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Sometimes it's what you don't say that matters

John Kerry's speech on the anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq:
Today marks the one year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is an important day to recognize the courage and enormous skill of the United States military. Our men and women in uniform are the best and the brightest the nation has to offer, and their efforts to defend Democracy should be honored each and every day. We also must remember those that have given their lives in the fight for freedom. "Before the war started, I repeatedly called on the President to build a genuine coalition to reduce the military and financial burden on the United States, to go to war only as a last resort, and to have a plan to win the peace. I voted to give him the authority to go to war only when he promised me and other members in Congress that he would do these things. He broke those promises. "He misled the American people in his own State of the Union Address about Saddam's nuclear program and WMD's, and refused - and continues to refuse - to level with the American people about the cost of the war. Simply put, this President didn't tell the truth about the war for the beginning. And our country is paying the price. "It's time for George Bush to start being consistent on Iraq. It's time for him to finally find the right policy for Iraq. It's time to take the target's off the backs of U.S. soldiers, reduce the burden on America's taxpayers, and finish the job in Iraq
Hmmm..they must have forgotten to quote the part where he talks about freedoms restored in Iraq, Saddam Hussein being captured, the deadly duo being dead, the torture rooms closing, the children in prisons running free.... Oh, I see. He didn't talk about those things. He just wanted to take the opportunity on this day to remind people that no matter what good has come out of this war, if no WMDs are found, it's not worth it. Compare and contrast: Bush's speech


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The last linkfest of the week: Joe Katzman reports on yet another “high value target.” Alex Knapp reports yet more corruption in Russia’s electoral system.... [Read More]

» Sometimes it's what you don't say that matters from Ramblings' Journal
John Kerry foamed at the mouth on this, the first anniversary of the start of the Iraqi invasion. [Read More]


Instead of taking Senator John Kerry our next president out of context you can read the actual statement

You know when Bush 41 and Saint Reagan were supplying Saddam with weapons and helped him gas and torture his own people in the 80s they had no problem with it. John Kerry did.

Jake, how do you mean out of context? You link to the same statement I quoted verbatim.

Maybe it's time for the Bush Administration to accuse Kerry of having WMD?

God knows, with a face like that, the only way Kerry could get any is in a rape-room of his own.

Michele posted the exact comments. Exactly how was he taken out of context?

And please go and find some reading material and do some research on your own before spouting left-wing talking point lies about us supplying Saddam with the chemicals he used to gas his own people because that's what it is: lies.

Jake, I assume that's why his military was equipped with all those AMERICAN MiGs, AMERICAN T-64 tanks and AMERICAN AK-47's.

Saddam was a Soviet client during the Cold War. The amount of military equipment we suppiled to him was insignificant bordering on de minimus compared to what he got from the Russians and ("Our Friends") the French.

Nor did he mention that we put down another terrorist supporter who want's to be caliphate...

Oh but this one had and army.

If I could remember the URL for the pictures of streets full of dead Kurdish children who were gassed, I'd post it here.

"It's time for George Bush to start being consistent..."

Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

The vast majority of Iraq's weapons were from Russia and France. United States gave less to Iraq than Brazil did.

This fact checking thing is too easy.

owww. "want's" instead of "wants" "and" instead of "an". My typing is horrible today.

Anyway Kerry's attitude offends the hell out of me. And so do his supporters.

And they're so damn sure that they're still morally superior. Yuck!!!

You know when Bush 41 and Saint Reagan were supplying Saddam with weapons and helped him gas and torture his own people in the 80s they had no problem with it. John Kerry did.

It may surprise you to note that GW Bush isn't Ronald Reagan or even his father, and he isn't responsible for what they did...

Except that unlike John Kerry he actually DID do something to undo the damage and make sure it won't happen again. That's as good as he could possibly do.

And whatever J. K. was against in the 80's he's shown that he is all for keeping Saddam now! I'd say that proves that his stand in the 80's wasn't morally based - there must have been another reason he opposed that stuff back then. I can think of tons of possible reasons. But being moral or even clear thinking doesn't seem to be among them, based on current performance.

"Sometimes it's what you don't say that matters"

You hit the nail on the head.

Anybody get the impression that our buddy Jake (of 8BITJOYSTICK.COM, like we care) can't be bothered to actually consider what others here have wrote and reply?

Ugh. I see the 2BitTrollSchtick has once again invaded ASV.

hahaha the moonbats always trot out the Rummy/Saddam pic like it's supposed to render all debate null and void, perhaps Jake, you should look into the research done by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute where they conclude that during the 80's the US supplied less than 1% of Iraq's weapons, the majority came from...suprise! the Soviets! and...*gasp* France!

Hey Jake, about your "It's time for George Bush to start being consistent..."

How about "Actually I voted for it before I voted against it"?

When has Kerry ever made any statement that he did not take back later?

At least with Bush you know exactly where he stands; he has a moral compass. Kerry can only say what the polls tell him to say today regardless of what he might have said yesterday.

And so what? Women were not originally allowed to vote in the US. Does that mean that no one should ever try to fix it? If we did ever help Saddam it only makes it even more imperative that we correct our mistakes! But no! You think that just because we once made a mistake then we should never try to fix it. We should continue to make bad mistakes even though we recognize that we are wrong because once in the past we failed to get it right.

I guess, Jake, that since you pissed your bed when you were a child you must be continuing to do so... that appears to be your world view!

They trot out the picture of Rummy Meeting Saddam as a bad thing, but in the next sentence they want us to use nothing but diplomacy.

Well, what the hell do you think sending an envoy to Iraq was? That's diplomacy. Only now it's BAD diplomacy because it supports their world view that way.

Rummy (McNamera) was there on behalf on oil contractors who wanted to build an oil pipeline from Northern Iraq to Syria. He was NOT there on the US best interest but on the best interest of the oil barons. It was on that trip that he was the guest of the Butcher of Baghdad and he presented Saddam with a pair of cuff links as a gift.

Kerry also said

“It's time for George Bush to start being consistent on Iraq. It's time for him to finally find the right policy for Iraq. It's time to take the target's off the backs of U.S. soldiers, reduce the burden on America’s taxpayers, and finish the job in Iraq.”

660 US dead so far. It took us four years in Vietnam to get to that death toll.

hahaha Jake you are getting desperate, planting a vague allusion to Iraq being like Vietnam out of nowhere is something that would make John Kerry proud. when the death total in Iraq comes anywhere near the thousands killed in Vietnam you can come back with that rhetoric.

I think statements of US support of Saddam before 1991 are vastly overstated, as Dave J mentions. But I'm not sure it's logical to assume the political opposition needs to enumerate what the incumbent is likely to consider his positive points at each speach. It's doubtful the incumbent will go to such lengths. I don't think Kerry needs to say the Iraq war is good or bad without any qualifiers either, as this seems to be an error of bifurcation, claiming there are two choices when in fact there are many. Attempts to simplify either candidate may not be illuminating on all issues.

As someone from MeFi might say, "Where is your proof that Jake ever pissed his bed?? Links please!"

"Instead of taking Senator John Kerry our next president out of context you can read the actual statement"

Huh? Looks like the D-Bunker has misfired!

Jake, do agree with the guy I talked to the other day who said, "If Al Gore had been elected, we wouldn't have had a 9/11?"

Chirac, for all intents and purposes, wanted Saddam left in place and the sanctions lifted:



Hey, I can post pictures too! Wow, they seem positively chummy.

And don't let's forget the relevant numbers:


Jerry, you don't think a candidate has a duty to agree with positive policies no matter who invented them?

If Kerry was honest and principled enough to support a good policy, even if it was his opponent's strong point, I'd vote for him in a second.

You seem to assume that a democrat can't continue a policy that GW is popular for and is moral and responsible. WTF!!!

All that's needed now is Jake to call somebody a 'Repuke' or 'Rethug'.

or Repiglican, thats the new one

"660 US dead so far. It took us four years in Vietnam to get to that death toll."

That has got to take the prize as the most uninformed, illogical statement made this year on Michele's site.

Hey, Jake, got another line you can use in the future: "660 US dead so far. It took us over two years into WWII to get to that death toll". (Granted we weren't fighting in the war until two years into WWII, but the same holds true with your analysis of Vietnam)

Must of used this link for your info, huh:

Hey, Jake, come back when you can think at a minimum of 32 bit level, like the rest of us.

stepping into the minefield

WMDs were given as a prime reason for going to war. The idea given out that Saddam could lob missiles around the world at a moments notice was reason enough to take him out. But where are they? Yes I did read what Michelle wrote that people are free and stuff but why mislead people into a war the way they did?

When we talk about children being free, what about other countries around the world where people are repressed? What about North Korea who have stated they would use a nuclear weapon if the US pisses them off enough. What about many of the African nations where civil war means well-fed soldiers and dying children? This has been going on longer than the last 10 years odd that we have wanted Saddam out.

People link it to terrorism...fine, all about the war on terror. I want the world rid of terror as well, and I've lived through the terrorist attacks growing up in England.

No I'm not for Kerry particularly, just throwing my 2c into the pile and waiting.

Perhaps that's true, but we've also accomplished more in Iraq in one year than we did in over a decade Vietnam.

Your comparison is misleading, because the nature of the operations in the first few years of Vietnam was very different than the last several years. Consider

In 62, 63 and 64, we had 392 deaths.
In 65 alone we had 1,472.
In 66 alone we had 6,053.
In 67 alone we had 11,058.
In 68 alone we had 16,511.
In 69 alone we had 11,527.
In 70 alone we had 6,065.
In 71 alone, we had 2,348.
In 72 alone, we had 571.

We won't get anywhere close to the Vietnam death total in Iraq, even if we ARE there over 10 years.

Why pick Vietnam anyway? Why not compare Korea instead? In 3 years there, we had 33,629 deaths.

What kind of moron tries to compare timelines and casualty counts of two operations that are so completely dissimilar?

"660 US dead so far. It took us four years in Vietnam to get to that death toll."

Combining Afganistan and Iraq?...you clever devil you. The only reference I have seen to 660 or 670 was in a Chinese newspaper. Everyone else has it about 100 people lower.

And please get your talking points at least vaguely correct. We entered Vietnam in 1961 with 3000 advisers. We did not have the troop levels we do now until almost the end of 1965. 1965 was also the year that saw US casualties climb steeply(especially compared to the previous year) to 1926 and of course it leaped again in 1966 to 6,333 when our troop committiment was over 300,000.

If you want to make a point there's no reason to lie about the info. Geez even truthout uses the correct though misleading analogy to Vietnam framing it in 3 years.

"What kind of moron tries to compare timelines and casualty counts of two operations that are so completely dissimilar? "

The ones desperately trying to MAKE Iraq Vietnam. It's bad enough we had Vietnam but too many seem to want to relive it with all the attendant unrest and groovy subculture.

Jased, thank you for what seems to be the sincere motivation for your question.

I don't consider that I was misled, in that I had long been convinced of the same things the Administration believed:

  • that UNSCOM (among others) had accounted for stockpile-level inventories of CBW in Iraq (these reports are still available for your review, BTW),
  • that the Iraqis had not accounted for the destruction of these inventories,
  • that Iraq was a well-known state sponsor of terrorism (any links to al-Qaeda specifically being quite beside the point), and
  • that Iraq took great pains first to derail the UN inspection process in 1998 and to undermine it when it was reinstituted in 2002-2003 (largely due to U.S. pressure)
  • that the regime could have derived benefit from an open disarmament and only trouble, if anything, from a concealed disarmament -- making the notion that the regime unilaterally eliminated its CBW without seeking credit (removal of sanctions, normalization with at least some countries?) illogical, if not impossible.

In short, I don't feel misled. I think I may well be proven to have been wrong, but I think that what I believed at the time was reasonable.

V the K over at LGF characterized the European (and Dean/Kerry) solution to terrorism perfectly

Never a clear alternative, just what they think we should NOT do.

EUrotopians know exactly what should be done to combat terrorism. We should send lots and lots of delegates to "International Conferences" at five-star resorts to draft "memoranda of understanding" between 9 course dinners and formal dress galas. We should tax international financial transactions to fund the UN (ensuring still more conferences).

In a generation or two, EUrotopia is doomed anyway. So, they think, let the next generation deal with it... tonight we're going to party like it's 1939.

The ones desperately trying to MAKE Iraq Vietnam.

Speaking of that, I heard somewhere that Kerry served in Vietnam. Couldn't find a link to substantiate that, though.

Seriously, listing countries facing oppression and misrule, and asking "What about these?" is, at best, disingenous.

"Yeah, that house is burning, but there are buildings on fire across the country tonight. Why are you concentrating on that house?"

"Why are you cleaning the bathroom? The kitchen and garage are a mess, too."

"Why arrest that armed robber? There are crimes occurring all over the city tonight?"

I think the people who attempt the "what about these other countries?" argument are the same ones who moan about "mission creep" and bleat "America's soldiers are spread too thin!"

They would be, if we bitch-slapped four dictators at once. Patience.

Bush's speech was absolutely beautiful, one of the best of his career. I don't know how well he delivered it, but he generally tends to do well when he has a good prepared text, so I bet it came off really well. I found it genuinely moving, a strong statement of profoundly liberal principles. This is one of the great political speeches I've ever read to be honest. It's too bad there were trolls at TCP and now at ASV as well, thanks for posting Bush's speech anyway Michele.

Another example of what a Dean/Kerry war on terror might look like.

From Andrew Sullivan fisking the [misnamed] Guardian's proposal on what to do about terrorism in Spain:

The only constructive suggestion the Guardian proffers is an "international conference." No this is not, apparently, self-parody. While hundreds lie dead, the most important thing is to stick on your lapel name-labels, hurry down to the nearest Marriott lobby and have a seminar. Above all, after an atrocity of this scale, it is vital that the perpetrators of such evil not "be hunted down and smoked out of their lairs." Heaven forbid such an action. That would be the American way, after all.

That is the sort of action that Kerry could get our allies to agree to.

Josh - I didn't say he couldn't agree with them, but I didn't see him having a duty to enumerate them in any speech that touches on the same area. Nor did I say he couldn't continue good policies. However, I think each candidate can say which ones they think need fixing. The opposition has a slight advantage in that they can point to policy failings, but the incumbent can point to policy positives. Personally I'm concerned with how they both handle the specifics.

michele, you lucky girl! The 8bot's found your site! You must be so proud.

Anyway, I loved this bit from Kerry: It's time for George Bush to start being consistent on Iraq.

SDSAC. The man is utterly immune to irony.

8bot has been here before. As usual, he disappears when you call him out on something.

Or when mommy tells him its time to mow the lawn.

Typical right-wing extremists insults instead of actually looking at the facts and debating the issues.


This is election season. To the best of his ability, Kerry won't be giving Bush anything he could place in a political ad thate remotely appears to be praising anything the Bush adminstration has done. For info of that sort, you can always tune into to Bush's election website for any of his stump speeches. Kerry's job as his opponent is to contrast what the current admin is doing and what he would do differently.

Kerry is facing a huge deficit in regards to campaign money. His speech is an opportunity for free airtime. He used it the way he should.

Jake, I'm still waiting for you tell me how I took Kerry's words out of context.

The opposition has a slight advantage in that they can point to policy failings, but the incumbent can point to policy positives.

But he's at a huge disadvantage if he has a character flaw that prevents him from supporting necessary policies or even admitting that they are important.

"Typical right-wing extremists insults instead of actually looking at the facts and debating the issues."

Translation + "I got caught lying/exagerrating when I made a hit and run post. I got called on it and now I need to change the subject."

4 statements(3 of which were wrong) that you thought somehow were defending John Kerry is not debating or even conversation.

Typical right-wing extremists insults instead of actually looking at the facts and debating the issues.

People here have tossed dozens of issues at you 8Bit and you ignored them all.

Also, you can't assume that people who support the war on terror are right wingers. Yep, it such an important issue that people are jumping the aisle and voting for their least favorite party in order to keep this country safe.

That's why the Dean strategy is a BIG loser.

Seriously folks, we didn't overthrow Saddam because he was a fascist overlord. Were that the case, we would be overthrowing fascist overloads the world over.

We invaded Iraq to control oil. Oil is a finite resource that will reach peak availability in the near future (you can debate when, but I think everyone would agree sometime in the next 15-20 years). When oil starts disappearing, who would you rather have controlling it?

InsideTheGov, you know nothing.
DenBeste's latest

And <a href="http://www.lawrencewright.com/art-saudi.html"this is a great article on Saudi society. Must read for everyone.

I'm half way through this very long article and just hit a scary part, where parents are describing how their own children's fanaticism freightens them.

But it's a reminder that looking weak will be fatal. Read that last sentence a few times.

I had the sense that the generations were engaged in a struggle over the future of the country, but it was not at all clear that the young had a better vision of what needed to be done. I went one evening to a diwaniyya, a weekly men’s dinner that is a kind of literary and political salon. We sat on the floor until past midnight, eating from platters of lamb and rice. Most of the men were professionals: lawyers, editors, doctors. “We were educated in America, and I see the world going against everything I have built,” said Dr. Mujahid al-Sawwaf, a lawyer in Jeddah and a former professor at Umm al-Qura University, in Mecca. “We were always for liberalism, but some of the terrorists were my students.”
“My daughter is for bin Laden,” another of the men admitted. “When I go to wake her up, I see pictures of Palestinian girl martyrs on her wall. It scares me to death. If we go into her room at night, she’ll be listening to Britney Spears, but as soon as we close the door she’s listening to martyr songs.”
The other men nodded. “They come to us and say, ‘Dad, why didn’t you fight in 1948 and 1967?’ They see us as cowards,” a dentist said.
“One of the children said to me, ‘Uncle, is it true that when you went to the West you became a puppet like our leadership?’ Our kids don’t want to study in America, as we did.”
“Bin Laden changed our life. He proved that mighty America is vulnerable. To us, we’re afraid of our future, but the youth think America is on the verge of collapsing and it’s time for us to fight it.”
“We are afraid of our children.”

Michele posted the exact comments. Exactly how was he taken out of context?

It ignores all the invisible subtitles hidden in the speech that makes Kerry not look like a fool. Don't see them? Well, they're invisible silly!

Typical right-wing extremists insults instead of actually looking at the facts and debating the issues.

My, what an IMPRESSIVE projection ya got there, one-bit.

Seriously folks, we didn't overthrow Saddam because he was a fascist overlord. Were that the case, we would be overthrowing fascist overloads the world over.

...and I suppose you'll next say Bush has overextended our military, OutsideTheGov?

Oops two mistakes.
The first one didn't make it into a link,
and the second one I forgot to make a separate window, and this nonresizable window doesn't work right.

cut and paste these




I would rather have a free and democratic Iraq controlling their oil than a despotic sonofabitch who would starve his nation's children (no, wait, send bastards to pluck out their eyes to get daddy talking) so he can gild his crapper. But hey, that's just me.

Allow me to translate for the good Senator.

"genuine coalition" = "France"

Well, the French are busy this weekend. Conducting joint naval exercises with the naval forces of the Peoples Republic of China.

They made their choice. I'm satisfied with ours.

"Typical right-wing extremists insults instead of actually looking at the facts and debating the issues."

But 8Bitch, you haven't answered any of the points posted here in response to your original crapspew. If you want to debate the issues, there are plenty of people here happy to accomodate you. But here, just like every other blog I've seen your comments on, you drop little bombs of inflamatory idiocy and either disappear or change the subject when someone calls you on it. You know what that makes you? A coward and a blogtroll. Neither is a good thing to be.

I just have to chime in briefly. I support Bush. My husband supports Bush. I'm recently retired from active duty and my husband is still on active duty. We went. We did it. Enough said.

Typical right-wing extremists insults instead of actually looking at the facts and debating the issues.

I guess your dedication to the facts is why you brought the whole "more dead than in the first four years in Vietnam" argument over here despite the fact that I totally debunked it over at Robert Prather's site two months ago, huh, 8bot?

Sure you remember that, 8bot. It was the thread in which you were officially given your nickname. Still living up to it, I see.

Everything, and it's Contrary!

Vote for John Kerry!

Concerning the Rummy picture, and diplomacy. Another poster nails it. The same guys who are complaining about that pic, also are demanding that we should have used diplomacy to remove Saddam instead of war. Its a classic case of damned if you do, and damned if you don't. A Catch 22.

There is none so free as the damned. If whatever W does is the wrong thing, that frees him to do anything. Even if its right, its still going to be wrong in their eyes and they will bitch about it more and more. Ya sure you want to give anyone that kind of freedom?

Besides which, even if the claim is true that we did substantially help Saddam, does that not give us more of a reason and responsibility to fix that mistake, rather than let it continue?

The left reminds me so much of spoiled children it is not even funny. Actually most kids I have met are far better behaved than these so called "adults"

Thank you NANC, and your husband for the work. I am sure many Iraqis thank you as well.

We do what we can. And sadly, no matter how much we may want to, we can't do everything, nor liberate everybody. We have neither the resources nor political will to play God with the entire planet.

Of course if we did start going through the list and wiping out despots left and right, many of the same people, (not all of them but a lot of them) would decry that action as well. We tried to keep Iran from becoming a socialist state back in the late 50's/early 60's. And still catch crap for that. See my above comment about Catch 22s

So we do what we can, and when we have to, when our own lives are threatened. What I think a lot of folks are missing is that there really was and still is no good reason to NOT remove Saddam from power. He was a brutal dictator, he was seeking WMDs, he did have links to terrorism (Abu Nidal and the guy from the Achillo Lauro hijacking, Anser al Islam, etc.) he was murdering, robbing and raping his own people, he had invaded two nations (Iran and Kuwait). He was not living up to the cease fire he signed in 1991. He was a clear and present danger, even if he was not an imminent threat at the time. Not just to the rest of the world, but to his own people as well.

And besides, with Saddam gone, there is a chance of installing a second democracy, a second government in the Arab world that was responsive to its people. Thereby "draining the swamp", scaring other regimes into renouncing from terrorism and WMDs, and showing the world that Islam and liberty are not imcompatible concepts.

So why not? Because Halliburton might gets some oil? Because France, who Saddam bought off, was not on our side? Because he did not have massive stockpiles of WMDs yet? All that seems quite petty compared to the reason for removing Saddam.

8Bit want a cracker!
Talking points! Talking points!
Bush lied! Oil! No WMDs!

The premise of this post is a bit odd. As Anthony noted, this is election season, and the text that M. quoted (not out of context, btw) was just a short bit of campaign schtick. It's ludicrous to expect Kerry to go into all the good things in Iraq & Afghanistan every time he mentions them, just as it would be ludicrous to expect Bush to go into all the problems there -- as he indeed he doesn't do in the speech that is linked to. (E.g., Bush's speech gives the false impression that the Taliban is basically defunct in Afghanistan, when in fact it is still conducting military operations in significant parts of that country.) Better to judge both men by their more developed policy statements, and by their actions.

Btw, if you want to see Kerry saying some of the things that you say you'd like to see him say, go back and look at

I also don't quite understand the raw disdain for diplomacy (conferences, etc.) that a number of the commenters here have expressed. Obviously if such conferences led to nothing beyond themselves, then they would be worthy of that contempt. But they don't, or at least don't have to. Such communication & joint planning makes possible the real, substantive cooperation that can yield actual results -- like the kind of broad intelligence-sharing that we need to be moving towards, in order better to thwart non-state-based terrorism. I just don't understand why we can't pursue every means of opposing terrorism available to us, including but not limited to military action. Yet anytime anyone suggests that something other than the military is relevant, it is too often suggested that somehow that is being 'soft' on terror. And, seriously, what military action would have prevented the Madrid bombing? Who ought Spain have considered invading, as a response to that terrible crime?

Oh, and finally: the commenter who said "real coalition" = "France" is insulting the great American George H. W. Bush, who indeed knew what a real coalition was, and moreover knew how to get one.

JW: I believe the person who made the comment about "real coalition = France" was being sarcastic towards another poster who was saying the current coalition wasn't a real one.

(I've also seen some people claim elsewhere the whole WORLD is against us, to which the response was "France is the WORLD?") ;-)

I don't have raw disdain for diplomacy JW, I have raw disdain, contempt really, for nations who pretend they are allies, while they fight us at every turn, line their pockets with money from Iraqi oil while the people they claim to send food to are starving, and rattle Chinese sabers with naval manuevers in the Yellow sea while a free and democratic Taiwan conducts their election.

What part of that confuses you?

And I'm quite certain that when John Kerry says "real coalition" he means France. Who do you think he means, Latvia?

What's with this obsession with France? Can someone find an actual, like, quote from Kerry that would lend some credence to these allegations of Francophilia? (FWIW: I've hated France for much longer than it's been politicall fashionable to do so.) I'm rather certain that what Kerry has in mind is something that does indeed include France, but also includes such nations as Germany and Canada, and, importantly, Turkey, i.e., NATO. And Russia. And Japan. And some real contributions from a couple of Arab nations would be nice, too. You know, the kind of coalition that we had in Operation Desert Storm? Like the kind of coalition that actually substantively helps with the operations?

Anyway, the issue I was raising about various people's disdain for diplomacy is not so much with regard to military coalitions, so much as the vast amount of anti-terrorist work that is not basically military in nature. But the issue of coalitions is relevant here -- the lack of real commitment even from allies like Spain (even, let's face it, before the recent change in goverment) does indeed show what a disastrous foreign policy the current administration has had. I care about fighting terrorism, and I know that most of the folks here do. I just wish that the Bush administration cared about it as much as we do.


Russia and France were both taking money from Saddam! They opposed virtually everything the US proposed, and now you think we should let them into the party? The vast majority of Arab nations have no wish to see a democracy formed in Iraq because it would not bode well for their cleptocratic dictatorships. So, other than making it look like we're all in this together (even though we're not), exactly why should we bring any of these countries into this?

Which part of "taking the target off of the backs of US soldiers" and "reducing the burden on America's taxpayers" are you opposed to, Otto?

Give me a break JW. A disastrous foreign policy is one that pretends your enemies are your allies. Kerry can priss all he wants to about a "real coalition", but what he means is nations who are absolutely opposed to our taking action to defend ourselves, and you know it. Screw that.

Not to sound like a broken record, but we didn't have such problems about 10 years ago, in getting these countries that you claim are just endemically opposed to our military action to come along with us. And, come to think of it, all of NATO -- including, yes, France, which I believe had the largest contingent other than the US -- was heavily involved in our recent operations in Afghanistan. So it seems that you're probably just wrong in your analysis of European foreign policy, when you claim that they "are absolutely opposed to our taking action to defend ourselves". There's really little evidence that that's the case, other than their not signing off on this particular war; and there's significant evidence to the contrary, given their very recent involvement in other military actions in the region.

Is it so hard to believe that they just thought that this war was not, in fact, a war of our 'taking action to defend ourselves'? That they are not knee-jerk opposed to American military power, but opposed to what appeared to them to be a reckless deployment of that power? I would not necessarily agree with their judgments, but they seem to me at least intelligible, in a way that would preclude attributing to them the irrational proclivities that you suggest.

Which part of "taking the target off of the backs of US soldiers" and "reducing the burden on America's taxpayers" are you opposed to, Otto?

The part that says that we should let untrustworthy former (or never) "allies" into a country when we couldn't trust them in the first place.

It's important that those who are helping in Iraq actually want to help. We can't trust France. We can't trust Russia. And we SURE can't trust the vast majority of Arab states.

I guess I just don't see the 'not trusting' part. As I said to Dave, we trusted them all fine in GWI, and in Afghanistan. Indeed, what would be untrustworthy would be if they, like, talked up the war and then pulled out at the last minute, something like that. But they didn't. They said they didn't like this war, and they were as good as their word. Do we have reason to doubt, if they said 'we've changed our minds, now we're going to send you X troops and Y Euros to help things', that they really would send the troops and Euros?

As for the Arab states, actually there it really is more the importance of appearance than actual support (though, if any leaders of major Arab states are listening: some $$$ would be nice, y'all, as just a little thank-you for removing one of the biggest threats in your region, m'kay?). It's very, very important that the Arab world at large not see the war in Iraq as a war on them. This perception was pretty well avoided in GWI, in no small part b/c we had lots of Arab partners. But I worry that exactly this perception will be ever more widespread in the Arab world. That's the real import of having even more nominal partners in the Arab world. (I would think of something useful to say about Turkey here, too, if it wasn't already midnight.)

Hey JW, you don't see it, fine. We see it differently. Kerry and I see it differently too. That's my point.

No one seems to want to address the billions in oil for food, or did I miss that somewhere?

You seem to insist that France is an erstwhile ally of the US. I insist they don't give a rat's ass about us, and I feel the same way about them. It started with DeGaulle dude, not Gulf War II. Go read a book or something. And by the way they wouldn't do a fucking thing in Bosnia until we sent the real deal over.

And JW, I haven't seen your take on the joint naval exercises with the PRC. What exactly is the purpose of that? The same weekend that a pro-separation President is running for re-election in a democratic and free Taiwan.

So what exactly are we supposed to trust about France? Anti-Israel, anti-US, anti-democracy. Here's what I trust about em - they don't need us to pull their chestnuts out of the fire anymore. Unless they need an emergency shipment of air conditioners.

I neglected to add, your second paragraph on support from Arab states is reasonable. No argument from me.

I think the perception in the Arab states so far is "holy shit that crazy sumbitch is serious".

Russia and France were both taking money from Saddam!

This is gossip. Do you ascribe to the premise that saying something often enough will make it true?

No, I go with reported stories from multiple sources, including international, including those who aren’t particularly US friendly (i.e. the Telegraph and the Guardian).

Allegation and investigation phase today - we'll see. But doesn't it provide an interesting motive for thwarting US interests in Iraq?






and reported by Claudia Rosett in the NY Times in April 02

oops. I see you were replying to Otto's post. Sorry. I'm sure he would have said what I did anyway..

I keep hearing people say, "Our death toll in Iraq is lower then Vietnam." That might be true, but it doesn't change the broken hearts that are felt when one is told that their daddy, mommy, brother or sister is dead. I am suprized that instead of learning from our mistakes, we make new ones and compare them to the old ones.