Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Advice I Hope the Dems Will Take

This link to an article from The American Prospect offers some advice to Democrats and progressive types that I hope they will take. I’m sure they will because it’s really just a thinly veiled justification for their existence. The authors argue that the old moderate/centrist politics of the Democrat party have not acheived much for them. They call this the politics of inoculation and is consists of the following:

* Appeal primarily to the median voter;

* Downplay or repudiate liberal policies;

* Create distance from the progressive base;

* Anticipate criticism and move to shore up perceived weaknesses, primarily on social, cultural, and national security issues; and

* Push a clear centrist agenda focused on fewer governmental and more market/individual solutions to problems; fiscal discipline; “common sense” cultural positions; and a Truman-like national security posture that puts the war against terrorism at the core of the progressive project.

Instead they offer what they call a politics of mobilization which they think will turn the party around by shoring up their position with strong constituencies like single women and Hispanics and reducing the deficit they have with the white working class. The politics of mobilization consists of the following:

* Rally the progressive troops and maximize base turnout

*Grow the base by finding nonvoters and drop-off progressives rather than appealing to the center;

*Take a no-holds-barred approach to the opposition that is highly critical and contrastive; and

* Fight for every progressive priority equally.

Ummmm . . . yeah, that’s the ticket! Do that!

But seriously, it’s easy to understand progressive frustration and to see where they’re getting their strategic thinking. That kind of strategy (i.e., sticking to your principles) works well for conservatives almost every time it is tried. But there’s a big difference between us and them that they’re forgetting. It’s the substance, stupid! Didn’t Bill Clinton teach them anything? When you’re as wrong as they are it’s better for you to be a liar.

Discussions - 77 Comments

When you’re as wrong as they are it’s better for you to be a liar.


That is so harsh. Especially given that George Bush is the worst liar (and I mean that several ways) the Whitehouse has ever seen.


Julie, please tell me you are not one of the faithful, a hopeless 32 percenter?

Quit ******* pandering for mexican votes you *************! Thats a ******* disgrace to america you groveling **** *****. And you **** over the middle class in the same stoke we will do the work so quit saying we won’t so you can suck up to corporations with golf course politics! YOU ARE SELLING OUT AMERICA!

Wow, there is a case for censorship. And that guy even signs his actual name. The only way the Democrats are ever going to win is if they run a conservative Southerner. They should tack to the right of Republicans on issues like immigration and foreign aid. It would be pretty easy to do.

Contrarian--uh . . . yeah. Show me a Democrat like that and I might even vote for him. But you won’t find one or, if you do, the Dems won’t/can’t run him.

As for comment #2, sorry dude had to strike that stuff. Profanity like that has no place here. On the other hand, at least you were manly enough to stand by your "remarks" with your real name (a policy more NLT trolls should adopt).

Mr. Coughlan: 32 percenter? Well, not exactly. But then the 68% who you think are on your side are not quite there either. I’m no cheerleader for the Bush administration. On immigration and education and general posture to the Dems they couldn’t be MORE wrong. But, on balance and when presented with the alternatives offered by the Dems, do you really think Bush’s numbers would remain at 32%. Hoping it will not make it true. But the GOP should take note: relying on that fact alone won’t work forever.

Yeah, I know it’s far-fetched. But every single Democrat elected president since LBJ was from the South. And it would be pretty easy to get African-Americans to reject this "work Americans won’t do" nonsense. And Hispanics who are here legally should feel threatened by their illegal cousins.

Hey Derek, I don’t see middle class Americans coming to my place on snowy mornings offering to shovel my driveway for ten bucks.

Hey John, I’ll shovel your driveway for 10 bucks! But will you pay for my airfare?

They can’t lie. Hillary tried that, fooled no one except Dick Morris and lost her base. Oh, I know, even Dick Morris wasn’t fooled by it. But he was scared for a minute, wasn’t he?

Hey Brian.

Uncle Guido

The only way the Democrats are ever going to win is if they run a conservative Southerner.Comment 3 by Contrarian

Zell’s retired, and besides, the base would more readily nominate a spit-ball than a conservative.

C’mon guys Bushs lead the US down a path which has been, and continues to be a disaster for everyone, but most especially the Iraqis.


Switch to someone who had a clue :


I believe it is my patriotic duty to urge a different path to protecting America’s security: To focus on al Qaeda, which is an imminent threat, and to use our resources to improve and strengthen the security and safety of our home front and our people while working with the other nations of the world to contain Saddam Hussein. . . .


Had I been a member of the Senate, I would have voted against the resolution that authorized the President to use unilateral force against Iraq - unlike others in that body now seeking the presidency.


That the President was given open-ended authority to go to war in Iraq resulted from a failure of too many in my party in Washington who were worried about political positioning for the presidential election.


The stakes are so high, this is not a time for holding back or sheepishly going along with the herd.


To this day, the President has not made a case that war against Iraq, now, is necessary to defend American territory, our citizens, our allies, or our essential interests.


The Administration has not explained how a lasting peace, and lasting security, will be achieved in Iraq once Saddam Hussein is toppled.


I, for one, am not ready to abandon the search for better answers.


As a doctor, I was trained to treat illness, and to examine a variety of options before deciding which to prescribe. I worried about side effects and took the time to see what else might work before proceeding to high-risk measures. . . .


We have been told over and over again what the risks will be if we do not go to war.


We have been told little about what the risks will be if we do go to war.


If we go to war, I certainly hope the Administration’s assumptions are realized, and the conflict is swift, successful and clean. I certainly hope our armed forces will be welcomed like heroes and liberators in the streets of Baghdad.


I certainly hope Iraq emerges from the war stable, united and democratic.


I certainly hope terrorists around the world conclude it is a mistake to defy America and cease, thereafter, to be terrorists.


It is possible, however, that events could go differently, . . . .


Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.


Anti-American feelings will surely be inflamed among the misguided who choose to see an assault on Iraq as an attack on Islam, or as a means of controlling Iraqi oil.


And last week’s tape by Osama bin Laden tells us that our enemies will seek relentlessly to transform a war into a tool for inspiring and recruiting more terrorists.


There are other risks. Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms.


Now, I am not among those who say that America should never use its armed forces unilaterally. In some circumstances, we have no choice. In Iraq, I would be prepared to go ahead without further Security Council backing if it were clear the threat posed to us by Saddam Hussein was imminent, and could neither be contained nor deterred.


However, that case has not been made, and I believe we should continue the hard work of diplomacy and inspection. . . .


Secretary Powell’s recent presentation at the UN showed the extent to which we have Iraq under an audio and visual microscope. Given that, I was impressed not by the vastness of evidence presented by the Secretary, but rather by its sketchiness. . .


That man, Howard Dean.

Howard Dean.

Ummmm . . . yeah, that’s the ticket! Do that!Post by Julie Ponzi

Howard Dean.


He was right about everything your guy either lied about, or was wrong about.


Whats not to like?

Howard Dean.Whats not to like? Comment 12 by Brian Coughlan

His unelectibility?

Here’s something the dems could try:

"The Spanish Socialist Party will introduce a bill in the Congress of Deputies calling for "the immediate inclusion of (simians) in the category of persons, and that they be given the moral and legal protection that currently are only enjoyed by human beings." The PSOE’s justification is that humans share 98.4% of our genes with chimpanzees, 97.7% with gorillas, and 96.4% with orangutans.http://www.rightwingnews.com/

How about Mark Warner?

The Spanish Socialist Party will introduce a bill in the Congress


ROTFL ... yeah I saw that. Funny :-)


The Howardster called it on the nose in 2003 as regards where this Iraq thing was likely to go.


That says to me that he could be the guy to get you (and the rest of us) out of the hole.


Seriously though why is Howard unelectable? Specifically now, don’t look stuff up. Tell me what you don’t like and then lets see how that stacks up against his real views, or at least what he says about his views.

O.K. here goes:

Howard became such a laughing stock that, at work, several of us 32 percenters put up a picture of him and put his quotes under the picture. We were able to come up with a new looney tune quote almost daily. Among the quotes was something about the Republican party being nothing but white male Christians. This quote pissed off white male Christian Republicans and all Republicans who were not white male Christians. In other words, he pissed off ALL Republicans. He can’t win without at least one or 2 Republicans voting for him and he can’t even get that.

Besides, he struck a deal with the dems when they elected him party chairman. He had to agree not to run for the presidency.

The neandrathal in me says he’s unelectible. The spell checker says he’s unelectable.

Posts like these make me sad.



Progressives and liberals should not have to hide from those two labels. In this odd sort of reactionary religious-right movement, we see the words "socialist" and "liberal" and "progressive" and "communist" all being thrown around as if they were the same thing. The biggest problem for the liberals (and Democrats) is that we have not been able to stop the ideological change going on the nation right now. If we can’t do that, we don’t deserve to win elections.



American political ideology needs to shift away from this conservative Christian mentality of the Bush-loving "let’s go kill evil all over the world with our bombs" mentality and more toward a secular and liberal one. Can it happen? Probably not in the near future. Maybe not at all. That doesn’t mean the Democrats shouldn’t try, though. I think there are principled liberals who wouldn’t vote for a conservative Southern Democrat President just like there are conservatives who wouldn’t vote for a pro-choice Republican from the Northeast. You guys just always have more people . . . heh . . . blast . . .

OK, Guido, so he makes the occasional foolish comment in public. That happens to most politicians, some more than others ... (pointed pause).


However, you have only paraphrased one alleged comment, not exactly a damning list is it?


What specifically about his policies don’t appeal to you? After all it’s the policies that should surely be the main basis for a decision to elect a person to the presidency.


So c’mon, specifics now. No fluff.

American political ideology needs to shift away from this conservative Christian mentality of the Bush-loving "let’s go kill evil all over the world with our bombs" mentality and more toward a secular and liberal one. Comment 18 by Matt Mingus

So, what would you kill evil all over the world with, if not bombs?

(Note to Brian: I’m talking about their evil, not, as you say, our evil...you Bushwhacker).

Another note to Brian: look up the word bushwhacker in an American dictionary. Used here, it’s a pun.

Well looky here. I recall getting a savaging a few months ago for being upset about the following :


The most important constitutional issue that has arisen since the September 11 terrorist attacks has been President Bush’s claim that he can arrest any person in the world and hold that person incommunicado indefinitely


Guess who agrees with me? None other than that bastion of liberal high jinks, the cato institute. Read it and weep people, it’s on page 13. Wow these guys are not ’appy with meester Bush.


http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/powersurge_healy_lynch.pdf


Paranoid eh? Maybe, but with good reason.

However, you have only paraphrased one alleged comment, not exactly a damning list is it? Comment 19 by Brian Coughlan

Foul!

You told me to do it off the top of my head.

His policy? He hates Republicans more than you do!

So, what would you kill evil all over the world with, if not bombs?


What do you kill local evil with Prosecutor Guido?


Bombs?


Bushwhacker .. funny:-)

What do you kill local evil with Prosecutor Guido? Comment 22 by Brian Coughlan

Most of them die of boredom on death row here in Kollie phonia. But if the coppers take them out before we kinder gentler prosecutors can get to them, they die in a hail of gunfire.

You told me to do it off the top of my head.


Yes, and thats it? Thats all yah got?Here’s what I think he, and the Democrats generally stand for.


Achieve energy independence within 10 years.


Prescribe a cure for the health-care epidemic (universal health care)


Treat lost jobs as social calamity, not a lagging economic indicator


Truly leave no child behind


Break down the barriers and create new opportunities in education


Call a truce in the drug war


Secure the homeland first


Be a leader, not a bully


Restore integrity to the political process (Campaign Finance Reform)


Put people above corporate profits


I hasten to add this is what they say, until they actually get back into power .... it’ll be hard to tell if they can do it.


Some objectionable stuff in there alright, but some pretty good stuff too.


I don’t "hate" republicans, I do hate GWB though. There is no disguising it, I really, really loathe that man. Because the republicans foisted him on an unsuspecting world, I am hoping that the republican party will be severly punished by the electorate. The republicans certainly deserve it.


Hoping, but not hopeful. Here’s hoping;-)

Howard Dean is unelectable because he is a whiny little Yankee liberal. No self-respecting southerner would ever vote for him. Just saying you want to win the vote of people who wave confederate flags out of their pickup trucks is not going to get you the vote of people who do so.

Brian, once again, you’ve written down a really nice list of glittering generalities about social justice without any specific policies (well, except one, a massive, multi-trillion dollar national health insurance system). Let’s hold hands around a circle and chant "people before profits."

Well then, Hizzoner, why don’t you take on Mr. Warner come election time?

Brian, once again, you’ve written down a really nice list of glittering generalities about social justice without any specific policies (well, except one, a massive, multi-trillion dollar national health insurance system). Let’s hold hands around a circle and chant "people before profits."


Those are the policies. They are concrete and actionable, that you can’t see it is depressing.


And that comment about Multi trillion dollar? Hardly, the rest of the developed world manages this, why can’t the richest nation on earth?


Check this out :
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/hea_spe_per_per


Sweden, where I live, spends a smidgen over half the US amount. Yet I can fall from a bridge, spend 18 hours in surgery, 3 months in rehab and make a full recovery all without spending .. anything.


Thats an actual example by they way. Not me though! You need to ask yourselves, what the heck are you doing wrong?

As a doctor, I was trained to treat illness, and to examine a variety of options before deciding which to prescribe. I worried about side effects and took the time to see what else might work before proceeding to high-risk measures. . . . Brian Coughlan

That’s exactly the point that should (and most often will) keep Dr. Dean and other small thinkers out of big offices like that of the President. A tendency to look for every reason why we CAN’T do what we MUST do because you fear the RISK does not a statesman make. It can make for a good doctor--but probably not a great one.

I am reminded here of that fantastic scene from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe where the sister Susan is admonishing Peter (the brave) not to take the risk of crossing the thinly frozen river. Of course, she is right. The river may (and does) crack. It puts them in great danger for their lives. On the other hand, if they had not attempted the crossing they would have been left to the Witch’s emissaries--the wolves. Getting across was difficult, dangerous, and the outcome was by no means certain. But they took the leap because Peter was brave and determined. When events turned against him he did not throw up his hands and give up. He pressed on. And Susan, to her credit, did not begin a search in the midst of the river for a new leader. She bucked up and did her part. Of course, when Lucy went missing at the end--Susan blamed Peter (in typical sibling fashion) but upon finding their baby sister her gratitude was evident. History will have the same gratitude for George W. Bush when we win--as we must--this mighty battle.

Julie you are misquoting poor old Howard even though you include the quote itself!!


A tendency to look for every reason why we CAN’T do what we MUST do because you fear the RISK does not a statesman make.


I can certainly agree with this, but that is not what the good doctor was saying.


As a doctor, I was trained to treat illness, and to examine a variety of options before deciding which to prescribe. I worried about side effects and took the time to see what else might work before proceeding to high-risk measures


See the difference? There is nothing wrong with that, would that Bush would exhibit about 1000% more of that!!!


As for history. Nope not a chance, Bush is doomed, and he really deserves to be doomed. He deserves in fact to be tried for crimes, and maybe in 20 or 30 years he will be.

Sorry Brian, I couldn’t tell what was Dean and what was you for the lack of italics and the lack of difference.

It doesn’t matter if you agree with me about the import (or lack of it) of what Dean was saying there. What is important is recognizing what he would have--or rather would not have--done. Focus on Al Quaida? Please. You guys cannot focus on anything long enough to see the situation with clarity. Who do you think we’re fighting--or, to be more precise, who do you think is fighting us? Ossama? One of millions, my friend. If you really think that we only have to deal with Al Quaida then that’s kind of my point. The disease is far more advanced than that and you can’t see the cancer for the cold. Thus he remains only a good doctor and, most of the time, that’s all you need. In this case we need better. He can never be great. Greatness is needed here. Imagination is needed here. Bravery is needed here. Disregard for the sniping of small minds is needed here.

Greatness is needed here. Imagination is needed here. Bravery is needed here. Disregard for the sniping of small minds is needed here.


You are looking to Bush for this? That seems delusional to me, and I’ve had to reword this response five times to tone it down.

Brian,

Do you remember the case I told you about where the carjacker killed 2 boys while being chased by the police?

You have made it abundantly clear that you hate President Bush because people have died and are dying in Iraq. But Brian, ALMOST ALL of the people killed and being killed in Iraq were, and are, being killed by the enemies of the U.S. military and its allies. The killers of innocents are similar to the carjacker, the U.S. military is similar to the police and you are similar to the parents of the slain, blaming the police for the crimes of the enemies of the police.

Ah, but it was an illegal war! And what made it illegal? Saddam didn’t attack us first? Putting aside his efforts to shoot down our planes over the no-fly zone, here’s a tiny bit of history of legal pre-emptive military strikes by the U.S.:

North Africa, 1942. We attacked the French. The French never attacked us in WWII. Italy, 1942 or 1943. Italy never attacked us. Both the French and the Italians were, however the allies of our enemies. Our pre-emptive attacks were never challenged as unjustified and I seriously doubt they would be so challenged today. Oh, and by the way, Eisenhower so bungled North Africa that alot of lives were lost unnecessarily, likewise Italy, likewise D-Day.

Just as the French and Italians were the allies of our enemies in WWII, so was Hussein the ally of our enemies in the GWoT.

I’ve posted several sites indicating Saddam’s connections to al qaeda and wmds. If you want I can post them again, from home.

Now I gotta get to court.

But Brian, ALMOST ALL of the people killed and being killed in Iraq were, and are, being killed by the enemies of the U.S. military and its allies.


This is indisputably true. NOW. However, none of this stuff was happening prior to the invasion. This violence we see now is an effect of the invasion, not a cause. Of course, the invasion itself caused tens of thousands of deaths at the time it occurred.


I’m sorry but wriggle as you like on the hook, all of these deaths, even those not caused by American troops, are on America’s head. The invasion deaths and the post war chaos, it’s all caused by the same thing. The invasion.


The invasion happened for various reasons, all of which turned out to be untrue or at least unproven. Which given that the US has had the run of the place for 3 years is no small embarrassment.


The pivotal issue here is why did the invasion happen? What was it for? The best you can come up with are some speculative blogs about how Ossama and Saddam really were each others best buddies, when that is the one thing that seems completely unlikely.


Post them by all means, I wish something you post would convince me for a change. I keep worrying that I might be the one that is brainwashed.


The hard truth is this. More people are now dead than would have been without an invasion. Money has been spent that the US needs for itself, money I might add borrowed from the Chinese!!! A one party state that suppresses religious and personal freedoms?


As regards the WWII analogies, let it go, they just are not remotely applicable. A quick quote from Glenn Greenwald which sums this up wonderfully.


To pro-Bush war supporters, the world is forever stuck in the 1930s. Every leader we don’t like is Adolph Hitler, a crazed and irrational lunatic who wants to dominate the world and who can’t be reasoned with. Every country opposed to our interests is Nazi Germany. From this it follows that every warmonger is the glorious reincarnation of the brave and resolute Winston Churchill.


And one who opposes or even questions any proposed war becomes the lowly and cowardly appeaser, Neville Chamberlain. For any and every conflict that arises, the U.S. is in the identical position of France and England in 1937-faced with an aggressive and militaristic Nazi Germany, will we shrink in appeasement and fear from the grand calling of history duties, or will we stand tall and firm and wage glorious war?


To be sure, Saddam Hussein was a brutal thug who murdered and oppressed his citizens with virtually no limits, etc. etc., but the notion that he was ever in a league with Adolph Hitler in terms of the threats he posed, the capabilities he possessed, or even the ambitions he harboured, was always transparent myth. This equivalence is even more fictitious with regard to Iran, which -- although saddled with a highly unpopular president who is clearly malignant and who uses nationalistic rhetoric to boost the morale of his base- is a country that is, in fact, ruled by a council of mullahs which has exhibited nothing but rationality and appears to be guided by nothing other than self-interest.


Yes I despise Bush (I’ve gone off the word hate, I don’t think I actually do hate him, God I hope not), but for completely rational reasons.


His decisions are directly related to the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Only the delusional could consider the world a “safer place” today than it was 3 years ago. Oppressive regimes everywhere have been emboldened to do what they like, as long as they don’t rock Washington’s boat they have a pass, doubly so if the classify their atrocities under the rubric “war on terror”.


Americans live with truncated freedoms, frightened of their own shadows. The rest of us are just counting the days to the end of this dreadful presidency and hoping the next guy will at least be sane. Republican, Democrat, Independent, I don’t care just let him be sane.

Brian Coughlan’s irrationality exposed!!!:


ALMOST ALL of the people killed and being killed in Iraq were, and are, being killed by the enemies of the U.S. military and its allies. (by me)

This is indisputably true. ... all of these deaths, even those not caused by American troops, are on America’s head. The invasion deaths and the post war chaos, it’s all caused by the same thing. The invasion. (by Brian)

But then there’s this by Brian:

To be sure, Saddam Hussein was a brutal thug who murdered and oppressed his citizens with virtually no limits, etc. etc.

So. Each and every murder committed by the criminals before the police/military go after them is on the heads of the criminals. But each and every murder committed by the criminals after the police/military go after them is on the head of the chief of police/Commander in Chief of the military, BECAUSE the police department/military have gone after the murderers.

Just like the families of the carjack victims. You cannot rationally, but you do irrationally, blame the terrorists’ murders on he who orders the military to neutralize murderers.

The last 2 paragraphs of comment 38 were not supposed to be italicized and were not meant to be attributed to Brian. Sorry for any confusion.

The best you can come up with are some speculative blogs about how Ossama and Saddam really were each others best buddies, when that is the one thing that seems completely unlikely. Comment 37 by Brian Coughlan

There is a difference between speculation and reasonable inferences, based on circumstantial evidence. The following are, each and every one, reasonable inferences based in part on circumstantial evidence and in part on the words of Saddam Hussein himself and those of his henchmen:

http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/990ieqmb.asp

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/013438.php#013438

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1617431/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1600367/posts

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1620262/posts

I have refered to many of these sites before, but not all of them. That’s because the list is growing daily.

Hi Guido!


I cannot possibly take powerline, or the freerepublic seriously. Put yourself in my shoes, if I for example, posted a reference to the daily KOS, or Crooks and Liars, would you consider it a serious source?


The weekly standard, although it has a clear bias, is more reputable and I found the article very interesting.


What I found more telling however, was the utter absence of commentary from my standard haunts. That tells me you are actually on to something. Kudos.


I’m still looking for an alternative view though and, I’ll let you know if I find it.


I’ll willingly concede that it does begin to substantiate a minor pillar in the canon of reasons given for why the invasion was made.


You know my views on terrorism though, and how I think it should be dealt with. Invading countries, killing tens of thousands of civilians, and leaving chaos and mayhem in ones wake is not my preferred option.


As regards my irrationality exposed. Allow to defend myself:-)


In your example the family blame the police, and I agree, that in the instance you site, that this was unreasonable. Nonetheless, I hope we can agree that there are circumstances in which the police are sometimes to blame.


The first and biggest flaw in this argument, is of course, that the police are duly appointed in some kind of broadly accepted process, as guardians of the peace.


This is not the case for the US military. The only ones that think they were duly appointed are the Bush administration. Almost all other authorities, including those that sit in the security council itself, dispute this view.


The second flaw is that the action itself was ill advised, poorly executed and very, very expensive. If the police, in the course of arresting suspected murderers regularly killed several innocent people, and each action cost $250,000, that would be considered irrational, excessive and unacceptable.


Finally, in cold death for death comparisons, the invasion and the ensuing chaos in Iraq has long since trumped the median annual deaths caused by Saddam and his repellent sons in the few years prior to the invasion. Which is some trick considering the sanctions regime at the time. Of course taken over the entire lifetime of Saddam’s activities he’s still ahead. However no statistician worth his salt would take a 30 year average where the annual data points clearly show a falling trend toward the end of the period.


In summary the example breaks down because :


a)The US military are not the police


b)They demonstrably made a complete hash of the job, despite plenty of advice warning of the pitfalls they fell into.


c)The cost benefit analysis simply doesn’t stack up.

Hey Guido, I did manage to find something more to my liking:-)


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4837276.stm


The deafening silence from the left blogosphere on the subject has me thinking that the Abu Sayyaf connection must have been real.


As regards the rest, the 1999 plans had several years to kick off and didn’t, and the documents seem to leave beyond any doubt that Saddam was blowing smoke about the WMD. What an utter, utter dog turd that man is.

I cannot possibly take powerline, or the freerepublic seriously.Comment 41 by Brian Coughlan

Although I do, I wouldn’t expect you to take Power Line or Free Republic seriously. Kinda like lawyers, respected by some, disrespected by others, putting forth compelling evidence. It’s the evidence and the inferences based on that evidence, rather than the attorney who presents the evidence that is the issue.

I hope we can agree that there are circumstances in which the police are sometimes to blame. by Brian

For their own crimes, if any. Not for those of the murderers.

...the police are duly appointed in some kind of broadly accepted process, as guardians of the peace. This is not the case for the US military.

On that, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Oppressive regimes everywhere have been emboldened to do what they like, as long as they don’t rock Washington’s boat they have a pass, doubly so if the classify their atrocities under the rubric “war on terror”. Comment 37 by Brian Coughlan

If the U.S. military is not the world police, how can you insist that the U.S. military neutralize every despot everywhere? Why doesn’t the Swedish military neutralize those despots?

The second flaw is that the action itself was ill advised, poorly executed and very, very expensive.Comment 41 by Brian Coughlan

You and I are, at best amateurs in military matters. Keep in mind, this is a criticism of Tommy Franks, not President Bush. General Franks presented his plan to the President and the President accepted it. You, in your amateur view, think Frank’s plan was wrong. I, in my amateur view, think it was right. Again, let’s agree to disagree.

Here’s the anticipated counter to the statement that this is a criticism of Tommy Franks: "But the President is the Commander in Chief. The ultimate responsibility lies with him." My counter to that counter is that the last time the Commander in Chief tried to micromanage a war, LBJ brought us Viet Nam.

And another thing, Brian. You cheat.

You use murder statistics, innacurately I believe, to compare President Bush to Saddam Hussein. When Hussein was in power, the murderers only killed 10,000 people per month, while under "the occupation" the murderers have killed over 30,000 people in 3 years.

You have said in other threads that you hate Bush more than Hitler, Stalin and Mao, not because of the numbers they murdered, but because Bush should know better. Face it, Brian, you hate Bush because Bush’s enemies murder people.

If the U.S. military is not the world police, how can you insist that the U.S. military neutralize every despot everywhere? Why doesn’t the Swedish military neutralize those despots?


I’ve never said that. I have consistently maintained that we need a legal framework globally that allows these people to be brought to justice.


Rather than taking reckless actions which put civilians at risk, your government should be working round the clock, along with everyone else to put those structures in place.


They are not, because they (and you too, admit it) do not want the US to be restricted in any way whatever, which of course is the point of law.


It ensures that my freedom to behave as I like, is bracketed as it bumps up against the freedom of others.


I am certainly not cheating when I make the post war claims I do. This information is substantially documented.


What I wont do is include every death ever attributed to Saddam Hussein when it is absolutely clear that his worst(US/EU/USSR) sponsored killing was behind him. That is statistical nonsense, especially given the context that much Saddam’s past atrocities were known of, ignored and on occasion paid for.


Prior to the invasion, murders per 100,000 of the population was running, at roughly 3.0, a little under the US rate. Currently that figure stands at somewhere between 50 - 70 per 100,000.

http://www.worldrevolution.org/article/1377


This is fairly speculative stuff, but it is certainly not wrong by orders of magnitude. Add your 30K killed directly by the invasion, and you are looking at some horrible numbers that rival Saddams annual peaks.


It is obvious to anyone capable of basic math, that the invasion and the attendant destruction of the infrastructure of the state has trampolined the homicide rate, collapsed living standards and generally turned Iraq into a hell hole.


Certainly Saddam is to blame in the following sense. Bush made demands of Saddam, using the threat of military force and all the horror it entailed for the Iraqi people. Saddam, fool that he as called his bluff.


But that just puts Bush in the role of the guy who puts a gun to the head of a criminals loved one, in the hope that the criminal will see reason, and then when they don’t, actually goes ahead and pulls the trigger.


It certainly doesn’t put him in a more favourable light in my mind.

Certainly Saddam is to blame in the following sense. Bush made demands of Saddam, using the threat of military force and all the horror it entailed for the Iraqi people. Saddam, fool that he as called his bluff. But that just puts Bush in the role of the guy who puts a gun to the head of a criminals loved one, in the hope that the criminal will see reason, and then when they don’t, actually goes ahead and pulls the trigger. Comment 45 by Brian Coughlan

Very visual. Very effective. Kudos. BUT!:

In my mind’s eye, I see Saddam bluffing Bush with one of Saddam’s henchmen pointing a gun at an Iraqi innocent. When Bush calls Hussein’s bluff, Hussein signals his henchman, who pulls the trigger.

They (the U.S. government) are not (working round the clock to put a legal framework globally that allows these people to be brought to justice), because they (and you too, admit it) do not want the US to be restricted in any way whatever, which of course is the point of law. Comment 45 by Brian Coughlan

I emphatically deny that. You are accusing the U.S. of imperialism and perhaps confusing American entrepreneurialism (not wanting to be a neandrathal(sick), I looked up the spelling of that one) with imperialism. I do want to minimize the restrictions on, and more accurately maximize the freedoms of, the Benjamin Franklins and the Thomas Edisons of this country and of this world. Rather than use of the U.S. government to enforce those freedoms, I want the U.S. government to BUTT OUT!

Imperialist Islam, on the other hand, is something else. The world needs the U.S. government to deal with that. I wish it were otherwise.

You want a rule of law? Here’s a common law rule for you, around, and broken, since the dawn of religion: No religion shall impose itself on anyone else against his or her will. Now how do you enforce it against imperial Islam? You "target" the murderers, those who recruit murderers and those who facilitate the murderers while waiting, praying and hoping for Islam to reform itself. I submit to you, Brian, this is exactly what the U.S. government is doing. It’s the manner in which we are doing it that offends you, the use of many soldiers rather than a few snipers. I get that. But I don’t know how to answer it because I am a neoconpoop when it comes to military matters. Won’t you admit you are the same?

This is absolutely stunning! The article from which this quote came drove me to despair, then lit a spark of hope:

For Unofficial Islam there are only two categories of people: “Muslims” (those who have submitted to authority out of fear) and “Momeen” (believers in God the Merciful and the Day of Reckoning), and “Momeen” (as are President Bush and Prime Minister Blair) are closer and dearer to God than all the Muslims gathered together by the canes and whips of those who serve Official Islam.Salim Mansur, a Muslim writer and a professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario.http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=22247

Brian believes that a one-world government would somehow, magically, bring together people who believe that men have no inherent right to anything and that new society, based on no inherent rights, would be more just and more moral than the current, evil, vile United States.

Yes, Brian is delusional.

Texas Dude, Brian,

Ms. Ponzi refers in "Being American and Loving It" to a wonderful article by Peter Schramm, at http://www.ashbrook.org/publicat/onprin/special/schramm.html

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read Professor Schramm’s article, especially the paragraph that starts out In the end I came to learn that what held together all the critical opinions about America was the spirit of resentment and envy. and the following paragraph, which ends with We are still optimists who laugh too loudly, and we still think, along with Mark Twain, that against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.

I think that article, and particularly those 2 paragraphs, go a long way to explain what Professor Schramm, I and perhaps you, Dale, think of what Europeans think of us.

Speaking of circumvention of the rule of law, care to comment on this Brian?

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20060501_125827_125827

http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20060501_125827_125827


Yes the subject is familiar, and it is under discussion here. I agree with you that it is and odd decision.


However, it is incorrect to potray this in he hysterical way that the guy does.


Here is a recent Swedish article, it agrees in principle with the details, and that the decision was a bad one, but is missing the hysterical "henny penny, thee sky is falling" tone.


Below is the article, plus a response by the justice minister explaining his reasons for the decision.


http://expressen.se/index.jsp?a=539827
http://expressen.se/index.jsp?a=545549
http://www.systranbox.com/systran/box


I have had a stab at translating his reasoning.


In another context, these comments would have been judged as hate speech. The question is, if it should be acceptable to make such comments where such "war whoops" are part of the retorik that sorrounds the conflict.


Calls to violence, in another region, can hardly be considered a crime here, in Sweden, even if the calls represent a real threat of violence to another group.


We must restrict ourselves to determining if the call to violence relates to the same group, here in Sweden. In that case, even the smallest infractions, should and will be prosecuted.



These sites you quote are doing you a dreadful disservice, Guido. They are taking complex issues, and corrupting them into a simple black/white framework for convenient sloganeering.


They are also misrepresenting the reality in countries where it is very hard for you to get an alternate view because of langauge and cultural reasons.


I marvel at the hoops that most be jumped through to knit this disparate and fractious groups together, into a menacing global whole, so that you guys are convinced they are so terrible, that they most be stopped. At all costs.


It is BS from start to finish.


We are not in a great clash of civilisations, this is a myth. The battle is largely won, and we have won it.


The only remaining question is this the direction we take now : Versaille treaty? Or Marshall plan?

Brian believes that a one-world government would somehow, magically, bring together people who believe that men have no inherent right to anything and that new society, based on no inherent rights, would be more just and more moral than the current, evil, vile United States.


Bollocks. I refer you to my numerous posts outlining what I really think.


Have a read.

I want the U.S. government to BUTT OUT!


Well we agree on that:-)


Imperialist Islam, on the other hand, is something else. The world needs the U.S. government to deal with that. I wish it were otherwise.


There is no such thing. It is a brush fire of the imagination, with Bush and his legion of facilitators gleefully fanning the flames.


It is demonstrably false that the entire Arab world even united as one, represent any kind of existential threat to the EU or the US.


Not even in 10, 20, or 100 years.


Were it not so horrific, it would be laughable that the US with an annual military spend of $277 Billion
would be worried by Iran which annually spends $10 Billion.
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/mil_exp_dol_fig


The entire Arab world can barely scrape $20 billion a year together for military spending, and this is the great foe? The focused, relentless and inhuman enemy?


It’s such infuriating nonsense, and it has the potential to get millions and millions of innocent people killed if Bush and his idiot siamese twin in Iran don’t stop their rhetoric.

Heck why argue with me, put your case directly to an Iranian.


http://mrbehi.blogs.com/i/2006/04/so_using_nucs_a.html

It is demonstrably false that the entire Arab world even united as one, represent any kind of existential threat to the EU or the US. Not even in 10, 20, or 100 years. Comment 54 by Brian Coughlan

How about 1400 years?

I marvel at the hoops that most be jumped through to knit this disparate and fractious groups together, into a menacing global whole, so that you guys are convinced they are so terrible, that they most be stopped. At all costs. Comment 52 by Brian Coughlan

Don’t know what you’re talking about there, Brian. I was merely pointing out that your "rule of law" was being swept under the rug by your very own minister of cruel and unusual punishment.

The entire Arab world can barely scrape $20 billion a year together for military spending, and this is the great foe? The focused, relentless and inhuman enemy? Comment 54 by Brian Coughlan

Just as they cannot find a vaccination for avian flu, neither can they find a vaccination for the suicide killers of 9-11, 7-7, all dates in between, all dates preceeding and succeeding. Many are predicting a horrific epidemic of Iranian suicide killers here in the U.S. "if the U.S. bombs nuculear facilities in Iran." No doubt, IF they’re here and IF we don’t bomb Iran they’ll do their suicide thingy anyway. Then everyone and her great aunt Gertrude will be REALLY ANGRY! (well except Cindy Sheehan, she’ll blame Bush).

Will they take over the world with their suicide murders? Of course not. Will they do it demographically? Looks like they will.

How about 1400 years?


Heck we won’t be the same species in 1,400, years. It’s likely that humanity will be unrecognisable to you and I in as little as 2 or 300 years.


Times are changing real fast.


Brian. I was merely pointing out that your "rule of law" was being swept under the rug by your very own minister of cruel and unusual punishment.

As I tried to explain, I agree it was a poor decision. However, it is not "sweeping anything under the rug".


The guys has got significant flak locally for the decision, and although his interpretation of the law is perhaps overly nuanced, it is a defensible interpretation.


The comments made were directed at jews in Israel, not Sweden. If the comments had been specifically directed at people in Sweden, the guy would certainly have been arrested.


As an officer of the court, you get these wierd little quirks screwing up the occasional case no doubt?


However, if every Swedish leader since Gustav Adolphus had sodomised every law on the statute books, it wouldn’t have relevance to our discussion re global law. I’m just an indulgent fellow I guess.


Go talk to Iranians, let them know how they need to be nuked for their own good.

Will they take over the world with their suicide murders? Of course not. Will they do it demographically? Looks like they will.


So what now? A "final solution" for the muslim problem? That appears to be the direction your heading with that.


I don’t for one second believe that you conciously would countenance that, but that’s what it sounds like to my jaundiced ears:-(

So what now? A "final solution" for the muslim problem? Comment 59 by Brian Coughlan

No, I’m just wondering how much longer burkas will be optional on the Riviera.

This just in:

Students at the University of California at Los Fallen Angeles got it right. It isn’t Bush’s fault, it’s Coca-Cola’s fault:

Villagrana admitted "(Coke isn’t) the one doing the killing. ... The paramilitary in Colombia is the one causing all these deaths, massacres and tortures." Two minutes later, she was chanting: "Cherry, diet or vanilla: Coca-Cola is a killa."

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=22231

Actually, I think it’s Eve’s fault. Of all the apples on all the trees, she had to pick that one.

Eve’s fault? Who the hell created the tree in the first place?

The difference between what Brian thinks (re: the clash of civilizations or "BS" as he prefers to call it) and what I and many of you seem to think, is this: He hopes he is right, and we wish we were wrong.

The difference between what Brian thinks (re: the clash of civilizations or "BS" as he prefers to call it) and what I and many of you seem to think, is this: He hopes he is right, and we wish we were wrong.


Julie my limited interaction with you has convinced me that you are a good mother, and an upstanding moral person.


You are the kind of person who make up the backbone of most societies.


They bake the cakes, support the troops, shout down traitors and generally are involved and patriotic.


Depressingly, we have many examples through history of good people like yourself being harnessed for bad things.


This is one of those times.


I’m trying real hard to cut through the fog.


If the US withdrew from Iraq, and didn’t build another weapon for 10 years, the entire arab world could still be incinerated with the push of a button.


The US and the EU are not in any existential danger, thus war, risking millions of innocent deaths cannot possibly be justified.

If the U.S. left Iraq, you are correct, we wouldn’t be immediately in danger.

But we weren’t immediately in danger when we left Vietnam.

But we weren’t immediately in dange when we left Beirut (sp?).

But we weren’t immediately in danger when we let Saddam stay in power after Desert Storm.

But we weren’t immediately in danger when we left Somalia.

Oh wait ... wooops, America was in danger by the time of Mogadishu.

The World Trade Center in New York was already bombed by then, 1993. The same year we left Somalia and stopped trying to find Aidid.

Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and the USS Cole in 2000.

And then ... 9-11, 2001.

Yep, you might say the enemy picked up the pace and we were in immediate harms way.

But hey, why concentrate on reality when delusions about America is much easier to swallow and, I bet, makes you a crowd pleaser at the pub.

Dale, in danger is a whole other ball game.


The US is certainly in danger from terrorism. Just like Britan was in danger from Irish terrorism in the 70’s.


It is quite a different thing to be in danger of annhilation or complete destruction, which the EU and the US demonstrably are not.


The risk of intermittent terrorism, which we agree exists, cannot possibly justify the risk of war in the middle east that has the potential (and we are certainly not talking lottery odds) to kill millions of innocent people.


To Bush and Ahmadinejhad both I say, stop this "my apocalypse beats your apocalypse" pissing contest before somebody gets hurt, and get back to the table with the rest of the grownups.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Blogs


Before you cheerlead, champion or condone an attack on these people, get to know them. It isn’t that hard.

So let me get this straight, Brian . . . you would rather we withdrew and WAIT until we absolutely HAVE to use a NUKE?!?!? What kind of liberal are you, anyway? At least you understand the implications of your policy, because that is exactly what WOULD happen if we followed your advice. Could we do that? I suppose. But would THAT be moral? There would be alot more dead bodies (a great many of them ours, by the way) and there’s even less of a guarantee that we would come out on top. You can imply all you want that I’m some kind of brownshirt misled by my naive, cake-baking nature but you have yet to demonstrate your contention that there is no real danger from waiting. Again--you are hoping you’re right and we’re hoping we’re wrong. With those kind of odds placed before the American people I think you’ll always be the one with the rough row to hoe.

withdrew and WAIT until we absolutely HAVE to use a NUKE?!?!?


No, I simply do not agree that there is justification for military action that endangers anyone, let alone millions.


you have yet to demonstrate your contention that there is no real danger from waiting.


Julie, here is the deal. You and I are in danger. The Iranian goverment have plenty of reasons to distrust and hate the US given it’s baleful involvement in their history to date. It would be ludicrous to contend that waiting does not have risks.


The split between us comes because I proceed from the assumption that American, Iranian and European lives are equal.


A pre-emptive attack potentially makes sense in a context where, "our" lives are considered more valuable than "their" lives, because potential "us" deaths are prevented by causing actual "them" deaths.


Here are the facts :


1) Iran has no nuclear weapons.
2) The deny wanting to obtain them.
3) They annually spend roughly 4% of the annual US military spend.
4) Although a repressive regime, they have all the infrastructure of democracy working, albeit within strictly managed limits.
5) They have a young pro american population.


Given the above facts, any decision to bomb, attack or nuke Iran on the evidence available to date is not simply completely immoral, but utterly self defeating.

Ack screwed up the formatting.

withdrew and WAIT until we absolutely HAVE to use a NUKE?!?!?


No, I simply do not agree that there is justification for military action that endangers anyone, let alone millions.


you have yet to demonstrate your contention that there is no real danger from waiting.


Julie, here is the deal. You and I are in danger. The Iranian goverment have plenty of reasons to distrust and hate the US given it’s baleful involvement in their history to date. It would be ludicrous to contend that waiting does not have risks.


The split between us comes because I proceed from the assumption that American, Iranian and European lives are equal.


A pre-emptive attack potentially makes sense in a context where, "our" lives are considered more valuable than "their" lives, because potential "us" deaths are prevented by causing actual "them" deaths.


Here are the facts :


1) Iran has no nuclear weapons.


2) They deny wanting to obtain them.


3) They annually spend roughly 4% of the annual US military spend.


4) Although a repressive regime, they have all the infrastructure of democracy working, albeit within strictly managed limits.


5) They have a young pro american population.



Given the above facts, any decision to bomb, attack or nuke Iran on the evidence available to date is not simply completely immoral, but utterly self defeating.

I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing, exactly. I’m not here advocating the idea that we should "bomb, attack or nuke Iran" right now. But I wouldn’t take it off the table either. I agree that they have a young pro-American population. That’s true. But they’ve also got alot of the other kind. It is safe and wise to assume that the other kind do have and will use fearful weapons against us--whether or not they are provoked. I can’t believe that you believe Iran’s claim that they both don’t have and do not want nuclear weapons--particularly in light of their recent assertions that it is their right to have them.

Finally, although in some abstract conception of the truth of the universe it is certainly true that Iranian lives are equal to American lives in value or in the eyes of God, I would be lying to suggest that I value them equally. Because I am not God and haven’t even played him on T.V., I do not value them equally, and you don’t really either. You say that because it makes you feel good. You think it is the right thing to say because it is true on some level. But it is not simply true. You take the truth too far. That is tantamount to saying that you will not defend yourself because the death of your attacker would be just as tragic as your own! No nation that lives according to that principle can survive. Worse, a nation that slavishly applies that truth to its policy will end up killing the principle. Ours is the only nation ever conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. But we cannot defend that proposition if we lose this war to Islamo-fascists who desperately want and are working feverishly to be able to destroy Western Civilization. Your ambivilance about the value of Western Civilization is belied by your resistance to fight. Your heart is correct, your head is wrong. You, Brian, are a garden variety utopian. You need to get mugged.

You say that because it makes you feel good. You think it is the right thing to say because it is true on some level. But it is not simply true. You take the truth too far. That is tantamount to saying that you will not defend yourself because the death of your attacker would be just as tragic as your own!


You are of course correct that a certain amount of my position is simple grand standing and self serving. I do feel good about the views I have come to hold, and I enjoy these discussions. So partially guilty on those counts.


However it is not true to say that I would not defend myself. I have defended myself in the past, and
served in the military for two years in South Africa during the apartheid regime. Not something I’m particularly proud of now mind you. I was 19 at the time.


I probably do not value Iranian lives exactly like my own. If it came down to a serious conflict, a real genuine clash of civilisations, between islamofascisim on one side, and secular western civilisation on the other, of course, I’d be on our side.


That is not what this is though. This is just the standard demonisation of a common or garden enemy to grease the path to war. I know it, because I’ve bought it before.


But we cannot defend that proposition if we lose this war to Islamo-fascists who desperately want and are working feverishly to be able to destroy Western Civilization.


This statement for example, just change Islamo-fascists to Jews and it would be a perfect fit in Nazi Germany.


Or indeed swop Islamo-fascists for crusaders, and Western Civilization for Islam and your a Mullah.


These extremes do not exist, and with a few choice examples they almost never have. I’m rock solid certain that this is not one of those times, and I’m willing to expose myself, my wife and my daughter (we are closer after all) to the small risk that Iran represents if it will safe hundreds of Iranian lives.


I’m no Mahatma Ghandi, but that’s not what’s required, just some common sense.

The Islamo-fascists and the Nazis are the more inter-changable terms. Churchill was right about the Nazis. Bush is--or mostly is--right about the Islamo-fascists. But then, Reagan was right about the Soviets too--and we’ve already forgotten that. As for the other swapping you propose the problem is (again) the substance. If you really think that Western Civilization is no more worth defending than Nazi Germany or Islam (in other words you only "love" it because it’s your own) then I know not what to say to you. You’ve missed out on quite alot. Further, if you need alot of convincing to defend yourself and your family that’s not always a bad thing, I guess. I don’t like trigger happy folks any more than you do (though I guess we’d dispute the specifics of the term). But don’t pretend that your lack of will is anything as high and mighty as a true love of mankind.

Ms. Ponzi:

Brian wants a rule of law. We already have a rule of law. This rule of law, let’s call it rule number one, has existed since nations have existed. The rule is this:

No nation will act in the interests of any other country, if the other country’s interests conflict with the nation’s own.

Brian wants a rule of law, let’s call it rule 2, to bring despots to justice. The rule he wants, though I’ve never seen him admit it, is "global consensus."

The problem with rule 2 is, of course, rule number one.

You’re never going to get France to join a global consensus to bring Saddam to justice when, unbeknownst to you, France is accepting bribes from Saddam. You’re never going to get Russia or China to agree to bring Ahmadinejad to justice while Russia is selling him nuclear technology and hardware and China is selling him weaponry.

Guys,we’ve flogged this horse to bloody strips.


Just be sure that when your guy starts dropping bombs and killing innocent people (because thats what always happens), that it is truly justifiable, and that there is no other course of action.

Why do I feel like Rocky after 12 rounds with Apollo Creed?

Cheers, Bushwhacker!

Oh boy...

Another gem from Julie:


"Your ambivilance about the value of Western Civilization is belied by your resistance to fight. Your heart is correct, your head is wrong...[insult]... You need to get mugged."

Maybe his "ambivilance" will race to his aid in the event that your wish is fulfilled and he gets mugged?

Just a bit further now, Julie, and you’ll have reached ROCK BOTTOM!

You need to get mugged. Comment 71 by Julie Ponzi

I don’t know that I agree with that one either. Different countries have reacted differently to "muggings." On the on hand there were our’s and Jordan’s reactions. On the other, there were those of Spain and, Tony Blair excluded, England. Denmark’s reaction to the cartoon jihad mugging was different to that of Norway. After reading the article "Weigel on Europe’s two culture wars," cited above, my guess is that Sweden would react to a mugging by blaming themselves for not being tolerant enough of intolerance, even though it takes great, misplaced, pride in being one of the most tolerant of intolerance countries in the world.

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