12 July 2007

Liberals and Conservatives, the rationality question

So syberghost, who I have known online for some years now, mentioned on my wife's Livejournal that he considers liberalism to be a form of mental disorder.

Brief interlude:

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr's definition of liberalism:
"the conception of a social welfare state, in which the national government had the express obligation to maintain high levels of employment in the economy, to supervise standards of life and labor, to regulate the methods of business competition, and to establish comprehensive patterns of social security."
Further, as Wikipedia observes, the term is associated with:
support for freedom of speech and freedom of religion, reproductive rights for women, a progressive income tax, the right to privacy, equal rights for homosexuals, equal rights for the disabled, affirmative action, the reduction of poverty by government intervention, affordable quality health care for all as provided by government intervention, and the protection of the environment and of endangered species.

Just so we are clear on this.

Ideologies--especially those founded on Marxian principles as modern liberalism is--tend to be, among true believers, more or less indistinguishable--at the layman's level--from certain mental disorders. This is because they force a framework on a person and requires that all facts be filtered through that framework. Liberalism is furthermore fundamentally non-rational in that it is a gnostic religion.

For those of you not familiar with the concept, the idea is all of society is corrupted and only those possessed of 'special knowledge' or 'greater enlightenment' are worthy to redeem society from its myriad flaws. This knowledge is what sets apart the True Believer from the masses around him. The appeal is obvious--who wouldn't like to think that he or she is superior to those stupid rednecks in 'fly-over country'?

All facts not congruent with the received wisdom are ignored. The typical method is to ignore the facts utterly and attack either the person presenting them, or the manner in which they are presented. Typically, because liberalism exalts a person's feelings as a guide to behavior, these dismissals boil down to, "your facts make me feel bad and are therefore false." or "You are a bad person and therefore all your facts are false."

Now, here we have disclaimers.

Disclaimer 1: Not all liberals are so thoroughly wedded to their ideology as to justify this line of argument as a blanket statement. There are many ordinary decent people who adhere to liberalism for any number of other reasons. They are sincere, misguided folks who are capable of acknowledging ideologically 'incorrect' facts when bludgeoned with them. The old saw about a conservative being a liberal who got mugged applies.

Disclaimer 2: There are those folks on the "right" whose worldview has, contrary to the alleged basis of that worldview, become an ideology. They engage in this behavior also. There is a difference. That difference is that Marx, Engels, and liberal thinkers and leaders to this very day advocate ignoring facts and dismissing, harassing, silencing, and ultimately killing those who differ from them in any particular.

Disclaimer 3: There are a lot of people whose political affiliation has nothing to do with the seating chart of the French Republican legislature. Nazis, for instance. Also, libertarians.

Example time:

Haditha. The received Liberal wisdom is that as America is the font of evil in the world, and as non-whites are inherently virtuous, the allegations against eight Marines were definitely true. They were proclaimed as true by Congressmen before investigation into the objective facts was done. The objective reality did not and does not matter, what matters is the dialectic. Hence because it was ideologically correct that American Marines would kill civilians, it became Received Wisdom, dogma accepted on the basis of faith, that Marines had killed civilians.

Every time a Liberal berates a religious conservative for attempting to force his religion on others, he shows himself a self-loathing hypocrite.

Anyway, in Objective Reality Land, a second Marine has had his Article 32 Investigating Officer recommend dismissal of charges.

You see why a well-intentioned layman would confuse this Alternative Way of Knowing with a real mental disorder.

Aggravating this tendency is the nature of the internet. Liberals and Conservatives tend to gather in incestuous little circles on the internet where their views are reinforced. Absent a reason to engage in reasonable, rational dialog, they don't. Just like any other form of inbreeding, it tends to produce mutants. Protected by anonymity (side note: I know the real names of far more Conservatives than liberals on the internet), insulated from forming any sort of human connection, the Internet Liberal becomes more dogmatic and ideologically correct than he probably would be over a cup of coffee. (free-trade organic soy latte, of course)

It is of interest to me that the vast majority of liberals who I know and like on the internet aren't people I met first through politics. They are gamers, or Christians, or folks who knew my wife before they knew me. At any rate, they started to know me a little as a person, rather than as an ideological construct (Liberalism denies individuality, but that's a rant for another day). Therefore, we could overcome the immediate impulse of some Liberals in their natural state, which is to attack, slander, and defame any who hold opposing views. Moving past that first instinct, you can actually hold a dialog which can result in communication of ideas and perhaps the acknowledgment that maybe, just maybe not ALL Conservatives are really closet fascists who dream of world conquest, eat babies with hot sauce, and think freeing the slaves was a bad idea.

58 Comments:

Blogger Sarah said...

Hey, SapperSgt. This is moon_ferret. I want to take time to read this again and try to make sure I respond with grace and not BLAAAAAARG. I am silly like that.

But I would like to respond to a couple of the things that you wrote when I have more time.

Cheers!

4:21 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Afraid I've gotta disagree, Sarge. But then, that's probably not surprising, considering how often I do. ;)

The liberalism I know, that all of the liberals I know IRL follow, has nothing to do with 'feelings'. Nothing. It has to do with right and wrong.

History has shown us that power tends to coalesce, be it political, military, or economic. It is wrong to leave the masses at the mercy of the privileged few.

It is wrong to discard people when they are no longer useful to us. Their lives, regardless of who they are, are worth just as much as mine or yours. Admittedly, they're not nearly as valuable to *me* as my life is, but it is wrong for me to build a system specifically for my own benefit.

Beyond that, we live in a society. Society functions, at its core, on the premise that I promise to give up my natural right to kill you in order to secure your promise to give up your natural right to kill me. Everything else proceeds from further exchanges of limitations we accept upon our own actions.

Thus, it is Right that when someone falls victim to circumstance, be it environmental, the malice of others, or their own error or obliviousness, they become a drain on the resources of society. It thus behooves society to do what is necessary to see to the well-being of that individual and aid them in returning to productivity in whatever fashion is possible.

It is also Right that so long as an individual is a productive member of society, who does not opt out of the Hobbesian Contract that carves Society out of the savage garden by seeking to injure (physically or otherwise) others (thus damaging their ability to be productive members of society), Society has an obligation to provide for the security of that individual. To seek to prevent conditions whereby they will fall out of productivity and require the assistance previously mentioned.

Beyond that, Society has the responsibility to Get The Hell Off Of My Lawn, Dammit.

Everything else proceeds from there.

5:34 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Just to add a few points to my post, addressing specific quasi-points of yours (heh) to give additional perspective:

It's easy to be suspicious and hostile to folks you don't know. Harder to call for the blood of people you can identify with.

Re: conservatives being liberals who got mugged. I've had a man point a shotgun at my head and chamber a round. It did not affect my views on gun control. He controlled his gun very well: I didn't get shot.

Re: America is the font of evil in the world:

America's not the 'font' of anything. We're just the biggest fish in the pond, so when we act, it can't help but make everything else re-act. So we need to be careful. Well-intentioned blunders cause more damage than they were intended to fix, just because 6.2 billion people see the blunder, but not all of them are benefitted by the good intentions.

Re: Liberals berating religious conservatives for attempting force their religion on others.

I don't like people pushing ANY way of thinking on me. If you want to think how you want to think, that's GREAT... but don't try to put it in my head. The shit in my head defines who I am. Attempting to change the shit in my head means you are attempting to KILL ME and put someone else in there who may be similar, but it ain't me.

So no, it ain't self-hatred.

Re: Haditha. Again: It's easy to be suspicious and hostile to folks you don't know. Harder to call for the blood of people you can identify with.

I grew up at and around the U.S. Navy base complex in Norfolk, VA (and Little Creek, and Hampton Roads, etc etc etc. It's frikken HUGE.) My dad and uncle were in the Navy. My grandfather and cousin in the Army. Another cousin's a Marine. My aunt was Air Force.

People in the Military are people. Some very good, some very bad, and a whole lot of 'in between'. Can American Marines kill civilians? In cold blood? Knowingly commit the most heinous crimes?

Yes. There is no group of people that *cannot* include the worst of us. That doesn't mean that it's likely, or that people should jump to believing it. Innocent until proven guilty, and all that.

But it's not just the military that gets hit with that. The media does it to EVERYONE. If you're accused, they'll dutifully put 'alleged' up there, but all the coverage will scream GUILTY!

It's not the other side of the aisle that causes problems: It's the people who benefit from polarization in the populace, and the media that gets fat off of sensationalizing it.

Eliminate the people who profit from our divisions and our passivity, and you'll eliminate a lot of the impetus toward both.

5:53 AM  
Blogger armagh444 said...

I am more than a little bemused at this post. I've seen you say on more than one occasion that you are interested in civil discourse and dialog with people who's political opinions are different from your own, specifically with liberals. And, yet, you spend this post making generalizations that have no relevance on my experience of liberalism as a lifelong liberal. (Frankly, your characterizations of liberals have more in common with a caricature of Ann Coulter, though with fewer curse words and ad hominems than with liberalism as I and many like me have lived it for decades.) Moreover, you resort to the same sort of inflammatory rhetoric that I have seen you criticize people on the Left for employing. (With all due respect, analogizing someone's political belief's to a mental disorder is uncalled for and quite outside the bounds of anything resembling civil discourse.)

So, this leaves one question open, and I am going to have to be more than a little blunt in asking it. It is not my intent to give offense, but I cannot think of a better way to express this than to just ask it straightforwardly. Put simply, are you interested in a meaningful exchange of ideas or would you prefer to limit yourself to sitting with those who agree with you, enjoying a good laugh while you lob shots at the "other side"?

Is that something of a harsh question? To a degree, yes, it is, but it needs to be asked. You see, the latter approach works well in combat (theoretically, anyway, and perhaps without the chortling), but is not an efficacious way to go about the business of governance in a democratic republic.

Allow me to explain a little more fully what I mean. In war, there are - at least - two sides and the function of war is for one side to firmly and thoroughly trounce the other. When one is seeking to govern a nation, there is but one side: that which is best for the nation as a whole. Furthermore, no "side" can ever claim to be completely in the right when it comes to issues of governance. A nation is far too complex an entity for one ideology to effectively address all that ails it.

To better illuminate what I'm trying to get at here, perhaps it would be best to look at liberalism and conservatism in their proper context. Conservatism in the proper Burkean sense of the word applies to an ideology that values tradition, that shies away from radical change, that prefers tested systems to radical innovation. Liberalism, in the most properly understood sense of the term is impatient, restless, seeking change not for its own sake but in response to perceived injustices. Radical change, in the liberal view, is frequently necessary and should be welcomed as it helps society advance.

Now, either ideology, if allowed to advance unchecked, would be fatal to any state. Unchecked conservatism leads to stagnation and decay. Unchecked liberalism leads to anarchy. So the two must exist together, as counterpoints in order to maintain a stable middle ground in which a successful state may rest.

Of course, every conservative thinks he is right insofar as what is best for the nation and every liberal similarly thinks he is right on the same issue. (Why, after all, would one hew to a political or any other opinion if one did not believe one was correct?) Believing that one is right in general, however, is not license to adopt the notion that one is infallible since, after all, no one is. So, both perspectives are needed and valuable, as they provide checks on each other's excesses. (I would also add that a solid moderate perspective is needed as a sort of anchor for the two poles.)

Given that both perspectives are necessary, how productive is it for either side to mischaracterize the other? No terribly, I would contend. And this is where we return back to your post. At the end of the day, I think all of us want what is best for the nation. If that is not achievable without having liberal and conservative perspectives in existence as counterweights to each other, than are you not undermining the very thing that you would seek to promote when you analogize liberalism to a mental disorder or otherwise mischaracterize what liberals actually believe?

6:32 AM  
Anonymous cMAD said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Civil discourse, especially over the internet, is utterly wasted on your typical 'True Believer'.

It's rather like attempting to speak with the threshing machine while standing in front of it.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

I don't have time to address all the comments in detail--perhaps this evening, or tomorrow. :) But let me say this, armagh.

The very simple definition of liberalism you provide is most relevant to the beginnings of classical liberalism and, like the "right-left" dichotomy in politics is an artifact largely of the French Revolution and writers of that era. Classical liberalism has, largely, triumphed without exception in the Western World. Unlimited franchise (well, to all mentally capable adults who have not been convicted of a felony), capitalistic free enterprise, freedom of speech, etc, are universally accepted ideas today--though many "liberals" aren't too keen on Freedom of Speech if that speech is offensive to them.

See Trent Lott's views on Talk Radio. http://www.democracy-project.com/archives/003367.html

All but the most radical of conservatives accepts the need for the FDA, and at least a modicum of public assistance for those incapable of supporting themselves.

Modern 'conservatism' is classic liberalism. I am an early 19th century liberal--and a truly radical one, as I despise monarchy as a concept.

Modern liberalism is far beyond that. It's too heavily influenced by Marxist concepts and constructs, chief among them the idea of class struggle.

Liberalism used to be in favor of free markets and economic opportunity. Now it is fundamentally socialistic. It used to be in favor of free expression of religion. Now it is actively hostile to religion.

Bill, I find it amusing to read a liberal invite the Government to stay off his lawn. While that sentiment would be appropriate for a type of liberal 200 years ago, it is not liberalism as practiced by the Democratic Party. The Republicans aren't all that hot on it either these days, but then again a modern Republican is about an early 20th century Progressive more than he is a classical Conservative.

"I don't like people pushing ANY way of thinking on me. If you want to think how you want to think, that's GREAT... but don't try to put it in my head. The shit in my head defines who I am. Attempting to change the shit in my head means you are attempting to KILL ME and put someone else in there who may be similar, but it ain't me."

I don't see Conservatives pushing for legislation criminalizing thought--'hate crimes' are, essentially, crimes where the criminal's presumed thoughts are considered an aggravating factor.

I also have not read recently of colleges punishing students for expressing liberal sentiments in public.

Remove the log from thine own eye. . .

The specific context was that if you are going to accept some postulates purely on faith and attempt to force those postulates on someone else, then there really is no difference between that and any other form of forcible conversion. It just happens to be a non-theistic religion.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Allow me, for a moment, to enter this conversation. Specifically, I want to respond to a few of Bill McD's comments,

The liberalism I know, that all of the liberals I know IRL follow, has nothing to do with 'feelings'. Nothing. It has to do with right and wrong.

I have to both agree and disagree with this statement. Both Decurion and I will agree with you that the {ahem} fundamental arguement in politics and culture is all about "right" and "wrong". Only a sociopath would willingly do/say something that s/he acknowledged to be "wrong".

But it is the NATURE of "right and wrong" that is the nub of the conflict.

One of modern liberalisms basic tenet is "if it feels good: do it". Which is another way of saying that the end justifies the means. This POV makes "right" whatever feels good. This makes liberal ethics situational and particular to a single person, culture, group, or history; and expediency is exalted above all other attributes.

Modern conservatives reject this fundamental. Instead, they (we) believe that "right and wrong" is not based on feeling(s) or even situation(s). We reject such ethics from the outset. We acknowledge that the principles of right and wrong are Universal Truths--objective, timeless and apart from cultural or historical frameworks. Conservative ethics are "the means justify the ends" and not the other way around. To a conservative (who is a classic liberal, really) expediency is fundamentally irrelevant.

In shorthand: do the right thing and a good thing will result is the conservative mantra. The liberal mantra is 'define for yourselves your goals (personal, political, cultural) and do whatever is necessary to achieve them because the end ALWAYS justifies the means.

To apply this particularly: the reason that conservatives support OIF and the larger GWOT is that it is the 'right' thing to do. IOW: Deposing Saddam and giving the Iraqi people a working government and society is a goal CONGRUENT to Universal Truth.

The liberal POV is "We HATE GWB and his administration, and we will do whatever it takes--including permitting (even supporting) genocide in the Middle East--to oppose him. So long as the genocide does not directly affect us, we just don't give a damn if AQ and its allies murder each other. Congruency to Universal Truth is irrelevant."

Hence Decurion is correct when he points out that modern liberals are feelings-driven. You may claim that it is all about 'right and wrong' but it is the DEFINITION of 'right and wrong' that is the crux of the discussion.

It is wrong to discard people when they are no longer useful to us.

We agree. But a conservative would state it more directly: "It is wrong to discard people PERIOD." This includes Iraqis, Afghans, Terry Shiavo, unborn children, the weak, disabled and feeble. We do not even want to discard liberals (though we may be tempted in some cases to bend this principle).

Out of time now: will continue later.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

First, let me say that I hate, with a burning passion hotter than a thousand suns... this stupid tiny little text window I have to type in here.

I also hate peas.

Now, on to replies...

Sarge;

I know of very few liberals who would say that Mr. Limbaugh, or Mr. Hannity, or Ms. Coulter cannot speak their mind. Many would (and do) say that they'd prefer it if they weren't paid to do so, but that's not an issue of free speech, that's an issue of sponsorship. Free Speech is not a paying job. Once it's a paying job, it's the responsibility of the performer to keep the target audience securely tucked into their pocket. Given backstage comments made during Mr. Limbaugh's tenure at ESPN, I'm not even sure they believe what they say, but rather simply go for the big, splashy outrage items. The liberals I know generally express dismay, but not surprise, at the willingness of corporate entities to retain the services of these individuals. They are, however, highly effective at keeping the audience tuned in.

I also don't personally know any liberals (teh intarwebs are full of lunatics of all stripes and persuasion. I do not claim to know anyone I've not spent time with in more than text conversation) who oppose free expression of religion. I certainly don't know any liberals who would, perhaps, disrupt a man who'd been invited to deliver a prayer or invocation someplace just because he's not of their faith. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of all people, as the incident this week at the Capitol showed.

I'm a formerly catholic theo-apathist, personally. (translation: God's existence or non-existence is irrelevant. Good is Good, Evil is Evil, and you should try to do Good because it's Good, not because you're hoping Santa will bring you a shiny new life on Judgemas Day. Being good in order to get the reward isn't being good, it's being bribed.) I've known and associated with anglicans, assatruar, baptist fundamentalists, buddhists, greek orthodox christians, hindus, jains, lutherans, methodists, muslims, roman catholics, sikhs, ukranian orthodoxists (orthodontists? Wait, that's not right), and unitarian universalists... at the very least. Many of them are relatively intent and devout in their faith. More than a few are willing to expound at great length about their faith.

One or two have been known to talk the ears off of marble statues about their faith.

Most of those folks have been liberals. None of them have been opposed to free expression of religion. You can express your religion however you like, but the moment you, or I, or ANYONE seeks to have the government either actively or tacitly endorsing a religious viewpoint, including the denial of religion, then that person is trying to make all of us (because the government represents us all, after all) endorse the same viewpoint, and that is wrong. That infringes on the freedom of everyone who doesn't think and believe as that person thinks.

The government should stay out of religion. For one, for any, against them all, it's equally improper.

Now, not to get all deep and philosophical on you here, but... I'm not terribly concerned with 'liberalism as practiced by the Democratic Party'. See, there's no such thing. Just like there's no single blanket 'liberalism'. Liberalism as practiced by the Democratic Party is an amalgam of all of the different kinds of liberalism practiced by each and every individual registered as a Democrat. Blanket statements like that serve no purpose, just as it wouldn't for me to say that 'a modern Republican is more a Cromwell Roundhead than he is a classical Conservative'. Might be true of very few, easy generalisation to remember, but generally, probably falls very far from the mark for most.

You've claimed liberalism's all about the touchy-feely-ism... and it's Marxist w/no room for individuals. Those two positions are pretty much diametrically opposed, you know. If it's such a subjective thing of 'feelings', then it can't be the 'all must submit to the good of the collective' steamroller that is Marxism.

As far as hate crime legislation goes... last I checked, I was not in the legislature. I'm also not in the administration of any colleges. So I humbly submit that the log you see in my eye... might be a speck in yours. I don't see the need for hate crime legislation. I don't see the need for 'computer fraud' or 'email fraud' legislation, either. Seems to me that making new laws to cover the same old crimes in new mediums is just fucking stupid. They were already crimes, regardless of how you pulled them off. Same thing applies. Don't need new laws to cover the same old shit. The existing laws worked fine. BUT... without a need for new laws, you don't have much need for a legislature. So I can understand Congress giving itself some busy-work from time to time.

As far as students go... the Supreme Court recently ruled that a high school student's freedom of speech (Bong Hits 4 Bush, I think?) was not abridged by the school's administration when they put a stop to it. Rationale? In part, because it's their job to maintain order. Now, you may say 'well, that's a high school, not a college, he's just a kid'... another 18 months of sitting in classrooms being talked at is not going to make him all growed up. College administrations have far less to do with being liberal than they have to do with being in power (however insignificant that power is to anyone outside the college). Make waves, you get shut down. Simple as that.

Personally, I accept nothing on faith. I define my reality from moment to moment, and all that is is the lies of my senses. Thus, it is in my interests to question everything. Always. Especially my own brain.

Chris;

While you're right that only a sociopath does something they acknowledge to be 'wrong', in the sense that doing something you know to be against the interests of society is kinda what makes someone a sociopath... ever speed? Welcome to Sociopathy! Hang on, we'll get you a chair next to... well, everyone else.

I have never, NEVER, heard a modern liberal say 'if it feels good: do it'. Really, the ones I know tend to be more of the opinion that the things we gain the most immediate pleasure from seem to be the things that are, in fact, worst for us. The end justifies the means? LIBERAL?

...

You're kidding, right? I mean, isn't that kinda the entire mantra of the current administration's Iraq policy? 'It's ok, we're gonna make it all ok in the end! The goals are good, so it's ok if we're a little sloppy on how to achieve them!'.

You claim that 'do the right thing and a good thing will result' is the conservative mantra. I question how mocking someone's Parkinson's disease (Limbaugh on MJ Fox), insinuating that a family's personal tragedy is, to them, no more than campaign fodder (Coulter on Edwards), or embroiling the federal government in a living will/right to die case (Schaivo) is ever 'doing the right thing'.

In most cases, the support I'm seen among conservatives for the 'wave your dick around and claim it's a big stick' policies of this administration come from fear, from a feeling of individual helplessness in the face of large, scary spectres of global interaction. Foreigners are coming to kill you. Foreigners are coming to outsource you. Foreigners are coming to take away your national sovereignty. The current crop of Republican presidential candidates play up that fear, Guiliani especially. (This, I admit, is no surprise where Rudy!(tm) is concerned, he's been fearmongering for over a decade now.)

You want to make an arguement that Iraq was all about 'doing the right thing', then that's fine... but to do the Right Thing, you have to do it RIGHT. And despite the best efforts of the US Military to do the job right with the resources they were given, they simply weren't given the resources to do it. Don Rumsfeld can get all poetic about 'going to war with the army you have, not with the army you want', but when you START the war... then you damned well had the opportunity to bring more of the army you wanted.

Now... unless GWB and his administration are personally responsible for this window... or are peas... I don't hate them. I'm a liberal. That's my POV. I don't support genocide in the middle east. I don't support genocide anywhere. (Well, ok... I heartily support genocide when I'm playing Starcraft, but that's because dammit, I play Zerg, and we're all about the genocide. Mr. Lennington, meet your worst nightmare.) But there are right ways and wrong ways to deal with it, and leaping in feet first to become a wonderful new recruiting tool for extremists... that's the wrong way. Alexander only gets to chop the Gordian Knot in half because nobody else had the stones to say 'you dipshit. No, that doesn't count' and back it up in blood. People out there obviously do have the stones to back up their refusal of our gordian strategy in blood. And the wisdom to not line up like redcoats so we can knock 'em down.

As for 'it is wrong to discard people PERIOD'... that strikes me as being very, very silly. Of course you don't discard someone when they're still useful. Even the most jaded, cynical, selfish bastard doesn't do that, unless you're dealing with an idiot having a fit of pique.

As far as your list of people liberals are supposedly discarding goes... I agree on the Iraqis and Afghans. It's a very basic principle: We broke it, we bought it. The weak, disabled, and feeble... again, those are covered under society's basic responsibility to its members. I'll even argue that Schaivo and the unborn can fall under that category, too. I think that in those two, though, there is significant room for debate about the nature of life and humanity, and that such debate is a healthy thing.

Simply screaming at one another without listening... is not. Calling one another names because we do not instinctively agree is not. Claiming that people who feel society's responsibility to the mother who has already been a part of the social contract is greater than its responsibility to the unborn potential person who has not have a 'mental disorder'... is most definitely not.

As far as Terry Schaivo is concerned, though, that was at its heart a family dispute, and should have stayed that way. I don't know if Mrs. Schaivo would have wanted to be kept alive or not. I trust the medical professionals (including the coroner) who said that the person inside the brain had been functionally dead for years, with no chance of recovery. I accept that others may not. But above the sanctity of human life is, for me, the dignity of human life. If I'm a drooling veggie, I accept that some folks might not want to pull the plug. But... with God (should there be one) as my (potential) witness, if I am in that situation and my drooling, vacant ass is put on national television... I will haunt all those responsible for that indignity and I will devour their souls.

It was a family matter. Those who made it into a national spectacle deserve to have their balls fed to them. As do the politicians who sought to use it for grandstanding.

11:24 PM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Guys,

Please also note that Decurion's been pretty well excoriated on another, evidently very liberal blog. I suspect he's a bit annoyed at the world lately.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Zach Bush said...

I think this is a well-reasoned post based on faulty data. I've met some of the people you describe; they are as scary as any ideologue and are just as out of touch as you would imply. In their reality, based solely upon Internet conspiracy theories and the echo chamber, the U.S. government backed the 9/11 plot in order to go on a Crusade. The people I know who identify themselves as "liberal" - here the Wikipedia definition rather than the Schlesinger, Jr - are as quick to distance themselves from these goofballs as the people I know who identify themselves as "conservative" are to distance themselves from White Power goons.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Yuri said...

Chris,

Just why are you telling Bill McD what he thinks? And why don't you have the intestinal fortitude to come right out and say you know what he is thinking?

Bill said: "The liberalism I know, that all of the liberals I know IRL follow, has nothing to do with 'feelings'. Nothing. It has to do with right and wrong.."

Then you tell him "One of modern liberalisms basic tenet is "if it feels good: do it".

You actually don't agree with anything he says. And then say he has a position he has explicitly repudiated.

Then you promptly trounce the straw man argument of a position he doesn't have on a set of values he doesn't believe.

Soldier grrrl--while I haven't read the whole of the blog where he was beat up, he was treated extremely poorly and very little representing rational debate happened there.

My sympathies stopped when he called me, my friends and my family fucking insane.

He's an adult--he doesn't get to hit me because someone else hit him.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

SG;

Yup, he did, and I fear I sparked that whole chain of events. I'm not trying to jump on him, though. He's talking, I'm talking... hopefully we're both listening, too. :)

12:40 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Bill: With you 100% on the whole 'tiny box' issue. Also the peas.

Who says Liberals and Conservatives can't find a common ground?

Marxism--and forms of liberalism derived from it--is both collective and fundamentally non-rational. They aren't mutually exclusive. Neither the Russian nor French Revolution nor the terrors that followed both were expressions of logic or reason, but outbursts of passion shrewdly manipulated by outright evil bastards who were coldly calculating. You have to get people thinking with their feelings to get them to cheer while you execute aristocrats.

"Free Speech is not a paying job."

Here's where I see a dichotomy. If a radio performer who can keep the target demographic coming in says something outrageous and right-wing, Trent Lott (and others) want to shut him down. If a college professor says something outrageous and left-wing and the resulting firestorm gets the college administration to fire him before the alumni cut off their donations to the football program, that's horrible censorship--among certain elements of the left. Hell, and the professor doesn't even have the excuse that he's just an entertainer--which Limbaugh repeats during every radio show I have heard. At one time in my life I listened semi-regularly, but he's a comedian with one joke and it's old.

"liberalism practiced by each and every individual registered as a Democrat"

Liberalism as practiced my most registered Democrats doesn't really bother me, since liberalism as practiced by Joe Average in New York City impacts my life not at all, unless I choose to visit NYC. Liberalism as practiced by Democratic Congresscritters does impact me, and rather significantly. So as long as Joe Average continues to let Joe Moonbat run the apparatus of the Democratic Party and determine which candidates get the nod in the primaries, those candidates will likely be the standard by which I judge Democrats.

Granted--the Republicans could use some housecleaning, and a little more of a divorce from the fringe on the right. I would like to take a cattle prod to some of our politicians.

But while the Reps are in bed folks whose ideas I disagree with, the Dems are in bed with folks who are actively hostile to me personally, to my beliefs, and to my country. I take that far more seriously.

Couple side points: Free speech is for adults. If a kid at 18 has the right to vote for the folks who send me to war, he damn well ought to have the right to say what's on his mind. Academic freedom and all what, which is why cracks like "Little Eichmanns" doesn't get professors fired. College administrations are not in the same in loco parentis position as grade schools because the students are no longer minors.

Religion is a whole 'nother topic, I shall return to at greater length.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Point of clarification: The French Revolution was decidedly non-Marxist. Or rather, it was pre-Marxist. Don't mean to sound like I'm confusing ideologies here.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Zach Bush said...

Bah, to clarify, I was just talking about your conception of liberals which was the first half. I agree very much with the second half, particularly on the self-reinforcing whirlpool of politics-first discourse. I always imagine the staunch Internet ideologues to be the political equivalent of gaming's Cat Piss Man.

Yuri, where the heck did he do that? I'm reading the same things you did and while syberghost certainly said that, I can't find any place that John said that.

12:53 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Bill,

I just kind of wanted to throw it out there why he's got a bad taste in his mouth.

Believe it or not, we have rather heated arguments about this stuff at home, too.

It gets...interesting.

I am, believe it or not, *WAY* more liberal then he is. (I've gotten a lot more conservative as I've gotten older, actually...) I tend to view all of the politicos are loons.

I think we've all got sacred oxen that each party likes to gore. The right tends to want to get into my ovaries, the left wants my guns. The right tends to put the military on a pedestal, and parts of the left, as evidenced by Murtha (and I've not seen too many loud liberal denouncements of his condemnation of the Haditha Marines) seems to think we're the dregs of society, kept in line by "wingnut welfare" and a slavering adherence to the right's party line.

Basically, I'd love to see some honest-to-God dialog instead of internet circle-jerks. And yes, I've told Decurion, that, too.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Right! That's it, we outlaw peas and tiny boxes... or maybe outlaw peas IN tiny boxes... hmmmm.

Re: hostility to one party over the other...

Well, see, that's where we're coming at it from different directions. Given the Republicans' tendency toward wanting to tell people how to live their lives (can't get an abortion, can't be gay, have to praise Jesus) and refusal to practice what they preach (don't be gay! unless you like molesting congressional pages! don't have affairs and ditch your wife for the girlfriend... multiple times... unless you're Newt... or Rudy... don't break the law! unless you're the Dukstir or Tom deLay!) I have to say that given my beliefs in equality, respect for other people, and the rule of law, it's the Republicans who're in bed with folks who are actively hostile to me personally, to my beliefs, and to my country, where religious freedom is guaranteed, a woman's right to control her own internal organs is established case law, and the government has no business even giving a damn about which other consenting adult you're boinking.

Now, if you're trying to tell me that Trent Lott is a left-winger because he doesn't like talk radio... er... I feel like I've been hit w/the Chewbacca defense. Maybe it's more that everyone's getting fed up with the pointless bile and vitriol?

Where I disagree with you on the academics v entertainers thing is: The entertainer's paid to do that. It's his job, it's his performance, etc. The academic isn't being paid to spout off, he's being paid to teach. Slightly different, because it means spouting off is being done on his free time.

Not that I agree with either case of people trying to shut other people up. My feeling on it is that Franklin was right: There is no idea so dangerous that it cannot be discussed.

But, in both cases, you're looking at a similar event: someone spouts off, people object, and then the people with the money make the final call. Rush stays, the academic stays. If Rush's bosses felt like Trent Lott, the parallels would be even stronger.

People claiming the administration of the college was engaging in censorship... eh, they can stuff it. The administration's got a responsibility to the orderly environs of the college, and did what they felt was necessary. The money people, in the end, always have the last word.

So, really, it looks to me like there's a lot each side could say about the other that amounts to 'I feel this way about my people, and another way about your people... largely cuz they're not my people.'

We have different reasons for not making those people 'my people', but at the same time, nothing is served by declaring them all bad and wrong just because of the tag after their name.

SG;

Re: Murtha, I don't know that he thinks the military is the dregs of society. It'd be an odd position for someone who'd served to take. I'd be more inclined to believe that it's more of an advanced case of politicalitis. He's been a politician too long, and reflexively bends the way he thinks will best serve his interests. In this case, he obviously spouted off before the facts were in.. and his spouting didn't actually influence those facts in the least, and more than VP Cheney telling Sen Leahy 'go fuck yourself' did.

It's like Kerry: Kerry was a successful prosecutor, once upon a time. That means at one point, he was capable of making clear, concise arguments to the common man. But he spent too long in the legislature learning the language of compromise, and lost that ability. Whatever you might think of his politics, his public speaking was nightmarish.

But politicians will be politicians. Dick Cheney will always go for the face shot.

Just to return to Kerry for a moment... or rather, legislators... there is a reason that the current field for the '08 election looks like it does. The frontrunners in both parties are all people who have not spent long years in the legislature.

D: Obama: first term. Clinton: second term (barely). Edwards: One and done.

R: Thompson: In for a while, but out for longer. Like Nixon, that way (whom he once leaked information to during watergate. nice guy.), Romney: Governor. Guiliani: Dicta...er... mayor.

Legislators learn to speak in carefully constructed phrasings designed toward compromise. They're bad at being clear, direct, and short. And they don't get elected President.

Look at the track record of 'what they did before being elected POTUS':
GWB: Governor
Clinton: Governor
GHWB: VP, Director of CIA
Reagan: Governor
Carter: Governor
Ford: Wasn't
Nixon: VP, then 8 years not in office. Effectively nullified legislative tendencies.
Johnson: VP, elected largely in wake of Kennedy's death
Kennedy: Senator (2nd term, not long enough to affect speaking style)
Ike: Uhm.. I think he did something in Europe.
Truman: VP, Senator. Breaks the mold strongly w/his very simple and direct style.
FDR: Governor
Hoover: Sec of Commerce
Coolidge: Governor
Harding: businessman
Wilson: Governor
Taft: Chief Justice, Sec. of War
TDR: VP, Governor, and career TDR.

That's going back to the beginning of the 20th century. That's what, 3 legislators elected? 1 wasn't there long, 1 had been gone from the legislature for over a decade, and the other had just dropped the atomic bomb.

Not normal. ;)

People don't vote legislators into executive offices.

And, I know, it's a bit of a change in course, but it popped into my head there, so I went w/it. ;)

1:44 AM  
Anonymous YuriPup said...

Zach,

I haven't responded to John. The comments are address to syberghost.

I find John's endorsement of syberghost position troubling, but his arguments are strong enough to deserve a detailed an non-heated response.

It has been pointed to ghost that the tone of his posts bothered other posters who don't agree with him (bother as in the emotionally hurt). He doesn't seem to care--no doubt because we are insane and moral relativists.

As for John--no I don't respond well to being called a paranoid, needless worrying, schizophrenic. While I might agree that hurling those labels at Chicago Dyke may be accurate and certainly satisfying--painting me (not so much) and my family (very much) with that same brush gets me angry.

Particularly after responses on Soldier Grrrl's blog showed they were offensive.

I may or may not respond to John at length--I might find that I want to much to lash out at the condescension in the post. While I haven't been mugged, I have been assaulted (and battered, if you want the legal definition) on more or less a random basis by a black man. The fact that John's post (not necessarily John) implies that I am too stupid to learn from such an experience could seriously tick me off.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Point of clarification re: LB Johnson

Representative 1937-1948,

Elected Senator in rigged election, stayed in Senate until 1960.

He spent less than three years as a VP, while he spent over 2 decades as a legislator.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

Hey, I never said outlaw them! If we outlaw peas, only outlaws will have peas. And isn't whirled peas a core liberal value?

(BTW, Jen says she's not talking to me if I post the above paragraph. Darn.)

I've always found the "Republican Congresscritters are immoral, so therefor all Republican ideas are bunk!!" argument to slightly ludicrous.

It's a variant on ad homenium. Democratic politicians claim to be looking out for the poor and Mother Earth, yet they are (mostly) multimillionaires who own private jets like Al Gore. Or simply commandeer government jets when they wish to fly home. They try to ban private citizens owning guns and have armed bodyguards. Hypocrisy is hardly a monopoly of Republican congresscritters. Further, Republicans are largely hypocritical about things that Democrats believe are none of anyone else's business. Right? It's not supposed to be the government's business whether a person is gay. After all, that was the argument thrown around back when two Democratic Congressmen were actually screwing pages silly rather than just sending them raunchy IMs and emails.

2:20 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Bill,

I think I missed Cheney telling anyone to get stuffed, although, since I think Cheney is one scary MF, I'm kinda glad I didn't.

The thing with Murtha is that he condemned those Marines out of hand, and as military folx, it's stuff military that tends to get our attention.

The right has a tendency to be a bit (quite) a bit more hypocritical, and I'd love to see them loosen up a bit. Honestly, I really really really don't care who's sleeping with who, as long as all parties can give informed consent (and are legally of age.)

Granted, I still think cheating on your spouse is wrong wrong wrong wrong no matter who does it, but it does seem that the Right-wing-nuts do tend to get caught a bit more often.

Yuripup,

Labeling family members is terribly tricky. I tried to tell a woman who is very active (and rather highly placed) in the Texas Democratic Party that calling my entire family (excluding my grandmother, who is, as far as I can tell, a Socialist) evil, stupid and deserving of death wasn't much of a way to get me to listen to her side.

The gentleman who accosted me while I was in uniform at the grocery store wasn't likely to get me to listen to him either.

Again, large parts of this were caused by the under-handed invitation to Chicago Dyke's blog and the subsequent vitriolic responses.

Thank you for staying rational.

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Re: Johnson. I agree, but as I said, I think he was relected largely on Kennedy's corpse.

And fine, we won't outlaw peas. Hmph.

re: Cheney/Leahy:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3699-2004Jun24.html

He told a sitting senator on the floor of the US Senate to 'go fuck yourself'.

Like I said... he always goes for the facial. It's the money shot!

2:33 AM  
Blogger Just A Decurion said...

You know, I'd tell Leahy to go fuck himself too.

Leahy had been making public statements alleging criminal misconduct on the part of Cheney, to wit that his influence on the administration led to the award of the contract to support US troops in Iraq to Haliburton.

Now, the problem is that every time a sitting Democratic congressman who has been in office for a decade or more (the majority of them--including Leahy who hasn't held an honest job since 1974) makes these allegations, he is knowingly and deliberately lying.

These men all know that Bill Clinton awarded no-bid logistical support contracts to Haliburton/KBR to provide support to US Soldiers deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. Clinton did this for precisely the same reason that Bush did it in Iraq. This reason is that there is no other American company even theoretically capable of providing that sort of support.

It's another lie that has become part of the Leftist mantra because it is congruent with the ideology, rather than because of any relationship to actual facts.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Replying to Bill McD's comments:

First of all, I thank you for staying on topic and not delving (very much) into ad homineum attacks. It seems that you really find it difficult NOT to, but I'll discuss that further dowwn this message. You wrote:

Welcome to Sociopathy! Hang on, we'll get you a chair next to... well, everyone else.

Perhaps I should introduce myself. I've known Decurion a number of years now, and was one of the first to tell him to marry the soldiergrrrl. We have been corresponding for many years. One of the things that intrigues him about me is my hobby or avocation (rather than my employment). You see, for 17 years I was involved in the chaplaincy ministry of a Texas county jail. Consequently, I can say with all sincerity that some of my best friends are murderers, child molestors, and the occasional sociopaths. One of the main reasons I kept to that ministry for so long is that I recognize in myself the same nature that EVERY ONE of those inmates have. I truly am not a better person that the worst of them. In many ways, I am far more a sinner than they. So to imply that I am a criminal or sociopath is a truly meaningless exercise and a complete waste of bandwidth.

I have never, NEVER, heard a modern liberal say 'if it feels good: do it'.

You must be very young. I grew up in the 1960's and this was as common as the controlled substances which engendered the saying.

that the things we gain the most immediate pleasure from seem to be the things that are, in fact, worst for us. The end justifies the means? LIBERAL?

Then explain the liberal support for abortion, homosexuality, and the use of marijuana. As a conservative, I can say that these are all morally wrong, because they are not congruent with Universal Truth. On the other hand, each of those is an example of the end justifying the means. Abortion is primarily a way (means) to avoid responsibility (to avoid an undesired end). The other two are completely about sexual pleasure.

So, yes from a cultural POV, modern liberalism is all about the end justifying the means. The liberal antagonism towards the Bush Administration is all about the end justifying any means to get there...even if the means are to permit massive murder and unending war.

You're kidding, right? I mean, isn't that kinda the entire mantra of the current administration's Iraq policy? 'It's ok, we're gonna make it all ok in the end! The goals are good, so it's ok if we're a little sloppy on how to achieve them!'.

We agree--I believe that you actually have some insight here: the GWB administration really does exhibit this behavior. They really do believe that the means do justify the end. The intervention in Iraq and the follow-on OIF is all about doing 'the right thing' (the means) which will result in a more stable Middle East (the ends).

Your COMPLAINT against the administration is you don't like the means chosen to achieve the end result of greater security for the US and a more stable Middle East (and world as a whole).

Apparently, the President and his administration are historically correct. This means that history is on the side of the conservatives. The policies have begun to work. We are winning in Iraq. And Afghanistan is nearly completely reconstructed.

No battle plan ever survives its first contact with the enemy. No war in the whole of human history has played out according to battle plans laid out before the war began. If and when a war is won, it is won BECAUSE experience is the best teacher, and later battle plans take into account those lessons. Ask Admiral Yamamoto about his "single deciding great battle" with the Americans. Hint: he never got it.

America didn't fight according to Yamamoto's pre-war plans (the USN would have been slaughtered), just as Al Quaeda did not fight according to OUR pre-war plans. The difference between us and Imperial Japan is that we learn, adapt, and try new different techniques and technology. The IJN was amazingly incapable of changing, and now rests at the bottom of the Pacific because of it. America tried the plans of Abizaid, Powell and a number of others at the outset of OIF. These didn't work. Now, it appears that Petraeus's plans do work. Only time will tell that....maybe in 6 months his plans will collapse. But right now they appear to work.

When I vote for a President, I am voting for a capable administrator, NOT a victorious general. I expect that capable administrator to surround himself with the best and brightest people, and among these should be the victorious generals. Sometimes, even the best and brightest aren't enough. When that happens, that administrator should change the people who work for him. An example of this was Rumsfeld...a GREAT SecDef initially, but became a liability as time went on. In the beginning, Colin Powell was a pretty good SecState, but he should've been fired shortly after 9/11. If you want to accuse GWB of being too loyal to his people, I will agree to that in certain circumstances. But loyalty is not a character fault. I would have liked him to be more judicious in his selection and retention of the people around him, but compared to the Clinton team, GWB's team is a damn good bunch of people.

Although this was not in reply to me, it is a telling thing:
Personally, I accept nothing on faith. I define my reality from moment to moment, and all that is is the lies of my senses. Thus, it is in my interests to question everything. Always. Especially my own brain.

You "define reality from moment to moment" is why you are a liberal. We conservatives are much more focused on Universal Truths that are timeless and situationless (if that is a word). As far as we are concerned, these are not a 'matter of faith' any more than Newtonian physics are a matter of faith.

You "live in the moment", and forget the past. We conservatives study the past so as to understand our present, so we can bring a better future.

9/11 taught us that we can no longer hide behind our oceans. America's security is inexorably tied to third-world shitholes like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, even Trinidad and Guyana. We can't fix them all now; today. But we did put down Saddam, Zarqawi, Abun Nidal and the Taliban. And that is a good start on the rest of them.

You want to make an arguement that Iraq was all about 'doing the right thing', then that's fine... but to do the Right Thing, you have to do it RIGHT. And despite the best efforts of the US Military to do the job right with the resources they were given, they simply weren't given the resources to do it. Don Rumsfeld can get all poetic about 'going to war with the army you have, not with the army you want', but when you START the war... then you damned well had the opportunity to bring more of the army you wanted.

War doesn't wait! We had to deal with Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 because WE HAD TO DO THEM AT THOSE TIMES. I really think that Saddam would still be in power, and the Iraqi people subject to his murders, had he complied with the UN resolutions. Once it became clear that this wasn't going to happen the time to go to war was IMMEDIATELY. The reason for this is very simple: if we took 6 months or a year to get ready--THE BAD GUYS HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME TO PREPARE. This results in MORE American military deaths, not less.

The same is true of Aghanistan. We had to immediately begin operations there. Within a month of 9/11, we had troops on the ground there and the airstrikes started happening immediately.

In reality, the military has undergone dramatic change since 9/11. Rumsfeld was a principle in this, and many of the plans and policies he started just make sense. It sometimes takes years and years to get a single rifle approved and the military to adopt it (and lets not even go to complex systems like aircraft). Clinton spent too much of the 'peace divident' on non-military items--especially long-term items like missles, ships and entire Corps of the Army. Lets face it: when 9/11 happened, our military was out taking a dump. They were just as unprepared as were those people in the WTC towers. However, they are fast learners and adapted their current methodologies to the new realities. They have done well, and Decurion is a example of how good our people are at what they do.

If you want to blame someone for the sorry state of our military, blame the people who elected William (blow job) Clinton, then supported him as he disgraced his office and this nation. The people who elected him WERE NOT conservatives, but liberals who 'live moment to moment'.

Have to go....this is an interesting discussion. I'll reply later if/when I find some time.

3:03 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

First of all, I thank you for staying on topic and not delving (very much) into ad homineum attacks. It seems that you really find it difficult NOT to, but I'll discuss that further dowwn this message.

I do? Where did I engage in an ad homineum attack?

In many ways, I am far more a sinner than they. So to imply that I am a criminal or sociopath is a truly meaningless exercise and a complete waste of bandwidth.

Ah, but it was not an attempt to imply that you are a criminal or sociopath, but rather to show that yes, we all do things we know to be wrong. We all sin, if you will. We all justify and rationalize, but we all still know it's wrong.

You must be very young. I grew up in the 1960's and this was as common as the controlled substances which engendered the saying.

Perhaps I am. I'm in my 30s, and quite honestly, there is nothing 'modern' about the 1960s, the culture of it, or the fossilization of its attitudes. Shit happened. The world has moved on. The dinosaurs should, too.

Then explain the liberal support for abortion, homosexuality, and the use of marijuana. As a conservative, I can say that these are all morally wrong, because they are not congruent with Universal Truth. On the other hand, each of those is an example of the end justifying the means. Abortion is primarily a way (means) to avoid responsibility (to avoid an undesired end). The other two are completely about sexual pleasure.

Abortion is not about avoiding responsibility. Instead, it is about the choices someone makes with regard to their own body being their responsibility, and not the state's. A woman is more than a uterus, after all, and to tell someone that you will decide what's best for them with regard to their own body is to treat them like a child. It is hubris of the worst sort. Abortion being 'morally wrong' is entirely a creation of the idea that an unborn fetus without the capacity to reason is a human being. It's not. It has the potential to be one, but it's not one, and even the source that most Conservatives go back to for their defense on this one, the Bible, is on my side here. Go back through Leviticus. Read up on all those sexual offenses that get a woman stoned, destroyed, put to death, or whichever phrasing you find most happy.

Then show me where it says 'unless she's pregnant, in which case, save the baby, THEN kill her'.

Homosexuality, on the other hand, falls under the category of: The government has no business in my bedroom. Get out. Frankly, I don't care if you want to screw your dog, as long as the dog is both 18+ and consenting. If there is a final accounting of our lives, then that Judge will be the one who has the right to tell me who I can love, not another man. Judge not, you know. It is none of my business who you have sex with. It is none of your business who I have sex with.

Incidentally, that book from whence all the moral outrage over sex doth flow... it's really good. Very specific about the different offenses of men and women. Never once uses a single masculine noun for both genders. It also specifically speaks about man laying down with a man as he would a woman... never says anything about women and women. Maybe God likes lesbians?

As for marijuana... given that all the potheads I've known lost their sex drive when high... and most drive to do anything else... that's not sexual pleasure. My opposition to the 'War on Drugs' is that like Prohibition, it doesn't work. Regulate it, tax it, make sure the shit that's out there is as safe as it can get, and use what resources you can to educate people, and you'll have more success.

So, yes from a cultural POV, modern liberalism is all about the end justifying the means. The liberal antagonism towards the Bush Administration is all about the end justifying any means to get there...even if the means are to permit massive murder and unending war.

Again: No. The end does not justify the means. Ever. The means must be Just on its own. Villifying people for making their own decisions and claiming they're trying to duck responsibility when they try to clean up their own messes? That's not Just. That's just wrong.

We agree--I believe that you actually have some insight here: the GWB administration really does exhibit this behavior. They really do believe that the means do justify the end. The intervention in Iraq and the follow-on OIF is all about doing 'the right thing' (the means) which will result in a more stable Middle East (the ends).

Your COMPLAINT against the administration is you don't like the means chosen to achieve the end result of greater security for the US and a more stable Middle East (and world as a whole).


And yet you tell me 'The end justifies the means' is a liberal conceit, while simultaneously telling me my complaint is that the end does not justify the means.

Apparently, the President and his administration are historically correct. This means that history is on the side of the conservatives. The policies have begun to work. We are winning in Iraq. And Afghanistan is nearly completely reconstructed.

Ah, Afghanistan, Opium Capital of Central Asia... yep. We did a great job there. And Iraq, where the government continues to fall apart... look, I'm not saying the military can't achieve their military objectives in both places... but you'd have to be blind to think that either one of them is a bastion of freedom and democracy.

Keep in mind, 'stability' is not what we were told the goal was in the middle east. 'Stability' was the great scourge in whose name past administrations had tolerated Teh Evul, and by God, we were going to bring FREEDOM, even if it meant a little less stability.

Well, we're quickly schlepping toward anarchy and warlordism in those two countries... so I guess that's a kind of freedom. Maybe?

No battle plan ever survives its first contact with the enemy. (snip) Now, it appears that Petraeus's plans do work. Only time will tell that....maybe in 6 months his plans will collapse. But right now they appear to work.

Again, I've been more than willing to say 'hey, the military knows its shit'. Keep in mind, this whole thing started (more or less) when I posted over at Eschaton a link to this place, telling people 'guys, there's evidence that the military has been adapting since day 1, and has working operational protocols now. Take a look, and don't be dipshit'... and they were dipshits.

When I vote for a President, I am voting for a capable administrator, NOT a victorious general. (snip) I would have liked him to be more judicious in his selection and retention of the people around him, but compared to the Clinton team, GWB's team is a damn good bunch of people.

... once again, you're kidding, right? They can't even conduct domestic wiretapping without failing to jump through the minimal hoops FISA requires. They can't manage to use the one strategy so blindingly obvious that it would have shut down all of the hearings about the USAG firings in one sentence: The President steps up to the mike and says, "I made the call. I did it for my own reasons, and I will not explain them.". If this is a damn good bunch of people, I shudder to think of what a bad one would have managed. Nuking Seattle on the 3rd day of the administration, maybe?

This is a bunch of people so used to operating w/in the secrecy-shrouded halls of power of the 1970s and 1980 that when the world changed around them, they missed it completely. Capable administrator? The recovering alcoholic who drinks beer and champagne?

Dude... these people are incompetent. Grossly. Dangerously.

You "define reality from moment to moment" is why you are a liberal. We conservatives are much more focused on Universal Truths that are timeless and situationless (if that is a word). As far as we are concerned, these are not a 'matter of faith' any more than Newtonian physics are a matter of faith.

You "live in the moment", and forget the past. We conservatives study the past so as to understand our present, so we can bring a better future.


I never said I forget the past. I never said I live in the moment. I said I define reality from moment to moment. This means that each and every second of each and every day, I have to be willing to look at the things I thought I knew and say 'shit, this new evidence proves it completely wrong'... and be willing to adapt to that. Newtonian physics, I might point out... are wrong. They are flawed. They work 'well enough' to be used in day to day life, but they are fundamentally flawed. Were they not, we would never have needed Relativity and Einsteinian physics. That is, in fact, precisely what I mean. I believe that life is to be lived with an eye toward The Truth... and the Truth is: We don't know all of the Truth. As we find out things, we sometimes must accept that those new things show other things we believed to be true... to be not so. That does not mean that they aren't still useful in day-to-day life... but they are, really, not quite true. Here's an example:

Day to day, I let myself operate under a convenient fiction of safety. Life is safe, I can drive to the store safely, I am not risking my life with every passing moment.

This is not true. Any of a million things could go wrong. Most of them are completely outside of my control. I could die, with no way to prevent it, if I drive to the store. This is truth. But in the small things, in the daily routine, that truth must be set aside so we can focus on the simpler truth of 'I can drive without killing myself' in order to function. Just like all the complexities of Einsteinian physics are not necessary, and counterproductive, when dealing with a simple enough system that we can use Newtonian physics.

9/11 taught us that we can no longer hide behind our oceans. America's security is inexorably tied to third-world shitholes like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, even Trinidad and Guyana. We can't fix them all now; today. But we did put down Saddam, Zarqawi, Abun Nidal and the Taliban. And that is a good start on the rest of them.

9/11 taught us that? Damn, man... we probably should've learned it from Cuba. From Korea. From WWI. Here's a better lesson to learn: We can't fix them at gunpoint. What we can do, and should do, is provide them the means and the assistance to fix themselves. Example: When GHWB managed to convince Iraqi citizens to rebel following the Gulf War, that would've been the time to send in US troops to safeguard them, and tell the rest of the Arab world, "If you'd rather it was your troops here, we'll pull out, but these folks have the same right of self-determination that you do."

War doesn't wait! We had to deal with Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 because WE HAD TO DO THEM AT THOSE TIMES. I really think that Saddam would still be in power, and the Iraqi people subject to his murders, had he complied with the UN resolutions. Once it became clear that this wasn't going to happen the time to go to war was IMMEDIATELY. The reason for this is very simple: if we took 6 months or a year to get ready--THE BAD GUYS HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME TO PREPARE. This results in MORE American military deaths, not less.

The same is true of Aghanistan. We had to immediately begin operations there. Within a month of 9/11, we had troops on the ground there and the airstrikes started happening immediately.


Afghanistan, yes. We had to move when we did. Iraq, though? I call bullshit, sir. We HAD to go in there in 2003? Why then? Why not any time in the 12 years of noncompliance beforehand? Couldn't have been because of political drumbeathing and chestthumping in the mid-term elections, could it? Nooo... that'd be cynical of me. Except, of course, that Rove openly said it during the mid-term cycle... except that as soon as 9/11 happened, people in the administration were looking for ways to use it as an excuse for invasion.

Saddam would have had more time to prepare? He had 12 years. 1-2 more wouldn't have meant a damn thing. But it would have given us more time to prepare our equipment, more time to get allies on board. More time to say, get Turkey on board to allow the entire second front that had been planned. No, sir, we did not have to invade Iraq when we did. We chose to.

In reality, the military has undergone dramatic change since 9/11. Rumsfeld was a principle in this, and many of the plans and policies he started just make sense. It sometimes takes years and years to get a single rifle approved and the military to adopt it (and lets not even go to complex systems like aircraft). Clinton spent too much of the 'peace divident' on non-military items--especially long-term items like missles, ships and entire Corps of the Army. Lets face it: when 9/11 happened, our military was out taking a dump. They were just as unprepared as were those people in the WTC towers. However, they are fast learners and adapted their current methodologies to the new realities. They have done well, and Decurion is a example of how good our people are at what they do.

If you want to blame someone for the sorry state of our military, blame the people who elected William (blow job) Clinton, then supported him as he disgraced his office and this nation. The people who elected him WERE NOT conservatives, but liberals who 'live moment to moment'.


The military was in a transitional state, yes. I am not saying that Rumsfeld's intentions of modernising and retooling were bad. I'm not even saying killing the Commanche was bad. I do believe, unlike Yuri, for example, that it's important to keep new designs and new technologies in development. Otherwise, you end up w/the situation NASA has been in: They have to re-learn how to make moon-capable spacecraft. What's more, they didn't order a new Shutte in part because they can't: The companies that built the damn thing, in keeping w/NASA's directives at the time, didn't retain the technical knowledge or ability to make another one. That's very bad, to have machines you don't know how to build... even worse, to be dependent on them. But to be clear:

I think the military has done a furkin' amazing job, given what they had to work with. That doesn't mean the people who gave them those things and told them to work with them did a good job setting that situation up.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to do the right thing the right way -- well, not necessarily. You have to try to do it the best way you know how. But the enemy is not cooperating with your plans--and sometimes your allies, subordinates, and Congress don't cooperate either--so what looks like the Right Way now may not be thre Right Way next month. You adapt or lose. Either way, though, the media pulls up obsolete quotes and plans and tries to stick them to you.
----Laserlight

4:36 AM  
Blogger Zero Ponsdorf said...

Dang, get distracted for a day or two an I miss all the fun!

I vote for peas... I like 'em. Phooey on all who say otherwise!!!

4:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there's some confusion here about postion descriptions, largely because Left and Right aren't all that useful. Perhaps a better question would be "To what extent do you want correct behavior--your definition of correct--to be enforced by the government?" My own answer to that is "mostly not".
I object to people driving drunk or stoned, but if you want to get high at home (and stay home), go right ahead.
I object to abortion, because babies get brainwaves pretty early in pregancy, and once they have their own EEG, I'd say it's a different person. Contraception or "morning after", no problem.
If you want to sleep with a consenting adult, go right ahead. I think sleeping around will destroy you spiritually, but that's your business. God gave you the ability to choose good or evil for yourself.
-----Laserlight

4:50 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Bill said: Again, I've been more than willing to say 'hey, the military knows its shit'. Keep in mind, this whole thing started (more or less) when I posted over at Eschaton a link to this place, telling people 'guys, there's evidence that the military has been adapting since day 1, and has working operational protocols now. Take a look, and don't be dipshit'... and they were dipshits.

See? You're a liberal! It's all your fault!

(God I really hope this comes across as the teasing I mean it to be. If not, I'll cheerfully buy you a drink of your choice if we ever run into each other.)

5:22 AM  
Blogger Yuri said...

I laughed SoldierGrrrl. Damned funny.

Chris, I am not Bill McD.

5:59 AM  
Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

Yuri,

If we're ever in the town you live in, I'll buy you a beer, too.

:-)

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

SG:

HAH! (yes, it does. ;) )

6:29 AM  
Blogger Yuri said...

Just let us know when you are next in NYC--Bill and are close enough to come in.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Responding to Bill McD again:

I do? Where did I engage in an ad homineum attack?.

Let me quote you your own words:

. I question how mocking someone's Parkinson's disease (Limbaugh on MJ Fox), insinuating that a family's personal tragedy is, to them, no more than campaign fodder (Coulter on Edwards)

Fox made his disease a political matter himself when he made a TV ad supporting a Missouri candidate who tried to make embryonic stem cell research a topic of debate. Limbaugh (and no other media person that I know of) ever mentioned his disease in any context whatsoever until he made that political ad himself. FOX made his disease a political matter--not Limbaugh or anyone else. Once he did so--sauce for the goose is also tasty on the gander. Merely having a disease exempts no one from political criticism--ESPECIALLY if that disease is used for political purposes by the person having the disease.

As for Coulter; again Edwards made his wife's disease a political matter. Coulter is a political commentator, and commented on the political aspects of it.

You didn't exactly use an ad homineum attack, but you came close, as I mentioned. Had you compared Decurion or I to any of those people, it would have been one.

We all sin, if you will. We all justify and rationalize, but we all still know it's wrong.

You just made a valid paraphrase of Romans 7:15 combined with 3:23. You can read these for yourself at http://www.crosswalk.com

I'm in my 30s, and quite honestly, there is nothing 'modern' about the 1960s, the culture of it, or the fossilization of its attitudes. Shit happened. The world has moved on. The dinosaurs should, too

Perhaps you could start a website specifically for aging hippies...you could call it www.moveon.org.....it would be a place of enlightened and peaceful conversation, where wisdom and gentle words permeate every posting. (sadly: sarcasm is ruined in text).

Those aging hippies now RUN the Democratic Party. The Dem candidate for Prez in 2004 was himself one of those mean nasty children--hippies--of the 60's.

The political left--with whom you side--is controlled and run by people whom you just said should 'move on'. Maybe you need to re-think your priorities.

Come to the Dark Side, Luke (in my best Darth Vader Voice)

Abortion is not about avoiding responsibility.

How many women do you know who have had abortions? I know dozens and support a ministry specifically for such women. Across the board: every one of them had the abortion because they did not want the responsibility of raising a child. It was too inconvenient...one girl got her abortion because she wanted to fit into her prom dress. THAT is an avoidance of responsibility.

Instead, it is about the choices someone makes with regard to their own body being their responsibility, and not the state's.

A 13YO girl cannot get her ears pierced without her parents permission (in Texas). But she can get an abortion because of RvW. The state has a responsibility to regulate the medical profession, and by rights should regulate the provision of abortion services in the same way (at the very minimum) that it regulates the provision of earrings.

An unborn child is still a person. The moment that the sperm demagnetizes the egg is the moment that DNA is combined and a unique life begins. At the point that happens, it is a person and should have every right to live and breathe as we all do. Having once been a blastocyst myself, I take it very personally when blastocysts, embryos, fetuses, etc are killed.

Go back through Leviticus
America is not Israel, and I am not a Jew, and this is not 1500 BCE.

The government has no business in my bedroom.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZT
(I wish there was a way to type the sound that the buzzer on game shows when an incorrect answer is given to the trivia question)

Wrong! The government is in your bedroom whether you like it or not. Don't believe me? Try taking an underage female to your bed.....or your daughter. Have 'consensual' sex with them, then tell the judge that what you do in your bedroom is none of the governments business. He'll chuckle as he sends you away for a long, long time.

So it is not a matter of whether or not the government regulates personal behavior, but WHICH personal behaviors that it monitors. There is no right of privacy in your bedroom: there never has been and never will be.

And, as for homosexuality (whether male or female) as mentioned in the Bible; here is a quickie quote from Romans ch. 1 (26) Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. (27) In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. The passage ends with verse 32: Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. So to answer your comment: no, God does not approve of lesbianism. Its included with: (29) They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; (31) they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless....

Note that "disobedient to parents" and "gossip" is listed alongside of murder and wickedness! Hey: I didn't write the book, I just read it. And that is what it says.

If you're going to quote the Bible: do it accurately & completely. Another way to put it: don't take on a fundy in his home turf.

9/11 taught us that? Damn, man... we probably should've learned it from Cuba. From Korea. From WWI. Here's a better lesson to learn: We can't fix them at gunpoint.

Tell that to Italy, Japan and Germany, the Balkans, Grenada and Panama. Or, for that matter: Dixie. In fact we can fix other nations' problems--at gunpoint, if necessary. We CAN fix them, we HAVE fixed them, and in the future we occasionally MUST fix them.

And yet you tell me 'The end justifies the means' is a liberal conceit, while simultaneously telling me my complaint is that the end does not justify the means.

You inverted my argument.

All of your complaints (and in this case, I am using the personal meaning of 'your') have been that the GWB administration is DOING WRONG. You ARE complaining about the 'means'. (I also note that you haven't offered any alternative)

And, while the military is the ultimately blunt instrument of statecraft, it is the last resort of statecraft as well.

You haven't offered any alternatives to the invasions of Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Invading Iraq was a bad decision--on this I will agree, but with the caveat that all the alternatives were worse.

I will speak well of you here: you have not exhibited the irrational outrage and anger towards GWB that normally comes from the left side of the political spectrum. This is commendable. My endeavor is to demonstrate that your entire argument is internally inconsistent. And by your own (admittedly situational) ethics, you need to reconsider your views. This is the only reason I have been replying.

Iraq, though? I call bullshit, sir. We HAD to go in there in 2003? Why then? Why not any time in the 12 years of noncompliance beforehand?

For 8 of those years, we had a liberal President. And this Prez was more concerned with his own opportunities than with global democracy or America's security.

I'll give WJC this: the world changed a lot since 1989. It changed faster than he (or really anyone) could have anticipated. Nevertheless, if you are going to assign blame for military non-preparedness and US non-security, you have to give 2/3rds (8/12ths) of that to Clinton.

Saddam was left in place (in power in Iraq) in 1991....and this is a highly controversial decision. But it is one that I support. Bush (41) made the proper call when he made that decision. He knew at the time that a final accounting was inevitable. But to keep his fragile coalition together, that is the decision he made. The clock for that 'final accounting' started ticking on 9/11. And by coincidence, his son was in his office at the time. Nobody in 1992 could have guessed the GWB would be president when 9/11 and all that happened after it occurred.

But yes, the invasion of Iraq was a political AND MORAL imperative in 2003. The Iraqi people are damned glad that we liberated them.

I'm not even saying killing the Commanche was bad.

I was brokenhearted when the Crusader was canceled...but had to agree with it. Early on, Rumsfeld knew that the next war was not going to be the one that the military was preparing for. He was a good SecDef.

political drumbeathing and chestthumping in the mid-term elections, could it?

This would be like WJC trying to divert attention from his ongoing sex scandal by sending cruise missles and troops to the Balkans.

Here we have an important thing to discuss. You wrote:
except that as soon as 9/11 happened, people in the administration were looking for ways to use it as an excuse for invasion.

The point I want you to see is that you (as well as almost everyone on the left) have just 'slandered' the President and his staff. I use that word specifically. Here is the definition from dictionary.com:
1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
3. Law. defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.
–verb (used with object)
4. to utter slander against; defame


Democratic policy seems to be based on slander, and little else. What you just said about Rove was malicious and (more likely than not) false. Certainly, you need to provide evidence that your assertion (that Rove was looking for an excuse...) has some basis in the reality that the rest of us understand.

His behavior may be consistent with your own, highly personal, understanding of reality. But the rest of us do not participate in your personal reality (-ies). You will have to demonstrate your evidence in a reality that even us conservatives understand. Evidence is not slander, and slander is not evidence. Use logic and carefully-followed reasoning to demonstrate your assertion. Do it without slandering, and maybe I (we) will acknowledge your point. But you have to provide good EVIDENCE of your assertion. Merely asserting it just doesn't work in our reality.

I think the military has done a furkin' amazing job, given what they had to work with.

In this, I whole heartedly concur with you.

That doesn't mean the people who gave them those things and told them to work with them did a good job setting that situation up.

Hindsight is 20/20. You need to explain how it could have been done differently using ONLY the information available at the time the decision was made.

BTW: We're going to have to collapse this thread a bit: it is already WAY too long. Please choose just one or two of my subtopics, and we'll start from there.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous auxdarastrix said...

I REALLY don't want to get into this type of nonsense, but I can't retrain from taking a shot on one things: If the incapacity to reason disqualifies someone from being human (and therefore entitled to life), then there are plenty of those who could theoretically be aborted long after birth. A fetus is not the women's body, even if it may be dependent on the women's body.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aux:

My personal belief is that abortion should be legal until 309 months after conception.

Yes, that's age 25.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

(first: Aux, that anonymous response is me, I'm not sure why it came up as Anon)

Hindsight is 20/20. You need to explain how it could have been done differently using ONLY the information available at the time the decision was made.

Give me all of the information available to the NSC at the time, and I'll take a stab at it.

As far as Saul of Tarsus goes... I'm sorry, the man didn't even keep his story straight in his own accounts of his conversion. First he saw a light. Then he saw Jesus. Then those with him saw what he saw. Then they saw nothing, heard nothing... this is the single individual responsible for taking Christianity from being a celebration of the life of Christ to being a death cult, and all of his writings point to him acting solely from ambition. I'm afraid I'll have to ask your pardon, sir, if I don't trust the man as far as I can throw the church he, not Peter, founded. Any man who sets down new restrictions for others while claiming special exemption from them is not seeking to enlighten, but to subjugate.

As far as the government being in my bedroom wrt children? That's not the government being in my bedroom. That's the government acting to protect those members of society unable to protect themselves, just as it does in cases of rape, assault, theft, murder... what passes between consenting adults is nobody's business but theirs.

Regarding 'the end justifies the means' and inverting your argument... no, sir, you inverted it yourself. Go back and read what you wrote. You lamented that 'The End Justifies The Means' was an amoral liberal philosophy... and then claimed my complaint with the administration of GWB was that I felt the end did not justify the means.

You, sir, put forth both of those. Not I. I simply pointed it out.

As far as my 'slander' goes, I will be happy to provide sourcing, just as soon as I can dig it up. I assure you, I did not pull that out of thin air. I would ask that you check w/our host as to my character in that regard.

As for your persistence in coming back to Clinton, I'll simply point out that I laid no blame for unpreparedness, only said that when you choose the start date of the war, you no longer have the luxury of saying 'but we weren't ready!'. When you started it, it follows that you felt you were ready enough. Beyond that simple statement, I've made no accusations or laid blame for lack of security or military unpreparedness. That, too, has been all you. I've simply stood by my assertion that:

You can say 'well, the military wasn't ready for this war' or 'well, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want', but when you choose the start date of the war, you then no longer have the luxury of those statements.

Regarding abortion... I'm not talking about children. Children should have that significant a decision made for them, by their parents, and hopefully the opportunity taken to ensure the child learns something of responsibility in the process. I'm talking about adults. And yes, I've known a few women who've had abortions, and quite often their decision came down to feeling that they could not adequately care for the child, nor could they in good faith turn the child over to local Children's Services authorities, given the reputation they felt such agencies had. It was about accepting that they made a mistake, and it would be wrong to further the mistake or make a child suffer the consequences for that mistake. That's being a responsible adult. That's making a difficult decision, and making it not because they're looking to avoid responsibility, but because they are facing their responsibilities.

Now, on Germany, Japan, etc? We didn't fix them at gunpoint. We beat the snot out of them in a stand up fight and destroyed any significant will to oppose the occupation, and then rebuilt them. Very different situations.

One final question, btw... if invading Iraq was such a moral imperative in 2003... why wasn't it in the summer of 2001?

12:24 PM  
Blogger Yuri said...

So do agnostic conservatives know the Ultimate Truth? Or is it only found in the Bible--I only ask because you said that homosexuality was bad and the context you used it was that it was an Ultimate Truth, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.

Of course the women you are ministering to have self-selected themselves because of the way they feel.

If we are to believe the prom dress rationalization--which I find hard to swallow (I think that someone is lying to themselves)--then you are advocating a position that the state should force a child (unless she happened to be 18 for her prom) should be forced to have a child in a situation where she clearly isn't ready for one.

I will agree with you that abortion is about avoiding responsibility. The women choose to avoid the responsibility of having a child because they don't think they can not meet the challenges of that responsibility. That they would fail to provide a good life to the child.

I don't see how you can see the issues that caused the Civil War solved by the war. We went from slavery to something that looked a lot like slavery. The entire civil rights movement was about finishing the civil war.

Japan, Italy and Germany all don't count--as they all had massive investment afterword so they would not be the typical defeated states but functioning country. They were not fixed at gun point. The Marshall Plan may have been one of the single greatest pieces of statesmanship ever.

If you want source for war planning on Iraq happening just after 9/11, I suggest you hit things like "The Price of Loyalty", "The One Percent Solution", "Fiasco", or "At the Center of the Storm".

And Clinton bears 0 responsibility for when Bush went to war. Nor did the administration make sure that we had a good army for occupation--of course that is because our President vowed to stay out of the business of nation building.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Responding to Bill McD again:

Give me all of the information available to the NSC at the time, and I'll take a stab at it.

So you really don't know if the invasion was appropriate then or not. This is what I thought. The most honest statement you can make is "I DOUBT, based on the information available to me as a member of the public, that March of 2003 was the proper date for the invasion". I would concur with your doubts for exactly the same reason. However, I assume that the President and his staff has access to a lot more information than I (or any member of the public) does. Therefore a certain amount of 'trust' has to occur between the public and the CinC.

For many years, I believed the proper date for removing Saddam from office was in 1991. After reading several discussions on the matter, I came to concur with that conclusion. Regime change in Iraq was NOT the policy of Bush 41. That policy was first stated by Clinton. AFAICT, WJC made no attempt to enforce his own policy. That job fell to his successor.

As far as Saul of Tarsus goes.

I didn't bring up Saul, except to quote him as he is the author of the book of Romans. His credentials are irrelevant to this discussion UNLESS you want to veer the discussion in that direction.

That's the government acting to protect those members of society unable to protect themselves

Gee, I didn't know you were pro-life! And you are, unless you think that a fetus or blastocyst can defend itself.

This is an example of why we on the right believe those on the left live in some sort of alternate reality.

what passes between consenting adults is nobody's business but theirs

So you obviously believe (as a recent case in Germany occurred) that when one adult agrees to be murdered by another adult, this is legally acceptable?

As far as my 'slander' goes, I will be happy to provide sourcing

Please do. Document that Rove was looking for 'an excuse'.

decision came down to feeling that they could not adequately care for the child,

And therefore killed it. Yeah, that makes sense. Obviously: death is better than life according to your value system.

I really do not want to live in a society run by people like you. If a Dem wins in 2008, I will seriously consider emigrating to the Philippines. I'd rather live in a society that is merely corrupt as opposed to one that is actively evil.

only said that when you choose the start date of the war, you no longer have the luxury of saying 'but we weren't ready!'.

How was it that the US was not ready? We defeated the 5th largest military in 3 weeks--start to finish, with only a fraction of the troops our war plans called for. Our KIA's in this military action are the lowest in history. The bad guys cannot defeat us in open battle, and are forced to use the weapons of defeat: IED, VBIED and random rocket/mortar attacks. We have won every battle, and defeated every foe. The prison camps are swelling, and many, many bad guys now have to deal with Allah. By any rational measure, OIF is a resounding success.

Now, on Germany, Japan, etc? We didn't fix them at gunpoint........destroyed any significant will.......

Uhmmmmmmm EXCUSE ME? When did we withdraw all troops from Germany and Japan? Again: you MUST occupy some reality apart from that with which I (and most conservatives) are familiar. This brings us back to Decurion's statement that liberalism is a mental disease.

Answer this question: when was the last organized military action of Nazi Germany?

I'll answer that question for you: 1979--34 years after the official surrender. Monsters such as Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam DIE HARD, and their followers die just as hard. Arguably, WWII did not end until 1989, just a few years ago. So, if WWII took 50 years to end, we can reasonably expect the GWOT to take at least the same amount of time.

If the GWOT follows the pattern of WWII, we will have military people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other places for at least the next half-century. This is because of a simple truth: American security is inexorably tied to the security of every other nation.

The GWOT is just beginning. Iraq is its central front at the moment. Thats the official doctrine of Osama and Al Quaeda. And you would have us quit the field of battle because it is SO uncomfortable for you.

And Clinton bears 0 responsibility for when Bush went to war

The first major terrorist attack on the US was on his watch (1993)--while he was Prez. The GWB administration had to do the dirty work that the WJC administration refused to do. When Clinton's response to that attack was so emasculated, Osama concluded that America is morally and politically weak. He is correct, and it is people like you and your fellow-travelers on the left that MAKE America weak.

Compare/contrast the response to the WTC in 1993 to the way Reagan dealt with terrorist attackd in the Persian Gulf in 1988: Responding to Bill McD again:

Give me all of the information available to the NSC at the time, and I'll take a stab at it.

So you really don't know if the invasion was appropriate then or not. This is what I thought. The most honest statement you can make is "I DOUBT, based on the information available to me as a member of the public, that March of 2003 was the proper date for the invasion". I would concur with your doubts for exactly the same reason. I assume that the President and his staff has access to a lot more information than I (or any member of the public) does. Maybe Feb of 2003 might've been a better date, or perhaps April. But the military and political leaders made it March. I don't see that a month or two in either direction would have made much difference. Most of the timing had to do with factors outside of the US's control--primarily the UN. And Saddam himself made choices that affected the timing of the invasion. But regime change in Iraq was inevitable soon after 9/11.

Regime change in Iran is just as inevitable...I sincerely pray that this occurs because of Iran's internal factors rather than because of a US invasion. But I do expect overt military action against Iran before Jan of 2009, regardless of who wins the Presidency in 2008.

For many years, I believed the proper date for removing Saddam from office was in 1991. After reading several discussions on the matter, I came to concur with that conclusion. Regime change in Iraq was NOT the policy of Bush 41. That policy was first stated by Clinton. AFAICT, WJC made no attempt to enforce his own policy. That job fell to his successor.

As far as Saul of Tarsus goes.

I didn't bring up Saul, except to quote him as he is the author of the book of Romans. His credentials are irrelevant to this discussion UNLESS you want to veer the discussion in that direction.

That's the government acting to protect those members of society unable to protect themselves

Gee, I didn't know you were pro-life! And you are, unless you think that a fetus or blastocyst can defend itself.

This is why we on the right believe those on the left live in some sort of alternate reality.

what passes between consenting adults is nobody's business but theirs

So you obviously believe (as a recent case in Germany occurred) that when one adult agrees to be murdered by another adult, this is legally acceptable?

As far as my 'slander' goes, I will be happy to provide sourcing

Please do. Document that Rove was looking for 'an excuse'.

decision came down to feeling that they could not adequately care for the child,

And therefore killed it. Yeah, that makes sense. Obviously: death is better than life according to your value system.

I really do not want to live in a society with people like you at the top of the heap. If a Dem wins in 2008, I will seriously consider emigrating to the Philippines. I'd rather live in a society that is merely corrupt as opposed to one that is actively evil. At the very minimum--they ban abortion on demand. In that way they are far more civilized than the US is.

only said that when you choose the start date of the war, you no longer have the luxury of saying 'but we weren't ready!'.

How was it that the US was not ready? We defeated the 5th largest military in 3 weeks--start to finish. Our KIA's in this military action are the lowest in history. The bad guys cannot defeat us in open battle, and are forced to use the weapons of defeat: IED, VBIED and random rocket/mortar attacks. We have won every battle, and defeated every foe. The prison camps are swelling, and many, many bad guys now have to deal with Allah. By any rational measure, OIF is a resounding success.

Now, on Germany, Japan, etc? We didn't fix them at gunpoint........destroyed any significant will.......

Uhmmmmmmm EXCUSE ME? When did we withdraw all troops from Germany and Japan? Again: you MUST occupy some reality apart from that with which I (and most conservatives) are familiar.

Answer this question: when was the last organized military action of Nazi Germany?

I'll answer that question for you: 1979--34 years after the official surrender. Monsters such as Hitler, Stalin, Saddam and such DIE HARD, and their followers die just as hard. Arguably, WWII did not end until 1989, just a few years ago. So, if WWII took 50 years to end, we can reasonably expect the GWOT to take at least the same amount of time.

If the GWOT follows the pattern of WWII, we will have military people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other places for at least the next half-century. This is because of a simple truth: American security is inexorably tied to the security of every other nation.

The GWOT is just beginning. Iraq is its central front at the moment. Thats the official doctrine of Osama and Al Quaeda. And you would have us quit the field of battle because it is SO uncomfortable for you. I expect that places like Chad, Somalia, Nigeria or a half dozen other places could be fronts in the GWOT in the immediate future. Maybe we will have to invade Pakistan next. I hope not. But maybe that will be necessary for US security interests. I'd rather that the Pakis clean up their own mess.

And Clinton bears 0 responsibility for when Bush went to war

The first major terrorist attack on the US was on his watch (1993)--while he was Prez. The GWB administration had to do the dirty work that the WJC administration refused to do. When Clinton's response to that attack was so emasculated, Osama concluded that America is morally and politically weak. He is correct, and it is people like you and your fellow-travelers on the left that MAKE America weak. GWB is not a conservative Prez, but he is a STRONG Prez. It is that strength that you decry.

Chris

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, may I suggest that you might want to tone it down just a shade? You're sounding a bit miffed. :-)
Yeah, I more-or-less agree with you on most points, but still...
----Laserlight

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

So you really don't know if the invasion was appropriate then or not. This is what I thought. The most honest statement you can make is "I DOUBT, based

on the information available to me as a member of the public, that March of 2003 was the proper date for the invasion".


Actually, the most honest statement I can make is: Based on the information available to me as a member of the public, that many of the examples of evidence

cited publically by the administration (the aluminum tubes, for example) were fairly thoroughly debunked long before the invasion, and I do not think the

invasion was a good or moral thing to do. I do not, at this time, know what other options existed, but given the information available to me, between the

flawed evidence presented to the public, and the flippancy with which the invasion was addressed shortly thereafter ('them WMDs have to be around here

someplace!' at the White House Press Corps Dinner), I have no faith that this was the best of an array of unwelcome choices.

Most of the timing had to do with factors outside of the US's control--primarily the UN. And Saddam himself made choices that affected the timing of the

invasion. But regime change in Iraq was inevitable soon after 9/11.


Right, like refusing to allow the UN Weapon Inspectors to continue their work and ordering them out of Iraq. Wait, that was Bush, wasn't it?

Regime change in Iran is just as inevitable...I sincerely pray that this occurs because of Iran's internal factors rather than because of a US invasion.

But I do expect overt military action against Iran before Jan of 2009, regardless of who wins the Presidency in 2008.

For many years, I believed the proper date for removing Saddam from office was in 1991. After reading several discussions on the matter, I came to concur

with that conclusion. Regime change in Iraq was NOT the policy of Bush 41. That policy was first stated by Clinton. AFAICT, WJC made no attempt to enforce

his own policy. That job fell to his successor.


Or perhaps, like you with Iran, he was hoping that external pressures and the limiting of Saddamn's military capabilities might bring about regime change

through internal factors. Does that make you weak? Personally, I think it makes you hopeful, which is no bad thing.

I didn't bring up Saul, except to quote him as he is the author of the book of Romans. His credentials are irrelevant to this discussion UNLESS you want

to veer the discussion in that direction.


Correct. You brought up Saul as an authoritative source of The Universal Truth. I am saying that in my estimation, Saul is unreliable as such a source. Your

Mileage May Vary, of course.

Gee, I didn't know you were pro-life! And you are, unless you think that a fetus or blastocyst can defend itself.

Nor can cows. A potential human is not a human. As I've already said, this is an issue on which we disagree, and your source for Universal Truth still seems

to agree with me. There is nothing in your book that tells me God doesn't think life begins at birth. Of course, there's nothing in your book that tells me

Good and Evil are Objective, either, as 'Good' is pretty much defined as 'The Will of God' and 'Evil' is pretty much defined as 'Everything That Is Not The

Will of God'. Joshua slaughtering the women and children of Jericho and other cities (even the pregnant ones with unborn children) as the Hebrew invaded

Canaan? 'Good'. God told him to.

Personally, I still hold that 'Good' and 'Evil' are objective, codifiable things that do not change with the situation or my awareness of it, but my

methodology in attempting to do 'Good' while engendering the least 'Evil' may. You see, I don't claim omniscience.

So you obviously believe (as a recent case in Germany occurred) that when one adult agrees to be murdered by another adult, this is legally

acceptable?


As an adherant to the principle that a man has the right to die if he chooses to, then I actually think that was more a case of assisted suicide. Which,

yes, I find acceptable. The State does not own me, contrary to the views you claim liberals espouse, and I can opt out of my protections under the Social

Contract at any time I like.

Please do. Document that Rove was looking for 'an excuse'.

My sourcing would be largely the same as Yuri's, though I will make the effort to look up the specific references from *those* documents when I can for you.

I'll also note that at no time did I say 'Rove'. I said 'people in the administration'. My reference to Karl Rove was in the later references to the

political strategy in the mid-term elections, a seperate, though potentially related, set of circumstances.

And therefore killed it. Yeah, that makes sense. Obviously: death is better than life according to your value system.

No, they did not kill a child. They killed an undeveloped fetus before it could become the child that they would have been subjecting to undue

hardships and misery.

I really do not want to live in a society with people like you at the top of the heap. If a Dem wins in 2008, I will seriously consider emigrating to the

Philippines. I'd rather live in a society that is merely corrupt as opposed to one that is actively evil. At the very minimum--they ban abortion on demand.

In that way they are far more civilized than the US is.


What was it conservatives said to all the liberals who made similar statements in 2004? Something on the order of 'Bye'? I can understand and do heartily

respect your ardent opposition to things you feel are immoral, but as I myself said to all of those people saying 'If Dubya's re-elected, I'll move to

Canada!', if your response to an administration you feel is immoral is to abandon the country instead of working within the system to correct the problem

you see... then please, don't let me stop you. I'll be here, doing my best to work with the conservatives who choose to work for the betterment of America,

even if we disagree on exactly how to do that.

How was it that the US was not ready? We defeated the 5th largest military in 3 weeks--start to finish. Our KIA's in this military action are the lowest

in history. The bad guys cannot defeat us in open battle, and are forced to use the weapons of defeat: IED, VBIED and random rocket/mortar attacks. We have

won every battle, and defeated every foe. The prison camps are swelling, and many, many bad guys now have to deal with Allah. By any rational measure, OIF

is a resounding success.


Not for nothing, but if the SecDef is talking about going to war with the army you have, not the army you want, in response to why the military is getting

humvees blown up by roadside pipe bombs... that's him saying it wasn't ready. Was it able to overcome the challenge? Obviously. Were the Armed Forces

capable enough to adapt to conditions and continue to do so for years in a changing battleground, delivering military success after military success? There

can be no doubt.

I will also note that my statements have not been about the actual preparedness of the US Armed Forces to deal w/the invasion, but the remarks made

SECDEF Rumsfeld. The point was, once again, only that when you set the date to begin a war, you have no right to lament not having 'the army you

want'.
The only one bringing up 'military unpreparedness' is you, in your zeal to blame Clinton for a condition I never asserted, and one you have just

denied existed.

If the military wasn't unprepared, how does Clinton bear 2/3s (8/12s) of the responsibility for its unpreparedness? Nobody can be responsible for a

condition if the condition doesn't exist.

Uhmmmmmmm EXCUSE ME? When did we withdraw all troops from Germany and Japan? Again: you MUST occupy some reality apart from that with which I (and most

conservatives) are familiar.


To my knowledge, we haven't. Did I say we fixed them with absolutely no military presence in their countries? No. I said we did not fix them at gunpoint. We

did not use the military to 'fix' them, we used economics to fix them. We used the military to police them, with an open-eyed assessment that we would need

to do that for decades, from the very beginning. Nobody tried to tell anyone we'd be out of Germany and Japan in under five years.

If the GWOT follows the pattern of WWII, we will have military people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and other places for at least the next half-century.

This is because of a simple truth: American security is inexorably tied to the security of every other nation.


I agree. Unfortunately, the people living in those places aren't always so happy to see us. Overt military presence (especially as an occupying power), for

all its pacifying benefits, can also breed resentment, which goes underground into extremism.

The GWOT is just beginning. Iraq is its central front at the moment. Thats the official doctrine of Osama and Al Quaeda. And you would have us quit the

field of battle because it is SO uncomfortable for you. I expect that places like Chad, Somalia, Nigeria or a half dozen other places could be fronts in the

GWOT in the immediate future. Maybe we will have to invade Pakistan next. I hope not. But maybe that will be necessary for US security interests. I'd rather

that the Pakis clean up their own mess.


Wow. You might really want to check w/Decurion on that one, too... I've been the liberal presence here and on his LJ saying 'Sorry, we can't pull out now,

we've got an obligation to the people there now that we took it upon ourselves to become their de facto overlords, even if that wasn't our intent'.

I'm not advocating quitting the field of battle at all. I'm advocating being smarter about choosing the battles we initiate.

The first major terrorist attack on the US was on his watch (1993)--while he was Prez. The GWB administration had to do the dirty work that the WJC

administration refused to do. When Clinton's response to that attack was so emasculated, Osama concluded that America is morally and politically weak. He is

correct, and it is people like you and your fellow-travelers on the left that MAKE America weak. GWB is not a conservative Prez, but he is a STRONG Prez. It

is that strength that you decry.


No, it's the utter incompetence and amorality I decry. Again: The sheer number of scandals that this adminstration has managed to spin out of don't bother

me for the spin. They bother me for HAVING TO BE SPUN. Government is the practice of charting the best course when there are no good choices. That means

that anyone in government has to be willing, sometimes, to make the proverbial deal w/the devil. It's the nature of the business. So, accepting that

sometimes, good men have to make bad choices to avoid even WORSE choices and consequences from befalling those under their care, I want those men to be

competent at it. Moreso, I want them to be competent, when it comes to the choices that I can never know they had to make, at keeping me from knowing them.

Because if I can't trust them to be capable of deceiving, at need, the people who WANT to believe in them, how can I trust them to have any kind of poker

face with our foes?

And... by the way?

it is people like you and your fellow-travelers on the left that MAKE America weak.

Now who's flirting w/ad hominem attacks? Someone say something about a log in someone's eye?

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Great... now it's adding line spacing... ARGH!

11:01 AM  
Blogger Yuri said...

Here, again, you impose your definitions and believes on us and then when we don't follow your script you give call us insane.

You have to know that anyone who is pro-choice would reject your definition of life. You already know Bill McD rejected your definition of life. Even knowing this, you impose your definition on Bill McD and when he doesn't come to the same logical conclusion you do, instead of recognizing and reconciling the different definitions, you simply stop any dialog by calling your opponent insane.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Just another thought, but if the 1993 WTC bombing, which killed six people, was the first major act of terrorism in this country, what do you call the 18 abortion clinic bombings in 1984 alone?

Violence used to scare people into compliance with someone's socio-political agenda... sounds like terrorism to me.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Yuri said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Yuri said...

Chris,

How about the idea that al-Qaeda was encouraged by the complete lack of a response to the USS Cole bombing from the Bush administration. Much like the near zero effort spent in finding Osama bin Laden since the invasion of Iraq.

You can't maintain we are winning the GOWT when the man who kicked it off for us is still at large 6 years later and per the CIA at the same operational strength he was then too.

In 2000 Iraq was not a breeding ground and training ground for terrorists. In 2000 there were no al-Qaeda "franchises". Today we have both and, apparently a fully functional al-Qaeda.

PS. O'Neill and Richard Clarke aagree that Iraq war planning started at least as early the first National Security Council meeting of the Bush administration.


For this administration the ends do justify the means. To quote the Downing Street Memos "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Here at least you have the ends justifying the means.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Responding to Yuri:

How about the idea that al-Qaeda was encouraged by the complete lack of a response to the USS Cole bombing from the Bush administration. Much like the near zero effort spent in finding Osama bin Laden since the invasion of Iraq.

The Bush administration did not respond to the USS Cole bombing because it didn't exist. The Cole was bombed October 12, 2000. William Jefferson Clinton was President at that time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cole_(DDG_67)

As to your second point: there is a $25 million dollar reward for the head of OBL. Much blood and treasure has been spent trying to isolate, capture and/or kill him. To hunt down and find one man in the thousands of square miles in the the Pakistan/Afghanistan area is, very simply, nearly impossible. Saddam was captured primarily because his personal security apparatus was built along the same lines that a mafia chieftan's. The US has a lot of experience with mafia chieftans and was able to bring that experience to bear and dig him out of his hole. OBL's personal security is much harder to penetrate, and the only really good chance to capture or kill him occurred in 1999. This opportunity was blown by Bill Clinton personally. If you doubt that, I suggest you read the 9/11 commission report.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

You can't maintain we are winning the GOWT when the man who kicked it off for us is still at large 6 years later and per the CIA at the same operational strength he was then too.

This is too rich not to say: Yes, the man who is primarily responsible for the current GWOT is still at large. In fact his wife is a Senator from New York and is the presumptive Dem nominee for President next year.

(sorry: couldn't resist a cheap/easy shot) ;-)

9:03 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

FWIW: Rather than taking hours and hours to reply at length and volume, I will take a few minutes here and there to respond to a single point at a time.

Yuri wrote:
In 2000 Iraq was not a breeding ground and training ground for terrorists.

Abu Nidal would be very disappointed to hear you say something like that. Or he would if he weren't already in Hell.

Again: this is just another example of why Decurion echos the thought that modern liberalism is a form of mental disease. In this case, it is a highly-selective form of political amnesia and denial of historical reality.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Yuri said...

So because Clinton was president for 3 months of that time Bush takes no responsibility?

Especially as a lame duck president after November 2000 that WJC followed the tradition of not committing to military action the next president wouldn't agree too.

The 9/11 report by the way, say sthat the Clinton administration could not find strong enough evidence to take military action and the Bush administration didn't even have a high level meeting about al-Qaeda until a week before 9/11.

Oh and that the President was tired of swatting a flies, but an al-Qaeda policy was never put in place, much less acted on in the first 9 months of the administration. Unless you have sourcing other than sections 6.3 thru 6.5 in mind.

So you have about 90 days of the Clinton administration not being able to find strong enough evidence to take direct action and over 250 days of the Bush administration doing nothing. Or was Bush allowed to think that OBL would go away because Clint was no longer in office?

I don't see how Clinton administration not being able to come but with actionable evidence allows the Bush administration off the hook after that.

As for the same report on dropping a missile on OBL in May 99, then you are wrong as the option was never presented to Clinton.
(Page 157 of the PDF, 140 of the text.)

The same full effort of the Bush administration includes blocking efforts to double the bounty on him to $50 million, and well know, public quotes from Bush that he's not worried about OBL.

Or do you maintain that for 6 years OBL has managed to avoid the full and undivided attention of the US and he's just smarter the US government, intelligence services and armed forces?

10:00 AM  
Blogger Yuri said...

As for Abu Nidal, no what you ran into, in my case, is an over generalization and ignorance.

Certainly Abu Nidal an OBL are of completely different stripes. Where Iraq could and did work with Nidal the secularist it didn't have any sort of real ties with OBL the radical fundamentalist.

And a second point on the Bush's administrations hunt for OBL. Other than working against the doubling of the bounty on OBL the administration has consistently refused to brief Congress on its hunt of what is most likely the most dangerous foreigner to the United States.

Back to Clinton personally not making the call on OBL--is this is just another example of why modern conservatism is a form of mental disease? In this case, it is a highly-selective form of political amnesia and denial of historical reality.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I don't see how Clinton administration not being able to come but with actionable evidence allows the Bush administration off the hook after that.

You have a double standard then.
This is another demonstration of liberalism, especially BDS, as some sort of mental disease.

In October of 2000, the next President was apparently Al Gore, and not GWB (this was not determined until December of that year, you will recall: and he did win the popular vote). The proper time to deal with the Cole incident was 12 October 2000.

administration has consistently refused to brief Congress on its hunt of what is most likely the most dangerous foreigner to the United States.

Ermmmm do you think that this might POSSIBLY be because such information is classified, and the nanosecond that this is told to Nancy Pelosi it would be on the front page of the NYT?

Certainly Abu Nidal an OBL are of completely different stripes. Where Iraq could and did work with
Nidal the secularist it didn't have any sort of real ties with OBL the radical fundamentalist.


So Abu Nidal was not a terrorist?

Does Zarqawi fit your definition? Here is a quick summary of his activities (and note the date of the editorial) http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-levitt020603.asp

The fact is, as Gen. Powell noted, that Iraq under Saddam was a state sponsor of terrorism, with links to all sorts of terrorist organizations--including AQ. To ignore this is to selectively ignore historical realities.

(and next you will claim that there were no WMD in Iraq. When you do, I will refer you to http://santorumblog.com/Docs/WMDconference.pdf)

5:06 PM  
Blogger Yuri said...

Please explain how that is a even remotely a double standard? One administration did nothing because the evidence they had they assess as being too weak to take action on. The other administration did nothing because--well I am not entirely sure. The 9/11 report certainly doesn't make it sound like it was vigorously perused.

Has someone told you that she will leak said information--if we even have it? Is it predestination that she leaks? Or is it another Ultimate Truth that she will leak it?

While you are correct that I don't explicitly say that Abu Nidal was a terrorist it should be obvious from context that I consider him one. He was a secular terrorist, unlike OBL. His secularism made him a palatable ally for Iraq.

Iraq had "links" with AQ--they had representatives talk to each other once or twice. Nothing further.

Sorry I will take the ISG's report over Santorum's blog. Our operations against Iraq's WMD programs were even more effective than our assessments provided. Yes there were remnants of his WMD programs found all over the place.

Then again, do you think the US Army could find all of its chemical weapon inventory after having fought 2 wars and having the Pentagon obliterated--while actively using the stuff in one of the wars? And even Santorum admits that at least "most" of the material found was of pre-91 manufacture.

As I said I will go with $1,000,000,000 ISG report over the Santorum press conference. The WMD Iraq had did not rise to the level of casus belli.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

Wait, are you seriously contending that the trumpeting of the discovery of 500 degraded munitions dating from the Iraq-Iran war by Sen. Rick Santorum is to be taken as anything but the farce it was?

Hell, FOX NEWS had to tell him that a DoD official had already said 'nope, this is bullshit'. The ISG said of those munitions:

While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Yuri wrote:

Please explain how that is a even remotely a double standard? One administration did nothing because the evidence they had they assess as being too weak to take action on.

Its a double standard when you expect the subsequent administration (GWB) to be omniscient and the previous (WJC), merely opportunistic. The people who deal with such things do not change with the administration. If they were incompetent under WJC they were incompetent under GWB (see also: Joe Wilson). Any other expectation is a double standard.

Iraq had "links" with AQ--they had representatives talk to each other once or twice. Nothing further.

If Zarqawi weren't in Hell right now, he would dispute that. The ties between AQ and Saddams were long and deep. Ever hear of Ansar Al Islam? No? I thought not. Spend a few minutes on Google with those two names.

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/34715.pdf
http://www.meforum.org/article/579

Yes there were remnants of his WMD programs found all over the place.

And these are unworthy of a national effort to secure? Have you ANY idea of how much ricin or sarin it takes to kill a person? Do you have the imagination to imagine what mustard gas does to the human body?

A single 155mm shell of 50% deteriorated sarin or ricin still has the capacity to kill hundreds, perhaps thousands of people if the perpetrators are both clever and lucky. And as we saw on 9/11, they sometimes are.

And even Santorum admits that at least "most" of the material found was of pre-91 manufacture.

Mustard gas has no shelf life that I can find. Stuff that was used nearly 90 years ago can still cause fatal injury today. This is the stuff used by Saddams' troops in 1988 against unarmed Kurds, killing at least 5000. And you think this is insignificant?

Sarin and Ricin can be stabilized and used DECADES after manufacture. This is all open-source material. I found several references via Google in just a few minutes.

Chemical weapons are used only by monsters. And by "monster" I am not referring to a mythical giant lizard that resides in Tokyo Bay. The English language has devalued the term to mean something in a cheap movie. The term is best reserved for very human PEOPLE like OBL, Zarqawi, Saddam, Stalin, Mao, Fidel, Ortega and others. Those kinds of people scare me; and I am delighted that there are folx like Decurion & Soldiergrrrl who are willing to face Evil wherever it resides and send it to Hell where it belongs.

This wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are about good vs. evil. It always has been. Quite frankly, Iraqi atrocities all by themselves justify an American invasion, and a far, FAR higher price in blood and treasure that we in the US have already paid.

As far as I am concerned: you and the ENTIRE left wing of American culture and political society--all those who oppose the Iraq war--are apologists for evil. GWB was correct when he said "You are with us or against us". You are with THEM. I don't question your patriotism; You demonstrate your "goodness"--or lack thereof. Good people do not apologize for, explain or do ANYTHING except demand the prosecution and execution of people who behead children, torture the innocent, and murder by the tens of thousands. The mass graves of Iraq are the indictment, judge and jury of the anti-war Left.

GWB has many faults and failures as a President. But one of them ISN'T his ability to recognize and deal with pure evil in human form.

I have therefore come to a conclusion that liberalism ISN'T a mental disease. It is a usual misconception to conflate mental disease and MORAL DISEASE. To put it more succinctly: modern, anti-war liberalism is evidence of poor morals.....or no morals.

The murdered children of Iraq accuse you. They accuse you of sympathizing with the monsters and villains of our age.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Yuri said...

Chris,

Stop assuming that you know what BillMcD's and my positions are.

Yet again, you give Bill or me a position that we don't hold. Its tiring and stupid.

No where do I do I say that Bush should have known more than Clinton at the start of his administration. Thank you, yet again, for telling me what I think. Yet again, you are wrong about what I think. I do think he should have known more by the time of 9/11.

Per Rice Bush "made clear to us that he did not want to respond to al Qaeda one attack at a time. He told me he was 'tired of swatting flies.'"

So he didn't respond. And apparently knew nothing more than WJC did on the last day of his administration. And still apparently knows nothing more about the Cole operation. In all the aftermath of 9/11 there is 0 indication that a co-ordinated, crushing blow, or even a co-ordinated high level policy on al-Qaeda was formed before 9/11.

Should Clinton not have responded because of the of his domestic problems? Or do you get to call him a wimp if he doesn't respond and opportunistic if he does?

Did you actually read the CRS document you linked to? It, itself seems to have no review of the primary data and strongly suggests, in every instance, that the Bush position was over stated. And calling Ansar al-Islam, based in northern Iraq (at that point not controlled by Saddam but by the Kurds) a Saddam ally is absurd.

You don't fair much better in the second.

And the 2006 Senate Report on Prewar Intelligence concluded that Zarqawi was not a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda: "Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi."

And yes weapons of mass destruction are worthy of a national effort to secure--proportional to their threat. With a bunch of UN inspectors running around the country Saddam seemed completely incapable of using them. That seemed effective enough. And cheap too.

As for the last 1/3 of your post, it's an ad hominem attack. In which, yet again, you give me my position. And, shockingly, yet again, your easy assumptions for me are wrong.

There are signs that his administration's post war planning is finally coming into being in an effective form and we just may be able to unscrew the pooch. If we are able to bring peace and stability to Iraq we have a moral obligation to stay. If we are unable to do that--something that looked quite probable for the first 4 years of this occupation--we have a moral responsibility to leave and let the country find peace as quickly as possible.

Which is it, are human monsters "very human PEOPLE" or are they pure evil? (And I would wonder about Bush's ability to recognize that given his first assessment of Putin.)

And I demand the execution of no one. Ever. Even our system of justice is deeply flawed and no remediation can be made to the dead. Nor can the dead find salvation and perhaps earn redemption.

I would rather have Saddam still in power and effective armed US response to the greater tragedy in Darfur.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Bill McD said...

And these are unworthy of a national effort to secure? Have you ANY idea of how much ricin or sarin it takes to kill a person? Do you have the imagination to imagine what mustard gas does to the human body?

Yes, these would indeed be HIGHLY worthy of a national effort to secure. Such a pity, then, that after the invasion we did not actually do so, or have you forgotten the 500 tons of explosives that simply turned up 'missing'?

A single 155mm shell of 50% deteriorated sarin or ricin still has the capacity to kill hundreds, perhaps thousands of people if the perpetrators are both clever and lucky. And as we saw on 9/11, they sometimes are.

And yet from what the DoD said about these specific munitions that you've touted, the degraded ordinance in them could have... given you a rash. Maybe. If you rolled around in it. Naked.

The war in Afghanistan isn't about 'Good v Evil'. It's about 'You hit us, we hit you back a billion times harder.' Which I wholeheartedly agree with, but it's not a simple moral axiom here. The Taliban didn't get any eviller when they refused to hand over Bin Laden, and we didn't invade over their Evil Quotient in the months beforehand... so it's not about the evil, it's about the evil done to us. Which, btw, is a huge difference.

And if we're going to get into overly simplistic boiling-down of these wars, then I'd say there's a fair bit of Evil Quotient in going into a country the size of Iraq with anything less than the truly overwhelming level of force needed to actually occupy it successfully. If it turns out you don't need as many people, you can always draw down, but as we've seen, (and as my uncle, the 25+ year police veteran is fond of saying to his younger brother over the subject of child discipline) it's much harder to restore order once it starts to break down.

8:55 PM  

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