August 22nd, 2007

Bush and Kerry: just who’s being irresponsible about Iraq and Vietnam?

In today’s speech in Kansas City to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush gave the reconstruction efforts in Iraq the historical context some of us have been writing about for some time: the need to avoid the sort of bloodbath that followed the Vietnam abandonment, and the need to try to mimic as much as possible the post-WWII success in Japan.

Of course each situation is not analogous to Iraq in its details. But there are still lessons to be learned from both histories about what to avoid and what to pursue.

Majority Leader Harry Reid begs to differ on the specifics of what those lessons might be. Reid, of course, has a dog in this race; he gave up on the surge before it even occurred, and recent surge-friendly news must be an embarrassment to him.

Reid stated:

President Bush’s attempt to compare the war in Iraq to past military conflicts in East Asia ignores the fundamental difference between the two. Our nation was misled by the Bush administration in an effort to gain support for the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, leading to one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our history.

So it seems, oddly enough, that Reid must believe that the controversy over the validity of the Gulf of Tonkin incident must be resolved in Lyndon Johnson’s favor (I happen to agree with that assessment, by the way). Perhaps it’s odd of the antiwar Reid to take that position—if he thinks about it at all, that is. But then again, Johnson was a Democrat.

John Kerry is another person with a rather large dog in this race, and a personal one at that. Kerry says Bush’s words in invoking the Vietnam analogy to defend his Iraq policy are both irresponsible and ignorant of what Kerry calls “the realities” of Vietnam.

Kerry should know about those realities. After all, he’s one of those who failed to predict them. Read the words Kerry spoke in June 1971 in his famous debate with nemesis John O’Neill on the “Dick Cavett Show:”

MR. CAVETT: No one has said that there’ll be a bloodbath if we pull out, which is a cliche we used to hear a lot. Does either of you still think there would be a –

MR. O’NEILL: I think if we pull out prematurely before a viable South Vietnamese government is established, that the record of the North Vietnamese in the past and the record of the Viet Cong in the area I served in at Operation [unintelligible] clearly indicates that’s precisely what would happen in that country.

MR. CAVETT: That’s a guess, of course.

MR. KERRY: I –

MR. O’NEILL: I’d say that their record at Thua, at Daq Son [phonetic spelling], at a lot of other places, pretty clearly indicate that’s precisely what would happen. Obviously, in Thua, we’ve discovered, how many, 5,700 graves so far, at Daq Son four or five hundred.

MR. KERRY: The true fact of the matter is, Dick, that there’s absolutely no guarantee that there would be a bloodbath. There’s no guarantee that there wouldn’t. One has to, obviously, conjecture on this. However, I think the arguments clearly indicate that there probably wouldn’t be. First of all, if you read back historically, in 1950 the French made statements – there was a speech made by, I think it was General LeClerc, that if they pulled out, France pulled out, then there would be a bloodbath. That wasn’t a bloodbath. The same for Algeria. There hasn’t been. I think that it’s really kind of a baiting argument. There is no interest on the part of the North Vietnamese to try to massacre the people once people have agreed to withdraw.

John Kerry. Part of the reality-based community.

252 Responses to “Bush and Kerry: just who’s being irresponsible about Iraq and Vietnam?”

  1. d Says:

    Just so we’re clear: You’re claiming that the United States should have continued waging a war on behalf of a nation (South Vietnam) that it spent two decades fabricating, a nation that over the course of those two decades was never capable of defending itself — much less bearing any sort of meaningful internal legitimacy — without the overwhelming assistance of the US.

    Are you suggesting as well that free-fire zones, defoliation projects, and massive air campaigns should have been sustained in the interests of avoiding a “bloodbath”?

    I’m always interested to hear what people like you believe the US should have done after knocking the region into a cocked hat for so many years.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    http://a517dogg.blogspot.com/2007/08/giulianis-foreign-policy-vision-ugly.html

    My argument there with the author also concerns Vietnam and historical revisionism. Both by the victors as well as the defeated, those such as us so to speak.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m always interested to hear what people like you believe the US should have done after knocking the region into a cocked hat for so many years.

    You people abandoned millions to their death and even more to concentration camps in Vietnam. Yet you would dare to speak filth about your American opponents bombing the crap out of people that executed men, women, and children out of hand?

    I’m always interested in the ability of people to make themselves into tools, because as much as I hate weapons in the service of evil, I know that they don’t got enough will nor brains to come up with their own plans of destruction and racial eradication. I wouldn’t be against using d and Company as tools in our fight, if we could manage them.

    Yet, there is something to be said for not using the blade that carved out the hearts of many innocents. Perhaps it is best to use our own weapons and tools, rather than the tools of the enemy, when all is said and done.

    We can only use what we have, after all. Iraq will need everything they can acquire to prevent being disappeared down the memory hole.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    d:

    Actually, if you were “always interested” in what “people like [me] believe” about Vietnam and the US role there, you probably would just go to the right sidebar of my blog, click on the category “Vietnam,” and start reading. There you would find, archived, fifteen posts I’ve composed (some of them very long) on Vietnam, only a fraction of the total of my output so far on the subject.

    But to take another moment to respond to your query, and to refresh your knowledge of history, let me point out that at the time the pullout occurred in Vietnam the US had had no active fighting forces there for years. All we did at that point—and what many people such as myself now complain about—was cut off funding to the ARVN and make all the sacrifices of both the US and the South Vietnamese there for naught.

    Take a look at this, if you’re interested in even more information, from one who was there.

    But my guess is that you’re not really all that interested.

  5. dicentra Says:

    John Kerry. Part of the reality-based community.

    They’ve been upgraded: it’s now the community-based reality.

  6. Doug L Says:

    I’m reminded of this recent column in NRO:

    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZTI2N2RhOTRjMTQxZGY2NWE0NmYzOWJjOWE4ZDhhMjg=

    It was written after the death of David Halberstam. It might give one reason to rethink the supposed lessons of Viet Nam I suspect.

    Cronkite’s not the only journalist who affected the history of Viet Nam it seems.

  7. harry Says:

    dicentra:
    “They’ve been upgraded: it’s now the community-based reality.”

    The consensus approves of the change!

  8. Vietnam: More on the Betrayal « Sake White Says:

    [...] of Doug L, a commenter at Neo’s post [...]

  9. d Says:

    Actually, neo, I am quite interested; as an historian who’s taught courses on the American war in Vietnam and the foreign policies of the cold war, I’ve read more accounts from “ones that were there” than I care to think about.

    Regardless, the right’s claim that the US “abandoned” South Vietnam is a simplistic dodge. By the terms of the Paris Peace treaty, the reunification of Vietnam — as originally called for by the 1954 Geneva Convention — was a foregone conclusion. The only way for the US to assure the existence of South Vietnam would have been to return American combat forces. Everyone understood this — the North Vietnamese especially.

    So when you claim that you’re merely upset that the US ended funding for ARVN, you either don’t understand the history of the post-US withdrawal, or you’re not openly stating that you believe the US should have sent its forces back to fight a war it had already taken two decades to lose.

  10. Tim P Says:

    Reid stated:

    President Bush’s attempt to compare the war in Iraq to past military conflicts in East Asia ignores the fundamental difference between the two. Our nation was misled by the Bush administration in an effort to gain support for the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, leading to one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our history.

    I suppose Mr. Reid conveniently forgot Johnson’s 1964 campaign promise that if elected, he would not send our boys to die in a war in S.E. Asia. How conveeeenient.

    Neo, I disagree with you about the Gulf of Tonkin incident being resolved in Johnson’s favor, but that can be discussed another time. The fact remains that by far, the greatest foreign policy blunder that the US has made in the 20th century was the precipitous withdrawl of US forces and funding from Vietnam and the abandonment of Indochina to communist forces. This was a blunder that the left along with the democrats and their enablers in the media were responsible for and which resulted in the loss of millions of lives.

    The US and South Vietnam were winning and had they not been betrayed by the American media would have prevailed. Even N.Vietnam’s commander, General Giap admitted in his memoirs that the news media reporting of the war and the anti-war demonstrations in America after Tet surprised him. The communists then decided that instead of negotiating what he called a conditional surrender, they would now go the limit because America’s resolve was weakening and the possibility of complete victory was within Hanoi’s grasp.

    Fast forward to today…

    It is the democrats who have a large stake in our Iraq venture failing having squarely called it lost and they are once again attempting to mislead the public.

    Many of the democrats who now decry our involvement and claim they were fooled into voting for the invasion. They do so in the face of facts that prove otherwise. They had access to sufficient information to make a responsible decision at the time and they can’t lie their way out of it. Many are on the record saying that they were convinced Iraq possessed WMD and was a threat, even before Bush was elected.

    Unfortunately the left, the MSM and many democrats rely on the knowledge as articulated by Mark Twain that, “a lie will be half way around the world before the truth can get its pants on.”

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    d: and you obviously haven’t read the link I gave, nor my other pieces on Vietnam.

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    a nation that [over the course of those two decades] was never capable of defending itself

    So…South Vietname was kinda like

    Belgium
    Czechoslovakia
    Denmark
    France
    Greece
    Netherlands
    Norway
    Poland
    Yugoslavia

    Abyssinia
    Ethiopia
    Libya

    Burma
    China
    Malaya

  13. d Says:

    No, I read the link. It’s a reasonably interesting account of the US evacuation of Saigon, but if you’re going to rely on that to make a larger argument about the war, best of luck to you.

    As for your posts on the war, the only one I really needed to see was this one, in which you spend most of your time breathlessly singing the praises of a book originally published three decades ago. Braestrup’s book is fine enough, but if you’re going to congratulate yourself for reading The Big Story and challenging the conventional wisdom on the Tet Offensive (circa 1977), there’s probably not much point in telling you that other works — written by folks with a bit more standing than an HNN intern — have been published in the past three decades that tell a more complicated story than the cartoonish one you seem to favor.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    d: Since you call Braestrup’s work “fine enough,” I can’t quite imagine what its extreme antiquity (three decades old! Quelle horreur!) has to do with anything.

    I’m not sure what your reference to a HNN (History News Network, I assume) intern means. Neither Braestrup nor the author of the other linked piece had this particular status.

    Braestrup was the head of the Saigon bureau of the Washington Post from 1968 to 1973, among other sterling credentials (and, to top it all off, he was a liberal).

    The author of the piece I linked to at History Net (“The Bitter End”) was Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. He had served several earlier tours of duty in Vietnam, and became chief of the negotiations division of the U.S. delegation of the Four-Party Joint Military Team (FPJMT) in 1974, a position he held when the events he describes in the article occurred.

  15. stumbley Says:

    “as an historian who’s taught courses on the American war in Vietnam and the foreign policies of the cold war”

    Well, now we know why very few of today’s students are well informed about the history of Vietnam. Thanks to “historians” like “d” and Ward Churchill, we have the most poorly-educated students of “history” the world has ever seen. What’s the matter, d, miss out on your chance to be an “HNN intern”?

  16. Tim P Says:

    Sounds to me like d’s just another troll trying to derail the thread. Also I have to say that I agree with Stumbley.

    For such an ‘expert’ on the matter, d only alludes to but does not list any of the, “other works — written by folks with a bit more standing than an HNN intern.” Instead he backhandedly insults Neo by calling the reference from a past post her ‘cartoonish’ view, not to mention the obvious attempt to belittle Braestrup by referring to him as an HNN intern.

    So how do you plan to belittle someone like Giap, since what he has to say doesn’t conform to your hackneyed narrative?

    If insults and vague allusions are all you’ve got d, I suggest you turn out the light and go home. What a sanctimonious little twit.

  17. d Says:

    Here’s the link to the “history of that shameful episode” (as you called it) written by the HNN intern.

    As for the “extreme antiquity” of Braestrup’s book — your phrase, not mine — thirty years is indeed quite a long time in terms of historical scholarship, especially if we’re looking at the American war in Vietnam.

    And as for Stumbley’s comment, it’s always good to see a thread descend into pointless hyperbole . . .

  18. gcotharn Says:

    back to the post: I’ve seen maybe the same excerpts of the Cavett interview as you. The thing your written dialogue cannot convey is the superciliousness of Kerry and, really, Cavett and the audience also. They treated O’Neill as a rube. The atmosphere was a cousin to the atmosphere when a conservative goes onto John Stewart’s Daily Show. Looked at from 30+ years distance, O’Neill’s responses and O’Neill’s comportment reflect honor on him.

  19. Lee Says:

    “thirty years is indeed quite a long time in terms of historical scholorship, especially if we’re looking at the American war in Vietnam.”

    So, what d is saying is this case, more than any other, is one which needs to be looked back upon and reflected from a different point of view, and revised.

  20. Lee Says:

    I also notice d hasn’t linked to those “other works written by folks with more standing” than the head of Washington Post’s Saigon bureau, er, I mean, that HNN intern.

  21. Grimmy Says:

    d would have to link to either chomsky or zinn to find substantiation for his particular idiocy.

    News flash, moron, even your thought bosses have moved on from the dumbassedness you’re spewing here.

    You’re nothing but a mindless regurgitator of tired old, already discredited and disproven, black propaganda produced by the enemy we were fighting.

    As an adherent to the enemy, you fall into that particularly degenerate, disgusting, filthy and universally despised subset of dysfunctional known as a betrayer.

    Congratulations. You’ve made membership to one of the very few subgroups that is loathed and hated by every culture, every society to have ever existed.

    No culture has long tolerated those who adhere to the cause, method, means or message of the enemy during a time of war.

    The days of permissiveness in our society are drawing ever closer to being closed as well. The betrayals are becoming too obvious, too loud and too consistent to be excused for much longer.

    That is, unless you’re just another nasty jihadi flying a false flag.

    The radical left, which you give every indication of belonging to, is so deeply in bed with the jihadi already that there is zero rational reason to not lump all of you into the same method of engagment.

  22. Sally Says:

    d: … there’s probably not much point in telling you that other works — written by folks with a bit more standing than an HNN intern — have been published in the past three decades that tell a more complicated story than the cartoonish one you seem to favor.

    - And that’s what these people consider an argument. Even as an attempt at a sneer, it’s weak.

    Vietnam itself was complicated, of course (as, for that matter, is anything in history), but those noting the complications are generally those challenging the conventional wisdom that the US had simply lost the war. What complicated matters particularly was that Vietnam had evolved from a colonial war to an ideological one, with the former aspect used, quite effectively, as a weapon in the latter. But the real cartoon here is the simple-minded lefty depiction of the US as just another slavering imperial power — a cartoon behind which the left still thinks it can hide its real ideological intentions, as you can see at every dwindling “protest” march.

  23. snowonpine Says:

    D,d,d–your pose as an educated academic is slipping, perhaps you should try for more hauteur of the kind that Kerry has mastered.

    At least most of the professors I studied under managed to radiate a certain cultured, civilized, urbane vibe that you, from the tone of your posts, lack.

  24. d Says:

    For those who’ve apparently never heard of historians other than the ones that Bill O’Reilly complains about, here’s one useful link for you. This is a useful Vietnam War bibliography compiled by Edwin Moise, who is a well-respected and widely published historian of US foreign relations. Go nuts.

    As for Giap’s remarks — which I rarely see referenced except by conservatives who insist that “we couldda won! we was winnin’!” — I don’t really know what to tell you. If you’re the sort of person willing to take a retired NVA general’s memoirs as the final word on the Tet Offensive, perhaps you’d be interested in what Giap’s observations on other wars.

  25. Richard Aubrey Says:

    “d” outed himself with the mention of “free fire zones”.
    The tactic is to presume the term has been loaded with bales and bushels and tons of ominousity. One need only intone the words and, instantly, all thought ceases, to be replaced by ZinnChomskyian horror at the US’ unprecedented evilness.

    Unfortunately for such as “d”, most folks know better.
    I will not attempt to correct “d”, since I’m certain he knows better. I will attempt to correct his impression that he is fooling anybody. I know, I know, waste of time. But I persevere.

    About 90% of South Viet Nam was and about 95% of the population of South Viet Nam lived in other than free fire zones. Those were referred to as no-fire or restricted-fire zones. The concept of non-free-fire zones was a puzzle to my father, who’d fought in Europe as an Infantry officer. When I returned from Ft. Benning, trying to explain the concept, his reaction was, “Which traitor made up those rules?” McNamara, of course.
    The number of US and ARVN troops killed because of restrictions on fire support has never, to my knowledge, been addressed, but anecdotes about one case here, another case there, heard from veterans directly or in memoirs, and extended to the entire conflict would put the number pretty high.
    I once asked, in an artillery class, how soon we could expect rounds on the ground after a call for fire. Three minutes. In a Rules of Engagement class, some other candidate asked how long to get clearance. An hour, a day, maybe never.

    So, “d”, you see people know better.

    Enjoy

  26. Grimmy Says:

    Any attempts at discussion with those given over to betrayal, like “d” here, are about as useful as talking dinner menus with a dedicated fecal phage.

  27. Occam's Beard Says:

    thirty years is indeed quite a long time in terms of historical scholarship

    Lots of cogent debunking upthread of d’s nonsense, but I couldn’t let this gem pass without comment.

    In terms of historical scholarship, 30 years is a blink of the eye. Arguably something that happened 30 years ago is scarcely history yet, but just oldish news.

  28. Jason D Says:

    d:

    I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt; I like to think of myself as open-minded. Therefore, I can only blame myself for the minute of my life wasted reading that swill of Giap’s.
    Perhaps, as an historian, you should have a better appreciation for the difference between your enemy admitting you were beating them, and your enemy continuing to disagree with your ideology.

    Perhaps also the difference between observation and speculation. In particular, the speculation of those who think that the descent in communism is a victory for freedom.

  29. Lee Says:

    Of course, I’m sure d and his friends “rarely mention” among themselves the fact that Kerry is a national hero in Vietnam, as well. One would think the left’s proudest achievements, and Giap’s statement, giving credit where credit is due, would be shouted from the rooftops. They take credit for ending the war, but suppress the fact the enemy gives them the credit, too.

  30. Talkinkamel Says:

    Occam’s Beard

    Of course, it is a good for somebody who actually there to try and set down what actually happened near the time it happened. William of Tyre’s history of the crusades is still considered valuable, though he wrote it centuries ago.

    History is, after all, what somebody decided to record. If it’s not recorded, it’s lost.

    I notice, by the way, “d” shies away from the subjects of re-education camps, and the boat people.

  31. Talkinkamel Says:

    Lee

    Well, if you were them, wouldn’t you suppress it too?

    And I don’t see why Giap’s comments on the war should be dismissed. An enemy can sometimes give one good insights into what really happened, once the actual fighting’s over.

  32. Talkinkamel Says:

    d

    As for Giap and Iraq, I’m not going to pay any attention at all to what he says while the war is still going on. Afterwards, maybe—-when he’s probably going to be more honest; but, for now, I think he’s just snowing the US again.

  33. Tim P Says:

    d very illuminatingly said…

    As for Giap’s remarks … If you’re the sort of person willing to take a retired NVA general’s memoirs as the final word on the Tet Offensive, perhaps you’d be interested in what Giap’s observations on other wars.

    I knew that was exactly what he would reply. People like you are nothing if not simple and predictable.
    A retired NVA general? Try the supreme commander of all north Vietnamese and viet cong forces both against the French and the US.
    Ofcourse since what he, arguably the most authoritative voice on the matter, has to say doesn’t conform to your narrative, he will be sneeringly marginalized.

    How predictable, how tiresome.

  34. Andrew Zalotocky Says:

    John Kerry. Part of the reality-based community.

    John Kerry is part of the vanity-based community.

  35. Grimmy Says:

    J Effing Kerry is suing Pres Bush over use of Vietnam imagery.

    http://www.scrappleface.com/?p=2650

    Parody of course, but not by a whole lot lol.

  36. d Says:

    Note, to the impaired, that I “dismissed” neither Giap’s memoirs nor the 30-year-old book about media coverage of Tet. Like all sources, the truth value of a memoir has to be weighed cautiously; the reviews of Giap’s book — in journals of military history, no less — attest to that quite directly if you care to read them. Anyone who wants to use Giap’s memoirs as an unambiguous, insider’s account of the war is going to have a difficult time making a strong case.

    And yes, good historical studies often have a long shelf life (though The Big Story is less a history than a close media critique). My point, which you folks are certainly welcome to distort, is merely that Neocon’s repeated citations of that book — in this post and elsewhere — suggest that she’s never heard of George Herring, Andrew Krepinevich, Marilyn Young, or George Donelson Moss. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but someone looking to disclose The Truth about the US and Vietnam would do well to read more widely.

  37. Talkinkamel Says:

    d

    Actually, I’ve taken a quick look though Neo’s articles on Vietnam: she talks about a lot of things: Ellsberg, Walter Cronkite, etc. She doesn’t just base everything on “The Big Story”. I think it would be a good idea if you actually read what she’s written.

    And someone looking to educate others about reading more widely would do well to drop the snark and condescending sarcasm.

    By the way, we still haven’t heard you say much about the Boat People, or the re-education camps.

  38. johnr Says:

    The thing that astonishes me about Kerry’s 1971 remarks are his claims that there was no bloodbath after the French pulled out of Algeria. That would be a surprise to the French Harkis allied forces, hundreds of thousands of whom were murdered by the victorious FLN. How could he make such an inaccurate statement and not get picked up on it ?

  39. Jeff Says:

    I see it doesn’t take much to get called a traitor on this thread.

    Here’s the choice: a short bloodbath when we leave now, or a long, drawn-out bloodbath over several years if we stay.

    And by the way, d is right, and the rest of you are so wrong you can’t even see right where you are.

    Let the flaming commence!!

  40. Ymarsakar Says:

    The only weapons that work on folks like D are steel blades and psychological warfare attacks.

  41. Ymarsakar Says:

    Anything embroils you in rules of engagement and other such self-restricted limitations.

  42. Ymarsakar Says:

    However, while anything, in a conflict sense, embroils you in such, it takes a special talent to use it as a weapon to destroy your enemies with. Giap didn’t do it by himself, but he certainly took advantage of the mistakes and the openings other gave him.

    Giap knew as I do, that tools such as d are often very useful in warfare, should you be unable to unleash nuclear fire or devastating conventional attacks.

  43. r4d20 Says:

    The radical left, which you give every indication of belonging to, is so deeply in bed with the jihadi already that there is zero rational reason to not lump all of you into the same method of engagment.

    Alright tough guy,

    When you decide that you’re ready to try to kill every other American who doesn’t agree with you, go ahead and take your best shot. I’d advise you to shop for your own casket first.

  44. Ymarsakar Says:

    When you decide that you’re ready to try to kill every other American who doesn’t agree with you, go ahead and take your best shot.

    The Left is superior to such conventional and direct methods of attack, because the Left is able to utilize tools and proxies to do their killing for them.

    They didn’t kill any that died in Iraq. They just goaded them into signing up by calling them chickenhawks. Cleaner this way.

  45. Grimmy Says:

    d

    Yeah, we did so poorly and so horribly bad a job in Vietnam that, by the enemy’s own admission, the war was all but won by us on 2 different occasions.

    The only thing that kept the NVG from full capitulation was the 350000 Soviet troops and advisers stationed in North Vietnam and the Soviet KGB’s constant insistance that the American communist party would soon wear down resistance to defeat.

    We know this from documentation of the periods in question from both the NVG and Soviets.

    Only those committed to the continuation of the communist propaganda messages would use the terms and accusations as you used them.

    Only a communist appologist would even try to minimize the hell and true horror that SEAsia became once our own betrayers won the day at home and the Vietnamese were fully cut off.

    Only a moron would be able to believe that a nation could have been built up to sustainable level enough to face the might of an industrial logistics capacity as was provided by the USSR to North Vietnam in the short amount of time available. And please, dont be so ridiculous as to pretend you believe that just because some US elements were in the area at such early dates that anything substantial was possible starting so soon in the problem

    We did much better at adjusting to the Vietnam problem than we did to the Korean. We managed to hold South Korea safe for long enough for them to have become fully economically self sustaining.

    The only reason that Vietnam turned out differently is that, this time, the communists were ready on our homefront to work the same sort of erosion and defeatist dissension as you and your fellow travelers are doing today.

    In Osama bin Laden’s own words: “It is my hope that the American people will rise up and defeat their own government for me, like they did for the communists in Vietnam.”

    You work Osama’s will. That makes you enemy by every possible definition of the term.

  46. Grimmy Says:

    r4d20

    This isn’t about difference of opinion. This is about those who’ve given themselves over to agitating and propagandizing on behalf of the enemy for our own defeat.

    And yes, I will take my best shot, as I was trained to do, and as I am bound by oath of enlistment, once the issue can no longer be avoided and the call is given.

    There is no justification for adhering to the cause of the enemy during a time of war. It is a universal taboo and listed specifically as a crime meriting death or banishment in our Constitution.

  47. Talkinkamel Says:

    johnr

    Because John Kerry was a media darling at the time, and could say anything he liked. Was he ever taken to task for the alleged atrocities he claimed he’d taken part in, along with other American soldiers?

    Unfortunately, there wasn’t an Internet around at that time, to expose him.

  48. Gus Says:

    I find it interesting that after years of insisting that Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, suddenly the war’s supporters are saying it’s exactly like Vietnam.

  49. Grimmy Says:

    Gus:

    Most very wrong. The result of a cut and run will be just as disasterous for Iraq and the arab/mid east as it had been for Vietnam/South East Asia.

    That is what we are saying.

    What the defeatists were saying is that Iraq is the same “quagmire” that Vietnam had been. The idea of Vietnam as a quagmire was also an invention of those given over to defeatism and enemy sympathy.

    There are some similarities. Both have insurgent/counter insurgent operations. Both in much the same general state of economic dysfunction and in need of comprehensive infrastructure development/repair, etc etc.

    But none of these issues are much different that what was the case in South Korea and to varied degrees, Germany, Italy and Japan as well.

    The major difference starting with Vietnam, and the major factor uniting them together, is the degree to which those advocating for the enemy are active on our homefront, in schools, in media and in politics.

    The serious difference between Vietnam and Iraq situations is that there are a significant percentage of citizens fully aware of what damage and harm the agitators and enemy sympathizers were able to inflict in their efforts to erode the will of the nation to fight against the communists in Vietnam.

    There is zero chance that such citizens will sit on their hands and let it happen again.

    It is a very dangerous game that the left is playing. Tolerance for their acts and actions grows thinner by the day as their motivations become clearer and less easily excused away.

  50. Fats Durston Says:

    The bulk of the commenters here seem to have no interest in the actual preservation of life, despite all the hand-waving about the murders and massacres that occurred post-1975 in Indochina. These past deaths are merely a tool with which to ferret out contemporary “traitors,” and condemn these “betrayers” to punishment for treason.

    You people abandoned millions to their death”

    Only true if ‘d’ and a couple other commenters here actually made the withdrawal policy–and that’s buying the argument that the policy makers are guilty. This accuses the dissenters on this thread of being complicit in the deaths of millions, an amazing charge that ranks ‘d’ up there with the worst humans in all of history.

    “their own plans of destruction and racial eradication”

    Just in case it’s not clear that ‘d’ is a genocidist.

    Doug L’s link leads us to an article on a treasonous reporter, who did his damnedest to make America lose.

    “had they not been betrayed by the American media would have prevailed. … Fast forward to today … It is the democrats who have a large stake in our Iraq venture failing”

    Just to make sure we know that the treasonous continue to operate in the present.

    “you fall into that particularly degenerate, disgusting, filthy and universally despised subset of dysfunctional known as a betrayer.”

    “most of the professors I studied under managed to radiate a certain cultured, civilized, urbane vibe that you, … lack.”

    Yes, he’s the barbaric one. And we all know how we should treat barbarians. (And wasn’t someone upthread complaining about the academy? Get your narrative straight!)

    “those given over to betrayal, like “d” here”

    And what do “we” do to traitors? Eliminate them:

    “No culture has long tolerated those who adhere to the cause, method, means or message of the enemy during a time of war.”

    “there is zero rational reason to not lump all of you into the same method of engagment.”

    “The only weapons that work on folks like D are steel blades”

    “There is no justification for adhering to the cause of the enemy during a time of war. It is a universal taboo and listed specifically as a crime meriting death or banishment in our Constitution.”

    Because ‘d’ is arguing that neo-neo-con has incoherent policy prescriptions for the past, he should be eliminated now.

    In closing:

    “In Osama bin Laden’s own words: ‘It is my hope that the American people will rise up and defeat their own government for me, like they did for the communists in Vietnam.’

    You work Osama’s will. That makes you enemy by every possible definition of the term.”

    You buy Osama’s telling of American history? He’s the authority? (I’m not sure about the defeat of the American government that he’s citing. Oh wait, that traitorous press and Nixon’s resignation, right?)

  51. Fats Durston Says:

    Grimmy,

    Please explain:

    “Tolerance for [the Left's ] acts and actions grows thinner by the day as their motivations become clearer and less easily excused away.”

    The motivations of “the Left” are not becoming clearer and clearer for me. Could you please explain what you mean?

  52. Grimmy Says:

    Fats:

    I can offer a guess as to why its not clear to you.

    The left is activily engaged, and has been since soon after the war started, in sowing defeatism, dissension, marching in support of and along side with representatives of our enemy, purposely working to misinform the general public about every aspect of this war in an effort to further erode the will of the citizenry to keep up the fight against our enemy.

    This is not about difference of opinion. There is much and many things that everyone disagrees on, about or over. But standing firm during a time of war is not, nor has it ever been, optional.

    This drive to force our own military into pulling out of Iraq in defeat is an act of betrayal.

  53. snowonpine Says:

    Ah yes, Braestrup’s “Big Story” an old book, therefore out of date and wrong because fresh, new books, including all the latest research, must be better.

    Decades ago I remember an undergraduate who asked me to recommend a good book on the French Revolution and when I suggested one of the old classics–I believe it was Thomas Carlyle’s “The French Revolution,” he refused to look at it because it was not new. Rather some piece of “new” badly written, badly researched crap with a glossy cover than an old, well written and well argued old book any day.

  54. r4d20 Says:

    There is no justification for adhering to the cause of the enemy during a time of war.

    All anyone did was dispute a particular analysis of the vietnam war. No radical leftist has come anywhere near here, let alone spouted anything remotely close to promoting mass murder of rightwing Americans.

    YOU are the only one talking about how you are to start to start killing your countrymen. YOU are the one hating America – at least all the parts who hold ideas that dont meet your approval. THE ONLY traitor around here is YOU.

    I’m saying to you what I’ve said to dozens of other “tough guys” who have made thinly veiled threats about a coming mass extermination of anyone to the left of Sean Hannity:

    “Bring it.”

    You’re gonna find out that there are a lot of strong, intelligent, capable people who are more lethal than you think and who are NOT on board with your plan for an American gulag.

  55. Fats Durston Says:

    Grimmy [an exchange between 'Fats' and 'Grimmy' is pretty funny, I gotta say],

    Your answer doesn’t explain the Left’s motivation, just what you perceive as the Left’s actions. Why do they want defeat, as you claim they do? What’s in it for them to betray the country?

    “This is not about difference of opinion.”
    Doesn’t a democratic system run on majority opinion?

    Snowonpine,

    Ugh. Carlyle’s prose–at length, there are gems–is enough to turn a person off history forever.

    Carlyle didn’t have access to a number of sources that subsequent historians did, not to mention that he was often more credulous of his sources than a more recent historian would be. Which brings us to the larger point: more recent histories have access to a whole lot of data–especially government documents and memoirs of survivors–that accounts written in the 1970s did not. Of course, this doesn’t automatically make a more recent history better, as ‘d’ points out upstream…

  56. d Says:

    Ah yes, Braestrup’s “Big Story” an old book, therefore out of date and wrong because fresh, new books, including all the latest research, must be better.

    Did I write that, or are you simply inventing arguments and ascribing motives that haven’t been presented and don’t actually exist?

    It’s quite simple. If you want to read a good book about the French Revolution, or the Vietnam War, or the special variety of delusional thinking from which Grimmy apparently suffers, there are lots of options. However, if you — like the host of this blog, who seems to do a bang-up job of attracting thoughtful, articulate commenters — want to write hairshirt essays about how wrong you were to oppose the Vietnam War, and how everything you thought you knew about the war is incorrect, you would do well to show some familiarity with the literature on the subject.

  57. Grimmy Says:

    The idea that advocating the defeat of your own forces during a time of war is somehow just another form of differing in opinion is false.

    There are only two sides of a war to pick from for a citizen of a nation at war. Either your own or the enemy.

    Those who have allowed themselves to fall into the pit trap that this is a war that could have, or even should have been avoided have done so only through the acceptance of the infospin and propaganda of those who have chosen to support victory for the enemy.

    This is as uncomplicated as any issue can ever be.

    Now, in this particular thread of comments, I will openly and freely admit that I may well have jumped wrong on what d was saying. And if so, I do owe him an apology. I qued off his listing of the usual actions listed as crimes by Americans by those who shout from the crowds of ANSWER marchers. One of the problems with communicating like this is the inability to see expression, hear intonation and relate body stances. Misinterpretations are common, unfortunately. Especially when the topic is one that holds heat and hurt.

    Now, as to your recent question. Motivation? Couldn’t tell you. I can guess but doubt any real single motivation could be listed that fits enough of that gaggle of mishmashed ideologies to have any real validity.

    There is the drive toward cultural obliteration and replacement that has been the cap stone of all communist inspired movements since communism got codified and officially -ismed. There is also a deep undercurrent of adherence to generalized anti-Americanism that can be heard in the words and speeches of the more active and radical.
    Some on the professional political side are simple exploiters with no real beliefs of their own. Simply seeking path of least resistance to personal power.

    But if I had to guess, I would guess that most have no clue why they do what they do. They see it as their inherited obligation to oppose the success of the US. Much of their personal mythology was built around the justifications and rationalizations of the acts and actions committed by Americans against American success in the war against communism in asia.

  58. Grimmy Says:

    d

    My delusional variety comes from having had the job as a USMC intel analyst in studing the area of South East Asia with particular emphasis on how the area was decaying during the early to mid ’80s.

    Every enlisted man in my unit above the rank of Sgt was a combat veteran of Vietnam. Our commanding officer was a “mustang” former enlisted commissioned during the Vietnam war for his actions during the siege of Hue.

    Many many late nights were spent in discussions on that one single topic of Vietnam.

    Not all of us depend on the writings of other academics for the foundation of our opinions.

  59. Fats Durston Says:

    Ah yes, calling for troop withdrawals has done beaucoups for those seeking the “path of least resistance to personal power.” The path of least resistance that includes random people howling for their elimination.

    Lithium, Grimmy: look into it.

  60. Grimmy Says:

    Fats:

    Calls for withdraw if it’s a war started or heavily supported by those who oppose them for power and seen as a way of discrediting the opposition.

    This is “George Bushes War” after all. Defeat the war, defeat the man. Defeat the man, defeat his party.

    Like I said, I was guessing, since I am not of them or among them I have no real access to what particular mechanism drives them.

    Thanks for calling this closed. There is never any value in discussion on such issues with those who are so opposed as we both are to each other’s world view.

  61. Doug L Says:

    Without looking back, I think the motivation argument is tossed out as a refutation of the idea that some Americans would want defeat or that many would follow not seeing what was going on.

    A book called “The True Believer” by Eric Hoffer discusses the mentality of the promoters and close followers of this sort of thing.

    I found this quote from it in a review on Amazon:

    “”The readiness for self-sacrifice is contingent on an imperviousness to the realities of life. He who is free to draw conclusions from his individual experience and observation is not usually hospitable to the idea of martyrdom… All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth or certitude outside it. The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ.”

    http://www.amazon.com/True-Believer-Thoughts-Nature-Movements/dp/0060916125

    In the Viet Nam days the holy writ was written by Chomsky (and others I would expect.) This poison does not die a sudden death, it gets diluted over time and then perhaps revived in a perverse form to fit the times. Trutherism seems to be its heir. It’s too tedious to read enough of it to discover how closely allied they are.

    Conspiracy theories are popular on account of a need to have a simple model of the world. Few have time to see the world through more than a single simple model. If the model is one of a militaristic and therefore evil American Empire, then the motive is as simple as being against evil.

  62. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “What’s in it for them to betray the country?”

    They get to be nobles of a dark age, rather than mere citizens of an enlightened one. When everyone has equal opportunity, the only way to make oneself seem greater than one’s talents will allow is to strike out at one’s brethren, destroying their lives and society. Better to be king of a ruin, than just another ordinary person in the world’s greatest civilization.

  63. John F. MacMichael Says:

    Talkinkamel (above at 12:31 PM) advises “d” that he “…would do well to drop the snark and condescending sarcasm.” It is good advice if “d” actually wants to persuade anyone. But there is not a chance in a thousand that he will take it. For without snark and sarcasm, what does he have?
    Civility? Facts? Reason? On the evidence of his comments in this thread, not much of those.

    Of course, sarcasm is one of the great temptations in this sort of debate. No need for the dull work of putting together logical arguments based on facts. Just unleash the almighty sneer!

    Our hostess here maintains a tone that is consistently rational and courteous (one of the reasons why I read her regularly.) If “d” and his ilk cannot engage at that level, I hope they leave and don’t come back.

  64. r4d20 Says:

    I qued off his listing of the usual actions listed as crimes by Americans by those who shout from the crowds of ANSWER marchers.

    Thats is exactly problem man.

    You hear someone says something that kind of resembles something said by some chump from ANSWER and you jump to the conclusion that he must be some stereotype “Leftie” clone with no individuality whose every opinion comes from “Official Handbook of America-Hating Leftist beliefs”.

    You talk of “Leftists” like they are some monolithic block of mindless automatons rather than REAL HUMAN BEINGS whose thoughts and opinions are primarily shaped by their own personal experiences and NOT simply adopted because they are the “official” positions of their “team”. Do YOU get your opinions by looking them up in the “Official Book of Rightwing Opinions on Everything”? I didn’t think so.

    You are not a stereotype and neither is anyone else.

    There are only two sides of a war to pick from for a citizen of a nation at war. Either your own or the enemy.

    The administration spent 3 years denying an insurgency even existed. It was OBVIOUS by late’03 – early’04 that we faced an insurgency and NOT the “last throes” of dead enders but the WH spent 3 years asserting that it was, that it would all soon peter out on its own, and there was no need for US to re-assess our approach to the occupation. We all know SunTzu’s remark about “Know they enemy and know thyself” and the consequences of not doing so – How can you fight an enemy when you won’t even acknowledge his existence?

    I believe that in their blind refusal FOR YEARS to re-evaluate their approach in the face of reality, the administration and their supporters did more to help the enemy, and hurt us, than all the anti-war marchers in the country combined. The administration and their supporters, objectively if unintentionally, aided the enemy and undermined our chance at victory.

    You want to see the world in black & white? Fine, but at least consider that YOU may be confused about which is which.

  65. Fats Durston Says:

    Thanks for calling this closed. There is never any value in discussion on such issues with those who are so opposed as we both are to each other’s world view.

    ??? (Calling the “case” closed? Me?)

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe a person on one side of an argument doesn’t actually feel comfortable when the persons on the other side are calling for their execution because they hold a different point of view.

    They [the Left, er...traitors] get to be nobles of a dark age, rather than mere citizens of an enlightened one. When everyone has equal opportunity, the only way to make oneself seem greater than one’s talents will allow is to strike out at one’s brethren, destroying their lives and society. Better to be king of a ruin, than just another ordinary person in the world’s greatest civilization.

    This is the sort of comment that really deserves nothing better than mockery and sarcasm.

    love,

    d’s ilk

  66. Peter VE Says:

    What was our purpose in Vietnam?

  67. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “What was our purpose in Vietnam?”

    To protect the democratic government of South Vietnam from being conquered by the authoritarian government of North Vietnam, until they grew strong enough to defend themselves, reaching the same parity South Korea reached with North Korea. This was called “containment” by the UN of the 1960s.

    Ever been to Seoul? It’s a nice place, much nicer than pollution-choked Bejing, and leaps and bounds beyond Pyongyang (with the Pyramid-That-Must-Not-Be-Looked-At dominating the skyline), Hanoi, or Saigon.

  68. Peter VE Says:

    “To protect the democratic government of South Vietnam”

    from “Big” Minh?

  69. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “You want to see the world in black & white?”

    It’s preferable to seeing everything as a morally equivalent shade of gray.

    There are none so blind as those who insist everything is no different a color as anything else.

  70. Ymarsakar Says:

    You work Osama’s will. That makes you enemy by every possible definition of the term.

    rd4 is an ally of d and is defending d. What else is there to say?

    The true history is buried beneath hideous amounts of text written by the victors, Grimmy. We only have the voices of those that are still alive, such as your folks, to contest the histories written by the victors.

    In the days following the death of David Halberstam on April 23, praise of his journalism appeared in just about every major newspaper and magazine in America. Adhering to the principle of de mortuis, I did not interrupt the paeans with remarks about Halberstam’s gross misdeeds in Vietnam, which I had exposed in a book last year. But now that the funeral period has ended, the media has made clear that Halberstam’s elevation to the status of national hero is intended to be permanent, so in the interest of national history it has become necessary to point out how much Halberstam harmed the United States during his career.

    Halberstam, Sheehan, and Karnow inadvertently caused enormous damage to the American effort in South Vietnam—making them the most harmful journalists in American history. The leading American journalists in Vietnam during 1963, they favored American involvement in Vietnam, in stark contrast to the press corps of the war’s latter years. But they had a low opinion of South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem and decided that he would need to be removed if the war was to be won. Brazenly attempting to influence history, Halberstam, Sheehan, and Karnow gave Diem’s opponents in the U.S. government negative information on Diem in print and in private. Most of the information they passed on was false or misleading, owing in part to their heavy reliance on a Reuters stringer named Pham Xuan An who was actually a secret Communist agent. The journalists convinced Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge to accept their reports in place of much more accurate reports from the CIA and the U.S. military, which led Lodge to urge South Vietnamese generals to stage a coup. Press articles suggesting that Diem had lost his principal ally’s confidence made the South Vietnamese generals receptive to coup plots — the Vietnamese elites generally misinterpreted American news reporters as official spokesmen of the U.S. government.

    After Diem’s assassination, the South Vietnamese fared very poorly in their war against the Communists, which was why the U.S. eventually had to send half a million troops to South Vietnam. Halberstam, Sheehan, and Karnow quickly realized that as advocates of Diem’s ouster they could be held responsible for wrecking the South Vietnamese government, and so they devised a masterful strategy for neutralizing the accusation. Based on a few faulty pieces of evidence, they contended that the South Vietnamese war effort had crumbled before Diem’s overthrow, not after it. No one of influence succeeded in pointing out that these men’s own articles in 1963 contradicted this claim. The journalists thus succeeded in persuading the American people that Diem, rather than his successors, had ruined the country, and therefore that the press had been right in denouncing him. Newly available American and Vietnamese Communist sources, it turns out, show that the South Vietnamese were fighting very well until the last day of Diem’s life, and that their performance plummeted immediately after the coup because the new rulers purged suspected Diem loyalists and failed to lead.

    The Vietnam-era journalists began a tradition that today’s press all too frequently upholds. We hear little from most large press outlets about American heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan—men like James Coffman Jr., Jason Dunham, Danny Dietz, and Christopher Adlesperger who have demonstrated extraordinary bravery in battle—or about our military successes there. Instead of associating the names of heroes with these wars, Americans associate the words they hear most often from the press, like Abu Ghraib and Haditha.

    The media and their defenders try to counter charges of ignoring heroism by claiming that they simply report what will sell the most newspapers or attract the most viewers, and that negative stories sell better than positive ones. Yet the press does not shy away from publicizing other heroes, such as individuals who rescue people from burning buildings or donate their organs to desperately ill patients. Stories on heroism in Iraq attract great public interest because, outside of this country’s elite circles, the American public still treasures military heroism. One need only look at the size of the military-history section at a local bookstore, or the box-office figures for movies showing Americans behaving bravely under fire. Clearly, the media’s present hostility to the Bush administration and the military is such that a potential loss of subscribers or viewers will not deter them from using their power against the government.

  71. Lee Says:

    Ymar,
    Funny you should mention Diem’s portrayal in the press, as today, many now call for the ouster of Maliki.

  72. Lee Says:

    Or how quickly the left turned against the “insurgents and freedom fighters” of Anbar and Diyala, who were “merely doing what any of us would do in their shoes, resisting the unjust occupation of a foreign invader”.
    That is, until the awakening. Now that they cooperate and fight alongside us, suddenly these very same people are “the terrorists we’re supposed to be fighting in the first place”.

  73. Dr Zen Says:

    You know, here’s what I don’t get. Neo-neocon claims to have once been a liberal. Okay. But she changed her mind after 9/11, and gradually became a neocon. Well okay, that happened to a few people: they stopped pretending to be liberals and accepted that really they were something else. (After all, that’s what the original neocons were: hawkish liberals with dreams of a liberalish empire.)

    But neo-neocon, if you were once a liberal, don’t you think some shred of fellow feeling, some warmth and humanity might still inhere in your writing? And you might not attract some of the most deranged wingnuts I’ve ever seen. I mean, these guys are suggesting that d and others should be executed for having a different analysis of Vietnam, and are taking “my country right or wrong” to the extreme.

    See, my country (the UK) has involved itself in quite a few wars that have been at best dubious. Iraq, obviously, but also the Falklands War, the Crimean War, the Ashanti War, and so on. Am I traitor because I disapprove of our past militarism? By these guys’ views, not only is the answer yes, but I, and many millions of my compatriots, require executing. Indeed, in your own nation, the majority of the population now needs to be killed, according to the lunatics here.

    So I suppose I’m asking, what kind of liberal were you that you associate with these lunatics? That you attract them? Are you proud to have them as commenters, friends?

  74. melior Says:

    “Neocon” — that means a hawk who won’t enlist, right?

  75. R. Stanton Scott Says:

    In 1972, The South Vietnam Government was in no way democratic, and could only marginally be considered a “government.” It was in fact never really popularly elected, and Ho Chi Minh was arguably more of a democrat than Diem.

    It is no more a “fact” that the genocide in Cambodia would not have happened had we stayed in Viet Nam than it is a “fact” that 9-11 would not have happened had Gore won the 2000 election. This is Harry Turtledove speculation that belongs in alternative history novels, not foreign policy debate.

    You are attempting to debate the history of the Viet Nam war with a trained historian who has studied the subject his entire adult life. It takes a special kind of anti-intellectualism to simply dismiss his arguments with a wave of a hand. Yes, when people study something for years at a time, they come to know something about what happened. Yes, we learn more over time and the most recent work probably contains the best information. This is especially true when it comes to history–it either happened or it didn’t, and new information surfaces constantly. I wouldn’t have to say this to anyone with a lick of sense. Besides, General Giap saying we could have won the war is not history–it is opinion.

    I am a retired combat soldier who deployed to a hostile fire zone. I think that our strategy for dealing with terrorism is counterproductive and foolish. I believe we should withdraw from Iraq immediately and refocus our resources on the real enemy before our military establishment is destroyed by the incompetent boobs running our government.

    By your logic, this makes me a defeatist traitor who hates America, and you are not shy about telling me so. Since I spent so much time in the mud training to kill for my country, this pisses me off more than just a little bit–especially when so many of you have not made this sacrifice.

    If you can make a logical case that the Bush Administration–which quite literally has done nothing right in six years except distort the electoral process by keeping poor people from voting–can effectively fight terrorism, then I’m all ears. But I can’t help but think that your support for this war has more to do with your Bush Worship Syndrome than your concern for Iraqi women and children. You argue for sacrificing American soldiers and treasure to stop genocide in Iraq, but where were you when the Serbs were killing Bosnians?

    Succumbing to Clinton Derangement Syndrome, I think.

  76. Lee Says:

    Ah, yes,
    Those evil geniuses. So smart, they knew EXACTLY which Dade County street intersections to park police cars to intimidate blacks from voting. Crunched the numbers and knew all they had to do was fuck over the voters of Franklin County, Ohio(and ONLY Franklin County).
    Yet, it never occurred to any of them to plant ONE weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, thus ensuring everlasting support of their contrived and unjust invasion.

    Baaah….ha…ha….ha….ha….

  77. stumbley Says:

    “You are attempting to debate the history of the Viet Nam war with a trained historian who has studied the subject his entire adult life.”

    Yo, RSS: Funny, I never heard “d” claim this at all. All I ever read was that he was “an historian who’s taught courses on the American war in Vietnam and the foreign policies of the cold war”. Now, Mike Bellesisles was “an historian” too, wasn’t he? As was Ward Churchill.

    And as a substitute teacher, I taught high school students about radio waves and electromagnetics…yet I wouldn’t call myself a “physicist.” I merely knew a little more than the students themselves. “d” has evidenced precious little understanding of the Vietnam conflict through his comments here…I wouldn’t say it bade well for his “training,” lifetime or otherwise.

    You claim to be a retired soldier, and that we should “refocus our resources on the real enemy”…who is, who, exactly?

  78. Lee Says:

    “You claim to be a retired soldier,..”
    And he obviously loathes being such, having been “trained to kill for my country”, as opposed to pride in “defending” her.

  79. november criminal Says:

    i always wondered what it would have been like had the internet existed in berlin circa 1919. now i know.

  80. R. Stanton Scott Says:

    Oh, well hell. A substitute radio wave teacher. I give. You must certainly know more Viet Nam war history than d and I put together. That you can name one historian that faked data cinches it.

    And Lee, I was in fact trained to kill for my country, and I am proud that I was good at it. Whether or not I regret it, at least I woke up one morning and signed on the dotted line. What have you done for your country besides paint your keyboard orange with Cheetos dust?

  81. Lee Says:

    Easy enough to make the same claim myself…
    But, since I’m not and you are…
    Your MOS?

  82. d Says:

    If by “precious little understanding of the Viet Nam conflict,” Stumbley, you mean “precious little interest in right-wing folklore,” then I suppose you’ve got me pegged. Obviously, the comments section of a blog is no place to defend my own credentials; you can assume I’m a fraud if that makes you happy. I really couldn’t be bothered.

  83. Lee Says:

    “the comments section of a blog is not place to defend my own credentials”

    Leftie-liar speak for: “I have no credentials to defend”.

  84. Sally Says:

    d: I really couldn’t be bothered.

    Contradicting himself, obviously, and lacking the wit to realize it. He thinks the comments section of a blog is a fine place to claim expertise he’s unable to demonstrate — he just doesn’t like having to defend those claims. Which is where the “fraud” comes in.

    As for poor old R. Stanton and his By your logic, this [believing we should cut and run from Iraq] makes me a defeatist traitor who hates America,… — no, sadly, it just makes you a fool. That, and your naive faith in anonymous commenters who claim they’ve taught history.

  85. stumbley Says:

    Geez, “cheeto dust” is the mot du jour of the trolls, today, isn’t it?

    Wouldn’t be related to Donkey Kong at all, would you, RSS?

  86. stumbley Says:

    Oh, and I named two “fake historians” (unless you count “d”, and he makes three). Admittedly, Churchill was ostensibly a “Native American Studies” prof, but he loved to plagiarize history….

  87. Ymarsakar Says:

    It takes a special kind of anti-intellectualism to simply dismiss his arguments with a wave of a hand.

    Psychological warfare doesn’t a give a damn what you think about arguments.

    Ho Chi Minh was arguably more of a democrat than Diem.

    That’s what people tell themselves in order to excuse the defeat in Vietnam.

    it either happened or it didn’t

    Then there is the third option which says, “you don’t know what happened.”

    Besides, General Giap saying we could have won the war is not history–it is opinion.

    Thomas Jefferson’s letters and Washington’s personal words weren’t history, they were opinion…

    Primary sources are the only really reliable source of historical information. The only “historians” that would call primary sources “opinion” are propagandists. To propagandists, everything is an opinion. Some are just stronger than others.

    By your logic, this makes me a defeatist traitor who hates America

    By your logic, anyone that disagrees politically with you is calling you a traitor. Your logic sucks.

    except distort the electoral process by keeping poor people from voting

    What happened to your solidarity with veterans and military personnel? It was Gore that tried to invalidate military overseas votes, not Bush.

    with your Bush Worship Syndrome than your concern for Iraqi women and children.

    Another opinion coming from someone who has neither read Neo or my posts, nor could even if he wanted to.

    but where were you when the Serbs were killing Bosnians?

    About the same spot we are right now. They’re still killing, US troops are still there, etc. Heck, the UN being there guarantees some killing at least. US troops still in that area north of Greece from the CLinton days, but it is Iraq that is the diaster. Hah
    ***_____________
    It doesn’t matter what d’s credentials are. This ain’t no academic hearing over a doctorate thesis.

    no, sadly, it just makes you a fool.

    No, it doesn’t.

    and your naive faith in anonymous commenters who claim they’ve taught history.

    Given the state of American education, he probably has.

  88. Lee Says:

    Guess his MOS was “assmaster”.

  89. R. Stanton Scott Says:

    You guys are priceless. The best counter argument you have to the assertion that Ho was more of a democrat than Diem is to wave your hand and say, “that’s what people tell themselves?” He either was or he wasn’t. If you have evidence, present it.

    Ward Churchill is not a historian, does not pretend to be and therefore cannot be a fake one.

    Lee seems to think that I am falsely claiming military experience. I wonder how making further such claims will suddenly make him believe, but for what it’s worth I was a 19K–M1A1 tanks. Platoon sergeant and all that jazz. So what did you do in the war, Lee?

    Gore did not try to invalidate military absentee ballots–in fact he said that even those military absentee ballots that were technically invalid should be counted–even though he knew that most would go against him. It was Bush, in fact, that stood on technicalities to invalidate votes for Gore that were not perfectly cast.

    Of course, this is a waste of time. If a story does not fit your narrative, it cannot be true. d cannot be a real historian, because he disagrees with a bunch of sunny day patriots who cannot be bothered to “stand up next to you and defend her here today.” (Don’t worry–Lee Greenwood didn’t either.) Ho could not have sought to establish a democracy because that would mean you are all wrong about what happened in Southeast Asia. And I cannot be a former soldier because soldiers all fall to their knees to support the leader while he destroys the Army I love (they are recruiting gang members, for chrissakes!).

    Since you have a substitute radio wave teacher to tell your version, and you don’t mind slinging personal insults at soldiers who don’t buy your tale, you obviously win.

  90. John Protevi Says:

    Lee and Stumbey, your oppo-research skillz are lacking. If you want to check up on the credentials of “d,” here’s all you have to do: click on the highlighted “d” at the start of his posts. that takes you to a site. click again on the “d” on that site, upper left corner. that takes you to his profile page. you’ll find two other blogs there, which should give you lots of info.

    I’d like to second Dr. Zen’s questions to the blog proprietor. i’d be interested to know her take on grimmy’s “death or banishment” bit, for instance. i recognize she’s not responsible for the content of his comments. i’d just like to know where she stands on this issue: are people who advocate withdrawal from Iraq “defeatists” who “advocate the cause of the enemy,” and are thus subject to “death or banishment”?

  91. The Dukestir Says:

    Lee and Grimmy:
    Stop being defeatists. We already won the war by getting rid of Saddam. If we didn’t win, who did? You’re with us or against us logic may help you sleep at night but it is shallow and uninformed. There are more than two sides to the issue. There are at least the following positions:

    1) Start a draft and flood the country with US troops
    2) Precipitous withdrawal
    3) Withdrawal w/o timetables (at varying speeds lending itself to even more positions)
    4) Withdrawal with timetables
    5) Try to bring Syria and Iran into a diplomatic agreement concerning the country as proposed by the iraq Study Group
    6) Stay the course
    7) Surge II: Now with guarana
    8) Exit Iraq by moving into Iran
    9) Have a referendum and allow Iraq to democratically decide if we should stay or go; nevermind that’s crazy to allow a young democracy to make their own decisions, sorry i was being so silly

    I’m sure you will just dismiss this as lefty gobbledlygook but I figured I might as well get accused of treason to complete my week. Does seeing everything in black and white increase your sense of smell?

  92. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Just for the fun of it, relating to military ballots and the 2000 election, what Gore did or didn’t do is beside the point.
    The dems sent 300 lawyers to Florida to fight military ballots. C-Span had some extended footage of one –that I saw–arguing in some back country courthouse against counting military ballots.
    In fact, there was a federal court case on the subject which considered a large number of military ballots in dispute. It went moot when the election was decided without them. You don’t have a court case and a dispute without somebody trying to have them invalidated.
    Gore could say what he wanted to, or he could be said to have said what it would now be convenient for him to have said, and neither is relevant. There was an organized effort to fight military ballots.

  93. R. Stanton Scott Says:

    Not sure what you saw on CSPAN, Mr. Aubrey, but I do know that both Gore and Senate Majority Leader Mitchell said publicly that military absentee ballots should all be counted, whatever postmark and signature irregularities they may have had. While I expect that the Democratic Party send an army of lawyers similar to that of the Republican effort, I challenge you to show that 300 of them were devoted solely to challenging military ballots.

    There are two important things to keep in mind about this issue. One is that Florida law was pretty specific about its absentee voting procedure and the sorts of mistakes that would invalidate a ballot. One was postmark, probably on the grounds that it would be easy for someone to “stuff the ballot box” with absentee ballots if no evidence existed–such as a postmark–showing that the ballot had actually been delivered through the mail. Absentee ballots were also invalid if improperly filled out, and in some cases poll workers completed them–which sounds OK as long as they do so with all incomplete ballots, and not just those for a particular candidate.

    Certainly some democrats did challenge ballots that did not meet the standard of the law, and rightfully so, military or not. If no standards exist, then we could all just write our votes on cocktail napkins and mail them in. This raises the second point–Republicans were very swift to demand the law be ignored when it looked like it would help them.

    The bottom line is that my position on absentee ballots in Florida’s 2000 Presidential election has nothing to do with my solidarity with GIs. I was an NCO, and I am very comfortable with the notion that if some troop is too lazy or stupid to correctly send in his ballot it should not count–actions have consequences. Republicans were comfortable with this principle as well when the voters were “Jews for Buchanan.”

  94. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Scott. Anybody can say anything, seeming above the fray.
    But the challenges existed, they were mostlydone by out-of-state lawyers on the dems’ dime.
    And the cases, large and small, did exist.
    In other cases, Pennsylvania (Rendell) tried to screw the troops as did Washington state.

    Lazy troop is one thing, late pickup by the authorities is another.
    And to claim the dems are interested in standards for voting…. jeez.

  95. Ymarsakar Says:

    He either was or he wasn’t. If you have evidence, present it.

    He either was or he wasn’t? This is your idea of deception and intrigue? No wonder you have no idea that evidence has little place in psychological warfare. The only evidence that matters is whether a specific attack has shredded the mental defenses of the target.

    are people who advocate withdrawal from Iraq “defeatists” who “advocate the cause of the enemy,” and are thus subject to “death or banishment”?

    Scott Thomas Beau.

    Grim Beorn listed the legal requirements for treason, or at least mutiny in the armed forces.

    We already won the war by getting rid of Saddam. If we didn’t win, who did?

    Like Yglesias said, we didn’t go to war in Iraq to oust Saddam or WMDs or whatever. And he is right.

    shallow and uninformed

    You can’t change how humans are by calling people shallow or uninformed. humans will still be humans, regardless of how much you may wish to change this.

    Does seeing everything in black and white increase your sense of smell?

    You do understand that white is the composition of all the other colors in the rainbow right? Having sides to an issue doesn’t mean you divide up what is the Light and the Dark, and say you got more than two sides. You don’t.

    Leader Mitchell said publicly that military absentee ballots should all be counted

    By all means, believe the public persona.

  96. John Protevi Says:

    Ymarsakar, my question was addressed to the owner of the blog. I’m not asking the “legal requirements” of treason, I’m asking her whether she thinks advocating withdrawal from Iraq is treason. Perhaps a more precise way of putting the question, which you might also want to answer, is: “should advocating withdrawal from Iraq result in prosecution for treason?” I phrase it this way since I’m assuming neither Grim nor you advocate doing away with trials for treason. Please tell me if I’m mistaken in that assumption.

  97. Lee Says:

    Ever notice how those from the left who “served” were tankers?
    Maybe he could tell us the difference between APCR and APDS.
    But what do I know, I was 4-F. Caught HIV from a transfusion.

  98. Lee Says:

    With absentee ballots, it’s easy enough to trace the voter to the ballot submitted by the voter. But at the polling place, they check your eligibility to vote, then hand you a standard slip or card, since votes are supposed to be “annonymous”.
    How exactly did they figure specific Jewish people voted for Buchannan against their wishes?

  99. r4d20 Says:

    rd4 is an ally of d and is defending d. What else is there to say?

    Of course, because the last thing you want to do is think about how YOU spent 3 YEARS saying:

    “Iraq is doing just fine. We dont need more troops. There is no insurgency. The violence is just the last throes of dead enders and anyone who says otherwise is a defeatist who gives aid and comfort to the enemy. Iraqi is nothing like Vietnam. !!”

    You didn’t want to damn “anti-war” types any ammo so you denied we faced any problems lest they overhype the ones that did exist.

    But the problems got worse until you couldn’t deny them, so now you try to claim them for your own:

    “Iraq is in serious crisis. We can only stop it by adding a relatively paltry number of additional troops. The insurgency is an imminent threat to all Iraqis. The violence is endemic but if we leave it will only get worse and result in millions of deaths – just like in Vietnam!”

    Your fear of giving the anti-war movement even a little bit of ammo back then guaranteed that you gave them an entire arsenal now. It would be funny if many thousands of People – iraqi and American – hadn’t died while you spent 3 years pretended the problem didn’t exist.

    Just like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, you lied until no one would believe anything you said and THEN decided to tell the truth – and, just like with him, the blood that will be spilt is on YOUR hands and not those who stopped listening to your lies.

  100. r4d20 Says:

    The surge is creating an opportunity for peace.

    Bush and his supporters will find a way to squander this opportunity.

    I’m not anti-war.

    I don’t dislike Neocons because they start wars. I dislike Neocons because they cannot win them.

  101. liberalcharles Says:

    It would be wonderful if in Iraq we could mimic the post-WWII success in Japan. Wait a minute. Didn’t we pay an enormous price for that success? You know, WWII in the Pacific? Four hard years of brutal fighting, beginning with Japanese victories throughout the Pacific, eventually culminating in the destruction of the Japanese empire? Sound familiar? That defeat created the conditions that allowed for the great success that followed. Viewed through that lens, the current situation in Iraq bears little resemblance to post-WWII Japan.

  102. Ymarsakar Says:

    the current situation in Iraq bears little resemblance to post-WWII Japan.

    We have to thank you folks for having blunted the influence of the Total War party for both VIetnam and Iraq on this score. You have made a desert and called it peace, and I would like to congratulate you on this marvelous act of destruction and deceit.

  103. Ymarsakar Says:

    should advocating withdrawal from Iraq result in prosecution for treason?

    Don’t you think you need to define what treason is before you start talking about it?

  104. Ymarsakar Says:

    The actual rule of law requires some legal niceties to be drawn first, if trials are ever going to occur. If you don’t want trials, then don’t define treason legally.

  105. John Protevi Says:

    I’m sorry, Ymarsakar, but I don’t understand why you won’t answer my straightforward question, which you quote above at 8:12. I’m actually more interested in Neo-neocon’s answer, but if you’d like to answer it, please do. The question of treason was raised by Grim, by the way.

  106. neo-neocon Says:

    John Protevi:

    No, not treason. Acts must reach a very high standard of proof and seriousness to be defined as treason. Everything that undermines a war effort is certainly not treason, not by a long shot.

  107. stumbley Says:

    Say, John P:

    Did what you asked. Point taken. Still think he’s an idiot. Okay?

  108. John Protevi Says:

    Thank you for your answer, Neo-neocon. It seems the poll is now 1 for yes (Grim), 2 for no (you and me), 1 unclear (Ymarskar).

  109. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ymarsakar, but I don’t understand why you won’t answer my straightforward question

    Because I don’t know what your question concerns.

    Grim Beorn listed the legal requirements for treason, or at least mutiny in the armed forces.

    In case I wasn’t clear, he made the case that Scott Thomas had undermined his own forces in war time, which is a mutinous charge for court martial, rather than civilian justice.

    Since mutiny and treason are not the same things, I asked you to define one. In this case, it was treason. I am under no obligation to answer unclear questions which make it look like the originator doesn’t even know what he is asking.

    There are a lot of people advocating for withdrawal. Do you wish me to clear such people because of your question? Do you wish me to label those that are guilty that aren’t, because of your question? I will neither free the guilty nor imprison the innocent, simply because you wish an immediate answer.

  110. John Protevi Says:

    Ymarsakar, the person to whom I addressed the question (Neo-neocon) answered it simply and clearly at 10:00 p.m. last night. It’s really not a trick question, but as I really wanted to hear from her, not from you, we can leave it at that.

    FYI, though, “Grimmy” introduced the topic on this thread in talking to “d,” “r4d20,” “Fats,” and “Gus.” Those comments didn’t concern Beauchamp.

  111. Ymarsakar Says:

    I think in a sense, my views on diplomacy, negotiation, and intrigue does not allow me to assume that when a person asks me a question, that the meaning I take from it is the same meaning present in the one that asked the question.

    Nor am I politician to take a question and then start talking about it only in in relation to my views and interests.

    Answering a question that one does not fully understand was one of the easiest ways to get yourself killed in political intrigue, and not even Byzantine intrigue at that.

  112. Ymarsakar Says:

    Grimmy, is not Grim Beorn, though. So if you were talking about Grim as if he was Grimmy, then I just want you to know that I wasn’t.

  113. John Protevi Says:

    Well, maybe that was part of the problem. I was talking about Grimmy, though I used “Grim” as an abbreviation.

    As for your comment about intrigue, I can assure you that all my interlocutors run a very low risk of getting themselves killed in political intrigue while writing blog comments in response to my questions. It seems that Neo-neocon calculated that the risk was minimal enough that she dared a straightforward answer. If your calculations are different, I guess I’ll have to continue to list your position with regard to my question as “unclear,” as at 8:44 a.m. Should your risk calculations change and you want to remove that ambiguity by listing yourself in either the yes or no columns, I’ll check back on this thread periodically.

  114. Ymarsakar Says:

    Should your risk calculations change and you want to remove that ambiguity by listing yourself in either the yes or no columns

    That’s in your hands, not mine.

  115. John Protevi Says:

    Your risk calculations are in my hands? Doesn’t sound prudent to me.

  116. Ymarsakar Says:

    Whether they change or not is in your hands. Obviously I wouldn’t rest the calculation of risk in your hands, though I have to recognize that you might hold information vital to those calculations.

  117. John Protevi Says:

    What more “information” can I provide? As one can’t prove a negative, I can’t prove that I haven’t killed any blog interlocutors in political intrigue. You could try googling my name to see if it’s come up in any political intrigue blog killings, but the negative results there would just be evidence in an inductive argument. You might after all, Ymarsakar, be the fabled black swan that has haunted the imagination of many a Philosophy 101 student.

  118. Ymarsakar Says:

    What more “information” can I provide?

    I asked you to define treason. That is what you were asking about, wasn’t it? Don’t you think that if you wish to ask a question about who and what concerning treason, that you might need to define the word and what you mean by it? I asked before and you evaded. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about now.

  119. John Protevi Says:

    Now I’m the one who’s evading! This is really some comedy gold. Please don’t ever change, Ymarsakar! You might get killed by my fearsome powers in political intrigue, which work even through blog comments.

  120. John Protevi Says:

    Look, I’ll have pity on you Ymarsakar, as it’s really unbecoming to continue to make fun of you. Don’t you really see that it’s not my definition of treason that’s important, but that of the Constitution?

    Article III, Section 3: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    So, I’ll repeat the question that Neo-neocon had no problem in answering: should advocating withdrawal from Iraq result in prosecution for treason?

  121. Ymarsakar Says:

    Don’t you really see that it’s not my definition of treason that’s important, but that of the Constitution?

    You don’t have a definiton of treason because you are playing games. And because I won’t play my part in your game, you get hysterical.

  122. Ymarsakar Says:

    You might get killed by my fearsome powers in political intrigue, which work even through blog comments.

    That is just the thing. They don’t work. You are transparent. Didn’t you ever wonder why I refused to play along with your attempts at subterfuge here?

    My RSS feed has other material for me to check. I’ll see you later when you acquire a grip on yourself. You will get the attention you so crave, just not now. Soon, though.

  123. Jason D Says:

    John;

    “Advocating withdrawal from Iraq” is not a basis for trial for treason. Publicly undermining faith in elected officials and the U.S. military, while attempting to establish empathy with, or apathy toward, the enemy, is.
    Therefore, a letter to your congressmen discussing poor war policy is acceptable; as are petitions. Even demonstrations against the war focusing on bad policy or public safety are acceptable.

    Calling the POTUS an idiot, or comparing him to Hitler (usually done by Socialists–SOCIALISTS!!); denegrating the military as juveniles or dupes; disregarding the international scale of the current conflict, etc.; any of these–done publicly to undermine the public confidence during time of war–does indeed constitute treason. People who engage in such acts should be brought to justice. A

  124. John Protevi Says:

    Jason D, if you have evidence that acts of treason such as you describe have been committed, then you should definitely contact the nearest federal law enforcement agent. Please let us know the response.

    Ymarsakar, I don’t have a definition of treason because there is no such thing as a private definition of a legal term. Do you have your own definition of “murder”? How about of “Louisiana RS 14.34.5.1. Battery of a bus operator”? What if your definition differs from that of the state of Louisiana? What then?

    As far as hysteria goes, I’ve gone way beyond that, all the way to ROFLMAO.

  125. Jason D Says:

    I see that your grasp of law enforcement is as feeble as your grasp of politics. Allow a former LE agent to educate you: police have better things to do–especially at this moment in history–than round up thousand of individuals who are too numerous to execute, too stupid to learn anything from imprisonment, and can’t be deported any more effectively than the illegal aliens we’re already impossibly bogged with.
    Not to mention that they’d immediately receive the full support of the American Communist Liberties Union, anyway. The fact that treason is too popular to effectively police does not change the fact that it is treason.

  126. John Protevi Says:

    Jason D, let me get this straight: in your opinion we’re living in a republic in which treason, like say jaywalking or adultery, is too popular to prosecute? It’s not that you have too low a barrier for what constitutes treason*, it’s that the number of your treasonous co-citizens overwhelms the power of law enforcement? Do I have that straight? Because I want to repeat the story of my encounter with you sometime, and I want to make sure I’m not hallucinating.

    *Ymarsakar, note the difference between defining treason and identifying behaviors which meet the already-established public definition. Jason D is doing the latter.

  127. John Protevi Says:

    Follow up. Jason D, you in fact have no idea where my “politics” lie. I’ve made no substantive claims on this thread whatsoever. I’m merely asking questions to gauge the opinions of the blog owner and commenters. “Purely for sociological reasons,” as the saying goes.

  128. Ymarsakar Says:

    Do you have any original idea in your head Protevi, or are you simply a mirror of what real people think?

  129. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’ve made no substantive claims on this thread whatsoever.

    Thank God for that. It helps to avoid State Department leaks.

  130. John Protevi Says:

    You’ve outed me, Ymarsakar: I’m really an important State Department official doing a top secret political intrigue blog operation designed to identify your weaknesses. So far you’ve foiled me, but my endurance is legendary! You’ll slip up sooner or later, and as soon as you answer my trick treason question, as the foolish Neo-neocon and Jason D. have so naively done, then we’ll have you right where we want you. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

  131. Ymarsakar Says:

    You do have something original to say, if not substantive. Bravo on your performance.

  132. John Protevi Says:

    Thank you, Ymarsakar. You’ve amused me highly; it’s only right that I return the favor.

  133. Jason D Says:

    John Petrovi:

    That’s correct. As an exempli gratia, John Kerry treated with foreign powers as a private citizen (the North Vietnamese, in Paris)(powers which, had war been declared, would have been the enemy), participated in a serious discussion of the possibility of assassinating the President (with the leadership of VVAW), admitted to committing war crimes as an officer of the Navy (in the Winter Soldier Trials), and acted contrary to the good order and discipline of the Armed Forces (calling a press conference to throw away his medals).
    When “Hanoi John” is in prison where he belongs, we can get started on those who parrot him–most of whom I believe are committing treason through ignorance and the inherent group-think of socialism, rather than Kerry’s willful malice.

    As for your politics… sure I don’t.

  134. Jason D Says:

    Sorry–”exemplus gratium.” My Latin is rusty.

  135. John Protevi Says:

    Jason D, there’s no way you can tell I’m not a Giuliani supporter who wants to make sure his fellow security conscious Americans aren’t making fools of themselves on blogs and giving liberals the chance to laugh at them.

  136. Jason D Says:

    Nonsense. If you were trying to protect your “fellow security conscious Americans” from “making fools of themselves on blogs and giving liberals a chance to laugh at them,” then you wouldn’t be attempting humor in publicly-visible rebuttals.

    Any other argument by selective reading you wish to perform, or shall we return to point?

  137. Jason D Says:

    And, since you’ve called my deductive faculties to question, I can read your blog from the link in your username. Making any progress toward full professorship?

  138. John Protevi Says:

    Curses, that danged link to my blog! I wish I hadn’t instructed Lee and Stumbey how to do oppo-research in my first comment here: http://neoneocon.com/2007/08/22/bush-and-kerry-just-whos-being-irresponsible-about-iraq-and-vietnam/#comment-40520

    Now that you’ve told them how, anyone can do the same, saving them the trouble of googling my name, and revealing the shame of my lowly post.

    But by all means, let’s return to point. It must be terribly frustrating for you to be surrounded by traitors, and yet have no one willing to follow your lead, not even Neo-neocon. But someday I’m sure a grateful nation will read your blog posts and recognize you for the lonely voice in the wilderness that could have saved us from the great treason tidal wave of 2007. Prophets are indeed without honor in their homeland!

  139. John Protevi Says:

    Jason D, I just visited your blog, and I want to say this with all sincerity: thank you for your service to our republic and for your continued work for the common good. We differ as to what constitutes treason, and while I mock your opinions, which I find both ludicrous and dangerous, that has nothing to do with my respect for your service. My father was a veteran of combat in WWII (USN) and Korea (USMC) as well as a life-long liberal Democrat. He passed along both his politics and his respect for the service.

  140. Jason D Says:

    I’m sorry, did you just take a shot at me for pointing out that you’d already made a post explaining how to get the information you then told me I couldn’t possibly get?

    That particular intellectual debacle aside, your bizarre combination needling, straw man argument, and argument by poetic language has clearly indicated your lack of ability to either continue this discussiom, or to argue cohesively at all–and therefore the end of my interest in this conversation with you. A Dieu.

  141. John Protevi Says:

    No, I was making fun of you for “discovering” how to get to my blog, as if clicking on a highlighted name wasn’t the simplest thing in the world.

    You’re right that I was mocking your extreme positions. I was hoping to get you to take a step back and realize just how extreme they are: for instance, calling the President an idiot constitutes treason. I don’t think you’d be able to get even a tenth of a percent of the population to agree with that.

    Anyway, if you’d still like to discuss, I promise to drop the humor and write straightforwardly and sincerely from now on, as I did in my 12:36 comment.

  142. Jason D Says:

    And you are most welcome. As much as I disliked my stay in Louisiana a few years ago, I could never fault their appreciation of the military.

  143. Jason D Says:

    Very well!

    Perhaps my original post was poorly worded. I did not mean to state that “calling the president an idiot” was, in itself, an act of treason. Let me re-post the definition of treason from the U. S. Code:

    “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason…”

    Given this definition, then, during time of *war* it is treasonous to traduce the Commander-in-Chief so as to undermine confidence in the government and the military, and to create a sense of sympathy for our adversaries as some sort of “victim.” I cannot imagine greater “aid or comfort” a civilian in CONUS could give al’Qaeda in Iraq than destroying public confidence in the Armed Forces and their mission.
    Although less violent, it has far larger consequence than actually sabotaging domestic military installations.

  144. John Protevi Says:

    Jason D, thanks for responding so generously. I appreciate it, and gladly accept your clarification as to your first post.

    There are several things to say about your current post:

    1. “time of war.” the US hasn’t declared war since June 5, 1942, against Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary (I thought it was the Dec 11, 1941 declaration against Italy and Germany, but a quick visit to Wikipedia showed the other date.) The conflict in Iraq is undertaken via the AUMF of October 2002. Since the most important of the goals and grounds for that AUMF have been met (removal of Saddam Hussein) or proven false (WMD, 9/11 connection), you could argue that the Iraq conflict is many things, but it isn’t “war” in the relevant Constitutional sense.

    2. Following up on that, you could say that the phrase “war on terror” has no more legal standing than the phrase “war on drugs.” It’s nothing more than a PR slogan used by certain politicians. Since undermining public confidence in the war on drugs can’t really be treason, I’m not sure that calling into question the tactics of the “war on terror” should be either.

    3. AFAIK, many reputable security analysts say that “Al Qaeda in Iraq” is an independent group with virtually no real concrete relations with OBL. It has adopted that name for recruiting purposes in Iraq, but we make a big mistake by focusing on them rather than on the OBL’s group in Afghanistan / Pakistan.

    4. I don’t know anyone who wants to paint the ex-Baathist insurgents / religio-ethnic death squads / militias / tribal groups and so on in Iraq as “victims.” There are plenty of civilian deaths and casualties I think that term can be applied to, but certainly those guys who are killing each other and our troops are not victims.

    Let me put it this way. In my reading of the left-liberal scene to which I belong, it’s a very common position to say that Iraq is a mistake and that we need to extricate ourselves from there asap (of course, there’s lots of disagreement as to what that means) and concentrate on Afghanistan / Pakistan. (I would say that this is the Pat Tillman position, based on what I know about his views, as in the famous “this war is so fucking illegal” — meaning Iraq, not Afghanistan.) Not everyone agrees, but I think a solid majority think like that. I think that position falls squarely within the best tradition of vigorous American debate and is motivated by our shared desire to see that our republic thrive. To say that it constitutes treason strikes me as just plain wrong.

  145. Jason D Says:

    I will disagree with you on these points:

    1-The fact that weapons of mass destruction were not found does not mean that weapons of mass destruction were never present. Given the fact that Iraq used WMD against Kuwait in the previous decade, that cataloguing their destruction would have lifted heinous economic sanctions against his country, and that the borders of Iraq were never closed, I still find no prudent reason to doubt that they existed. And probably do still–in Syria.
    2-Al’Qaeda is by nature a non-heirarchical organization. It is identified by ideology, not by chain-of-command; lack of contact with bin Laden does not invalidate nor render less dangerous any group self-identified as al’Qaeda.
    3-I know lots of people who would label such groups victims, on the assumption that, despite the fact that we have twice defeated the Iraqi military, left the oil both times, and even assisted in setting up a democratic, representative government to ensure the fair use of the Iraqi oil fields, we are still somehow there on an imperialistic oil-grab.

    Your point in number 2 is well-made, however; I believe that I have, in fact, over-stated my position.

  146. John Protevi Says:

    Jason, thanks for writing.

    1. Even if there were WMD in Iraq, they aren’t there any longer, and as one of the main goals of the AUMF was to remove the threat of them, then you could say the AUMF is outdated and either we need a new one, or we should just say we’ve done what we set out to do, and leave (at the right time, whenever that is). So I’m not arguing here that the AUMF shouldn’t have been passed (I don’t think it should have been, but that’s not what I’m arguing here); I’m arguing that we’ve fulfilled the AUMF’s goals and that it is no longer a useful document as justification for continuing in Iraq.

    2. I’m not sure we should take the PR of that group so seriously as to justify a big troop commitment in Iraq at the cost of the Afghanistan / Pakistan theatre. They talk a big game, but do they really pose the threat that OBL does?

    3. The Iraq conflict has many factors; I think it only reasonable to say oil is one of those factors. How the Iraqi Parliament oil bill was drafted, and who would benefit it it ever passes, is pretty complex. I found this article pretty useful on the subject.

  147. John Protevi Says:

    Follow up. Two links re: the Iraq oil bill. I don’t know much about the sources; it’s just they come up quickly in a Google search. However, they do make straightforward substantive claims:

    http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news578.htm

    http://www.basraoilunion.org/

  148. Jason D Says:

    1. I have not reviewed the current authorization. Per your interpretation, I agree that a new authorization should be drafted to continue action in Iraq.
    2. As we have proposed that the current AUMF is out-dated, I would further propose that Al’Qaeda is no longer the primary motivation for continuing presence in Iraq. Rather, we should strive to assist in establishing a strong, democratic Muslim democracy to serve as catalyst for change in the area. Al’Qaeda is simply the most identifiable threat to our interests there.
    3. I agree that there were economic considerations involved in the conflict. I’m simply stating that there is a wide gulf between “economics were a consideration” and “we’re paying blood for oil.”

    Also, upon further consideration: while I concede that we are not at war de jure, it would be difficult to argue that we are not at war de facto. Thus, while individuals aiding our enemies politically may not be subject to prosecution by the letter of the law, I see them as no less treasonous by its spirit.

  149. John Protevi Says:

    Your #2 is the “nation-building” argument. There’s a lot to be said there in the “realist” vs “idealist” argument. G H W Bush could be said to have adopted a realist position in refusing to move on to Baghdad in 1991, settling for an improvement in the balance of power resulting from a constrained Saddam Hussein. The idealist or “Wilsonian” position of G W Bush as nation-builder for the sake of setting an example departs from that, obviously. Idealists tend to say the insufficiency of the realist position was exposed by 9/11. Conversely, the realists tend to say the insufficiency of the idealist position is shown by the current Iraq situation. (BTW, as I’m sure you know, the realist vs idealist split doesn’t map onto the left vs right split. There are plenty of conservative realists and not a few liberal interventionists — and vice versa.)

    About the last point, I’d say it’s important to be precise about the legal situation, and it’s important to be cautious in making laws, which is why I’m disappointed in the MCA Act of 2006 and the FISA Act of 2007 — again, these are positions that are shared by many conservatives, who hold that limitation of the power of the executive is an extremely important American value, something with which I agree.

    About being at war de facto, sure, in one sense we’re at war with OBL. But he’s a non-state actor and it really stretches the post-Westphalian notion of war, which is state centered, to say there is a war between a state and a non-state actor. Martin van Creveld has a lot to say on this subject in The Transformation of War and other books and article. I also like John Robb’s analysis of 4GW at his blog: http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/. And of course William Lind needs to be paid attention to: http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,146707,00.html

  150. Jason D Says:

    I agree with the text of your first paragraph. Japan, South Korea and Germany all stand as testament to the power and utility of American nation-building; SE Asia is a testament to abandoning the field to our enemies.
    I also agree with text of your second paragraph; I have no interest in creating or expanding laws regarding treason. I simply submit that there are activities which, while falling outside of the legal definition of treason, are nonetheless treasonous in character. They will not be prosecuted, but they can certainly be despised. Similarly, PETA members despise me because I eat meat; they consider it murder, although it is not legally defined as such (I’m not a cannibal).
    The Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648; I submit that if our AUMF is out-dated, then PoW is more so.

    Also, I would point out, regarding an earlier post on your part, that the statements “going to Iraq was a mistake” and “we must get out ASAP” have no causal connection. Battle is subject to many ever-changing influences, and while decisions on the battlefield may be informed by history, they cannot be dictated by it. That being said, many thought that our involvement in WWII was a mistake, and history shows us that the benefits of staying the course are matched only by the detriments of failing to do so.

  151. Ymarsakar Says:

    Incredible. Protevi has come out of the shell of blather and being a court jester.

    Jason D Says:
    August 29th, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Very well!

    Perhaps my original post was poorly worded. I did not mean to state that “calling the president an idiot” was, in itself, an act of treason. Let me re-post the definition of treason from the U. S. Code:

    “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason…”

    Given this definition, then, during time of *war* it is treasonous to traduce the Commander-in-Chief

    And it all starts off with definitions. And being slapped in the face by the USMC of course.

  152. John Protevi Says:

    Jason, the aim of nation-building is indeed both good and possible in some cases. The question is whether it is good in Iraq and whether it is possible. You could say yes to the first part but no to the second part.

    You have a good point about not looking backward in Iraq but forward. Whatever we think about the 2002 AUMF, we are there now, and what we should do is a big challenge to our republic. (I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t discuss the 2002 AUMF and how it was arrived at; we — as a community, not necessarily you and me here and now — should discuss it as a lesson for future conflicts.)

    As with the nation-building case, I’m not sure about the analogy between the so-called GWOT and WWII, but that’s a big issue, for which the 4GW rubric is shorthand. In other words, I think it was my point that Westphalian notions of war are outdated; that’s why Creveld, Robb and Lind are important thinkers, AND why the GWOT / WWII analogy is suspect.

    Ymarsakar, what’s not incredible is that a visit to Jason’s website convinced me he was an interlocutor who deserves better than mockery. Your continuing inability to grasp that neither Jason, nor I, nor you, nor any private individual has a “definition” of treason, hasn’t yet convinced convinced me of that concerning you.

    But being of good cheer and good patience, I’ll repeat the point I’ve made several times already. My citing the US Constitution, or Jason citing the US Code, is NOT providing “my” (or “his”) “definition” of treason. It’s citing the public, binding, definition. The discussion Jason and I had was about which acts meet that definition, not what the definition is. Of that latter point there cannot — by definition :) — be any argument.

    Thus, your waiting until I produced “my” definition of treason only showed that you don’t know the first thing about law. I thought I would make that point first by ridicule, by asking for “your” definition of murder, or battery of a bus operator, but I guess I wasn’t sarcastic enough.

    Anyway, if you want me to discuss with you the way I’m engaging in my useful and interesting discussion with Jason, I think you know what that would entail.

  153. Jason D Says:

    You *could* say that nation-building is impossible in Iraq, but it wouldn’t make much sense. We have been building the nation for some time; improving infrastructure and building relationships. The major hurdle is interference from outside organizations; primarily Iran. If we want to build Iraq more quickly, we need to truly go to war–consolidate fronts, call in allies, form alliances with pro-democratic indigenous people.
    A democratic Iraq is still possible without that measure; it will just take longer.
    An analogy between GWOT and WWII is inherently flawed. An analogy between *aspects* of GWOT and WWII can be legitimately drawn. For example, when discussing nation-building, we can look at the historical examples of American nation-building. When discussing the consequences of a war provoked by attack on our homeland and met by split public opinion, it is useful to examine an example of a war provoked by an attack on our homeland and met by split public opinion.

  154. Jason D Says:

    And while you could bring the argument that Iraq wasn’t involved in 9/11, Germany wasn’t involved in Pearl Harbor, either.

  155. Jason D Says:

    I just read Lind’s article. First, let me say that I am skeptical of any military strategy written by someone with no military experience–this seems a bit like learning to make movies by talking to a movie critic, rather than an established director.
    That said, I disagree with Lind’s analysis that the liquid alliance of the local Sunnis is an artifact of fourth-generational warfare. It is an artifact of thousands of years of nomadic tribalism; it is something that can be unlearned by observing the example of a better alternative.
    As for his analysis of dishonesty in the military–it is at best a (once again) lack of military experience, or worse a condescending generalization.

  156. Jason D Says:

    As for Robb, I think I wait for analyses of postnationalist warfare once postnationalism becomes an imminent threat. It certainly doesn’t apply to Iraqi tribes, who are if anything pre-national, and certainly not in “urban archipelagos.”

  157. John Protevi Says:

    My understanding is that while there was a lot of isolationist resistance — if not downright German / fascist sympathy — to entering WWII prior to Pearl Harbor, that public opinion quickly and overwhelmingly favored engagement after Dec 41. The analogy with current affairs would then be somewhat backward: there was (and is, I think) strong support for the Afghanistan campaign due to the Taliban / Afghanistan / OBL / 9-11 connection. With regard to Iraq in 2002 / 2003, however, there was indeed split public opinion, and even a good bit if not most of the support for the war was couched in terms of requiring us to wait for UN weapons inspectors to finish their work.

    AFAIK, Lind has a very good reputation with military people, having co-authored the very important “Changing Face of War” article with 4 military officers: http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/4th_gen_war_gazette.htm. Evincing a little healthy skepticism as to the political pressures surrounding Gen Petraeus’ report isn’t equal to Lind’s imputing “dishonesty” to him I don’t think.

    As for Robb, I think he’d be perfectly happy to accept your notion of Iraqi tribes as pre-national. I think he’d say that it’s exactly in the “post-state” world that pre-national social groups can surface and become effective actors.

  158. Jason D Says:

    I was referring specifically to this paragraph from Lind’s essay:

    “It is the latter possibility that is troubling, because it is the norm, not the exception. As American military officers gain rank, they soon learn that the absolute worst political sin is “committing truth.” Any time they say something that contradicts what is coming out of the White House or the Office of the Secretary of Defense, they find themselves in very hot water. If they persist in the annoying practice, they discover they do not quality for senior commands.”
    —–
    The resistance to our involvement in WWII is still not widely known; evidence continues to be uncovered. It was a movement among, not surprisingly, the well-to-do intelligentsia, who felt that war was barbaric and we should not become involved in the struggles of foreigners. I am not certain whether these were true NAZI sympathizers, or simply branded so by those who could not fathom not standing against such monumental evil.
    At post what, 157?, I think we’ve probably derailed our host’s thread enough. Thank you for an interesting discussion; I feel certain that a similar topic will be raised again.

  159. neo-neocon Says:

    Jason D: About WWII, you might want to take a look at this post of mine.

  160. John Protevi Says:

    Thank you as well, Jason, for a very interesting discussion.

    Neo-neocon, thank you for that link. My admittedly under-researched understanding is that, post Pearl Harbor, the isolationist resistance melted away leaving the anti-war sentiment very limited, comprising a hard core of (a) fascist German sympathizers and (b) principled pacifists, of either religious or philosophical persuasion. That there were some intellectual poseurs involved too is plausible, though I’d like to see studies rather than anecdotes from memoirs.

    AFAIK, the pre-Pearl Harbor isolationists were of several and sometimes overlapping flavors:

    1. some were Republicans possessed of a visceral hatred of the class traitor Roosevelt — Roosevelt Derangement Syndrome, if you like :)

    2. some of were motivated by genuine war fatigue after the slaughter of WWI

    3. some were motivated by a fairly traditional American dislike for entanglement with what was seen as a European squabble — all this, of course, long before any revelation of the Final Solution and hence without the benefit of hindsight as to the true depths of Nazi evil.

    I don’t really see the analogy with 2002 / 2003 resistance to the current Iraq war. Many of us who didn’t want that war wanted instead to concentrate on Afghanistan. I don’t see, to be precise, in my daily contact with my left-liberal friends, any sympathy for Al Qaeda (the so-called Al Qaeda in Iraq group or the real Al Qaeda of OBL in Afghanistan / Pakistan) analogous to the fascist sympathy in the US during the 1930s and into the early days of WWII. Maybe there are such people (though of those sorts of things I’ve seen, it’s more like support for the “Iraqi resistance,” which isn’t at all support for OBL, I don’t think), but I can assure you that I’ve never met anyone like that in my daily life at LSU or at any of the many academic conferences I attend.

  161. Lee Says:

    John covered all the pre-Pearl Harbor anti-war groups but the largest: the Communists who became war hawks on June 22, 1941, the day Hitler violated the Nazi/Soviet non-aggression pact.

  162. John Protevi Says:

    Thank you for that addition, Lee. You’re exactly right about the timing, though I don’t know about the “largest” bit. The extent of American fascism in the 1930s was pretty big, though scattered in all sorts of groups. As was of course the CPUSA and other Communist groups. Do you know of any good studies as to the comparative size of the groups?

  163. Lee Says:

    Studies, no. One could check voter registrations of the time, however, as an indicator.
    It should also be noted that “facists” were not necessarily supporters of “national socialists”, although Hitler and Mussolini formed an alliance.

  164. John Protevi Says:

    Hi Lee, I’m not sure about voter rolls. One could have had strong fascist leanings and still registered and voted in the 1930s according to local interests I would imagine. But I’m no historian; I’m just relying on general impressions from basic reading.

    You are exactly correct about the distinction between fascism and national socialism. The former was / is much more widespread, though as you note, there were alliances and sympathies between the Nazis and Iberian fascism, for instance.

    Although I guess you can determine who was a member of the NDSAP in Germany (or the Bund, here in the US) with precision, there were others with national socialist leanings who never joined the party. I think that’s even more the case for fascism, which is a looser ideological position, with no sharp line distinguishing it at the margin from shading off into varieties of authoritarianism.

    The same, of course, needs to be said about the CPUSA and its splinter groups, and about the distinction between communism and socialism.

    My general impression is that the economic disruption of the 1930s drove many people to embrace extreme political positions. One common story is that FDR’s creation of a “safety net” saved us from even more turmoil, or even in extreme versions of the story, from revolution / civil war. In any event, the 1930s deserve close historical attention, that’s for sure.

  165. John Protevi Says:

    That’s NSDAP, of course. D’oh!

  166. Lee Says:

    Just making sure we all understand the terms used here. Hitler was not a facist, he was a socialist.
    I’m willing to bet, though, more made the leap to be actually registered as “communist” or “socialist” as opposed to “facist” or “nazi”.
    Most in the Bund movement(like most everyone in this country) had not read Mein Kampf at the time, or supported Hitler per se, but merely supporting resurgent “German Nationalism”. This faded more and more as Hitler’s true nature became known.
    The Depression gave rise to more sympathy for “workers’ ideologies” than for “corporate state” ideologies, as big business was blamed for it.
    And with the blip of Soviet Russia being under direct attack, since Karl Marx all western “anti-war” movements were communist inspired, whether war was considered “just” or “unjust”.

  167. Jason D Says:

    I’ve been looking in to the 2002 AUMF. To the best of my ability to interpret, it does indeed constitute a legal declaration of war. As Dale Frank posts (http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=3131):

    “…if an act of Congress is called “The Omnibus Act to Provide Fuzzy Kitties for the Precious, Precious Foreign Children”, but it authorizes the president to send the military forces of the United States to a invade a foreign country, defeat it’s military, overthrow its government, and occupy its territory, then Congress has, in fact, passed a declaration of war, no matter how they may wish to publicly characterize it.”

    Therefore, we are actually, legally at war. Further, section 3 of the authorization specifically determines that the President may use the Armed Forces as he sees fit “to defend the national security against the continuing threat of Iraq.” *Not* against the continuing threat of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

  168. John Protevi Says:

    Hi Jason, it seems to me that if Congress wanted to declare war, it would do so, using the mechanisms set out in the Constitution, and that were used up until 1942. I don’t know why the legislative branch of our government has switched to passing various acts authorizing the president to use military force rather than declaring war; it would take a long book to discuss all the various reasons I would think.

    Lee, Hitler was not a “socialist”; rather, he was a “national socialist.” I’m happy if you want to associate Hitler and Stalin as totalitarians, but associating Hitler and, say, Norman Thomas, seems a bit much, doesn’t it?

  169. Jason D Says:

    As to the mechanisms laid out in the Constitution, here is the entire text of the U. S. Constitution as regards to the declaration of war:

    “Section 8. Congress shall have the power… To declare war…”
    (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.articlei.html#section8)

    The only difference between an “Authorization to Use Military Force” and a “Declaration of War” is the PC nature of the title; exactly the same as the difference as a “civilian killed through military action” and “collateral damage.”

  170. John Protevi Says:

    There’s a lot to think about regarding the identity or not of an AUMF and a declaration of war. Is it just semantics, or is there a substantive legal difference? I don’t know. I’ll try to do a little research today in between other things I have to do and get back to you on what others better informed than me are saying of the issue.

  171. Jason D Says:

    The substantive legal debate seems to be that, as an war of aggression, the AUMF is a violation of the U. N. Charter. However, pre-emptive defensive wars *are* legal–and the U.N. had already authorized “all means necessary” to disarm Iraq:

    (http://www.un.org/News/dh/iraq/iraq-blue-e-110702-1198.pdf)

    Further, Congress has the power to pass acts nullifying previous acts and treaties; see Whitney vs. Robertson (8th paragraph down, “…Congress may modify such provisions, so far as they bind the United States, or supersede them altogether.”):

    (http://supreme.justia.com/us/124/190/case.html)

  172. Jason D Says:

    Here’s a better link to UNR 1441:

    http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/15016.htm

  173. John Protevi Says:

    Gotta run, but AG Gonzales said this in testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee, Feb 6, 2006:

    GONZALES: There was not a war declaration, either in connection with Al Qaida or in Iraq. It was an authorization to use military force.

    I only want to clarify that, because there are implications. Obviously, when you talk about a war declaration, you’re possibly talking about affecting treaties, diplomatic relations. And so there is a distinction in law and in practice. And we’re not talking about a war declaration. This is an authorization only to use military force.

    Transcript here: http://tinyurl.com/cr64m

    More later. JP

  174. Jason D Says:

    By all means, take your time.

    I hate to be simply dismissive, but the Attorney General has no say in declaration or conduct of war; his interpretation–thrown out as an afterthought while being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committe–is simply irrelevant.

  175. Lee Says:

    Boy, John, you sure seem confused. On the one hand, you had no problem associating national socialists with facists. On the other, you seem squeamish linking national socialists with socialists. The only difference between Hitler and Thomas are the methods they are willing to use to achieve their similar goels

  176. John Protevi Says:

    Jason, how about the DOJ memorandum of January 19, 2006? The context is FISA. http://tinyurl.com/yt4u77

    The contrary interpretation of section 111 also ignores the important differences between a formal declaration of war and a resolution such as the AUMF. As a historical matter, a formal declaration of war was no longer than a sentence, and thus Congress would not expect a declaration of war to outline the extent to which Congress authorized the President to engage in various incidents of waging war. Authorizations for the use of military force, by contrast, are typically more detailed and are made for the specific purpose of reciting the manner in which Congress has authorized the President to act. Thus, Congress could reasonably expect that an authorization for the use of military force would address the issue of wartime surveillance, while a declaration of war would not. Here, the AUMF declares that the Nation faces “an unusual and extraordinary threat,” acknowledges that “the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States,” and provides that the President is authorized “to use all necessary and appropriate force” against those “he determines” are linked to the September 11th attacks. AUMF pmbl., § 2. This sweeping language goes far beyond the bare terms of a declaration of war. Compare, e.g., Act of Apr. 25, 1898, ch. 189, 30 Stat. 364 (“First. That war be, and the same is hereby declared to exist . . . between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain.”).

    Although legislation that has included a declaration of war has often also included an authorization of the President to use force, these provisions are separate and need not be combined in a single statute. See, e.g., id. (“Second. That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several states, to such extent as may be necessary to carry this Act into effect.”) (emphasis added). Moreover, declarations of war have legal significance independent of any additional authorization of force that might follow. See, e.g., Louis Henkin, Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Constitution 75 (2d ed. 1996) (explaining that a formal state of war has various legal effects, such as terminating diplomatic relations, and abrogating or suspending treaty obligations and international law rights and duties); see also id. at 370 n.65 (speculating that one reason to fight an undeclared war would be to “avoid the traditional consequences of declared war on relations with third nations or even . . . belligerents”).

    In addition, section 111 does not cover the vast majority of modern military conflicts. The last declared war was World War II. Indeed, the most recent conflict prior to the passage of FISA, Vietnam, was fought without a formal declaration of war.

    What all that means is another story. But I think it’s clear that in the FISA debate context of 2006 the official Bush Administration position was that the 2002 AUMF was not the same thing as a declaration of war.

    Lee, it’s a common shorthand to call the Nazis fascists, without noting the technical distinction between the two ideologies. It is by no means common to associate Nazis and run-of-the-mill democratic socialists like Norman Thomas and hundreds of other politicians — and millions of voters — in US and Western European history. I think the burden of proof here is on you.

  177. John Protevi Says:

    Follow up. Lee. I’m not so much associating Nazis and fascists, as noting that they themselves formed alliances, just as you noted above at 10:32 pm

  178. Jason D Says:

    From the same document ( http://tinyurl.com/yt4u77 ), emphasis added by me:
    Analysis, Section I, Subsection A, Paragraph 1:
    “This clause “constitutes an extraoridarily sweeping recognition of independent presidential constitutional power to employ the war power to combat terrorism.”"
    Analysis, Section I, Subsection A, Paragraph 2:
    “…the AUMF indicates Congress’s endorsement of the President’s use of his constitutional war powers…”
    “…with regards to these fundamental tools of warfare…”

    I’m only about a tenth of the way into the piece. It also references a Supreme Court ruling–Hamdi v. Rumseld (I didn’t copy the URL, but you can find it with Google), in which Hamdi’s status as an enemy combatant is upheld–meaning that we are at war with the forces he fought for. Even the dissenting opinions uphold our status at war (e.g., Justice Thomas “This detention falls squarely withing the Federal Government’s War Powers, and we lack the expertise and capacity to second-guess that decision.”

  179. Jason D Says:

    “Within”–sorry; no cut-and-paste for that one. :)

  180. Lee Says:

    And who, precisely, coined this “common shorthand” in the first place? Sure seems to me that Communist states refer to themselves as “socialist” states, like nazi Germany. The communists claimed to be the champions of the “workers’ paradise” of the proletariat, while the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party” strove for the same for “der volk”(People’s republic, if you will). So, how was Hitler’s “socialist” principles associated with the “Corporate state” ideals of facism?
    If, as you allude to, facism is a shorthand for “totalitarian regimes”, how does Lenin and Stalin, et.al. avoid the charge of “facist”? Conditioning, perhaps?
    “Facts” do not equate to “common misnomers”.

  181. Lee Says:

    “facist”? fascist.

  182. John Protevi Says:

    Hi Jason, it’s all very complicated legal maneuvering relative to FISA and the “theory of the unitary executive.” All I was trying to show is that the Bush Admin holds that there is a difference between the 2002 AUMF and a declaration of war. What that difference means, and whether it gives the president more powers or how it affects his inherent war powers, all that is pretty complicated. At this point I’m going to have to slow down as I have some projects with deadlines. But let me say I appreciated both the content of our discussion and the atmosphere of mutual respect within which it has been conducted.

    Lee, you’re playing word association games regarding “socialism” in order to associate the Nazis and the USSR, when a more productive approach is via the notion of totalitarian as destruction of the private sphere. You’re then ignoring the level of mutually recognized collective interest between the Nazis and the fascists — which you yourself previously recognized — in order to stay at the level of ideological distinction. Finally, there is the grotesque joke of trying — again on the same level of word association — to smear plain old everyday ordinary socialists like the PS in France or the pre-Blair Labor Party in Britain or Norman Thomas here at home — as somehow being akin to the Nazis. That’s not serious, nor is it honorable. And please, whatever you do, do not bring up Mitterand’s Vichy record. That would be something like the 400th time I’ve heard that.

  183. Lee Says:

    Perhaps it needs to be said for the 401st time for it to sink in…
    The question asked(and dodged) was who is responsible for linking “national socialism” to “fascism”, when the ideologies are diametrically opposed, as a “common shorthand”, while “communism”, “socialism”, and “national socialism”, who share ideologies, themes, and “nomenclature” are seen as “opposites”?
    My contention was “conditioning a misnomer”..
    Yours was aviodance and dismissiveness.

  184. Lee Says:

    And unlike your assertion, my only point was Hitler and Mussolini formed an alliance against common enemies, not that they shared common ideologies.

  185. John Protevi Says:

    Lee, I can’t believe you’re making me do this, but here goes.

    Among those who discuss both Italy and Germany under the common rubric of fascism is Michael Mann.

    Here’s the link to his recent book: http://tinyurl.com/2yofkg

    Here’s a review of it, in which Mann is described as “arguably the best-known British comparative historical sociologist of our times”: http://www.cjsonline.ca/reviews/fascists.html

    Here’s the link to his home page: http://www.soc.ucla.edu/faculty.php?lid=729&display_one=1

    Can I suggest you email him with your theories, and then come back and tell us of his reply?

  186. Lee Says:

    John,
    You mean “this” Michael Mann:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Mann_%28sociologist%29

    The socialist sociologist? Who has a dog in this ideological fight? Author of “The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing”?

    “That” Michael Mann? Why should I e-mail him, when you seem to parrot for him quite well?

  187. Lee Says:

    I particularly liked the part where the review of his book says he “bridges the gap between history and sociology”. In other words “revises” history to fit with sociology.

    You’ll have to do better than that, my friend.

  188. Lee Says:

    In Soviet usage (which has translated into modern Russian usage), the epithet fascist is synonymous with Nazi Germans. This came to be only after Hitler’s invasion of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Several historians, such as Valery Senderov, have claimed that Stalin created the “fascist” epithet for Nazi Germans, because he did not want to use the term Nazi, fearing it would cast a negative spin on the word socialism (National Socialism).

    Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

    By the way, John, you can find support for your side there, as well.

  189. Lee Says:

    Now, why would a “communist”(Stalin) fear a negative connotation to the word “socialism”?

    Hmmmmm……

  190. Jason D Says:

    John-

    The default position in the article you linked to earlier, and according to other resources I have which are not available on the internet, are that an “AUMF” is simply a limited form of a “declaration of war.” Rather than saying (as they should), “We’re at war; go kick some heinder,” in an AUMF Congress outlines specific actions and powers that the executive branch is allowed to use.
    Presumably this self-limitation of the power to declare war began in Korea, due to the fact that no one was at war with us; we were going to help allies. It has continued as our increasingly PC and conflict society produces congressmen who condemn the very vehicle which produced and continues to ensure our freedoms.

  191. Jason D Says:

    corrrection: “increasingly PC and conflict-shy society.”

  192. John Protevi Says:

    Lee, now really. You asked me to defend my claim that “fascism” is a common shorthand for both Italian fascism and German National Socialism. I cite a highly acclaimed author at Cambridge University Press, one of many who do the same. I have proved my point.

    Again, if you want to email Mann and tell him that’s he’s fallen for a Stalinist ploy, I’d really be interested in his response. Either he’s unfamiliar with your research, in which case he’d be grateful to hear from you, or if he really is a Stalinist dupe, surely you’ll be able to tell that from his response, thereby confirming the truth of your position. So I think your real opportunity for intellectual growth is with him, not with me.

    Jason, what you’re saying makes perfect sense as one of the reasons for the shift from declarations of war to AUMFs. We’re in agreement I think. All I was trying to do was to say that there was a shift and that an AUMF is not technically the same thing as a declaration of war.

    The precise extent to which the GWOT and the current Iraq conflict “continues to ensure our freedoms” is another story, for two reasons I think. Concerning the GWOT, I join many conservatives concerned with limiting executive power in criticizing Congress for going along with the Bush Administration in passing the MCA Act of 2006 and the FISA Act of 2007 — the legal maneuvering around which prompted the DOJ to make its claims. Concerning Iraq, many people of all sorts of political stances, me among them, worry that our current level of commitment in Iraq weakens our position in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the campaign against our most dangerous enemy, OBL.

  193. Lee Says:

    John,
    Of course, you have left out a third alternative. Mann could be a Stalinist in “socialist” clothes. For that matter, you could be, too. Sure does seem strange how long, and for what subject, you have specifically come to this blog to contradict the host’s conclusions. Seems very important to you, considering you have had very little, if anything, to say about any other topic, which is responsibility for our defeat in Vietnam. Now a running argument as to whether national socialism is fascist, or socialist.
    You have become increasingly condescending throughout. Coming to a different conclusion than Mann shows there are people who don’t hold him up as the “final authority” on the subject. Intellectual growth is not dependent on him, although your argument apparently does. Perhaps it is you who needs to expand your intellectual horizons.

  194. Jason D Says:

    It appears that, legally, the difference between having a “declaration of war” and having an “AUMF” is the difference between walking your dog and walking your dog on a leash. The same action is taking place; one version is simply more limited than the other.

    As for your second paragraph–Osama bin Laden is not “our most dangerous enemy.” He is an old man who grew up in a rich house. I doubt he could personnally take out Chuck E. Cheese, let alone the U. S. military. Our enemy is the Islamo-fascist ideology advocates. It is this ideology which binds al’Qaeda and their allies; people from all countries and all walks of life (this is not, in fact, a “class struggle” as some would have you believe).
    Iraq is a long-term solution. By that, I do not simply mean that it will take a long time to win. I mean that having a pro-American democratic Islamic republic in the middle east as a living example counter to Islamist propaganda is the single best way to disarm the terrorists. And, I mean the retreating from the field of battle–even if only to regroup on another front–would have incalculable PR benefits for the Islamists. That *is* a fourth-generational aspect of this war.

  195. Lee Says:

    As I stated before, by the conclusions of “The Holy See Michael Mann”, Stalin and Castro and Mao would be “fascists” as well, but somehow it doesn’t apply to them. Why?

  196. Jason D Says:

    Why are you guys arguing about Manfred Mann… oh, sorry!

  197. Lee Says:

    Wrapped up like a deuce..

  198. Lee Says:

    Must be early morning

    REVVED up like a deuce..

  199. John Protevi Says:

    Lee, I came here following “d” from Lawyers, Guns, and Money. After a bit of folderol with Ymarsakar — and simple question and answer with the blog owner, which I appreciated — I struck up a conversation with Jason about treason, the GWOT, Iraq / Afghanistan, and declarations of war vs AUMF. You were the one who brought up the socialism / national socialism topic. Remember? And, yes, you’re right, I *could* be a Stalinist in socialist clothing, just as Mann *could* be. If only there were a way to tell that from my consistent argument for our republic’s core Constitutional principles of freedom and equality as preserved by separation of powers and limitation of executive power, then you’d really have me.

    Jason, you have clearly stated your position, which is a reasonable one. How we are to achieve the goal you state — or if it be unattainable, what we are to do in its stead — these are among the most difficult questions that face our republic. As a believer in the democratic process, I think it’s only through the kind of open and honest discussion that we’ve been having that our republic will find a way to move forward. I suggest we end our dialogue on that note, and with me wishing you all the best.

  200. Jason D Says:

    Correction to my 10:12 post:
    Democratic ARAB republic. Obviously, in a free country, people can choose whatever religion they wish.

  201. Jason D Says:

    Fair enough.

  202. Lee Says:

    Actually, John, what brought me into the conversation was your laundry list of WWII dissenters was conspicuously absent of communists.
    Remember?

  203. John Protevi Says:

    True, but that’s irrelevant, as I was answering your question at 10:13 a.m. about my entry, when you insinuate some sort of Stalinist motivation to me.

  204. Lee Says:

    Actually, my comment(not question) was entered at 10:03 am. Sure don’t see much relevance in accuracy, do you?

  205. John Protevi Says:

    Now you’re just taking the piss, as the Brits might say.

  206. Lee Says:

    If you wish, we can step up out of the urinal where you took this…

  207. John Protevi Says:

    ???? Sorry, you’ll have to explain that last comment.

  208. John Protevi Says:

    I get it! I say that you’re joking, using a colorful British colloquialism, and you say that I’ve brought our discussion into the toilet. It took me a while to catch up with you.

  209. Lee Says:

    Shouldn’t have been “that” difficult.

  210. John Protevi Says:

    I kept trying to figure out the Stalinist accusation angle, which I knew had to be in there somewhere! :)

    This seems to be as good a point as any to end this public exchange. You can find my email on my blog by clicking on my name if you want to continue in private correspondence.

  211. Lee Says:

    Actually, debunking you in public is much more entertaining, and more educational for all. I can understand your discomfort, though.

    See ya ’round.

  212. John Protevi Says:

    Ha! Another good one, “debunking”! I just can’t compete with you, Lee, not on the comedy front, at least.

    But seriously, it would have been better for your image if you had had the graciousness that Jason has and let others draw their conclusions from our exchange. But even if you don’t, I’ll nonetheless let you have the last word.

  213. Lee Says:

    Actually, others “have been” drawing their own conclusions. In a public forum. The room is deciding as we type. “You lost” is only my contention. Never presented otherwise.

    See ya ’round, again…

  214. Laura Says:

    As the daughter of a decorated Vietnam veteran and the mother of an American soldier serving his FOURTH deployment, I find your arguments for staying in Iraq and comparisons to Vietnam insulting. First, in Bush’s speech, he also refers to the reconstruction in Japan. Of course, you cannot compare Iraq to Japan as the two countries citizens differ greatly in terms of their cultural identity. Japanese people have had a rich sense of Japanese Identity while people in Iraq have a more fragmented loyalty. Our young men and women in Vietnam face the same type of warfare that our young men and women in Iraq face today. We cannot have an open ended committment in that country, and our presence can only help to keep order while the Iraqis stand up. Don’t forget that we are not welcome there. This is incredibly sad and thus blood is on all of our hands for allowing ourselves to be swept away by fear and hand Bush the keys to the car so that he could drive us all down the highway to hell. It’s only going to get worse. How many of your own children would you like to donate to the “great cause”?

  215. Ymarsakar Says:

    How many of your own children would you like to donate to the “great cause”?

    However many volunteer. It is not as if you have to serve more than 6 years if you didn’t want to. And those newly commissioned and enlisted after 9/11 already knew what was in the cards concerning Iraq and AQ.

    The children, so to speak, can make their own decisions. If they decide to leave or stay, then that is their choice, not yours or mine.

    Of course, you cannot compare Iraq to Japan as the two countries citizens differ greatly in terms of their cultural identity.

    You cannot compare one human being to another human being across the world? Interesting perspective.

    Our young men and women in Vietnam face the same type of warfare that our young men and women in Iraq face today.

    Iraq and the success of Japan cannot be compared, but the failure of Vietnam may be compared to Iraq… I see.

  216. Laura Says:

    Iraq and the success of Japan cannot be compared, but the failure of Vietnam may be compared to Iraq… I see.

    Yes, you do see. And, you see, Bush unwisely quoted someone who happens to know more about this than most people. John Dower.

    http://www.bostonreview.net/BR28.1/dower.html

    And, in terms of volunteering to serve, yes these young men and women do have a choice. It’s so ironic however, that the most conservative voting district has the highest “opt out” rate in our country. When schools and parents opt out, they are banning recruiters from having access to their sons and daughters. My argument here is very clear: If you and people like you feel so strongly about the need to stay in Iraq, you owe it to your country to do the patriotic thing and encourage military service for your sons and daughters.

    The “rah rah” rhetoric and magnetic ribbons aren’t enough. You have to walk the talk.

    Soon, young people won’t have a choice because the machine was abused and broken by this reckless administration. I do hope the draft will force those in power to evaluate more closely their willingness to go to war.

  217. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s so ironic however, that the most conservative voting district has the highest “opt out” rate in our country. When schools and parents opt out, they are banning recruiters from having access to their sons and daughters.

    I don’t think Ivy Leagues, Berkley, and San Francisco can be called “conservative voting districts”.

    What’s ironic is that you somehow connect the choice of men and women with parents and schools making the choice for other parents and students.

    How is that in any way connected?

    If you and people like you feel so strongly about the need to stay in Iraq, you owe it to your country to do the patriotic thing and encourage military service for your sons and daughters.

    And exactly how do you propose to do that when the folks you know or are refering to, are banning military recruiters?

    Do you see the Left’s role as encouraging everyone else’s children while we encourage only our own, is that it?

    Soon, young people won’t have a choice because the machine was abused and broken by this reckless administration.

    The military is not a machine. Do you think the administration is the brains of this so called machine while the soldiers are the cogs being crushed under the weight of others up above?

    You should already know that the military was actually really broken in some parts, during Vietnam. It has gotten a lot better since. But that would only be known if you could compare how bad it was to how bad you say it is right now.

    I do hope the draft will force those in power to evaluate more closely their willingness to go to war.

    So voting and the terms of the President aren’t enough. More must be done. More things such as using government power to force people to do things that ensure that you get your political points across. Don’t you ever think for a second that there’s something ethically wrong with this line of plan you’re hinting about?

  218. Laura Says:

    Actually, I am specifically talking about a district in Colorado and NOT a college campus.

    Machine, yes. Obviously you don’t know anything about the military. And yes, the cogs are being crushed. You obviously haven’t talked to more than one returning veteran.

    There is NOTHING ethically wrong with mandatory military service. Everyone invested, everyone equal and everyone sharing the burden.

    Your elitist ramblings show just how arrogant and uninformed you really are. Go talk to some soldiers and then get back to me. Better yet, talk to a veteran who has to wait 120 days to get care.

  219. Lee Says:

    Being from Colorado myself, the only district famous for “opt out” policies is the 2nd. Boulder. Home of the University of Colorado, and Ward Churchill, and Betsy “the word cu– ‘can’ be a word of endearment” Hoffman. Consistently votes Democrat(Mark Udall current congressman). The “Berleley of the Rockies”.
    The “most conservative” district is the 7th, with Tom Tancredo currently serving. Although the largest school districts(Jefferson and Douglas counties) have liberal boards, and implement liberal policies, such as “opt out”. Despite this, I’m willing to bet recruitment from this district is above the national average.
    Another guess, but I’m sure Ymarsakar has spoken to so many veterans, he’s “forgotten” more than you’ve ever met, Laura.

  220. Lee Says:

    Berleley? Berkeley.

  221. Jason D Says:

    Oh, I see. So my pro-victory position is due to the fact that I haven’t “walked the walk, ” and need to “go talk to a soldier.” Well, thank goodness we have people informed about the state of the military, like Laura here, to straighten me out!

  222. Jason D Says:

    By the way, Laura, how much time have *you* spent in the middle east recently?
    I’ll bet I’ve got you beat.

  223. Ymarsakar Says:

    Actually, I am specifically talking about a district in Colorado and NOT a college campus.

    So you are speaking in parochial terms, rather than national or global.

    Obviously you don’t know anything about the military.

    Anyone that disagrees with you on the military would have to know nothing about the military, using your logic.

    And yes, the cogs are being crushed.

    Rather hard on the cogs.

    You obviously haven’t talked to more than one returning veteran.

    Do you need to talk to more than one cog to learn that all cogs are alike in their being crushed? Is one cog more crushed than another one, you think?

    Everyone invested, everyone equal and everyone sharing the burden.

    Those with status or methods, like John Kerry, only served 4 months out of a year tour. What makes you think that humanity has ascended to a better and more perfect state of operation now compared to then?

    Everyone equal? Everyone is certainly not equal, especially in the military.

    Your elitist ramblings show just how arrogant and uninformed you really are.

    What is elitist is believing that your own particular world view applies to me or anyone else for that matter. I’m not being elitist by disagreeing with the small body of elite folks destined to rule, after all.

    Better yet, talk to a veteran who has to wait 120 days to get care.

    What does that have to do with why the government should force everyone to serve in the military so that they can wait 120 days for care?

    Another guess, but I’m sure Ymarsakar has spoken to so many veterans, he’s “forgotten” more than you’ve ever met, Laura.

    Whether it is many or one, what matters is what has been said rather than who has said it. Although in the case of JOhn Kerry, the case of who and what are the same, unfortunately. Sometimes it is not how many you speak to or meet, but rather how much you have learned to listen to.

    The logic flaws of Laura’s arguments stand by themself. If the military is such a crushing machine, then why would it be ethical for government to force people into it so that they can become veterans that have to wait 120 days, simply to allow me to speak to them?

    Nice info about Colorado, Lee.

    As Cass noted, being swiftboated means having the truth told about you and you not liking it.

  224. Laura Says:

    No Lee, what I am saying that the PARENTS of these school districts, the ones who VOTE conservative are the ones who opt out their own kids.

    The soldiers who serve in the military currently (1-2% of the population) are being crushed by the policies. You may have spent time in the middle east, but I have had direct contact with active duty, reservists and National Guard soldiers all returning from the worn torn area, as well as their families.

    I still don’t get the 120 days argument. If you are a soldier who returns with an injury and expect the benefits that you were promised, do you think it’s a fair policy for you to have to wait an average of 120 days for those benefits to kick in? Is that any way to show “support” for the troops? I think not.

    You missed the point Lee. The point is clear. If you feel so strongly about the war and it’s benefits, then you should do your duty and serve in the military or encourage your kids to serve. What is wrong with that?

  225. Jason D Says:

    Let me clarify a couple of points for you, Laura.

    #1: I’m not friggin’ Lee. Lee didn’t make the huge argument above in favor of staying in Iraq, or note how much time he’s spent in the middle east. Please, click on my name before you tell me serve my country or talk to a veteran again.

    #2: If you show up to a thread comparing military members to children (versus the “protecting” adults) or cogs in a broken machine, then expect the 35-year-old with a 140 IQ and working toward his 12th year of military service not to look upon you with favor.

    #3: Argument from moral authority (“I’m cool, you’re not”) is not a valid argument, and certainly won’t cut the mustard on a thread with me. To have a valid argument here, you’ll actually have to find a VALID ARGUMENT. If you want to find people stupid enough not only to accept argument from moral authority, but to believe that you can get moral authority by being RELATED to someone worth a damn, rather than actually being worth a damn yourself, you’ll have to find Sheehan’s camp in California. They’re all picking each other’s nits and channelling banana peels, or whatever it is you people do in between conspiracy theories.

  226. Lee Says:

    No, Laura, I didn’t miss your point. I challenged it. With the truth. Your assertion is it’s the parents; mine is the fact that it’s the liberal administrations of the school districts, while the constituents still sign up.
    Unlike Clinton, it’s not that I loathe the military, while ordering others to combat. As stated many times before, I am 4-F. Infected with HIV as the result of a transfusion. My father served; my brother served. I have no children.
    You claim your father served, and your son is currently serving. Have you served? Did you encourage your son to serve? My guess is, he volunteered, despite your wishes. I notice those who make the charge of “chickenhawk” didn’t sign up when we were allegedly “right” to invade Afghanistan against the “real” enemy.
    I hope your son is not as defeatist as you. If so, no wonder the military “machine” is broken.

  227. Jason D Says:

    Regarding an earlier topic, the legality of “The War on Terror,” here is paragraph 18 of the 2002 AUMF. Emphasis added by me:

    “Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq’s ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interests of the United States and in furtherance of the war on terrorism that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including through the use of force if necessary…”

    Just FYI.
    Lee: good man. Yamarskar: Semper fi.

  228. Ymarsakar Says:

    Roger, Jason.

  229. Laura Says:

    Points taken. Thanks for the clarification. Here is the “valid” argument. The adults who are serving, have volunteered to serve, deserve BEST policies, not average, not “lets throw this dart in the air and see what happens”. That said, I feel, and many veterans who have been in Iraq feel that the policies and the execution of this war have caused untold hardship on the Army and Marines in particular.

    I encouraged my son to serve as my Father served. I support him and his men that he serves with. I am also very vocal about what I and others who have untold years of experience in the military see as failure of leadership, failure of planning, failure.

    You can’t change the facts.

  230. Ymarsakar Says:

    I would agree that better leadership and use of weapons in cunning plans would be good.

    It is not about changing the facts of the past, but about where are you going to go now in the present and future.

  231. Lee Says:

    Sorry, Laura, but your very vocal “feelings” and “perceptions” don’t equate to “facts”, especially since many of your earlier “facts” have already been disproven.
    Apparently, there are many others, also with “untold years of experience in the military” who tell a different story.
    You sound like someone who says “All Indians walk in single file, because the three I saw did”.

  232. Lee Says:

    And thank you, Jason D. Back at ya.

  233. Jason D Says:

    Here is the “valid” argument. The adults who are serving, have volunteered to serve, deserve BEST policies, not average, not “lets throw this dart in the air and see what happens”.

    That’s not an argument. That’s a non-controversial statement.

    “That said, I feel, and many veterans who have been in Iraq feel…”

    I feel that you should take a long walk off a short pier, but that doesn’t constitute an argument. Support your case with facts and logic; if you want to discuss your feelings, perhaps you should schedule a session with neoneocon.

    “that the policies and the execution of this war have caused untold hardship on the Army and Marines in particular.”

    Really? Who told you war was supposed to be easy? The military IS hard; that’s why we get the statues and the medals.

    I encouraged my son to serve as my Father served. I support him and his men that he serves with.
    So, by “support,” you mean working to undermine the goal he’s dedicated years of his life to–as opposed to, say, lobbying for a reform of the military system. Hey, while you’re in the mood to discuss your feelings, why do you feel the need to see your father and your son as dupes and victims, rather than acknowledging their heroism? Why are you willing to let millions of human being continue to suffer and die simply to invalidate the sacrifices he has made?

  234. Ymarsakar Says:

    A specific thing is Walter Reed. A government run healthcare system it was. Therefore not very efficient.

    The question then becomes, how do you improve the healthcare of soldiers. And the answer becomes, through policies that recognize the problem of government.

    The real clincher is that people don’t agree on what leadership constitutes as “good”. They may believe that good leadership is better, but then the split occurs.

  235. Laura Says:

    “Support your case with facts and logic; if you want to discuss your feelings, perhaps you should schedule a session with neoneocon.”

    Fact: The chief beneficiary of the occupation and the chaos it produced has not been the Bush administration, but Iran, the most populous and powerful member of the “axis of evil” and the chief American competitor for dominance in the oil-rich region.

    As diplomatic historian Gabriel Kolko commented, “By destroying a united Iraq under [Saddam] Hussein … the US removed the main barrier to Iran’s eventual triumph.”

    Fact:Real power in Shiite Iraq rests with two religious parties: Abdel Aziz al-Hakim’s Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa (“Call,” in English) of Iraq’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. Of the two, SCIRI is the more pro-Iranian.

    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.

    Fact: We don’t have enough troops to take on Iraq AND Iran. Our presence to create “breathing room” in order for the Iraqi government to stand up and to reduce sectarian violence has been a failure, not because of people like my son but because of poor leadership. The mass exodus from Iraq has been happening slowly for the past two years. Those that could leave left; those that are left are saddly stuck. We caused that. Not our military, but the planners, the administration and the chickenhawks who rallied them.

  236. Jason D Says:

    Fact: The chief beneficiary of the occupation and the chaos it produced has not been the Bush administration, but Iran, the most populous and powerful member of the “axis of evil” and the chief American competitor for dominance in the oil-rich region.

    As diplomatic historian Gabriel Kolko commented, “By destroying a united Iraq under [Saddam] Hussein … the US removed the main barrier to Iran’s eventual triumph.”

    The real beneficiary of the occupation was never intended to be “the Bush administration” (some people would refer to that as “the American government.”) The beneficiaries were the people of Iraq, who no longer live under a totalitarian regime willing to starve them to buy guns and rape and torture them to prevent uprisings.
    Kolko’s statement that America “removed” Iran’s barrier to triumph, rather than “became” Iran’s barrier to triumph, show just how narrow-minded and agenda-based his opinion is.
    It is funny how when we went to war, the liberals kept talking about how we were at fault for “supporting” Hussein’s government; now that we are winning, we should have left it in place.

    “Fact:Real power in Shiite Iraq rests with two religious parties:

    Here’s a fact: real power in any country rests with the people. The same people who risked death at the hands of these thugs to whom you would turn over Iraq, in order to participate in democratic elecations. Further, if these fanatics you so favor had the real power, they wouldn’t be resisting us; we’d be resisting them.

    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state.
    Iraq is an Islamic state, insofar as Islam is practiced by the majority of its people. The mujahedin terrorists you name want the entire world to adopt Sharaic law and become a single Caliphate. If you don’t feel that resisting tyrants like this is a worthy endeavor, I suggest you emmigrate to a country where they are already in power.

    Fact: We don’t have enough troops to take on Iraq AND Iran.
    That’s not a fact. That’s not even an informed opinion–unless you can provide something besides the opinion of a socialist historical revisionist to back your opinion? Perhaps actual facts? I’m quite certain that, should diplomacy break down to that point, Israel would roll over Iran on our behalf like a freight train–just like they defeated the 13 Muslim nations who attacked them before they even had time to really establish a military.

  237. Jason D Says:

    “democratic elections”

    Hey, neoneocon–is there any chance of getting a “preview” feature? :)

  238. Jason D Says:

    Laura:

    I’ve been re-reading you posts in an attempt to figure out how the insurgent push for Sharia is related to your original supposition that bad policy has caused some horrible military failure. The answer, of course, was quite obvious: the military “policy” which you view as such a catastrophic “failure” is the idea that we should actually use our military.

  239. Ymarsakar Says:

    Abdel Aziz al-Hakim’s Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Dawa (”Call,” in English) of Iraq’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari

    Iraq’s who? He’s not the Prime Minister of Iraq.

    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state.

    And you wanted Iraq to remain a Baathist socialist state in which Sunni terrorism was enshrined, grown, and protected. Do you somehow think you are better than the two sides just because you have sided with one over the other?

  240. Laura Says:

    Thank you for the reply to my comments. I use those comments to illustrate a broader point. History tell us more about the future of Iraq and the Middle East than any contemporary experience can. The carving up of the Middle East, the British meddling into Arab affairs before and during the first World War with it’s encouragement of an uprising against the Ottoman empire in order to secure oil for it’s new naval fleet, and the aftermath of this carving up brings more insight into how events will play out rather than the “reality” on the groud today.

    Does the work of Gertrude Bell and T.E Lawrence help to bring clarity to these remarks? Yes. One has to have a clear understanding, not just the military might, in order to succeed. The remarks are meant to illustrate, not to argue these developments. Thank you for your comments.

  241. Jason D Says:

    Ah. So, WWI history is relevant, but WWII history is not, nor is, as you say, “reality on the ground.”

    It all makes so much sense.

  242. Laura Says:

    You know Jason, you didn’t respond to the relevance of the events before WWI and after as it relates to the Middle East today. So, in essence Jason, you’re right, WWI history is completely relevant while WWII (Japan and occupation of) is not. And, the reality on the groud only reflects the complexity of the differing groups within one country who do not have the same cultural oneness that the Japanese did. So, yes, you are right.

    Remember that prior to WWI, Iraq was part of a broader body called Mesopotamia and was under rule of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. However, the governing of that body of land was loose at best. They recognized the loyalties of each tribe, Ibn Rashid and Ibn Saud for example. They also recognized the power shift that took place almost daily within these tribes. So, it’s entirely relevant to what is going on in Iraq today. AND, that is taking only the cultural differences into account, not to mention the deep distrust that existed then and now to the West.

  243. Jason D Says:

    Now, let’s calculate the percentage of the Iraqi population who remember living in the Ottoman Empire, then compare it to how many only remember Iraq.

    Then, perhaps you’d care to actually make a point, instead of retreating from topic to topic.

  244. Laura Says:

    God Jason, you still don’t get it. It’s about the cultural identities and loyalies. Now, for example, Sunni, Shiite, Kurd. Let’s break that down to subsets. Sunni Baathists, Sunni loyalist, and not to mention Sunni who’s families belong to different groups within Syria (which was a part of Mesopotamia). Kurds have more of a unified cultural identity but most are descended from Turks. They are a minority. Turkey was established post WWI to the north of Iraq. Shiites comprise 60% of the total population and have different loyalties within each area where they exist. And, their neighbor Iran is Shiite mostly.

    After years of being oppressed, the Shiites are unlikely able to overcome their differences with the Sunnis.

    WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO BRIDGE THIS DIVIDE JASON. All we can do is to offer some sort of security while they try to form a representative government. They aren’t doing that. AND, who’s left to not only rule the country but to live their in this wonderful new life we created for them? They have fled, they have been cleansed and purged. They no longer co exist with each other and THEY DON”T see themselves as IRAQIS.

    Full circle here Jason. I don’t retreat. My original post, if you care to go back to it Sept 1st is completely related. How many of your own adult offspring (since you took offense to this mother referring to them as children) would you like to send over for the cause?

  245. Laura Says:

    sorry for the typos. fired up.

  246. Jason D Says:

    Points from your first post:
    1. You are related to servicemembers. (congratulations)
    2. Comparing Iraq and Viet Nam is insulting. (?)
    3. Comparing Iraq and Japan makes no sense. (But that applies only to my historical examinations, not yours)
    4. The warfare in Iraq is identical the warfare in Viet Nam. (???)
    5. We are unwelcome in Iraq. (Demonstrating your lack of experience. Iraqis are sacrificing themselves to save our lives from insurgents.)
    6. President Bush is somehow responsible for tricking us into needless murder. (Obviously insupportable.)

    Points in your last post:
    1. There are several cultures in Iraq. (Thank goodness I don’t live in a country like that.)
    2. We can’t make other people’s decision for them. (Okay.)
    3. The Iraqis aren’t forming a government. (For God’s sake, give ‘em a chance! This is an entirely new form of government to the region!)
    4. Iraqis are fleeing the country. (Thousands are fleeing the rising violence in the UK in response to the rising rate of violent crime since the gun ban, too. Does that mean there is no cultural identity in England?)
    5. Iraqis lack a cohesive national identity. (Possibly, but so did Americans for the first century we existed.)
    6. Finally, you close with the question, “How many of your own adult offspring (since you took offense to this mother referring to them as children) would you like to send over for the cause?” (I have no offspring; nor, if I had adult offspring, could I “send” them. As adults, they would be responsible for their own decisions. The offense that I took was to you referring to servicemembers in general as children–since that would include me; however, it is still offensive in principle to refer to persons of legal age who have volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way to make the world a better place, as “children.”)

  247. Lee Says:

    Hey, Jason,
    After rereading Laura’s posts, have you noticed any similarities to John’s posts? They’re both so gracious when you “respond to them”, and they both have “talk to him” experts they refer to when their argument isn’t going so well.

  248. Jason D Says:

    And, upon further consideration, I believe that I am done. Again. :)

  249. Laura Says:

    Okay Jason

    1. yes, daughter of a Lt Col from Vietnam, mother of a SFG in the GWOT.

    2. Insulted as the above to have the war “spun” by our president comparing both Vietnam and post war Japan in a speech.

    3. What historical examinations have you made Jason to support your point of view and why on the comparison between Japan and Iraq?

    4. Geurilla warfare was seen on a large scale in Vietnam and is now being engaged in in Iraq. The same argument gets spun as well. “better fight em there and not here”, and fanning flames of fear. Notice how you don’t hear that as much anymore?

    5. We are a western occupying force in a Muslim nation. We are not welcome in the region, much less the country. Yes, there are some Iraqis who want us there, but the majority overwhelmingly do not.

    6. Bush went to war out of fear of WMD. Then it was to remove an evil dictator, then it was to bring democracy and elections to the region. Now it is, stay the course, oh wait, that was before November, then it was AQI, now it is to provide security while the Iraqis stand up and we still don’t have a non classified copy of the oil sharing revenue plan that for some reason “we the people” don’t have the right to see, even though it’s our blood and money “fighting for the freedom.”

    LAST POST

    1. There are several cultures in America. But are you prepared to kill your neighbor because he isn’t a neocon? Or, are you prepared to cleanse your neighborhood of evil democrats, or whatever you don’t identify with?

    2. No we can’t make others decisions for them.

    3. How much time, money, blood are you willing to invest? Short answers are okay. I’m just waiting for the “as long as it takes” response.

    4. As of December 2006, 1.8 million people have fled Iraq. Refugees International predicts that the crises could take over the crises in Darfur if something isn’t done to stem the tide. Most of them are the educated professionals (doctors, lawyers, professors). How completely ridiculous for you to compare the crises to fleeing Brits because of gun violence.

    5. America is unique for so many reasons, but we did not lack a common identity. We had a common enemy, and it took years for us to get our footing. WE DID NOT GO AROUND KILLING OUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS. How niave of you to think that we will allow this country to engage for a century.

    6. Okay Jason, point taken. My son will always be my child. Many mothers can relate to this. Do you have a mother? I am sure she is very proud of you, as I am my son. My son signed his papers when he was 17 years old and needed my consent which I gave. I have always known that it wasn’t a safe job. I knew what he might be called to do. However, I do not have to submit to reckless leadership and I do speak out. My son supports it.

  250. Jason D Says:

    (sigh) How can I resist?
    Hey, Lee: definite similarities!

    1. Still irrelevant to the argument. Let’s drop it.
    2. Not only would a sudden withdrawal from Iraq have the same disastrous consequences to both our own international status and the safety of the Iraqi citizens that our pullout from Viet Nam had, it’s being orchestrated with the same arguments. Even the same people! (Kennedy)
    3. Begin on August 29th. There are a few posts.
    4. “Guerilla warfare” has too broad a base to say that the fighting in both instances is “identical.” As far as “better to fight them there,” I not only hear it all the time, I say it. It has nothing to do with “fanning flames,” I’d just rather deploy to occupy al’Qaeda in an area designated by both Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush as “the frontline of the War on Terror,” then afford them free reign to plan and execute attacks on American citizens in CONUS.
    5. For all that you say that we are not wanted in Iraq, the ELECTED GOVERNMENT has issued several statements requesting that we stay.
    6. Congress, not the president, declares war. In this case, Congress declared war with the 2002 AUMF. You can find a link to it on my blog; you might find it enlightening.

    1. What I am or am not prepared to do is not the question. Perhaps you should investigate certain oppressed minorities in the Deep South, prior to 1970. Or look in to how the Chinese were treated while they were building our railroads. Or the Irish, or… People can, you see, overcome these differences and become a nation.
    2. Again, let’s drop it.
    3. Okay–”as long as it takes.” I would not have the United States of America abandon people that we promised to help. Nor would I have us retreat in the face of al’Qaeda.
    4. Darfur is a matter of genocide, not exodus. There is no comparison to be made there. The UK is a matter of exodus in response to violence.
    5. Well, the Iraqis aren’t killing their friends, either. As for American history, I recommend a Google of “Ku Klux Klan.” You might also check out Timothy McVeigh (and his al’Qaeda connections). Perhaps a perusal of Malcolm X’s writings, or how Al Sharpton’s followers like to beat people to death.
    6. Then refer to your son as your child, if you like. But it’s an offensive generalization, usually made by people like Michael Moore in order to portray the military as victims.

  251. Laura Says:

    Jason, you and I will never see eye to eye on any of this. That’s okay. You and I are both Americans and proud of it. We share a common passion for our country, we just have different opinions on how to proceed.

    I value your insight and your service to our country.

    Cheers.

  252. Jason D Says:

    Very well.
    As a final clarification on a point above, people aren’t fleeing the UK because of “gun violence.” They are leaving because violent crime has quadrupled in the 10 years since their total gun ban:

    http://www.crimestatistics.org.uk/output/page66.asp

    Note that violent crime double the year that Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 was enacted, and have doubled again since.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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