We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, March 19. 2007
Moonbattery summarized Saturday's anti-war march in DC, as well as the much larger counter-protest - which received far less news attention. Here.
The NYT also noted than many of the marchers were puzzled by what the march was really about. Blue Crab. Most of the earnest anti-war folks were unaware that they were allied with communist revolutionaries with larger agendas. Lenin's "useful idiots."
Also, related to the links above and the piece below, Barone on the Blame America First crowd. A quote:
Read the whole fine essay. (thanks, Buddy). And read today's preceding piece: The Gospel of John and Yoko.
Image from Michelle's piece on the protests. She has lots of photos.
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Re "Gathering of Eagles", as far as sticking up for their country, looks like the old Boys of VietNam aren't quite done yet.
Anyhoo, another great snip from the Barone article:
"...quoting a speech Winston Churchill gave in 1943 at Harvard: "Law, language, literature -- these are considerable factors. Common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice and above all a love of personal freedom ... these are the common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-speaking peoples."
Check the pics on the Moonbattery link. Someone worked hard on a placard that was supposed to say "Department of Peace".
But, despite the time & effort the craftsman poured into the piece, he or she still managed to call for a "Deptartmt of Peace".
Was he trying for an effect, or was he just too stupid to know how stupid he is?
These people are to design our Brave New World? Oh, paresh the thuohgt!
The preceding post today about John and Yoko captures the ethos very well. Wish I had written it.
"Many were veterans in biker jackets who said they had come to protect the nearby Vietnam Memorial, citing rumors that had circulated among veterans groups that the demonstrators planned to deface it."
So the right had to lie to right wingers about the protest to get them to counter-protest.
And the Socialists lied to anti-war people about what they would be marching for.
All sheep...both sides. And really ugly, ugly (in terms of behaviour and respect for each other) people on both sides.
So we are not allowed to look at history or the effects of us foriegn policy on indigenous people? Just salute and believe the US can do no wrong...very hitleresque!
Godwin's Law. It always happens. Is there any blog less fascist than Maggie's Farm?
I don't blame America first, but I a certainly ashamed of what The Bush & Cronies Crime Family, and their enablers like you, have done to our beloved nation.
Diebold. Minority voter purges. Katherine Harris. Bush v. Gore. Halliburton, Lockheed/Martin, Blackwater. The Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing. "My Pet Goat", Jack Abramoff. David Safavian. Ken Tomlinson. Signing statements. The phony Unitary Executive theory. The manipulation of terror alerts. The suppression and perversion of science, especially on global warming. The phony case for war in Iraq. The Downing Street memo. Ohio in 2004. Voting machines. Swiftboating. Claude Allen. Jeff Gannon. The lack of planning for and putting unqualified cronies in high positions in "postwar" Iraq. (See Kate O'Bierne's husband.) Dusty Foggo. Katrina. Michael Brown. Enron. Wiretaps. Bank records surveillance. The $8.8 billion (300 tons of cash) missing in Iraq. Destruction of Habeus Corpus. Torture. Illegal wiretapping/data mining. The politicization of AIDS prevention, the Justice Department, and economic statistics tracking. Unconstitutional Faith Based Initiatives. Blocking drugs from Canada. Bankruptcy "reform". Cheney's energy task force. Record high gas prices. Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, "Extraordinary Renditions", Mark Foley (covered up by the White House/Rove), 9/11 Workers Health Risk suppression, shooting people in their face then obstructing an investigation, pay for positive political coverage, the destruction of Iraq antiquities, lack of body armor, up-armored Humvees, and training. Walter Reed. U.S. attorneys purge. Scooter Libby and destruction of the covert CIA Brewster-Jennings operation. Less water & electricity in Iraq than under Sadam. The botched execution. Record opium production. The stagnant stock market (markets hate instability). The pitiful state of health care in America; ditto education. The sinking of America's middle class. 3000 dead American soldiers in Iraq, 30,000 wounded, $1 trillion wasted, 650,000 dead Iraqis, 2 million Iraqi refugees. Osama still on the loose and the Taliban still strong in Afghanistan. Kim Jung Il has nukes. China holds a huge part of our debt. Putin is having people assassinated on American soil. Bush is trying to start a war with Iran, who probably couldn't have nukes for ten years. The Saudis are still grooming terrorists. The destruction of Colin Powell. The destruction of the National Guard. Recruiting felons. The world hates us.
Just wanted to pipe in on the Barone piece- he's such an eminently sane commentator and historian who doesn't indulge overwrought, self-punishing perspective, as some do.
Isn’t it strange how the self-esteem movement in education (“Everyone of you is special just because!”) is never applied to helping children respect the nation at large and embrace the idea of American exceptionalism? Apparently, and in this case only, it’s best to tell schoolkids and university students how bad and inadequate the US government and policy are and how we really shouldn’t consider ourselves a single people under one flag. Most are taught to scoff at American ideals, obsess over our failings as defined by ideologues and spoiled dissenters, and to see themselves as members of ethnic-racial-gender-orientation-disability-age-eye color-etc. identity groups first and foremost (and which are also “special”, just because).
We must diss America, because dwelling on our nation’s negatives real and imagined is the truthier and more sophisticated way, and the only way to make better citizens. Better world citizens.
(full disclosure: Euro-Caucasian-female-straight-proofreading impaired-none of your biz-blue-gardens & guns-hyphenated-American here who is proud of our Eagles.)
Love that anon wench.
Tommo, the only way a country or an administration could avoid giving you raw material for such a manufactured witch hunt, would be to throw you in the gulag. That's the way it's usually done, in most of elsewhere--if you're lucky. So, the truth is, you're fortunate to live in such a crappy nation, under such a crappy government.
Yes, the world hates us. That's why voters in democracies have recently elected or will soon elect, pro-American leaders in such trifling nations as Australia, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, England, Japan, all over the Pacific Rim, most of Latin America, most of Eastern Europe, and, uh, the USA itself.
And John Ryan, you're wrong. I know for a fact that most Americans do support their leadership. You're peddling foolishness, Comrade.
Whoa. tommo has got his rant down. Good synopsis. I am going to copy it and save. IMO, many of those allegations are 'fish in a barrel' for the '08 election.
Lock and load.
madmatt, at the end of WWII there were about 20 democracies on the earth. Now there are about 120.
Maybe you assume that "indigenous people" would be better off without a voice?
Operating in a data-free environment is pretty lazy, don't you think?
Buddy Larsen writes:
"And John Ryan, you're wrong. I know for a fact that most Americans do support their leadership. You're peddling foolishness, Comrade."
I thought that in just about every recent poll, support for Bush on pretty much every front was under 50%. Mr. Larsen, can you explain how you arrived at your conclusion that Americans support their leadership?
Here are links to a site that aggregates recent polls:
Patina, yes, he missed not a single talking point. The other side, the 'pro' side is long, too, being as any admin has a record to either shoot or salute (would there be enough pixels under the sun, to apply the tommo method to the Clintons?).
"Operating in a data-free environment is pretty lazy, don't you think?"
Deep down, and don’t ask how they reconcile it, many critics wish to operate in a human-free environment. No people, no probs, no mistakes, no sin, no decision, no history, no arc of civilization, no appreciation, no joy.
So, OK, I’ll take wench :)
Try to grasp this concept.
We don't blame America, that's absurd. We blame Bush and his failed policies. We criticize Bush because he's hurting the Country we love.
See the difference?
This is a little off point, but from my point of view it will be the next horrific obstacle to freedom. As some of you may be aware the leadership in the "women's movement" has used many tools to abuse straight Anglo/American males. These tools include, but are not limited to the destruction of academic careers for refusal to work with a particular woman;the harassment of wives and children; fiddling with bank accounts, retirement accounts, and having the local IRS constantly harass. In other words the "women's network" is ORGANIZED and they use women anywhere in any position as flunkies. Usually, they prey upon their willingness to help women get ahead, or they talk them into doing dirty tricks by offering support for their next move up the career ladder. Like I said this network is powerful. It is modeled after the Jewish network, and these gals have learned how to manage their own network well. However, what I am concerned about is what is coming down the road. I heard today about the presidential candidates using places like My Space to reach the younger generation. Apparently, you have to ask other members of this network to be your "friend", before you can contact them. Some candidates are already claiming between 20,000 and a million "friends". How easy it is now with this nameless network of young, eager, naive, and willing supporters to be asked to do one dirty little deed. For example: currently, when I call Jim McDermott's office (representative from Seattle), and register my opposition to gay marriage, I will be talking to a member of the gay community working in his office. The very first question is this: "where do you work". So they already have convinced thousands of people that they have a right, in deed a duty to play dirty tricks on somebody, who does not agree with you. But, now with this new technology they can have a much larger, more invisible network.
American exceptionalism = America has an exceptionally large number of douchebags for a population of only 300 million people
Akadad--yes, i see the difference.
I also see 911, and what a few more of those of those would have done--would still do--to the global commonweal.
I also see a USA-led world economy growing robustly and lifting a cool billion or two little folk out of poverty, for the first time in human history.
I also see a mideast that, with all the ongoing difficulty, is better off now--with 55 million more freemen, for starters--than it was in yr 2000, when its apparent peace was only peace to those not paying any real attention, and which was undergoing a lethal pressure build which in the bleeding off is much nastier than that nice "peace" we seem to some to have had before.
Your error IMHO is in assessing the need for the major surgery of OIF.
If i had never read any history, and had no knowledge of historic process or human nature, i'm sure i'd agree with your position.
And, what would YOU have done, come 911? Be brief, but specific. Surely you can spare a few sentences to help enlighten your fellow citizens.
I will admit, akadad, that BDS is hurting the country.
I guess the only way around that would've been to just let Al Gore have his way with election law in Florida 2000.
But since America saw it another way (rule of law and all), and Al Gore didn't get to steal the presidency, then to hell with it, let's just have us some Sharia for the rest of time. Right?
Briefly, I wouldn't have stopped until I got Bin Laden "dead or alive".
Blame America First is great for bumper-sticker analysis, but in the end it's another straw man attack and therefore dishonest.
I see this Blame America First thing all over the place, but I never see any proof that anyone is blaming America first or last. Oh sure, you might find Rosie O'Donnell talking out of her ass, but serious people looking at serious issues? I challenge anyone to find a liberal comment that says 9/11 was caused by America. Unlike Falwell and Robertson who think 9/11 was caused by liberals, or Newt Gingrich blaming Susan Smith's murder of her children on liberals (until he found out her stepfather, a right wing GOP activist, had been abusing her for years, then he shut up.)
No, I think what you call Blame America First is really what I call holding my government to account for things done in my name.
Did having troops stationed in Saudi Arabia cause 9/11? No. The terrorists caused 9/11. But we should know what motivated them and identify those things we can control and those we can't.
But discussions about the consequences of our foreign policy require more than a bumper sticker.
For the record, I thought so much of this country that I enlisted out of a sense of duty and obligation to serve. That was in 1969, when some of the GOP stalwarts had other priorities. It's easy to support the troops when all you have to do is slap a magent on the back of your car.
I love my country enough to speak up when I think it's gone off the rails. You may call that blaming America. I call it patriotism.
Somebody please clarify: I believe that the draft was still in effect in 1969, is that correct?
Hey Buddy Larson, your side tried to get the Clinton's, remenber?
There was a $17 million investigation into the alleged corruption of Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy that ended in his acquittal on all counts. There was an 18-month probe into Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt that ended when the independent counsel said she could find no evidence of illegal activities. There was a two-year-long investigation into Labor Secretary Alexis Herman that ended with the independent counsel's decision not to prosecute her. There was the probe into the firing of employees in the White House travel office; it ended with accusations against Hillary Clinton but no criminal charges.
A decade-long investigation into whether HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros lied about payments to a mistress during his background checks did lead to a guilty plea on a misdemeanor charge and then a pardon from Clinton, and the independent counsel complained that the Clinton administration had blocked a more thorough investigation. But then there was the $80 million Whitewater probe, which started as an investigation into the first family's pre-Washington land dealings and ultimately turned on whether the president lied about getting blow jobs.
Here's some more rightwing criminality:
Lester Crawford - Commissioner, FDA - resigned after only two months on the job. Pled guilty to conflict of interest and making false statements.
Brian Doyle - Deputy Press Secretary, DHS - Resigned in wake of child sex scandal. Pled no contest to 32 criminal counts.
Claude Allen - Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy- resigned, pled guilty to shoplifting from Target stores.
David Safavian - former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget - convicted of lying to ethics officials and Senate investigators about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Larry Franklin - intelligence officer, Defense - resigned, pled guilty to passing secrets to Israel.
Roger Stillwell - desk officer, Interior Department - pled guilty to failing to report Redskins tickets and free dinners from Jack Abramoff.
Frank Figueroa - senior DHS official, former head of anti-sex-crime Operation Predator - pled no contest to exposing himself to 16-year-old girl in Florida mall. Girl says he fondled himself for ten minutes. Figueroa forfeited his badge, gun, and access to databases; employment status pending internal DHS review.
Darleen Druyun - senior contracting official, U.S. Air Force - pled guilty and sentenced to nine months in prison for her role in the Boeing tanker lease scandal.
John Korsmo - chairman, Federal Housing Finance Board - pled guilty last year to lying to the Senate and an inspector general. He swore he had no idea how a list of presidents for FHFB-regulated banks were invited to a fundraiser for his friend's congressional campaign. On the invites, Korsmo was listed as the "Special Guest." Got 18 months of probation.
P. Trey Sunderland III - chief, Geriatric Psychiatry, Nat'l Institute of Mental Health - admitted to a criminal conflict of interest charge for failing to report $300,000 received from Pfizer, Inc. As of 12/11/06, still employed by NIMH.
Resigned Due to/Pending/After Investigation
Carl Truscott - Director, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau - resigned. A report by the Justice Department's Inspector General found that Truscott wasted tens of thousands of dollars on luxuries, wasted millions on whimsical management decisions and violated ethics rules by ordering employees to help his nephew with a high school video project.
Joseph Schmitz - Inspector General, Defense - Resigned amid charges he personally intervened to protect top political appointees.
Steven Griles - Deputy Secretary at the Interior Department - resigned, currently under investigation by the Justice Department forhis ties to Jack Abramoff.
Susan Ralston - assistant, White House - resigned amidst revelations that she had accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Abramoff without compensating him, counter to White House ethics rules.
Dusty Foggo - Executive Director, CIA - stepped down following accusations of corruption in connection to the Duke Cunningham scandal. Under investigation.
Janet Rehnquist - Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services - resigned in the face of allegations she blocked a politically dangerous probe on behalf of the Bush family.
Ken Tomlinson, Board Chairman, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; member, Broadcasting Board of Governors - resigned at the release of an inspector general report concluding he had broken laws in spending CPB money to hire politically connected consultants to search for "bias" without consulting the board. At BBG, a separate investigation found he was running a "horse racing operation" out of his office, and continuing to hire politically-wired individuals to do "consulting" work for him. He's still there.
George Deutsch - press aide, NASA - resigned amid allegations he prevented the agency's top climate scientist from speaking publicly about global warming.
Richard Perle - Chairman, Defense Policy Board - resigned from Pentagon advisory panel amid conflict-of-interest charges.
James Roche - secretary, U.S. Air Force - resigned in the wake of the Boeing tanker lease scandal, after it was revealed he had rather crudely pushed for Boeing to win a $23 billion contract.
Marvin Sambur - top contracting executive, U.S. Air Force - Druyun's boss, Sambur resigned in the wake of the scandal. Investigations cleared him of wrongdoing.
Philip Cooney - chief of staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality - a former oil industry lawyer with no scientific expertise, Cooney resigned after it was revealed he had watered down reports on global warming.
Thomas Scully - Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - shortly after Scully resigned in 2003, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General found that Scully had pressured the agency's actuary to underestimate the full cost of the Medicare reform bill by approximately $100 billion until after Congress passed the bill into law. Scully was also charged wtih conflict of interest allegations by the U.S. attorney's office for billing CMS for expenses incurred during a job search while he still headed the agency. He settled those charges by paying $9,782.
Michelle Larson Korsmo - deputy chief of staff, Department of Labor - Helped her husband (see Frank Korsmo, above) with his donor scam. Quietly left her Labor plum job in February 2004, about two weeks before news broke that she and her husband were the targets of a criminal probe.
David Smith - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Interior Department - resigned after shooting a buffalo and accepting its remains as an illegal gratuity. He eventually paid over $3,000 for the dead buffalo, but only after the internal inquiry had commenced.
Sean Tunis - Chief Medical Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - Last summer, the State of Maryland suspended his medical license because he faked documentation relating to his medical education. Despite that, he stayed on board for several months at CMS, albeit on administrative leave. He has since been replaced, although it's not clear when because CMS did not announce the switch and has not responded to our calls.
Nomination Failed Due to Scandal
Bernard Kerik - nominated, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - withdrew his nomination amidst a host of corruption allegations. Eventually pled guilty to a misdemeanor relating to having accepted improper gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars while he was a New York City official in the late 1990's.
Timothy Flanigan - nominated, Deputy Attorney General - withdrew his nomination amidst revelations that he'd worked closelywith lobbyist Jack Abramoff when he was General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco, which was a client of Abramoff's.
Linda Chavez - nominated, Secretary of Labor - withdrew her nomination amidst revelations that an illegal immigrant lived in her home and worked for her.
AkaDad, if you're a conservative, think ideological trending and action to stop the virulence post 9-11, and not just individual culprits and police chases. Both approaches are necessary and the missions difficult to accomplish. We're really good but not gods. So we keep at it like men, like smart grown-ups who know it'll take some time and certain sacrifice, and who also know we can’t all agree on the particulars of how to go about safeguarding our future. Some of us need to yield to decisions made in good faith after voicing our concerns.
Buddy, why aren’t more men such as yourself teaching at our universities? The teaching of historical detail, trends, values and big picture thinking from a traditional/ enlightened American POV has given way to revisionism, deconstruction, deprecation and mass myopia from a wishful, really non-existent “global” perspective. We need soldiers on the academic front, too!
"But it could be said about a lot of Americans, especially highly educated Americans, today."
So education is a bad thing? You might want to tell Bill Gates, he hires lots of highly educated people and it seems to have worked out tolerably well for him.
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." -Tom Paine
"Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark." -Robert A Heinlein
"An armed society is a polite society." --Robert A. Heinlein,
"Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe and not make messes in the house."
--Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love", (Robert A. Heinlein)
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded- here and there, now and then- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.This is known as "bad luck."." -Robert A Heinlein
"Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion- in the long run, these are the only people who count." -Robert A Heinlein
Yes the draft was in effect in 1969, but 2/3 of Vietnam vets were volunteers.
I don't blame America - America is the Greatest Republic this world has ever seen.
I blame you and all the traitors to the Constitution like you who are addicted to stealing our tax dollars and giving them away to your criminal cronies, the Merchants of Death.
The story was the same during WWI (and after when you tried to overthrow FDR ina military coup), and WWII (when Bush's grandaddy committed treason by financing the NAZIs), and Korea and 'Nam - you feel "entitled" to all that tax funding, and that's a "welfare mentality" this Great Republic cannot afford to indulge.
Yo, commenters! Keep it up. Good fun.
Those Heinlein quotes - very cool. Will use 'em.
Re Vietnam: everyone I knew who went there volunteered, including two who quit college to volunteer as grunts.
I don't believe everything I read on a website. I do however care very deeply about the Viet Nam vets. Equally important to me is that we not re-write history. I would challenge those numbers. As for those who volunteered: I think it could be proven that those who volunteered came out of rural areas, i.e. Montana, New Hampshire, etc. I lived in a large city and worked for a charter airline at the time--plus my first husband was there. Those seats on World airways were primarily occupied by draftees. The men who served in Viet Nam do not need to live with any deceptions in order to please the liberal left media.
Sorry, but that’s not terribly clever jujitsu, the bit about the war-mongering, war-profiteering death-dealing Right being entitlement-happy welfare queens who steal our tax monies and are the ruination of our great Republic. Suppose we’re also “drug pushers and addicts” for supporting the pharm industry and “hippies” for fighting for free speech over speech codes and suppression, etc.
tommo, that sort of stuff is DC and changing parties does little to ameliorate it, sad to say. I'm not a GOP-defender, I'm a lesser-evil supporter. These days, because of economic and foreign policy, I'm scared of the Dems, so that makes me an administration supporter by default. Improve the choices, and there'll be fewer people defaulting to fear of the loons (see 'fiskhus jim') who seem to be in control of the Dem party these days.
Anon, para one, that's really well said. Para two, (blush), thanks.
Lover the Heinlein quotes, too!
David, the troops were in KSA due to the Jihad's invasion of Kuwait. So your otherwise fine post falters on a bit of circular reasoning--or better said, your buying AQ's circular reasoning. But even accepting your arbitrary start to a timeline, 911 as the jihad's form of political dialogue is you must admit problematical as a template for a tolerable ongoing relationship.
I thought it was old Joe Kennedy who loved the Nazis. Not that it matters.
Are you clowns from Maggie's Farm for real? Intellectually challenged would be an understatment. Especially loved the rantings of the guy who's connected the "women's movement" to a conspiracy via MySpace. Classic wingnut echo-chamber idiocy. Adjust those foil helmets people!
Hey, Mark, thanks for the museum tour of almost every outdated internet catch-phrase. Enjoying your new computer?
BD, I wouldn't call old Joe a Nazi-lover--but it's a historical fact that he advised FDR not to support England with any war material, since it would simply end up in the hands of Hitler, because England had no chance of winning. He was soon thereafter replaced as ambassador, needless to say.
I'm sorry I wasn't clear, buddy. Yes, our troops were stationed in Saudi because of the invasion of Kuwait (although I'd disagree that there was a religious of jihadist element to Saddam's invasion. That had more to do with Saddam's identification of Kuwait as a wayward part of Iraq - purely political).
But AQ said it was our presence near Medina and Mecca that prompted 9/11. I think they would have found another excuse if that one didn't play, but that's another story.
As for Vietnam, I spent my tour in Central and South America. That had more to do with my Spanish and my knowledge of Latin America than anything else. If I spoke French maybe things would have turned out differently.
But I don't understand apple pie's question about the draft. I enlisted, but if I had been drafted would that make my service any less honorable? I hope that's not what you're trying to say.
And as we used to say about ourselves, the only men on active duty during the war were "niggers, hicks and spics." In case you're wondering, I was one of the hicks.
I'm working on a book that takes place in December of '41 and I've found plenty of people on both sides of the aisle who wanted FDR to stay out of the war. That's why he did an end run around Congress with the Lend-Lease - ("We'll let you borrow these bullets if you give them back when you're done.")
But the primary opponents of involvement in Europe were Republican, led by Mr. Republican himself, Taft of Ohio.
There were a lot of people, Republican and Democrat, who could have acted with more honor than they did.
David, i don't think apple pie was impugning your service. I'm an old South America hand myself--in fact Venezuela mostly, in the oil patch, as a consultant to CorpoVen. I saw a good deal of Cubans and Sandinistas in my travels down there, in the 70s and early 80s. Helped me form opinions about the results that flow from political ideas.
On topic, I've got to say, your statement
"But AQ said it was our presence near Medina and Mecca that prompted 9/11. I think they would have found another excuse if that one didn't play, but that's another story"
is not really "another story", but--IMHO--is THE story.
Follow the implications of what you yopurself say, and you almost have to wind up looking at the Jihad more-or-less as the administration looks at it (granted that in the details and commentary there is endless room for endless rat-killing and wool-gathering).
Sorry buddy boy. Let's do sum subsitutin' then...
wingnut = right wing loon
echo-chamber = circle-jerk
foil helmet = whack-job
Gee Buddy, is that better?
No, Mark, I'm too stupid--what is this strange language of yours "for"? Is it meant to entertain? Teach? Insult? Persuade? Or is it simply the best you've got, as something to type before you type your name?
You'll find that for a liberal, I'm quite a hawk on this subject. My problem is, I see it differently than the administration. I think they've thoroughly screwed the pooch on this war against the Jihadis. Some may say I suffer from BDS, but it's really anger over incompetence.
They told us the war would be over quickly and would cost us nothing, zero, not a dime. Here we are 4 years later, thousands dead or wounded, 500 billion dollars poorer.
I don't know about you, but when I was young I bounced a few checks, but I was never so wrong as to bounce one for half a trillion bucks. That's major league bone-headed.
If anyone had asked me (and they didn't), I would have insisted that this war was so important that it required sacrifice in the form of higher taxes and maybe even a draft. I would have put another 30-40 thousand troops into this surge. That's how important I think it is.
It might be because I have two nephews in theater now, one a Major with a Stryker Brigade, the other a surgeon with an FST. I want them both home and whole and the way this administration is fighting this war, they'll both be back for another tour, maybe two (the Major is on his third). So I'm angry for my country and my family.
Hell, I'm so mad I'm surprised my hair hasn't caught fire.
Jeanne Kirkpatrick wasn't right about anything in her entire career.
And perhaps buddy, if you could divert your attention from celebrating the stupidity of others how about a detailed solution to Iraq?
I suppose it is more fun to stand around declaring your self righteousness but that doesn't shut the mullahs down now does it?
and PEACE THROUGH SUPERIOR FIREPOWER ? That is some braintrust right there! Just keep shooting right?
That's not entirely true. Kirkpatrick did support Clinton going into Kosovo.
I remember Rush was against it and Kirkpatrick was for it, so no matter where I came down I'd be in the company of someone I knew was wrong more often than he/she was right. Not a comfortable place.
David: I would never, never minimize any soldier--not in any way, at any time, under any circumstances. I spent three years of volunteer time helping to get the 1988 Veterans employment law passed. Our toughtest obstacle was the women's movement, who refused to let "any man" have any leverage that a woman did not have in qualifying for jobs. Most particularly they refused to let men, who had served into the classrooms of our universities.
Chopski--good question. From my simple point of view, the truth is, the Jihad's non-boundaried, no uniformed army drwn up for battle, everywhere-and-nowhere presence, suicide tactic & strategy, retail internet operator enabling, organized crime interfaced warfare is very real (look at the numbers) and is a terribly hard nut to crack. We may not crack it--we could lose.
I back the administration because it seems like the thing to do, unless we think we'll be better off rudderless than a few degrees off true bearing.
David, prayers up for your family's safe reunion. And, Congress allocates the $ for the war effort. Spread the blame some, willya.
Let's stipulate that you're right, David, about the incompetency surrounding our decision to go to and how to go to war. Had the administration correctly predicted (which they should have done) the costs of OIF to be several years at a minimum, several thou US killed (I believe they did, tho') and many more wounded, billions and billions of dollars, tax hikes and a draft, would Congress and the public have supported the intervention?
I think not, and so Saddam would still be in power, the sanctions probably lifted by now, and the region darkly festering and plotting. Now, it's more openly festering and not as effectively plotting. Which is better is difficult to say because these alt history exercises are too speculative. But I personally believe we had to take on the terrorist fundy and autocratic mentalities closer to their source, get up close and personal with Iran and secure the ME oil flow for us and allies for our ultimate protection.
Unfortunately, the war has been made more hideous and taken a greater toll on account of the usual human mistakes committed in war and politics and due to the less understandable opposition stateside, in theater and around the world that wants us to lose and that would boost enemy morale. Critics wishing us to win at least recognize the enemy. Your frustration is more than understandable, and may your family members be safe as they serve.
Chopski, by the way "peace through superior firepower" refers to deterrence, and the strategy behind the slogan very likely prevented a world war with the USSR (and who knows who & when else besides).
"Fitzgerald to prosecute Ann Coulter for disclosing identity of presidential candidate John Edwards."
"Jeanne Kirkpatrick wasn't right about anything in her entire career"
We were in a steel-cage death match with a dying and dangerous Soviet Empire, and this lady--a former liberal become hawk, which explains some of the remarks such as perhaps the above from chopski--was a top lieutenant of the president who managed the final countdown. Her iron speeches at the UN, against the Soviet maneuvers, did much to convince Gorbachev (he has latterly said so himself) that he had to stand the USSR down. She was on the spot and came through for the west, when it counted, when the stakes were as high as they could go, when the nuclear countdown clock was stuck and straining at one minute to midnight.
Chopski, your statement is a disgrace, you know.
no shots were fired in the cold war. no star wars program was ever implemented. it should be clear in retrospect that the USSR was in perpetual entropy and Reagan et al were SMART ENOUGH to know they just couldn't blink. Diplomacy won. My point is this, in a world wide Jihad guns are a small component of victory. Intelligence will win this and nothing more. We are smarter we are braver and we will win but slogans like that are regressive. They want direct combat, they want us wandering around their neighborhoods never knowing friend from foe.
In the new issue of Harper's zbigniew brzezinski lays out the only plan I have seen that has a long term chance of working out.
That Coulter joke made me laugh out loud. Thanks.
You'll have to take my word for it, but I spread the blame plenty. Ask my wife. And I don't expect any politician to agree with me on everything, but I do expect them to tell me the truth and not take me for such a weak sister that I can't stomach the facts.
Which is why I can't agree with anon's analysis. If it's true that the administration could not have sold the war on the truth then that means the position and subsequent sacrifices were more than the people were willing to bear or that the administration was just too inept to convince us that the sacrifices were necessary. If that justifies they tell us a lie about something as serious as war, then we're no longer living in a representative democracy, but something else entirely.
(It's true that FDR lied about our involvement with Britain and war preparations pre-1941, but that doesn't make it right.)
See, buddy, that's me spreading a little of the blame around.
And thank you all for good thoughts about my nephews. The major is a full-blooded warrior. He hates Iraq but he loves his job and I know without a doubt that his men would follow him into hell if he asked them. The other nephew is a surgeon and he's piecing Iraqi children together as often as he is combatants. He just lost his own child last year so I know this tour is breaking his heart. He's the one I'm most worried about.
That's enough Koom-bi-ya for today. It's Monday. Tomorrow I'll go back to breathing fire.
"I back the administration because it seems like the thing to do, unless we think we'll be better off rudderless than a few degrees off true bearing."
It all depends on whether you think we're "a few degrees" off bearing, or headed in the wrong direction altogether..... if it's the latter, then, yes, I'd rather be "rudderless". For myself, I determined we were on the wrong course when we decided (in the face of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism) to destabilize one of the few SECULAR regimes in the middle east, while still not finished with our first post-9/11 war.
Of course, it all has to do with how you define the war as well. If you define it as an ideological struggle against islamic fundamentalist theocrats, then Saddam was on our side of that divide (not a theocrat). If you define it as an ideological struggle against those who use terrorism as a tactic, then Saddam was an enemy....but still not even on the top 5 list - his only known support of terrorism was payments to palestinian "martyrs" families, which was done to curry favor politically, and still not directly OUR problem, but I digress.
As for those touting "American exceptionalism"...well, you need to get your head out of that box.
America is exceptional for a lot of reasons. None of that means that we are always right. None of that means that we don't have to recognize where we have failed to live up to our own standards.
In fact, what makes America exceptional is it's post-enlightement governmental philosphy of freedom and liberty. Of justice and democracy. Or individual rights.
We are all stewards of those traditions...so when you claim "American exceptionalism" as an apology for transgressions as a nation, you are implicity DENYING that exceptionalism. When you say "it's OK for us to torture, because we are exceptional", you are really saying it's OK to disregard what makes us exceptional (because we are exceptional?).
It's not OK.
Finally, one thought about the war that came to me today. Presumably, it mattters less whether sunni or shiia "win" compared to, say, al-quaeda taking over in Iraq (which, although incredibly implausible, is the scenario that schreeching wingers will claim is imminent if we pull out of Iraq).
If that's truly the case, the worst thing for al-qaeda in Iraq would be for us to leave. It would take them out of the game...make them irrelevant. With the "occupying Satan" gone, they would have nothing to distinguish themselves from the local sunni insurgency. Foreign fighters would have little reason to involve themselves in a fight against other Arab muslims.
Of course, that argument accepts as it's premise the crazed beliefs of rightwingers regarding this war...that qaeda could actually take over in Iraq (laughable), and that we're in Iraq to stop that from happening.
Of course we're not there for that reason (although Bush claims we are). We're in Iraq to stabilize the place before we leave....and it's not a compelling enough story to make people want to spend more blood and treasure, so GWB spews bs like "we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here", and the wingers believe it.
"no shots were fired in the cold war. no star wars program was ever implemented" means that you're very narrowly defining the cold war, and finding some gymnastic way to leave out the shooting wars in Korea, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Indochina, Israel x half century, and other middle-east, African, and Central American insurgencies. and all the literature flowing out of Russia on the topic confirms that 'star wars' as a threat severely demoralized the old bears in the Kremlin--they were QUITE afraid of what would come out of such a program once begun in earnest. and finally, we ARE building 'star wars' as we speak--read the news, we're hitting bullets with bullets, way up at the edge of space. And google "thaad".
"it should be clear in retrospect that the USSR was in perpetual entropy" you say, chopski, but who in history has ever been able to see tomorrow from the day after tomorrow?
10,000 nuke warheads aimed at your cities, soldiers, ships, and allies does both demand decision AND raise the cost of being wrong, wouldn't you say?
So, I think it's shameful to look back in partisanship and minimize those times, but you're certainly entitled to your opinion about the atmosphere, if not the facts.
Once again--I am asking that everyone turn on the PBS news program (airs at 18:00 in the west). It is the McNeil Lehrer show. At the end of the hour--the very last thing they do at about 6 or 7 minutes before the hour is to show pictures of those who have died. I ask this for everyone--so that you can see who they are, also so that you can make note of the colors of THIS war. The vast majority of those dying are Anglo/Americans (white guys and gals). This was not the case in Viet Nam--BUT it is the case in this war. We need to always have the facts. I am of the opinion that so many white folks are dying in this war is twofold--they wanted their education and could not afford it without the benefits offered for enlisting, is one reason. What I think is most critical to consider is this: perhaps, these are the children of all those white families who were forced off of their farms during the year 1985 - 1997. Both sides took part in that great land theft. Though it began under Regan the political benefits of running white families off of their land was particularly enjoyed by the Clintons. We lost 120,000 family farms per year, every year during that time period. Regan's argument was already well understood by economists to be an impossible ideal--that agricultural products like automobiles would find a fair market price. But, most egregious were the Clintons, who used the excuse that they were cleaning up the big ranch/farmers fraudulent use of loans: BS they then turned around and re-wrote loan policies to benefit incoming minorities (Hispanics and a few Africn/Americans). Most of all it benefitted their big wealthy friends in NY and Chicago. Anyway those children are dying in Iraq today!!
"As for those touting 'American exceptionalism'...well, you need to get your head out of that box...
"so when you claim 'American exceptionalism' as an apology for transgressions as a nation, you are implicity DENYING that exceptionalism. When you say 'it's OK for us to torture, because we are exceptional', you are really saying it's OK to disregard what makes us exceptional (because we are exceptional?)."
ME, please show this touter where me said that. Thanks! I have enough garbled words in me mouth without ME adding others.
"If it's true that the administration could not have sold the war on the truth then that means the position and subsequent sacrifices were more than the people were willing to bear or that the administration was just too inept to convince us that the sacrifices were necessary. If that justifies they tell us a lie about something as serious as war, then we're no longer living in a representative democracy, but something else entirely."
Let's look back at the possible decisions and outcomes, David:
1. The Bushies are more “competent” and better divine and advertise the true costs of OIF to come. We don’t go to war in Iraq no matter how hard they try to persuade, and then all the rest follows- in the ME and globally. Completely comfortable with that?
2. The Bush administration incompetently assesses (“lies about” is your term) what an intervention in Iraq will take, and inadequately accounts for the costs of the media, partisan and international opposition to our efforts in trying to persuade the terrorist-insurgents in Iraq to stand down. Congress elects to go to war and the going gets tough. There is a great deal of dissension on the home and international fronts, but our troops keep fighting, building and slogging on. They make progress but it’s slow in places and consistently underreported in others.
2a. Negativity begets defeat and defeatism brings the war to an end. And we’re losers, the jihadists winners. Terrorism, nukes and oil supply become huge problems with more even more devastating consequences for everybody.
2b. Negativity gets defeated and we bring the war to a more positive end. We’re winners, and humanitarians, and the jihadists are recognized for the murdering spoiler-totalitarians they are. The Iraqis stumble forward, sorta in our camp, but it’s a start and we still have a presence there.
Take your pick, but history happens. Situations don’t always offer us upfront rational choices with complete foreknowledge, but still we must deal. Sometimes, good comes from technically flawed decisions and the reverse can be true, too.
Have to go finish planting scallions, but first Jonathan Foreman at NRO on British opposition to Blair and the Iraq War (ditto Bush):
“I have met senior judges and lawyers who really, truly believe that Blair and Bush lied about WMDs. I pointed out to one top barrister that if Saddam’s WMD threat had been a lie rather than an error, then surely the Coalition would have been better prepared for the moment when no WMDs turned up. Or if the Bush-Blair alliance was so evil, would it not have been willing to fake the discovery of the forbidden weapons? It was clear the barrister had never even thought the matter through.
“Moreover the British chattering classes are convinced almost to a man (or woman) that Guantanamo is at best a gulag in which all the detainees are innocent victims of paranoia and aggression, and where the quotidian tortures rival those of the Gestapo. They ‘know’ that the war in Iraq is really about stealing oil, doing Israel’s evil bidding, boosting corporate profits, or some vicious combination of all three. The war in Afghanistan is equally ‘pointless’ and ‘unwinnable.’
"They fully buy the media line that radical Islamism is somehow a creation of these wars rather than a phenomenon that predated 9/11, and that solving the Palestinian question will somehow bring peace between Shia and Sunni and end bin Ladenite dreams of restoring the medieval caliphate.
"But even if the Blair haters did have a clue about the reality of terrorism and today’s wars, the really important thing about anti-Blairism is that it is a cipher for the envious, ill-informed, elitist, and bigoted anti-Americanism that is endemic among the British upper middle class…”
and American upper middle class, increasingly.
Left off the links for above:
(hat tip Melanie Phillips at http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/)
How can Americans be claimed to support their leadership when all recent polls have Bush's approval rating under 50%?
The blame America crowd is not blaming America, is blaming RIGHT WINGER DELUSIONAL INDIVIDUALS...... And last I checked you are not Americans.... You are Iraqi for you keep on giving more value to the 350,000 Iraqi troops than to our soldiers. Or can't you demand that the 350,000 Iraqi Military stend up and defend their country??? You rather send our own tired boys back jet again and do the Iraqi's job thmselves???? What a bunch of traitors you all are!!!
If your interest is keeping the Iraqi Military from harms way at the cost of our own Soldier's lives.... Move to Iraq.
Clear enough now Home Page?
I was a volunteer, USMC 69-71. I came out of the catastrophuck in Vietnam with the attitude of "never again", as did many Vietnam vets, including Colin Powell.
Remember the Powell doctrine? Overwhelming force and a clear exit strategy? We had and have neither in Iraq.
"Shinseki is famous for his remarks to the U.S. Senate Armed Services committee before the war in Iraq in which he said "something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would probably be required for post-war Iraq. Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz publicly disagreed with his estimate.
When the insurgency took hold in post-war Iraq, Shinseki's comments and their public rejection by the civilian leadership were often cited by those who felt the Bush administration deployed too few troops to Iraq. On November 15, 2006, in testimony before Congress, USCENTCOM CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid said that General Shinseki's estimate had proved correct."
" "The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."
Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.
Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.
"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.
"He said we will not do that because the American public will not back us if they think we are going over there for a long war."
...."In his own mind he thought we could go in and fight and take out the regime and come out. But a lot of us planners were having a real hard time with it because we were also thinking we can't do this. Once you tear up a country you have to stay and rebuild it. It was very challenging."
-Brigadier General Mark Scheid, chief of the Logistics War Plans Division after 9/11"
"Washington D.C., February 14, 2007 - The U.S. Central Command's war plan for invading Iraq postulated in August 2002 that the U.S. would have only 5,000 troops left in Iraq as of December 2006, according to the Command's PowerPoint briefing slides, which were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and are posted on the Web today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org).
The PowerPoint slides, prepared by CentCom planners for Gen. Tommy Franks under code name POLO STEP, for briefings during 2002 for President Bush, the NSC, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the JCS, and Franks' commanders, refer to the "Phase IV" post-hostilities period as "UNKNOWN" and "months" in duration, but assume that U.S. forces would be almost completely "re-deployed" out of Iraq within 45 months of the invasion (i.e. December 2006).
"Completely unrealistic assumptions about a post-Saddam Iraq permeate these war plans," said National Security Archive Executive Director Thomas Blanton. "First, they assumed that a provisional government would be in place by 'D-Day', then that the Iraqis would stay in their garrisons and be reliable partners, and finally that the post-hostilities phase would be a matter of mere 'months'. All of these were delusions.""
"For myself, I determined we were on the wrong course when we decided (in the face of the threat of Islamic fundamentalism) to destabilize one of the few SECULAR regimes in the middle east, while still not finished with our first post-9/11 war."
some still can't see the religious impulse in Stalinism.
and why DID Moaamar Qaadafi decide to give up
"his" nuclear program once Saddam's regime
(and its documents) were captured?
There's another outcome we haven't considered:
Let's say the administration went to war and honestly didn't see how too few troops, disbanding the army, etc. would cause a collapse into near anarchy and then, as sects established their own security, internal conflict would arise along old religious and tribal fissures.
When this happened the Jihadists saw an opportunity to fight the Great Satan, train more Jihadis and generally destabilize whatever government was trying to establish itself.
So, because of our short-sightedness (remember, Cheney thought an occupation of Baghdad was a mistake in '91. I don't know what changed his mind because he was right then) we have, according to the National Intelligence Estimate, created more terrorists rather than fewer, got us stuck between warring factions, unable to leave because of the strategic consequences, and unable to win because we don't have enough troops to truly secure every neighborhood and hold it. Meanwhile, our troops are facing three and more tours, our military gets so overstretched that we couldn't handle a threat from elsewhere, there's no end in sight to the spending of money we're borrowing from the Chinese and when they tire of holding our notes they divest themselves of dollars for Euros and suddenly our economy is tanking, we still don't control the oil fields, our men and women are still coming home damaged and our place in the international community is suddenly a lot less persuasive than it was just a few years ago.
Yes, history happens. Too bad none of the people in this administration thought to learn from British history or even pay attention to the plans others laid out for the post-war period. Arrogance and incompetence are what have brought us to this sorry place, not negativity or defeatism at home. This big old turd pie belongs to the Bushies, but unfortunately, it's us who'll have to eat it all up, every last slice.
I think some of that is the case, more or less.
I have no doubt that if they had foreseen the complications, they would not have bothered with Iraq. On the other hand, hindsight is 20-20 etc.
You might call it misoverestimating Iraq.
I don't think there's a soul alive that wishes anything but this war over and a good enough peace following.
I can think of a lot of people who don't want the war to end.
The top management at Halliburton and every other defense contractor, war is excellent for the bottom line and hence their bonuses.
A lot of career officers in the military, promotions come a lot faster in wartime.
"I pointed out to one top barrister that if Saddam’s WMD threat had been a lie rather than an error, then surely the Coalition would have been better prepared for the moment when no WMDs turned up. Or if the Bush-Blair alliance was so evil, would it not have been willing to fake the discovery of the forbidden weapons?"
It wouldn't be possible to fake WMDs in the long run. Chemical and nuclear analysis is remarkably sensitive these days and the origin of any chemical or nuclear weapons "found" would have been fairly straightforward to ascertain.
As if you couldn't tell that most of GWB’s, I mean, Cheney’s attentions have been elsewhere over the last few months, there's this creeping sense of impending feeble disintegration spreading mange-like through the White House and it’s herd, as I heed a flange of greenery and blue skies a-coming. I mean a change of scenery. Freshly traumatized from their selling of what passes for a soul, Karl, DICK, and Georgie must be secreted in some dark dank cubby-hole in a forgotten rat-shit infested corner of the basement where Tricky Dicky used to drink his Kessler on the rocks and pray to his god/devil/mommie, still reeling from the stunning conclusion that their “party” has about as much soul as a Mormon Potluck. Now it just seems surprising that they didn't bail out twelve months ago and live in the woods, a tarp over a badly stained mattress (Oh DICK! Shame!), his Fisher-Price record player balanced on a cheap $1.89 Styrofoam ice chest full of Blatz and head cheese. I’m guessing that people are sick of them telling them that they’re unpatri-idiotic; they all don't know what it's like living on the receiving end of this dirty sham. No exaggeration is too excessive, no posture is too screwball.
So, Johnathan, you believe that there are people who would trade the lives of human beings for money or status, and that these Americans are able to hide their criminal natures well enough to rise in our governmental and private organizations?
Oh, right, Carl--we need to get rid of the crazy people, and get some leaders that YOU like. I can't wait.
So, anonymous, they wanted to make up this WMD lie, but knew they could not fake the findings because someone would ascertain that the stuff was Brit or Ami, but just went ahead and made up the WMD lie anyway, because it never occurred to them that anyone would notice?
And starting a decade earlier, Bush and Blair set up everybody in the Democratic party, the intelligence agencies of the developed world, the UN and European governments to also start lying way back in the 90s about Saddam's WMD program?
And Clinton make Saddam's removal US Policy back in the 90s, because he wanted to please the governor of Texas and a rising young man in the British Labour Party?
Please, people, blathering around in cloud-cuckoo land will get us nowhere but deeper in the hole.
Jeez, who whacked the nest?
Most of you folk coming in here to tell us how demented, delusional, distrustful and otherwise dastardly we are should just drop down to the post preceding this one. Be sure and read what the post links too. Written by someone with real life experience in living with true delusion. Written by someone whom, I think, succinctly encapsulates the moral underpinnings of that 30/40 percent in this country who would prefer to see us lose this war.
Comments are opinions and we are each entitled to our own last time I checked. And even taken all together they don't amount to a hill of beans. I just see no need to vilify other individuals just because they see things differently than you. The world ain't perfect as are none of us.
We are where we are and we need victory in Iraq. Anything less weakens this country and the rest of the freedom loving world.
Don't feed the trolls! Carl is a troll with no interest in a sincere dialogue.
But please respond to commenters with earnest facts and opinions.
The Art of the Fugue-State.
Some of the commenters do have something real to say with opinions worth discussing, though. Still, the degree of hatred sometimes amazes me. I do not hate people I disagree with. They may worry me, but I don't hate them.
BD. For the record. I have tried my damnedest for many years to not hate anyone. Even when I was on the other side of this discussion. Clouds the mind you know. I do disagree with you re "Some of the commenters do have something real to say with opinions worth discussing." As have you I'm sure, I have been reading the same rebuttals to American interests since a week or two after 9/11. All have been logically refuted, not by me, but nothing new have I seen. Opinions on what should have been done in hindsight do not interest me, we've a country full of armchair quarterbacks. It is the here and now I would speak to, not shoulda, coulda, woulda's. One either supports the US for victory, or not. It is black and white for me.
Hoo-ah, Luther! (or however you spell it)
Hindsight is nothing. We have to live and fight and support in real time and not give up SO SOON! There's much to be said for Saddam being gone and for our being there smack dab in the middle of the ME.
(And that is the 3-sentence version of what am told by insiders, if you don't count the H word.)
"So, Johnathan, you believe that there are people who would trade the lives of human beings for money or status, and that these Americans are able to hide their criminal natures well enough to rise in our governmental and private organizations?"
Certainly there are those who will kill for money or status, it happens every day.
Psychopaths, or people with no conscience, make up about one percent of the population. As with any population the intelligence level of psychopaths varies according to the bell curve, in other words there are a few really stupid psychopaths, a lot of average intelligence psychopaths and a few very intelligent psychopaths. The stupid psychopaths and some of the average ones make up the bulk of those psychopaths who end up in prison.
The really smart psychopaths end up climbing the corporate or political ladder, where a lack of conscience is a positive attribute. Psychopaths can be very charming and manipulative when they wish to be, everyone who knew Ted Bundy before he was arrested thought he was a great guy and Bundy was in law school when he was arrested.
It's convenient to say the past doesn't matter. But it does. If you're an employer, and you are, and one of your employees continues to show an inability to get it done, then why in God's name would you give that employee more work?
But you're right in that we're where we are and we have to shape the future because we can't change the past.
So, what do we do? Every independent military expert I've read says this additional 20K won't do the trick in securing a city the size of Baghdad. So if we can't supply the numbers needed, what are we doing? I mean, besides running out the clock until Bush hands his failure over to someone else to fix, just as he's done his entire life.
This gang can't shoot straight. I stated my position earlier (see #40) and Bush either can't or won't commit the nation to what you and I agree is a vital mission. So we just throw more soldiers into the grinder and hope it works?
No. This administration has left us with nothing but bad choices. As I said, it's convenient to say the past is the past, but it also lets a group of criminally incompetent people off the hook.
Someone should pay for this screw-up and I know that those responsible will be the last to feel the bite.
To make apologies for them is a disservice to those in the field.
And please don't take this as any sort of defense of the Democrats. I'm fed up with their spineless fecklessness too. It's just that they're not the ones who rushed us into this war.
Goddam, can't anybody form a viable 3rd party out there? I mean are the Democrats and Republicans the best this nation can do? It's enough to make Jesus drink himself to sleep.
Well, I don't agree, David--there are some bona fide successes. But you address Luther, who is a good mineshaft canary, having been in the jungle nose to nose with the VC and NVA back when there was some big time DC screwing up of a war effort.
When Luther turns off on what USA is trying to do, that'll likely be a turning point for me, too.
But we're not there yet--as you know. The troops are still behind the effort, and the issue is still in play if they say it's so.
Third parties have almost always been political dead ends. The idea of a two party system is to cool ardors and compromise into a workable coalition that can--this is crucial--also be acceptable to the quaintly-recalled "loyal opposition".
Yes, it's a bitch once the housecleaning gets neglected too long. But working it out within the two parties is still probably the way to go, i think.
Appreciate the helpful answer, Johnathan. But i still can't feature a cabal of such psychopaths having found one another and having succesfully conspired to take over the United States and use foreign policy to enrich themselves.
Maybe I'm just naive, but that sounds like the Illuminati or TriLateral or Bilderburger type stuff.
I see people giving each other dark looks and nodding sagely over Bush & Kerry both being Skull & Bones @ Yale, and i always get the feeling that the sage-nodders are the actual psychopaths.
Thank you for the rational and civil repartee.
I don't think your employer analogy quite works. Perhaps the employee has not been given the tools and support needed to get the job done. Perhaps he is a recipient of inter-office politics, undercut by those who seek aggrandizement without regard to the assigned task. Looking to feather their nest with disregard to anything other than selfish needs. Concerned only with advancing themselves in power and prestige, Devil take the hindmost. Been there and seen that. Motivation is key. What will any particular individual get/receive from the stand that they take.
For what its worth, I wish nothing but the continuation of this Country that I was fortunate enough to be born in, and that I think will free many more than it would ever subjugate.
I don't necessarily disagree with your "what do we do" para. I just think GW is doing what he thinks he can do. His hands have been essentially tied from before this war was started. Our leaders now have to seek the middle ground in their military actions. War allows none such. Our wars have become politicized and influenced by outside forces, a grave and deadly consequence of a certain proportion of our citizenry's flirtation with Marxist agenda over the last sixty or more years. See previous post on this site.
Please don't go the "criminally incompetent" route. You might end up prosecuting 90 percent of our country. Myself included. Please see my above on "Perfect."
I make apologies for no one. I have no problem with relevant critique. Don't know if you have ever been out in the bush, facing danger, but there are times when the old saying is appropriate. Do something, even if its fu**ing wrong. Action is a starting point, adjustments when/as necessary. GW did do something too halt the slide we were/are in. If for nothing else, I support him for that.
Ah Buddy, I'm full of shit, except when I'm not. What a confused world.
Paragraph 1-67 of Army field manual 3-24 "Counterinsurgency" states that twenty counterinsurgents per 1000 residents is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective COIN operations.
Baghdad has a population of six million. Six million divided by one thousand equals six thousand. Six thousand times twenty troops per thousand equals one hundred and twenty thousand troops minimum necessary to effectively pacify Baghdad alone.
The Iraqi Army (IA) and the Iraqi Police (IP) are basically useless since they have been thoroughly infiltrated by the various militias and other insurgents. In some situations the IA and IP are actually a liability rather than an asset.
To effectively pacify the entire of Iraq is a much larger undertaking. The population of Iraq is around twenty five million. Twenty five million divided by one thousand equals twenty five thousand. Twenty five thousand multiplied by twenty troops per thousand equals five hundred thousand troops needed minimum.
How many do we currently have in Iraq again?
LOL, LM--me too, chock-full of it.
Jonathan--you're micromanaging with far, far less info than the MNF have at their disposal. I don't know what you do for a living, but I can safely bet you know far more about it than does David Petraeus.
"But i still can't feature a cabal of such psychopaths having found one another and having succesfully conspired to take over the United States and use foreign policy to enrich themselves."
I didn't mean to imply that it was necessarily a conspiracy, it's just that highly intelligent psychopaths tend to move toward leadership positions in politics and the corporate world.
My guess is that the hardest person for a psychopath to fool would be another psychopath and I also suspect that such psychopaths wouldn't get along with each other very well with each trying his best to manipulate the other(s).
The Milgram experiment in the early sixties showed that it is almost unbelievably easy to get someone to torture an innocent person all the way to death. If you really wish to be disgusted at your fellow human beings then I recommend that you read about the Milgram experiment.
"I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation."
It was Petraeus himself that very recently revised and rewrote fm 3-24.
My father taught me to read when I was five and by the time I was seven I could read the Readers Digest no problem. When I was seven we moved into an older house that had a huge stack of old National Geographics in one of the closets, among this stack was the complete series from the years of WWII. Like most small boys I was fascinated by war and soldiers and I wore those Geographics plumb out reading them, looking at the pictures and examining the maps. Every issue had at least one, and usually several, articles about the war effort and the various battles around the world.
By the time I was ten in 1960 I knew more about WWII than the vast majority of adults around me. Ever since then I have been a student of history and military history in particular.
jonathan, i know what you're saying. Man's inhumanity to man--always there, a black-hearted beast kept at bay only barely, by socialization's sundry pavlovian systems. Altho the same experiment at Omaha City College might've yielded different results than it did at uptight repressed WASP Yale--
but we have--thank goodness and the work of our predecessors--established a working meritocracy in this country, and hence the people who rise to the tops are almost invariably 'can-do' types who make it by building networks of loyal supporters.
If this type is a psycho, then he will have built such a strong identity as a comfortably normal hale-fellow well-met, that for all practical purposes he is as he does (until he splits).
Which implies that we're all repressed psychos--which i suppose is your point, with the Yale experiment.
So, lesson, let's be careful taking down the guardrails in our brave new 'no-consequences' society.
Ha--me, too, early voracious reader fascinated by my dad's WWII experiences--and by extension, military history in general. Came back to it as an adult thru the great John Keegan.
Well, from what you say, you must realize better than most that the size of the American force in OIF is what it is for some reason other than that nobody remembered to read the Army Field Manual.
well, enjoyed it, all. sandman got my eyes. leave you with the story of the two cargo ships passing in the night, one carrying red paint, the other blue paint, which collided and sank in the south Pacific. The sailors swam thru the spilled paint and made it to a nearby desert island, where they realized they couldn't really fight over whose fault it was, since they were all completely marooned.
Speaking of third parties: whatever happened to Ross Perrot? He was actively involved in writing, speaking, helping to clean up academia, etc. Then he ran for president on a 3rd party ticket, and we have never heard from him since? Why, does anybody here know? When he disappeared he was in a position to make an important contribution to the national dialogue.
Apple Pie, the Reform Party seems to have imploded over control issues. Fancy that- billionaire Perot a controlling type. Maybe another Texan here knows what he’s up to. All I remember are his pie charts, ears, and animus toward the Bush family. Did he have good ideas on reforming education?
Buddy’s #87- insightful, eloquent.
Here is a website about Ross Perot, I have no idea how correct or incorrect the information is but all the claims that I have knowledge of seem to match with my recollections.
but we have--thank goodness and the work of our predecessors--established a working meritocracy in this country, and hence the people who rise to the tops are almost invariably 'can-do' types who make it by building networks of loyal supporters.
In employment theoretically the hardest worker is the one who gets the promotion. It is my observation under real world conditions though that very often it is the most adept at self-promotion and office politics who gets the advancement in rank and the concomitant increase in remuneration while the shy, self effacing hard worker remains behind.
Buddy: That was a good one. May have to steal it.
Thanks, skook--i prob'ly stole it from you sometime past--
Jonathan, maybe that's the diff between a high and a low functioning organization. Self-promoters who are only that won't in my experience rise in a high-function operation. They'll max out in the sales dep't, where people-skills turn most-directly into revenue. And then there's always, for the hard worker without recognition, the old proverb, "virtue is its own reward" (ah, them Victorians--they had some good stuff, if a bit hyper-rigorous).
I can give you a real world example.
My wife is a regional manager for an international retail chain. Just recently she had to do biyearly employee evaluations for the managers that work under her. There is a specific form and an instruction booklet that is supposed to be used for the evaluation process. My wife is smart and well spoken but she has some trouble being very concise in writing, she tends to wordiness. The forms didn't have much room for the necessary comments on the various aspects that the employees were to be evaluated on so my wife asked me to help her make her comments as concise as I could.
When I started looking over the form and the instruction book I found that in two separate cases the instructions directly contradicted each other. As a programmer I'm used to parsing things very carefully and I'm quite good at spotting logical flaws. Computers do what you tell them to do, not what you think you told them to do.
Now these evaluation forms were very important to the company since they are what management uses to determine which individual employees they wish to promote. I would be quite surprised if these forms had not been scrutinized and approved at very near the highest management levels.
The fact that the two logical flaws in the instruction booklet had not been found and corrected either at the time of introduction or in the several years that they have been in use really makes me wonder about the level of intelligence and competence in those executives responsible for the dissemination of the employee evaluation material.
yep--damned bureaucratic documents--they have a life of their own. Wonder if there's not a reason for the contradiction, tho? If it met some unspoken need?
My last corporate job was as a district manager for an oilfield services comapny out of Corpus Christi, TX. I was promoted out of the field, in my 20s, and had about 15 tech reps reporting to me. They were all older and senior to me in the company. We were so shorthandeed (the mid-70s exploration boom) I dasn't fire anyone--and all knew it. All also knew about the annual salary raises--I had a percentage of gross payroll to apportion, six percent say. If I gave a hard-worker 7%, then some guy with kids had to get 5%. I had to do this off an eval form such as you describe. I hated it--I knew the folks and their families. So i gave everyone 6%, and simply told the hard workers to pad their expense accounts and I'd approve 'em. Some solution. When the recruiters from Venezuela called, I quit and went solo, and never re-entered office politics.
I could've taken a different path, and tried reforming the company policy.
Boom cycles in the oil patch are worth a book of their own. The distortions when a boom is on--everybody is having a personnel crisis at the same time--mean you have to hire any ham sandwich you can drag up and then convince the oil company operator--your client--that the man you've attached to his drilling operation is "the best available". Fooey. Too many lies.