Thursday, July 29, 2004
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Outflanking Bush on the right
Go check it out.posted by Dan on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM
"Who would have thought that the man many believe to be the most conservative president in modern history could be outflanked from the right? And by the so-called most liberal man in the Senate."
Much as the Democrats like to attempt painting him as the reincarnation of Hitler...(Who, Ironicly, I consider a leftist, anyway) the fact
And it's telling that Kerry has to reach so far to the right the right to engage a centerist, that he's ticking off his base.
Bob Novak this morning, points out that:
"In fact, this unity is an illusion, reflecting the transformation of national political conventions to infomercials. If debate were permitted, a dozen or more planks would have produced a traditional platform donnybrook. Delegates swallowed their left-wing principles to accept a watery platform and avoid an internal struggle. They were guided by the party's sole unifying force: the defeat of George W. Bush."
And he goes on to suggest that, win or lose, the party will return to it's roots after the election, by veering left, which will destroy them altogether.
You'd better hope like crazy, that they don't have the power to take the country with them... and work toward the avoidance of that happening.
If the Democrats are grabbing issues of the right in order to win votes, will we see the Republicans embracing the issues of the left? Maybe we'll end up with both parties swapping issues and bases:)posted by: sam on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Yes. Such a right-wing convention...
7:00: Wycleaf Jean is performing. What, you might ask, would he do as president?
If I was President,
Of course, this would be the part of the convention I turn on -- not the other speeches. But I did notice the crowd was really, really into the song. To quote a certain blogger:
Oh, I feel much better.
posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
This simply isn't about "left" or "right". This is about "right" or "wrong". Bush is wrong about just about everything. Most Republicans are wrong these days because of their misguided loyalty to Bush. Let's face it, if a Democratic President had acted like Bush, the Republicans in Congress would have been on his case since the beginning.
It would also help if people realized that in the US there basically is no "left" political force in politics - there is only "right" (the Democrats) and "far-right" (the Republicans).
So, if voters don't like the wartime military cutbacks we currently see, and/or don't like the seeming unpreparedness of our current military planners, and/or don't like the apparent undersizing of our attack forces (and the stubborn refusal to remedy this to recommended numbers), and/or don't like the slashing of veteran's benefits, yet are to believe that Kerry is just making hawkish noise until immediately after the election, then what is our choice?
Wouldn't this conflict tend to drive people away from the devil they know, towards the devil they don't?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Somehow a huge new government entitlement program, raising taxes, and subourning our foriegn policy to France doesnt strike me as particularly right-wing. Why does everyone insist on believing the BS puff peices Kerry is feeding us instead of bothering to analyze what (amazingly few) policy details he has proposed not to mention his entire career as an appeasing tax raising big government lib? Its just delusionsal. Some of the hand wringers will talk themselves into anything to justify voting against Bush.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"Wouldn't this conflict tend to drive people away from the devil they know, towards the devil they don't?"
Only if they are completely wreckless and insane. Is Iran more or less likely to develop nuclear weapons under Bush or Kerry? That single issue alone dwarfs all of the hand wringing laundry list you just mentioned.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
*Is Iran more or less likely to develop nuclear weapons under Bush or Kerry?*
More or less likely than who? Iraq? Back to my laundry list.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Guess what! Iran is going to develop nukes no matter who is in power. Whose intelligence on this matter is more likely to be believed: George WMD Bush or Kerry? Who is more likely to convince allies that something needs to be done. George -- I can't speak my language let alone yours -- Bush or Kerry?
History isn't going to give Kerry much opportunity to appease. We are the enemy to the Islamonuts,and we will be attacked with very little subtlty. I'd rather have someone in power with some credibility left on issues of war and peace than our current leader.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"More or less likely than who? Iraq? Back to my laundry list."
Iran has an active nuclear program. Just this weak Iran removed the IAEA seals from their centrifuges. There is no question to any rational mind Iraq is developing nuclear weapons and is jerking the UN around while doing so. I would never even think of voting for Kerry until he described in detail how he intends to keep this from happening. If he responds with the vaguaries he has used exclusively so far involving the UN i would only conclude he will use the same appeasement oriented flummery that Clinton tried and resulted in NK having nukes. That is a clear and present danger. Iran can only be talked into disarming if they want to disarm. They dont want to disarm. Until Kerry demonstrates that he understands that simple premise I could never vote for him.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
With whom does Wyclef Jean want to "sign a peace treaty"?
I think the Kerry-Edwards ticket will win with or without my vote, but when I hear Wyclef Jean's song, or speeches like Al Gore's, or Ted Kennedy's, or Teresa Heinz Kerry's, I get pretty annoyed with the Democratic Party. Why can't the Democrats stick with the GOOD speeches, like those by Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, and John Edwards?posted by: Arjun on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"Guess what! Iran is going to develop nukes no matter who is in power"
George Bush will never allow that to happen. His track record strongly suggests he would bomb Iran to prevent it. Nothing in Kerry's record leads me to believe he would be willing to do so, in fact all his talk about hindsight WMD strongly suggests he would have to see the nukes with his own eyes, possibly exploding, before he would accept their existance. That is unacceptable.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
MB - agreed! Bush's track record does strongly suggest he would bomb Iran. All your points about Iran's nuclear ambitions seem true to me.
My earlier jab (sorry) was to the point that Iran has been a bigger nuclear threat than Iraq for some time. For me, your point about acting "wreckless and insane" seems to apply more to Bush's decision to pre-emptively invade Iraq (when a more immediate threat existed) than to voters who might be ready to dump this policy in favor of the unknown.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
A sharp veer to the right is too cute by half. The Demos are so full of themselves they believe the country won't see it for what it is. Once again their condescension is sowing their own seeds of destruction. You can hate Bush all you want, but don't pretend you respect these yahoos....posted by: Gasman on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Wish, my point was that had we backed down (yet again) from ending the Hussein menace we would have had a harder time dealing with Iran. We would have no credibility, plus with the resources devoted to containing Hussein (diplomatic, political, and military) we would have been hamstrung. Now when Bush tells the Mullahs he will do something, they absolutely take his word for it. Thats something we havent had in our foriegn policy in some time.posted by: mark buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Now Bush has loads of credibility and no troops to back up his credibility. I think the mullahs will take Bush's word that he'd sure like to do something about them...AS for there being much in the way of action?...hmmmm.....posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"Now Bush has loads of credibility and no troops to back up his credibility"
That is absurd. Iran's military infastructure could be leveled with what we have on hand in the region not to mention whatever division could be pulled from places like Korea, the Balkans, and the NG/reserves.
Mark Buehner (07.29.04 at 02:41 PM post) is quite correct. Moreover without the threat of a genocidal Sunni dictatorship with a history of using WMDs on Shite Muslims living next door, the Mullahs have one less boogeyman with which to keep the average Iranian in line. Every poll that I’ve seen also shows that Iraqis want a secular republican form of government (including the Shite majority) and if they succeed in building one, the Iranians might begin to demand further reforms of their government. Or at the very least, they might be less willing to support the Mullahs in provoking an unnecessary confrontation with the United States in order to build a nuclear arsenal.
Who's Andrew Sullivan?
Oh, yeah, I seem to remember reading him a long time ago, back before he lost his marbles.
Hint to Drezner: citing Sullivan is not going to get you any bona-fides on the "Right". He's gone bat-shit crazy with his ridiculous prevarications on the "conservative" John F. Kerry (with a lifetime 5% score on the american conservative union scorecard). And I happen to agree with you both about gay marriage. Don't squander your credibility on this ludicrous meme about "conservative" Kerry, just because Sullivan has pissed away his. Yes Bush isn't a terribly conservative Republican but John Kerry is absolutely a hard-core liberal.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Why is Bush going to bomb Iran over nukes when he didn't bomb North Korea? Am I missing something here? He's going to talk loudly and carry a small stick. We are tied up in Iraq and we can't do anything of a serious nature about Iran until we are untied...
OK I read your article and it wasn't objectionable at all -- unlike Andrew Sullivan's absurd revisionism. You are right that the Democrats are now pretending to care about fighting the war on terror in order to get elected.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Think we have a war to win in Iraq first, before we challenge the Iranian mullahs to a duel.
All that support for US-type democracy in Iran goes straight down the tubes the minute we invade. Iranians are just as patriotic about their country as we are about ours. And, if you think controlling an Iraq insurgency is tough...posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"Why is Bush going to bomb Iran over nukes when he didn't bomb North Korea? "
Because North Korea already has nukes and could make Soeul or Toyko 10 million degrees in about 5 minutes. Plus NK has an ally that happens to be the most populace nation on the planet which also has nuclear weapons pointed at us. That is why it is so important to remove players like Iraq and Iran from the table now. It is wreckless to assume they will be addressable at some later date when circumstances change. You remove your enemies from the table when you have the chance, to not do so invites disaster.posted by: mark buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"Think we have a war to win in Iraq first, before we challenge the Iranian mullahs to a duel."
AM, see my previous post. We may not have that luxury.posted by: mark buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
I think it can be smart strategy. Bush has alienated fiscal and libertarian conservatives to an amazing degree (including Jacob Levy and Dan himself). And Nader is not the same threat he was four years ago, partially because of rabid hatred of Bush among the left and, of course, most Nader voters have already been burned by the plurality system's spoiler effect.
Of course, so far, I see little talk of free trade or fiscal conservatism, but these conventions are all about the base. The race to the center comes later, after the base has committed a lot of time and energy and becomes unwilling to abandon sunk costs.posted by: fling93 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
If we have reached the point where we, alone, must fight islamic nation after islamic nation, then it is time we are told by our "peaceful" president that this is so. Personally, if Iran comes up with nukes, a little sabre rattling from Israel (you know, MAD) might solve the problem with less mess and fuss than a semi-successful bombing run.
Plus -- this is exactly where the "whoops, no WMD" causes problems. Who is going to believe George W. Bush about nukes in iran? And, based on experience, why should they?posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"If we have reached the point where we, alone, must fight islamic nation after islamic nation"
Thats a strawman. There are a very limited number of nations with the political/military/ideological will to be both a threat and belligerent to the US. Bush has crossed Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya off that list, and they will not become dangers in that way in the foreseeable future. Your way we live with the danger and the unknown every day indefinately. Bush listed the intolerable threats, the Axis of Evil. We have no choice but to deal with them in the coming years.
I dunno. Based on the rhetoric I hear, I would say that Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and maybe Saudi Arabia are on certain people's "invade 'em" list.
I doubt Iran is auditioning for the first nation to engage in a suicide bombing. Which is what sending a nuke at Israel would be. Suicide for Iran.
Iran is a state you contain. The mullahs are scary, but no more scary than Joe Stalin. They may want to kill us and the Jews, but they do very much want to live.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"I doubt Iran is auditioning for the first nation to engage in a suicide bombing. Which is what sending a nuke at Israel would be. Suicide for Iran."
How can you say that when these are essentially the same people sending airplanes into our buildings? Forget Israel, what about Washington DC? Are you willing to gamble millions of lives on the Mullah that is _least_ stable? That doesnt even answer the nuclear blackmail issue. Its a fairly universally acknowledged point that had Iraq had a nuke we couldnt have invaded Kuwait. Again, what could Iran do with such a trump card short of nuking Tel Aviv?
"Iran is a state you contain. The mullahs are scary, but no more scary than Joe Stalin"
Tell it to Mullah Omar.
"we couldnt have invaded Kuwait"
liberated Kuwait rather, in 91.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
If you believe the mullahs would destroy Isreal if they knew that that action would result in the destruction of Iran, there is little I can say to you. As for the nuke to Washington...my argument is the same. No leader of a nation wants to responsible for the total devastation of their land.
As for Mullah Omar, I'm sure he deluded himself into thinking that he would not lose his nation as a result of 9/11. Remember that Al Q did not take credit for the attack until after Afghanistan was invaded.
I do not want Iran with nukes, and it's time for the Euros to stop trading with Iran until Iran cooperates. But I wonder whether a bombing run will accomplish all that much and an invasion is impossible without the US drafting itself a larger army.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"As for Mullah Omar, I'm sure he deluded himself into thinking that he would not lose his nation as a result of 9/11. Remember that Al Q did not take credit for the attack until after Afghanistan was invaded."
You're willing to gamble with the lives of millions that none of the islamist mullahs will make the same bad calculation? Its already happened once with Afghanistan, you're willing to roll the dice knowing its a possibility? Ye gods man, has the lesson of 911 abandoned us completely? If history again and again taught us anything, its that people make dumb decisions all the time, often self destructive. The effect is multiplied in a fascist nation because no-one tells the leaders they are nuts. How many outrageously idiotic blunders do we have to list before deciding allowing nukes in the hands of clerics hell bent on wiping out the great satan is a singularly bad idea. There simple existance is provocation enough, give them a weapons factory to churn out nukes and the entire equation of world stability, even existance, changes. This war is serious, and our enemies are seriously bad people on the level with Hitler, Stalin or any of them. We'd better stop prancing around the issues before the darkness falls.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
You seem to be unfamiliar with the capabilities of the US military. The very reason we did not go in with large numbers of troops to Iraq is so we could take on Iran or NoKo if and when needed.
Besides, we are much more likely to take on Iran on a modified Afghanistan plan instead of the Iraq plan (few troops, air power, rely on Iranians to handle the ground fighting).posted by: Matthew Cromer on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"America's armed forces need better equipment, better training, and better pay,"
If this is the sum of your defense policy, you aren't to the right of Republicans, thats for damn sure. Its a French military policy that views the military as a welfare program. Until he promises to take aggressive stances against NK and Iran, and actually use the military, he remains well to the left.posted by: Reg on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Alonzo Church wrote:
All that support for US-type democracy in Iran goes straight down the tubes the minute we invade. Iranians are just as patriotic about their country as we are about ours.
Seems to me that the Iraqis and the Afghanis were pretty patriotic and they weren’t willing to lay down and die for their respective tyrants when they saw a chance for something better.
Plus -- this is exactly where the "whoops, no WMD" causes problems. Who is going to believe George W. Bush about nukes in iran?
Actually this should read “who’s going to believe the British, the French, the Germans, the Russians, the UN, pretty much all of the Democrats and Republicans, and every one who else who was sure that Iraq was planning on reconstituting its WMD programs.”
We are firmly stuck to the iraq tarbaby, and no amount of complaining about how stupid it was for us to punch the tarbaby in the first place will get us unstuck.
Also, it's the end of July and Kerry won't get to make his choices until January. A bit more than five months. Whatever Kerry says now is likely to be overtaken by events. By January it will probably be a whole new ballgame. By the end of January the elections we're counting so much on will have happened or not happened. None of us knows how to predict how all that will go.
So Kerry might as well placate the large minority that believes it's the right thing to do, and come January he can try his hand at improvising -- as Bush has been doing for the last year or so. Kerry claims he can improvise better, and given Bush's record this claim is probably right.
Matthew Cromer, do you believe we have the troops in reserve that we would need to invade iran?
Have you discussed this with anybody in the US military?
Is your idea that maybe the military is claiming they're overextended as some sort of psyop program, that it will make the iranians relax thinking we don't have the forces available to attack them, and then all of a sudden we'll do it on short notice (using, say, a quarter of the troops we have in iraq), and they won't know what hit them?
I'd be surprised if it worked out like that but it would be a pleasant surprise if it turned out we actually aren't overstretched.
We are perhaps overextended with our current force structure, but that doesnt mean there is any reason in the world we cant pull the 2nd ID from Korea, a couple NG brigades from the Balkans, the 1st armored could reequip somewhere besides Germany, the 3rd ID is combat ready again, not to mention we have only called up a fraction of our NG and reserve units. We are only overextended in the context of our percieved obligations. SK can defend herself as well as we can, the Balkans are a European problem, and our reserve forces are a political issue.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Does the gentleman posting above really believe that better equipment, training, and pay for the men and women of our armed forces, amounts to a "welfare program"???
Michael Moore might agree with such a sentiment (since, whatever his recent protestations to the contrary, he is an ENEMY of the U.S. military) but I do not.
Better equipment, training, and pay for the men and women of our armed forces is not only a moral imperative (because they are America's heroes and they deserve the very best), it is also essential for our national security, which clearly requires U.S. military supremacy.posted by: Arjun on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Mark Buehner, I don't know where to begin discussing things with you. You have so many assumptions I don't share that I'm not sure we have enough common ground to justify the attempt. But I'll try.
You asked, would we let Stalin get nukes if we could stop him.
I may have read the wrong books about things whose details are still classified, but I have the strong impression that we did. We could have stopped him but we'd have had to use nukes. Some of our bombers could not have made it back, they would have to drop their nukes and then the planes could continue to some distance before they would have to crash-land in the USSR and the crew would have been on their own. But we could have done it, and the military discussed it, and our president decided not to.
It was the right choice. Not just because we didn't have all that many nukes then, and we would likely have needed to use them all, and if it worked we'd still have had to occupy the USSR for an indefinite time to keep them from trying again.
More important, staging pre-emptive attacks on other nations because we thought if they got better weapons they'd be a threat, was something we didn't do. We didn't destroy the japanese navy because we thought someday they'd attack Manila. We waited for them to attack Manila first, and when they attacked Pearl Harbor instead we responded pretty much the way we would have if it had been Manila.
We didn't do a pre-emptive strike in the USSR even though they had the resources of an eighth of the world and they'd shown very bad intentions.
We didn't do a pre-emptive strike on china when they were about to get nukes or right after they had them, and we persuaded the russians not to. The chinese government at the time looked even crazier than the mullahs. We let them develop nukes.
We didn't do surgical strikes on anybody. Because back in those days we were the United States of America, and we didn't do that kind of thing.
But after 9/11 everything changed and we aren't exactly the USA anymore, and now we feel perfectly comfortable telling the iranians that they're officially part of the Axis of Evil and we're going to come get them, and then after we come get two of their next door neighbors we tell them they're next, and then when they start working on a nuclear program we say it's because they're fanatics who intend to nuke us. If a science fiction writer had made up this story in 1954, or even 1974, it would have been unbelievable. The United States of American wasn't like that. Sure, there were guys who talked about doing a first-strike against the USSR, but they were lunatic-fringe. Try to have that conversation when there were normal people present and they'd tell you to your face you were crazy.
But something happened to us. We lost our nerve, and we aren't America any more.
Afghanistan is tribal, and Iraq a creation of the British. Iran as a nation goes back to Roman times. I'd watch comparisons.
By the way, nice job of research on the name. Those darn AoL profiles!
The Afghanistan plan required an actual fighting force on the ground. Pretty easy when you're talking about a country in a chronic state of civil war. Not so easy when said force does not currently exist.
Your military restructuring is worthy of debate. This may well be something we should do. But it should be discussed and debated. Something our current president refuses to do.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
MB - gaining control of Iraq to support our efforts against Iran certainly makes tactical sense.
If this is the reason you believe Bush invaded Iraq, then I wish it had been the reason he chose to give us.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
AM, we will just have to agree to disagree I suppose. There is a terrible difference between any of the scenarios you mentioned and our current problems with Islamo-fascism. I could argue all you wrote about the Soviets (their nuclear program in fact took us by surprise) but even taking assuming you are correct, all we managed to do was condemn hundreds of millions to Soviet slavery for 40+ years and allow the Soviets to blackmail the world. Perhaps Prague, Latvian genocide, Afghanistan, and any number of Soviet crimes could have been averted had the Soviets not had their nuclear get out of jail free card (not to mention how our conduct in Korea and Vietnam was affected). I wouldnt call that a successful case simply because most of the world got out of it in one peice after 50 years.
"If this is the reason you believe Bush invaded Iraq, then I wish it had been the reason he chose to give us."
Why? Did Roosevelt tell America he went after Germany before Japan because he wanted to get there before the Soviets? What kind of military logic is there in telling your enemies what your plans are? If you didnt pick up on that, you werent paying attention. Remember the Axis of Evil? Why do people take Bush so seriously in the minutia and ignore him completly in the big picture?posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
So, deceiving the public about the true intentions for invading Iraq was just a good maneuver? I guess I could swallow that. I don't know that the Roosevelt comparison is appropriate - FDR simply didn't give his reasons, whereas Bush gave false ones.
But it makes all the criticism of Bush for his war justification fair game, doesn't it?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
FYI - I'm not a complete peacenik. I fully supported deposing Hussein, liberating the Iraqi's, attempting mid-east peace and stabilizing oil markets. All good.
And, ours wasn't the only lesson learned from 9/11. The belief among radial Islamists that America lacks the will and/or courage to fight back is gone.
But, I'm still angry at how the Iraq invasion was sold to the public. Along with false charges and evidence, 9/11 fear was very much leveraged and exploited.
OK, I'll get over it - after 11/02 (either way).posted by: wishIwuz2 on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
"So, deceiving the public about the true intentions for invading Iraq was just a good maneuver? I guess I could swallow that. I don't know that the Roosevelt comparison is appropriate - FDR simply didn't give his reasons, whereas Bush gave false ones. "
This has been beaten to death. They werent false reasons, they were a particular rationale designed to win legal approval from the UN (which it failed to do). Go back and read Bush's SOTU speech from 03, he holds removing Hussein, freeing Iraq, and changing the balance of power in the region as rationale beside WMDs. That the media has chosen to ignore it and tell the WMD story like it was the only reason ever stated is besides the point.
The only way to disagree with Bush is to declare that not knowing for certain, but pragmatically assuming Hussein has WMDs and letting him exist was a tolerable option. You cant factor in data in hindsite. Had we not invaded, today we would be just as clueless to Husseins capabilities as we were a year and a half ago, that is unnacceptable.posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
This is what becoming an empire has done to us. Or maybe it's just the technology. Some fourth-rate third-world country halfway across the world *might* have nuclear weapons in 5 years, we aren't sure, so we have to spend half a trillion dollars and thousands of lives to invade them right now.
Of course we had other reasons to do it, too. We didn't like the government they had so we wanted to invade them to change it. And we wanted to "change the balance of power in the region". If the russians had come up with reasons like that for invading, say, iran in 1969, we'd have been ready to threaten nuclear war to stop them. We don't let empires (with ideologies or not) invade people just because they don't like the government that's already there, and they want to change the balance of power. For that matter if the russians had tried to invade israel in 1969 because they were about to get nuclear weapons we would have had a fit.
These rationales for unprovoked invasion are not acceptable to civilised nations -- and we used to be that kind of nation. It used to be we only did that kind of invasion when it was a small latin american nation that we could conquer before the weekly magazines had time to report it.
Anybody think this one will cost less than a trillion dollars upfront (not counting benefits for wounded and survivors, or wear-and-tear on the armor etc)? Anybody think we'll have less than 5000 killed and 50,000 wounded before it's done?
Not counting the cost of whatever we do to iran, syria, etc?
"This is what becoming an empire has done to us."
Snore. Rome would scoff (and then throw you to the lines for sport). If we are an empire we're the most accommodating one in history by about 10 orders of magnitude. When China defied Britain, Britain turned out the warships and took Honk Kong for 100 years. When France defied the US, we poured wine down our sinks. Some empire.
"Some fourth-rate third-world country halfway across the world *might* have nuclear weapons in 5 years, we aren't sure"
The only ones that arent sure are the morons. Sorry to put it that way, but succinct. Nations sitting on the worlds biggest oil reserves dont develop nuclear power plants. Entertaining such a thought is what gets us into these Carteresque diplomatic messes. A spade is a spade.
"These rationales for unprovoked invasion are not acceptable to civilised nations -- and we used to be that kind of nation"
Unprovoked? Are you serious? How did Serbia provoke us?
"Anybody think we'll have less than 5000 killed and 50,000 wounded before it's done?"
I'll take that bet. Of course more casualties than that were absorbed in a single DAY at Antietam. We cant deal with that over 10 years now? When it results in the liberation of 25 million human beings? Put aside the bitter Bush hate for a brief moment and look at the big picture. By historic standards this has been the cleanest, least painful, war of its size in history by far. If Iraq is Turkey in ten years, would it have been worth the cost?posted by: Mark Buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Mark, most of these middle-east nations are not that many years from running out of oil. Saudi arabia is supposed to be the biggest, and they may be well past the halfway point. Iraq is supposed to be the second-biggest, but we only have Saddam's word for that so far. And the chance that Saddam could have run a nuke program to completion without us finding out years before he had it, was nil.
Agreed we're the most accomodating empire in history, by one or possibly two orders of magnitude.
About the cost of the continuing iraq war -- iraq isn't going to be turkey. But if that was the result we wanted, we could have gotten further toward it by buying the country from Saddam than by invading. Very few casualties, essentially no civilian casualties, far cheaper. It simply never occurred to Bush.
"But if that was the result we wanted, we could have gotten further toward it by buying the country from Saddam than by invading. Very few casualties, essentially no civilian casualties, far cheaper. It simply never occurred to Bush."
I wasnt talking about Turkey as a pragmatic ally, i was talking about Turkey the democracy, working its way into the civilized world. That is ultimately better for our security in the long term, even if they come to hate America. This isnt a popularity contest, and stable democracies dont go to war with each other or produce many terrorists.posted by: mark buehner on 07.29.04 at 11:03 AM [permalink]
Mark, that's what I'm talking about too. Buy the country from Saddam (make him an offer he can't refuse). Saddam goes and lives in Monaco or wherever with his money, and is no longer a nationalist symbol. Pay off various of his other top guys. Announce that iraq is going to have a democracy, start implementing it, and as issues come up give various of Saddam's old torturers and assassins a little money and a one-way ticket to argentina. The iraqi people might prefer more vengeance but our aim is to get those guys out of there. Don't kill them unless they won't leave.
Compared to the quarter-trillion we've already spent and the deaths and destruction, the drawdown on our military supplies etc, it could have been very good. And if Saddam refused on principle or whatever we could still invade as a backup.
I doubt it was ever tried, though possibly it might have been and neither side announced it.
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