January 30, 2005

Friends of Democracy Iraqi Election Broadcast

by Jeremy Brown

Are you watching? It's on CSPAN. You can watch it online via this page (if you missed the live broadcast you can watch the archived stream here).

Michael_cspan_1.jpg

The first panel, pictured below, listens to phone calls from Omar and Mohammed of Iraq the Model. Body-language quiz: can you spot the pessimist who, by all appearances, doesn't appreciate the brothers' enthusiasm? Cigars will be awarded for correct answers:

panel2.jpg

hitch2.jpg

Posted by Jeremy Brown at January 30, 2005 12:34 PM
Comments

Thanks for asking my question Mike, this program is great. Hopefully they archive it so I can download it later.

Posted by: FH at January 30, 2005 12:54 PM

I saw you Michael. You're doing good. Make us proud.

Posted by: David at January 30, 2005 12:55 PM

“can you spot the pessimist who, by all appearances, doesn't appreciate the brothers' enthusiasm?”

Wow, Ted Kennedy must have lost a lot of weight. I didn’t recognize him at all. Where the hell are Howard Dean, John Kerry, and Barbara Boxer? Why weren’t they invited?

Posted by: David Thomson at January 30, 2005 12:55 PM

Great program, Michael.

The best moment was when the host asked a caller, in the context of intra-Iraqi conflict, whether the caller was a Sunni or a Shiite. The caller responded, "I am an Iraqi."

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at January 30, 2005 12:59 PM

Gosh, I missed most of it, but the last 15 minutes were great. Michael, you are a stunner.

This is just such a wonderful day. I know one election isn't going to solve everything, but it's a start, and I was dancing and crying right along with all the Iraqis. And blessings on everyone who is doing something to help.

Posted by: Maggie at January 30, 2005 01:03 PM

Thank you, Michael. And of course a huge thanks to Jim Hake for making this all possible.

What an amazing day.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 30, 2005 01:04 PM

I'm watching a replay of it now. Looks great, but I wish somebody had told Jim Hake which camera to look into!

Posted by: Jeff B. at January 30, 2005 01:11 PM

You Lefties should be DISGUSTED with yourselves.

Posted by: Carlos at January 30, 2005 01:11 PM

Well done Michael,

I have very, very, very distant Armenian Christian relatives in Baghdad. Their entire neighborhood went as one and voted and are all home safe. A glorious day for Iraq and mankind.

Posted by: spc67 at January 30, 2005 01:12 PM

Wow. I'm listening to the sounds of car horns going off in Baghdad, and it's making my eyes well up again. Such a beautiful, glorious cacophony.

Posted by: Jeff B. at January 30, 2005 01:12 PM

I don't think it would be overstating the case to say...

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

Today, the victory is in the hands of the Iraqi people.

MJT, great job as blogger corner. Didja get to powwow with Hitchens?

Posted by: Bleeding heart conservative at January 30, 2005 01:22 PM

Through the murmuring during the closing credits I think I heard Jim Hake inviting the guests to a dinner at 6. I would be very disappointed if our man Michael doesn't grab Hitchens for drinks afterwards. How will Michael be able to face his comments section if he doesn't bring back some good Hitch stories?

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at January 30, 2005 01:32 PM

BHC: Didja get to powwow with Hitchens?

Yes, and I'm having dinner with him in an hour. Lucky me. :)

He said I did great, but I felt like an absolute dork. I do not know how to behave on camera, and I didn't sound like myself. I can talk to people, no problem. I can talk to anyone. But cameras? Yikes. I'm a writer, not a TV guy...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at January 30, 2005 01:47 PM

Michael,

you didn't look as dorky as you felt, trust me.

Posted by: Carlos at January 30, 2005 01:54 PM

Is there a way to view archves? I'm in Canada (no C-Span) and I missed the internet feed.

BTW : What a glorious day for Iraq! Good on them. They stuck it to the terrorists big time.

Posted by: MisterPundit at January 30, 2005 02:06 PM

Listening to the archived show. I'm making a promise to myself never to get on Hitchens' s***-list.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 30, 2005 02:30 PM

Great job on all counts. Everybody feels like a dork talking to a camera. You were superb. The show should win an Emmy for the best news event staged mostly by rookies, except that it came off far better than that.

Posted by: Dave Sheridan at January 30, 2005 02:33 PM

Michael, thanks for your good work. On the Iraq election special, you showed some amazing photos. Where can I access those? In particular there was one of a crying woman holding up her stamped finger. THANKS!

Posted by: jim cyr at January 30, 2005 02:58 PM

Dinner with Hitch? I'm sooo jealous!

I could only watch a few minutes, but I happened to catch your pictures of all the people with ink-stained fingers making victory gestures. Very inspiring.

I was feeling a bit pessimistic about Sunni involvement, &c. But it was lovely to see Iraqis so excited.

Posted by: Anne at January 30, 2005 03:04 PM

I couldn't get C-Span or access it via the net for some reason, so I had to watch CNN and the BBC all day!
And it was great to see most of the talking heads forced to acknowledge that, as the day went on, this was actually going to work.
The naysayers are out in force today, of course, but not even Robert Fisk or Paul McGeogh (an Aussie peddler of unmitigated doom-and-gloom)will be able to wipe the smile off my face, or make me forget the smiles on the faces of the Iraqi people as they poured into the polling booths.
Wow. What a way to let the terrorists know how it's going to be from now on.

Posted by: Fish at January 30, 2005 03:22 PM

Nice job, Michael.

I think that the word "blog" is just inherently dorky.

Posted by: praktike at January 30, 2005 03:37 PM

As I left one of the guards said to me as he handed me back my cellular phone,"God bless you and your beloved ones. We don't know how to thank you. Please excuse any inconvenience on our part. We wish we didn't have to search you or limit your freedom. You are heroes" I was struck with surprise and felt ashamed. This man was risking his life all these hours in what has become the utmost target for all terrorists in Iraq and yet he's apologizing and calling us heroes. I thanked him back and told him that he and his comrads are the true heroes and that we can never be grateful enough for their services.---Ali

Read the whole thing. What a GREAT DAY !!!

Ali's Big Adventure !!

Posted by: dougf at January 30, 2005 03:59 PM

I got to attend this event in person and I thought MJT did an excellent job (I also got to meet the famed blogger).

Another request for access to that photo of a crying woman holding up her stamped finger. I got an email from a relative asking where to find it.

Posted by: Peter G at January 30, 2005 04:02 PM

The old man.

Posted by: at January 30, 2005 04:04 PM

MJT, you were one of the first bloggers I started reading a year and a half ago, and I am so proud of your success. This is a great day for Iraq and for the new media. I wish they had put the "bloggers" table a little closer to the main area, but it was terrific just the same. You handled yourself calmly and professionally on the screen. Good job!

Posted by: Mouse at January 30, 2005 04:05 PM

I’m still amazed by the bravery of the Iraqi people. It looks like Iraq the Model was expressing the pro-democracy voice of the people. What are naysayers like Juan Cole going to say now – are all of those many millions of Iraqis CIA plants?

As Hitch said, the insurgents don’t represent the people, they represent fascism.

We watched history being made on CSPAN (we also had a pizza and some wine to celebrate). It was a fine presentation - Thanks for bringing the news to us.

Posted by: mary at January 30, 2005 04:21 PM

UPDATE: Powerline has the photo everyone is looking for! (Lady with the tear in her eye. Great image!)
www.powerlineblog.com

Posted by: Mouse at January 30, 2005 04:22 PM

That's it. Hitchens and Totten are officially excommunicated from the left. Anyone who can be pleased at the success of democracy in occupied Iraq is clearly no leftist. It pains me to say this, of course.

For a view of what true leftists think of the election, you know where to go. If I have to tell you, you don't belong there.

Posted by: Malloy at January 30, 2005 04:36 PM

Jeff, where did you get to see the replay?

Posted by: Maggie at January 30, 2005 06:30 PM

A great show for a great day. Good to hear from the ITM brothers and every one else.

Michael, you looked completely in control and your reporting was excellent. Sometimes one does feel "out of body" on camera but the anxiety must have worked--you did great!

Posted by: Patricia at January 30, 2005 06:47 PM

"Anyone who can be pleased at the success of democracy in occupied Iraq is clearly no leftist.": Malloy

Knock it off. I consider myself a centrist, but by the standards of most commentators here I'm probably a "leftist".

I was pessimistic about the election's outcome, but I am very pleasantly surprised by the turnout, and I'm cautiously optimistic now about Iraq's future.

This isn't a victory for left, right, conservatives or liberals. It's a victory for democracy. And democracy has room for all non-violent points of view.

And if you don't think so you are no democrat.

Posted by: VinoVeritas at January 30, 2005 07:07 PM

“That's it. Hitchens and Totten are officially excommunicated from the left.”

They are indeed excommunicated from the left. Should this cause them severe existential angst? Can they ever go home again? Christopher Hitchens had to say adios to the Nation crowd. It now seems that the Slate people are increasingly going off the deep end. Will he soon be writing for the National Review or The Weekly Standard? How much longer will Michael Totten be able to live in Portland, Oregon? Will he eventually feel compelled to move to a red state?

Posted by: David Thomson at January 30, 2005 07:18 PM

Maggie, and everyone else: I've updated the first paragraph of this post to include the link to the archived video.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at January 30, 2005 07:24 PM

Thank you very much, Jeremy.

Posted by: Maggie at January 30, 2005 07:34 PM

Michael

Well, I don't agree with your pro-war views but well done for getting involved etc. Good experience? Hope it was fun.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 30, 2005 07:51 PM

Thanks for the video Jeremy.

Still giddy about this election. Soon everyone will be back to bickering about shit that doesn't really matter and life will return to normal. Sigh. But we'll always have this day.

Posted by: MisterPundit at January 30, 2005 07:59 PM

Mary

There is no need to speculate regarding what Juan Cole is likely to say. Go to his blog and check his reaction to the election.

In a balanced post Cole says the election is a "political earthquake" and "a historical first step".

Cole is a Middle East expert with a good knowledge of Arab affairs, and I find his views there more realistic, and a good antidote for some of the more over the top congratulatory stuff in the blogosphere (not necessarily on Totten, but certainly in some places.)

But there is room for both on the internet I guess - the celebration and the realism in the cold light of day.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 30, 2005 08:07 PM

LOL. Just watched the video. Great show. The old guy with the grey goatee looked like he was very disappointed that everyone wasn't as depressed as he was. While he made some valid points, I think there's a lot to be said for the symbolism of todays vote.

Posted by: MisterPundit at January 30, 2005 08:52 PM

Cole is a Middle East expert with a good knowledge of Arab affairs, and I find his views there more realistic..

...more realistic than who (whom?) I was comparing his views to those of Omar and Mohammed at Iraq the Model (and also their brother, Ali). Their Iraq-based optimism about local support of democracy was more realistic than Cole's long-distance guesses.

Posted by: mary at January 30, 2005 08:53 PM

I thought that pessismist was going to say Iraq already needs a campaign finance law.

Posted by: Dean at January 30, 2005 09:00 PM

"I thought that pessismist was going to say Iraq already needs a campaign finance law."

Or that they would have to break apart the 66 party monopoly before an election could truly have any meaning.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at January 30, 2005 09:25 PM

Which expert?

Juan "this election is a sick joke" Cole or the Juan Cole who needed a remedial lesson on Iraqi history by the blogging brothers?

Posted by: bargarz at January 30, 2005 10:31 PM

Well, chaps, you will have to ask Juan those questions. I just thought his latest post stuck a welcome note of realism.

Anyway. I have a further observation. Well, a question...

Why does Hitchens always seem to appear on these things with shirt unbuttoned exposing hairy chest? One for the ladies?

Mr Totten, I must impress on you that you are not right up there with the pro-war glitterati until you do the same! ;-)

Posted by: Benjamin at January 30, 2005 11:35 PM

Michael, you may be pleased to know that Mary, Susan (the tall woman at the dinner) and myself all watched you guys live on Susan's TV.

Hitch was justifiably merciless to his fellow journalists. (I have to say the Iraqis were pretty boring, especially the moderator.)

I think he does that open shirt thing because it's a "I'm a two-fisted drinking he-man war correspondent" kind of thing. It's a bit of a cliche but he makes it work for him. I'd jump him in a hot NY minute if I got an invitation.

Posted by: Yehudit at January 31, 2005 12:17 AM

Michael, you may be pleased to know that Mary, Susan (the tall woman at the dinner), a liberal friend of Susan's (who was a bit out of his depth), and myself all watched you guys live on Susan's TV. We had wine and beer and pizza and chips.

Hitch was justifiably merciless to his fellow journalists. (I have to say the Iraqis were pretty boring, especially the moderator.)

I think he does that open shirt thing because it's a "I'm a two-fisted drinking he-man war correspondent" kind of thing. It's a bit of a cliche but it works for him. I'd jump him in a hot NY minute if I got an invitation.

Posted by: Yehudit at January 31, 2005 12:19 AM

Yehudit

I'd jump him in a hot NY minute if I got an invitation.

Er.... Excuse me?

Can I have a... er... translation.... for that please?

Posted by: Benjamin at January 31, 2005 12:28 AM

I have to say the Iraqis were pretty boring, especially the moderator.

Well... yeah. Perhaps they were on their best behaviour.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 31, 2005 12:37 AM

Or just conducting the highest profile media event any of them had ever been involved with.

In a second language. During the first democratic national elections in their lifetimes.

I think they did fine.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 31, 2005 01:20 AM

The archived stream doesn't seem to work

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at January 31, 2005 01:21 AM

I justed watched the thing.

You sounded real nervous Michael, but you got through it.

Hitchens is always good to listen to. I don't agree with him much anymore, but he's got a sharp mind and an engaging manner (much more engaging than his brother.)

There was a certain air of unreality about proceedings though. But anyway...

Posted by: Benjamin at January 31, 2005 04:11 AM

Michael, you were great. Maybe you should do a local cable access show in Portland? Just a thought.

Posted by: miklos rosza at January 31, 2005 04:27 AM

Michael, I thought your camera time was quite good particularly considering you are a pioneer in the development of combining the blogosphere with the television. While I have no idea how this new media will develop, I do consider the days of monolithic 'talking-head' television news and information will eventually be relegated to a thing of the past. As a consumer of news and information I consider this this transition to be quite liberating!

Lest we forget those fallen soldiers whose blood was shed on behalf of making January 30, 2005 such an historic and hopeful day in history, their blood pumps life into the heart of freedom.

Posted by: susan at January 31, 2005 05:25 AM

While it's true to say that the Iraqis embraced the idea of democracy, this was not democracy. In a democracy a person makes an informed choice between candidates and positions. Here, the candidates were mostly unknown and their positions a mystery, Doubtless, the handpicked US 'leaders' and some token others will hold power, not unlike Latin Am nations we've sponsored, but democracy this isn't.
As a child I recall the gay bars where child prostitutes were hired to sit behind glory holes and fellate anonymous males who would stick there penises anonymously through the holes. They wd claim they did not know they were abusing children and walk away feeling they had a clean conscience, but none was 'intimate' with their fellaters.
The same is true with this election. Only propagandists see this as a legitimate thing. Huzzahs for the voters, but shame on the puppeteers who've duped them into thinking they've done something historic. Their actions are no more democratic than the glory holes were a place of true sexual intimacy.
To not recognize that fact means that all journalistic credibility has been lost to any truth in this war. This glory hole election and glory hole democracy has no more legitimacy than Manuel Noriega did. DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at January 31, 2005 05:50 AM

Overall, it went much better than expected, which means it was an important step forward. It gives legitimacy to the interim government, and it shows that public support for the insurgency is much more marginal that might have been suspected or feared. No matter what one's views are on the war, or on the President who made it happen, this is a good day for the people of Iraq and for humanity.

Listening to Pacifica's Democracy Now news show this morning, I noted that even Robert Fisk, reporting from Baghdad, couldn't help but let slip that he found all the people he saw going out to vote to be "moving".

Dan Schneider -- in case you don't know, I'm one of the cynical lefties who posts on MJT's blog. Even so, your analogy is offensive. Just who in the case of this election can be said to be analogous to the abused children? The Iraqi people lining up to vote? Are you trying to parody an ultraleftist?

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 31, 2005 07:00 AM

Dan, that comment was truly surreal. I have to say I feel odd writing that I just can't get a grip on it, because of the overtones it left behind.

People voted for lists. The lists were composed of people who supported published platforms (you know, like the Dems and Reps have published platforms). Perfect it ain't, but I don't think anyone who voted thought they were doing something perverted. They were voting for specific philosophies of government, not getting their rocks off.

Get help.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 31, 2005 07:03 AM

I find it disturbing that anyone, left or right, would be discouraged by a successful election with a minimum of bloodshed in Iraq... occupied or not.

It's the first time these people have been able to espouse their own political opinion in any meaningful way, the first time their view was even considered important. Even if the elected government turns out to be an American puppet (and no one can say for certain if it will or won't be at this point... as it hasn't happened yet), the Iraqi's who voted are enfranchised now. They feel that individually they are part of the country and its political process. Before today, the average Iraqi had nothing to say about their government. Now they do.

Michael is certainly not excommunicated from the left. He doesn't get out that easily. I prefer dissenting opinion to coercive little clubs of closed minded people all agreeing with eachother... which is why I often dislike these blog echo-chambers.

Um... that bit about child prostitutes in gay bars is just insane. Why are you blogging this and not calling the cops. Your analogy isn't even an analogy. Though I hesitate to even respond to this... the issue with child prositutes in gay bars IS NOT A LACK OF SEXUAL INTIMACY!!!! The vote has everything to do with Democracy. Whether or not it turns out to be a sham doesn't have to do with the vote, but whether or not the government that gets into power is representative of the will of the people. The people still stated it through democratic elections.

Iraq under a puppet government is far more likely to overthrough said puppet government than a Stalinist dictatorship under Saddam.... worst case scenario.

Posted by: Robert at January 31, 2005 07:13 AM

Dan, you really ought to seek professional therapy and get over those sexual obsessions.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 07:40 AM

Michael,

You presented yourself well on TV although I thought your plug for blogs was somewhat gratuituous.

It occurred to me today that throughout their entire life the vast majority of people on the planet, including Americans, will never perform an act as courageous or as significant as those voters in Baghdad did yesterday.

Posted by: Dave Scheidt at January 31, 2005 07:43 AM

Dan is getting jackbooted for not being a sheep, but some of us on the real Left agree. He makes more sense on a daily basis than sell-outs who sell columns to far right publications and rub shoulders with neocons on TV.

I have not see the conservatives get so excited about installing a puppet regime (outside the US) since the days of Augusto Pinochet. This whole thing is a sham, a sick joke by the jackels who stole the election in the US and started an illegal war for political gain. Bush and the Republicans have made the US the Shame of the World (yet again) this weekend. Despite the paid GOP PR-shill campaign, DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!!!

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2005 08:02 AM

Tim -- I'm on the left, and I don't see any evidence that a puppet regime is being installed.

Me thinks you're a righty, doing a parody of lefties for the amusement of other righties.

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 31, 2005 08:10 AM

Jackbooted? Unique way to describe criticism. To point out that bizarre sexual imagery does not reinforce one's political points but suggests a personal pathology is hardly "jackbooting." God, Tim, you're making yourself into a bad parody of the corrosive, hysterical left.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 08:16 AM

Markus,

You just gave yourself away. Real lefties don't require "evidence." :)

Posted by: spc67 at January 31, 2005 08:17 AM

I suspect Tim's excessive-left whackjobbery is for real. And it's not amusing. It's sad.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 08:32 AM

It's a cogent analogy, and obviously potent, considering the reaction.

Robert: 'the issue with child prositutes in gay bars IS NOT A LACK OF SEXUAL INTIMACY!!!!'

That's the point, as this is not about democracy. And I am not a Leftist. I supported the Afghan war, a legit war where we had every reason to go after the Taliban for its support of hostile actors on our soil. But, we did not do the right thing there.

Again, the idea of democracy is what the Iraqis were voting for, but mosy interviewed Iraqia were clueless as to who they were voting for and why?

I revile the far Left that will not stand up against any tyranny, and their Utopian fantasies have been discredited. But, now the Far Right has taken up the irreality. there are people who believe nothing but good has occurred in Iraq, that there were WMDs, and that the corpostatists in the US are actually good people, even though it's their corruption that has given whatever shreds of legitimacy the terrorists have in some eyes that very thing.

A theocratic Iraq is not a good thing, but, nor is an Iraq as Mobil-Exxon subdivision. The Iraqi people deserve praise, as do many black voters in this country, but one party has learnt the truth of the difference betwen casting a vote and it meaning anything. DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at January 31, 2005 08:40 AM

Another opinion:

Glenn Reynolds wrote:

>"While it's true to say that the Iraqis embraced the idea of democracy,
>this was not democracy. In a democracy a person makes an informed choice
>between candidates and positions. "
>
>You mean, like we do? :)
>
>

***I know, but just like black Americans know that there is a difference between voting, and having an effect, the Iraqis will find that out.

>As always, making the perfect the enemy of the good. As I say
>(scrolll down) it's a process not an event. People who can't
>recognize that have nothing to contribute.
>
>
***No, Glenn. It's making reality a currency of discourse. I read a dozen or so blogs a week, and they range from the far left to far right- you I consider center-right, and find some attacks fair, but most baseless ad hominem. The far left supports nothing and are vacuous. The Far Right has embraced Utopianism. The concept of democracy is great, I am just not into the White Man's Burden, or as I said of Pro-war blogger Dean Esmay, his version of the Couch Potato's Burden. Neither extreme wants to deal with reality, and so even 'facts' become fungible. Without an agreed upon reality to work from discourse is impossible.
This was not a democracy, merely a referendum that such is a desirable thing. Recognizing that is good as well, seeing it as any more than that desideratum is to speak to a cold, echoic choir. DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at January 31, 2005 08:53 AM

Well, Dan, at least you got off the glory hole trope; being merely loquacious is acceptable. I don't consider advancing democracy and consensual government to be utopian, but eminently practical, and difficult to maintain. There ain't no utopia, not here, not there, not ever no where. The Iraqi vote was a beginning, certainly a milestone considering the dearth of democracy in the ME, and I don't think it should be discouraged or dismissed as a sham. That's just wrong.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 09:02 AM

Attention: I will not tolerate the jackbooting of glory holes in the comments to any of my posts. Mind you, this thread has strayed very entertainingly into "Team America" territory.

Posted by: Jeremy Brown at January 31, 2005 09:46 AM

The point about it not being a democracy is an interesting one. It isn't yet... as the government isn't in place, and then once it is, it will be eternally debatable if it really represents the will of the people or not.

Its more of a democratic republic, without candidates elected but parties.

Does anyone think this is going to be an effective government? Its a different question in my mind from the success of the vote. I see it clearly as a victory of enfranchisement. To me that counts for alot. Even if the government is corrupt, people will have an expectation to change it, and the means to do so. Not possible under a dictatorship.

As far as the comparison between Iraq's elections, and black people in the US, their vote really does matter on many levels... It would even be stronger if we had a parlimentary government, where the majority doesn't take all power.

Posted by: Robert at January 31, 2005 09:49 AM

Being away in the wine country this weekend I missed parts of the live broadcast, but liked what I saw. You looked fine Michael and that's so cool you had dinner with Hitch. It was a historic day for bloggers as well as the Iraqis.

Posted by: d-rod at January 31, 2005 10:08 AM

Hey wingnuts:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/31/2335/87390

PS: Markus rose is worse than a parody, he is a Bushco parrot. At least Totten gets paid to be a shill.

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2005 10:15 AM

Tim is definitely for real. In the words of Wilson Mizner, "Gentlemen, gangrene has set in."

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 10:17 AM

If momma don't put out tonight, I'm gonna take me down to the cheatin' side of town, and jackboot me a glory hole or two, Lawd, Lawd, jackboot me a glory hole or two.

Old blues song, circa Mississippi Delta, 1935.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 10:24 AM

Zacek, it sounded better in German.

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2005 10:33 AM

Tim - That old news article makes Noam Chomsky's famous quote about his admiration for the vietcong very appropriate. From his speech originally delivered on April 13, 1970 in Hanoi:

“But, above all, I think, is the feeling of pride. Your heroism reveals the capabilities of the human spirit and human will. Decent people throughout the world see in your struggle a model for themselves. They are in your debt, everlastingly, because you were in the forefront of the struggle to create a world in which the chains of oppression have been broken and replaced by social bonds among free men working in true solidarity and cooperation.”

[Chain of oppression=the right to vote]

“Your courage and your achievements teach us that we too must be determined to win--not only to win the battle against American aggression in Southeast Asia, but also the battle against exploitation and racism in our own country.”

[Courage and achievements=terror]

"I believe that in the United States there will be some day a social revolution that will be of great significance to us and to all of mankind, and if this hope is to be proven correct, it will be in large part because the people of Vietnam have shown us the way.”

Chomsky hoped that the American left would be inspired by the vietcong. Were they?

Posted by: mary at January 31, 2005 10:35 AM

Tim -- I appreciate hearing about the South Vietnamese election of 1967...it ought to be kept in mind along with other real and apparent similiarities between Vietnam and Iraq. Perhaps the difference between you and I is in the outcomes we hope for: I am hoping that real democracy, with some measure of federalism and respect for minority groups, takes root in Iraq, even if this also politically benefits the Bush regime. It is fine to predict that such an outcome is unlikely, but quite something else to view such an outcome as a misfortune in and of itself, which is what you seem to do.

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 31, 2005 11:01 AM

Outcome???? Ha ha, as if the "election show" this weekend was anything but wing-nut wetdreams and propaganda. But keep watching FoxNews like a good sheep! The paid GOP spin machine keeps spinnin, BUT DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2005 11:13 AM

Tim -- seriously, what outcome would YOU like to see in Iraq?

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 31, 2005 11:20 AM

End the US Occupation NOW!

Stop having faker "Democrats" mouth the GOP party line about fake "elections"!

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2005 11:32 AM

Tim would be good on an episode of Scooby-doo.

"Those meddling Americans! If it hadn't been for them our plans of controlling peoples lives and telling the whole world how to live would have come true!"

Can someone say....HYSTERICAL?

Posted by: Mike at January 31, 2005 11:38 AM

Tim -- ok, and after we end the US occupation, what would you like to see happen in Iraq?

Would you be ok with the establishment of a democratic federalist state, dominated by the Shiite majority but willing to respect in the interest of national stability the right of Sunnis and Kurds as well? Would that be be ok with you?

Posted by: Markus Rose at January 31, 2005 11:54 AM

I applaud your patience, Markus. Tim hasn't formulated a reply yet. Perhaps he's plugged into a Steve Earle CD, searching for inspiration. But I'd like to know what Tim choate vision Tim has for Iraq after ending US OCCUPATION NOW.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 12:24 PM

You are being patient, Markus, but trying to have a discussion with reactionaries like Tim is like poking at a jellyfish. All you get is an involuntary reaction.

Posted by: mary at January 31, 2005 12:34 PM

Markus, if the US left Iraq right now, total withdrawal, the country would turn into a bloodbath with the spigots on high. The best regime that could follow would probably look a lot like Sadaams'. The worst would look like the Taliban.

And I think Tim would be the happiest spectator on the planet. It would vindicate his view of Right Wing America as the creator of all evil. And he and his generation could have their very own Viet Nam to shriek about for the next 40 years.

Anyone who thinks the madness of an al-Zarqawi can't happen in the United States, scroll back and read Tim closely.

Markus, you and I have disagreed in the past, but you've always been rational and humane. I will suggest to you that if you believe in Progressive causes, you have to stop being kind to the rabid elements that at first glance seem to be on your side of the Left/Right divide.

P.S. -- Iraq proved yesterday that it has an awful lot of heroes willing to stand up to Democracy, so I could be wrong about the best-case scenario there.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 31, 2005 12:52 PM

Tim doesn't have a plan for Iraq.

He's got a lot of sentiment about Bush, though. If it's GOOD for BUSH it's BAD for TIM.

If BUSH does something it's BAD. So, the first free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq are BAD. No second 9/11 yet; the fact redounds to BUSH'S benefit, so it's just FASCISM, not saved American lives.

So were TAX CUTS, and the soft bottom to the recession BUSH inherited. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND is bad on multiple levels - it brought the possibility of merit standards and parent choice into the fiefdom of teachers' unions. PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT legislation has been a Democrat party goal since the ink wasn't dry on Medicare... but BUSH signed this hugeous white elephant of an entitlement so it's JUST A POOR START.

Bush will appoint, and the Senate will seat, constitutionalist judges even if it takes the "nuclear option". The CW of "what goes around comes around" doesn't really apply here since the benefits to individuals of the ownership society and constitutional jurisprudence in the bulk of federal circuits and the USSC will marginalize the socialist animal that is become the Democrat party even further.

What work isn't done by the conscious strategery of the administration will be done by the nihilist spasms already defining what is left of the Dems..

In all honesty, if you enter the ring with the intention of winning big, it really helps if your opponent enters with shoelaces tied firmly together and a bucket on his head. Reid. Pelosi. Kennedy. Kerry. The Clintons. Carter. Moore. MSM.

I'd be willing to bet that Team Bush has a lot of Drake moments.

"Sir, the Democrat Armada has been sighted!"

"Excellent. Plenty of time to finish this game of bowls, then we'll deal with the Democrats in our own good time".

No leaders. No vision. No optimisim. And quite possibly as little understanding of what America is, and why we are the people we are, as any mullah or EU technocrat waiting for history to pass them by. Small people living in big times.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 31, 2005 12:52 PM

I was going to respond, but why bother to "debate" Freeper trolls?

Shill on about fake "elections" you crazy little goosesteppers.

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!

Posted by: Tim at January 31, 2005 12:53 PM

Heh. Shrill, ain't he?

Condi 2008 (waving my purple stained index finger, too....)

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 31, 2005 12:57 PM

Wasn't it about 1966 or 7 we were told we cannot leave Vietnam or there'd be a bloodbath? Another 50k or so Americans died, not to mention millions more via Commie and American hands (Operations Rolling Thunder & Phoenix), and then, well, we finally left, and there was a bloodbath anyway. The fact is that societies ripen at their own pace- Ukraine's success is far more crucial to democracy's ascendence for they're farther along the road. To think that the American way will be triumphal after 6k years of bloodshed is naive. The only successful democracy we've ever nurtured (Japan) was that where we held a nuclear option (democracy or total annihilation) over their heads.
Death or democracy. Barry Goldwater is smiling!

DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at January 31, 2005 01:04 PM

Yep, Dan, and there was a bloodbath. I went to college with some guys who got out on the boats. Didn't go to school with any Cambodian refugees, though; the Khmer Rouge was more disciplined about dealing with threats to their ideology.

And of course you're rigth; aside from Iraq being mostly desert and mostly landlocked, the resistance lacking logistical and materiel support from China or the Soviet Union, no threat of nuclear escalation, and a hardened local population that just demonstrated a committment to democratic ideals over autocratic paternalism, Iraq and Viet Nam are exactly alike.

Thanks for your analysis.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 31, 2005 01:18 PM

Oh, heck. Tim was just about to respond and you meanies scared him off and now he's in a terrible terrible snit and won't talk to us. He may go into a coma.

Posted by: Zacek at January 31, 2005 01:42 PM

"Small people living in big times."

That's poetry, tmjUtah, and it describes the hysterical, whiny, loony left in a nutshell.

Posted by: lunacy at January 31, 2005 01:56 PM

Mark:

1- a Prez who acts on specious information.
2- a nation that does not empathize w an enemy.
3- an incompetent and/or corrupt intelligence community.
4- insurgents that embody ‘evil’
5- a non-conventional frontless war.
6- a cowardly opposition party, who will only stand up against the war when it senses that the tide has turned- Reps in the 60s, Dems now.
7- a red under every bed and terrorists everywhere.
8- ulterior motives abounding under stated reasons for the war.
9- relentlessly sunny claims about the war made by an administration that are palpably false, or mostly false.
10- a total denial of seeing our role in the underbelly of things.

And there are many others. Vietnam and Iraq- no, they've nothing in common. With history students like you, no wonder George Santayana's smilin' w Barry! DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at January 31, 2005 03:01 PM

1- a Prez who acts on specious information.

What "specious" information would that be? The same "specious" information on which Clinton bombed the aspirin factory in Sudan? Or the "specious" information that the UN based its vote on Resolution 1441 on?

Dan, can you please point me to the comments of any world leader who said, proir to the invasion, that Saddam was not a threat?

Posted by: TomB at January 31, 2005 03:36 PM

While it would be amusing to deconstruct your list, Dan, I will grant you one similarity -- our Intelligence (of the classic spy variety) has been shockingly bad.

Otherwise the list reads like a primer in paranoia. Sorry, not buying it.

Posted by: Mark Poling at January 31, 2005 03:49 PM

Tom: Yes & Yes. I recall germany, France, & Russia, amomng big nations, had doubts. And let us not forget that most 'foreign intell' was recapitulated CIA crap, not home grown. And didn't a few dozen bigwigs here, Clarke the most well known, utterly debunk the threat status of Saddam.
As for why Saddam wd dupe the world into thinking he was a big bad guy? Uh, iran's next door, and itching to take him out. Phallic display 101.

Mark: denial, a classic symtom of the Utopian dreamer. Funny, how the Left was discredited and excoriated by the Right years ago for just such thinking, and now it's their own turn. DAN

Posted by: Dan Schneider at January 31, 2005 05:23 PM

france and Russia didn't have doubts. Matter of fact, they had no reason for doubts - they had invoices.

They had contracts.

And "empathy" for my enemy? That's a requirement for an elected government to respond to a lethal threat?

Just wondering, you've never been mugged or had a family member murdered, have you? Did you watch 9/11 with a quiet satisfaction that the brown people were getting back some of their own?
There are good folk across the world. There are people of no account. And then there is that select demographic of shitty, evil, ruthless people that generate so many shelf feet of library space. People whose agendas and strategies, as diffucult as this may be for you to understand, may not happen to bear any causative relationship with American policy beyond the fact that by merely existing, America is the antithesis to their goals.

You've probably graduated from public schools. Possibly even paid a bucket of greenbacks for a degree. If you stopped your education at the classroom lecture and NPR, I can understand your worldview.

(Yes, I know it's generally counterproductive to speculate on an opponent's credentials... but holy shit folks, I'm forty three years old and the script for leftist argument hasn't changed since Reagan was elected.)

It's the job of the individual to make the call whenever he finds himself confronted with a threat in a parking lot. It is the job of government to make the call when the nation is attacked. This president decided that this country will not be attacked with impunity by a bunch of homocidal barbarians. Large chunks of the minority party frenziedly tried to blame us first for being attacked. They've spent the time since furiously attempting to exploit the dangers, costs, and failures inseperrable from fighting a world war for their own petty political fortune.

It's takes a special sort of idiot to miss the point as badly as the Dem varsity has for so many years and not 'get' it. Street level moonbats, them I can understand... but the cream of the crop has been perched on their feeders in the halls of power since Vietnam. Since the time when there was indeed a Soviet Bear. Since the time when 'malaise' was a statistic. Since the time when all the smartest people simply accepted that the world would always be two nuclear camps one incident away from existence as air pollution.

Since the time we fought a war lead by leaders who couldn't stomach calling the enemy evil, and would not commit to defeating them where they lived.

They don't believe this nation is exceptional. They do not trust the people. Period.
They do not accept even the suggestion of accountability that is inseperable from authority.

Go. Post on DU, post on Kos, paint your signs and wear the tin. Get the hell out of the way so we can win this war.

History has indeed passed you by.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 31, 2005 06:49 PM

Its also interesting to note that if the US govt had had their way these elections would not have taken place.

Posted by: Benjamin at January 31, 2005 07:12 PM

Amen, TMJUtah.

For some great emails (even from a BBC producer) and photos from all over the globe about the inspiring election, see Sam's blog.

http://hammorabi.blogspot.com

Benjamin, dude, you're missing the big picture here.

Posted by: Patricia at January 31, 2005 07:19 PM

If I sound a little cranky, maybe because it's because I listened to the entire Democracy Now episode end to end this evening without even the grace of a cigarette or a workshop project to concentrate on when Amy Goodman left sanity entirely.

She interviewed an author famous for "embedding" with the "resistance" in Iraq.

You know, those people that fight beneath the banner of "Democracy is evil".

Those people that gut women on street corners. Or send Down's victims to die as human bombs. I'd like to meet the guy here in the states sometime. He's as much a traitor as Jane Fonda ever was.

Off to research. Ta.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 31, 2005 07:34 PM

Dan, you forgot other similarities the Iraq war has with the Vietnam war, such as :

1. People shooting at other people
2. Both wars fought on land (mostly)
3. Both countries in northern hemisphere
4. It rained sometimes
5. Lot's of bugs and stuff

Yep, it's Vietnam allright.

Posted by: MisterPundit at January 31, 2005 10:21 PM

Tim is banned for trolling.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at February 1, 2005 01:13 AM
. I recall germany, France, & Russia, amomng big nations, had doubts.

No sparky, I'm not talkning about "doubts", more goalpost moving.

I asked:

What "specious" information would that be? The same "specious" information on which Clinton bombed the aspirin factory in Sudan? Or the "specious" information that the UN based its vote on Resolution 1441 on?

Dan, can you please point me to the comments of any world leader who said, proir to the invasion, that Saddam was not a threat?

Try again...

Posted by: at February 1, 2005 03:23 AM

TmjUtah -- to my sorrow, I must admit that the Republican Party is the party of interesting public policy ideas these days. And to a great extent it is also the party of idealism. It troubles me that so many in my party have become cynics and pessimists and foreign policy "realists." Also concerns me that the national Democratic party has decided to invest most of their rhetorical capital in working to save old programs, like Social Security, in their existing form. Not that I won't argue with you all day against carving private accounts out of the Trust Fund, or that the 2001-03 tax cuts were horrible policy, with no more positive effect on end of the recession than the Clinton increases had on the end of the recession a decade earlier. But we should be playing offense, not defense.

So, as someone who loves new, innovative policy, I'd be tempted to become a Republican. Unfortunately, in addition to being the party of individual responsibility, opportunity, and universal freedom, it is also the party of those that wish to PROTECT their economic privilege, whether earned or unearned, and that doesn't give a damn about the environmental degradation that goes hand in hand with unfettered capitalism. It preaches hard work for the lower and middle classes (good), while lobbying for extra cushions for the fat and lazy. That, and the evangelical crap leaves me cold...and waiting for an American Tony Blair.

Zacek -- don't put down Steve Earle, he's a brilliant songwriter and decent guy. His politics are pretty far left, but he's not the kind of person to spout anti-democratic idiocies. And all good musicians are lefties anyway. There has been only one Republican in the history of this Republic who has made good music: Johnny Ramone.

Posted by: markus rose at February 1, 2005 07:05 AM

Markus, I'm not that familiar with Earle's music, except the song about John Walker Lindh, but am apprised of his politics, and only adduced his name as a convenient prop. I'm not that crazy about Johnny Ramone but seems your blanket statement about the history of music in the Republic ignores a lot of musicians, most bluegrass and CW, for example.

Posted by: Zacek at February 1, 2005 08:18 AM

Markus -

You are still a victim of talking points, and small ideas:

"...it is also the party of those that wish to PROTECT their economic privilege, whether earned or unearned, and that doesn't give a damn about the environmental degradation that goes hand in hand with unfettered capitalism. It preaches hard work for the lower and middle classes (good), while lobbying for extra cushions for the fat and lazy. That, and the evangelical crap leaves me cold...and waiting for an American Tony Blair."

I respectfully, but emphatically, disagree.

You've gotten past the "America is a military industrial complex raping the earth" but the core propaganda trope, the baseline dishonesty that is screamed from every moonbat pulpit, is that conservative = capitalism = exploitive = uncaring = MEAN.

It's a simplistic and sophistic lie. Easily remembered, easy to align with, and fraudulent on its face.

Who are the rich? The fortunate few? The Silver Spoon Club? What makes a large bank account kosher? In a free market there are going to be people who benefit from the fruit of their labors.

There are going to be those who just get by.

All of us like to breathe the morning air without special equipment. Or go tubing on the river without wearing an environment suit. We'd also like to have jobs to go to in the morning. There are workable, scientificly sound MANAGEMENT processes by which forests, minerals, and water can be used to meet public and private needs.

Environmentalism is a cult anymore. So is Social Security, for that matter. The leading lights of the environmental lobby use their cause to attack the system that makes it possible for us to have the highest standard of living on the planet AND have the best environmental protections possible. The same logic vacuum that labels any attempt to build a road in any forest as an act of ecological rape is the same lunacy that makes maintaining a coercive theft of capital masked as an inadequate pension plan seem like a good idea.

I can see a place in government for providing a safety net. I think the concept is sound, as it protects not only individuals but the nation as a whole during economic upheaval. I believe that Social Security was a hipshoot response to a staggering threat but has since become a convenient stalking horse for fraudulent populism. Well, the ambush is over and the survivors have gotten around to figuring out that there might be just a better way to provide that net. One that doesn't steal capital from individuals that becomes pork for ephemeral, exploitive legislators, and in the end manifests itself on a personal level as an involuntary, inefficient pittance of a return compared to the monies invested.

Refuse the sacrament. Ask yourself if a party that was actually opposed to the economic (shucks, environmental as well) interests of the majorities that have returned them to power for three decades could really just be that damned good at swindling their constituency. Because that's the only case that makes the talking points work.

A pleasure to disagree, of course. Be open to new ideas. I try to be; I just refuse to be charicatured as a heartless land raping bastard for the convenience of the other side's defense of their failed agendas.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 1, 2005 09:04 AM

TmjUtah --
I don't think that you're a heartless bastard, I just think you have a mistaken belief that the unfettered free market is best. And I think you support a party that inexplicably is afraid to ask the well-off to make sacrifices for the common good, sacrifices willingly made by previous generations (like raising taxes to pay for unexpected wars). I recognize that capitalism does an excellent job encouraging individual initiative and creating wealth, but I insist that such positive outcomes can also exist in a mixed-market economy, in which free markets predominate but are complemented by a public sector that provides essential or desirable services that free markets themselves often do a lousy job of providing. And a mixed market economy can do this WITHOUT destroying entrepreurial initiaitve. Have you ever been to Ikea, the amazingly successful Swedish corporation? Apparently, despite the level of high taxes they pay, their senior executives get up every morning to make great big profits, just like their American counterparts.

I also think that a big problem is how simplistically we view our opponents on the political divide. Some environmentalists ARE as short-sighted as you claim then to be, but the more thoughtful ones are trying to further a cleaner environment in a way that is not antagonistic to job creation. For instance, the excellent group known as Redefining Progress.
http://www.rprogress.org/

Similarly, I must admit that much conservative policy, like school vouchers, does genuninely attempt to be of real benefit to those unlucky enough to have been born poor.

Posted by: at February 1, 2005 10:01 AM

No to the Dems' defeatism, No to the Dems anti-American Bush hate, No to maintenance of a racist Soc. Security system that takes from working Blacks and gives to already rich Whites (avg. life expectancy of 6 years less as of age 20);
Yes, Yes, Yes to "support" for freedom and democracy, throughout the world.

A World Without Dictators.
In my lifetime. (already 48).
Afghanistan; Iraq -- Palestine by 2006? (nah; 2012?)

Glad Tim is gone. Let's celebrate IRAQ!

(Webcast is fine, but slow. I'm webcast blog commenting!)

There WAS a free press, and free speech; and free elections. This IS the creation of a FULLY legitimate gov't --at least as much as when the ANC took over S. Africa (so what if Africaners didn't like it! Nor the Zulus, particularly).

And "democracy" doesn't guarantee minority rights; nor solve economic problems; nor most other problems.

But it does, clearly, separate two types of gov't -- by voting, or by death squad murders. Those who object to this start of democracy, support the death squad alternative.

Posted by: Tom Grey at February 1, 2005 10:44 AM

Hitch makes the point that Syria was careful in letting the Iraqis in Syria vote -- "it knows it is on NOTICE".

Also the point that most "Sunnis" and "Shia" also have relatives who are the other -- they are Iraqis.

How sectarian Shia /Sunni /Kurd is emphasized more in the Western Press. The terrorists are fighting democracy.

Posted by: Tom Grey at February 1, 2005 10:54 AM

Tom Grey -- few things piss me off as much as Republicans who denounce identity politics playing the race or religion card when they think they can score some political points. Happened with the Clarence Thomas, Pryor, Gonzalez, Rice nominations, and you're doing it with your comment about how social security is "racist."

Social Security is a much better deal for black Americans than spending one's old age rifling through dumpsters because bad investments have made wiped out the meager "nestegg" that Republican so thoughtfully want everyone else to have.

And remember, even if you do die before getting a lot back from social security, survivor benefits do go to your spouse.

Posted by: Markus Rose at February 1, 2005 11:06 AM

Markus -

If yours was the nameless post addressed to me above, I see that you and I disagree on scope and definitions where tax policy or entitlements is concerned. We are not so far apart on common objectives.

Sacrifices? If we were just going to go where the bad guys lived and kill everybody, we would be done by now. And I'm talking from Iraq to Iran, inclusive. We don't have to man 100 divisions and build thirty aircraft carriers for that. We've got the power in hand.

The greatest sacrifice called for as a nation right now is not monetary. It's for the Left to come to grips that this challenge that faces us all and stop behaving as if they were just spectators in a private box.

And maybe, just maybe, that they try to help spread freedom where it never existed before.

I see room for compromise with you. That's great.

And on identity politics - Markus, that's been a cornerstone of strategy for the Left since we were both barefoot during summers. It's not "siezing" to point out that they put cachet on skin or philosophic orthodoxy to the extent they ignore incompetence (check spelling whenever I use that word) fo any specific duty without blush but conduct the character assassination of any person of color who doesn't serve their interest.

It's racism. Nothing more, nothing less, and it's transparent.

It's not too far a leap from deciding that people are incapable of providing for their own financial security to deciding that they aren't fit to elect their own leaders. At least not from where I stand. Think it through.

My wife is out of surgery. I'm gone for the rest of the day, but will update on my own site for those who are interested. Y'all have a great day.

Posted by: TmjUtah at February 1, 2005 12:07 PM

Marcus, you'd prolly be upset at my Fantasy Condi speech at the NAACP about House Niggas, too -- after famous, celebrated Leftist artist Ted Rall wrote a cartoon accusing her of being one.

TmjUtah is right about the Left being racist, over and over and over again. Recall Bush's expression of it "the bigotry of low expectations".

Michael's site here is about the Dems losing the ideological battle. Here are some big Dem/ anti-Bush voting blocks (race/ identity politics): Blacks; Gays; Catholics (only 48%); Women; Muslims. Each group is pandered to by Dems (with the Reps pandering to businessmen, married folk, and Christians).

The pro-abortion Dems are about to lose even more Catholic votes (Moral Values); the Reps are "using" Condi to attract both more women and more black votes. (I supported Condi for VP -- had Bush lost, I'd have claimed NOT having her on the ticket was the biggest reason for Bush to lose.)

[I don't think I'm big on denouncing such politics -- I think I argue, as many Leftists claim, that certain groups seem to be voting against their own interest. Blacks on vouchers and social security, for instance. In fact, I explictly state that the optimal policy for above average people is prolly different then the optimal policy for below average people, and this is hugely unfair, but part of reality.]

You say:
Social Security is a much better deal for black Americans than spending one's old age rifling through dumpsters because bad investments have made wiped out the meager "nestegg" that Republican so thoughtfully want everyone else to have.

Straw man, as you know. Social Security is, and has always been, a pyramid scheme, with retirees who got in early getting "more" than they put in; meaning those AFTER the baby boomers will either 1) get less, or 2) require big increases in other taxes.

When one does the hard intellectual work of trying to define a "fair" system, for average people, above average, and below average; for responsible and irresponsible; for those genetically blessed and genetically cursed -- the most fair, given an unfair unchosen reality, is private accounts, that are private property and can be left to heirs.

With some insurance guarantees to avoid the dumpster alternative; and it's fair to debate what that minimum guaranteed lifestyle should be -- for a lazy, irresponsible, uncaring, below average intelligence, below average health, below average physique. (Like my sister? OK, above avg. intelligence, but she doesn't act like it.)

And in accordance with the principle that responsibility should not be punished, nor irresponsibility rewarded? Or should those principles by violated?

Iraq should have a Nat. Trust fund for oil, and give oil money to those that voted. Including for municipal elections -- and hold municipal elections again, soon, in the Sunni areas.

Yep, bribe them with money to vote. There are two incentives: carrot, and stick. The Iraqi gov't, like the US gov't, should use more carrots - cash.

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