September 09, 2004

Fiddling on Two Fronts

If you're surprised by or skeptical of the following, please raise your hand in the comments:

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is using negotiations with the European Union's "big three" on suspending sensitive nuclear activities to buy the time it needs to get ready to make atomic weapons, an Iranian exile and intelligence officials said.

With intelligence sources saying Iran could be months away from nuclear weapons capability, the United States wants Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council immediately, charging Tehran uses its civilian atomic energy program as a front to develop the bomb. Tehran vehemently denies the charge.

France, Britain and Germany want to avoid isolating Iran and have taken a go-slow approach, negotiating with Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

"Iran continues to use existing differences between the U.S. and Europe to their advantage and tries to drag out talks with the EU to buy time," Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who has reported accurately on Iran's nuclear program in the past, told Reuters.

I have a humble request for George W. Bush and John Kerry. Just a small thing, really, if it's not too much trouble.

Shut the hell up about Vietnam, the National Guard, Swift Boat Vets, the Department of Friggin' Wellness, and all the rest of your stupid bullshit and tell me what you think about Iran. (If you can find the time.)


Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 9, 2004 09:38 PM

See also.

Posted by: Allah at September 9, 2004 09:43 PM

Don't hold your breathe. This isn't Decision '04. This is Decision '72. We're still years away from terrorist attacks. Vietnam is much more important.

I've all but given up on this cycle. Maybe in '08 there will be someone who wants to talk about the issues of the day instead of dicussing '76. I'm not counting on it either.

Posted by: Court at September 9, 2004 09:44 PM

All Kerry had to do to win this election was to say "Good war, bad occupation, but I'll make Iraq right, and I won't make the same mistakes with our other enemies" and he would have had this election in the bag.

The Naderites would have been pissed, would have gotten 5% of the vote, and would have planned for '08.

Instead we got Cambodia (True or False), TANG (Selectric or Word™), and in general, WTF?

Posted by: Mark Poling at September 9, 2004 09:45 PM

I already know what John Kerry thinks about the Iranians. He's going to Kofi Annan for permission to use strong language against them. He promised to be sensitive about it.

Posted by: David at September 9, 2004 10:33 PM


That's how the election cycle works. No one is quite in charge, especially since the country is divided over whether we are at war or not. Roosevelt could run in 1944 without having to make the point that a war was going on. Bush doesn't have that luxery.

On the other hand, if you don't think there are contingency plans in hand, think again. The question is really of public support. Do you think this is the right time to raise the issue? What would the Democrats say? What would the Dean supporters say? What would Michael Moore believers say? Ain't going to happen till the election's over. If a strong majority comes in for Bush, I think things will begin to move. Just how, I don't know. The military options are not easy. Russia could be key. Remember that the USSR occupied Iran in WW11 in order to insure the supply lines from the US. Having Russia agreeable could make all the difference.

Posted by: chuck at September 9, 2004 10:34 PM

"The Horror, The Horror".

Not the war in Iraq, not the war on terror. The horror is the presidential campaigns and the utterly insipid coverage being given to them.

Posted by: Matthew King at September 9, 2004 10:38 PM


Not that long ago Condoleeza Rice said that a nuclear capable Iran is not an option. I don't think that you expect a detailed plan how to prevent this from happening.

However, I do not remember anything from Kerry about nuclear capable Iran. Do you?

Posted by: marek at September 9, 2004 10:54 PM

I say take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Posted by: sean at September 9, 2004 11:01 PM


'Shut the hell up about Vietnam, the National Guard, Swift Boat Vets, the Department of Friggin' Wellness, ..."

Was any of these topics brought up by Bush?

What are the topics brought up by Bush you are fed up with?

I want to believe you would want to remain impartial in allocating the blame for the abysmal level of this election campaign.

Posted by: marek at September 9, 2004 11:03 PM

Iranians seem to be reasonably unified in their desire to have nuclear weapons. This might have something to do with Bush declaring them part of the Axis of Evil, along with their enemy iraq and the alien north korea. Wouldn't that make you nervous, if it was your country? But it sounded good on american TV, never mind the effects it had in the world.

Here's a possibility. We could suggest that no nuclear weapons be allowed in the middle east. And have armed UN inspections; the UN teams inspect anywhere they want and destroy illicit materials on the spot.

Iran might quickly accept such a proposal. It couldn't hurt to make the offer and see whether they go along, particularly when you look at the alternatives.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 9, 2004 11:15 PM

Yeah, I wouldn't mind hearing about this either. Neither candidate mentioned either Iran or North Korea in their acceptance speeches. It's a sad state of affairs, I'm afraid.

Maybe it'll come up in the debates. I have alot of hope for the debates, mainly because it won't be Kerry or Bush asking the questions...i.e....something important might just get asked.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 9, 2004 11:54 PM

Kerry won't mention Iran because it'll inevitably lead to q''s that'll lead to a policy he doesn't wanna face (i.e. that we need a GWOT, that it'll look a lot like Iraq)

And Bush won't mention Iran because he's prob already laid out his plans to do something in his 2nd term and doesn't want to tip his hand. My own bet is a US-sponsored coup. My 2nd bet is invasion. The choices are not mutually exclusive as an invasion might be planned only if a coup fails etc.

Things'll move quick after Nov., cuz it'll be a race before the mullahs get nukes. But however it plays out, it won't take long. It can't.

Posted by: ras at September 10, 2004 12:47 AM


marek has it right. The crap that is making you crazy is what passes for strategy from the ABB election effort. Please don't feed the feral dogs.

J. Thomas,

Where do you get the idea that Iranians want to have nuclear weapons? I don't know how to say this without risking offense, but given the fascist behavior of the Mullahocracy, I don't think I will try. That is a Jim Crow mentality. You are accepting the party line of Revolutionary Islam. The only thing that the people are reasonably unified on is the need to rid themselves of the Mullahs and their imported enforcers.

Hey, along with the UN inspection teams, maybe we can set up another Oil for Fraud arrangement so all those diplomat's with unemployed relatives can get them on the gravy train again.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at September 10, 2004 01:30 AM

No offense, but...

Do you really think Bush could manage to mobilize the public into ANOTHER proposed regime change? People in this country are fed up enough with the state of things in Iraq and, the rest of the world, well, I'm not even gonna go into that.

If Iran, after heavy diplomatic pressure was applied, still refused to halt their nuke program, I'd be all for at least SOME kind of military action. I'd advocate pinprick strikes, personally, but would support whatever it takes.

Most people in this country aren't like me, though. I say we probably should have focused on Iran first. Most everybody else these days, however, would say, "Not another Iraq."

I think maybe Bush could mobilize support for some kind of military intervention, if push came to shove. It would sure as hell be a much stronger case than the one presented for Iraq. I highly highly doubt he could mobilize support for the nation building that would necessarily have to follow, though. The American people are historically down for blowing shit up, anytime. But they're not big fans of bleeding-heart-liberal nation building.

Believe it or not, 90% of everything that would need to be done in Iran would be fundamentally liberal in spirit. Not conservative. Same goes for the tasks remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan. At some point, I think the American people would say enough is enough. It's not this President's conservatism that will be the end of him, it's his love of exporting liberalism abroad. I wish it were the other way around personally (because it's mostly his domestic conservatism I can't stand) but, oh well.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 10, 2004 01:52 AM

And here's another problem to add to your scenario...

Tony Blair is in alot of trouble, politically, across the Atlantic. Seeing as how Britain was our only true BIG ally on Iraq, how do you think the world would react next time? How do you think Tony Blair would react? I have my doubts he'll even be in power for much longer (coupled with the fact he can't come and run for President here, it really truly breaks my heart to think about it).

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 10, 2004 01:57 AM

And one more question, if I may...

What is it about the Democrats that keeps them from moving more in Blair's direction, politically? If John Kerry's role model for running a "tough liberal" campaign was Tony Blair, he'd be so far ahead in the polls it wouldn't even be funny. Tony Blair would smoke Bush, one-on-one. What'dya think it would take for the Dems to wise up to Blair-liberalism, anyway?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 10, 2004 02:03 AM


What is it about the Democrats that keeps them from moving more in Blair's direction, politically?

Corruption. Absolute moral and intellectual corruption.

Posted by: HA at September 10, 2004 02:33 AM

Corruption. Absolute moral and intellectual corruption.

Nice bit of hyperbole. The more prosaic reality is that some of them simply may not agree with him? That's fair enough, and may not have nothing to do with "moral and intellectual corruption." But perish the thought.

But as for the Democrat leadership, I would suggest that they are pretty close to Blair. The DLC is quite strong, and both Edwards and Kerry are in the New Democrat caucus in the Senate. New Democrats follow the Third Way (yes, you may laugh, I do too) which was developed in the 1990s by New Democrats and Blairites. I would suggest the foreign policy of this Third Way, post 9/11, is quite neo-conservative.

As for Iran, I am sure Blair, in some sort of fantasy world, may want to be more aggressive regarding the issue of Iran's nukes, but he simply can't.

BTW I am a Brit, and I think Blair is truely awful. I will be quite happy to give him to the soccer mums of Ohio.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 03:22 AM


But as for the Democrat leadership, I would suggest that they are pretty close to Blair.

Then why did Blair prohibit Labor party members from attending the Democratic convention as they traditionally have? Since Blair is a charter member of the coalition characterized by Kerry as the "coerced and bribed" I suspect he has a dim view of Kerry.

Chirac, Schroeder and Annan are far cozier with Kerry then Blair is.

Posted by: HA at September 10, 2004 03:38 AM


Yeah, I know it's a cheap shot but... I think if Kerry is elected we'll get a pinprick strike. Reelect Bush and we'll get a pinpoint strike. Sigh, I'm so shallow.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at September 10, 2004 03:40 AM


Yeah, I misspoke. Don't think you're shallow, though. Just cheesy.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 10, 2004 03:50 AM


Ah, good point.

The reason I suspect, is this. Blair personally, may, on balance, favour Bush (but even that is debatable.) But he knows full well that almost his entire party, including its modernisers (the Third Way people) support Kerry. The Labour Party has long time links with the Democrats, and Chancellor Gordon Brown holidays in Cape Cod and has had meetings with Kerry and his aides.

So he's decided to play it scrupulously straight. Try to observe the protocol that there should be no foreign intervention in another country's electoral process. Of course, this is pretty shaky anyway, but he will observe it publically and strictly, in order to cover himself from attacks from both sides.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 03:51 AM


Posted by: jdwill at September 10, 2004 03:51 AM

Mr. Totten,
I don't understand why you assign equal blame to Bush and Kerry for the outrageous irrelevance of the Kerry campaign. When exactly has the Bush campaign dredged up any of these topics? And why exactly would Bush outline his plans for regime change in Iran before the election, when we all know how the Dems would frame this.... Honestly, I have been reading your blog for well over a year - I understand your natural desire to believe that the Democratic Party still retains some shred of decency and some sense of mission and purpose - I had that desire too, as a lifelong Dem, until this election. But I have come to the conclusion that, for the current leadership of my former party, there is no mission other than power and no line that can't be crossed in the pursuit of it.

Posted by: Priscilla at September 10, 2004 04:09 AM

You know, just when you think it can't get any get a proposal for a Department of Wellness. I'm just surprised that Tano and Ratatosk aren't here defending the idea with great seriousness.

In the meantime, I suggest that somebody get JFK a tinfoil beanie and a lobster bib, because the next you know he's gonna be proposing a Ministry of Silly Walks.

And Michael-

Lighten up and don't be willfully know damn well what Bush and Kerry each think about Iran...and have for months. You continue to yearn for elections to conform to an ideal evidently derived from a few too many Capra movies. Read your history...this is Democracy in America.

Posted by: DennisThePeasant at September 10, 2004 04:12 AM

Mmmmm, cheese!

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at September 10, 2004 04:13 AM

But I have come to the conclusion that, for the current leadership of my former party, there is no mission other than power and no line that can't be crossed in the pursuit of it.

Priscilla, this is so true - but only if applied to the leadership of both parties.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 04:13 AM

Benjamin, I truly think Bush believes, and has long believed, that the only real long term way to stop Islamofascist terrorism is to export democracy to the ME.

How to do it, best, should be the focus of the debate. But Kerry has too many supporters who are certain it shouldn't ever be done with the military; and Bush supporters think non-military means never.

The race is still on for Iran -- free press democracy or nukes, which do they get first.

If they get nukes first, and use them (or allow terrorists to), there will be a lot of complaining that "something" wasn't done earlier. The something is invasion, or else it's not enough.
(Too many mullahs for a coup; too much police state for a peaceful, or otherwise, revolution.)

To think Security is most important AND think Kerry's flip flops don't disqualify him seems more silly every day -- less than 60 left.

I'm afraid of Iranian nukes. I'm afraid of Kerry as President. (Why I'm here)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 10, 2004 04:53 AM

C'mon. Kerry offhandedly mentioned the dumb "Department of Wellness" idea in response to some woman at a campaign stop describing her problems with a hospital or something.

It's obviously extremely minor at best. But MJT and lots of his commenters pretend that this is a centerpiece from the Kerry campaign.

(Actually, health care is an expensive mess and a drain on the economy. Kerry has a detailed proposal for making changes, which everyone has ignored.)

Back to the topic: I fault Kerry for not outlining a plan to deal with Iran. But I fault Bush more because he's the president.

What to do? I don't know.

We've lost the credibility to forcefully press Iran on nukes, and both the Iranian mullahs and the Bush foreign policy team know it.

Any claims by us about Iranian nukes will be automatically suspect, thanks to Iraq WMD fiasco. And while we can bomb Iran if we have to, bombing will not force Iran to stop trying to get nukes. We don't have the invasion threat to back it up.

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 05:46 AM

I think Bush has stated numerous times over the past three years what he thinks about Iran, they are part of the axis of evil (Iran, Iraq and North Korea).

A little perspective might help. America has had a horrific time just going to war against a dictator who defied 17 UN resolutions. America had a clear and justified reason for ending Saddam's reign, yet Bush has been crucified, label Hilter, an imperialist over the past two years for taking Saddam down.

Michael, have you seem the numerous anti-war, anti-liberation protests held by United for Genocidal Peace and Justice for Dictators, by ANSWER? After three years of constant hammering, does anyone really believe attacking Iran would have been supported by United for Genocidal Peace and Justice for Dictators or ANSWER? Hey, after all, as all anti-war people have proclaimed about Iraq, it was a SOVEREIGN NATION and how dare we attack a SOVEREIGN NATION.

Michael, if it is not too much trouble could you please have some perspective on the situation?

If you find the time, please confront those at United for Genocidal Peace and Justice for Dictators for tying America's hands in ending Iran's evil axis.

We have the military might to stop Iran's threats however our will is being eroded by the PEACE ACTIVISTS. Why not confront them instead of President Bush.

Remember, John Kerry was an ANTI-WAR PEACE ACTIVIST we already know how he will address any threat to America, he will appease his friends or rather, America's enemies.

Posted by: syn at September 10, 2004 05:47 AM

Bush is not being too successful in the War on Terror so far. Since invading Iraq, terror has increased.

Oberon mentioned health care in the US. This should be an important issue, but no one is talking about it.

Tom Grey - Liberty Dad seems rather fearful. That's how the Republicans are running the election, using fear, so they've scored a success there.

Syn seems a bit screechy and uses too many capitals letters.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 06:39 AM

It is hard to believe that Israel would not try to take out Iranian installations if they believe Iran is close to possessing a nuke. The question is what sort of shitstorm that would produce, particularly given this huge U.S. presence between Iran and Israel.

According to Ray Takeyh in this mornings Washington Post, there is a division within ruling circles in Iran on whether to go forward with nukes. He calls for "bilateralism. A deal between the United States and Iran...relaxing economic sanctions and granting Iran a voice in postwar Persian Gulf deliberations in order to disarm...hardliners." I don't suppose such a course would be manly enough for many of the people reading this blog, however, it just might the best of the bad options that we have right now. (And it sounds similar to the deal that John Edwards suggested a President Kerry would offer to the Iranians.)

I know -- you can't negotiate with Dr. Evil and his minions. But occupying Iran, threatening to bomb it back to the stone age, or trying to forment wished-for "regime change" through miniscule exile and domestic dissidents are even more unrealistic options.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 06:59 AM

I think Bush has stated numerous times over the past three years what he thinks about Iran, they are part of the axis of evil (Iran, Iraq and North Korea).

Honest question -- has Bush repeated the "axis of evil" line, or was that just used once?

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 07:02 AM

While I would like to believe that Kerry would handle the Iran situation in an evenhanded way, his declared willingness to give more credence to the opinions of the UN and the EU would mean that he might tend to appease the millionaire mullahs, as they do.

That opinion is based on who his fans are (wealthy supporters of the theocrats) and who his fans are not.

The Iranian Students for Democracy in Iran do not like John Kerry at all.
They say:

"Dear Senator Kerry:

For the past few months we have listened and observed with apprehension and dismay to your statements and views regarding the terrorist theocracy in Iran. Yet, we had remained silent!

We have read how you refer to the theocratic regime in Iran as a "democracy;" we have heard how, if elected, as the president of the United States you intend to "engage" this barbaric regime; this very terrorist regime that your own State Department lists as the most active "State Sponsor of Terrorism."

Why is it, Senator, in all your statements, you don't, even once, mention the oppressed and suffering masses of Iran? Obviously, as long as there is such preoccupation with appeasing the regime the people of Iran don't even enter your equation!"


Because of statements like this, made by pro-democracy groups, I don’t trust Kerry as far as Iran is concerned.

Posted by: mary at September 10, 2004 07:05 AM

Roosevelt is not being too successful in the War Against the Japanese Empire. Since Pearl Harbor, the number of attacks by Japan have increased.

Posted by: John Cheeseman at September 10, 2004 07:10 AM

When the State Dept. wrongly declared that the number of terrorist attacks worldwide had decreased, the Bush supporters and Michael Totten all declared it a sign the we were winning.

Posted by: White at September 10, 2004 07:59 AM

Michael, I agree and I think it's safe to say "we are all getting sick of this talk of matters from 30 years ago." However, I have to agree with everyone else that says, "What of these issues has Bush initiated?" Kerry and his gang just won't give it up. He couldn't pull off the facade of being Hero, so now it is "You must vote for me because I served in vietnam and my opponent didn't." "It doesn't matter if I REALLY wasn't a hero, all that matters is that I was there." He has lost all focus! He is so very arrogant that he is having a major attack of "self-importance", that has nothing to do with running a successful Presidential campaign.

People aren't stuck with who did what or served where or how many medals anyone earned, stole or whatever. They are stuck with memories of someone referring to our military as villians. He can apply as many spins as he likes to it and everyone of them will backfire. He won't move on and he can't get past it because his mental ability won't allow it..He has to feel a majority of support in each area before he will move away from it and give it up..The night before the elections he will be on TV saying "Look at me, I served in Vietnam and I have purple hearts."

Posted by: Cathy at September 10, 2004 08:01 AM

>>>"I have a humble request for George W. Bush and John Kerry. Just a small thing, really, if it's not too much trouble...Shut the hell up about Vietnam,"


I'm sure all your Left of center friends appreciate your attempts to be "neutral." But neutral is more often than not unfair.

Bush isn't talking about Viet Nam; Kerry is.

Posted by: David at September 10, 2004 08:05 AM

Kerry was all-Vietnam, all-the-time until people started taking a look at what he was claiming. His response has been to hit back at Bush - over Vietnam. If Kerry had decided to run on his decades in the Senate rather than his months in Vietnam, we would likely not be in this weird debate.

As for Iran, while agreeing with the concerns Michael has raised, it is important to point out the greater concern. The process at "work" today, namely working with old European "allies" through the UN Security Council, is precisely the process Kerry has stated he thinks we should follow. That it is a patent failure does not seem to bother him.

Bush in the meantime is trying to change the region so that an islamo-fascist regime like the mullah's in Iran is untenable.

Just because the news of the day is filled with Vietnam redux, doesn't mean that both men's positions on how to deal with Iran aren't pretty clear.

Posted by: Hacksaw at September 10, 2004 08:16 AM

David -- you're the one that is being unfair. Kerry raised the issue, but the Bush campaign surrogates have been working hard to keep it going -- particularly when they see how much exploiting the issue benefits them. Neutrality is precisely what is called for in this case.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 08:17 AM

The Dude : I don't see any connection to Vietnam, Walter.

Walter Sobchak : Well, there isn't a literal connection, Dude.

The Dude : Walter, face it, there isn't any connection.

Posted by: Eric at September 10, 2004 08:26 AM

Markus has it right. Kerry might have raised it, but the Republicans have stoked it.

I would say though that this stemmed from an error in stategy on the part of the Democrats.

They decided to try to "nuetralise" the Republican security thing by stressing the credentials of Kerry the war hero etc, and turning the DNC into an ultra-patriotic rally. But this was one triangulation too far.

In doing so they merely played into the Republican hands, playing to the Reps strongest and (it seems) only card: military security.

Swift Voite Veterans for Truth, tied to the Republicans, was a ploy to let the wind out of Kerry's sails - and now Kerry finds himself drifting in enemy waters.

So Clinton advises from his hospital bed to concentrate the campaign on domestic issues.

Time will tell whether the change of strategy is too late.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 08:30 AM

"Swift Boat" that should be.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 08:31 AM

Hey, along with the UN inspection teams, maybe we can set up another Oil for Fraud arrangement so all those diplomat's with unemployed relatives can get them on the gravy train again. Patrick Lasswell

That's unfair Patrick! You're almost making fun of our closest allies and suggesting the world might be safer without the U.N. Stop it!

Back on topic, I guess I've been away for a while but I didn't know Kerry served in Vietnam. Wow!

Posted by: d-rod at September 10, 2004 08:53 AM

Syn: Michael, if it is not too much trouble could you please have some perspective on the situation?

If you find the time, please confront those at United for Genocidal Peace and Justice for Dictators for tying America's hands in ending Iran's evil axis.

We have the military might to stop Iran's threats however our will is being eroded by the PEACE ACTIVISTS. Why not confront them instead of President Bush.

I've been doing that for the past two years.

To those of you who say Kerry is the one bringing up all these irrelevant topics, yes, that is true, I agree. But most conservative activists, commentators, and bloggers are more than happy bang away on these very same topics every day.

Besides, Bush is president now. Dealing with Iran is his job today. At least Kerry has the excuse that there is nothing he can do about it since he probably will never be president anyway.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 10, 2004 09:15 AM

"Swift Voite Veterans for Truth, tied to the Republicans, was a ploy to let the wind out of Kerry's sails"


The swiftvets (all 250+)were coming out regardless of what Bush did/does. The fact that Kerry set himself up to be slammed even harder by them has nothing to do with Bush.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 09:17 AM

Also the swiftvets were coming out regardless of what the "republicans" do/did.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 09:27 AM

Maybe we get the candidates we deserve. 75% of the comments above are "Viet Nam blah blah blah."

Feel free to ignore Viet Nam and ignore the Guard, and discuss Iran.

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 09:29 AM

For the Swiftvets it IS about Vietnam. I read somewhere that they will consider Kerry's defeat the homecoming parade that they never had. Their anger runs deep, it won't go away, and Mr. Kerry stokes it every day by his refusal to end the pathetic charade that he is their brother. I agree with those who say that Bush could not stand in their way, even if he wanted to. McCain certainly tried, and was brushed away like a bug.

Posted by: Priscilla at September 10, 2004 09:39 AM

The only thing that the people are reasonably unified on is the need to rid themselves of the Mullahs and their imported enforcers.

Patrick, have you seen evidence of iranians in iran who are not fully in line with wanting iranian nukes?

Have you seen any reason to think that any new iranian regime would choose against nukes?

They have the examples of iraq and north korea to go by. If they have nukes, we'll leave them alone. If they don't we'll hurt them very very badly. Why would any responsible iranian leader choose not to get nukes, if they can do it quickly enough?

Given that, there's every reason to think they already do have a few nukes and are getting more quickly. They need a way to get them quicker than we expect, so they can prove it before we take drastic action.

Which leads to a question -- anybody know where our big permanent military bases are located in iraq? We need them to be close to iraqi cities, to help protect them from nukes. Otherwise it could turn out, we make a few pinpoint strikes on their sites, they make a few pinpoint strikes on our sites....

I hardly every see much mention of those bases in the media, and I have no idea where they are on the map.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 10, 2004 10:04 AM

Oh, does anybody have an opinion about the nuclear weapons push by south korea?

Posted by: J Thomas at September 10, 2004 10:05 AM

As regards Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, this group has been rumbled:

"The SBVT criticisms against Kerry are not the first time that SBVT leader John E. O'Neill has campaigned against him. Writing in The New Yorker, Joe Klein reported that Nixon's chief counsel, in 1971 Charles Colson formed the Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace, featuring O'Neill, to publicly criticize Kerry.

Klein recounted a conversation with Colson years after the war in which Colson said of Kerry “He was a thorn in our flesh. He was very articulate, a credible leader of the opposition. He forced us to create a counterfoil. We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group.”

The New York Times reports that the initial SBVT meeting comprised 10 veterans gathering in the Dallas office of Merrie Spaeth of Spaeth Communications, Inc. [11]. Spaeth is the widow of Tex Lezar, “eternal Kerry antagonist and Dallas attorney” John E. O'Neill's law partner....

On May 4, 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth went public at a news conference organized by Merrie Spaeth at the National Press Club.

Spaeth defended her role, insisting that she had no connection with the Bush re-election campaign. “Being director of media relations with Reagan is a long way from being part of the Bush team."....

Spaeth told the NYT that she had only visited the White House once during the presidency of George W. Bush. Initially she said she had been there as a guest of Kenneth Starr, who had been her client. She later confirmed doing public speaking training work in 2003 for Bush's chief economic adviser, Stephen Friedman. When asked if she had worked with other White House officials, Spaeth said “The answer is 'no' unless you refresh my memory.”

Prompted by her comments, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information request for the White House information on contacts with Spaeth and a number of others associated with the SBVT.

In late August, Bloomberg reported that Benjamin Ginsberg, a Patton Boggs attorney, had provided legal advice to SBVT. Ginsberg had been an attorney for the Bush campaign during the Florida recount and was counsel for the Bush 2004 re-election campaign. A spokeswoman for SBVT, Jennifer Webster, said “it was an effort to make sure we were doing everything legal, that's why you hire a lawyer”. Webster said Ginsberg was sought out because he had worked on election law and had worked with the Republican National Committee.

Following the public revelations that he worked for both the Bush campaign and SBVT, Ginsberg resigned. In his resignation letter to Bush he wrote “I have decided to resign as national counsel to your campaign to ensure that the giving of legal advice to decorated military veterans, which was entirely within the boundaries of the law, doesn't distract from the real issues upon which you and the country should be focusing”.

The SBVT book Unfit for Command, published by Regnery Publishing has sold well with strong support from conservative cable programs. Robert Novak, who has a syndicated column with Creators Syndicate and appears on CNN's Crossfire program, has touted the book but without revealing that his son, Alex Novak, is head of marketing for Regnery. Robert Novak dismissed concern about the failure to disclose the link, telling the New York Times “I don't think it's relevant”.

Affidavits as 'evidence'

Central to the SBVT media campaign has been a reliance on sworn affidavits to be provided as 'evidence' to journalists. However, Patrick Runyon, who provided a statement about the mission for which Kerry was awarded his first Purple Heart, found the interest in his views to be more partisan than neutral. When his statement was returned for his signature, he told the New York Times, references to being fired on had been removed. “It made it sound like I didn't believe we got any returned fire … He made it sound like it was a normal operation. It was the scariest night of my life,” he said.

Commander George Elliott—who praised Kerry's conduct during the Vietnam War—provided an affidavit criticizing Kerry for being awarded a Silver Star.

However, what appeared at first as a coup for them appeared to backfire when, on August 5, 2004, a Boston Globe article reported that Elliott had recanted his criticism of Kerry. The article quoted Elliott as saying, “It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here.”...

In the same article Elliott maintained that, “based on the affidavits of the veterans on other boats,” Kerry's being awarded the Bronze Star and third Purple Heart might be questionable. He said: “I simply have no reason for these guys [signing the other affidavits] to be lying, and if they are lying in concert, it is one hell of a conspiracy. So, on the basis of all of the information that has come out, I have chosen to believe the other men. I absolutely do not know first hand.”

On August 6 Elliott claimed he had been misquoted in the Boston Globe article, and reaffirmed his original statement with another affidavit. However, since issuing the second affidavit Elliot has refused to speak to reporters. [26]

In an affidavit released in July, Larry Thurlow claimed that Kerry’s statements that the five boats on that patrol came under small arms fire on March 13, 1969 was “totally fabricated”.

The Washington Post reported that the military records of Larry Thurlow, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, contain several references to “enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire” directed at “all units” of the five-boat flotilla. Both Kerry and Thurlow were awarded Bronze Stars for their actions on that day. According to the Washington Post, Thurlow’s citation praises him for providing assistance to a damaged swift boat “despite enemy bullets flying about him.”

But James Rassmann, who Kerry pulled back into the boat after he was knocked overboard following an explosion, “said he has never had any question that Kerry deserved the Purple Heart.” [28] In response to the controversy fueled by the SBVT campaign, the Kerry campaign has released an advertisement featuring Rassman, who describes himself as a Republican.

The success of the SBVT campaign in gaining profile has also prompted reluctant participants in the debate to come forward. William B. Rood was an officer serving in another swift boat on the day Kerry’s actions led to him being awarded his Silver Star. Rood, now the editor of the Chicago Tribune, wrote a 1600 word account of the events that day....

SBVT television advertisements

The SBVT television advertisements were produced by the Alexandria, Virginia-based Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm (SRCP). SRCP worked for Senator McCain in 2000 and George Bush Sr. in 1988.

If the aim was to gain more free airtime coverage than paid advertising time, the strategy was successful. While the SBVT ad and official statements by the group correctly claim only that the speakers “served with” Kerry, not that they were on the same boat, the distinction was lost on others. Only one of the members of SWVT was actually a crewmate of Kerry.

The August 4, 2004 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes dedicated coverage and airtime to the SBVT campaign, referring to the group as Kerry's “crewmates.”

The second of their advertisements—Sellout—features testimony from Kerry before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1971 interspliced with comments from veterans. The advertisement opens with a brief excerpt featuring Kerry stating “they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads …” and then cuts to veteran Joe Ponder: “The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating.”

The advertisement omitted the beginning of Kerry's sentence, which referred to what had been said by veterans themselves at a meeting in Detroit as part of the Winter Soldier Investigation. The transcript of Kerry's evidence included him telling the committee that at the Detroit meeting “many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia” and relived the “absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.”

“They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country,” he said.

On its website the SBVT sidesteps addressing what were specific statements of veterans, instead portraying Kerry's comments as being against all Veterans. “For more than thirty years, most Vietnam veterans kept silent as we were maligned as misfits, addicts, and baby killers. Now that a key creator of that poisonous image is seeking the Presidency we have resolved to end our silence.”...

Racist comments by Jerry Corsi of SBVT

The claim to objectivity by the "Unfit for Command" book also appeared to be undermined by the revelation that Jerome (Jerry) Corsi, listed as co-author (O'Neill claims Corsi acted as “simply an editor”), regularly posted comments to a conservative website portraying Muslims and Catholics as pedophiles.

Associated Press reported that in one posting to, he wrote: “Islam is a peaceful religion—just as long as the women are beaten, the boys buggered and the infidels are killed.”

Free Republic is one of the conservative websites where Corsi's racist contributions were posted. Scott Swett, webmaster of and Free Republic's Director, is also the webmaster for the Swift Boat Veterans website—further indication that the group is neither unbiased nor nonpartisan.

In another message Corsi wrote: “So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it.” Asked about his comments, Corsi said they were meant as a joke and he apologized. [37]

However, an examination of the full list of Jerome Corsi's Free Republic postings reveals that Corsi has made hundreds of them, many of which are racist. A February 2003 posting by Corsi asked “Who are the Frogs going to cry to when the ragheads destroy the Eiffel Tower?” [38]. And in March 2004, Corsi even made the wild claim that “JaneFondaKerry is being heavily funded by Iranians—check out how Gore was funded by the Chinese in 2000.”" Disinfopedia.

There are many more links too.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 10:26 AM

Ladies and Germs, we have a situation here-

260 Swiftees are sickened by John Kerry's actions from 1971 AND 2004. That's why this is an issue-

I think a big part of their complaint is:

"How dare you say we were all a bunch of murderous barbarians and then attempt to cash your political chips with your suddenly 'heroic' service!!!"

Did John Kerry say that he committed war crimes? Yes. He did.

Does John Kerry now claim to be a war hero?
Yes. He does.

If I were a Vietnam Vet, I'd be at least as pissed off as any Swiftee. He STILL hasn't explained away this GLARING discrepency.

Let's not forget that John Kerry helped to spread the false notion that war crimes were the rule (which is false) as opposed to the exception (which is true). How any Vietnam Vet could support him, I'll never know.

But let's forget all that. Kerry won't sign the Form 180, so we'll never get the true story of those "suspicious" purple hearts or learn the true nature of his discharge (it's a great story, trust me). So what does he do? He comes up with the "Swift Boat Counterpunch!" This is a brave and noble political tactic- absolutely worthy of the Kerry name. Here's how it works:

First, you dismiss the 260 Swift Vets as "liars." Prove this by parading a handfull of Kerry's former subordinates around the country and play lots of music. That'll fool those silly American voters! IMPORTANT! Do not let any of those handful of guys talk anything about Cambodia or purple heart stories. Just have them smile, enjoy their 5-star hotels, and say "Kerry for President!"

Next, locate Bush's old Commander from the Texas ANG- his name was Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, and (lucky for John Kerry) he is long dead.

Next, you have members of your "truth squad" forge some documents that make GW look like a "very bad officer." You see, this makes Kerry look like less of a slimeball.

Oh, don't worry about the dead guy's widow and surviving son- they'll object vehemently and say things like "But he LOVED Bush! He said it all the time! He's spinning in his grave right now, having his name assosciated with anti-Bush documents!"- but what do THEY know, right? They're just the guy's stupid FAMILY MEMBERS! American voters would never give them any credibility!

Next, you pay some guy who served with Killian to say, "yeah, he didn't like Bush."

But what about the guy who served with him for 17 years who said that Killian would never write anything like that? The same guy who confirms the family's claim that he actually LOVED and ADMIRED Bush? Yeah, we'll just ignore him...

Then you find a fallen-from-grace Texas politician-for-hire to make a claim that he "pulled some strings" to get W into the Guard. Promise him a nice fat cabinet post and ask him to please refrain from drinking in public for a while...

Now go back to those forged documents. Give them to Dan Rather and tell him to run- RUN with them! Hurry Dan!! Do the story now or we'll go straight to 20/20!! Don't check for signs of Microsoft Word (which did not exist in 1972), don't have them checked out by military aviators (note: I'm a military aviator, and I could have told Mr. Rather that a) Commanders don't write memos that order pilots to get flight physicals and b) If Bush's birth month is July, his deadline for getting the physical would be the last day of July, not May 18th as was stated in the forged document). When the whole thing blows up in Dan Rather's face, laugh, deny any connection to those "evil" documents, but insist that there "was probably something to them anyway"...

Isn't that a noble and honorable political maneuver? I especially like the part about "Hey! Look what this dead guy wrote about Bush!!! I know he wrote this because some guy said he probably wrote it!!" That's so cool, John! What an honest guy you are! Hey, why don't you sign that Form 180 like W did? Didn't you say BRING IT ON? Well, George BROUGHT IT. He signed the Form 180. And he didn't even have his guys forge anything. Is that how you BRING IT, John? Refuse to release your records, and put out forgeries of W's records? Wow, that's a little...that's just...well, I guess that's just very John Kerry of you, John. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 10:29 AM

What, specifically, should Bush be doing about Iran?

Bush's style is to start talking about something when he's about to act.

We aren't invading Iran no matter what, despite what some say. Iran's a geographic nightmare.

Likliest scenario is a strike by the israelis followed by Bush ratcheting up pressure on Iran.

Bush has a lot more options at his disposal with troops in Iraq. Patience.

Posted by: Raymond at September 10, 2004 10:31 AM

Plus there is the little matter of Iraq alone costing $135 billion and counting....

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 10:36 AM


Another fine rant.

I just had to say - Rathergate.

Darn it Michael, your comments kill the tag.

Posted by: jdwill at September 10, 2004 10:42 AM

If you want to know what we're doing about Iran, I'll tell you the answer in one word or less. Are you ready?


That's it. Yes, Iraq is very costly. Yes, we weren't able to turn Iraq into an oasis of peace and prosperity in 3 weeks or less. I know, I know, we failed miserably. Everyone knows that countries coming off of 30+ years of brutal oppression should be fixed in 2 weeks at a cost of about 5 dollars total. So we're running a few weeks over schedule and about $200 billion over budget- sorry America. We're doing our best, I promise you. It's just that...well, you have some pretty high standards, you know? Trust me, when Iraq does get "fixed," Iran won't be far behind. Libya's already jumping on board. Pakistan, too. Saudi Arabia's finally starting to crack down on their madrasses or whatever the hell you call those despicable things. The key is IRAQ, folks. There's a whole helluva lot more than you think to this "overpriced and drawn-out" war. Sorry we couldn't fix it for you in 2 weeks...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 10:47 AM

Ben, as long as Kerry refuses to sign Form 180 I don't believe him. I don't believe he was illegally in Cambodia, Christmas 68. I don't believe he got a Silver Star with Combat V -- because the Navy doesn't give those out.

I do believe he spent 0 days in the hospital. Big Hero -- Harry Potter usually spends more each book.

See Michael Novak on the Swifties, who are attacking Kerry's second hand "Enquirer" type testimony about baby killers, as policy. Yes, Lt. Calley at My Lai is real; and other, occassional atrocities.

He CAN NOT be both a Hero, and an ashamed & admitted war criminal "yes, I committed war crimes" (free fire zone). Well, I do NOT consider him a war criminal; nor most other Vets. But he's no hero.

You say I'm afraid. That's how the Republicans are running the election, using fear, so they've scored a success there.

Beslan is not a smear campaign.

I have 3 kids; we live in Slovakia (I can almost understand Russian, a Slavic language).
MY KIDS COULD BE MURDERED. By Islamofascist killers. That's not Reps running the election -- that's terrorists running their side of the War on Terror.

But YOUR stupid, blind, knee-jerk Bush-hate has you claiming my fear is from the Reps. Get your head out! There are murderers out there. I am afraid of THEM. And I don't trust anybody, like you or Kerry, who doesn't take the threat seriously. And letting Iran get nukes... NO!

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 10, 2004 10:49 AM

I think it is silly to whine about the Vietnam focus. It is so prominent because it is of interest to voters. I dont blame Kerry for pointing to his service - that is standard fare for political candidates. The SwiftBoatLiars, whether connected to the Republicans or not, responded. By themselves, as 250 individuals, they would have had no real effect. You want someone to blame? Blame the blogosphere, and then the MSM. The Bush supporters in blogistan hyped the issue till it became a juicy story of the type the MSM loves. And it persists because partisan repbulicans think it is to their advantage AND, the voters find it an engaging story. Maybe some here dont (I agree), but I didnt find OJ, Chandra, Laci of any real interest either.

Same with the TANG. Partisan democrats push it because they think it holds advantage, and the media go along because it sells newspapers, and eyeballs for ads.

Iran? Who is going to bother with that? Bottom line is nobody really has much of a clue as to what to do about that. The Republicans can beat their chest all they want, but no sane person thinks that we are going to war there. I mean...hello people. We invaded Iraq - the great uncontested superpower that we are, and we did throw Saddam in jail, but as of today, one and a half years in, we face a situation where Baathists, in a new alliance of convenience with jihadist terrorists, control all of the major cities in the Sunni triangle, where a theocratic thug is the dominant political force in more than half of the captial city, where Iranian-inspired mullahs are the dominant political force in most of the south, where the 'insurgency' is getting stronger by the day, and no one has a clue as to how it will resolve.
And any of you seriously think we are about to go invade another country, three times larger, with no real ethnic/religous divisions to try to play off?

The message that Bush has sent is clear - if you are declared "evil" and you are weak, you might be invaded. If you are declared "evil' and you have nukes, then you will be negotiated with (do any of you RWers wish to claim that the NKorean negotiations will end up looking all that different from the Clinton negotiations)?
Any sane Iranian leader would therefore proceed ASAP to aquire nukes. Which is what they are doing. Given the quality of our intel, we could probably take out some of their aspirin factories, or their weather balloon filling stations, but I wouldnt be all that confident about eliminating their nuke programs.

Kerry would try to make a deal. So will Bush. The one cant proclaim it loudly because he will be further categorized as an appeaser. The other cant proclaim it loudly because it would undermine his resolute image. So neither will deal honestly with the issue at all.

Posted by: Tano at September 10, 2004 10:53 AM

"The message that Bush has sent is clear - if you are declared "evil" and you are weak, you might be invaded."

insert, "and you deal in terrorism against Americans".

Yeah, Im for that.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 11:18 AM


Wow, you know more about what's going on in Iraq than I do, and I'm willing to bet you've never even BEEN to Iraq!! That's impressive. I'd like to see your facts that support the insurgency "getting stronger by the day" comment. That was news to me. I know you think our intellegence is so incompetent (you know, since we've suffered all those attacks since 9/11, oh wait a minute- no we haven't) that they have no clue what's going on in Iran. Our intel guys are morons because they actually thought that Saddam had WMDs when he REALLY didn't, right? That makes them totally incompetent, right? Keep believing that- I'm sure they appreciate you saying that sort of stuff while they continue to risk their lives for your safety. The truth is we know EXACTLY what's going on in Iran, in large part because of our assets on the ground in Iraq.

Every town in the Sunni Triangle is controlled by the Ba'athist/Jihadist Monster Machine, so we've lost the battle, huh? Hmmm. Funny, I don't remember them booting us out of those towns. I thought it was more like us turning over control to the ING guys and saying "good luck boys!" And wouldn't you know it- our rookie cops got their butts whipped! Can't believe it! They got run out of town, so we might as well just pack up and head on home, huh? OR (are you ready for this) maybe the plan is for the U.S. to "clean up" those towns, send our Iraqi cop buddies back in there and have at it again! Maybe (just maybe) the plan is to repeat this cycle until it holds firm! Have you been watching the news lately? Well, they're not always right, but they've been pretty close to the mark lately. You see, we've already started "cleaning up" Fallujah, Samara, Tall Affar, and a few other places. And once we think it's time, we'll send our buddies in there again! Keep in mind, our Iraqi Sooper Troopers get better with each iteration. Training these guys is our primary focus right now- did you know that? Bet you didn't. You thought we were getting run out of all those towns, huh? Retreating, because those insurgents are just too much for us. They're getting stronger by the day? Sorry- that's quite innacurate. But nice try. Thanks for having so much confidence in us and our new Iraqi friends by the way- oh, and I'd like to send thanks on behalf of my intel buddies as well- I'm sure they'd appreciate your remarks about their lack of competitence. Because you'd be SO MUCH better, right?

Posted by: Tano at September 10, 2004 11:20 AM

Tom Grey - Liberty Dad

"I have 3 kids; we live in Slovakia (I can almost understand Russian, a Slavic language).
MY KIDS COULD BE MURDERED. By Islamofascist killers. That's not Reps running the election -- that's terrorists running their side of the War on Terror."

Fair enough, if that's how you feel. I am not going there, suffice to say, I hope your worst worries do not come to pass.

As for the Swift Boat thing, in the broad scheme of things its all rather a silly argument, although I do believe that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is essentially a Republican operation, as I posted earlier.

I agree that Kerry is no hero. I suspect he may have committed war crimes. He is also properly decorated. Yep, all three at once.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 11:21 AM

"I agree that Kerry is no hero. He is also properly decorated."


Benjamin... WTF?

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 11:28 AM


No hero to me, I guess. People who come back from war with medals are not necessarily "heroes" to me.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 11:32 AM

Tano: And any of you seriously think we are about to go invade another country, three times larger,/i>

As much as I would love to see regime-change in Iran, an invasion is probably not a wise thing to attempt at this time.

It also is probably not necessary to get the job done. We could take out their reactors with cruise missiles or whatever hardware is necessary. (I don't actually know because this is not my area.) That regime is going to implode or be overthrown at some point anyway. It's not like Iraq was under Saddam. In Iran there is actually an opposition that is allowed to breathe and sometimes even speak. The regime has to import Arabs to beat protesters because it can't find enough locals willing to do the dirty work.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 10, 2004 11:36 AM


All disputes about the circumstances surrounding the medals aside,pulling up a man overboard under intense enemy fire is not heroic?

c'mon man, geeze.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 11:42 AM

Absolutely correct, MJT. Iran will eventually take care of itself. A peaceful, stable Iraq simply speeds up the process...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 11:44 AM

"Iran will eventually take care of itself. A peaceful, stable Iraq simply speeds up the process..."

Yep, along with Syria.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 11:49 AM


See Ollie North's letter- what he said is very accurate even today- officers get more medals than they should and enlisted guys get fewer than they deserve. Why didn't John Kerry let one of his guys pull the man up? Was there really intense enemy fire? Most accounts don't support that. Some people think there was "enemy fire." Some people think there was none. Fog of war. But if there was INTENSE enemy fire:

1) There wouldn't be any doubt- everyone would agree that yes, there was INTENSE enemy fire

2) There would be some major damage and at least a few wounded and/or deaths

No- I think a more plausible explanation is that following the mine blast- gunfire erupted from the boats- and Kerry's boat hauled ass out of there...

When he realized that all the boats were still there, he went back to help them with the "3" boat. He saw the guy in the water, and made damn sure that HE was the one that pulled him up. I wasn't there, so I don't know- but a careful review of all the accounts (from Kerry supporters as well as Kerry dissenters) support this scenario...personally, I doubt it was as heroic as you think it was, but I won't knock him for it.

One thing is certain- Kerry was way more of an opportunist than a hero. No doubt about it...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 11:56 AM


If that is true (about Kerry) that is an act of undoubted bravery, and obviously Kerry is a hero to the chap whose life was saved.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 12:00 PM

Apparently there is some clown named Rick Hinshaw who posted that incoherent rant responding to my earlier post, and then put my name at the bottom.
Caveat emptor! THere is only one real Tano!

Posted by: Tano at September 10, 2004 12:02 PM

Ha!! I humbly apologize for ACCIDENTALLY being a caveat emperor or whatever...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 12:06 PM


So, I guess you mean he is not a hero to you personally, but he is a hero, or that you do not believe he rescued the man in the water.

One way negates your original comments , he is a hero and the other negates it as well, because then the medals are not proper.

Do you want to retract your earlier statement now, or keep digging.

Im done now.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 12:07 PM

$lick, Im in agreement with you, just want to prove a point to Benny.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 12:09 PM

I certainly hope that the Iranian regime implodes, but the world gives us many examples of oppressive regimes that hang on for a very long time. The pseudo-democracy that they have is potentially an effetive mechanism for giving just enough voice to the opposition to keep them from getting enough steam up to actually threaten the regime.
Iran has Pakistan on the east, with nukes. Russia on the north, with nukes. Israel over the horizen to the west, with nukes. I am not convinced that even a democratic Iran wouldnt be interested in nukes - as we can see here at home, having a democracy does not preclude an attitude that one must be at least as strong as any potential adversary.

Posted by: Tano at September 10, 2004 12:12 PM


I am saying that is is possible for man to fight in a war and be the following:

1. Brave
2. Decorated
3. A war criminal.

All simultaneously.

It is also possible for the decoarted to be labelled "war heroes", but, in general, soldiers are not heroes to me.

I do recognise they can be brave though.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 12:23 PM

Apology accepted. As to your rant. First off, if you dont think the insurgency is getting stronger, then take some advice. Stop obsessing about trying to make Kerry out to be an opportunist, and start paying attention to the real world.
If you think that we know EXACTLY what is going on in Iran, then you are a fantasist of the worst type.
And as to your claims about what I said, and about our chances in the Sunni triangle, please pay close attention here. I did not claim that the battle is lost. And I did not claim that the Iraqis may someday be able to take those towns. From what I have heard, the general assessment is that it will be six months at least till they might be ready to do so, if all goes well. (What that means for January elections I will leave to you to figure out). The point is, that it will then be nearly two years into the war, and we will still be in the midst of trying to nail down the major cities. And backing it with our own over-extended forces, utilizing lots of reservists. All that to put a potential invasion of Iran in a realistic framework. Ya follow?

Posted by: Tano at September 10, 2004 12:25 PM


Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 12:26 PM


I am not saying (irrefutably) that any of that applies to Kerry though - apart from the fact he is definately decorated.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 12:35 PM

$lick -- You certainly are "knocking him for it." You seem so blinded by your partisanship and Kerry-hatred that you are willing to assume the worst about him. Is it possible that he behaved honorably in Vietnam AND reprehensibly in 1971? Or is it more important to smear him in order to win an election? As you say yourself, you weren't there and you don't know.

If you really do want to go back to 1971, and Kerry's testimony, he didn't accuse all US soldiers of atrocities, and he based his testimony on sworn statements made by veterans in the Winter Soldier Investigation. Some of the claims made there have indeed turned out to be false or unsubstantiated, but there is no evidence that Kerry knew this when he testified.

Furthermore, the honorable position to take at that time was one that was against the war, and in favor of a rapid United States pullout. This was Kerry's position, shared by many veterans, and I honor him and them for it. While fighting against communism and for democratic government was morally justified in the abstract, in that particular instance, popular support within South Vietnam for the existing South Vietnamese government was so low that the United States could not defeat the Vietcong without resorting to brutal and unjust tactics. Most importantly, it was obvious by 1971 that no vital US interests would be compromised by a pullout and a subsequent Vietcong victory.

mnm -- "Iran will eventually take care of itself. A peaceful, stable Iraq simply speeds up the process..."

A nice optimistic sentiment, with absolutely no relationship to reality as far as I can see. And the last time Iraq was "peaceful" and "stable", by the way, if that is really what is most important, was around March 17, 2003.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 12:39 PM


Looks like we can just agree to disagree on a few things. You think I'm a fantasist about Iran, and I'm gonna say that I have access to significantly more sources of information than you do. I'm still curious as to how you come up with the assertion that we know nothing. I mean, I know that's not the case, but I'm wondering why you think it is. Did Tennet hold a press conference and say "we've got no clue what's going on in Iran. That's why I stepped down."? It's just a very bold assertion to make, especially if you're basing it on the fact that we still don't know what happened to Saddam's WMDs (this by the way, is as big a mystery as ObL's whereabouts). But I'm going to say you're wrong about this. But if you want to believe that I'm a fantasist, I can't stop you...

I wouldn't put a timeline on how long it's going to take for our Iraqi friends to "nail down" those major cities, six months, two years, even three years is not unreasonable. Not that it matters, because in this day and age, if it didn't happen in two weeks, it's a complete failure. But it'll happen- I just don't wanna say when. My point to you is that the American public (including yourself) has become unreasonable with their expectations. We can't go to war these days unless we can gaurantee that:

a) It'll be over in two weeks.
b) It doesn't cost anything.
c) Nobody dies.

These are tough standards to meet. How many people died in WWII? We're in the middle of WWIII, and if you don't believe that, then I would suggest that YOU are a fantasist. We're fighting a war against people who cut off heads, blow up innocent women and children, want all Americans dead, and as you recently witnessed- shoot children in the back as they flee in terror. Terrorists are not human beings. Human beings can't do these things to people. Could you cut off a person's head while chanting and then hold it up proudly in front of the camera? Could you shoot a 2nd grader in the back while he's running for his mommy? These guys sure can. And if you don't think we're going to fight these guys until we're down to our last man, than you're mistaken. We may be overextended and underpaid at times- we could care less. We're not interested in how big the deficit gets while we fix things over here. I don't care if my children have to pay a bunch of taxes someday- I want my children to be around to pay taxes. You guys can sit around and be armchair Generals until you're blue in the face- we'll take care of business while you impress yourself with how much more you know about modern warfare than Franks and Metz....

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 01:00 PM

$lick: Iran will eventually take care of itself. A peaceful, stable Iraq simply speeds up the process..."

mnm: Yep, along with Syria.

That was meant as sarcasm, right?

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 01:06 PM


No, it wasn't. I believe Iraq will be a thriving free society one day, and will serve as a catalyst in spreading freedom throughout the region. I believe it would happen a lot faster and easier if not for defeatists who constantly dishearten or troops and hearten our enemies.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 01:15 PM

Markus Rose,

Iraq was peaceful and stable in 2003- great, let me know when you arrive on planet earth and I'll introduce you to any book about Saddam's Iraq that's ever been published.

I'm not partisan- I'm a libertarian.

I despise Kerry for many reasons- I've laid them out before, so I'll spare you the details...

I know it's gonna shock you to know that many of the Swiftees are Democrats, Independents, etc...

I don't have any problem with anybody who protests a war of any kind. I have a problem with people who are dishonest about it. You say that it's impossible to know if Kerry knew that much of the testimony that he propagated was false, and I will argue that point with you until the end of my days. He knew DAMN WELL that he was spouting garbage. When 18-year-old enlisted guys say something like "everybody was acting like Ghengis Kahn" then we officers cut them some slack- crazy kids telling those fish stories again...but OFFICERS do not get a pass. Officers know better. John Kerry graduated from Yale, served with honorable men, he KNOWS what he saw, and he still came home and embraced dishonety. He had credibility because he was an officer, and he completely abused his position. He was dishonest and it resulted in harm to POWs and soldiers who were left behind. He could have gone the honest route- "there were, as I'm told, some isolated cases of malfeasance going on over there, and given the illegal nature of this war, I think we need to end this now..." but tht didn't present a strong enough argument and it wouldn't have rocketed him to political fame. So he chose to be dishonest and then back off later. But he still hasn't apologized. Dishonest, sleazy, opportunistic all day long...

About his rescue- I might assume that he acted heroically, but I don't because he has demonstrated a PATTERN of dishonesty- witnessed by many- that suggests he was acting in self interest. Why did he lie about Cambodia? What's the deal with the purple hearts? No other Swiftee in all of Vietnam was able to duplicate taht amazing feat- 3 band-aids and out. That's just amazing!

He ASKED for his purple hearts!!! This may not be a big deal to you, but in my 1.5 years here in the mideast, I've yet to meet anyone who ASKED for a medal of any kind. If I did, I'd be very suspicious. Why is this guy CHASING medals? Is he going to try to get me into a situation that will help him get medals (because I wouldn't want this)? If you were an officer in the military, you'd understand. That's why 17 of the 22 officers he served with despise him...

My reality is different than yours, M Rose. But I'm quite certain that I know a little more about this stuff than you do. But you're entitled to your own opinion and I respect that. I do, however, take issue with your assertion that I'm partisan and blinded by Kerry-hate. I know of hundreds of my comerades-in-arms who would join me in asking you to learn about the military before you pass judgement on our motivation...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 01:27 PM

"I am not saying (irrefutably) that any of that applies to Kerry though - apart from the fact he is definately decorated"

Actually, you said "properly" decorated in your original post and that makes all the difference. Unless you are now saying that "properly" should not be considered to be through legit merit.

But anyway.....

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 01:28 PM

$lick -- whomever you are, I'm quite sure you know a lot more about a lot of things than me. But I don't know what you mean when you say you know more about "this stuff."

I never would presume to pass judgement on your motivation or on the motivation of the military. And I don't believe John Kerry would either.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 01:34 PM


Ever been in combat? One tends to remember things. Sharp memories. There's too much difference between intense and no enemy fire. The swifties were firing weapons after the mine exploded, but there was no enemy fire, I'd bet my life on it.

Kerry has lived off of women his entire adult life. What does that say about him? He's a gifted opportunist, nothing more.

In other words, as that nutjob wife of his would say, only an idiot would look at Kerry's life and think he'd be capable of showing any physical courage.

Posted by: Raymond at September 10, 2004 01:38 PM

Raymond, you are swinging at the wrong guy here, trust me.

Read all the posts, you'll see.

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 01:48 PM


Oh give it up. That's all silly speculation. We got one group of Swifties (organised ny Republicans) saying his medals aren't earnt, and another lot (organised by the Democrats) says they are earnt. This is playground stuff.

Abusing his wife is low stuff, frankly.
Very low indeed.

And as for an "opportunist" - that's what politicians do.

And as for Kerry living of others, the same charge can easily be laid at Bush's door.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 01:49 PM

Markus Rose,

Sorry- should have been clearer- "this stuff" was in reference to military officers, their relationship with enlisted subordinates, status among peers, awarding of medals, comeraderie in combat, and any number of other things that would cause me to assume what I do about Kerry's actions in that "rescue" scenario and other situations. You asked if it's possible that he served honorably in Vietnam and dishonorably in 1971. I do think that's VERY possible, and I'm certain that many people did exactly that. However, based on everything I've read and learned about John Kerry, I think that it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY that he fits that description. I will admit that I don't know for certain, because I wasn't there. But if you look at his history- his entire life- you get a much better sense of how the pieces fit. And I would "bet my life" that he DID NOT serve honorably in Vietnam- that he went there with an agenda, lied to his peers as well as commanders, and wound up doing more harm than good when it was all said and done. If he would sign that Form 180, I'd take it all back in a heartbeat...but he won't sign it- it would be the end of his candidacy.

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 01:54 PM

$lick -- Iraq most certainly was more peaceful and stable under Saadam's tyranny. This as a simple fact, not a moral judgement. For instance, women could walk the streets of Baghdad without fear of being raped, and right now they cannot.

I supported the liberation of Iraq at the time and for most of time since. Though I'm no longer convinced it was the right thing to do, I remain eager for my second thoughts to be proven wrong, and I want whomever is elected in November to try to make things work. Hopefully someday Iraq will be peaceful and stable under a non-oppressive, democratic government.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 01:55 PM

$lick -- one of the things I'm sure we can agree on -- Kerry should not be talking about Vietnam as much as he has. The fact that he has shows that he and a lot of Democratic stragegists fundamentally misunderstand the electorate and what they are looking for in a "strong leader." Like a lot of Dems, I'm underwhelmed by him.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 02:00 PM


It seems you believe that we don't need to worry about a nuclear-armed Iran or terrorist-sponsoring Syria because because those problems will just "take care of themselves".

Please tell me I'm misunderstanding your point or you're pulling my leg. Otherwise I'm going to criticize that statement quite severely.

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 02:02 PM

Oberon, you must be misunderstanding my point.

I think you took "take care of itself" a bit too literally. Are you being serious, or are we playing semantics here?

What is your argument, by the way?

Posted by: mnm at September 10, 2004 02:11 PM

Markus Rose,

I'm sorry, I thought you said:

And the last time Iraq was "peaceful" and "stable", by the way, if that is really what is most important, was around March 17, 2003.

And so once again I would refer you to any book ever published about Saddam's Iraq. Make sure you read the chapters about his sons- you'll learn all about Uday and his propensity to pick 11 and 12-year-old girls out of a crowd and (guess what) that's right- RAPE them. Sure, he'd rape older women, too. Sometimes he'd just pick them up off the streets of Baghdad. But he was nice about it- he'd kill them once he was done. Just go read the books, man!

A power vacuum opened after a 30+ year stranglehold on the country so, yes- things are messy right now. Nothing could have prevented this, and we're fixing it as fast as it can be fixed. But if you think for one second that it's worse than it was before Saddam's removal, then you either have no idea how it was or how it is. I just read a local (Iraqi) news story that quoted a man who had recently lost a son to insurgent violence. Even he acknowledged that under Saddam, many thousands died in silence. Now that Iraq is free, every death gets attention. Where was the "Iraq Body Count" website before the war started? I'll give you a hint- they didn't have access to the numbers while Saddam was in power. We're finding new mass graves every month. I'm telling you, you are so far off from reality, it's not even funny...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 02:13 PM

What is the Department of Frigging Wellness?

Does that include toys?

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 02:19 PM

M Rose,

Yes, I couldn't fathom how Kerry would have been dumb enough to even have MENTIONED Vietnam- but then I read the story about how he called the Swiftee founder back in January, when he realized he'd probably be the Dem in the race. Kerry tried to arrange a "deal"- which means he knew all along that the Swiftees were coming. He made some crazy offer like "why don't you just write down everything that you don't like in 'Tour of Duty', and we'll have an honest debate" or something to that effect. The good Admiral refused, and so Kerry had to develop a strategy. Clearly, the strategy was to open up with "I AM A VIETNAM WAR HERO!" and beat that into minds of the American voters to such an extent that, when the Swiftees came, they'd be dismissed as partisan whackos. Didn't work. He probably knew it wouldn't, but he HAD to try something. He certainly couldn't sign the Form 180, so he did what he could. So really, it wasn't THAT stupid- he had no better options...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 02:22 PM

The Financial Times' Iraq editorial today is a MUST READ ("Time to consider Iraq withdrawal").

Posted by: Romero at September 10, 2004 02:36 PM

"Didn't work"

Well actually it did. All the polls I've seen show that by 2:1, the voters believe Kerry over the Liars. Even Republicans are split 50-50. So the only real believers are those who were so inclined to begin with.

Posted by: juzdafax at September 10, 2004 02:36 PM

Actually, $lick, Kerry's strategy came about in a rather simpler way.

He's polling and focus group people tested several campaign themes. They learned that Bush creamed him on national security/terrorism unless Kerry mentioned his medals and Viet Nam service -- only then could he beat Bush.

It makes sense, really - for people like you who hate Kerry's guts, it makes not difference, but for average uninformed Americans, "Viet Nam hero" meant "tough guy who can protect us."

The strategy worked for a while, but Kerry carried it way the hell too far.

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 02:39 PM

Oberon: I really find it hard to believe that just mentioning his medels brought up his national security standing in focus groups and polls. But even if so -- this would be an instance in which those things should be taken with a huge grain of salt. The context and way that people were informed of his record would be of vital importance. As I see it, Kerry's problem is that -- with the possible exception of the few weeks before Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this year -- he has not CARRIED HIMSELF and ACT like a war hero would be expected to. He has acted rather effete if I may say so. Ironically, the least effete Dem was Howard Dean.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 10, 2004 02:50 PM

OK, I'll choose to live in my world. In my world, the polls were looking pretty good for Kerry until the Swiftees showed up and spoiled his party. Not sure who you're referring to with that 2:1 deal. I've yet to meet someone who thinks that John Kerry was in Cambodia. If there are still people out there who think that Kerry's first purple heart was legit, they must be few and far between because I'm not finding 'em. 2:1 believe Kerry over the Swiftees? Sorry, dude. Not even close. Tell you what, I'm gonna believe the guys who bring out ALL of their evidence and testimony and readily agree to a polygraph. Kerry won't sign the Form 180- if he's right and they're wrong, then why not sign it? I'll sign one. I'll sign one right now. Anyone want to see my military records, no problem. I've got nothing to hide. Clearly, Kerry does. Kerry hasn't even (are you ready for this?) hasn't even SPOKEN with a SINGLE reporter in over a month. Remember when he "laughed off" the Cambodia lie with Jon Stewart? Funny how Jon Stewart didn't ask anything about the Form 180. Amazing, huh? Because every legitimate reporter in the country has one HUGE question for Kerry right now, and I don't have to tell you what that is. You really think 2:1 Americans are THAT ignorant? I respectfully disagree. The Swiftees aren't lying. Kerry is. It's not even a contest...

Posted by: $lick at September 10, 2004 02:58 PM


Come on now. Kerry parlayed a 4 month stint in vietnam and the stab in the back when he got home into his own personal mythology. He has a effing vietnam archive. You don't find this creepy?

I was married for six years (with my ex that's equivalent to serving 12 years in vietnam). I don't have an archive; why would a normal person need one?

Posted by: Raymond at September 10, 2004 03:10 PM


Kerry is not a normal person.

He's a politician.

Politicians are not normal.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 04:56 PM

So MJT, right about now you're looking through your old travel photos eh? I know I am. What a mess this whole thing has become.

Posted by: crionna at September 10, 2004 05:16 PM

sure, $lick, comedian Jon Stewart didn't ask about Form 180 becuase Jon is part of the vast left wing conspiracy...

Posted by: Oberon at September 10, 2004 05:57 PM

Will everybody please stop blaming the various different elements of Kerry's campaign for his slip in the polls. The Kerry campaign isn't losing ground because he talked too much about Vietnam. The Kerry campaign isn't losing ground because none of the advisors have come up with a good theme. And the Kerry campaign sure as hell isn't losing ground because the American people don't side with Democrats on most of the issues, because, spare national security, they pretty much do.

The Kerry campaign is faltering because of John Kerry. Period. He's a wimp. He's boring. He's condescending. He's a poor communicator. In the end, he's the living embodiment of everything that's been wrong with the Democratic Party over the past 30 years. Passionless. Devoid of any real vision. Stale and Stuck in Vietnam.

I don't really give a shit so much who wins in November. Either way, they're probably going to be presiding over a divided government. What really matters to me is that the Democratic Party gets its act together, again. I don't want them to be more conservative. I want them to be more LIBERAL in alot of ways. Most ways, in fact. Even more liberal on defense as I define it (which isn't to say soft). But liberal in a good way, again. Not the pansy-ass breed we've been left with for so long.

No one ever accused the Democratic Party of being a bunch of wimps when the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy were running things. I'd saw off my left leg to see that Party reborn. I hope Kerry wins or maybe I hope he loses: Whatever it takes to kill the ghosts of Vietnam haunting the Party.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at September 10, 2004 10:59 PM


There is no need to saw off your leg, dear boy.

Don't look back to the good old days; realise how much the Republican Party has changed from the party of Eisenhower.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Kennedy would both have been portrayed as wimps by today's Republican Party, quite viciously I suspect. Karl Rove is several notches up from any previous Republican Party machine man.

Harry Truman perhaps would avoid the treatment because he nuked Japan, which of course is very manly and virile.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 11, 2004 02:20 AM


You are roughly correct on Kerry though.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 11, 2004 02:24 AM

The Amerixcan political model is substantially different from the British and European one.

Here we have a pretty traditional battle between left and right.

In America its complicated by religious and cultural issues that would never be a part of mainstream politics in the UK and the continent - abortion, gay marriages etc.

The Republican Party uses these issues as a wedge. In that way it can build a coalition of not only bread and butter conservatives but religious and cultural conservatives, and people who would not normally be voting for a conservative party do so because of religous and cultural reasons.

Its this model of politics that plays into the hands of the US Republican Party, and is one of the reasons why it is so successful at the moment. If one throws in the War on Terror too, which plays on military security, generally a strong Republican issue, its a recipe for Republican electoral success.

Posted by: Benjamin at September 11, 2004 02:38 AM

The Kerry campaign is faltering because of Kerry, alright.......and the Dems knew what they were getting in the latter day JFK. I mean, this guy has been around forever ( since Vietnam, I think!) and has been pretty blatant about his presidential ambitions from the beginning.

The Democrats could have nominated Lieberman. They could have nominated Dean. But both of those guys actually STOOD for something -right or wrong, they put themselves on the line, and the party rejected them.

The Democratic Party is bankrupt right now, bankrupt of purpose and bankrupt of new ideas, and Kerry is the personfication of the party. He is as empty a shell of a politician as I have ever seen.

The Democrats have become the party of Hollywood, the party of old media, the party of old anti-war Hippies. It's sad and scary. I hope Kerry loses big. Maybe then the Democrats can become something new.

Posted by: Priscilla at September 11, 2004 06:06 AM

Actually, Priscilla, the Democratic leadership has become Republican and the Republican leadership has become Democrats.

Bush, DeLay, etc.: massive deficits, feckless foreign policy, cutting military benefits, unlimited government powers, government telling you what do with your private life, putting a man on Mars.

Kerry, etc.: fiscal responsibility, realist foreign policy, 40,000 more in the military, restraint on government powers.

Posted by: Oberon at September 11, 2004 09:24 AM

Why is there so much SHOUTING in here?

Posted by: kc at September 11, 2004 09:56 AM

The Democrats have become the party of Hollywood,

It's always amusing when the party of Schwarzenegger complains about Hollywood.

Posted by: kc at September 11, 2004 09:58 AM

We can't go to war these days unless we can gaurantee that:

a) It'll be over in two weeks.
b) It doesn't cost anything.
c) Nobody dies.

We've usually been slow to get into big wars, for example WWI and WWII. Americans are just like that. Slow to persuade us to fight, and pretty much implacable once we're convinced.

So the Bush administration told us it would be over in 2 weeks, and they refused to talk about how much it would cost, and it was going to be very low casualties. They lied. We believed them.

If Saddam had been 3 months or 6 months from getting nukes, we wouldn't have cared how much it cost, and we would have been tolerant of necessary casualties, and we'd have figured, think about the occupation later. The nukes were important. They lied about the nukes. "Fool me once...."

Here's my big complaint about Bush. The Cheney administration lied to Bush about the nukes and everything else, and Bush just rolled over and let them get away with it.

I don't so much mind that Bush ignored the details. A detail man he is not.
I don't mind that he has been faithless to his underlings and his allies. A loyal man Bush is not.
I don't so much mind that he has no strategy. A strategic man he is not.
I don't mind that he ignores basic logic. A smart man he is not.
But when his underlings lie to him and he knows it, and he lets them completely get away with it -- that's really bad. "Fool me once...." He's a politician and our selected President. He has to know about liars. When he lets Cheney and Rumsfeld lie to him and there's no consequence whatsoever... He just plain isn't fit to be President.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 11:49 AM

What to do about iran? That's supposed to be our topic here, isn't it?

First, I figure Bush will try to keep anything dramatic from happening with iran until after the election. Here's what I'd expect: Say that israel or the USA does something dramatic to iran. Then iran gives tank-killing RPGs and shoulder-held antiaircraft rockets etc to the insurgents, to anybody who wants to fight us. We take casualties. We threaten iran. It makes Bush look bad. If the iranians would nuke a US base in iraq or something like that, then Bush could get a real war going and have total support. But a little incremental thing that makes things worse for us, in retaliation, that shows they were refraining before, doesn't help Bush at all in the short run.

So Bush will try to stop the israelis from doing airstrikes, though he wouldn't mind commando raids that can be mostly denied. Maybe the israelis will strike anyway, they don't usually cater much to US preseidential requests, particularly from presidents who'll lose the election without their cooperation.

Supposing that nothing happens before the election, then iran will announce they have functioning nuclear weapons by January. Or maybe sooner. They know we'll try to stop them. They have to move faster than we think they can, or they'll be starting just the kind of war that they're trying to stop.

If Bush wins, he might do something in November. If Kerry wins he can't do anything until Junuary. Chances are, what Kerry would have to deal with is a nuclear iran. He won't get the chance to stop them, he'll have to deal with Bush's failure to stop them.

One possibility would be to help negotiate a MAD agreement between iran and israel. If either of them does something the other considers worth mutual suicide, then it's all over. So they must negotiate, and bluff, and all that.

Another possibility would be to arrange a nuclear-free middle east. There are only two nuclear powers there so far. Get all the governments in the area to agree to thorough onsite inspections. Get rid of all the nukes. Israel is probably better off not having nukes than having nukes while arab nations have nukes. It would benefit everybody. The USA might throw in a sweetener -- if anybody nukes a middle-east nation and we find out who did it, we'll retaliate for them. This is a better nuclear defense than israel has now.

Or we could do something really stupid, like go to war with a nuclear iran on the assumption that they'll have more nukes later than they do now so we might as well get it over with.

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 12:18 PM

Kerry won't sign the Form 180- if he's right and they're wrong, then why not sign it? I'll sign one. I'll sign one right now. Anyone want to see my military records, no problem. I've got nothing to hide.

OK, do it. I want to see your military records. How do I get them?

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 12:26 PM

J Thomas,

"So the Bush administration told us it would be over in 2 weeks, and they refused to talk about how much it would cost, and it was going to be very low casualties. They lied. We believed them."

How to respond to something that has no merit whatsoever...OK, here goes...

That's a very Kerry-like tactic. Put words in Bush's mouth and then call him a liar. I've never seen it quite this extreme before. I'd love to ask you when Bush said the war would be over in 2 weeks and that casulaties would be low, but I won't waste my time, because such allegations are absolutely baseless. Refused to talk about the cost, huh? Because he should have been a good psychic and given an exact dollar amount, right? As if that wouldn't be political suicide? I haven't heard Kerry talk much about the cost of all his great ideas he's hawking around- and I'm not blaming him for it because if he did, it would be MORONIC- and I don't think Kerry's a moron- I think he's a self-serving liar.

When 260 angry vets used their well-deserved right to free speech in order to condradict some of Kerry's claims in "Tour of Duty," you guys instantly called them Bush puppets. Did you do this to specifically slap these brave heroes in the face, or did you do it so that you could call Bush a liar again? It's funny because I've never heard Bush say anything other than "Kerry served honorably." But as always, you insist that he really said something else (through Swiftees and others), and quickly call him a liar.

When Bush goes up in front of thousands of troops who served proudly in an effort to remove Saddam from power and says congratulations for accomplishing the mission- you said that NOTHING was accomplished and once again, call Bush a liar. Did you do this in order to slap 300,000 American troops in the face, or were you looking for another reason to call Bush a liar? Funny, because in that same speech, I heard Bush say that we had a long way to go yet, and that this would be a long, costly process. But you insist that he really meant to say that we'll be out of there in two weeks, it won't cost much, and there won't be many casualties- and quickly call him a liar.

J Thomas, do you see the pattern here? YOU create the lies, and then attribute them to Bush!! It's the sleaziest form of politics on earth, and Kerry is the #1 offender! And this whole Rathergate Forgery deal is just another example in a long long string of lie-manufacturing and finger-pointing. You simply BELIEVE that Bush is a liar, so you invent evidence to support your case. It's pathetic, man...

Kerry, on the other hand, has been caught red-handed so many times (X-mas in Cambodia was SEARED in his memory- care to guess why he won't sign the Form 180?), he's even admitted some of them! It's clear-cut...

The French do business with terrorists. They negotiate with them, they appeal to them, they'll do anything to avoid upsetting them. You and Kerry can have them as allies all you want- I'd rather take the guys like the Brits, the Dutch, the Poles, the Aussies, the Koreans- countries that want to help us erradicate terrorists.

Posted by: $lick at September 11, 2004 12:37 PM

J Thomas,

You seriously want to see my military records? I've never gone through the process of seeking out someone's military records, but I think you have to file some kind of freedom of information act or something. Do it and let me know how it works! If you promise that you'll go do this, I promise to sign a Form 180. In the mean time, want me to have my fiance mail you a copy of my Bronze Star? It doesn't say anything about intense enemy fire, which is fine, because I never claimed as much...

Posted by: $lick at September 11, 2004 12:43 PM

J Thomas,

No email address? What gives? I went to your blog site and didn't find an email address. Send me your address, and I'll email you a copy of my ORB- that'll at least get you started...

Posted by: $lick at September 11, 2004 01:22 PM

GWB isn't harping on Vietnam, the Dept of Wellness, or the Swiftees. That's all kerry's thing. GWB is harping on terrorism and mullahs with WMD's, and Michael, I got you bookmarked, but whenever i come over to your site I say well what's this idiot got to say, and that's because even though you are remarkably perceptive you seem to have some real funny blind spots when it comes to the democrats.
Like opening a post by wishing Bush would stop harping on Vietnam.
But I love ya anyway, and keep it up.

Nitro Nora

Posted by: nitro nora at September 11, 2004 05:56 PM

Slick, I changed the blog to show the address.

You might as well wait until I find out how to do it. If the fees are too high I'll back out.

Best wishes,

Posted by: J Thomas at September 11, 2004 08:16 PM

That you are ever debating such nonsense is quite amazing.

Have you all got rings in your noses?

I think it is only rational that given the history of "western" crimes in the world, Iran should get the BOMB as soon as possible.

Its its only means of survival.

Posted by: Jesus at September 14, 2004 09:16 AM
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