Wednesday, December 14, 2005

When Criticism Becomes Treasonous

There was a time not so long ago when Democrats crossed the aisle to support Republican positions in war and vice versa. These were not always instances of gentility and partisanship wasn’t ignored; this occasional gesture was a recognition of national welfare that transcended politics.

What one observes with the Democratic party at the moment is an astonishingly anti-American posture that I have not encountered in my lifetime. The impression has been created that critics of the Bush administration are more interested in capturing the presidency than in winning the war in Iraq. In fact, if success in the war is attributed to President Bush, they would prefer defeat.

Obviously this isn’t the position of every Democrat, as Senator Liberman’s stance demonstrates, but it is the Kennedy, Pelosi, Rockefeller, Kerrey and Reid stance. Moreover, two former Democratic presidents, Carter and Clinton, have engaged in what was once taboo for those who sat in the executive office: they have attacked the present administration abroad, in countries already hostile to American interests. Such behavior was always regarded as a “no-no.” You might disagree or even criticize a sitting president at home, but to do so outside the confines of the nation and in countries inimitable to U.S. interests was simply off-limits.

It seems that the Democratic party has imbibed the Michael Moore approach to politics which includes equal parts caricature and traitorous commentary. Moore has noted on several occasions that the Iraqi insurgents are the equivalent of the Minutemen and that we must suffer the bloodletting of our young for the misguided policies of our president.

Of course Moore is not alone. Frank Rich at the NY Times, among others, has engaged in a refrain that the president lied in order to promote the war effort. Despite the evidence that has been marshaled demonstrating a bipartisan concern about weapons of mass destruction prior to Bush’s election, the president’s detractors cannot let go of this theme.

It is instructive that the word “lie” is employed. Even if you embraced the Frank Rich stance (which I do not), you might say the president was “mistaken,” or “misguided” or “misread the signals.” But, of course, these words are equivocal offering the president an alibi, a concession the critics are not willing to consider.

The Democratic party position at the moment is search and destroy. Whether this is “get even” time for the Clinton impeachment or the venting of hostility over the 2000 election is anyone’s guess. What it does suggest is a parlous political state in which any move that harms the Republican leadership is deemed acceptable.

Bush, by contrast, acts as if Marcus of Queensbury rules apply to this street fight. He has been remarkably subdued in the face of continual vitriol heaped upon him. From my perch, I would prefer greater boldness on his part, a condition I did observe with his recent Annapolis speech.

Lest I am criticized for challenging criticism, let it be noted that I believe presidents should be criticized when it is appropriate to do so. What I’m getting at is criticism that verges on treason. When polls say that defeat serves us right, they either want to embarrass the administration without regard to the risks involved or they actually think a defeat for the administration is justifiable. That kind of criticism is beyond the pale.

This backbiting may be amusing for news aficionados, but the stakes are high and go well beyond amusement. The Fifth Column in the U.S. is growing, led by some officials who do not fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. Lives are at stake, regional stability is in the mix and civilization itself is in the balance.

This is not hyperbole. Al Qaeda is watching and listening. Every anti-American position is music to their ears. For them, it defines a nation that has lost its will and fortitude. The disloyal Americans only embolden the enemies. We’ve been down this path before, albeit historical lessons have to be relearned. Unfortunately lives will be lost that could be saved and this nation will suffer before the critics learn their lesson.

58 comments:

Jay D. Homnick said...

Herb, this is very nicely done, both development and presentation. Has it been published elsewhere as well?

tbmbuzz said...

The Democrats are sadly deluded if they think their current no mas in Iraq mindset will result in electoral gains in 2006 and 2008.

Tlaloc said...

"The impression has been created that critics of the Bush administration are more interested in capturing the presidency than in winning the war in Iraq."

Maybe that's because the war in Iraq cannot be won. You cannot impose democracy on a people. Nor can you oppress a religion without seeing it flourish. Lastly you cannot use military forces against terrorists without creating more terrorism. To try and do all three at once requires a staggeringly limited knowledge of history.



"Despite the evidence that has been marshaled demonstrating a bipartisan concern about weapons of mass destruction prior to Bush’s election, the president’s detractors cannot let go of this theme."

The problem is that that evidence exists because Bush was lying to congress. Have you followed the story of the Uranium forgeries at all? Or that the administration was told Curveballs info was false long before they spread it all over the place? I'm sorry, Herb, but the evidence is insurmountable that the president listened only to what he wanted to and then repeated it as if it was the whole story. That is called lying by ommission.



"What I’m getting at is criticism that verges on treason.

Criticism is never treason. Sorry no. By both reason and the legal definition it cannot be considered treason.



"Bush, by contrast, acts as if Marcus of Queensbury rules apply to this street fight. He has been remarkably subdued in the face of continual vitriol heaped upon him."

Ah yes, exposing undercover CIA officers is so subdued. Are you serious? This administration has engaged in a huge amount of backstabbing anyone who criticizes them. Notice the church in cali being attacked by the IRS for making a sermon that could be copnstrued as anti-bush? Wonder who set that up? Isn't it curious that at the same time Bush had other churches actively politicing for him and yet it's the one minor instance that goes against the administration that the IRS investigates. Odd. Or look at what's going on at the Washington Post over the last few days. The white house has tried to attack froomkin because they don't like his politics/attitude.



"Whether this is “get even” time for the Clinton impeachment or the venting of hostility over the 2000 election is anyone’s guess."

"get even"? Are you kidding? Republicans can impeach over the most minor offense but a president who has sat through the worst military debacle in decades gets a free pass? Don't you care at all about the war profiteering at the expense of our troops lives? Don't you care at all about the president going on live televisions looking right at the camera and saying things they knew were (at best) extremely unlikely? Doesn't any of that phase you more than a guy getting head?



"Lives are at stake, regional stability is in the mix and civilization itself is in the balance."

You are right, but what you fail to realize is that your path is guaranteed to fail. It has always failed historically. It cannot succeed. A civil war in iraq is already underway. It is only a matter of time until it grows. The best we can do is withdraw and get it over with as quickly as possiible and THIS TIME learn from our mistakes. So that the next time someone thinks american unilateral interventionism is a swell idea everyone else says "no."



"The disloyal Americans only embolden the enemies. We’ve been down this path before, albeit historical lessons have to be relearned. Unfortunately lives will be lost that could be saved and this nation will suffer before the critics learn their lesson."

Everything you say here is true but in the opposite way you mean. The ham handed military ways of the neocons embolden and swell AQ's power. We have been down this path before in Vietnam and apparently the armchair generals and chickenhawks learned nothing about fighting insurgencies. Lives will be lost while the GOP beats its chest and talks about staying the course before the inevitable withdrawl.

Let me ask you this: since it is unarguable that the Iraq invasion has been a mess by every standard (they STILL don't have power restored, explosives looted, nuclear sites unsecured, raging insurgency and sectarian violence, Iranian power magnified, looting of priceless cultural relics, torture chambers operated by the US, torture chambers operated by the Iraqis, death squads formed, foreign nationals and innocent Iraqis killed by our forces, ad infinitum) at what point do you say "well our side made a total mess of things, lets give the other guys a chance"?

KeithM, Indy said...

It would seem that 64% of Army officers disagree with your conclusion there. Seeing as how they know the situation in Iraq, far better than either of us, I'll have to go with their assesment...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/13/AR2005121301502.html

How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work?

***********

To the question at hand, I have to wonder how much futher along towards victory we would be if the naysayers were behind the goals of the Iraq War.

Disagree with the methods and tactics in the appropriate forums, with intellectually honesty, and with respect for the stakes that are in play.

But defeatism only breeds failure.

or as Ted Kennedy has said

"I don't think you can be a success at anything if you think about losing..."

********
Justification for the Iraq War

Iraqi non-compliance with UN Resolutions.

Iraqi attempts to subvert the Inspections and attacks on Coalition planes.

The threat posed to the United States and US interests by Iraq's WMD programs. [as decided in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998)]

Iraq's possession of "significant chemical and biological weapons capability"

Iraq' was "actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability"
Iraqi support for, and harboring of, terrorist organizations.

Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population"

Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people"

Iraq's "continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States"

The presence of members and affiliates of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The danger of the possible combination of WMDs and terrorism.

The need for regime change and stability in the Middle East.

Our interest in "[promoting] the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime"

Tlaloc said...

"How is it, then, that 64 percent of U.S. military officers think we will succeed if we are allowed to continue our work?"

Military officers are indoctrinated into believing the mytho fo american superpower. Notice that after vietnam the military gutted all counterinsurgency shooling for officers. After three years the military is just now strting to relearn a lot of the stuff that we had learned painfully in vietnam. Obviously counterinsurgency is not one of their competencies then.



"To the question at hand, I have to wonder how much futher along towards victory we would be if the naysayers were behind the goals of the Iraq War."

That's easy. No further. The problem isn't that there are criticisms. The problem is that the mission was a no win scenario from the outset.



"Iraqi non-compliance with UN Resolutions."

Irrelevent since the UN didn't consider the breach sufficient to warrant a military response.


"Iraqi attempts to subvert the Inspections and attacks on Coalition planes."

Ditto.


"The threat posed to the United States and US interests by Iraq's WMD programs. [as decided in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998)]"

A threat that did not exist and which all evidence supported the idea it did not exist (i.e. the inspections which had been working).



"Iraq's possession of "significant chemical and biological weapons capability""

Again possesion which was entirely fabricated. Which we knew because of the inspections.



"Iraq' was "actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability""

Seeking a capability in no way constitutes an imminent threat. A vast number of nations seek nuclear capability.


"Iraqi support for, and harboring of, terrorist organizations."

Another hobgoblin that everyone who was educated on the matter said wasn't true and lo and behold turned out not to be true. Almost as if we should have listend to people like Juan Cole in the first place, huh?


"Iraq's "brutal repression of its civilian population""

That's a matter for the international organizations to deal with, not the US. It poses no imminent threat to us and wouldn't have even occured had we left Iraq alone in the first place.


"Iraq's "capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people""

Might be a decent argument except that it happened during the 80s and at the time we fought against the UN doing anything about it. That makes it kind of hard for us to profess to care now. And again it didn't consititue an imminent threat since we knew he had no WMD to use. Not to mention no way to deploy them against us if he did have them.


"Iraq's "continuing hostility toward, and willingness to attack, the United States""

Since Iraq was incredibly weak and surrounded by enemies this doesn't constitute an imminent threat either.


"The presence of members and affiliates of Al Qaeda in Iraq."

Which was false before the war. And again we knew it was false.


"The danger of the possible combination of WMDs and terrorism."

Irrelevent since Iraq had neither.


"The need for regime change and stability in the Middle East."

That is not our place. We don't have any place deciding which sovreign regimes may stay and which must go. That is left to the people in those countries or at worst the international organizations. The US simply has no right and when we forget that we get things like Iran. Iraq now looks to be headed towards being another Iran or even an Iranian client state. I'm sure that'll bring all kinds of stability to the region. (sarcasm)


"Our interest in "[promoting] the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime""

Once again it is qxymoronic to try and force democracy on a people. Notice that their response has simply been to vote for a thoecracy. Good job everyone.

KeithM, Indy said...

Many reasoned and educated people disagree with your counter-arguments (if you wish to call them that.) And your bias against the military is showing. It couldn't be that because they are on the ground and have the facts in front of them, that they know more then you about our possibilities of success.

I guess now the view of liberal/leftists is that people being oppressed isn't such a bad thing after all.

And if the justifications were so bad I would have thought more members of Congress would have voted not to authorize the use of force against Iraq...

But they did vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq. AND SO HERE WE ARE.

"Now what?" is the only relevant question at this time.

"September the 11th changed our country; it changed the policy of our government. We adopted a new strategy to protect the American people: We would hunt down the terrorists wherever they hide; we would make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them; and we would advance our security at home by advancing freedom in the Middle East."


I do think H.L. has it right in his thoughts.

JC said...

Interesting discussion. Tlaloc has said something like this before, and I'm curious:

Seeking a capability in no way constitutes an imminent threat. A vast number of nations seek nuclear capability.

I've heard of North Korea and Iran, both under mounting international pressure; do you have a "vast" list to share?

Tlaloc said...

"Many reasoned and educated people disagree with your counter-arguments (if you wish to call them that.)"

And the fact that they have now been proven wrong just doesn't matter? It's one thing to hold a wrong position, but once the wrongness of it has been shown it's merely pigheadedness to cling to it.



" And your bias against the military is showing. It couldn't be that because they are on the ground and have the facts in front of them, that they know more then you about our possibilities of success."

Possibly but again since they deliberately sabotaged their ability to fight counterinsurgencies and since they have made glaring errors in fighting this one and have been pitifully slow on the uptake I kind of doubt it.

Speaking of not trusting the people on the ground, why exactly is it you didn't trust the inspectors who told us repeatedly that Iraq was disarmed? I mean they were actually there, right?



"I guess now the view of liberal/leftists is that people being oppressed isn't such a bad thing after all."

There are two fallacies here. The first is the idea that we have somehow lessened the repression. This is false. We have direct evidence now of state run torture chambers and death squads. The rights of women are actually worse than before we removed Saddam. The sectarian violence is deadly and growing.

The second fallacy is that saying "it's not our place to interfere is the same as saying no one should interfere." If Saddam was out of control (and a good case could be made that he was) and the Iraqi people couldn't unseat him then it is up to the UN. You may not like it, but they are the body that is responsible for that kind of thing.

Out of curiosity, what was your position back in the 80s when we sold Saddam the stuff to make the gas he used on the kurds and then pushed the UN not to condemn it? Were you as critical of Reagan's overlooking of repression then as you are now? Just wondering.



"And if the justifications were so bad I would have thought more members of Congress would have voted not to authorize the use of force against Iraq..."

You keep forgetting that part where they were LIED to. The justifications were that bad but many of the things I said above only the Administration knew. They knew Curveball was a liar but they kept it to themselves even as they passed on his fibs. They knew the uranium documents were forged but used them anyway. None of that was told to congress. (some of the things you mention above were certainly known by other, i.e. that terrorists were not in Iraq)

Secondly the authorization was mostly concieved of as a bargaining chip. A threat as it were. A number of congressmen have come forward saying they expected it to be used to pressure Saddam into allowing inspectors not to launch an ill advised and unneeded war. Shortsighted on the part of those congressmen? Absolutely. But with a more reasonable administration it would have made sense. Put it in poker terms: the US was bluffing, congress gave Bush the option of raising, instead Bush called. Dumb move on Bush's part. Dumb of congress not to know he's a bad card player.



""Now what?" is the only relevant question at this time."

No. It is A relevent question but we must also ask how we got here. "Now what" is easy. Get out now, apologize to the world in general and Iraq in specific, turn Saddam over to the Hague, and put in place measures to prevent further mistakes of this kind.



"We would hunt down the terrorists wherever they hide;"

Then why did we go to Iraq which didn't have any? Why weren't we in Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and places like that where we know they are?


"we would make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them;"

Unless they are Pakistan or Iran.


"and we would advance our security at home by advancing freedom in the Middle East"

Since Iraq is in the midst of a low grade civil war and appears to be heading towards an islamic theocratic government aligned with Iran I'd say this is strike three. Wouldn't you?

Tlaloc said...

"I've heard of North Korea and Iran, both under mounting international pressure; do you have a "vast" list to share?"

Apart from Sweden do you suppose there is any nation on earth that doesn't have a passing interest in obtaining nuclear weapons? Remember we aren't talking about actually being able to make it happen- we just mean would get them if they could. That's the catagory Iraq was in. I'd bet you a million dollars you put every african nation in that catagory as well as all of South and Central America, south east asia, former soviet republics, eastern europe. Even carribean nations.

What down side is there to having them now? The world clearly saw that the US attacked Iraq and not North Korea or Iran. Of those three Iraq was clearly the least likely to have nuclear weapons.

We created a huge incentive to get them by showing we could and would invade a nation just because we felt like it and simultaneously demonstrating that we would shy away from those that had nukes.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Here we go again.

Dr. London's point is clear: delegitimizing the reasons for war at this late date is to delegitimize our troops' presence in Iraq, making their job all the harder.

As previously noted, doing an autopsy on the patient is counterproductive when he isn't dead yet.

In order to suit the moral vanity of the Clintonians per the Kosovo intervention, the US should depart Iraq immediately, and after a week when civil war and genocide have started, we can go back in for morally acceptable "humanitarian" reasons.

KeithM, Indy said...

tlaloc - it is only your assertion that "they've been proven wrong"

The reality of the situation is a bit more complex then your understanding of it. The facts on the ground out weigh your "take" on things by a great deal. In fact, there are good signs that we will succeed.

Sunni clerics issuing fatwas FOR Voting in this next election

Sunni populace turning in and turning on the insurgents

Sunni insurgents supporting the political process, and being against the foreign terrorits

Senate committees which state that the intel was wrong on some issues, but not "cooked" by the administration.

Reports out of Iraq which show Saddam was up to no good (including enhancing his bio and chem weapons capability,) and would have been up to even more evil once sanctions were out of the way

*******

And the fact that you would choose the most disastrous of all options when we are accomplishing our goals, sort of proves Herb London's point. Talk about a short-sighted view of consequences. Let's withdraw and guarentee that there will be a massive civil war, and future terrorists comming from Iraq.

That you would rely on the paper tiger of the UN also shows the naivety of your position. When the UN stops letting authortarian governments sit on the Human Rights committees or agree on what a terrorist is, then maybe we can talk about letting the UN handle things.

And you would like to make hay (or is it straw) that some units and prisons in Iraq are almost as bad as under Saddam, but ignore the fact that those units and prisons were doing things beyond the directive of the government, and are going to be PUNISHED for doing so.

The reality is that things aren't nearly as bad, or as wrong as you'ld like to paint them. But don't let the optimism of the Iraqi people, or our soldiers on the ground get in the way of your defeatism.

KeithM, Indy said...

Oh, and I suppose you will discount the fact that, Japan, Germany, and the United States, all had democracy forced on them at the end of a gun.

I guess you believe in the racist fantasy that "them poor muslims don't want democracy"

Tlaloc said...

"Dr. London's point is clear: delegitimizing the reasons for war at this late date is to delegitimize our troops' presence in Iraq, making their job all the harder."

Not if you bring them home.


"As previously noted, doing an autopsy on the patient is counterproductive when he isn't dead yet."

Funny, at work whenever there is a screw up we do a "post-mortem" (we actually call it that) to figure out what went wrong and how to keep it from going wrong next time. But I guess there's nothing the US government can learn from a little fortune 500 company, right?


"In order to suit the moral vanity of the Clintonians per the Kosovo intervention, the US should depart Iraq immediately, and after a week when civil war and genocide have started, we can go back in for morally acceptable "humanitarian" reasons."

The civil war has already started, and we can go back when there is a genuine international mission.

Tlaloc said...

"tlaloc - it is only your assertion that "they've been proven wrong""

Hardly. Or have we found WMD and I missed it? Didn't the congressional panel conclude that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no significant ties worth mentioning? Yeah they did. This isn't my say so, this the weight of evidence.



"Sunni clerics issuing fatwas FOR Voting in this next election"

And? The classic mistake is to assume this means they are against the insurgency. Rather it just means they are fighting on every front.


"Sunni populace turning in and turning on the insurgents"

I've read a few cases of the Sunnis turning in foreign jihadists. Since they are the smallest part of the insurgency and since the Sunnis aren't turning in their countrymen (who comprise the vast majority) this isn't a big deal. Nice but hardly worth mentioning.


"Sunni insurgents supporting the political process, and being against the foreign terrorits"

See points one and two above. Being for the political process doesn't mean being for Iraq so much as having another way to strike at their enemies. And what was the Shia response? They tried to disenfranchise the Sunni voters. Yeah great progress.


"Senate committees which state that the intel was wrong on some issues, but not "cooked" by the administration."

Nice but wrong. The senate has not yet actually released a report on whether the books were cooked. That's phase two, remember? The one the republicans tried to kill until the democrats pulled the senate into a closed session? Oh yeah.


"Reports out of Iraq which show Saddam was up to no good (including enhancing his bio and chem weapons capability,) and would have been up to even more evil once sanctions were out of the way"

Haven't seen any of thise, I think you'll have to throw out a link.


"And the fact that you would choose the most disastrous of all options when we are accomplishing our goals, sort of proves Herb London's point. Talk about a short-sighted view of consequences. Let's withdraw and guarentee that there will be a massive civil war, and future terrorists comming from Iraq."

That is ALREADY guaranteed. In fact the civil war is already happening at a low level. It will implode. The only question is when and how much money and lives we waste trying to delay it.


"That you would rely on the paper tiger of the UN also shows the naivety of your position. When the UN stops letting authortarian governments sit on the Human Rights committees or agree on what a terrorist is, then maybe we can talk about letting the UN handle things."

Huh, well maybe we shouldn't have signed the treaty, but you know what? We did. And by our constitution that makes it the law of this land. You can disagree, but that is the fact. Any attempt to do an end run around the UN is illegal by our law. Is that in any way unclear?



"And you would like to make hay (or is it straw) that some units and prisons in Iraq are almost as bad as under Saddam, but ignore the fact that those units and prisons were doing things beyond the directive of the government, and are going to be PUNISHED for doing so."

Speaking of naive. You really think those Shia who just happened to be militia members in addition to government officers were acting outside of their government's control? Sure. And did you not notice how their boss (minister of the interior) made a non-denial denial? Please. It was a government run torture facility and we ALL know it. I suppose all those government funded death squads were just flukes as well?


"The reality is that things aren't nearly as bad, or as wrong as you'ld like to paint them. But don't let the optimism of the Iraqi people, or our soldiers on the ground get in the way of your defeatism."

The Iraqi people by a significant majority want us out. A minority want us to stay as long as we've claimed we'll stay. See the most recent ABC poll.

Tlaloc said...

"Oh, and I suppose you will discount the fact that, Japan, Germany, and the United States, all had democracy forced on them at the end of a gun."

What was Germany before Hitler? Oh yeah a democracy. I guess it's easier to force people to be democratic when they already are. Wierd.

As for Japan, guess what year their parliament met for the first time? Go on, guess.

1890.

No I didn't transpose the numbers. They had an elected parliament for 50 years prior to WW2. Huh. I guess that means that they too had some previous experience with democracy. A lot in fact.

Darn that history.

Tlaloc said...

"I guess you believe in the racist fantasy that "them poor muslims don't want democracy" "

Not everyone wants democracy, and it has nothing to do with racism. It has to do with democracy being a system that has strengths and flaws. For some the flaws are worth it for others it's not. The people of Iraq have been pushing for a theocracy. If Sistani ran for president he'd win in a second. As it is Islam has already been enshrined in their constitution and sharia in their laws.

KeithM, Indy said...

The 9/11 commission found no ties between Iraq and al Queda REGARDING 9/11, which was the entire scope of their commission.

So, please try again...

I've got better things to do then convince you of what you will not be convinced of...

You've always thought the Iraq War was wrong (unless I suppose it had been the UN or Clinton deciding that it was OK) and you will continue to do so

And as such, you will think it's failure unless the results are perfect.

And you'll keep deluding yourself that the people in dictatorships really want to live under a dictatorship.

KeithM, Indy said...

The people of Iraq have been pushing for a theocracy.

***********

Statement unsupported by facts.

Please try again...

Evanston said...

I don't surf the web every day, but Mr. London's comments are the first I've seen noting the Carter and Clinton breach of protocol. Did we hear from former presidents like Ford, Reagan, or Bush I during Clinton's 8 years in office? I don't recall seeing/hearing a thing. Looking ahead, the Democrats have made a big mistake. Bush II is a Christian, but not all Republicans will play by Queensbury rules during future Democrat administrations. Abuse of judicial filibusters was the first big breach of tradition. Now former Presidents mouth off whenever they wish. There used to be at least a patina of dignity to politics in this country. That day is gone.

Tlaloc said...

"I don't surf the web every day, but Mr. London's comments are the first I've seen noting the Carter and Clinton breach of protocol. Did we hear from former presidents like Ford, Reagan, or Bush I during Clinton's 8 years in office? I don't recall seeing/hearing a thing."

Bush bashed clinton, see here for examples:
http://mediamatters.org/items/200511180002

mdvoutlook.com said...

All I can say is that tlaloc, you need to say no to drugs.

Tlaloc said...

"The 9/11 commission found no ties between Iraq and al Queda REGARDING 9/11, which was the entire scope of their commission."

I'm afraid you are wrong, they looked at the entire history to see if there was any pattern and concluded that while some contacts had been made no sgnificant ties ever deveolped, regarding 9/11 or not.


"I've got better things to do then convince you of what you will not be convinced of..."

Is that possibly because each point you brought up turned out wrong? At what point do you consider that maybe I'm right. Seeing as I was right about WMD, Germany, Japan, the 9/11 commission, and so on and so forth?


"Statement unsupported by facts."

Gee, okay. I guess I misread their constitution, let me go look it up again. Nope, it says right in there that Islam is the religion of the state and that the parliament cannot pass laws that contradict the laws of Islam. I don't know about you but that sounds just a tad theocratic to me.

It's wierd how I keep saying these things, and you deny them, and then I show you the proof and then you ignore it. And then you claim I've got a closed mind. I think we're dangerously close to an explosion of uncontained irony.

Evanston said...

Keith M., don't waste your time with tlaloc. Facts and solutions are alien to his/her area of expertise, which is revisionism: change facts, the definitition of words, the standards of success, then shoot out in an incoherent "argument." Tomorrow marks a particularly dark day for tlaloc: an election in Iraq. Tlaloc refuses to predict the future of the country. He/she dares not recognize that the difficulty of change in Iraq demonstrates the magnitude of its importance, and that it will continue. No longer will we have a country that invades its neighbors nor commits mass murder on its own citizens. Iraq is a great testimony to those who love what is good. I know from prior posts that tlaloc is a sophisticate who looks down on those who use the term "evil." Check this site in 1 year and I guarantee tlaloc will continue to post pseudo-intellectual comments while Iraq gets better and better.

Francis J. Beckwith said...

"Not everyone wants democracy, and it has nothing to do with racism. It has to do with democracy being a system that has strengths and flaws. For some the flaws are worth it for others it's not. The people of Iraq have been pushing for a theocracy. If Sistani ran for president he'd win in a second. As it is Islam has already been enshrined in their constitution and sharia in their laws."

Totalitarianism is now just an act between consenting adults. Lovely. This is what relativism gets you: thinking that totalitarianism is just another "lifestyle choice."

James Elliott said...

This is the most disgusting thing I have ever read. Our country's very first enshrined right is to criticize our government without fear of reprisal. The First Amendment exists to make dissent and criticism a legitimate political exercise devoid of the fear and imprisonment that was rampantly practiced under the English royals. The fact that Dr. London's entire argument rests upon a straw man that he then shoots flaming arrows of vitriolic stupidity at just makes it all the more putrid.

Perhaps Dr. London should consider that such sentiments, by wholly undermining who we are and what we are supposed to stand for as a country - liberty - truly enable the enemy he so abhors (al-Qaida, not the Democrats). By demolishing dearly held values and beliefs in the name of jingoistic patriotism, Dr. London assists al-Qaida in their most fervent desire: the end of the United States as we know it.

James Elliott said...

"I've heard of North Korea and Iran, both under mounting international pressure; do you have a "vast" list to share?"

In addition to the aforementioned North Korea and Iran, we have several countries that are about five minutes away from fundamentalist revolutions and/or under totalitarian rule with either aspirations or access to WMDs: Pakistan (got 'em), Kazakhstan (sitting on a big ol' Soviet stockpile), Uzbekistan, Syria, Jordan, Yugoslavia, Libya, Sudan, and (the former) Congo. India's got 'em. Israel's got 'em and won't admit it. Brazil wants 'em. And that's just off the top of my head.

James Elliott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tlaloc said...

"Totalitarianism is now just an act between consenting adults. Lovely. This is what relativism gets you: thinking that totalitarianism is just another "lifestyle choice." "

Come on Francis, surely you don't think that there are only two decision making systems: democratic and totalitarian. There are a large variety of systems. At the most basic you have consensus, authoritarian, consultative, and democratic. From there you can mix and match to an infinite number of real world systems. Our own federal government mixes democratic and autocratic decision making substantially. To then claim that democratic methods are so superior to all other forms as to be the only kind of system a people could want is silly.

Some people want to live under a theocracy. I dare say a few are on this very board. It's not my thing but so long as they don't try to make ME live under it I don't really object.

"Democracy" has been used as a catch phrase and loaded term in american politics to the point that most americans never think about it.

I wrote a long post on the limitations of democracy and especially macro-democracy here, perhaps before you deride all other systems you'd like to read it:

http://tlaloc.gnn.tv/blogs/1607/Issues_with_Macro_Democracy

James Elliott said...

Totalitarianism is now just an act between consenting adults. Lovely. This is what relativism gets you: thinking that totalitarianism is just another "lifestyle choice."

That's so completely beyond what Tlaloc wrote. He demonstrated that, given a choice, some people (in this case the Iraqis) are willing to choose to live under non-Western-democratic forms of government, such as theocracy. It has nothing to do with relativism, Dr. Beckwith, something you either glossed over or completely failed to comprehend in your eagerness to score points with a pithy comment.

Tlaloc said...

Tell you what, here's a quandry to those who maintain that things are going much better in Iraq than it would appear:

The Bush administrtion has all along tried to call the insurgents terrorists. The Bush administration has also firmly said we do not negotiate with terrorists. The Bush Administration is now in negotiations with the insurgents (see here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/26/AR2005062600096.html)

Now why would they be doing that if things are going so well for them on the ground? I mean here they are losing considerable face by either having to admit that not all insurgents are terrorists or that they didn't really mean it when they said no negotiation with terrorists. Why do that when you are making great progress on the ground and everybody is really positive?

No reason at all. The only reason the US military and government would start back room talks with "terrorists" like this is because it's their only way of salvaging something they can try to peg as a victory.

Devang said...

The moderate in me wants to say hopefully something good will come out of the constructive criticsm, the speeches made by Biden, Lugar and the like... but I don't think you're being fair...

The propoganda machine against US interests in the middle-east has been running for a long time now, But after not fulfilling the purpose of the war, and abu-ghraib, The critism you're talking about humanizes us more than it can be used as pure propoganda in the middle-east. This is critisicm of the best kind, since there were mistakes made, The democrats are helping the US image more by admitting the mistakes, the republicans, All of them need to fall in line.

"This nation will suffer before the critics learn their lesson."

What lesson is that? Mentioning 'WMD' in every speech up to the war to sell the war and never mentioning how bad the reconstruction efforts would be? I am looking at the past, because it shows proven incompetence, while Bush at present shows mere signs of understanding just what is truly needed.

This is still about saving face for the republicans, just as long as they can make it look like a victory, and continue being hopeful. Remember the opponents in the nest election!

KeithM, Indy said...

Devang - maybe you ought to read his last few speechs, and see which department is going to be in charge of post-war stability and recontruction from now on.

connie deady said...

I waited a bit to cool off before saying anything in response to this.

I'm really, really tired of people challenging the patriotism of those who oppose the war. It is possible to disagree regarding what policy makes our nation safer and better without those disagreements being politically motivated.

Personally I suspect that many of the Democrats now challenging the war thought it was a bad idea in the first place, but recognized it was political suicide to oppose the war after 9/11. So to say they are doing so now for political reasons misses the point that only now do they find it politically possible to state their opinions.

But what is more distressing to me is the suggestion that legitimate arguments about foreign policy are treasonous if you do not support what the current administration is doing. As a former Vietnam protestor I can say that I have no problems decrying an unjust war in the name of sanity and opposing wrong when you see it.

Is it right to allow your country to continue down a path that you believe is wrong on so many levels, wrong because we weren't in iminent danger, wrong because we have no right to unilaterally invade another country for preventive reasons, wrong because the cost isn't worth the gains, wrong because it is only making us weaker around the world, costing us prestige and the good will we had after 9/11, wrong because we have made al qaeda stronger by allowing them to expand into Iraq and wrong because we have alienated millions of Muslims who weren't fanatical.

So you're suggesting that if I see what I believe is wrong both morally and strategically I should shut up? That I have no right to speak out and oppose wrong?

I think Tom would agree with me that Leo Strauss believed people of intelligence and morality must speak up when they see wrong. Would the Germans have been able to exterminate so many Jewish people and bring the world into war if German people of conscience had spoken up?

JC said...

The First Amendment exists to make dissent and criticism a legitimate political exercise devoid of the fear and imprisonment that was rampantly practiced under the English royals.
(and other similar posts)

Freedom of speech is good and necessary, but it is not an unlimited, absolute right. Our government even condoned censorship of the press during WW2. I'm not saying that anyone who opposes a war is a traitor (and neither was London); but it is possible for extreme criticism to come very close to (if not equal to) treason.

From dictionary.com:

Main Entry: trea·son
Pronunciation: 'trEz-&noun
Function: noun
Etymology: Anglo-French treison crime of violence against a person to whom allegiance is owed, literally, betrayal, from Old French traïson, from traïr to betray, from Latin tradere to hand over, surrender
: the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one's country or of assisting its enemies in war; specifically : the act of levying war against the United States or adhering to or giving aid and comfort to its enemies by one who owes it allegiance —trea·son·ous /-&s/ adjective


Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, © 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.



treason

n 1: a crime that undermines the offender's government [syn: high treason, lese majesty] 2: disloyalty by virtue of subversive behavior [syn: subversiveness, traitorousness] 3: an act of deliberate betrayal [syn: treachery, betrayal, perfidy]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University



If you read carefully, comments by the likes of Ward Churchill certainly seem to fit in some of these catagories. Again, not everyone who opposes the war is a traitor! No one is saying that---but freedom of speech can be abused.

And incidentally, I think we should be more careful about accusing the president of lying. If he is/was really lying, he'll be tried and convicted of treachery or something. But I don't think it's treason to think/say the president is lying :)

KeithM, Indy said...

jc - I've always liked "if the shoe fits" line of reasoning. I think what worries dissenters so much is that the shoe may very well fit.

*********

connie deady - it's a little late to be arguing that we shouldn't have gone to war. We are at war.

So what are your ideas for getting out now, and what are the likely ramifications if those ideas are put into action.

What are the risks of leaving Iraq before the situation there is stable?

**********

Some 15.5 million Iraqis voted today.

Guess they really don't want a democracy.

Oh, wait a minute, they do want a democracy. And we'll most likely see that a majority did not vote for a theocracy.

Tlaloc said...

"Oh, wait a minute, they do want a democracy. And we'll most likely see that a majority did not vote for a theocracy."

I'll take that bet. Let's see how well the UIA and IIP do shall we? Those are the two parties that can most easily be qualified as Islamic/Theocratic.

James Elliott said...

Keith, I agree that the voting is very promising. However, to call it a vote for democracy and not theocracy is more than a little premature. Iraq is essentially divided along sectarian lines - Shi'a, Sunni, and Kurd. Each group is voting because they a) want as much power as possible for their sectarian view and b) want to limit the opportunities of their sectarian opponents.

For example, the UIA, the principle Shi'a political entity, is widely viewed as incompetent, but the Shi'a are locked behind it in the name of sectarian unity. The UIA's militant wing, the Badr Brigades, are active in death squad-esque persecutions of Sunnis.

And that doesn't even begin to address the Constitution that was voted in place that enshrines Islamic law above any secular law. Don't confuse the mechanisms of democracy with what we would recognize as democracy. Think of it this way: In this country, we have conservative/liberal splits. In Iraq, they have sectarian (ie. theological) splits.

The Sunnis are voting this time, but what will most likely occur is an INCREASE in sectarian violence. You see, the Constitution in Iraq already enshrined the sectarian agendas of the Shi'a and Kurds. The Sunnis merely hope to roll back some of their gains. Unfortunately, all three sectarian groups portray their views as the national consensus. All indications are that this will lead to more conflict, not less. The most prominent Sunni group, the National Dialogue Council, called for a five day cease-fire so that the Sunnis might demonstrate via the voting process the legitimacy of their grievances. And THEN they can take up arms again.

The Sunnis were enticed to vote through the prospect of a one-shot constitutional amendment process. The Shi'a SCIRI has already declared that it will not allow such a process, and it is extremely unlikely that the Sunnis will gain the seats in parliament required to ensure such an overhaul.

The voting is an important milestone, but it's really rather premature, and against all common sense, to be terribly optimistic at this point. If, in a few weeks time, I'm proven wrong, I'll be more than happy to say so.

James Elliott said...

JC, the definition of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, as applied by the likes of Dr. London, is so broad as to encompass supporters of the war. Think I'm wrong?

1) The war in Iraq drew resources away from the war on terror, giving al Qaida time to correct its sloppy tactics, making it harder to catch.

2) The war in Iraq has created a surge in jihadist recruiting not seen before March, 2003, as the U.S. fulfills the greatest "fears" that al Qaida had been stoking by invading an Arab nation filled with Muslim holy sites.

3) The war in Iraq has created a fantastic training/proving ground for terrorist/insurgence tactics and those who would learn them.

Those who support the continuation of this front on the war on terror provide ample aid to the enemy by enabling them to learn and perfect tactics, recruit, and train said recruits.

The pendulum swings both ways, man.

Tlaloc said...

"For example, the UIA, the principle Shi'a political entity, is widely viewed as incompetent, but the Shi'a are locked behind it in the name of sectarian unity."

And more to the point the Shia will overwhelmingly support the UIA because Sistani basically said so. He didn't directly endorse the party but his rulings make it pretty hard for any Shia who follows him (which is basically all of them) not to vote UIA.

In case Keith isn't keeping up on these things, Sistani is the chief cleric for the Shia in Iraq. What's that word for when policy is decided by religious authorities? Theo-something....

Tlaloc said...

"And incidentally, I think we should be more careful about accusing the president of lying. If he is/was really lying, he'll be tried and convicted of treachery or something."

The only way for that to happen is if the congress pushes for it. Given that both houses are controlled by the president's party how likely is that? You really think mainstream republicans will trash their own highest party member regardless of how clear the evidence is? Of course not, they have been trying to prevent an investigation at all much less call for action on the results.

Devang said...

The Iraqi's voted, I only hope the best for their democracy. Anyone would be mad to think otherwise offcourse.

I agree with connie, and tlaloc's last post. Until investigations determine there wasn't use of selective intelligence. The political atmosphere is just going to get worse. The critisicm over how the war was handled humanizes the US.

Devang - maybe you ought to read his last few speechs, and see which department is going to be in charge of post-war stability and recontruction from now on.

The last few speeches? you're surely being fecitious, this war is 33 months old now. And his last few speeches have been because of his approval ratings. The whitehouse's policy of 'repeat same short message' has led to a neglectful whitehouse.

connie deady said...

Connie deady - it's a little late to be arguing that we shouldn't have gone to war. We are at war.

So what are your ideas for getting out now, and what are the likely ramifications if those ideas are put into action.

What are the risks of leaving Iraq before the situation there is stable?


It's never too late to admit you made a mistake and change course. As long as you call the Dem's and me treasonous for raising legitimate questions, you're never going to get one bit of trust from us that Bush actually has one clue what he is doing.

Who's being partisan, really?


I have no idea what we should do now, frankly, but what does that have to do with Dr. London's post calling those who oppose the war treasonous.

KeithM, Indy said...

james - I put those little weasel words "most likely" in my statements on purpose...

"And we'll most likely see that a majority did not vote for a theocracy."

Of course, I suppose since many liberals look at Christian Republicans in Congress as creating a theocracy in our own country. So I'm not going to bother trying to argue that ones religion, even in Iraq, may not exactly align with the way one governs.

As with everything, we'll have to wait and see. And let the Iraqis decide for themselves how they want to be governed. Now that they are free, and have increasing stability and security in their country.

*************

1) The war in Iraq drew resources away from the war on terror, giving al Qaida time to correct its sloppy tactics, making it harder to catch.

And what specific resources were drawn away from hunting al Queda. CENTCOM has troops in at least a dozen countries hunting al Queda.

We are still netting a good deal of terrorists as well.

So, I see NO GAIN and NO LOSS.

2) The war in Iraq has created a surge in jihadist recruiting not seen before March, 2003, as the U.S. fulfills the greatest "fears" that al Qaida had been stoking by invading an Arab nation filled with Muslim holy sites.

But on the flip side of that, formerly autocratic Arab states are now dipping their toes in the pool of democratic change. That would be the root cause we need to fix the most in the Middle East.

We've also placed ourselves smack dab in the middle of the 3 biggest sources of terrorist in the world. Saudi Arabia is slowly starting to see it our way. Syria and Iran are becomming isolated on the diplomatic front.

I see a NET GAIN in this area.

3) The war in Iraq has created a fantastic training/proving ground for terrorist/insurgence tactics and those who would learn them.

It has also created a killing ground for those same terrorist trainees. And the terrorists don't have all that many tactics that they've used. Car bombs, suicide bombers, snipers, and ambushes. Hardly anything revolutionary there.

I see a NET GAIN on this as well.

It is also creating an environment where the US is adapting its counter-insurgency/stablization tactics. We are learning and adapting at a far greater rate then the terrorists.

**************

connie - because what we do now is the only thing that matters to our troops, and the people of Iraq.

And if you think liberating 25 million people is a "mistake" then I feel sorry for you.

You can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. The results will still be good.

KeithM, Indy said...

devang - well, fine don't read them. Your loss.

Tlaloc said...

"So I'm not going to bother trying to argue that ones religion, even in Iraq, may not exactly align with the way one governs."

Probably best you refrained from that argument seeing as how they put Islamic law in their constitution. I suspect that argument wouldn't have gone well for you. Really.



"As with everything, we'll have to wait and see. And let the Iraqis decide for themselves how they want to be governed. Now that they are free, and have increasing stability and security in their country."

??
Even though there is a ton of violence and explosions and mortar attacks every day when there weren't during Saddam's reign? even though there is no constant supply of water and electricity even though there was during Saddam's reign? Even though there are government torture chambers and death squads EXACTLY like there were in Saddam's day? Yeah that sounds like increased stability and security.

Quick question: if their security is improved now then why do they need over a hundred thousand foreign troops? And even having those troops they are having vastly more violence than before. I don't get how that adds up to increased security. Please elaborate...

Take a look at Iraqi life expectancy:
http://atlas.globalhealth.org/indicator_detail.cfm?IndicatorID=117&Country=IQ

notice it was at it's best in the 1990? It went down significantly as the US got involved so that in 2005 it was only at the same level as in 1980. Gosh 1980...1980... who was in charge of Iraq in 1980 and 1990? Why it was Saddam Hussein! That's so weird though. Isn't that weird. I mean here you were just telling me about the increased security and stability and the numbers show the opposite.

connie deady said...

Of course others can look at our invasion of Iraq and find net loss.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article332841.ece
Connie - because what we do now is the only thing that matters to our troops, and the people of Iraq.

What matters is how it affects our nation, our safety and our soul. I care less what the troops think than we do the right thing.

See what bothers me about yours and Dr. London's position is that you assume we are doing the right thing in Iraq. Are we not allowed to debate if we are doing the right thing? Must we always assume our government is right. To me what matters is standing up for what I personally believe to be right. I want America to do it right. In my heart and the heart of many, many Americans, what we are doing is not right. I'm sorry that you are to blind to see that, and that it's not political

James Elliott said...

Of course, I suppose since many liberals look at Christian Republicans in Congress as creating a theocracy in our own country.

Straw man. No bearing on argument, not a refutation on point.

So I'm not going to bother trying to argue that ones religion, even in Iraq, may not exactly align with the way one governs.

That may be so in Western style democracies, but again, you're confusing the methods with the intent. As Tlaloc and I have both pointed out, the only group with a nominally secular (i.e. not governing from a sectarian position) interest is the Sunnis, who have been actively disenfranchised and are now playing a very poor game of "catch-up." Someone earlier pointed out that there have been fatwas issued to vote in the Iraqi election. What that person forgot to mention was that those fatwas were to vote for certain candidates of certain religious positions. And you still haven't gotten around the whole "Islam embedded in the Constitution of Iraq" thing.

When are you going to offer something substantive in refutation?

And what specific resources were drawn away from hunting al Queda. CENTCOM has troops in at least a dozen countries hunting al Queda.

I hate to break it to you, man, but even military resources are finite. What makes more sense? Blanket Afghanistan in U.S. troops and eviscerating our assailant, or making men, materiel, and money less available by sticking them in Iraq for the foreseeable future? You can spread your troops thin, like we have now, or you can use the never-disproved maxim of concentrating your resources. Hmm. Now, I'm only an amateur military scholar, but I'm going with the likes of Clausewitz, Clark, and Zinni on this one.

But on the flip side of that, formerly autocratic Arab states are now dipping their toes in the pool of democratic change. That would be the root cause we need to fix the most in the Middle East.

The most erroneous assumption yet. Who is to say that the results of the democratic process will be to our liking? After all, all indications are that our efforts in Iraq led to the ouster of reformists in Iran, and now the ayatollahs' butt-buddies in Iraq are poised to be at the head of the single largest player in what will emerge as Iraq's coalition government. Gee, that sounds like all kinds of favorable to me. (/sarcasm) What states are playing with democracy? Saudi Arabia, where over half the constituency is denied a vote and there were no opposition parties? Egypt, whose elections were rigged? The only ray of hope on that front is Lebanon, and even then, the Syrian loyalists won. And we didn't even have anything to do with Lebanon. The infinite horizon thing doesn't work as an argument, man.

We've also placed ourselves smack dab in the middle of the 3 biggest sources of terrorist in the world. Saudi Arabia is slowly starting to see it our way. Syria and Iran are becomming isolated on the diplomatic front.

*cough cough* Bullhonkey! *cough cough* Saudi Arabia is still chock full of Wahhabi schools and mullahs funded by members of the royal family. They've always cracked down on al Qaeda because al Qaeda has always wanted the King's head on a platter. Iran's been isolated on the diplomatic front for nearly thirty years. Explain to me how that's improved things there. Let's see, it allowed the ayatollahs to retain power. Then, in the last few years as the isolation thawed, reformists started to gain power and momentum. And then, boom, we isolate them again, and the ayatollahs regain their power. Woo flipping hoo. Syria has always been the black sheep of the Arab world. It hasn't changed the way it's done business for nearly forty years, what with the Baathists still firmly in place.

Also, Iran is not a principle source of jihadists. And while you're busy celebrating their isolation, recruitment is up in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Way to go.

It has also created a killing ground for those same terrorist trainees. And the terrorists don't have all that many tactics that they've used. Car bombs, suicide bombers, snipers, and ambushes. Hardly anything revolutionary there.

Ask any veteran. Ain't no substitute for real-world experience. At least you admit that we created a new front in the war on terror instead of engaged one. Hmm, let's analyze that strategy: "I haven't won on one front yet, so I'm going to open up another." And it worked so well for Napoleon and Hitler.

It is also creating an environment where the US is adapting its counter-insurgency/stablization tactics. We are learning and adapting at a far greater rate then the terrorists.

I really don't see how you can make that assertion. Yes, the U.S. is learning fourth-gen warfare again after a forty-year hiatus. But we're still in the remedial course - we're learning quickly because it's stuff we forgot we already knew. Once the curve flattens out a bit, then you might be able to make your statement with some sort of semblance of factual backing.

You can do the right thing for the wrong reasons. The results will still be good.

The results will never occur if you never admit that your reasoning was wrong.

devang - well, fine don't read them. Your loss.

Dude, there was nothing new in them. I listened to the speech yesterday and was minimally impressed. Bush must have a new speechwriter because he actually managed to attempt to refute some critics' points. Unfortunately, he fell back on the circular, infinite horizon, no definition of victory thing and undermined the progress he made.

Tlaloc said...

Official: Al-Zarqawi caught, released
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/12/15/zarqawi.captured/index.html

Sorry got distratced there for a second... someone was saying something about military competency and increased security and stability... Something like that...

KeithM, Indy said...

I guess it's either wrap it up in an hour, w/ commercials for you guys, or it's just not worth it.

You seem to expect everything to happen overnight.

Talk about floating in the clouds.

Tlaloc said...

"You seem to expect everything to happen overnight."

Yeah! I mean who expects any results after three years and 218 billion dollars? Why that's madness...

connie deady said...

I guess it's either wrap it up in an hour, w/ commercials for you guys, or it's just not worth it.

You seem to expect everything to happen overnight.


I have some sympathy with the "we're in this mess now, how do we get out of it" argument, I really do.

But nobody asked me if I wanted to spend hundreds and billions of dollars and thousands of American soldiers lives with a goal of occupying Iraq in order to make it a kind of democracy. I wouldn't have signed up for it, nor would most Americans.

Why do I say that? Because I still rankle from the treasonous and Fifth Column arguments made by Dr. London in his original treatise. It's not like there aren't significant questions to raise.

Any rational decision making has to include questions of costs versus benefits (both tangible and moral). So that means we have to ask what measurements do we have that would indicate enough "stability" for us to begin withdrawaing, how long do we anticipate they will take and what are going to be the costs and lives in order to reach those measurement milestones?

It's a little hard to have that important rational discussion when people are pointing fingers at you and caling you names for wanting answers as opposed to just "trust me" from people who have already badly bolluxed the situation in the first place.

JC said...

Lest I am criticized for challenging criticism, let it be noted that I believe presidents should be criticized when it is appropriate to do so. What I’m getting at is criticism that verges on treason. When polls say that defeat serves us right, they either want to embarrass the administration without regard to the risks involved or they actually think a defeat for the administration is justifiable. That kind of criticism is beyond the pale.

Did no one read this paragraph? Connie, did you not see this or my post? No one is accusing you of being a traitor. The author was suggesting that the kind of irrational criticism from people like Ward Churchill and Michael Moore might border on being treasonous.

Here's an example. Suppose we discover abuse at a detention center somewhere; maybe some pictures are leaked or something. Great, let's have an investigation, throw some guards in jail and be done with it.

But let's not try to find and publish more pictures of the same abuse. Let's not equate the abuse at the detention center with the ubiquitous (and generally more heinous) crimes of the Saddam government. "Abuse" doesn't even describe the kinds of things he and his people did. True, thousands of soldiers (and Iraqis) have died in this war, but Saddam is responsible for the dilberate, cold murders of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as permanent injuries to more resulting from the widespread use of weapons of mass destruction.

There's nothing wrong with speaking your mind and disagreeing with the government. We have a responsibility to keep hyperbole in check when doing so. Maybe the war was a mistake, maybe our president has completely screwed up, but he is *nothing* like Saddam (or Hitler or Eichmann), and we are *nothing at all* like the terrorists (or Nazis), in terms of crimes committed. That's the kind of criticism that might border on treason, given the dictionary definitions.

In case you didn't see it the first 5 times, Connie, none of us thinks you are a traitor.

JC said...

I have to say I wonder about the utility of these kinds of discussions. I don't see much of a point, except maybe we are trying to find the limits of free speech. If that's the case, perhaps there are better topics that could be used. This one tends to shift into a debate on the merits of the war, Bush, etc. Kind of like trying to discuss judicial activism with someone at a gay rights parade.

KeithM, Indy said...

connie - ah, but our representatives were asked, and declared them as goals...

***********

The need for regime change and stability in the Middle East.

Our interest in "[promoting] the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime"

James Elliott said...

Here's an example. Suppose we discover abuse at a detention center somewhere; maybe some pictures are leaked or something. Great, let's have an investigation, throw some guards in jail and be done with it.

But what do you do when further investigation reveals that it's not just one prison, not just a few guards, and that we haven't even been made fully aware of the full extent of the abuse?

But let's not try to find and publish more pictures of the same abuse. Let's not equate the abuse at the detention center with the ubiquitous (and generally more heinous) crimes of the Saddam government. "Abuse" doesn't even describe the kinds of things he and his people did.

But again, that's kind of the point, JC. We have testimony from people tortured under Hussein's regime as to what happened to them. And then we have pictures, testimony, policies and manuals pointing to what our government allows to occur to its detainees. And some of the time the two tales are identical. Read your Schopenhauer.

True, thousands of soldiers (and Iraqis) have died in this war, but Saddam is responsible for the dilberate [sic], cold murders of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as permanent injuries to more resulting from the widespread use of weapons of mass destruction.

And there are millions of people who don't see how causing thousands of deaths and permanent injuries again somehow makes up for that. I'm not one of them, but I can see where they're coming from. Is it really that hard to grasp for you? Especially when this country has failed to live up to its responsibilities for the enabling of Hussein's and others' terrors and is now running a war with some of those same enablers handling the whole thing?

That's the kind of criticism that might border on treason, given the dictionary definitions.

Dude, hyperbole, no matter how repugnant, cannot ever rise to the level of treason, except to reactionaries. Even - especially - given the dictionary definitions, there's a reason the Sedition Act was killed. Unless actively fomenting revolt, with a reasonable expectation that said revolt will actually occur, speech, by Constitutional right, cannot rise to the level of treason. You can speak all you want to whether it is morally correct or irresponsible to use such terms, but treason? Never. Such accusations are, in themselves, unpatriotic, unAmerican, and anti-liberty.

John N. Haskell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John N. Haskell said...

WHEN WAR BECOMES TREASONOUS

How can you expect Democrats NOT to criticize the war when most Dems in Congress voted against it. If you go to war against their will, they aren't going to shut up and they shouldn't. To do so would be treasonous to the principles our nation was founded upon; namely, freedom from foreign entanglement and democratic principles of free speech. As I see it, our duties to free speech supercede any national security concerns, seeing as we shouldn't be so mired in Middle East events in the first place. We left the beaten path during World War I, which, ironically, is when national security becomes a "proper" justification of the travesties our constitution faced during the first twenty-five years of the twentieth century. War, in almost every case in our history, has only led to a breakdown of freedoms at home. So, should we call war treasonous to our American principles?

connie deady said...

JC, thank you for your responses. Here is my problem. The article talks about Dean, Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, etc and equates them with the treasonous responses. I don't know that anyone of them have said they want us to lose.