Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Hillary’s Facts

Dick Morris takes issue with one fact in Hillary’s book via an open letter to her. Short.

Discussions - 31 Comments

My, my, my... this has certainly not been a good last couple of weeks for Conservatives. First, Al Franken makes Bill O’Reilly look like a buffoon on national tv. Then, it’s more bad news for Bush as his cronies continue to come up empty in the hunt for WMD. And now, much to the chagrin of the right(including a few who post to this blog), Hillary’s book turns out to be a bigger hit than even the much-anticipated Harry Potter book (a particularly harsh blow for Republicans, who seem to favor fantasy over reality).

As for Dick Morris, please remind me, Dr. Schramm - is this the same Dick Morris whose involvement in a call-girl scandal caused him to resign in disgrace? Is it the same Dick Morrison whose account of the incident in HIS OWN book differs wildly from his current story? Is it the same Dick Morris who one of your Ashbrook colleagues condemned as a "sleazy political con-artist" just a few years ago?

If asked to choose between Hillary Clinton (who I admit to never having been a big fan of) and a sleazy political turncoat whose sole motivation revolves around crying "victory" while running away from the Clinton administration with his tail in between his legs, I’ll go with the senator from New York.

Yes, June has indeed been a bad month for you folks. I almost feel sorry for you guys... almost. ;)

Little overstates his case much. Not untypical. I only heard about the Bill O’Reilly/Franken altercation, never saw it. I think O’reilly is a showman, and a good one, he is smart (albeit I haven’t seen more than a total of thirty minutes of him). I have seen Franken for longer period, and I think he is a man who tries too hard to be funny; he bores me. If I had to guess, I’d say he is fool, at best a witty fool. I also think that Dick Morris is a sleaze, i.e., a low class Machievellian. I mentioned his open letter to Hillary because I have never heard the story before; thought it was interesting. I don’t dislike the Clintons because I have policy disagreements with them, I dislike them for what they are. I still think both Clintons have tyrannic souls, Hillary more like Lady Macbeth (dark souled woman), Bill more like Richard III (a very amusing tyrant, easy to like). But both are tyrants: there is nothing above them, nothing but them, and only them; their own interests and their own passions; they press, always press, to satisfy their desires. They are users. And, as the Poet says, it is time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.

On the sale of her book: I am not at all surprised by how much it has sold so quickly, but I will be surprised if it continues to sell anywhere near this rate three weeks from now; for the same reason that I am not surprised at how well a big-dollar-much-hyped movie does its first weekend, and then not surprised when it is dicovered that the movie is not as great as the hype made it out to be, and by the third weekend it starts dropping quickly. As for not yet finding WMD yet, I don’t have much to say that I haven’t already (that is, that it is an inside-the-beltway disagreement between intelligence agencies, hyped by political interests). Just think of the museum example. Wait. And besides, just for your information, it has never occured to me to think "that this was or was not a good week for conservatives or for liberals." That is just silly. Good politics is judged in different, and much longer terms. To the extent that liberals (or anyone else, even some so called conservatives, for that matter) lack understanding and confidence in what America stands for (and they don’t all), and continue to be pessimistic about our purposes, and revel in questioning the good-will and character of our people, to that extent I hope they don’t prosper. But it is not a week-by-week matter. I hope they stop prospering for a century.

The O’Reilly takedown was highly entertaining. I’ve never been in terrible awe of Al Franken myself, but he did a fine job of putting together - in almost courtroom fashion - a case that revealed O’Reilly as nothing short of a liar and a cheat. (I’m not exaggerating.) What was best was that O’Reilly - who makes a habit on his show of simply talking over those who disagree with him - had to sit there and take it. Conservatives have been fuming ever since (check out the Usenet message boards if you don’t believe me).

I’m pleased to see Mr. Schramm admit just what he thinks of Dick Morris. But if he thinks Morris is a "sleaze," why bother go to the trouble of citing his column, unless this is just sour grapes over the popularity of Hillary’s book.

Incidentally, if Mr. Clinton is Richard III and Mrs. Clinton is Lady MacBeth, then who does Mr. Bush most resemble? Conservatives would probably love to compare him to noble Hamlet (if for nothing other than the "avenging thy father" imagery it invokes). But for my money, he is much more fitting as an Iago, and a small-time one at that.

To address Dr. Schramm’s statement, Hillary’s book is not just the flavor of the month. For the record, the 200,000 copies that it sold on its first-day is more "first day" copies sold by any non-fiction book EVER. Though Dr. Schramm is correct in that its still early, sales show no sign of slowing down, according to Amazon.com’s hour-by-hour book tracker. Face it, people are genuinely and deeply curious about her. I hadn’t even considered the popularity of her book to be a partisan issue until it was mentioned on this blog (perhaps those on this blog who judged its popularity prematurely should have applied Dr. Schramm’s wait-and-see WMD advice here instead).

And yes, we must not forget "wait-and-see," the new battle cry of the right wing. As the truth continues to come out about our lack of WMD evidence and the real motivation for this war, Conservatives are desperately clinging to the museum story, milking it for all its worth. "But don’t forget the museum story... just 33 pieces!" they shriek, before changing the topic.

Others in the pro-war crowd have now resorted to claiming that WMD doesn’t matter (to his credit, I’ve not seen Dr. Schramm take this particular position... yet). If that were the case, why the big stink about WMD in the first place? The "it doesn’t matter" crowd - when tested - will whip out the story of the Iraqi soccer team or the 100 Iraqi orphans that were freed, while implying that those of us in the anti-war crowd endorsed the torture and death that was taking place during Saddam’s regime (I guess I’ll have to ask them to save me a seat in the 9th level of Hell, right Dr. Schramm?).

The point is, Dr. Schramm, that if you say that you are invading Iraq because of WMD, you’d darn well better be able to come up with some kind of evidence that those WMD exist. Don’t point to one or two positive consequences and then use those events to justify the war. It is the worst kind of deception, and it is insulting to the memories of the American soldiers and the Iraqi civilians who died in the war.

As for the notion that an entity - be it a person or an organization - cannot have "good weeks/months" or "bad weeks/months," this is nonsense. Politics may be a long-term event, but the success (or lack thereof) of political bodies certainly can be gauged as frequently as one would like.

Dr. Schramm claims that liberals (and some conservatives) "lack understanding and confidence in what America stands for." I maintain that those of us (liberals and conservatives alike) who do question the actions of our government from time to time are far more loyal than those who blindly accept the status quo out of partisan loyalty.

It was pretty funny seeing the Conservatives’ patron saint get his a$$ handed to him by Franken!

I don’t see why liberals, like Mr. Little, see fit to crow over the success of Sen. Clinton’s book. Surely, a great deal of her book’s sales are from admirers, but let’s face it, the Clinton presidency played out like an episode of Jerry Springer with all sorts of titillating deceptions and scandal. This is just the sort of thing that intrigues the American public. They *want* to know what she knew, what she thought of Bill’s indescretions, what happened behind the scenes.

It is the scandals that are selling many of these books, not simply some great love affair between the American people and Hillary Clinton. Show me a poll where Hillary makes even a slight dent in Bush’s poll numbers and maybe I will believe that the success of her book translates into something resembling a "bad week" for the GOP. But barring that, book sales are just book sales. Good for her for making big money on royalties, but I don’t see why her royalties are cause for concern for any Republicans.

Don’t point to one or two positive consequences and then use those events to justify the war.

One or two? The positive aspects of the invasion and resulting elimination of Hussein’s regime are practically innumerable. I can’t think of a single aspect of Iraqi life that hasn’t been improved, at least in the long run, by the coalition’s actions. Iraq has a future now. It didn’t before.

And regardless of when and how many WMD are found in Iraq, there was essentially no nation on the planet that did not readily accept that Iraq had WMD and had programs for the production of WMD in the weeks and months leading up to the invasion. Hans Blix has said as much, the UN said as much, France said as much, even Syria said as much by signing 1441 which states those points explicitly. If there are no WMD in Iraq, which I doubt strongly, then it is not Bush that was wrong, it is the whole world (including Bush) that was wrong.

I agree with Mr. Roark. I bet all kinds of people buy her book. I bet that the more people buy her book the more others will rush to buy the same book. The more comments (good or bad) are made the more books are sold. Some people will even buy the book in order to remmember why they hate Hillary. It was once said that people who disliked Howard Stern listened to his radio show for twice as long as those who enjoyed. I also think that there are a great number of people who frequent web-sites which anger them. This would explain some of the comments on this site, and many others. I might even buy her book, I read Barbara Olsen’s Hell to Pay and Hillary really intrigued me. Early on she campaigned for Goldwater, Her favourite novel was the Fountainhead by Ayn Rand... yet she changed dramatically... it is likely that she did not believe in slippery slopes and thus demonstrated her free will...

Mr. Roark may want to refresh his memory on the matter of Hillary’s book. My commments were merely the response to the "crowing" of Conservatives about the book (see the Wal-Mart post, for example).

As far as Iraq goes, it’s far too early to gage whether or not Iraqi life as a whole has improved (though if I were you, I’d read Barry Bearak’s excellent analysis [NYT magazine, June 1] of post-war life in Afghanistan before making any judgements about how swell things are in Iraq).

But really, whether or not life in Iraq has improved is not the point. This "all’s well that ends well" attitude is dangerous and irresponsible, especially given the fact that the US is supposed to be acting in a capacity of a "role model" for other nations of the world. We are supposed to be better than that.

If I misinterpreted your comments on Hillary’s book, my apologies, though when you include it in a list of things that you suggest add up to a bad month for Republicans and refer to its success as "a particularly harsh blow for Republicans", I would submit that you are indeed crowing a bit, though apparently unintentionally. My only point was that I don’t think book sales for Hillary equate to popularity for Hillary, thus, I don’t think it is really good or bad news for Republicans.

And in a technical sense, I suppose you are correct about Iraq to the extent that we cannot predict the future, though I would suggest that the chances of there being children’s prisons, gassing of civilians by the government, mass graves of children buried alive, etc, etc. are essentially nil so long as America maintains military bases in Iraq and remains in force long enough to ensure that a peaceful and responsible government is established. Assuming that this is the case, I think it is safe to say that life will be improved significantly post-Saddam than it was during Saddam’s reign.

I also see no problem with what America has done in terms of its status as a "role model." The removal of tyrants who threaten world peace is a perfectly noble policy with or without formal support from the UN who seems incapable of maintaining peace anywhere that violence breaks out. So I’m not sure what you mean when you say "We are supposed to be better than that." Better than what? Better than freeing oppressed people and removing from power one of the greatest villians of the 20th Century and a threat to American and world security? Huh?

Doh! The last one was me. That field is amazingly easy to leave empty. ;)

So I’m not sure what you mean when you say "We are supposed to be better than that." Better than what?

For starters, better than going to the UN to make a case for war, and then effectively telling it to piss off when we don’t get our way.

Or if that doesn’t do it for you, better than waging a "preventative war" without having any real evidence of what we’re trying to prevent.

As I’ve said before, if "freeing oppressed people and removing from power one of the greatest villians of the 20th Century" was REALLY our goal, we should have said so from the start.(And we should be backing it up in other countries where atrocities occur. Apparently, all the talk of "the only thing worse than the wrong action is inaction" only applies when oil is involved.)

The Bush administration was quite up front about the nature of its pursuit of UN support. The President stated from the outset that if the UN failed to act, the US and its allies would. I fail to see how it is irresponsible of the US to protect its citizens despite the UN’s unwillingness to formally support the action. The UN charter specifically grants member nations the right of self-defense. In an age when WMD can kill millions of civilians with no discernible military build-up by the nation using those WMD, pre-emption may be the only opportunity left for self-defense without millions needlessly dying. The US’s actions were extremely responsible and I hope that they are viewed by other democracies as the actions of a role model.

As for the evidence, it was Hussein’s duty under the UN resolutions to prove that he didn’t have any WMD, not the US’s duty to prove that he did. Every nation on the Security Council endorsed that burden of proof, including Syria. Hans Blix said that they had WMD, France said they did, Germany said they did, Russia said that they did. The fact that they have not been found means one of four things:

  • Hussein destroyed his WMD in the weeks and months leading up to the invasion.
  • Hussein gave his WMD to another country or organization in the weeks and months leading up to the invasion.
  • Hussein hid his WMD within his own nation and they simply have yet to be found.
  • Hussein actually destroyed his WMD when he said that he did and inexplicably never provided any evidence of their destruction while also preventing weapons inspectors from doing their jobs, again, apparently for no reason, since he had nothing to hide.
I’m willing to buy any of the first three. The last one seems quite far-fetched to me and I suppose if it turns out to be the truth of the matter, then Bush will indeed look foolish. But then so will the rest of the world. Apparently, Mr. Little subscribes to the fourth possibility. Explain to us, Mr. Little, the logic that Hussein employed when he destroyed his WMD but didn’t bother to do so publicly or with any evidence that would remove the sanctions against his country that were starving his people and impoverishing his nation. I’d love to hear your theory on his motives for that.

The UN charter specifically grants member nations the right of self-defense.

Self-defense against WHAT? That’s the whole point, Mr. Roark. If you are going to wage war against a country on the merits of "self-defense," you’d better be able to back it up with some proof.

I wanted to respond to Mr. Roark’s comments in a little more detail, but I was heading out the door to church, so I didn’t have the time to address all of his points. Anyway, I have a couple of additional thoughts.

Explain to us, Mr. Little, the logic that Hussein employed when he destroyed his WMD but didn’t bother to do so publicly or with any evidence that would remove the sanctions against his country that were starving his people and impoverishing his nation.

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Saddam’s spin all along was "look at the mean old US picking on innocent little me." If he made it public that he was destroying WMD, he would have made himself a much less "sympathetic" figure. As for sanctions, it’s been evident all along that Saddam cares little for his people. No one, to my knowledge, has ever argued that that wasn’t the case.

But the question of whether WMD did or do exist (or where they might be) is not at issue here. The issue is that the United States launched a "preventative war" against a foreign country without any real evidence that that country possesses WMD and therefore poses a credible threat to our national security. Gentlemen, simply saying that you believe another country has WMD is not enough, and we wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior from any other nation in the world. The US MUST hold itself to a higher standard (or at least as high as the standards we would set for other countries).

Just to clarify a point about my paragraph 2 - Saddam, in destroying WMD, would be acknowledging that he had them. That’s what I mean when I saw he would have made himself a less "sympathetic" (for lack of a better term) figure.

I guess this discussion is getting pretty far afield, given that this was originally a post about Hillary’s book, but oh well. To respond:

Self-defense against WHAT?

I thought that was self evident, but apparently not... Self-defense against a nation with direct ties to radical Islamic terrorists, self-declared possession of WMD and a recent history of extreme anti-Americanism. Post-9/11, America cannot afford to allow such regimes to exist. Frankly we couldn’t allow them to exist pre-9/11 either, but hindsight, as always, is 20/20.

If you are going to wage war against a country on the merits of "self-defense," you’d better be able to back it up with some proof.

Then you misunderstand the nature of self-defense. Consider this scenario. A policeman is walking his beat and a man approaches him and points a gun at him threateningly. After repeatedly telling the man to drop his weapon or risk being killed, the policeman fires his weapon, killing the man. After the incident, it is discovered that the man was actually carrying a fake, yet highly realistic, gun. The policeman, despite his perception of the event, was never in any real danger. Yet the policeman genuinely believed that he needed to defend his own life with deadly force. The policeman acted in self-defense. He had a very real reason to believe that his life was endangered, despite the fact that it wasn’t.

If it turns out that Iraq had indeed destroyed its WMD, it will be the same for America. We had every reason to believe that those WMD still existed and, given Iraq’s support for international terrorism and recent terrorist attacks in America and abroad, we had every reason to feel that we needed to defend our national security.

The issue is that the United States launched a "preventative war" against a foreign country without any real evidence that that country possesses WMD and therefore poses a credible threat to our national security.

Again, you seem to be ignoring the fact that the UN, in Resolution 1441 and other resolutions, put the burden of proof on Iraq to demonstrate that they did not have WMD or WMD programs. Evidence of those WMD was not really necessary for us to believe that our national security was threatened. As I mentioned previously, even critics of the war fully believed that Iraq possessed WMD and WMD programs. This includes Hans Blix, France, Germany, even Syria. To suggest that the US acted irresponsibly by assuming that Iraq still possessed WMD is to indict,
essentially, the entire world and the intelligence agencies of every industrialized nation in the world. Is that what you are attempting to do?

Saddam, in destroying WMD, would be acknowledging that he had them. That’s what I mean when I saw he would have made himself a less "sympathetic" (for lack of a better term) figure.

He already acknowledged that he had them in 1991. And he said that he destroyed them. I fail to see how showing evidence of that destruction (if it ever happened) would make him appear any less sympathetic to his supporters. Your point simply doesn’t hold much water. Try again?

Here we go again...

Self-defense against a nation with direct ties to radical Islamic terrorists, self-declared possession of WMD and a recent history of extreme anti-Americanism. Post-9/11, America cannot afford to allow such regimes to exist. Frankly we couldn’t allow them to exist pre-9/11 either, but hindsight, as always, is 20/20.

Ah yes, the infamous "ties to radical Islamic terrorists" argument. You’ve just described practically every country in Northern Africa and half of those in Asia, Mr. Roark. But I don’t see us launching wars against them. One of the funny things about this argument is that it only came up when the WMD argument failed to hold water. Incidentally, I find it odd that you assert that Iraq is a nation with "self-declared possession of WMD" only to refute yourself later in your argument by saying that Saddam "said that he destroyed them [WMD]." What’s the matter, Mr. Roark? Trouble making up your mind?

Consider this scenario. A policeman is walking his beat and a man approaches him and points a gun at him threateningly. After repeatedly telling the man to drop his weapon or risk being killed, the policeman fires his weapon, killing the man. After the incident, it is discovered that the man was actually carrying a fake, yet highly realistic, gun. The policeman, despite his perception of the event, was never in any real danger. Yet the policeman genuinely believed that he needed to defend his own life with deadly force. The policeman acted in self-defense. He had a very real reason to believe that his life was endangered, despite the fact that it wasn’t.

Poor analogy. Iraq never "pointed its gun" [WMD] at us, much less admitted that it had one.

the UN, in Resolution 1441 and other resolutions, put the burden of proof on Iraq to demonstrate that they did not have WMD or WMD programs

Yes, but Resolution 1441 did not give the US the authority to wage war and kill innocent civilians as a consequence of Iraq’s failure to comply.

To suggest that the US acted irresponsibly by assuming that Iraq still possessed WMD is to indict, essentially, the entire world and the intelligence agencies of every industrialized nation in the world.

Nonsense. The difference is that the US was the only country in the entire world that saw fit to wage an unjust war against Iraq without evidence of WMD. And please spare me the nonsense about how the war on Iraq was a "coalition effort." Everybody knows that this war was a US-driven effort. Any help that we got from other nations (Great Britain aside) was minimal, and the result of those nations not wanting to alienate the bully on the block.

He already acknowledged that he had them in 1991. And he said that he destroyed them. I fail to see how showing evidence of that destruction (if it ever happened) would make him appear any less sympathetic to his supporters.

Yes, and as I’m sure you know quite well, he was accused of having WMD (again) AFTER he said he destroyed them. There’s a 13 year difference there that you could have taken into account... if you really wanted to.

Ah yes, the infamous "ties to radical Islamic terrorists" argument. You’ve just described practically every country in Northern Africa and half of those in Asia, Mr. Roark. But I don’t see us launching wars against them.

Because that was only one of the three reasons that I mentioned for our need for self-defense. In addition to ties to Islamic terrorism, Iraq had WMD and strong anti-American sentiment within its regime. These three components add up to an enemy that we cannot allow to exist. There is no other nation in the Middle East, Asia or Northern Africa that fulfills all three of these conditions, save possibly Iran, who you will recall was mentioned by President Bush in his Axis of Evil speech. The fact that we did not invade them as well is more of a tactical decision than any contradiction in policy on the part of the Bush administration.

Poor analogy. Iraq never "pointed its gun" [WMD] at us, much less admitted that it had one.

Well then we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I think a nation that fulfills the three conditions that I mentioned previously must be considered to be "pointing its gun" at us. If you don’t, then you take a much more casual approach to the security of this nation than most of us. And I find it amusing that you do not accept that Iraq had WMD in the weeks leading up to the invasion. As I have said, literally every industrialized nation in the world agreed on this point. I seriously doubt that the intelligence of every one of these countries was in error. Even those countries who opposed the military action firmly believed that Iraq was violating the various UN resolutions demanding it to disarm.

Yes, but Resolution 1441 did not give the US the authority to wage war and kill innocent civilians as a consequence of Iraq’s failure to comply.

That point is irrelevant to the discussion that brought that point up. You stated that the US went to war without evidence to prove that Iraq had WMD. I am saying that Iraq needed to prove that they didn’t have WMD, not the other way around.

As for the legality of going to war based on 1441, there is varying opinion as to whether the "serious consequences" of 1441 permitted military action. Unless you are an international law specialist, I suspect you are not really qualified to tell us what is and isn’t permissible under the auspices of 1441.

Nonsense. The difference is that the US was the only country in the entire world that saw fit to wage an unjust war against Iraq without evidence of WMD.

Your point isn’t even relevant to my statement. I stated that suggesting that the US didn’t have evidence of WMD was to suggest that every other intelligence agency in the world was wrong about Iraq having WMD as well. Then you respond that it’s nonsense because the other nations didn’t wage war? So? They still agreed that Iraq had WMD, which was what my point was. The fact that opinion on military action varied widely is not relevant to that point.

Yes, and as I’m sure you know quite well, he was accused of having WMD (again) AFTER he said he destroyed them. There’s a 13 year difference there that you could have taken into account... if you really wanted to.

Yes. I realize that. Thus my inclusion of the date... Strange how Hussein still prevented weapons inspectors from doing their jobs even after he "destroyed" all of his WMD, isn’t it? Wonder what that could mean.

In addition to ties to Islamic terrorism, Iraq had WMD and strong anti-American sentiment within its regime. These three components add up to an enemy that we cannot allow to exist.

Try again. Your whole WMD argument hinges on the notion that there are actually WMD to be found. That’s pretty been my point, that wars can’t be waged based on hypothetical situations. The existence of anti-American sentiment adds nothing to your argument. Anti-American sentiment is prevalent all over the world today.

Well then we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I think a nation that fulfills the three conditions that I mentioned previously must be considered to be "pointing its gun" at us.

You do that. And thank you for not pursuing a career in law enforcement.

That point is irrelevant to the discussion that brought that point up. You stated that the US went to war without evidence to prove that Iraq had WMD. I am saying that Iraq needed to prove that they didn’t have WMD, not the other way around.

Nonsense. The implication of your argument is that Iraq’s failure to prove the destruction of WMD somehow justifies the US making a unilateral decision to wage war on Iraq.

I stated that suggesting that the US didn’t have evidence of WMD was to suggest that every other intelligence agency in the world was wrong about Iraq having WMD as well.

No, what you stated was that I was indicting the entire world for the assumptions (and the subsequent actions)of the US. But it wasn’t the entire world that was lobbing missiles into Iraq for three weeks... just the US.

Strange how Hussein still prevented weapons inspectors from doing their jobs even after he "destroyed" all of his WMD, isn’t it? Wonder what that could mean.

Seems to me that the weapons inspectors had access in the weeks and months prior to the war. But I guess you forgot about that. How convenient.

Try again. Your whole WMD argument hinges on the notion that there are actually WMD to be found.

Correction, my whole argument hinges on the fact that the US had ample reason to believe that Iraq did in fact possess WMD at the time of the invasion (and in fact there still is no conclusive evidence to the contrary) and that those WMD represented a threat to US national security. This is how self-defense works. When one feels threatened, one has a right to remove that threat. This is exactly what was done and it was well within the US’s right to self-defense.

You do that. And thank you for not pursuing a career in law enforcement.

I have seen your inability to debate civilly on this blog before. It’s amusing to be the target of your vitriol. Perhaps you will learn decorum someday. Frankly, your misunderstanding of the right of self-defense is not my fault. I don’t understand why you feel the need to snipe at me about it. But thanks for giving me a good chuckle nonetheless. Incidentally, my example applies to common citizens as well. One need not be a policeman to have the right to defend one’s own life with lethal force.

Nonsense. The implication of your argument is that Iraq’s failure to prove the destruction of WMD somehow justifies the US making a unilateral decision to wage war on Iraq.

Ah, the use of that lovely little buzzword, "unilateral," as if anything that doesn’t involve the explicit support of the UN is now "unilateral." Your dictionary must define that word differently than any of mine do.

Anyway, you summarized my argument perfectly. I thought I stated that rather clearly rather than simply implying it as you suggest. Given that it was Iraq’s responsibility to demonstrate the destruction of its WMD or risk "serious consequences" even by the text of the unanimously approved 1441, I fail to see how it is unreasonable for the US to invade Iraq based on its failure to comply. We can split hairs about the legal definition of "serious consequences" for innumerable posts, but the fact remains that the US and its coalition were very blunt that if 1441 was not complied with, invasion and regime change would follow. Iraq still failed to comply. The fact that several nations on the Security Council were unwilling to back up their resolution with anything more than finger-wagging and empty words is only a clear demonstration that the UN is no longer fulfilling its stated purpose of promoting world peace and working to eliminate threats to that peace.

No, what you stated was that I was indicting the entire world for the assumptions (and the subsequent actions)of the US. But it wasn’t the entire world that was lobbing missiles into Iraq for three weeks... just the US.

Actually, that’s not at all what I said. I merely was making the point that every intelligence agency in the world (to my knowledge) agreed that Iraq was still in possession of WMD and WMD programs in the weeks leading up to the war. Thus, if you are making the argument that the US was lying or using false evidence of the existence of WMD, you must also assert that every other nation is equally inept. Agreed that those other nations (for the most part) were not participants in the invasion. But the real point I am making is that it is rather absurd to make the assumption that Hussein did not, in fact, have WMD in his possession when the invasion began, because to make that assumption would be to assume that every intelligence agency in the world was wrong. This seems like a rather silly assumption to make based on nothing more than US forces not finding anything yet, given the numerous other possibilities that exist (i.e. WMD were destroyed recently, given to some other group/nation, hidden well and yet to be found).

Seems to me that the weapons inspectors had access in the weeks and months prior to the war. But I guess you forgot about that. How convenient.

Not at all. Hans Blix reported to the UN that he believed the Iraqis were being less than helpful during his inspections and in fact may have been deceptive. You will also recall that it was the obligation of the Iraqis to demonstrate their compliance with 1441 and the preceding resolutions, not simply to allow inspectors in and let them wander the country in peace. They needed to bring those inspectors to the evidence of the WMD’s destruction. This obviously never happened. This is one of the reasons why the Iraqis were in material breach of many UN resolutions.

When one feels threatened, one has a right to remove that threat.

You are just going in circles now. In every other post, you’ve made a statement like this. The problem is that you continue to fail to show how we’ve been threatened. This whole notion that we should attack Iraq because they might have WMD and they might do something down the road that we don’t like is just plain foolish. You don’t want to admit it, but you know it’s true.

I have seen your inability to debate civilly on this blog before. It’s amusing to be the target of your vitriol. Perhaps you will learn decorum someday. Frankly, your misunderstanding of the right of self-defense is not my fault. I don’t understand why you feel the need to snipe at me about it.

I always find it amusing how when you Conservatives use sarcasm on this site, it’s "clever" or "witty," and then you spend far too much time patting one another on the back about it. But GOD FORBID a liberal uses sarcasm once in a while. When we do, we’re "sniping" or "crowing." If it brings you any comfort, know that this is my last post on this particular discussion, as I have no desire to trade barbs with one who argues by emotion and not reason. You’ve done nothing but argue in circles, and you haven’t brought anything new to the table in days. To me, your argument is pathetically transparent, and really not worth another minute of my time. If getting the last word in will help you salvage your ego and pull your tail out from in between your legs, go ahead and call me "crude" or "vitriolic." I however, will not be reading it or responding to it.

For the future, if my making you look foolish affects you so personally, Mr. Roark, then perhaps you should do yourself a favor and not engage in discussions with me. This likely isn’t the last time I’ll utilize sarcasm in an argument. Otherwise, grow up and get over it.

By the way, regardless of whether you are a civilian or in law enforcement, your analogy still doesn’t hold water.

Ah, the use of that lovely little buzzword, "unilateral," as if anything that doesn’t involve the explicit support of the UN is now "unilateral." Your dictionary must define that word differently than any of mine do.

Uh, no... I realize that your argument is starting to look like swiss cheese, but instead of desparately trying to put words in my mouth, do yourself a big favor. Go back and read my paragraph again. See any mention of the term "UN"? No? Good. OK, now go get a dictionary. Look up "unilateral." Read the definition and commit it to memory. Say it aloud if it helps. Are we clear now?

See, I told you I’d likely use sarcasm again.

Anyway, you summarized my argument perfectly. I thought I stated that rather clearly rather than simply implying it as you suggest. Given that it was Iraq’s responsibility to demonstrate the destruction of its WMD or risk "serious consequences" even by the text of the unanimously approved 1441, I fail to see how it is unreasonable for the US to invade Iraq based on its failure to comply. We can split hairs about the legal definition of "serious consequences" for innumerable posts, but the fact remains that the US and its coalition were very blunt that if 1441 was not complied with, invasion and regime change would follow. Iraq still failed to comply. The fact that several nations on the Security Council were unwilling to back up their resolution with anything more than finger-wagging and empty words is only a clear demonstration that the UN is no longer fulfilling its stated purpose of promoting world peace and working to eliminate threats to that peace.

Resolution 1441 is a UN Resolution, not a US Resolution. That’s like me saying that if an ex-con breaks his parole, I have the right to storm into his house and kill him. But here’s an idea ---maybe you war dogs should start mining legal and political documents the world over for the words "serious consequences" so we can find more people to murder and leaders to depose. Clearly, you see those two words as license to kill.

But the real point I am making is that it is rather absurd to make the assumption that Hussein did not, in fact, have WMD in his possession when the invasion began, because to make that assumption would be to assume that every intelligence agency in the world was wrong.

Again with the cirlces. Look, our differences in philosophy with regard to WMD boils down to this. You, and others, are content to blow into any country in the world and topple its leadership without any evidence that a legitimate threat exists. I am not. Unfortunately for all of us, less conscientious nations are now going to follow our lead and cite "prevention" every time they want to expand their borders or perform a little genetic cleansing. In short, our actions (and our inability to back them up with evidence) have opened a Pandora’s box.

Hans Blix reported to the UN that he believed the Iraqis were being less than helpful during his inspections and in fact may have been deceptive.

Just where on earth do you get your news, Mr. Roark? By ALL accounts, Blix and the weapons inspectors were making considerable headway in Iraq prior to the war. They hadn’t found anything, but neither have we, and we’ve had free run of the country for months!

Incidentally, it’s President Bush, NOT Saddam Hussein, who is preventing Blix from resuming inspections in Iraq. If it’s not one tyrant, it’s another.

You are just going in circles now. In every other post, you’ve made a statement like this. The problem is that you continue to fail to show how we’ve been threatened.

I’ve been completely consistent actually. And I’ve made an argument for why we were legitimately threatened by Iraq that you really haven’t made any argument against except that you seemingly don’t believe that Iraq had WMD in the weeks leading up to the war. Not only is that sentiment premature, but it flies in the face of all of the intelligence reports of all the intelligence agencies of the world. When all of those agencies agree that Iraq has WMD, and he clearly had ties to terrorism, and he clearly was violently anti-American to the extent that he attempted to assassinate one of our Presidents, I think it is rather obvious that Iraq posed a very legitimate threat to our national security. Apparently, judging by every poll that I have seen, even in the absence of any substantial WMD being found, the American people agree with me.

You don’t want to admit it, but you know it’s true.

I am not a liar, Mr. Little. I say what I mean. I don’t say things because I want them to be true. I say them because I believe them to be true.

I always find it amusing how when you Conservatives use sarcasm on this site, it’s "clever" or "witty," and then you spend far too much time patting one another on the back about it. But GOD FORBID a liberal uses sarcasm once in a while.

There is a difference. Your "sarcasm" is not sarcasm, but instead ad hominem attacks against those you are debating. You condescend and attack the person rather than the argument. I don’t care whether you are conservative or liberal, that is a small-minded way of debating and creates the appearance that you are losing your temper, which is rather silly on a forum such as this. I have never attacked you personally in any way. Feel free to condescend and attack me though. It makes you arguments look pitiful and weak since they are backed with nothing more than snide comments, not cogent points.

You’ve done nothing but argue in circles, and you haven’t brought anything new to the table in days. To me, your argument is pathetically transparent, and really not worth another minute of my time. If getting the last word in will help you salvage your ego and pull your tail out from in between your legs, go ahead and call me "crude" or "vitriolic." I however, will not be reading it or responding to it.

We both know you’ll be reading it. And those last comments proved my point about your ad hominem attacks rather nicely. My ego is not in need of salvaging, nor do I need to pull any tail out from between my legs. Simply pretending that you have defeated all of my arguments does not make it so.

Otherwise, grow up and get over it.

The person acting childishly tells me to grow up. Interesting.

OK, now go get a dictionary. Look up "unilateral." Read the definition and commit it to memory. Say it aloud if it helps. Are we clear now?

Again, you appear not to understand the meaning of unilateral or multilateral. Let’s consult this dictionary as you so obnoxiously suggested:

"Unilateral": Of, on, relating to, involving, or affecting only one side: "a unilateral advantage in defense"

...and it’s opposite:

"Multilateral": Involving more than two nations or parties.

So, seeing as how the US was backed by numerous nations, some in name only, others with token military forces, and, in the case of the UK, Australia and Poland, with significant military support, it would seem rather obvious that the action against Iraq "involved more than two nations or parties." Thus, unless your assertion is that anything that does not have UN support is "unilateral," then you seem to have no point...

Resolution 1441 is a UN Resolution, not a US Resolution. That’s like me saying that if an ex-con breaks his parole, I have the right to storm into his house and kill him.

No, your example is improper because you have no standing to bring justice in your case, while the US does indeed have a right to its own self-defense.

As to your point about the US v. UN resolution, the situation actually is more along the lines of a man committing a federal murder charge in a state, the federal government does not bother to charge the man with the crime despite ample evidence. Thus, the state decides to handle the case because it does not wish to have a murderer walking its streets. If the federal government were doing its job, the federal authorities would have handled it, but in lieu of that, the state must do what it needs to do to maintain its own order. The UN failed to enforce its own resolutions and its own charter. The US gave the UN 12 years to handle the situation and it never happened.

Unfortunately for all of us, less conscientious nations are now going to follow our lead and cite "prevention" every time they want to expand their borders or perform a little genetic cleansing. In short, our actions (and our inability to back them up with evidence) have opened a Pandora’s box.

Do you have any proof that other nations will now be doing this in an irresponsible manner? Or are you just blowing smoke and assuming the worst? I strongly suspect the latter.

Incidentally, it’s President Bush, NOT Saddam Hussein, who is preventing Blix from resuming inspections in Iraq. If it’s not one tyrant, it’s another.

Referring to Bush as a "tyrant" removes whatever small amount of credibility you might have had left. Surely you cannot equate a popularly elected leader of a democratic nation with one of the greatest villians of the 20th Century, a man who gassed his own people, permitted them to starve for more than a decade rather than disarm himself, and killed thousands of his own citizens for nothing more than their race and their religious beliefs? To you, these men are both tyrants? And you honestly think that this is the sort of argument that liberals can make to the American people during the coming election and make some headway against what has been a Republican juggernaut of late? Somehow I doubt the effectiveness of referring to a sitting president with a 60+% approval rating as a "tyrant" but good luck with it.

Roark, you pretty much just proved Little’s argument. I hope it was worth getting the last word in, cuz it sure makes you sound like a fool. Sounds to me like Morris isn’t the only one whose ’sole motivation revolves around crying "victory" while running away with his tail in between his legs.’

"The person acting childishly tells me to grow up."

Hello Pot, meet Kettle.

There has been much discussion in this conversation of things that people find amusing. Here’s what I find amusing:

Peter Shramm wrote: "I still think both Clintons have tyrannic souls, Hillary more like Lady Macbeth (dark souled woman), Bill more like Richard III (a very amusing tyrant, easy to like). But both are tyrants..."

And then Dominick Roark wrote: "Referring to Bush as a "tyrant" removes whatever small amount of credibility you might have had left. Surely you cannot equate a popularly elected leader of a democratic nation with one of the greatest villians of the 20th Century..."

Does anyone else find it amusing that Peter and Dominick will call Clinton (a President who breezed into office in two elections and who remains one of the most popular presidents in recent memory) a tyrant but then defend Bush (a President who LOST the popular vote and squeaked into office by the thinnest of margins) when a Liberal questions the Bush war machine?

IMHO this is a fine example of Conservative double-talk.

In order for it to be double-talk, both Peter and myself would have had to have referred to the Clintons as tyrants. But we didn’t... I never called the Clintons tyrants, nor do I think that they were or are currently.

And if I may be so bold as to interpret Peter’s comments, he said that they have "tyrannic souls" which is different than the standard political definition of a tyrant (i.e. a person who holds power in his country absolutely and rules in his own interest, not the interest of the public good). I don’t think that Peter would say that the Clintons were tyrants in the political sense when they were in office, rather that they have the souls of tyrants. The limitations of our Constitution and our political traditions will not allow a true tyrant to prosper as such. It is a subtle difference, but it is a difference nonetheless.

And just as a side note, while you are correct that Bush lost the popular vote, he did win a higher percentage of the popular vote than Clinton did in 1992 (and possibly in 1996 as well, I’m not certain of that). Clinton may have "breezed into office", but the percentage of victory isn’t always indicative of the amount of support a candidate has in the nation. I’m not suggesting that Clinton was not a legitimate president or any of that nonsense. Simply pointing out that the numbers can be interpreted in more than one way.

both Peter and myself would have had to have referred to the Clintons as tyrants. But we didn’t...

Oh REALLY? Who wrote this, then?

I still think both Clintons have tyrannic souls, Hillary more like Lady Macbeth (dark souled woman), Bill more like Richard III (a very amusing tyrant, easy to like). But both are tyrants: there is nothing above them, nothing but them, and only them; their own interests and their own passions; they press, always press, to satisfy their desires. They are users. And, as the Poet says, it is time to fear when tyrants seem to kiss.

Just a tip for Roark: lying really isn’t the best route for you to take when the truth lies just a few page scrolls away.

Oh please. I’m guilty of nothing more than not expressing myself clearly enough.

In order for it to be double-talk, both Peter and myself would have had to have referred to the Clintons as tyrants. But we didn’t... I never called the Clintons tyrants, nor do I think that they were or are currently.

I.e. only one of us said it, not both. Thus why I said that I didn’t believe that the Clintons were tyrants. Really Mr. Allen, it’s a bit absurd to say that I lied when you didn’t even bother to read what I typed.

But Peter DID say it. That’s probably why chankster referred to it as "conservative double talk." You guys can’t even get your facts straight (or don’t want to)! If you say you cannot see this, you are either a liar or a fool... or maybe both.

Whatever. It isn’t double-talk if one person says something and a completely different person says something that contradicts it, even if those people tend to agree with each other. It’s not as if every conservative thinks exactly the same as every other conservative.

It would be no different than me accusing liberals of double-talk simply because some liberals have been pro-war while most others have not.

Peter is his own person. He can think that the Clintons are tyrants if he wants to. I am another person, I can think that they are not. It doesn’t add up to double-talk on the part of either of us because we disagree on this small point.

And in any event, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Iraq discussion so it serves no purpose other than to let you rant about something irrelevant...

No matter how much you try to weasle your way out of it, it’s double-talk.

By the way, don’t preach to me about relevance. Your conversation with Little had nothing to do with the original post.

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