November 28th, 2007

Hierarchies of responsibility: picking and choosing in the blame game

Commenter bunkerbuster speculated recently about the possible aftermath of a US troop withdrawal in Iraq:

How many people would die in such a withdrawal? There is indeed a risk that fighting could escalate, though predictions of mass killing of the kind that’s gone on recent years are surely overblown. Why are people who’ve been insisting for six long, brutal, deadly years that we’re meeting with “success” in Iraq now arguing that a withdrawal would occassion a bloodbath. Can’t they see the contradiction?

And, as any child could tell you, there is a big difference between bad things you make happen and bad things you allow to happen. It’s called responsiblity and supporters of this war spend more of their time evading it than anything else.

I’m not sure why bunkerbuster states that those arguing we’re meeting with “success” in Iraq have been insisting on this for six long, brutal, deadly years, since the US action in Iraq began in March of 2003, closer to four and a half years ago. How could we have been insisting actions in Iraq were successful prior to the war?

My guess is that bb is instead choosing to make 9/11 his (I’m using the masculine pronouns for convenience sake) starting point. Why do this, since this was not the beginning of the Iraq war? Perhaps because it was the start of our so-called war on terror, the first action of which was the war in Afghanistan, the beginning of our military campaign in reaction to the 9/11 attacks.

I’ve said before that most liberals and the Left are extremely concerned with keeping their own hands clean. Bunkerbuster demonstrates this here by seeming to be especially concerned with the sins of the US.

Responsibility is a tricky thing, however, a complex hierarchy of intertwined perceptions, predictions, intentions, actions, failures to act, and consequences—including the realm of unintended negative consequences. There is a sort of hierarchy of responsibility in which, generally speaking, (as bb seems to be pointing out) the initiators of an activity bear the highest responsibility for their own actions.

Thus, the US is clearly responsible for directly and intentionally killing many people in Iraq. But who are these people? I think we can safely say the majority of them are what we might call the bad guys. It’s a shame it had to come to the deliberate killing of human beings. But I can’t see how the act of killing Saddam’s henchmen, or terrorists who would intentionally blow up innocent Iraqis in a marketplace, is to be morally condemned, any more than the police killing murderers in a shootout is to be condemned.

But then of course there are the direct but unintended consequences of our actions, those innocents we have killed through collateral damage. We are responsible for those deaths, but bear a reduced responsibility as compared to those who would (and are) killing such people intentionally. And do not forget that the collateral damage we cause usually stems from our efforts to prevent even more terrorist incidences from occurring by killing the terrorists first.

The Left argues that killing terrorists doesn’t work, that it just creates more. This is asserted as almost axiomatic, although there’s no proof for it. Whatever the case, it does seem to be true that, although killing terrorists most definitely puts those particular terrorists out of commission, it does little to stem the tide of new recruits to avenge the martyrs. This is part of the nature of jihadis; since they consider their mission a religious one, ordained by the deity, and that they will be rewarded in paradise, it is extremely difficult to dissuade them either by the fear of death or by any other means. It is probably different for those insurgents who are not jihadi terrorists but who are instead interested in more conventional although internecine political power struggles; they may more be more easily disheartened by the diminishment of their ranks.

Our current efforts against the both the counterinsurgency and the terrorists (there is, of course, some overlap between the two, but I think we can still make a general distinction) are meeting with greater success than the old approach. This is not due simply to greater numbers of our forces in Iraq at present, although that’s part of it. The greater part is that the Iraqi people have become more convinced that cooperation with us, and against both the terrorists and the insurgents, will actually lead to improvement for their country and its people. And the terrorists and the insurgents have inadvertently helped our cause through their own brutality, which seems to have already convinced more and more Iraqis that protecting them is most definitely not in the best interests of the country or its people.

Therefore it appears that the surge has begun to correct some of the errors of our past approach, and is decreasing the killings we should be most concerned with: those of innocent Iraqis and of our military forces. We can take moral responsibility for this improvement, which is in good part a result of the US action known as the surge, combined with the efforts of many Iraqi people in cooperating with us. And this responsibility would stand quite high on the hierarchy of moral responsibility we set up earlier, since it is a consequence of actions that are both direct and intentional.

This brings us to the killings bunkerbuster conveniently ignores, those occurring at the hands of Saddam when he was in power. Clearly, by far the heaviest responsibility for those killings must rest with Saddam himself. But some diminished responsibility must be borne by other countries of the world who actively supported him during the era of his worst excesses, which occurred in the late 80s during the war with Iran and also after the Gulf War failed to take him out. The US supported him during the Iran war; Russia and France supported and even protected him later.

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 ended those particular Saddam-based killings, and prevented more from occurring. I’ve dealt previously and at some length with the question of the morality of US support for Saddam during the Iran war, and we are responsible for our choices there to consider him the lesser of two evils. Other countries are responsible their role in supporting him during the 90′s and into the early years of this century, when his nature was well-known.

But it is clearly the US and its allies that can take credit for his being deposed, and there is no doubt that this has kept him from continuing with his usual and customary activities in torturing and killing so many innocent people in Iraq. It’s impossible to say how many people might have been involved, but the number of innocent deaths prevented by his removal almost certainly exceeded the number of innocent deaths attributable to the direct action of the US in this war, including collateral damage.

Ah, but then there are the deaths bunkerbuster is probably referencing and considering to be our responsiblity, those caused by the insurgency and the terrorists in Iraq after our invasion/occupation. Once again, however, the lion’s share of responsibility for those deaths must be borne by the perpetrators themselves. The US does have a certain reduced but still-present responsibility, however, since its act of removing one source of murder in Iraq (Saddam) inadvertently created a set of circumstances that unleashed a different set of murderous forces.

Actually, especially early on, in certain cases the perpetrators were probably the same rather than different ones, since some were almost undoubtedly Saddam henchmen and supporters. In those cases it was not the US-led invasion that unleashed them, it was merely that the invasion did not remove them thoroughly enough. But we’ll leave that aside, because there’s also no doubt that many of the killers were new, either arriving from other countries and taking advantage of the relative anarchy in Iraq (terrorists), or emboldened by leaders such as al Sadr and the jockeying for power that the vacuum of Saddam’s removal caused (insurgents).

What should the US have done about these things? Beaten its breast—and then beaten a hasty retreat? No; whatever responsibility the US bears for these things (and remember, its responsibility in the matter is far less than that of the perpetrators themselves), its new responsibility was to be more effective in combating those murderous forces. This is what Petraeus and the surge have been attempting to do, with no small success.

That is why arguments such as bunkerbuster’s make little sense to me. If we do bear some responsibility for creating this situation or allowing it to happen, would we not then bear an even greater responsibility to do our best to stop it, to remedy it?

It’s wonderful sophistry to maintain, as bunkerbuster does, that predictions of mass killings on our withdrawal are surely overblown. There’s simply no evidence for this type of wishful thinking. But since the Left and many liberals are focused on the US as the cause of all sins, they no doubt believe (or want to believe) that it’s just that simplistic, and that if the US exits, the murderous forces in Iraq will magically be placated, since it’s the US presence that caused them in the first place.

Let’s ignore the fact that liberals and the Left often claim that the situation in Iraq is tantamount to a civil war. Civil wars, of course, don’t go away when occupying armies leave; they have their own internal impetus and drive. And whatever you call the internal fighting in Iraq right now—civil war or no—it is much bigger than a protest against our presence there.

As bunkerbuster himself has said, “there is a big difference between bad things you make happen and bad things you allow to happen.” But many liberals and the Left conveniently ascribe the deaths of innocent Iraqis (and among the US military) caused by actions of the insurgents and terrorists in Iraq to bad things the US has made happen, rather than those it has allowed to happen. Surely these deaths should be in the latter category instead, however—and remember that this “allowing” has occurred in this case despite well-meaning but previously ineffective attempts to stop them.

Withdrawal, on the other hand, would consist of our abandonment of a course of action that is proving itself capable of stopping these deaths of innocents at the hands of insurgents and/or terrorists, or at least greatly reducing their numbers. Withdrawal now would therefore be an abdication of our responsibility to stop those deaths in the face of a proven ability to do so. As such, it would be morally reprehensible.

345 Responses to “Hierarchies of responsibility: picking and choosing in the blame game”

  1. Xanthippas Says:

    Thus, the US is clearly responsible for directly and intentionally killing many people in Iraq. But who are these people? I think we can safely say the majority of them are what we might call the bad guys.

    This cannot be “safely” presumed. I seriously doubt American forces are responsible for most of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have died in the war; mostly that has come at the hands of insurgents and al Qaeda and the militias and whatnot. However, it’s impossible to argue that the majority of deaths are “bad guys” when our forces are most certainly responsible for a incredible number of deaths in bombings, roadblock shootings, convoy shootings, raids into homes at night, ground operations such as that carried out in Fallujah, and so on. I don’t presume to know the numbers, but neither should you.

    If we do bear some responsibility for creating this situation or allowing it to happen, would we not then bear an even greater responsibility to do our best to stop it, to remedy it?

    Believe it or not, I argued that very thing until late last year. At the time, I believe it to be a reasonable argument; that we had not yet discharged our obligations to the Iraqi people for what we have done to their country. I won’t speak for bunkerbuster, but for myself and many other liberals, the problem is we believe that we are not capable of remedying the situation in Iraq, no matter how long we stay. This is what eventually persuaded me into thinking that withdrawal is our only recourse. I do believe things have improved locally in parts of Iraq, and especially Baghdad, but I continue to believe that our forces are only acting as a cap on the violence, and not an antidote to it. The lack of political progress only bolsters this belief on my part. I believe that in the end the Sunnis will do as they wish, as will the Shiites, and in the meantime they only use the presence of our forces to the extent that it is most convenient to them.

    If this is true, then what argument can be made for staying? That by keeping our troops there in huge numbers, things will somehow, someday get better? That “strategy” is hardly sufficient reason to keep enduring casualties in Iraq.

  2. Gray Says:

    This cannot be “safely” presumed. I seriously doubt American forces are responsible for most of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that have died in the war;

    Hahahahaha! ‘Cuz there aren’t ‘hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, for starters. You just made that bogus number up.

    However, it’s impossible to argue that the majority of deaths are “bad guys” when our forces are most certainly responsible for a incredible number of deaths in bombings, roadblock shootings, convoy shootings, raids into homes at night, ground operations such as that carried out in Fallujah, and so on. I don’t presume to know the numbers, but neither should you.

    Yeah, an incredible number of deaths of “bad guys”!

    It is extraordinarily rare for us to kill innocents. The Rules of Engagement are designed to prevent this and troops simply do not fire at unconfirmed targets.

    Are you accusing us of intentionally killing civilians?

    You don’t understand anything about how our forces conduct kinetic and political operations over there.

    Your comments slander the Soldiers and Marines who died rather than returning fire indiscriminantly at civilians.

    You slander the military and your country.

  3. stumbley Says:

    “but I continue to believe that our forces are only acting as a cap on the violence, and not an antidote to it.”

    And by withdrawing, therefore, we prevent….what? If US presence is all that’s keeping this supposed “violence,” then what is to be gained by leaving? Won’t this “civil war” continue? It boggles the mind that people like X continue to spout this tripe, that by invading, we “caused” the violence, by staying, we “perpetuate” it, and by leaving, we somehow will “solve” it, when in fact, just the opposite should be obvious to even the most obtuse individual.

    But for people like X, it really isn’t about Iraqis at all, it’s about putting America in its place, about reinforcing the idea that we’re bad, we’re evil and imperialistic, and we should just stay home. The millions that were slaughtered after we left Vietnam mean nothing to leftists, as would the Iraqis killed in the supposedly inevitable violence that would follow an American withdrawal.

    Never mind that things may be getting better; never mind that there is indeed reconciliation—however minute—taking place; none of this matters to people like X. It’s really all about him/her and how he/she feels about America.

    Feh. A plague on “progressives.”

  4. gcotharn Says:

    In weak moments, I worry America is lost b/c we cannot even agree on facts which underlie our national arguments and decisions.

    An example is the likely-soon-here-to-rage argument about number of Iraqi casualties inflicted by U.S. troops.

    I took time to look at this about 5 or 6 months ago. Left and Dem politicians were bandying about a figure of 300,000 Iraqi civilian casualties at the hands of American/Coalition forces. This figure came from some international organization estimate – and was, to me, ridiculous, I know of the huge, own-life-threatening efforts American forces make to avoid civilian casualties. But, the figure was additionally ridiculous because 300,000 divided by 50 months of war = 6,000 civilian casualties per month. It would seem the only way for American forces to achieve such numbers would be via massive incidences of civilian casualties … yet: where were the mass graves filled with those civilian casualties? Nowhere, of course. The 300,000 estimate was ridiculous pap.

    My preferred estimate comes from Iraq Body Count, an organization which IS NOT pro U.S. invasion, yet does seem credible to me. Iraq Body Count tracks all media reports of civilian casualties which are associated with military action. They make an effort to distinguish military actors from innocent civilians. 5 or 6 months ago, Iraq Body Count believed about 25,000 innocent civilians had perished since day one of the invasion in March of 2003.

    neo’s post touches on the question of whether the U.S. invasion was/is moral action. Notwithstanding that many heads on the left will explode at the assertion the U.S. might ever to anything moral – especially anything military which is moral… neo’s post is an invitation to a gigantic comment section argument about the costs and benefits of OIF. It would be nice, if this argument breaks out, if all sides could generally agree on a number of collateral casualties which occurred. I believe that, last spring, that number was in the vicinity of 25,000. I generally trust that figure, due to what I perceive as Iraq Body Count’s diligent, ongoing, long-term well-documented efforts to track this data.

  5. stumbley Says:

    gcotharn:

    I distinctly remember reading a story on Michael Yon’s site about a taxi driver in Baghdad who was bemoaning the loss of revenue he had begun to suffer. He was in the practice of hanging out by the morgue, ferrying relatives of dead Iraqis back and forth from home to the morgue. He was decrying the lack of business after the surge—there were far fewer families showing up to identify dead loved ones; he was losing money.

  6. gcotharn Says:

    Corrections:

    I wrote the above post off the top of my head, then got scared and went to look at Iraq Body Count numbers – after the fact, instead of before the fact.

    First, the Lancet study, which is frequently cited by the Left and Dems, alleged 600,000 civilian casualties – not 300,000 – which was the figure I used above.

    Second, the current Iraq Body Count estimate of civilian casualties from all causes – both terrorist and Coalition: is from 77,545 to 84,473.

    I had trouble discerning IBC’s assertion about how many of those casualties directly resulted from U.S. military action, and I don’t have time to search the site further to try and find this information. I did find, in 2005, IBC asserted 37% of all civilian casualties resulted from U.S. military action (most of those casualties were asserted to be from collateral damage from aerial bombings). 37% of 84, 473 = 30,255.

    Third: Iraq Body Count’s methodology includes a survey of what they consider reputable media sources – both Arab and Western, as well as surveys of hospitals and morgues.

    I apologize for my mistakes in the above post.

  7. Gray Says:

    I did find, in 2005, IBC asserted 37% of all civilian casualties resulted from U.S. military action (most of those casualties were asserted to be from collateral damage from aerial bombings).

    I suspect their definition of ‘civilian’–it’s a guerilla war ferchrissakes….

    How could they know which civilians were shooting at us when they were killed?

    No one really knows, but in a case-by-case basis, troops cannot and do not shoot, or direct fire on targets that are even suspected of being occupied by civilians.

    It’s one of the reasons this war is so difficult and time consuming….

  8. SGT Ted Says:

    “The Left argues that killing terrorists doesn’t work, that it just creates more. ”

    This is a nonsense statement. The rest of bunkerbusters statement is a moral equivalence arguement, long ago shredded and discredited.

  9. Bugs Says:

    Ambiguous, isn’t it? Welcome to the real world…

  10. Trimegistus Says:

    The argument that we “create” terrorists is also, at its heart, mind-bogglingly racist.

    Somehow Muslims apparently aren’t capable of free will or moral choice. If they pick up a gun or set a bomb, it’s not because they’re individuals with their own goals and motives. No, they’re just puppets. Automata. And thus bear no guilt for the deaths they cause.

    Apparently only white Christians are “real people” to someone like Xanth, and thus only white Christians can be responsible for deaths of people in Iraq.

    Why not just go ahead and join the Klan, Xanth? I’m sure Robert Byrd would write you a good recommendation.

  11. Roundhead Says:

    But aren’t you aware by now, neo-neo, that nothing bad is recognized by the left unless it can be (however absurdly) blamed on the United States…

    Thus, the world trade centre is attack – in retaliation for Palestine!

    Buses in London are blown up – in retaliation for Iraq and Afghanistan!

    Riots occur after someone publishes some cartoons – it was the neo-cons (ie. `neo-conniving Jews’, American of course)!

  12. Xanthippas Says:

    The Rules of Engagement are designed to prevent this and troops simply do not fire at unconfirmed targets.

    Gray, please try to read more closely…or, at all. The ROE also make it perfectly legitimate to drop a bomb on a house full of people you think are insurgents, but might actually be insurgents, or where insurgents are hiding even if civilians might be in the building. So, even if you adhere to an ROE, you can kill civilians. Also, our troops deliberately dropped a bomb on the house Zarqawi was in, knowing that civilians were in that building and would be killed to. They thought the cost was worth it, and they’re probably right. Still, it wasn’t an accident. Look Gray, I know it’s difficult to keep up with these nuances, but please try. It really undermines your own argument to not even have your own basic facts straight, and honestly it wastes my time to have to educate you.

  13. Xanthippas Says:

    And by withdrawing, therefore, we prevent….what?

    Um, the death of American soldiers Stumbley. Please try to think your response through completely before you type.

    But for people like X, it really isn’t about Iraqis at all, it’s about putting America in its place, about reinforcing the idea that we’re bad, we’re evil and imperialistic, and we should just stay home.

    I can play this game too. By desiring that we stay in Iraq, Stumbley wants as many American soldiers to die as possible, wants trillions more to be wasted on war, wants our national security to be irreparably undermined, and wishes terrorists who detest us and our allies to flourish in Pakistan. Stumbley, why don’t you just bust out your Iranian flag and fly it proudly? After all, I can read your mind and know your loyalties lie elsewhere, no matter what you say.

    Feh, indeed.

  14. Xanthippas Says:

    Apparently only white Christians are “real people” to someone like Xanth, and thus only white Christians can be responsible for deaths of people in Iraq.

    Why not just go ahead and join the Klan, Xanth? I’m sure Robert Byrd would write you a good recommendation.

    I was looking for a good chuckle today. Thanks Tri.

  15. Truth Says:

    Somehow Muslims apparently aren’t capable of free will or moral choice.

    So stupied and racist comment.

    If they pick up a gun or set a bomb, it’s not because they’re individuals with their own goals and motives. No, they’re just puppets. Automata. And thus bear no guilt for the deaths they cause.

    Oh yah but what you think who tarined and the handelr behid OBL was he “white Christians are “real people” “?

  16. Xanthippas Says:

    But aren’t you aware by now, neo-neo, that nothing bad is recognized by the left unless it can be (however absurdly) blamed on the United States…

    Yes, you are completely correct. Clearly, it is my secret desire to blame terrorism on America that motivates my wish that we get out of Iraq and turn our guns on the terrorists presently camping out in western Pakistan.

    You know, it is possible to have an adult conversation about the merits of staying in/leaving Iraq or intervening in Pakistan or anywhere else…but you have to leave your paranoid and two-dimensional world view behind to do it.

  17. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Some years ago, when, by lucky chance, I could get a lefty’s wrist up between his shoulder blades and make him remember the Killing Fields, it was our fault because we “radicalised” the Khmer Rouge, or we “made them do it”, or some such. Those poor brown people had no agency. The malevolent Kissingerian badthink from ten thousand miles away made them do such stuff.
    Not their fault. They were helpless

    X and others think the bad guys in Iraq were helpless. Had no choice. Watch something on television, such as the all abughraiballthetime, andn decide, “that’s it. No work tomorrow. I’m going to blow up a nursery.”
    Couldn’t help themselves.

    This is the way the left look at the benighted brown people. Helpless and without self-will.

  18. Roundhead Says:

    I guess I wasn’t addressing you in particular, Xantha guy or gal…

    It is of course ok to have that “adult conversation” wrt to Iraq and Pakistan.

    But is it wrong of me to sense that, at least some of those who are Iraqi war critics, are so gung-ho for invading Pakistan (hello Obama!) simply because its government is allied with the Bush government?

    And, further, if the Bush gov decided tomorrow that it was going after the Musharrif regime, that these same critics would be screaming, “What?! Are you trying to start a nuclear war?!”

    Anyway, the subject of neo-neo’s post was the blame attribute to the United States by the various critics of the war, in relation to the dispute number of civilian deaths in Iraq.

    That is what I was addressing…

    thanks
    RH

  19. stumbley Says:

    “Um, the death of American soldiers Stumbley”

    You mean like the horrendous violence in Fallujah?

    “Nobody was shot last night in Fallujah. No American has been shot anywhere in Fallujah since the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment rotated into the city two months ago. There have been no rocket or mortar attacks since the summer. Not a single of the 3/5 Marines has even been wounded.”
    -Michael Totten, 11/27/07

    “Please try to think your response through completely before you type.”

    Oh, I do, X, I sure do.

  20. Laura Says:

    We were more than happy to help Saddam kill his own people and the Iranians as long as he would cooperate with us and share his oil.

    The stain of that little bit of dark history makes the “moral” highground of “finally removing him” seem like a parody.

    Like WE one day woke up and said, “those poor Iraqis” need our help. Where they hell were we when we were working back alley deals with the bastard himself? How might it have turned out had he given up the goods?

    And, we didn’t go in to save the Iraqis remember? Wasn’t it about WMD?

    Smells like hubris to me.

  21. stumbley Says:

    Laura:

    “And, we didn’t go in to save the Iraqis remember? Wasn’t it about WMD?”

    Weeeelllll, no, actually (from the “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq” in 2002):

    “Whereas in December 1991 (you know, when Bubba was Prez), Congress expressed its sense that it “supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 as being consistent with the Authorization of Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102-1),” that Iraq’s repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and “constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region,” and that Congress, “supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688″;

    Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) (you know, the one that Bubba signed) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

    See, it’s those pesky facts that keep coming up and doing you folks in.

  22. Laura Says:

    FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 8 (UPI) — A bomb killed two Iraqi police officers and four security guards in Fallujah, Iraq, and an improvised explosive device killed a U.S. soldier south of Baghdad.

    and another factbox on violence 11/25

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSANW52752420071125

    oh so rosy huh? ps: do a google search to see that totten’s article was picked up by every fox around the country. guess that’s called a “top down” story.

  23. Laura Says:

    What were the Americans told”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html

    sounds like the “imminent threat” speech.

    and who can forget this classic:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html

  24. stumbley Says:

    Laura: No one denies that WMD were part of the reason for the invasion; it’s just that folks like you keep pumping WMD as the only reason. It’s just not true. And if people like you were too uninterested at the outset to pay attention, well, I’m sorry, but the information was out there.

    And I’m not saying that there’s no violence in Iraq or that more American soldiers won’t be casualties, it’s just that in many regions of the country, violence is way down, and people like you just refuse to admit it.

    Just because Michael Totten is picked up by Fox, that makes the news untrue? You’d rather get your stories from Jamil Hussein?

    Say, how’s your “kid” doing, anyway?

  25. Laura Says:

    Why don’t you send me a link, where our president did not link the two prior to the war. WMD was THE reason we went to war. Period.

  26. stumbley Says:

    Laura:

    Sorry. You are just wrong.

  27. stumbley Says:

    …and by the way, the president who first “linked the two before the war” was none other than William Jefferson Clinton.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Pity you haven’t realized it.

  28. Sarah Wright Says:

    Laura,

    Thanks for providing clarification of the oft misquoted “imminent threat” line. What President Bush said, per your link, was:

    “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.”

    It is clear that Bush was saying we could not wait UNTIL the threat was imminent.

  29. Gringo Says:

    @ Laura

    We were more than happy to help Saddam kill his own people and the Iranians as long as he would cooperate with us and share his oil.
    The stain of that little bit of dark history makes the “moral” highground of “finally removing him” seem like a parody.

    Saddam assumed power officially in 1979, although he was the power behind the scenes for some time before that. From 1979-1990, US arms sales to Iraq represented 0.6% of Iraq’s arms purchases; the USSR 60.6%, China 14.8%, and France, 14.5%. That doesn’t sound as if we gave a lot of assistance to Saddam. It is an interesting coincidence that Russia and France, the first and third biggest sellers of arms to Saddam, were also the most opposed to our deposing Saddam, and that you appear to have been similarly opposed. Just wondering. From 1967 to 1984, the US didn’t even have diplomatic relations with Iraq.

    Please get acquainted with the facts.

    Our arms sales to Iraq – mostly helicopters- were related to the Iran-Iraq War, which was done for realpolitik’s sake. Recall the remark attributed to Henry Kissinger about the Iran-Iraq War: “I hope they both lose,” which is similar to what Truman said with regard to Hitler’s invading the USSR in 1941. Do you think that we also made a mistake in making anther pact with the devil, when we assisted Stalin in our common fight against Hitler? Do you believe that because we started diplomatic relations with Stalin in 1933, and also gave him substantial military assistance in WW2, that we share responsibility for the genocides of Communism?( see your remark about “we were more than happy to help Saddam kill his own people,” )

    Like WE one day woke up and said, “those poor Iraqis” need our help. Where they hell were we when we were working back alley deals with the bastard himself? How might it have turned out had he given up the goods?

    It is difficult to tell what time frame you are using. What about Gulf War I? Do you think we made a mistake in not going all the way to Baghdad back in 1991? What “back alley deals” were we working? And when? Just wondering. It was the French and Russians, with decades of economic and military ties with the Ba’athist Iraq, who wanted sanctions lifted, who were working those back alley deals. Do you recall the photo of Chirac and Saddam at the nuclear power plant, which shows the long-standing ties between France and Ba’athist Iraq?

    And, we didn’t go in to save the Iraqis remember? Wasn’t it about WMD?

    Again, it is difficult to tell what time frame you are using. Since you are talking about WMDs, I will make the assumption you are discussing the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was about a lot more than just WMDs. Have you ever read the Iraq War Resolution of October 2002? Among other things, it says:

    “Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region….
    Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime..”

    BTW, the Iraq Liberation Act was signed by President Clinton.Please get acquainted with the facts.

    http://armstrade.sipri.org/arms_trade/values.php

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/007748.php Saddam and Chirac at nuclear power station.

  30. bunkerbuster Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with neoneo’s idea that there is a hierarchy of moral responsibility. The ludicrously simplistic “moral superiority” notions of chauvanists have no place in reasoned discussion.

    The hierarchy she sets out, however, is woefully incomplete.

    The most glaring omission is that of police authority. The capstone of civilization is the recognition that the state alone has police authority, that is the right to undertake violence on behalf of the community. This is how and why we distinguish between terrorists and police, so we can’t leave it out of our moral hierarchy, as neoneo has.

    The U.S. has no police agency in Iraq. Even the chauvanists have now at long last surrendered on the argument that it was necessary to invade to remove Saddam’s WMD. Even they have shifted to the rationale that the U.S. is acting on behalf of Iraq’s citizens, not America’s.

    But the U.S. unilaterally rejected the only available processes for establishing police authority to act on behalf of Iraqis. The U.S. was never invited by any representative leadership in Iraq and the U.N. never condoned the U.S. invasion. Both of these methods of establishing police authority are incomplete and, even, flawed, but they are the available means for doing so. The U.S. chose to do neither.

    Instead, the U.S. chose to act as a vigilante in Iraq. Again, this doesn’t make all their actions ipso facto immoral, but it does place them significantly lower in the moral hierarchy.

    Neoneo draws the analogy between police killing murderers in a shootout and the the U.S. killing Saddam’s “henchmen” in Iraq. But the U.S. is acting as a foreign vigilante, not a police force. The henchmen, then, were lynched by foreigners in the scenario neoneo describes, not killed by police in a shootout. Moreover, the lynching took place in a circumstance in which the foreign lynchers were simultaneously engaging in massive destruction of infrastructure, killing innocent civilians, torture, collective punishment and aiding and abetting ethnic cleansing, whether accidental or otherwise.

    Neoneo writes:
    “Thus, the US is clearly responsible for directly and intentionally killing many people in Iraq. But who are these people? I think we can safely say the majority of them are what we might call the bad guys.”

    If vigilantes shoot a guilty murderer, their act can be seen as moral, even if it is anti-social. But what if when shooting the guilty murderer, a stray bullet kills a child? That either reverses or severely diminishes the morality of their act. Now, what if killing that murderer entailed a running gun battle through the city that destroyed much of the city’s infrastructure and left dozens of bystanders dead and scores injured. I think we can safely say the vigilantes are, on balance, bad moral actors and the situation in Iraq is far more akin to the latter than the former.

    Neoneo writes:
    “The collateral damage we cause usually stems from our efforts to prevent even more terrorist incidences from occurring by killing the terrorists first.”

    Saddam can and did make the same argument with equally preposterous justification: His government was under seige. Shiite and Kurd terrorists, along with Iran, threatened its survival. The attempt to destroy the terrorists left innocents dead.

    Such an argument is ludicrous, of course, not because terrorists, assassins and spies weren’t otu to bring down his government, but because Saddam had so severely compromised his legitimacy as the ruler or Iraq, he lacked the level of police authority that alone can justify “collateral” damage.

    The argument is equally ludicrous when used to justify U.S. killing of innocents by exactly the same standard: The U.S. has no legitimate claim to police authority in Iraq, and, in fact, hasn’t even sought one.

    Let’s consider another analogy: a band of vigilantes comes into town searching for a murder suspect. During the search, they lock up your son in a prison where he is then tortured, humiliate your daughter and accidentally kill your uncle.

    You then decide to become a vigilante yourself and proceed to kill the vigilantes.

    Where do you rest on the moral heirarchy? Every Iraqi would have the right to be in that position, regardless of their ethnic, religious or political affiliation.

    Which brings us to neoneo’s claim that:
    “the killings bunkerbuster conveniently ignores, those occurring at the hands of Saddam when he was in power.”

    As I have shown again above, I have not ignored those killings and neither are they inconvenient. Rather Saddam’s killings and his justifications for them and his moral agency, or lack thereof, are highly convenient to my arguments. I have referred to them repeatedly, so neoneo’s claim that I’ve ignored them is plainly false.

    Neoneo writes:
    “some diminished responsibility must be borne by other countries of the world who actively supported [Saddam] during the era of his worst excesses, which occurred in the late 80s during the war with Iran and also after the Gulf War failed to take him out.”

    Part of bearing that responsibility is acknowledging that it diminshes or even eliminates any potential police authority the U.S. may seek to exercise in Iraq. The U.S. is a vigilante with bloody hands, and not just from the innocents accidentally killed, but with the blood of those deliberately killed by the tyrant himself.

    After admitting that the U.S. shares responsibility for Saddam’s worst atrocities, neoneo claims:

    “It’s impossible to say how many people might have been involved, but the number of innocent deaths prevented by his removal almost certainly exceeded the number of innocent deaths attributable to the direct action of the US in this war, including collateral damage.”

    This makes no sense. Neoneo says it’s “impossible” to say, but then goes on to, well, say it.

    So we have a vigilante who admits that it’s impossible to say whether their actions actually saved innocent life. But they then go on to assert that it MAY have.

    Such highly speculative hypotheticals have no place in assessing moral hierarchies. As we noted, the very basis of civilization is the exclusivity of state violence. If vigilantes are free to kill on the basis of speculative hypotheticals that they themselves describe as “impossible” to gauge, all is lost.

  31. harry9000 Says:

    Xan:
    “I won’t speak for bunkerbuster, but for myself and many other liberals, the problem is we believe that we are not capable of remedying the situation in Iraq, no matter how long we stay…”

    An honest, reasonable argument. I disagree with it though.

    “I continue to believe that our forces are only acting as a cap on the violence, and not an antidote to it. The lack of political progress only bolsters this belief on my part….by keeping our troops there in huge numbers, things will somehow, someday get better? That “strategy” is hardly sufficient reason to keep enduring casualties in Iraq.”

    No, things “getting better” in Iraq is of strategic importance, not only to the United States, but to other western liberal democracies as well. The world needs a sane, stable government in the heart
    of a region beset by brutal dictators and homicidal clerics. Islam needs to undergo the “Reformation” Christianity had went thru in the Middle Ages, not to mention the importance of denying Iran with the reward of a virtual puppet province they would end up with once they disposed of the democratically elected Iraqi political leadership. So yes, we have sufficient reason to stick it out. And since it appears you on the left do not have a greater moral argument for withdrawal, Im not certain why what motivates your position on the matter, isnt exactly what we’ve been saying it is.

  32. harry9000 Says:

    BUNK
    “Neoneo draws the analogy between police killing murderers in a shootout and the the U.S. killing Saddam’s “henchmen” in Iraq. But the U.S. is acting as a foreign vigilante, not a police force.”

    Yeah, we did that to Germany and Japan as well. We’re just scoff-laws like that from time-to-time.

  33. Gray Says:

    Gray, please try to read more closely…or, at all. The ROE also make it perfectly legitimate to drop a bomb on a house full of people you think are insurgents, but might actually be insurgents, or where insurgents are hiding even if civilians might be in the building.

    Not really…. It’s not really that simple. There is a ‘vetting’ process.

    You really don’t know what you are talking about, but it is colored by your dislike of your country, your military and the Commander in Chief

    So, even if you adhere to an ROE, you can kill civilians.

    That is unfortunately, true. But unlike the atrocity-happy kilbots you suggest, killing civilians is avoided, planned against and never intentional.

    Heck, we drop leaflets in advance so that civilians could be warned and get out of the area.

    Also, our troops deliberately dropped a bomb on the house Zarqawi was in, knowing that civilians were in that building and would be killed to.

    You don’t know that. You have no idea what happened….

    Look Gray, I know it’s difficult to keep up with these nuances, but please try. It really undermines your own argument to not even have your own basic facts straight, and honestly it wastes my time to have to educate you.

    “Nuances”…. Heh.

    Ooooohhhh…. I’m getting schooled in ‘basic facts of legal land warfare’ and ‘Rules of Engagement’ by a military-hatin lefty with zero background or knowledge in these things….

    How many years do you have in uniform, Xan? I’ve got 16 in an Army uniform, officer and enlisted. Guess you told me….

  34. Gray Says:

    The capstone of civilization is the recognition that the state alone has police authority, that is the right to undertake violence on behalf of the community.

    Wow, the dirty, dirty left does love a police state. No wonder they love a strongman like Saddam:

    Police Authority has no “rights”. Only citizens have rights…..

    One of those rights is to own guns as a balance police authority.

  35. Sally Says:

    X: … when our forces are most certainly responsible for a incredible number of deaths … etc., etc.

    The operative word in all that being “incredible” — meaning “not believable”. That’s not important, though — as a good self-styled “liberal”, even bunker’s “tiny handful” of Iraqi deaths would be deemed “incredible” in the sense of “really big” by X. And, of course, as a good “liberal”, X would hardly be able to recognize the concept of “bad guy” anyway, except when applied to Bush, neocons, conservatives, or Americans generally.

    A few simple points, notwithstanding all the phony or obtuse liberal handwringing :
    The first is that, as in all wars, innocents do get killed, yes.
    The second is that American troops generally do their best to keep such deaths to a minimum, while doing what they need to do to kill or defeat the real bad guys.
    The third is that there are real bad guys (as opposed to non-”liberals”) in Iraq and elsewhere, whom it is extremely important to kill or otherwise neutralize, which is why our troops are there in the first place.

    The last point, particularly, is what we need to keep in mind when we talk about current options. It’s not simply that withdrawal at this point would likely result in large numbers of civilian deaths in Iraq, as bad as that is. It’s that it would also, at this point, leave a power vacuum into which would flood islamist butchers once again, with every intention of setting up another state-supported, oil-funded terrorist hatching ground. Both prospects, of course, leave those poor, compassionate “liberals” doing nothing more than sighing, tilting their heads, and giving little “what-can-you-do?” shrugs. For the rest of us, however, both prospects should be cause for strengthened resolution.

  36. harry9000 Says:

    I wonder if Saddam could have used another lawyer in his defense. Bunk could have stepped up and argued that the Iraqi authorities had no authority to pronounce judgement on Hussien as he was illegally apprehended by a vigilante US government acting without the authority or approval of the same one-world government body, which routinely fails to enforce its own “resolutions”.

    The defendant must be released at once and given his old job back.

  37. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sally writes: withdrawal “would also, at this point, leave a power vacuum into which would flood islamist butchers once again, with every intention of setting up another state-supported, oil-funded terrorist hatching ground.”

    That’s your speculation. Withdrawal could also clear the way for secular Iraqi tribalists to defeat the fringe Al Qaeda elements empowered and enabled by the U.S. occupation.

    Why are you assuming withdrawal equals a power vaccuum?

    Isn’t it safer to assume that a withdrawal would be accompanied by a diplomatic arrangement that could include U.N. enforcement and/or regional military participation?

    There are many options here and, while none of them, including continued occupation, are without risks and sacrifice, they remain options nonetheless.

    To pretend that the only option to occupation is leaving willy nilly, leaving a “power vaccuum” and so on in Iraq just isn’t credible.

  38. harry9000 Says:

    Jaw droppingly stunning:

    “To pretend that the only option to occupation is leaving willy nilly, leaving a “power vaccuum” and so on in Iraq just isn’t credible…Isn’t it safer to assume that a withdrawal would be accompanied by a diplomatic arrangement that could include U.N. enforcement and/or regional military participation?”

    Safer for who? Safer for you? Absolutely. Why dont you just be honest and say you just dont give a rats ass? You couldnt be that out of touch with the real world to think the UN is going to come back into Iraq and cover our withdrawl. The lack of intellectual honesty, and out-right laziness on your part for suggesting this as an actual option leaves a rational person with no other conclusion about you that you really dont give a rats ass. Why do you fight this so? It clearly doesnt have a thing to do with you.

  39. Gray Says:

    That’s your speculation. Withdrawal could also clear the way for secular Iraqi tribalists to defeat the fringe Al Qaeda elements empowered and enabled by the U.S. occupation.

    WAHAHAHAHA!

    Or maybe it will end up an Islamic Paradise on Earth like Afghanistan.

    Remember the big beef that we helped the Mujahideen defeat the Soviets and then we just left Afghanistan?

    Remember the left charge that “we abandoned Afghanistan”?

    No, of course you don’t, those things went down the Memory Hole of the Left.

    So you want us to abandon Iraq like we abandoned Afghanistan and you think it will be just peachy….

    How many pre-Islamic ruins and artifacts are there for the Taliban to destroy in Uruk, Sumer and all of Mesopotamia? A great many….

    Hey, the Tigris ran blue with ink the first time the Muslimeen sacked Baghdad, why not again?

    You’ve lost all credibility with this and it is clear that you see the United States as the focus of evil on the earth.

    I guess the fact that I don’t hate my country makes me another ‘chauvInist. (It’s spelled with two i’s, how can he get that wrong every time?)

  40. jimfocus Says:

    boogah!boogah!

  41. Sally Says:

    Bunk: That’s your speculation.

    Ah, “speculation“. Hey, for all bunker knows, American withdrawal might pave the way for an international force of UN “peacekeepers” to be welcomed by all sides and usher in a new Age of Aquarius! Or: “Withdrawal could also clear the way for secular Iraqi tribalists to defeat the fringe Al Qaeda elements empowered and enabled by the U.S. occupation.” (Oh, so the surge is actually empowering Al Qaeda! I don’t think even the MSM has thought of that spin yet.) Or, you know, maybe aliens will come down and enforce peace in out time.

    Say! Why don’t you all just gather together in a circle, and maybe hold hands, and you could hum along to Kumbaya for those who don’t know the words, and you could just hope and really, really believe that it will all turn out just fine. Now that’s a plan you liberals could really get behind!

  42. harry9000 Says:

    If the UN were willing to cover our butts in a with drawl, maybe they could say….stick around with us and perform security with us until a political solution has been reached. How come that could be an option? Just exactly where is the intrepid ultimate world authority anyway?

    In Darfur, raping children.

  43. jimfocus Says:

    “I’m not getting too worked up over the supposed success of the surge. I talked to dozens of US officers over there last week, not one would say we were winning, some said at least we weren’t losing. To a one they all expressed extreme frustration w/ the footdragging of the Malaki govt.

    “The violence is down for a number of reasons, not just the impact of the surge, which is in Baghdad. But that’s like saying we’ve gone from the 8th circle of hell to the fifth. It’s still a very dangerous place. As far as the strategic goal of the surge, the political solution, there has not been any progress.

    “People who talk constantly in terms of winning & losing fundamentally don’t get it–it’s so much more complicated. All signs are that we are in Iraq for a long time, it will be difficult.”
    Tom Ricks, Wash Post

  44. harry9000 Says:

    ““People who talk constantly in terms of winning & losing fundamentally don’t get it–it’s so much more complicated. All signs are that we are in Iraq for a long time, it will be difficult.”

    Difficult? Long-term? Yes. We’ve said as much. I dont see where either Tom Ricks or the dozens of US officers advocate withdrawal. You forgot to include that.

  45. jimfocus Says:

    I think we both agree w/ Ricks, Harry. He’s a brutally objective reporter and has been spot on in his reports for nearly 5 years now. As long as the current policy is in place, and the longer it’s followed, the tougher it’s going to be to withdraw, which really begs the question.

    Bush & Cheney have no plans whatsoever to withdraw, and never did. The plan all along was to establish a powerful military presence in Iraq, before 9/11. Ricks (I was quoting him from a radio interview I heard yesterday) swaid that he’s heard about troop withdrawals for years, and it never happens. He’s not holding his breath that there will be one, in fact he thinks Bush will try to add more troops to lock the next President in to his existing policy.

    Ricks reported some interesting factors about the drop in violence. He says the surge initiated the phenomena, but it would be delusional to say that US forces were largely responsible for this–once the surge took hold the Sunnis simply stood down on their attacks on Americans, turned on the scruffy al Qaeda among them, and either murdered them or turned them in. The Shia aren’t stupid, they saw the Sunnis deciding to sit the surge out & drew back, too–why fight the Americans all by themselves while the Sunnis sit? This gave the Shia death squads the chance to go after the foreign al Qaeda in Baghdad, and kill them off–the problem, according to the US Command, they killed hundreds of innocents, too. Ricks also pointed out that Baghdad’s neighborhoods have been completely walled off from each other, with numerous checkpoints–you would be a fool to think you can now just go anywhere. Also, many of the neighborhoods have been violently ethnically cleansed over the past 3 years resulting in thousands of deaths, most (sorry, neo, you’re way off here) of them civilians trying to get out of the way of the sectarian violence.

    Ricks concluded by saying the next big test is the upcoming provincial elections, the first attempt to truly spread democratic govt. throughout the country. Many in the US command, according to Ricks, are bracing for what may be a new outbreak of Sunni-Shia violence w/ these elections, which has always been the biggest problem. “There is no sign of functioning democratic govt. and policing outside the green zone,” said Ricks. “It’s just not there yet.” The fear is that the intensity of the upcoming provincial elections could easily spark violence throughout the country, putting US forces up against it again. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

  46. Gray Says:

    The plan all along was to establish a powerful military presence in Iraq, before 9/11.

    Where do you get that from?

    It’s true we couldn’t enforce the sanctions and No-Fly-Zones in perpetuity, but we already had ‘a powerful military presence in Kuwait and SA to enforce the No-Fly-Zones.

    You made that up.

  47. bunkerbuster Says:

    Gray asserts: “So you want us to abandon Iraq like we abandoned Afghanistan and you think it will be just peachy….”

    The conventional wisdom is that we, or our side, “won” the war in Afghanistan. But you are correct, Gray: the reality is more complicated and history shows that our actions in Afghanistan came back to haunt us, with a vengeance, on 9/11.

    Without U.S. interference, there’s a very good chance the Soviets would have killed bin Laden and wiped out his forces. No 9/11.

    This is not to suggest the U.S. is responsible for bin Laden’s actions, but to demonstrate that “winning” wars like the one in Afghanistan may actually harm national security.

    Gray is also correct to point out the similarities between the Soviets war against jihadists in Afghanistan and ours against the amalgam of anti-occupation Iraqis. Even if we “win” the war there–presumably that means quelling the ongoing violence sufficiently to allow an orderly withdrawal–there remains a chance that the government of Iraq will continue to act against U.S. interests and, eventually, find itself as an enemy of the U.S.

    For example, there was much rhetorical confusion in the medicre media when the Prime Minister of Iraq refused to toe the U.S. line on Israel. Apparently, the media consensus is that we have a right to expect the government of Iraq to back the U.S.’s unconditional support for Israel. That’s beyond naive.

    People who argue the war in Iraq can be won in any meaningful sense of that word don’t seem to be aware that the Shiite militia and government death squads the U.S. is currently allied with aren’t likely to be pro-U.S. once America stops paying their bills and providing military cover for their ethnic cleansing and fiefdom building.

    They, as Gray suggests, can be expected to behave much as the militias in Afghanistan did after the U.S. left. Once the U.S. stopped funneling money and weapons to them, they immediately turned on us and, eventually, hosted the forces of 9/11.

    Regardless of whether the U.S. withdraws from Iraq before or after declaring victory (Mission Accomplished?), the Iraqi people are not likely to drop their objections to U.S. support for either Israel or the Saudi or Kuwaiti monarchies.

    For all their talk about positive thinking, pro-war bloggers never actually take the step of imagining Iraq as a functioning democracy. Miracles do happen and should that particular one unfold, Iraq would immediately find itself in direct conflict with close long-standing allies Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

    Presumably, as a democracy, it would also have the superior moral standing would allow it–in the chauvanist view–to justify invading Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, on behalf of it’s peoples’ democratic aspirations of course.

    At the very least, a democratic Iraq would be more, not less, in conflict with the Saudis, Kuwait, Jordan and Israel, America’s strongest and longest-lived allies in the region.

    This can only be avoided by bringing in the participation of Iraq’s neighbors and one framework for such a solution is the U.N.–though by no means the only one.

    The consequences of a U.S. “victory” in Iraq may well be unintended, but they needn’t be unprepared for.

  48. harry9000 Says:

    Yeah Jim. You were coming off pretty reasonable at the end there. When you say “The plan all along was to establish a powerful military presence in Iraq, before 9/11., my eyes start to roll though. Again, because I must’ve missed it, I dont see Ricks or the US officers he cited as advocating a withdrawal. Just that its going to be a long and difficult slog involving some of the duplicity you mentioned. (and maybe, a little over embellished, as with the assertion Iraqi occupation was Bush/Cheney plan all along). Im not seeing a better alternative being presented. You at least sound as though you may be level headed enough not to believe the violence would simply go away on its own once we leave, or that there wont be something horrid that fills the hole we leave behind.

  49. Xanthippas Says:

    There is a ‘vetting’ process.

    Yes, and that vetting process results in bombs being dropped on houses of civilians. So please explain to me how your “vetting process” undermines my point.

    You don’t know that. You have no idea what happened….

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200705/tracking-zarqawi. It helps to get your news from something besides Fox and TownHall.com.

    How many years do you have in uniform, Xan? I’ve got 16 in an Army uniform, officer and enlisted. Guess you told me….

    Well, none actually, which is why it surprises me that you have such difficulty understanding my basic points. I do appreciate your service to the country, but that hardly changes the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  50. Xanthippas Says:

    It’s that it would also, at this point, leave a power vacuum into which would flood islamist butchers once again, with every intention of setting up another state-supported, oil-funded terrorist hatching ground.

    You overstate this threat. The Sunnis have proved more than capable of dealing with al Qaeda, moreso than we were even. And regardless, Sunni terrorists could not hope to topple the Shiite-dominated national government. Our greatest threat is that Iraq will emerge a firm ally of Iran, something that is happening even as we occupy the country with 175,000+ troops.

  51. Xanthippas Says:

    Or maybe it will end up an Islamic Paradise on Earth like Afghanistan.

    If so, it’ll be a Shiite one. See my above comment.

  52. Xanthippas Says:

    Oh, I do, X, I sure do.

    Well, no you don’t. For one thing, I didn’t mention Fallujah, which is a locked down city right now. Second, according to this website:

    http://icasualties.org/oif/

    34 American soldiers have died in Iraq this month. I am arguing that it’s not worth it, but then I don’t think the deaths of 34 American soldiers is insignificant, as some on this blog appear to.

  53. bunkerbuster Says:

    It’s worth repeating the delicious irony that neoneo started this blog with the feeling that she was being mistreated by liberals who disagreed with her support for Bush and the war.

    Alas, her blog has become a vibrant testament instead to the ugly, infantile personal attacks so many conservatives unleash when their claims are challenged by liberals.

    Here is a small sample from this thread alone:

    Gray: “You slander the military and your country.’’
    Stumbley: “Feh. A plague on “progressives.”
    Trimegistus: “Why not just go ahead and join the Klan, Xanth? I’m sure Robert Byrd would write you a good recommendation.’’
    Roundhead: “nothing bad is recognized by the left unless it can be (however absurdly) blamed on the United States…’’
    Richard Aubrey: “This is the way the left look at the benighted brown people. Helpless and without self-will.’’
    Stumbley: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Pity you haven’t realized it.’’
    Gray: “Wow, the dirty, dirty left does love a police state. No wonder they love a strongman like Saddam.’’
    Sally: “As a good “liberal”, X would hardly be able to recognize the concept of “bad guy” anyway, except when applied to Bush, neocons, conservatives, or Americans generally.’’
    Harry9000: “Why don’t you just be honest and say you just don’t give a rats ass?’’
    Gray: “I guess the fact that I don’t hate my country makes me another ‘chauvanist.’’’
    Sally: “Say! Why don’t you all just gather together in a circle, and maybe hold hands, and you could hum along to Kumbaya for those who don’t know the words, and you could just hope and really, really believe that it will all turn out just fine. Now that’s a plan you liberals could really get behind!’’

    Clearly, emphatically, this blog demonstrates the conservative proclivity for personal insult as a mode of political discourse. What drives them to such fevered desperation?

    I have a couple of theories, but I’ll get into them at another time.

  54. Xanthippas Says:

    Weeeelllll, no, actually (from the “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq” in 2002):

    Stumbley, cherry picking got us into this war, and your cherry picking is no decent defense of it. See, if you read the entire document, you’ll come across this gem:

    Whereas Iraq’s demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;

    So, the term WMD is specifically used in the resolution, which makes it difficult to argue that we didn’t go to war over WMDS. If you’re intellectually honest that is.

    Oh, and one more thing, from this Bush speech in 2002:
    http://www.narsil.org/war_on_iraq/bush_october_7_2002.html

    Some citizens wonder: After 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now?

    There is a reason. We have experienced the horror of September 11. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing — in fact they would be eager — to use a biological, or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.

    Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

    So, not only was WMD specifically mentioned in the Iraq Resolution, it was also mentioned repeatedly in Bush administration speeches, of which the above is only one example.

    In other words, yes we most certainly did go to war over WMDs. This is by the way a fact that a vast majority of Americans have accepted. Only on blogs like this one do we have to “prove” it over and over again.

    Facts, indeed.

  55. harry9000 Says:

    Among the eye poppers:

    BUNK:
    “This can only be avoided by bringing in the participation of Iraq’s neighbors and one framework for such a solution is the U.N.–though by no means the only one.”

    The participation of Iraq’s neighbors? Iran or Syria perhaps? Hell Bunk, we can just withdrawal and hand the Iraqi’s over to either or both.

    “The consequences of a U.S. “victory” in Iraq may well be unintended, but they needn’t be unprepared for.”

    Uh huh. So, even if we win, we loose. Soviets and Afghanistan…and OBL,… and we lost anyway…

    Lets go back even further. If we had not won a so-called “victory” at Lexington or Yorktown the United States would not now have foolishly found its way promoting democracy in Iraq, which must be a bad thing because they probably would be opposed to our relations with Israel. As if no matter what, that probably wouldnt have turned out to be the case anyway. If we hadnt left the damned Nazi’s alone they could have devoted the bulk of their military towards defeating the Soviets, thus keeping them out of Afghanistan altogether. So that was another so-called “victory” we could have done without.

    I tell you what. Instead of cutting & running from Iraq, why dont we disband the military right where it sits. I mean the UN is on the verge of stepping up to the plate anyway isnt it? And we certainly dont want to risk having anymore so-called victories.

  56. Tap Says:

    Wow.

    It just never occured to me to think that the Ultimate Moral Authority rests in a police state as invested by the U.N. (or apparently ‘the leadership in Iraq, Hussein)

    I’m blown away. Seriously.

    “The capstone of civilization is the recognition that the state alone has police authority” ?????

    The capstone??? Really??? And the authority comes from above? Seriously?

    Do you guys think that was just a lot of bluster to through the scent off and avoid addressing the points Neo made, or can he really mean this stuff?

  57. Tap Says:

    “Hell Bunk, we can just withdrawal and hand the Iraqi’s over to either or both.”

    I believe that’s what’s he’s advocating, Harry

  58. harry9000 Says:

    Tap:
    “I believe that’s what’s he’s advocating, Harry”

    I wouldnt put it past him.

  59. Tap Says:

    Afterall, our soldiers, otherwise known as vigilantes, have been lynching Saddam’s, um, you know, so called “henchmen” (you have to put that part in scare quotes).

  60. harry9000 Says:

    I’m still trying to come to grips with why a democratically run Iraq opposing US relations with Israel is significantly worse off than an Iraq ruled by a religious thugocracy. Wouldnt we at least have a better dialogue with leaders that are less driven by an irrational agenda? What kind of excuse is that to oppose our efforts? Man, we should have left it to the UN like the “progressive” say. You know they would have acted swiftly and done the right thing.

  61. Tap Says:

    You’re durn tootin’ they would! But we could still leave now. No doubt the U.N. would come bustin’ in a do a whopper of a job, kinda like they’re doing in Lebanon right now!

  62. Tap Says:

    Ahem. I mean Yer.

    Yer dern tootin’ they would. wood, I mean. Awww, heck.

  63. jimfocus Says:

    Gray, the neocons (Kristol, Feith, Wolfowitz, Frum, et al) have advocated an Iraqi invasion & elevated military presence in the ME since 1992 and acted upon those beliefs once part of the Bush adm. Paul O’Neill in his book, stated he was stunned that the major subject of the first Bush cabinet meeting was invading Iraq, led by Rummy & Cheney–this was January, 2001, pre 9/11. Bob Woodward and Bob Novak have both reported, along w/ others, that when Clinton met w/ Bush & Cheney he told them that Saddam was contained, but he was worried about the growing threat of al-Qaeda. O’Neill describes how Rummy, Cheney & Bush mocked Clinton’s contention that terrorism should be their main concern, they all saw Saddam as the target and were pushing an invasion as part of an overall plan to dominate the area. Nothing made up here, fairly well-documented by writers from the left or right for years now.

  64. zLocke Says:

    Bunkerbuster,
    Following your excellent posts, I think that your job is done here. Any additional effort would be wasted.

    That last post you made clearly demonstrates the complete and total failure of the “neocon ideology” which can mostly be summed up as “We’re scared! Let’s bomb and torture the rest of the world, spy on ourselves and tell everyone how smart we are.”

    The neocon ideology always, ALWAYS seems to draw the wrong lessons from history. Its advocates cherry-pick facts to do anything to keep from admitting that the facts on the ground in just about any situation refute their two-dimensional world view. For them its just a bunch of “Dirty liberals” who insist on keeping their “hands clean by not killing people and who hate America.” For them it is impossible for us to be liberals but not be pacifists.

    That’s way easier for them to believe than to genuinely understand the fact that many liberals simply believe that there is one rule of law–not one for Americans and another for the rest of the world. Nobody gets a free pass. Yet we can only be responsible for our own actions. And we shouldn’t use the behavior of others, no matter how bad, to justify our own.

    I personally believe the neocons represent a bizarre strain of autocratic (and morally vacant) ideology that attempts to masquerade as reasoned and moral thought. I’ve been lurking around this site for years and it still boggles my mind some of the completely nonsensical stuff that I read.

    It’s like American values stuck in Bizarro World. You know– “we had to destroy the village to save it” kind of thinking. Except in this case, it’s “we have to destroy our country’s values in order to save it from the terrorists!”

    Its when “neoconism” comes face to face with reality that it breaks down into the long list of infantile attacks that you summed up in your post. Then you see what its real intellectual underpinnings are.

    It is a failed ideology and destined for the dustbin of history right next to Stalinism.

    -z

  65. jimfocus Says:

    zlocke,
    Wow, you couldn’t have said it better. I’m new to the site, but my impressions mirror yours. I’m especially amused by the condemnation of victimhood here until the neocons & war supporters rush to embrace it when challenged. They are shocked, shocked that someone would deign to talk back to them, or confront directly their ad hominem that bunker describes very well. And like most spoiled sports, they hate being lampooned, this serious, serious group here.

    My conclusion is that their arguments go only so far, because the neocon theory is an unwieldy amalgam of moralistic democractic nation building fused with a real authoritarian unilateral militaristic activism, and an embrace of what only can be described as an American-style imperialism. As it plays out in Iraq, it has been an unmitigated disaster.

    Colin Powell cut through their BS in seconds when he recited, in exasperation, to the neocon hawks the now famous Pottery Barn rule: If you break it, you own it. Boy, was he right.

  66. mrs whatsit Says:

    Over and over again in this thread, people like X and Laura and Bunkerbuster demonstrate that the only way they can respond to criticism of their reasoning is to willfully misunderstand and misrepresent the criticism. As just one example, Stumbley writes to Laura:

    “No one denies that WMD were part of the reason for the invasion; it’s just that folks like you keep pumping WMD as the only reason. It’s just not true.”

    Now comes X:
    “Stumbley, cherry picking got us into this war, and your cherry picking is no decent defense of it. See, if you read the entire document, you’ll come across this gem:

    Whereas Iraq’s demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that would result to the United States and its citizens from such an attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend itself;

    So, the term WMD is specifically used in the resolution, which makes it difficult to argue that we didn’t go to war over WMDS. If you’re intellectually honest that is.”

    The cherrypicker lectures on cherrypicking, using intellectual dishonesty to warn against intellectual dishonesty. Perfect!

  67. Sally Says:

    Awww. Now see what you nasty neocons have done? You’ve hurt the bunker’s feelings. You people are being mean to him, and to “liberal” weenies everywhere, and for no reason! Only because you’re neocon “spoiled sports”, “authoritarian unilateral militaristic” activists, who spout “BS”, and are given to “infantile attacks”! Yes, those “ugly, infantile personal attacks so many conservatives unleash when their claims are challenged by liberals”, you nasty neocons
    with your “conservative proclivity for personal insult as a mode of political discourse”. I mean, we nice liberals, we don’t go around saying snotty things like “please try to read more closely…or, at all”, or “honestly it wastes my time to have to educate you”, now do we? Noooo. Sure, maybe we do like to misspell “chauvanist” over and over, or make cultured and intellectual references to insightful movie dialogue (“yee haw”), or pointed interjections to the conversation (“boogah boogah”), but that’s jes us smart guys messin wit ya. I mean, you do make “ludicrous arguments”, and all you chauvanists [sic] do have “ludicrously simplistic “moral superiority” notions”, but I don’t think you really mean to be funny, do you? Maybe because with “your paranoid and two-dimensional world view”, you can only make “stupied and racist comment”.

    Yeah! How’s that!

    Stop crying, bunker, they’re not worth it. They’re just a bunch of chauvanits!

    You’re so mean.

  68. Laura Says:

    But again, all of this moral highground seems disingenuous given our own complicity in the killing fields of Iraq during the Reagan years.

    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

  69. Sally Says:

    But again, all of this moral highground seems disingenuous given our own complicity

    Fine, then, forget the “moral highground”, Laura, and try to focus on the likely consequences — as opposed to the hoped for ones — of premature American withdrawal: namely, a large number of additional civilian deaths, and a power vacuum which would be an open invitation to every islamist terrorist gang still operating.

  70. Gringo Says:

    @Laura:
    So you wanted Iran to win that war?
    You repeated a statement from a previous posting, without replying to my response.
    I will repost part of that. You said, among other things:

    The stain of that little bit of dark history makes the “moral” highground of “finally removing him” seem like a parody.

    I replied, among other things.

    From 1979-1990, US arms sales to Iraq represented 0.6% of Iraq’s arms purchases…. It is an interesting coincidence that Russia and France, the first and third biggest sellers of arms to Saddam, were also the most opposed to our deposing Saddam, and that you appear to have been similarly opposed. …..Our arms sales to Iraq – mostly helicopters- were related to the Iran-Iraq War, which was done for realpolitik’s sake. Recall the remark attributed to Henry Kissinger about the Iran-Iraq War: “I hope they both lose,” which is similar to what Truman said with regard to Hitler’s invading the USSR in 1941. Do you think that we also made a mistake in making anther pact with the devil, when we assisted Stalin in our common fight against Hitler? Do you believe that because we started diplomatic relations with Stalin in 1933, and also gave him substantial military assistance in WW2, that we share responsibility for the genocides of Communism?( see your remark about “we were more than happy to help Saddam kill his own people,” )

    I repeat: did you want Iran to win that war? Are you afraid to reply to my questions?

  71. Trimegistus Says:

    Arguing with Laura and Xanth and Bunk and Jim (assuming they’re not all just sockpuppets for the same twelve-year-old) is literally pointless.

    They/he aren’t going to change their minds, and they certainly aren’t going to change any minds by posting here. That’s not why they’re doing it. They’re just seething with hatred for America, Americans, Bush, Christians, and Western Civilization in general. By posting their lies and insults here they get the satisfaction of hurting everyone they disagree with. Wasting our time.

    Don’t argue with them — it’s like bailing the ocean. Their arrogance and ignorance are as limitless as the sea, and their hate is as vast as space.

  72. Ymarsakar Says:

    A reply to Neo’s original post.

    If we do bear some responsibility for creating this situation or allowing it to happen, would we not then bear an even greater responsibility to do our best to stop it, to remedy it?

    He believes Petraeus is the cause of the deaths. That if Petraeus was truly willing to shoulder the responsibility, then Petraeus would leave and thus do the Iraqis a favor.

    The US, is after all, causing the problems in Iraq, by Bunker’s estimation and the Left’s as well.

    On a level playing correct, that is correct, if you ignore the ethics of it. After all, would war happen if the people that are facing enslavement simply allowed themselves to be enslaved? Without resistance from both sides, wars could never happen, Neo. Therefore, technically, the capitulation and admission of defeat by one or the other side, would end the war. The ethics, of course, is a different issue than the causality.

    As such, it would be morally reprehensible.

    While that is so, it would be less efficient as a method to stop the war than simply making one side capitulate. Because the Left sees the US as propping up the weakened women and children in Iraq’s Civil War, they see our removal as a very fast method to create a victor in Iraq, thus ending the war there. Civil or not.

    See, it’s those pesky facts that keep coming up and doing you folks in.

    Those are what are known as badfacts stumbley, not goodfacts.

    The capstone of civilization is the recognition that the state alone has police authority, that is the right to undertake violence on behalf of the community.

    I guess that explains why socialism and the Left were never really grassroots and bottom up hierarchy orientated in the first place. It also explains why they don’t like Petraeus’ COIN strategy in Iraq for arming the neighborhoods under threat of terrorism.

    Instead, the U.S. chose to act as a vigilante in Iraq. Again, this doesn’t make all their actions ipso facto immoral, but it does place them significantly lower in the moral hierarchy.

    Well, I have actually spoken about Ophi (at Bookworm’s) and Chris White’s (at here) preference as to what constituted the highest moral authority for them and theirs. The UN is one of the highest, if not THE highest, moral authority around. The Left, after all, does prefer top down hierarchical structures over bottom up ones.

    I did say that violence can only be authorized by the international community, i.e. the UN, for the Left. This point is easy to understand, but it is much harder to accept for an ethical person.

    Without U.S. interference, there’s a very good chance the Soviets would have killed bin Laden and wiped out his forces. No 9/11.

    Also no Massoud Shah or Karzai. A victory for the top down believers of the UN.

  73. Laura Says:

    It truly is funny to me that I talk about WMD, you all want to change the subject.

    9/11 was the reason we went to Iraq; because the “lessons” of 9/11…well, you know the rest.

    WMD was the “gathering threat, imminent threat” that gave us the context for war.

    How conveniently you change the subject.

    The support of Bush and his principles is like that of a truly dysfunctional family, that I am sure many of you therapists see in your offices each and every day. The codependent family struggling with the father or son’s addiction; the family’s unwavering support of their actions. Wow, what a breakthrough moment.

  74. Roundhead Says:

    ***It’s worth repeating the delicious irony that neoneo started this blog with the feeling that she was being mistreated by liberals who disagreed with her support for Bush and the war.***

    I guess I wasn’t addressing you in particular, Bankerbuster.

    I was making a general statement about the political left… care to identify the “personal” in that?

  75. Sally Says:

    “It truly is funny to me that I talk about WMD, you all want to change the subject,” says Laura, changing the subject.

    That’s gold, comedy gold.

  76. Gringo Says:

    Laura states:

    “WMD was THE reason we went to war. Period.”

    One poster replies to Laura.:

    Laura: No one denies that WMD were part of the reason for the invasion; it’s just that folks like you keep pumping WMD as the only reason. It’s just not true.

    Ample documentary proof, with multiple citations of the Iraq War Resolution of October 2002, is supplied to support the statement that WMDs were not the ONLY reason to go to war.
    Laura replies:

    “It truly is funny to me that I talk about WMD, you all want to change the subject.”

    Since multiple posters had addressed Laura’s assertion that “WMD was THE reason we went to war. Period.”, and did NOT change the subject, as she so claimed, I conclude that the following poster was correct in concluding that it is a waste of time to “dialogue” with Laura.

    “Arguing with Laura and Xanth and Bunk and Jim (assuming they’re not all just sockpuppets for the same twelve-year-old) is literally pointless….Don’t argue with them — it’s like bailing the ocean. Their arrogance and ignorance are as limitless as the sea….”

    I also note that Laura still refuses to address my questions to her.

  77. stumbley Says:

    Mrs. Whatsit:

    Thanks for actually reading my post. Apparently, unlike Laura, X, and bunky-boy, you have NOT wasted your mind.

  78. Roundhead Says:

    further to this statement:

    ***It’s worth repeating the delicious irony that neoneo started this blog with the feeling that she was being mistreated by liberals who disagreed with her support for Bush and the war.***

    When leftists critics exhaust their “conservatives are stupid / bigots / religious wackos” script…

    they commence with the “conservatives are nasty” script…

    either way, it’s too avoid honest debate of any kind…

    blockbuster, xantec, laura, etc. – your unqualified speculations / theories / assertions (ie. “without u.s. interference in Afghanistan, the Soviets would have destroyed Hussein”) may play well in the Times, Time, Newsweek, the PUffington Host, the Daily KKK, not here.

    RH

  79. Xanthippas Says:

    Don’t argue with them — it’s like bailing the ocean. Their arrogance and ignorance are as limitless as the sea, and their hate is as vast as space.

    This coming from someone who thinks that being a liberal means you ought to joint he Klan. Really Tri, you just dig the hole deeper, silly analogies aside.

  80. Roundhead Says:

    “…destroyed Bin Laden…” rather

  81. Gray Says:

    It truly is funny to me that I talk about WMD, you all want to change the subject.

    9/11 was the reason we went to Iraq; because the “lessons” of 9/11…well, you know the rest.

    WMD was the “gathering threat, imminent threat” that gave us the context for war.

    Laura:

    o Saddam brokered a deal with the UN to stay in power after the 1st gulf war.

    o That deal included international monitoring of his weapons program.

    o He broke that deal in 1998 by expelling the inspectors and declaring factories and site ‘off limits’ to monitoring.

    o The Clinton administration bombed Iraq for 3 days in 1998 “to destroy his capability to manufacture WMDs”

    Those are inarguable facts.
    Now, reason with me here if you are able:

    o From the above facts was it likely, or not likely that Saddam was building WMD?

    o Was Clinton incorrect in bombing Iraq in ’98?

    o How could we determine the state of his weapons programs after ’98?

    o How could the UN leave him in power after he violated the deal that left him in power?

    o Could we occupy Iraq by Air indefinitely?

    I welcome any and all answers to the above questions.

  82. Xanthippas Says:

    “No one denies that WMD were part of the reason for the invasion; it’s just that folks like you keep pumping WMD as the only reason. It’s just not true.”

    Yeah, and that’s in a later comment Mrs., one that I didn’t read before responding to Stumbley. His original comment made it sound like his response was that we didn’t go to war over WMDs, which is what I responded to. Which you would know, if you understand that comments come in a certain order on a blog.

    So there, I’ve correctly characterized your argument. It’s still wrong. Now tell me how I’m being intellectually dishonest. Or better yet, actually try to argue with me. You’ll find both efforts to be frustrating.

    And that hardly undermines my point. People like Stumbley honestly, sincerely believe that we went to war in Iraq premised on a humanitarian rationale. This is hogwash. We could have invaded Iraq at anytime before 9/11 if the American people had been motivated to do so out of humanitarian reasons. We did not. Consequently, the Bush administration specifically chose the issue of WMDs to “sell” the war, so to speak. Secondly, the Bush administration told Americans that we would not be in Iraq for a lengthy period of time, that the transition would be short and relatively painless (at least compared to what we’ve seen.) This was not actually a lie, as they themselves were unprepared for how unready the Iraqis were ready to take over the government. This does not support the idea that we were all THAT interested in a democratic transition; more stability, than anything else.

    Lastly, history demonstrates that the humanitarian rationale is always included where possible in rationales for war. Recall, even the Nazis attempted to justify the seizure of Czechoslovakia out of concern for the Germans who lived there and were being “oppressed” by the Czech government. The humanitarian rationale had little to no significance in bringing about war, compared the WMD rationale. The humanitarian rationale served in advance only to sucker liberal hawks, and now it serves as a convenient fiction to right wing war hawks.

  83. Gray Says:

    Lastly, history demonstrates that the humanitarian rationale is always included where possible in rationales for war. Recall, even the Nazis attempted to justify the seizure of Czechoslovakia out of concern for the Germans who lived there and were being “oppressed” by the Czech government.

    ‘Cuz, y’know, the Bush administration is just like the Nazi’s!

    I’m invoking Godwin’s Law right now: You Lose.

    I stand by all of my statements above about the filthy left and dirty, dirty leftists….

  84. Xanthippas Says:

    Awww. Now see what you nasty neocons have done? You’ve hurt the bunker’s feelings.

    And then you go on to make yet another substance-less, mocking, and crass assertion, only further proving Bunker’s point. Honestly Stumbley, do you not see the connection?

  85. IgnorantRightWingNut Says:

    Laura, whose attention to facts is “only a dream.” ( sorry, Johnny Mercer):

    “WMD was the “gathering threat, imminent threat” that gave us the context for war.”

    President Bush:

    “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.”

    All these difficult questions piling up for Laura. (see Gray, Gringo).

  86. jimfocus Says:

    It’s not us anti-American libs that claim most of the Iraqi deaths have been innocents, it’s the American command in Iraq that claims it, due to the bloody fight between the Sunnis & the Shia the past three years–if you still think that most of the thousands of people who have died there were jihadists & al Qaeda, you’re dreaming. Again, all of the US commanders have stated for years that they were a small part of the problem, the sectarian violence, which is thankfully on hold right now, has always been the crisis there, whether attacking our forces or each other.

    That’s why the conservative cry to fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here (were they going to invade, or what?) has seemed to me silly on its face. The Sunni & Shia weren’t coming here, and al Qaeda can launch a terror strike anytime they want, as any other nut group could. Our being in Iraq doesn’t seem to matter much, since al Qaeda has continued their attacks in Europe & Indonesia. Right now Amercan commanders, according to reports, fear a renewal of the sectarian war, not al Qaeda.

  87. Xanthippas Says:

    ‘Cuz, y’know, the Bush administration is just like the Nazi’s!

    Did I say that Gray? If you would read more carefully and slowly, you’d understand my basic point. Here, let me explain this in words I think you can understand. By utilizing the Nazis, about the worst example possible in the modern world of unmitigated and hostile aggression, I am trying to demonstrate to you that even the worst regimes in history have utilized the humanitarian rationale. The point being, the humanitarian rationale is frequently appended to the actual reasons for war, as political and diplomatic cover. No, the Bush administration are not Nazis. But even ruthless tyrannies want to look good going to war, so it’s hard to imagine that modern democracies wouldn’t want the same. So, the humanitarian rationale doesn’t count for much, unless it is perhaps and legitimately the only reason for war.

    There, I’ve done my part to educate you today. You’re welcome.

  88. stumbley Says:

    “People like Stumbley honestly, sincerely believe that we went to war in Iraq premised on a humanitarian rationale.”

    Well, yes, X, I believe that that was one of the reasons we invaded, as I also believe that regime change (and its attendant humanitarian consequences) was also one of the reasons. The difference between me and people like you, bunky, and Laura is that you constantly refer to WMD as the only reason for the conflict, completely ignoring facts. It’s just not true; it’s willful ignorance, and it undermines any of your arguments because you’re approaching the arguments from an intellectually dishonest premise.

    It’s very difficult to have a substantive discussion with people who constantly, willfully, religiously ignore facts.

  89. Roundhead Says:

    ***the humanitarian rationale doesn’t count for much, unless it is perhaps and legitimately the only reason for war. ***

    hoh boy, this is your “education”? going to war for “humanitarian” purposes?

    RH

  90. Gray Says:

    In other word, Xan, “The Bush administration isn’t just like the Nazis, but they act just like the nazis, invoke humanitarian concerns just like the nazis to invade countries and kill civilians just like the nazis.”

    Thanks for the clarification.

    So, the humanitarian rationale doesn’t count for much, unless it is perhaps and legitimately the only reason for war.

    The only reason? Yes, so we have clean hands….

    Just like Neos original article. Well done!

    Bravo, Neo!

  91. stumbley Says:

    “Honestly Stumbley, do you not see the connection?”

    You know, for someone who is constantly urging vigilance in reading people’s comments, you’re certainly one of the worst offenders; wasn’t me.

  92. Xanthippas Says:

    By the way Gray, about that rule:

    The rule does not make any statement as to whether any particular reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that one arising is increasingly probable.

    Godwin’s law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one’s opponent) with Hitler or Nazis or their actions. It does not apply to discussions directly addressing genocide, propaganda, or other mainstays of the Nazi regime.

    Seeing as my reference is appropriate and not hyperbolic, this “law” does not apply. So, I win.

  93. Xanthippas Says:

    Yes, so we have clean hands….

    Which we don’t, but thanks for not reading all of what I wrote.

  94. Gray Says:

    Godwin’s law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one’s opponent) with Hitler or Nazis or their actions.

    The ‘other situation’ being the invasion of Iraq and the opponent being neocons that you compared to nazis.

    You totally lose. Clearest violation of Godwin’s law I’ve seen….

    Seeing as my reference is appropriate and not hyperbolic,

    Hmmmmm, I see: ‘Cuz comparing the Bush administration to the Nazis is totally appropriate and not hyperbolic at all….

    Nope, you still lose due to your inappropriate and hyperbolic invocation of nazis.

  95. Xanthippas Says:

    Stumbley,

    My apologies…I confused you for Sally. I get lost trying to keep up with the irrational and ad hominem arguments.

  96. Gray Says:

    Yes, so we have clean hands….

    Which we don’t, but thanks for not reading all of what I wrote.

    No, of course not…. That’s why you oppose any and all military action except when we have clean hands, which we never can…

    Just like Neo said in her article. She really nailed you.

    Bravissimo, Neo!

  97. Xanthippas Says:

    Nope, you still lose due to your inappropriate and hyperbolic invocation of nazis.

    Well, as you rewrote it for me to say what I didn’t say. So sorry Gray, but even though I tried to explain it slowly, and carefully, with none too complicated words, you’re not getting it. Perhaps someone else can benefit from the discussion however.

    And for what it’s worth, I’m invoking a new law. It’s called “Xanthippas’ Law” and it’s invoked whenever someone tries to invoke Godwin’s Law (not understanding what it means) in an effort to end a debate they can’t win.

  98. Sally Says:

    X: And then you go on to make another substance-less, mocking, and crass assertion,…

    Unlike this assertion, right X?

    Or better yet, actually try to argue with me. You’ll find both efforts to be frustrating.

    Whoa, don’t tangle with X — you’ll risk… frustration! Nothing like a little chest-thumping from armchair liberal dweebs for comic relief, is there?

    the Bush administration specifically chose the issue of WMDs to “sell” the war, so to speak.

    This is, to use X’s precious terminology, hogwash. WMDs were an entirely legitimate concern for the Bush administration as they were for the Clinton administration before them. But they were never the only concern — neither, for that matter, were humanitarian issues. The primary, overriding concern, in the wake of 9/11, was and remains state-supported, oil-funded, Mid-East originating islamist terrorism — not merely bin Laden, and not merely Al Qaeda, but the entire hydra-headed monstrosity. Anyone who doesn’t understand that, or who forgets about that as a context, is missing the point. Anyone who pretends not to see that, or who deliberately tries to obfuscate and confuse that, is a malicious fool, at best.

  99. Xanthippas Says:

    The difference between me and people like you, bunky, and Laura is that you constantly refer to WMD as the only reason for the conflict, completely ignoring facts.

    No, it was the only significant reason, as I’ve stated clearly in my comments.

  100. Xanthippas Says:

    Anyone who doesn’t understand that, or who forgets about that as a context, is missing the point. Anyone who pretends not to see that, or who deliberately tries to obfuscate and confuse that, is a malicious fool, at best.

    Anyone who uses that analogy to completely obliterate crucial historical and social distinctions between various countries in which we have various interests, and argues it repeatedly without explaining why that means we’re supposed to let Afghanistan and Pakistan fester, is not a malicious fool…but they are a fool.

    And actually, the comment about “frustrating” was more fact than assertion. Which the use of the phrase “armchair liberal dweebs” proves is the effect I’m having.

  101. Gray Says:

    Well, as you rewrote it for me to say what I didn’t say.

    I first cut and then pasted your own words.

    You can’t really deny your own words…. (Though you’ve tried before).

  102. Xanthippas Says:

    Oh, and by the way:

    This is, to use X’s precious terminology, hogwash.

    Wolfowitz’s own words:

    “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on,” – Paul Wolfowitz.

    Notice, they did not agree on the humanitarian rationale.

  103. Gray Says:

    Anyone who uses that analogy to completely obliterate crucial historical and social distinctions between various countries in which we have various interests, and argues it repeatedly without explaining why that means we’re supposed to let Afghanistan and Pakistan fester, is not a malicious fool…but they are a fool.

    So you’re advocating invading Pakistan and invading Afghanistan, um, some more?

    On what grounds are you going to invade Pakistan, Obama? Nazi humanitarian grounds? Or WMD?

  104. Gray Says:

    “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on,” – Paul Wolfowitz.

    Notice, they did not agree on the humanitarian rationale.

    Well, is was a good enough reason for Clinton to bomb them in ’98.

    Why is the humanitarian argument the Holy Grail of Casus Belli anyhow?

  105. stumbley Says:

    “without explaining why that means we’re supposed to let Afghanistan and Pakistan fester”

    Oh, here’s the great “why don’t we also do this?” argument, made by someone who would be the first to object to any efforts made to address the aforesaid issues.

  106. Sally Says:

    Anyone who uses that analogy to completely obliterate crucial historical and social distinctions between various countries in which we have various interests, and argues it repeatedly without explaining why that means we’re supposed to let Afghanistan and Pakistan fester, is not a malicious fool…but they are a fool.

    Unclear what “analogy” is referred to here, but as it stands this is correct. Understanding those “crucial historical and social distinctions between various countries”, for example, would have helped you understand why Afghanistan and Pakistan are treated differently from Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, among others. It might even have helped you understand that taking such different approaches is not equivalent to letting the countries “fester”. But that’s okay, X — as you yourself say, generously, you’re not a malicious fool at least.

    Keep up those bracing assertions of “fact”, by the way!

  107. MartyH Says:

    One of the outcomes of the Iraq situatiion is to become less interventionist, not more. Iraq in 2003 set a bar for intervention. In Iraq you had a Stalinist government that used wepons of mass destruction on his own people; who invaded one neigbor and fought a long war with a second; who paid families of suicide bombers; who harbored known terrorists; who was in long standing violation of multiple UN resolutions. The logical conclusion is that countries truly are sovereign; there is no act that a country can perform within its territory that is worthy of international intervention. This frees Chavez to become dictator for life in Venezuala; Iran to pursue nuclear weapons; allows the situations in Darfur, the Congo, and Zimbabwe to fester.

  108. stumbley Says:

    “Why is the humanitarian argument the Holy Grail of Casus Belli anyhow?”

    …because it’s the one that’s perhaps the most obscure in the various UN and US Congressional resolutions authorizing force in Iraq, and therefore, the one that most “progressives” can ignore most easily. Plus, it gives one the added benefit of appearing morally superior, don’t you know, unlike the WMD reason, which has been so totally discredited because we only found a few and ignored all the trucks and planes going to Syria before the invasion.

    Nothing to see here, folks, MoveOn along….

  109. zLocke Says:

    Gee whiz. ROTFL! I thought that I’d seen everything, but you had to dig that one up. Trucks and planes going to Syria huh?

    What a bizarre little world you conservatives live in.

    Everywhere you look are conspiracies and EXCUSES for why you weren’t just flat out wrong. Conservatives were in charge of the entire government and they couldn’t keep track of mysterious vehicles spiriting away Iraqi WMDs? Hardly an exculpatory argument.

    Let’s back this up a bit though.

    See the problem here is that we shouldn’t even be having this argument. People–mostly liberals– marched in the streets to try to stop this war from happening way before it even began.

    Conservative neocon hubris made a bad situation worse. Now you’re acting like it’s everyone else’s fault that even worse things are going to happen when we have to leave,…and we will have to leave.

    For all that it matters in the subtext of this blog about the political conversion of its author to “neoconism”, she–along with the rest of you–apparently failed to learn the historical lessons of Vietnam.

    Remember, in Vietnam, the real problem wasn’t leaving. It was failing to give Ho Chi Minh the moral (not military) support that he begged us for to free themselves from French colonialism in the very beginning. Had we done that, that war would probably never happened.

    If you need a list though, here’s what I would posit as a few of the lessons applicable here…

    1–Military force can’t solve every problem.

    2–Don’t be so damn arrogant as the think that people need YOU to help them solve their problems. Odds are you’re just going to make things worse.

    3–When you absolutely can’t mind your own business, its better to have your friends and allies with you instead of giving them the finger and calling them names. That way when you need help or have to eat crow they don’t give you the finger back.

    From what I’ve seen most of you are adverse to “learning” or “thinking” about anything outside of your little authoritarian conservative box–which seems to be getting smaller all the time.

    You can call me a dirty liberal all you like. But it won’t change the fact that this administration has failed, and your ideas have fundamentally failed. This was your shining moment. For seven years you’ve had carte blanche to do what you wanted.

    What are the results of your ideas?

    They’ve destroyed someone’s country, destabilized a massive region of the world, killed 10s maybe even 100s of thousands of people. You’ve failed to capture the ideological mastermind behind 9/11. You’ve allowed WMD to proliferate to even MORE dangerous countries, you’ve turned our friends and allies against us in a fundamental way and have made the world a much less safer place than it was even just the day after 9/11.

    Bravo. I can’t wait to see what your next ideas are!

    -z

  110. Truth Says:

    Just to break the loop of arguments about Iraq and why Iraq and why US set itself the marshal of the world, read this will tell you what’s exactly Iraq represent to US and the future of new empire in ME taking in account Israel survivals and expansion to dominate the ME.

    On Strategic Interests -

    “Iraq was extremely important to us, much more important than was obvious on the surface. Contrary to common public opinion, Iraq is not simply about oil. It is also about water and geopolitics. Both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow through Iraq; thus, of all the countries in that part of the world, Iraq controls the most important sources of increasingly critical water resources. During the 1980s, the importance of water – politically as well as economically – was becoming obvious to those of us in the energy and engineering fields. In the rush toward privatization, many of the major companies that had set their sights on taking over the small independent power companies now looked toward privatizing water systems in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

    “In addition to oil and water, Iraq is situated in a very strategic location. It borders Iran, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey, and it has a coastline on the Persian Gulf. It is within easy missile-striking distance of both Israel and the former Soviet Union. Military strategists equate modern Iraq to the Hudson River valley during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. In the eighteenth century, the French, British, and Americans knew that whoever controlled the Hudson River valley controlled the continent. Today, it is common knowledge that whoever controls Iraq holds the key to controlling the Middle East.” * (emphasis added)

    ————————————-
    * John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004), pgs. 183-184

    With recently U.S. government archives released from 1969 currently being declassified and made available to the public show that back in 1969 Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger (War criminal) in regards to Israel nuclear weapons while US helped to design and implement a policy whereby Israel’s connivance in a scheme to keep its nuclear arsenal hidden would be rewarded by the US giving them additional, very potent, non-nuclear weapons.

    This raise very basic question that start nuclear arm weapons in ME?
    Why is ok for Israel not for any ME state to have nuclear facilities?

    Is it some thing should be acknowledged, you should be faithful when all of you talking about Iraq and other ME countries?

    Or just keep drams of bringing “Saddam” name with his evil acts while US support him for a while even the invasion of Kuwait (does any one of you know where Former US Ambassador in Baghdad Miss April Glaspy who met Saddam days before he went to Kuwait). Where she vanished and why?

  111. jimfocus Says:

    “Neocons believe that the US should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power–forcelfully if necessary–to promote its values around the world. The believe modern threats can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented through pre-emptive military action.

    “…One such threat they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of WMD’s. Since 1991 neocons have relentlessly called for his ouster.

    “…Neocons advocate for the democratic tranformation of the region (ME), starting w/ Iraq. They also believe the US is hampered by multilateral institutions.

    “…Neocons are not afraid to force regime change and reshape hostile states in the American image. Neocons believe they must do everything they can to end state-sponsored terrorism. For most this means an aggressive push for democracy in the ME…many other conservatives…view this as an overzealous, nightmarish dream.

    “Neocons envision the world where the US is the unchallenged super power, immune to threats. They believe the US has the responsibility to act as a ‘benevolent gobal hegemon…and strong enough militarily to deploy to any of the world’s hot spots quickly.”–Christian Science Monitor

  112. Gray Says:

    For all that it matters in the subtext of this blog about the political conversion of its author to “neoconism”, she–along with the rest of you–apparently failed to learn the historical lessons of Vietnam.

    There you go: For the filthy, filthy baby boomer left, every war is Vietnam, every dictator is Castro and every terrorist is Che. Every president is Nixon….

    The world changed, they didn’t.

    1969 Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger (War criminal) in regards to Israel nuclear weapons while US helped to design and implement a policy whereby Israel’s connivance in a scheme to keep its nuclear arsenal hidden

    ….and, on que, out trots the usual leftist antisemitism of ‘scheming jews’ and dual loyalties.

    With Jimfocus blindly cutting and pasting (in violation of the posting guidlines) nonsense form the CSM as though it proves something….

    Sick of ‘em.

  113. Sally Says:

    Z: What are the results of your ideas?

    They’ve destroyed someone’s country, destabilized a massive region of the world, killed 10s maybe even 100s of thousands of people. You’ve failed to capture the ideological mastermind behind 9/11. You’ve allowed WMD to proliferate to even MORE dangerous countries, you’ve turned our friends and allies against us in a fundamental way and have made the world a much less safer place than it was even just the day after 9/11.

    Bravo. I can’t wait to see what your next ideas are!

    This is like the proverbial fish in a barrel, so it’s not as much fun as responding to some of the other commenters, but it’s illustrative anyway. Z’s actually wrong on most of his points, trivially right on one, and right but in the opposite sense on one other:
    - first, as a result of the invasion, Iraq is on its way to being rebuilt as a tyranny-free modern state;
    - second (this is the one where he’s right, but a sense opposite to what he intended), the region has indeed been destabilized, but that’s a good thing, not a bad one, since the old “stability” was a malignant one that supported and spawned some of the worst terrorists in history; that situation has long needed to be destabilized, so that the region could begin the process of reforming itself along lines that are healthier for both its own inhabitants, and the rest of the world;
    - third, yeah, Bin Laden is still hiding out — of course, if z were in charge, he would have nabbed him in a day or two, but sadly he wasn’t;
    - WMDs have NOT proliferated “to even MORE dangerous countries”, and as long as left-libs are kept from power they won’t, and that includes Iran;
    - we’ve strengthened or relationships with Canada, France and Germany, and been strongly assured of on-going good relations with other nations that have recently turned out aging governments;
    - in terms of global incidents of mass terror attacks, I’d say the world certainly looks safer — it’s true, though, that we’re definitely still in the midst of a long struggle; courage, z!

    So, as you can see, most of z’s complaints about the “results of your ideas” can be blown away as easily as a smoke ring. The only point of interest in them all is what they say about the sweaty delusions of the left-lib mind-set — this really is how they see the world! It explains why they’re in such a neurotic stew about it, of course, but doesn’t tell us much about how they got there, or why they prefer to stay there. For that, only a deeper analysis will suffice.

  114. zLocke Says:

    Greg,
    Yes, yes…I’m filthy. A dirty rotten stinking vermin of a liberal.

    However, I don’t know if you bothered to actually READ the blog, but the entire justification for it’s existence is based on the author’s tortured and suspect recollections of her Vietnam experience as a youth combined with the trauma of 9/11 which resulted in her conversion to neoconism.

    You should ask her why it is so important.

    As for any calls of antisemitism, you should leave that talk off the board. I might be wrong but I’d guess you wouldn’t know a jew or an antisemite if you tripped over one…and I’m sure you have tripped over many already.

    Finally, you don’t have any call to be sick of anyone. The liberals didn’t get us into the mess that we’re in. This is all conservative policy and conservative ideas. You should be sick of yourselves. We sure are. If you were intellectually honest you’d at least be willing to examine how and where you neocons failed, but that seems to be asking too much.

    Even the REAL conservatives don’t like you guys! Unfortunately they were complicit in your disastrous ideas.

    -z

  115. zLocke Says:

    Sally,
    If I thought you had any idea of what you were talking about I would bother responding to your post.

    -z

  116. Sally Says:

    Two quick points re: “Truth”:

    First, thanks for the long quote that helps indicate additional reasons for selecting Iraq as the starting point for the strategic goal of reforming what was the most dangerous and threatening region on earth.

    Second, re: “Why is ok for Israel not for any ME state to have nuclear facilities?”
    Because Israel is a liberal democracy, with a free press, a free and active opposition, and the rule of law, among a number of other good characterisics; the other ME states are, in varying degrees, tyrannies lacking any kind of popular oversight or control other than mobs. Israel has no basic designs other than to survive as a Jewish state; a number of the other ME states have expressed a hostility to Israel verging on the maniacal, and have openly speculated on using nuclear weapons to destroy that country. That’s why.

  117. Gray Says:

    zLocke–how illuminating:

    Greg,
    Yes, yes…I’m filthy. A dirty rotten stinking vermin of a liberal.

    It’s “Gray”, and I never once used the word ‘liberal’. Not once.

    Who are these “real conservatives’ you’re talking about?

    I don’t qualify as a neocon–I’ve never been a leftist and I’m not old enough….

  118. Gray Says:

    As for any calls of antisemitism, you should leave that talk off the board.

    ‘Cuz, y’know: Kissinger IS a war criminal with dual loyalties and Israel IS conniving…

    Get over Vietnam, it’s a different world and you are too old to have to worry about dodging this war too. You can save your hide AND support your country now.

  119. Truth Says:

    Gray Says:
    ….and, on que, out trots the usual leftist antisemitism of ’scheming jews’ and dual loyalties.

    Very silly and sick comment made Gary.

    Sally
    Because Israel is a liberal democracy,…. as a Jewish state;

    Sally how its democracy and its Jewish state in same time?
    Is this new type of democracy?

    Did you review the Israeli behaviours about native peoples “Palestinians” is their behaviours toward humans looks to you represent any “a liberal democracy, with a free press, a free and active opposition, and the rule of law, among a number of other good characterisics; what the other good things here?

    a number of the other ME states have expressed a hostility to Israel verging on the maniacal, and have openly speculated on using nuclear weapons to destroy that country. That’s why.

    Non of Israeli number have Nuclear weapon so there are not threaten to her, you might you need read more about Israel was ready in two times loaded here nuclear bombes on the here fighters to bombs many Arab capital during Golda Maer and in 1973 war.

    The most serious call was Jamal Abu Nasser “throws Israeli to the sea” and the lunatic Khomeini “wipe Israel off the map” calls and now Ahmadynejad of Iran but in all case these neighbours have no nuclear bombs not before and not now.

  120. zLocke Says:

    Okay, so it’s Gray. Geesh. Sorry.

    In what capacity did you serve in Iraq and when did you return?

    -z

  121. Sally Says:

    Truth: Sally how its democracy and its Jewish state in same time?
    Is this new type of democracy?

    Without getting too sidetracked (though maybe that’s wishful thinking) — yes, in a way it is. Other states, for example, can be de facto Christian states without being explicitly so just by force of numbers; and, as we all know, there are many Islamic states, though virtually none of them are democracies. Israel, however is the only state in the world that can be a homeland for one of the world’s most persecuted people, and in that sense it’s a unique democracy. It’s worth noting, though, that its own Arab citizens enjoy more democratic and civil rights than do Arabs in any of the supposed Arab or Islamic states in existence.

    …in all case these neighbours have no nuclear bombs not before and not now.

    And the point is to keep it that way — unless and until these neighbors are thoroughly reformed and have given solid evidence of being willing to live in peace with their Jewish neighbor.

  122. Gray Says:

    In what capacity did you serve in Iraq and when did you return?

    Never said I did. I’m in the National Guard–I’m expecting a deployment pretty soon. Unlike the boomer leftists, I will actually go fight my war….

    I’ve been overseas previously on active duty–and that’s as far as I’m going on that.

    Are you going to try a dirtier version of the “chicken-hawk” argument on me? Dirty….

  123. Gray Says:

    Gray Says:
    ….and, on que, out trots the usual leftist antisemitism of ’scheming jews’ and dual loyalties.

    Very silly and sick comment made Gary.

    But a very accurate one….

  124. zLocke Says:

    Gray, whatever. Yeah, you’re a chicken hawk.

    My newborn baby makes more sense than you do.

    Go live in your neocon fantasy. You and the 5 other neocons that will be left at the end of the next election cycle.

    -z

  125. Truth Says:

    and have given solid evidence of being willing to live in peace with their Jewish neighbor.

    Ohhh yah Sally, you need to go read the history well before spilling things here, do your homework well, the Jewish lived for centuries peacefully on the Islamic land and in Arab states till Belfor Declaration, you need to understand that the Jew suffered and massacred on the Christian’s land horrifically and disastrously the only explanations lets thrown your historical guilt on Arab/Muslims.

    And Gary I don’t think so, don’t be smart you are proven more racist, sick minded guy.

  126. Gray Says:

    Well, here is the interesting thing in politics now:

    It is impossible to tell by his statements whether “Truth” is a Neonazi, a leftist or a radical muslim.

    Each of those groups have very different goals, but in the short term all hope for American defeat in Iraq for different reasons.

    That’s how weird things have gotten….

  127. jimfocus Says:

    Gray,

    The policy on here is that quoting articles (I don’t cut and paste) germain to the thread & comments is ok, spamming, no. My posts were in answer to neo and several posters who contend that neocons had no designs on the ME and there was never any intent to militarily intervene & establish an American presence in the ME prior to 9/11. Those quotes prove otherwise. In fact, you are one of the fine Americans who accused this America-hating former federal officer of making up the stuff–so that’s why I quoted it–sorry you didn’t read it.

    Another favorite tactic, used by neo in her post, is to play down the impact of the war on Iraqis–neo and several of you claim that most of the people killed in Iraq were jihadists, & give no evidence to back it up. In fact the evidence reported by our own forces show that the overwhelming number of Iraqis killed are civilians.

    Also, a poll of war correspondents working in Iraq, just released by Pew Research (do I dare quote this article?) shows they feel the most underreported news story of the entire war has been the devastating impact of the war on Iraqi civilians, overwhelmingly so. Also, the correspondents believe that the American people have been relatively sheltered from the violent results of the war, unlike most other countries who see it full force on their newscasts.

    (Careful Gray, here comes a quote, look out now!)
    “Most of Baghdad is still very dangerous, it’s still impossible for Western journalists to travel in the city, or most of the country–you need flak jackets, kevlar and armed guards everywhere you go.”–a correspondent participating in the poll

    57 % of the news organizations polled claim they’ve lost at least one correspondent killed in Iraq over just the last year, most losing several reporters. War is a grim deadly business–when you neocons try to play down the results of your little incursion into Iraq, it only undermines your credibility further.

    (quote alert!!)
    “Powell is a wuss, he’s overly concerned about the troops lives.”–Richard Perle at a DC party in Jan. 2003, right before Tom Clancy tried to deck him

  128. Gray Says:

    In fact the evidence reported by our own forces show that the overwhelming number of Iraqis killed are civilians.

    Are you trying to claim our troops overwhelmingly kill civilians?

    Or is this a “baby-killer by proxy” slander against your military?

  129. Roundhead Says:

    zlocke, xanta, laura, etc etc.

    You do have perserverence, that is not in doubt.

    However, I wonder why you persist? You have particular point of view, based on various facts and theories, which you have presented here.

    Others, Gray and the rest, have generally presented facts in dispute to what you say…

    The only response you have to that is to allege that the correspondents “live in a dream world”, are stupid or are neo-conniving Jews.

    If you have nothing productive to add, why keeping adding?

    RH

  130. stumbley Says:

    …and the way you differentiate a “civilian” from a “jihadist” is….?

  131. Truth Says:

    IS THE UNITED STATES KILLING 10,000 IRAQIS EVERY MONTH? OR IS IT MORE?
    By MICHAEL SCHWARTZ

    Gray well done a BIG discovery have you more labelled to stick?

    You know if someone like you support war criminal like HK he is either like him or helping him under the law of justice as if some one promoting Hitler! Sddam or Stalin, isn’t our sick guy.

  132. Truth Says:

    and the way you differentiate a “civilian” from a “jihadist” is….?

    That’s why they inventing “SMART WEOPNS AND BOMBS!”

  133. jimfocus Says:

    Nearly every independent study you read (you war supporters apparently don’t read this stuff) claims up to 56% of Iraqi deaths (see Truth’s link)have been civilians killed by US forces, collateral damage. This represents nearly 300,000 civilian deaths due to collateral damage, which neo tried to minimalize in her post. I’m not claiming it was done on purpose, but it is part of the horror of war that battle-hardened folks like Powell and Shisecki tried to warn against. Many of the neocons, like Perle, showed amazing indifference or deliberate self-delusion about what war is really all about.

    “This has been a catastrophic war for the US and the Iraqis.”–conservative Andrew Sullivan

  134. stumbley Says:

    “conservative Andrew Sullivan”

    Boy, are you out of touch. Andy hasn’t been conservative for quite a while now. And your figure of 300,000 is an order of magnitude off.

    You aren’t referring to the widely discredited Lancet study, are you?

    Try here: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

  135. stumbley Says:

    …next thing you know, you’ll be banning automobiles, since cars kill 55,000 civilians in the US alone each year, not to mention the accidents caused by DUI. Shall we bring back Prohibition (BTW, it’s okay by me, I don’t need to drink…)?

  136. stumbley Says:

    And lest you all think I’m a heartless neocon b***ard, I’ll agree: any casualties are tragic. But to lay the blame for “civilian” casualties solely at the feet of America is to ignore an insurgency (largely foreign, btw) whose avowed purpose is to maximize civilian casualties, as well as ordinary criminal activity that would be occurring in any large city. What’s the gang-related violence in DC or Detroit, or LA, for instance?

  137. jimfocus Says:

    “The US misadventure in Iraq is responsible for setting off the killing of twice as many civilians as Saddam managed to polish off in 25 years.”
    –American ME scholar Juan Cole

    “We’ve met the enemy, and it’s us.”
    –Pogo (Walt Kelley), 1956

    “Boogah!Boogah!”
    –Groucho Marx, A Night at the Opera

  138. Gray Says:

    M’eh…. I really can’t discredit them any more than they discredit themselves:

    With the “baby-killer” slander, The anti-jewish nonsense, Juan Cole and Zmag….

    This is the looney left. It’s clear they don’t mean this country well.

  139. Gray Says:

    However, the best questions from above go unanswered and unremarked upon?:

    o Saddam brokered a deal with the UN to stay in power after the 1st gulf war.

    o That deal included international monitoring of his weapons program.

    o He broke that deal in 1998 by expelling the inspectors and declaring factories and site ‘off limits’ to monitoring.

    o The Clinton administration bombed Iraq for 3 days in 1998 “to destroy his capability to manufacture WMDs”

    Those are inarguable facts.
    Now, reason with me here if you are able:

    o From the above facts was it likely, or not likely that Saddam was building WMD?

    o Was Clinton incorrect in bombing Iraq in ‘98?

    o How could we determine the state of his weapons programs after ‘98?

    o How could the UN leave him in power after he violated the deal that left him in power?

    o Could we occupy Iraq by Air indefinitely?

    I welcome any and all answers to the above questions.

    Anybody game to give it a try?

  140. Chris White Says:

    Quick recap: I think going into Iraq the way we did was a big mistake. I think the way we’ve destabilized the region has hurt us more than helped us. Unfortunately, I also think Powell was right about the Pottery Barn rule, ‘we broke it, we own it’; we need to keep troops in Iraq until a stable diplomatic resolution can be achieved. I think the tactical “surge” has had the desired short-term effect, but that the diplomatic opportunity it is providing has so far been squandered. I think the neocons in the Bush administration have been deaf to any and all intelligence, facts or opinions that do not reinforce their beliefs.

    Neo’s post has a few convenient half truths and red herrings. Here’s one; “The Left argues that killing terrorists doesn’t work, that it just creates more.

    This nicely distorts the position that being an occupying force in an Arab country, with troops and private contractors, including security companies like Blackwater, numbering 300,000+, creates the very conditions that produce more terrorists. It isn’t “killing terrorists” that creates more terrorists, it’s the countless searches of private homes conducted by troops that turn up nothing (even if no one is killed or wounded it kind a puts a damper on dinnertime), it’s the loss of infrastructure, it’s those “collateral damage” deaths (whether you like the IBC est. of 77,545 – 84,473 or one of the higher figures), etc.

    While I find much of her analysis wrong I can agree with her conclusion, “Withdrawal now would therefore be an abdication of our responsibility to stop those deaths in the face of a proven ability to do so. As such, it would be morally reprehensible.

    Which leads to the question of what will it require to maintain this level of troop presence in the region for the foreseeable future in terms both of budget and recruitment?

  141. Gray Says:

    Chris, would you take a shot at answering my questions above?

  142. mrs whatsit Says:

    So, X, let me see if I have this straight. Stumbley makes his first comment about WMDs at 5:26 p.m. Eighteen minutes later, at 5:44 p.m, he makes the clarifying comment that I quoted and that you ignored.

    Hours later, you come along and post a bunch of responses to comments made long after Stumbley’s (such as the “vetting process” comment, made at 9:33, in which your 12:28 a.m. response proved that you do not understand what a vetting process is.)

    Next, more than seven hours after Stumbley posted his two comments, you pick one of them and ignore the other in order to accuse him of cherrypicking. And then, you defend this selective reading by claiming that he made the second comment “later,” so of course you hadn’t had a chance to see it before you posted. And finally, you accuse me of being the one who doesn’t understand the order of comments on a blog?!?

    Priceless. Next thing we know, you’ll start posting dozens of comments here criticizing the rest of us for not reading closely enough before we post.

  143. Truth Says:

    It isn’t “killing terrorists” that creates more terrorists,

    for start when US went to Iraq they left the borders open to whom he wish to join the show, that made Iraq ground not just a land for terrorists in fact every one wish he goes and got some thing from lawlessness ground, from Iranians, Saudis Syrians, Israel, and organized gangs from around the world.

    But for poor Iraq they found themselves in a middle of killing zone and there is no clear lines who they can fights and who they can help and get help, in this state of chaos and lawlessness the only people with huge looses are Iraqis themselves without doubt

    “The Self-Defence Principle”

    The basic precept of international law concerning the rights of a state victim of aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking state’s territory in the course of self-defence, is clear.

  144. bunkerbuster Says:

    How to Cheerlead for War
    A Pom Pom Boy’s Guide to Fighting the Iraq War from Your Keyboard

    1. Always think binary. Anyone who was against the war is a Saddam supporter. Anyone against Bush loves dictators. There are only two choices in any given situation. As the Great Male Cheer Leader in Chief himself said: “You’re either for us, or against us.” Never let a pro-diplomacy American claim that there was more than one option for containing and eliminating Saddam. Just keep asserting that if they don’t support Bush’s policy, they love Saddam. There are only two kinds of people and things in the world Good and Evil and, therefore, opponents of the war are Evil. If they persist, change the subject to how fabulous World War II was and how much Iraq is like World War II.

    2. Iraq is like World War II. Again the key here is to think binary. Don’t get tripped up by specific comparisons. Stick to simple slogans: Appeasement doesn’t work. Saddam was Hitler. FDR rounded up Japanese and sent them to camps, so why shouldn’t we do the same with “swarthy” people. The press happily self-censored itself and helped cheerlead the war, instead of questioning it. If anyone points out that FDR also raised taxes, rationed butter, gasoline and so on and maintained a very aggressive draft, repeat point 1: “You must love Saddam.”

    3. Time is infinite. Never admit that there is a limit to the amount of time the U.S. can spend fighting this war. Maybe it takes 50 years, or longer. Who can really say? The point is, you don’t have to say. If you keep the argument moving, you can never be pinned down on this point. When an anti-war person suggests that the longer it goes on, the more U.S. opponents can claim victory, accuse them of rooting for the other side. “As long as it takes.” Is the answer. Never get caught up in specifics. If the person insists that the present situation isn’t sustainable, insist that the containment policy wasn’t sustainable. If the person points out that the containment policy cost a tiny fraction in treasure and blood of what the war policy costs, change the subject back to World War II.
    If the person points out that World War II was over in the time we’ve taken in Iraq, note that Saddam Hussein was rumored to have cut out the tongues of his political opponents. Then accuse the person of liking to have people’s tongues cut out.

    4. WMD. This is a gift that just keeps giving for the Keyboard Commando Cheerleader. Repeat early and often that Iraq used chemical weapons against its own people and in Iran. (If the person notes that he did so while an ally of the U.S., respond that “the enemy of my enemy is my enemy is my enemy and therefore his enemy is an enemy of the enemy too, and you have no business second-guessing Henry Kissinger, the smartest man in the world, prior to George W. Bush.) Quickly return to noting that Iraq used chemical weapons. When it’s pointed out in 2003 Iraq had no WMD, you have a number of options:
    A. Deny that WMD was the reason for war. (You’ll need some first-rate choreography for this number, but worry not, not we’ll teach you the steps and the chants below.)
    B. Declare that even though Iraq had no WMD, we really, really, really, really believed (Even Clinton did!!!) he had them, so that’s just as good. If you believe something strongly enough, it’s like it’s true for cheerleading purposes, even if it isn’t really true.
    C. Declare that Iraq actually did have WMD and Fox news proved it!
    D. Declare that Iraq actually had WMD, but secretly shipped them to Syria, rather than actually using them. Fox news proved it! Or maybe it was Pajamas Media. Either way, the proof is there, but the liberal media is hiding it.
    5. You may note that A contradicts B, which contradicts C and D and A. This does NOT mean you can’t use all the arguments. It’s okay to contradict yourself. Remember, it’s evil liberals you’re fighting from your keyboard. They’re out to destroy civilization and favor peace against war, so they don’t DESERVE logical consistency or facts. But do take care to spread these arguments out. Avoid making them back-to-back. If you do and a liberal points out the contradiction, deny it and change the subject to World War II.
    6. Money is infinite. Some liberals like to point out that the war is bankrupting the government. Just deny it. Remind them that tax cuts INCREASE government revenue. If Bush needs to raise more money for the war, all he needs to do is cut taxes more! If a liberal points out that the Bush administration has never been willing to even estimate how much the war would cost—Congress estimated it would cost $13 billion to deploy and between $1 billion and $4 billion a month to occupy—accuse them of being defeatist. Never get tripped up by a liberal citing specific figures. Remember point 1 (ATB): Always Think Binary. Anyone who questions the cost of the war is against the war and most likely a coward, a traitor and, you hate to say it, but, a vegetarian!
    7. Morality. Here again, keep it binary. They are evil, we are good. Fox news proved it! Note that part of binary thinking is reflexivity: Anyone who says that the U.S. isn’t completely good, must therefore believe Saddam wasn’t evil. Anyone who suggests any kind of moral problem with the war is engaging in “moral equivalence” which has been proven wrong, wrong, wrong on Fox news AND Pajamas Media. If anyone asks for the proof, express disgust using the junior-high ad hominem cliché of your choosing, and accuse them of claiming that there is no difference between George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein.
    8. Keep the argument moving. Liberals may try to drill down and keep the subject narrowly focused. Never allow that to happen. If you find your arguments about morality are getting pummeled, quickly shift to practicality and “reality.” If you find your arguments on practicality and “reality” are getting destroyed, quickly shift to morality. And never forget, we won World War II, a very, very, very, very good war. So we can’t possibly do anything wrong (accept for diplomacy, which always fails) as long as we kill more swarthy people!!!

    Rah, rah, rah!

  145. Gray Says:

    So, Bunky, can you answer the questions I posed above (twice with no response)?

  146. IgnorantRightWingNut Says:

    @ Chris White:

    It isn’t “killing terrorists” that creates more terrorists, it’s the countless searches of private homes conducted by troops that turn up nothing

    The problem with this statement is that during the surge, there has been much more searching of private homes, much more contact of American troops with ordinary Iraqis, as American troops have gotten out of the barracks and Humvees and have patrolled on foot. Contrary to your assertion, increased patrolling and increased searching of private homes has gone along with fewer terrorist attacks.

    Here is an article from Michael Totten on a late-night search. I recommend further reading of his site, if you have not already investigated it.

    http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001497.html

  147. Sally Says:

    CW: Quick recap: I think going into Iraq the way we did was a big mistake. I think the way we’ve destabilized the region has hurt us more than helped us.

    Okay, good summation of your position. I think it’s wrong — in particular, I think going into Iraq was necessary, though in hindsight the way we did it could certainly have been better, and I think destabilizing the region has helped us more than hurt us in the long run. But at least it’s not irrational. Since we’re in the midst of this particular historical event, we’ll have to wait to see which side history will favor.

    On the other hand, arguing that “being an occupying force in an Arab country” — why is an “Arab” country special in the first place? — creates more terrorists, but that we can’t cease being an occupying force because we’re needed to prevent more deaths, seems to fall right back into that old cognitive dissonance. Either that, or it’s saying something rather nasty about Arabs as a people.

  148. bunkerbuster Says:

    Gray asks:

    “From the above facts was it likely, or not likely that Saddam was building WMD?”

    Why do you think “likely” is relevant when we have proof that he didnt’ have WMD and wasn’t building any either. From looking out my office window, it is likely, that the earth is flat. But I know it isn’t.
    Sure, based on bad intelligence, it seemed likely that Iraq had WMD. It’s telling that you’re down to arguing in FAVOR, of misinterpreted, inaccurate estimates, versus cold hard facts. Try arguing in favor of the facts instead of against them.

    Gray asks:
    “Was Clinton incorrect in bombing Iraq in ‘98?”

    Absolutely. Look where it led. How can you possibly suggest the bombing was “correct?” It only helped Saddam consolidate control. I’m not sure which bombing you’re referring to, but it may well qualify as a war crime.

    Gray asks:
    “How could we determine the state of his weapons programs after ‘98?”

    U.N. inspections. Have you been living in a Fox News Channel cave? Just because the mediocre media insisted he had WMD doesn’t make it true. He did not have them and there were people out there saying he probably didn’t.
    Once again, you’re admitting that you prefer erroneous beliefs to established facts, apparently because you thought it must be true because the mediocre media says it’s so.
    Blix and Al Baradei, two people intimately familiar with the facts, both insisted there was no proof he had WMD. They may have thought he had them, but there was no proof.
    When you talk about invading a country and killing people, you need proof. What part of that don’t you understand?
    Are you not aware of all the efforts that were ongoing when Bush pulled the rug out by insisting on an invasion? We know know the U.N. process worked. Saddam was unable to obtain WMD.

    Gray asks:
    “How could the UN leave him in power after he violated the deal that left him in power?”

    It’s good to see you acknowledge the legitimacy of U.N. authority and the important role it played in containing Saddam. The U.N. may have eventually succeeded in forcing Saddam out. We know that the U.N. was in the process of strengthening and extending sanctions against Saddam when Bush pulled the rug out by unilaterally insisting on an invasion. It may have taken additional months, or even years for the U.N. to succeed in improving the situation in Iraq. Diplomacy takes time. It may even take more time than war. But it saves a lot of money and lives.
    It’s telling that Gray would insist on quick success for diplomacy, then argue that the time-frame and funding for war should be unlimited. If diplomacy doesn’t work quickly, it’s a failure. But war is NEVER a failure because failure is equal to surrender and we never surrender.

    Gray asks:
    “Could we occupy Iraq by Air indefinitely?”

    Again. You’ve got to decide, Gray. Do we need deadlines for foreign policy or not? When people say we need a deadline for success in Iraq, you say they’re crazy or stupid or treasonous. Then you turn around and suggest that diplomatic sanctions and multi-lateral enforcement requires a deadline. Which is it? You should make up your mind.

    Gray says:
    “I welcome any and all answers to the above questions.”

    My pleasure!

  149. mrs whatsit Says:

    Gray, I would love to see what a thoughtful commenter like Chris would do with your questions, and I hope that he or someone like him will try to grapple with them. But the rest of the anti-war commenters here are doggedly ignoring them because they know perfectly well that they cannot answer them — at least not with answers consistent with their world views.

    Your questions and others like them are the unanswerable ones that drove many thoughtful people who never wanted to support a war to support this one, if reluctantly, if uncertainly, if only at its beginning. The not-so-thoughtful people, quite possibly, never understood the questions to begin with.

    In any event, I’d be delighted if someone would try to answer them.

  150. bunkerbuster Says:

    Mrs. Whatsit writes:

    “But the rest of the anti-war commenters here are doggedly ignoring them because they know perfectly well that they cannot answer them.”

    ROTFL!!!!

  151. Gray Says:

    OK. Thank your for addressing my questions.

    You said: “Why do you think “likely” is relevant when we have proof that he didnt’ have WMD and wasn’t building any either. “

    Where did we get that proof from in 1998 after he threw the inspectors out?

    o At what level would you put this ‘proof’ at? 80% certain he has no weapons? 50%?

    “It’s telling that Gray would insist on quick success for diplomacy, then argue that the time-frame and funding for war should be unlimited. “

    It had been 7 years of sanctions and airstrikes on Iraq and as you said, Saddam had only consolidated his power.

    o At what point should we admit diplomacy and sanctions were ineffective?

    o Some estimates said that the sanctions had killed 500,000 Iraqis, many of them children, do you believe that?

    o In your opinion, is there ever a point to cease diplomacy and enforce a UN Resolution against an intransigent nation?

  152. Truth Says:

    because we’re needed to prevent more deaths,

    In which way and in which Arab kingdom?

    Saudis or Gulf states are tyrant in front your eyes and they recruiting those Wahabi Terrorists all around in Afghanistan, Pakistan, in Iraq, undeniably 9/11, so for the last more 50 years from the Historic Meeting between King Abdulaziz and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945 on the aboard the cruiser USS Quincy the Great Bitter Lake near the Suez Canal. Saudi Tyrant get full support from US.

    So Is it Arab people mistake or those behind those tyrant Sally, like what’s happening in Iraq with Drilling Militia from Bader “Al-Hakim” Militia to Sadder one , now Iraq a democracy after laughable election never been election elsewhere in this planet done what was done in Iraq.

  153. jimfocus Says:

    Discredited Lancet report? Yeah by the American, British govt’s prosecuting the war and, uh, let me think–neocons! This study is the only peer reviewed study, I think it was done twice, correct me if I’m wrong–and there’s a couple more new studies showing even higher civilian deaths. Furthermore, correspondents covering the war the last 4 years overwhelmingly believe that the amount of deaths, and their actual occurence, has been greatly under-reported in America. So, what’s your point, if we are the ones, however unwittingly, that are causing deaths, it’s ok, because it’s really not that many, or, they’re all jihadists? Please.

    What do you guys want to do now, invade Venezuala?

    (Quote Alert!)
    “And what has this messianic maniac in the WH done…he has indirectly caused the death of tens of thousands of innocents, he has come close to wrecking the military, and he has robbed the US of its hard won record of humane and decent warfare. This is not the work of a conservative statesman. It’s the mark of a delusional fanatic.” –neocon hating conservative Andrew Sullivan, who’s also unAmerican (even tho he just became one) & apparently a noted communist

    “Yeeeeeeh haaaah!!”–Slim Pickens, in any of his movies

  154. Gray Says:

    Again. You’ve got to decide, Gray. Do we need deadlines for foreign policy or not?

    Why would we set arbitrary deadlines on our own policy? The UN sets the deadlines for intransigent nations.

    Self imposed deadlines in ‘foreign policy’ invites failure.

    When people say we need a deadline for success in Iraq, you say they’re crazy or stupid or treasonous.

    Of course, because to place arbitrary self-imposed deadlines on our own policy presupposes that we are the intransigent belligerant. Presupposing your country is in the wrong and placing deadlines on its supposed folly in a war is the very definition of treachery, stupidity and in the case of US citizens, insanity.

    We aren’t the bad guys. We are enforcing a UN Resolution that had been violated. Why should we be defeated by artificial deadlines?

    Because that implies that Then you turn around and suggest that diplomatic sanctions and multi-lateral enforcement requires a deadline.

    Absolutely, on the other guys actions! Not your own policy–that’s insanity!

    That’s like saying: “I know we have 15 minutes in this quarter, but if we don’t score in the first 5 minutes we gotta leave the field!

  155. Gray Says:

    OK, Truth I’m going to wade through your broken english and try to answer this:

    Saudis or Gulf states are tyrant in front your eyes and they recruiting those Wahabi Terrorists all around in Afghanistan, Pakistan, in Iraq, undeniably 9/11

    Invading Saudi Arabia for 9/11 would be like bombing The Vatican ‘cuz a Baptist blew up an abortion clinic!

    Al Qaeda was formed to destroy the Saudi Ruling family.

  156. Gray Says:

    Jimfocus, when I’m looking for the best “personal lubricant” I’ll consult Andrew Sullivan.

    He is shallow and shrill.

    And yes, the Lancet study is a joke, wholly discredited.

    And who are these correspondents who say Iraqi deaths are underrepresented–it’s all I ever hear on the news!

  157. Ymarsakar Says:

    It isn’t “killing terrorists” that creates more terrorists, it’s the countless searches of private homes conducted by troops that turn up nothing

    US counter-insurgency doctrine has come far since the days they needed to do door to door searches to find intel and enemies.

    Look where it led. How can you possibly suggest the bombing was “correct?” It only helped Saddam consolidate control.

    Cli[n]ton didn’t like going to the UN for anything, either. So obviously any violence conducted by Clinton in this episode would be null and void since Clinton didn’t shackle himself to some UN resolution like Bush did.

    U.N. inspections.

    Yet UN inspections did not prove that Iraq did not have any WMDs after 2003. How could they when the UN left that country soon after they suffered a bombing. So it is a little bit interesting that bunker would trust the UN to see if Iraq had WMDs before 2003 but believe somebody just as morally upright did an equivalent search after 2003 in Iraq. For one thing, there are nobody that is as morally upright as the UN to these folks.

    He did not have them and there were people out there saying he probably didn’t.

    This is why WMDs were highlighted at the UN. The only people that were saying he didn’t have them were the ones not involved in UN level decisions. And even for the ones that were, Saddam had bribed them to back Saddam and keep quiet. Thus to appeal to the UN required not listening to those fringe elements. Without the UN, everything is possible. With it, only mistakes are possible.

    for start when US went to Iraq they left the borders open to whom he wish to join the show, that made Iraq ground not just a land for terrorists in fact every one wish he goes and got some thing from lawlessness ground, from Iranians,-Truth

    Since when did you care about borders? Do you care about anyone else’s borders?

    “The basic precept of international law concerning the rights of a state victim of aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking state’s territory in the course of self-defence, is clear.“

    This is a rather interesting piece of conceit. It assumes the UN is an actual government with restrictions on its power like the Bill of Rights for the United States. The UN has the power to secure the “rights” of people and nations under them? Interesting.

    # Gray Says:
    November 29th, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Chris, would you take a shot at answering my questions above?

    Answering questions are pointless given that it won’t clarify or resolve the differences of belief between those that say we are cheerleaders for war and those who believe that loyalty to a nation means more than trying to undermine its foreign policy.

    Gray, whatever. Yeah, you’re a chicken hawk.

    Look, Gray, z boyo here couldn’t stop his temples from being impacted if he put both of his hands up in the French Surrender.

    That is just how it is.

    In what capacity did you serve in Iraq and when did you return?

    The Golden Rule of the chicken hawk, as you well know Gray, is that if you aren’t currently serving in Iraq, then you are a chickenhawk. If you are currently serving in Iraq, then you being part of the military, must not speak out politically against your political and civilian masters. That is how it is, Gray.

  158. bunkerbuster Says:

    Gray asks:

    “Where did we get that proof from in 1998 after he threw the inspectors out?”

    You can’t prove a negative. There could never be any “proof” that Iraq did not have WMD. However, there could be proof that they did. If you’re going to invade a country, shouldn’t have that proof?
    Again, you are suggesting that because you were fooled by the mediocre media into believing he had WMD for sure, that’s good enough to warrant an invasion. It simply isn’t. We no know he didn’t have WMD. Shouldn’t you be basing your arguments on that fact rather than dwelling on the fact that you and many others were fooled? Take a tip from some of the other pro-war people here: start claiming that WMD were not the main reason for the invasion. At least they’re smart enough to know how stupid it is to argue that the war is justified because we got the facts WRONG.

    “At what level would you put this ‘proof’ at? 80% certain he has no weapons? 50%?”

    Again Gray. There is no proof for a negative. Perhaps if you understood that, you wouldn’t be so easily misled by the mediocre media on WMD.

    “At what point should we admit diplomacy and sanctions were ineffective?”

    Who said they were ineffective? Saddam may have consolidated his control in Iraq, but he was unable to obtain WMD and unable to threaten his neighbors. You assume that removing Saddam was the point of the U.N. sanctions when, in fact, they set out the requirements he must meet to stay in power.
    Countries around the world, from the U.S. to Israel to Myanmar, Turkey and others have defied U.S. resolutions. I’m sure you will agree that defying the U.N. doesn’t justify an invasion, so you can’t pretend that it does in the case of Iraq, either.

    Gray says:
    “Some estimates said that the sanctions had killed 500,000 Iraqis, many of them children, do you believe that?”

    I’ve heard the number is higher than that, closer to a million, and, yes, I find the estimates credible. The sanctions could have and should have been modified to help ensure that medical necessisties were delivered, preventing most of the deaths.
    More important, this death rate is much, much lower than the rate of deaths caused by the war, so if the number killed is of concern to you, shouldn’t you be even more opposed to the war?

    Gray asks:
    “In your opinion, is there ever a point to cease diplomacy and enforce a UN Resolution against an intransigent nation?”

    Absolutely. Any time any country poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States, the U.S. should do whatever is necessary to contain and or eliminate that threat.
    If I thought for one second Iraq posed a clear and present threat to our security, I’d get as involved as I could in fighting the war.
    Doesn’t it strike you as odd that so few Americans are willing to fight in Iraq? That Bush has never even asked people to sign up to fight, or asked for any special tax or even special dedicated borrowing, i.e. war bonds, to pay for it?
    Why is it that so many keyboard commandoes are willing to argue in favor of the war, but not willing to either fight it or pay for it?
    I think it’s because they know, after all, that Iraq did not and will not pose a significant threat to U.S. national security. They know the only thing at stake is some abstract concept of “prestige” or, more simply, “bragging rights.”
    It’s mostly psychodrama for them, which is why they become so emotional and unhinged on forums like this one.

  159. bunkerbuster Says:

    Ymarsakar: just to let you know, I always scroll past your comments. I tried reading them, but they’re unintelligible. You jumble snippets from a variety of commentators in with your own responses. I have no idea what points you’re trying to make. Also, in the pass you have attributed other people’s remarks to me.
    You might try being a little more careful.

  160. Sally Says:

    Bunk: And never forget, we won World War II, a very, very, very, very good war. So we can’t possibly do anything wrong (accept for diplomacy, which always fails) as long as we kill more swarthy people!!!

    Rah, rah, rah!

    And here, folks, we have a fine example of the very opposite of rationality that CW, of all people, provided before this. We might call bunky a left-wing redneck, but that would just be an insult even to the redneck stereotype. The problem is that, ever since neo devoted a whole post to one of his “comments”, he’s become so full of himself that he’s now rolling out long, fatuous, flatulent pronouncements so frequently you risk RSI just scrolling past them. They could all be condensensed into the last line above: rah rah rah.

    What’s that, bunky? You say I’m just expressing disgust “using the junior-high ad hominem cliché of [my] choosing”? Well, that might depend on your junior high, but in your case, I’m afraid, ad hominem cliches are about all you understand.

    ROTFLMAO! by the way! And JUADPMPL!

  161. Gray Says:

    If I thought for one second Iraq posed a clear and present threat to our security, I’d get as involved as I could in fighting the war.

    o What kind of proof would it take to show you that he was a ‘clear and present danger’ to us?

    Doesn’t it strike you as odd that so few Americans are willing to fight in Iraq? That Bush has never even asked people to sign up to fight, or asked for any special tax or even special dedicated borrowing, i.e. war bonds, to pay for it?

    It’s not a war of guns and butter, it’s a counterinsurgent war. It doesn’t require lots of bodies.

    It is, however, a war of information and ideologies.

    Where do you think our ‘proof’ that Saddam WAS building weapons came from?

  162. jimfocus Says:

    Let’s see Gray, could that have been a homophobic remark? I thought you were the very special high commissioner for what this site’s rules are. Didya forget?

    It’s a joke because a neocon says so? I don’t see you supporting your assertions w/ any facts or studies, just kinda blah blah. “Wholly discredited” means everybody rejects the study, where most statistical societies, according to Wick, embrace both versions of the report (just checked)–You neocons all have the same MO (that’s my invesitgator talk creepin’ in here)–when you run out of arguments bluster, insult (apparently in a bigoted way) and accuse–further undermines your cred, dude. BTW the latest Pew Research study on Iraq war corresponents has a lot of the same information.

  163. Gray Says:

    Let’s see Gray, could that have been a homophobic remark? Where did anything I said have anything to do with homosexuality and Andrew Sullivan?

  164. Laura Says:

    Ugh, just got in from a three hour commute. Where to start? Well, let’s start with Gringo who must be retired or narcisitic for thinking that I wait for him to comment (you too must wait in line for my attention Gringo).

    Gringo, how afraid were you after 9-11? Trigger happy like the rest of us? Remember the threat level changing every week or so, back and forth it went. What do psychologists say about that kind of back and forth fear?

    Here is a little refresher in just how easy it was to convince us to go to war:

    “We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.

    And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.”

    Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in October of 1962, “Neither the United States of America, nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world,” he said, “where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nations security to constitute maximum peril.”

    October 2002, president bush address to the nation.

    HUBRIS:
    “Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq.”

    Find me a quote Gringo, a presidential speech where THE pressing reason wasn’t WMD and I will gladly accept. Thing is, you can’t. WMD, 9-11, fear and more fear were all that was needed to sell it to the american people.

  165. Laura Says:

    Just interested in doing my own poll here for a minute. How many of you posting have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, or have a son/daughter serving, or a loved one? Anyone?

    I am just curious.

  166. Laura Says:

    Jim, sadly the same reality everywhere if you “produce” someone conservative who have either done an about face or criticize the neocons, then they are phony republicans.

    What was it the other day with Sally, when you told her about the Bolton remark and none of them believed you, until they googled it and saw that indeed he said those things? Oh, let’s see what was it…OH yeah! Didn’t she say that he was a Paleocon? Not a REAL con, but a variant?

    Jeeze, hard to keep up with the various cons.

  167. Gray Says:

    I’m in the National Guard. I’m expecting an upcoming deployment and I’ve been to more than a few memorials…. I’ve got a lot of friends over there….

    I claim more technical knowledge based on my experiences and training, but no moral superiority, unlike you.

    I appreciate support from people who have never served and will never serve and I know my currently deployed pals apprciate the support more than your, negativity and back-stabbing.

    We know who our friends are….

  168. Gray Says:

    Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

    I’m still good with that. There was no alternative….

  169. Laura Says:

    Well Gray, thanks for your service.

  170. Gray Says:

    Well Gray, thanks for your service.

    Those certainly are empty words if you don’t support our mission as well.

    I’m sick of those fingers-crossed-behind-the-back thanks….

  171. Laura Says:

    I am sorry you feel that way Gray. I don’t expect you to understand.

    I don’t agree with the war and I feel that it has made us less safe. I share that opinion with retired generals who have fought in the war in Iraq. I don’t know if you have been, but I do hope you return safely.

    You might want to read what this princeton officer has to say. I am not alone in my beliefs about the war; and I would very much like to know how you feel after your fourth tour.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/opinion/20bardenwerper.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  172. Gray Says:

    You might want to read what this princeton officer has to say. I am not alone in my beliefs about the war; and I would very much like to know how you feel after your fourth tour.

    Oh, you’re a real nasty one, aren’t you?

  173. jimfocus Says:

    “personal lubricant”

    Hey, Gray, if you’re going soon good luck, please remember, you serve all Americans including the ones you disagree with–when I was w/ the feds we didn’t ask victims what party they belonged to, know what I mean?

  174. bunkerbuster Says:

    Gray, please follow the cheerleading guidelines. There was nothing in there about asking a list of questions to the war’s opponents, then declaring that their failure to answer prove they’re wrong.

    Then when they do answer, ask more questions. When the answer those questions, too, change the subject.

    At least you go the last part right.

    And please, wake up! The people stabbing you in the back are the ones sending you to Iraq, not the people trying to bring the troops home!

    The negativity you should be complaining about is the ahistorical naysaying that goes on about prospects for peaceful conflict resolution. The data are in: containment was cheaper, safer and more effective than the war has been. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

    You can of course speculate that the war might eventually become cheaper or more effective or safer, but that would only be speculation. As the facts stand, it just isn’t.

    Try being positive about diplomacy, history shows it’s far more likely to keep that knife out of your back.

  175. Laura Says:

    Honestly Gray, I do hope for a safe return home to your family once your tour is completed.

    I hope for you to return whole in mind, body and spirit.

    Cheers

  176. Xanthippas Says:

    Those certainly are empty words if you don’t support our mission as well.

    Sorry Gray, it’s not your call. Citizens are not required (and should not be expected) to support the wars soldiers are required to fight in, and it doesn’t demean your service in the least that there are those who think you or anyone else shouldn’t be over there. I’m sorry you don’t see it that way.

  177. Xanthippas Says:

    And finally, you accuse me of being the one who doesn’t understand the order of comments on a blog?!?

    Well, then I shall consult with you when I need blog comment causality analyzed in great detail. As for anything having to do with foreign policy/national security/politics…eh, not so much.

  178. Xanthippas Says:

    Well, is was a good enough reason for Clinton to bomb them in ‘98.

    Why is the humanitarian argument the Holy Grail of Casus Belli anyhow?

    Well, there is a vast difference between bombing a few sites and launching a full-scale invasion of a country.

    And as you may notice from comments, it’s the war hawks here who keep bringing up the humanitarian rationale as the most significant reason we went to war. I just thought it might be handy to point out that there were actual neocons in the administration who didn’t think that themselves so much.

  179. Xanthippas Says:

    Oh, here’s the great “why don’t we also do this?” argument, made by someone who would be the first to object to any efforts made to address the aforesaid issues.

    Oh really? I suppose you’ve missed my umpteen comments wondering why we are justified in occupying Iraq for decades, but shouldn’t worry so much about Afghanistan (where the Weekly Standard thinks the Taliban is losing, by the way.)

  180. Gray Says:

    Honestly Gray, I do hope for a safe return home to your family once your tour is completed.

    Yeah, right….

    Why don’t you send some anti-war literature, comments and opinions to your famility member in Iraq?

    Why don’t you explain to him that his, and your, sacrifice is in vain?

    Why don’t you tell them that if they (don’t let it happen) are injured or killed, it was because they were too stupid to understand they were dying for Bush, Neocons, Halliburton, Jews, whomever?

    Why don’t you go do that? Hmmm?

  181. Xanthippas Says:

    Unclear what “analogy” is referred to here, but as it stands this is correct.

    Um, the “hydra headed monster” analogy.

    Do I really need to start explaining your own comments to you?

  182. Gray Says:

    Sorry Gray, it’s not your call.

    Sure it is: I don’t have to accept their half-hearted ‘support’.

    It feels too much like pity. Keep it.

    I’d rather be scorned for what I do because I believe in it than pitied because you disagree with it.

    Love us, love our mission….

  183. Xanthippas Says:

    Why don’t you explain to him that his, and your, sacrifice is in vain?

    Gray, does the soldier take any less pride in his mission because some people back home disagree with whether he ought to be doing it?

    Does a firefighter take any less pride in his willingness to run into a burning building, just because some people on the street think he ought to stay out?

    A soldier’s sacrifice is never in vain, when he serves with commitment and honor. Where that soldier fights and why he dies matters, but not nearly as much as the manner in which he comported himself as a soldier.

    I’ve lost faith in the outcome of this war, but you’ll never read/hear me say that our soldiers over there died in vain. They died doing what soldiers do, which is going wherever their country sends them to fight for it. I do think however, that they didn’t need to die. I think the two are different though.

  184. Gray Says:

    “personal lubricant”

    Really, what does that have to do with foreign policy? Except that Andrew Sullivan may have more experience with one than the other….

    Hey, Gray, if you’re going soon good luck

    Well, it’s more of an interminable stand-by just now. I’ve entirely quit even telling my wife about the rumors or where/when we are going….

  185. Gray Says:

    Well, there is a vast difference between bombing a few sites and launching a full-scale invasion of a country.

    Is there? Not to the pacifist or the soldier….

  186. Tap Says:

    ….and Laura’s Moral Authority slips away, if only for this thread. But don’t worry. She has a short memory. Her Moral Authority will be back.

    I was just wondering. Does this mean that we now should take everything Gray says as gospel, Laura? Even if it contradicts the mother of a soldier??

  187. Tap Says:

    Sorry about that. Slip of the finger. I mean
    the Mother of a soldier.

  188. Gray Says:

    Then when they do answer, ask more questions. When the answer those questions, too, change the subject.

    No, bunker–we were ‘dialogging’ and I was going forward in the Socratic Method.

    Every question was led by the answer to the question before–of the same subject.

    o Where did we get the proof that Saddam had bad, bad, weapons?

    o What proof would it take for you to see Saddam’s weapons and forces as a ‘clear and present danger’ to the US?

  189. Gray Says:

    I was just wondering. Does this mean that we now should take everything Gray says as gospel, Laura?

    I hope not. I can claim some technical authority, but ‘moral authority’ is a leftist construct and as such is entirely symbolic.

  190. Gray Says:

    A soldier’s sacrifice is never in vain, when he serves with commitment and honor. Where that soldier fights and why he dies matters, but not nearly as much as the manner in which he comported himself as a soldier.

    In a morally relative world. Not in this here world….

  191. jimfocus Says:

    Take care of yourself, Gray. We disagree, you may not respect me, that’s your right, but I respect what you’re doing–be careful.

  192. Sally Says:

    Um, the “hydra headed monster” analogy.
    Do I really need to start explaining your own comments to you?

    Ooooh, nice snark! And nice dodging the point. Do you do other tricks?

    Look up, by the way, metaphor and analogy.

  193. Sally Says:

    Bunk: And please, wake up! The people stabbing you in the back are the ones sending you to Iraq, not the people trying to bring the troops home!

    Bunker, stick with your rah rah rah’s. That’s what you’re good at, it’s far more meaningful, and it takes less time to scroll past.

  194. jimfocus Says:

    “An excellent book on what went wrong in Iraq is ‘Fiasco’ by Thomas Ricks–reading it is like watching a train wreck.”–US Sen. John McCain, yesterday in Iowa

  195. Truth Says:

    November 20, 2007
    Truth?

    “A lot of people have commented with questions asking me about the truth about Baghdad. First there is no ever lasting truth in Baghdad. Is this sudden relative calm a lasting change or a lull before the storm? Nobody really knows.”
    http://washingtonbureau.typepad.com/baghdad/

  196. bunkerbuster Says:

    As to Sally’s suggestion that the infantile ad hominem the pro-war commenters here rely on so heavily is “hurting” me, I have to say it doesn’t hurt a bit.

    In fact, it piles on yet more evidence that the few remaining supporters of the war are committed to it for personal emotional reasons rather than fact or logic.

    I’m fascinated by the widening inferiority complex affecting American conservatives. Somewhere in the mid-1980s to early 1990s, conservatives began to pity themselves to no end. The media is against them, they complain. The universities don’t teach enough conservatism, they moan. Their arguments get shot down at dinner parties. Boo hoo hoo. Will they never stop whining?

    Traditional American conservatives would never complain about the news media, because they know it’s a product of an almost totally unfettered marketplace. They were fully prepared to accept that their ideas might just lose out in the market.

    Not today’s conservatives. They stamp their feet and demand to be aloud to bloviate unopposed, be it on the pages of every newspaper, at dinner parties or on the Web.

    I’m not suggesting all conservatives make that complaint. Some of them are smart enough to realize the conservatives failure to produce their own media is just that: a failure that can’t be blamed on any kind of government or corporate conspiracy. Ditto for the idea that academia is dominated by liberals. Some conservatives are smart enough to be embarrassed by this, rather than resentful of it.

    But where do these particular inferiority-complex conservatives get their sense of entitlement? Note they do not complain that their views are censored by the government or that conservative professors are purged or that they are ejected or muzzled at dinner parties. Rather, their dismay is always simply that they are not allowed to spout conservative dogma unopposed. “I was laughed at for being a conservative. Why, those liberals looked down their nose at me!” –How many times have we heard that hilariously self-pitiful complaint?

    The irony is that they get this sense of entitlement directly from the mediocre media, where unupposed conservative bloviation is a mainstay.

    Bill O’Reilly calls liberals disloyal, says they’re foolish, naive, “against the folks” and so on. He rails against the “elite” liberal media, without EVER being asked why conservatives have failed to produce their own elite. Occassionally he brings on an opponent, but he controls the mike and shouts them down or cuts them off the minute they start to get the better of him.

    The woe of conservatives comes when they find out dinner parties and chat groups like this one just aren’t like the Rush Limbaugh progam. People laugh at them when they regurgitate Rush’s ridiculous talking points and they feel so aggrieved! It’s just not fair: That NEVER happens to Rush!

    Conservatives insist the media is biased against them. But why don’t they EVER ask themselves why conservatives that own so much of the media just can’t compete with the so-called “liberal” press?

    I’ll tell you why they can’t compete. The conservative mindset is centered on judgmentalism and faith. Both of these concepts produce bad journalism.
    The New York Times and the Washington Post actually don’t dominate the newspaper media in terms of readership, they only dominate in terms of nationwide credibility. I’m not certain, but I believe the New York Post, owned and operated by right-winger Rupert Murdoch, sells more newspapers than the New York Times. If not, it’s close enough to be considered on the same level.
    The Washington Times has a publisher, Sun Young Moon, who’s proven for decades that his cult can generate enough cash to subsidize the newspaper as much as he likes, but still, it can’t compete in the credibility department with the Washington Post.
    Similarly, the conservative New York Post has no credibility. It’s full of partisan and/or chauvinist ranting, gossip and sensationalist scandal news. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se. There’s a readership for that sort of thing–especially among conservatives, so they deserve to have it available. But it does prevent the paper from being taken seriously.

    Which brings us back to ad hominem. I really, truly don’t mind at all. Really. Fire away kids. Call me whatever names you like, I’m happy to use my scroll wheel and I’m already familiar with the posters here that aren’t worth my time.

    Just realize that you’re making a fool of neoneo, who started this blog with the claim that liberals mistreated her for having conservative views.

  197. bunkerbuster Says:

    Well Gray, It’s pretty obvious that you’d rather keep believing that liberals hate solidiers than accept the direct offer of goodwill and support from the liberals here who offer. That’s just sad.

    Sorry, Gray, but I too wish you health, happiness and longevity should you be shipped to Iraq. But here’s something you’ll love: Equally, I hope you don’t torture anyone or kill any civilians, accidentally or otherwise.

  198. Sally Says:

    Bunk (to Gray): I hope you don’t torture anyone or kill any civilians….

    Not that he hates soldiers or anything.

    What’s disgusting, of course, is that bunker and his ilk are getting a free ride from Gray. In an ideal universe, each of us would have to live with the consequences of our choices and opinions, and wouldn’t it be nice to to think that those who look upon soldiers as mere killers would be forced, finally, to fend for themselves in the world? Wouldn’t it be good if the only people defended by soldiers were those who supported them?

    But, in this world, besides defending decent people on both sides of a rational debate, Gray and his like are unfortunately also forced to save the miserable hides of scum who look upon them as sadistic torturers. Too bad.

  199. mrs whatsit Says:

    Laura, I’ll bite on your poll. No immediate family in Iraq or Afghanistan, but son of best friend spent a year in Afghanistan, several close work colleagues and/or their spouses have come and gone from both places repeatedly, and my own son is at the beginning of a career in the military and will certainly serve abroad eventually, though he has not yet done so. Not one of those people needs any help from you or from Bunkerbuster and his ilk to “please, wake up.”

  200. Chris White Says:

    Having only so much time and energy to devote to blogging, I’m doing my morning check in and I see it has been a lively 18 hours or so. Although I see others have answered the first round of Gray’s questions, since he asked for my answers, here they are.

    o From the above facts was it likely, or not likely that Saddam was building WMD?

    It is likely he wanted to do so. It is likely he was posturing to keep neighbors off guard. It is not likely that he was having any significant success in actually building WMDs.

    o Was Clinton incorrect in bombing Iraq in ‘98?

    I am not sure, but lean toward thinking the use of targeted air strikes was a correct call.

    o How could we determine the state of his weapons programs after ‘98?

    U.N. inspections were intermittent and inconclusive, but had resumed prior to the invasion. Blix had found no WMD, but Saddam could not account for weapons he was thought to have. Our own intelligence and that of our allies had turned up nothing of substance to support the notion that Saddam had viable WMDs. We could and should have continued to press Saddam with sanctions, supported the inspection efforts, supported the Kurds, maintained the No Fly Zones, etc.

    o How could the UN leave him in power after he violated the deal that left him in power?

    Diplomatic efforts, just like military efforts, take time. The U.N., being an international organization whose member nations have diverse and often conflicting goals, rarely moves quickly. There are other countries in violations of certain U.N. resolutions or whose leadership is dictatorial; whether and when to use sanctions against them or move beyond sanctions to military intervention requires building a consensus to do so.

    o Could we occupy Iraq by Air indefinitely?

    Containment is not occupation. We could have continued the No Fly Zone indefinitely. The Cold War was “cold” precisely because it used containment for decades rather than military invasion.

    Let me also add my concern for Gray during his deployment. The military, like the rest of the population, has members who are liberals and neocons, Republicans, Democrats and independent libertarians. Some think the mission in Iraq is a mistake and others think it is absolutely necessary. Virtually all do their duty with honor and integrity. They deserve and receive honor for their service from many of us who disagree with the strategic thinking of the Bush administration behind the mission.

  201. mrs whatsit Says:

    Bunk wrote: “ROTFL!!!!”

    I’d feel more chastened by your answers, B, if they had any substance or demonstrated actual knowledge. They don’t, so my initial comment stands. For example, waving the word “diplomacy” around like a magic wand does not answer Gray’s question about how the UN could have left Saddam in power after he defied the resolutions. Specifics are required: what diplomatic actions, exactly? taken by whom? why would whatever your proposed actions may have been have worked when years of prior diplomatic efforts had been fruitless? and what was to be done, diplomatically, about the sanction-related corruption in the UN and several of its prominent member nations that gave them a powerful incentive to leave Saddam exactly where he was?

    Similarly, just proposing “UN inspections” as the answer to how we could have known more about Saddam’s activities post-1998 without addressing the complex and frustrating history of what actually happened with UN inspections during that time is a non-answer to beat the band.

    You tried — I’ll give you that much.

  202. mrs whatsit Says:

    Bunk wrote: Well Gray, It’s pretty obvious that you’d rather keep believing that liberals hate solidiers than accept the direct offer of goodwill and support from the liberals here who offer.

    Nobody who tells a military man “Please, wake up,” has any business pretending to goodwill and support. Most of us here are wide enough awake to tell the difference easily between support and pity, condescension, and contempt.

  203. Gringo Says:

    Gray, I support your mission in Iraq wholeheartedly. I wish you the best. I am a former Conscientious Objector who changed his mind. I am also a Post-Liberal who found out that my experience in Latin America as a tourist and engineer, and extensive library research on Latin America, did not support many leftist myths about Latin America.

    My freshman year I argued long and hard in dorm bull sessions for conscientious objection as the proper response to the Vietnam War. In looking back, I believe that one factor in my attitude towards war and killing was a tragic event when I was 9 years old- the death of a friend in a gun accident with his older brother.

    Had I been drafted into the Army, I was prepared to refuse induction and face a jail term. However, my draft board granted me CO status. The genocide in Cambodia later changed my mind. When tyrants have a gun in their hands, I concluded that it is a cop-out to be a pacifist. The pacifist withdraws to the sideline, having washed his hands, and the slaughter continues.

  204. Gray Says:

    They deserve and receive honor for their service from many of us who disagree with the strategic thinking of the Bush administration behind the mission.

    Chris, I notice from your answers that your strategic thinking amounts to doing nothing at all but flying around and getting shot at while Saddam builds weapons….

    It is not likely that he was having any significant success in actually building WMDs.

    How did you know that before the war? Where did that information come from?

    If you can’t trust the Intell that he HAS WMD, how can you trust the Intell that he DOESN’T?

    I am not sure, but lean toward thinking the use of targeted air strikes was a correct call.

    History shows otherwise. It was wholly ineffective as evidenced by the current war.

    o Why are you sure that ‘doing nothing’ doesn’t have a price?

    o Is it possible that ‘doing nothing’ in the face of aggression invites more attacks and intransigence?

  205. Laura Says:

    Nobody here is casting any blame whatsoever on the American Soldier Gray. The American soldier has done everything and then some of what our country has asked. They do it each and every day, 16 hours a day without a real break.

    The military surge was intended to create enough security, a window of opportunity, for the political solution to take hold. Patraues and Mullen have both publicly stated that there is no military solution in Iraq, only political.

    That said, the administration has once again dropped the ball. From rampant corruption to cronyism and lack of oversight all can be laid at the feet of Bush and his architects.

    The American soldier will continue to go wherever he is told. He won’t ever ask why, but where. That is there job. It’s the responsibility of the American people to hold their elected officials, who are not monarchs, accountable.

    That is what I intend to do each and every day. A military that continues to be used in this way cannot be sustained. Mullen and Gates and Casey have all said this. So, knowing that we can’t sustain the troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that they political solution has tanked, where does that leave our readiness?

  206. Gringo Says:

    bunkerbuster says:

    Ymarsakar:…..Also, in the pass you have attributed other people’s remarks to me.You might try being a little more careful.

    Do as I say, not as I do. This is from another thread.

    Gringo Says:
    November 28th, 2007 at 1:39 pm… As bunkerbuster misrepresents what I say…… Laura asked for evidence of “any American wanting defeat” , and I provided it….

    bunkerbuster Says:
    November 29th, 2007 at 12:52 am .I stand corrected, Gray .You’re point was only that someone, somewhere had said they think a U.S. “loss” in Iraq would be good.

    So careful.

  207. jimfocus Says:

    The neocons, who hate diplomacy, compromise, and real politic, can’t accept what is really the truth–the sanctions and containment policies toward Saddam prior to 2003 actually worked. He blustered & blustered, but never reconstituted the chemical weapons & other WMD programs of the past, he had been drastically weakened. At the same time, in a perfect storm of deceit, the neocons were completely snowed by Ahmed Chalabi (they were calling him the “George Washington of Iraq”–hilarious stuff) and a distant relative codenamed “Curveball” with fantastic stories of WMD’s and moblile labs, all bunk but believed by those cherry-picking furiously to justify a pre-emptive war. The result, tens of thousands dead and a much more unstable ME.

  208. Gray Says:

    Nobody here is casting any blame whatsoever on the American Soldier Gray.

    ‘Cept for the whole ‘killing civilians’ slander that started this thread!

    You’ve wrapped your own grief about missing your family member in 60s ‘Power to the People’ nonsense and put a big bow of self pity on it.

    Pull your socks up and get over it. It’s unseemly.

    It’s Sheehanesque and just as self-serving.

  209. Gray Says:

    He blustered & blustered, but never reconstituted the chemical weapons & other WMD programs of the past, he had been drastically weakened.

    How did we know this before the war? Where was this information from?

  210. Chris White Says:

    o Why are you sure that ‘doing nothing’ doesn’t have a price?

    o Is it possible that ‘doing nothing’ in the face of aggression invites more attacks and intransigence?

    This assumes one believes international diplomatic means are ‘doing nothing’ and only military force is ‘doing something.’ It is the same kind of thinking that calls diplomatic engagement ‘appeasment’ and uses U.N. resolutions as justification while simultaneously claiming the U.N. is, at best, an ineffective impediment to progress and at worst an illegitimate constraint on the free exercise of U.S. powers abroad.

  211. Laura Says:

    “pull your socks up and get over it?”

    No, I certainly will continue to walk in the stylish pumps and wear my pretty little skirts and say quite vocally what the generals in Iraq have said. You got a problem with that, then it’s your problem not mine.

    The number of veterans who thank people like me outnumber those of you who tell me to shut up and put up.

    Until you’ve actually been to Iraq Gray, then I will continue to thank your courage and sacrifice, but your lack of experience in theatre leads me to believe that while you wear the uniform, you have yet to experience what I am told day in and out.

  212. jimfocus Says:

    Saddam ignored many UN resolutions–bad boy–which 2 countries ignored even more?

  213. Gray Says:

    This assumes one believes international diplomatic means are ‘doing nothing’ and only military force is ‘doing something.’

    o We were already occupying Iraq by air. We had already fought one war against the Saddam regime. It was no longer a sovereign country. Who was there to conduct ‘diplomacy’ with?

    It is the same kind of thinking that calls diplomatic engagement ‘appeasment’

    What would this ‘diplomatic engagement’ with Saddam look like after we bombed him in ’98?

    and uses U.N. resolutions as justification while simultaneously claiming the U.N. is, at best, an ineffective impediment to progress and at worst an illegitimate constraint on the free exercise of U.S. powers abroad.

    o Was the UN willing to enforce its own resolution on Iraq?

  214. Gray Says:

    Until you’ve actually been to Iraq Gray, then I will continue to thank your courage and sacrifice, but your lack of experience in theatre leads me to believe that while you wear the uniform, you have yet to experience what I am told day in and out.

    Oh, you really are a nasty one…. My lack of experience ‘in theater’: a new ‘chicken-hawk’ argument…. Hahahah!

    I dunno, as conditions improve with the help of guys like your troop and the support and well wishes of folks like neocon, I might not even have to go :) –no thanks to you. :(

    Do you actually send this kind of stuff to your family member in Iraq? The crappy, negative stuff? I hope he/she is able to laugh it off about his ‘wacky mom’…..

    I laugh when I think about you cursing Bush and Cheney while packing a Christmas care package for your troop with quotes from Chomsky and the feckless baby-boomer generals crapping on their President…

    “Damn you, Bush! Damn you Cheney!” (sounds of packing and wrapping).

    It’s hard enough being overseas, in the middle of nowhere, patrolling and crap (this I know allll about)

    –with your mom crapping on you and your army….

    Or do you just come here to vent and have a little pity party?

  215. Gray Says:

    Saddam ignored many UN resolutions–bad boy–which 2 countries ignored even more?

    Lemme guess, US and Israel? Was this when Sudan was the Human Rights Chair in the UN? Or Libya?

    I’ll bet I could get you going on a goooood anti-Israel rant.

    I love running into anti-war types, particularly in airport bars, and pushing them over the edge into a big anti-jewish rant. I’ve gotten a few raving until they got kicked out. It’s a hobby of mine….

  216. Laura Says:

    Disparaging the troops? No indeed.

    Disparaging the admin. of Bush? Absolutely.

  217. Laura Says:

    Supporting the troops and not their mission is a thorn in the side of the prowar crowd. How to “silence” them?

    Care to guess who got that ball rolling? And, care to guess who continues to push it? Same people who coined the term “islamofascists”.

  218. Truth Says:

    From most the comment made by one commentator her its really bring to mind very real worlds said by Christian Peacemaker Team member killed in Iraq Tom Fox “may God bless him” tells what he saw in Iraq of sadness from his folk in Iraq and how they treating Iraqi, as this comments reflect what sort of guy he is and what attitude holding in his head.

    “Having grown up the Southern U.S. and having a very racist father, it was a very bizarre experience hearing almost the same comments being made against Iraqis that I heard as a child being made against blacks. The same venom, for lack of a better word, was coming out of their mouths as they denigrated the people, culture and societal norms of Iraq.”

    “I have to assume the racist attitudes of the security contractors stems from the necessity for a human being to dehumanize and marginalize another human being in order to kill them. Dehumanization is a mind game military-leaders the world over have used to indoctrinate recruits with and it also seems to be the case with these mercenary soldiers.”
    http://vitw.org/archives/956#more-956

  219. Gray Says:

    From most the comment made by one commentator her its really bring to mind very real worlds said by Christian Peacemaker Team member killed in Iraq Tom Fox

    Really? Who killed him?

  220. jimfocus Says:

    Pushing anti-war types into anti-semitic rages in airport bars–hmmmmmmm. OK, it could happen, maybe once, OK–I believe it–once. A hobby? Next we’re going to here how they formed a spitting gauntlet you had to run through–but I could believe it–once.

    “Mr. President, I gaurantee only 40-50 million dead, tops!”–George C. Scott, Dr. Strangelove

  221. bunkerbuster Says:

    Now if Gray were poised to go to Iraq on a diplomatic mission, say for the U.N., we could sling all manner of mud at him. Right kids?

    Slander?

    Hardly. Even the crustiest chauvinists here will join me I’m sure in hoping Gray doesn’t torture anyone or kill any civilians.

    Or is it some kind of blasphemy for them to even MENTION civilian death and torture?

    Are they suggesting this doesn’t happen in Iraq, or that it’s super, super politically incorrect to mention it?

  222. Gray Says:

    Even the crustiest chauvinists here will join me I’m sure in hoping Gray doesn’t torture anyone or kill any civilians.

    Now that is just weird, and creepy….

    That’s like like saying to someone going to Alabama:

    “I hope you don’t lynch or kill any african-americans while you’re there”

    Or to a guy going to Wichita:

    “I hope you don’t rape and chop up any women while your there.”

    I just don’t even live in your world….

  223. MartyH Says:

    Even the crustiest misogynists here will join me I’m sure in hoping Bunker Buster doesn’t hit his wife or beat his children.

    Or is it some kind of blasphemy for them to even MENTION domestic violence?

    Are they suggesting this doesn’t happen in his town, or that it’s super, super politically incorrect to mention it?

  224. MartyH Says:

    Dang, Gray, I was hoping that my post would appear right after BB’s.

    Oh well.

    Thank you for your service.

  225. jimfocus Says:

    “Gentlemen! No fighting in the War Room!!”
    –Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove

  226. jimfocus Says:

    My picture of Sally: bright red lipstick, painted eyebrows, cigarette dangling, tapping away on her keyboard, staring into the screen w/ a bayonet clenched in her teeth, seething–not far off, am I?

    YeeeeHaaaah!!!
    –Slim Pickens

  227. Gray Says:

    My picture of Sally: bright red lipstick, painted eyebrows, cigarette dangling, tapping away on her keyboard, staring into the screen w/ a bayonet clenched in her teeth

    Sounds kinda hot.

  228. jimfocus Says:

    Gray,
    What’s even hotter is her hateful, abusive speech, that signals a deep neocon sensuality that arouses one’s senses, alerts you to all the possibilities–I hope she keeps the hot, dominating talk coming, thread after thread, so us guys can delight in that tart, abusive tongue lashing out, so wonderfully lashing out…

    “Hubbah! Hubbah!”
    –Grouch Marx

  229. stumbley Says:

    Laura: I notice that you’re very fond of quoting military members who have returned from Iraq and said nasty things about the administration and the mission, yet you still refuse to answer a very simple question: What does your “family member” (I’m assuming a “son”) think about the mission?

    And the reason I use “scare quotes” is that I don’t believe for a moment that such a person exists. I have previously, and will continue to call you a liar until you prove differently. Until then, all your posturing and posing means nothing, because you have no more proven claim to your feelings than any “chickenhawk” that you’re so fond of disparaging.

  230. stumbley Says:

    Heck, even Jack Murtha thinks the surge is working..

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07333/837824-100.stm?cmpid=latest.xml

    …and that’s from a home-town newspaper, not Fox News, jimfocus!!

  231. bunkerbuster Says:

    “Or is it some kind of blasphemy for them to even MENTION domestic violence?”

    This is silly not only because I’ve never said anything that would lead anyone to believe I condoned or apologized for domestic violence, but also because no one from any side of the political spectrum condones domestic violence.

    Torture, however, has many fans, from Dick Cheney to Rush Limbaugh, who compares it to fraternity pranks and, I suspect, many commenteres are are enthusiastic advocates of torture.

    As for killing of civilians, even the crustiest chavanists agree it’s wrong when not accidental, but they are quick to make apologies for it and to assert that “more lives are saved because of it.”

    How many times, for example, have we heard the risible claim that that the atomic bombing of Japan, “saved lives?” Were the civilian deaths there “accidental?”

    I can say I have not and will not hit my wife and no one can point to anything I’ve said or done that would lead them to believe otherwise.

    But can Gray say the same about killing civilians or torturing people? Of course not.

    If he’s going to Iraq, he could well be involved in killing civilians, whether or not he intends to. As for torture, the question remains: Is he for or against it?

    Where do you stand on torture, Gray? Would you do it if asked?

  232. bunkerbuster Says:

    Gray seems to think asking endless questions is the “Socratic method?”

    But Socrates made his point by asking questions that addressed the answers to the previous questions until the answerer had made Socrates point for him.

    Trouble is, never cogently addresses the answers to his questions (which he had initially claimed “anti-war types couldn’t answer.”) What gives Gray? You questions are answered every time. Guess that means the assumptions on which you formed them aren’t to sound.

    Binary thinking and the Socratic method don’t go together.

  233. stumbley Says:

    Yo, bunky: I’m glad you wouldn’t “hit your wife.”

    Now, here’s an interesting hypothetical: say your lovely bride were being held in, oh, Sudan, for inappropriately allowing her elementary school class to name its Teddy Bear mascot “Mohammed.” And say that there were radical Islamists with knives and swords just itching to kill her for her “blasphemy,” and were threatening to kill her in a half hour. Say there was a radical Islamist who knew the location where she was being held, but was refusing to talk. Suppose a session of, oh, “waterboarding” would loosen his tongue, and you had 20 minutes of that half hour remaining.

    Enquiring minds want to know, what would you do?

  234. Laura Says:

    Sorry Stumbley, not taking the bait. I have already revealed myself to Neo months ago. She even said to me that you have to be pretty thick skinned on this site, so that I am being. You won’t get a response from me about my son’s identity. I will only reveal that he knows of the work that I do, that I am dedicated to veteran’s issues and gives me all the support I could ask for, cause when the rubber meets the road, or the IED hits the head, he knows that I am just the kind of person you want on your team.

    Further, I trust Neo to keep my identity private, as I can see just what kind of venom is spewed here that it would put me literally at risk from some of you. Sad but true.

  235. Laura Says:

    And, clearly you can see from any number of my posts, I am always advocating for soldiers and their families. I have no hidden agenda; I am pretty clear about that. I care deeply about national security and differ with some of you here on how to remain safe in the world.

    By the way, the views that I hold are very similar to the many officers and generals who have all served in Iraq and are saying the same thing. This is a historic first with the number of active duty and retired who have come out against the war.

  236. MartyH Says:

    BB-

    Were you offended by my comment? Then maybe you can see how Gray would be offended by yours. Because the situations are identical. Just because you are a husband doesn’t make you a wife beater; just because you are serving in a war zone doesn’t mean that you kill civilians and torture people.

  237. Laura Says:

    google Malcolm Nance testimony on waterboarding.

  238. bunkerbuster Says:

    That’s easy. I’d use my kung fu on the “radical Islamists with knives and swords” to kick their butts and then I’d sweep up my lovely bride on a galloping stallion and ride off into the sunset.

    I seen it in a movie!

    It was playing just after one that had a clearly unswarthy blond guy who had “no choice” but to save civilization as we know it by torturing some really swarthy guys who, may or may not have the necessary information, but who’s to quibble. In a fantasy battle between a non-swarthy blond American and a swarthy foreign guy, there’s never, ever any “moral equivalence”–certainly not in the movies, anyway. Actually, it wasn’t a movie, it was a cartoon.

    And here’s a hint, Stumbley. If you’re going to draw cartoonish hypotheticals to hide that you don’t have any facts on your side, try not to confuse them with real examples.

    As for the case in Sudan, the woman being held for allegedly allowing her class to name a bear Mohammed, is not being threatened with death by “radical Islamists with knives and swords just itching to kill her.” Rather, she was threatened with 40 lashes by the country’s judicial system and that was dropped to a short jail sentence.

    But thanks for giving us all a lively demonstration of the role fantasy plays in your thinking on these subjects.

  239. bunkerbuster Says:

    MartyH: where do you stand on torture?

    If Gray’s asked to torture an Iraqi suspect, should he do it? If not, why?

  240. Laura Says:

    here is a link to nance

    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.military.naval/msg/d3c851e96eef759c

    and, sensing that he would undergo what happens most of the time with the conservative attack machine, he made it clear he wouldn’t tolerate it.

  241. stumbley Says:

    Laura:

    I’m so glad that Neo is aware. I’ve never asked for your “son’s” identity, only his attitude. Since the military is all-volunteer, I’m assuming that he chose to enlist, and that he followed orders, even if he may not have believed in the mission. It would be nice to know if he does or doesn’t…because you see, it has a bearing on your viewpoint.

    I salute his service—again, if he exists—because it’s very easy on the web to claim to be something you’re not. Look at Jesse MacBeth or Scott Beauchamp.

    In fact, you could easily stop all my pestering simply by saying “he believes as I do, that the mission was wrong and is a failure, and can’t wait to get home.” I’d have no way of proving you wrong, but at least I’d have some idea of how “he” feels about his service. Since you’ve chosen not even to pretend at this point, I’m still doubtful that this “son” exists.

    You are clearly passionate about the issues that veterans face. You are to be commended for your concern and your efforts. I’m simply asking what your “son” believes, nothing else.

    And it’s not so historic that a “number of active duty and retired” have “come out against the war”. That’s been the case in every conflict the US has ever fought. War is the last resort; it’s not to be entered into lightly; and people of good will differ on its conduct all the time. I think what’s different about this war is that people are being willfully ignorant of the facts; are being poorly informed by the mass media; and that one party of the government is opposing the effort for purely political gain.

  242. MartyH Says:

    BB says-

    “As for the case in Sudan, the woman being held for allegedly allowing her class to name a bear Mohammed, is not being threatened with death by “radical Islamists with knives and swords just itching to kill her.””

    I must have misunderstood this headline, then:

    Thousands of Islamic fanatics wielding knives demand jailed teddy bear teacher is executed

    They’ve got pictures, too.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=497490&in_page_id=1770&ito=1490

    Thanks for giving us a lively demonstration of the role denial plays in your thinking on these subjects.

  243. stumbley Says:

    “is not being threatened with death by “radical Islamists with knives and swords just itching to kill her.”

    Oh, bunky, it’s just so fun to show you facts

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=497490&in_page_id=1770&ito=1490

  244. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sorry Stumbley, but the protestors are not threatening the woman. She’s being safely held by the authorities.

    Your fantasy scenario is just that–a fantasy.

    But thanks again for showing that you have trouble distinguishing between real world events and fantasy scenarios invented by talkradio buffoons.

  245. stumbley Says:

    Laura:

    Malcolm Nance is a raving loon. “Waterboarding” does NOT involve “swallowing pints of water.” In fact, Mr. Nance would be freaking dead if the procedure he describes were actually carried out.

    “Mike’s secondary specialty in the SEAL force is as an advanced combat medic. Without getting into specifics on his experiences, Mike strongly disputes Nance’s exaggerations of waterboarding. There is a word for people who have “pint after pint of water” filling their lungs: dead. “In fact,” according to Mike, “they would be very, very dead. By definition, anyone who has drowned is in fact dead. A large percentage of true drownings do not involve ANY water entering the lungs because the epiglottis closes off the air passages as water enters the throat. People who die immediately from being immersed in water actually die of suffocation, not water entering their lungs. Not only that, many people who survive a near-drowning who do have even small amounts of water that slip by the epiglottis and enter their lungs can die later of fluid shifts and pneumonia. I can assure you that we do not use any technique that involves true suffocation or aspiration of water into the lungs. One cannot get questions to answers from people who suffocate or have water fill their lungs in any interrogation technique, which would render that technique more than a little self-defeating. Dead men tell no tales — and also make rather poor soldiers.”
    Mike emphasized that modern military interrogators receive excellent training and know that coercive techniques do not usually work as well as “positive incentives” and they will generally work through “echelons” of interrogation to obtain critical information. Mike would not go into any detail on “positive incentives” anymore than he would about coercive interrogation techniques generally used as a last resort. He continued to emphasize operational security (OPSEC). However, there are many different scenarios for interrogations, including time-critical emergencies, such as hostage rescue or impending attacks. “Effective interrogators need every range of options in these cases, including methods that use coercion to elicit information, for the different situations that our forces not only might face, but have faced. He used the examples of rescuing captured American soldiers from terrorists when we know they will be brutally tortured and murdered if not found immediately and rescued. “I’m guessing that the vast majority of Americans who vote would not have a problem with us using coercive tactics to get that kind of information from a terrorist.”

    Nance is one of those wonderful souls who inflate their credentials so as to appear more knowledgeable about subjects than they really are.

    If I had time, I’d look up the comment thread I read in which it was revealed (by people who had worked with and personally knew Mr. Nance) that he had been a SERE trainer for all of about a MONTH, and was relieved of that duty and sent elsewhere almost immediately. Mr. Nance is certainly no credible source on the subject of waterboarding or SERE training.

  246. stumbley Says:

    bunky, you are an idiot. No further discussion is warranted.

  247. bunkerbuster Says:

    From the Daily Mail piece Stumbley links to:

    “Mother-of-two Miss Gibbons, 54, escaped a flogging and was sentenced to 15 days in a Sudan jail.”

    A photo shows riot police with clubs and shields, the caption says: “Security was heavy outside the courthouse yesterday for Mrs Gibbons’ appearance.”

    Just be clear, from a news story about a woman sentenced to 15 days in prison, Stumbley and MartyH spun a fantasy about a woman being threatened with death by “radical Islams with knives and swords.”

    Called on it, they insisted their fantasy was real. The news reports they cite, however, shows that the scenario they thought was real never took place.

    This is an excellent example of how people like Stumbley form their political opinions. From real news, they extrapolate all manner of fantasies, then cling to them no matter what. Confronted with evidence that what they’re imagining isn’t real, they just slip even further into their state of denial.

    I have to admit, I feel pretty stupid trying to use facts to try to change the opinions of people like Stumbley who so clearly didn’t form their opinions with the benefit of facts in the first place.

  248. bunkerbuster Says:

    “No further discussion is warranted.”

    Amen Stumbley. The more you discuss, the clearer it becomes your views are based on cartoonish fantasy, not fact.

  249. jimfocus Says:

    Murtha made the same observation that Ricks made earlier in the week, with the presence of more troops in Baghdad, and both the Sunnis and Shia standing down for the moment, we’ve gained a tactical advantage–to do what? Facilitate the political organization of the country, which Murtha said, as everyone reporting from there has, is going nowhere right now. The Sunnis want to be gauranteed a piece of the new govt. and the Shia, representing the overall majority, are refusing to cooperate, knowing if things stay the same, they will have complete power. Right now the country is balkanized.

  250. stumbley Says:

    bunky, really truly, you are a fool.

    I never maintained that the woman was directly threatened, did I? I was using a “hypothetical” in my question to you…did you not read carefully enough to catch the word? And Ms. Gibbons is “being threatened” with death. Do you think for a moment if she were not “being held in a secure location” that her safety would be ensured?

    “I have to admit, I feel pretty stupid”

    Well, that’s because you are; i.e. “1 a: slow of mind : obtuse b: given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner c: lacking intelligence or reason”

  251. bunkerbuster Says:

    OK, Stumbley, so your fantasy is that it would be necessary to apply torture to save someone who ISN’T directly threatened??

    You really should have stuck to your claim that further comment isn’t warranted. The more you comment, the worse you look.

    And, indeed, it’s both stupid and naive for me to believe I could ever use facts to disabuse you of your fantasies.

    I comment here just to make it easier for other readers to spot the connection between fantasy and your political views.

    And MartyH: while Stumbley’s checking his thesaurus for synonyms for “stupid,” why don’t you busy yourself dreaming up a fantasy scenario in which the only way to prevent Dick Cheney’s assassination is by beating your wife! The two are analogous, after all, in your mind. Right?

  252. MartyH Says:

    BB-

    Regaridn your earlier question about torture:

    I’m not going to make Gray’s moral decisions for him. Especially in an undefined hypothetical where we could not even begin to agree on terms.

  253. stumbley Says:

    Bunky:

    It’s called a “dictionary,” they are “definitions,” and you’re still an idiot and a fool. And that’s the last I’ll deal with you, and you can go bother some of the other children now.

  254. bunkerbuster Says:

    MartyH: I’m not asking you to order Gray to torture anyone. I’m asking whether or not you think he should under ANY circumstances.

    You argue that torture is analagous to wife beating, so I’m curious whether you actually thought it through, and are willing to say that wife beating “depends on the circumstances.”

  255. bunkerbuster Says:

    Stumbley, please continue. You’re not “dealing” with me, you’re exposing the cartoonish nature of your political views.
    And I thought you checked the dictionary already?? Why would you need to check it twice?

  256. MartyH Says:

    BB-

    Here’s something you might see on an SAT:

    Soldier _______ civilians:Husband ________ wife

    My answer is “Protects/loves” and would be graded correct .

    The opposite but internally consistent answer would be “Kills and tortures/Beats”

    Yours seems to “Kills and tortures/loves,” which is internally inconsistent.

  257. Busterbunker Says:

    Have I told you lately how stupid you neocon chauvanits are? Well, I just thought I’d get it in again, especially since all you do is try to call me stupid. Me! Hah! As if! I mean, look at all my posts! I’m in here pretty much 24/7 fighting off neocons to the right of me and neocons to the right of me: You’re stupid! No, you’re stupid! And juvenile.

    Anyway, I’ll just let another couple of comments accumulate, and then I’ll wade in again with my wit. Fightin’ the chauvanits, that’s me. Am I wearing you down? Bet I am.

    Yee haw! (Oh, sorry, that’s the other guy’s.)

  258. bunkerbuster Says:

    MartyH: you need to re-read the thread. You are the one attempting to draw an analogy between soldiers and wife-beaters, not me!

    I’m the one saying the analogy doesn’t work, remember??

    And as you’ve taken time to come up with cockamamie fantasy SAT analogies, why haven’t you found time to simply give us your view on torture?

    Is torture ok with you?

  259. bunkerbuster Says:

    And, I’m truly honored with the feast the commenters here are providing.

    Now they’ve even turned to creating fantasy postings using my byline!

    Thanks guys. A lot of times, people who disagree with me on politics actually put up a fight. You guys just run over the top of each other to provide as much evidence as possible to illustrate my points!

    Thanks, you’re so generous!!

  260. Busterbunker Says:

    Hey, don’t take it personally, though. Well, yeah, take it personally, but not too much. Because, I mean, what can I say, I’m good. Know why? Because I just don’t stop. Can’t shut me up. Try it and I just dump another 10,000 word snoozer on you.

    Look at me! Look! I’m dancin’! You haven’t laid a glove on me! I win, you lose!

    Because your stupid. Stupid chauvinits.

    And don’t try to imitate me, because you can’t. I’m a liberal and your not, remember?

    Thanks again, you stupid losers!! I’ll be back as soon as I catch my breath.

  261. bunkerbuster Says:

    Hi Sally. I thought it was you.

    So nice to have you with us. I see you haven’t changed a bit!

  262. Sally Says:

    Oh, dearie me, “haven’t changed a bit”!? I’ve got nothing on you, bunk, when it comes to stasis. Keep pumpin’ it out, though, same old same old. You’re giving us all a laugh.

  263. jimfocus Says:

    Sally just hatefully said “Keep pumpin’ it out…”
    You hot neocon mama, you.

    Note to bunker–”Yeeeeh! Haaah!” is attrbuted to Slim Pickens by me, which he says in all his movies.

    And yes, I have stopped beating my wife.

  264. bunkerbuster Says:

    Well Sally, I do like it better when you post under fake names.

    Extreme desperation adds some small measure of dramatic tension to your otherwise stultifyingly redundant repetoire of insults.

  265. Sally Says:

    Jimmy does a pretty good Butthead too, doesn’t he? “She said ‘pumpin’”! (snigger, snigger).

    And he’s got those movie noises down.

  266. Sally Says:

    Oo! He said “stultifyingly redundant repetoire”! That was goood, bunk. Don’t worry about the misspellings, you’re a librul, not a chauvanist – chauvanits – whatever – so you can be pretty loose about stuff like that. But the alliteration! You know, I bet you could teach ol’ Spiro “nattering nabobs” Agnew a thing or two about wordplay, couldn’t you? If he were still alive. Like you.

  267. jimfocus Says:

    Sally, you are so, so, hot–keep the abuse coming, mistress!!

  268. jimfocus Says:

    I just got through reading neo’s post here for the 3rd-4th time. I guess I’ve figured out her writing style, somewhere between florid and impenetrable. Some of those paragraphs are like Mt. Rushmore.

    I still get the same theme from her post and the responses here–the killing in Iraq is really nothing, the people getting killed over there are virtually all our enemies, torture is great unless Saddam does it, we will make them democratic, even if it kills them, etc. The post really illlustrates the inherent contradictory flaw of the neocons, it’s hard to say you are for democracy when you advocate authoritarianism and very undemocratic tactics–and care little of thousands of lives being lost–can anyone say holcaust?

    Sally, do you really watch Beavis & Butthead?

    Heh-heh…

  269. Laura Says:

    Of course you would say that Stumbley. I find it ironic that this man made it clear prior to his testimony that he wouldn’t be supressed as the right wing attempts to do, and here you show up with a post from some right wing hack site to prove what? Would you like to provide the link to this “official” counter testimony?

    There is no way that waterboarding is not torture. In every definition of torture especially including the Geneva Convention, simulated execution is clearly labeled torture. The effectiveness of waterboarding depends on the recipient believing that he will die, that he will be killed. So it is a form of simulated execution, abhorrent, and illegal.

    Those who support it out of a “reasonable possibility” of getting some useful information do so under who’s authority?

    Furthermore, how do you respond to Daniel Levin, then acting assistant attorney general, who went to a military base near Washington and underwent the procedure to inform his analysis of different interrogation techniques.

    “After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn’t die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.”

    He reported his findings and was fired. I guess that made Yoo’s work a little, you know, iffy.

  270. Laura Says:

    Just finished watching “Amazing Grace” about England’s abolition of slavery. I was struck by the similarities between those opposed to slavery and those in favor of the slave trade (ie: sugar cane interests, tobacco, cotton). It could have been a parallel conversation of what takes place here.

    if you haven’t seen it, it’s very good, no matter what your political stripes.

  271. Laura Says:

    Jim, did you happen to catch the passing remark Sally made earlier about how wonderful it would be if the soldiers only protected those who supported the mission?

  272. Laura Says:

    Former POW and presidential candidate McCain has this to say about torture (he should know right?)

    A response to Mitt Romney’s riding the fence about torture:

    “We’re not going to do what Pol Pot did. We’re not going to do what’s being done to Burmese monks as we speak. I suggest that you talk to retired military officers and active duty military officers like Colin Powell and others, and how in the world anybody could think that that kind of thing could be inflicted by Americans on people who are held in our custody is absolutely beyond me.”

    And why don’t you guys like McCain? I think he would make a great president.

  273. Laura Says:

    “Wouldn’t it be good if the only people defended by soldiers were those who supported them?”

    Sally, earlier in the post.

  274. jimfocus Says:

    Laura,
    Like I’ve said before, on another post on here, when you are a soldier, a federal officer (like I was) you take an oath to protect all Americans, not just the ones you agree with. When I got on a case I never first asked to which party people belonged–that’s really offensive to what America stands for–ultimately we are all one nation–what’s so hard about that concept? Questioning one’s patriotism over political differences is the last refuge, I really believe that.

    Soldiers go to enforce policy, not to make it–even though I see this war as crazy, I’m certainly for our forces, want them to succeed (or get the hell out) and have every supply and material they need over there. L hate the policy, but as long as they are there, thsy need support second to none.

    I have a feeling Sally’s about ready to spew again, so I’ll end for now.

    Please may I have some discipline–now?

  275. stumbley Says:

    Notice that whenever someone cites a post from a website that has a pro-war bent, that Laura and her ilk call it a “right-wing hack site,” but anything that appears in media that’s been proven to have used forgeries to support a story (CBS News), falsified photographs (Reuters, AP) and outright lies (The New Republic), that these are considered bastions of truth?

    Still waiting, Laura, for your son’s attitude, not identity, not his unit, not anything that would point to who or where he is, just his feelings about the war. Not too much to ask.

  276. MartyH Says:

    BB-

    Here’s a defintion of torture we can use:

    “the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.”

    Of course I can come up with a hypothetical where I would support torture. Anyone who can’t is truly a binary thinker.

    For example: You’re on Flight 93 with your wife, kids, and about 100 other innocents. The hijackers have taken over the plane, killed the pilot, and handcuffed the co-pilot to a passenger seat. The passengers regain control of the aircraft, but you cannot find the handcuff key, even after searching the hijackers (who have not been in a lavatory and are still alive.)

    The moral calculus is simple: release the co-pilot or every on board dies. If the terrorists will not say wher the key is, I would inflict excruciating pain to get information. That’s the definition of torture, and that’s what I would do.

    What would you do in that situation?

  277. bunkerbuster Says:

    Sally has a point there, Laura.

    I realize it isn’t feasible in a democratic society for the military to pick and choose which missions it will cooperate with, but it’s a nice thought anyone that the military professionals who counseled against invading Iraq would be allowed not to participate in it.

    As you have pointed out, Laura, it’s sad that our troops have to shed their blood to “defend” the Cheney-Bush cabal who, having never fought in wars themselves, have instead used war as a way to boost their sagging popularity.

    Now that it’s backfired on them, they’re both set to wave goodbye to public office and accept a position in the corporate sector where they will in all likelihood spend out their days trading on their connections to the military and contractors.

    Hopefully by that time our sons and daughters will be on their way home from Iraq, their nightmare at last ended by the people who really support them.

  278. stumbley Says:

    As for our good friend, Malcolm Nance:

    (This is from that rabid right-wing hack site, Captain’s Quarters, the comment section http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/015728.php#comments, so I leave it for the reader to judge, and as they say, “read the whole thing”—the comments section is particularly edifying):

    “As for Malcom Nance, the more I search the more I come to believe that Nance has made a lucrative career for himself by establishing himself as a self-annointed expert in counter-terrorism, interrogation, military operations, and all manner of things an average news producer has neither the time nor ability nor desire to vet. Dan Rather’s staff could have done better.

    Nance has claimed, among other things, to have been involved in counter-terroism operations in the Balkans, part of the response team to the Beirut barracks and Embassy bombings, the Acyhille Lauro hijacking, the Libyan air raid, the millenium bomb plot, the attack on the USS Cole, and over one hundred suicide bombings in Iraq. Claims he has been involved in dozens of counter-terrorism operations at the behest of the US government all across the Middle east, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, among other locales. He claims to have trained US Special Operations forces inside Afghanistan, and that he spent a year and a half as a special security advisor to the Coalititon Provisional Authority in Baghdad. He claims to be the director of the International Anti-Terrorism Center in Sydney, Australia and Paris, France. He also claims he was tasked to re-write the US Navy’s SERE program in its entirety. Claims to have interviewed Colonel Nick Rowe, Deiter Dengler, John McCain, and James Stockdale, among others, regarding torture. With his bachelor degree from Excelsior University in New York [an online "college"] he is apparently trying to complete his Doctorate while at the same time being an instructor in Advanced IED and Suicide Bomber Studies at Martyr Zarqawi Hall, Iraq Campus. [Excelsior University, by the way, has entered into agreements with MacDonalds to accept "Hamburger University" credits...I'll leave that one for you guys to judge.]

    He further claims that while head of SERE at Coronado, he developed training to simulate Al Qaeda’s organization and tactics, in 1997, long before AQ became a blip on the radar for most of the military, and long before AQ became a separate operational collection requirement within the Intelligence Community.

    Given all of this, seems that Nance is either one hell of a hero, or one hell of an accomplished snake oil salesman.

    All of the above came from bios presented as part of his speaking tours and other appearances over the past year or so, or from his own entries in book’s he has written.”

  279. stumbley Says:

    And more Nance:

    “I had the unfortunate “privilege” of working with Malcolm Nance for several years. I can only add to the comments above:

    #1 – the man is absolutely NOTORIOUS within the crypto & intel community for a complete lack of honesty about his own exploits. On numerous occasions this reached the level of senior personnel calling him out about it when he would claim involvement in some event which he was nowhere near. And yes, the statements (not comments, these are facts) about him serving as a SERE instructor are accurate – he sought this position and was allowed to go there because he had burned far too many bridges in the community and they had no use for him. Consider that Arabic linguists have always been in short demand – to allow one to serve in a non-crypto role is kind of surprising, don’t you think?

    #2 – He may very well be accurately describing HIS feelings about waterboarding, given that I’ve seen his attempts to function in small craft and swimming operations – to say he isn’t comfortable in the water is an understatement.

    #3 – While Mr. Nance was involved closely with efforts to bring cryptologic support to Naval Special Warfare forces, I am not aware of any times in which he actually deployed in an operational status with SEAL or SBU elements. There are motivated CT’s who have done so (one of whom was KIA in Iraq this year), but Malcolm Nance was not one of them.

    I am forwarding this post to friends of mine who are members of the cryptologic community, perhaps within security confines they can tell you all more.”

    Again, read the comments. I will not further disrupt Neo’s bandwidth with more cut and paste.

  280. bunkerbuster Says:

    MartyH,
    Hasn’t anyone pointed out to you yet why the torture hypothetical doesn’t work? Allow me.

    Civilized societies don’t make laws, or policies, based on extreme hypotheticals.

    I can think up an infinite number of scenarios in which you would choose to inject your grandmother with a lethal dose of heroin–to save a nation from nuclear destruction. Or bomb a church full of worshippers–to save the rest of the city. And so on and so forth.

    That’s why the rule of law doesn’t work that way.

    It may sound good to you on talk radio, but logic blows it away.

  281. jimfocus Says:

    Hey Marty, in your example, while you’re torturing the terrorist to get the key (what makes you think he’d tell you, a fanatical terrorist?), I’d run up to the cabin, get the fire ax, and go back & chop the co-pilot free–that’s what I’d do since I would think you were wasting too much time torturing the guy, unless you were torturing him just for general purposes, for America, or whatever. Sounds like time is of the essence in your example.

    Since I did a lot of interrogation when w/ the feds, I’m always asked the torture question. When I was at the fed. level, working w/ FBI, SecS, ATF–we didn’t use it–we couldn’t. One of our biggest problems was getting suspects that were all beat up from local jurisdictions–harder to explain that at the trial, made the cases weaker. But I found we really didn’t need it, even if we could–few cases end up w/ the perp screaming “I did it!!” Most cases are plead out–so my experience is not really analagous to the torture issue in the war, though I suspect it’s not really that helpful. I’d use drugs on them first, anyway.

    Again, wasn’t one of the reasons we took out Saddam is because he was torturing people and you guys who wanted him out are now all for torture?–I don’t get it. More neocon contradiction?

  282. MartyH Says:

    Jim-

    The head of the fireax is in embedded in the ribs of the first passenger who led the charge against the terrorists. The handle broke off on impact.

    You’re right that the terrorists probably will not give up the information. It does not mean that I cannot or should not try to get it from him by any conceivable means. All of the passengers are going to die once the plane runs out of fuel anyway-including the terrorists.

    BB-

    Who said anything about the rule of law? You asked if I would condone torture. I gave you the specifics of a hypothetical where I would.

    You said yourself that you can come up with scenarios where torture is justified. If that is the case, then it should be possible to develop criteria where torture is the moral choice. My hypothetical has the following characteristics:

    -Time pressures
    -Tortured person is a known bad actor
    -Significant number of innocent civilian lives at risk
    -Tortured person known to have have the necessary information to save lives
    -No lose moral proposition. If torture fails, no one will know about it because signs will be destroyed in the crash. If torture succeeds, passengers are saved, justifying the action.
    -I am acting of my own free will, specifically to extract information, and not to cause suffering for its own sake.

    By easing one or multiple of teh above criteria, you will arrive with different scenarios where the moral choice beomes to not torture.

    Back to the the original theme of Neo’s post-hierarchies. There are also hierarchies of moral beliefs and actions. Not torturing is not at the top of the moral hierarchy.

  283. Truth Says:

    Again, wasn’t one of the reasons we took out Saddam is because he was torturing people and you guys who wanted him out are now all for torture?

    Do you know the handler and who train him to torturing Iraqi people?

    Now comes a UPI story, based on interviews with various British and U.S. intelligence sources, claiming that from Jack Kennedy in the early 1960s on up to the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, Saddam was in the hands of the CIA. In his early twenties, Saddam was recruited to kill Iraqi prime minister Abd al-Karim Qasim,
    Our Man in Baghdad
    That’s Saddam We’re Talking About
    by James Ridgeway

  284. Truth Says:

    According to Duncan Hunter: “Most army recruits are conservatives with deep Judeo-Christian values so US army have these values there is no surprise then as all we know what Israelis doing with Palestine’s for decades

  285. Chris White Says:

    If … insert plot twist from an episode of “24″ here … wouldn’t you inflict excruciating pain (i.e. use torture) to save your … wife … thousands of innocent children … dozens of hostages especially the hot babe crying in corner?

    This is a nice twist on the scenarios that used to be bandied about in arguments with pacifists and conscientious objectors; they usually went something like, “Your mother/wife/grandmother is about to be raped and you’ve just gotten free from being tied up and grabbed the rapist’s gun, what are you going to do?”

    My own answer often went along these lines, “I’d be so scared, angry and incapable of rational thought that I’d pull the trigger. I’d probably wound both the perp and my wife/mother/grandmother. The perp would regain control of the gun, kill me and finish raping my wife/mother/grandmother before killing her. What’s your point?”

    Action adventure movie plot twists are not the same as the question of whether U.S. troops should be freed from the Geneva Convention and other legal and moral constraints against the use of torture on the sole authority of the President, acting on the belief that any means is justified by the wished for end.

    Given Neo’s original post, with thoughts such as, there is a “hierarchy of responsibility in which, generally speaking, (as bb seems to be pointing out) the initiators of an activity bear the highest responsibility for their own actions.” Is it not logical to deduce from this that, if we are to retain the high moral ground, we should not permit our forces to use torture as an interrogation technique? Especially given the consensus among experts that torture tends to produce far more bad intel than good intel?

    And this doesn’t even begin to grapple with the kind of scenario we’re really talking about. Say you’re an interrogator in a detention center; a dozen detainees were picked up for being out after curfew last week. You are to find out whether any of them have ties to al Qaeda. One twenty something year old has refused to answer any questions other than to give his name and address and tell you he went out for a walk after a fight with his mother; it’s been five days and wants to be released and go home. Do you waterboard him or not?

  286. jimfocus Says:

    Marty, you keep adding to the hypothetical–you keep doing that I’m going to have superman flying through the window to kick those terrorists butts. Bunker’s right, it tough to apply these stories to real-world policy decisions. I still, after several years, have yet to hear a convincing argument for torturing and waterboarding, seems more like another manifestation of Dennis Miller syndrome.

  287. Ymarsakar Says:

    I always scroll past your comments. I tried reading them, but they’re unintelligible.

    Don’t worry, I only caught this comment of yours because Gray quoted it.

    I have no idea what points you’re trying to make.-b

    It would be very bad for you if you actually did. Count this as a blessing.

    You might try being a little more careful.

    Your opinions never mattered in the first place, bunker. Why do you think it does now?

    I have no interest in a dialogue with a carbon copy of a Leftist international writ activist, you know.

  288. Ymarsakar Says:

    No, I certainly will continue to walk in the stylish pumps and wear my pretty little skirts and say quite vocally what the generals in Iraq have said.

    You mean the generals that were in Iraq. Petraeus has never said what you accused him of saying. For one thing, that is because Petraeus knows that Leftist ideas of diplomacy without killing and blowing people up are meaningless.

    For those interested in an anlaysis of demonization and exaggeration, you can find a well written piece here.

    Link

  289. Ymarsakar Says:

    Disparaging the admin. of Bush? Absolutely.

    It is not really healthy for the career of anyone in the military to be encouraged by their family to think and speak badly about the chain of command.

  290. Laura Says:

    Colonel Harrington on torture:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07294/826876-35.stm

    And, Nance on torture:

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/10/waterboarding-is-torture-perio/

  291. Laura Says:

    To answer the question of my son’s view of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the answer is brief. He serves the commander in Chief, this one, the last one and the future one.

    he does wonder that if this is “the war to defend our very survival and way of life” why aren’t more people being asked to step up and serve. He, in a recent letter, said that “one has to wonder, if this is the war that defines our very existence, why is it being shouldered by so few” and “you’re right, they are at the mall.”

    The bottom line is, he’s a soldier. He is the spear, not the one throwing it. He does what he’s told to do, to accomplish mission directives that are given and to not ask questions.

  292. Laura Says:

    and these retired generals against torture who opposed Gonzales on those grounds

    Brigadier General David M. Brahms (Ret. USMC)
    Brigadier General James Cullen (Ret. USA)
    Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote (Ret. USA)
    Lieutenant General Robert Gard (Ret. USA)
    Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret. USN)
    Rear Admiral Don Guter (Ret. USN)
    General Joseph Hoar (Ret. USMC)
    Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret. USN)
    Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (Ret. USA)
    General Merrill McPeak (Ret. USAF)
    Major General Melvyn Montano (Ret. USAF Nat. Guard)
    General John Shalikashvili (Ret. USA)

  293. MartyH Says:

    Jim-

    Don’t you think that anything that could be used as a wepon would?

    The blogger Patterico recently went through a series of hypotheticals on torture. His starting point was a story that was reported as fact: the waterboarding of KSM, which resulted in the revelation of the plan to fly multiple planes into buildings in 2002.

    http://patterico.com/2007/11/11/a-hypothetical-that-liberal-opponents-of-waterboarding-will-not-answer/

    If the facts as presented are true, then was it worth it to waterboard KSM for 2 1/2 minutes to prevent another 9/11?

  294. Ymarsakar Says:

    How many times, for example, have we heard the risible claim that that the atomic bombing of Japan, “saved lives?” Were the civilian deaths there “accidental?”

    It is pretty plain that bunker has every belief he needs to increase suffering and death in war. And that is no exaggeration.

    You won’t get a response from me about my son’s identity.

    I really don’t understand why you are being purposefully obtuse, Laura. Stumbley is not asking for your son’s identity, Stumbley is asking for your son to come HERE and post his VIEWS. Or you can relay a properly redacted email/letter and paste it here.

    Blackfive has posted many letters and information from people Matt hasn’t named. Don’t tell me you can’t meet his standards, Laura.

    This is a historic first with the number of active duty and retired who have come out against the war.

    Did you just type that sentence after saying you didn’t have a hidden agenda? Since when did people coming out against any American war contribute to the strength of the US military? This is historical all right, but it has nothing to do with improving people’s lives.

    “Mother-of-two Miss Gibbons, 54, escaped a flogging and was sentenced to 15 days in a Sudan jail.”

    Bunker will never use such a justification if he ever saw a reduction in sentence for blacks accused unjustly of murder. It would be too dangerous; they might pull his membership.

    People in Sudan know exactly how far they can tweak their useful idiots. Flogging would be a bad image and make people like bunker look bad or inconsistent. Thus flogging is out, not for the benefit of the woman but for the benefit of Sudan and their useful idiots.

    I’m asking whether or not you think he should under ANY circumstances.
    Bunker doesn’t even know what torture is.

    It’s kind of hard to have a dialogue with someone that has a different understanding of the English language than you do. Such attempts never did work out well with diplomats in alien lands.

    Well, I just thought I’d get it in again, especially since all you do is try to call me stupid.-b

    I think you gave out that game awhile ago.

    I have no idea what points you’re trying to make.-bunker

    There is no way that waterboarding is not torture. In every definition of torture especially including the Geneva Convention, simulated execution is clearly labeled torture.

    Let’s see here. We have Laura in favor of the Geneva Conventions, which was an international organization designed for Europeans and their endless wars. Chris White favors diplomacy and violence mandated through the UN only. Bunker favors Un containment and corruption over United States Army and Marines.

    X favors the US Constitution over the lives of Americans that would be lost due to giving Constitutional benefits to foreign enemies.

    These are not incredible beliefs; they are just wrong beliefs.

    My own answer often went along these lines, “I’d be so scared, angry and incapable of rational thought that I’d pull the trigger. I’d probably wound both the perp and my wife/mother/grandmother. The perp would regain control of the gun, kill me and finish raping my wife/mother/grandmother before killing her. What’s your point?”

    The point is that only those that need to use violence are the ones that have the right to be allowed to train in it and use it. Not the UN or any other representative. If you count on the police and the government and other nations in the international world, then you will indeed what you have described. And such things are not rare, for the police and the UN have little interest in preventing crime. The US police aren’t allowed to prevent crime by the laws and the Bill of Rights, and the UN simply aren’t paid enough to prevent such things on a general basis.

  295. Ymarsakar Says:

    If the facts as presented are true, then was it worth it to waterboard KSM for 2 1/2 minutes to prevent another 9/11?

    If FISA, the UN, Geneva, and Chirac approves it, then yes. It would be worth it.

  296. MartyH Says:

    Chris-

    The reported number of waterboarding cases is three, and none since 2003. I doubt that a random Iraqi who will not talk is one of them.

  297. Ymarsakar Says:

    One piece of illogic is how Laura thinks that what she is doing will increase the number of people serving in Iraq. Wars that people think negatively of are wars that people avoid like the plague. Victory has many fathers while defeat is an orphan. Everyone likes a winner, in a way.

    Petraeus is increasing the force protections available in Iraq, for Iraqis and Americans. Yet I don’t think I’ve heard Laura wish Petraeus to succede, other than use misleading quotes from Petraeus about why Laura’s policy is correct.

  298. Chris White Says:

    So, Neo, you seem like a relatively sane and reasonable person. What do you think about the comments here by apologists for the use of torture? How do they fit with your “hierarchies of responsibility” notions?

    For bb and others, if you cannot condemn the Islamic mob calling for the death or flogging of the teacher in Sudan over the “blasphemous” naming of a teddy bear, you need your moral compasses recalibrated.

  299. Chris White Says:

    Ymarsakar says – “We have Laura in favor of the Geneva Conventions, which was an international organization designed for Europeans and their endless wars. Chris White favors diplomacy and violence mandated through the UN only. Bunker favors Un containment and corruption over United States Army and Marines.

    X favors the US Constitution over the lives of Americans that would be lost due to giving Constitutional benefits to foreign enemies.

    It would seem to follow logically, therefore, that Ymarsakar is not in favor of the Geneva Conventions, does not favor diplomacy to solve international problems, thinks that there should be no constraints on the U.S. unilaterally projecting its influence internationally through military means and is willing to see the Constitution abrogated if it stands in the way of summary justice.

    His own words serve well to express my reaction, “These are not incredible beliefs; they are just wrong beliefs.”

  300. Sally Says:

    Just in the interest of possibly getting in the 300th comment — a new new record! — let me help CW out here:

    - The Geneva Conventions are hopelessly outmoded and useless in this era of asymmetric warfare — they were designed for, and apply to, an era of uniformed soldiers of identifiable nations engaged in formal warfare that could be ended with reasonable certainly by surrender, treaty or armistice; none of those conditions apply now, and it would be absurd to bind ourselves to such antique, and potentially quite dangerous restrictions.

    - We all “favor diplomacy to solve problems”; in fact, if there really were a magic wand that we could wave to produce peace in our time, I’m pretty sure we’d all be in favor of that too; but, in a world of nasty players, diplomacy often enough has to be backed by a credible threat of force, and for that threat to be credible, it occasionally must be acted upon — as in Iraq.

    - Any “constraints” against the US “projecting its force internationally”, whether unilaterally or not, are just the constraints of practicality and morality that guide any such action; acting justly and reasonably, even if forced to act alone, is no bad thing, and acting unjustly and unreasonably, even if in a gang, is no good thing.

    - The US Constitution is a document that pertains to US citizens — it particularly provides no protection to enemy aliens; there may well be moral and practical limits to what can be done to such, but the Constitution is simply irrelevant here.

  301. jimfocus Says:

    Marty,
    A quick answer, I’d try other methods than torture–I don’t think you get better information the more duress you put on someone. I do know confessions taken under severe stress and deprivation get very shaky–real horror stories there. I just think, from some experience, there are better ways.

    If you could go back in time and abort Osama, would you?

    Would you make love to a member of the same sex if it prevented another 9/11?
    –Andrew Sullivan, in a recent column

    P.S., Sally, need more venom in your posts today; I got a fever, and only venemous remarks can cure it.

  302. Laura Says:

    sally says:
    - The Geneva Conventions are hopelessly outmoded and useless in this era of asymmetric warfare — they were designed for, and apply to, an era of uniformed soldiers of identifiable nations engaged in formal warfare that could be ended with reasonable certainly by surrender, treaty or armistice; none of those conditions apply now,”

    How are they “outmoded” Sally when every interrogator says that the info received is useless?

    You advocate violence as a means to an end, when the end result brings you no closer to your goal (safety, preventing attacks) and maintain that these practices should still be engaged? This makes no sense whatsoever.

  303. Laura Says:

    “One piece of illogic is how Laura thinks that what she is doing will increase the number of people serving in Iraq. Wars that people think negatively of are wars that people avoid like the plague.”

    First, no Laura doesn’t “think” that what she is doing will increase the numbers of people serving. What I have done is to point out the hypocrisy of those who think that this war is vital to our national security objectives, are able bodied and yet steer far from the recruiter.

    Furthermore, what I have always said is that while we have most of our soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan is boiling right next to Pakistan (the very areas where AQ is hiding out) and that our country is far less safe.

    I have also taken Patreaus’ sworn testimony to highlight what the military surge was intended to provide. Intended to provide “breathing room” for the political solution, which is dead in the water. The American soldier has done what they were asked to do. The Iraqi leadership and the Bush admininstration haven’t done their part. There is no military “win” in Iraq. If you think there is, then you go against the military people running the war.

  304. Chris White Says:

    The Geneva Conventions are hopelessly outmoded and useless in this era of asymmetric warfare … it would be absurd to bind ourselves to such antique, and potentially quite dangerous restrictions.

    Any “constraints” against the US “projecting its force internationally”, whether unilaterally or not, are just the constraints of practicality and morality that guide any such action …

    … the Constitution is simply irrelevant here.

    Sally seems to be saying laws, treaties, conventions and other national or international agreements have no validity in the War on Terror/OIF because the evil ones we are fighting won’t abide by them.

    Doesn’t this put us sliding pretty far down that slippery slope toward anarchy and rule by force rather than by law? If we are to be that “shining city on the hill” Reagan talked about, don’t we need to act in ways that are consistent with our ideals and our sense of honor, law and justice, and not adopt the worst attributes of our enemies? Or are you in favor of suspending all laws and protection of rights “only” until we achieve victory? If so, how will we know when victory has been achieved?

  305. Laura Says:

    Fabulous post Chris White.

  306. Laura Says:

    From a letter to Congress from the above retired generals. You can find the whole letter on line or I am happy to post it.

    “The threats we face today – while grave and complex – no more warrant abandoning these basic principles than did the threats of enemies past.

    Perhaps most troubling of all, the White House decision to depart from the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan went hand in hand with the decision to relax the definition of torture and to alter interrogation doctrine accordingly. Mr. Gonzales’ January 2002 memo itself warned that the decision not to apply Geneva Convention standards “could undermine U.S. military culture which emphasizes maintaining the highest standards of conduct in combat, and could introduce an element of uncertainty in the status of adversaries.” Yet Mr. Gonzales then made that very recommendation with reference to Afghanistan, a policy later extended piece by piece to Iraq.”

    EMPHASIZES MAINTAINING THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF CONDUCT IN COMBAT…

    Unless of course you want our all voluteer military to look like Blackwater, while representing us?

  307. Sally Says:

    Oh, CW (and Laura), you old soft-headed “liberals”, you. No, it doesn’t “put us sliding pretty far down that slippery slope toward anarchy and rule by force rather than by law”, because there is no “rule of law” in international affairs, and hence no slope, slippery or otherwise. A rule of law requires a legitimate system of justice — which means a legitimate means of making and changing laws in the first place, a legitimate system of judging or applying those laws in the second place, and a legitimate means of enforcing those laws in the third place. None of those three essential elements hold in the international arena, and the make-believe facades that pass for “international law” now are, largely, merely window dressings that have no real legitimacy, though they sometimes have some their uses.

    Sorry, kids — it’s a tough world out there, but just believing in an international “rule of law” is about as useful/useless as believing real hard in fairies. The neocon strategy, on the other hand, of slowly building up democratic societies and cultures from the ground up offers what I think is the best chance for putting in place the conditions that might let us form those essential ingredients of the real international rule of law, over time. (And to forestall the expected objection, Iraq is the exception to, not the example of, this strategy.)

  308. Ymarsakar Says:

    It would seem to follow logically, therefore, that Ymarsakar is not in favor of the Geneva Conventions, does not favor diplomacy to solve international problems

    I don’t favor the modern Geneva Conventions, of course. Diplomacy in the modern world has no bearing on diplomacy as practiced before the 20th century. If people were suddenly to recommend digging up classical style diplomacy, then it wouldn’t be a problem. Since modern diplomacy is not classical diplomacy, I cannot abide by the use of modern diplomacy.

    thinks that there should be no constraints on the U.S. unilaterally projecting its influence internationally through military means

    The restrictions on what people may or may not do is always natural, not artificial. Regardless of what orgainization says about what people can or cannot do, what people can or cannot do is based upon the reality of their capabilities. It is not based upon the propaganda claims of illusionists.

    You do not set limits by drawing a line in the sand and then calling it a border. What limits America is what America allows herself to be limited by, in addition to whatever America can actually accomplish. Those are the unnatural and natural limits of a nation and its people.

    His own words serve well to express my reaction, “These are not incredible beliefs; they are just wrong beliefs.”

    Your reaction is already well known. Obviously there can be no diplomacy, negotiation, or compromise when the basic philosophical beliefs here are so mutually exclusive. Which proves my point that diplomacy, modern diplomacy, does not solve problems.

    Do you somehow believe that it is right to believe in modern diplomacy while at the same time stating that my philosophy is wrong, due to it being diametrically opposed to your philosophy?

    Doesn’t this put us sliding pretty far down that slippery slope toward anarchy and rule by force rather than by law?

    modern diplomacy says that their problem is slipping down such a slope. Classical diplomacy recognizes before hand that we are already in a state of chaos and anarchy between nations and even inside some nations.

    Modern diplomacy recognizes a structure and institution for enforcement that just does not exist.

    So it means that there can be no legal contract if the terrorists and Muslims and Arabs refuse to sign the contract. Whatever contractual actions are done by the US are purely arbitrary, not because of a contractual obligation to the rule of law.

    Some people may think that they can further the rule of law by acting as if the second party has signed what they have not signed. Other people recognize that a state of war and anarchy exists between two nations that have not formalized peace treaties.

    It is two different metaphysical world views.

    Reagan talked about, don’t we need to act in ways that are consistent with our ideals and our sense of honor, law and justice, and not adopt the worst attributes of our enemies?

    When George Washington ordered spies from Britain hung after a tribunal/ court martial, was this adopting the worst ideals and sense of honor of our enemies, the British? No, categorically not. And neither is the US adopting Islamic ideals by exerting the rule of law on chaotic criminals and foreign enemies.

    Or are you in favor of suspending all laws and protection of rights “only” until we achieve victory? If so, how will we know when victory has been achieved?

    How did America know when victory was achieved in the Civil War, in order to remove Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus? (which he did without Congressional approval, that approval came after the fact) How did Americans know to release the Japanese-Americans FDR ordered concentrated into camps? How would Jefferson know when it was time to suspend the Sedition Act?

    These questions have transparent, if not easy, answers. If America is as just and good as you think she is, then why would America fall into the endless emergency rules of so many other unstable nations? Unless victory was not achieved due to people being against winning the war. Without victory there is no chance for Americans to remove themselves from government power in war. With victory, America has proven that she can handle herself well after the fact.

    These traditions create bonds of steel amongst men and women, much as it creates amongst tribal members. Tradition is more powerful than people give it credit for. The fate of human beings is not decided solely by contractual obligations, laws, and agreements. In fact, without tradition, no law would be obeyed.

    So the choice is simple. Either trust in tradition and try to forge a tradition as strong as what went on in the past, whether it was Lincoln against slavery or Jefferson against the Barbary Pirates, or you can try to re-institue another Vietnam. Cut off the investment in order not to throw good money after bad. Or we can listen to international organizations and agreements, that have never helped Americans out.

    Europeans needed international agreements because Europeans like creating situations for endless wars. I can certainly see the need for a powerful institution such as the United States ensuring that Europe doesn’t extend her influence via economic and military force. But for the United States? There is no need.

  309. Chris White Says:

    Sometimes I fear jimfocus is right. At a certain point it seems impossible to expect any more than semi-coherent blather that boils down to saying; “Anything the U.S. does that an administration spokesperson says was done to make us safer and stronger is great with me. Anyone who does not believe this is a fool, a traitor or probably both. Forget the U.N., Geneva Conventions, NATO, treaties or other diplomatic efforts because they take time, are difficult and we don’t always get everything we want. We need to get tough and kick ass, and remember, war is hard and so it is going to take time and be difficult.”

    All in all rather disappointing in a comments thread that began with the topic of the hierarchy of responsibility. The dominant opinion here seems to be the U.S. has no responsibility to live up to treaties we’ve ratified, the rules of international organizations to which we belong, or even common decency; the only thing that matters is “winning” (which remains undefined.)

  310. Ymarsakar Says:

    The dominant opinion here seems to be the U.S. has no responsibility to live up to treaties we’ve ratified

    Just because people find that your philosophy is un-workable and incorrect, does not mean you can exaggerate and misinterpret people’s positions.

    The rule of law, by your logic, would mean that the US has an obligation to terrorists in a treaty that the terrorists never signed. Treaties we have ratified? Since when did treaties ratified by states apply to non-state actors? You break down the whole system of international agreement with such sentiments and fantasy, assuming international agreement ever provided an American with safety as opposed to always being a resource drain. Even when Bush tries to placate your faction, Chris, all he gets is people like Laura accusing him of relaxing the bar on torture instead of ordering that it not be done as per “treaties”. Treaties that are useless and dangerous obstacles to human, let alone American, progress.

    You could never address the basic flaws in your beliefs, Chris. That goes without saying. However, what should be expected is that you at least give the counter-arguments, that have so defeated your position, accurate summaries.

    Friday, November 23, 2007
    Have Our Copperheads Found Their McClellan in Retired LTG General Sanchez?

    Several commentators have noted the similarity between our modern day Democrats and the Copperheads of the Civil War. The Copperheads were the virulently anti-war wing that took control of the Democratic party in the 1860’s. Their rhetoric of the day reads like a modern press release from our Democratic Party leadership. Their central meme was that the Civil War was unwinnable and should be concluded. At their nominating convention of 1864, they adopted the plank:

    this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored . . .

    At the convention, the Democrats nominated retired General George B. McClellan for President. Lincoln had chosen McClellan to command the Union Army in 1861 and then assigned him to command the Army of the Potomac. Lincoln subsuqently relieved McClellan of command in 1862 for his less than stellar performance on the battlefield. McClellan became a bitter and vocal opponent of Lincoln, harshly critical of Lincoln’s prosecution of the war. McClellan and the Copperheads maintained that meme even as the facts on the ground changed drastically with victories by General Sherman in Atlanta and General Sheridan in Shenandoah Valley.

    Link

    This ties in well with the historical arguments I have made in relation to Lincoln and what he did to “civil rights” during the US Civil War.

  311. Chris White Says:

    Okay, Lincoln made a decision to suspend certain constitutional rights during the Civil War, some members of the other party thought the hostilities should be suspended and a settlement reached. And what does this have to with this thread or asymmetric warfare?

    Oh, wait, I’m catching up. The Union won the Civil War. Lincoln was assassinated and has come to be remembered as one of our great presidents for preserving the Union, his constitutional overstepping has been forgotten or forgiven. Bush is a president during a war and once we win he’ll be remembered by history as one of our great presidents for preserving freedom and democracy in the face of Islamofacism, his constitutional overstepping will be forgotten or forgiven.

    Sorry, I don’t buy it.

  312. jimfocus Says:

    I’m still not getting this Civil War analogy. The Union was torn apart & Lincoln took all steps he deemed necessary to put it back. The supension of rights,i.e.HC, is provided for in the Constitution in “times of rebellion.”

    The Copperheads were mostly Northern Democrats sympathizing with the South, right? They nominated McClellan, who would have won if the war had not turned dramatically in the summer of 1864. Lincoln was resigned that he would lose through most of that summer. Again, I’m missing the point, the Copperheads wanted to end the war, many others had hoped to avoid the war in the beginning. If the war, by far the bloodiest in our history, could have been avoided and result in the same outcomes, you would be against that? Why?

    “They were not traitors to the Union cause or simply ‘peace Democrats.’ They were strict constructionists about the Constitution and concerned about personal liberties and original intentions…Copperheads drank deeply from an old ideology, republicanism, that (warned) against tyranny, executive usurption, and big government.

    “The rhetoric of the Copperheads was quite similar to the language used by the partiots against George III during the Revolutionary War. (They were) extremely wary and often alarmed at the way Lincoln wielded power, and the very fact of the war itself.”
    –Jennifer Weber in Copperheads

  313. Xanthippas Says:

    In a morally relative world. Not in this here world….

    Gray, I don’t understand your response (as in, I’m sincerely not sure what you’re trying to say.) I think what I’m trying to say to you is that the soldier’s commitment to duty rises above moral relativism. The concept of a soldier’s honor survives outside of the moral rightness or wrongness of the cause he fights in. I don’t think moral relativism of any kind defeats that.

    Or in other words, a soldier’s honor is independent of the why of the war he fights in, or whether anybody else does or does not support it. That’s why I believe that a soldier who honorably serves his country can never die in vain, whatever conflict he dies in. He may have died unnecessarily, but not in vain, and I think those are two different things.

  314. jimfocus Says:

    This summer I talked to my friend’s stepson who has served 2 tours in Iraq, very pro-war and pro-Bush. Once we got past that part I was struck by how much he talked about his “buds” and how they took care of each other. It took me back to a 1970 conversation I had w/ a childhood friend just back from Nam, that’s all he talked about, too. Maybe that’s what all wars come down to in the here and now of daily warfare, surviving w/ your buds and making it home.

    “What was his name? Hell if I know.”–Vin Diesel, in “Saving Private Ryan”

    “Don’t waste this, be a good person..”– A dying Tom Hanks, “Saving Private Ryan”

  315. Laura Says:

    What was it a great American said about giving up some freedom for security? Funny how if these individuals were posting here on this thread, they are likely to be called, what is it you like to say, “leftist communist fascists?”

    “Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Benjamin Franklin

    or

    “It is truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provision against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.” James Madison

    Sally, saying that the world has changed since 9-11 and that we no longer are bound to the moral construct that these fine men above help to craft, without any shred of evidence that those methods (torture, HC) are actually making a difference in our country’s security is near reprehensible.

  316. Laura Says:

    on torture and international law

    “there is no international law”: Sally

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/hrj/iss14/nagan.shtml

  317. Laura Says:

    Sally talks about the importance of building up “democratic societies” and also carries the view that torture is deemed acceptable because it’s a “different world” out there, fairy believing aside.

    Yet, I wonder in the quest to build decent, democratic societies whether or not the torture model fits into that framework? You know, let’s tame Iraq for example: We are attempting to do just that correct? So, since we allow torture, then we would give this new democracy a nod to use it as well?

    I think you might need some deep soul searching Sally.

  318. MartyH Says:

    Jim says “If the war, by far the bloodiest in our history, could have been avoided and result in the same outcomes, you would be against that? Why?”

    Jim, the outcome if McClellan had been elected would have been dramatically different. Anyone who has studied history can see that plainly, which is why Lincoln is widely revered and McClellan and the Copperheads rightly vilified.

    The CSA would have continued to exist as a slaveholding nation. Perhaps part of the peace treaty would have been for the USA to continue to enforce fugitive slave laws. If that were the case, the more radical states like Massachusetts may have witdrawn from the US, leaving it a collection of border states and soft on slavery. The territories would have to be split, as well, with slavery expanding into these areas.

    The major consequences of reelecting Lincoln in 1864 were twofold:

    1) Preserving the Union, so that America’s Manifest Destiny (which was not Destiny by any stretch) could be fulfilled.

    2) Eliminating slavery in the US.

    Neither of those two great things would have been acheived if McClellan had been elected.

    Results are ultimately what matters. McClellan voters may not have been pro-slavery, but their choice for President would have continued slavery for an indefinite period of time. McClellan supporters may not have been in favor of destroying the United States, but their actions would have resulted in the end of our great experiment.

    Similarly, Congress people who will not fund an ongoing war may not support the insurgents, but their actions weaken our efforts and give the enemy hope.

  319. Sally Says:

    Laura: [Sally] also carries the view that torture is deemed acceptable because it’s a “different world” out there, fairy believing aside.

    Where did you get that from, Laura? You’re a bit obsessive, but I didn’t think you were delusional too. Are you hearing voices telling this? Seeing glowing letters in the air?

  320. Laura Says:

    this about sums it up:

    “Today’s conservative movement has been reduced to a set of impulses, above all a totalitarian impulse to support the expansion of autocratic power it was founded to restrain. Since its ideological blinders prevent it from developing sensible measures to reduce terrorism, it has turned to justifying only those policies that expand executive power and seek to rule through coercion, threats, and violence.

    Whatever a movement to abolish torture will achieve for society, it is clear what participating in it means for each of us as individuals. It means above all that our children and grandchildren will not remember us with shame, that they will not one day have to try to justify to our victims our failure to oppose the torture being conducted in our names, and that the term “good Americans” will mean just that, and not become an excuse for fear or indifference.

    When we fight to end torture we are not only fighting for human decency, international law, democracy, and freedom. We are fighting for ourselves.”

    Fred Branfman

    :: :: ::

  321. Laura Says:

    sally says:
    - The Geneva Conventions are hopelessly outmoded and useless in this era of asymmetric warfare — they were designed for, and apply to, an era of uniformed soldiers of identifiable nations engaged in formal warfare that could be ended with reasonable certainly by surrender, treaty or armistice; none of those conditions apply now,”

    Sally, did you or did you not say this? If not referring to torture, then what are you referring to?

    Also, the rebut to your post and international law you say this:

    “Sorry, kids — it’s a tough world out there, but just believing in an international “rule of law” is about as useful/useless as believing real hard in fairies.”

    So in a nutshell, it’s a tough world out there, we don’t need treaties and geneva conventions and obligations to follow the guidelines set forth in Geneva?

  322. jimfocus Says:

    Marty, you twisted away from my point–which is if the war could have been avoided w/ the same outcomes, who wouldn’t take that?–that was the original goal of the Copperheads (to avoid war) , which, btw, I’m not trying to defend, just trying to figure out Y’s analogy–still don’t get it.

    Marty, it’s like with the hypothetical earlier, really hard to say what would have happened. For example, I’d argue (my wife certainly does) that de facto slavery continued in the South, in various forms, for nearly 100 years after the Civil War–really hard to say what would have happened–it’s a nice parlor game but most historians actually avoid “what would have happened” discussions–there’s plenty of work figuring out what actually happened.

    Y wants to compare the anti-war libs to the proslavery Copperheads (that’s a real reach), when the obvious present-day example is Ron Paul, especially his history of animus toward Civil Rights, which he’s tamped down lately.

  323. Sally Says:

    “- The Geneva Conventions are hopelessly outmoded and useless in this era of asymmetric warfare — they were designed for, and apply to, an era of uniformed soldiers of identifiable nations engaged in formal warfare that could be ended with reasonable certainly by surrender, treaty or armistice; none of those conditions apply now,”

    Sally, did you or did you not say this? If not referring to torture, then what are you referring to?

    If you can read torture into that plain statement, Laura, then you can as easily read flying saucers or hobgoblins in as well. Either you really are obsessive to the point of being delusional, or you’re simply lying about your own understanding. Either way, you’re no longer worth engaging with.

  324. jimfocus Says:

    OH, thank you mistress Sally, just the perfect venemous touch, silwy wabbit.

  325. Laura Says:

    Sally, if you post that comment about the geneva conventions after the many posts about torture, international law and the geneva conventions, how can you possible NOT think that I would conclude that you condone torture, from your own statement?

    You don’t want to engage, fine by me. All I was asking for was clarification on your beliefs. I don’t see why you are getting so defensive unless you can’t defend the statement.

  326. Sally Says:

    Laura: All I was asking for was clarification on your beliefs.

    Well, only after falsely stating my beliefs for me. My one comment was a direct response to from Chris White, and was a very simple and easily defensible statement, involving, among other things, a statement about the efficacy of diplomacy, and correcting what I saw as an equally simple but wrong summation by CW.

    I said nothing about torture, and by the way, I don’t intend to. That whole little mini-thread was started by another one of bunkers’ ugly little off-hand remarks implying that American soldiers have a proclivity for it. I have no intention of dirtying myself by dancing to that tune. I can see, nevertheless, how you might have been misled — I just think you should be careful about imputing views on little or no real evidence.

  327. Sally Says:

    Got the tags wrong again — just want to make sure the link doesn’t go past the comment above….

  328. Ymarsakar Says:

    And what does this have to with this thread or asymmetric warfare

    Didn’t you read laura’s comment about the generals?

    If you don’t know what treatment of the enemy in combination with domesic laws have to do with hierarchies of responsibility, then what do you expect me to do about it?

    Sorry, I don’t buy it.

    That wasn’t even on the market. How can you buy something that isn’t even for sale, Chris? Did you have a deal with an international black market ring or something.

    If the war, by far the bloodiest in our history, could have been avoided and result in the same outcomes, you would be against that?

    McClellan sympathized with the South in 1861, long before Lincoln’s re-election in 1864 after Antietam. McClellan thought that you could craft a peace treaty with the South, and that’s why he wasn’t in much of a hurry to take Richmond, which would have had a good chance to end the war in 1861 and avoid all that messy bloodshed. Instead, McClellan stalled for time because he was what he was, and Robert E. Lee pushed McClellan out of Virginia.

    This is an example of what happens when people are too busy looking at peace, in war, instead of trying to end the war first. Peace is the reward of the victors and the price of defeat. It is not something you pursue as if it is a goal.

    They were strict constructionists about the Constitution and concerned about personal liberties and original intentions

    Some people believe that you should try and create peace in war. Other people believe war can only be ended by fighting the enemy in the war. These two belief systems have been clashing ever since America’s Revolutionary War, when British Loyalists were pitted against American patriots. So you can say that they were strict constructionists, but it doesn’t change the historical schism or the faction that your particular belief belongs to.

    Also, Jacksonians don’t believe that such a fundamental institution such as slavery could have been gotten rid of without war. So the question of could we avoid it and still get the same result, is just not there. Especially since the result is a function of what occured. If the war didn’t occur, then things wouldn’t be the same as if it did occur.

    Y wants to compare the anti-war libs to the proslavery Copperheads (that’s a real reach)-jim

    Given that the lines of allegiance are the same here as it was back then, to the point where you support the Copperheads and we don’t, why wouldn’t it be the correct historical reference?

    The basic philosophy about war and peace are, after all, the same.

  329. jimfocus Says:

    Y,
    You can’t insist on your hypotheticals while ignoring my one question–again, if the Civil War could have been avoided with the same results would you take that. Marty and you are avoiding the answer, it’s obvious–yes, of course.

  330. Ymarsakar Says:

    You can’t insist on your hypotheticals while ignoring my one question–again, if the Civil War could have been avoided with the same results would you take that.

    I can’t answer an impossible question. I just stated that. Would I favor socialism if humanity was not fallible and imperfect? That’s just an impossible sort of question you ask, regardless of whether it is hypothetical or not.

    Marty and you are avoiding the answer, it’s obvious–yes, of course.

    It is obvious to you only because you ignore the causality of the history.

  331. Ymarsakar Says:

    Besides, history is not of use because of its hypotheticals but because of what actually did occur that is also occuring now.

  332. Laura Says:

    Yarm, your whole intent to persuade, at least that’s what I am reading in your posts, are such a stretch that there is NO comparison between the American Civil war and the war in Iraq. For crying out loud, we went to Iraq because of an “imminent threat” of an attack, there were no WMD, all hell broke loose with those newly in power and those who had it and lost it and some AQ coming into the mix. We are in the middle of another country’s civil war, in which there is no military solution and the politcal solution is held up temporarily with duct tape while our youth sees no end in sight to their days of battle.

    Justify all you want. The bandaid needs changing and the only people who can do that are the Iraqis. The American people will not continue to go along. Period.

  333. Gray Says:

    We are in the middle of another country’s civil war, in which there is no military solution and the politcal solution is held up temporarily with duct tape while our youth sees no end in sight to their days of battle.

    No, no Laura–mind your leftist talking points!

    After the surge, there is nopolitical solution and the military solution is held together with duct tape…. (actually, in the army it would be “hundred-mile-an-hour tape).

    Hmmmm…. Would I torture somebody? I dunno…. It all depends, I suppose…..

    I never said I was a ‘good person’, in fact, I am not a good person.

    I dunno…. I didn’t go to that course, but some of the guys who used to work for me did.

    Talking about ‘torture’ in respect to anything American troops have done done to anyone is just laughable!

    Al Zarwahiri and other leaders of al Qaeda who spent time in Egyptian prisons know what torture is. Heck, even Saddam loyalists know what real torture is.

    They know what torture really is and they know we don’t do it.

    Wonder why the Spanish Inquisition had the most creative and artful tortures? 800 years of arab rule.

    “If you wish a man or a horse broken, you need an arab.”

    We don’t even have the vocabulary, or history, in America to describe real torture.

    “American Torture”….. HAHAHAHAHAH!

    Now as Andrew Sullivan asked “Would you make love to another man to prevent another 9-11?”

    Is this just Andy-roo looking for some ‘rough-trade’?

    ‘Cuz I would ‘make love’ to Andy-roo Sullivan to prevent another 9-11, but I don’t think he would mistake it for ‘making love’….

  334. MartyH Says:

    Jim-

    If we could have freed the slaves in a similar time frame without having the Civil War then of course I would support that. The fact that a hundred years after the rivers of blood flowed African Americans still did not have the rights secured by the Civil War should clue you in that, absent the Civil War, slavery would not have ended in the 19th Century.

  335. Ymarsakar Says:

    Yarm, your whole intent to persuade, at least that’s what I am reading in your posts, are such a stretch that there is NO comparison between the American Civil war and the war in Iraq.

    There is zero point in me trying to persuade you or Chris, Laura.

    These are not just historical facts, they are historical parallels. Important to me, even if it is not important to you.

  336. Ymarsakar Says:

    Btw, Gray, don’t ever go into the Q-Course or SERE. They will waterboard you or make you waterboard others. That would just degrade your … um gray soul, Gray.

  337. Laura Says:

    Gray, you wouldn’t torture unless you broke the rules governing what soldiers can and cannot do, period.

  338. Gray Says:

    Btw, Gray, don’t ever go into the Q-Course or SERE. They will waterboard you or make you waterboard others. That would just degrade your … um gray soul, Gray.

    I don’t know why you direct that comment at me…. I’m torture-ambivalent. I just don’t care.

    We don’t even ‘toture’ anyone, we make them uncomfortable….

  339. Gray Says:

    Gray, you wouldn’t torture unless you broke the rules governing what soldiers can and cannot do, period.

    Exactly. We don’t torture anyone.

    My reply is to Xan who ‘hoped I didn’t torture anyone while I was in Iraq’….

  340. Ymarsakar Says:

    Gray, given that Laura believes waterboarding is torture, does it then not follow that she would believe American soldiers are being tortured since they use waterboarding in SERE? Would she not then care about your soul, Gray?

    Ask John McCain what torture is.
    -Stumbley on the Annapolis thread

    Well, McCain, because of his experiences, sets to high a bar on our interrogators. He does know what torture is, so he doesn’t want to see the US go anywhere close to that road, no matter how necessary it becomes. This is an example of experience getting in the way of adapting to new situations.

  341. Gray Says:

    This is an example of experience getting in the way of adapting to new situations.

    Like asking a rape victim for sex advice….

  342. Xanthippas Says:

    My reply is to Xan who ‘hoped I didn’t torture anyone while I was in Iraq’….

    Whoa, wasn’t me. My last comment was about soldiers who died in Iraq not having died in vain. I’d never take a cheap shot like that at anybody. I don’t ever presume that the vast and overwhelming majority of our soldiers have served anything less than honorably in Iraq.

    I am still interested in your views on soldiers and sacrifice in (perhaps) mis-guided wars. But the comment thread’s been hijacked by the torture debate, so I’ll leave it be for now.

  343. Gray Says:

    Whoa, wasn’t me. My last comment was about soldiers who died in Iraq not having died in vain. I’d never take a cheap shot like that at anybody.

    No, it wasn’t you. Sorry. I’ll be more careful in the future.

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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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