Wednesday, August 18, 2004
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Tipping towards one side of the fence
Phil Carter has a lengthy and compelling post that looks at the Tommy Franks book, American Soldier, and highlights highlights just how f#$&ed up the policy process leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom really was (link via Kevin Drum). Some of the disturbing parts:
I don't agree the sentence about "junking the UN process," -- Germany gets the first-mover prize in that regard -- but beyond that Zakaria makes a powerful case about the primacy of process.
But what about the objectives? Matthew Yglesias responds to my previous post in this way:
Carter, Zakaria, and Yglesias are persuasive -- very persuasive.
Persuasive enough to reduce my probability of voting for Bush down to 0.4.posted by Dan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM
Which is better: a foreign policy with a clearly articulated grand strategy but a f#$%ed-up policy process, or a foreign policy with no articulated grand strategy but a superior policy process?
It is said that in hell, there won't be any vision. Just policy, and the law.
Their is zero evidence Kerry will have a superior policy process. Judging by his action as a senator in regards to Nicaragua, Libya, and Gulf War 1, his instincts are absolutely atrocious. This is the rookie running back syndrome, the new untarnished player always has all the aspirations and expectations of resounding brilliance applied to him. Statistically speaking its nonsense, veterans are far more reliable. In this case the only people making that argument are utterly and intentionally avoiding the last 20 years of Kerry's career like the plague. See no evil, hear no evil.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
now I'm just crossing my fingers that Kerry will say something disparaging about the efficacy of sanctions so we can seal the deal and make use of DD's vast influence.posted by: praktike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
We are still talking about the lesser of evils. John Kerry has been caught lying about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. This lie reveals a very dangerous character flaw. A normal person does not lie about something like this. President Bush may leave something to be desired---but he’s not John Kerry!posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
We are still talking about the lesser of evils. George Bush has been caught lying about the estate tax among other things. This lie reveals a very dangerous character flaw. A normal person does not lie about something like this. John Kerry may leave something to be desired---but he’s not George Bush!posted by: praktike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The fundamental problem with the argument is that if you study policy long enough then you are forced to act. You can nuance this thing to death until the problem forces action on an unacceptable course. Isn't that what the Bush bashers are saying about 911. He studied the problem to long and missed all the signs?
I applaud the President for taking action. Things in Iraq are going rather well and I don't say that lightly. I spent 5 years in Germany as part of the occupying force during a time of terrorist attacking in Europe (we have spent over 50 years in Germany). Where are the European terrorists today?
In just over a year we have turned sovereign rule of Iraq back to the people and life their is improving rapidly. Read the blogs from the Iraqi's, not the media.
Want proof how long WW2 took, read this link.
The problem with the policy wonks is they want to study the problem to death, find every little problem that they can and then cover their ass if things don't go their way.
Policy people serve an important function, but leaders make decisions and fix problems.posted by: Mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
In the spirit of praktike, who is on to something with regard to the revwerse applicability of Kerry criticisms... (And with apologies to Mark B, whose opinions I always respect):
There is zero evidence Bush has a policy process. Judging by his action as a president in regards to Venezuala, North Korea, and Gulf War II, his instincts are absolutely atrocious. This is the incumbent running back syndrome, the old experienced player always has all the aspirations and expectations of steady leadership applied to him. Statistically speaking its nonsense, substandard veterans generally play as they have always played. In this case the only people making that argument are utterly and intentionally avoiding the last year of Bush's career like the plague. See no evil, hear no evil.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Anyone who thinks John Kerry and his magic Cambodian hat is going to accomplish anything with the military is smoking crack.
At least you'll get tenure.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Do you even care that Kerry will do and say anything to anyone to get elected? Do you even care that his claimed experiences in Vietnam are largely fraudulent? Do you care that he proposes 2 trillion dollars in increased spending? Do you care that he will appoint leftists to the supreme court?posted by: Matthew Cromer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
'Thing in Iraq are going rather well and I don't say that lightly. '
This is clearly some definition of going well with which I was previously not acquainted. By no definition can a situation where we have 140 K troops in Iraq, are spending billions of dollars, face daily attacks, suicide bombings, have a great deal of the population angry at us (according to polls) can be called going rather well.
"I spent 5 years in Germany as part of the occupying force during a time of terrorist attacking in Europe "
AFAIK, there were no terrorist attacks on American troops in Germany after the surrender (and a little mopping up). The only terrorists in Germay were the Baader Meinhoff and they came decades later.
"Read the blogs from the Iraqi's, not the media."
Blogs are a useful window into Iraqi society. But the blogs from Iraq are (as one would expect) very mixed. There are blogs that are strongly pro-American, there are blogs that are fanatically anti-American, there are blogs that support the new Iraqi goverment, and oppose terrorists (but have no particular love for Americans as well) and so on. So blogs show a mixed picture as one would expect.
It need hardly be added that blogs cover a certain segment of population (young, highly educated, probably somewhat secular), and neglect others (tribal and rural areas, poor urban youth and others). While useful, blogs are no substitute for the media in covering much of Iraq.
posted by: erg on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Bush has a clearly articulated grand strategy? He didn't even have a strategy to deal with Iraq. That's just one country. Maybe his supporters like to think that he has one. I know a lot of warblogger types will take every instance of confusion and incompetence as some sort of secret rope-a-dope strategery. Meanwhile back in the real world. . .posted by: Brian on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Yes Matthew, a liberal position is sure to get you tenure at The University of Chicago!
You make quite a persuasive argument though. If we're in the business of ad hominems, "We may be smoking crack, but our candidate didn't do coke."
Whereas Kerry may have lied about Cambodia (bad), Bush just doesn't talk about the years where he did cocaine, or talk about his military service, or talk about what his tax cuts really did (I mean, tax shifts) or talk about the real problems in Iraq. So much better than lying.posted by: Joel W on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I repeat that strategy, policy-making process (planning how to implement strategy) and execution/implementation are three different things. It is possible for strategies to be devised outside the policy-making process - President Reagan's strategy for destroying the USSR is an example.
Execution of the NSSC in Europe and much of the rest of the world outside the Middle East has been almost non-existent because the foreign policy establishment is so opposed to large parts of it - our career diplomats openly oppose the war on terror. That means it can only be implemented over their dead bodies. I predict a PATCO moment (Professional Air Traffic Controllers) is coming for the Foreign Service.
Much the same is true for the policy-making process, other than war-fighting, in D.C. The State Department in particular is engaged in active sabotage at this level, though there are other offenders. President Bush's failure to exert any discipline means there is no downside, for bureacracies and individuals, in carrying policy disagreements into disobedience.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Matthew is just setting himself up, so...
Do you, as a conservative, care that Bush has increased spending to the levels he has?
Do you care that he stated in the 2000 campaign that he wouldn't be a nation-builder, and has no 'attempted' to build two nations?
Do you care that he originally said that his tax cuts were to give back the surplus and then, midcourse, decided they were to boost employment?
The list could go on, and some of your statements about Kerry are overblown (I don't think we really know who is right in the SVFT stuff, but to say it's largely fraudulent is a little ridiculous).
The Hack Gap continues.posted by: Joel W on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Lol AM, touche.
posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
In order to be a leader, you have to have followers.posted by: praktike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Whereas Kerry may have lied about Cambodia (bad), Bush just doesn't talk about the years where he did cocaine, or talk about his military service, or talk about what his tax cuts really did (I mean, tax shifts) or talk about the real problems in Iraq. So much better than lying.”
You have absolutely no evidence of George W. Bush ever using cocaine. This is an outrageous slander. As for his military service, he did his duty. Nobody has found legitimate fault. Once again, we are talking about a slander campaign. John Kerry has lied about his own country and fellow soldiers merely to advance his own political fortunes. We are not talking about a minor fib like some man lying about his height being 5”8 when he’s only 5”6. No, Kerry’s lies reveal a dangerous character flaw. We may look the other way, for example, if somebody tells their boss they are sick just to get the day off. But we are appalled if that same person falsely informs everybody that their mother has died. Kerry has comparably lied about the death of his own mother.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
We are still talking about the lesser of evils. John Kerry has been caught lying about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. This lie reveals a very dangerous character flaw. A normal person does not lie about something like this. President Bush may leave something to be desired---but he’s not John Kerry!
posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 11:24 AM
If anyone's smoking crack, I'd put my money on David Thomson.posted by: goethean on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Do you even care that Kerry will do and say anything to anyone to get elected? Do you even care that his claimed experiences in Vietnam are largely fraudulent? Do you care that he proposes 2 trillion dollars in increased spending? Do you care that he will appoint leftists to the supreme court?"
You forgot -- famine, locusts, war, Sodom and Gomorrah returned if Kerry is elected.posted by: Fisk on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"and just assume he has answers to all of those crises wrapped up in his secret plan"
Whatever Kerry's secret plans are, they cannot conceivably be worse than the invade first, we'll figure it out later strategy of GWB. A "grand vision" is useless, indeed worse than useless, its highly harmful without execution and GWBs execution has varied between tolerable and pathetic.posted by: fisk on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I was stationed in Germany from the end of 1985 to January 1990. We flew on Pan Am to the USA 3 days before the plane was blown up over Lockerbee. The Berlin disco bombing took place while I was assigned in Germany. The BG (whose last name eludes me)was kidnampped during my tour. I believe you write before you think.
Also, it is a known fact that most if not all the reporters are safely living in the green zone and not out reporting the news. I trust the blogs because the people live in the community. Isn't this a blog also?posted by: Mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
First off, I am not a conservative. I'm not happy about Bush's lack of attention to spending constraint, but I think it's abundantly clear that Kerry will be worse (2 trillion in new additional costs in his proposal list).
The most important role of President, particularly in a time of war, is that of commander in chief. John Kerry is utterly unfit for that job as is absolutely clear from his campaign waffling, his senate career of appeasement and weakness wrt. American enemies, his Vietnam anti-war activities, and his Vietnam service (according to the vast majority of his fellow swift-boat vets). Bush on the other hand is a war-time leader who makes mistakes, sometimes large ones, but is willing to fight the enemy (middle-easter islamic terrorism and to drain the swamp (miserable governmance in the middle east). Being a man who makes mistakes in wartime but who has the guts to fight puts Bush in good company with people like Lincoln and Churchill.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“...and some of your statements about Kerry are overblown (I don't think we really know who is right in the SVFT stuff, but to say it's largely fraudulent is a little ridiculous).”
John Kerry’s own campaign has now admitted that he lied about being in Cambodia during Christmas 1968. They are, of course, trying to put their best spin on the situation---but the con game is over. Let’s getting something straight. We are not discussing some poor slob who just got off the plane and hasn’t slept in over 48 hours, and a reporter comes up to him and he blurts out something incorrect. No, John Kerry calmly and deliberately lied to the American people. The Massachusetts senator maliciously slandered his own country and fellow soldiers.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
At least you are "getting real" about where your political predilictions are. You dialogue has shown that you were aligned with John Kerry and the Democrats, at least in your view of the issues and people, quite a long time ago.
I certainly don't have a PhD in your field, but that doesn't stop me from disagreeing with your analysis of events.
My reading of things is that the Democrats don't have a clue as to how to "fix things". All they know how to do is to say that they do know (but can't say).
My take on the whole dialogue about Cambodia, Viet Nam, and John Kerry, is that he can tell stories, but you need to fact check them, as the truth content is likely to be small.
If you follow John Kerry's reasoning, then my younger brother, who spent 17 months in Viet Nam as a Marine, is more qualified to be President than John Kerry. I even have as much Viet Nam-era service as Senator Harkin (who had been saying falsely that he was a Viet Nam veteran). I don't think that any of it matters, as far as one's qualifications to do anything.
Jim Benderposted by: Jim Bender on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Do you even care that Bushy will do and say anything to anyone to get elected, and has done so for the last 3.5 years? Do you even care that his claimed experiences in the ANG are largely fraudulent (where is his DD Form 214)? Do you care that he has put us into debt for over 7.4 trillion dollars (about $25k per citizen)? Do you care that he will appoint more rightists to the supreme court that (like Thomas, as described by Scalia) do not believe in Stare Decisis, and are judicial activists)?posted by: JimPortlandOR on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Whatever Kerry's secret plans are, they cannot conceivably be worse than the invade first, we'll figure it out later strategy of GWB"
You cant conceive of a worse policy? Not much imagination. I can conceive of some pretty nasty scenarios where the US bails on Iraq turning into Lebanon II, Iran gets armed with nukes and becomes the new Taliban, tens of thousands of troops get sent to Afghanistan to search for people who arent there anymore and end up getting their asses kicked by the people who are, NK starts churning out nukes to anyone who cares to buy em, Pakistan is overthrown by the Islamists and Kerry invites them to Camp David to ask them nicely not to nuke Israel or hand AQ a nuke, Libya goes back into business as Syria ugly twin, and our president spends most of his time hammering out the Kyoto II treaty and trying Tommy Franks in the World Court.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Zakaria's points are well made-- the hubris of the Bush admin certainly explains its botching of the postwar-- but it's not at all clear that anyone else would not have made huge mistakes as well. This is especially true as regards supporting and building up the only really effective non-Ba'athist political entities in Iraq, ie Sistani and the other religious leaders. No one, Democrat or Republican, American or European, had anything like good ties with or insight into these leaders' mentality and organizations for the same reason that no one had good intel on Saddam: the Ba'athist regime was a paranoid, Stalinist state.
Knocking over a paranoid, Stalinist regime will inevitably create chaos. Regardless of the State Dept's blueprints for Phase IV, on the ground after April 2003 there were no effective cadres of apolitical bureaucrats, no apolitical chains of command or authority, that we could have invoked to keep the electricity plants safe and running in the face of a complete collapse of institutional authority.
The "won the war but botched the peace" argument is therefore bogus. The inevitable consequence of the war was the collapse of all effective authority in Iraq. We should have the honesty and moral clarity to admit that, if the war was the right thing to do-- and in view of the shredding of the sanctions' effectiveness by oil-for-fraud, it appears it was-- then we have to accept a period of chaos and turmoil and high loss of life as the wages of this war.
You left out one important detail: what is the value of p at the moment?posted by: niq on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Never mind ...posted by: niq on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Post-communist Russia was chaotic, as were most Soviet Bloc states throughout the 1990s. Can anyone imagine how much more difficult, and bloody, and chaotic those states would have been had the regimes been knocked over by an invading force?
Get real. No planning effort, regardless of how it was executed, could have spared Iraq the bloodshed and chaos it's undergoing now.
This insipid little bit about Kerry 'lying to the American people' about being in Cambodia on Christmas is exactly the kind of trivia that people on the right, in their mentally deficient worldview, base their decisions on.
Kerry was actually in Cambodia in January and February following that Christmas.
Kerry was near Cambodia on the date of the anecdote he related.
This is what people capable of a good faith read would call an honest mistake.
To say otherwise indicates a deep character flaw, that of being a miserable hack.posted by: matt colgan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
From Joel W: "Do you care that he stated in the 2000 campaign that he wouldn't be a nation-builder, and has no 'attempted' to build two nations?"
Ah, the 9/11 denial that often goes hand in hand with Kerry supporters. I was finding this post a bit convincing myself until I read that... but it reminded me of why I really wish the dems had nominated Lieberman.
I just can't, in good conscience, vote for someone that wants to pretend like none of this nasty terrorism business ever happened, and thinks that if we just leave the terrorists alone, they will do the same to us. That's the impression I get from Kerry, anyway, despite my efforts to convince myself otherwise.
I consider myself fairly centrist, and I actually have a bit of resentment for the democratic party for nominating a candidate whose entire campaign boils down to "You hate X about Bush? Well, I'll do the opposite of that!" Where can I get an "Anybody but Kerry" bumper sticker?posted by: Justin on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
We are still talking about the lesser of evils. John Kerry has been caught lying about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. This lie reveals a very dangerous character flaw. A normal person does not lie about something like this. President Bush may leave something to be desired---but he’s not John Kerry!
Have you been paying any attention the last 4 years? For that matter did you read the post? Christ, where is my blood pressure medication...posted by: James on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
This election is a referendum on Bush's failures as President brought on by following the idiotic ideology of the radical reactionaries that have taken over the Republican party.
When he should have heeded the warnings of President Clinton to focus on terrorism, he chose to resurrect the Star Wars boondoggle.
When he was forced to react to terrorism, he lost focus, failed to finish the job in Afghanistan, and used WMD's as a pretext to follow the PNAC agenda.
Invading Iraq has been a delusional exercise, a children's crusade based on the angel dust buzz of Shock & Awe and Magic Beans of Democracy, with no coherent plan for maintaining peace or reconstruction.
He has failed to meet his promise to the American People to create more jobs by over 7 million, but he's managed to shift more of the tax burden to the middle class and give .5 trillion dollars to the rich.
I tired of waxing poetic. Suffice to say his continued subversion of environmental conservation, education, scientfic research, civil liberties, and health insurance, is more than sufficient reason for his defeat and the repudiation of the rabid reactionary cardre controling the Republcian Party.posted by: bo on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
In making policy, "doing nothing" is ALWAYS an option. That is essentially the policy route Sen. Kerry has chosen, as of now, in regard to a strategy in dealing with the radical Islamist threat. [As an aside, please note that I am NOT a Muslim-basher--I believe that our enemy in this struggle is not the politically/religiously driven tactic of terrorism, nor is it Islam, rather a very specific group of people who adhere to a very martial interpretation of Islam.]
By choosing, as Matthew Yglesias suggests one should do, to support Sen. Kerry because he will eventually formulate something coherent (OTJ training, I suppose) or at least manage the "drift" better is reckless at best when we are, whether we choose to believe it or not, in a war.
True, muddling through sometimes works, but that approach to the rise of radical Islamism-practiced by administrations of both political parties through the course of two decades, BTW-helped to provide us with that open piece of land in lower Manhattan and the gleaming new limestone wall of the Pentagon I see from my office window every day.
As much as the Bush administration frustrates through missteps (hopefully learning along the way, as well), at least it seems to understand the fundamental fact that we are at war. That crucial distinction seems to be lost on Sen. Kerry as he continues to articulate a law-enforcement approach to the problem.
I try not to see the presidential race as choosing between the lesser of two evils: I believe that both men, though flawed, truly strive to do right by their country. I just think that Pres. Bush understands that we are at war and Sen. Kerry does not.posted by: Steve W from NoVa on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
On the Cambodia thing, personally i dont really care, but i do find it weird and it doesnt make me like the guy any better. Mainly, lets not pretend it was a throw away line. Kerry was making a serious argument predicated on the fact that he was in Cambodia being shot at by Cambodians and he remembered it bitterly because it was x-mas. Without being in Cambodia the argument made absolutely no sense.
“This insipid little bit about Kerry 'lying to the American people' about being in Cambodia on Christmas is exactly the kind of trivia that people on the right, in their mentally deficient worldview, base their decisions on.
Kerry was actually in Cambodia in January and February following that Christmas.”
Your explanation simply does not hold water. John Kerry repeatedly was very explicit about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. His language was detailed and very precise. Furthermore, the evidence is piling up that Kerry probably never set foot in Cambodia whatsoever.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
These same people who would critique Kerry as a man based on a tiny error would excuse every mistake of Bush's due to sympathy with his policy positions. Critique of his character is dismissed because, after all, 'he's a good Republican'..
The sad thing is that this butchery of reason whereby a tiny error is elevated to a character destroying flaw, is a reversion to the principles of reverse reasoning. The reasoning employed by witch trials, Medieval church scientists, and the like. It shows how fragile discourse is, how parties who seek to destroy discourse have every advantage available to them.posted by: matt colgan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I don't see how anyone can claim Kerry will have a better strategy. Look at the people he has surrounded himself with in his campaign and suppose that they are examples of the kind of people who will serve in his administration, So far (before all the airbrushing on his web site) they have gotten his dates of military service wrong, attributed another officers missions to him, and claimed he was vice-chair of the intel committee.
The supprted-the-war but opposed-the-postwar position is untenable. The shitty postwar came with the war, because Iraq presented and continues to present us with nothing but bad and less bad options. The American people recognize this, which is why Kerry's charges will not persuade anyone that he can do a better job with Iraq.
For the undecided voters, the election will come down to a contest between battle fatigue-induced isolationist yearnings and the painful, solemn realization that we are again involved in a decades-long global struggle for survival.
By claiming to support the war while criticizing the postwar failures, Kerry is sure to sweep the crucial pro-war second-thought liberal vote, which should tip Hyde Park, Williamstown, and Ann Arbor into the D column in November.
If, on the other hand, Kerry wishes to persuade millions of undecided voters, he should cease trying dance on the fine distinctions of the armchair nation-builders and start tacking isolationist. "Come home, America. Bring our brave troops home. Do not allow any more men and women to die for a mistake. Let the Iraqis rule Iraq. Let the Europeans fend for themselves."
Gore went hard populist in the waning days of Nov 2000, but it was too late. I'd bet good money that Shrum will convince Kerry to go isolationist/"Come Home America" in the last few days before this election. It's by far the best chance he has of winning this year.
Isnt there a difference between a tiny error and gross self-agrandizing falsehoods?posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
'evidence is piling up he never set foot in Cambodia'
That is pure unadulterated BS. Of course, if you believe the Swift Boat Dudes, I guess Kerry, like, is a puppy killer and stuff.posted by: matt colgan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Please show a source for Senator Harkin's claim to be a Viet Nam vet. I've never heard or read of him making this claim though he was a jet pilot in the Navy.
And please tell us how the Bush Admistration plans to 'fix things'. I'm glad to see you admit things need fixing though. Of course, I don't see why we should trust those responsible for screwing up so badly to be able to fix them.
As for Cambodia, it's unclear where Kerry was that Christmas. It is true that he was running missions to drop off CIA personnel and still has a hat given to him by a CIA agent.
And if you want to fight the battle of 'veteran lies', there remain serious questions about George Bush's service.
The bottom line is Kerry volunteered to go to Viet Nam, he fought honorably and was awarded medals. George Bush used his father's connections to get into the Texas Air National Guard and avoided service in Viet Nam.posted by: Jon G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I agree that this is a stupid story, but I would also advise that if George Bush spent his postwar years claiming to have repeatedly violated Soviet airspace in his NG fighter it would be an issue.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"On the Cambodia thing, personally i dont really care, but i do find it weird and it doesnt make me like the guy any better."
You should personally care. John Kerry is running for president. He is not trying to be our next dog catcher. I think I’m being very fair describing this lie as similar to someone lying about their mother’s death to get some time off from work. This is not an "ordinary" fib. There are lies and there are lies! Some lies are beyond the pale. John Kerry’s lie is most disturbing and should make us all cringe.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"In fact, other nation-building efforts over the past decade have gone reasonably well, when well planned and executed."
Where do I look on the map for "gone reasonably well" ?posted by: Kathryn Hoffman on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"The fundamental problem with the argument is that if you study policy long enough then you are forced to act. You can nuance this thing to death until the problem forces action on an unacceptable course. Isn't that what the Bush bashers are saying about 911. He studied the problem to long and missed all the signs?"
Uhh, no, that is a strawman on your part. The criticism against Bush is that he ignored the problem as long as he could because he really, really wanted to blow a wad in missile defense, and then when someone finally got through to tell him of how deep and immediate the terrorist threat was, he went fishing, and vacationed the next 30 days. The criticism against Bush is that he didn't pick a National Security Advisor, or a Secretary of Defense, or an Attourney General, he picked additional political flacks, wholy unsuited to defending this nation.
It does no good for John Kerry to present a detailed plan about Iraq. I cannot be implemented until January at the earliest, and the "facts on the ground" will be different then. They will likely be different before Novemebr 2nd. In addition, the odds are very good that we are not getting full disclosure about IRaq from our this administration, so there is no foundation to build a detailed plan on. It does no good to say "I will dedicate 50,000 troops to being order to Sadr City" when tomorrow Sadr City insurgents may collapse over the capture of Sadr, or may riot in a way that requires 100,000 troops.
In contrast, Bush does have all the information at his fingertips, and can affect events immediately, but still offers no details on how we will win Iraq.
All Kerry can do, and needs to do, is indicate how his approach would be different. And he has. If choose to believe Bush is equally or more capable of bringing former allies onto our side, of calming the anti americanism spreading throughout the middle east, of building the new alliances that are needed to win the war on terror, then by all means, vote for him. You are grossly mistaken, but vote for him.posted by: TMorgan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Kerry was actually in Cambodia in January and February following that Christmas.
Matter of fact, no, he was not. Or, so say those who served with him.
And why won't he sign hte 180 to open up his records to the public, so the public can verify his claims? In one move, he could silence and discredit his detractors. But he won't do it, despite the fact that Bush did so with HIS records... at Democrat insistance.
Kinda makes you wonder what Kerry's hiding, doesn't it?posted by: Bithead on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“As for Cambodia, it's unclear where Kerry was that Christmas.”
Unclear? Not according to John Kerry’s campaign staff. They now admit that he did not spend Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. If you can’t believe Kerry’s own people---who can you believe? The crap has hit the fan and we now know that John Kerry is willing to lie about things that normal people wouldn’t even consider.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
grr.. no edit
"It" cannot be implemented...
... to "bring" order...
If "you" choose...posted by: TMorgan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Has Kerry managed to spin up a position on Korea, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, or anywhere else of critical importance yet? Just wondering, seems kinda like somethin he'd want to do, running for president and all."
I agree, so far as it goes. But what are Bush's positions on either North Korea or Iran? You'd think he'd have them, being president and all.
A certain segment of his followers think he's going to overthrow the Iranian regime. But then he goes around talking about being the "peace president" in his next term, and says nothing more about Iran except that he wants to "go to the U.N. first".
What's his policy? If he plans to use force, should he not let us know before the election, so we can decide if we want that kind of president?
Back in 2000, he quite intentionally derailed the Sunshine policy that South Korea was pursuing toward North Korea. The North subsequently took theirk 8,000 nuclear fuel rods out from under international inspections, and quite possibly built an arsenal of nukes with them.
Since then, the North has clearly been in a pattern of endless stalling -- saying they're negotiating, then angrily pulling out at the last minute. The CIA things they build 6 or 8 nuclear warheads during this "stalling" period.
We can't stall forever. What's Bush's policy?
TMorgan, if Kerry wants me to believe he can be more successful than Bush, he needs to tell me why, aka give me details. He seems to think that because he isn't Bush, everyone (France & Germany) will suddently do what we ask of them... well, I don't buy that, so he needs to convince me.posted by: Justin on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The criticism against Bush is that he ignored the problem as long as he could because he really, really wanted to blow a wad in missile defense, and then when someone finally got through to tell him of how deep and immediate the terrorist threat was, he went fishing, and vacationed the next 30 days. The criticism against Bush is that he didn't pick a National Security Advisor, or a Secretary of Defense, or an Attourney General, he picked additional political flacks, wholy unsuited to defending this nation.
Now I understand where you are coming from, Clinton and his team of non-political policy wonks studied the problem for 8 years and put a plan in place for Gore to execute, but when Bush stole the election it was up to Bush to execute Clinton's policy. Unfortunately Bush went to his ranch and vactioned for a month (never doing any work) and then 911 happened.
President Bush puts in a Sec of State that had 30+ years in the military, served as deputy and then NSA to a president and fought more than one 4 month tour in Vietnam, he put in a college president that had also served on the NS staff, and he put in a former state AG that was robbed of reelection into a position.
Do I understand your thinking here?posted by: Mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“We can't stall forever. What's Bush's policy?”
President Bush is running against John Kerry. We do not live in a perfect world. Thus, you are dodging the most important question: who is the lesser of evils? We now know that Senator Kerry is willing to lie about matters unimaginable to the rest of us. Would you, for instance, even consider lying about your own country and fellow soldiers to help yourself politically? Well, would you?posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
_We can't stall forever. What's Bush's policy?_
We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. (Applause.) And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.
We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons. (Applause.)"
Lex has made the most sense so far, in particular with this comment:
"... but it's not at all clear that anyone else would not have made huge mistakes as well."
The U.S. always screws up in the initial phases of a big war. I found it painful to read about the first big U.S. operation in Afghanistan - the one to seal off Bin Laden's escape route - because I knew it wouldn't work. That sort of thing never works the first time.
Likewise all the mistakes of past administrations mentioned by Phil Carter meant nothing because each adminstration learns only from its own mistakes in its own war:
"As I wrote in June 2003 for the Washington Monthly, we have always known that it takes more troops and time to secure the peace than to win the war — it's simply a more complicated endeavor. We ignored the lessons of Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo in Iraq, and we are now paying the price."
IMO the mistakes made in the occupation campaign in Iraq were pretty much inevitable. Expecting there not to be major learning curve for the first major campaign of each major war is plain asking too much.
The Wehrmacht had such great success in the 1940 campaign against France because it had made most of its learning curve mistakes in Poland the year before.
Our conquest of Iraq went so well because we had learned from mistakes in Afghanistan.
And our occupation campaign in Iran will be much better executed because of our mistakes in the Iraq occupation campaign.
"LOOK - we screwed up the occupation campaign in Iraq! Isn't that amazing?"
"LOOK - the sun just rose in the east! Isn't that amazing?"
We do it better next time.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Form Kerry's biographer which makes it look like Kerry may have been confused about the month he was in Cambodia. Big F***** Deal.
"Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. He had a run dropping off US Navy Seals, Green Berets and CIA guys." The missions were not armed attacks on Cambodia, said Mr Brinkley, who did not include the clandestine missions in his wartime biography of Mr Kerry, Tour of Duty.
And if we're going to trash candidates, many think President Bush went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard.
The facts remain the Kerry VOLUNTEERED for service in Viet Nam and won five medals. George Bush used his father's connections to get into the Texas Air National Guard.posted by: Jon G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Looks like there are some uncertainties about what happened more than 35 years ago, but there's much less uncertainty about the fact that Bush was always considerably further from Cambodia than Kerry.posted by: AndyPA on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Do you even care that Kerry will do and say anything to anyone to get elected?
Oh give me a break. You sound like the same people who crowed about this when Clinton got elected in '92. What did we get? 8 years of the greatest economic growth and a moderate President. What do we get with Bush? Someone who actually "say[s] anything to anyone to get elected". If you don't believe me, just ask the evangelicals.
Dan, I would've never found your blog if it wasn't for Kevin Drum, but I'm glad you did. It's nice to know that there's someone on the right with a clear sense of history.
Do you even care that his claimed experiences in Vietnam are largely fraudulent? Do you care that he proposes 2 trillion dollars in increased spending?
You have no proof of the former, except vets who didn't even know Kerry at the time, and the latter is laughable. If you want to make a point, don't regurgitate Rush Limbaugh.
Do you care that he will appoint leftists to the supreme court?
Oh boy. Yeah, he’s going to appoint a bunch of commies. Yikes, get a grip man. You sound like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory. If you want to have a debate, don’t bring up ridiculous unproven things.
...and from another one of your comments...
The most important role of President, particularly in a time of war, is that of commander in chief. John Kerry is utterly unfit for that job...
Too bad Tommy Franks, an actual War Hero like Kerry, thinks that he's fit to be Commander In Chief. Not to mention that there are plenty of other conservatives who think the same way. Crikey.posted by: sean on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"He seems to think that because he isn't Bush, everyone (France & Germany) will suddently do what we ask of them... well, I don't buy that, so he needs to convince me."
No, they won't do everything we ask of them, but I'm sure they and a lot of other countries will be more willing to work with us because of the stylistic change at the head.posted by: Jim Dandy on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Kerry went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions. "
Kerry _claims_ he went into Cambodian waters. He also claimed he was there on Christmas which is definately wrong, so that source is hardly definitive.
And the FACT remains that the vast majority of Kerry's fellow and commanding officers think he is unfit to be president.posted by: mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Well George Bush 'claims' he was in the Texas Air National Guard for the missing year. In fact, there's a $10,000 reward for anyone that does corrobrate Bush's claim. No one's come forward. Makes you wonder why now don't it?posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
You know, I've searched through many stories which have big headlines about the campaign saying Kerry lied about about Cambodia, but not a one of them has any substance under the headline to show that. The worst is that they don't have an answer, and frankly, they don't need one.
Everyone KNOWS that the CIA operated in Cambodia illegally during the war. Kerry's command chain denies "ordering him" to go to Cambodia, but they would have never given such an order anyway. They would be culpable. They did say "Take this CIA guy where he says to go", and that's what he did.
No one would ever have to say "Go to cambodia". they would just have to say "Take me 70 miles up river", and with a wink and a nod, it was done. There was never a reason to tell the Crew "welcome to Cambodia", and only if they were paying attention to the maps (which they had no reason to do) would they be able to tell one section of river bank was cambodian vs vietnamese.
The Daft Boat Veterans for Bush have lied repeatedly about their experiences, the situation and their funding. There was no impenetrable barrier at the border, they did operate right at the border many times, they are being funded by a right wing idealogue who has lied repeatedly in his own life, and these leaders of the not-so-swift veterans either lied about their experiences 3 decades ago, or they are lying about them now. Either way they are lying, and still have no credible evidence Kerry has lied.
"The "won the war but botched the peace" argument is therefore bogus. The inevitable consequence of the war was the collapse of all effective authority in Iraq. We should have the honesty and moral clarity to admit that, if the war was the right thing to do-- and in view of the shredding of the sanctions' effectiveness by oil-for-fraud, it appears it was-- then we have to accept a period of chaos and turmoil and high loss of life as the wages of this war. "
While I acknowledge your general point that there will always be some level of anarchy and insecurity following the removal of a totalitarian state, when applied to Iraq I think it lets the administration off the hook on several levels:
1) Looking at the demographics of Iraq, is it reasonable to believe that there will ever be a peaceful democracy there? Given that 60% of the population is Shia strongly influenced by Iran, and given that these shia are extremely distrustful of the USA after being abandoned by the US when they rebelled against Saddam following Gulf War I, that the US would ever be able to build a trusting relationship with the majority of Iraqi population.
I think that if,prior ot the war, you polled MidEast experts what the most likely outcome would be from the removal of Saddam, I think most would have said the breakup of the country and the strengthening of Iranian influence over the southern oil fields.
The only thing that can forestall that is likely a long term (we're talking decades) occupation of Iran by US forces.
It does not appear to me that the Bush administration accurately assessed the likely outcomes of the removal of Saddam.
2) Look who we are fighting now in Iraq:
poor shia volunteers under this guy Al Sadr; and
secular sunnis in Falluja who are former baathists and want their gravy train back.
Neither of these two arab constituencies had any involvement in Al Queda or the 911 attacks, and did not represent a threat to the US mainland or its interests abroad.
Sitting here on August 18th, it looks like the US has responded to attacks on it by fundamentalist Waahabi Sunnis from Saudi Arabia and Egpyt by getting itself involved in fights with other Arab groups. Is it unreasonable to worry that the US has in effect increased the population from which madmen like Bin Laden draw their suicide bombers and insurgents?
That's what worries me, that instead of killing those who represent a current threat to the US and "draining the swamp" so that more poor, pissed off Arabs aren't misled into thinking the US is the root of their problem, the US has increased the pool from which terrorists are drawn while not killing any one of terrorists repsonsible for 911.
3) You misstate the puropse of the sanctions. The purpose of the sanctions and no fly zones was to punish Saddam for not complying with UN weapons inspections programs and to prevent Saddam from building WMD and from hurting the shias in the South and the Kurds in the North.
And knowing what we know now (no WMD, the last 10 years have been the best years in centuries for the Iraqi Kurds as far as economic growth and self determination, much better than what they can expect to get in a "democratic" Iraq) the sanctions actually seemed to have achieved their primary purpose.
The Oil for Food program was a means to ameliorate the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people, and the fact the $$ were siphoned it by Saddam and 100 cents on the dollar did not reach the people no more makes the program a failure than the fact that the Pentagon wastes money makes our military a failure.
posted by: scott on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Tom and Lex
"It is never clear that someone else won't make 'huge mistakes'" - does that mean that we should reward those who _do_ by reelecting them?
The whole problem with this idea that "we will do it better in Iran" is that Iran is a different problem. Are we going to "learn the lessons of the last war?" I guess actually _thinking_ about the post war "Phase IV" would be an improvement. But the lessons of WW1 led to the Maginot line and the lessons of Gulf War 1 led to the wildly overoptimistic post war planning evident here.
Finally, if invading Iran is the goal, it sure isn't being made an issue in this campaign. I wonder how the support for Bush would change if people _knew_ Bush was planning to go to war with Iran as you are suggesting?
David - it's a little telling that all you can go on about is this made-up Cambodia thing. The original post was about execution - a vital skill that Bush has proven himself fairly inept at. Defend Bush, by all means - no one would expect anything else from you - but slandering Kerry is not only inappropriate - it's irrelevent.
Why not really help Bush by addressing Zakaria's excellent questions:
While responding to this list, please remind yourself periodically that Zakaria has been consistently neutral and has supported Bush in the past roughly as often as not and is therefore not a member of the "vast liberal media."posted by: sebastien on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Can one of you Kerry supporters show me where President Bush avoided the war by going into the guard? He joined the Guard in 68 when he was 22 years old. The draft didn't kick in until 1968. It could be argued he would have been drafted, but I believe they went for 18 year old males first and then went for the older guys. In 1964 when he was 18 the war wasn't a big deal. President Johnson, a democrat I believe, escalated the war while W was in college. By 68 the war was very unpopular and he could have enlisted then but decided to serve in the guard. I think you detractors are being very flipant about his service.posted by: mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
George W Bush and Vision? I'll give him credit for a sort of Vision in Iraq. Too bad Iraq ranked way down the list of countries that posed a security threat to the U.S. Can somebody explain Bush's vaunted vision in regards to North Korea or Iran or Pakistan or Israel/Palestine or Saudi Arabia? It seems as if he used up all his vision on Iraq.
The needed vision was simple: root out terrorism. On that front, Bush has at best kept the status quo, at worst made it much worse. Kerry will improve that simply by being elected (which looks like a sure thing) and lessening the hatred of the U.S. around the world. Let's admit the obvious, Iraq was a mistake. Saddam was a cowering fool intent on holding on to his crumbling nation and was no threat to anyone but his own people. And he was even quite good at keeping terrorists out of his country, certainly better than Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
And what's worse? Saying you were in the wrong country or invading the wrong country?posted by: kj on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Bush is a LIAR:
In Feb the Boston Globe reported:
"After a year in flight school, Bush spent five months learning how to fly an F-102 fighter-interceptor and then 22 months as a part-time pilot. He stopped flying in April 1972 -- 30 months before his formal commitment would normally have ended.
"Nonetheless, the biography of Bush on the US State Department's website credits him with almost six years in the F-102's cockpit -- two years on active duty flying the plane and nearly four more years of part-time service as an F-102 pilot. The websites of at least five American embassies -- those in Germany, Italy, Pakistan, Vietnam, and South Korea -- use the identical language, even though Bush spent barely two years flying the airplane."posted by: JS on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“You have no proof of the former, except vets who didn't even know Kerry at the time, and the latter is laughable. If you want to make a point, don't regurgitate Rush Limbaugh.”
“David - it's a little telling that all you can go on about is this made-up Cambodia thing”
Excuse me, but John Kerry’s own campaign admits that the senator lied. The game is over. Here is Robert Pollock’s article in the WSJ:
“Last Wednesday Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan sent me a statement saying that "During John Kerry's service in Vietnam, many times he was on or near the Cambodian border and on one occasion crossed into Cambodia. . . . On December 24, 1968 Lieutenant John Kerry and his crew were on patrol in the watery borders between Vietnam and Cambodia deep in enemy territory." I asked for clarification as to whether the "one occasion" was Christmas Eve 1968. "No," was the reply.”posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"And why won't he sign hte 180 to open up his records to the public, so the public can verify his claims? In one move, he could silence and discredit his detractors. But he won't do it, despite the fact that Bush did so with HIS records... at Democrat insistance.
Kinda makes you wonder what Kerry's hiding, doesn't it?"
Umm... I just read through all the comments, and I can't say much about knowing the coverage in the US (I'm in Canada), but the understanding here and the UK, is that Bush has in fact only released portions of his records (and I believe the Associated Press is in a court case attempting to gain access to Bush's records), due to his refusal to actually finish releasing them as he had promised to Tim Russet (On Meet the Press 2-8-2004),.
Now that isn't to say any of the accusations against Bush are valid, but there simply isn't enough documentation that the Bush campaign is willing to release for anyone to determine the truth of the matter.
"George W. Bush lied about his military service record. The lie can be found in his own 1999 campaign autobiography (as written by Karen Hughes), where he dramatically describes his experience as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
On page 34 of A Charge to Keep, Mr. Bush claims that, after learning to fly the F-102 fighter jet, he was turned down for Vietnam duty because "had not logged enough flight hours" to qualify for a combat assignment. Before going on to recall the "challenging moments" that involved close formation drills at night during poor weather, he adds: "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years."
In light of what journalists and other researchers have learned since the publication of Mr. Bush’s book, his account is unmistakably fraudulent. "posted by: js on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Just a rude thought, directed at several posters who might recognize themselves:
Anyone who bases their vote on Kerry's Vietnam stint or Bush's National Guard stint is a four star moron. There are ample reasons to vote for or against either candidate based on their rather more recent records and predelictions. If we wanted a genuine War Hero with a Grade A++++ Purple Heart, we'd be celebrating the close of Bob Dole's term right about now. Please, people, look at your consciences, look at where these guys stand on matters of War, Peace, and (the subject of Dan's post) simple operational effectiveness. Debating stupidity like whether Kerry ever visited Cambodia, or Bush visited an Alabama National Guard post is a waste of time and emotion.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Bush had scored only 25 percent on a "pilot aptitude" test, the lowest acceptable grade. But his father was then a congressman from Houston, and the commanders of the Texas Guard clearly had an appreciation of politics.
posted by: Jon G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“On page 34 of A Charge to Keep, Mr. Bush claims that, after learning to fly the F-102 fighter jet, he was turned down for Vietnam duty because "had not logged enough flight hours" to qualify for a combat assignment. Before going on to recall the "challenging moments" that involved close formation drills at night during poor weather, he adds: "I continued flying with my unit for the next several years."
In light of what journalists and other researchers have learned since the publication of Mr. Bush’s book, his account is unmistakably fraudulent.”
And what is your point? What evidence does the very partisan Joe Conason offer? None? Wow, isn’t that interesting. However, John Kerry’s own campaign has had to admit that he lied about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. Conason and his ilk are obviously getting desperate.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Even though this didn't start out as a Bush NG post, here is a link to an NRO article on his service. I know you Kerry guys will say it is fraudulant, but isn't great how conservatives quote sources and liberals bash them.
A few highlights
"The controversy over Bush's service centers on what his critics call "the period in question," that is, the time from May 1972 until May 1973. What is not mentioned as often is that that period was in fact Bush's fifth year in the Guard, one that followed four years of often intense service.
Bush joined in May 1968. He went through six weeks of basic training — a full-time job — at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. Then he underwent 53 weeks of flight training — again, full time — at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga. Then he underwent 21 weeks of fighter interceptor training — full time — at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Counting other, shorter, postings in between, by the end of his training period Bush had served two years on active duty."
The records show that Bush kept up his rigorous schedule of flying through the spring of 1972: He was credited for duty on ten days in March of that year, and seven days in April. Then, as Bush began his fifth year of service in the Guard, he appears to have stepped back dramatically. The records indicate that he received no credit in May, June, July, August, and September 1972. In October, he was credited with two days, and in November he was credited with four. There were no days in December, and then six in January 1973. Then there were no days in February and March.
The change was the result of Bush's decision to go to Alabama to work on the Senate campaign of Republican Winton Blount. With an obligation to the Guard, Bush asked to perform equivalent service in Alabama. That was not an unusual request, given that members of the Guard, like everyone else, often moved around the country. "It was a common thing," recalls Brigadier General Turnipseed. "If we had had a guy in Houston, he could have made equivalent training with Bush's unit. It was so common that the guy who wrote the letter telling Bush to come didn't even tell me about it."
Beyond their apparent hope that Bush would be a good ambassador for the Guard, Bush's superiors might have been happy with his decision to go into politics for another reason: They simply had more people than they needed. "In 1972, there was an enormous glut of pilots," says Campenni. "The Vietnam War was winding down, and the Air Force was putting pilots in desk jobs. In '72 or '73, if you were a pilot, active or Guard, and you had an obligation and wanted to get out, no problem. In fact, you were helping them solve their problem."
posted by: mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Debating stupidity like whether Kerry ever visited Cambodia, or Bush visited an Alabama National Guard post is a waste of time and emotion.”
Nope, John Kerry lied about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. He slandered his own country and fellow soldiers. This is not a minor league lie. Also, you have no hard evidence whatsoever to dispute President Bush’s national guard service. You are therefore, perhaps innocently, mixing apples and oranges. To be blunt, you are not presenting a rational argument.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Just exactly how does Kerry saying he spent Christmas in Cambodia slander the US and his fellow soliders?posted by: Richard P on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Thanks, Mark. You quote Bush's statement of his policy -- which I post, again, below. Explain to me, now, how he has applied this to either Iran or North Korea, or how he intends to apply it?
Is it Bush's intention to go to war against Iran if they don't stop their nuclear program and submit to inspections? If so, why hasn't he said so?
I'm particularly interested in the last part: "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."
North Korea is specifical mentioned by Bush as part of this "Axis of Evil". They are probably now, for the first time in their history, in posession of a nuclear arsenal. And they have a remarkably advanced long-range missile program.
Meanwhile, our diplomatic and military posture toward North Korea is extraordinarily low-key. The administration isn't even talking about whether they have WMDs. And they just proposed a troop restructuring that shifts troops out of South Korea.
How, then, does the below policy apply?
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.posted by: William Swann on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Scott - to address your points in reverse order:
The Oil for Food program was a means to ameliorate the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people, and the fact the $$ were siphoned it by Saddam and 100 cents on the dollar did not reach the people no more makes the program a failure than the fact that the Pentagon wastes money makes our military a failure.
This is silly, for three reasons. First, the scale of OFF is unprecedented in history. Saddam skimmed over $10 BILLION, and government officials in Russia alone received over $100 million. Saddam's take is several orders of magnitude larger than the waste and fraud re the Pentagon contracts. Second, some of Saddam's loot went to terrorist organizations. Third, the larger issue of course is that the actors and destinations involved-- the Saddam-Uday-Qusay, the Kremlin, Geneva banks and most ominously, the Russian mafia's (and the FSB's) favorite money-laundering point, Dubai-- make it very likely that some of the funds could easily have paid off Russian security officials or mafia elements seeking to sell off some of the former SU's vast stocks of N-B-C weapons.
3) The purpose of the sanctions and no fly zones was to punish Saddam for not complying with UN weapons inspections programs and to prevent Saddam from building WMD....And knowing what we know now (no WMD, the last 10 years have been the best years in centuries for the Iraqi Kurds as far as economic growth and self determination, much better than what they can expect to get in a "democratic" Iraq) the sanctions actually seemed to have achieved their primary purpose.
The details of OFF make it clear that, given the porousness of the former SU, the determination of the Russian and French regimes to do business with Saddam, the easy access to known mafia and terrorist laundering points like Geneva and Dubai, the enormous number of transactions and the huge sums involved, the sanctions regime by 2002 was collapsing. If I'm not mistaken, OFF was required to sustain French and Russian UNSC support for continued sanctions. In other words, sanctions meant OFF which meant the candy store of the former Soviet Union's N-B-C stocks were wide open to the FSB and the Russian mafia's business partners in Baghdad. Some "achievement."
2) [we're] fighting now in Iraq poor shia volunteers under this guy Al Sadr; and secular sunnis in Falluja who are former baathists and want their gravy train back. Neither of these two arab constituencies had any involvement in Al Queda or the 911 attacks, and did not represent a threat to the US mainland or its interests abroad.
Your strongest point, and a fair one. As I say, that's the argument that Kerry, if he's smart, would deploy behind the case for isolationist/withdrawal that I expect he'll make in the last week of the campaign.
....the US has responded to attacks on it by fundamentalist Waahabi Sunnis from Saudi Arabia and Egpyt by getting itself involved in fights with other Arab groups. Is it unreasonable to worry that the US has in effect increased the population from which madmen like Bin Laden draw their suicide bombers and insurgents?
I don't find the "hornet's nest" argument convincing. Far too early to tell who the next generation of jihadists are, or the likely effect of our behavior on AQ's recruiting efforts. You and I are casting in the dark on this.
Perhaps you have better sources than the rest of us but my understanding is that all the 9/11 perpetrators are dead. The mastermind of the plot, Khalid Muhammed, is in US custody.
I think that if,prior ot the war, you polled MidEast experts what the most likely outcome would be from the removal of Saddam, I think most would have said the breakup of the country and the strengthening of Iranian influence over the southern oil fields.
??? Why the weasel words, "strengthening of influence"? You either control the oil fields or you don't. Are you seriously suggesting that Iran will invade southern Iraq and occupy it? If so, then we'd absolutely have to put troops in Iraq to prevent this. I think you should check your "expert" sources again.
1) Looking at the demographics of Iraq, is it reasonable to believe that there will ever be a peaceful democracy there?
But you yourself said that the Kurds had achieved democracy! What precisely is so magical about that charmed Kurdish race that makes them capable of creating an effective parliament, well-functioning courts, a free press, women's rights etc and their sunni and shi'a brethren totally incapable of same?
Given that 60% of the population is Shia strongly influenced by Iran, and given that these shia are extremely distrustful of the USA after being abandoned by the US when they rebelled against Saddam following Gulf War I, that the US would ever be able to build a trusting relationship with the majority of Iraqi population.
Perhaps your strongest point. Agree that the US should woulda developed a strong relationship, I suppose through intermediaries, with Sistani prior to the war. IMHO, that we "betrayed" the shi'a no more makes such a relationship impossible than did our "betrayeal" of the Kurds.
The logical conclusion to your argument is that we should not have invaded Iraq, period. Not because sanctions succeeded-- they'd fallen apart by 2002 and Saddam's French and Russian pimps were working overtime to make sure they couldn't work-- but because of the sheer immensity of the task of nation-building.
This is a perfectly respectable position, one that's more coherent and honest (and to the voters, I belive, more compelling) than the pro-war anti-postwar straddle that we're now hearing from Zakaria, Kerry et al. In fact, it would win over a great number of old-school republicans like WIll, Buckley, Scowcroft types generally.
I do not believe that Kerry will win the election so long as he tries to maintain this straddle. He should simply attack the war and repeat his catch phrases about coming home, not dying for a "mistake", and no more nation-building. A sure winner for Kerry. Wonder how long it'll take Shrum to figure it out?posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
If we wanted a genuine War Hero with a Grade A++++ Purple Heart, we'd be celebrating the close of Bob Dole's term right about now. Please, people, look at your consciences, look at where these guys stand on matters of War, Peace, and (the subject of Dan's post) simple operational effectiveness. Debating stupidity like whether Kerry ever visited Cambodia, or Bush visited an Alabama National Guard post is a waste of time and emotion.
AMEN. Can we please get back to topic here? Leave the Cambodia stuff for another thread.
two things, Dan
one, it was disappointing to see you, Brad and Matt, all of whose intellects and perspectives I respect, discussing at such length what is fundamentally a category error. having a detailed, carefully crafted, rhetorically consistent, and heavily publicized list of interlocking objectives (PDF) is not at all the same thing as having a genuine strategy. amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics. critics talk about art, artists talk about brushes. and anyway no plan survives contact with the enemy. so it's nice to see a little recouler.
two, re deciding which is the lesser evil, there is abundant evidence that the existing two-party system is structurally bankrupt and within a few elections of collapse. the current situation has the lege and exec less vulnerable to the displeasure of their "natural" constituencies than to the displeasure of the informal networks which control, de facto, the federal bureaucratic process, the major donors, and the "news cycle". Kevin Phillips recounts the history of this trend very nicely in Arrogant Capital. but regardless of which party you consider more so, both parties are corrupt, and corruption effectively guarantees poor management over the long run.
so the Bush administration's military adventurism and fiscal irresponsibility is not ultimately a consequence of a grand strategy poorly implemented, nor of "post-9/11" necessities. it's a consequence of a systemic failure of the checks and balances, introduced by the founders, to prevent exactly the current scenario, by encouraging constant dynamic tension between factions.
to commenters complaining about Kerry not having a better or grander strategy, if you believe that we are at war then you might want to STFU about strategy for a few minutes and consider logistical constraints. specifically what sacrifices you are willing -- no, eager -- to make. wartime means sacrifices from citizens, not just troops.
to those of you complaining about Bush's f#$&ed up process, don't just blindly assume that Kerry is immune. the difference between Kerry and Bush is that it is possible -- just barely conceivable -- that a Kerry administration will be slightly more responsive to its constituency than the Bush folks; slightly more responsible militarily and fiscally; slightly less painfully gullible and slightly more inclined toward empiricism. but they will also be well and truly fscked in practical and logistical terms, and it will be up to you to enforce and demand that responsiveness in the face of very powerful opposition. otherwise Kerry's tenure will be Clinton's without the good parts...posted by: radish on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“AMEN. Can we please get back to topic here? Leave the Cambodia stuff for another thread”
Your request is irrational. It does not pass the laugh test. The “Cambodia stuff” clearly informs us of John Kerry’s moral bankruptcy. It is absurd to discuss a candidate’s policies while ignoring their character.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Really, the idea that one lie makes a man unfit for the presidency is an utter joke.
BUSH: Well... (APPLAUSE)
Thank you, Jordan (ph).
Well, Jordan (ph), you're not going to believe what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card -- actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, "There's one terrible pilot." And I said, "It must have been a horrible accident."
But I was whisked off there -- I didn't have much time to think about it, and I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief who was sitting over here walked in and said, "A second plane has hit the tower. America's under attack."
Yours must be the longest strip-tease in the annals of blogdom :-P
;-)posted by: ZM on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
... STFU about strategy for a few minutes and consider logistical constraints. specifically what sacrifices you are willing -- no, eager -- to make. wartime means sacrifices from citizens, not just troops.
Fair point. For starters I would gladly pay an additional $1000 in taxes + an extra $1000 in gasoline costs (assuming $0.50 tax) to help fund the costs of nation-building in Iraq and to reduce our dependence on OPEC. I would gladly open up ANWR for drilling. If my (European) employer would allow it, I would gladly devote 4 weeks per year in volunteer service to support homeland security efforts, preferably in the technology/data warehouse area.
How bout you, radish?
"Did the United States have to go to war before the weapons inspectors had finished their job? "
What would that entail exactly? As I recall these inspections shananigans had been going on for over a decade.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
You have absolutely no evidence of George W. Bush ever using cocaine. This is an outrageous slander. As for his military service, he did his duty. Nobody has found legitimate fault. Once again, we are talking about a slander campaign. John Kerry has lied about his own country and fellow soldiers merely to advance his own political fortunes.
I see, David Thomspon, that you've got your Limbaugh/O'Reilly blinders on. You claim something is slander when it's against your candidate, then the very next sentence claim something about the other candidate that also has "no evidence" (other than a highly partisan book funded by deep pockets in the GOP).
Get real. Your astounding logic can spin all the circles it wants, David, but you are guilty of the exact same things you claim Bush's detractors are doing -- grasping any straw evidence of a falsehood and trumpeting it up to be of way more import than it truly is.
Excuse me, but John Kerry’s own campaign admits that the senator lied.
So because Bush can't ever admit he made a mistake (and, hence, never fesses up to his own lies), he isn't a liar? Policitians are inherently liars, and if you are saying Bush is more ethical than Kerry in this regard, you are seriously deluded by the mass media you intake. They are BOTH doing everything in their power to win (including inethical things in incredibly hazy legal areas, a Republican speciality).
So here one person "lied" about his exact location on one day 30 years ago -- and this is of such great import that you've written 3-4 comments here on just how god-wrenchingly vile it was. Did people die because of that lie? In fact, was anyone affected in the least?
How does this compare to "lies" of King George?
In the meantime, please pull your head out, look at how low your moral high-ground is, and realize you are talking the same circular logic you are accusing the other side of.posted by: mu-mu on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I second AM's comment above, and note the irony that while the Kerry campaign's foundation is the candidate's four months in Vietnam, none of his supporters objected to Clinton never serving, something Clinton himself mentioned at the Convention.
So is there a difference between Kerry and Clinton? I'm glad you asked that! I don't mean about their Vietnam service, or lack of it; I mean in the area Dan discusses in his post, the foreign policy process. "No strategy, good process" is his verdict of what a Kerry administration would look like, but this requires a rather large leap of faith as to process, does it not?
The reason it does is because foreign policy in a Kerry administration would be run mostly by the same people who ran it during the Clinton administration. The process during Clinton's Presidency was a mess. We had one foreign policy run out of the White House and featuring high-profile negotiations that key groups of voters were intensely interested in (the Middle East, Ireland). We had another devised by turns in the UN Ambassador's office and the State Department and implemented by a reluctant Pentagon, focused on an area (the former Yugoslavia) in which we were defending mostly other people's interests. We had a third foreign policy run out of the Treasury and directed at world financial markets.
Occasionally these foreign policies intersected. Once and a while important issues that did not fall directly under any of them got brought up in Cabinet meetings or were mentioned in Presidential statements. And for eight years -- eight YEARS -- the most serious threat to American interests was ignored. Al Qaeda grew and prospered, and struck again and again while Bill Clinton was President, and the most his legion of sober, sane, responsible foreign policy operatives were able to produce was a lot of worrying and fretting.
These people will all be back, with a man without Clinton's political instincts but with his tendency to be a political weathervane at their head, if the Democrats win this November. We know how the Republican administration has changed its approach to terrorism, for better and worse, since 9/11; it has been weak on explanation and long on spin, but to a large degree actions speak for themselves. We have had no statement at all from Kerry or the former Clinton aides he would bring back that they screwed up, that they understand their priorities were wrong and that they have learned enough from their mistakes to do things differently this time.
The question recurs: how would Kerry be different from Clinton?posted by: Zathras on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I would like to tie two earlier comments together. Kerry's past Senate activity re: Nicaragua and "crack smoking". In the Senate, the Kerry Committee investigated and proved that Reagan's Contra crew was smuggling cocaine into America in the very same planes that Ollie North used to illegally ship weapons into Honduras and Nicaragua. Those cocaine imports coincided with the early stages of the crack epidemic. Contra cocaine is tied to illegal weapons sales to Iran at about the same time that we were selling those heinous biological/chemicals/nuclears to Saddam. The horror of all of this is that Junior has repudiated the FOIA and buried all of the Reagan/Bush presidential papers in the American memory hole. Those presidential papers are arguably the most important historical documents in existence that could shed a light on most of the current Middle-East mess, from Iran to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Mujahadeen to Al Queda. This is historical revisionism in real-time by George's son George and he accomplished it with a wave of his hand and the complete, abject submission of the American media.posted by: Mark on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“I see, David Thomspon, that you've got your Limbaugh/O'Reilly blinders on. You claim something is slander when it's against your candidate, then the very next sentence claim something about the other candidate that also has "no evidence" (other than a highly partisan book funded by deep pockets in the GOP).”
No, not at all. I am merely able to think logically. George W. Bush is being slandered by the far left regarding his national guard service and other matters. No hard evidence is presented---just wild speculations. This, however, is not the case regarding John Kerry. We are now sure that he lied about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. This is no longer under dispute.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
First, there's no way to predict who will run Kerry's foreign policy. He hasn't said who would be on his team. Second, even if he should re-appoint every single Clinton official, our policy would be a huge improvement over what we have now.
Bush has pretty much destroyed our reputation in the world through his trumped up war of intervention in Iraq. Should the time come when we face a country that really does have MWDs and poses a real threat, the Bush Administration's botched foreign policy has destroyed any hope for popular support in the world. Another Iraq is what they'll say.
As for Al Qaeda, Clinton actually did attack them. No doubt you wrote some Wag the Dog accusations at the time. In contrast, the Bush Administration actually cut anti-terrorism efforts when it came in and it wasn't until after 9/11 that they got religion. See Richard Clarke's comment. I think he knows more about this than anyone on this board.
And as for that name that never passes George's lips - Osama Bin Laden - wanted dead or alive - I wonder just where he is today? But then, George doesn't really care anymore either.posted by: Jon G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
David, keep up the good work. I have yet to see a factual rebuttal to Unfit for Command. The critics bash the author, bash the supporters, but can't refute the facts. 60 people that served with Sen Kerry say he is unfit and they are all liars.
I linked the article supporting President Bush's NG service, but that is never good enough.posted by: Mike on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Those presidential papers are arguably the most important historical documents in existence that could shed a light on most of the current Middle-East mess, from Iran to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Mujahadeen to Al Queda"
Including who killed Kennedy and what the 11 secret herbs and spices are! Right. Reagan isnt running for president, Kerry is, and John Kerry flew with Tom Harkin (who apparently lied about serving in Vietnam btw, if that makes the water any muddier)to Nicaragua, met with Ortega, took his word that they would not align with the Soviets, flew back to Washington, voted down support for the Contras, and the next day Ortega flew to Moscow to collect a check for hundreds of millions. _That_ is a real issue related to the judgement of John Kerry.
Needless to say that issue hasnt shown up in the media, nor the fact that Kerry condemned the bombing of Libya and claimed the US should never target a foriegn leader or terrorist when he might be surrounded by civilians. I'd love to hear someone ask him if he still feels that way today. Finally he voted against Gulf War 1.
AUSTIN –– After a thorough search of military records, George W. Bush's presidential campaign has failed to find any documents proving he reported for duty during an eight-month stint in Alabama with the Texas Air National Guard.
In May, retired Gen. William Turnipseed, the former commander of the Alabama Guard unit, said Bush did not report to him, although the young airman was required to do so. His orders, dated Sept. 15, 1972, said: "Lieutenant Bush should report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, DCO, to perform equivalent training."
"To my knowledge, he never showed up," Turnipseed said last month.posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Mark: Please post the citation showing Harkin claime he served in Viet Nam.
I don't believe it's true and that you're slandering him.posted by: Jon G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I believe you're slandering me:
"In 1979, Mr. Harkin, then a congressman, participated in a round-table discussion arranged by the Congressional Vietnam Veterans' Caucus. "I spent five years as a Navy pilot, starting in November of 1962," Mr. Harkin said at that meeting, in words that were later quoted in a book, Changing of the Guard, by Washington Post political writer David Broder. "One year was in Vietnam. I was flying F-4s and F-8s on combat air patrols and photo-reconnaisance support missions. I did no bombing."
I suppose you could question Glen Reynolds word that the site is accurate. I dont.posted by: mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"No, not at all. I am merely able to think logically. George W. Bush is being slandered by the far left regarding his national guard service and other matters. No hard evidence is presented---just wild speculations".
Look at the fitness evaluations that were given for George Bush in Alabama. They run from Lt. Bush was not observed during this period, to Lt. Bush was not observed during this period. Or what about his flight physical that he just blew off, or how about the response from Major Rufus Martin when he was asked to clarify his report on Lt. Bush, "Not rated for the period 1 May 72 through 30 Apr 73. Report not available for administrative reasons."
Now look at the fitness evaluations that were given to LJG Kerry.. especially the one from Lt. Cmd. George Elliot. "In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed. He constantly reviewed tactics and lessons learned in river operations and applied his experience at every opportunity. On one occasion, while in tactical command of a three boat operation his units were taken under fire from ambush. LTJG Kerry rapidly assessed the situation and ordered his units to turn directly into the ambush. This decision resulted in routing the attackers with several KIA. LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach. He has of his own volition learned the Vietnamese language and is instrumental in the successful Vietnamese training program. During the period of this report LTJG Kerry has been awarded the Silver Star medal, the Bronze Star medal, the Purple Heart medal (2nd and 3rd awards)". Now, poor Lt. Cmdr. Elliot is so confused that he had to have his wife recant his earlier retraction. In real time, however, he was effusive with praise for Kerry.posted by: Mark on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
If you are an Illinois resident (I presume you are), your vote is worth a bucket of warm spit. It will have no effect on the outcome of the presidential election.
So, p = 0.4? Who cares? V [Value] = 0.
Swing state voter.posted by: anonymous on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Thanks David, for picking 4 words out of my 200-word post to you earlier (Whoops! It was actually 204 words - I must be a liar who's totally unfit for command!) and ignoring the vast majority of the content. Is it possible you're a bot?
Frankly, even if Kerry were a liar and Bush weren't, the fact that Bush can't execute (and you must agree, since nowhere in this post have you defended him in any way except to say that he's been slandered about his unimpressive-even-if-completely-true national guard service) would still make me vote for Kerry. The fact that Kerry actually seems to be a very good and noble man is as irrelevent to the discussion as all of your posts so far.
> good and noble man
This is illogical. Kerry's people have admitted that he lied about what he ate for dinner on Thanksgiving day when he was four. He's obviously for napalming all kindergarten classes.posted by: sebastien on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Look at the fitness evaluations that were given for George Bush in Alabama. They run from Lt. Bush was not observed during this period, to Lt. Bush was not observed during this period.”
The President served during the wind down period when there was much confusion and disarray. George W. Bush was merely one of many National Guard airmen. There’s simply no reason for anyone to particularly remember him. His father was merely another congressman. There is no hard evidence whatsoever that there was any hanky-panky going on. But this is not the case with John Kerry. We know for sure that he lied about spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia. Why do you have such a difficult time distinguishing between wild speculation and confirmed facts? Gosh, did you attend Harvard University? That might explain everything.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Can't believe I'm bothering to even partially rebut the mouth breathers who shut off their critical thinking facilities whenever Bush opens his mouth. To pick on some little tiny thing like Cambodia in 68 and make THAT your basis for deciding the presidency, well, you're not very astute. Meanwhile you smile as tons of bullshit comes out of the Presidents mouth and you just eat it. Yummm...eat that Bush bullshit. Eat it all.
Bush lied so many times over big stuff that happened now, not 30 years ago. He also lied bigtime about the things happening during Vietnam.
So lets see: Twice Bush said we invaded Iraq because Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors back in. This is well after Hans Blix and the inspectors had come and gone to Iraq. In case you want to write that off as one of the hundred or so simple mistakes in his seeming inability to use the English language, several weeks later in front of the King of Norway I believe he said it again. Now, not knowing about the inspectors coming in and using that lack of knowledge to justify the Iraq invasion is so far from true or right or correct that it dwarfs ANY mistake or even lie Kerry has even been accused of telling. Either Bush is so confused he didn't remember Hans Blix on two separate occasions or he is lying in a blatant, easily disproven way. Not that this is unusual; Bush has told literally dozens of lies that are easily refuted after the fact. And you guys smile and ask for seconds.
Not to mention the Bush guys have ripped off the treasury for billions and billions of dollars handed off to their already rich friends. Not a day goes by when I don't see some deal where the son/brother/nephew of some elected official doesn't get a posting or some government contract that makes them rich. Nepotism and corruption run rampant. But Kerry might not have been in Cambodia on Christmas 1968. Yeah, you guys have your heads on straight. I'm done talking to you cheesheads. You're so blinded by your party identity that you fail to look at the huge, overencompassing mass of corruption and incompetence that is the Bush administration, and nitpick about some small matter raised by politcal hacks and allies of Bush.
One last thing. Remember McCain in the So. Carolina primary in 2000? These same people telling the crap about Kerry are the ones who in 2000 led push polls calling McCain a child molester and his wife a drug addict. They said his daughter, who had been adopted in Bangla Desh from one of Mother Theresa's orphanages, was in fact a child conceived with McCain and a black prostitute. These are the folks you are supporting. But Kerry might not have been in Cambodia in 1968; obviously that is more important.
Wont be returning to this site anytime soon, so you can do what you want. Every time I visit a site of the Republican lying machine (even here in an article where one honest righty is seeing the light) I see that there is no recourse this year but to defeat your candidate and your type of thinking utterly. We'll win in November and our policies will reverse many of the really bad things Bush has brought upon us. The jobs will come back, and 4 years from now the answer to the question "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago" will once more be answered "Yes". Right now, nobody who wasn't already rich can claim that.
Bye, righties. You're wrong.posted by: Norman on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“The fact that Kerry actually seems to be a very good and noble man is as irrelevant to the discussion as all of your posts so far.”
Wow, what do have against hard facts? Noble men do not slander their own country and fellow soldiers for political gain. What part of Kerry’s campaign admitting that he lied don’t you understand?posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Oh, Here's a ringing endorsement for Bush's Iraq war from Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter, NE 1st district, a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
A Republican Congressman with 18 years in the House has just called Bush a BLOODY LIAR!posted by: bo on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
How would Kerry be different from Clinton?
Interesting question. God knows I'd take Clinton back in a hot NY second.
But Clinton isn't running. So let's see how Kerry will be different from George Bush.
Imagine a President who doesn't have to have everything explained to him, who doesn't insist on explanations that fit a 3x5 index card, and who doesn't only listen to yes-men.
Imagine a President who doesn't have to demean and ridicule other people in order to feel big and strong; who's perfectly capable of killing enemies and sending crooks to prison, but doesn't gloat over it or mock the fallen.
Imagine a President who has a proven track record of taking on big jobs and seeing them through; a President who's willing and able to put in the long hours and do the skull-sweating; a President who's confident enough in his own knowledge and intelligence that he can call in real experts to discuss matters and rationally analyze what they tell him.
Imagine a President with sufficient sense of personal and national honor that he won't measure his "strength" and "leadership" by how many treaties and international agreements he's walked away from, how many peace efforts he's abandoned, how many allies he's pissed off, and how many wars he's started.
H'mmm...you're right, Zathras. Kerry might be quite a lot like Clinton. Only better.posted by: CaseyL on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Kids, I think both sides need to sit back and recognize that there is a difference between lying and inadvertantly saying something that isnt true. If Kerry really believed he was in Cambodia on x-mas, but his memory was confused, that isnt a lie. If Bush truly believed what the CIA, MI-6, Kremlin, and Arab allies were telling him about Iraq WMDs, he wasnt lying, he was misinformed. Ok?posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Imagine a President who doesn't have to demean and ridicule other people in order to feel big and strong; who's perfectly capable of killing enemies and sending crooks to prison, but doesn't gloat over it or mock the fallen.”
Yup, imagine a president who doesn't slander his own country and fellow soldiers to advance his own political career. That national leader most certainly wouldn’t be John Kerry.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
mike says "draft didn't kick in until 1968" 1:37 PM
Ummm, then why did Bill Clinton get a deferment in 1964?posted by: BCG on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
JC!! D thomson. Did Bush's campaign slander McCain or Cleland. Bush will go down as one of the worst presidents in our history.posted by: BCG on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Somewhere down here in the Cambodia/Alabama fever swamps, Zathras attempted to ask an on-point question -- on foreign policy, how would Kerry be different than Clinton?
It's a good question, but I think the premise is somewhat flawed. I feel like the basic argument of the hard-right/libertarian blogosphere is that the September 11 changed everything, except the souls of Democratic politicians. Does that really make sense? Does anyone suggest that we should or would do anything other than aggressively continue to persue Al Q?
The Bush administration changed course after 9/11, taking terror far more seriously than they had previously. Please demonstrate, with non-Iraq examples, that likely Kerry advisers have not done the same.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“If Kerry really believed he was in Cambodia on x-mas, but his memory was confused, that isnt a lie.”
I agree completely. But this isn’t what happened with John Kerry. He went into a number of details to buttress his lie about being in Cambodia on Christmas 1968. This was no mere slip of the tongue, or a response given under enormous pressure. No, we are not talking about a possible human error. Senator Kerry is a proven slanderer.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
According to David, "The President served during the wind down period when there was much confusion and disarray."
Somehow I missed the pictures of the helicopters taking off from the roof of the ANG building, frantically ferrying the administrative staff to safety in, one presumes, Oklahoma. Got any links to them?
"George W. Bush was merely one of many National Guard airmen. There’s simply no reason for anyone to particularly remember him. His father was merely another congressman."
Odd -- my father wasn't even "merely another congressman" (far from it) but I can come up with a long list of people than knew and remember me from 30 years ago.
You're pretty desperate, aren't you?posted by: Jim Allen on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“You're pretty desperate, aren't you?”
Not in the least. You are placed in the awkward position of indulging in speculation concerning George W. Bush’s National Guard duty. You may suspect---but you cannot offer any solid evidence which would stand up in a court of law. John Kerry is a proven slanderer. There is more than enough hard evidence to get a guilty conviction. Even Kerry’s own campaign people had to acknowledge the lie.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Who has Kerry slandered by his Cambodia statement?posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
David Thomson has now repeated at least four times that "Kerry slandered his country and his fellow soldiers" by his comments about Cambodia. Three times, he has been asked "What the fuck does that mean?" Three times he hasn't answered. One more request. Pretty please? Show us you can do more than regurgitate right-wing astroturf? Or is that just too much for me to hope for?
OK, I'm from the left, and I read this stuff after coming here from Kevin Drum's site. But I have to say, I'm disappointed. Most of you righties simply repeat the same shit over and over again without engaging the merits of the issue on the table. Saying it 74 times doesn't make it any more true than saying it once. So why bother? Unless, as I suspect, that you are incapable of engaging the merits.
At least on the left, we discuss the issues. Over here, it's all about name-calling and insults. Blechh. I need to take a shower. So long.posted by: jsmdlawyer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"You are placed in the awkward position of indulging in speculation concerning George W. Bush’s National Guard duty."
You're right, I have to indulge in speculation about Bush's NG duty, because I've seen nothing that indicates he was there, beyond a fuzzy listing of dental appointments.
"You may suspect---but you cannot offer any solid evidence which would stand up in a court of law."
And, regarding Bush's service, neither can he.posted by: Jim Allen on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I better remind people that the host of this blog, Daniel Drezner, wanted this discussion to focus on mere policy issues. But it is utterly ridiculous to try and make a distinction between someone’s policies and their moral formation. If Kerry slandered his own country and fellow soldiers in the past, what is the likelihood that such a morally bankrupt person has been redeemed. Especially since Senator Kerry has most recently repeatedly lied about being in Cambodia on Christmas 1968.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
One more time: How did Kerry's statement that he was in Cambodia on Christmas slander, as you put it, his country and fellow solders?posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
But it is utterly ridiculous to try and make a distinction between someone’s policies and their moral formation.
Well, that's one reason a lot of people have a real problem with Bush's scurrying off into the National Guard instead of volunteering for duty in Vietnam, in a war he SUPPORTED (unlike, say, Clinton, who thought NOBODY should be sent off to that war).
Whatever else you may say about Kerry, he, unlike Bush, was not a COWARD.posted by: frankly0 on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“And, regarding Bush's service, neither can he.”
It is not the duty of the accused to prove their innocence. On the contrary, the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that George W. Bush didn’t fulfill his National Guard duty. So far, nobody has supplied solid evidence to prove that President Bush is lying. Thus, you are engaging in slander when continuing to filth on his good name.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
This is all very interesting (if blatantly off topic). Where was John Kerry on Christmas Day in 1968? Oh, the drama! We have a politician who might have exaggerated things! He must have been quite an operator to get all those medals! It must be a deep character flaw! Lets vote for the other guy who is a born-again towering beacon of virtue and a real war hero – someone who is stands by his decisions, right or wrong, someone who is “sensitive” enough not to give “false hope” to people who might benefit from stem cell research. (just wanted to see if I could set the record for getting the furthest off the topic of this post – consider it a challenge :)
Seems to me that Kerry's Vietnam experiences were put forward by his campaign to "inoculate" him from attacks that he doesn’t understand what its like to fight in a war. It seems that he does know what its like - even if his boat was on Mars on Christmas day in 1968. "Christmas in Cambodia" may be a whopper - but so are many recollections of returning soldiers. Ronald Reagan once "remembered" a conversation in a navy plane over the pacific the end of which was that everybody died. (It was from a movie.) It was actually rather endearing, but Reagan had that way about him that most people would hear the whopper and like him better for it. Kerry is not so blessed, but I hardly think that this story calls his character into question.
The fact that Kerry might have “sweetened” his trips into Cambodia with a bit of “holiday cheer” is not a disqualifier for most people. Are you guys seriously telling me that you have NEVER made a story a wee bit better? I know I have. I bet most everybody has. These “facts” don’t come anywhere close to “proving” that Senator Kerry is a “fill in the blank here”. Did he “con” all those officers who had to put in for, consider and approve all those medals? Or are you folks suggesting the he forged all their signatures – or that the military handed out medals in Vietnam like candy at Halloween?
Look, its true that John Kerry strongly opposed the war in Vietnam, that he came home and loudly voiced that opposition, and he symbolically showed that opposition in a way that deeply offended some people in this country – including many if not most of the Swift Boat vets. The truth and the facts remain however – he went, he served, and he served honorably. No one else running for president or vice president in 2004 can say the same.
Lets get real. This swift boat bs (and the awol bs) is a hobby horse for the true believers on both sides of this debate.
It’s the war (the, ummm, “topic” of this post) and the economy. Neither is a “winner” for this president.
"It is not the duty of the accused to prove their innocence."
Fine. Then please prove Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas, 1968. And please don't quote Kerry or anything on his website, since you seem to think they're all lying anyway, and I wouldn't want you to base your "proof" on something you don't believe yourself.
And while you're at it, you have been asked at least 5 times for proof that Kerry is guilty of slander. It's not up to his defenders to prove his innocence, but I'm sure you can prove his guilt, right?posted by: Jim Allen on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“David Thomson has now repeated at least four times that "Kerry slandered his country and his fellow soldiers" by his comments about Cambodia. Three times, he has been asked "What the fuck does that mean?" Three times he hasn't answered. One more request. Pretty please? Show us you can do more than regurgitate right-wing astroturf? Or is that just too much for me to hope for?”
That’s right, I’m staying on message. Your request is easily honored. John Kerry’s own campaign people now admit that he was not in Cambodia on Christmas 1968.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
You posted while I was writing my last message, so I'm guilty of poor timing, I guess. Good points, all, and thanks.
Jimposted by: Jim Allen on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Fine. Then please prove Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas, 1968. And please don't quote Kerry or anything on his website, since you seem to think they're all lying anyway, and I wouldn't want you to base your "proof" on something you don't believe yourself.
And the evidence has been supplied. Please read the previous comments on this thread. There are more than enough ample links to prove that John Kerry lied. His own campaign people had to throw in the towel.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
What's really bizarre about this debate over Kerry's statements about his record and Bush's statements about his own is that all of that pales in comparison to the obvious, and basic fact, which is not lost on the American people: Kerry displayed courage and a sense of duty, and Bush behaved like a COWARD.
I don't see how those BASIC facts can be disputed, given that Kerry volunteered for duty in Vietnam, performed genuinely dangerous tasks (however heroic or not you may regard them), and Bush, instead deliberately sought a way OUT of combat service by going into the National Guard instead of services that were involved in combat in Vietnam.
And the thing that I've NEVER seen a Bush supporter explain properly is on what ground Bush could SUPPORT the war, but AVOID going off to war. I think REAL American patriots understand that this is COWARDICE, and nothing less.
In short, Bush supporters: your guy is a COWARD.
Deal with it.posted by: frankly0 on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Does anyone suggest that we should or would do anything other than aggressively continue to persue Al Q?"
Nice, a substantative question. Here is the answer: it is a mistake to define the war on terror as the war on Al Qaeda, a potentially fatal mistake. Segments of the democratic party have been attempting to do just that since 9/11. The truth is, AQ is only a single tooth in the shark that is our enemy. If that tooth falls out another takes its place. This is nontrivial. Many have argued that instead of going to Iraq we should have sent tens of thousands to Afghanistan to hunt AQ and Taliban there. That would have been a collasal waste of resources, and probably a quagmire of US casualties as tribesmen rise up against us. Most of those described as 'Taliban' that are left in Afghanistan are natives tribesmen who have been fighting constantly for 10,000 years against foriegners when they can and neighbors otherwise. These are not a threat, but because they are known as the 'Al Qaeda' supporters, people of a certain POV would be concentrating on them instead of real dangers like Zaquari (who was only loosely affiliated) or any number of other groups and nations. Should we have invaded Pakistan against there will to hunt Bin Ladin when this would surely have overturned the friendly Mushariff government and placed an enemy in its place? If AQ is the enemy, that would be acceptable. So again, its far bigger than any terrorist group.
Why are we assuming that Kerry has a vague strategy? His articulated strategy unrealistically relies on European replacements so that we can remove our troops from Iraq. These alleged troops are not available for the Sudan, why would they be available for the less palatable to European eyes Iraq? His strategy is delusional, not vague. His AIM is to remove US troops. That isn't a useful strategic aim for dealing with Middle Eastern terrorism. That is a retreat that will make things worse.posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Troll-feeding, but "xmas" != "xmas day". I leave looking up the definition of "lie" to the reader.
"Fine. Then please prove Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas, 1968. And please don't quote Kerry or anything on his website, since you seem to think they're all lying anyway, and I wouldn't want you to base your "proof" on something you don't believe yourself”
Damn it, why am I such a nice guy? Here’s Robert Pollock’s piece in yesterday’s WSJ. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing:
“Last Wednesday Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan sent me a statement saying that "During John Kerry's service in Vietnam, many times he was on or near the Cambodian border and on one occasion crossed into Cambodia. . . . On December 24, 1968 Lieutenant John Kerry and his crew were on patrol in the watery borders between Vietnam and Cambodia deep in enemy territory." I asked for clarification as to whether the "one occasion" was Christmas Eve 1968. "No," was the reply”posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
But two of Kerry's crewmates — Wasser and Zaladonis — both told The Times the boat was in the vicinity of the Cambodian border and even fought an engagement with a Viet Cong sampan on Christmas Eve day.
"We patrolled a river on the border," Zaladonis said last week. "Unless I'm out of my mind or mistaken, that river was part of the border."
There are no after-action reports that pinpoint where Kerry's boat was in late December 1968. But a file from Navy archives in Washington obtained by The Times provides support for both sides.
An entry in a monthly summary of engagements for December 1968 reports that on Christmas Eve, "PCF-44 fired on junk on beach. Results: 1 sampan destroyed."
The entry was made by then-Capt. Roy Hoffmann, the overall commander of Swift boats and now one of Kerry's most vocal critics. There is no written location for the engagement, but it contains a coordinate used by the military to plot locations. The coordinate points to an area about 40 to 50 miles south of the Cambodian border, near an island called Sa Dec.
The entry also notes that the incident took place about 7 a.m., which would have given Kerry's boat another 12 hours to make it to the Cambodian border by nightfall. At a cruising speed of 23 knots, the boat could have covered the distance in about two hours.
This would be consistent with the contention of Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan that Kerry was in Sa Dec but reached the Cambodian border later the same day.posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Could you please a "parking lot" thread for all discussions related to Vietnam-era service and candidate integrity? Otherwise these issues threaten to cannibalize all other foreign policy threads btn now and November...posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
btw, if Bush had brains he'd just play a tape of Kerry's congressional testimony post Vietnam and let people draw their own conclusions. Splice that in with railing against the Libya bombing and vouching for Daniel Ortega, voting against Gulf War 1, and doing whatever the hell he did for Gulf War 2. Thats not dirty, that is the record. Let people see the evidence and decide for themselves.
The shrieks from the left would be deafening.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Could you please a "parking lot" thread for all discussions related to Vietnam-era service and candidate integrity? Otherwise these issues threaten to cannibalize all other foreign policy threads btn now and November...”
Gee whiz, do you want to distinguish between policy and moral uprightness? That simply doesn’t make sense. Why would you want to be so irrational?posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Any chance we could arrange to wager on Dan's vote in November? Personally, I'd be willing to lay down hard cash that he pulls the donkey lever--at least for President. I mean, he seems like such a reasonable person, how could he not? :-)posted by: conlon27 on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“This would be consistent with the contention of Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan that Kerry was in Sa Dec but reached the Cambodian border later the same day.”
Nope, that won’t fly. Michael Meehan said the exact opposite thing the other day. It’s obvious that Kerry’s people are scared excrement-less.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Kerry slandered American soldiers because he falsely claimed to be personally smuggling CIA agents into Cambodia while he was at war. He did this in order to make a political point in a debate where he argued against funding the Contras who were fighting against communist tyrants in Nicaragua. After proof arose last week that Kerry was not in Cambodia at Christmas of 1968 as he previously claimed was "seared, seared" into his memory, he is now changing the date of his supposed missions in full damage-control mode.
An objective examination of his claims shows he is almost certainly lying about ever being in Cambodia while serving the military, as the Swift boats were extremely ill-suited to travel that part of the Mekong river system and very poorly-suited for clandestine use, and the possible timeline for his supposed missions is very questionable.
It seems likely his entire "mission impossible" was invented after watching Apocalypse Now, because the first his "secret missions" came up was in a review he wrote of that movie, where he compared his "real-life" experience to the fictional excursion to Cambodia featured in that film. Whether he is simply unable to distinguish truth from fantasy, or whether he is just an inveterate, sociopathic liar is not clear, but in either case it seems clear he does not belong in the white house.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Personally, I'd be willing to lay down hard cash that he pulls the donkey lever--at least for President"
Hmm. Interesting wager. Im not quite confident enough to bet, but i will say i think there will be a lot of people who find themselves face to face with the ballot and cant pull the trigger for Kerry. Just a gut reaction.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
What a relief to look at an on-topic post. (And it makes me feel bad fo spoofing you up-thread.)
While it's a bit of head jerk to see a good Conservative make a "root cause" argument, I take your point. But every action taken has to be given some sort of rational cost benefit analysis. There were potential benefits to invading Iraq, and there were some actual ones. (Libya throwing in the towel, the resultant rolling up of the "nukes r' us" ring out of Pakistan, the potential that there may someday be a decent regime in Iraq.) But there were also potential costs, and all of these seemed to have materialized. But, what's clear from Dan's post is that these costs were never seriously considered by the administration. So, due to the Bush addiction to the rosy scenario, we are mired in an Iraqi mess, the world respects our nation less, and our deficit is soaring. Even given this, going to war in Iraq may have been the right thing to do. But we'll never know, because the Bushies never thought through the potential costs, and the possible medium term damage to the war on terror. A man who has no interest in measuring in some way the damage his actions may cause to his own goals has no business being President.
Whatever else one may say about Kerry (and, heaven knows, there's a lot to be said. Why the Democrats felt this guy was the most electable of their crowd, I'll never know...), he is habitually prudent, and does not commit himself to great adventures easily. This is essentially a negative qualification (John Kerry -- At least he's not Bush.) But I think it's more what the nation needs now than W.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Dan, how long have we known there was no post-war Iraq plan whatsoever? Wasn't this the reason for all those psuedo-mea-culpas a few months ago? What I don't understand is, how could anyone take the democracy promotion stuff from this administration seriously, whenthey hardly mentioned any details on how itwoudlget done? I still have to see the administration boosting funding for nation building infastructure. Have they? Do we have a new department of nation building? Did we double the budget of the Peace Corp? What concrete steps have been taken to better prepare the country for democracy promotion?
Wasn't it clear that group-think was the plan of the day, when anyone who suggested things wouldn't go so well, were completely ridiculed and ignored -- think General S. saying we need a quarter million troops. Etc. Etc.
What's truly hilarious though, reading some of these comments, is the massive congitive disonancce going on. Like the majority of right-wing commentators who supported this war, have already acknowledged it was piss poorly planned. Yet, their is a resiliant core of wingnuts on this board who continue to pretend like this planning issue is some communist smear, that isn't historically significant.
On DT, I don't think there is any point in engaging him -- especially on the Cambodia thing. Obviously exagerating from Jan/Feb to Christmas, is a fatal, fatal character flaw. Starting a false war, with no planning, is a true demonstration of character. I don't think the latter statement is as ridiculous as DT's bullshit, because it appears to have settled in as CW amongst a large part of the right.posted by: Jor on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
So I guess, gathering from the deafening silence, there really IS no answer to the question of why Bush supported the Vietnam War but refused to sign up with a service that was fighting in Vietnam.
I conclude that Bush was indeed a coward, that the right wing knows it, but that it's just peachy with them.
It can't say good things about Bush that he was a coward. What does it say about the right wing that they're so fine with it?posted by: frankly0 on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Joel Palm (or anyone else), do you have a link you could post for that quote? Can't seem to Google it up. Thanks!posted by: Anderson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The above comment including "This would be consistent with the contention of Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan that Kerry was in Sa Dec but reached the Cambodian border later the same day" comes from the LA Times.posted by: rilkefan on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I think nobody particularly cares whether Bush at 26 was a coward or not. They already know, by his own testimony, that he was a drunken bum at the time. And I don't particularly get the relevance. Over 30 years, people can be redeemed, and they also can be corrupted. When, in the case of Bush, there is so much more of more recent vintage to complain about, why do you (and your Political Animal comrades) feel the need to make so much out of this?posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
It seems that we actually have better documentation of Kerry's being in Cambodia than we have of Jesus's resurrection. Maybe the Swifties will go after that one next---that would be an ad to see. All those suspicious discrepancies in the Gospels ... why, they must be lying! What do these lies say about the *character* of the Gospel writers?
OBVIOUSLY George W. Bush would be a better Messiah than this Jesus guy ....posted by: Anderson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
AM, if i cant laugh at myself... well ill be the only one ;) Anyway, you are absolutely right. I have railed on Bush like crazy for not putting the balls out screws to rebuilding Iraq, and i will absolutely say that our problems have been terribly compounded by not rebuilding Iraq in a timely fashion. The British assigned photo IDs to every citizen of Malai in the 50s to help put down a commie insurgency. That was _50 years ago_ and we havent implimented that idea, even given essentially infinite funds. Fortunately our military has been more than equal to the task and they more than anyone is keeping us 'in the game'.
Another ontopic, important question is, I mean, does this Frank's stuff really add something new?
- State Deparment's Iraqi Group was completely ignored
Thats just getting started. Where is the room for any more outrage or absurdity? I know, I know, wars can't be planned, -- its all a commi inspired smear, those treacherous neo-con mea-culpas not-withstanding.
Your concern with democracy-promotion rings so god damn hollow, beccause I don't recall ever seeing a single post suggesting, hmm, maybe we should build some democracy-promotion infrastructure first. Whatever happened to prudent policy? Hey, maybe we could have let inspections continue, while we got that stuff into place? Maybe we could havve even tested it a little in Afghanistan? Oh wait, Germany FOO'BARd the UN process. Or maybe, it was Cheney repeatedly saying the US doesn't need th eUN at all -- since likw hat mid 2002? That must have slipped your mind.
"why Bush supported the Vietnam War but refused to sign up with a service that was fighting in Vietnam."
Bush volunteered for a NG unit that was active in Vietnam at the time. You're a real jag off for calling a man that flew fighter jets for our country a coward. I assume you were an infantryman in Vietnam, because thats one of the few jobs more dangerous than flying first generation all weather jet planes.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“DT, I don't think there is any point in engaging him -- especially on the Cambodia thing. Obviously exagerating from Jan/Feb to Christmas, is a fatal, fatal character flaw.”
Indeed, it is a very serious character flaw. The stated date makes all the difference in the world. It’s similar to a previous president claiming he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky. Kerry claimed that the date was Christmas and by doing this he slandered his country and fellow soldiers. Moreover, he earlier claimed that his entry into Cambodia was deliberate and not inadvertent.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Judging from the retired milit-kerry defender's 'logic' in defense of the candidate's surreal 15-day flip on restructuring forces this afrernoon, I'd say that the concerns here over your leanings are a bit over-blown.
"Sudden Announcement"? (again with the 'suspicious timing' - rope-a-dope, anyone?) - The 2d ID restructure was annouced publically in June of 2003. Go google for yourself. The fact that you are being poorly served by your MSM is now the President's fault?
B,Pposted by: Tommy G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I wonder how many men Bush jumped ahead of to get into TANG? And I wonder how many of those men were subsequently drafted to Viet Nam, and died there, so that GW could sit on his ass swigging beer and not showing up for duty?posted by: Mara on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Let it be noted for posterity, I'll take lying about sex with an intern (or in this case mangling Jan/Feb to December) over a president whose record todate is a false, unplanned war, record deficits, net million job LOSS (largest since the GREAT DEPRESSION), lying about the cost of a new spending program by about ONE HUNDRED billion dollars (I know, lies dont matter if they are only in the billions of dollars), lying about tax-cuts as stimulus, shifting tax-burden onto the middle class, misleading about stem cells, and continually making up the most idiotic job projections in the history of mankind.posted by: Jor on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I meant to add that the willingness to use contacts to skip to the head of the line to get into the TANG, which may have resulted in other men dying and then not bothering to show up - now those are real character flaws for you.posted by: Mara on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Christmas in Cambodia...Christmas in Cambodia...Christmas in Cambodia...Christmas in Cambodia....Christmas in Cambodia". -David Thompson.
Well, David. Two things...
#1 Kerry was a lot closer to Cambodia than either you or W.
#2 Nobody gives a sh*tposted by: Johnny B. on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"I meant to add that the willingness to use contacts to skip to the head of the line to get into the TANG, which may have resulted in other men dying and then not bothering to show up - now those are real character flaws for you."
You simply do not have any hard evidence to back up your charges. However, I do have the goods on Senator Kerry. Why do folks like you have such a hard time thinking and following a logical argument?posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
>We are still talking about the lesser >of evils. John Kerry has been caught >lying about spending Christmas 1968 in >Cambodia.
Actually, he hasn't been "caught lying". The navy was sending boats in and out of Cambodia during that time. There were intelligence operations going down at that very time, and, as e said, he was dropping agents off. Why is this so hard to believe, especially since everyone knows now that we were getting set to bomb Cambodia the next year and brought them into the war by 1970?
In fact, a Republican, Christine Todd Whitman told Jon Stewart-- months ago, and unsolicited-- that her husband was with John Kerry in Cambodia New Years Eve. Now it could be Kerry was off by a couple days, or that he was in and out so often that he went twice in one week. But it's absurd to say he lied. Kissinger and Nixon lied about Cambodia, for sure, but the fellas on the ground knew what was happening.
Now Bush saying in the campaign that his tax cuts wouldn't target the wealthy, that was not only a lie, that was a lie about something that matters right this minute, not a probably secret operation that happened 30 years ago.
I came back just to see what David Thomson had to say. Should have skipped it. Here's the brilliant response.
Q: How did Kerry slander the troops and the country?
A: He lied.
Now, just for this discussion, let's accept that Kerry lied. I don't, but for the sake of argument, OK, he lied. Intentionally. He said he was in Cambodia and he wasn't. Fine. Point taken.
That still doesn't answer the question. How does the "lie" (I have to put it in quotation marks so it doesn't get reprinted and then, aha, a liberal agrees that he lied) have anything to do with slander? Of the country or of the soldiers? Answer: it doesn't.
The RNC astroturf machine has two metaphors going. (1) Kerry lied. (2) Kerry slandered the soldiers and the country. So here's the recipe: roll (1) and (2) together vigorously. Repeat as often as possible. Hope nobody notices that (1) has nothing to do with (2). David gets an "A" from the RNC. Your mom must be so proud.
If that's the best you guys can do, then this election is already over. Good night.posted by: jsmdlawyer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“#2 Nobody gives a sh*t”
You are half right. The left wingers could care less. That’s most certainly true. Hard core Democrats normally vote for liars. This is par for the course. But the swing voters do give a damn. The liberal media have slimed this president and are doing everything possible to destroy him. Still, these slime balls can only hide the truth from the American people for so long.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I think you're the one who has trouble with logic, David. Do the words "may have resulted" register with you at all? The facts are: 1) Bush used his dad's connections to skip to the head of the line. This much is undisputed. Neither is it unreasonable to assume that the guys he skipped ahead of may have been drafted, that they may have been sent to Viet Nam, and that they may have given their lives over there so Junior could do whatever it was he was doing while he wasn't showing up for drills.posted by: Mara on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
DT, Can you please contrast John Kerry's lying about the date of Cambodia, to Dubya lying about the cost of his new prescription drug program, by about ONE HUNDRED BILLION dollars. Please tell us about the morality of the lies and their effects on the US tax payer. 500 words or less, thanks.posted by: Jor on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Now, just for this discussion, let's accept that Kerry lied. I don't, but for the sake of argument, OK, he lied. Intentionally. He said he was in Cambodia and he wasn't. Fine. Point taken.”
Who needs to worry about what you think? John Kerry’s people are already backtracking and thinking of new excuses. The proof is already in the bag.
“The RNC astroturf machine has two metaphors going. (1) Kerry lied. (2) Kerry slandered the soldiers and the country”
The United States government was telling the world that it would not enter Cambodia during the time period cited by John Kerry. That’s called slandering your country. He then added that his fellow soldiers were violating this international prohibition. And that’s called slandering your fellow soldiers.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"to Dubya lying about the cost of his new prescription drug program"
ROFL. If you think Kerry's proposal bears the slightest semblance to what its actually going to cost you are out of your skull. _Everybody_, Kerry, Bush, Washington DC, my dog, this keyboard, EVERYBODY knows these health care scams are going to cost _at a minimum_ double what they are projected at, if we are lucky. 3x to 5x would be more in line with history. If that makes Bush (or Kerry) liars (and it probably does really), every politician in Washington is a filthy liar (and they probably are). Thats just the way it is.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"You are half right. The left wingers could care less. That’s most certainly true. Hard core Democrats normally vote for liars. This is par for the course. But the swing voters do give a damn. The liberal media have slimed this president and are doing everything possible to destroy him. Still, these slime balls can only hide the truth from the American people for so long." DTs
Actually, I'm sure I'm more than 51% right. We'll see in November. (Again)
Jeez. You must subscribe to RightWingNutBag.com for the Rush/Hannity/O'Reilly/RNC daily talking points.
Come up with some new stuff will ya.
Better, newer gibberish. So we won't fall asleep.
(What a maroon.)posted by: Johnny2Bad on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
My Advice: Ignore David Thompson. His comments aren't meant to inform but only incite. Responding only encourages him. The thread went off-topic with his first post.
AM - it's not only that this Admin didn't consider worst-case scenarios, it's that they felt they didn't need to. Here's a bit I stole from one of you many moons ago:
Cheney: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. [...] The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."
“DT, Can you please contrast John Kerry's lying about the date of Cambodia, to Dubya lying about the cost of his new prescription drug program, by about ONE HUNDRED BILLION dollars”
Gosh, that’s real easy. I feel like Barry Bonds waiting on a slow pitch over the middle of the plate. George W. Bush could arguably have made a human mistake concerning the cost of the new prescription drug program. After all, his administration also estimated the deficit to be higher than it actually was! But John Kerry cold bloody and with malice lied about being in Cambodia on christmas 1968.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"The United States government was telling the world that it would not enter Cambodia during the time period cited by John Kerry. That’s called slandering your country. He then added that his fellow soldiers were violating this international prohibition. And that’s called slandering your fellow soldiers." -DT
Not if its true. (God, are you lazy, stupid or both?)
"Of course, the U.S. military did undertake missions in Cambodia — missions that resulted in enormous controversy at the time and in later years." -Byron York, National Review
Bush volunteered for a NG unit that was active in Vietnam at the time. You're a real jag off for calling a man that flew fighter jets for our country a coward.
Could you BE more dishonest? Look, the man had a VERY simple choice to make: go into the National Guard, which would almost certainly involve NO combat service in Vietnam, or volunteer for the regular military services, which might very well involve going to Vietnam. He chose to go into the National Guard, and, suprise, surprise, avoided ANY service in Vietnam.
He did this even though he SIPPORTED the Vietnam war, and so SUPPORTED sending troops over there to their deaths -- many of them involuntarily because of the draft.
There was a day when any man of honor would acknowledge this for what it is: COWARDICE. In WWII, for example, such men were scorned. What does it say about you that you don't acknowledge that he was a coward?posted by: frankly0 on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The argument that Bush failed to heed the Clinton Administration's warnings that terrorism was the greatest problem facing the USA and that terrorism was Clinton's greatest priority is nothing but pure, unadulterated BS and an attempt a legacy writing. If Clinton's highest priority was terrorism, THEN WHY DIDN'T HE DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT DURING HIS 8 YEARS IN OFFICE? 9/11 took everyone by surprise, and to pretend otherwise is the worst kind of partisanship.posted by: Ben on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Come up with some new stuff will ya.”
Hey, truth is often boring. 1+1=2 is a very boring fact---but an essential truth which cannot be ignored.
“Not if its true. (God, are you lazy, stupid or both?)
"Of course, the U.S. military did undertake missions in Cambodia — missions that resulted in enormous controversy at the time and in later years." -Byron York, National Review”
Absolutely. The United States did indeed perform military missions in Cambodia. We can debate whether this was the right thing to do. Still, John Kerry did not do so on Christmas 1968.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Vietnam? Uh...I had other priorities.posted by: Dick Cheney on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Absolutely. The United States did indeed perform military missions in Cambodia. We can debate whether this was the right thing to do. Still, John Kerry did not do so on Christmas 1968."DT
That's not what you said. You said he slandered our troops and country.
You are backpeddling coward.posted by: Johnny2Bad on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Hey, Ben. Save the CAPS for FreeRepublic.
If you want to drink Clinton Kool-Aid, at least be honest - with yourself and everyone else - about it.posted by: Ben on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
George W. Bush could arguably have made a human mistake concerning the cost of the new prescription drug program.
This is too f'n rich. DT, you truly are an wingnut -- if you don't know the outlines of the story I SUGGEST YOU GO AND LOOK THEM UP. The Shrub admininstration, told the CBO official who testified before congress that if he told the true cost of the Prescription drug bill -- he would be FIRED. Shrub needed the bill to come in under $400 billion to pass it through congress. In reality, it cost a lot more htan that, he knew it before, and hde lied about it. Republican's in the house were outraged. BUT OF COURSE, this is all just an honest mistake. Stop choking on the kool-aid. You don't care about lying at all, your just a wingnut operative. Why not fess up, and stop mindlessly repeating a talkingpoint?posted by: Jor on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"But John Kerry cold bloody and with malice lied about being in Cambodia on christmas 1968."
In 1986 Kerry said he spent Christmas in Cambodia, a statement that very well may be innacurate. However, to call the statement "cold blooded and with malice" is overstating the reality of the situation.
Kerry saying he was in Cambodia on Christmas is about as relevant to his fitness for President as Bush's own recolections on his Vietnam-era exaggerations in "A Charge to Keep."
One last thing, the proper use of slander would be "to defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report; to tarnish or impair the reputation of by false tales maliciously told or propagated". Kerry (or Bush) mis-stating the timimg of a trip to Cambodia (or the time spent flying with his squadrion) is by no means slander. However, saying that John Kerry "cold bloody and with malice lied about being in Cambodia on christmas 1968" is a much better use of the word.posted by: J SG on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Go away for a few hours, hope the thread gets back on track and David's still whining about Cambodia. Better get over it - the latest Gallup poll shows Kerry up by 9 in Ohio. Looks like those Swift Boat ads aren't working out - Ohio is ground zero for Bush and those ads.
Maybe we can get back to talking about how each candidate will handle foreign relations in the future rather than David's BS one note complaint about Cambodia.
"Look, the man had a VERY simple choice to make: go into the National Guard, which would almost certainly involve NO combat service in Vietnam,"
Immediately you are wrong. Thousands of guardsmen were sent to Vietnam. Elements of BUSHS AIRGUARD UNIT were in Vietnam when he joined it. Thats a fact.
Bullshit, he could have volunteered to drive a truck in the NG and not fly allwhether jet fighters. Muuuuch safer.
"There was a day when any man of honor would acknowledge this for what it is: COWARDICE. In WWII, for example, such men were scorned. What does it say about you that you don't acknowledge that he was a coward?"
In my day chickenhawks who badmouth men who put their lives in danger to defend their country (no matter the manner) were punched in the mouth. I'm still alive so this is still my day. I recommend you wander down to the officer's club at the local airbase and call them all a bunch of cowards for not being in Iraq. Send me the hospital bill so I can wipe my ass with it.
Back on topic, am I to believe that the Kerry team will have a better process than the Bush team?
The same Kerry team that didn't know the name of its own candidate (Kerrey vs Kerry)?posted by: Jody on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
We have four years of Bush foreign policy to judge his efforts. To be charitable, it's been at best a mixxed effort. Barring something unexpected, Iraq remains the problem for the next president to solve. Bush has to be able to explain a number of the failures for the American public to re-elect him. The Iraq war remains Bush's war - he has to bear the responsibility for it good or bad. If things don't change significantly before the elections, I don't see any way for them to sell the war as a success.
Pretty much nothing the Bush Administration has said about Iraq has been true. No MWDs, no trans-Atlantic drones, no cheering crowds, and the war's definitely not paying for itself.
Public opinion is in a downward spiral on pretty much all Bush policies. Comparatively, Kerry is a blank slate, which is good for him and his campaign.posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The war in Iraq has largely been a success. Saddam is gone, and reconstruction is proceeding in a manner consistent with historical precedent.
Bush has made mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, except people who do nothing. I can forgive mistakes, but I cannot forgive doing nothing.posted by: Ben on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Mark worries that "judging by Kerry's career we could easilly come out of his administration with a nuclear armed Iran funding and training every terrorist in the world, and a NK churning out nukes to any takers by the dozens."
I worry that Mark's fears will come true no matter who is President, in part because Bush has yet to do anything useful about Korea or Iran, and now it is too late. So why should I reward Bush for this failure with my vote?
“Kerry was making a rhetorical point, and his point was that our government was lying about the fact that there were no American troops in Cambodia in 1968 -- where we know with absolute certainty that there were...”
Wow, and Bill Clinton was also making a rhetorical point when saying that he never had sex with Monica Lewinsky. I guess the same also holds for Tom Harkin’s claim of being on air missions over Viet Nam. It must be nice to be a liberal Democrat. You get caught lying---and you simply claim that you are speaking rhetorically.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Ben: You're certainly in the minority that feels Iraq is a success. Bush may claim the removal of Saddam = success, but that's historical revisionism - the war wasn't based on the humanitarian argument that Saddam was a bad guy and we had to help Iraq by removing him. The argument Bush used appealed to our own self-interest: Saddam was going to nuke/chemical weapon us/ etc. Bush also managed to conjoin 9/11 and Saddam though he had nothing to do with it. All the arguments he used have pretty much been proven false.
Polls show the American public increasingly critical of Bush's performance. If that continues, George will be spending a lot of time in Crawford.posted by: jong on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The choice is simple. You can vote for an appeasement-minded political chameleon who has been on the wrong side of the cold war, Gulf war I, and practically every intelligence and military vote in his long Senate career. Or you can vote for a man who fights the Islamo-fascists even under the heaviest political pressure imaginable.
Are you going to join your colleages in Academia in voting against the man who is fighting the current world war, just like your colleagues voted against the man who won the cold war, called him an imbecile and a warmonger, and spun everything against him? It all depends on which side of history you want to be on. John Kerry's colleagues in the military don't trust him to stand up and fight. Neither do I. Time for a gut check -- do you think Mr. "Do you know who I am" and "I don't fall down" has the character and political courage to fight the terror masters in Iran? Can you really put in place a commander in chief that the military loathes?posted by: Matthew Cromer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
David -- put up or shut up. Please tell us what you think of the Bush admin lying about a bill that wound up costing tax payers an extra $100 billion dollars. Compare and contrast to Kerry mangaling December to Jan/Feb. 250 words or less, thanks.posted by: Jor on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Have conservatives always been this immune to fact, reason, and logic? Or is this something new?posted by: gfw on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Nah, not all conservatives are immune to facts. Here's what Republican Rep. Bereuter of Nebraska had to say today:
"I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action," Bereuter wrote in a letter to constituents in the final days of his congressional career.
That's especially true in view of the fact that the attack was initiated "without a broad and engaged international coalition," the 1st District congressman said.
"Knowing now what I know about the reliance on the tenuous or insufficiently corroborated intelligence used to conclude that Saddam maintained a substantial WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, I believe that launching the pre-emptive military action was not justified."
As a result of the war, he said, "our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened."
"Left unresolved for now is whether intelligence was intentionally misconstrued to justify military action," he said.
"Now we are immersed in a dangerous, costly mess, and there is no easy and quick way to end our responsibilities in Iraq without creating bigger future problems in the region and, in general, in the Muslim world."posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I notice that no one has commented on the key phrase uttered by Franks.
Bush may have jumped ahead of people in line to get into the guard--who knows---I know regular people who got into the guard and quickly in those days with no connections.
Here's a link to Kerry's records.
Now maybe George Bush will release his:
WASHINGTON (AP) The Associated Press sued the Pentagon and the Air Force on Tuesday, seeking access to all records of George W. Bush's military service during the Vietnam War.
Filed in federal court in New York, where the AP is headquartered, the lawsuit seeks access to a copy of Bush's microfilmed personnel file from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.
I've seen a lot of posts on this topic lately and the argument I keep hearing, expressed with more words is:
George W. Bush has a " grand strategy "
George W. Bush is bad
Therefore, strategy is bad.
If the midst of a war is not a time for strategy, when exactly would be better ?posted by: mark safranski on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Calling all you swift boat people! Kevin Drum has a new post up about it. Can we argue about it over there?
This thread is/was about Iraq and the policy process leading up to the botched post war occupation - NOT Cambodia. They are both in Asia - but there are LOTS of differences between the two.posted by: TexasToast on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The war in Iraq was not primarily about WMD, nor was it primarily about humanitarian issues, although BOTH were cited among the several reasons advanced for the war. The most important reason for the war was to combat the threat of Islamic fascism in the ME. Saddam & AQ were two sides of the same coin.
gfw & Joel - I'm glad to see that you lefties are so open-minded and accepting of people who disagree with you. . . .posted by: Ben on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Its prettty much established that Bush did use connections to get him into the ANG. He was taken in despite scoring at the lowest passing grade on the officer's exam. The Speaker of the Texas Legistlative assembly pulled somes strings on his behalf. Incidentally, Colin Powell wrote in his memoirs that the NG in those days was a place for rich people's sons.
Ben, you're an idiot. Sorry, I gotta call it like I see it. You do realize Iraq was one of the most secular regimes in the region right?posted by: Jor on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
'Saddam & AQ were two sides of the same coin.'
Other than geographical location, no they were not. Saddam was a brutal secular dictator largely concerned with preserving his own power and interesting in wealth. He had no agenda other than power and money, he was easily deterred by weapons, he commanded a state and his state could be easily targeted, his primary focus was survival.
Al Qaeda was and is an apocalyptic relgious movement deveoted to death and destruction. Very religious, very anti-secular, generally not interested in money except as a means to an end, not deterrable by the threat of death, not easily targetted as it could split into small cells. Their goal to recerate the Caliphate, was vastly different from Saddam's goals.posted by: fisk on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Has Kerry managed to spin up a position on Korea, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, or anywhere else of critical importance yet?"
Has Bush managed to spin up a position on Saudia Arabia since 15 of the hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis? When I say position, I don't mean Bush's financial position from Saudi oil.posted by: entertainment news on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“Calling all you swift boat people! Kevin Drum has a new post up about it. Can we argue about it over there?”
Hey, what about Roger L. Simon, http://www.rogerlsimon.com/? There are a number of us former lefties who voice our opinions on his superb blog. Dan Drezner even recommends it. We all share a contempt for John Kerry while feeling somewhat ill at ease with George W. Bush. Just about all of us are former Democrats. And yes, we have a lot to say regarding John Kerry’s lies to the American people.posted by: David Thomson on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Has Bush managed to spin up a position on Saudia Arabia since 15 of the hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis? When I say position, I don't mean Bush's financial position from Saudi oil."
Well, you mean besides opening up Iraqs oil market thereby removing Saudi Arabias choke hold on US energy policy? Or removing the Hussein regime and thereby removing the necessity of having bases in Saudi Arabia to contain him? Or by blackmailing the House of Saud with the names of Saudi royalty Khalid Shake Mohammed gave up, a list who all coincidentally died in strange accidents within days? Or perhaps nurturing a democracy in Iraq that has already encouraged SA to hold elections where *gasp* women are allowed to vote? I would say we've had some changes in our Saudi policy alright. We sure didnt do the House of Saud ANY favors invading Iraq, in fact it was probably the last thing they wanted to see for any number of reasons.
Fareed Zakaria is hardly a lefty and yet he concludes in 'Why Kerry is Right On Iraq':
Bossidy has written a book titled "Execution," which is worth reading in this context. Almost every requirement he lays out was ignored by the Bush administration in its occupation of Iraq. One important example: "You cannot have an execution culture without robust dialogue -- one that brings reality to the surface through openness, candor and informality," Bossidy writes. "Robust dialogue starts when people go in with open minds. You cannot set realistic goals until you've debated the assumptions behind them."
Say this in the business world and it is considered wisdom. But say it as a politician and it is derided as "nuance" or "sophistication." Perhaps that's why Washington works as poorly as it does.So now who's open-minded? posted by: Archer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
One of our earliest WW II campaigns was invading Vichy Morocco and Algiers in Operation Torch. Where the French at Pearl Harbor? Was either territory a threat to the US? No. They were just useful as a foothold in the race across N. Africa to gain a base to attack across the Mediterranean. We didn't even decide what the next step was until much later. The invasion of Italy could very well have been the invasion of the Balkans if Churchill had prevailed. Oh and the N. Africa campaign had as many if not more US screw ups. If you condemn Bush for OIF, you have to condemn Roosevelt for Torch.
Iraq got invaded because it was low hanging fruit because of the suspended war, geographically fortuitous in bordering three serious problems, and a problem in its own right. Saddam popularized the concept of paying off suicide jihadi. For that alone he deserved to be taken out.
Kerry has, as far as I know, two bouts of foreign policy experience. The first was when he went to Paris to meet with Vietcong representatives while he was a naval reserve officer, the second when he took a trip down to Nicaragua to negotiate with Daniel Ortega, the communist strong man. In both cases he showed horrible insight, severely bent, if not broke laws, and nobody seems to be paying much attention. The Sandinistas and the VC rightly counted Kerry as friendly. Is this the kind of Democrat that should be running the country?posted by: TM Lutas on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The absolute incapacity for logical reasoning I see on this board is as morbidly fascinating as watching a train wreck in slow motion.
"It is an established fact that John Kerry is a craven liar!" -- never mind what planet are you guys from; you gotta be from the Bizarro freakin Universe. No wonder the topic under discussion (process v. grand strategy) keeps getting derailed. I'm not sure the Bushistas here even know there's a difference.
On to the topic, then: Vision without process is empty. Anyone can come up with a Grand Strategy, and anyone can come up with a checklist of Things to Do to Achieve the Grand Strategy. It takes no smarts, no knowledge, and no critical analysis, because all you need for a Vision and a Checklist is wishful thinking.
Were any of you ever project managers? I was. The analysis part was easy: break the project down into tasks, assign durations and resources to each task, and plot the lot on a Gantt chart.
But actually getting an accurate, workable Gantt means you have to know something about the tasks themselves. You can't just say "Graphics can collate the card files in 7 days." You have to know whether the writers, artists, editors, and brand managers can get the files to Graphics on schedule; you have to know what is technologically involved in collating the files and whether Graphics has the resources it needs to do the job. You have to deal with other departments who need the writers, artists, editors, brand managers, and Graphics for their own projects. You need to know how to negotiate. When one department inevitably falls behind schedule and inevitably blames another department, you need to know how to figure out whether the complaint is valid or just carping and, if it's valid, you need to be able to figure out what to do about it. You need to know how to soothe injured feelings, how to go to bat with upper management to demand more support, and how to telescope tasks to get back on schedule.
And that's just for making a consumer product! Do you really think planning and implementing a foreign policy, or a war, is *easier*? Do you think running a country is so easy any fool can do it?
The *Boss* -- the President -- has to *know stuff.* Because, if the Boss doesn't know stuff, he's gonna get snowed. He needs to know at least enough about the issues to ask intelligent questions. He needs to ask more than one source, he needs to ask naysayers for their take and their reasons for the take, he has to be able distinguish good information from bad and real achievable objectives from pie in the sky.
Bush doesn't do any of that. Never has, never will. His record shows that, over and over again. He's not smart enough, he's not competent enough. He actively resists learning more than he already knows. On those rare occasions when he does decide to get more information, he only gets it from people who already agree with him or who'll tell him what he wants to hear.
That's not even good project management, much less good government.
I actually wouldn't be surprised if Kerry is hoping this Swift Vet story keeps going. It's taking the focus away from the real issue, as Mark Buehner has so eloquently pointed out. Which is that will Kerry be strong enough politically to deal with the terrorist threats to this country? Will he have a vision that doesn't just focus on Al-Qaeda, but getting at the root causes of terror? Will he be strong in dealing with Iran and North Korea, or will he give Iran nuclear fuel, as he has mentioned he will do. These are the things that need to be addressed. And all of you people that are harping on the Cambodia issue are hurting your own cause. Because you are taking the focus away from the much more fundamental issue in this election. So if you want Bush to win, you would be advised to be quiet about it.posted by: Jeff on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
What was Bush doing on Christmas, 1968?posted by: goethean on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Lex said: "I do not believe that Kerry will win the election so long as he tries to maintain this straddle."
Not a chance. My favorite Kerryism is: "You bet I might have!"
Ya gotta love the guy.
Here's the link for the Kerryism:posted by: Tom Holsinger on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
There are a number of us former lefties who voice our opinions on his superb blog.
Yeah. And I'm a former pope.posted by: goethean on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Hey, you never know. Maybe DT stood on a sidewalk one day as a peace demonstration went by. Or sent a contribution to, um, lemme think, the Sierra Club?
As for people who wonder what Dubya was doing in Xmas 1968 (ie, drinking and jumping "ambitous secretaries"): y'all don't understand. Dubya found God in 1990 or thereabouts. God, who was lost on a dark desert highway at the time, was so grateful He forgave Dubya everything he did before then.posted by: CaseyL on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Dr. Drezner, if you could point to one even one example of a post-war occupation that's been done substantially better, that isn't subject to hindsight criticisms of this sort ... and then if you could give one good reason for believing that a Kerry Administration would've done, or would do, as well as the example you've just pointed to, then you might have a good reason for anything in your post to move your "probability" meter.
As it is, you're just bitchin'. That's your right, of course, and you can base your vote on it if you choose. But color me (respectfully) unimpressed.posted by: Beldar on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Your argument for Kerry seems to be "let's hope for the best", since you do not even attempt to show how Kerry would implement a superior policy process.
There are many many reasons to vote against Bush; these are not reasons to vote for Kerry. As you once said: You can't beat something with nothing. Kerry still has nothing, but you are willing to vote for him. I don't understand it and I wonder if you are really taking this seriously enough.posted by: Deanna on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Thousands of guardsmen were sent to Vietnam. Elements of BUSHS AIRGUARD UNIT were in Vietnam when he joined it. Thats a fact.
Your bullshit NEVER ends. When Bush got into the National Guard, and filled out a form at the beginning, he explicitly indicated he did NOT want to be considered for service in Vietnam.
Yet, as he himself has reported, he SUPPORTED the war in Vietnam.
Why did he NOT volunteer to go to Vietnam?
Because he was a coward.
Why don't you just give it up? If Bush had had any REAL interest in serving in Vietnam, HE WOULD HAVE VOLUNTEERED FOR A SERVICE THAT SENT LARGE NUMBERS OF SERVICEMENT THERE, AND REQUEST SUCH DUTY -- AS DID JOHN KERRY WHO WAS IN CONTRAST NOT A COWARD.
All else is bullshit.
Try, for once in your life, to deal with a little reality, please?posted by: frankly0 on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I think AppalledModerate had the best post on this entire topic awhile back: it is Bush's lack of consideration that the war could possibly go wrong- and his subsequent failure to prepare any contingency plan- that attests to his ineptitute as commander in chief.
What Russert suggested to Cheney in the interview (so cleverly culled) has happened: the US has been viewed as occupiers rather than liberators. Most Iraqis are not ready to confer legitimacy on the provisional Allawi government, viewing it as a US puppet. My guess is that a majority of Iraqis are relieved that Saddam is gone but wary at the prospect of Iraq being a US client state.
Will the US military interfere in a future Iraqi government should it turn unfavorable? What if Iraqis elect a Hugo Chavez- someone inimical to US economic interest? What if a rabid populist such as al-Sadr wins a popular election? We really can't say for certain what will happen, but I don't think Bush has even granted those possibilities.
Now, a number of people have said they'd prefer a President who tried to tackle the problem over the nuanced Mr. Kerry. I respectfully disagree. I'm not worried about our damaged reputation among our allies; I'm worried about inflaming irrational US hatred to the degree that new fundamentalist firebands materialize. Osama bin Laden and his followers aren't evil anomalies.
Unfortunately, my post is pretty weak on solutions. I have a feeling that mine would include a healthy bit of multilateralism and a whole helluva lot more diplomacy, but I haven't fleshed it out yet.
Kerry's positon on the war explains why I'll vote for him. I'm scarcely concerned by David Thomson's silly truth litmus test. David my friend: all politicians lie to further their political careers. Morality has to be judged on its costs to society. Did Kerry's lie about Cambodia cost anyone their life? Similarly, did Clinton's lie about Monica cost anyone their life?
I prefer to judge morality on those terms, not on any simplistic absolute scale. As much as I dislike President Bush, I don't think he's been any less honest than anyone else.posted by: VagabondPlus on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I'll be adding this to my bookmarks file: a Swift Boat Vet who hates Kerry so much he makes his own Bronze Star out to be a fraud. (If you believe the story he gives today, which I don't.)
beldar: I'd say the US occupation of Japan was much better run than this occupation of Iraq. In fact, the early days of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank went much better than Iraq.
Although the right tries to shove the evidence down the memory hole, our Administration predicted 30K troops by Xmas 03 and a reconstruction bill to the USA taxpayers of less than $2 billion. Now, maybe this bad planning isn't a make-or-break issue, but could you guys please stop pretending it didn't exist? Since when do we have Presidential Infallibility? (Since we switched to appointed presidents instead of elected, I suppose.)posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Well, it's like Zakaria suggested, Bush ignored the State Department's postwar planning, packed the Iraqi Governing Council with unpopular exiles, didn't have to disband the army nor engage in radical de-Baathification (many since belatedly hired back). Bush could have also made bidding for postwar reconstruction contracts more open and transparent, instead of it being currently "mired in charges of corruption and favoritism" (see the Pentagon audits into Halliburton's KBR subsidiary overcharges).
Again, if a CEO has demonstrated incompetence and is accountable to her shareholders, then she should either resign or be forcibly replaced. Why should the office of the president be any different? Bush isn't our boss, we're his. Postwar planning has been woefully inadequate and calls into question the war itself. More importantly, because of their botched execution, the US has become *less* flexible in responding to other threats (such as N.Korea and Iran - yes, the 'Axis of Evil'). That the administration can't even execute on its own NSS, seriously undermines their credibility. The vision may be there, but the comprehensive know-how is sorely lacking. Since it's already been revealed that behind door #1 is a goat, it's time to make a switch.
I'm a Republican who voted for Bush in 2000. This time around, I'm voting for Kerry.
BTW, David Thomson's juvenile idiocy pretty much clinched it for me. His single-minded focus on 'winning' a point to the exclusion of reasoned discussion in anything else, reminds me of the president's MO. It may work for HS debate team, if that, but I think to many the Bush/Kerry service record issue is largely irrelevant, or at least fixating on it is. The election isn't a referendum on the relative merits of their respective military service. To turn it into one is asinine. Either Thompson understands this or chooses not to. So, dense and incapable of engaging anyone who doesn't think like he does or just stupid. Having faith in the 'rightness' of your position, despite evidence to the contrary, is exactly what bothers me about this administration. It's narrow-minded, arrogant, it leads to mistakes, and ultimately, it's dangerous. Lest anyone forgets, we're trying to make America safer. In financial markets there's a saying, "being right or making money." Would you rather be 'right' or would you rather be safer? It's humbling to admit you're wrong, but a foolish consistency...posted by: Monte on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"This is the rookie running back syndrome, the new untarnished player always has all the aspirations and expectations of resounding brilliance applied to him. Statistically speaking its nonsense, veterans are far more reliable."
This is no syndrome I've ever seen. Where are these statistics? NFL teams generally know what they can expect, barring injury, from their veteran running backs so if they have a very good one they are much less likely to draft a running back with high expectations. Is a third-year star running back likely to be better than a first year back with high expectations? Sure, but this is no syndrome and Kerry is no rookie running back but a veteran player, the people know what they are going to get, namely someone who will explore all possibilities and will choose what he believes to be the wisest course. Kerry's style will be a marked contrast to the man we've had in our backfield these last four years who makes up his mind where to go before he can possibly know what is best. You probably don't like Kerry's extensive record but I don't have much faith in your analysis given the weakness of this analogy.posted by: d. b. cooper on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
David Thomson seems so diseased, I'm begining to believe he is some leftist trying to make right-wingers look badposted by: NeoDude on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"You probably don't like Kerry's extensive record but I don't have much faith in your analysis given the weakness of this analogy."
Perhaps, but I have never yet seen a Kerry supporter point to his record as a United States senator as evidence of his strength on defense. For VERY good reasons. The only way Dan Drezner and other 'concerned hawks' can rationalize a vote for Kerry is by constructing Kerry into something his record indicates he is anything but. _That_ is a delusion.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Beldar, the occupation of japan went considerably better, but that may not have been due to americans.
The japanese did meticulous planning for the occupation. For example, they assumed that american troops would rape every women they found, and it was unacceptable to them for their middle-class women to be raped. So they assigned young aristocratic women to all the higher officers, and collected a lot of money to make sure that prostitutes would be available to the rest of the occupation army.
The iraqis, by contrast, appear to have listened to us say that we were only after Saddam and that we considered ourselves their liberators, and they apparently assumed we wouldn't rape anybody at all.
The occupation of panama went considerably smoother under Bush sr, as did the occupation of grenada and of course kuwait. They were all smaller in scale. And of course in kuwait we liberated the country so we didn't need to spend much time running the place, we quickly let the kuwaitis do it. It helped that we made no attempt to establish democracy there -- we just turned the country over to the exiled dictator.
It's hard to say what Kerry would have done. He says it would have been different. Presumably he would have listened to Shinseki say the occupation needed at least 350,000 troops, and he would have done something about that other than assume it would all work out. Possibly if he couldn't raise the forces required he would have delayed invading.
What Bush did was like a bridge player bidding 7 No Trump without looking at his cards, and then when he went way down you say "OK, how would Kerry play that hand?". Start out by not bidding 7 No Trump until after you look at the hand and it might be easier.
J Thomas: You left out "You dare double my 7NT? Bring it on!"posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
This knock on Bush is not entirely fair (but not entirely unfair certainly). It is absolutely untrue to act as if the Bush admin had their planning timeline set up until the day Hussein was beaten and then just blank white pages.
The administration had a myriad resources on hand to deal with hundreds of burning oil wells, tens of thousands of refugees, chemical contimination, basically all the things that went wrong in the _last war_. Now say what you will, but Bush isnt the first president and wont be the last that made the mistake of planning for the last war, its axiomatic.
Another thing that Tommy Frank's book makes clear is that _no-one_ expected the overwhelming speed and success of the invasion campaign, the white house least of all. It was a convergence of circumstances as well as a plan that evolved right up until the first day. I think the term he used was 'catastrophic success', and there is something to that. It took months and months to stage and execute Gulf War 1, is it entirely improbable that the White House expected to have more time to develop a post-war plan? Like perhaps when they had some idea what things on the ground were going to look like? Lets not forget the little detail that they had A WAR TO WIN before concentrating on how the aftermath would play out, not entirely forgiveable but certainly traditionally the war is the major event and the reconstruction the afterthought. I think its a bit of zero-defect insistance being shown here.
Its also silly to assume that the current state of Iraq was either inevitable or the only likely scenario to play out. Iraq could have ended up any number of ways, and i think its likely that the White House wanted to have some idea what things would look like and then respond as they found them. Perhaps hundreds of thousands more troops would have inflamed the Iraqis and made them feel _more_ occupied, as an example. This is no simple thing, war is always uncharted waters, lets not pretend otherwise.
Personally i blame Bush more for failing to adapt rapidly enough once things clearly werent going as well as they should. I think his hands off style of leadership cost us dearly. But I think it is unfair to blame this administration for having the poor taste to put every shred of effort into WINNING THE WAR by making sure Tommy Franks had exactly what he wanted, and remember it was Franks plan that called for the troop levels that we saw. Not a knock on the brilliant plan, just an accident of history. Perhaps we're being somewhat too hard on Bush?posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
More on the "Kerry Sophistication":
"Why are we withdrawing (he actually said 'withdrawring') unilaterally 12,000 troops from the Korean peninsula at the very time that we are negotiating with North Korea, a country that really has nuclear weapons. This is clearly the wrong signal to send at the wrong time." John Kerry, August 18, 2004
Well .. that would have been just fine, if it hadn't been for pesky things such as memories. Just 17 days earlier Kerry had something completely different to say about troop redeployment:
"I will have significant, enormous reductions in the level of troops ...In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps." John Kerry, August 1, 2004
See, thats the kind of thing that scares me about Kerry, the grasping need to maintain the status quo. Setting aside my strong suspicion that he was taking a pointless political shot at Bush, if Kerry's latest words reflect what he really thinks, its just not a good thing.
Nice ellipse, Matthew. What did you leave out?
Oh! Here it is:
"If the diplomacy that I believe can be put in place can work, I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops not just there but elsewhere in the world, in the Korean peninsula, perhaps, in Europe, perhaps."
Wow. That's a lot different, isn't it?
Jesus Christ. Are the Bushistas/Righties on this board genetically incapable of honest argument, or what?posted by: CaseyL on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I cant believe Kerry actually used the term 'unilaterally' when describing our own troop movements. Does France now have a veto over how we deploy our troops to our own outposts as well? Whats next, a rant that the administration is 'unilaterally' giving troops a pay raise?posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I'm quite aware that Saddam's government was secular and AQ is religious. What many of you seem to be ignoring is that both were/are fascists. That's why they are 2 sides of the same coin - because both are part of the same disease of dysfunction in the ME.
Also, to those calling Iraq an unmitigated disaster, I can't possibly see what justification you have for doing so. It is WAY too early to draw any conclusion about the overall success or failure of what was done. You sound like a bunch of squalling Chicken Littles.posted by: Ben on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
As for Kerry, I am mystified as to how you can have confidence in a candidate whose position seems to be, "I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do, but I'll really do it well!"posted by: Ben on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
A couple of points in response to on-topic posts earlier in this thread (I don't have a lot to add on Cambodia circa Christmas 1968):
AM yesterday asked for evidence that likely Kerry foreign policy advisers, mostly former Clinton administration officials, would not pursue a completely different set of priorities than they did when Clinton was President. Well, apart from the difficulty involved in proving a negative it's probably a fair point that 9/11 and the Iraq war have altered the national security policy environment enough so that no future Secretary of State could afford to spend as much time mucking about over Kosovo as Madeline Albright did. My concern is that contrary to the coordinated spin of the former Clinton team its policy toward terrorism, pursued over many years, was a demonstrable failure. Clinton did in fact have a "feckless, photo-op foreign policy," and the only reason he paid no price for it politically is that no one was paying attention.
What mistakes were made? What have the people who made them learned from them? What about Clinton administration policy do they now repudiate? Actually it would be a good thing if John Kerry answered these questions as well, but it is not encouraging that Clinton administration officials' testimony to the 9/11 commission (with the exception of Richard Clarke's) boiled down to "well, we did the best we could, and things went wrong, and what are you gonna do?" My question, remember, was not whether Kerry would be at all different from Clinton, but how. We still don't know.
Another point on a different subject: the disbandment of the Iraqi army last year is among the most frequently criticized decisions Paul Bremer made. I have agreed with the criticism, but think it important to remember something -- the political objective the Bush administration set for itself was the establishment of a liberal democracy in Iraq. An intact though reformed Army would have been by far the strongest institution in the country, a natural candidate todominate the government as soon as the Americans left. I have no doubt that there were some people in the Bush administration who reasoned that keeping the old Army and building a democracy in Iraq were incompatible, and that reasoning was almost certainly correct.
Having said that, I still think disbanding the Army was a mistake. But I never thought an Iraqi democracy was a realistic objective. Bush's people did not agree; neither does John Kerry or almost everyone else in American public life outside the American military, which has more immediate priorities.posted by: Zathras on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Agree with you generally, esp on Kerry's weakness.
But take exception to your notion that it's "silly" to argue chaos in Iraq was inevitable. To say otherwise is equivalent to the foolish morning-after complaints that Russia's privatization could have been free of corruption (and that the US, not the Yeltsin regime, was primarily responsible for ensuring it be so). Post-Stalinist regimes are incredibly messy. When you pull down a rotten structure, the debris cannot be used to construct a new one.
Re. Iraq, the point is that no one in the US government, and no one in either party, and probably no one in Europe, had anything like good ties with or insights into or intel on the only socio-political force in Iraq that could provide an alternative to the Ba'athists: Sistani and the other shi'a religious leaders.
I'll reconsider this if you or anyone here can point to documents created prior to the war that very clearly:
1) assert that the support and effective participation of the shi'a leaders are the-- not one of but the key to Iraq's successful postwar transition, and
2) lay out a clear plan for winning such support and ensuring such participation.
To my mind the only people who've recognized this are Reuel Marc Gerecht (from the right) and Juan Cole (from the left)-- and both did so long after march 2003. Do you have other sources?
In the interests of full disclosure, I propose each poster reveal his or her "p" of voting for the incumbent.
Dan Drezner's p was (as of 8/18) 0.4.
Mine is 0.54. But this would change to 0.495 if I saw Kerry do a Sister Souljah to the likes of Mikey and Howie.
That "sudden" withdrawal from Korea...
U.S. Troops Slated to Move South From Korean DMZ
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2003 – U.S. and Republic of Korea officials have agreed to a plan to realign American forces stationed in "The Land of the Morning Calm."
In June 4-5 meetings held in the South Korean capital city of Seoul, according to a joint U.S.-South Korean statement, it was decided the operation would consist of two phases:
Phase 2 – U.S. forces north of the Han River would move to key hubs south of the Han River.
The realignment operation would take several years to complete, according to the joint statement.
Realignment of American troops in South Korea is part of an ongoing U.S. force assessment involving overseas and stateside troops. About 37,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in South Korea.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz noted at a June 2 press conference in Seoul that "a substantial amount of money" would be invested –- about $11 billion, according to U.S. defense officials -- over the next four years "in some 150 programs to enhance U.S. capabilities here on the (Korean) Peninsula."
The U.S.-ROK statement noted that the realignment would also involve moving U.S. forces out of Yongsan garrison in Seoul.
Wolfowitz returned June 3 from a trip to Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo to discuss mutual security matters with East Asian leaders.
The deputy defense secretary observed in Seoul "that any basic changes we make to our ground forces here will affect the 2nd Infantry Division." However, U.S. "commitment to the defense of (South) Korea remains firm," the deputy defense secretary asserted at the Seoul press conference.
The purpose of realigning U.S. forces in South Korea, Wolfowitz pointed out, "is to enhance deterrence, not to weaken it."
More U.S.-ROK meetings on the subject of U.S. forces' realignment in South Korea are slated in the future, according to the statement.
Gosh, that was hard. Am I a journalist yet, Mr. Poytner?posted by: Tommy G on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Lex, i agree that some level of chaos was inevitable. My argument was that this exact form of chaos was neither inevitable or exclusive. Many argued that a civil war was the most likely outcome, or that Iraqis would favor an Islamic theocracy which the polls show they reject utterly. Many things could have gone differently, and had we focused resources against possibilities that never materialized (which we did in many cases) what good did that do us? Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but I dont recall anyone predicting this exact scenario for Iraq with Iran and AQ orchistrating deadly attacks on Iraqis and Americans alike. Maybe sealing the border should have been our #1 priority, but if civil war was also a possibility we would have needed troops to prevent that, and maybe bringing in enough troops to do both would have been destabilizing in other ways. The point is this is neither simple nor forseeable.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Agreed. Not having more troops was a big mistake, just as supporting Yeltsin's loans-for-shares was, in hindsight, a big mistake.
Do you think that as a last-ditch measure, Kerry/Shrum will play the "come home, America" card? Or some variation on "Peace With Honor"?Dick Morris thinks this would put him over the top. I agree. Cordesman made the shrewd suggestion that our pulling out now might actually force the Iraqis and their enemies and pseudo-friends to achieve a quick resolution.
My sense of the nation now is that a slight majority of undecideds and a clear majority of all voters are suffering battle fatigue. Peggy Noonan had an insightful piece on this a month or so ago, and recommended that Bush start talking about "peace" at every possible chance. And voila! Bush seems to be following her advice.
I think the candidate who can effectively address Americans' battle fatigue-- without seeming to advocate cutting and running, even if that's precisely what he's going to do-- will win this election easily. Mind you, this doesn't mean denying that we're at war-- this message doesn't appeal to me-- rather, showing the majority of anxious and war-weary Americans some kind of credible endgame, or path to peace, for our involvement in Iraq. Again, to be clear, this is what makes domestic political sense, which is not necessarily what's best for our interests abroad or for the Iraq situation.posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I disagree with both those ideas. Kerry's main problem is he is viewed as wishy washy. Changing his tune yet again on Iraq will cement that image. Bush's main appeal is he is the war president. If the war ends, the need for Bush ends. Moreover the American Public isnt stupid. The candidate that is speaking from his heart will have the advantage. If Kerry really believes in cutting and running, he should promote it. I know Bush is intent on seeing Iraq through to self-determination, so he should make _that_ his issue. If i were Bush i'd make my convention speach focus on our debt of honor to Iraq and how America always gets in trouble when we fail our obligations and cut and run. The country needs to be rallied more than anything. Tell them what you believe and what you intend and how you plan to get there. Talk about what has gone right and how you are going to fix what has gone wrong. Basically be a leader.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Changing his tune yet again on Iraq will cement that image.... The candidate that is speaking from his heart will have the advantage.
Good points, but what is Kerry's "tune", exactly? I can't for the life of me fathom what it is.
I'd very much like to vote Democrat again but in all honesty I have no idea whether Kerry's heart is more sympathetic to me or to Mikey and Howie.
Clinton's Sister Souljah speech showed genuine anger. It came from the heart. Kerry needs to either Souljah the isolationists in his party or else push isolationism.
Can't have both Mikey's vote and my vote. Gotta choose, J.posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I really don't see how you can characterize Kerry's position as "cut and run". I was opposed to the Iraq war from the git go, but I don't favor "cutting and running." ' That is the worst of all possible outcomes. Seems to me the real difference is how the respective sides will "see it through." I don't expect the Europeans (or the asians, for that matter), to bail us out, but I cant see any set of circumstances where Bush would get more cooperation from them then Kerry.
As a data point, the Iranian hostage crises ended when Reagan took office. Hmmmmm.
Kerry, like Bush, hasn't laid out his post-electin plans for Iraq in any specific terms. Considering the downward spiral of Bush in the polls, there's little reason for him to risk it.
But should the current trends reverse, I'd promise a 'strategic withdrawal' of troops starting immediately after taking office with a deadline of having all troops out of Iraq in 6 to 12 months with some continueing aid. If he can convince the UN or NATO to get involved, great.
He should explain that we've done our part, it's time for the Iraqis to take responsiblity for their future. This is certainly a big gamble, there are any number of things that could go wrong and Murphy's Law definitely applies. The Israelis probably wouldn't be happy either.
Bush has already switched his rhetoric. In Iowa last month declared himself the Peace President. That's a dangerous switch though, and hasn't apparently been repeated. It runs completely counter to his carefully crafted no-going-back, can-do image.posted by: Joel Palm on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I didn't characterize Kerry's position on Iraq. I can't, because I haven't the faintest idea what his position really is.
Frankly, as a Democrat, I find that a helluva lot scarier than the prospect of four more years of Bush. Is Kerry another LBJ? Or Jimmy Carter?
At a minimum the man needs to come down on one side or the other. We're either at war or we're not at war. If he were to come to my neighborhood I would stand and ask him one simple question, yea or nay: Sir, are we at war?
What do you think Kerry's answer would be? Should be?posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Clarification to my q: Are we at war with the jihadists? Or is this essentially an international police action?posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I agree that presenting a small target explains Kerry's success through the first half of this year. But Bush is in fact not "spiralling downward" any more. Small target's no longer working.
It may well be that, rather than "being a leader" (as Mark B urges) or playing to the isolationist/battle-fatigue instincts of the middle (as Dick Morris would urge), Kerry's best hope is, nonetheless, more rope-a-dope.
However, Bush and Rove are pretty good at that game, too, and have done a good job of painting Kerry as the Nowhere Man. In any case, Bush is the incumbent and has all the incumbent's advantages. Very risky IMO to let the incumbent define the terms of the debate.
BTW, I read a while back that John Lennon said that "Nowhere Man" was about LBJ. Glenn Reynolds' father, a Bush-hating Dem, has some interesting thoughts today on instapundit.com about the LBJ-JFKerry analogy....
I think Daniel Drezner is dreaming if he thinks Kerry can do better. Look at the hacks that he surrounds himself with: Sandy Berger, for example. Emerging Al Queda, NK nuclear program despite the Clinton accord with Albright toasting the NK leader as their ballistic missiles roll by, complete failure in Palestine, Rwanda, etc. They are part of a policy establishment that was a complete fiasco in the 90's.
Kerry does not have the interest, cajones, nor sees the need to take anything but the party line on foreign policy. And what the Democrat establishment offers us is pretty pathetic. Review their record through the last decade - we don't need that again! When you elect a president you elect more than just the man, and I think Kerry's side is filled with foreign policy baggage, musty ideas that don't work, and unreality. They have shown no grasp of where we ought to go besides "keep other countries happy" & "pull out the troops". Kerry has offered nothing. Who says they'll even have better process? Do you really think they were some smooth running outfit when last in power. Good grief, Mr. Drezner is in wishful thinking mode.posted by: Book on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I didn't say you did characterize Kerry's position. Others on this board have - repeatedly - characterized it as "cut and run". To answer your direct question: “We are at war – but there is a better way to fight it.”.
I think both B and K have a “goal” of meeting the terrorist threat and making us secure.
AS far as process goes, I think the difference is:
(a) active aggressive hegemonistic and ultimately unilateral (in result if not intent) foreign policy as outlined in the PENAC stuff cited repeatedly (up to and including military invasions of Iran in the near future) i.e. lead with the preemptive application of force or threats of force;
(B) active engagement diplomatically with a goal of encouraging and promoting cultural imperialism and economic interdependence ( keeping the lid on and promoting the social and economic forces driving these societies in the direction we want them to go) i.e. lead with the application of diplomacy and “soft” power, with force and threats of force in a supporting, not primary, role.
Sort of like the difference between actually cooking food and putting it in the microwave. The Iraq war was microwave "cooking" at its worst. We still have to eat it, but lets avoid making more until the heartburn for this “meal” abates.
Once again, I feel everyone is on the Bash-Bush bandwagon again. I'm sick of the "give inspectors more time" excuse. It was just that - an excuse. After TWEVLE years, we should have done either two things: 1) consider Iraq "clean", remove sanctions and consider them a sovereign state or 2)basically make them a "kept" country like South Korea, with US troops and UN inspectors permanently.posted by: Rachel on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
active engagement diplomatically with a goal of encouraging and promoting cultural imperialism and economic interdependence...
Enough demogoguery, alright?! No fair stirring up the animal passions of the voters.
Also, I thought "imperialism" was a bad thing.
Sorry, but you'll have to try again. The solution to Kerry's lack of clarity is not a stream of pseudo-academic mumbo-jumbo.
If you're going to poromote "a better way to win the war," then it has to be boiled down to either a bumper sticke slogan-- Peace With Honor, Come Home America, Iraqification, etc-- or else a set of binary, yea-or-nay propositions.
Ie, bring the troops home and let Allawi fend for himself, or add more troops. If more troops, then tell us where they're coming from-- it sure won't be from France or Germany.
But rope-a-dope won't defeat this president. He's got a lot more rope. Plus he's a more cunning dope.posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
My opinion? when the going gets tough (like Iraq right now) the pro-war side flees.
Amen, Rachel. What the electorate wants now is CLARITY. Either support the war and stick it out, or write it off as a bad job and put forth a strategy for disengaging, but CHOOSE A PATH and follow it.
As much as I think the man's a disgusting little opportunist, and would never vote for him, I have to admit that the thought of Howard Dean in the White House is more appealing than Pres. Kerry.
At some point Kerry will have to come clean. Our Iraq adventure is either a mistake and should be undone, or a flawed but necessary engagement that we need to see through. For the leader of the free world, either position is more respectable than Kerry's absurd straddle.
George Bush, Cunning Dope. There's a bumper sticker for ya.
I still havent heard Kerry so much as commit to democracy in Iraq. That worries me more than anything. Is he one of those guys that views self-determination as just another sign of cultural imperialism? I dont know because he wont tell me.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I'm looking for an ABK bumper sticker, myself. Maybe with a small print tagline below it: "We're at war, stupid"posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
One of our earliest WW II campaigns was invading Vichy Morocco and Algiers in Operation Torch. Where the French at Pearl Harbor? Was either territory a threat to the US? No. They were just useful as a foothold in the race across N. Africa to gain a base to attack across the Mediterranean. .... If you condemn Bush for OIF, you have to condemn Roosevelt for Torch.
False equivalency. This would be valid... if Bush had gone to the American people and said that we were invading Iraq to give us a military toehold for attacking the real threats in the ME. As you and everyone else knows, this was not the war we were sold. We were told that Iraq was a threat to the US, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and that he was in league with al Qaeda. And every time one of those prewar justifications has come up empty, the administration and its supporters have tried to move the goalposts until the only remaining justification is the one they don't seem to think is good enough to invade anyone else: that he's a bad man who's guilty of human rights violations.
Do you seriously think the American people would've accepted the costly (in both tangibles and intangibles) invasion and occupation of Iraq if they knew the administration's casus belli was to use it as a staging ground?
Regardless of whether you think this is a valid reason (and there's certainly room for disagreement on that one), that was not the reason we were given.posted by: Catsy on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"This would be valid... if Bush had gone to the American people and said that we were invading Iraq to give us a military toehold for attacking the real threats in the ME."
If Bush had done that we would have had to fight Iraq, Syria, and Iran all at the same time. You dont give away your strategy in war. You defeat your enemies peacemeal if you can manage it.posted by: Mark Buehner on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
“At some point Kerry will have to come clean. Our Iraq adventure is either a mistake and should be undone, or a flawed but necessary engagement that we need to see through.”
There is another choice other than your binary. Our Iraqi adventure was an unnecessary mistake, but we need to see it through. We can’t afford another such mistake now.
The path in Iraq has already been chosen and we can't safely "undo" it. We must fix what we broke in Iraq (yes it was evil, but it was stable), and leave only when it has a functioning, sustainable society and, to borrow MarkB’s optimism, after we have removed as many obstacles to democratization as we can afford. There really is no other choice, so a distinct alternative with "clarity" is not available.
We must also aggressively seek out and "attack" non-state actors like AQ. They must be attacked on a broad front, in concert with our friends, through police work, diplomacy, interdiction of their network of financial support, and yes, sometimes through military action, such as the invasion and occupation of Afg. The invasion of Iraq was not a necessary part of this effort. We sure don't want to compound the problem and further isolate ourselves by repeating our "mistake" in Iran.
That is not appeasement and its not cutting and running. If you want a slogan, how about:
John Kerry: because “Accomplishing the Mission” is more than a photo op.
P = .15
It's a bit difficult to take all these criticisms seriously when they contradict each other. I see complaints about too much de-Ba'athization, and too little. Complaints about not crushing rebellions, and complaints about alienating people by doing so. More likely, of course, any option carries with it its own dangers.
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and neither does a peace plan survive reality. The occupations of Germany and Japan also bear this out, as any familiarity with them shows. Zakaria wins no prizes for his lack of concrete examples of remarkably successful occupations.posted by: John Thacker on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
The path in Iraq has already been chosen and we can't safely "undo" it. We must fix what we broke in Iraq (yes it was evil, but it was stable), and leave only when it has a functioning, sustainable society and, to borrow MarkB’s optimism, after we have removed as many obstacles to democratization as we can afford. There really is no other choice
Of course we can leave. We already transferred authority to the Allawi gov't and preparations for elections are underway. beyond supporting the elections, I don't recall anyone in our gov't attaching any kind of formal, or even informal, conditions on the length of our stay. We have no treaty obligations. All in all we are far less encumbered in Iraq than we were in Vietnam, and if I'm not mistaken, Nixon withdrew our troops fairly rapidly from Vietnam after mid-1973.
My entire point is that Kerry needs to explain to us a rationale for either pulling the troops out over the near future or adding more troops. Otherwise, criticizing the status quo is a meaningless exercise in rear view mirror politics.
Again, it's Mikey's vote or mine. Can't have both.
"Again, it's Mikey's vote or mine. Can't have both."
What state do you vote in? :)
posted by: TexasToast on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I'm not really interested in playing cutesy with you. My interest here is in getting feedback and ideas from other more-or-less liberal interventionist Democrats about what appears to be a very alarming trend in the party and in the country overall. In two words, incoherence and isolationism, represented respectively by Kerry and by the Howie-Mikey and now, Barack wing of the party.
Barack's speech set off alarm bells that we are now seeing an increasing drift into a rather frightening version of pseudo-progressive, in reality Buchananite, isolationism. The guy devoted only two sentences to foreign policy. He talked about "pursuing America's enemies" but couldn't bring himself to name them-- couldn't even mention the word t-t-terror. Not one word about promoting democracy. No mention whatsoever of Iran China NATO Kyoto Israel Palestinians FranceGermanyWMDterroristsAIDSafricaGlobalWarming.He led off by going out of his way to trash Mexican firms and free trade. When he began to talk about Iraq, he immediately shifted the subject back to health insurance for reservists!
In this light, I want my party to show its cards. Is the party's heavily "progressive" rhetoric masking a McGovernite "Come Home, America" mentality? If so, then level with the people.
Let's have a real debate about what should be America's foreign obligations and commitments in this century. The world has changed, radically and the security institutions from 1950 aren't really relevant to it. Let's put aside the blather about non-allies like France. Let's discuss openly what we will commit ourselves to abroad and what our alliance structure really should be. This discussion's about 12 years overdue.posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"Of course we can leave. We already transferred authority to the Allawi gov't and preparations for elections are underway. beyond supporting the elections, I don't recall anyone in our gov't attaching any kind of formal, or even informal, conditions on the length of our stay. We have no treaty obligations."
WOW! This is about as bald a statement of immorality that ever I've seen. We invade, we bomb, we destabilize, then we wash our hands of it and say, "ok, now, it's all up to you guys. See'ya!"
GLOBAL EXCHANGE founder Medea Benjamin put it this way: "The world is watching and waiting with bated breath to see if the U.S. people will reject the Bush agenda. When I was last in Iraq, Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, an Iraqi engineer, said, 'Saddam Hussein was a bastard, but this was not a democracy, and we didn't elect him. So his evil deeds were not done in our name. Can you say the same thing for George Bush?'
A vote for Bush is a vote for evil.posted by: Mara on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
er, Mara, cutting and running is the course favored by the isolationists, who are primarily but not exclusively Democrats' and who are, to a man, opposed to Bush.
It's what Mikey and Howie would like to do. And frankly, it's the only platform that Kerry can win on this November. Cordesman recommends it. Dick Morris recommends it. Your beef is with them.
Mark my words: just as Gore veered hard populist in the waning weeks of 2000's election, by the last week of this October, Kerry/Shrum will find "Come Home America" an irresistible strategy for pulling out this election. Bush has all the advantages otherwise.
How about more like the equivalent of being in the wilderness in northern Washington and saying you were in southern B.C.?
I can see myself easily making that mistake, I mean, there isn't a line on the ground marking the border. It isn't like he was in a city pretending to be in another easily landmarkable place.posted by: Chance the Gardener on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Correction: Edward Luttwak, not Tony Cordesman. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/18/opinion/18luttwak.html Excerpt:
it is precisely because unpredictable mayhem is so predictable that the United States might be able to disengage from Iraq at little cost, or even perhaps advantageously.
Here's why: In Iraq America faces several different enemies, as well as some remarkably unhelpful nominal allies. As things stand, their intense mutual hostility now brings no advantage to the United States. But all could be unbalanced by a well-devised policy of disengagement, and forced to stop harming American interests and possibly even serve them in some degree.
At present, because the United States is fully committed in Iraq, the Shiite followers of the renegade cleric Moktada al-Sadr feel free to attack the same American forces that elsewhere are fighting Sunnis bent on restoring their ancestral supremacy. Many Shiite clerics and the population at large - the very people the Sunnis are hoping to oppress once again - either applaud Mr. Sadr or do nothing to stop him.
But if the Shiites were persuaded that America might truly abandon them to face Saddam Hussein's loyalists alone, it seems certain that they would quickly revert to the attitude of collaboration with the occupation forces they showed in the aftermath of invasion.
Likewise, while some say that the two major powers in the region, Iran and Turkey, would see an anarchical Iraq as an opportunity to expand their influence, that seems unlikely. Rather, a divided Iraq would be a base from which those countries' enemies - especially dissident Kurds - would be able to operate with impunity.
For now, with the United States viewed as determined to stay the course, the hard-liners in Iran can pursue their anti-American vendetta by encouraging the Shiite opposition, supplying Mr. Sadr's militia and encouraging Syria to help Islamist terrorists sneak into Iraq. But an American withdrawal would mean the end of any hopes for a unified, Shiite-led Iraq, which is Iran's long-term goal, and likely a restored Sunni supremacy, which is Iran's greatest fear....posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Pardon the levity.
I guess I don't see Kerry's position as incoherent. I have read post after post from you making the point that it’s no longer a Eurocentric world. I agree with that, but I don’t buy your argument that there is no longer any commonality of interests between the Euros and us. Even if we do have conflicting interests in certain spheres, it seems to me that we have trashed our longstanding alliances with the Euros to a much greater extent than was necessary. The unilateralism in fact (if not intent) of this administration’s foreign policy seems to me to be far more isolationist in effect than a convention speech aimed at a domestic audience which is focused on the other big substantive issue in this election – this administration’s management of the economy and jobs.
“In this light, I want my party to show its cards. Is the party's heavily "progressive" rhetoric masking a McGovernite "Come Home, America" mentality? If so, then level with the people.”
It may be for some – but I don’t think it represents the majority of democratic opinion. “Howie” didn’t exactly sweep the primaries – even though he raised all that money. He didn’t close the sale with democrats even before the scream heard round the world.
“Let's have a real debate about what should be America's foreign obligations and commitments in this century. The world has changed, radically and the security institutions from 1950 aren't really relevant to it. Let's put aside the blather about non-allies like France. Let's discuss openly what we will commit ourselves to abroad and what our alliance structure really should be.”
I though we were – but you dismissed it as “pseudo-academic mumbo-jumbo.” I am all for an “asia-centric” focus. I am not in favor of the “Fire , Ready , Aim “ mentality of the lets get Iran before they get us crowd.
Interesting link to the Soc ialist Worker's well-reasoned argument, which your post misrepresents.
I could not agree more with the author's logic, which is, if you reject the war, then it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to vote for Kerry. The true anti-war candidate is of course Nader. If Kerry ants the anti-war vote, then he needs to put forth a case for disengagement from Iraq.
Here's the author demolishing the left's arguments for voting for Kerry:
"We owe it to ourselves and to the global community to make sure that Bush is no longer allowed to speak in our name." This would be a compelling argument if the national elections were organized to fire the president. Unfortunately, as Benjamin herself knows, the only way to accomplish this is to elect John Kerry....If Kerry is elected on a platform that calls for the continued occupation of Iraq, an increase in the number of troops deployed there, a further "internationalizing" of the occupation and worse, can we really say that a vote for Kerry is vote against Bush's war policy?
Kerry has openly campaigned as the candidate who can make the occupation work--which can hardly be good news for ordinary Iraqis. If the end result is the same for ordinary Iraqis--and for U.S. soldiers and their families--why is it better to have John Kerry "speaking in our name" than George Bush?
For Iraqi civilians--or Colombian peasants or any other people--who will bear the brunt of U.S. imperialism's assaults, it makes no difference whether a Republican or Democratic administration is ordering the bombing of their villages or the arming death squads against them.
...."HAD GORE been elected, he would have gone to war in Afghanistan, but I doubt he would have gone to war in Iraq," British antiwar activist and soc ialist Tariq Ali said August 6.... "...The defeat of this administration would be a defeat of the war party."
The problem with Tariq's claim is that there's no way to verify it. We don't know if Gore would have invaded Iraq, and we don't know what the future holds, so we can't say whether Kerry will take the U.S. into more wars.
We do know, however, that the Democrats have a long record of posing as more moderate than the Republicans, but carrying out the same war policies. Thus, in the 1964 presidential election, Lyndon Johnson campaigned as a "peace" candidate against the "warmonger" Barry Goldwater, and won in a landslide. But it was LBJ who escalated the war in Vietnam....
as i say, Johnny, you have to choose: you can have my vote, or you can have the votes of Mikey and the comrades at Counterpunch. But you can't have both.
Making the "occupation work" would only be bad news for the Iraqis if it turned into a permanent occupation. Rebuilding Iraq successfully would involve getting American contractors such as Halliburton and Bechtel out of there and giving contracts to Iraqi businessmen. It would provide many more Iraqis with jobs, and deprive terrorists a recruiting base. The sooner Iraqis have a vested interest in their country, the sooner we'll be able to get our troops out.
What part of this don't you get??posted by: Mara on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I guess lex would prefer an occupation that doesn't work, which is what we have under Rummy, Halliburton, et al.posted by: Mara on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Mara apparently can't read. Counterpunch loathes Kerry. The whole point of the article she links to is that leftists should vote against Kerry. I detest leftists, but I agree with the author.
My camp, to be clear, is internationalist and pro-nation-building. I want the occupation to work and want to see a strong, moderate, sane, non-theocratic Iraqi democracy a la Kurdistan. I support nation-building and I support capitalism.
just to make it crystal clear for you, the counterpunch author you linked to opposes this, just as he opposes capitalism. He wants leftists to vote for Nader.
I agree. I would like to see Kerry clearly and resolutely denounce the isolationists and leftists who increasingly seem to represent the Democratic party's core. As I've said repeatedly, I think Kerry should choose one camp or the other, either the Counterpunch camp or the pro-war camp. Can't have it both ways.posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
John Kerry said that he was in Cambodia in December. But he was actually in Cambodia in January. And he knows that. He wanted to embellish his story, and Christmas sounds better than January. It's that simple -- and that horrifyingly, sickenly, almost inhumanly evil.
Furthermore, he repeated this LIE, this infamous lie, perhaps -- dare I say -- the most egregious, most harmeful untruth ever to sully American political discourse, not once, but SEVERAL times. Even as recently as a decade ago.
As bad as Bush is, reasonable men have no choice but to vote for him in the face of this... this HOLOCAUST OF MENDACITY that issued from the cake-hole of John Forbes Kerry. A man who would committ this... this UNSPEAKABLE HORROR OF A LIE is not just unfit to be president, but indeed even to mingle with normal human beings.posted by: grond on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I don't know what Kerry will do about iraq. I like TexasToast's explanation about long-term dealing with arab nations. Assuming that fundamentalist islam is an issue for us, better to outcompete it than just try to smash it. Help arab nations build up their economies, let people buy what they want, shift toward materialism. Western culture does better to try to seduce them than rape them. Keep the military options available for the immediate threats.
For iraq, the situation is still changing pretty fast, any strategy Kerry announces now is likely to be obsolete by January. But assuming he gets a choice then, assuming the choices haven't catastrophically dwindled, I see three main choices available. They go as follows:
1. Cut and run. Give the iraqi government money and maybe a lot of equipment that we presume they need immediately that we can replace easier than they can -- body armor etc.
This might actually be the best thing we can do for them. A lot of our patrols involve waiting for somebody to shoot at us so we can shoot back, and taking apart the IEDs that got put out since the last time we swept that particular road. This sort of thing is useless to iraqis, it's like we and the insurgents are playing a game with each other that doesn't have much to do with anybody else unless they get caught in the crossfire. By being there we make the puppet government look like a puppet government and we don't actually do much good. Maybe an independent iraqi government could actually pull things together if we left, and they can't while we're there. Of course, if we can't force their government to do things our way it might turn into a government that didn't do what we wanted. That would be a minus. And we'd be giving up the bases we'd need to attack iran and syria and saudi arabia and -- who knows, by that time we might need to attack turkey and we'd want iraqi bases to do it.
2. Coil and strike. We're doing no good trying to provoke our iraqi enemies to shoot at us so we'll know who to kill. If we pulled back to defensible bases in unpopulated areas we could mostly stop insurgents from doing mortar attacks -- our guys would be a lot better off when they could get a reliable good night's sleep. We could then move out and strike at insurgents whenever the local government asked us to. Once the government forces are large enough, enemy forces have to be large to stand up to them -- and then we know who to hit. Eventually we'd be mostly providing air support to the iraqi army. This approach has the advantage that we have a lot less contact with iraqis, and the less contact the less they hate us. It has the disadvantage that we'd still have to supply those giant bases. We could put them relatively close to the borders so we'd have less distance to convoy. We could hire iraqi drivers, or even iraqi shipping companies. We could buy more locally. It's a problem.
3. A New Leaf. Announce that things are changing as of now. Give all our detainees to the iraqi government along with copies of our records about them, except maybe a few with al qaeda connections. Make that the rule -- anybody we detain gets turned over to the government or released within 96 hours. If anybody's going to torture our detainees let it be the iraqis -- they're good at it.
Move the marines into secure bases and bring them out only to make raids. Marines aren't that good as garrison troops. Don't send a rottweiler to do a german shepherd's job. Probably likewise for rangers.
Everybody else starts learning arabic. That's everybody, the ones in iraq and the ones who're rotated out elsewhere. We have millions of americans who're more-or-less bilingual, who can teach soldiers here. Within six months we'd want every soldier who goes to iraq to have at least an 800 word vocabulary. Note that people who learn arabic in the USA will be getting exposed to a variety of accents. If it's true that we're going to be facing other arab threats, this is what we need. (And we need to get some sort of methodology established to quickly teach soldiers 800 words worth of any language. We don't know where the army will go.)
We would increase the reconstruction budget, and channel it all through the army. For each project, find somebody -- in the reserves or wherever -- who knows enough about it to tell which iraqi contractors know what they're doing. Fund those contractors and hold them responsible for results. Stress the urgency -- we're here to assist them get set up and we don't know how long we can stay.
When we built stuff in vietnam the vietcong said "Don't bomb the powerplant, we can use it after they're gone.". They didn't feel any gratitude at all. We can use that approach. "Don't bomb the powerplant, you can use it after we're gone."
If we give too much reconstruction money to the iraqi government we'll get upset at the corruption. Somebody honest has to run it, and I can't think of another candidate than the US army. They aren't all that honest about he-said/she-said stuff that makes them look bad, but there's nobody I'd trust more to get the job done when the results are measurable.
Soldiers who know 800 words can be some help at security. Soldiers who know 10 words can't do much but threaten and shoot. (And get shot at.)
If it's clear by our actions that we aren't staying, we aren't setting up a puppet government, we are actively working on reconstruction, and we're learning to communicate, maybe the iraqis would accept that and mostly fight each other or negotiate with each other. If that doesn't work we could try something else.
4. Empire. Recruit more troops and send them in. Use airstrikes in cities to provide a force multiplier. Persuade the iraqis that we are more ruthless and more implacable than they are, and we have the bigger bombs. This worked (it mostly worked, eventually) in the philippines, but it took a lot of brutality. We may have to kill 10% of the population. (But we don't do body counts.) We can blame it on Allawi and particularly on the insurgents. They were the ones killing innocent civilians, we only killed insurgents. Eventually iraq winds up with a "democratic" government that is careful to do just what we want them to. If they don't an iraqi general will take over and *he'll* do just what we want him to. If he doesn't we can point to his human rights violations and invade again.
I tend to think this approach won't work in iraq because too many people are paying attention. But I might be wrong. If we try it and it doesn't work I'll say I predicted that.
He changed his story because it was proven beyond a doubt that he could not have been in Cambodia in December.
It's pretty clear that he wasn't there in January or February either.posted by: Matthew Cromer on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Say, Matthew, how about you turn that deep skepticism on George Bush's TANG records? In 2000, for example, he claimed (quite falsely) to have flown throughout his guard service. His story about why he didn't get a physical is patently absurd. Maybe Bush had to change his cover story to another one just as untrue?
Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, chief Smear Boat Veteran Thurlow hates Kerry so much he's willing to admit his own medal is a fraud! Except of course he refused to release these records (like Bush and unlike Kerry); the media had to get them with FOIA.
I was worried that Kerry was going to pull a Dukakis wimp-out, but now I'm thinking he's more like Brer Rabbit. There isn't any evidence he didn't go to Cambodia (he wrote a false contemporaneous record with an eye on the later election?!), and your argument is especially rich coming from the team that believes Saddam was building WMD with yellowcake from Niger, without any visible supporting evidence whatsoever. An amazing epistemology you guys have, amazingly bankrupt.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
">http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2003/02/21/maine/index_np.html"> "A splendid little war". (Salon.com)
Where Does Iraq Stand Among U.S. Wars? (Washington Post)
But several other experts said that in size and political impact, the Iraq war now most resembles the U.S. anti-insurgency effort in the Philippines that lasted from 1899 to 1902, with a total of 7,192 dead and wounded U.S. troops.
"Conceptually, I would say that we are closer to the Philippine Insurrection than any of those prior conflicts," Hackemer said. "We are fighting an insurgency that has some measure -- difficult to determine -- of popular support as we attempt to install a government that fits our concept of 'representative' for the Iraqi people."
Indeed, the leading expert on the Philippines war said he finds the U.S. military experience there strikingly similar to the U.S. foray into Iraq.
"Both the Philippine and Iraq wars were seen as imperial conflicts and as radical departures from previous foreign policy," said Texas A&M's Brian M. Linn. He ticked off several other specific similarities.
"In both wars, there was a somewhat justified concern that the U.S. was invading a country that did not present a clear and present danger, and overthrowing an indigenous government," Linn said. "In both wars, the initial conventional operations were successful and the ensuing guerrilla campaign was far longer, more costly and more controversial. In both wars, the Army and political leadership failed to appreciate the diversity and intensity of popular resistance and dismissed it as followers of a tyrant, bandits and terrorists. In both wars, allegations of atrocities against civilians -- indiscriminate fire, torture and property destruction -- tarnished the Army's reputation and created widespread indigenous resentment."
In the Philippines, he said, that anger still persists, a century later.
Back to the Spanish-American War of 1898? (New America Foundation)
Iraq's Historical Predecessor
There's one slight problem with the analogy between 1898 and 2004. Anyone remember globalization?
We're now facing globalized terror that seeks a global apocalyptic struggle and that draws upon globalized organizational and communications capabilities, global money flows, global agitprop via 24x7 newsfeeds from anywhere in the world, and the global reach of weapons of mass destruction.
Our margin of error is infinitely smaller today than it was in the pre-globalized era. Screw up your risk assessment and hundreds of thousands can die from one swift attack. I believe that changes the equation somewhat and renders cute historical analogies irrelevant.
Nation-building in 1898 was an imperialist's fancy. Today it's a vital requirement for collective security. This isn't an argument for either Bush or Kerry; it's a warning against facile charges of imperialism.
We don't have any choice but to seek to build moderate, rational, reasonably open and normal states in the muslim world.
Decrying "imperialism" will only feed the growing American appetite for bogus, isolationist solutions that will not enhance our security our anyone else's in this globalized security environment.posted by: lex on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Mr. D, I think I've lost all respect for your reasoning. I don't understand how anyone could have listened to Holbrook and Beers this week and their return to pre 9-11 thinking and come to the conclusion that Kerry's foreign policy would be superior to Bush's. You guys that moan and bitch about every single thing that doesn't go 5 by 5 have obviously never managed any organization of any size. On the other hand, I guess that way of thinking should be expected of academics.posted by: Laddy on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"...note the irony that while the Kerry campaign's foundation is the candidate's four months in Vietnam..."
Why is the right wing continually lying and claiming that Kerry only spent four months in Vietnam?
If it's an innocent error, I'm sure we'll see retractions and corrections, right?posted by: John on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
Imperialist always have reasons for their imperialism...from the egyptians, greek, romans, germans, japan, china, russia, france, spain, denmark, belgium, aztecs, ottomans, ghana, mali, Yoruba and Edo, assyrians, persian, Mwene Mutapa, ... well, you get my point...
the thing that's killing the pro-war people is the way iraq is looking more like cuba and the philippines instead of the glorious wet dreams of germany and japan.posted by: NeoDude on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
I find it interesting that the "9/11 changed everything" mantra only seems to apply to justifying the abandonment of the Bill of Rights, the glorification of perpetual war, and the correctness of regarding as an Enemy any person or nation which doesn't join the lickspittle worship of all things Bush.
It's especially interesting since Bush's policies, both before and after 9/11, seem deliberately intent on making the threat of terrorism worse, not better.
I can understand why Bush would like that end result: it's certainly easier to keep power by constantly invoking fear.
What I don't get is why his partisans love him for it.posted by: CaseyL on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
"The most important role of President, particularly in a time of war, is that of commander in chief."
Right- so what constitutes a good commander in chief? Steely-eyed resolve? Wishful thinking? An inability to sort out the yes-man crap from the less palatable truth being offered from advisers? An inabilty to select people capable of competence, or to get rid of those whom prove their incompetence?posted by: bob on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
THIS IS GREAT. AND KERRY WILL BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT!posted by: April Kish on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
THIS IS GREAT. AND KERRY WILL BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT!posted by: April Kish on 08.18.04 at 10:16 AM [permalink]
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