Thursday, September 2, 2004
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (1)
Open Republican National Convention thread
For obvious reasons, I didn't see any of the Republican National Convention, and only heard random parts of Bush's speech.
With that awesome windup, feel free to comment on the convention and Bush's speech here.
Random question -- did the convention change or solidify anyone's voting preferences?posted by Dan on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM
Speech was redeemed by the end -- had been rather bad up until then.
Still not voting for him, though. I already knew Gerson writes good stuff. It's all about what actually gets done for me.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Not a big fan of JFK-I are you?
posted by: pragmatist on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Kerry? Not particularly. But I'm desperately scared that four more years of Bush will lead to a nuclear bomb exploding in an American city, and that is my paramount worry.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Good speech.. Weak start saved by the strong finish. Display of humility was a little canned, but probably played well with some undecideds. Definitely much more natural at coming across as a normal human being than Kerry is.. I've already decided to vote for W, speech didn't change that.. However, I almost kind of hope that the Dems take back the senate so that Bush can't push through quite as much legislation. Watching Kerry's speech now, nothing impressive yet.posted by: bobulooo on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Slight OT, but I was surprised to see, after the cheers and applause that Zell Miller got, that the Republicans are backing away from him. They seem to be surprised, but he was, after all, invited to keynote the convention. Certainly a contrast with the Democratic convention's keynoter.posted by: BayMike on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
And Kerry just cemented my vote for W with his 'no american soldier should be held hostage by our dependance on foreign oil' line in his response speech. If he seriously thinks we're in the Middle East just for oil, he's the last guy I want as commander in chief.
Also, isn't it customary for the opposition party's nominee to stay out of the spotlight during the convention week? Bush didn't make any speeches (that I know of) during the DNC, but this is Kerry's second speech during the RNC..posted by: bobulooo on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Bush was great, its about time somebody campaigned on simplifying the tax code. Another laundry list of small proposals, but the terror portion was fantastic. Iran details missing, but it should come up in the debates.
Kerry's response is absurd. He goes after Cheney and Bush for not going to Veitnam? Horrible politics, and really just goofy. This Saudi Oil line is pretty goofy too.
"Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit."
Kerrry just jumped the shark.
I really don't see how he can win with the Michael Moore type speeches.posted by: Reg on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"But I'm desperately scared that four more years of Bush will lead to a nuclear bomb exploding in an American city..."
And Kerry as Prez will decrease that scenario how?posted by: Les Nessman on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Bush gave what for him was a good speech. I thought it was too long; if you make your audience respond to enough very similar cheer lines their enthusiasm starts to wilt, and I thought I saw this starting to happen to the convention audience. Still, he got fairly constant cheers, didn't flub any lines, and pitched one idea -- spreading freedom in the Middle East, about which I am dubious personally -- especially well.
On domestic policy he made some promises. On foreign policy he expressed resolve. On how he expected to pay for his promises or what form his continued resolve would take he said almost nothing. To be fair, John Kerry did not take a notably different approach last month in Boston. So we have two candidates holding their cards very close to the vest in terms of how they intend to govern. It's a fair bet that at least some of the cards in each case are blank.
One other thing I noticed about Bush's speech (and, again, Kerry's was similar): he mentioned no partisan allies. No one in Congress, no mention of Republican state governors or members of his Cabinet, no one except his running mate. It was all about him. It's not politically significant, just symptomatic of the personal boorishness that it pains me to see in a President.
A lot of people in both parties (and among the media. Also some bloggers) have much time and effort invested in the conventions, so there is much speculation about what impact each of the speeches will have on the campaign, how it will affect the speakers' careers and so forth. It's very hard for me to see how conventions watched by so few people will have much impact at all. This is where the broadcast networks decision to cut back their coverage to almost nothing makes a real impact. The only speaker at either convention who I thought really helped his political standing with his speech was Obama, and since he has a clear path to the Illinois Senate seat his appearance may have just advanced his rise in the party by a few months.posted by: Zathras on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I agree with you, Les: I don't see how Kerry would do more to decrease that chance. This is an important thing to remember: it's not just the candidate, it's the party apparatus that comes with him. And Kerry will have to dole out jobs to supporters who are hostile to an aggressive anti-terror agenda even if he is not.
I was lukewarm on Bush until tonight, but my reaction to Kerry is one of visceral hostility so I was going to vote for Bush regardless. However, what Bush's speech did for me was to restore some real enthusiasm for his re-election; I now have a positive reason for voting for him. The second half of the speech I found very beautiful and moving--he hit all the right marks, and I think the poll numbers will reflect this.posted by: Chris on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Doing something -- anything -- about North Korea?
Having credibility in the world community so as to be able to have an effective Iran policy? (Hell, an extant Iran policy?)
But, above all, I have to return to Rumsfeld's comments. For all the terrorists George Bush has killed, he has created too many more. I don't think terrorism has ever been defeated by killing people. And, unless we want to go Shermanesque through the middle east, and central and southeast asia, we're not going to be the ones who do it.
The only way to defeat terrorism as a tactic is to stop people from hating you. And, inane platitudes like 'they hate our freedom' hamper the serious effort that needs to be taken. I understand the neoconservative dream. I even understand and respect Bush's vision of freedom saving the middle east. Would that it could be so. But, Iraq was a gamble. There was desperate short time in which we could have enabled this vision after the fall of Baghdad. The squandering of that opportunity through horrendous mismanagement followed by the disgrace of Abu Ghraib may have destroyed that vision forever.
And that's a shame. Because I hope for a democratic Iraq. I hope for a democratic Afghanistan. It's a hard road to walk on and George Bush has proven every step of the way that, for all his dreams and vision, he simply cannot walk that road.
And what do we have now? Iraq on its way to become the next Lebanon. Horrendous acts of terrorism in central Asia against Russia. Underfunding of the efforts to secure nuclear material in the former Soviet Union. An incoherent policy on Iran.
And George W. Bush allowed North Korea to build a nuclear weapon. I will never forgive him for that.
In a world where we are hated so much, by so many, with proliferation so rampant, how can I expect George Bush to do better than he has done for the past four years? George Bush had his chance. He could have led the world against al Qaeda. He could have stopped North Korean weapons. He could have led the international community against Iraq. But, instead, he attacked Saddam Hussein who threatened none of his things.
And then he messed it up.
He had his chance. He failed.
It's time to give John Kerry a chance. It'd be hard to do any worse.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
The assumption that merely changing the leadership of the country will stop people from hating us is mistaken. bin Laden was active long before Bush; 9/11 obviously had its genesis during the Clinton years. The French were hyperventilating about the hyperpower during Clinton's administration, and have had a chip on their shoulder versus Great Britain and/or the US going back to the Third Republic. North Korea's nuclear program can just as much be blamed on the incredibly naive deal brokered in 1994. Much of the animosity to the United States is brought on simply because of the enormous power and influence the US wields, consciously or unconsciously. It's not Bush's actions--we would only be marginally more popular without him. The idea that the war on terror can be solved by a better marketing department is simply wrong.posted by: Chris on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I disagree completely. Democracy is an amazingly powerful thing. The vision of the most powerful nation in the world rejecting its leader could have wide reverberations.
But, it's not just about the symbolism; it's also about the policies. The United States can and has exercised its power, even over the objections of the United Nations in ways that have united the vast majority of the world with us, not against us. George Bush seems to embrace the animosity and find in it validation.
The world never hated America as much as it has under George Bush. We had worldwide support in the invasion of Afghanistan. And we pissed it all away. This hatred is the greatest threat to America and it's something that the force of arms will never overcome.
For every terrorist we kill, more will replace them as long as that hatred is there. For every network we destroy, a new one is being built. This is the edge of the precipice, and we are so close to disaster. And, if, someday, an American city is destroyed by a nuclear bomb, I will blame George Bush.
Because he could have protected us and didn't.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I was watching the TV closely to see when they started passing out the Kool-Aid. I kid!
What was to me quite noticeable was the remarkable way in which they managed to almost completely remove any discussion of our completely porous borders or the fact that there are millions of citizens of other countries in our country "doing jobs, cough, Americans won't do." I also note that Bush didn't discuss his plan to put American jobs on eBay.
I recapped Bush's speech here, I have an out-take from the 47-second speech during which a congressional candidate talked about our porous borders being a security risk here, I comment on Arnie's speech here, and my links to Tom Tancredo's failed attempts to get immigration even mentioned at the RNC start here.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"...it's not just the candidate, it's the party apparatus that comes with him. And Kerry will have to dole out jobs to supporters who are hostile to an aggressive anti-terror agenda even if he is not." -- Chris
Not long ago, I spoke with a Democratic moderate about the war in Iraq. He said he considered support for the Iraq war to be a necessary prerequisite to assuming any powerful role in the party. It showed that the person in question was willing to project U.S. force abroad. But wait, I asked. Do you still think the Iraq war was a good idea? After some hemming and hawing, he admitted that he'd rather we hadn't gone in. Then why make support for a mistaken policy a litmus test? Because, he repeated, it shows that the person in question is willing to project U.S. force abroad. I should emphasize that we weren't talking about whether troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, which is an entirely separate and vexing question that speaks to our responsibility in a country whose previous government we destroyed. What this man was saying was that it was better to have been wrong about Iraq than to have been right. That's the prevailing (though not always conscious) consensus in Washington, and it's completely insane.
posted by: Carl on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Nuclear bomb exploding in an American city:
There's a program to round up spare ex-Soviet nuclear materials and increase security at ex-Soviet nuclear sites. This is probably one of the best things we can do to prevent a nuclear bomb in an American city. Cost-wise, it's in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
Unfortunately, under Bush it has been neglected and underfunded. I believe that someone like Kerry will keep his eye on such matters, rather than performing like Bush, who seems to want to re-fight the Cold War - the War on Communism with "Islamofascism" or "Terror" substituted for "Communism."
For example, "Axis of Evil" substituted for Reagan's "The Evil Empire" ...
1 - Communism was never the globally unified menace that it was portrayed to be; and Islamic jihad is far more pathetic than that. We're fighting paramilitary criminals who can worm their way into some failed states if left alone.
The worst that Islamic terrorists can do, is to kill some tiny percentage of us every so often. I don't find the prospect of that appealing, but it's NOT about our survival as a culture and a nation.
The War on Terror is not a war - it's a worldwide campaign of politics and diplomacy, a clash of cultures -- salted sometimes with military or paramilitary action.
The worst that terrorists can do to us is likely to be just to force us into hysterical overreaction. And, of course, Bush&co are masters of funneling that overreaction to their own political gain.
& not only is invading Iraq something of an overreaction to 9/11, the occupation has also been executed badly.
Make no mistake about it, BinLaden&co love it when we overreach. Iraq is a giant recruiting poster for those bastards ... alas ...
That's the entire dogma of terrorism. It is NOT to conquer - it is to recruit the population to your side by provoking the (stronger) into overreaction. In this case, of course, the "population" is the population of the Arab world ... binLaden's real audience.
With Bush&co in the White House, overreaction and attendant bungling is, I fear, the order of the day.
If you've made it this far, thanks for bending an ear to the appeal of an impassioned moderate ...
The program regarding nuclear materials in the former SSRs is the Nunn-Lugar I referred to in my first post, unless I've got my programs mixed up.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
ok thanks Aaron ... that lets me do more search if I need to.
I agree that the 'war on terror' isn', or at least shouldn't be, just a war at but rather a multi-faceted campaign to strike at the roots of Islamic terrorism. However, I fail to see what your alternative suggestion to the use of force is. Unfortunately, despotic governments (ie, the recently deposed governments of Iraq and Afghanistan) cannot be dealt with diplomatically. We had 'full support' of the international community on imposing economic sanctions in Iraq, but all this accomplished was to further impoverish the people of the country and strengthen Sadaam's grip on power in the country--he had no problem finding buyers for Iraqi oil, and possibly weapons for all we know. After over a decade of spending billions of dollars a year enforcing no fly zones and imposing inefficient economic sanctions, I don't think there was much of an option left. The armed response in Afghanistan was also justified.
Ridding the region (and the world) of the Taliban and Sadaam Hussein is definitely an overall positive in the campaign against terror. Our actions might have temporarily boosted terrorist recruiting efforts. However, it's not like they would have just given up if we withdrew from the region and tried to be as nice and isolationist as possible. There will always be people willing to exploit those without hope towards their own twisted means. The French hostage crisis is a good example. I believe these short term losses in increased terrorist recruitment will be more than offset by the positive change democracy and acceptance into the international community will bring to Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the hope that it gives to people in neighboring countries and the example it makes for other terrorist-supporting governments (Libya comes to mind..).
Afghanistan was an easy and correct decision. That the President failed to prosecute that campaign to the fullest is another powerful mark against him.
The military action in Iraq is a completely separate issue. Saddam Hussein was far from the most dangerous dictator in the world. I believe that the President really believes in his vision of democracy throughout the world. The reason that Iraq was attacked was because it was, by far, the easiest proximate target.
But spreading democracy is hard work and the President doesn't seem to recognize that. The opportunity that Iraq may have presented teeters on the edge of being irredeemable. Even those who seek democracy in their country hate the United States. The prospect of Iraq as a beacon of freedom transforming the middle east seems at least a generation away given the antipathy that the invasion engendered.
That was al Qaeda's plan from the start, you know. Andalucia cannot be retaken by fighters with truck bombs; Osama bin Laden needed a movement. And to get that, he needed America to attack a Muslim country. We'll see the result.
The problem with Bush is that he is so enamored with his vision of democracy and the military component in the war on terror is that he neglects the other aspects that are equally, if not more, vital. Terrorism is not new to this world, although the scale has changed. One doesn't have to look too far into history to see the effectiveness of force alone in fighting it. The picture is not pretty.
No one of import argues to be isolationist. No one of import argues that we should appease the terrorists (except the Phillipines, it seems). You worry about a new leader unwilling to lead a campaign. I worry about a leader who believes that the war on terrorism will be won by campaigns.
There's been a lot of chaff thrown in the air to convince you that Kerry wouldn't do crap in the war on terror. They said at the convention that he would only use force after attacked. Go read the two sentences before that quote. They said at the convention that Kerry voted against weapons systems. They said that John Kerry opposed the $87 billion dollars to fund the troops. They say this because they think that you don't understand how the senate works, how bills get voted on in many different forms and how bills that are guaranteed to pass sometimes get protest votes to make a point about a certain aspect of the bill. They told you John Kerry said he would not send troops without the approval of the UN. It's true. He did. In college. He knows better now and says so at every opportunity.
John McCain is supporting George Bush for president, but he knows dishonest attacks when he sees them. Listen to his speech and count how many of the usual attacks on John Kerry are in it. Ask yourself why they aren't.
Is John Kerry perfect? God no. But George Bush had his chance to lead. Nobody followed.
I'll say it again. It's time to give someone else a chance.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
There's a program to round up spare ex-Soviet nuclear materials and increase security at ex-Soviet nuclear sites.
That's what we should have been doing since the fall of the FSU. Instead, we decided to spend that money on social programs here at home. Not a wise decision at all.
Islamic jihad is far more pathetic than that.
Huh? If there are 1.2 billion to 2 billion Muslims, and even just one tenth of one percent are extremists who'd take up arms, why, that's... that's... 1 to 2 million people.
Are we going to kill all of those people? Would spreading democratic governments stop all of those people from being extremists? No.
But, there is one way that almost all of those people could be turned around in less than five minutes. Almost all of those people are extremists out of religious grounds. They think they can go to heaven by dying when fighting enemies of their religion.
Let's say there were an undisputed Pope of Islam and that everyone believed everything he said. Said Pope one day issued a proclamation that anyone who under any circumstances engaged in terrorism would go to hell and not heaven. And, he said that Muslims need to work with the former Great Satan instead of fighting against it. Almost all of those extremists would then become former extremists.
While there isn't a Pope of Islam, we can certainly attempt to get the religious leaders on our side, or take other actions to see about, for instance, discrediting those religious leaders who oppose us.
there will never be an Islamic Caliphate in Europe or America
European governments - due to past cheap labor importations by "patriotic" companies - are now forced to give in to incremental demands from (in some cases) more extreme religious leaders. Bit by bit, year by year their influence will grow until they've reached a critical mass. It might not be a Caliphate, but Muslim leaders in Europe will most likely have much more power in a few decades than they do now. Whether dhimmitude will result is an open question.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
About the customs and rules of campaigning. So I ask you ...is it customary for the one party to lie, repeatedly about the candidate's votes, his words, his actions,his priciples, his character, his wounds and then to smear him as not a patriot because they actually dare to (oh horror!) criticize George Bush? Are smears, slanders and libel customary? No they are not. Oh I forgot, they are customary if you are a Republican named Bush. That, after all, is the only way Bushes do get elected.posted by: debra on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Andrew Sullivan compares Bush with Bismarck...
The AP's take??? "Bush Glosses Over Complex Facts in Speech," liberal media bias...posted by: Choco on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Yawn. This program is a drop in the bucket. With all the money we have spent since the end of the Cold War on it, we have made security upgrades at less than 10% of Russian WMD facillities and weapons labs. Some of these upgrades consisted of simply a fence and an alarm. You cant fix Russia enough at any cost to reduce these risks dramatically.
As for the funding, even Lugar admits that is super hard going to Congress every year asking for more money to give to Russia with uncertain results and the need for more funds every year extending out into perpetuity. Its a hard sell in Congress. This is before you consider that many in Congress believe the Russians are milking this program for cash...posted by: Dundare on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
If you'll allow me an extended metaphor, I think last night was as close to a no-hitter that Bush could have thrown. Unfortunately for him, that's 4 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and an error. Meaning it's winnable, but you better hope your opponent doesn't pitch lights out. And I think Kerry's just starting to throw strikes. It didn't play well with you guys, but I think his speech last night hit a lot of notes that will win some undecideds.
Either way, it's a great time to be a political junkie.posted by: Jim Dandy on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I simply cannot understand why any conservative would touch Bush any more, unless they fail to look at both the rhetoric AND the record. He now says he wants to simplify the tax code. He's already loaded it up with special interest exemptions. He lays out $2 trillion in new spending, and says he wants to make his tax cut permanent (at least this budget-busting combo is consistent with the record from his first term). He claims he's for freedom, and Mary Cheney is shut out of the family photos. He says he wants democracy in the Middle East, and his bungled management of Iraq and passive acceptance of whatever Israel's Likud suggests for the West Bank has set that noble cause back by a generation.
But I suppose it's appropriate for the Republican Party he's leading -- it always had a schizophrenic relationship with conservatism and now it has completely tossed even that crumb aside. Instead, it combines the reactionary politics of the early Bismarck with the dirigiste social control and welfare state of the late Bismarck. It goes farther than Bismarck ever did by proudly declaring its complete disregard for empirical fact. What an awful combination.posted by: Daniel on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Bush, at best, held serve. He entertained his base, and probably more than a few sheep. The condescending stuff on Kerry's voting record - (Which all politicians do, but I still find offensive and evil) will probably play with some, but they were already eating the W ketchup anyway.
Did W pick up any of the undecideds? Maybe. The one thing that really worked for him last night was the likability factor. There are simply going to be some voters who say "I just like that guy" and groove on his reassurance. Especially when you put him next to Kerry, who probably seems like a Martian to some of our country cousins.
So, how did it go?
Kerry's rebutal showed that he does have a pulse, held up a very unflattering mirror to the administration's accomplishments and re-started the potentialy embarrassing chicken-hawk ball rolling again -which could pick up steam with the Ben Barnes story set to break on 60 Minutes. I think that all that takes back at least 2 points of the bounce.
Net bounce: 3 points.posted by: hudson hawk on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
For all the Kerry-bashing, fear and anger displayed during this convention, it sounds like a referrendum on Kerry. It should be about re-electing the President based on your opinion of his job performance over the last term. If you find it lacking, THEN logically, you put the challenger under the microscope.
When I read negative opinions about Kerry and platitudes on Bush from conservative bloggers, it suggests to me that the blogger made the above judgement, and decided to give Kerry a look. If they have indeed made that judgement, it's a testament to their opinion of the President's performance.
Otherwise, I should expect to read qualified positives about the President.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Stick a fork in Kerry ... he's toast.
And I say this as someone who gave $ to
Bush hit a 3-run Homer. And as Earl Weaver
The problem for us Democrats now is how
"We went to the United Nations Security Council, which passed a unanimous resolution demanding the dictator disarm, or face serious consequences. Leaders in the Middle East urged him to comply.
After more than a decade of diplomacy, we gave Saddam Hussein another chance, a final chance, to meet his responsibilities to the civilized world. He again refused."
This is a jaw-dropper. Bush is *still* blaming Saddam for not "disarming" even though no weapons of mass destruction have been found. The man cannot "disarm" of weapons he does not have. Bush is living in a fantasy world or thinks we are. He is the Menckenian candidate, staking his presidency on the premise that one cannot (mis)underestimate the intelligence of the American people.posted by: Martin Bento on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Well ... yes ...
Left field 355
"I voted for Kerry before I voted against him."
Look, Kerry's campaign reflects Kerry perfectly. Hapless. Did the Republicans spend the convention firing away on Kerrys Vietnam service, demanding answers on the medals and Cambodia? Of course not, in fact quite the opposite. Universally his service was acknowledged and honored. Kerry was attacked for his _judgement_, as a post-war activist and a United States Senator with a 20 year record.
He served in Vietnam, oh, and Bush and Cheney are draft dodgers.
Devastating, to Kerry. How can Kerry similtaneously get over the Swift Boat scandel (which if nothing else eats up oxygen) while constantly _bringing up Vietnam_. That is just stupid. The republicans asked very real, very hard questions about Kerrys voting record, questions that Kerry MUST address, and his answer is that he served in Vietnam (and apparently is therefor above being questioned about anything else he ever did for the rest of his life).
Kerry had a chance to ju-jitsu the Swift Boats thing, but that time has past. Now he is launching dirty smears of his own and to the average voter that takes him right off the moral high ground. When that happens, Bush wins. Kerry obviously has nothing substantative to say about either his record or his plans for the country, why else would he insist on making Vietnam the focus of this campaign? Kerry's media cycle is running about a month slow in its response time. He's getting eaten alive and every day makes it worse.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
The President, by any objective standard, continues to frustrtae his critics and surprise his supporters. While I am concerned (again) about some of the spending profligacy he seems to still support, this was an out-of-the-ballpark performance.
He didn't need to "report for duty". And he didn't need to remiand the audience of his name either.posted by: Leigh on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
As a moderately left of center view point I think if you look at the democratic foreign policy establishment view of Iraq the problem was not going to war with Iraq. The problem was the incompetent way Bush did it. Everyone who knew anything about the country, including his father, told him that winning the peace would be difficult part. But his mind was made up and he ignored that problem. Consequently, he created chaos that has massively set back to overall WoT.
Quick comment to MArtin. How soon we forget. remember when the Security Council asked Iraq to provide a full inventory of the weapons stocks that had been identified previoulsy by UN inspectors (not Bush)?
Did Saddam respond by saying,"I don't have what you think I have"?
He supplied 1000 pages of information on his WMD.
How convenient, in the heat of a campaign, to ignore inconvenient details such as this one.
Take Saddam at his word, had he said he had no weapons, despite the UN inspectors' finding?
I don't think so.
Move on.posted by: Leigh on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
To my surprise, Bush managed to remain positive for quite a while. I liked his speech to the point that I was actually disappointed when he relapsed into lying about Kerry towards the end.
I did notice a few whoppers. At the beginning he said something that could be summarized as:
"Before my time, Americans were gainfully employed at one job for their whole life and then got a nice pension to retire on. Now many have to take on two or more jobs, switch jobs frequently, mothers have to work, too, and just forget about that pension."
That's the truth, of course, and while it's not what he said, it's close. Bush even hinting at an unpleasant truth was a new, rather stunning concept for me. He almost won me over there for a second. Some of the delegates seemed a little puzzled by it (the applause when he mentioned working mothers was scattered and localized with many people just standing there stunned and not moving).
Then he listed a bunch of domestic initiatives "in a new term". He said "in a new term" several times. That sounded weird. Why didn't he say "in my second term"?
He failed to say, of course, how much his initiatives would cost, but then went on to criticize Kerry for planning to spend 2 trillion dollars on new programs. Only the brain-dead will have missed the irony of that.
But by far the biggest whopper was this:
I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.
So 9/11 was not a tragedy then? Or it didn't happen on his watch? Or what?
I very much agree with Aaron that the biggest threat we face in the years to come is a nuclear detonation in an American city. It is more likely that the terrorists would use truck bombs, poison gas or even biological weapons or "dirty bombs", but their effect would be trivial and, for the most part, reversible compared to the detonation of a nuclear bomb. I have absolutely no faith in Bush preventing this from happening.
Finally, a visual whopper. Just after Bush spoke out against gay marriage - in a novel and inventive way ...
I support the protection of marriage against activist judges.
(So does that mean "activist" judges won't be allowed to marry anymore? What about activist politicians?)
... just after he said that, a man from the Texas delegation, wearing a cowboy hat, held up a sign:
I LOVE BUSH
Kerry is launching "dirty smears" - we should all be outraged.
Karl Rove has spend 20+ years perfecting a campaign strategy of division and "wedge" tactics that preys on the vulnerabilities of human nature, and the darker side of the human spirit. He builds concensus by utilizing "we hate the same things you do" slogans. His methods are a proven, undeniable success.
If the Democrats lose this Nov., they may decide that Rove's tactics are the only way to go.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.
So 9/11 was not a tragedy then? Or it didn't happen on his watch? Or what?"
gws, (got the name right, yes!) I think you are misinterpretting a clause in that sentance. He didnt say there would be no tragedies (honestly, who would be stupid enough to guarantee that?), he guaranteed there would be no uncertainty and weakness. Those things make attacks more likely, I think we all agree on that.
" I have absolutely no faith in Bush preventing this from happening."
Ok, but what will Kerry do to make it less likely? I have heard _zero_ specifics out of him, unless you count making nice with the UN. If your argument that making nice with people makes a terrorist less likely to detonate a nuke in America, we have to part ways. That reeks of naive appeasement. Otoh, if Kerry is willing to make some major _specific_ initiatives to keep nukes and terrorists out of the US, im definately listening. Were Kerry to advocate sealing the Mexican border I think he would have a good issue. He wont.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"If the Democrats lose this Nov., they may decide that Rove's tactics are the only way to go."
Come on, intellectual honesty here for a minute. George Soros? Move-on? Was Bush's DUI not brought up in the last election? His NG service not beaten into the ground? How many times have dems compared Bush to Hitler? Did Howard Dean not speculate about Bush knowing about 911? Did Teddy Kennedy not say all kinds of awful things about police states? A fat man who makes movies sitting in Kerrys box at the convention? Give me a break. This campaign has been incrediably dirty on both sides. Are the Swift Boaters closer to the Bush Campaign as Soros or Moore is to Kerry? The only outrage here as far as im concerned are the stupid campaign laws that prevent people from free speech. Take the gloves off, who cares?posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Bush did very well... "It's the WoT stupid" was the convention theme, and he did a good job of contrasting his unambiguity on that point against Kerry's clearly mixed record.
The promises of increased spending on social programs will probably alienate the small-gov crowd. This has been a problem for Bush all along; he thinks he's attracting open-minded members from the opposition, but there aren't very many of them, and he ends up alienating more of his own base than he attracts. We've seen that play out with medicare, education, and every other big-spending social program he's been involved with, and it'll probably play out again.
He succeeded in making Kerry look small, which is how this will be won. Folks have already decided if they'll vote for Bush or not, and so the real key to victory in this election will be convincing the anti-Bush half that they should stay at home or vote Nader instead of voting for Kerry. Bush needs to worry about less about getting more votes for him, and worry more about getting fewer people to vote for Kerry. Mission Accomplished.
Kerry was attacked for his _judgement_, as a post-war activist and a United States Senator with a 20 year record.
And his record was distorted by Zell Miller, Cheney and others in completely absurd ways. See http://slate.msn.com/id/2106119/:
What makes this dishonesty not merely a lie, but a damned lie, is that back when Kerry cast these votes, Dick Cheney — who was the secretary of defense for George W. Bush's father — was truly slashing the military budget. [...] Cheney then lit into the Democratic-controlled Congress for not cutting weapons systems enough
I was amazed by Cheney's audacity to bring up Kerry's opposition to out-of-control spending when Cheney actually shared Kerry's concerns at the time.
For me personally, this kind of hypocrisy is enough to make me never vote for these people.
But I guess to you, Mark, and to others here hypocrisy is just not a big deal anymore.
The race is now Presient Bush's to lose.
The polling numbers started shifting away form Kerry last week, and will continue.
Barring something really stupid on the part of Bush and his team, we'll see a 10-15% victory in the popular vote. How that will play out with electoral votes, however.... (shrug)
Bush has been on top of Nunn-Lugar just fine.
http://www.disam.dsca.mil/itm/Legislation/LegArt.pdf shows that spending on this is up by some 30%. What the haters focus on is that the budgeted amount was down, but what they don't point out (because ignorance and hate are cornerstones of prejudicial world view) is that half of the spending came from off-budget requisitions, with the sum total being significantly higher.
http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/tr/ also has good broad coverage of this area which is not limited to US congressional budgets.
Note also that the G8 summit announced a global program on this front, with a $20 billion budget, and that Bush has committed the United States to funding half of that amount ($10 billion).
"And his record was distorted by Zell Miller, Cheney and others in completely absurd ways"
Doubtless. That's what happens in campaigns. I'm making a political point, if Kerry's voting record is smeared, how can his response be that he served in Vietnam? If he doesnt come out and correct the record, join the debate, he has a problem. He has refused to do so.
"But I guess to you, Mark, and to others here hypocrisy is just not a big deal anymore."
Come on man. Lets be real here. Everyone involved is a major hypocrite. Like Douglas Adams once said, anyone capable of getting themselves elected president should under no circumstances be allowed to have the job. Kerry isnt a hypocrite for his bouncing around on his war votes? The man has _demonstrably_ been a peacenick, go along get along, type his entire career in the Senate, but now he's portraying himself as a pragmatic hawk? The guy is running from his record like its cryptonite, which is fine, but he shouldnt be expecting his opponents to do the same.
Mark: Interesting, so you really think "this" referred to the condition, not the conclusion? That might easily be the most complicated pair of sentences uttered at the whole convention then. Oh well...
As for your question about Kerry's plans to protect us from a nuclear attack, there are some specifics on his web site:
and the links at the bottom of that page, especially:
and the "fact sheet" attached to that:
So, you see, there is quite a bit of detail there, it's just that these issues have somehow been mostly kept under the covers - by the very people who claim they are doing such a smashing job protecting us all.
Now, if you can find anything like this on Bush's web site, please do let us know...
Btw, my .02$ on the speech.
It sucked, for the most part. Bush had a chance to do what Kerry absolutely refuses to do and lay out a specific agenda, or at least set of goals, for the next term. Nothing about Syria, Iran, NK? Precious little about a democratic Iraq? Bush should have thrown down the guantlet and said that a democratic Iraq is a vital US interest, and challenge Kerry to make the same pledge (he never has).posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
And, for the person who said Kerry has no agenda, I can only conclude that you haven't been paying attention. The centerpiece is a plan to have the government ensure catastrophic healthcare costs. Kerry talks about it all the time. Why haven't you noticed?posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"He supplied 1000 pages of information on his WMD."
So you're claiming Saddam *said* he had WMD. No. Saddam said he did not, and provided 1000 pages of documentation on his defunct programs and the status of previous materials that he'd had or tried to develop in an attempt to prove his point. Of course, it is impossible to prove such a thing absolutely, so he failed, but the notion that it was *Saddam* who misled the world by saying he had WMD is hilarious.posted by: Martin Bento on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
**If the Democrats lose this Nov., they may decide that Rove's tactics are the only way to go.**
*Come on, intellectual honesty here for a minute. ... This campaign has been incrediably dirty on both sides.*
I was differentiating general mudslinging and negative campaigning (all equally disgusting) from such tactics as targeted "wedge" issues used as cover to overshadow poor performance on more substantial topics.
I'm not saying that the DFL isn't capable of matching GOP "gutter" campaigning, or even that they're not willing, just that they're not as successful at it.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Rove's prayer to the faithful:
"ATTACK, WHEN YOU ARE DEFENDING or JUSTIFYING or RATIONALIZING, YOU ARE LOSING!!! SO ATTACK, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ATTACK!!!"posted by: NeoDude on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I like Kerry more before I started reading these links:
"Safeguard Existing Stockpiles of Dangerous Weapons and Materials including an acceleration of programs to secure all nuclear weapons and materials within the former Soviet Union"
How? 101st airborn?
"End Production of New Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons by negotiating a global ban on production of new material"
How? Beg Iran not to develop nukes?
"Reduce Existing Stocks of Nuclear Weapons and Materials by ending development of the new generation of nuclear weapons,"
Disarm, not sure how that helps. Particularly when giving up the new weapons that are designed to pinpoint strike underground facilities that are impregnable to conventional strikes.
"End Nuclear Weapons Programs in Hostile States, including by prioritizing negotiations with North Korea to ensure the complete..."
Ah, we're just a negotiation away. Thats the problem, Kerry is convinced he can talk NK and Iran into doing things they are CLEARLY not going to do. They want nukes more than good relations, get that through your skull John.
"Enhance International Efforts to Eliminate Illegal Trafficking Networks "
These arent initiatives, they are pipe dreams. What is the ultimate bottom line? Is a nuclear Iran utterly unnacceptable and will be prevented, period? Basically what is the fall back position if (WHEN) negotiations fail?
That's what happens in campaigns.
You mean in Bush campaigns. There just isn't any similar distortion of Bush's record by the Kerry campaign.
I'm making a political point, if Kerry's voting record is smeared, how can his response be that he served in Vietnam?
His detailed response to the distortions is here:
I guess the point you are really making is that the media are not reporting Kerry's responses to the lies and distortions adequately. And somehow that's Kerry's fault, too.
MB - you "liked" Kerry before reading the above articles? (*Come on, intellectual honesty here for a minute.*)
That's probably why campaign managers don't like laying out specifics.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Mark, you are always quick to apply the most flattering interpretation when parsing Bush's sentences, but the most damning when reading Kerry's.
So "securing" nuclear weapons in Russia means launching an attack and getting them out of there? Hello?? "Securing" here means just that, i.e. make sure they are secure. We can help the Russians with that, we don't have to invade Russia to accomplish it. It's telling, though, that you misunderstand Kerry's statement in that way.
These arent specifics, they are fantasies.
Ah, so first you claimed that Kerry didn't have any specifics, now you dismiss them as fantasies.
Whereas Bush has no plan at all and otherwise just some even more grandiose fantasies about democratizing the Middle East. Fantasies of nation building that the isolationist Republican platform of 2000 ridiculed.
"You mean in Bush campaigns. There just isn't any similar distortion of Bush's record by the Kerry campaign."
Although it often seems that way.
Nothing nasty there, certainly not comparing Bush to a monarch. No distortions either. :roll eyes:
Want me to pull up Al Gore at some of his finer moments ('digital brownshirts'), or Dean at the convention? Kennedy has some much more inflamatory stuff. Lets get real. Both sides are at this, how many times have the nazis been invoked so far?
Im sorry, but there is a difference between a press release and a midnight rally. Basically the difference between hitting somebody with a baseball bat and giving them a dirty look. What were the first words out of Kerrys mouth post convention? I stand by my record and here is why? Nope. I served in Vietnam.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
""Securing" here means just that, i.e. make sure they are secure. We can help the Russians with that, we don't have to invade Russia to accomplish it. "
Maybe we can maybe we cant. We've had a program to do so for years. So what has changed? Throw more money at Putin when it ends up in his and his friends pockets? Thats the point, these are noble goals, but he might as well campagin on curing cancer. It is _not in his power_ to do what he claims he will do.
"Ah, so first you claimed that Kerry didn't have any specifics, now you dismiss them as fantasies."
They are not specifics, they are objectives. Specifics would be, 'I am going to offer NK 50 million barrels of oil and withdraw all US troops from Korea if they allow inspectors back in and disarm. If they refuse I will triple the troops in Korea and embargo NK.'
"Fantasies of nation building that the isolationist Republican platform of 2000 ridiculed."
Hilarious. We 'created' the Taliban by abandoning Afghanistan after the cold war. We created Saddam by winking at him in the Iran-Iraq war.
Mark, there is a difference between hyperbole and hypocrisy.
Presenting what is truly the case in a way clearly meant to exaggerate and ridicule is not in the same league as making wrong claims about someone else that in fact apply more to the person making the claims (i.e. Cheney) than the one they are made about (i.e. Kerry). Oh, and those wrong claims are, of course, presented in hyperbolic fashion on top of that.
So we have hyperbole on one side compared to hyperbole + hypocrisy on the other side.
The question I would be asking myself is: Why all the false claims? Do they need the lies to win? Can't they run on the truth?
I was previously undecided, but after 4 days of nothing but Kerry this and Kerry that, I finally came down on the Kerry side.
Who told Bush it was a good idea to hold the most negative convention in modern history during wartime?posted by: Thomas Malner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
What were the first words out of Kerrys mouth post convention? I stand by my record and here is why? Nope. I served in Vietnam.
Mark, you keep repeating this point, and I let it go so far, because it's only a small distortion compared to the bigger ones from the convention. But it's still a distortion.
So here we go, the first thing Kerry said was really:
For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief. We'll, here's my answer. I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq.
He specifically addressed the questioning of his patriotism and his fitness to be commander in chief. I think you would agree that those are more important issues than whether or not he voted for or against reducing funding for certain weapons 15 or 20 years ago.
"Mark, there is a difference between hyperbole and hypocrisy."
Now who's parsing? Calling someone a nazi is about the equivalent of the N word in my opinion.
Distortions? Trying to claim there were/are no allies in Iraq when most of NATO is and was there? Thats not a lie? How about the term 'unilateral' that literally means 'one sided'. Literally that is a lie. How about all the speaches about Saddams WMDs during the Clinton administration and now acting as though they never were sure Iraq had them? HAH.
I WANT Kerry to explain why he voted against Gulf War I.
Why cant I have those answers? And why does Kerry feel it is an attack on his Vietnam service to ask them?posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"I think you would agree that those are more important issues than whether or not he voted for or against reducing funding for certain weapons 15 or 20 years ago."
I dont agree at all. Only idiots belive Kerry doesnt have the best interests of the US at heart. The ONLY relevant question is 'does this man have good judgement, moral clarity, and the moral courage to see difficult decisions through'. Vietnam has ZERO to do with that. How he felt about the Cold War ABSOLUTELY DOES. He is running from his record on defense as fast as he can.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
There you go again.
JFK wants to be a "War" President. But he
No one has questioned John Forbes Kerry
You LEFTIES are seriously conflicted. Were
As Zell Miller asked "do you want to fight
"I voted for Kerry before I voted against him."posted by: pragmatist on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Now who's parsing? Calling someone a nazi is about the equivalent of the N word in my opinion.
Calling someone a nazi (unless they happen to be one) is an insult. It's neither hyperbole nor hypocrisy (unless the person doing the name-calling is himself one).
But, of course, nobody at the Democratic Convention called Bush a nazi. That you imply this now is yet another distortion itself.
Trying to claim there were/are no allies in Iraq when most of NATO is and was there? Thats not a lie?
Who said this? (Moore's movie doesn't count, because it wasn't shown at the Democratic Convention.)
But it's interesting that you pick something that's yet another distortion in Bush's speech - to misrepresent and exaggerate the support when in fact most countries just sent a few hundred troops and when their citizens were by huge margins opposed to the war.
But what we are doing now is a 'fantasy of nation building'.
I'm sorry, but you misunderstood me. I was merely repeating the disparaging tone against (Clinton's!) "nation building" from the Republican Platform 2000 - I was not agreeing with the tone.
Nation building (in Afghanistan and Iraq) is indeed what we need right now. The problem is that the Bush team has proven that it is totally inept at nation building.
You can't just point to previous successes by former US governments and say that this proves that things will work out. That's lame. It depends on the government. The one we have now is one of the most incompetent we have ever had.
MB: "They are not specifics, they are objectives."
Have to agree here. Having goals isn't the same as demonstrating that you know how to achieve that goal, or even have a plan to get there. That's especially important for challengers, who usually don't have a comparable prior record of action to point to.posted by: Tom Gyn on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
JFK wants to be a "War" President. But he
He voted for 16 out of 19 defense budgets. He voted against the draft versions of just 2 budgets.
So I guess I win, and you lose. Will you vote for Kerry now that you realize your mistake? :-)
You LEFTIES are seriously conflicted. Were
I'm not a lefty, so I don't have to answer this.
But how about you? Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Come on, no waffling here - YES or NO, which one is it?
I can't believe people are still arguing about the justification for resuming combat with Iraq.
8. Decides that Iraq shall unconditionally accept the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless, under international supervision, of:
(a) All chemical and biological weapons and all stocks of agents and all related subsystems and components and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities;
9. Decides, for the implementation of paragraph 8 above, the following:
(a) Iraq shall submit to the Secretary-General, within fifteen days of the adoption of the present resolution, a declaration of the locations, amounts and types of all items specified in paragraph 8 and agree to urgent, on-site inspection as specified below;
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/unscom/etc/cron.html and count the number of "full and final" declarations that Iraq submitted, and recognize that each and every one of them was proven to be a lie within weeks of their filing.
Note that resolution 687 declares a formal cease-fire, and authorizes Kuwait and allied member states to resume the war (resolution 678) if the terms of the cease-fire are violated.
Resolution 1441 says that Iraq has been proven to be in violation numerous times (see the list referenced above) and that ONE MORE CHANCE will be given for Iraq to come clean. Iraq filed its last "full and final" declaration, and even that was proven to be a lie within weeks. Hans Blix says in his report:
many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an example, a document, which Iraq provided, suggested to us that some 1,000 tonnes of chemical agent were "unaccounted for".
The declaration submitted by Iraq on 7 December last year, despite its large volume, missed the opportunity to provide the fresh material and evidence needed to respond to the open questions.
Iraq was proven to be in violation of the cease-fire AGAIN! I note here for emphasis that the only question was whether or not Iraq should be given ANOTHER chance to violate the cease-fire, not if they were in violation. France and Russia wanted to give the inspectors more time for the purpose of allowing Saddam to not get caught as he had been a dozen or more times already.
David Kay also enumerated several prohibited activites (and re-read the terms in 687: "...and all research, development, support and manufacturing facilities").
We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:
· A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.
· A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.
· Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.
· New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.
· Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists' homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).
· A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.
· Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the UN.
· Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km -- well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets through out the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.
· Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles --probably the No Dong -- 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.
In addition to the discovery of extensive concealment efforts, we have been faced with a systematic sanitization of documentary and computer evidence in a wide range of offices, laboratories, and companies suspected of WMD work. The pattern of these efforts to erase evidence -- hard drives destroyed, specific files burned, equipment cleaned of all traces of use -- are ones of deliberate, rather than random, acts.
All of those activities were explicit and clear violations of the cease-fire agreement. Sarin and mustard gas rounds have also been found and used, all of which are further examples of violations:
"The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad. "The round had been rigged as an IED (improvised explosive device) which was discovered by a U.S. force convoy."
Two weeks ago, U.S. military units discovered mustard gas that was used as part of an IED. Tests conducted by the Iraqi Survey Group — a U.S. organization searching for weapons of mass destruction — and others concluded the mustard gas was "stored improperly," which made the gas "ineffective."
There is no question that Iraq was in violation of the terms of the cease-fire agreement, had been in violation of these terms since the end of the gulf war, and willfully chose to lie again when confronted with the "last chance" terms of resolution 1441.
Certainly the intelligence community made some mistakes, but its worth noting that the anti-war crowd has done its best to raise the bar to a point where only nuclear-tipped ICBMs would qualify as violations, even though 687 states that mere research was sufficient and has been more than proven. Its also worth noting that the intelligence community usually errs by underestimating threats -- the intel community completely missed the development of nukes in India and Pakistan (the tests were a complete surprise to the Clintons), missed 9/11, missed the level of development in Libya, and so forth, and as such it is not surprising that they over compensated in the Iraq echo-chamber.
As to whether or not any of this was a threat... Folks should read up on Saddam's direct support for Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal and the ANO, Ansar al-Islam, Abu Zarqawhi, funding for Hamas and the Abu Etceteras in Palestine, proven ties with al-Qaeda, proven cooperation with Abu Sayyaf on attacks against US targets in the south pacific, proven involvement in attacks against Bush 41 and Radio Free Iraq in Prague, and so forth. Saddam had proven his support for terrorist groups in assaults against American citizens and properties, and his ongoing development activities were a magnificent threat in that context.
This was the right thing to do for those reasons alone. In the broader context of bringing democracy to the region, it is also strategically vital, in that democracy plus capitalism will be the forces that ultimately resolve the root cause problems of social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual morass. As it stands now, if you aren't born a sheik a prince, you'll never become a man of meaning, and it is democracy plus capitalism that will even out their society and provide opportunies for internal focus instead of external hostilities.
That we have achieved all this at remarkably low cost (city of Chicago murder rate is higher than loss of US life in all of Iraq during war and occupation and peacekeeping phases combined; the annual murders from Saddam was higher than the loss of civilian loss during this period) is something we should celebrate.
I agree with Zell Miller -- the left is useless.
Who is "I can't believe people are still arguing about the justification for resuming combat with Iraq"?
Please find another thread where that's an issue. Thanx!
As for Kerry's votes on defense spending, in addition to the votes noted above, please read:
Thanx again.posted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Sorry -- I meant to delete the "I can't believe people are still" part of the quote. Should read:
Who is "arguing about the justification for resuming combat with Iraq"?
And, while I'm here, I just noticed
"Funding Nunn Lugar ... Yawn. "
That is exactly the problem with this administration.posted by: Aa on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
The keynote of the Democratic convention was a remarkably perspicacious recasting and updating of the highest of American ideals.
Aaron is right, this is off-topic, but I can't resist this question for Ursus:
Ursus, please explain why Bush has been flip-flopping from one justification of the war to another and another and another when all along he could have just pointed to those UN resolutions and be done with it.
I mean, all those flip-flops that he could have saved himself, all the ridicule at the Democratic Convention of people waving their flip-flops and chanting "flip-flop, flip-flop" that he could have evaded... (Err, wrong convention, sorry.)
But I might as well save you the effort and point out that one key sentence in your long post ...
Note that resolution 687 declares a formal cease-fire, and authorizes Kuwait and allied member states to resume the war (resolution 678) if the terms of the cease-fire are violated.
... is, unfortunately (and I really do mean unfortunately), simply not true.
When republicans are compared to despots at the DNC, its hyperbole. When democrats are asked to defend their record and their worldview, we are on the 'edge of fascism'. Amazing.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
As the President has dropped "Mars" from his plans, I can no longer vote for him.posted by: Rox Populi on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
When republicans are compared to despots at the DNC, its hyperbole. When democrats are asked to defend their record and their worldview, we are on the 'edge of fascism'. Amazing.
Let's not be disingenuous please. I'd like to think there are still a few corners of blogdom where it is possible to hold a serious discussion.
One quote being referred to is this one by Zell Miller:
Today, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.
You can read William Saletan's comments on the subject atposted by: Aaron on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Oh, please, Mark. Kennedy alluded to the (true) fact that Bush's father was president, too. No, he did not actually "inherit" the Presidency, and no, the USA is not a monarchy. Nowhere did he call Bush a "despot", by the way, that's your interpretation taking Kennedy's hyperbole to yet another new level.
But now, please tell me, do you genuinely think that anybody who heard Kennedy's speech ended up believing afterwards that George W. Bush in fact is a monarch and inherited the Presidency of the United States from his father?
And then tell me, how many people may actually believe the lies and distortions Zell Miller and Dick Cheney told about Kerry?
No difference here? No?
And again, please tell me: why the distortions and the lies? Is the truth not good enough to win this election?
"our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief."
What is wrong with this statement? Is it hyperbolic? Sure. Is it worse than comparing Bush to a monarch? I would say thats one of the things its directed at. Look, we all know the conventions are completely scripted. The DNC was made to make the democrats put on a friendly and positive face that has been the polar opposite of what we have seen since the primaries. The RNC was a direct challenge to the qualifications and judgements of Kerry, as well as the hyperbolic vitriol the left has been spouting out for the past year (pan the camera out on the rest of Manhatten for a glimpse). Did Bush give the SBVs a special box at the RNC like Kerry gave to Michael Moore? I think not. Its all makeup. Whether Al Gore is out hyperventalating about tyranny or Dean out speculating on 911 pre-knowledge, or Kerry himself attacking Bush's servive in the NG, none of this is new and none surprising. To try to pretend the Dems have been running a positive campaign is absurd. At least the Republicans are asking some serious questions about Kerrys political record.
When will he answer those btw? Oh, I forgot. He was in Vietnam.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"And then tell me, how many people may actually believe the lies and distortions Zell Miller and Dick Cheney told about Kerry?".
posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Oh, and did you know that Arnold "True Lies" Schwarzenegger (he actually started his speech by saying the Democrats had told "true lies" in Boston) made up all those heart warming stories about his encounters with Soviet tanks in his childhood and his escape from socialist Austria?
He also said he arrived in the US with empty pockets in 1968 and portrayed himself as a poor immigrant living the American Dream. He apparently forgot that he was "Mr Universe" in 1966, 1967 and 1968 (and he won several more titles in the following years).
He also stated that the reason he became a Republican was that he heard a Nixon speech in 1968.
Maybe Arnold meant the watery border between Austria and Czechoslovakia.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Ah, there we go again. Kerry relates an actual experience, but is off by a month or so as far as the date goes.
Arnold makes up a story that he can't possibly have experienced that way.
When Kerry does it, all hell breaks lose, David Thomson goes into hyperbolic overdrive and talks of a compulsive liar.
When Arnold does it, all that happens is that Kerry's "lie" is hinted at and that absolves Arnold of telling the truth.
I see. Again, it's interesting that you guys can't run on the truth. You just have to run on lies and distortions. Keep up the good work, so far it's working.
"Arnold makes up a story that he can't possibly have experienced that way."
Not true. Everything in that article is based on wild assumptions. That Arnold was referring _specifically_ to the province he grew up in. Any chance Arnold visited, say Vienna, at some point in his life? As far as the socialist rap, what Europeans take for 'conservatives' are absolutely democratic leftists by American terms. And how much does Mr Universe walk away with?
There is still no evidence John Kerry ever dipped a toe in Cambodia.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Then I suppose Kerry has/will rush out on national television and defend his voting record point by point?
Can we get one thing straight, please?
Are you saying that you
1. will continue to believe Miller's and Cheney's lies until Kerry himself refutes them?
2. don't actually believe the lies and distortions, but still believe that Kerry's voting record is somehow "bad"?
3. just don't like the fact that Kerry hasn't personally refuted the lies and distortions?
"1. will continue to believe Miller's and Cheney's lies until Kerry himself refutes them?"
They arent lies. They are interpretations. Without hearing Kerry's side of it, who knows? What is his spin on voting against GW1? Or condemning the Libyan bombings? Or supporting Ortega? When will he answer those questions?
"3. just don't like the fact that Kerry hasn't personally refuted the lies and distortions?"
Sadly he cant/hasnt refuted the true ones, which is probably why he is running from them as fast as he can.
I must point out the paradox of decrying U.S. compliance with U.N. policies while all along using Iraq's violations of UN Resolutions to justify our pre-emptive strike.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"I must point out the paradox of decrying U.S. compliance with U.N. policies while all along using Iraq's violations of UN Resolutions to justify our pre-emptive strike."
You obey the law until it fails you utterly. Then the tea goes into the harbor.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
...which is a great line, except that the Iraq invasion wasn't a protest against the U.N.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"which is a great line, except that the Iraq invasion wasn't a protest against the U.N."
Wasnt it?posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
..well then, I may have hit upon another major difference between supporters and opponents of this campaign.
(btw, it WAS a great line. I'm stealing it)posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"well then, I may have hit upon another major difference between supporters and opponents of this campaign."
I think so, and this is one of those issues that should be debated outside of the blogosphere. I hope the question comes up in the debates. The UN is, and has been, hopelessly corrupt and toothless. This has cost millions and millions of lives like the ones being lost in Sudan today. It is, in my opinion, _immoral_ to hold ourselves to that authority. When it is useful, fine. When not, too bad. Clinton's model in Kosovo is instructive.
with my compliments :)
Without hearing Kerry's side of it, who knows? What is his spin on voting against GW1? Or condemning the Libyan bombings? Or supporting Ortega? When will he answer those questions?
Gee, piling on some more?
About the Ortega connection, I saw a headline in the Spectator "The Bolshevik in Kerry". This refers to his trip to Nicaragua in 1985. A year earlier Rumsfeld had been in Baghdad shaking hands with Saddam. I wonder: Where is the article "The Islamofascist in Rumsfeld" to go with the Kerry article?
And to bring this up in the light of the Iran/Contra scandal is quite something, too.
Kerry's vote against GW1 may well have been a mistake, but he has given reasons for it - he didn't like the "rush to war". (Now, go ahead, tell us again how you almost might have voted for Kerry after all, but not anymore after reading about his reason. Yeah, yeah...)
I personally view it as the opposition's task to suggest better ways to run the government. It is natural for opposition politicians to vote against the government's specific proposals. What the Republicans are suggesting here and pushing for is an opposition that will never dare to vote against anything anymore, because it might become an issue in a campaign at some future date. That would be quite awful for democracy indeed.
"About the Ortega connection, I saw a headline in the Spectator "The Bolshevik in Kerry". This refers to his trip to Nicaragua in 1985. A year earlier Rumsfeld had been in Baghdad shaking hands with Saddam. I wonder: Where is the article "The Islamofascist in Rumsfeld" to go with the Kerry article"
I'm not answerable to the Spectator. As I have said, I dont doubt Kerry's loyalty. Only his judgement. Within days of Kerrys return with Ortega's word, and his vote to stop funding the contras, Ortega was in Moscow receiving a check for millions. I want to know why Kerry believed him, and if he learned anything from the experience. Will Kerry take the Mullahs word? KIJ? Thats a fair damned question.
"Kerry's vote against GW1 may well have been a mistake, but he has given reasons for it - he didn't like the "rush to war"."
Fine. Lets hear it from his lips. What did he expect to happen? Did he understand the consequences a delay would have had to troop readiness and the coalition's intergrity? To the people of Kuwait? Does he regret it?
"I personally view it as the opposition's task to suggest better ways to run the government"
True, but criticism without a better idea is carping. I _want to hear an idea_ from John Kerry. Why should I believe for one second he isnt Jimmy Carter? What item in his career can he hold up as proof? Why do I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that once a peacenick always a peacenick? And _there is nothing wrong with that_, but I want to know what's going on in the man's head before the election. I find it amazing that this is a contraversial or novel idea.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
They arent lies. They are interpretations.
Bullshit. Kerry stated clearly in the Senate that he was against spending $20 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq without making some cuts elsewhere or turning the money into a loan. He never once suggested that the troops shouldn't get the $67 billion (or however much it was) to pay for their equipment. He voted for a bill that would have given the troops all they needed, but saved America's taxpayers $20 billion in the long run.
Bush actually threatened to veto this bill.
So I could say that Bush threatened to veto equipment for our troops with the same justification that Bush is now lying about Kerry's voting against the same equipment.
The truth is that both wanted to get the equipment to the troops, but one tried to quell a sensible democractic debate about the best way to pay for the $20 billion reconstruction effort, and the other didn't go along with that.
I'll take the latter over the former any time.
Fine. Lets hear it from his lips.
Huh? He _said_ that.
What did he expect to happen?
True, but criticism without a better idea is carping. I _want to hear an idea_ from John Kerry.
I suggest you visit his web site and actually read (rather than pick apart) his statements on all the different issues. There are plenty of ideas there.
Whereas there isn't much at all on the Bush site. I'm still waiting for you to point out where Bush addresses the nuclear threat on his web site (other than just mention it as another reason to be afraid, very afraid, and therefore vote for him).
Why should I believe for one second he isnt Jimmy Carter?
Well, I'd take Jimmy Carter over George W. Bush anytime. You'd have to go back to Nixon to find a President I wouldn't prefer over Bush jr...
Why do I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that once a peacenick always a peacenick?
Now you are not making any sense at all. Kerry went to fight in Vietnam, remember? First you complain that he keeps mentioning that, then you forget it yourself just a few hours later. I guess he does have to remind people...
I find it amazing that this is a contraversial or novel idea.
It's not. He has been telling people what he is thinking. People like you aren't listening, it seems.
The truth is Bush rightly pointed out that making the money a loan would have a terrible impact on trying to get other nations to forgive Iraqi debt. See, its easy to 'lie' about the other sides position. Lets get down to brass tacks here, Kerry is politician enough to know what the consequences of that vote were politically. He was seeking anti-war support in the primary at the time. Now the vote hurts and he knows why. Thats life. At the end of the day his name isnt on the bill. Noting that he didnt sign on because of quibling over details is little comfort to the guys in the field.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
(can't resist - that thread may never appear)
The U.N. at least has legitimacy in the eyes of the world, especially those troubled areas where the U.S most definitely does not.
With U.N. nation-building and peacekeeping know-how, and U.S. muscle and resources in the background, I suspect the whole would be considerably greater than the sum of the parts.
I'm not suggesting complete surrender - if any at all. We know we've got the power and will to go it alone when necessary, we really don't need to advertise (or brag). But couldn't we enhance our position greatly if we at least made it look to the world like we were trying to play along? Isn't that how smart corporations wield their power - by inference rather than display?
And isn't that essentially what Kerry is suggesting?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Did Kerry vote for those 16 of 19 before
Kerry has consistently voted AGAINST
Happy Labor day!
posted by: pragmatist on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"I suggest you visit his web site and actually read (rather than pick apart) his statements on all the different issues. There are plenty of ideas there."
I have. No ideas. Wishlisting. 'I will make a deal with Iran to give up their nukes' is not foriegn policy.
"I'm still waiting for you to point out where Bush addresses the nuclear threat on his web site"
I agree, as I said before Bush missed an opportunity. But he has said Iran and NK are an access of evil, and that he will do whatever is required preemptively to defend us, and that Iran armed with nukes is intolerable. Kerry has done none of those things. I sposes he's worried they would screw up his diplomatic coup-de-main. Hah. The scariest part of Bush is he believes his own ideas. The scariest part of Kerry is that he might to. I'd rather err on the side of asskicking as opposed to appeasement.
"Well, I'd take Jimmy Carter over George W. Bush anytime"
Excellent. Run on that. Be honest.
"Kerry went to fight in Vietnam, remember?"
You are unreal. You dont understand the difference between physical courage and moral courage. This is classic Kerry-supporter. Moral courage is being willing to risk you career for something you believe in. Bush invaded Iraq without a popular mandate. Kerry has jumped through every hoop imagineable to be onthe 'right' side of things. Moral courage is being willing to go it alone if some of your 'allies' leave you in the breeze. Moral courage is being willing to break away from fantasies that you can negotiate nasty people out of doing nasty things without a big fucking stick and moral courage is especially letting them know you are more than willing to use that stick. Declaring the US will only fight when attacked doesnt do much for that.
"It's not. He has been telling people what he is thinking. People like you aren't listening, it seems."
I guess you're right. You go to the UN. If that doesnt work... oh well. I suppose I should have taken Kerry at his word on that. There is no plan B. Ok, got it. Iran wants nukes, isnt afraid of sanctions... Iran gets nukes. NK wants to sell nukes, isnt afraid of sanctions... NK sells nukes. Syria harbors terrorist camps in Lebanon, isnt afraid of sanctions... Syria harbors camps. Great policy. Run on it.
Looks like it made up SOMEBODY's mind:posted by: Matthew Cromer on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"But couldn't we enhance our position greatly if we at least made it look to the world like we were trying to play along? "
How long did the US play the inspections game? When did Bush give his speech to the UN? Powell? When was yet an extra bunch of time extended to 'give the inspectors time'? Lets be real here. By that definition, we are in an infinite vortex of obfustication, wheel spinning, and basically jerking around. We would NEVER, under ANY circumstances, have gotten France's support. We tried like hell for A YEAR. Dont, at some point, you have to decide to fish or cut bait? Isnt there an argument that we hurt our credibility _more_ by letting ourselves be jacked around by transparent devices employed by the corrupt? Isnt the appearance of weakness a terrible risk too?
Its better to be feared than loved. - Michael Corleone.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Michael Corleone? To make a point on foreign policy? If the choices were only "fear" and "love", then, well, maybe... But there's a pretty strong case to be made that it's because of that fear that terrorists hate us. We can't keep bombing terrorism away forever (yeah, I stole that, too).
Back to fundamental disagreements. Getting France's support was only critical if you believed both that Iraq was a gathering threat to U.S. security AND that war was the only solution to it.
And there certainly ARE problems with the U.N. - there should be some form of appeal or back-channel to a "unanimous" vote from the Security Council (is there not?). But I would think such issues can be addressed.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"Back to fundamental disagreements. Getting France's support was only critical if you believed both that Iraq was a gathering threat to U.S. security AND that war was the only solution to it."
If you believe what both Bush and Kerry claim to have believed, based on the intel provided by the CIA, MI-6, Kremlin, and any number of allied nations the gathering threat is certain. If not, well who do you listen to? Simple observation proves the latter. What had changed in the space of 10 years that suddenly Hussein would stop playing games, permanantly? Lets not rewrite history, even if Hussein didnt have WMDs, he intentionally acted as if he did.
"And there certainly ARE problems with the U.N. - there should be some form of appeal or back-channel to a "unanimous" vote from the Security Council (is there not?). But I would think such issues can be addressed.
Hope springs eternal. Its been over 50 years and somehow self interest still seems to find its way into the SC. I'm not willing to lay aside US vital interests on the off-chance that nations stop playing games after 10,000 years of history. The Kumbaya crowd is so easilly taken in by the crass Chirac types. They never see it coming. Its ironic that the people who shout the most about looking at other peoples points of view so utterly fail to see that the thirst for power motivates most of the people they are glad handing. See Kerry-Ortega for chapter and verse.
Both conventions were propaganda machines- the Republicans were better organized. Although I dislike Bush, Giuliani’s speech was clever and humorous. Arnold’s speech was about himself and full of lies. You can trust Arnold as far as you can trust Chalabi or Douglas Feith. Bush told us to expect more of the same- more tax cuts, privatization of social security (not insane, if one figures a way to cover the revenue diverted from payouts into stock investments and if SSA refuses to pick up losses for those who speculate), bigger deficits. I was disappointed in the networks- even NPR constantly replayed the swift boat ad and Zell Miller’s wild exaggerations. Instead of repeating Miller’s bombast, an intelligent network would note that Miller objected to Kerry’s votes against the Patriot missile, and claimed that those missiles were important in the first Iraq war.
b. The Patriot missile fizzled in the first Gulf War. Raytheon and President Bush 41 hyped its performance, but after the war it became clear that the Patriots were loose cannons, shooting down allied aircraft and hitting few if any scuds. The House Governance subcommittee on legislation and national security reported after the war that “The public and the Congress were misled by definitive statements of success issued by administration and Raytheon representatives during and after the war." Successful Patriots were like the Iraq sponsored anthrax attacks – false.
"Do American voters want more of the same?"
Depends on the alternative.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
How do we know Kerry is in trouble? He and the flacks defending him can't get past claiming that the Republican attacks are unfair. Politics is a contact sport - if you can't stand up to a little criticism that you perceive to be unfair, you don't belong in the arena. You Dem flacks should stop accusing Bush of running a dirty campaign and start worrying about how you are going to get your guy elected. Prediction: Bush wins big. (I've believed this for over a year).posted by: Ben on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Another indication Kerry's in trouble: His campaign staff appears to be incompetent. Examples: (1) The Swift Boat Vets should have been out of the news weeks ago. They are still a hot topic of discussion. Even if Kerry wins the argument, he loses as long as it continues. (2) I live in a hotly contested (large) swing state. Last evening I watched Bill O'Reilly interview Dick Morris. Morris pointed out (correctly) that as long as the focus of the campaign is war and peace, Kerry loses. Kerry's only hope is to change the subject and have a campaign dominated by domestic issues. At the very next commercial break, the first item was a Kerry campaign ad criticizing Bush on national defense. Amazing. They have no clue.posted by: Ben on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
A quick review of this thread suggests that the answer to Dan's question is "no." The people who liked Bush heard things that reinforced their view, and the people who didn't likewise were confirmed in their thinking. And the overwhelming majority of voters, of course, didn't see or hear any of the convention except soundbites played on newscasts.
As to where the campaign is right now, the commentary of about a month or so ago that the race was Kerry's to lose still strikes me as essentially correct. The Iraq business is still not going well, the economy is not doing that well either, and in close races under such conditions undecided voters tend to break for the challenger. Now, having said that, I think it is possible for Kerry to lose this race; his potential as a President aside (and I'm not sanguine about this) he is a really dreadful candidate in an election not dominated by Democratic Party activists. Verbose, tone-deaf, shallowly and transparently calculating, Kerry could fail the test voters are likely to set for him, that of being a safe choice for the majority of people who are willing to replace Bush.
It seems to me that what Kerry is counting on is the debates. One on one, just him against Bush: what I know of Kerry's history suggests to me that he thinks if he prepares carefully enough he can make the sale there. If he were so far behind a popular President that he had to hit a home run he'd be wrong, but I don't think he's wrong this year. He just needs to persuade people that switching out Bush for Kerry doesn't mean going from bad to worse. Those who believe he will pass or flunk this test each have evidence supporting their view; I'm just pointing out that the test itself is not as tough as it looks at this point in our history.posted by: Zathras on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief."
What is wrong with this statement?
Because the statement suggests--doesn't say, just suggests--that it's illegitimate for the opposition party to run against the Commander in Chief, the President. It says Kerry is manically seeking to bring down the President, as if that can't be differentiated from opposing him in a free election.
I have thanked God every day of this election cycle that he brought me into the world five months too late to vote this time around. I would not want to waste my first presidential vote on either of these two candidates because the only thing as bad as a disingenuous quasi-populist Democrat is a big-spending, evangelical Republican. Although I appreciate his toughness on foreign policy, I can not bring myself to support Bush because of his support for CMA, the poor planning leading up to the Iraq war, and the steel tariff. But Kerry is worse because I don't like his stance that only a military vet is capable of being a good commander-in-cheif, and I don't get the feeling that he believes in his own domestic policy. I can only hope he doesn't actually believe offshore outsourcing is A: a serious problem or B: a problem caused by a hitch in the tax code, because neither of those are the truth about the situation. I can only hope that somebody like Colin Powell, John Mccain, or a moderate Dem manages to win a nomination in '08, so that I can actually support the first candidate I vote for.posted by: Geoff on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Geoff, interesting comment. This will be the 9th presidential election I've voted, and most of the time I voted *against* the other guy. My first choice this time is Tony Blair. He may even be looking for work soon. I would have been happy to vote for Lieberman, and maybe even Edwards. It would have been nice if the republicans had stopped the convention on the first night and stuck with Guiliani and McCain. Bush bothers me, but Kerry *really* worries me. I vote for some obscure third party candidate, or chicken out and vote for Bush if it looks like a very close race at the end.posted by: Rick on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
We sure as hell don't need nuclear submarines or B-1 bombers to deal with terrorism. Or missile defense, for that matter.
Voting against the Apache (at Cheney's urging)? Good riddance to that ... those machines perform marvelously against Soviet tanks but miserably against concentrated small-arms fire and RPG's (as we saw in Iraq.)
Really, we could use more A-10 Warthogs for close ground support fighting 3rd-world type forces. For some reason, that program's been discontinued, unfortunately.
I applaud Rumsfeld's initiative for a smaller, lighter, more mobile armed forces to fight the kind of brushfire conflicts we can see ahead. Unfortunately, we also need hundreds of thousands of military police if we're going to be partaking in benevolent imperialism - if we're going to be trying to usher in democracy under trying conditions. If so, some real concern about nation building would be in order. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan are thriving under our not-so-benign half-indifferent occupation. If one does wish to remake the world, then one should commit to the plan or give it up. Playing for high stakes shouldn't be done half-heartedly.
"War on Terror": If 2 or 3 million Muslims in the 3rd world take up arms - who cares, really? There's no problem with that unless you happen to be occupying their country. If they cross any borders anywhere, we can pulverize those armies in short order as was quickly demonstrated in Iraq.
Increase American automobile fuel mileage by 30% (very doable) and we can entirely cease transferring American money to medieval societies resenting modernity. That is, we can cease buying oil from the Middle East entirely.
Ultimately, our real weapon against Islamic fundamentalism is just what they fear - modernity. While that takes hold (whether imperially or via Hollywood), we can try to make of ourselves a moral example, we can tighten security, we can increase international police cooperation, and of course we should make it clear that no nation will any longer be permitted to be friendly with organized terrorism as Afghanistan was.
My essential point is that the trauma of 9/11 shouldn't lead us to running around in blind little circles proclaiming "war" on "Islamofascists". (Are we going to march on the capital of Islamofascism - er, in Riyad?) It's not a war, and it's not peace either. What the best response to that event is, is not - I believe - clear to us yet, as a country. Maybe it's just a number of small initiatives promoting what we think of as civilized existence. (Or a series of limited military actions?) We need to make ourselves reasonably secure so we can think about all this non-hysterically - and then sit down and really think about it.
At any rate, I do not believe that a President who gabbles apocalyptically about 'evil' should in charge of the next few years. (I grant you that you may describe the perpetrators of 9/11 as 'evil', but the word is an invitation to emotional veering, not to planned action with an eye to consequences.) We should calm the f*** down, and then try to build a better life for America (and perhaps for the world as well) in a reasoned, systematic manner.
PS I also applaud the Israeli's wall - perhaps once they're no longer so much at threat from terrorism, they can calm down as well and do something reasonable about the West Bank, settlements, etc.
>Note also that the G8 summit announced a global program on this front, with a $20 billion budget, and that Bush has committed the United States to funding half of that amount ($10 billion).
That's great. Is this going to be like other Bush programs (fuel-cell cars? mission to mars? no child left behind?) which are proudly stated yet wither and perish on the vine due to lack of funds actually provided?
"Overall, non-proliferation efforts remain the stunted pillar in the administrations three-part National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction."
Well, there you go. Supported it with rhetoric and promises and then cut funding in '04.
How'd I know.
Well, as long as I get another tax cut, I'm happy. Not.
Inspired in part by the above discussion, here is how I would imagine a Kerry supporter (KS) and a Bush supporter (BS - sorry...) debate whether 2+2 is 4 or something else.
KS: Bush claims that Kerry said 2+2=5. That's a lie.
BS: No, it's not a lie, it's an interpretation of something that Kerry did say.
KS: Kerry said 2+2=4.
BS: Aha! So Kerry DID say something quite similar.
KS: He said it's 4, not 5!
BS: If I had $1 million and 4 dollars and you had $1 million and 5 dollars, wouldn't we both have very similar amounts of money?
KS: Yes, but ...
BS: Aha! So 4 and 5 must be quite similar then!
KS: That's ridiculous.
BS: You are resorting to personal insults! Why can't you Democrats stick to the facts?
KS: Besides, Bush himself once said that 2+2=6, which is completely wrong.
BS: You are attacking the President while whining about attacks on Kerry! Shame on you!
KS: Even worse, then he flip-flopped and said it was 4.
BS: When did he say it was 6 again?
KS: In the 2000 campaign.
BS: Ah, so it was before 9/11. You Democrats just don't get it, do you? 9/11 changed everything!
KS: Not mathematics!
BS: So you don't agree that 9/11 changed everything?! As I said, you Democrats just don't get it. Besides, it's not a flip-flop at all. The two answers are quite compatible. It depends on the context.
KS: In what context is 2+2=6?
BS: In Z2.
BS: That's the field with two numbers in which all even numbers are equivalent to 0.
BS: So in Z2, 2=4=6. So Bush was right, if you interpret him correctly.
KS: But he didn't say he was doing math in Z2!
BS: Well, he didn't say he wasn't, did he?
KS: That's beside the point.
BS: You are not answering my question. You are waffling. One can never get a straight answer from you Democrats.
KS: I've said all along that 2+2=4!
BS: But that wasn't the question! You are being evasive!
KS: It's impossible to have a sensible debate with you.
BS: Personal insults again!
One carp against Bush I had was that he'd allowed Pakistan to continue to carry nukes despite the godsent AQ Khan scandal implicating Pakistan in a veriitable nuke black mkt selling to rougues like libya, Iran and NK.
" To prevent the "Islamic bomb" from falling into religious terrorist hands, the American 15th Marine Expeditionary unit is ready to "neutralize" Pakistan's weapons of mass destruction even at the cost of engaging Pakistani troops."
Read it all at
gw, face it, evidence doesn't matter, at all. Voting for Bush has transcended to religious belief. The economy, the war, domestic policy, all of it be damned. BTW, a good insta-shill paradoy @ crookedtimber from a while ago, http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002020.htmlposted by: Jor on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I disagree, Jor. Voting for Bush has not "transcended to a religious belief."
You can say anything you like in a religious context, because religious beliefs, by their very nature, can never be empirically analyzed.
Political acts and policies, however, can be.
What did the politician say he would do, and what did he actually do? Did his actions support or contradict his stated goals? Does he understand what he's talking about? What are the results and consequences of his actions, as opposed to his words?
Does the politician surround himself with people qualified to speak on issues he is not an expert in? Does he encourage vigorous analysis of issues and policies? Does he participate in vigorous analysis of issues and policies?
Does he deal honestly with the American people? Does he communicate honestly with the American people? Is he honest in his dealings with other branches of the government? Which interest groups does he listen to, and what does he do for them?
Does he bargain in good faith with leaders and representatives of other countries? Does he stand by agreements the country has made? Does he uphold the nation's laws? Does he protect and defend the Constitution?
Are the country's citizens as a whole better off now than before the politician took office?
These are things that can be seen, evaluated, and judged.
Bush comes up short on all of them. He is dishonest, ignorant and incompetent.
Voting for Bush is not a naive act of faith. It's a deliberate act of bad faith.
That's not religious belief. It's willed belief in what is demonstrable not true.
That is very much NOT the #1 domestic priority for Americans, from what I've read.
By my own experience, I have a good income, and I pay only about 10% income tax, without any effort whatsoever given to getting around taxes (I have a mortgage of course.)
I would rather see a stronger American economy in the next 20 years, unburdened by government deficit, so my kid can have a good place to live and work.
I've heard the crazy argument that the deficit is going to reduce the size of government. Sure. If the deficit gets large enough, the government will exist solely for the purpose of paying interest on Treasury bonds (mostly to overseas investors.) I'm not against a small government per se. On the other hand, an expensive government that exists only to pay interest on past irresponsible obligations? Ecch. Yet that's where the so-called "starve the beast" tactic would be headed. It doesn't mean we'll be paying less; it just means we'll be getting less social and defense programs and more interest payments on the debt.
AMERICAblog links to a great video of Jon Stewart of the Daily Show ripping Zell Miller apart.posted by: Frederick on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Say, ursus, how many of those WMD claims you copy upthread have since been retracted?
Quoting David Kay's interim report without mentioning his current view that the whole Iraq invasion was a blunder (that's Republican David Kay to you) and there wasn't any program worth a war—that's an inadvertant oversight on your part, yes?posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
"Because the statement suggests--doesn't say, just suggests--that it's illegitimate for the opposition party to run against the Commander in Chief, the President. "
Wrong inference, I think.
There has been no stifling of dissent, far from it: it is aired in the media both commercial and public, indeed, all day long if your NPR station is in talk format. Nor has there been any suggestion that the times make our scheduled presidential election too great a risk to proceed as we always have. The Democratic party had the nation's attention virtually to itself for several days, on the premise that the opposition to the president ought to be heard. And as I recall, the president made a point of keeping a low profile even past the witching hour of that convention.
What Senator Miller did speak to is not the right, make that the duty, to offer conscientious opposition to the president, on matters great and small. It is something else: it is the holding hostage of foreign policy to domestic, and partisan, preoccupations. For many of us who think other nations matter, and because of US power, US policy matters deeply to other nations, there is deep frustration with the tail of Democratic party Bush-hatred wagging the dog of the party's foreign policy. A policy, a military action, even an intelligence estimate is judged not on its merits, but on whether Bush adopts it or not: how else to explain the dramatic inconsistency between Democratic statements during the Clinton administration and statements, by the same people, on the same subjects, just one administration later? How else to explain a Democratic party of near pacifist bent running a national convention with the show of militarism? And how else to explain a candidate who insists on one meaning of his 4 months in Vietnam, when prior to enlisting, and long after returning, he insisted it meant something quite the opposite.
So to Dan's question, I'd suggest a different answer than those above, and one contrary to the Bush deception theme, namely that President Bush came across as believing in the policies and actions on which he's staked his presidency, and if you agree with him, he'd sure appreciate your vote.posted by: James Paternoster on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Vice President Cheney’s remark yesterday that the country would be at risk of a terror attack if it made "the wrong choice" in November is hyperbole and just plain wrong.
Another Bush term is equally if not more likely to increase the possibilities of suicide terror on US soil for a number of reasons. Based on the experiences of other countries which have faced similar terrorist threats (Israel, Russia, and Sri Lanka), a public endorsement for the current policies in Iraq, Bush’s war on terror, Abu Ghraib prison scandals and the general antipathy towards the Allies would increase the likelihood that militant groups would hold all Americans responsible for Bush’s actions. The protesters chant that President Bush is Al Qaeda’s best recruiting tool is not all that far from the truth.
Beyond partisan politics, an examination of incumbent elections in other countries demonstrates that civilians are increasingly at risk when hard-line governments are reelected for a second term. Take for example Israel. When Sharon was given a second term the number of bombing attempts and attacks directed towards soft targets increased. In Russia, Putin's second term and the second Chechen war brought with it increased attacks against Russian civilians rather than military targets. When members of the Bandaranaike family rule in Sri Lanka, bombings increase. When the incumbent lost and was replaced by a more pro Peace candidate in 2000, they stopped for several years -- until Chandrika Bandaranaike-Kumaratunge was elected again.
The reasons why a second Bush term brings with it increased threats of terror is simple: right now the world is aware that the American public has a complex relationship to the President. Opponents from Michael Moore to Al Gore remind us and them that the president did not win the popular vote and demonstrations against the war in Iraq provide some indication that the American public has not overwhelmingly supported the policies of this Administration. Another Bush term would be a full endorsement of the man, the Administration and the choices that he has made since 9/11 providing Al Qaeda ideologists an excuse to kill more US civilians.
Hard line or right wing governments are more susceptible to terror because they tend to harden military targets leaving the terrorists with the easier soft targets of shopping malls, public transportation, rock concerts and location when young people congregate.
During the course of writing a book on the subject, I interviewed the leaders of the Sri Lankan Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and asked them what the difference was between them and Hamas in Israel, the response was simple: "We don’t go after kids at the Pizza Hut" – a reference to the Sbarro Pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem. They made clear that their enmity was with the political leaders and there was a real absence of hatred of the larger Sinhalese public. In contrast to this, Hamas’ ideology that all Israelis are proper targets includes the fact that they reelected Sharon, a controversial figure among Palestinians because of his alleged involvement in Sabra and Shatilla Massacre of Palestinians in 1982.
The issue is not whether the number of attacks simply increases, they do. But the number of attempts have increased exponentially according to the studies of the Israeli Institute for Counter Terrorism. In order to prevent attacks in the future, we have to address the underlying motivations and grievances. This Administration has focused on depleting the terrorist resources but not their motivations. A dual approach would be far more effective.
Finally, another Bush term has negative implications for homeland security allocations for New York City. It is no coincidence that Mayor Bloomberg was practically booed off the stage at the Republican Convention when he raised the issue of allocating homeland security funds based on where there was an increased danger when states like Wyoming get the largest share of the pie, because it is Cheney’s home state.
There is no way to guarantee that a Democrat in the White House will decrease the threat, however, it is unconscionable for politicians to skew the facts and make homeland security part of pork barrel politics. Worse yet, to deceive the American public by making statements that Kerry equals more terrorism when in fact Bush’s policies have increased our insecurity abroad and at home is misleading and yet another half-truth fed to us by this Administration.
Dr. Mia Bloom, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The University of Cincinnati
and Author of Dying to Kill: the Global Politics of Suicide Terror. (Columbia University Press, 2005) and consultant for the NJ Office of Counter Terrorism
The opinions expressed in this OpEd reflect those of the author alone and do not reflect the policies of the Attorney General's office or the department of Law and Public Safety. All errors are mine.posted by: Mia on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
I'm voting for Mr. Kerry, and I didn't like Mr. Cheney's irresponsible statement -- but surely your statement that Americans ought to vote for Mr. Kerry in order to deny the terrorists "an excuse to kill more US civilians" is even worse, indeed, MUCH worse than Mr. Cheney's statement.
Americans struggled and died for the right to vote, as recently as 40 years ago -- and now you want them to hand that right over to Usama bin Laden?
Statements like yours make me want to vote for Mr. Bush, but I won't: it would be wrong for me to hold Mr. Kerry responsible for your views.posted by: Arjun on 09.02.04 at 11:28 PM [permalink]
Finally, since I end with "all views are my own including my errors," why would you deign to think that I speak for Senator Kerry? I speak soley for myself. If you were in *my* class, you would get a B- for reading comprehension.
Post a Comment: