September 11th, 2013

Looking foolish: the press on Obama’s Syria policy

A certain segment of the liberal MSM seems to have turned on Obama (at least temporarily) for his Syria policy.

One would expect criticism from Niles Gardiner of Britain’s Telegraph; after all, he was once an aide to Thatcher. But even the leftist Guardian is not pleased. And Maureen Dowd, once an Obama admirer, is scathing on Obama and Syria—comparing him to Bush, perhaps the unkindest cut of all.

Here’s a bit of the flavor of Dowd’s column, featuring her characteristic snark:

Now, when it is clear Obama can’t convince Congress, the American public, his own wife, the world, Liz Cheney or even Donald “Shock and Awe” Rumsfeld to bomb Syria — just a teensy-weensy bit — Pooty-Poot (as W. called him) rides, shirtless, to the rescue, offering him a face-saving way out? If it were a movie, we’d know it was a trick. We can’t trust the soulless Putin — his Botox has given the former K.G.B. officer even more of a poker face — or the heartless Bashar al-Assad. By Tuesday, Putin the Peacemaker was already setting conditions.

Just as Obama and Kerry — with assists from Hillary and some senators — were huffing and puffing that it was their military threat that led to the breakthrough, Putin moved to neuter them, saying they’d have to drop their military threat before any deal could proceed. The administration’s saber-rattling felt more like knees rattling. Oh, for the good old days when Obama was leading from behind. Now these guys are leading by slip-of-the-tongue.

A blogger on the right could hardly have put it better.

What gives? After all of the outrageous things Obama has done, why is this the one that’s really getting the goat of his erstwhile admirers? Not very many people have been able to muster up their usual praise. Even Obama’s usual yes-man, Ezra Klein, seems lukewarm at best.

I submit that it’s for two reasons. The first is that Obama is advocating a military action (or at least he was until recently) in a manner that seems to them somewhat reminiscent of George W. Bush, their arch-nemesis. The second is that he has made himself look foolish, and transparently so. And if he looks foolish, it makes his usual admirers look foolish, for having called him such a brilliant tactician and strategist.

They can forgive many things, but not being made to look foolish.

84 Responses to “Looking foolish: the press on Obama’s Syria policy”

  1. Lem Says:

    Wapo’s Dana Milbank called the policy “muddled”.

    In my site I ask readers to imagine a what if scenario as a way to perhaps help Obama find a narrative he is comfortable with. think aloud a la John Kerry “If Syria were to….”

    What if al-Assad had a son that looked like Trayvon I ask.
    Has al-Assad ever been to Hawaii ;)

  2. Baltimoron Says:

    I think that the 2012 election was sort of like the bizarro version of the 2004 election. Deeply flawed incumbent runs against a challenger who can’t excite his party’s base or form a coherent argument for why he should be president.
    Enough of the incumbent’s original coalition holds together to get him elected, but they’re not really happy with him. Then, once the election is over, they no longer have to pretend they’re happy with him.

  3. Oldflyer Says:

    Balitmoron, aptly named I suggest, somehow tries to link Obama’s situation to Bush’s in 2004. No cigars, BM.

    I think your second explanation probably explains why the some are becoming restless, and eying the ratlines off the ship.

    They can put up with a lot, but being linked with a foolish looking “weak horse” is just a little too much.

    I hate to admit it, but I almost admire Putin. Too bad that he has Despotic tendencies. It may be smoke and mirrors, but he gives every appearance at the moment of thinking several moves ahead of Obama and his brain trust (a term that I use very loosely, with Biden and Kerry in mind).

  4. Eric Says:

    Neo: “The first is that Obama is advocating a military action (or at least he was until recently) in a manner that seems to them somewhat reminiscent of George W. Bush, their arch-nemesis.”

    Not only that, but Obama officials were saying all the things that they mocked when Bush officials said them. That the nature of intel was about indications, not like a proof standard in a court of law. That any appearance of compliance on Syria’s part was only due to the military threat. That delay of action increased the danger. That the dictator’s regime couldn’t be trusted. That the danger of WMD is a clear and present danger with more dangerous implications if not immediately enforced. That a prolonged process of inspections, weapons transfer, etc, was too difficult to control.

    So, either they were lying about Bush then or they’re lying now.

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    They were lying about Bush, and they are lying now. Very simple.

  6. armchair pessimist Says:

    I admire Putin for having picked his country up out of the gutter. Perhaps when Obama is done with us we can hire him.

    The Syrian crisis raises him even higher in my estimation. First he’s shown himself a steadfast ally; a Russian handshake means something. Our own reputation isn’t much to be proud of here, as you yourself, Neo, have noted more than once.

    He presents Russia’s views with consistency and clarity while we sound like full-moon night in the nut house.

    In one move he has derailed the “world’s only super-power”‘s plans, gotten the international community to implicitly accept the legitimacy of the Assad government, the illegitimacy of the rebels, and that Russia is the decider in the Middle East, no longer the USA. It’d be churlish to say anything else than Well-played, Sir.

    He’s said to have a sardonic sense of humor and collecting a Nobel Peace Prize, earned by the way, might appeal to him.

  7. physicsguy Says:

    Like Oldflyer, I am really enjoying watching Putin play these fools like a master with a Stradivarius.

    To switch metaphors; it’s like the Obama plane is nosing up to the critical angle of attack and the airspeed is dropping. It will be interesting to see whether he and his copilot Jarrett will be able to push the nose down and throttle up to prevent the stall, or whether his supporters will just kick the rudder pedal and send it off into a spin.

  8. carl in atlanta Says:

    “The first is that Obama is advocating a military action (or at least he was until recently) in a manner that seems to them somewhat reminiscent of George W. Bush, their arch-nemesis.”

    I agree and have always thought that to a great extent the antiwar movement during the Bush years was a function of lingering resentment/hatred of Bush/ the GOP for the 2000 election. This turned into a kind of white-hot pathological “penis envy” when 9/11 “fell into Bush’s lap” in 2001 (“lucky bastard”) and this festered throughout his presidency. For many lefties it was a case of acting or posturing based on tribal loyalty rather than any heartfelt pacifism. What we’ve been seeing lately is a case of mass cognitive dissonance made manifest.

  9. Yancey Ward Says:

    “In a brilliant strategic maneuver, Der Fuhrer, sacrificed the German 6th Army and most of the 4th Panzer Army to lure the Soviets into a risky all out offensive on The 4th Reich.”

    How an Obama apologist would describe Stalingrad.

  10. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I saw a headline today in which some CNN “journalist” was quoted as positively rhapsodizing about Obama’s speech, which he called “a model of persuasion,” saying that we could all take a lesson in how to persuade people from this speech.

  11. Baltimoron Says:

    Oldflyer,

    What exactly is it you take issue with about my characterization of the 2004 election? Beyond me pointing out the fact that a lot of people disliked a Republican president of course.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    What exactly is it you take issue with about my characterization of the 2004 election? Beyond me pointing out the fact that a lot of people disliked a Republican president of course.

    Probably the fact that your comparison refused to mention Chicago dead vote necromancy or various other things which didn’t fit into the narrative of Incumbent Bush = Incumbent Obama.

    Well, there are more differences between Republicans and Democrats than the surface, but the relationship has gotten more complicated over time, not less.

    It all started back before the US Civil War I.

  13. Baltimoron Says:

    So the difference is that with Obama it was all one big conspiracy. Thanks for that insightful bit of commentary.

  14. OlderandWheezier Says:

    physicsguy: Nice metaphor, but I think you characterized the wrong one as the copilot.

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “They can forgive many things, but not being made to look foolish.” neo

    Bingo. Nothing is as hurtful to an egotist as being made to play the fool.

    “I admire Putin for having picked his country up out of the gutter.” armchair pessimist

    There is a difference between giving credit where credit is due and admiration.

  16. Don Says:

    Note that Obama has yet to find a VP or SoS who did not vote for the Iraq War.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    It might be a good tactical decision to smash the face of Democrats into supporting Obama more. Use the force of Leftist social indoctrination against them.

    They follow dear leader and obey the Left with every fiber of their soul? Well, let’s see how far they can be made to go to follow their own rules before they break.

  18. Ymarsakar Says:

    So the difference is that with Obama it was all one big conspiracy. Thanks for that insightful bit of commentary.

    That’s only my own interpretation, not Oldflyer’s. You’ll have to wait for his answer.

    My own view is that elections don’t matter when 90% of it is rigged by a Democrat fiefdom machine.

  19. Don Says:

    Baltimoron Says:

    I think that the 2012 election was sort of like the bizarro version of the 2004 election. Deeply flawed incumbent runs against a challenger who can’t excite his party’s base or form a coherent argument for why he should be president

    I think it is wrong to view Bush as deeply flawed. He did do some things that were deeply flawed, like Medicare Part D, Patriot Act and TARP. However, those things are part and parcal of the political middle.

    Bush was actually very close to the political center. Moreso then Clinton.

    Bush’s problem was that being close to the middle would not save him. The left would despise him no matter what. The right would despise his big government policies, etc. And the middle, who he best represented, got their news from the MSM, and eventually turned on him due to media misinformation.

    In many respects, Bush was a great president. He was a poor one in others. But he deserves more respect from Americans then he gets, including from those of us who disagree with many of his policies.

  20. Don Says:

    My own view is that elections don’t matter when 90% of it is rigged by a Democrat fiefdom machine.

    Well, not sure rigged is the right term, no doubt that went on as well (in part through traditional means, in part via IRS direct action, etc), however, a large part of the key to the Obama victory in 2012 was their handling of metadata. They knew where they needed to enhance turnout, and they knew how to make it happen.

  21. Eric Says:

    Don: “Bush’s problem was that being close to the middle would not save him. The left would despise him no matter what.”

    It wasn’t just that it would not save him. Bush’s liberalism actually made him a bigger threat to the Left and in need of destruction. I said this elsewhere on Neo’s blog, but I’ll repeat it here:

    Bush reacted to 9/11 by becoming a liberal. Nixon was a liberal. Both did more than talk the talk, they walked the walk. Yet, instead of being lauded by the putatively liberal Democrats, both were extraordinarily vilified by the Democrats, instead. I wonder whether the Democrats determined the two genuinely and effectively liberal Republican presidents needed to be slandered in order to protect the Democrats’ corrupted, hypocritical brand of liberalism.

  22. Baltimoron Says:

    Don,

    I hadn’t intended to use “deeply flawed” as a value judgement. Perhaps “politically vulnerable” would have been a better choice of words.
    However you view Bush (I wasn’t a fan) there’s no arguing that in 2004 the economy wasn’t doing as well as people had come to expect during the Clinton years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were taking longer than Bush promised they would, and there were no weapons of mass destruction. There were lots of good reasons for voters to dislike the man.

  23. James Says:

    Neo, Geoffrey,
    ““They can forgive many things, but not being made to look foolish.” neo

    Bingo. Nothing is as hurtful to an egotist as being made to play the fool. ”
    I’m with you both. It’s part of that hive mentality, a very formidable thing, but when the weakness is found they all fall together.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were taking longer than Bush promised they would

    Sign of listening to enemy disinformation and misinformation propaganda. Not good.

    Bush made no promises as to how long the war would take. Just that it’d be freaking long even after Iraq’s military fell apart. Way too long in my view.

    America isn’t particularly good at winning the post war insurgency. The blacks were completely Fed up by the KKK after the US Civil War, people seem to like to forget that little problem that lead to decades of Jim Crow South.

  25. Ymarsakar Says:

    there were no weapons of mass destruction

    Right, there were no WMDs shipped to Syria, which they and the rebels are using right now…

    Come on, how much enemy disinformation can an American listen to in his life?

  26. Ann Says:

    They can forgive many things, but not being made to look foolish.

    They’ve been there before, though, although to a lesser degree — I’m talking about the first debate with Romney. Many in the MSM were angry with him then, I think even Maureen Dowd. But then Candy Crowley helped them regain confidence in their guy in the second debate.

    I think they are particularly enraged now because their European counterparts are being quite vocal in saying Obama is a dope.

  27. Doom Says:

    I don’t believe that looking foolish was the trigger. Foolishness is the style for that lot and has been for most of it’s existence going way back. And they are a shameless lot, supporting any fool who can take the heat of being the king of fools. No, their problem is that Obama doesn’t lead, from behind or by slip of the tongue, and is costing them everything, politically. He was their great hope. To be honest, whoever they eventually got in, with black skin or a skirt as cover, that was as liberal as they wanted, wouldn’t have had a chance. They will always find someone to blame for their ideas not working, save for the notion that their ideas don’t work.

    Their problem is that their ideas don’t work and now that they have been tried and been rejected, soundly, solidly, by Americans, foreigners, and through failure in practical application, they have to have someone to blame… beside the ideas themselves. Obama is it.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    Their idea is that Leftist can enslave humans.

    Judging by what they are making blacks do in inner cities… it is working Quite Fine.

  29. Eric Says:

    Baltimoron,

    “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were taking longer than Bush promised they would”

    When did Bush make any such ‘home by Christmas’ promise?

    In any case, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were both completed exceptionally quickly.

    I think what you mean is the post-war.

    How long does a post-war take? Well, we still have troops deployed in Asia and Europe.

  30. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I do so enjoy being the mourner at the wedding party.

    Yes a few of Obama’s supporters are upset with him, so what? It won’t last. Does anyone think they will go out and have an epiphany about the world as it really is? We want his entire cause destroyed and that is not happening. His Rasmussen ratings are no worse than they have been before and he has always recovered within weeks if not days. His true believers are still there making excuses for him and allowing him this one little mishap in an otherwise brilliant Presidency. As Wollo Dablo noted above people see what they believe.

    I doubt many of his supporters will admit that they, not Obama, made America an international laughingstock?

  31. Eric Says:

    “there were no weapons of mass destruction”

    This point goes to the cornerstone premise of the false narrative on the Iraq mission.

    Iraq was both established and presumed guilty on WMD as the foundation of the Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions. The entire burden of proof was on Saddam to prove Iraq’s rehabilitation. There was zero burden of proof for the US and UN to demonstrate Iraq possessed WMD.

    The standard of compliance was based on testing Iraq’s behavior, not demonstrating possession of WMD. The procedure for Iraq to prove its compliance was set during the Clinton administration.

    Bush could have said we don’t have any idea of what Iraq possesses in terms of WMD – whether warehouses full or none – and the procedure on Iraq would have been exactly the same. In fact, Clinton’s case for bombing Iraq in 1998 boiled down to Iraq was a “clear and present danger” due to noncompliance, *not* because Iraq was demonstrably in possession of WMD. Clinton didn’t actually know what Iraq possessed when we bombed them in 1998, because Iraq failed to meet its burden of proof – just like Iraq failed to meet its burden of proof in 2002-2003.

    UNSCOM and UNMOVIC had no investigative function to find WMD in Iraq because the US and UN held no burden of proof. Instead, UNSCOM and UNMOVIC applied a compliance test. Iraq failed its compliance test again and for the last time. Op Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Op Desert Fox in 1998 had the same trigger: Saddam failing his compliance test.

    Moreover, Iraq had made no move to resolve the humanitarian and terrorism-related UNSC resolutions, which were also triggers. Both areas were serious business on par with the weapons prohibitions. Terrorism after 9/11, obviously. Our no-fly zones in Iraq were based on humanitarian resolutions, not weapons resolutions, and there was recent precedent for US military intervention primarily on humanitarian grounds.

    The Duelfer report did find that Iraq was in violation of the weapons resolutions, but procedurally, that’s irrelevant and after the fact. What was relevant was Saddam failing UNMOVIC’s compliance test – the invasion was triggered by Saddam’s failure on the compliance test and the compliance test was based on Iraq’s behavior, not demonstrable possession of WMD.

    The intervention could only be triggered by Iraq’s failure to comply and could only be stopped by Iraq successfully complying on the weapons, humanitarian, and terrorism UNSC resolutions.

    The procedure and standard on Iraq was the same for Clinton as it was for Bush. The notion that the burden of proof was on the US to demonstrate Iraq’s possession of WMD is a lie and was never the case from the beginning of the Gulf War ceasefire.

  32. Artfldgr Says:

    Pooty-Poot (as W. called him) rides, shirtless, to the rescue, offering him a face-saving way out?
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    A blogger on the right could hardly have put it better.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
    What gives? After all of the outrageous things Obama has done, why is this the one that’s really getting the goat of his erstwhile admirers?

    and the two neo reasons:
    1. Military Action that seems like George B
    2. He looks foolish, so they look foolish
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    So its never about anything outside the fishbowl?

    Gazprom’s Demise Could Topple Putin
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-09/gazprom-s-demise-could-topple-putin.html

    Gazprom’s situation is serious not only because it is Russia’s biggest company by market value, but because Putin is its real chairman. Where Gazprom goes, so does Russia and the Putin government.

    The Gazprom business model is as simple as old: to produce conventional gas from giant fields in West Siberia and pump it through pipelines to Europe. In the last decade, the company has missed three big revolutions in the industry: the shale-gas expansion in the U.S., the global liquefied-natural-gas boom, and the rise of Chinese demand.

    Gazprom is losing out on the European market. Its share of the 27 EU countries’ natural-gas imports has fallen from a peak of 47 percent in 2003 to 34 percent in 2011. The two main beneficiaries are Norway’s Statoil ASA and Qatar, which adjust their prices to market conditions and increasingly sell at lower spot prices.

    it is very obvious why they are behaving the way they are behaving.

    By repeating the meme that Pooty is rescuing Obama, they get people to look at actions on the world stage in terms of buddies and favors and NOT self interest.

    Pooty is trying to change economics in his countries favor, and in particularly, a major source of his personal and others wealth. To this, new arms are entering the country during the pause and scandal.

    The analysts call this excess expenditure “value destruction,” which is their euphemism for waste and corruption, amounting to $30 billion to $40 billion a year. Investment analysts in Moscow suggest privately that two-thirds of this might be sheer corruption

    This in a company the banks said only needed 11 billion…

    Which cities do the world’s millionaires and billionaires live in?
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/may/08/cities-top-millionaires-billionaires

    New York (Manhattan) contains the most billionaires according to the release with 70 in the city. Moscow has 64 billionaires and London boasts 54.

    Moscow, Mumbai and Istanbul are significantly higher on the billionaire list than they are on the millionaire rankings. Moscow which is ranked 20th for millionaires and is absent from the top 20 cities for multi-millionaires, comes in at third place on the billionaires list.

    ultimately, what we cant figure out from this, is whether Obama is helping putin, being incompetent, thinks these concepts from college ectually work, blew the pass and is bobblng the fumble.

    the press always favors Russia and china except when they are forced otherwise by their being too much focus or an incident in which there is no avoiding.

    and the press upset about embarrassment? which one, ford falling down the stairs all the time? potato? how about joey Biden? Maxine waters?

    At what point did we clean our press, and prevent the loathsome march of the Walter Duranty types (hey ny times, give it back already)? forgot journo-list?

    boy did the ideas of what to say flash over like wild fire and they are all about surface personalities, and friendships, and never ever every about countries or peoples personal interests, unless its the united states, then its ok as it shows the evil that no other state ever does

  33. expat Says:

    Eric,
    That was an excellent clarification of the WMD issue. Add to that the fact that Saddam was trying to use his defiance to show that he was still the strong man who could stand up to the US. I really believe that he thought he could supplant a defeated AQ as the leader of the radicals. Remember that he was pretty secular and sometime in the midst of the chaos, he became a born again Muslim. Had we allowed Hans Blix to give Saddam a clean bill of health, there would have been no one on the ground to monitor his actions cause he had paid off enough UN staff and French and Russian insiders to prevent any further UN actions against him.

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    I concur that Obama’s approval may dip, but once the media reconstructs its damage control narrative, it should go back to normal. A housing crisis here, a Republican baby eater there, and it’ll be enough.

    Right now they are shock and awed. They are stumbling around. But they will get back up to lick Obama’s boots sooner or later. 3 more years. Or maybe that was 30 more years, can’t remember. Roosevelt was aiming for President for Life as well.

    If the media, Hollywood, and public schools all say WMDs were not there, that’s what people regurgitate. If the media, Hollywood, and public schools all say Sarah Palin isn’t a feminist and is instead a bitter clinger, that’s what people will believe. If all the Leftist propaganda organs say Bush is a baby eater and not a fighter for liberty, that’s what people regurgitate decades later.

    When they figure out how to say “Obey Obama”, that is what the people will believe.

  35. Ann Says:

    Hot off the press: Fareed Zakaria to the rescue! — Obama on the path to success in Syria

  36. Baltimoron Says:

    Eric,

    Why Bush thought there were chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, and who else shared his views, is irrelevant here. What’s important is that he said they would be there, they weren’t and people were mad as hell about it.

    My point in all this was that Bush survived the 2004 election because his opponent was for the war before he was against it and he couldn’t explain how he’d run the war any better than Bush.

    This is roughly analogous to the 2012 election where Mitt Romney had his own messy health reform law and couldn’t clearly explain how he’d get people back to work.

    After Bush won reelection, his supporters started abandoning him because they no longer had to worry about an uncertain Democratic alternative. I think the same thing is happening to Obama. When it was a choice of Obama or Romney, they picked Obama. But now that its just for Obama or against Obama, they’re against Obama.

  37. carl in atlanta Says:

    “Right, there were no WMDs shipped to Syria, which they and the rebels are using right now…”

    I keep wondering why so few in the media are investigating this angle. I certainly recall quite a few stories ( circa 2004, before the MSM quashed them) about Iraq’s CW’s being sent into Syria.

    Guess I just answered my own question …

  38. Jason Says:

    I almost shot my drink out of my nose this morning when, on NPR, they referred to the Syria situation as “a geopolitical chess match.”

    Maybe “Battleship” or “Chutes and Ladders.” Not “chess.”

  39. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    More like “Calvin Ball,” I’d say.

  40. Ymarsakar Says:

    Why Bush thought there were chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, and who else shared his views, is irrelevant here.

    The original topic was why you believed in anti American propaganda to begin with.

    The reason why such beliefs is wrong is centered on the fact that not everyone is like you. We all have our own intel sources and analysis protocols. Just because you are influenced by people who talked about Bush saying this and WMDs being whereever, doesn’t mean anything to other humans.

    Let me rephrase. Whether you think Bush said X, Y, or A is irrelevant. Whether you think WMDs should have been in Iraq is, was, and will be irrelevant.

    Because your beliefs are not based upon independent origins. You lack the “goods” on Bush to get an accurate reading. He isn’t here for you to speak in his place, and the sock puppetry required to make “Bush say things” is only accessible at a higher level.

  41. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    }}} A certain segment of the liberal MSM seems to have turned on Obama (at least temporarily) for his Syria policy.

    If they weren’t a bunch of c-sucking two faced libtard hypocrites, they’d ALL have turned on him by now.

  42. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    }}} he gives every appearance at the moment of thinking several moves ahead of Obama and his brain trust

    This is not that difficult when Teh One and his bozos tend to think ZERO moves ahead…

    Jus’ Sayin’…

    .

    Seriously: Can you name an instance when they really DID think beyond the immediately reactive? Even if you can, those won’t be common, and they’ll be remarkably obvious if they exist at all.

  43. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    }}} For many lefties it was a case of acting or posturing based on tribal loyalty rather than any heartfelt pacifism. What we’ve been seeing lately is a case of mass cognitive dissonance made manifest.

    14 Principled Anti-War Celebrities We Fear May Have Been Kidnapped

  44. Eric Says:

    expat,

    Blix never did give Iraq a clean bill of health, because he couldn’t – Iraq had failed UNMOVIC’s compliance test. A key term is ‘unaccounted for’ as opposed to demonstrable possession. Of course, the weapons prohibitions were not limited to NBC stocks and the Duelfer report shows after the fact that Iraq was in violation in a number of ways, but just in terms of NBC stocks, Iraq’s NBC stocks were unaccounted for. Clinton’s case against Iraq that Bush inherited cited ‘unaccounted for’ Iraqi weapons, among a wide range of triggers for military enforcement. Iraq said it had destroyed the unaccounted for NBC stocks secretly, but Iraq had said that before when NBC stocks had then been uncovered (not by the inspections, fyi). In 2002-2003, Iraq’s claim couldn’t be confirmed – again – and based on the presumptions and practical history, that meant Iraq remained in violation.

    Blix and UNMOVIC completed their mission in Iraq: the compliance test had been applied and Iraq had failed. In 2002-2003, Iraq was guilty.

    What Blix was proposing with his indefinite “months” long extension wasn’t even designed on paper to give Saddam a clean bill of health. It was actually a change of mission for UNMOVIC into a vague monitoring function, which was highly problematic in several ways.

    One way was that Blix acknowledged that any Iraqi cooperation was compelled by a credible military threat, which would have meant maintaining the invasion force for those indefinite “months” or longer, which was unsustainable. Blix even admitted he knew that once the invasion force had exceeded a size threshold, it either had to be used on schedule or withdrawn. Another way is Blix’s 11th-hour proposed alternative lowered the burden of proof to ‘more likely than not’ and shifted the presumptions when Saddam’s record demanded a presumption of guilt and ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ certainty of rehabilitation. Blix’s proposal didn’t begin to address the non-weapons prohibitions, of course. Another problem of Blix’s alternative was that the renewed urgency to expeditiously resolve the Iraq problem was due to the fear of Saddam transferring relatively small amounts of NBC to terrorists after 9/11. Blix’s proposal, even if tenable, would not have protected against that possibility.

    Bush’s goal was to resolve the 12-year-old festering Iraq problem one way or the other. Iraq’s compliance was preferred but Iraq refused to comply, which left only one way to resolve it. By the close of the Clinton administration, it was guaranteed we were going to crash land with Saddam, sooner or later. The choice was to allow Saddam to control the manner of the crash or for us to guide the crash landing as constructively as we could.

    Baltimoron,

    I think that’s a fair reading of the political conditions for 2004.

    The problem is that the popular narrative of the Iraq mission used against Bush is based on false premises. Due to the history, stakes, and procedural presumptions, Clinton and then Bush were obligated to view intelligence on Iraq in an unfavorable light. Anything less would have been grossly irresponsible by the President. As Clinton defended Bush in 2004, before Clinton caved in to partisan pressure, Bush had an “absolute responsibility” after 9/11 to resolve just the possibility that Saddam might use NBC unconventionally.

    That’s why when folks defend Bush’s decision by following the false premises and saying Iraq had transferred NBC stocks to Syria, that doesn’t move me. Whether Saddam did or didn’t transfer his NBC stocks to Syria in the months before UNMOVIC hit the ground was irrelevant to triggering OIF. It doesn’t change the relevant fact that Iraq failed – again – according to the established procedure to prove Iraq’s rehabilitation. The triggers for OIF were in the procedure, which was based on Saddam’s behavior, not on demonstrable possession of WMD.

    Even had Iraq proven its rehabilitation (compliance) on weapons, which it didn’t, Saddam had still made no move to prove his rehabilitation according to the humanitarian and terrorism resolutions, which were also triggers.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    Stating the truth is only interpreted as following false premises when one thinks Iraq was only a war waged to defeat Democrat ambitions.

    That wasn’t really the point and thus finding WMDs or not, wasn’t really about satisfying Leftist propaganda.

    Bush’s strategic problem was believing in the UN and in Tony Blair, his ally, desire to use the UN for domestic support vis a vis the war. This produced all kinds of problems later on.

    What’s the point of having a coalition of the willing when you’re stuck in the UN paying money to child rapists and corrupt bureaucrats.

    The mission was to destroy Saddam’s WMD arsenal so that he couldn’t give it to terrorists, kill Saddam or replace him and drain the swamp, and provide a credible deterrence for future state actors to give AQ the finger, like Qaddafi did, until Obama bombed him into oblivion for fighting AQ.

    The fact that weapons escaped into Syria while Bush was talking to the UN, is why the mission partially failed and collapsed in on itself, even to this day.

    Surely as day follows night, one cannot just paste that over by talking about appeasing Leftist propaganda.

  46. Eric Says:

    Baltimoron,

    As description, what you said is fine. I think the objection is the implication that people were justified in basing their views on a false narrative.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    I didn’t know Maureen Dowd was a racist, Neo. That’s interesting. What’s going to happen to her in her Leftist social circle though?

  48. Eric Says:

    Ymarsakar,

    It wasn’t just US vs Iraq, though. Although we were enforcing them based on US sovereign authority, we were enforcing a Gulf War ceasefire and UNSC resolutions that was anchored in the UN.

    It’s true that it would have been completely legal for Bush not to go back to the UN. Clinton had laid a rock-solid legal-rational foundation for unilateral US military action on Iraq. Clinton didn’t return to the UN for further certification of his US military actions on Iraq.

    However, Bush is a liberal. His goal after 9/11 was more than to fix the Saddam problem by itself. He meant to fix the mechanisms for the enforcement of international norms that had become broken with the Iraq ‘containment’. In other words, Bush returned to the UN for a reset of the UN as an effective enforcement body.

  49. Eric Says:

    Add: Legally, Bush didn’t even need to go back to Congress to enforce on Iraq. The 1990 Congressional certification was sufficient and Clinton had added statutes on top of Bush Senior’s base that built up the legal base. By the time he took office, Bush already had full authority to enforce on Iraq vested in the Office of the President.

  50. artfldgr Says:

    I prefer to put my money where my mouth is…
    its a good test, even if your not using real money

    i have a friend, he likes my picks, and he hears them, and then decides whether to act on them based on my analysis, as he has money to play with and i dont.

    occaisonally i make dinner money – once he bought me a computer system so i could continue to make picks for him. (of all the people i try to help, he is the only one that has given back)

    if you would have purchased

    EOGNY on friday (As he did), 100 shares would cost $1,676 – as of today, you would be up 167 dollars since friday

    OGZPY on friday (as he did), 100 shares would cost 852 dollars – you would be up 34 dollars.

    BRS would be expensive for 100, at 6728 – but you would walk away right now (As i watch the screen) with 200 dollars since friday

    RDS.A i bet would have gone down, but i changed that when i found out they are propping up their own stocks by buying them back during this situation. since i dont play options, i only lose what i could have had.. ie. 82 dollars not earned on noting invested.

    and my losers?
    CVX has been holding steady, not up, not down…
    an options trader would have lost a bit so far (but i still think that it will not do well over the next month or so)

    PTR – is chinas company. if russia CANT sell gass, then china can get it from them cheaper because they need it… but if they can, as syria is tied up, then it costs more… so, they should have gone down. so far they are down 1%…

    since my friend made some cash, my wife and i get a cheap dinner.
    ha ha.. :)

    if your analysis is correct, and not just an armchair game
    it can always be translated into wealth
    why?
    because thats why they are doing what they are doing
    and if you get it, you can work it.

    but how many actually keep track of what they think, predict, and the outcomes, so that they can improve in such a way that actually brings them something better than mental masturbatory passing of time till the reaper comes and calls…

    :)

  51. Snark of the Day: Maureen Dowd - BitsBlog Says:

    [...] Via Neo-Neocon. [...]

  52. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    Even had Iraq proven its rehabilitation (compliance) on weapons, which it didn’t, Saddam had still made no move to prove his rehabilitation according to the humanitarian and terrorism resolutions, which were also triggers.

    Eric, Eric, Eric… (sigh).

    Stop trying to muddle the issue with facts.

    Bush was bad because he was a Republican, nothing else.

    The facts don’t matter with regards to Iraq any more than they do with regards to Syria… as I’ve noted above with regards to all those anti-War celebrities — “Where are they now?”

    Bush rather blatantly had far more cause to attack Iraq than Teh One has to attack Syria… yet we have not a peep.

    On that site I linked to, an apologist attempts to defend Neil Young by pointing to an anti-war page that ties to his name… And yet, a casual perusal of that information-dense page shows literally not one thing against action in Syria or even questioning Obama.

    In honesty, I WILL grant that “unitedforpeace.org” (visibly referenced on the Tim Robbins pic) DOES have extensive negative commentary and advice-to-action against Syria. Even if Mr. Robbins can’t be bothered to say anything against it, the people at that website are principled enough not to be hypocrites.

  53. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    }}} I didn’t know Maureen Dowd was a racist, Neo. That’s interesting. What’s going to happen to her in her Leftist social circle though?

    That’s easy — they’ll ignore it, as they always do.

    I’m put in mind of an otherwise lame SNL skit series character, “Gilly”…

    “Sorry!”.

    That’s the Left, in a nutshell.

  54. Eric Says:

    Ymarsakar,

    To clarify, the false premise I’m referring to is the notion that the US and UN, let alone Bush, failed their burden of proof in the Iraq problem when the US and UN did not have a burden of proof. I’m talking about the procedure to resolve the Iraq problem, which Bush followed correctly. I agree with you that a transfer of Iraqi NBC stocks and related items to Syria is relevant to the practical problem.

    IGotBupkis,

    It’s frustrating because the dysfunction we are seeing now over Syria is a direct consequence of the Democrats’ sabotage of the enforcement of international norms with Iraq. At the same time that Bush was conscientiously trying to fix the enforcement of international norms with Iraq, the Democrats were breaking an already broken process even further.

    The Democrats’ lies about the Iraq mission severely harmed the public perception and political process that’s necessary for the enforcement of international norms to work.

    Bush was right. Every step that Obama has taken to deviate from Bush has been wrong.

  55. I Callahan Says:

    IGotBupkis,

    There are very few who have been consistent on this issue; the notable exceptions have been Glenn Greenwald, and a number of those on the Paulian right.

  56. artfldgr Says:

    Obama Expands War on Coal to Gas-Burning Power Plants

    This month, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose standards that will establish stricter pollution limits for gas-fired power plants than coal-fired power plants, according to individuals who were briefed on the matter but asked not to be identified because the rule was not public yet.

    The revised rule, which would impose greenhouse gas limits on power plants for the first time, will still require utilities to install costly carbon controls on coal plants.

    ====

    ok
    now i know whose side he is on and why..

    ie. if the USA removes Coal, they will be forced to move to gas… gas is cleaner, and will allow them to pay the state more.

    meanwhile….

    this will take LMG shipments to europe off the platter as they could make money here shifting from coal to gas

    ie. he helps the 64 billionaires of moscow keep their money flowing in, and then flowing out for political causes.

  57. Don Says:

    Baltimoron Says:

    However you view Bush (I wasn’t a fan) there’s no arguing that in 2004 the economy wasn’t doing as well as people had come to expect during the Clinton years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were taking longer than Bush promised they would, and there were no weapons of mass destruction. There were lots of good reasons for voters to dislike the man

    If the economy was it, then Obama’s polling would be much worse. I don’t recall Bush promising us short wars. Further, given the support Americans initially had for the wars, including the political class, I tend to view anger towards Bush on this account as hypocritical.

  58. Don Says:

    One of the more “liberal” aspects of the Bush administration was the fact that they pushed the liberation of Iraq without considering that the culture wasn’t capable of being liberated. It did make the left’s adoption of the “bigotry of low expectations” interesting.

  59. Eric Says:

    Don,

    President Bush, Sept 20, 2001:
    “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.”

    http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html

  60. sharpie Says:

    Don’t doubt me on this.

    Rush.

    Anyway, if I could have the chops to say that, I would then point you to this by AS. (Andrew Sullivan. I like AS. Not like like you understand. After all it’s not rape rape. I’m just going for clarity here. (Sarc))

    “All this apparent national humiliation is worth it. The price Russia will pay for this triumph is ownership of the problem. At some point, it may dawn on him that he hasn’t played Obama. Obama has played him.”

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/12/vladimir-meet-niccolo-machiavelli/

    That’s all they have for now. The “You’ll see, you’ll all be sorry you dumped on the greatness of Obama” whine.

  61. Eric Says:

    Don: “One of the more “liberal” aspects of the Bush administration was the fact that they pushed the liberation of Iraq without considering that the culture wasn’t capable of being liberated.”

    Clinton didn’t believe that. Bush didn’t believe that. Neither do I.

  62. Eric Says:

    sharpie,

    Sullivan doesn’t seem to get that Russia isn’t playing the same game as us, or if they are, they’re not playing with the same strategy for the same objectives.

  63. Ymarsakar Says:

    Eric, reading your position on the burden of proof, I can understand more now. Which I will also say the burden of proof is on evil to prove that we don’t need to kill it. That’s certainly true. And it goes for more than just Osama, Hussein, and AQ. The first Hussein at least.

    One of the more “liberal” aspects of the Bush administration was the fact that they pushed the liberation of Iraq without considering that the culture wasn’t capable of being liberated. It did make the left’s adoption of the “bigotry of low expectations” interesting.

    The problem with Republicans has always been that they have tried to liberate oppressed people and ethnicities. Often failing. They tried it with blacks in the South. Failure. They tried it with Vietnamese. Failure. They tried it with Cuban bay of pigs, Failure. Hell, the only ones that killed the East Berliners and the Soviets were their own people to begin with. They blew out the wall and broke up the empire more than US missiles and bombs.

    The point is, Americans would have a lot more success liberating foreigners, if they had a good track record of not being sabotaged by Democrat anti American traitors inside the US. But since we do have this track record, the Iraqis just got hit hard, as it did everyone else, by this junk.

  64. Ymarsakar Says:

    Many of the same arguments about Islam can be applied to modern US cities full of black slaves right now. It was applied by Democrats, at least, in the Post Civil War Reconstruction, which failed due to Democrat backed KKK terror reign. The blacks were inferior, yadda yadda yadda, they couldn’t vote, they were told by Northern Republicans what to do, yadda yadda yadda. Whatever worked for propaganda they used.

    What’s important isn’t whether Arabs or blacks or Nation of Islam can be “liberated”. The point is that the enemies use this as their man power source in war. It has to be eliminated. If you cannot liberate them and convert them, then kill them. With your own hands, not pushing a button.

  65. Ymarsakar Says:

    Correction: Bay of Pigs was purely a JFK thing, and its failure not a result of Democrat or Republican sabotage.

  66. sharpie Says:

    There is only one truth for a type like AS or Stanley Fish (See link below for his profundity stated as “The Trouble with Principle”) and all the progressives: the authoritarian government. They must and will preserve Obama and his authority/success. As they “evolve,” they will evolve not away from Obama but to him. The only way Obama can be successful, since reality bats last as they say, is by force, eventually of the type of the horrific last century. Soft tyranny? When food and water have to be rationed?

    But as the progressives realize they have the power and are not the old United States of America, but the new United States of America, they will relinquish their knee jerk reactions against power, authority, war and even imperialism. If they are not defeated, and soon, they will probably propose changing the name of our nation. But their present reaction is tied to the past when the enemy was in power, when the enemy ran and staffed the institutions. Their reactions are almost genetic, but they can and will change.

  67. artfldgr Says:

    One of the more “liberal” aspects of the Bush administration was the fact that they pushed the liberation of Iraq without considering that the culture wasn’t capable of being liberated. It did make the left’s adoption of the “bigotry of low expectations” interesting.

    right… cause thats why were where there..
    which then makes putin sound foolish when he was railing about a “buffer zone”…

    ie. russia has always tried to keep one country between them and their enemies.

    go ahead. take a look at an old map. to avoid an invation, put a country between you and them.

    what bush was really trying to do, and its obvious if you analyse it and get off the wacko journolist make up stuff for consumption train…

    At the end of World War II, most eastern and central European countries were occupied by the Soviet Union,[5] and along with the USSR made up what is sometimes called the Soviet Empire. The Soviets remained in these countries after the war’s end.[6] Through a series of coalition governments including Communist parties, and then a forced liquidation of coalition members unliked by the Soviets, Stalinist systems were established in each country.[6] Stalinists gained control of existing governments, police, press and radio outlets in these countries.[6] Soviet satellite states in Europe included:[6][7][8][9]

    The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
    The People’s Socialist Republic of Albania
    The People’s Republic of Poland (1944–1989)
    The People’s Republic of Bulgaria (1946–1990)
    The Socialist Republic of Romania (1947–1989)
    The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1948–1989)
    The German Democratic Republic (1949–1990)
    The People’s Republic of Hungary (1949–1990)

    you can add to it latvia, lithuania, and estonia to cover the baltic.
    a part of finland siezed for buffer there

    in order to attack russia, you had to go through these states first.
    or somehow have your war machin skip over them and not be attacked from behind. as one country, russia didnt have lots of votes, as many countries semeingly independent, they get more votes.

    want to end whats going on now?
    ie. the toppling of states, the games, the gas and so on?

    well, you have to stop people who dont want to do honest and open business, like the oligharchs of the neo soviet state, and how do you do that?

    you have to make it harder for them to do the things they want to do
    and that means preventing arms shipments and other such things.

    IF bushes succesor finished the job, you would have had a buffer zone between russia, and iraq, and the rest of the middle east AND africa

    this is why turkey and so on were siding with us, it looked like the buffer woudl be made and that woud have made it VERY hard to do things.

    [edited for length by n-n]

  68. Kyndyll Says:

    “What’s important isn’t whether Arabs or blacks or Nation of Islam can be “liberated”…”

    I don’t believe that it’s rational to assume there is an inherent physical reason that a given human being cannot be “liberated” – ie, that people are incapable of enlightened modern thinking because of their skin color or some other inborn demographic. I do believe that it’s naïve to ignore the cultural factor, and that’s the mistake made when Western nations think that by removing strongman leaders a healthy democracy will be free to flower. Democracy in the absence of the rule of law and codified basic rights for all people simply results in mob rules, in which the majority “votes” (figuratively or literally) to persecute the minority. Without the idea that it’s improper to deprive any person of their life, liberty, property, etc, and enforced laws to back it up, democracy is unstable and dangerous – especially to minorities.

    This is arguably a left/liberal trait: the belief in an inherent goodness in people and the willingness to disregard reality, facts and previous results to the contrary of that belief.

  69. artfldgr Says:

    The problem with Republicans has always been that they have tried to liberate oppressed people and ethnicities. Often failing. They tried it with blacks in the South. Failure. They tried it with Vietnamese. Failure.

    hunh?

    they did not try to liberate the blacks
    they tried to follow the morals and concious of the constitution. wherever it led them, they were loyal

    and vietnam was not a war of liberation.
    it was a war of containment.

    ie. every war after wwii, is about containment…
    even the gulf wars…
    however we deny containment is anything any more

    you guys would sound better to people who know things if you actually went out and had your ideas in alignment with reality as it is, not as you think liberals get it wrong.

    Containment was a United States policy to prevent the spread of communism abroad. A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet Union to enlarge communist influence in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Africa, and Vietnam. It represented a middle-ground position between appeasement and rollback.

    the war of nation building didnt start till way later..
    and you confuse nation building

    what stalin hitler and others did and what brotherhood and the left does, with state building. its ok, most americans do that and the rest of the world is too polite and used to them speaking things that they dont know the meaning of!!!! [americans tend to self insulate, so they have no idea how they are regarded unless they are told]

    Traditionally there has been some confusion between the use of the term nation-building and that of state-building (the terms are sometimes used interchangeably in North America). Both have fairly narrow and different definitions in political science, the former referring to national identity, the latter to infrastructure and the institutions of the state. The debate has been clouded further by the existence of two very different schools of thought on state-building. The first (prevalent in the media) portrays state-building as an interventionist action by foreign countries. The second (more academic in origin and increasingly accepted by international institutions) sees state-building as an indigenous process.

    so, to make it clear..

    hitler built a nation
    stalin built a nation
    this required new flags, costumes, etc..

    when the US does something, they are state building.
    what is the difference? well, we do not force them to sail the capitalism flag, or incorporate certain symbolism. we do not actually do that for them at all, what we do is give them a stable state.

    so why the confusion in america?
    well, americans are confused because its the non left (you correctly focused on) who wants to give people better state to govern them by themselves.

    but the left, loves to call then nazis, oppressors, colonialists.. and to be consistent, they have to call state building, nation building to paint it as if its the americn culture that is being imposed.

    so when japan invaded, they were nation building
    when the US won in japan, we built a state and let them have it
    they kept their flats, traditions, emperor, and all that.

    when stalin rolled into a country, or hitler. all organs of the state were converted…

    so, in essence, when the french took off (as they now have the historical reputation of such) from vietnam, we knew that the soviets would build a soviet nation there. that the leaders would destroy the vietnamese culture, replace trappings, laws, etc.

    what we wanted was a state there…

    the BEST evidence of this is what happened to the two halves of korea
    north korea would have been nation building if they won. kim would have reformed the whole thing into the model of his and stalins world.

    but we won. so they got their government state back. they got to vote, and we left…

    so like racism. you are kept ignorant of what they mean
    and incurious, you dont try to understand, you try to work it out
    wich puts you in the average confused state, which you think is konwing since so many knwo.

    racism is cultural..
    so you have to destroy the culture to stop it

    so is (to them) heterosexuality, pedophilsim, homosexuality, and so on… and if so, you just change the culture and what was not allowed is allowed and what was allowed is not.

    so it has nothing to do with skin color. that is a throw back to when people and their skin matched their cultures.

    so same with natino building vs state building.

    obama and his people want you to think their nationb uilding is state building and the other sides state building is nation building.

    ie. the nazis want you to think they are warm and cuddly, and that their opposition is nazi. that way, the worse tye act, the others get the blame and the better they look

    all they have to do is keep you screwed up, and not knowing
    that way, yoru angry at the people trying to explain things
    not the people who put the wrong thing in your head int hef irst place that has tobe correced and is hard to do..

    welcome to the house of mirrors…

  70. Ymarsakar Says:

    Art’s grand strategy synopsis is what the leaders claimed and wrote.

    My views are based instead from the ground up, the blood, sweat, and time put in by individual Republicans, Union soldiers, black freedmen, and Vietnamese patriots: what they thought, what they felt, what they hoped to happen.

    The “grand scheme” of things sound nice, but not to the people fighting and dying on the ground. They were fighting for something slightly different than geo political real politek or abstract concepts of Constitutional stability.

    As for Iraq’s culture, Petraeus was in 2006 precisely to deal, man to man, force with force, loyalty for loyalty, with the “culture”. The plan was to reproduce it in Afghanistan. Barack sabotaged and destroyed both plans, intentionally.

  71. artfldgr Says:

    here are my answers that are allowed for space

    Eric is wrong… but i cant argue why, it will be cut

    Ymarsakar is right and wrong, but i cant explain where and which is which, i was negated when i did try

    armchair pessimist is correct in his first assesment, but i cant expand on it. verboten

    physicsguy would be ok, except that its his life they are playing with and his families future. cant explain more

    carl in atlanta is wrong for the same reason eric is

    Yancey – that was funny and i agree with OlderandWheezier

    i woudl like to comment on Don , but because yarmarsker and others comented addre3ssing them woudl be too long and i would be cut down at the knees by procrustes

    or is she channeling Emperor Joseph II and telling us that there are too many notes in The Marriage of Figaro?

    anyway.
    those are my anwers..

    accept them blindly, as we cant debate them

    i diont have time to learn all the wrong information so i can sound good with the bad data, rather than sound bad with the good data.

  72. Eric Says:

    Kyndyll,

    Hence the success rate going up when we stick around for long enough as an occupational governing authority to guarantee security and work organically on the various aspects of nation-building on the ground with the locals. Then, when we downshift from full-on military occupation, we stick around for security and as a constant influence, eg, when our military occupation ends as a legal entity, but our practical military, cultural, economic, diplomatic influence retains.

    Look at Asia. Up through the mid-20th century, the common belief was that Asians ethno-culturally could not liberalize. Yet in almost all areas that have had sustained Anglo or American influence and presence in Asia, liberalization has taken root. Maybe not exactly like ours, but certainly compatible with our preferred world order. It would have worked in South Vietnam, had we not abandoned the project. (The non-Anglo French colonial background in Vietnam probably didn’t help, either.)

    Korea is a case in point. A review of our post-WW2 governance and occupation of South Korea reveals an exceptionally poor record rivalling any of our nation-building difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, even before the Korean War turned our post-WW2 relationship with Korea into an utter disaster. The bloody toll of the Korean War outstrips all of our casualties combined since 9/11.

    But we stuck with it in Korea. While north Korea remains the same threat, the Korea that the completely disillusioned, traumatized, wounded, bitter, and cynical American GIs left in 1953 is not the liberal Korea of today. The Korean War was very unpopular in the US, too, and made Truman one of the most unpopular Presidents in US history. As doomed to failure as South Vietnam has been portrayed, South Korea was arguably a worse prospect. Yet Ike didn’t abandon or bungle American commitment to Korea even though he had campaigned to ‘bring our boys home’ from Korea.

    Iraq was turned around by the Counterinsurgency “surge” and stabilizing when Obama bungled the SOFA negotiation. At the end, US soldiers’ description of service in Iraq was sounding an awful lot like my mostly uneventful service in Korea.

    Had we stayed, Iraq could have made a difference as it matured into an influential strategic regional partner that represented a viable 3rd way in the ME. Iraq was on that kind of trajectory by the close of the Bush administration.

    Iraq could have been the bold stroke that set the cornerstone for actually winning the War on Terror had Obama followed Bush’s lead.

  73. Ymarsakar Says:

    You may have missed this before, Art, so I’ll rewrite it and rephrase it for your benefit. Back when we were talking about how ancient books were taught in military academies, your position was that merely by reading these books people would be able to gain ancient wisdom as if they were Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz reborn.

    My position was that theoretical knowledge could be passed from books, but not the entire experience needed to think as the ancients thought. That merely reading something didn’t mean the human understood anything.

    So you’ve read the geo political “containment” plans and the Us Civil War “Constitutional” crisis reports.

    What I’ve experienced are the individual accounts of the people who fought and died in those conflicts, as well as read the “strategic overview” papers.

    If you have ever wondered why that means our viewpoints differ, you need look no more than to the top of what I wrote right here, right now.

    Reading is not the same as being the author. Experience does not translate 100% from author to reader. No such thing has ever happened for humans, besides heart transplants and reincarnation cycles.

  74. neo-neocon Says:

    artfldgr:

    We’ve discussed this issue before many many times. I allow you a great deal of space here to comment. If you need to say more, you need to find another place to say it. There is a limit to how much one person can dominate the comments here.

  75. carl in atlanta Says:

    I agree that a common misapprehension of Americans (when it comes to the Middle East and Central Asia) has been that the artificially created borders there define Western-style nation states, when nothing could be further from the truth. These populations are almost purely tribal and we Americans understand almost nothing about their cultures, desires, dreams and problems.

    Somalia
    Iraq
    Afghanistan
    Libya
    Egypt
    Iran ( yes I know they’re Persians not Arabs; still…)
    Saudi Arabia
    etc/etc.

    All of them, including Saudi Arabia.

  76. artfldgr Says:

    i guess she forgot:

    “Little things please little minds, and Small things please small minds.”

    Prov. People who are not intelligent are pleased by trivial things.

    Small mind, or deluded mind, is the buzzing, unpredictable, frequently out-of-control ordinary mind.

    This is our finite mind, our limited conceptual mind; our ordinary, rational, discursive, thinking mind. The deluded mind has so many impulses and needs; it wants so many things. It’s frequently confused; it’s subject to mood swings; it’s restless. It gets angry; it gets depressed; it becomes hyper.

    Some ancient traditional texts refer to this small mind as “monkey mind,” where it is pictured as an untamed mustang or an adorable but chaotic little monkey jumping from tree to tree, looking for satisfaction in all the wrong places. – Lama Surya Das

    NATURE
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7260/full/461040a.html

    Like minds can be small minds

    However, not all collective false beliefs are the product of self-segregation. ‘Belief contagion’ can lead large numbers of people to accept outlandish notions for which there are no credible evidence. For example, in the mid-twentieth century, psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim asserted, on the basis of anecdotal evidence, that autism was caused by “refrigerator mothers” — women who treated their children coldly. Widely endorsed at the time but now regarded as erroneous, this runaway belief heralded years of victimization of the mothers of children with autism and misdirected therapeutic efforts.

    A more recent example of belief contagion from the late-twentieth century is the preoccupation with ‘recovered memories’, which are susceptible to suggestion and hence can be easily spread. There have been many cases of teachers, for example, being prosecuted for alleged sexual abuse on the basis of community accusations, backed up with rehearsed child testimony and irregular court proceedings that were shaped by false collective beliefs.

    Prejudice is another potent generator of false beliefs. Anti-black sentiments were fuelled in the southern United States after the civil war by self-serving politicians and tabloid newspapers. Under Adolf Hitler, Nazi politicians spread anti-Semitic stories for political reasons, but prejudice rendered these stories plausible.

    Emmerson
    Self-Reliance is an essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    It contains the most thorough statement of one of Emerson’s recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas.

    It is the source of one of Emerson’s most famous quotations: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”

    hard to do when your ideas get cut…
    even when you spend weeks not putting any up

    “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.”

    When a man forms a pattern within his life, Emerson argues that he violates his nature.

    Throughout this essay, Emerson argues against conformity with the world. He gives an archetype for his own transcendental beliefs, but also argues for his slogan “trust thyself”. To follow Emerson’s self-reliant credo fully, one must learn to hear and obey what is most true within their heart, and both think and act independent of popular opinion and social pressure.

    to do anything else is to cheat my fellow man here
    why do you cheat him of knowlege?
    cut down to a consistency where only small ideas can dominate. where lies live as they cant be unproven

    Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Eleanor Roosevelt

    should i put a cut here?

  77. Ymarsakar Says:

    Also, the reason why I don’t need to quote a bunch of what other people say (any more) is because I have a strong enough foundation that I can write my own thoughts, without needing someone’s else words to explain my position for me.

    So part of the reason, Art, why your text is long is because you seem to think reading it is enough, thus your writing skills suffer as a result. Reading is not writing. Thus I can explain your position and my position in less than, say, 5 or 10 paragraphs.

    This is the result of proficiency, at least. The ability to do two things at the same time.

    Back in the past, a few years ago, people here complained about your length but praised your content. I objected to their complaints because nobody here can make you or motivate you to improve your own writing, other than yourself and maybe whomever pays your living costs. Neo Neocon pays for the server bandwidth you are using, so her authority exists for that reason, but she still can’t make you participate.

    So in the years or even decades you’ve been quoting the stuff you’ve read and trying to get other people to read it and understand, have you ever had much success? Have people read it and understood? Have you been able to write what you have read, in your own words, or write what other people’s position was in your own words?

    No matter whether I agree with you or not, it’s quite clear that over the Years, you have not improved At All. That’s not my concern, it’s up to you. I’m just describing it from my pov.

    If people like what an author writes, but finds it too long, they have no authority to determine how the author writes it. Only the author does. But that does not mean the author is right or wrong. As I mentioned, Neo’s paying for the bandwidth with her work, which is special.

    So here’s one final quiz. If reading what the ancients wrote makes you as enlightened or wise as them… why can’t you distill your own thoughts into a similar sized content as what the ancients wrote?

  78. artfldgr Says:

    We’ve discussed this issue before many many times. I allow you a great deal of space here to comment. If you need to say more, you need to find another place to say it. There is a limit to how much one person can dominate the comments here.

    fine..
    i will measure the word count to what you cut it down
    and i will make sure to use this to insure its dumbed down enough.

    Erics post was 450 words, and so i thought i was ok if i was within a hundred or two of that.

    his readability score was (higher is better)
    Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 48.5

    Readability Formula / Grade
    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level / 11.7
    Gunning-Fog Score / 14.4
    Coleman-Liau Index / 12
    SMOG Index / 10.6
    Automated Readability Index / 11.2
    Average Grade Level / 12.0

    then i checked your writing neo.

    Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 53

    Readability Formula Grade
    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 12.4
    Gunning-Fog Score 14.3
    Coleman-Liau Index 11.5
    SMOG Index 10.4
    Automated Readability Index 13.5
    Average Grade Level 12.4

    also at 12..

    i put the text of my post in and what do i get?

    Readability Formula Score
    Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease 65.4

    Readability Formula Grade
    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 8.1
    Gunning-Fog Score 9.9
    Coleman-Liau Index 11.3
    SMOG Index 7.5
    Automated Readability Index 8.3
    Average Grade Level 9.0

    right.. because i grew up when the public was able to do 8th grade, and if you typed a bit above, you sounded smart but not too smart in business.

    maybe if i didnt try to write at the highest readability i can use bigger words and the texts can be shorter.

    you guys said to make it more accessible..
    so i have been using writing tools to analyse posts.

    since no one can teach me, its all i have.

    so out of the three, i wrote the most accesibly

    i find it difficult..
    because most do not know the definitions, have not read common texts, and so i cant make a side reference, and they know.

    i am trying to find a commonality..
    but when it isnt there, what then?
    give up?

    please give me a good answer neo!!!!!!!
    OR do we have to conform to idiocracy?

    i tried putting up the links and stuff to books
    if people read them, i could reference them

    i tried to reference past articles
    except people cant remember articles from a month ago, let alone 100 years.

    the READER also has a duty… no?
    [edited for length by n-n]

  79. artfldgr Says:

    since it was going to get cut
    i put it here

    usually lies take longer than the truth as they must construct a reality to be believed

    but when the realityis a lie, then the truth takes longer as it has to deconstruct a reality to be believed – ARtfldgr

    and thats the truth!!! thfffpppppptttt!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. neo-neocon Says:

    artfldgr:

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to fight this out with you again and again. We have been over it many times.

    But I will add here that the issue is not readability score.

    Simply put: you have been told (and not just by me; by many many readers here) that your posts are too long. And it’s not just a random post here and there—it’s post after post after post. People are turned off by it, as many readers here have written time and again.

    You are a commenter here. As such, I have been very generous in allowing you space. I have also put up with quite a bit of criticism and even insults from you, because (as I’ve written many times before) I think that you have many interesting things to say and you certainly have read many many sources with which people are unfamiliar. However, when it is a case of overkill on your part, I limit what you say. Further insults on your part to me will not change that, nor will it get me to respond with anger. I understand (or think I understand) that your insults are not really all that personal to me, but born out of your frustration with getting the points across that you feel the need to get across. But to do it at greater length you really need to have your own forum.

  81. neo-neocon Says:

    artfldgr:

    Also, to answer a couple of your questions—

    No, the reader has no duty. You are not teaching a course with assignments, nor am I. The writer has a duty to interest the reader.

    And my suggestion would be to summarize and then provide links. That would have the greatest chance of enticing people to read.

    And leave out all the insults to people here.

  82. Ymarsakar Says:

    In over 10 years, I make the tentative presumption that Art has not improved more than 10% in his English writing skills. Which have grammar and content problems. I don’t really care about the length. Fix the thought process and content first, and length automatically dials up or down based upon human consumption. It’s a chicken and egg issue, which is why praising someone’s content and criticizing the length, from some people, was something I didn’t support. Criticize/improve the content, and the length won’t be a problem.

    I haven’t witnessed Art’s English language progression all the way since 2001, but it’s been a few years at least that I have witnessed his progression. I’ve improved since the time I first visited and read Neo Neocon. It’s not impossible. It just takes effort. Effort, something reading doesn’t particularly give a person automatically. It’s a character virtue or vice.

    Those that want to change the world, perhaps should think first about changing themselves. Since a flawed human changing the world won’t end in a particularly Good World.

    you guys said to make it more accessible..
    so i have been using writing tools to analyse posts.

    since no one can teach me, its all i have.

    That potential advice should be rephrased. You should be able to write English as naturally and as smoothly as the Art of War was written in Chinese, with no reference, no looking up stats, no external tools, just your brain.

    True Art, whether martial, linguistic, or painting is done by imagining a result or a concept, automatically selecting a method, and then working to make reality accept the existence of this new entity you have created. It is smooth. It is based on proficiency. It may need rewriting, revision, and it may have flaws, but it should be smooth, natural. As natural as moving your dominant hand over the keyboard and mouse.

    If you are at the point where you say nobody can teach you, perhaps you should read books concerning how to write. If you truly believe that just reading something will provide you the wisdom, knowledge, enlightenment of the truth. There are plenty of books and social forums where writers go to, in order to work on their writing shop skills.

    http://www.writingexcuses.com/

    This is one I’ve personally visited and reviewed. It is good. It has one of the best modern day fantasy writers on the panel.

  83. Ymarsakar Says:

    If this still doesn’t make sense, Art, then I’ll reduce it into something better.

    You know how all the stuff you quote has capital letters for when sentences start, complete sentences (or at least not completely run on sentences or fragmented sentences), and various other things like that?

    How about you try Emulating what you are Reading and capitalize your own sentences. That’s a start, isn’t it.

    Reading doesn’t require you to do much. Even zombie communists can read. Writing requires that you change yourself, however, depending on the circumstance. So can you change yourself, or do you want to be stuck like this forever?

  84. Shell Shock | Lynn's Little Nest Says:

    [...] Looking foolish: the press on Obama’s Syria policy (neoneocon.com) [...]

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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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