They still don't get it

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They still don't get it

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:03 am

People for whom national security and defense are top priorities are not going to vote for Democrats just because they are veterans, esp. when they are veterans who campaign on an anti-war platform. That is a non-starter, period. If they are against the war, they might as well not be veterans. In order for Dems to have a chance at that pool of voters, they have be more aggressive than Bush on taking the war to the enemy, calling for a long term committment to the effort, increase, not decrease, the defense budget, and stop babbling about domestic programs. Which means the Democratic party apparatus will never support them. Which means they have to be Republicans if they ever want to get elected.

The latest craze in politics has become Democratic veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars running for office. The trend was ignited earlier this month when veteran Paul Hackett won 48% of the vote in a special House election for a strong Republican district near Cincinnati, Ohio. Now Democratic bloggers are urging Mr. Hackett to run for the U.S. Senate against GOP incumbent Mike DeWine. "What was so interesting about Paul is that when it comes to issues of service, duty and commitment, it was so easy to demonstrate those qualities," Julian Mulvey, a Hackett media consultant, told the newspaper Roll Call.

In an effort to capitalize on what Democrats view as a way their candidates can quickly communicate their patriotism to voters, at least three other veterans are now running for Congress. In Pennsylvania's Bucks County, attorney Patrick Murphy is challenging freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick. In Virginia, David Ashe is in a rematch with freshman Rep. Thelma Drake, who cleaned his clock last year by a ten-point margin. And finally, Minnesota high school teacher Tim Walz has decided to do battle with long-serving Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht.

For his part, Mr. Murphy doesn't waste any time capitalizing on his background. He will stand up before a group of voters and say: "Hi, I'm Patrick Murphy. I'm an Iraq war veteran -- I served in Baghdad and I'm back home and I'm running for Congress." He then launches into a short speech, which emulates Mr. Hackett's approach in Ohio by neglecting to mention that he is a Democrat. The reaction is favorable: "They immediately start clapping," he says.

It's encouraging to see Democrats now interested in recruiting candidates from a military background, but they will soon discover that image only goes so far. The candidates must also ultimately have the right stuff and connect with voters. Recall the efforts of John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, to be photographed with guns while he was hunting in a futile attempt to blunt a traditional Democratic weakness with rural voters. A quick survey of last year's election returns makes clear "that dog didn't hunt."

-- John Fund
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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:00 am

Here we go with "afraid to look sissy" again. It is a problem in both parties; it is just that historically the Democrats are the ones who have been on the defensive about it.

You are extrapolating from Kerry's failure, which had nothing to do with lack of hawkishness, into a prescriptive remedy (about which you are, I assume, being disingenuous) for everyone running in that party.

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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:57 am

Please, please, all-knowing former-Democrat-now-turned-right-wing-missionary-zealot Cluelyss_D, just what don't we stupid Democrats get? Do we not get that after two years of fighting, anti-American insurgency is as strong or stronger than ever, that more and more innocent American kids are coming home in body bags or missing limbs, that untold Iraqis are being killed each month, that we are undermining our own cause by our mistreatment of prisoners, that there's still so little stability in the region that the mayor of Baghdad can be ousted, a member of Parliament can be kidnapped, and the Shiites are demanding their own autonomous region all in a week, that now Iranian bombs are being sent over the border to Iraq, that Iraqi security is still in its infancy and is likely to remain so as long as the Iraqis know we'll do their jobs for them, that what we were promised would be a "walk in the park" where we'd be "welcomed as liberators" is turning into a quagmire we can't find any way out of?

Please, Cluelyss_D, show us in your inimitable fashion how black is white, night is day, and wrong is right. We kneel at your feet in awe at your omniscience.

Or better yet, instead of stridently name-calling as "stupid" anybody who disagrees with you, you might try giving those of us who genuinely despair about the outcome of this ill-conducted escapade some reason to feel an iota of hope.

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Post by Ralph » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:18 am

Like virtually all, I hope - fervently - that Iraq will become a stable society and we can leave. But the evidence doesn't add up. We get optimistic prognostications from SecDef Rumsfeld and GEN Casey, to just name two, while a number of generals on and off the record say the insurgency is getting stronger and civil decay more pronounced.

And for those focused on iraq, the situation in Afghanistan, where we were right to attack, is slipping. Even government press releases refer to actions by the Taliban, the sectarian gangsters we supposedly got rid of.
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Post by Barry » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:38 am

It's not just about being right or wrong about Iraq. It that were the case, I'd agree with you, Alban. There were and still are legitimate arguments against the war, but too many Dems are almost knee-jerk against virtually any military action, even when it's to stop genocide.

Bayh: Democrats Face Security Threshold
By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer
Thu Aug 4

DES MOINES, Iowa - Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh (news, bio, voting record), a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Thursday that his party lacks credibility on national security and needs to convince Americans that Democrats are willing to use force when necessary.

Until the party can persuade voters, it will be unable to move the debate to issues that work for Democrats, Bayh said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Unless the American people know that we will be good stewards of the nation's security, they're unlikely to trust us with anything else," said the two-term Indiana senator. "That's a very important threshold we have to get over."

Bayh said there are legitimate grounds to criticize President Bush's approach to fighting terrorism, but until Democrats establish more credibility on the issue, many voters won't listen.

"Many Americans wonder if we're willing to use force to defend the country even under the most compelling of circumstances," Bayh said. "The majority of Democrats would answer that question that, yes, there is a right place and a right time. We don't get to have that discussion because many people don't think we have the backbone."

Bayh has spent three days in Iowa, the first presidential caucus state, attending party fundraisers and meeting privately with activists who play a crucial role in Democratic politics.

Bayh said he would make a decision on a presidential bid after next year's midterm elections, basing it, in part, on whether he has a realistic chance of winning the nomination.

"Is this a sensible thing to do?" he said. "I've never been a big person for fool's errands. I think you have to conclude you have some prospect of being successful."

Bayh said his electoral success in heavily Republican Indiana and moderate views are a model for Democrats to end their recent electoral failures. Summing up those failures are polls that show voters overwhelmingly trusting Republicans on national security, he said.

"We've got a few voices out there who would be a little bit more on the fringe," Bayh said. "Unfortunately, too often they define the entire party."
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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:05 am

Barry Z wrote:It's not just about being right or wrong about Iraq. It that were the case, I'd agree with you, Alban. There were and still are legitimate arguments against the war, but too many Dems are almost knee-jerk against virtually any military action, even when it's to stop genocide.
The issue is Iraq. I'm not a pacifist. I thoroughly supported Bush when he initially invaded Afghanistan against the Taliban. I would like to see us finally capture Osama bin Laden (remember him, the guy we really should have been trying to find?). I would like us to take action against the horrors in Darfur for that matter (guess we can't be bothered with that particular genocide). But Iraq is where Bush chose to go, I see no sign of a positive outcome there, and after two or more years he and he alone has to answer for the result.

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Post by Barry » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:20 am

Alban Berg wrote:
Barry Z wrote:It's not just about being right or wrong about Iraq. It that were the case, I'd agree with you, Alban. There were and still are legitimate arguments against the war, but too many Dems are almost knee-jerk against virtually any military action, even when it's to stop genocide.
The issue is Iraq.
Actually, I was under the impression that Corlyss' initial post addressed Dems and the military in general, rather than Iraq specifically.

But even on Iraq, things have not been totally doom and gloom, much as many on the left [and the right, but fewer] would have us believe. The outcome is still up in the air and actions can still be taken to tilt it in the direction of something positive. The idea wasn't that bad. The execution has had some problems.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:24 am

jbuck919 wrote:You are extrapolating from Kerry's failure, which had nothing to do with lack of hawkishness,
:lol: As a Republican, I certainly hope the feckless Democratic leadership continues to think that. As an American, I dispair that unless the adults begin to assert themselves, this party is lost for generations to come, certainly until the Boomers and their likeminded children are dead and buried. By adults, I mean the party elders like Al Frum, who used to know a hawk from a handsaw about what it took to get Democrats elected (Bill Clinton was one of his inspirations), the same ones who privately agonize over the fact that Hillary is vacuuming up all the money for 08 because they are convinced she is unelectible.
into a prescriptive remedy (about which you are, I assume, being disingenuous) for everyone running in that party.
No, I wasn't being disingenuous. If the Democrats continue to protray themselves as the peace party no matter what, made up of people like Al who profess not to be pacifists but haven't liked any real shooting war (as opposed to misguided "peace-keeping" and "humanitarian" missions sanctioned by the leading NGOs who do not answer to any electorate on the planet), they are going to have a tough time convincing the American public they are serious candidates for the posts in which war decisions are made. It's as simple as that.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:56 am

Alban Berg wrote:Please, please, all-knowing former-Democrat-now-turned-right-wing-missionary-zealot Cluelyss_D, just what don't we stupid Democrats get?
Al, trying to convince you of anything is a waste of my time and yours. But I'll have a go at a couple of items here.
Do we not get that after two years of fighting, anti-American insurgency is as strong or stronger than ever,
What? Did you expect the enemy to suddenly give up because we chose to confront them? Are they less committed now than they were when they started this campaign in 1970? I doubt it. They think they have the traditional view of democracies as self-indulgent and spineless, which is what Hilter counted on to run the table, working for them. So far it seems to be working with a certain faction in the US and Europe. Others are not so . . . inclined.
that more and more innocent American kids are coming home in body bags or missing limbs,
Get a grip, Al. This is not the tens of thousands American and allied soldiers that were killed and injured in retaking the Pacific from the Japanese. Yet the stakes are just as high. Every death is regrettable, so lets not go off on that fatuous tangent that as a Democrat you "care" more than I do as a Republican. But if death is going to be the showstopper for any armed action except those "peacekeeping" and "humanitarian" frolics sanctioned by NGOs not accountable to any electorate on the planet, then self-defense as a concept will go down the toilet, as it has in many European nations already. (Pace, Ralph) Nations don't work that way. No nation on earth has ever done anything at its own expense out of pure altruism, and that includes suicide to please an NGO or the majority vote of other nations.
that we are undermining our own cause by our mistreatment of prisoners,
"Mistreatment" of prisoners? When their fellows behead people for public consumption? Again, I say, get realistic.
a quagmire
QUAGMIRE! QUAGMIRE!
Or better yet, instead of stridently name-calling as "stupid" anybody who disagrees with you,
Geez, that putative insult really bugs you don't it? I don't think I've ever done that here or anywhere else, unless you count yourself among the Democratic leadership. If you are not, if you are merely one among the faithful followers, I can't really blame you for what you have no control over. At least you do consider foreign policy important enough to shape your voting habits. People get upset because I point out facts, facts they find uncomfortable and disturbing. One fact you and other Dems will have to deal with is the fact that the American public don't trust you on matters of national security because they know you can't pull the trigger. And if you can't pull the trigger, they will vote Republican every time national security and defense is the paramount issue. Don't blame me for this fact.
you might try giving those of us who genuinely despair about the outcome of this ill-conducted escapade some reason to feel an iota of hope.
Can't help people who want to equate Guantanimo with Pol Pot, who think Abu Graib "merely changed management," who think Iraq is a quagmire, who can't see the larger strategic goals, and who keep wanting to relive the political traumas of their youth. Have you thought of professional therapy? No matter. As long as the American public don't share your view of things, you will continue to suffer in the minority. In order to attain the majority again, Democrats will have to do something anathema to you: run to the right of the Republicans on national security. Of course, they could always do what they do really well: lie to get elected and then do what they please. But that's a short term tactic and not a long term strategy.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:10 am

Alban Berg wrote: I would like us to take action against the horrors in Darfur for that matter (guess we can't be bothered with that particular genocide).


Lessee. There's the EU. There's NATO. There's the AU. There's the UN. There are a lot of actors who could act but won't without the US. That's not a matter of ability. That's a matter of will. Hell, they can't even get the UN to call a spade a spade. If the UN can't act in Darfur, in Zimbabwe, in Rwanda, what the hell good is it? Oh, I forgot. It distributes Christmas cards drawn by chidren.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:16 am

Barry Z wrote:Actually, I was under the impression that Corlyss' initial post addressed Dems and the military in general, rather than Iraq specifically.
Absolutely correct! My initial post is about Democrats as the Peace Party, the Mommy Party, the party unable to shake off the trauma of Viet Nam.
But even on Iraq, things have not been totally doom and gloom, much as many on the left [and the right, but fewer] would have us believe.
Why I harp on the failures of the NYT. For a paper that holds itself out to be the newspaper of record, it has done a woeful job telling the truth about Iraq, and it's gotten Pulitzers for their malfeasance in toadying to the left and carrying the Democrats' electoral water for them.
The idea wasn't that bad. The execution has had some problems.
Brother, you can say that again. They did greet us as liberators until we couldn't make them feel secure. We have an implacable enemy in Iran who is causing most of the trouble in Iraq and we can't touch them - at least not yet. And we have a public gone wonky because the Prez don't get out and remind us weekly if not daily of how important this effort is or even try to enlist "the homefront" in the struggle. I'm as bewildered as Al is, but for markedly different reasons.
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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:24 am

What? Did you expect the enemy to suddenly give up because we chose to confront them?

- No, but the Neocons did when they told us at the outset that once Saddam was ousted, the Iraqis would strew flowers in our path and welcome us as liberators. That was the Republicans' argument, not mine, and that's how the sold their war to the American public.

"Mistreatment" of prisoners? When their fellows behead people for public consumption? Again, I say, get realistic.

- And you think all those photos of humiliated naked Iraqi prisoners did our cause any good?

QUAGMIRE! QUAGMIRE!

- Get a grip, Cluelyss_D.

People get upset because I point out facts, facts they find uncomfortable and disturbing.

- So do you. You're not the sole possessor of all facts.

One fact you and other Dems will have to deal with is the fact that the American public don't trust you on matters of national security because they know you can't pull the trigger. And if you can't pull the trigger, they will vote Republican every time national security and defense is the paramount issue. Don't blame me for this fact.

- Bull. Pull the trigger at the right target. Iraq was never a threat to us. I told you already I supported our ouster of the Taliban, and any action we would take against Osama. But you're so gung-ho "pull the trigger" that it doesn't matter that we haven't found and brought to justice the source of our attacks five full years ago! Let's see what happens if (or more probably) when the first suicide bomber hits the NYC subway. Bush will have a hard time then tap-dancing around "we'll fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."

who can't see the larger strategic goals

- Ah. It's always those large strategic goals . . . .

Have you thought of professional therapy?

- Now I see where we're really headed. Anyone who wants the Bush government to be accountable for its failures is a sicko.

Of course, they could always do what they do really well: lie to get elected and then do what they please.

- Sort of like the Republicans in 2004, eh?

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:51 am

Brother, you can say that again. They did greet us as liberators until we couldn't make them feel secure. We have an implacable enemy in Iran who is causing most of the trouble in Iraq and we can't touch them - at least not yet. And we have a public gone wonky because the Prez don't get out and remind us weekly if not daily of how important this effort is or even try to enlist "the homefront" in the struggle. I'm as bewildered as Al is, but for markedly different reasons.
Well, that is a lot of the point, isn't it? They were greeting us on Day 1 until it became obvious on Day 2 and every day following that the National Museum was being looted, the electricity wouldn't work, the government buildings were being blown up, the members of parliament were being assassinated, etc., etc.

And where is the Prez trying to rally public opinion and resolve all the contradictory messages coming from every other source in DC? That's right, on another 5-week vacation in Crawford, TX, this so-called ballsy populist who's not enough of a mensch even to confront a grieving mother camped by his doorway.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:55 am

Alban Berg wrote:No, but the Neocons did when they told us. That was the Republicans' argument, not mine, and that's how the sold their war to the American public.
You exaggerate for effect. I know of no supporter of the war who even attempted to sell it on those grounds. The administration had a number of arguments all of which worked in tandem.
at the outset that once Saddam was ousted, the Iraqis would strew flowers in our path and welcome us as liberators.
We didn't go to war to liberate the Iraqi people; it was an unavoidable consequence of taking Saddam out. That was the goal. They did greet us with flowers and were quite happy to see us there in the beginning. Of course, you'd never know it from the NYT reportage, or the MSM reportage, but until it was evident we had too few people there to secure the population from the Iran's meddling, they were quite happy to see us there. You can tell that by the fact that over 2/3s of the country is quiet, and the bulk of the trouble is in the Sunni areas, another fact you would be hard-pressed to find reflected in the NYT and MSM reportage.
- And you think all those photos of humiliated naked Iraqi prisoners did our cause any good?
And you think it hurt us among people not already committed to blowing us up? Sometimes I wish we had the steely no-nonsense of the Brits. Apologize for shooting an unarmed suspect in the head 7 times? Yeah. Enter into endless public self-examination over motives and tactics? Nah. Next case!
- So do you. You're not the sole possessor of all facts.
Perhaps, but I have all the facts that matter.
- Bull. Pull the trigger at the right target.
When was the last time the Democrats saw the right target? Hell, in the Civil War, they wanted to sue for peace and live with a 2 nation solution to the slavery problem.
Iraq was never a threat to us.
You are mistaken. The fact that Saddam had plenty of time to shuffle his WMD out of Iraq don't mean he wasn't a threat. The fact that now we know he was supporting Al Qaeda with bases and money and occasional coordination is now evident even to the stones in the street. Maybe not to people who want to keep revisiting the decision to go into Iraq, but to others it is. Besides, the objective was to get into the region to position ourselves for more strategic goals.
I told you already I supported our ouster of the Taliban, and any action we would take against Osama.
So we should ignore the ways in which Al Qaeda has changed, diversified, and burrowed, not to mention spawned copy cats, because they aren't UBL? That don't get us anywhere.
But you're so gung-ho "pull the trigger" that it doesn't matter that we haven't found and brought to justice the source of our attacks five full years ago!
I don't want him brought to justice. I want him killed. I don't care how.
Let's see what happens if (or more probably) when the first suicide bomber hits the NYC subway.
We broke up that cell 2 years ago, and their off-spring this summer.
Anyone who wants the Bush government to be accountable for its failures is a sicko.
Geez, you can't take a joke, either.
- Sort of like the Republicans in 2004, eh?
The Democrats are better at it because they have been in power for so long, 1936-1994. That was the preferred strategy (there's that word again) as you will see if you read A Rage for Justice: The Passion and Politics of Philip Burton by John Jacobs. The tactics he taught his fellow Democrats on how to get and keep power is somewhat responsible for the fix the Dems find themselves in now.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:25 am

Alban Berg wrote:Well, that is a lot of the point, isn't it?
Not as it's being used by people who want to us to get out.
the National Museum was being looted,


I was waiting for someone to bring that up. It was being looted by Saddam, and his gangs merely continued with business as usual after the Americans arrived. The Americans had orders to protect the museum, but there was a miscommunication and they covered the wrong place. This is somewhat obliquely proven by a recent book, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad : The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia which details the gangs that were blithely spiriting the treasures out of Iraq before invasion became a real possibility, and doing it in such a way as would have been impossible without the assistance of well-placed state officials, who no doubt paid up the chain to the head thug for the priviledge of looting Iraq for its treasures.
the electricity wouldn't work,
The electricity situation is more complicated than "it worked under Saddam and the US broke it."

First of all, the US got the electricity up and running very quickly. They just couldn't keep it running between obsolete equipment and the die-hards who kept coming back repeatedly to blow up the power stations. Secondly, Saddam starved most of Iraq of electricity to keep the people in Baghdad in electricty. When the Americans invaded, they distributed more electricity to more people than had been serviced by Saddam. But in the Sunni triangle, keeping it running is still a problem thanks to the die-hards.
the government buildings were being blown up, the members of parliament were being assassinated, etc., etc.
Yes, but if the public were really against us, do you think 130,000 American warriors could fight off 25 mil? We're good, but we're not that good. We get plenty of help from the indigenous personnel, again a fact that the NYT seems never to have discovered.
And where is the Prez trying to rally public opinion and resolve all the contradictory messages coming from every other source in DC?
You'll get no argument from me in the message problem. I've railed about that often here.
this so-called ballsy populist who's not enough of a mensch even to confront a grieving mother camped by his doorway.
You must have missed the report about how he met with her last year when she thought he was a decent guy trying to do the right thing. Now all of a sudden, she's decided he's publicity fodder.
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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:03 pm

We can't just get out at this point. Much as I'd like to see all our troops back home as quickly as possible, I don't believe cut and run is an option. (And neither did John Kerry.) But what has me really scared is that, unless things take a clear turn for the upswing, staying there is no better. So long as we're there, the Iraqis will perceive us as occupiers but on the other hand will not take responsibility for their own security, knowing we're still around with our firepower. But as soon as we leave, what's to prevent civil war? And so what I fear most is a situation where by staying there we're just delaying the inevitable. And if that's not a quagmire, what is?

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Post by rwetmore » Sat Aug 13, 2005 2:03 pm

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Post by rwetmore » Sat Aug 13, 2005 2:22 pm

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Post by rwetmore » Sat Aug 13, 2005 2:29 pm

Alban Berg wrote:We can't just get out at this point. Much as I'd like to see all our troops back home as quickly as possible, I don't believe cut and run is an option. (And neither did John Kerry.) But what has me really scared is that, unless things take a clear turn for the upswing, staying there is no better. So long as we're there, the Iraqis will perceive us as occupiers but on the other hand will not take responsibility for their own security, knowing we're still around with our firepower. But as soon as we leave, what's to prevent civil war? And so what I fear most is a situation where by staying there we're just delaying the inevitable. And if that's not a quagmire, what is?
OK, so we are screwed - the enemy has won, and Bush needs to hang at the stake for it. And this accomplishes just what exactly? I'm confused. Or are you on your way to jump off that cliff?

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:32 am

rwetmore wrote:OK, so we are screwed - the enemy has won, and Bush needs to hang at the stake for it. And this accomplishes just what exactly? I'm confused. Or are you on your way to jump off that cliff?
Do you have a more credible analysis to offer, or only sarcasm - which accomplishes just what exactly? I'm confused. But I'd sure like to know what you had to delete in those two previous posts - more sarcasm thrown at me?

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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:39 am

Alban Berg wrote:
rwetmore wrote:OK, so we are screwed - the enemy has won, and Bush needs to hang at the stake for it. And this accomplishes just what exactly? I'm confused. Or are you on your way to jump off that cliff?
Do you have a more credible analysis to offer, or only sarcasm - which accomplishes just what exactly? I'm confused. But I'd sure like to know what you had to delete in those two previous posts - more sarcasm thrown at me?
No I don't have a more credible analysis. It's over; we lost, and it's all Bush's fault.

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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:40 am

Alban Berg wrote:But I'd sure like to know what you had to delete in those two previous posts - more sarcasm thrown at me?
The two previous posts were redundant. That's why I deleted them.

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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:54 am

Alban Berg wrote:Do you have a more credible analysis to offer, or only sarcasm - which accomplishes just what exactly?
The sarcasm accomplishes simply this: It reveals the total uselessness of your analysis regardless of what evidence you claim supports it.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:14 am

rwetmore wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:Do you have a more credible analysis to offer, or only sarcasm - which accomplishes just what exactly?
The sarcasm accomplishes simply this: It reveals the total uselessness of your analysis regardless of what evidence you claim supports it.
So offer something better. If what I have to say is useless, you provide something useful. The ball's in your court.

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:49 am

Alban Berg wrote:We can't just get out at this point. Much as I'd like to see all our troops back home as quickly as possible, I don't believe cut and run is an option. (And neither did John Kerry.) But what has me really scared is that, unless things take a clear turn for the upswing, staying there is no better. So long as we're there, the Iraqis will perceive us as occupiers but on the other hand will not take responsibility for their own security, knowing we're still around with our firepower. But as soon as we leave, what's to prevent civil war? And so what I fear most is a situation where by staying there we're just delaying the inevitable. And if that's not a quagmire, what is?
Long-term military occupation as better than any alternative is a common enough occurrence, but Americans, whose bumptious assumption that all problems are short-term soluble often gets us into these fixes in the first place, don't seem to recognize this as an alternative we can live with. Hey, look, how bad can it be?

From the New York Times:

G.I.'s Deployed in Iraq Desert With Lots of American Stuff


By KIRK SEMPLE
Published: August 13, 2005

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - First Lt. Taysha Deaton of the Louisiana National Guard went to war expecting a gritty yearlong deployment of sand, heat and duress, but ended up spending her nights in a king-size bed beneath imported sheets and a fluffy down comforter.







She bought the bed from a departing soldier to replace the twin-size metal frame that came with her air-conditioned trailer on this base in western Baghdad. She also acquired a refrigerator, television, cellphone, microwave oven, boom box and DVD player, and signed up for a high-speed Internet connection.

"We had no idea conditions were going to be this great!" said Lieutenant Deaton, 25, the public affairs officer of the 256th Brigade Combat Team and an ambassador of the exclamation mark. "My first thought was, oh my God! This is good!"

As much as modern warfare has changed in recent decades, so has the lifestyle of the modern warrior - at least the modern American warrior on base.

Camp Liberty, one of the best-appointed compounds in the constellation of American military bases in Iraq, has the vague feel of a college campus, albeit with sand underfoot, Black Hawks overhead and the occasional random mortar attack.

The soldiers live in trailers on a grid of neat gravel pathways, and the chow hall offers a vast selection of food and beverages, ethnic cuisine nights, an ice cream parlor and, occasionally, a live jazz combo. Camp Liberty, like many other bases, also has Internet cafes, an impressively stocked store, gymnasiums with modern equipment, air-conditioning everywhere and extracurricular activities like language and martial arts lessons.

Not that life is this comfortable for everyone. Small outposts in the rural hinterlands can be crude, at best, with nothing beyond the very basic amenities and soldiers required to wear their full "battle rattle" - body armor and helmet - all day because insurgent attacks are so frequent.

And for those soldiers whose jobs require them to leave base, there is no escape from the cruel realities of war in Iraq.

Wrapped in body armor and the ubiquitous threat of death, they choke on dust and heat and make do with Meals Ready to Eat. On long combat missions, they may go weeks without a shower and sleep wherever they can: on the ground, in empty buildings, in their cramped vehicles. Beyond that, the Pentagon's program to provide them with stronger, safer vehicles has suffered delays.

But wherever possible, the current generation of young soldiers - like its predecessors in Vietnam and other conflicts - has sought the succor of the familiar, and resourceful soldiers in this war have taken this quest to astonishing levels, accumulating all the accouterments of home: personal electronics, bed linens, furniture, household appliances and beauty products.

Gadgetry, in particular, proliferates among the 138,000 troops stationed in Iraq: laptop computers, MP3 and DVD players, digital cameras, televisions and video game consoles. On bases in greater Baghdad, many soldiers have cellphones and some have satellite dishes that pull in scores of stations. Personal DVD collections numbering several hundred are not uncommon; the legendary ones top 1,000.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much stuff been acquired by so many soldiers in so little time.

One Louisiana National Guardsman stationed on Camp Liberty converted his trailer into a recording studio, and a New York National Guardsman living nearby has spent some of his free time during the last year producing a record by a singer in New York using an electric keyboard, sequencer, laptop computer, sampler, drum machine and mixer in his room; he and the singer use sound files sent via the Internet to exchange musical ideas and recorded tracks.

"I don't know how they managed to acquire so much audio-visual machinery," said an amused Lt. Col. Geoffrey J. Slack, 48, commander of the First Battalion, 69th Infantry, of the New York National Guard, which is garrisoned on Camp Liberty with the Louisianans. "Some of these kids, they'll go out and fight all day, and they'll come back and play these goofy space-age electronic war games all night. The furthest thing from my mind is to play war games. You'll walk by and hear them hootin' and hollerin'."

Some of these luxuries came with the soldiers, but most are purchased from departing troops, in stores (the one at Camp Liberty sells at least 11 different makes of television, including a giant $2,999 42-inch JVC plasma television) or over the Internet (the United States Postal Service charges domestic rates for packages sent to troops in Iraq).

The DVD collections among troops mostly comprise pirated disks, each containing several movies, that are sold on American bases by Iraqi vendors for about $3 each.

"Throughout the whole deployment, I was comfortable," said Specialist Chris Foster, a guardsman from Baton Rouge, La., whose initial spree of purchases last year included an electronic back massager. "I didn't have a need for anything."

For Specialist Foster, wartime comfort is often no further away than the nearest Xbox game controller, and he is particularly proud of his division-wide invincibility at Halo 2, a shoot-'em-up video game in which the player is "a genetically enhanced super soldier."

"They call me 'Halo God,' " Specialist Foster said. "Half my deployment I've spent playing Halo 2." He and other soldiers once ran cables between several different trailers enabling as many as 12 players to play at one time.

Lately, Specialist Foster has done much of his Xbox playing in the trailer belonging to Cpl. Andrew Smith, 23, a guardsman from La Place, La.

In addition to their Army-issued beds and wardrobe, Corporal Smith and his roommate outfitted the room with an entertainment center, a beanbag chair and custom-made shelves and a desk.

Their belongings include three guitars, a laptop computer with speakers and a 30-inch flat-screen TV with surround sound - a gift from Specialist Foster, who gave Corporal Smith his entire video-game complex in part to try to curb what he calls his "Halo 2 addiction."

"I wasn't into video games until I got here," Corporal Smith admitted, in the sheepish manner of someone confessing a new vice. "My wife told me I wasn't allowed to bring it home."

Now that the Louisiana and New York units at Camp Liberty have begun shifting living quarters in preparation for their return to the United States, the soldiers have been trying to find buyers for the items they do not want to ship home.

In this periodic ritual, fliers are posted around the base, which becomes a low-profile yard sale as newly deployed soldiers hustle deals from the departing troops.

On a recent morning, Phill Woods, 47, and Bob Szescila, 23, two military contractors, were perusing the booty of a group yard sale organized by the medical platoon of New York's 69th Infantry. Mr. Woods settled on a waist-high LG refrigerator; asking price: $60. Mr. Woods, a beefy man with a long ponytail, pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket and forked over $60, entirely ignoring the time-honored yard sale - and Middle Eastern - tradition of haggling.

"I'm not a haggling kinda guy," he shrugged as he and Mr. Szescila hauled the refrigerator toward its new home. "I'm a guy who's gotta pick up some people at a helipad."
Last edited by jbuck919 on Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:56 am

Alban Berg wrote:So offer something better. If what I have to say is useless, you provide something useful. The ball's in your court.
No, the ball isn't in my court, though I see why you want to give it to me. Clever try, but I'm not taking the bait.
Last edited by rwetmore on Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:57 am

Deleted. Double post.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:28 am

rwetmore wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:So offer something better. If what I have to say is useless, you provide something useful. The ball's in your court.
No, the ball isn't in my court, though I see why you want to give it to me. Clever try, but I'm not taking the bait.
So in other words you don't have anything better to offer. Really convincing rejoinder.

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:47 am

Alban Berg wrote:So in other words you don't have anything better to offer.
Nothing at all.
Alban Berg wrote:Really convincing rejoinder.


I think so.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:11 pm

rwetmore wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:So in other words you don't have anything better to offer.
Nothing at all.
How about enough troops to do a better job of securing the country? I don't believe the strategy of training the Iraqis to do it is working very well.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Lilith
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Post by Lilith » Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:23 pm

Enough troops? At this late date, we're still talking enough troops? That was an issue for 12, 18, 24 months ago. WE can't even produce the armor for the troops we have there.

By the way, just curious - do you think 250,000 troops would have been enough? 300,000? 400,000? Would you have been willing to see the reintroduction of the draft?

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:39 pm

Barry Z wrote:How about enough troops to do a better job of securing the country? I don't believe the strategy of training the Iraqis to do it is working very well.
But how will more troops be able to "secure" the country? It seems we are most likely dealing with a few thousand insurgents determined to use suicide bomb attacks. What good are more troops against them?

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 5:48 pm

The general who said we'd need a quarter million (was that the figure?) troops before the war was fired. He looks like a genius now.

I don't know the total number that should have been sent in. Maybe 200,000, but I'm not in a position to know. But I do know I've seen or read comments by a number of military people or former military people who say we weren't using enough troops off the bat, and I think they were right. We had enough to blow past any resistance, but not enough to secure the most important cities after blowing through them.

Sending more now would allow for better border coverage and the ability to both secure more areas, including strategic areas like fuel pipelines, and to go after insurgents more aggressively (and obviously in bigger numbers).

I'm not sure the status quo will get the job done, and I don't agree with those who say we should be withdrawing.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Werner
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Post by Werner » Sun Aug 14, 2005 6:00 pm

General Shinseki - the one who was fired - called for a force of 300,000 to accomplish the job in Iraq. Instead, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld went in with half the force and no plan but a couple of delusions.

The results speak for themselves.
Werner Isler

Lilith
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Post by Lilith » Sun Aug 14, 2005 6:26 pm

Barry- It is my understanding that we are having trouble maintaining the level of 130,000 we now have there. Where are these additional troops to come from? Are you in favor of a draft?

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:04 pm

They'd obviously have to come from elsewhere, Lilith; both from home and other places abroad. They shouldn't have gone to war if they didn't have the forces to pull off the aftermath, and now that they are there, they have to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.

I don't favor a draft on short notice under these circumstances. But I'm not opposed to consideration of it as a long-term strategy to maintain a higher troop-level.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:12 pm

Werner wrote:General Shinseki - the one who was fired - called for a force of 300,000 to accomplish the job in Iraq. Instead, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld went in with half the force and no plan but a couple of delusions.

The results speak for themselves.
Precisely. And Colin Powell made the same point. If you're going to attack, attack with overwhelming force.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:20 pm

Barry Z wrote:They'd obviously have to come from elsewhere, Lilith; both from home and other places abroad. They shouldn't have gone to war if they didn't have the forces to pull off the aftermath, and now that they are there, they have to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.

I don't favor a draft on short notice under these circumstances. But I'm not opposed to consideration of it as a long-term strategy to maintain a higher troop-level.
Higher troop strength would have been the right thing to do, but let's be realistic. The Armed Forces can't meet their quotas now and they're taking practically anyone who has a pulse. Soldiers are on their second and even third tours of duty. As for foreign troops, who's going to lift a finger to help us? All the countries from "old Europe" we've alienated? As it is, Spain and Poland already have pulled out, popular support in England and Italy is mostly against us, and I wouldn't be surprised that if Italy has one of its unpredictable elections in the near future, an anti-Berlusconi candidate could easily win if he campaigns on pulling that country's forces out. So where are all these troops going to be found? It would take time and resources to re-institute a draft here, and do you think the American populace is going to support such a thing?

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:31 pm

If we don't have enough troops, how were we going to have them at the time of the invasion or at least for the immediate aftermath of the war? The arguments for and against it would have been similar then to what they are now.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:51 pm

Barry Z wrote:If we don't have enough troops, how were we going to have them at the time of the invasion or at least for the immediate aftermath of the war? The arguments for and against it would have been similar then to what they are now.
As someone here just said, they shouldn't have gone to war if they didn't have the forces to pull off the aftermath.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:16 pm

Alban Berg wrote:
Barry Z wrote:If we don't have enough troops, how were we going to have them at the time of the invasion or at least for the immediate aftermath of the war? The arguments for and against it would have been similar then to what they are now.
As someone here just said, they shouldn't have gone to war if they didn't have the forces to pull off the aftermath.
So you don't favor a withdraw and don't think we should send more troops. Can we take it then that you favor the status quo?

I agree with you that mistakes have been made, but it's not going to benefit the war effort to harp about it without offering an alternative course of action. Most moderate/independent types realize that and aren't going to vote for the Dems in national elections if that's how they behave. That's the point Corlyss made when she started this thread. Democrats, myself included, need to either support the war effort or offer an alternative. Just complaining about what has already been done is counterproductive both politically and for the war effort.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Werner
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Post by Werner » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:31 pm

Just a minute, Barry. At this juncture it would seem to me that to vote for the gang that got us into this spot would be a mistake, to put it mildly. Of course, you can tell me that's what we - not me - did in '04.

But the situation is not geting better but worse. And your question as to what we'd do to be ready for the invasion should have been answered before we set foot in enemy territory, not now.

The search for an exit formula is under way, since there seems to be no source of personnel to support your idea of "not wothdrawing," whatever that means.

Whether our present "ledership" can find it, or whether that will have to be up to a future administration remains to be seen.
Last edited by Werner on Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Werner Isler

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:36 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:
Barry Z wrote:If we don't have enough troops, how were we going to have them at the time of the invasion or at least for the immediate aftermath of the war? The arguments for and against it would have been similar then to what they are now.
As someone here just said, they shouldn't have gone to war if they didn't have the forces to pull off the aftermath.
So you don't favor a withdraw and don't think we should send more troops. Can we take it then that you favor the status quo?

I agree with you that mistakes have been made, but it's not going to benefit the war effort to harp about it without offering an alternative course of action. Most moderate/independent types realize that and aren't going to vote for the Dems in national elections if that's how they behave. That's the point Corlyss made when she started this thread. Democrats, myself included, need to either support the war effort or offer an alternative. Just complaining about what has already been done is counterproductive both politically and for the war effort.
We need more troops. The problem as I said three posts ago is where to get them, and in my opinion you provided no realistic method of doing so. And yes, I think acknowledging the mistakes made by this administration is essential, because if there's one thing George W. Bush won't do, is admit to making a mistake. If someone can't acknowledge making a mistake and insists on "staying the course," then we're just going to get more of the same blundering.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:39 pm

Werner wrote:Just a minute, Barry. At this juncture it would seem to me that to vote for the gang that got us into this spot would be a mistake, to put it mildly. Of course, you can tell me that's what we - not me - did in '04.

But the situation is ot geting better but worse. And your question as to what we'd do to be ready for the invasion should have been asnwered before we set foot in enemy territory, not now.
Werner,
I also voted for Kerry. I have said repeatedly that they didn't plan well enough for the war, especially the aftermath. The Democrats used that arguement last year and it wasn't enough. There is an impression among the moderates/independents that both parties need to win nationally that Democrats are soft on defense. Harping about mistakes without offering a constructive alternative plan is counterproductive. I.E. I don't disagree with much of what you say, but it's not doing the Democrats any good to say it. We've complained about what should have been done for well over a year. Is continuing to do so for another three years without offering an alternative really smart politics or even good for the country?
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:02 pm

Barry Z wrote:I agree with you that mistakes have been made, but it's not going to benefit the war effort to harp about it without offering an alternative course of action. Most moderate/independent types realize that and aren't going to vote for the Dems in national elections if that's how they behave. That's the point Corlyss made when she started this thread. Democrats, myself included, need to either support the war effort or offer an alternative. Just complaining about what has already been done is counterproductive both politically and for the war effort.
Amen. Furthermore, it aids and gives inspiration to the enemy.

Harping and whining about Bush's past mistakes is totally useless, especially since he can't run for re-election.

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:16 pm

Barry Z wrote:I also voted for Kerry. I have said repeatedly that they didn't plan well enough for the war, especially the aftermath. The Democrats used that arguement last year and it wasn't enough. There is an impression among the moderates/independents that both parties need to win nationally that Democrats are soft on defense. Harping about mistakes without offering a constructive alternative plan is counterproductive. I.E. I don't disagree with much of what you say, but it's not doing the Democrats any good to say it. We've complained about what should have been done for well over a year. Is continuing to do so for another three years without offering an alternative really smart politics or even good for the country?
Barry,

The Democrats don't have an alternative plan. Why do you think Kerry never went into detail about his plan during the campaign? Because his plan was the same as Bush's.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:21 pm

I've been really pissed off at the Democratic leaders of recent years for thinking they can get by on doing nothing but criticizing the opposition without offering viable alternatives, almost regardless of what the issue is.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

rwetmore
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Post by rwetmore » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:36 pm

Barry Z wrote:I've been really pissed off at the Democratic leaders of recent years for thinking they can get by on doing nothing but criticizing the opposition without offering viable alternatives, almost regardless of what the issue is.
They don't have viable alternatives. Their solid wall opposition to Bush's social security privatization plan proves the vast majority of them are frauds. Privatizing social security helps the poor and lower income classes the most; not to mention it is the only way to save the system designed to protect to very people whose interests they claim to represent. The fear tactics they spouted about investments and the stock market were total BS.

Bottom line: They don't want any Republican, especially Bush, to get credit for saving social security (Democrat icon - FDR's legacy).
Last edited by rwetmore on Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:47 pm

Don't fully agree with you on Social Security. I support raising the cut off line for the amount of income that is subject to the S.S. tax and means initiatives that would limit how much those who are already wealthy receive. And now Bush has adopted those ideas as his own. His source for them is a Democratic too (although not a politician). These positions should have been taken by the Democrats several years ago. Instead, because of their fear of losing some votes among the elderly, they let these ideas go to the Republicans. They know what needs to be done, but they paralyze themselves from taking action out of fear of offending one group or another whose votes they count on.
Last edited by Barry on Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

John Bleau
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Post by John Bleau » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:50 pm

Actually Barry, the Republican administration has painted itself into a corner. The horrible truth is that this means to break something.

The situation in Iraq probably does require a huge increase in investment, in people and materiel. However, I believe that the draft would be a serious injustice. It means forcing people to do something they don’t want to do while others get off scot-free. The alternative is to raise pay. While that may seem prohibitive, it only means a transfer of wealth from Americans who won’t be doing the dirty work to those who will. It is not a net decrease in American wealth. But it does mean one thing: the visible price tag is far, far higher, which is one thing the administration is loath to admit and the voter almost certainly does not want to see. A draft would lower this price tag, but only in appearance.

Another unpopular factor is the question of taxes. The Chinese and others are footing the bills with loans (by buying T-bills) for the huge trade deficit (inflation and/or interest rates would be through the roof otherwise, and don’t be fooled by Greenspan’s “conundrum” – it’s simply explained by the twin ongoing foreign injections of capital and goods). However, it means that Americans don’t feel the cost of the war as directly as they should. A $5,000 household surtax for the war in Iraq would have greatly reduced the 75% pro-war figure at the outset, and my guess is that a significant majority would have been anti-war.

But do you think the Democrats would get elected if they were to run on a realistic platform? No way. “We’re going to raise taxes, the war in Iraq is going to cost double, and we’ll be in this quagmire for a long time.” How many of your fellow Americans want to hear this message? It is not just themselves that the Republicans painted into a corner: it’s also the Democrats (so give their leaders a break) and the USA.

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