June 29, 2005

The Bush Speech

I neither saw nor heard President Bush’s speech last night. I wasn’t particularly interested in anybody’s reaction, either. The right cheered. The left booed. Big shocker, that. I could have written a typical liberal response to that speech on the day before the speech was given. I could have written a typical conservative response, too. How hard could it possibly be? Just fill in the utterly predictable blanks. Foreign policy speeches these days - by the president during a war - are treated as nothing more than political footballs. Boo to that. We’re incredibly immature for a superpower sometimes.

So far I’ve read exactly one response to that speech that is worth reading and linking. It was written by Callimachus.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2005 05:16 PM
Comments

I guess aiding that "woman in the park, while "ignoring the "prime directive" only goes so far as to shoo her attackers away, then it's "business as usual," eh, Michael; a return to just the way it was when Clinton was running the show.

Ah, but for the good old days. Yaaaawn... wake me when it's all over, k?

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at June 29, 2005 05:34 PM

"We’re incredibly immature for a superpower sometimes."

Methinks, quite frankly, that's it is you who are incredibly immature, dude... sometimes.

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at June 29, 2005 05:41 PM

Marc,

Did you even read the link? It sure beats what the Sean Hannity and Al Franken crowds are babbling about.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2005 06:02 PM

What stood out for me in the Callimachus piece was the point about how the western nations are finding out the superior firepower advantage is perhaps not an advantage after all. Kind of like cops chasing armed criminals in public places. The criminals may have no compunction in bringing harm to people in the way, but the cops do. More or less part of their job description. Reading Yon's blog you get the impression our troops are throwing in some creative responding along with the tech weapons. We Americans have a solid history of inventing whatever we need to, c'mon, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention; so that's not surprising. But we westerners tend to come unglued when our good guys act like bad guys. The hero always let the bad guy draw first, that's what we grew up watching. Dirty Harry put a nice dent in that, but still, the hero is expected to be the better man. We weren't always that way. I recall a bunch of ragtag farmers firing out of trees and bushes at neat rows of British soldiers marching down the middle of the meadow in bright red uniforms. A lot simpler being the little guy without a lot of baggage about the Rules of Engagement. But we're the big guy now with a much bigger set of rules to fight by. We'll figure it out. Or face the consequences.

Posted by: allan at June 29, 2005 06:28 PM

Many Lefties and Democrats - like Senators Boxer and Rockefeller and Dodd and Feingold and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Pelosi and DNC Chairman Howeird Dean - have critized Bush's speech last might because it - in their opinion - incorrectly conflated 9/11 & al Qaeda with Saddam and Iraq, AND incorrectly argued that the War in Iraq is-or-ever-was part of the GWOT.

They further argued that Bush was cynically USING 9/11 to shore up public support for him and the war in Iraq.

What is so mind boggling to me is that both 9/11 and al Qaeda WERE IN THE ORIGINAL RESOLUTION CONGRESS PASSED TO AUTHORIZE THE WAR. I quote:

PARAGRAPHS #10, 11 and 12 - (AS PASSED):

" ... Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in Iraq;

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and safety of United States citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist organizations; ..."

IN FACT, the resolution was exactly correct in this regard: many terrorists and terrorist organizations WERE given safe-haven in Iraq: Abu Nidal, Abu Zarqawi; and Ansar al Islam and al Qaeda - were but a few of the many. Zarqawi - who is leading al Qaeda in Iraq now was there at least a year BEFORE THE WAR!

For the Left-wing Democrats to claim NOW that Bush is "once again changing his reasons for getting us stuck in a 'quagmire' of Iraq" is an idiotic LIE. And it's pure assinine demagoguery. That the MSM buys it and promotes it UNCRITICALLY only proves that they are still dominated by the Left. (The above link listing the offending Democrats is to the NYTIMES - which did NOT critique the Dems charges; neither did "REUTERS" in their article on the BASELESS Democrat charges against Bush - in fact: they made it their headline!)

Bush and Joint Resolution #114 (and UNSC Resolution 1441) offered many reasons for confronting Saddam with force - and AT THE TIME THE CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION PASSED these included 9/11 and al Qaeda AND and this Congressional Resolution and the UNSC Resolution even included the spread of democracy! (QUOTE: Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime; " [HR #144; paragraph #18].

Before 9/11, there were MANY terrorist attacks against the USA (most on Clinton's watch): 1993 WTC attack; the twin African embassy bombings; the BLACKHAWK down in Somalia; and the USS Cole attack. Unfortunately, Clinton NEVER went on the offensive after any one of these attacks, and by appearing WEAK Clinton sent the signal to UBL and al Qaeda and neojihadists everywhere that the USA was weak and could be terrorized into submission.

But 9/11 changed things in the GOP - and for MOST Americans. POST 9/11 - and with a Republican in the White House and controlling Congress - America will NEVER appease or surrender to the ENEMY. Or "cut & run" by setting an artificial deadline for withdrawal. And most Americans have ALWAYS seen the War against Saddam and our current
"counter-insurgency" as part of the GWOT.

The Democrats apparently do not see it that way. And they are willing to "revise" history - and LIE - in order to promote their view that the Iraq War is and was a mistake and a diversion (AND THAT THEY ALWAYS SAW IT THAT WAY!).

I think that today's Democrats are correctly seen as "doves" who don't have the stomach for war. Unless and until the Democrats are seen as being as hawkish as the post-9/11 GOP, the Dems will NEVER get control of either the White House or Congress.

Thank God.

Posted by: reliapundit at June 29, 2005 06:56 PM

"I neither saw nor heard President Bush’s speech last night. I wasn’t particularly interested in anybody’s reaction, either.".--MJT

Works for me. I did watch the speech,but you did not miss much.

Not that it was a poor presentation. It was more than adequate.It simply failed to deal with the real issues. Frankly this conflict is indeed a two track process as the President stated clearly last evening for what appears to the hundredth time. But the tracks are not as described.

It is not a question of an Iraqi political track and a parallel allied military track. It is rather a question of a foreign and a domestic component in a conflict of WILL.

What the President should have done is defined his domestic opposition in the clearest possible terms. Not in a partisan manner, but in the clearest possible terms. At a time when the dangerous front is at home, what possible good can come from refusing to address the issues in a forthright manner?

Let's get serious here.

In colume A: This is what I am planning to do and this is why I believe it will and MUST be successful. These are the dangers and these are the benefits as I see them. Be precise.

In colume B: This is what my opponents say should be done(if they have in fact said anything),and this is why what they propose is not a viable alternative.Be exceedingly precise.

In short I would have suggested that he take names and kicked some well-deserving ass. But I guess that would have been divisive . Can't be having that even though as Michael states,anyone could have " written a typical liberal response to that speech on the day before the speech was given... (and) have written a typical conservative response, too."

Posted by: dougf at June 29, 2005 07:00 PM

Marc,

Did you even read the link? It sure beats what the Sean Hannity and Al Franken crowds are babbling about.

Michael,

Did you even read Dubya's speech? It sure beats what the Callimachus crowds are babbling about it.

Sincerely,
Marc S. Lamb

p.s. I ought to check my posts before I post. It would save a bit of embarrassment. :)

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at June 29, 2005 07:27 PM

Reliapundit,
Yelling and spewing wont change reality, bud. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and anyone who doesnt have pure koolaid in his veins knows it. Even the WH, when pushed, will admit as much. Note the artful phrasings in the speech, in which Bush dare not actually make the connection directly, but builds the allusions in such a way that he strongly implies it (for the sake of knee jerks like yourself). Consider how McClellan today denies that Bush was making any direct connection - while then going on to try to reinforce the indirect linking.

And of course, if you want to cast blame for "weakness" in the face of attacks, you might start with St. Reagan and his courageous stand in Beirut. And finish it with St. Bush who, upon taking office, saw the just-produced reports on exactly who blew up the Cole, and did nothing.

And do we need to once again go over the fact that the Democrats voted unanimously to support Bush in the invasion of Afghanistan - i.e. going to war against those who actually attacked us?

Do you really see your life's work as being a petty minor league partisan ranter? At least come up with something orignal - something not heard a million times already. Or better yet, tear out the IV, reclaim control of your own mind, and start thinking critically.

I'm always amazed at how many right-wingers, who take such pride in being profoundly suspicious of government, are also so proud of being mindless regurgitators of administration propaganda.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 29, 2005 07:47 PM

Reliapundit,

I'd love to know your position regarding Kosovo- I do wonder if you were among the right-wing pundits that assailed Clinton for "an unnecessary war". Still prepared to say all left-wingers lack the stomach for war? Clinton's attempts to bomb al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Sudan were criticized mercilessly by his political opponents, as well.

And as per "most Americans", have you been reading the polls lately? Most Americans, polls suggest, now believe invading Iraq was a mistake. I assume you'd chalk that up to media conspiracy, if I've pigeon-holed you correctly.

Michael,

Your take on the speech sounded about right. Reviewing the transcript, Bush said little that he hadn't said before or that could have surprised anyone. He did avoid endorsing Cheney's "last throes" comment regarding the insurgency. Could the White House believe that to be inaccurate?

Posted by: Matt at June 29, 2005 08:01 PM

Karl Jr.,

Didn't see your comment before hitting "Post"- spot on.

Posted by: Matt at June 29, 2005 08:03 PM

"I'm always amazed at how many right-wingers, who take such pride in being profoundly suspicious of government, are also so proud of being mindless regurgitators of administration propaganda."

Sigh... the U.S. Constitution states in Section 8: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.

Defining "common defense" of the nation and "general welfare" of the nation is what we've been arguing about all these years. While I, a conservative, would agree that military matters demand a certain degree of "propaganda," I also am dubious of the propaganda of progressive Socialism.

I, as a conservative, am of the opinion that free market, democratic debate always will illuminate the dunce from the learned. What say you, dude?

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at June 29, 2005 08:06 PM

Al Franken did'nt say anything. His radio show is re-runs all week.

Posted by: swirling dervish at June 29, 2005 08:41 PM

Your take on the speech sounded about right. Reviewing the transcript, Bush said little that he hadn't said before or that could have surprised anyone.

True. He simply reiterated what he's said repeatedly before, just for the sake of the attention-deficit disorder types who apparently don't get that in real life wars aren't won in the 90 minutes it takes to watch a hollywood war movie. And people actually die in real wars too, did he say that? People don't really get that. Thus his repetitive speeches on the subject.

Posted by: spaniard at June 29, 2005 08:49 PM

"I, as a conservative, am of the opinion that free market, democratic debate always will illuminate the dunce from the learned. What say you, dude?"

Right on dude. Glad to hear it. Thats why I said "many conservatives...", not all.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 29, 2005 09:13 PM

Callimachus raises at least one good point - but doesnt quite drive it in all the way. I am sure that most Iraqis are, at least, quite grateful for our role in freeing them from Saddam. But with the "flypaper" theory, and the way in which Bush et. al. constantly sell it, I think we have a very serious problem.

The argument basically is this: "We are the worlds superpower. Terrorists want to destroy us. So we accept the fight. But we would kinda like to use your country, Iraq, as the battlefield. That way your sisters and mothers and kids can get caught in the crossfire, or blown up in the marketplace. Your towns and their infrastructure can be destroyed. Ya see, we kinda figure it is better, for us of course, that we fight them in your country, rather than in ours."

Now that goes over real well here in America. But I must say, I cringe whenever I hear Americans make that argument - especially the Administration. Hey people, Iraqis can hear what you say! How do you think that argument goes over with them?

I already begin to hear some Iraqi voices, in man-on-the-street type interviews, expressing concerns like this. Thanks for the Saddam thing, but go fight your larger war somewhere else.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 29, 2005 09:20 PM

Marc Lamb: Did you even read Dubya's speech?

Yes.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2005 09:28 PM

Thanks for the Saddam thing, but go fight your larger war somewhere else.

And our response is, dude, we'll be happy to--- as soon as you can guarantee that terrorists aren't going to run your country and use it like the folks in Afghanistan did. Until you can make that guarantee, we're partners.

Posted by: spaniard at June 29, 2005 09:32 PM

You're right Spaniard. Either we take the attitude that you express - a "partnership" irrespective of their desires (hmmm, there must be a better word for that type of relationship), or we leave this "new Afghanistan" that we have created, and end up worse off than before 9/11.

Thats the problem.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 29, 2005 09:41 PM

Totten: I neither saw nor heard President Bush’s speech last night.

Lamb: Did you even read Dubya's speech?

Totten: Yes.

Lamb: Your wife is really cute, huh?

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at June 29, 2005 09:42 PM

Karl,

yeah, I must admit it kinda is like a new Afghanistan, but better than a "new N. Korea!"

Posted by: spaniard at June 29, 2005 09:52 PM

Marc Lamb: Your wife is really cute, huh?

Photo here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 29, 2005 09:53 PM

Lamb: Your wife is really cute, huh?

Totten: Yes (implied, obvious)

Lamb: Is she, then, a) "woman in the park," defenseless before her attackers; b) a "woman in the park," able to fend for herself"; or c) a "woman in the park" in need of some sort of reasonable vast, "military-industrial complex" post-9/11 assurance?

Posted by: Marc S. Lamb at June 29, 2005 10:31 PM

I had hoped that people who disagreed about the initial invasion would at least now come together and agree about the importance of successfully rebuilding Iraq, then argue about how to and who should do it.

But it seems we're doomed to re-debate the original decision forever. This argument over the relationship (or lack of) between Iraq and 9/11 goes to the very core. In a way it makes sense because it is the central issue and if you didn't agree, you're likely to think that rebuilding Iraq is impossible in the first place.

I've argued about the connections between Iraq and 9/11 with many people for several years now but it's hard to convince people who stick their fingers in the ears and scream. But perhaps they feel the same way about me because I am convinced the issues are inextricably linked.

I have one progressive friend who emailed me tons of articles about Iraq in the weeks following 9/11 - articles from progressive sources like counterpunch, etc. about the sanctions, malnutrition, dead iraqi babies. His message was clearly 'this is why they hate us'. But nowadays he has changed his tune and insists there is no connection whatsoever between Iraq and 9/11. (Furthermore, he sees no contradiction between the 2 positions and refuses to see a connection between the stories of the Oil-for-Food corruption and the destruction wrought by the old sanctions that had outraged him so much).

If I had a blog and a few moments to do some research I would go back and look at the Lefty/Progressive (not necessarily Liberal - I'm not Karl Rove) media in the wake of 9/11 and dig up as many prominent citations of Iraq among all the "root causes" rhetoric that was so vogue at the time. I'll bet you would find more than a few such quotes from the same people who are shouting today that there never was any relationship whatsoever between Saddam's Iraq and the rise of Al-Qaida.

For me the connection is as clear as day and Osama spoke very publicly about it in his fatwahs from the 90's. Arguing that there may never have been anything other than the thinnest of personal ties between secularist Saddam and the formerly antagonistic Islamists is a red-herring.

Posted by: John in Tokyo at June 29, 2005 11:16 PM

Utterly unconvincing John.

The relevant evidence is not what "lefties" thought in 2001. It is whether or not there was any connection between SH and 9/11. There wasnt any. Period. And it really doesnt matter what any of your friends might have thought, or whether they changed their mind.

And Osama speaking of it? Whats up with that? How is that a connection? The issue is not whether Osama was pissed at us because of the sanctions in Iraq, in addition to his other reasons. The issue is whether Saddam was in cahoots with him - in any manner whatsoever.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 29, 2005 11:31 PM

If you think Iraq and the "war on terror" are not related you are making a huge mistake.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at June 29, 2005 11:31 PM

The relevant evidence is not what "lefties" thought in 2001. It is whether or not there was any connection between SH and 9/11. There wasnt any. Period.

Your appeal to "connections" are equally lame because by your logic we were wrong to declare war on Germany after Pearl Harbour, as there were no "connections" between Hitler and the empire of Japan.

Though there is no proof Saddam was connected to 9/11, he did have contacts with AQ. So when we set out to dry out the fever swamps in the middle east, we did so because of what happenned on 9/11. That's the connection.

Posted by: spaniard at June 30, 2005 06:38 AM

Again, the connection isn't between SH and AQ, it was between the Islamofascist status quo and AQ.

There was also the small detail that Iraq was still technically at war with the United States (indeed, with the rest of the world as represented by the United Nations) by continually violating the terms of the ceasefire after the first Gulf War.

Saddam's continued rule was the green light to thumb noses at Uncle Sam. And surprise surprise, Saddam falls and the status quo in a lot of places loses a lot of stability.

(I've always hated the "smoking gun" prerequisite for action. If the other guy's gun is smoking, my feeling is you've screwed up somehow.)

Changing the middle-ease is critical for the United States in a different way than Pearl Harbor. I don't want to see another 9/11, and I'm afraid the next Pearl Harbor will be when a terrorist flies a private jet carrying an Iranian-supplied nuke over a western city.

Sorry, I don't think waiting to get hit is a wise option. Which means taking our enemies at their word. Therefore, Saddam had to go.

And yes, we should be doing everything we can to bring down the Iranian government before they get nukes. The Mad Mullahs have to be next. Karl Jr., how would you suggest we do that?

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 08:25 AM

It is difficult to separate out the anti-anywars and anti-bushers that simply cannot be objective about the Iraq war pros and cons. Folks in this in this category view the current administration as all cons and 'nothing' is going to change that.

I admit it surprised me that we headed into Iraq so quickly before wrapping up Afghanistan. But agreed that outstanding 'problem' was going to have to be solved at some point, in light of 9/11 evidence of linkage or not.

I admit Bush hyped the Iraq threat, certainly the nuke part, in order to get Congress's approval. I wish the other side would admit the world thought he still had chemical weapons, that if passed into AQ hands, would have been very bad news for the 'civilized' world. Be honest, what would you have done having that responsibility? Erred on the side of risk? We tryed that plan before 9/11.

I admit Rumsfeld and company poorly planned for what a novice could have predicted would be a long term resistance to a western force in an arab land. I think this was a result of the first mistake, going into Iraq too quickly, and secondly how quickly Saddam's armies were defeated. There was less time to plan for an occupation. But, it clearly was a screw-up.

But we ARE there. Terrorists are coming there to defeat us. And anyone who saws off heads, encourages their young to commit suicide, uses innocent civilians as targets, uses innocent people as intelligent detonators, are the DEFINITION of terror. Don't equivate this.

Please admit we cannot afford to let them win. It is time to support our countries interest, the civilized worlds interest, free peoples interest, and the brave Iraqi people's purple fingers.

Posted by: Jim R at June 30, 2005 09:33 AM

"Your appeal to "connections" are equally lame because by your logic we were wrong to declare war on Germany after Pearl Harbour"

Germany declared war on us, Spaniard, not the other way around. And Germany had a formal alliance with Japan, and every intention of fulfilling that alliance.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 30, 2005 09:51 AM

"The Mad Mullahs have to be next. Karl Jr., how would you suggest we do that"

I dont know Mark, but somehow I suspect that invading Iraq was not particularly helpful in that regard. We now have Shiite fundies of the same mentality as the Iranians controlling the south of Iraq, and only slightly more moderate versions running the central government. Whose side do you think they will be on when we get to the bottom line? (Unless we are a permanent prescence there to keep them in line).

"I've always hated the "smoking gun" prerequisite for action. If the other guy's gun is smoking, my feeling is you've screwed up somehow.) "

Well I suspect you see the problems with this though. Does this mean you shoot first? If this is your policy, you will inevitably shoot lots of folks who really meant you no harm, just to be on the safe side - and the spectators quickly conclude that you are the real problem that they should unite against. If you dont mean necessarily shooting first, but activly monitoring situations so that they are defused before shots are fired, well, that type of an approach would probably lead you down differnt paths than this administration is taking.

The Iranians will get their nukes, I suspect. If you think that eventuality rises to the level of us needing to go to war to prevent it, then I wonder why you arent among the crowd who are most upset at Bush for the strategic bluder of invading Iraq. Iran in three times the size of Iraq, much more prosperus and well armed, with little of the ethnic divisions that are making our job "easier" in Iraq. It wont be war against a fraction of a 15% minority of a country of 25 million. It would be a war against most, if not all of a country of 80 million. People fighting for their homeland - irrespective of whether they like their government.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 30, 2005 10:11 AM

"It is difficult to separate out the anti-anywars and anti-bushers that simply cannot be objective about the Iraq war pros and cons."

The first thing you need to accept Jim, is that you are not "objective" about this war either. Argue your points on their merit, dont try to take refuge in a claim to a higher level of consciousness.

"I admit it surprised me that we headed into Iraq so quickly before wrapping up Afghanistan."

Yes. More time has now passed since 9/11 than passed between Pearl Harbor and the end of WWII. And OBL is still out there, Mullah Omar is still out there, the Taliban still exists and seems to be getting stronger. Al-Q still exists, and although disrupted, may also be stonger today than before 9/11. THere have been no further attacks here at home, and the Taliban does not control more than a few provinces in Afghanistan. Those are two good points. But the shift in focus from pursuing those who attacked us, to an invasion of Iraq was a strategic decision that seems not to make much sense to me. I find it hard to imagine that we could not have made far greater progress against terrorism if we had spent the past three years focussed on it, rather than on iraq.

"I admit Bush hyped the Iraq threat, certainly the nuke part, in order to get Congress's approval."

Does it make me a bad person to have a seething resentment toward a political leader who hypes and misleads a country into war? Who instinctivly treats the American people as a target audience for a marketing strategy, rather than telling us the full truth?

"I wish the other side would admit the world thought he still had chemical weapons, that if passed into AQ hands, would have been very bad news for the 'civilized' world"

Yes I think that many, including the Bushies, sincerely believed that he had them. I am far less willing to accept that they reasonably concluded that he would have given them to Al-Q. As for his possision, the policy of continued sanctions, overflights, and enforced inspections were supported by libs. One need not have invested in a war to defuse that threat.

"...how quickly Saddam's armies were defeated"

I think it clear that Saddam's armies were not defeated. They merely fled from the battlefield that we defined, and took up a fight on their own terms - using a strategy that was more favorable to them, given their capacities.

"Please admit we cannot afford to let them win"

It would be a disaster if they win. Even those who call for timetables (which I do not) do so because they think that our continued presence there merely makes the situation worse - by adding the "flies being attracted to the flypaper" to what would otherwise be a civil struggle for power amongst Iraqis.

Posted by: Karl Jr. at June 30, 2005 10:38 AM

Wait a second, how did Michael's wife get dragged into this? It makes no sense. Did I miss something?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at June 30, 2005 12:02 PM

"Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, and anyone who doesnt have pure koolaid in his veins knows it."

How 'had nothing to do' is interpreted depends soley on whether one believes the war on terror is only retaliation for a specific act, or is for prevention of further acts.

As far as I'm concerned, that's the deal in a nutshell. Saddam most likely had nothing to do with the specific terrorist act committed on 9/11 yet he has everything to do with the acceptance of and/or the harboring of proponents of the ideology that provoked that attack.

Posted by: Syl at June 30, 2005 01:24 PM
Karl Jr.:
wonder why you arent among the crowd who are most upset at Bush for the strategic bluder of invading Iraq. Iran in three times the size of Iraq, much more prosperus and well armed, with little of the ethnic divisions that are making our job "easier" in Iraq. It wont be war against a fraction of a 15% minority of a country of 25 million. It would be a war against most, if not all of a country of 80 million. People fighting for their homeland - irrespective of whether they like their government.

You ask why I'm not upset with Bush's strategy, then you go on to answer your own question.

Iraq was the easier nut to crack. And doom-and-gloom to the contrary, things could have been a hell of a lot worse. (And of course the whole endeavor could fail. That's always been a possibility; and of course the weakest link is our own domestic resolve. Which is a pity.)

A strong, stable, Democratic Iraq would be a powerful check against the Iranians. That's one goal, and I think an achievable one. Going back to the smoking gun, of course the "shoot first and ask questions later" isn't the most elegant (or ethical) approach.

Hey, there's been a Cedar Revolution in Lebannon. An Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. Kabul is being rebuilt, cracks are appearing in the Cult of Kaddafi, rumblings of unrest in Syria. If we can change the rules by which the MidEast works without obliterating a country (and only the whacked-out, such as UnnamedPatriot, think we've done more than a small fraction of the damage we could have in Iraq) then maybe that Iranian gun never gets a chance to get drawn.

I know, that's not nearly as bloodthirsty as I like to keep my reputation, but as a thought experiment I find it amusing....

P.S. "Does it make me a bad person to have a seething resentment toward a political leader who hypes and misleads a country into war?"

Does it make me a bad person to have a seething anger toward those who would hype the bad news, peddle draft-reinstatement paranoia, and lionize suicide bombers in order to see our country lose a war?

Posted by: Mark Poling at June 30, 2005 02:15 PM

We can be building up a strong and stable Iraq. Or we can be setting up a permanent battlefield there to draw in jihadis (the "flypaper effect") and fight them there because it's better than fighting them there.

But not both. If we are deliberately attempting seriously to do both, we're making a mistake. If we're giving those as alternate answers in alternate network talk show interviews, we're shabby.

I find myself disagreeing with this part.

I suppose we could have engineered a "flypaper" scenerio without making any moves to create a stable Democratic Iraq, but I fail to see how we could help create a stable Democratic Iraq without creating a "flypaper" effect.

Posted by: Dan Kauffman at June 30, 2005 09:19 PM

Karl you asshat,

The "insurgents" in Iraq are not fighting for their "homeland". They are fighting because they are not able to do anything other than make war, kill civilians and rape the country. The insurgents are not fighting because they believe in any sort of ideology, they believe in ownership. They think they own Iraq, and that is no longer the situation on the ground (I hope you will recognize an election when you see it).

Fuck you for supporting nihilism and fascists murdering civilians.

Posted by: Mike#3or4 at July 1, 2005 09:47 PM

Mike#3or4,

I dont know why it is that you seem to think that a recouse to vulgarity, and to making absurd and obviously false charges against me, in a conversation, accomplishes anything other than making you sound like a moron.

I neither feel nor express any sympathy or support for nihilists, fascists, or the murdering of civilians. It is quite tiring to have to return endlessly to kindergarden levels of explanations in order to keep conversations with folks like you going. Are you really incapable of discussion on any higher level? Are you terminally stuck in the mode of "agree with me or you are eeeeeeeevil"? Is the notion of understanding the motivations, strategies, ways of thought of all the players in a given situation something which is beyond your ability to deal with? Or is there some cancer in your consciousness that forces you to sell yourself short like this?

You clearly know nothing about the motivations of the insurgents or anyone else. Perhaps I dont either, but at least I try to sort it out, and come up with explanations that may or may not make sense. I suspect that you could do the same - and perhaps we could have a discussion about the differnt conclusions that we may come up with. But your whole point seems to be that using ones mind to understand a situation is inherintly a traitorous and illegitimate activity.

I think that attitudes like yours are the greatest danger to our national security or any other objective that we may attempt to persue. It is the same type of attitude that our enemies would have toward their own countrymen. Dont think, dont use your mental resources to understand the situation. Just accept the direction of your leaders, focus your hate on the defined enemy, and get with the program.

One of the most important factors that make America so great is that we are a nation of free people, who think freely, and thus we can build a more profound understanding of the world, than is possible for regimes that enforce narrow-minded obedience. I suggest that you "get with the American program", and take advantage of the debates that we free people have. Even such a wonderful, good, and moral person as yourself, has much to learn.

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