put up with one overthrow of a dictator who may or may not have posed a threat. However, I don't think it can be done again. Not with all the credibility that was blown by the US with Iraq.

I see plenty of reasons for one not the other ... resources, money, international cooperation, lack of reason to name a few. While it may be possible to impose democracy in Iraq at the end of a gun barrel, I don't see that as a sustainable model. How exactly would we "democratize" the next county? Would it even be in American interest to democratize it? Which country?

Posted by: Graham at January 15, 2004 09:31 PM

Mary wrote:
This is in addition to the standard characterization of Americans as tacky, fat, hamburger eating, sneaker wearing rubes

Unfortunately, this describes far too many Americans I know personally.

Posted by: Graham at January 15, 2004 09:34 PM

Graham, why don't you just commit suicide? Read what you just wrote. It's a pathetic chaos.

Posted by: Joe Peden at January 15, 2004 09:58 PM

So Graham goes ad hominem against Americans, just like that. Nobody insulted him first, but he couldn't resist the gratuitous slur.

Posted by: miklos rosza at January 15, 2004 11:42 PM

"But, yes, totalitarian movements can ultimately be defeated only in the realm of ideas. Millions of people have to be persuaded to change their ideas. Not forced—persuaded. Which is to say, someone has to go out there and try to persuade people." -- Harry quoting Berman

Harry, why are you so intent on such self-delusion? This is a question for you to answer to yourself."

What kind of question is that?

Harry's (and Berman's) quote is in no way delusional; it contains a great deal of truth. One can defend the ultimate importance of persuasion while still understanding the need for tyrants to be relieved of their heads in the short term, or at least subject to credible threat of such head loss.

"The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed, which is perpertually to be conquered."

- Edmund Burke, noted self-delusional left-wing dove. Not.

Posted by: Ged of Earthsea at January 16, 2004 02:38 AM

My choice for quote of the day, from C-SPAN this morning:

"I just wanted to call to say I emphatically oppose Bush, because I think he is systematically dismantling the lower and middle classes."

Posted by: AllyK at January 17, 2004 06:16 AM

FYI, "anon", a Dennis Miller monologue during his comedy show is meant for comedic purposes. He really doesn't think that the constitution was written during Strom Thurmond's first term, either, it was a joke that garnered laughter. Try to get your source (a site where many Bush = Hitler types spend their days, instead of.....working) to recognize the difference between a joke and an in depth interview and I guarantee you that your level of credibility will increase.

Lastly, the state of Florida has a right to privacy within its constitution. Were the federal government, whose constitution Limbaugh says - and many agree - has no right to privacy, to be going after him & he stated that, you'd have a case to make.

As it stands now, you're cutting and pasting talking points from a source that is ignorant of the basic facts.

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