Share The Iraq Sacrifice, Or End It...

Vaseena
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Share The Iraq Sacrifice, Or End It...

Post by Vaseena » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:41 am

Sharing the Sacrifice, or Ending It
By BOB HERBERT
Published: December 8, 2005
The New York Times

I'm not a great fan of Herbert but he nails it here:

********

If it is true, as President Bush and many others have argued, that horrific consequences will result if American forces are pulled from Iraq in the near future, then how is it that we are even considering a significant drawdown of troops in advance of next fall's Congressional elections?

Oponents of a swift withdrawal speak of potential consequences that are dire in the extreme: the eruption of a wider civil war with ever more horrendous Iraqi casualties; the transformation of Iraq into a safe haven and even more of a training ground for anti-American terrorists; the involvement of neighboring countries like Iran, Syria and Turkey in a spreading conflict that could destabilize the entire Middle East.

Vice President Dick Cheney told troops at Fort Drum, N.Y., on Tuesday that in the event of a swift withdrawal of American troops, Iraq "would return to the rule of tyrants, become a massive source of instability in the Middle East and be a staging area for ever greater attacks against America and other civilized nations."

Senator John McCain, who defines "complete victory" in Iraq as the establishment of a "flawed but functioning democracy," told Tim Russert of NBC that achieving even that modest goal would be "long and hard and tough."

If the hawks are right, if all of this is so - and if this war is, indeed, still winnable - then the Bush administration has an obligation to level with the American people, explaining clearly what will be required in terms of casualties, financial costs and other sacrifices, and telling the truth about the shabby, amateurish state of the Iraqi security forces.

As it stands now, the United States is incapable of defeating the insurgency with the forces it has in Iraq. So it is beyond preposterous to think that Iraq can be pacified in a year or 18 months or two years by a fledgling, underequipped Iraqi Army and a hapless police force riddled with brutal, partisan militias.

What's more, the U.S. military itself is in danger of cracking under the strain of this endless Iraq ordeal. Troops are being sent into the war zone for their third and fourth tours, which is hideously unfair. The more times you roll the dice, the more likely snake eyes will pop up.

Even with lowered standards, the Army can't meet its recruitment goals. And the National Guard and Reserves have been all but exhausted by the war effort.

The combination of troop shortages, declining public support for the war and the Republicans' anxiety over next year's elections all but ensures some substantial reduction in U.S. forces in Iraq over the next eight to 12 months.

And yet the hawks say we must continue the fight. Well, wars fought with one eye on the polls and one eye on the political calendar get lots of people killed for nothing.

If this war is worth fighting, it's worth fighting right. And that means mobilizing not just the handful of troops who have borne the burden of this wretched conflict, but the entire nation. Taxes would have to be raised, the military expanded, the forces in Iraq bolstered and a counterinsurgency strategy developed that would have some chance of actually defeating the enemy.

To do that would require implementing a draft. It's easy to make the case for war when the fighting will be done by other people's children.

If this war is as important as the hawks insist it is, the burden should be shared by all of us. The youngsters sacrificed on the altar of Iraq should be drawn from the widest possible swath of the general population.

If most Americans are unwilling to send their children to fight in Iraq, it must mean that most Americans do not feel that winning the war is absolutely essential.

The truth is that no one knows for sure what will happen if we pull our troops out of Iraq. Many of those who insist that the sky will fall were insisting three years ago that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that invading U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators.

The public initially supported this war because the administration was very effective at promoting the canard that Iraq was somehow linked to Al Qaeda and involved in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Now the hawks must once again bear the burden of persuasion. They must persuade the public that the U.S. should continue indefinitely fighting this war, which has embedded us in such a hellish predicament and taken such a horrendous toll.

If it's not worth fighting, then we should be preparing an orderly exit now.

*******

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Post by pizza » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:00 am

The Weekly Standard

Rally Round the (White) Flag, Boys!
Democrats finally find an Iraq policy they can get behind.
by Edward Morrissey
12/07/2005 12:00:00 AM


THE GOOD NEWS for the Democrats is that their leadership has settled on an electoral strategy for 2006. The bad news is that they have cribbed their game plan from one of the most disastrous campaigns in their history. The Democratic leadership has decided to elevate surrender to a party platform for the upcoming elections, with their national chairman, House leader, and last presidential nominee all running up the white flag as the Democratic war banner.

When was the last time that an entire political party stood for backpedaling the way the Democrats have in the past two weeks? Since Rep. John Murtha made his supposedly stunning announcement that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, the Democrats have embraced surrender.

Not even during the Vietnam War did a major American party position itself to support abject retreat as a wartime political platform. For that, one has to go back to the Civil War, when the Democrats demanded a negotiated peace with the Confederate States of America and a withdrawal from the South. Celebrating the popularity of former General George McClellan, who had come from the battlefield to represent a party whose platform demanded a negotiated settlement (which McClellan later disavowed), the Confederates assumed that the war could be over within days of McClellan's presumed victory over the controversial and hated Abraham Lincoln. Even some Republicans began to question whether Lincoln should stand for reelection--until Sherman took Atlanta and exposed McClellan as a defeatist and an incompetent of the first order.

Murtha's demand for a pullout gave the party's leadership a chance to openly embrace defeatism, much as McClellan did for Northern Democrats in 1864, using McClellan's field experience for the credibility to argue that the American Army could not hope to defeat the enemy it faced.

AFTER THE MURTHA COMMENTS, the GOP challenged the Democrats to go on record with a Congressional vote for retreat. Almost the entire Democratic caucus cut and ran from their embrace of the cut-and-run strategy--the House voted against the non-binding resolution for immediate withdrawal 403 to 3. The height of Democratic pusillanimity came when GOP Rep. Sam Johnson, a former Vietnam POW, asked for three extra minutes to complete his remarks. Several Democrats voiced objection. The speaker demanded that the members objecting identify themselves--and none would even stand for their own objection.

Since then, things have only gotten worse. John Kerry insisted that no Democrat had demanded a precipitous withdrawal or a timetable for retreat--and then demanded that the White House provide a timetable with dates for "transition of authority." (In other words, after deciding at the end of last year's election that the United States needed more troops in Iraq, he now demands a withdrawal after he demanded an escalation.)

At nearly the same time, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held her own news conference demanding an immediate withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq. Her second in command, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, shot back that he wanted no withdrawal and instead wanted the nation to focus on victory. Meanwhile, Senator Joe Lieberman returned from his fourth trip to Iraq and wrote that Bush has a plan in place for winning the war--and that it's was working. Democratic leadership respectfully disagreed with Lieberman's assessment--and then changed course and suggested that Lieberman replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

Then the Democratic party chairman stepped to the microphone in San Antonio on Monday to further muddy the waters. Howard Dean told WOAI listeners that America could not win the war against the terrorists in Iraq and that the United States should "redeploy" 80,000 National Guardsmen in Iraq back to America. As for the remaining 80,000 currently in Iraq, Dean wants 20,000 sent to Afghanistan and the rest to be "strategically redeployed" to an unnamed friendly neighboring country to fight the al-Zarqawi network everywhere except for where they currently operate--in Iraq.

OF COURSE "redeployment" by disengagement with no intent to return to the battlefield has another term in military parlance: full retreat.

More than 140 years after McClellanism first raised its ugly head in the Democratic party, it has returned to drive party descendants into a frenzy of confusion and defeatism. Just as Iraq has begun to establish its democratic structure and its troops have begun to show progress towards organizing for their self-defense, the Democratic leadership is frantically looking for ways to bug out. Not even the courageous voices of Joe Lieberman and Steny Hoyer in opposition to their party leadership appear able to stop the panicked rush of the Democrats to claim defeat as their standard. The distaste of watching the Democratic leaders try to top one another in declaring America the loser in Iraq will convince voters to keep Democratic hands off the levers of national security for the foreseeable future.

Edward Morrissey is a contributing writer to The Daily Standard and a contributor to the blog Captain's Quarters.

© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

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Post by karlhenning » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:02 am

Duelling op-eds . . . .
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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:54 am

karlhenning wrote:Duelling op-eds . . . .
The only problem is that Morrissey's article addresses nothing Herbert said.

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Post by pizza » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:08 pm

Alban Berg wrote:
karlhenning wrote:Duelling op-eds . . . .
The only problem is that Morrissey's article addresses nothing Herbert said.
\

No problem at all.

Read it a little more carefully; especially the part where Herbert concludes that the war is all but lost:

"As it stands now, the United States is incapable of defeating the insurgency with the forces it has in Iraq. So it is beyond preposterous to think that Iraq can be pacified in a year or 18 months or two years by a fledgling, underequipped Iraqi Army and a hapless police force riddled with brutal, partisan militias."

Morrissey takes an opposing view.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:28 pm

pizza wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:
karlhenning wrote:Duelling op-eds . . . .
The only problem is that Morrissey's article addresses nothing Herbert said.
\

No problem at all.

Read it a little more carefully; especially the part where Herbert concludes that the war is all but lost:

"As it stands now, the United States is incapable of defeating the insurgency with the forces it has in Iraq. So it is beyond preposterous to think that Iraq can be pacified in a year or 18 months or two years by a fledgling, underequipped Iraqi Army and a hapless police force riddled with brutal, partisan militias."

Morrissey takes an opposing view.
Morrissey's article is nothing other than an accusation against Democratic defeatism. That's not what Herbert is saying at all, if one reads it a little more carefully:
If the hawks are right, if all of this is so - and if this war is, indeed, still winnable - then the Bush administration has an obligation to level with the American people, explaining clearly what will be required in terms of casualties, financial costs and other sacrifices, and telling the truth about the shabby, amateurish state of the Iraqi security forces....

If this war is worth fighting, it's worth fighting right. And that means mobilizing not just the handful of troops who have borne the burden of this wretched conflict, but the entire nation. Taxes would have to be raised, the military expanded, the forces in Iraq bolstered and a counterinsurgency strategy developed that would have some chance of actually defeating the enemy....

If this war is as important as the hawks insist it is, the burden should be shared by all of us....
Nothing there saying the war is all but lost - rather that we've got to decide what we stand for once and for all, and go all out sharing sacrifice collectively as a nation if this war is as important as the hawks say it is. "If this war is worth fighting, it's worth fighting right."

As Shakespeare's Touchstone put it, "much virtue in if."

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Post by pizza » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:59 pm

Herbert's article is more than the sum of its parts. The entire article projects a sense of gloom, doom and defeatism. Morrissey speaks directly to that issue.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:00 pm

pizza wrote:Herbert's article is more than the sum of its parts. The entire article projects a sense of gloom, doom and defeatism. Morrissey speaks directly to that issue.
Wrong again, pizza. But have it your way.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:38 pm

So, Vaseena! What are you giving up, since your government is committed to continuing in Iraq?
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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:15 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:So, Vaseena! What are you giving up, since your government is committed to continuing in Iraq?
The same question might be asked of you, me, pizza, or any of us. More to the purpose, the question that might be asked of the Commander in Chief is, "Why are you not asking anything of any of us, if this war is so important?"

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:02 am

Alban Berg wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:So, Vaseena! What are you giving up, since your government is committed to continuing in Iraq?
The same question might be asked of you, me, pizza, or any of us. More to the purpose, the question that might be asked of the Commander in Chief is, "Why are you not asking anything of any of us, if this war is so important?"
Well, first I wasn't the one who posed the original question by posting it here. However, since you asked, besides my taxes, I've given up a lot of free time to read up on the issues ever since 9/11. Believe me, it occupied much of my free time when I was working and trying to stay up on it was one of the major reasons I retired. For me, it is the least I can do as a citizen since I do have the time now and I consider the war the most important thing the government is doing or can do for us and indeed the west.

And secondly your question presupposes that Bush has never asked anything of us. He has has many times. He has asked us to trust him that he has considered the issue with all the gravity that it merits, that he has weighed the options carefully, and that the course of action he has chosen is the proper one. But folks like you and Vaseena and Pelosi and Reid blow that off routinely to the point that the war on Islamofacists is in serious jeopardy and the Zarqawis and Ahmadinejads are just waiting for the American public to surrender and go home. They certainly have every reason to believe that one major party in the US is convinced of American enfeeblement and ready to capitulate. Now all they have to do is ensure that that party is returned to power. Your question also implies that you might consider giving up something (besides your taxes) to support the war. So I ask you, what would you give up, if you cannot even give the President your trust?
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Post by Werner » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:04 am

Why is it that Alban's more detailed posting of the Herbert column puts me in mind of our last Texan Commander in Chief, who tried to fight a war on the cheap?

THAT's the point of the Herbert piece, isn't it?

Corlyss, Pizza, fill in the details - you remember them, don't you?
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Post by Werner » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:12 am

Corlyss, your post came on while I was writing mine. And it needs an answer.

YOUR president has primarily asked us to believe his bull crap. He has repeatedly told you what to believe and has proven unbelievable.

You ask what would you have to give up besides your taxes? Your generosity with your free time is appreciated, but the war is somethingnthat has to be paid for. It wasn't with LBJ, and it surely isn't going to be paid for with the tax cuts for he top-earning one percent of the population. But by the time that truth hits home, George will be happily clearing brush in Crawford, unconcerned with the hardship the poor suckers will have to live through.

Time to cut out the libertarian boilerplate and face facts.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:25 am

Werner wrote:Corlyss, your post came on while I was writing mine. And it needs an answer.

YOUR president has primarily asked us to believe his bull crap. He has repeatedly told you what to believe and has prooven unbelievable.
He's your president too, Werner. And I'll ask you what I asked Alban: if you wouldn't give him your trust, what would you give him?

As Barry has so ably argued, with far more patience with the collection of obdurate critics here than I would have, the war is necessary. That's not bull crap. The Islamofascists have promised to bend there every resource to the destruction of American interests wherever they can be found. That's not bull crap. Their ambitions existed long before Bush, as the feckless haphazard responses of the Clinton administration showed. That's not bull crap. They've been killing Americans determinedly and opportunistically for 35 years. That's not bull crap. They have rendered Europe completely supine in the face of threats to European oil supplies. That's not bull crap. They are perilously close to letting us know that they have the bomb. That's not bull crap. They have threatened Israel's existence to the point that now Netanyahu is openly calling for a pre-emptive Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations. That's not bull crap. For the first time in over 60 years serious reform of the tryanies in the Middle East, a process long overdue, and it's directly related to actions taken by Bush in Iraq. That's not bull crap. So, I ask you, if not now, when? If not us, who?
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Post by Werner » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:43 am

If you're right Corlyss, what's the point of pulling our punches?

I've made the argument time and again that we're on the wrong road. Why? We had every reason - and the support of the world - to avenge 9/11 by going after Osama, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, and demolishing them. Then we could see if we needed to go after hte other varrmionts or be able to let them die on the vine.

Instead we divided our slender forces by going after Iraq - I'll spare you he leaky basis for our choice.

But do we have the means to prevail? Nothing - NOTHING! that this administration has undertaken has worked out. And you want me to give that my trust?

Yes, he's my president, too. As long as he's there, he may be able to come up with some things that are right and workable. In that case, all previous opinions aside, I'll be glad to support him. For example, I may be wrong but I have a sense that Alito is a high class nominee who will not be sidetracked by personal convictions from carrying out his functions. So I'm not inclined to oppose Alito, at least based on what I've seen so far.

But don't bury me - I say it again as politely as I can - in libertarian boilerplate rhetoric and expect me to swallow it.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:21 am

Werner wrote:We had every reason - and the support of the world - to avenge 9/11 by going after Osama, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, and demolishing them.
As I have said many times, I think you continue to attribute way too much moral authority to the world as represented by UN and European when they have no moral authority. I would like to think at some point the revelations about the Oil For Food Programs and how deeply into the pockets of European governments Saddam had shoved money in return for their support will have an impact on your rational mind. There's reasons why the UN and the Europeans didn't support the US and the reasons have nothing to do with the strength of our arguments, the facts on the table, or what the UN and the Europeans think of Bush. Even the stones in the street know that now.
Then we could see if we needed to go after hte other varrmionts or be able to let them die on the vine.
That precises assessment was made. If the threat didn't end with Afghanistan, why would we stop there, regardless of whether the rest of the world disapproved?
Nothing - NOTHING! that this administration has undertaken has worked out.


So Libya just sua sponte captulated?
So Egypt and Saudi Arabia are now taking small incremental steps toward liberalizing their governments just coincidentally?
So Iranian dissidents have hope for the first time in 10 or 15 years because Jupiter and Mars aligned properly?
So Lebanonese democrats discovered the courage to force the Syrians out of Lebanon solely on the strength of soothsayers?

You know, it's one thing to disagree with decisions of the administration; it's another to deny what has transpired or to attribute it naively to anything other than US presence in Iraq.
But don't bury me - I say it again as politely as I can - in libertarian boilerplate rhetoric and expect me to swallow it.
Werner, I wouldn't bury you in anything but rose petals.
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Post by Werner » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:38 am

Not quite yet, though!

First, I want the world and some of my favorite arguing partners to see a bit more of the light!

For instance, the callousness of using whatever sleazy things went on on the Oil for Food business to justify a unilateral - and incompetently handled - war.

As far as the threat ending with Afghanistan, I didn't say that. But "we" were so anxious to pile into Iraq that we neglected to clean that up first - and we're paying for it.

And I'm SO impressed by your enthusiasm in crediting poor non-performing wimpy-bureaucratic Dubya administrators ("non-actionable"pre-9/11 warnings, "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie," etcetera ad nauseam) with all the furriners' decisions that came out in our favor.

And pull the wool from your eyes in the matter of moral authority. There is still a world outside of us - a world that has a lot more history than we've accumulated in our 200 plus years. And our actions here have not exactly enhanced our moral authority. I'd like to see us acting up to our potential. And you can hold the rose petals until that time! (Looks like we'll have to live to a very ripe old age.)
Last edited by Werner on Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Lilith » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:44 am

Misrepresentation and outright lies by an executive branch that has fumbled and bumbled this ludicrous undertaking for years now.
American solders being asked to fight two, three, four times.
Billions of dollars wasted
...thrown at total incompetence.

For what? To exchange one form of tyranny in Iraq for another. Just as we wasted our treasure in Vietnam, we now waste it in Iraq.

Maybe a visit to the White House by Robert McNamara is long overdue.
But I doubt even that would help.

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Post by Barry » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:25 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Nothing - NOTHING! that this administration has undertaken has worked out.


So Libya just sua sponte captulated?
So Egypt and Saudi Arabia are now taking small incremental steps toward liberalizing their governments just coincidentally?
So Iranian dissidents have hope for the first time in 10 or 15 years because Jupiter and Mars aligned properly?
So Lebanonese democrats discovered the courage to force the Syrians out of Lebanon solely on the strength of soothsayers?

You know, it's one thing to disagree with decisions of the administration; it's another to deny what has transpired or to attribute it naively to anything other than US presence in Iraq.
That's one of the things that annoys me the most about so many of the war's opponents (and Werner certainly isn't the only one on here who has made such a bogus claim). As I've said repeatedly, I know I, and I'm sure Corylss and Pizza, acknowledge that mistakes have been made and not everything has gone according to plan. There has been both good and bad that has come from the war and the final outcome is still in the balance. We argue that progress is being made and for continued patience in seeing the war through responsibly.
On the other side, you get absolute dishonesty (unless they're so blinded by their hatred of Bush that they can't see straight). Saying that NOTHING has gone right in this war is to deny reality, not to mention doing a disservice to the people fighting over there. Corlyss listed some of the things that have gone RIGHT as a result of Iraq. Her list is by no means exhaustive. There are also things inside of Iraq that have gone right. But what's the point of listing them when the war's opponents will continue to refuse to acknowledge their existance.
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Post by operafan » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:30 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Nothing - NOTHING! that this administration has undertaken has worked out.


So Libya just sua sponte captulated?
So Egypt and Saudi Arabia are now taking small incremental steps toward liberalizing their governments just coincidentally?
So Iranian dissidents have hope for the first time in 10 or 15 years because Jupiter and Mars aligned properly?
So Lebanonese democrats discovered the courage to force the Syrians out of Lebanon solely on the strength of soothsayers?

You know, it's one thing to disagree with decisions of the administration; it's another to deny what has transpired or to attribute it naively to anything other than US presence in Iraq.
[/quote]

Libya capitulated (there is much speculation that they did not all the sudden become Girl Scouts, but that is a different thread) because of years of Clinton's carrot and stick approach. Egypt and Saudi, with their torture policies, support of Wahabbism, support of Palistian terror, support of Sharia 'honor' killings, have a ways to go before the steps toward democracy are more than cosmetic. The House of Saud may be trying to reverse years of effectively exporting terrorism by sending their fundamentalists outside the country, but it will be a very hard policy to realize with so much unemployment in Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon pushed out the Syrians because the Syrians assasinated Harrari, and the Lebanese were encouraged by Rumsfeld's black ops that are in the Bekka Valley and the the ops are helping the Lebanese take shots at the Palastinian camps. The Lebanese and the Syrians are getting rich off the Iraqis who flee Iraq.

Glad the Iranian dissidents have hope, but with Russia and China both making strategic investments in Iran, neither with a major interest in supporting revolution it seems like a bambi meets 2 godzillas scenario. China won't let the Straits of Hormuz be blocaded (investment in Gulf of Oman drilling), and Russia having sold the rockets to Iran (as well as nukes), won't let Israel take out the nukes. The whole area has a major potential for being a proxy for WWIII and turning into a thermonuclear soup.

Iran is making a major step in aligning itself with Europe, Russia, and China by opening the Euro based petroleum exchange. There are supposedly (good oil reserve numbers are as hard to come by as military numbers) more oil reserves in Iran than in Iraq, and certainly more than in Saudi Arabia. Reserves are good barganing chips. All they have to do is keep paying off the mullahs (not make Jimmy Carter's mistake) and the dissidents will be under control.
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Post by Barry » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:59 pm

Right, and after years of stagnation in those places, we're supposed to believe that movement has occurred in all of them, coincidentally, right after we invade Iraq and attempt to install a democratic government.

I've given up expecting many Republicans to give Clinton credit for many of the good things he accomplished, and I can say the same about Democrats and Bush.

It wasn't a coincidence that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan after Carter showed weakness (it's highly unlikely they would have made such a move after Reagan was in office), and it's not a coincidence that things also happen after a president shows strength and the willingness to use force to achieve goals.
"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 » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:48 pm

Barry Z wrote:We argue that progress is being made and for continued patience in seeing the war through responsibly.

On the other side, you get absolute dishonesty... But what's the point of listing them [the good things] when the war's opponents will continue to refuse to acknowledge their existance.
Oh, I get it now. On your side there is total honesty and accuracy; on the side of anyone who questions the war there is nothing but dishonesty and malice. I respond favorably to an article quite reasonably stating that if the war is worth fighting, it's worth fighting right, and that position is accused of being defeatist. I posted a link recently to an article documenting the improved recent security on the road from the Baghdad airport - a very significant step, and I know among other things I've acknowledged the importance of capturing Saddam and Libya's discontinuing its WMD ambitions, but those things are conveniently forgotten while I'm still one of several here being painted with a broad brush. And then you wonder, "How long before we can re-establish a reasonable tone of national political discourse, do you think? It's an abysmal state of affairs."

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Post by Barry » Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:56 pm

Alban Berg wrote:
Barry Z wrote:We argue that progress is being made and for continued patience in seeing the war through responsibly.

On the other side, you get absolute dishonesty... But what's the point of listing them [the good things] when the war's opponents will continue to refuse to acknowledge their existance.
Oh, I get it now. On your side there is total honesty and accuracy; on the side of anyone who questions the war there is nothing but dishonesty and malice. I respond favorably to an article quite reasonably stating that if the war is worth fighting, it's worth fighting right, and that position is accused of being defeatist. I posted a link recently to an article documenting the improved recent security on the road from the Baghdad airport - a very significant step, and I know among other things I've acknowledged the importance of capturing Saddam and Libya's discontinuing its WMD ambitions, but those things are conveniently forgotten while I'm still one of several here being painted with a broad brush. And then you wonder, "How long before we can re-establish a reasonable tone of national political discourse, do you think? It's an abysmal state of affairs."
Was your name mentioned in my post? I stand by what I wrote. I know of at least two posters (and a couple more who have probably said it at some point, but I can't remember them doing so expressly; not to mention the people I've seen make such claims at leftist events televised by C-Span and in the newspapers) now who have stated on this board that NOTHING has gone right with regard to the war. You aren't one of the them (do I have to give a list of everyone I'm not thinking of every time I make a post?...Herman pulled the same stunt a few days ago when I said there is an anti-Israel bias across much of Western Europe and took that to mean I was accusing him personally of being anti-Semitic). Those who made those statements are being either dishonest or they're blinding themselves to reality, I can only assume through extreme partisanship. Since you have at least admitted that SOME good has come from the war, I would think you'd be agreeing with me on this rather than jumping all over me.
As far as my side, how more honest and objective can I get than stating that the war has brought a mix of good and bad; that it's debatable which outweighs the other at this point; and that the wisest course is to see it through?
"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
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Post by karlhenning » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:15 pm

Alban Berg wrote:. . . I'm still one of several here being painted with a broad brush. And then you wonder, "How long before we can re-establish a reasonable tone of national political discourse, do you think? It's an abysmal state of affairs."
When you attribute a quote of mine to Barry, you should mind the breadth of your own brush, don't you think?
Barry wrote:. . . and that the wisest course is to see it through[.]
Not to exasperate you, mon vieux . . . but how can we assert that this is the wisest course, when there is still no intelligent plan as to what "see it through" practically means? "We just can't leave now" is not a strategy.

I'm not saying one way or the other is at all already etched in stone, but maybe (just maybe) maintaining current levels of ineptitude (it ain't all ineptitude, but the ineptitude reaches pretty high up) might be worse than withdrawing in (to posit an improbable extremity) three months.

Apropos to ineptitude reaching pretty high up, if (caution: buzz-phrase approaching) "staying the course" is so vital the thing to do, isn't it time that case was made to an American public who are increasingly disgusted with the way "staying the course" is being managed?

I respect the fact that you believe in "seeing it through," Barry; but who can be convinced, who does not already believe in it, unless there is some plausible presentation of what's to be seen through?
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Post by Barry » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:26 pm

karlhenning wrote:
Barry wrote:. . . and that the wisest course is to see it through[.]
Not to exasperate you, mon vieux . . . but how can we assert that this is the wisest course, when there is still no intelligent plan as to what "see it through" practically means? "We just can't leave now" is not a strategy.

I'm not saying one way or the other is at all already etched in stone, but maybe (just maybe) maintaining current levels of ineptitude (it ain't all ineptitude, but the ineptitude reaches pretty high up) might be worse than withdrawing in (to posit an improbable extremity) three months.

Apropos to ineptitude reaching pretty high up, if (caution: buzz-phrase approaching) "staying the course" is so vital the thing to do, isn't it time that case was made to an American public who are increasingly disgusted with the way "staying the course" is being managed?

I respect the fact that you believe in "seeing it through," Barry; but who can be convinced, who does not already believe in it, unless there is some plausible presentation of what's to be seen through?
John said the same thing last week and was surprised to discover that such a plan does exist. So I'll give you the link, Karl. You may not agree with it, but it's a fairly specific plan with fairly specific goals:

The President's National Strategy for Victory in Iraq:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/ ... v2005.html
"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 karlhenning » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:28 pm

Thanks, Barry!
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Post by Barry » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:33 pm

karlhenning wrote:Thanks, Barry!
My pleasure, Karl :).

BTW, the late March trip to Boston is looking doubtful at this point. We will probably be going to the midwest to visit some of Maura's friends and family the week of Temirkanov's appearance, as that's her between-semesters break.

Maybe I'll make a concert up there next season.
"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 » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:44 pm

Barry Z wrote: Was your name mentioned in my post?

As far as my side, how more honest and objective can I get than stating that the war has brought a mix of good and bad; that it's debatable which outweighs the other at this point; and that the wisest course is to see it through?
If not you, then certainly Corlyss, who lumps me with all the other evil Democrats: "But folks like you and Vaseena and Pelosi and Reid blow that off routinely to the point that the war on Islamofacists is in serious jeopardy and the Zarqawis and Ahmadinejads are just waiting for the American public to surrender and go home."

And you did write, "On the other side, you get absolute dishonesty (unless they're so blinded by their hatred of Bush that they can't see straight)." In other words, unless someone takes your position that we should keep on with this war no matter what, one is on the other side. And I ally myself with those who are fundamentally pessimistic and skeptical of our ultimate success, given the team that's in power. That doesn't mitigate the fact that some good has come of what we've done, and doesn't mean I underestimate the threat we're facing. If you want to call me a defeatist, so be it. But I just think the odds are against us. That's my "side."

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:32 pm

operafan wrote: Libya capitulated (there is much speculation that they did not all the sudden become Girl Scouts, but that is a different thread) because of years of Clinton's carrot and stick approach.
Mmmm. And they just happened to decide to do it 3 years after the Clintons left office. Riiiiiight.
Egypt and Saudi, with their torture policies, support of Wahabbism, support of Palistian terror, support of Sharia 'honor' killings, have a ways to go before the steps toward democracy are more than cosmetic.
One thing at a time. It sounds like you're saying because it didn't go *poof* and become US-like overnight, they didn't do jack. Yes, they are playing us, but they are doing it by taking tiny steps toward democratic and economic reforms against the day Bush leaves the stage before they lose control of power. That in no way diminishes the fact of the changes themselves. It didn't happen for 60 years before. It just happened to occur after we invaded Iraq. Riiiiiiiiight.
Lebanon pushed out the Syrians because the Syrians assasinated Harrari, and the Lebanese were encouraged by Rumsfeld's black ops that are in the Bekka Valley and the the ops are helping the Lebanese take shots at the Palastinian camps.
Of course the Hariri assassination was the catylist, but the democratic forces in Lebanon would never have had the nerve to demonstrate against Syria if the US had been 8000 mi away. That's so obvious it shouldn't need defending. You can explain one of these events - I don't care, pick one - as an accident of history. But you can't explain all of them happening in such a tiny span of time immediately after the invasion of Iraq except by American presence in Irag. Period. Paragraph.
China won't let the Straits of Hormuz be blocaded (investment in Gulf of Oman drilling),
The Chinese won't stop a blockade if it happens because they know they'll get their oil back in 3 weeks.
and Russia having sold the rockets to Iran (as well as nukes), won't let Israel take out the nukes.
What are they going to do about it? Probably the same thing they did about the Israelis taking out the Iraqi reactor 25 years ago. Honestly, O., it's not the days of the USSR. Russia ain't what it used to be, and while it has certain sympathies with an Iranian regime that wants to sequester Iran as a nation from the disruptive influence of the world, it's own future is not in that direction. Russian politics now is poised between the desire to withdraw into itself where they can control events and the absolute necessity to intergrate into the world like the Chinese are doing.
Iran is making a major step in aligning itself with Europe, Russia, and China by opening the Euro based petroleum exchange. There are supposedly (good oil reserve numbers are as hard to come by as military numbers) more oil reserves in Iran than in Iraq, and certainly more than in Saudi Arabia. Reserves are good barganing chips. All they have to do is keep paying off the mullahs (not make Jimmy Carter's mistake) and the dissidents will be under control.
They may think that is their strategy, but believe me, the demographics are against them on this. 70% of the population under 30 and as many as 50% of them without jobs is not a prescription for long term staying power. The Europeans are typically kidding themselves about how well they can manage the crockodile before he tries to eat them. They will no doubt wrap themselves around our ankles when we do try to do something. But the arrangement itself is piecrust - it won't last.
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Post by operafan » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:31 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
operafan wrote: Libya capitulated (there is much speculation that they did not all the sudden become Girl Scouts, but that is a different thread) because of years of Clinton's carrot and stick approach.
Mmmm. And they just happened to decide to do it 3 years after the Clintons left office. Riiiiiight.

Some people think Bush just needed to pick up where Clinton left off. http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/indyk/20040309.htm
Corlyss_D wrote:
operafan wrote: Egypt and Saudi, with their torture policies, support of Wahabbism, support of Palistian terror, support of Sharia 'honor' killings, have a ways to go before the steps toward democracy are more than cosmetic.
One thing at a time. It sounds like you're saying because it didn't go *poof* and become US-like overnight, they didn't do jack. Yes, they are playing us, but they are doing it by taking tiny steps toward democratic and economic reforms against the day Bush leaves the stage before they lose control of power. That in no way diminishes the fact of the changes themselves. It didn't happen for 60 years before. It just happened to occur after we invaded Iraq. Riiiiiiiiight.
Egypt had been having 'elections' for eons, but with only one name on the ballot. Now there can be more, but those who go to vote for them risk their lives. Eleven people died in the last Egyptian election - more than were reported killed in the latest Iraqi elections. I don't know if it can be properly called a step towards democracy. Saudi - it's all cosmetic. House of Saud will go down in flames before they step off the gravy train. There is no parliment, there are no parties/alliances allowed, women can't vote. The latest 'municiple elections' were for municiple councils that have no power. I think that satelite tv is having more of an impact on the region than one might think. Ironically Opra is the favorite of Saudis, and everytime she urges people to vote, or talks about it, that has influence. Likewise Al-Jazeera - though the House of Saud hates Al-Jazeera, and Al-Arabiya to a lesser degree. Fine if you think war in Iraq will bring democracy, I just do not see that democracy at gunpoint has ever worked.

operafan wrote: China won't let the Straits of Hormuz be blocaded (investment in Gulf of Oman drilling),
Corlyss wrote: The Chinese won't stop a blockade if it happens because they know they'll get their oil back in 3 weeks.
Not making my self clear. A blokade of the Straits of Hormus could be done by scuttling as few as 4 supertankers outside Bandar Abbas. It would take 4-6 months to clear it, or build and defend pipelines to the Mediterranean or to the Gulf of Oman. With platforms in the Gulf of Oman, the Chinese could get their oil (without depending upon the Trans Siberian Japanese financed pipeline) while the rest of the world - the 1/4 to 2/5ths of the world's exported oil is bottled up in the Persian Gulf. China will not have to deal with Russia. Iranians get Euros from China for trade with Europe.
and Russia having sold the rockets to Iran (as well as nukes), won't let Israel take out the nukes.
Corlyss wrote: What are they going to do about it? Probably the same thing they did about the Israelis taking out the Iraqi reactor 25 years ago. Honestly, O., it's not the days of the USSR. Russia ain't what it used to be, and while it has certain sympathies with an Iranian regime that wants to sequester Iran as a nation from the disruptive influence of the world, it's own future is not in that direction. Russian politics now is poised between the desire to withdraw into itself where they can control events and the absolute necessity to intergrate into the world like the Chinese are doing.
[quote ='operafan']Iran is making a major step in aligning itself with Europe, Russia, and China by opening the Euro based petroleum exchange. There are supposedly (good oil reserve numbers are as hard to come by as military numbers) more oil reserves in Iran than in Iraq, and certainly more than in Saudi Arabia. Reserves are good barganing chips. All they have to do is keep paying off the mullahs (not make Jimmy Carter's mistake) and the dissidents will be under control.[/quote]
Corlyss wrote: They may think that is their strategy, but believe me, the demographics are against them on this. 70% of the population under 30 and as many as 50% of them without jobs is not a prescription for long term staying power. The Europeans are typically kidding themselves about how well they can manage the crockodile before he tries to eat them. They will no doubt wrap themselves around our ankles when we do try to do something. But the arrangement itself is piecrust - it won't last.
Here is a paper from the Center for Contemporary Conflict. Apparently there are dissidents - but they are fragmented, low cost, only groaded on by satellite tv based in Los Angeles, and dissidents are targets of the Iranian security forces. The Iranian leadership knows they have problems, with population and international relations. So they are setting up their petroleum exchange in Euros next March. Tired of and screwed eeconomically by sanctions this is a way to streamline their trade relations, which they hope will lead to the creation of jobs. This article says it would be in the US interest to limit Iran's access to foreign capital. Ah read it, it won't change anyone's mind, but this guy's thoughts are worth thinking about. http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/nov03/middleEast2.asp
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Post by Vaseena » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:56 am

Corlyss, Barry, Pizza, etc.

How much longer will it take for you to realize that this war is OVER.....

The U.S. has lost it....

I'm having dark visions of another exit like that of Saigon. I see the last helicopter out of Baghdad in the next year no matter what the boosters in Washington are telling us.

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Post by Barry » Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:51 am

Vaseena wrote:Corlyss, Barry, Pizza, etc.

How much longer will it take for you to realize that this war is OVER.....

The U.S. has lost it....

I'm having dark visions of another exit like that of Saigon. I see the last helicopter out of Baghdad in the next year no matter what the boosters in Washington are telling us.
As I was saying, Alban.
"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

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Post by pizza » Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:47 am

Vaseena wrote:Corlyss, Barry, Pizza, etc.

How much longer will it take for you to realize that this war is OVER.....

The U.S. has lost it....

I'm having dark visions of another exit like that of Saigon. I see the last helicopter out of Baghdad in the next year no matter what the boosters in Washington are telling us.
Vaseena:

We all know what you'd like to happen, since you've already told us; but don't count yer chickens ...... :P

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Post by operafan » Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:25 pm

The war isn't over, and USAID is looking to stabilize and stay in at least 10 cities for at least 2 years. The Pentagon is going to ask for $100 Billion more in next year's budget. There aren't enough troops. Iraq is about the size of California. The good news is that only 4 counties are out of control. The bad news is that those 4 counties are the size, and have about the same population as Los Angeles County, the terraine is alot less friendly, Bremer didn't disarm the Bhathist army before he fired them, and Franks did not blow up the conventional blocks long ammo dumps. The Germans were supposed to be training the Iraqi army in Kuwait or somewhere, but nothing has been said about that lately. The Pentagon in July said 1 Iraqi battalion is ready to fight, Bush says many are ready - who knows the truth, though I tend to side on the side on the military on this. Richard Clark (NPR 2 Saturdays ago) says that if one extrapolates the sucess in Bosnia (I'm leaving the dialogue about sucess in Bosnia to another thread) with 20,000 troops, we would need 600,000 troops. Many people believe that there are negotiations going on with the insurgents, which makes sense. Stabilizing 10 cities hopefully will be sucessful, an 'oil spot spreading on a hot side walk' plan for making islands of democracy and capitalism work and spread by example. The planning looks like we are in for at least 2-3 more years, when another administration will make the decision about whether to send or not to send the heliocopters to the green zone behind the Bremer wall.
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Post by rwetmore » Sat Dec 10, 2005 9:56 pm

Alban Berg wrote:And you did write, "On the other side, you get absolute dishonesty (unless they're so blinded by their hatred of Bush that they can't see straight)." In other words, unless someone takes your position that we should keep on with this war no matter what, one is on the other side. And I ally myself with those who are fundamentally pessimistic and skeptical of our ultimate success, given the team that's in power. That doesn't mitigate the fact that some good has come of what we've done, and doesn't mean I underestimate the threat we're facing. If you want to call me a defeatist, so be it. But I just think the odds are against us. That's my "side."
Might I ask what historical precedence you are basing your current assesment that the odds are against us ultimately winning?

What timeline originally set for the democracy has Bush failed to meet?

What process of the forming of the new government has been stopped by the insurgents/terrorists?

Might I also ask what YOUR set of criteria are for victory?

If retreat or failure is an option, demonstrate how that is more likely to be better than continuing to fight indefinately?

Even further, can you demonstrate that retreat (if necessary in the near future in your opinion) will ultimately cost fewer lives in the long run than continuing to fight indefinately?

For the record,

I don't think fighting indefinately is anywhere near where we are at now, but it seems to be where the left and the war detractors think we are. I am fairly confident the US will win, and Iraq will be a success. I also expect will we begin to withdraw troops within the next year, with more to follow in the next 2-3 years as more and more Iraqis are trained - just as Bush's plan dictated from the start. Utimately, I believe things will not only succeed as planned, but also exactly on schedule. We'll see.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Mon Dec 12, 2005 12:21 pm

rwetmore wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:And you did write, "On the other side, you get absolute dishonesty (unless they're so blinded by their hatred of Bush that they can't see straight)." In other words, unless someone takes your position that we should keep on with this war no matter what, one is on the other side. And I ally myself with those who are fundamentally pessimistic and skeptical of our ultimate success, given the team that's in power. That doesn't mitigate the fact that some good has come of what we've done, and doesn't mean I underestimate the threat we're facing. If you want to call me a defeatist, so be it. But I just think the odds are against us. That's my "side."
Might I ask what historical precedence you are basing your current assesment that the odds are against us ultimately winning?

What timeline originally set for the democracy has Bush failed to meet?

What process of the forming of the new government has been stopped by the insurgents/terrorists?

Might I also ask what YOUR set of criteria are for victory?

If retreat or failure is an option, demonstrate how that is more likely to be better than continuing to fight indefinately?

Even further, can you demonstrate that retreat (if necessary in the near future in your opinion) will ultimately cost fewer lives in the long run than continuing to fight indefinately?

For the record,

I don't think fighting indefinately is anywhere near where we are at now, but it seems to be where the left and the war detractors think we are. I am fairly confident the US will win, and Iraq will be a success. I also expect will we begin to withdraw troops within the next year, with more to follow in the next 2-3 years as more and more Iraqis are trained - just as Bush's plan dictated from the start. Utimately, I believe things will not only succeed as planned, but also exactly on schedule. We'll see.
You're jumping all over me from six directions at once, but "for the record," at what point did I say I agreed with the position that we should immediately withdraw? As I recall, I recently suggested that an article in the current Atlantic Monthly entitled something like "The Case for Cutting and Running" is worth reading, as it's not an irresponsible position and provides some real food for thought. But I didn't go so far as to say I felt that is what we should do (not that it would ever happen) - quite the contary, I thought Herbert was on the mark in saying that "if" (again: "if") the war is worth fighting, it's worth fighting right - which means if anything being far more aggressive than we have been up to now. As for "fighting indefinitely," please note it was Corlyss who merrily predicted, "count on at least 5 years, maybe 20." And as for Iraqi troops being trained, you might read James Fallows's article in the same issue of the Atlantic entitled "Why Iraq has no Army," which argues that we've been dragging our feet for the past couple of years getting the Iraqis up to speed, and letting time slip through our fingers.

My feelings about this war have shifted somewhat since last year, when I felt it was absolutely a mistake, and I couldn't even bear the thought of looking at George Bush without my flesh crawling or my wanting to throw a brick at the picture tube every time he appeared on TV. But though the TV has remained intact, I still have strong doubts about his abilities and those of his team, and that's a lot of the reason for my skepticism and pessimism. All the same, we're there now and we have to see through what we've started. That may not be a complete response to your inquisition, but that's all I have time to say right now. More later, after the inevitable barrage of criticism comes back from your side.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Mon Dec 12, 2005 10:07 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Vaseena wrote:Corlyss, Barry, Pizza, etc.

How much longer will it take for you to realize that this war is OVER.....

The U.S. has lost it....

I'm having dark visions of another exit like that of Saigon. I see the last helicopter out of Baghdad in the next year no matter what the boosters in Washington are telling us.
As I was saying, Alban.
Yes, I know what you mean. But having taken by our own admission a similar position 10 years ago, why look at people like Vaseena and Classicus Maximus with such scorn? What I hear in a post like the above is, more than anything, fear - fear that the ship of state is in reckless hands that are leading us into an Armageddon from which there is no escaping, versus the cocksure militarism I hear from the right wing that seems to be spoiling for the biggest fight ever. I don't know if these feelings are substantiated or justified, but they are real, and I think the genuine terror that many on the left feel concerning George Bush and his ilk is based on a sense that the country is in the hands of a new, uncontrolled and uncontrollable militarism. This kind of neocon sentiment is well discussed in Andrew Bacevich's new book, "The New American Militarism," from which excerpts can be read here:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=2334
http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=2337

Frankly, I hear the tone of this new militarism in some of the more zealous right-wing posters here. I hope I'm wrong about this, but it's as if in some neocon eyes the state of war is now to be thought of as the norm, with peace the aberration. And that's why, IMO, the prospect of three more years of George W. Bush scares some of us so much.
Last edited by Alban Berg on Mon Dec 12, 2005 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Mon Dec 12, 2005 10:48 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:However, since you asked, besides my taxes, I've given up a lot of free time to read up on the issues ever since 9/11.
The taxes argument doesn't much impress me, as other than minor checkboxes like the one for the Presidential election campaign, I have no direct control over what my taxes are doing. The number I pay each year is the number mandated by the taxing authorities and has nothing to do with my support or lack of it for the government in power. It's not as if I can say to Bush, "I don't like your war, so I'm not going to pay the percentage of my taxes that goes to finance it."
Corlyss_D wrote:And secondly your question presupposes that Bush has never asked anything of us. He has has many times. He has asked us to trust him that he has considered the issue with all the gravity that it merits, that he has weighed the options carefully, and that the course of action he has chosen is the proper one... So I ask you, what would you give up, if you cannot even give the President your trust?
Trust is the heart of the issue, but it is not enough to ask for trust, it also must be earned. And it is not earned if words do not match deeds. If I am told, "major combat operations are over," and 90% of US casualties have occurred since that time, then trust has not been earned. If I am told, "they'll welcome us as liberators," when it's obvious they've done anything but, then trust has not been earned. If I am told, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of job," when it's obvious Brownie's nothing but a screwup and a uniquely treasurable US city is being left to perish, then trust has not been earned. If I am told, "I'm a uniter, not a divider," by a president who is as partisan and divisive as any in our history, then trust has not been earned. If I'm told, "The insurgency is in its last throes," when the insurgency keeps throeing more throes against us, then trust has not been earned. If I'm told, "she's the best qualified person to serve on the Court," when Harriet Miers can't even fill out her questionnaire to senatorial satisfaction, then trust has not been earned. If I'm told, "We do not torture," as if Abu Ghraib had never happened, then trust has not been earned.

I could go on, but I trust I've made my point. But beyond that, there is the way in which this president has addressed the nation, talking down to the public and substituting bromides like "we must stay the course" and "freedom is on the march" when the public deserves a more mature and nuanced discussion of why its sons and daughters are being sent to fight a war that has no obvious connection with the attacks we were subjected to on 9/11/01. As David Brooks, the NY Times columnist who in general supports Bush, admits:
The internal deliberations were not matched by external candor. There was a vast gap between the eighth-grade level of some public statements and the graduate-school level of private White House conversations. It was about this time that a bewildered newcomer to the Bush administration interrupted an interview to ask me why I thought there was such a big difference between the probing and realistic President Bush he would see in the Oval Office, and the pat and repetitive Bush he would see at press conferences and on TV.
Maybe there is the start of a turnaround. Brooks goes on:
The president's Annapolis speech last week marks the start of the third phase of the Bush administration's efforts to function amid the fog of the Iraq war. John Burns and Dexter Filkins wrote that the speech was a watershed; for once the Iraq Bush described matched the Iraq his generals confront every day. I'd add that the speech was a watershed because more than ever before, the views the president expressed in public resembled the views he holds in private.
If so, and finally Bush has at least admitted that there have been setbacks, and that 30,000 Iraqis have lost their lives, then maybe there is a chance for this President to regain (or gain) trust. I can't say so with any confidence, however. He will be interviewed this Friday by Jim Lehrer on PBS, and I won't want to miss that. But for some Americans, I suspect that whatever new candor comes out of Bush's mouth at this point will be thought of as too little, too late.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:01 pm

Alban Berg wrote:
Barry Z wrote:
Vaseena wrote:Corlyss, Barry, Pizza, etc.

How much longer will it take for you to realize that this war is OVER.....

The U.S. has lost it....

I'm having dark visions of another exit like that of Saigon. I see the last helicopter out of Baghdad in the next year no matter what the boosters in Washington are telling us.
As I was saying, Alban.
Yes, I know what you mean. But having taken by our own admission a similar position 10 years ago, why look at people like Vaseena and Classicus Maximus with such scorn? What I hear in a post like the above is, more than anything, fear ....
In Vaseena's case, I don't think it's fear. I think it's wishful thinking or even glee. She openly stated that she wants us to lose the war, and I have no problem taking her at her word.
"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 » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:18 pm

But having taken by our own admission

For "our," read "your" - as I trust was obvious.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:22 pm

Alban Berg wrote:But having taken by our own admission

For "our," read "your" - as I trust was obvious.
I'm not sure what you mean. What similar stance did we take 10 years ago?

I admit to holding views during my college years and even a little beyond that were incredibly naive, and frankly, embarrassing (from the perspective of someone older......I don't have a problem with people being a little overly idealistic at that stage in their lives) when I look back at them.
I'd like to think I have a more realistic view of the world at 40 than I did at 20 or 25.
"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

Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Dec 12, 2005 11:45 pm

A nice thoughtful answer, Al. I do have to take issue with some of it of course.
Alban Berg wrote: If I am told, "major combat operations are over," and 90% of US casualties have occurred since that time, then trust has not been earned.
Maybe your definition of "major combat operations" isn't the same as the military's. By my definition, major combat operations were over on 1 May. No one has made a credible argument that the insurgents' activities constitute "combat operations" in the classic sense. It's just a lot of messy deaths. There have been very few combat operations in Iraq since Bush declared them over.
If I am told, "they'll welcome us as liberators," when it's obvious they've done anything but, then trust has not been earned.
In the news reports I saw the Iraqis most definitely did welcome the coalition as liberators. As I have said many times here, and will repeat as often as this allegation arises, there are only 3 provinces in turmoil. 70-80% of the country is pacified and the locals are quite happy to have us there. If the 25 million Iraqis were as unhappy about American presence as Murtha believes they are, there would be far more dead Americans than the meager 2000. So why are you so willing to credit the few thousand insurgents with speaking for the entire 25 million? I have to think that you'd simply rather believe that than the facts for whatever reason. Of course, the MSM has done a terrible job in reporting on Iraq, so you aren't entirely to blame. Howevere, the information is "out there."
If I am told, "I'm a uniter, not a divider," by a president who is as partisan and divisive as any in our history, then trust has not been earned.
Well, he didn't creat the divisive atmosphere all by his lonesom. The feckless and bankrupt Democrats and the paranoid fringe of the left have a lot to do with the creation of the atmosphere. You can't deny it. I can tell you truly that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that the liberal opinion leaders, including the MSM, would accept short of Bush's adopting their agenda that would have stopped them from their constant assaults on everything Bush does after 2000. So I'm not impressed with that cite either.
If I'm told, "The insurgency is in its last throes," when the insurgency keeps throeing more throes against us, then trust has not been earned.
Okay, the administration needed to be more complete and address the American public far more often than they have on the war.
If I'm told, "she's the best qualified person to serve on the Court," when Harriet Miers can't even fill out her questionnaire to senatorial satisfaction, then trust has not been earned.
Okay, so that didn't pass the laff test.
If I'm told, "We do not torture," as if Abu Ghraib had never happened, then trust has not been earned.
I don't understand how you can imply that Abu Ghraib is the essence of the war in Iraq. You'd rather be dead than get the information by torture, assuming we do torture? I'm not nearly that scrupulous. See my signature. My regard for the worth, nay the necessity, of this war doesn't depend on whether we use torture in wartime, especially when the likes of John McCain and other liberals want to classify any discomfort as torture, they gloss over the technical inapplicability of the Geneva Conventions to the combatants in this situation, and they stupidly insist that we have to expand the conventions to these combatants so Joe Biden's son will be treated humanely by the other side if he's captured. Ha! We might as well just turn the captured people loose, give 'em a bus ticket home, and forget fighting a war. I don't much care what we do to these people trying to kill Americans. And, fortunately, a majority of Americans are sensibly similarly disposed.
I could go on, but I trust I've made my point. But beyond that, there is the way in which this president has addressed the nation, talking down to the public and substituting bromides like "we must stay the course" and "freedom is on the march"
I don't care how he talks to the public as long as he tells us meaningful information - I've been on the administration's case for years about how poorly they defend their decisions. They rely too much on others to tell their story. That's no way to lead.
its sons and daughters are being sent to fight a war that has no obvious connection with the attacks we were subjected to on 9/11/01.
Still ignoring the Intelligence Committee's report on Saddam's activities in support of Al Qaeda?
Corlyss
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Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:13 am

Alban Berg wrote: But having taken by our own admission a similar position 10 years ago, why look at people like Vaseena and Classicus Maximus with such scorn?
Not speaking for Barry, I view such sentiments as juvenile and naive. At some point, people have to grow up and face the ambiguities of life.
What I hear in a post like the above is, more than anything, fear - fear that the ship of state is in reckless hands that are leading us into an Armageddon from which there is no escaping,
:roll:
I don't know if these feelings are substantiated or justified, but they are real,
So is that of a child convinced the closet holds monsters. All it would take for these folks to get a grip would be to read something other than the ravings of the out-of-power Democratic leadership and their MSM water-carriers.
and I think the genuine terror that many on the left feel concerning George Bush and his ilk is based on a sense that the country is in the hands of a new, uncontrolled and uncontrollable militarism.
That militarism, the professional military, is what keeps them safe if they would let it.
This kind of neocon sentiment is well discussed in Andrew Bacevich's new book, "The New American Militarism,"
I would be impressed if the loudest voices were that well read. For every Bacevich I can find you an equally eloquent and far less pessimistic writer.
Frankly, I hear the tone of this new militarism in some of the more zealous right-wing posters here.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Relax, Al, if we had any power, we wouldn't be posting here.
I hope I'm wrong about this, but it's as if in some neocon eyes the state of war is now to be thought of as the norm, with peace the aberration.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
If you think peace is the norm and war the abberation, you're not as well read as you seem to be. As Kaplan says so often, you have to think tragically. You have to know that therapy will not amend the human personality and there will always be a Ben Laden, a Saddam, a Hitler, a Kim, the violent man who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants and counts on the target's fear of violence and death to render them ineffective. As a personality type, it ain't going away. And you better damn sight have someone who can recognize the type and is willing to do something about it before they own Europe from the English Channel to Moscow, the Barents Sea to subSahara Africa.

The calculus is fairly simple and direct: The middle east sits on the life's blood of the world's prosperity (not just the US, but Europe, India, and China as well). Coincidently, the middle east consists of the most volatile and dysfunctional governments in the world with the exception of Israel and that volatility and dysfunction are a genuine threat to world stability. The violent strong men of these dysfunctional governments have made significant inroads into disabling all opposition to their ambitions. Someone has to go into the area and begin stabilizing and modernizing and civilizing those governments. The UN wouldn't have a clue what to do even if they were capable of doing such a thing. 50 years ago, England would have done this job. England can't do it any more. So it's up to the US.
Corlyss
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Alban Berg

Post by Alban Berg » Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:23 am

Corlyss_D wrote:A nice thoughtful answer, Al. I do have to take issue with some of it of course.
Alban Berg wrote: If I am told, "major combat operations are over," and 90% of US casualties have occurred since that time, then trust has not been earned.
You: Maybe your definition of "major combat operations" isn't the same as the military's. By my definition, major combat operations were over on 1 May. No one has made a credible argument that the insurgents' activities constitute "combat operations" in the classic sense. It's just a lot of messy deaths. There have been very few combat operations in Iraq since Bush declared them over.

Me: (I don't have the patience to separate the quotes out nicely. Besides it's almost midnight here.) Death is death, and if your kid or boyfriend or neighbor is killed, you don't care about the military semantics. But I do believe this, however: a soldier who volunteers for military service has made a commitment that he or she could die in combat. As I said to a kid I know well who just started with the Marines, "You know you could get killed doing this." And he replied: "You don't sign up for the military without thinking you could be sent into war." With all that follows.
If I am told, "they'll welcome us as liberators," when it's obvious they've done anything but, then trust has not been earned.
You: In the news reports I saw the Iraqis most definitely did welcome the coalition as liberators. As I have said many times here, and will repeat as often as this allegation arises, there are only 3 provinces in turmoil. 70-80% of the country is pacified and the locals are quite happy to have us there. If the 25 million Iraqis were as unhappy about American presence as Murtha believes they are, there would be far more dead Americans than the meager 2000. So why are you so willing to credit the few thousand insurgents with speaking for the entire 25 million? I have to think that you'd simply rather believe that than the facts for whatever reason. Of course, the MSM has done a terrible job in reporting on Iraq, so you aren't entirely to blame. Howevere, the information is "out there."

Me: I am glad I am not entirely to blame; I get enough grief at work without having the burden of the whole planet on my shoulders. But what do you mean by 70-80%? Would you accept a country that was 20-30% unstable? That's still at least 5 million people. And besides, you can always pay games with numbers - a few thousands insurgents, 2000 dead. Only 3000+ died on 9/11, versus 78000 in the Pakistani quake. So why should we care about those 3000+? It's not just the actual numbers that matter, but the significance of the numbers. And if people are not convinced that 2000 Americans have died for a just cause, they will resent it.
If I am told, "I'm a uniter, not a divider," by a president who is as partisan and divisive as any in our history, then trust has not been earned.
You: Well, he didn't creat the divisive atmosphere all by his lonesom. The feckless and bankrupt Democrats and the paranoid fringe of the left have a lot to do with the creation of the atmosphere. You can't deny it. I can tell you truly that there is nothing, absolutely nothing that the liberal opinion leaders, including the MSM, would accept short of Bush's adopting their agenda that would have stopped them from their constant assaults on everything Bush does after 2000. So I'm not impressed with that cite either.

Me: Classic example of a tu quoque fallacy. What you say about the Democrats in no way denies what I have said about Bush. Among Lincoln's greatest detractors at first were William H. Seward and Edwin M. Stanton. What did Lincoln do about that? Did he exploit this divisiveness and punish them for their contempt towards him, once he attained the presidency? On the contrary: he elevated both to Cabinet positions and won his rivals over. George W. Bush could and would never do anything like that. It's the difference between a great mind and a small one.
If I'm told, "The insurgency is in its last throes," when the insurgency keeps throeing more throes against us, then trust has not been earned.
Okay, the administration needed to be more complete and address the American public far more often than they have on the war.
If I'm told, "she's the best qualified person to serve on the Court," when Harriet Miers can't even fill out her questionnaire to senatorial satisfaction, then trust has not been earned.
Okay, so that didn't pass the laff test.
If I'm told, "We do not torture," as if Abu Ghraib had never happened, then trust has not been earned.
You: I don't understand how you can imply that Abu Ghraib is the essence of the war in Iraq. You'd rather be dead than get the information by torture, assuming we do torture? I'm not nearly that scrupulous. See my signature. My regard for the worth, nay the necessity, of this war doesn't depend on whether we use torture in wartime, especially when the likes of John McCain and other liberals want to classify any discomfort as torture, they gloss over the technical inapplicability of the Geneva Conventions to the combatants in this situation, and they stupidly insist that we have to expand the conventions to these combatants so Joe Biden's son will be treated humanely by the other side if he's captured. Ha! We might as well just turn the captured people loose, give 'em a bus ticket home, and forget fighting a war. I don't much care what we do to these people trying to kill Americans. And, fortunately, a majority of Americans are sensibly similarly disposed.

Me: I didn't say the "essence." I would say we that in engaging in activities of torture - and I'm not talking about just any discomfort - that have yield no obviously beneficial results, we have undermined our good cause by looking cowardly and weak. Quoth McCain more or less: torture matters because of what it says about us. And besides, the issue here has not been whether torture is defensible in itself, a la Krauthammer, but whether the President has been credible, i.e., worthy of trust, in asserting that we do not do it. If torture weren't so shameful, why are he and Condi at such pains to deny it?
I could go on, but I trust I've made my point. But beyond that, there is the way in which this president has addressed the nation, talking down to the public and substituting bromides like "we must stay the course" and "freedom is on the march"
You: I don't care how he talks to the public as long as he tells us meaningful information - I've been on the administration's case for years about how poorly they defend their decisions. They rely too much on others to tell their story. That's no way to lead.

Me: Meaningful information is not addressing the public on, as Brooks says, an 8th-grade level. But we basically agree here.
its sons and daughters are being sent to fight a war that has no obvious connection with the attacks we were subjected to on 9/11/01.
You: Still ignoring the Intelligence Committee's report on Saddam's activities in support of Al Qaeda?

Me: Key word from the above is "obvious."

And good night to all my favorite neocons.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:05 am

Alban Berg wrote: [/i] Death is death, and if your kid or boyfriend or neighbor is killed, you don't care about the military semantics.
You said he wasn't trustworthy because he declared major combat operations over. He didn't say "and no one else will die after today." He meant major combat operations were over.
And he replied: "You don't sign up for the military without thinking you could be sent into war." With all that follows.
Robert Siegel and Scott Simon of NPR spent considerable time in 2003-4 trying without success to find military families who were prepared to denounce the administration because their loved ones were in harms way. This was especially true of NG and Reserve families, like they had the least expectation of death. Try as they might, they couldn't find a family that would so disgrace their military son or daughter with such talk.
I am glad I am not entirely to blame; I get enough grief at work without having the burden of the whole planet on my shoulders. But what do you mean by 70-80%? Would you accept a country that was 20-30% unstable?
No, of course not. But what I also wouldn't do is pretend that the 20-30% were the entire nation. It's a matter of relativity. Reporters like John Burns of the NYT look at the carnage, and they report on that as though there were nothing else. They don't even have the professional or moral courage to embed with troops in order to go see what's happening elsewhere because embedding makes them sympathetic to the troops, and god forbid they should get a look a the professional manner in which our military is dispatching the insurgents.
Classic example of a tu quoque fallacy. What you say about the Democrats in no way denies what I have said about Bush.
That's not my point, Al. You talked like it was all Bush's fault that the ruling class is so divided. My retort was Bush couldn't have done it all by himself, so let's be reasonable as to who's to blame for the state of things.
Among Lincoln's greatest detractors at first were William H. Seward and Edwin M. Stanton. What did Lincoln do about that? Did he exploit this divisiveness and punish them for their contempt towards him, once he attained the presidency? On the contrary: he elevated both to Cabinet positions and won his rivals over. George W. Bush could and would never do anything like that. It's the difference between a great mind and a small one.
You're gonna dislike Bush for whatever reasons. But it's an emotional reaction, not one based on facts. I reject your analogy for several reasons. Both Stanton and Seward were Republicans, not Democrats. Perhaps all three thought preserving the union was more important than their differences, but you know there was that cloud over Stanton about whether he had anything to do with the assassination conspiracy. You be sure and tell me if Lincoln appointed any Democrats to his cabinet. If he did, they were Unionists, i.e., they shared his commitment to his overriding goal. After the vicious court battle in 2000, why would Bush acquiesce to populating his administration with bitter, resentful personalities who had no personal loyalty to him or his ideas? Bush did appoint at least one Democrat - Norman Manetta - to the cabinet in an unimportant job which he managed to do poorly. Why would he adopt the Democratic agenda to prove what a swell guy he was? He owed it to the people who voted for him to persue his agenda, not the Democrats'.
I would say we that in engaging in activities of torture - and I'm not talking about just any discomfort - that have yield no obviously beneficial results, we have undermined our good cause by looking cowardly and weak.
Okay. We have a difference of opinion. I say we will be cowardly and weak if we stop or slow the war on terrorism wherever we are fighting it, including Iraq. If we have to get rough with people who persuade others to blow up innocent civilians and who behead people on TV, I ain't gonna apologize or interfere with the interrogations.
whether the President has been credible, i.e., worthy of trust, in asserting that we do not do it. If torture weren't so shameful, why are he and Condi at such pains to deny it?
It's political theater. Of course we engage in torture. Everyone knows it if for no other reason than they would do the exact same thing in our position. The French did it in the Algerian war. We are not going to deprive ourselves of a useful tool simply to paliate the hypocritical outrage of others. But, if the French and the Germans demand a denial, we'll give 'em a denial.
Meaningful information is not addressing the public on, as Brooks says, an 8th-grade level.
Content is not manner.
Corlyss
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Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:37 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:But having taken by our own admission

For "our," read "your" - as I trust was obvious.
I'm not sure what you mean. What similar stance did we take 10 years ago?

I admit to holding views during my college years and even a little beyond that were incredibly naive, and frankly, embarrassing (from the perspective of someone older......I don't have a problem with people being a little overly idealistic at that stage in their lives) when I look back at them.
I'd like to think I have a more realistic view of the world at 40 than I did at 20 or 25.
And by 50 when your fledgling realism is even more seasoned you'll recognize the incredible naivete of believing democracy was coming to Iraq ten years previously.

Relative to your probable youthful utopian socialism, however, I suppose one could call it an advance.

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Post by Barry » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:43 pm

Gregory Kleyn wrote:
Barry Z wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:But having taken by our own admission

For "our," read "your" - as I trust was obvious.
I'm not sure what you mean. What similar stance did we take 10 years ago?

I admit to holding views during my college years and even a little beyond that were incredibly naive, and frankly, embarrassing (from the perspective of someone older......I don't have a problem with people being a little overly idealistic at that stage in their lives) when I look back at them.
I'd like to think I have a more realistic view of the world at 40 than I did at 20 or 25.
And by 50 when your fledgling realism is even more seasoned you'll recognize the incredible naivete of believing democracy was coming to Iraq ten years previously.

Relative to your probable youthful utopian socialism, however, I suppose one could call it an advance.
Yet another Carnac with a crystal ball who thinks history's judgment has already been written.
And quite an ironic day for you to make such a statement, too.

They don't have to be us. Elected, stable and something better than the perpetual trouble-maker that Saddam was will do.
"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 » Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:16 pm

Corlyss:
Content is not manner.
But in my view it is. The same "facts," presented in an inflammatory rather than respectful tone, will have an entirely different result on the audience they are directed to. And material presented in a simplistic manner will convey a different perspective than material presented with nuance and complexity. The poet Donald Hall once wrote words to the effect, "A change in style, however slight, is also a change in meaning, however slight." And Aristotle in the Rhetoric identified three ways an argument can be developed (though all three elements are invariably present to one degree or another): logos or the appeal to the intellect, ethos or the appeal from the author's character, and pathos or the appeal to the audience's emotions. The same "content," in other words, can be presented very differently depending on the style of argumentation employed, and the content cannot be divorced from the way in which the content is delivered.

I concede, though, that this can be a matter for debate (I paraphrase from memory here):

"The philosopher speaks Chinese, but what does he say?"
vs.
"What the philosopher says cannot be separated from the fact he says it in Chinese."

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:14 pm

Barry Z wrote:
Gregory Kleyn wrote:
Barry Z wrote:
Alban Berg wrote:But having taken by our own admission

For "our," read "your" - as I trust was obvious.
I'm not sure what you mean. What similar stance did we take 10 years ago?

I admit to holding views during my college years and even a little beyond that were incredibly naive, and frankly, embarrassing (from the perspective of someone older......I don't have a problem with people being a little overly idealistic at that stage in their lives) when I look back at them.
I'd like to think I have a more realistic view of the world at 40 than I did at 20 or 25.
And by 50 when your fledgling realism is even more seasoned you'll recognize the incredible naivete of believing democracy was coming to Iraq ten years previously.

Relative to your probable youthful utopian socialism, however, I suppose one could call it an advance.
Yet another Carnac with a crystal ball who thinks history's judgment has already been written.
And quite an ironic day for you to make such a statement, too.

They don't have to be us. Elected, stable and something better than the perpetual trouble-maker that Saddam was will do.
The seekers of power in Iraq will do best to keep up appearances until the US troops go home, - and be sure in the transition that the Bush administration will be eagle-eyed for a potential strongman they can do business with.

Gregory Kleyn

Post by Gregory Kleyn » Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:08 pm

BTW, you know the people vote in next-door Iran as well, - multi-party-candadites, a legislature, a constitution. Everything in place.

A vote is the mere eggshell of democracy.

I hope it works, but history and culture are more than just a passing incidental.

The mindset of the whole people is to identify their leaders as the representatives of Allah, - and Allah is not a divinity with any tradition of "splitting the difference".

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