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Just Another Exchange On A Blog

June 11, 2007

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is the ability to engage in debate with other netizens on all kinds of sites (including my own).  There are advantages to having my own blog, and one of them is the fact that I can to use it as a resource. In other words, as I collect more links and information to make my own arguments here, that means that I have them readily available for use on this or other sites.  It certainly beats searching all over the net for some link that you may have used, say, six months ago.  Sometimes I can even copy/paste arguments I’ve already posted if the context is appropriate (although I tend to view that as a bit lazy, it can save some time).  A perfect example of this concept in action was in a response I posted on America’s North Shore Journal: The Truth About American Deaths in Iraq

(text I entered over there is in blue)

ChenZhenon 11 Jun 2007 at #

Many good points have been brought up already, such as the distinction between a ‘terrorist’ (or as I would prefer, someone who would otherwise be a threat to the US here at home) and ‘insurgents’ (who aren’t), and the fact that body count numbers really mean nothing. I will add one more thing, however…I think too many people see what we’re doing in Iraq is fighting a ‘war’. I disagree. We won the war, but are losing the battle against the insurgency. The reason why the ROE’s are so restrictive in this conflict is exactly because of this distinction. Fighting an insurgency isn’t about body counts or simply “killing the bad guys”. It is a complex and organic problem that constantly forces you to adjust and react. In fact, most of the effective counter-insurgency tactics don’t involve killing anybody. It’s more about winning ‘hearts and minds’, political maneuvering, and building alliances with the locals. THAT’s why the ROE’s are what they are.Anyway, if you really wanted to prove that we’re having success in Iraq, than you post evidence that we’re having having an effect towards quelling the insurgency as a whole. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it yet. In my opinion (and based on all that pre-war intel that’s finally seeing the light of day), the whole mission was an extreme longshot from the get-go. Add to that the incompetence and arrogance of people like Rumsfeld, and you have the impossibly FUBAR situation we find ourselves in today.

Just my opinion…

Stevend

ChenZen,

You said, “if you really wanted to prove that we’re having success in Iraq, than you post evidence that we’re having having an effect towards quelling the insurgency as a whole. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it yet.”

Response – that’s BS. You are obviously getting your info from NBC and CNN and the like. I suggest you visit Michael Yon’s site or the Centcom site to get more balance.

Fine, fair enough. However, I think the fact that the “surge” was deemed necessary is evidence enough that our battle against the insurgency isn’t going so well. And there are multiple polls that say that the insurgent attacks get the stamp of approval from the general population. That ain’t a good sign when it comes to fighting an insurgency.

You also said, “In my opinion (and based on all that pre-war intel that’s finally seeing the light of day), the whole mission was an extreme longshot from the get-go. Add to that the incompetence and arrogance of people like Rumsfeld, and you have the impossibly FUBAR situation we find ourselves in today.”

Response – That’s more BS – maybe you get your info from the DNC, not the MSM. It is difficult work to be sure, but it’s not a long-shot and we are winning. The major problem – as has been mentioned elsewhere – is that 90% of the media are democrats and they are treating the War – a War, for pete’s sake – with the same flippant attitude that they treat Paris Hilton.

LOL. Yea , good ol’ Rummy. I don’t need to go to the DNC to know that Rummy was a joke. Forget the generals and troops that spoke out against him, or the fact that he resigned, Rummy hung himself with his own words. Flippant about the war you say? Like “I doubt six months“? What a howler. Or how about this gem: “Well, I think that anyone who looks at it with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight has to say that there was not an anticipation that the level of insurgency would be anything approximating what it is“. Good grief. The fact is that report after report after report told these guys that this was going to be pretty much exactly as it has turned out. That’s what I mean by longshot from the get-go. Yet they act like they had no idea. And that’s why I say incompetence and arrogance. But , by all means, keep blaming the MSM if you want to (the MSM who, incidentally, played a role in selling the war to begin with).

Look, I don’t like to sound like a defeatist. But I thought this invasion was reckless and foolish from day 1, even when I thought there were WMD’s. Now that we’re 4+ years into it, and seeing all this stuff, it’s downright infuriating. Realistically, I think we probably had a window there where we could have pulled this off if it had been done correctly. But I think that window passed a while ago. We’ve overstayed our welcome. I wish I could say that I see positive things in staying there and putting in the effort. I wish I could.

Every one of those links (and some of the text) I used were used on previous posts I’ve made here on my blog. Paradoxically, this post will also act as a resource, as I have gathered quite a few of them right here. I know this is nothing new to regular bloggers, but I just thought I’d point it out.  I’m kinda posting it here for my own documentation purposes, but if you want to comment, feel free.

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41 comments

  1. You take a few shots at Donald Rumsfeld. Interestingly, Rumsfeld unlike George W. Bush, was a life-long winner. He was a top wrestler in high school and at Princeton. He was a hot shot naval aviator(Albeit in peacetime). He was a huge success in government and in business and a ferocious competitor in squash.

    Maybe he should have quit while he was ahead.

    Bush on the other hand has been a lifelong loser and failure. Was it GW Bush that turned a lifelong winner like Rumsfeld into a disgraced loser?

    Or was it a matter of pride going before the fall?

    One thing is clear the two of them were instrumental in creating a mess.


  2. Well I thought it was pretty common knowledge that Rummy’s leadership was a disaster. It’s interesting that I still run into people who imply I’m engaging in political hackery for pointing it out though. I’m just not sure if this was a simple case of incompetence and arrogance (like I said), or if they really wanted this mess. Maybe they just figured as long as we bombed someone it would show how ‘tough’ we were after 9/11 and all those pesky little details about reconstruction and the possibility of a civil war was just secondary. Who knows?

    BTW- I dunno about the blue text there. It looks weird. hmmmm. Oh well.


  3. There are a certain number of people who feel that we had to do “something’ to show how tough we were and to not mess with us.

    Do you know what they call attacking innocent people to scare other people?

    Answer: TERRORISM


  4. I’m not going to try to defend Rummy’s personality disorder or pretend that W. is a great communicator. Both of those weaknesses are valid. That said, I think the civilian leadership did make the right judgement to overthrow Saddam. I also think many of the most often criticized elements of the overall strategy were good decisions and will look better over time.

    Knowing what we think we know now regarding WMD, it’s absolutely amazing to me that everyone focuses on the “stockpile” angle of that issue. There were no chemical stockpiles…so what. Accoording to Kaye and others the plans to reconstitute those programs were in place. Iraqi sanctions were all but gone and a middle-east with Iran and Iraq having a mini arms race to see who could get the bomb first would have been unmanageable. Everyone would need one! That’s the path we were headed. We tried before to cozy up to those the ME tyrants and it does not work. Think also in the context of the region at large, the growing throngs of wahabbi suicide terrorists, our special relationship with Israel and the world’s reliance on the region’s oil, and there are many very bad scenarios that might have unfolded. The idea of letting the scenario play out and see what happens would have been ultimately foolish – playing Russian Roulette with the future. What we have now is a difficult task, for sure, but it is not on the threshold of spiraling out of control (unless we just leave – and that will not happen).

    Should we have gone in with a more troops? Maybe, but I believe that was largely a military decision from Franks – not the “arrogant” politicos. BTW – A larger footprint may well have led to more – not fewer casualities given the nature of the engagement. Should the military have been authorized to use more force early in the occupation (remember Fellujah) to put down the rebellion earlier? Maybe, but then World opinion would have turned even more against the action.

    And BTW, at the same time that Rummy & Chaney were making their “six-months” comments, General Sanchez was making it clear that insurgencies last years, not months. The political leadership should not have been setting unrealistic expectations, but if you were paying attention at the time, what has ensued should not be a surprise.


  5. Think also in the context of the region at large, the growing throngs of wahabbi suicide terrorists, our special relationship with Israel and the world’s reliance on the region’s oil, and there are many very bad scenarios that might have unfolded. The idea of letting the scenario play out and see what happens would have been ultimately foolish – playing Russian Roulette with the future.

    Are you really going to make the argument that the invasion of Iraq was justified because of what might have happened years down the road? My goodness. By that rationale we’d have had nuclear armageddon with the Soviets 40 years ago. Going to war for Israel or for oil? I thought that was ‘moonbat’ territory. Anyway, that’s not how the war was sold to the American people. It was sold on connecting 9/11-al Qaeda-WMD-Saddam. Doesn’t that bother you?

    BTW- To be fair, I did forget this one:

    SEC. RUMSFELD: Not at all. If you think — let me take that, both pieces — the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.

    Brilliant!


  6. We invaded iraq to
    1. get control of their oil

    2. set up permanent military bases in Iraq

    3. bolster Israel

    ANYONE WHO THINKS WE INVADED IRAQ FOR SOME OTHER REASON SHOULD GET A LIFE.


  7. Well, if getting control of the oil was one of the goals, I guess we’re doing a shitty job at it. Maybe it was more about getting the oil out of the hands of Saddam.


  8. Just because GW Bush screwed up the PNAC agenda , does not mean that he did notinvade Iraq in order to carry out the PNAC agenda.

    GW Bush could screw up a wet dream.


  9. Does everyone on this board only think in slogans? Can someone please step forward who can understand the concept of a paragraph?

    The argument I made was about what was likely to happen and involves a regional context. Specifically, Saddam was likely to go nuclear when the sanctions evaporated. The Kaye report agrees with that conclusion. Saddam had a history of attacking his neighbors, had a history of gassing Iranians, Kurds and Shia, and was – in fact – seeking nuclear weapons. The box he was in was desinigrating. The regional context includes many things that make the situation very volitile: Oil, wahabbis and a nuclear armed Israel (who – like it or not – is our alley). Now, what would happend to the world if we let that situation unfold as it may? How long do you let that course unfold before you take action?

    It was the Clinton Admin., if you remember, that first said regime change in Iraq was the official US policy. The Bush admin (with the country still realing from 9-11) decided to implement it before – it was felt – the situation got out of hand. The Bush admin. put the issue up for a vote to the congress and a mojority of the congress (including most, but not all, democrats) voted to support.

    If there are serious disagreements with my thought process, I’d be glad to debate and learn. I can’t debate against silly slogans.


  10. It’s not a ‘board’, it’s just my blog. Anyone can post here.

    Anyway, we have gotten a bit sidetracked here. We’ve gone from debating whether or not we’re ‘winning’ to whether or not it was a wise thing to begin with. It’s probably my fault.

    I am well aware of the official policy of regime change and all that. We all know that Saddam was bad. I don’t think anyone is going to debate that here. But there is a reason that Clinton didn’t invade, which is related to the reason that Bush Sr. didn’t take out Saddam in Gulf War I. Iraq was a friggin tinderbox. The consensus of the intelligence community seemed convey that if you were going to invade Iraq, we were taking an enormous risk. This wasn’t an ordinary country. This was something that needed planning akin to a NASA mission to Mars.

    Instead of this effort being presented in this way, the American people were delivered the rosy predictions from people like Wolfowitz and Cheney, the arrogant execution under people like Rumsfeld, and reality of things like war profiteering and cronyism within the CPA. No one seemed prepared for what came after ‘gettin Saddam’. Since then it’s appears to have become one big political CYA fest, with our troops caught in the middle.

    I think that’s what people are so pissed about, really. It wasn’t so much the invasion itself but the way it was sold and executed. It was pretty shameful if you ask me. I think we’ll be paying the price for this (as Americans) for a long, long time.

    I respond on posts like the original North Shore one simply because I don’t think it’s as simple as ‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ anymore. You certainly can’t put some body counts up there and think that means anything. I think it has come down to the pros and cons of staying.


  11. stevend,

    Do you have any idea of how big is the US nuclear arsenal?

    Even if, indeed, Saddam manages to build a few nuclear weapons, it would be nothing compared to the weapons of the USA. The USA spends more on military than the next 12 countries combined! COMBINED !

    Sadddam attacking the USA would be the equivalent of Pee Wee Herman spitting in Mike Tyson’s face.

    No, Iraq was invaded to get control of Iraqi Oil, set up nuclear bases in Iraq and bolster Israel.

    Google PNAC and read in its own words the agenda of the Neoconservatives who put GW Bush in the White House and have run it with Bush as their front.Like Mein Kampf , it is rambling but the whole explaination of why we invaded Iraq is there.


  12. ChenZhen,

    There are many things you say that I can agree with. For sure the entire ME is a well-funded tinderbox. The history of the region, however, did not start in the year 2000. The west has been making mistakes in the region for a long time.

    The recent growth of suicide Wahabbi cult (that radical Islamic philosophy that is the undercurrent of al queada and their ilk) was/is a gathering storm. Whether we try to deal with that problem by going on the offense or just playing defense, we as Americans (and the rest of the world for that matter) will pay the price for dealing with the Wahabbi culture and the past mistakes for a long time. I believe strongly that going on the offense is/was the right thing to do. You can disagree, and I will still respect you in the morning. 🙂

    Beyond that, I’m not sure whether you are venting frustration that things in Iraq are not going better, or if you are part of the “Bush Lied” crowd? Are you agreeing, then, that invading Iraq was the right thing to do? Are you one of those who thinks that we should have gone in with a much bigger footprint? Or do you say it was the wrong thing to do and we should never have even contemplated the idea?

    Gasdocpol, An actual nuclear stand-off between US and Iraq is giving Iraq way too much credit. But Saddam & Co. with even a small nuclear aresenal would create many problems. A nuclear stand-off between Iraq and Iran or between Iraq and Israel is easy to imagine. A nuclear-armed Saddam could walk into Kuwait with much less chance of retaliation. These are scenarios that I think would have occurred in 5-10 years if we sat back and did nothing and there are hundreds of them.

    Regarding oil. I agree that the impact of these scenarios on the world’s oil market needs to be considered and is part of the reason that Iraq needed to be taken care of. To say that we want to “control” the oil, becomes a definitional issue. I’ve not heard of anything from the US govt. other than all of the money for the oil going to the Iraqis and divided as they see fit. So, to say we want to “control” it does not mean we want to get rich from it. Does your definition of control fall somewhere in-between? I do also believe that Israel plays a role in the mental juggling, but I don’t think it’s as sinister as you are making it out to be. They are our friend and a fellow democracy. We could not sit back and watch if they were attacked

    BTW – the Mein Kempf reference is more than over the top.


  13. Beyond that, I’m not sure whether you are venting frustration that things in Iraq are not going better, or if you are part of the “Bush Lied” crowd? Are you agreeing, then, that invading Iraq was the right thing to do? Are you one of those who thinks that we should have gone in with a much bigger footprint? Or do you say it was the wrong thing to do and we should never have even contemplated the idea?

    I’ve always felt that the war was reckless and an overreaction to 9/11. I was one of those guys that just shook my head as our troops marched toward Baghdad. I remember when the Saddam statue came down I thought to myself “OK, now what?”.

    The rest of my feelings came afterward. Bush lied? Yea, he did. He lied when he said “hopefully no military action”. I don’t believe the administration had any other intention. They decided they were going to invade and then fed the world a dog and pony show. Larger footprint? Yea, in 20/20 hindsight, it would appear that Sinsheki’ view of 400k troops would have been better. I know there was a lot of pre-war debate over troop levels. Rumsfeld originally wanted closer to 60K. It looks like we needed a much bigger presence there from the beginning.


  14. Saddam with even a small nuclear arsenal could still cause many problems.?

    Sure but Saddam was neither stupid nor crazy enough to attack the USA with them given the likely consequences. Which part of that do you not understand?

    The same goes for Iran.

    If you want to make unrealistic assumptions , you can make an arguement for anything.

    There was no good reason to invade Iraq and a lot of bad ones.

    Bush did lie.

    The PNAC website shows that its intentions are imperialistic and said in August 2000 that it hoped that 9/11 would happen. No one paid much attention to Mein Kampf either until after the fact.

    I agree that blatantly saying that the world would be better off under US leadership is over the top and that we need to be aggressive militarily in order to maintain the USA as the worlds only superpower in the 21st century is also over the top.

    Consider the name

    Project for the New American Century


  15. ChenZhen,

    A larger footprint might have been a better idea. Maybe. I think it would have led to more casualities and would have made the operation seem more imperalistic than was our intention, but we can disagree honrably on that point. Please realize, however, that it was not Rumsfield against the world in making that decision. Franks was a major advocate of the “small footprint” position as well. Sanchez and Casey were also small footprint advocates.

    Not that I expect to get an honest answer, but how often have you had doubts that turned out to be an over-pessimistic view. For example, did you also shake your head when we invoded Afghanastan with a very small force? To be honest, I was very nervous throughout and I’m still nervous. Insurgencies tend to last a long time unless they are brutally supressed. I think we are not a brutal people and so ruthlessly supressing the insurgency is not an option. So we need to be patient and persevere. Whether we are successful is a question of whether we will have the political will to finish the job.

    Gasdocpol,

    My assumptions are not unrealistic, in my opinion. Before 9/11, perhaps, I would have thought it as unrealistic that a small group of Arabs would wreck havok in NYC and kill 3,000 in a day. Before the OKC bombing I would have thought it as unrealistic that someone would kill 700 (including a day care center). Not any more. Now, I realize that there are very bad people out there. They will kill me – and you – if they see an opportunity.

    My point (and I apologize for repeating) is that a nuclear-armed Saddam in Iraq would have many options to attack western interests that do not involve a full frontal attack on the US. Economically, they could wreck havoc on the World’s oil supply; politically they could decide to expand their theocracies/dictatorships in ways that would make the world less stable; militarily, they could support groups like al quaeda in terrorist attacks against US interests. Remember, too, that Saddam had a history of doing dispicible things. Protecting American interests against these evils are good reasons for government action. I think we agree on that.

    We may disagree on whether a defensive posture or an offensive, attacking posture is the better way to address the problem. You think (correct me if I’m wrong) that it’s better to play defense – like in the cold war – and eventually the enemy will die on the vine. You may be right. The problem I have with that approac is that we would forever be looking over our shoulder. To stop the crazies we need to remove the cancer. So I advocate the offensive action.

    Iran is a different topic. The Iranian regime is also a bad bunch of folks, but they do not have the same history as Iraq and so equating them with Saddam is not right. That said, we may have to do something there, too, but it’s not clear to me what is right.

    Regarding the PNAC, I copied this from there web page: “The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.”

    Realistically, the world is currently a US hegemony. In my opinion, using this opportunity to promote personal freedoms is a good thing.

    Mein Kampf referred to the extermination of impure people….it was absolutely mad and had no redeaming qualities. The PNAC is in no way similar. The rambings of Ahmadinejad, however, are very similar to Mein Kampf. Maybe you are misdirecting your concerns.


  16. stevend,

    Your ASSUMPTION that if, indeed, Saddam had WMD (which he did not)he would use them against western interests and not expect to see the USA retaliate massively. (HE SAW THE FORCE OF THE USA IN DESERT STORM AND NOW SADDAM HAD A MUCH REDUCED MILITARY CAPABILITY.)

    Saddam gased the Kurds with the blessing of the Reagan administration. You have no doubt seen the photo of Rumsfeld smiling shaking hands with Saddam as the USA increased their bonds with Iraq.

    Criminals often try to use a self defense plea against the charge of murder.That is no different what Bush is attempting to do.

    Yes, Hitler also thought that the world would be better off under German leadership. Suppose the the radical Muslims had a web site and a think tank called Project for the New Muslim Century and they said that the world would be better off under Muslim leadership and that an event which could be used as a pretext for military action against the West would expedite their agenda.


  17. gasdocpol,

    I disagree with your criticisims regarding my assumpitions:

    1. Iraq had plans to re-institute the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. That’s in the Kaye report. No stockpiles were found. So that’s a certainty – 100%.

    2. Saddam had attacked his neighbors twice – Iran and Kuwait. The Iran-Iraq war was particularly nasty. He also had a history of being very nasty to his own citizens. I don’t think the US gov’t “blessed” any of his heinous acts (although they may have looked the other way and held their nose), but that’s not relevant. He was a very bad man. His sons were even crazier – So Saddam & Co. would act aggressively as soon as they could – 100% certainty.

    3. Throughout the 1990s, Saddam’s Iraq got away with much more than realize in terms of re-arming and supressing his people. The UN’s oil for food program was a nice little graf exchange between Iraq and the Russioans/Germans/French. Saddam had every reason to believe that he could act with impunitity – another 100% certainty.

    4. The Wahabbi’s are brain-washing children all over the middle east. It is the center-piece of the craziness today in the middle-east. Are they out to get us. You bet they are. 100% certain.

    BTW – I can’t tell whether your animosity is targeted at all of America or just the rebulican party, but you the comparisons of the American govt. and the reublican party, in my opinion, should be tempered. You make some good points, but the frequent Hitler comparisons show that either you don’t understand what Hitler was about or you don’t understand what America is about or your just want to make people angry.

    You seem to be particularly venemous towards republicans. Please realize that the Iraq war began totally legally. I hate to do the Bush vs. Clinton comparisons, but Clinton – when he bombed Bosnia – had no congressional authority. I supported that action, too, but he acted truly illegally in my opinion.

    Regarding American leadership of the world, I tend to think that’s a good thing. Sure there are indiviuals who act selfishly, but that’s always going to be the case. In general, Americans support the finest ideals. Is there a different country or culture that you feel would be a better standard-bearer?


  18. wording correction:

    BTW – I can’t tell whether your animosity is targeted at all of America or just the rebulican party, but the comparisons of the American govt. and the reublican party to Nazi Germany, in my opinion, should be tempered.


  19. stevend

    It is people with youir point of view who have made the situation we now have in Iraq possible.

    I have voted for more Republicans than Democrats in my life . I voted for Bush the Elder in 1988.
    I think that he was a very good president. In his memoire he predicted all the things that would happen if we had tried to take over Iraq.

    In 1999 a war game scenario was worked up (“Desert Crossing” which also accurately predicted the present situation)

    GW Bush is not only unfit to be president. Except for running a political campaign ,he is uncapable of holding any responsible position with out a staff of “advisors” to do all of his thinking and Karl Rove to hold his hand.

    GODDAM RIGHT I AM PISSED OFF TO SEE ALFRED E. NEWMAN DRAGGING DOWN THE USA.


  20. 4. The Wahabbi’s are brain-washing children all over the middle east. It is the center-piece of the craziness today in the middle-east. Are they out to get us. You bet they are. 100% certain

    Does “out to get us” mean they want to weaken our influence and presence in the ME? Or, does it mean this vision of turning America and/or Europe into a caliphate? Or, does that simply mean they want to kill us? I’ve always been a little confused on that because I get a lot of conflicting rhetoric.


  21. gasdocpol,

    You and I do obviously have a different points of view. In principal, competing points of view are a good thing (and there is usually some truth to both sides). That said, there are also cases when there is right and wrong. The trick is knowing when to compromise vs. knowing when to “stick to your guns.”

    I’ve already said that I supported the action to overthrow Saddam and I continue to support the effort to stabalize Iraq. The situation in Iraq is very difficult to understand from just reading the NYT or watching CNN. I think we are winning, but that it will take time (insurgencies usually last 10 – 20 years). May I suggest that you take a look at Michael Yon’s webset to get a picture other than that of daily car bombs.

    ChenZhen,

    Twice the Wahabbis attacked the world trade center. They blew up barracks in Saudi Arabia and Embassies on Africa. At a minimum, I’d say they want us dead. Regarding the calliphate, I believe that there are different visions of how big it should be – some say just within Arabia and others say global. The brain-washing that they put their youth through is complete. They rationalize all of the killing of innocents, even if the innocents are children, and promise 70 virgins for martyrdom. Regardless of the scope of their planned destruction, it is an evil practice.


  22. Two thousand years ago Jesus figured out that the concept of “an eye for an eye at tooth for a tooth ” was problematical (Mathew 5)

    That is why he said to turn the other cheek. Imlicit in this is “Fool with me once shame on you ,fool with me twice me twice shame on me. I do not think he ever meant us to be doormats.

    We need to break up the viscious cycle of tit for tat.

    19 arabs were so angry at the USA that they were willing to sacrifice their lives.

    Bush put his finger on the worst possible reaction to 9/11 by invading an oil rich Arab country that had not attacked the USA and was no danger to the USA. That could only be expected to make arabs even angrier and more motivated to commit terrorism.

    Saddam was a problem for Iraq but not for the USA.
    It is debateable how much better off are the Iraqis now and clearly the USA is worse off.

    The Neoconservatives did not want to overthrow saddam to bring the blessings of democracy to Iraqis or any of the other pretexts they have given.

    You desperately want to believe in what Bush did. So go for it!


  23. Oh, please. Jesus taught us how to save your soul, but he was not a political leader and he did not teach in a time of conflict, so we don’t know what he would have to say about it. You are taking a single quote and claiming knowledge, which is insulting. In fact, if you are going to take that approach as a universal law for govt. action, let’s empty the prisons and totally disband the the military and all law enforcement while we are at it.

    Saddam was (past tense) a problem and the Iraqis have (present tense) a democracy. Now what? Do we dream about the past, do we hang those liberal-minded Iraquis that share our ideals out to dry, or do we do what is right (even if it’s difficult). The prophit Spike Lee (who I sometimes like) said, “Do the right thing.”

    Bush did not do anything by himself. Bush does not go to war. Republicans do not go to war. Democrats do not go to war. Conservatives, liberals, butter-side-ups and butter-side-downs do not go to war. Nations go to war. I support the nation in this action (side note, I also supported Pres. Clinton in Bosnia, even though he obviously broke the law in that campaign).


  24. Bush did not do anything by himself. Bush does not go to war. Republicans do not go to war. Democrats do not go to war. Conservatives, liberals, butter-side-ups and butter-side-downs do not go to war. Nations go to war.

    The Bush team was selling the war, and the nation bought it.


  25. Stevend

    If I have properly understood you, you say that Jesus is only relavant in matters regarding the soul and not in interpersonal or international relations.

    Personally ,I question the existance of a soul. From what I have seen , GW Bush is interested in Jesus mainly in getting the Bible-smackers to vote for him.I see little or no application of Jesus’ teaching in his approach to the presidency. You seem to have no problem with that because you seem to think that Jesus is only relevant in matters regarding the soul.

    PLEASE DO NOT PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH SAYING THAT I WANT TO EMPTY ALL THE PRISONS, ETC. Far from that, I feel strongly that we need laws and authority and a stronger UN and more respect for international law.

    I made a point of saying that there are limits to turning the other cheek but that it was an important insight on the part of Jesus in identifying a common problem that comes up in interpersonal relations that results in a viscious cycle and how to resolve the problem.

    It is not obvious to me that the Iraquis are better off now than before. Several million have fled the country for openners. Bush will be happy to tell you how wonderful or how OK every thing is in Iraq. Personally I have very little reason to believe anything he says.

    I am not impressed with the claim that Iraq has a functioning democracy. It is theoretical at best. I find it ludicrous that a flagrant anti-intellectual like GW Bush should be touting such abstract concepts as being relavant.

    I agree that GW Bush did not do anything by himself. according to Col. Lawence Wilkerson (Powell’s Chief of Staff)the Bush White House was run by a Neoconservative cabal headed by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    GW Bush was put in the White House by Neocons specifically to invade Iraq. GW Bush was the front for the imperialistic PNAC agenda which came off the shelf the day Bush became President.

    ChenZhen correctly stated that the war was sold to Americans and they bought it. There were a few of us who did not buy it but we were like voices crying out in the wilderness.


  26. Regarding – “The Bush team was selling the war, and the nation bought it.”

    I agree that the Bush team made an argument to support what it thought was (and thinks is) the correct policy. So did the Clintons (Bill & Hillary), Kerry, Edwards, Durbin, Biden, Reid and many others of the ‘loyal’ opposition. My point is not to deflect responsbility, but just to emphasize the principal that the “nation” made the decision.

    Side note – Like yourself, there were many Dem Senators that did not vote for the action (I think about 20 dem senators voted against it). What I find odd, is that none of those 20 are now running for President. All the gasbags pols running for the democrat party pres. nomination are now rationalizing their earlier votes – that’s the worst, IMO. This is the reason I think Gore will get in the race or that only Obama can win. The hypocracy of voting for Hillary, Edwards or Biden would be too great for the anti-war crowd.

    gasdocpal,

    I’m going to go out on the limb and guess that you don’t like GWB very much. 🙂

    Regarding whether Iraqis are better off today, it’s something I struggle with, too. I understand and agree with all of the things you are saying. On the other side of the equation, however, I don’t know what it was like to live in Saddam’s Iraq. I do believe that having a free press, for example, is better than not having one. I also believe it’s important to allow property rights and to allow political opposition to exist. These principals – as well as a freely elected government – give hope that the future will be better for Iraqis even if the situation currently is extremely difficult for them.

    Regarding Jesus’s teachings & govt. – (this is off-topic, but what the heck) as an econonomist, a basic truth that I’ve come to realize is that most times, the thing that seems on face-value to be the kindest thing to do is actually to worse thing. Basically, handouts provide the wrong incentives – like the parental theory of “tough-love.” Interestingly, even Malcolm X referred to those who supported the govt. programs of the 1960’s as “wolves in sheeps clothing” because he saw the culture of dependency that would ensue.

    The admin has an ok record on this. I think GWB tried something very different in funneling money for the destitute through faith-based organizations. That’s an interesting and innovative idea. The idea of measuring school performance to improve the poorer performing districts also follows this principal. Finally, this admin has also done way, way more than any previous administration to offer help to Africa…..just a few examples. BTW – you can also throw in their satance on the current immigration debate, too.


  27. Stevend

    I am of the impression that under Saddam if Iraqis did not engage in certain forms of political behaveior, they could go about their business without fear of being killed on the street ot having their homes broken into and humiliated at the least etc. I do not think that is a good trade off for freedom of the press.

    I don’t think Jesus preached preemptive war or corporate welfare.

    The religious right Bible-smackers are part of Bush’s base. we are both entitled to our opinions on them and their support of Bush.


  28. Side note – Like yourself, there were many Dem Senators that did not vote for the action (I think about 20 dem senators voted against it). What I find odd, is that none of those 20 are now running for President. All the gasbags pols running for the democrat party pres. nomination are now rationalizing their earlier votes – that’s the worst, IMO. This is the reason I think Gore will get in the race or that only Obama can win. The hypocracy of voting for Hillary, Edwards or Biden would be too great for the anti-war crowd.

    That is an excellent point, although I think there can be some virtue in admitting a mistake. I suppose the qualifier lies in whether that admission is genuine or simply made out of political expedience. But you’re right, it gives Obama an advantage.


  29. “I am of the impression that under Saddam if Iraqis did not engage in certain forms of political behaveior, they could go about their business without fear of being killed on the street ot having their homes broken into and humiliated at the least etc.”

    True to a point, gasdocpol, but imagine the fate of an iraqi version of yourself who felt compelled to speak out…..it would not be good. Also, if you did not offer at least lip-service support for the regime, your chances to advance were limited. If they can get their sh*t together, the Iraqis chances to build something special are much greater now. That’s a big if……

    “I don’t think Jesus preached preemptive war or corporate welfare.”

    LOL. No he certainly did not. But, to be fair, he did not teach about what government should do about anything.


  30. The religious right not only voted for Bush but they rang doorbells and stuffed envellops on behalf of
    Bush because they thought that as their kind of christian he would make a better president.
    Bush has constantly advertised his religion . He has said that Jesus is his favorite philosopher.

    From that I can only conclude that GW Bush likes to laugh at Jesus and do just the opposite of what he taught. Maybe it is in the same way thatIi like to watch Fox News to hear their latest hokey, contrived rationalizations for Bush policy

    b


  31. You seem to make frequent, angry posts against the politically organized Christians. I’m not part of that group, but they do have every right to do what they do. Surely you are not suggesting that they should be denied their rights.

    Regarding – “From that I can only conclude that GW Bush likes to laugh at Jesus and do just the opposite of what he taught.”

    That’s simply false. Please realize that there are many areas that are gray in life. When dealing in those areas, two folks – both acting in good faith and with the best intentions – can reach oppoisite conclusions. When you are faced with those situations, it’s totally acceptable, in my opinion, to make your arguments on why your point of view is the correct one. One should be very careful, however, in accusing others of not caring. I suppose that it creates more conflict and conflict makes for better TV, and that’s why we do it so much these days, but it’s immature.


  32. I never said that the Chrisian Right does not have a right to do what they do or say what they say. (Indeed, I have that same right.)

    What I have tried to point out is the folly and inappropriateness of what they say and do FROM MY POINT OF VIEW.

    I was raised as a Christian . I have read the Bible and have great respect for the wisdom and teaching of Jesus.

    IN MY VIEW it is my opinion that the behavior of GW Bush reflects the direct opposite of what Jesus taught.

    It is my opinion that the religious right is so immersed in their religion and often cannot see the forest because of the trees. They go through life throwing out the baby with the wash water.

    They certainly have the right to believe whatever they want in terms of theology.
    as long is it does not hurt others.

    In my opinion their support of GW Bush has hurt the USA but that is only my opinion.

    The Religious right would be the last to admit that there are shades of gray. They tend to think in terms of pure good and pure evil. Again that is their right.


  33. Cool beans


  34. stevend I googled cool beans thank you

    While I have my own ideas about theology, I know how difficult it would be for me to convince others that they should change theirs.

    Through the ages religion has given much of the meaning a lot of people have had in their lives.

    Despite the outright evil the Church has caused ( ex. 100,000 women burned at the stake as witches during the Spanish Inquisition) on balance, the effect has probably been positive.

    The one thing Marx was right about is that religion is the opiate of the masses.

    The worst thing about that is the mindset of believing without proof that it engenders. It even encourages belief despite proof to the contrary. (Intelligent design vs. Evolution, the earth is 6000 years old…..)

    Karl Rove has brilliantly identified the religious right as a segment of the political market that accepts his product on basically faith alone.

    The irony of that amazies me and makes me think the bible smackers do not read their own Bibles very seriously. How can they possibly conclude the GW Bush is a good Christian or follower of Jesus?

    As for the others who continue to steadfastly support Bush it is possible that their loyalty to the GOP that carries the day. Otherwise intelligent well adjusted people become neurotic on the subject of GW Bush They are into denial , rationalization and projection.

    I do not think that it would be possible for an atheist or an agnostic to be elected to high office.

    Other tidbits:

    I question Hillary’s judgement in her vote for the war. She is quite qualified but I fear that if elected she would spend a lot of effort to becoming a 2 term pres.

    Edward’s experience is in ambulance chasing and running for president (he may well win Iowa)6 years in Senate, he voted for war despite being on intelligence comm.

    Richardson seems very qualified. my 3rd choice

    Obama is smart and has enough experience and good judgement- my 2nd chioce

    Gore is my favorate but may be damaged goods.

    I subjectively like Fred Thompson but am troubled by his 18 years as a lobbyist.

    I like Chuck Hegal (a conservative mind you)
    giulliany hs tunnel vision

    McCain may have suffered permanent brain damage at the Hanoi Hilton.

    Romney had very good looking parents -Lenore and George


  35. When you emphasize that you are giving your own opinion, your opinions are ok. Please realize, however, that sometimes your rhetoric gets over the top and you seem to be intollerent of anyone who has an opinion different from yours. For example:

    “How can they possibly conclude the GW Bush is a good Christian or follower of Jesus?”

    That statement sounds like you are presuming that their faith (and GWB’s faith) is 100% completely and utterly wrong and yours is 100% correct. If you try to relate that with Govt. activity in a country without a state religion, it’s an impossible statement to support (other than it’s your opinion). That kind of rhetoric makes you sound unreasonable.

    Even though I don’t know you, I tend to believe that – based on your American/Christian upbringing – you share much more in common with the “bible smackers” then you care to admit.

    PS – Marx’s theories on government were right about nothing.


  36. Jesus said to help the poor and to turn the other cheek. Bush gave tax cuts that favorized the rich and lied about the reasons for a preemptive strike. I REST MY CASE.

    Religion relieves the pain of suffering.THAT QUALIFIES RELIGION AS AN OPIATE.
    Marx was wrong about many things but this observation on religion makes sense to me.

    Joseph Stalin attended a Catholic seminary and knew the Bible so well that he could ricte the New Testiment verbatim. Does that give him more in common with the Religious Right than most peoplewould suppose? Well, actually in this case, I think that it might.


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