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The Reckless Left

Idiots. Complete idiots. At DU, regarding the people protesting while Rumsfeld was speaking. bq. I saw it break on Al-Jazeera Website The Arabs desperately need to see more of this to know that there are still decent Americans with guts, like Rachel Corrie. I am compeltely dumbfounded by the ignorance and recklessness of that statement and no, it has nothing to do with Rachel Corrie. Do these people not understand the implications of this kind of gloating to the enemy? I'm pretty much speechless on this one.

Comments

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I like the democratic underground. I always send my friends who are democrats to that site, so they can see who their compatriots are.

What a bunch of turds...why does the left always equate protesting with Bravery? And then assume they're going to be rounded up and thrown into the hoosegow...

Yes, Arabs need to see that there are plenty who would capitulate to them, so just hold out and kill a few more Americans and it will all turn out just fine.

I think the kindest thing you can say about that attitude is that some people are so desperate to see the world (and everyone in it) as a basically kind place that they'll force themselves to justify anything. They start with a bad premise and then go through more contortions than Gumby to avoid contradicting it. The alternative is to face the reality that the world is not a nice place, that some people are unreasonably, violently opposed to one's very existance. And yes, I realize I'm not saying anything new here.

Of course, if one choose to comment on the phenomenon of DU and its ilk without being quite so kind, one would use many bad words that aren't fit to print.

I'd protest the RNC in New York this year, but I'm pretty sure somebody is going to get through and blow the shit out of the city. Screaming out in a congressional hearing doesn't really constitute much of a protest either. Some of us liberals are fucking idiots. Sorry.

the implications of this kind of gloating to the enemy?

While blogging the hearing I noted that the first thing a guy from ABC said at the break was that maybe the protestors were "the best thing" that could come out of this, because it will show the Arab world what a free society we have, etc. Guy obviously overlooked how terrorists REALLY react to protesters, as demonstrated in the trial of the Bali bomber.

It's not just Democratic Underground anymore. That's the worst part.

I'm not sure you can call it guts. At best it was a kind of slurry. A mash even, or perhaps a blend. Chitlins of some sort or another.

There is no "central" political position anymore, is there? My favorite DU quotes, below, suggests to me that the divide between left and right, at least where war and real atrocity is concerned, is unbridgable.

For people who don't want to wade through the muck (and one cite includes an amusing confession):

[1] "I can't stop crying, it was so emotional I am in shock and awe and I really cannot stop crying it was so beautiful, wow, there went my heros loud and clear! BEAUTIFUL"

[2] "ok, shucks, I admit it, I'm crying too;
glad I'm not the only one."

[3] "Great! I wonder what organization they were from! We need more of this!"

[4] "I couldn't understand what she said initially. But they were yelling "Fire Rumsfeld", etc at him. It sounded like she asked a question at the beginning, but i couldn't understand it. Way to go!

Frankly, I think the protestors are doing a favor for the rest of the US, inspite of the negative press they will likely receive for this "disruption". The protestors are demonstrating that there are people here who care and that we all aren't like the prison guards or interrogators (or whomever) that committed these dispicable acts."

[5] "Those hecklers are living proof that there are truly caring people in this country!!!

BTW Rummy could NOT avoid being arrogant when he went on his rant lecturing those who are critical about this mess. Go straight to hell you heartless asswipe.

On edit: we would definitely qualify as a "terrorist organization" per Rummy's terms - he uses a VERY broad brush and throws the word "terrorist" around like its candy for consumption by the general public."

[6] "that tingling... light headed feeling when I saw it...I thought I had forgotten what it meant to care about this country... nope there it was and I wish each of them the best of fortune forever THEY ARE ** REAL ** Americans and more importantly, respectable human beings. xoxo - Patrick

ps... im too young, vietnam to me is a collection of documentaries... is this real enough?"
------------------------------

And it just goes on and on and on.

Now I know why I always rooted for cops in the baby blue helmets in early Doonesbury cartoons.

The thing that bothers me about this kind of behavior is not that it supposedly encourages terrorism; I remain unconvinced that it does and, even so, if there's a cause worth risking lives for it's freedom of speech. Yes, even stupid speech. The notion that American citizens should abridge their freedom of expression because crazy people in other countries might go kill someone over something an American says at a protest seems curiously circular to me. Freedom of expression and the redress of grievances are cornerstones of American democracy. Protecting democracy by refusing to exercise democratic principles seems like dangerously Orwellian thinking.

In any case, the thing that bothers me about these kinds of protests is that they don't mean what they used to; people who engage in them are out of touch. If I want to get Donald Rumsfeld fired, I'm going to have to do it the old-fashioned way: I'm going to have to put in the hours, organize a voting bloc, and start writing letters and making phone calls to congress people. If I want to protest the torture of Iraqi prisoners held by U.S. authorities in a way that's going to make an impression on people in other countries, I need to form an organization that's attractive to soccer moms and old people, get some money together, and start taking out full-page ads in major newspapers.

That's the way to make things happen.

There was a very brief time, from about 1963 to 1968, when theatrical protest mobilized large numbers of people to act against the prevailing agenda of the times. People who have remained attached to notion that the theater protest model is applicable to most situations are, in my experience, lazy and egotistical. They're more interested in the rush of "direct action" than the long haul of political organizing, and they justify the damage that their behavior does to the causes they supposedly support as a shortcoming of national awareness; people are just too closed down to receive their obvious political wisdom. Obviously that kind of thinking just bugs the shit out of me. I think most of those people are opportunistic assholes who do many orders of magnitude more harm than good.

That said, I still disagree with Michele's repeated suggestions that these lazy egotistical opportunistic assholes are actually committing some kind of treason by exercising their 1st Amendment rights, and am thoroughly creeped out by the way these issues are discussed on A Small Victory.

Joshua,
Having recently seen the report from General Giap that the North Vietnamese would never have won the war if not for the protests (and, as I recall, John Kerry in particular), I'd feel confident calling those who protested treasonous. Obviously, if the commanding enemy general considered the protests important to his victory, that's fulfill the active part of the "aid and comfort" definition to treason.
There is a clear comparison to what is happening right now. Already, public enemies of the United States have praised similar protests in the past. There is no doubt that they hearten our enemies, give them reason to believe that or will is wavering and impetus to fight harder and be bolder. That will cause more the death of more Americans. None of this is in dispute by any reasonable person.
Treason's a hard word. Sometimes, though, it's appropriate.

Remember, ANY dissent is treason. That's this administration's modus operandi just as it was the Nazis':

"Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

--Hermann Goering

Wilmer: I appreciate the effort, but everyone's seen that Goering quote about a bajillion times by now. Most people now have a little filter that goes, "yeah yeah, goering quote, comparing bush to hitler, whatever." If you want to sell people on your point, you'll need to make it relevant to the current time, place, and situation. The difference between pounding out some kinf of flash quote we've all seen a million times and presenting the argument yourself, in a way that's more likely to be compelling, is the difference between "being right" and "doing what's right."

To put it another way: if you don't take the time to come up with your own perspective, nobody's going to take the time to consider what you're saying.

Josh, I'm so upset at you didn't like my little missive that if I had a broom handle I'd shove it up your ass just like a guard at Abu Ghraib prison!

The point is that what was relevant then is relevant now. How come it's alright to draw parallels to Vietnam and the present but not WWII and the present?

Tell you what, Wilmur: the day we start chucking anti-war liberals into ovens (whether or not we do it with the same degree of undisguised pleasure that the common German populace enjoyed when aiding in the killing of 11,000,000 Jews and other "undesirables"), you just might have a point.

In this country, however, treason against the current government is one of the fastest ways to wealth, or at least to some measure of professional success.

Go photoshop some posters and see if I'm wrong.

"Remember, ANY dissent is treason."

Which is why you are typing this from jail, I presume.

Say hi to Moore and Chomsky for me, since they've surely been arrested. No? My bad, you must just be full of shit.

The point is that what was relevant then is relevant now. How come it's alright to draw parallels to Vietnam and the present but not WWII and the present?

I didn't say it wasn't relevant. I said it wasn't effective. Witness the response.

If you want to change people's minds, you'll have to do better. See above re: "appropriate political protest". The question you need to ask yourself is, what are your goals? Do you want to change anyone's mind, or did you just come here to "be right"-- even if it just pisses people off and stiffens their opposition to your views?

Ay-yi-yi. Someone go tell Layne to spice up her personal life so Joshua's life can have meaning again.

Yeah, Rachel Corrie had guts. She left 'em all over the ground. No brains, but lots of guts.

I stand by my earlier conclusions. DU is a mutual masturbation society for juvenile twits trying to out-outrageous each other with adolescent rebellion.

J.

Ay-yi-yi. Someone go tell Layne to spice up her personal life so Joshua's life can have meaning again.

Sigh.

An on to Jimmi:

So, just for starters:

None of this is in dispute by any reasonable person.

You know, I don't find that turn of phrase compelling when Noam Chomsky delivers it either.

Having recently seen the report from General Giap that the North Vietnamese would never have won the war if not for the protests (and, as I recall, John Kerry in particular), I'd feel confident calling those who protested treasonous. Obviously, if the commanding enemy general considered the protests important to his victory, that's fulfill the active part of the "aid and comfort" definition to treason.

No.

Look, you know that part of the Constitution that talks about things Congress can't do? That whole thing about how Congress won't make any law abridging freedom of speech, or of the press? To a lot of people, myself included, the second part of the Constitution is the real America. It's the America we fight or die for. It's Lincoln's government by of and for the people.

Not to get too lofty here, but the difference between democracy and totalitarianism has as much (or more) to do with what government doesn't do as it has to do with what it does. Most of what's written in the Preamble and the Articles of the Constitution, including this definition of treason that's bandied about so casually here at ASV, is simple mechanics. It's the rules for creating a republic. But those rules allowed slavery. They kept women from voting. Without the Amendments, the Constitution and the government it establishes are a wash.

There's a reason the 1st Amendment isn't qualified: any legislated abridgement of the freedom of speech is a danger to the democratic functioning of the American republic. As it worked out, American politicians have used the precepts of British common law to float some abridgments anyway (see anti-sedition laws, etc). I view those abridgements as contradictions of an ideal vision of what the United States should always strive to be.

And let me just say a few words about that striving—

I remember, during the PATRIOT debates, some schmuck in Congress quoted Goldwater out of context in rebutting objections to the PATRIOT Act on the grounds that it violates the civil rights of U.S. citizens; "The Constitution is not a suicide pact," he said. And I was appalled. Because that's exactly what the Constitution is— or what it can be. I mean, what do soldiers die for if not in striving for an ideal form of government? If there's no higher ideal, there's certainly no point in dying for it. Any other perspective is mercenary at best— cynical and degrading at a minimum.

So, to get back to this business about stupid free speech being protected…

When we talk about America, we're talking about a country with a lot of stupid people in it. We're talking about a country with a lot of ugly people in it. We're talking about a country full of real human beings, engaged in a great experiment— an effort to be more than the sum of our parts. That experiment hinges on the ideal of democracy, and one of the cornerstones of democracy is rule of law— equality under the law. Equality for stupid people. Equality for ugly people. Equality for people who say stupid shit in front of television cameras.

That Voltaire quote about fighting to the death to ensure the opposition is allowed to speak is tossed around a lot in discussions of what America is and should be. It's very dramatic.

But the drama seems appropriate, given what's been said and done in defense of this country.

Look, you know that part of the Constitution that talks about things Congress can't do? That whole thing about how Congress won't make any law abridging freedom of speech, or of the press? To a lot of people, myself included, the second part of the Constitution is the real America. It's the America we fight or die for. It's Lincoln's government by of and for the people.

Sure, Joshua. I know that part. I also know that there are scores of instances where speech you might consider "free" has been upheld as a crime (such as speech considered "hate speech", and "yelling fire in a crowded theater").

The measure here is not what the First Amendment says about speech because it's already been established that not all speech is free.

It's convenient to cherry-pick the Constitution to support your argument, but it's also wrong. There is a specific test for what constitutes Treason and these protests at this time could certainly apply. It is a testament to our Government that we choose to err on the side of freedom though neither our Constitution or subsequent Supreme Court decisions say that we must. On the other hand, speech has consequences and part of the liberty of the First Amendment includes the responsibilities of the rest of the Constitution. You may not take one without the other.

And it's a nice deflection to throw Chomsky at me, but tell what about the "not in dispute" comment was incorrect? Our friends say that it is so. Our enemies say it is so. Your dispute that their behavior encourages terrorism, but the terrorists say that it does. It's a very neat world indeed when you are allowed to create it independent from reality.

And it's a nice deflection to throw Chomsky at me, but tell what about the "not in dispute" comment was incorrect? Our friends say that it is so. Our enemies say it is so. Your dispute that their behavior encourages terrorism, but the terrorists say that it does. It's a very neat world indeed when you are allowed to create it independent from reality.

No. I said I'm not convinced that it's so. But I also said that even if it were true, I'd still insist on protecting people's 1st Amendment rights.

It's convenient to cherry-pick the Constitution to support your argument, but it's also wrong. There is a specific test for what constitutes Treason and these protests at this time could certainly apply.

Yeah, I hate it when people cherry-pick the Constitution. Like all those Abolitionists who insisted that "we the people" meant black people too, in spite of the subsequent Supreme Court decisions that said it wasn't so.

As to the "specific test" for what constitutes treason: my personal take on it is that the parameters of what constitutes treasonous behavior are circumscribed by (at a minimum) the Bill of Rights. You obviously disagree. I would submit that, judged on that scale, allowing terrorists to dictate which speech is protected in the United States is a hell of a lot closer to treason than spouting off about firing Rumsfeld.

Joshua, I appreciate the points you are making. And while I believe certain types of dissent are damaging to the nation, like you I ultimately believe that we are a better people to permit them than suppress them. I don't think you're cherrypicking the Constitution, on the contrary, I think that's the heart and soul of the Constitution.

Jimmie, I'm pretty conservative. Ask around.

That said Joshua, don't you believe that those who are making the comments about dissenters you find troubling, are really just exercising the same right?

I understand that you find it troubling. I think they are expressing the same reaction from the other side of the argument (as long as we're not talking about string em up..shoot em, advocating violence).

Fair?

Bravo Josh, and thanks for having a sense of humor (something sorely lacking on this board). In my opinion this whole discussion is at worst pointless and at best moot. No one, DU, communists, anarchists, atheists, homosexuals, traitors, deviants, included can do, or could do, more to aid and abet the "enemy" than this administration.

First, and excuse me for using someone else's quote, "a picture is worth a thousand words". These photos (and Rumsfeld acknowledges that even more "blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman" photos are forthcoming) have done irreperable damage. Not even America's worst enemies could have devised such a PR coup. Who's responsible? Ultimately it's this administration. How can one expect ethical conduct or humility from subordinates when their leaders display an almost religious entitlement to launch preemptive wars based on false premises and an air of infalibility (remember W.'s akward silence at the press conference when asked to acknowledge a mistake)?

Somewhere in a cave on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, Osama bin Laden must not be able to contain his glee. With the single exception of removing the Taliban and the haven they provided for Al Qaeda (very good job indeed), this administration's actions have resulted in doing the most possible to incite the jihad Al Qaeda lusts for. From diverting resources from Afghanistan and homeland defense towards a secular Iraq with whom Al Qaeda had no links (Imagine if we had launched 150,000 troops and spent $100 billion to $150 billion on Afghanistan? Then bin Laden would be shitting himself!) to unilateral support for the current Israeli administration's move to maintain illegal settlements in the West Bank (Imagine an analogous situation in which Nixon tells Breznhev in the 1970's, some 30 years after the Soviet Union absorbed the Baltic States, that "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Russian population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to to pre WWII borders") this administration has aided Al Qaeda's cause to encourage Arabs and Muslims to wage violent jihad against America.

No protester, no matter how cerebral or childish, could do as much damage to American credibility as our current administration.

I understand that you find it troubling. I think they are expressing the same reaction from the other side of the argument (as long as we're not talking about string em up..shoot em, advocating violence).
Fair?

Of course, to some extent, accusing someone of treason is advocating stringing them up or shooting them.

But I basically understand and agree with what you're saying, naturally.

Mr. Ashcroft, would you please stop posting on this board under the alias of "Britton"?

That is the problem with invective, isn't it? Do I really mean "shoot the bastards" or am I just blowing off steam?

I guess we'll both have to suck it up and keep the 1st Amendment in perspective.

best,

Yawohl ccwass! You prove my point precisely. Like a good Nazi you cast a thinly veiled threat of violence at me because you deam me unpatriotic. Like W., who chucks Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas into one "evildoer" bucket, you make the sweeping assumption that because I am in favor of the right to dissent (W. might say that right comes from the Almighty) that I must be an anti-war liberal or pacifist. Like that great American Woody Guthrie patriot who enlisted in WW II (unlike John Wayne), I would fight facists like yourself if push came to shove.

"Tell you what, Wilmur (sic): the day we start chucking anti-war liberals into ovens (whether or not we do it with the same degree of undisguised pleasure that the common German populace enjoyed when aiding in the killing of 11,000,000 Jews and other "undesirables"), you just might have a point."

So you're saying that Al-Q, Hizb'Allah/Hezbollah, and Hamas aren't evil, Wilma?

Nothing of the sort Ian. Although evil is relative (I'm sure members of the three aforementioned groups regard America as "the great Satan"), I was merely pointing out that different terrorist groups arose from different origins and have different agendas. Hamas want an Islamist Palestinian state and advocate killing Israelis as a means to and end. Al Qaeda wants a holy war between Islam and the west in general, but the U.S. in particular (hence they want to kill Americans, but any Zionist or Crusader will do in a pinch). It hampers one's foreign policy to paint adversarues in an "with us or against us" manner. Saddam's Iraq was a secular dictatorship that posed no threat to America. Like anyone who's grown up, I'm sure Ian that you've observed there are shades of grey and rarely does it help one to view things in absolutist manner. It's probably better to deal with each of these "evil" organizations by different foreign policy means.

Dirge:I think the kindest thing you can say about that attitude is that some people are so desperate to see the world (and everyone in it) as a basically kind place that they'll force themselves to justify anything.

Yes, they believe that everyone in the world is absolutely good and free from prejudice and evil except:
Christians, Republicans, capitalists etc. etc.

It's not that they don't recognize that there are sources of evil in the world, it's just that they can't adjust their world view to include any non-domestic enemies.

And they go nuts trying to hold on to their domestic hatreds in the face of much worse enemies from the rest of the world.

Osama killing Bush would be a good thing in their book.

At least he wouldn't have to give the gold away: he could keep it!

Wilmar:
Actually Hama's now dead spiritual leader recently said that Hamas will not stop fighting until Islam rules the entire universe [his words].

Israel is just a short term goal - they represent exactly the same philosophy that Al Qa'eda funds.

And "fund" is the right verb. Al Qa'eda is more of an umbrella group for funding Islamist terrorism that a single entity.

I meant Wilmer. Sorry

Is the moon full tonight?

Must be cause the moonbats are out in force.

Joshua, although I frequently disagree with you on several issues; tonight I have to congratulate you for injecting some very persuasive and well written opinions.

I support our war on terrorism, and frankly think it should have started around December of 1979. That said, I also fully support the right of people to voice their opinion in disagreeing with me, and if they are only capable of articulating an opinion by being rude at a public policy speech, or resorting to crude language; then so be it. Freedom of speech and disagreeing with public policy does not constitute treason; and while it may in fact give some comfort to the enemy, it doesn't rise the definition of 'comfort' referred to in the constitutions language about treason. So Wilmur, I hope you or the rest of your DU friends don't hold your breath while waiting for Ashcroft or his lackeys to come find you because you don't like them or the rest of the Bush Administration. Frankly, you're just voicing an opinion, and even though I don't agree with you - who cares?

And we didn't lose Viet Nam just because it became an unpopular war back home, we also lost it because the Johnson adminstration decided to call it a "police action" and therefore never chose to fight it like a real war. Even when Nixon came along and started bombing Hanoi, he was only trying to persuade the NV to pretend to settle for peace, not win the war. If someone like Reagan had been in the White House, we'd have kicked their asses by 1965 and had the game over by 1967.

Regarding Iraq today, Bush made the right decision. We're now killing the terrorists over there, instead of waiting to try to arrest them after they kill Americans over here. Turning Iraq into a democracy will eventually cut the heart out of the cancer of Islamofascism, and will replace it with a far better future.

Oh, and as for using rude language to express an opinion, here's my input. Goering was full of crap.

"Yawohl ccwass! You prove my point precisely. Like a good Nazi you cast a thinly veiled threat of violence at me because you deam me unpatriotic. Like W., who chucks Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas into one "evildoer" bucket, you make the sweeping assumption that because I am in favor of the right to dissent (W. might say that right comes from the Almighty) that I must be an anti-war liberal or pacifist. Like that great American Woody Guthrie patriot who enlisted in WW II (unlike John Wayne), I would fight facists like yourself if push came to shove."

Riiiiiiight.

I sense a Ted Rall level of paranoia here. Either that or this what you were talking about when you chided Joshua for not being humorous enough.

I say this because your return accusation is, to me, illucid. I mean, as I happen to think that protest - no matter how moonbatish and silly - is democracy in action and should not be stopped (though it may certainly be mocked thanks to freedom of speech), being called both a nazi and fascist is at once annoying and amusing.

Were I either of those things I'd be doing what active members of Democratic Underground or Indymedia would do: finding and then publishing your personal information and suggesting that you be targetted for anything from Internet hijinks to serious personal physical harm.

However, I am a conservative and a Republican, and such fascist- and nazi-like tactics, so favored by America's caring and passionate liberals, frankly disgust me.

Still, if you're still looking to fight someone with a proven record of shutting up dissenting voices and who isn't afraid of doing so physically, I understand Al Franken is still looking for takers on his offer.

Knock yerself out, champ.

Like a good Nazi you cast a thinly veiled threat of violence at me because you deam me unpatriotic.

Wilmer--

Just another little tip in "how to win friends and influence people 101"-- never call someone a Nazi unless they're marching around in a brown shirt doing the Nazi salute and screaming 'DEATH TO THE JEWS!'

It makes you sound like an idiot.

Calling someone a fascist is also not a good idea, but the definition of fascism is actually one of those things that people have gotten a little sketchy about over the years-- which is to say that there are some very rare instances when pointing out similarities between old-school Itallian fascism and the current practices of certain governements and institutions can be instructive. Buh-huuuuut, here again: make sure you can prove you case point by point by point.

I'm probably wasting my time here. You seem to have been left out in the rain for too long or something. But if the problem turns out to be that you're just very young, or something else you might grow out of, some of these suggestions might be useful to you in the future.

Sigh.

"governments"

"Italian"

Not that I think anyone here would be crass enough to mention it.

Relax, Joshua. It jest meens yer wun uv us.

It would be an interesting exercise sometime to point out the differences (and similarities) between fascist states and communist states.

The one that comes to mind immediately is in the fascist realm, the welfare of the state was paramount (as in communist), but the ruling class was reasonably protected, as were property rights.

Michele,

Letting the Arab world know that there are Americans willing to engage in nonviolent protests against the actions seen in the pics and described in the Taguba report and against the leadership "accountable" for this debacle is neither reckless nor "gloating to the enemy."

I was with you on calling out Micah the Fraud and Whack Job Rall (IMHO -you did go a little overboard and even appeared a little obsessive with the number of rants, but I agreed with your fundamental point). But by equating criticism of BushCo with aiding and comforting the enemy, its you that's moved out of the center and into the extremes.

If this is the best you can come up with to smear the Left today, how about if I top you with a little moral equivalency (since you're recent posts reflect that you've now flipped your per se position against raising moral equivalency arguments). Check out Britton's racist post at 3:43 pm and the Rall-esque posts by Chuck Simmins at 4:48 pm and Jay Tea at 6:38 pm. Now that's some sick and twisted shit!!! But you wouldn't want to call out your right wing toadies, now would you?

Actually Alan J., far from being full of crap Goering was very insightful, as you appear to be an example of one of the many that have been duped into doing the bidding of their leaders, especially if you believe fighting the war on terror had anything to do with Iraq. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom (a more honest name would have been Operation Iraqi Liberation: O.I.L.) there were no terrorists in Iraq (Bush even went public on September 14, 2003 to mop up Cheney's disinformation on "Meet The Press" a few days earlier and admit no link between Iraq and the attacks of 911: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/
nationworld/chi-0309180313sep18,1,6562708.story). Now, sadly Iraq has become a Mecca (no pun intended) for terrorism. The REAL war on terror would have been better served by sending 150,000 troops to march from Kabul east to Pakistan to wipe out the remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Oh yeah, how about spending some of the $100 billion or so on homeland security? For instance, we've only spent $100 million since 9/11 on securing our railroads: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/05/06/us_rail_security_lags_house_panel_told/. Ask the people in Madrid how important that is. How about our ports? Are they any less vulnerable?

So, in the absence of a link with Al Qaeda, we went into Iraq primarily to take out their weapons of mass destruction. You can refresh your memory by reading Bush's 2003 State of the Union Address: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html
There is cursory talk (one paragraph) about the torture wrought on Iraqi citizens by Saddam's regime, but by and large, Bush makes the case for an urgent need to disarm Iraq. Then Powell hammered home the same reasoning at the U.N.: http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2003/17300.htm. Donald Rumsfeld even claimed "a trained ape" would know Iraq harbored WMD (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Sep2002/t09162002_t913bbcvoa.html). But clearly there were no weapons of mass destruction on the scale claimed by Bush and Powell in their respective speeches (just ask David Kaye). Alan J., if you believe so firmly in the war on terror, perhaps you can quit your job, volunteer and ship out to Iraq to look for WMD on turkey farms.

OK, so there were no mass stockpiles of WMD (Saddam had essentially been defanged by the combination of the first Gulf War and a decade of United Nations sanctions), so the administration moves the goalposts and retrospectively claims this was a humanitarian mission to unshackle the Iraqi people from Saddam. But this argument holds no weight, and even George Will is of that opinion:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/georgewill/gw20030622.shtml
All Baathists were condsidered "evildoers" and banished, yet Bush & Bremer have flip flopped and invited them back into Fallujah to reign in order . And as for the assertion Bush made on the anniversary of "Mission Accomplished" that the good news is "there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq", well as Jon Stewart put it, "The torture chambers and rape rooms are not so much closed as under new management". If, from the get go the war had been based on enforcing the human rights and democracy contained in U.N. resolution 688 of 1991 (http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0688.htm) then it would have had legitimacy, but this was not the case. If they were truly concerned about the citizens of Iraq, where was the conservative Republican outrage when Saddam gassed the Kurds back in 1988 (during the Reagan administration)? How about 1991 (during the Bush Sr. administration)? The current revisionist interest in the well being of the average Iraqi is an utterly and transparently pathetic attempt to justify the mess we're in now.

So go on Alan J., keep supporting the President no matter what, 100%, because to do other wise is cowardly, unpatriotic, treasonous, etc. etc. March off into any war without questioning its merit or validity, because to do otherwise would make you a coward or at least like Dick Cheney (someone with "other priorities" than serving one's country).

Let the predictable name calling begin: moonbat, DU member, liberal, hippy, traitor, Al Franken lover,Ted Rall lover. Bring it on!!!!

ABU GHRAIB HYPOCRISY
First let me say that these crimes must be punished. Everyone is shocked and disgusted by this psychological torture and humiliation, which will effect the victims for the rest of their lives.
But the International Community's reaction is riddled with hypocrisy:

1. Bad treatment for US troops?
It is conventional wisdom among pundits that ill-treatment by a few US troops will result in worse treatment against American POWs. Really?
In the past, US POWS and even civilians have hardly been treated according to the Geneva Conventions. Daniel Pearl beheaded, the Fallujah four mutilated and burned, Jessica Lynch raped come to mind. Tiger cages and torture in Vietnam, forced death marches and executions during WWII. Perhaps the pundits could tell me of a conflict where American POWs were protected?
The threat of bad treatment for POWs might have more effect if it hadn't already happened.

2. Torture=bad, Torture-Killing=Good?
How did the world respond when 4 civilians were tortured, mutilated, burned, shot, executed, their bodies parts burned, stepped on, dragged and hung from bridges? In much of the press, it was hardly denounced, and actually used as more evidence of either American failure or blame was cast on the non-combatant civilian workers as being "spieds" or "mercenaries".
Clearly a few humiliating sexual poses would be preferable to mutilation-death-desecration. Apparently rape, torture, mutilation and execution of Americans POWs and even civilians is okay....

3. Demand for apologies
Here's the game:
-If you only apologize, Iraqis will forgive you
-Bush and others apologize
-Declare these apologies invalid for some reason -- they were too indirect, they were personal statements, etc.
-The apology provokes no forgiveness, only shrill denunciations about trying to sneak out of responsibility. A Saudi paper screamed "Killers should apologize!"

4. War=Bad, Terror=Good?
This is a part of a larger pattern of hypocrisy: War is "evil", terror is good. War by nations against nations is wrong. Civil war and insurgency are "heroic". Thus, nations which fight wars must be harangued for real and imagined war-crimes, while their insurgent, terrorist counterparts can extermination civilians, rape, torture and mutilate with impunity---after all, they are not governments, so how can they be held responsible.

Thus, the rape of Jessica Lynch and female soldiers in the first Gulf War are laughed off. Thus, executions of American civilians like Daniel Pearl and an elderly wheel-chair bound Achille Lauro passenger is never called a war crime--the terrorists act with impunity. Only wars are protested; Terrorist atrocities and war crimes are laughed off, ignored, or worse, secretly sympathized and justified.

5. Get ready for more hypocrisy
Some Iraqis despite official apologies and even compensation ,and despite experts from the Arab media who claimed that “if only Bush would apologize” the Iraqis will forgive you, radicals in Iraq and elsewhere will no doubt seek to get “Revenge”. When American POWS are tortured and executed what can we expect? Loud, shrill denunciations by the world’s press?? I doubt it. More likely are apologetics, excuse-making, justifications, and even glee. Such is the craven nature of the “World Community”.

wilmer furman, stated reasons for the Iraq war were limited by international politics. Certainly if Bush has stated that the reason was the destabilizing of enemy regimes and hopes to crack open their xenophobic/terrorist generating societies, then he would not have been able to invade at all - or at least he wouldn't have been able to use a single base outside of Israel nor would he have had a single ally, and Tony Blair would have been severely harmed for his earlier support. Of course there would have been no hope for UN support, and no cover of legitimacy under international law.

So going over Bush's statements is misleading. When international politics is involved, you can't expect candor. No country is candid in situations involving internation cooperation.

Joshua,
Yes, had Bush gone before Congress with his genuine motivation for invading Iraq, "then he would not have been able to invade at all". That's exactly the point; Congress would probably have not authorized the invasion on the basis of neo-conservative theory. It was precisely his candor that gave Bush Sr. UN support and legitimacy under international law in the first Gulf War. It is his son's lack of candor that undermined the legitimacy and legality of this one. That's just my 10,000,000,000,000 cents worth.

Joshua,
One more thing... If one accepts your hypothesis (and it's a good one) that the real reason for going to war "was the destabilizing of enemy regimes and hopes to crack open their xenophobic/terrorist generating societies". Don't you think this administration should be indicted for not doing an adequate job of planning and/or implementing stabilization of the enemy regime after successful destabilization? I don't think anyone, irrespective of their political leanings, could give this administration a passing grade for it's post "Mission Accomplished" performance in Iraq.

I believe the administration did as well as possible... Politics is "the art of the possible" and there were domestic and international political constraints.

Anyway it's imposible to completely plan for the real world, especially in war. You have to learn and adjust as you go.

It's always possible to make perfection the bar and claim that the results are a failure. But the jihad that the Muslim Brotherhood and related organizations have declared against the infidels is a very long term problem. If, in the long term, over then next couple hundred years, our civilization isn't destroyed by massive violence, then we will have succeeded.

Anyone looking too much at day to day news and trying to judge success or failure based on that doesn't understand the scope of the problem.

As for the Bush administration being dishonest about the goals, I have to say that their goals weren't a secret to me and I don't even live in the beltway.

The beliefs of the people who planned this war were hardly a secret. My leftist friends (and I was a leftist myself, pre 9/11) mostly refused to believe me when I told them what was happening. Our blindness, in this country, is our perhaps own fault.

In any case the administration was as open as it could afford to be while still protecting our country, and that, after all, is the duty in these matters.

Obviously there is no guarantee of success.

Failure could look like this:

Muslim dominated countries (and the word country is almost incorrect, since government is weak and support for terrorism is oddly saturated into Muslim power structures) - If Muslim dominated countries manage to funnel WMD's to terrorist groups and we are (as is likely) faced with a string of attacks that no country takes credit for... if there continues to be surpising public support for Islamist terror in Muslim dominated countries, then we will be faced with a terrible choice.

We will be face with a choice of genocidal response to end the attacks or we will be faced with unending war and disintegration...

That sort of scenario, where the western world is turned into a sort of Israel, but with WMD's instead of cheap vest bombs is what failure will look like. Until and unless that scenario takes place I won't be ready to call our wars to a failure.

Making a real case for this analysis would take longer than I have time for right now.

Oh I forgot to go back and fill in a phrase.

I wrote "Until and unless that scenario takes place I won't be ready to call our wars to [fill in phrase] a failure."

Well I'm not sure what phrase would go best there. "Our war to end the terrorists' Jihad" is probably the best I can do.

BTW, I blame my misuse of apostrophes on encroaching senility.

Nice debate. I like your style Joshua.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be saying that inaction in the face of Jihad with it's real damage potential growing exponentially, would be suicidal.

I certainly believe that is the case.

The status quo of Muslim societies these past 5 or 6 centuries has permitted the growth of what I find hard not to describe as a death cult.

Far better we meet this challenge now, rather than suffer greater consequences later.

I remain optimistic that with a stable democracy in Iraq, the hearts and minds battle could be won within a generation or two.

But one thing I should make clear. My studies of middle eastern countries convinced me that the failure scenario was the most likely long term result of NOT facing the threat and not fighting.

I'm anticipating that here you'd say that Iraq wasn't the enemy.

Frankly this wasn't about Iraq. All of the countries in the region support Islamist terror. All of the regimes are enemies, so I could ALMOST imagine saying that invading any country in the region would be justified. Obviously we couldn't invade them all, and just as obviously that would have been overkill.

Iraq was believed to be a threat (and Saddam did publicly support terrorists in Israel and did play to related Arab dreams of empire).

But Iraq, mostly, was the most promising target. It has both Shia and Sunnies, so bringing liberal values to Iraq could effect the culture on both sides of that divide. There was a good pretext in the UN for the invasion. The long suffering and somewhat modernized Iraqi citizen were, more than other countries in the region, ripe to wish for a better life and for normal relations with the rest of the world (a taboo that other middle eastern countries aren't ready to break, except as phoney facade).

Iraq was the best target by far, whether or not it was the biggest threat.

But I'm getting sidetracked. My main point is that I believe that not changing the middle middle east, not meddling, that allowing the current trends in middle eastern societies to continue would have been to allow our civilization to run into a brick wall at 100 miles per hour. We were heading for a catastrophy.

Now there's chance that we've avoided it. Or at least softened the blow to come.

And if you consider that the likely long term alternative is a total war were modern weapons are use but deterence doesn't work, I'm willing to put up with a hell of a lot.

More typos.

... where modern weapons are used but deterence doesn't work...

krakatoa, exactly. And I agree with you. Blogs like "Iraq the model" and "healing Iraq" are certainly hopeful.

You should read this weeks entry on "Iraq the model" (good for address).

google I meant.

My fingers aren't typing so well this morning.

Wilmer, you are very good at hearing what people are saying, while still completing missing the point of what they are saying. First off, I don’t think it’s treasonous to voice an opinion disagreeing with administration policy. So don’t try to be disingenuous by claiming that everyone who agrees with the administration will be calling someone who disagrees cowardly, unpatriotic, treasonous, etc. etc. It’s quite transparent that you’re attempting to assume a cloak of righteousness by pretending to be some type of oppressed victim. That’s rather ironic when it comes from someone who thinks so highly of Goering.

And for someone who reads so much, I’m astonished that you still believe the war in Iraq was all about the Oooiiilllllll. Since you obviously can’t figure out for yourself how ridiculous this argument is, perhaps you should spend some additional time reading some of Michele’s or Glenn Reynolds posts that completely debunk this argument. And while you’re doing that, you might also refresh your memory on how in 1998 it was Bill Clinton and his administration that said Iraq possessed WMDs and presented a serious potential threat to the stability of the region and the world. And HELLO, don’t you think that someone’s whose already gassed 5000 people in 1988 wasn’t just waiting for the opportunity to rebuild his stockpile so he could do it again in the future. Yes, President Bush did say that we haven’t found any direct connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attack, but if you think that proves that Saddam didn’t sponsor or support organized terrorism, then you REALLY need to go back to the library to read some more.

Finally, don’t give me that ‘Chickenhawk’ BS about how if I’m such a big supporter of this war, I should go fight in it. If I were to judge your age based on your writings, I would guess that I was flying B-52s while you were probably just wetting your diapers. And unlike your buddy Micah, I’d be happy to show my DD Form 214 and medals to any reporter. Don’t believe me? Who cares! And before you waste your time by arguing that being a veteran doesn’t add any weight to my views on National Security, I’d certainly say that John Kerry proves you’re right about that.

Alan J.,
The point you are "completing (sic) missing" is that I never said "that everyone who agrees with the administration will be calling someone who disagrees cowardly, unpatriotic, treasonous, etc. etc." I have plenty of friends and family memebers who agree with this administration who display a healthy and open attitude towards a dialog without stooping to the level of calling me a traitor. My experience on THIS board is that a disproportionate number of posters here will label those who disagree with the administration as "cowardly, unpatriotic, treasonous, etc. etc." And of course I never said I think "highly of Goering". Rather I pointed out he was very insightful about human nature (at least with respect to misleading the populace into war and squelching dissent with accusations of lack of patriotism). Karl Rove is very insightful about human nature but I don't think highly of him either.
This war wasn't about oil? Let's see how quickly those paragons of human rights and virtue, Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, etc. advocate for humanitarian intervention in Somalia. Also observe how little money and few troops they've devoted to Afghanistan (relative to Iraq) where Osama is, but oil isn't.
Who gives a chickenhawk shit about your forms and medals? John Kerry can be awarded medals, Max Cleland can lose limbs, and John McCain can spend 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton only to have their military honors, wounds and bravery discounted by great American patriots like Dick Cheney, Carl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Dubya, all of whom pussied out on Vietnam.

Funny Wilmer, I don't see a word about oil in my posts.

As I said, the beliefs of the planners of this war were no secret.

I knew this wasn't about oil, long before it started.

Are you really trying to give the impression that you're immune to ideas and arguement?

Joshua, take a chill pill. Read the sequence of the posts carefully:
Posted by: wilmer furman at May 8, 2004 02:50 AM
Here I put forth my opinion in a letter to Alan J. (not you) that there were ulterior motives (oil being one of them) for this war because fighting terrorism in the form of Al Qaeda, securing WMD, and concern for Iraqi human rights were clearly not central as reasons for the war.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at May 8, 2004 03:28 AM
You respond that you are completely comfortable with the aministration lying to Congress and the American people as to the real reason for the war: to destabilize Iraq and establish a democracy there. The ends, in your opinion, justify the subterfuge of the means. Fair enough.

Posted by: Wilmer Furman at May 8, 2004 03:53 AM
Not entirely clear that you are being an apologist for the administration's deceit I ask once again for clarification.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at May 8, 2004 07:44 AM
You confirm that, in your opinion, the administrations goals were entirely transparent to anyone. Gosh, I must be pretty thick.

Posted by: Alan J. at May 8, 2004 03:05 PM
Alan J., not you, in response to my post, takes me to task for my beliefs that control of the second largest known oil reserves in the world was part of the motivation for the war. Far enough, he's entitled to disagree.

Posted by: Joshua Scholar at May 8, 2004 06:00 PM
Funny Wilmer, I don't see a word about oil in my posts.

It's funny Joshua, I don't see a word about oil in my posts to you either. So now why do you issue forth this non sequitor of a post?

This war wasn't about oil? Let's see how quickly those paragons of human rights and virtue, Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, etc. advocate for humanitarian intervention in Somalia.

Gotta run, but I did not mean "You confirm that, in your opinion, the administrations goals were entirely transparent to anyone. Gosh, I must be pretty thick."

Probably 20% of the country has really gotten the message about what's going on. I blame the media for shallowness and stuipidity.
But I also blame people for not being interested in looking - Bush had a reputation and no one wants to look past that reputation.

Joshua,
I beleive we actually agree that stopping Al Qaeda, WMD, and Iraqi human rights were a ruse as a pretext for invading Iraq. You believe, from what I gather, the sole reason was to try to destabilize a terrorist state and replace it with a stable, democratic one. I agree with you that this was part of the neo-conservative agenda. However, I also believe the presence of large amounts of oilk under Iraqi soil also influenced decision making and was part of the equation.

But you do seem to be missing the main point - that our civilization faces a threat to our existence, in the long term.

I want to suggest that the popular view of the UN as legitimate is unfounded.

You said "It was precisely his candor that gave Bush Sr. UN support and legitimacy under international law in the first Gulf War."

Well his message was certainly SIMPLE. I'm not sure if it was candid. Anyway his support in the UN came from 21 billion dollars in forgiven debts! It was entirely a matter of corrupt bribery behind the scenes.

You know it occurs to me that if there are any occasions where the Chinese ambassador to the UN told the truth in a speech there, it would be entirely by coincidence.

All of this naivete about international relations and the "legitimacy" of a body largely run by a plurality of despots is so misguided that I have to dismiss it as propaganda.

Anyway I do agree that wresting a certain amount of oil away from hostile regimes that could use it against us was a side benefit from this war.

But, no, I can never believe that this war was about oil, or about profits from oil.

This war wasn't about oil? Let's see how quickly those paragons of human rights and virtue, Wolfowitz, Feith, Cheney, etc. advocate for humanitarian intervention in Somalia.
Posted by: Joshua Scholar at May 8, 2004 06:42 PM

Joshua,
That quote was, again, a response to Alan J.'s post, NOT yours.

And for someone who reads so much, I’m astonished that you still believe the war in Iraq was all about the Oooiiilllllll.
Posted by: Alan J. at May 8, 2004 03:05 PM

I meant "use it against us" as in the oil crisis in the 70's.

I was too young to know much about that at the time, but I remember reading somewhere that the oil crisis was punishment for supporting Israel.

Joshua,
Wow, people accuse me and Ted Rall of being paranoid.

Our civilization faces a threat to our existence, in the long term.

The popular view of the UN as legitimate is unfounded.

You're entitled to your opinions, but they're just that: opinions not facts.

I already late for (an early) mother's day. Gotta run.

The fact that my opinions are unpopular is just proof that people are poorly informed ;)

Joshua,
Might I suggest a more productive and less bloody alternative to being held at the mercy of OPEC? How about weaning ourselves from oil dependence and investment of $100 billion in research on better energy efficiency and other forms of energy?

Unfortunately, the only sources of energy that can meet our huge needs are oil and nuclear energy. I remember SDB once doing a thumbnail scetch of what it would take to build a solar station in the desert capable of charging enough electric cars to replace gas in Californa. The cost would have been astronomical - higher than even we could afford (trillians?) Huge huge huge.

Biodesel is great. But there just isn't enough convertable refuse in existance to replace more than a few percent of oil used.

I'm sure we can come up with a replacement in the long run. Someone from far left field once suggested solar stations in orbit supplying power for a hydrogen economy... But the point is that if a solution can't come close to meeting our actual needs, then talking about it as a solution is empty pious posing - or ignorance.

Joshua,
As firmly as you "can never believe that this war was about oil, or about profits from oil", I believe the decision to invade Iraq was not made in a vacuum in which the country's oil reserves were completely excluded.

Anyway the being held up by OPEC isn't really the problem.

1. Jihadi war is the problem. OPEC is funded by a world that needs oil even if the US buys none. And some of that money will go toward jihad.

2. There are more sources of oil available than there use to be - russia, canadian oil sands etc. OPEC can't raise prices as much as they used to. And you know what? The middle east IS running out of oil - they can't drop prices as much as the oil companies used to fear.

Actually I bet there is some sort of biodesel like solution in the long run.

A scientist once said to me, "the world will never run out of organic compounds."

Wilmer,
are you now claiming that Afghanistan wasn't about oil? Before the invasion there, the left argued that Afghanistan was only about oil, that was the sole reason for going to Afghanistan. Of course, before 2001, the left preached that the reason noone cared about Afghanistan was that there wasn't any oil there...
Ofcourse, they also preached that Iraq invaded Kuwait because Kuwait stopped Iraq from exporting their oil... (Apparently, Basra never existed in that world.)
The oil seems to turn up in floods whenever the left needs an argument, and dries up just as fast.

I'm tired to hear that "oil-argument", it's just shows a lack of arguments, just like the mandatory nazi-comparison. The nazis were Socialists by the way, they believed in big government, everything controlled by the state, and no opposition whatsoever. People that use "nazi" and "Halliburton"/"Exxon"/"Enron"/"Carlyle" in the same argument just shows their utter ignorance, and contempt for history. (Another leftist trait)
Also, the fact that you and others, can even make statements like that in public and still walk around free to repeat them proves that you're wrong.

The US has not taken any oil from Iraq, and are actually spending lots of money building up the infrastructure of that country. That includes to build up the infrastructure so Iraq can sell their own oil, and I seriously doubt Iraq will reimburse that later.
On the other hand, the UN made billions administering the oil before, and France had great oil-deals with Hussein. So in that sence, yes, the war was about oil, since everyone that made money from shady oildeals with Hussein was against it, and is a part of the anti-movement.
So, how much money did you make yourself? Or are you one of the poor guys that are getting ripped off, and support dictatorships and briberies for free? Not even a bookdeal? Or a few hundred thousand for a movie? Or a free trip to whatever town you are needed in to demonstrate?

You're entitled to your opinions, but they're just that: opinions not facts.

As I said before, I don't have time to prove all this. Unfortunately, such wide ranging and radical opinions demand a higher level of proof than an individual who isn't a writer ever has time to make. It would take me books to prove all this.

That doesn't mean that my opinions aren't well based in fact.

I beleive we actually agree that stopping Al Qaeda, WMD, and Iraqi human rights were a ruse as a pretext for invading Iraq. You believe, from what I gather, the sole reason was to try to destabilize a terrorist state and replace it with a stable, democratic one.

Not exactly. You're not giving the neo-cons enough credit for their humanism. All of these things are part of a pattern.

Human rights goes with democracy goes with an end to xenophobia goes with an end to support of Islamist terror and of more secular fantasies of facist world domination.