PDA

View Full Version : Welcome Back, Umansky


Bloggingheads
02-20-2008, 02:49 PM

ohcomeon
02-20-2008, 04:42 PM
Wow Bob - nice job of stacking these conversations. This one ends with a journalist actually calling for accountability among the profession.

Overall this was an interesting conversation. So perhaps some of you Pakistan wonks can fill me in. Did we target and take out a terrorist inside Pakistan without their permission? Was this what Obama called for earlier in the campaign and McCain condemned just today?

Eastwest
02-20-2008, 05:13 PM
Good Discussion. A nice taste of cultures in flux. Thanks.

EW

Eastwest
02-20-2008, 05:16 PM
Re OCO's:
This one ends with a journalist actually calling for accountability among the profession.

Agree: What a great string of DVs. BTW, that's two in a row where journalists "call for accountability in the profession." (See JF and AMC in the immediately previous DV.)

EW

Bloggin' Noggin
02-20-2008, 08:26 PM
Haven't watched this yet. But on the subject of calling journalists to account, here's a nice hilzoy post (as guest on Andrew Sullivan's blog):
http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/02/dear-chris-matt.html
Of course, Chris Matthews isn't exactly a journalist...

bjkeefe
02-20-2008, 09:19 PM
Good link, BN. Thanks.

Hoofin
02-20-2008, 09:46 PM
Great BloggingHead.

I had the sense that Pakistan was another one that the Bush administration hasn't thought out. And we keep applying very simplistic notions about who are our "friends", who can we trust, and what our long-term interests are.

All the more reason Iraq was a policy disaster, is we should have cleaned up the militancy problem in the Afghani-Pakistan region before even considering any other foray in the Mid-East (if any other one was even necessary).

The War Powers provision (that the Congress declares wars, not the president) has more and more wisdom behind it with each passing year. How easy it is for presidents to waste our defensive resources is something few patriots outside of the Ron Paul circle discuss.

bjkeefe
02-20-2008, 10:20 PM
Hoofin:

How easy it is for presidents to waste our defensive resources is something few patriots outside of the Ron Paul circle discuss.

Uh huh. I guess you think liberals aren't patriots?

Hoofin
02-20-2008, 10:32 PM
The War Powers provision (that the Congress declares wars, not the president) has more and more wisdom behind it with each passing year. How easy it is for presidents to waste our defensive resources is something few patriots outside of the Ron Paul circle discuss.



Hoofin:



Uh huh. I guess you think liberals aren't patriots?

Are a lot of liberals discussing whether the War Powers provision of Article I is being abused in the last 50 years? As far as I can tell, it has only been mentioned by Ron Paul and his followers.

Has Clinton, McCain or Obama taken a stand on the War Powers provision that you know of?

bjkeefe
02-20-2008, 10:53 PM
Hoofin:

Are a lot of liberals discussing whether the War Powers provision of Article I is being abused in the last 50 years?

Okay, if you want to put it in those ridiculously narrow terms, I grant that the Paulnuts probably hold the lion's share of noise-making, with this specific phrase, for the past year. But it's crazy to think that liberals haven't been loudly protesting the diminishing clout of Congress regarding the Executive Branch's war-making, and yes, over the past fifty years.

I'll leave it to you to decide how many of these links (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=war+powers+abuse&btnG=Search) point to liberals.

Hoofin
02-20-2008, 11:38 PM
Hoofin:



Okay, if you want to put it in those ridiculously narrow terms

. . .


I'll leave it to you to decide how many of these links (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=war+powers+abuse&btnG=Search) point to liberals.

None of the links point to Clinton or Obama.

To me, this is the critical question. We wasted a ton of resources in Iraq, because it was the president's prerogative basically.

But the way the Constitution is written, Congress declares and funds the wars.

Both parties seem to have caved on this. First the Republicans with Truman, then the dove Democrats with Johnson, then both Democrats and Republicans with Bush.

Now that Pakistan could also potentially be a problem, we have limited resources---a lot of which have already been used on the Occupation of Iraq.

It seems clear to me that abuse of resources to make war (soldiers and munitions originally, and now all of our defensive capabilities) is the one clear reason that Article I has the war making (declaring) power, and the president only carries it out. Article I powers are (on paper) tied back to the people every two years.

When we talk about the Middle East, the question a candidate should focus on, is how enthusiastic the public is about being committed to endless wars in the Middle East.

I would really like to know where Clinton or Obama stand on this. And further clarifications from McCain other than his little song parody, which gives me no confidence.

Wonderment
02-20-2008, 11:53 PM
The really important point is how Congress votes when bullied by war-crazed presidents on a rampage.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, for example, went down as follows:

HOUSE: 296 - 133 YES TO WAR

SENATE: 77 - 23 YES TO WAR

The House opposition was led by peace hero Dennis Kucinich and others too numerous to mention.

In the Senate, only the following had the courage to say no:

Sens. Akaka (D-HI), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Byrd (D-WV), Conrad (D-ND), Corzine (D-NJ), Dayton (D-MN), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Graham (D-FL), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Reed (D-RI), Sarbanes (D-MD), Stabenow (D-MI), Wellstone (D-MN), Wyden (D-OR).

Sen. Chafee (R-RI).
Sen. Jeffords (I-VT)

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 12:23 AM
Hoofin:

None of the links point to Clinton or Obama.

Yeah, I'm sure you looked at all 390,000 of them. But that wasn't what you asked for, was it? You originally wanted to know if anyone beside Ron Paul supporters had expressed any concerns about Congress, the president, and war powers.

When we talk about the Middle East, the question a candidate should focus on, is how enthusiastic the public is about being committed to endless wars in the Middle East.

I would really like to know where Clinton or Obama stand on this. And further clarifications from McCain other than his little song parody, which gives me no confidence.

I'm starting to suspect you're just being a troll on this one, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt one last time, and attribute the above to ... well, I won't characterize it. Teh Internets can be hard to find stuff on.

Start here:

o Obama on Iraq (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/#iraq)

o Clinton on Iraq (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/iraq/)

o McCain on Iraq (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/fdeb03a7-30b0-4ece-8e34-4c7ea83f11d8.htm)

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 12:49 AM
... Teh Internets can be hard to find stuff on.

Start here:

o Obama on Iraq (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/#iraq)...

Try this google search obama iraq "flip flops" (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=8I3&q=obama+iraq+%22flip+flops%22&btnG=Search) returns 95,300 hits.

Hoofin
02-21-2008, 01:04 AM
Hoofin:



Yeah, I'm sure you looked at all 390,000 of them. But that wasn't what you asked for, was it? You originally wanted to know if anyone beside Ron Paul supporters had expressed any concerns about Congress, the president, and war powers.

The search actually produces the null set, if you do it right:

Google of "war powers abuse" Clinton or Obama (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=%22war+powers+abuse%22+Clinton+or+Obama)

At least it does as of the time I am posting this.

None of the candidates are talking about the War Powers Clause. This shoud be going on over and over. (Instead of "change" and "yes we can".)



I'm starting to suspect you're just being a troll on this one, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt one last time, and attribute the above to ... well, I won't characterize it. Teh Internets can be hard to find stuff on.

Start here:

o Obama on Iraq (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/#iraq)

o Clinton on Iraq (http://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/iraq/)

o McCain on Iraq (http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/fdeb03a7-30b0-4ece-8e34-4c7ea83f11d8.htm)

I leave it to the general readership of Blogging Heads if pointing out (in ight of potential problmes in Pakistan) whether there was wisdom behind the War Powers clause of the U.S. Constitution. I hardly see this as trolling, and perhaps you would be more comfortable over at Daily Kos.

The United States has limited and valuable resources at our defense, even if in pure nuclear capability it is enough to destroy the whole world. (We can't practically use it.) So we need a better way to allocate our resources against potential overseas problems than to let presidents make laundry lists of "threats" and then go to town. With Congress following along.

I happen to believe that the War Powers Act is unconstitutional, a product of Cold War hype. To me, it seems an illegal war is one that Congress did not declare.

In that part of the world especially, I would like to see American policy (war making, response to "threats") crafted by the legislative body, not the executive. We have already seen what happens otherwise.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 01:16 AM
pisc:

Try this google search obama iraq "flip flops" returns 95,300 hits.

Have we not spoken about this sort of "argument" that you seem to favor? Just giving a number for total links returned for some random set of words doesn't mean that much. You should spend a moment looking at the actual results of the search, instead of thinking the raw number of results means something in and of itself.

For example:

o The fourth link result of your search points to Obama saying Hillary flip-flopped.

o The fifth result of your search returned: "DNC Video Catches McCain Flip Flops On Iraq."

o The sixth result refers to Harry Reid and pizza.

o The seventh result refers to a general GOP attack on Democrats

o The eighth result refers to Hillary flip-flopping on NAFTA.

o The ninth and tenth results refer to people flip-flopping on their views on Obama.

I'll leave it to you to figure out how to get to the next page. (Warning: may require scrolling and other use of mouse.)

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 01:20 AM
Hoofin:

I give up. There's no reasoning with you on this one.

... perhaps you would be more comfortable over at Daily Kos.

Oooo. That hurt. So original, too.

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 01:24 AM
Hoofin:...
Yeah, I'm sure you looked at all 390,000 of them. ...

pisc:...
Just giving a number for total links returned for some random set of words doesn't mean that much. ...

Sounds like good advice

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 01:25 AM
pisc:

How did I know you would have a little "aha" moment over that one?

I hope you followed the link to the search results that I gave, and noted how many of them were on topic. You should also note that I did not use the number itself to "prove" anything in my original point; I only mentioned it later to dismiss the idea that Hoofin had looked at them all.

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 01:26 AM
As I'm sure you looked at all of the 93,500,

P.S. I don't expect the number to be proof of anything either. But I'm sure somewhere in these hits will be one or two that gets to the point of the query.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 01:28 AM
When six out of the top ten completely failed to support your claim, I hardly felt it worth the bother.

Especially when it was clear that you didn't even read that far.

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 01:32 AM
Not sure you would look anyways, even if the first 6 or 60, had been relevant as you seemed pretty locked into your belief on this matter.

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 01:44 AM
On a less clinical note TNR, a publication that you probably trust, has a pretty good analysis of his various positions at various times Cinderella Story (http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=aaad0724-dd13-4ffa-810b-d5d3220ff055).

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 01:53 AM
Not sure you would look anyways, even if the first 6 or 60, had been relevant as you seemed pretty locked into your belief on this matter.

So, since you thought I wouldn't look, you didn't bother to, in the first place?

And what belief am I locked into? The original debate, if you'll review the posts above, was whether anybody besides Ron Paul cares that Congress has lost its power to restrain the president from starting wars.

Or are you saying that I believe Obama hasn't flip-flopped on Iraq? You're right about that -- I think he's been consistent on this issue: he saw it as a stupid war and has not changed his tune on that. The fact that he voted to authorize spending to deal with an existing bad situation strikes me as reasonable, not contradictory.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 02:01 AM
On a less clinical note TNR, a publication that you probably trust, has a pretty good analysis of his various positions at various times Cinderella Story (http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=aaad0724-dd13-4ffa-810b-d5d3220ff055).

I don't really trust TNR much anymore. They have lost a lot of good people, they were part of the uncritical media playing along with the drumbeat to invade Iraq, and they have wingnuts like Marty Peretz in some senior positions. Plus, they hide their content behind a pay model, so I haven't paid much attention to them in years.

But I looked at the article, and I don't really see much evidence of flip-flopping. There are a few documented moments of statements that I'd say would qualify as political expediency, but nothing really wildly at odds with a stance that says the war was wrong, but now we have to deal with it. In an ideal world, Obama would have been more absolute in his opposition; in the reality of modern politics, I can accept that he has had to hedge a few times. That doesn't change my mind that he's the best candidate available, on this issue, and many others.

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 02:11 AM
You have it part right. I know that Senator Obama has stated different things at different times about Iraq, and in fact has been quite open and honest about the situation and the relevance of his opining on invading Iraq vs those that actually had the responsibility of voting on the AUF. So the actual number of relevant hits and their location in the hit list were secondary to me. I also know that in recent interviews he has stated that he would "rely on the judgments of the commanders in the field or was it conditions on the ground" (paraphrased) before making final decisions about Iraq.

Is Senator Obama now essentially parroting President Bush because he knows that conditions on the ground have actually improved to the point that he recognizes that unilateral withdraw at this point might actually not be the most prudent course of action and he just can't say it as the left will desert him?

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 02:12 AM
That's about how I read it. But it is the TNR point of view not exactly how it will be presented when it comes from the right. I did say it was pretty good after all.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 02:32 AM
You have it part right. I know that Senator Obama has stated different things at different times about Iraq, and in fact has been quite open and honest about the situation and the relevance of his opining on invading Iraq vs those that actually had the responsibility of voting on the AUF. So the actual number of relevant hits and their location in the hit list were secondary to me.

If you really have such a nuanced view, then why did you start this off by linking to search results for "flip flops," then? That phrase is just a mindless sound bite.

Is Senator Obama now essentially parroting President Bush because he knows that conditions on the ground have actually improved to the point that he recognizes that unilateral withdraw at this point might actually not be the most prudent course of action and he just can't say it as the left will desert him?

Have you read Obama's official campaign position on Iraq (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/#iraq)? If so, do you really think what is said there sounds like parroting Bush? And if yes to that, I have no idea where you're getting your information about Bush's sudden change of strategy.

Please. Obama is for a withdrawal as soon as possible and has a specific timetable in mind. He does not want to build bases in Iraq. That is not Bush's attitude. Nor is it the attitude of Bush's toady, McCain, for that matter, either.

As for your beloved surge and all of its (secret) successes, you know I don't buy any of that. I expect that you're all a-twitter about the Iraqi parliament and their recent votes. I also expect that you have plenty of rationalizations about the recent trial balloons being floated by SecDef Gates about not bringing the troops home according to schedule. I think you're kidding yourself about this whole surge thing, and I don't understand why it's so important to you to keep clinging to the fantasy that we're winning.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 02:34 AM
That's about how I read it. But it is the TNR point of view not exactly how it will be presented when it comes from the right. I did say it was pretty good after all.

I agree that TNR's tone, particularly that article, is unlikely to match the venom that the right will bring.

I'm not worried. So far, the more they try to dredge stuff up to hurl at Obama, the more ridiculous they sound. And let's not forget, the truly vicious are still spending half their energy attacking McCain.

piscivorous
02-21-2008, 02:58 AM
If you really have such a nuanced view, then why did you start this off by linking to search results for "flip flops," then? That phrase is just a mindless sound bite.
Because it is only one of the arguments, and quite possibly not the strongest, the Senator Obama will have to face from this article alone. Another you yourself have provided "There are a few documented moments of statements that I'd say would qualify as political expediency,..."; the same old politics not politics of change.


Have you read Obama's official campaign position on Iraq (http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/#iraq)? If so, do you really think what is said there sounds like parroting Bush? And if yes to that, I have no idea where you're getting your information about Bush's sudden change of strategy. Actually I include the relevant parts of his position paper in an earlier diavlog in addition to the link to it his site. I have also linked to the interview in which Senator Obama said he would defer to "conditions on the ground or local commanders", probably in that same comment chain, and don' really think it necessary to have to provide the same information twice.
Please. Obama is for a withdrawal as soon as possible and has a specific timetable in mind. He does not want to build bases in Iraq. That is not Bush's attitude. Nor is it the attitude of Bush's toady, McCain, for that matter, either. Thats the catchy part isn't it?As for your beloved surge and all of its (secret) successes, you know I don't buy any of that. I expect that you're all a-twitter about the Iraqi parliament and their recent votes. I also expect that you have plenty of rationalizations about the recent trial balloons being floated by SecDef Gates about not bringing the troops home according to schedule. I think you're kidding yourself about this whole surge thing, and I don't understand why it's so important to you to keep clinging to the fantasy that we're winning.Welcome to my fantasy world; in time you may come to enjoy it.

Update: (it took me awhile to relocate this one)
This gets close to my opinion as to the effects of the surge and where things stand in Iraq at present Up Close With the Counterinsurgency (http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/up_close_with_the_counterinsur.php). The last paragraph is interesting summation: There is no clear definition of victory in a fight like this. This isn’t to say that we’re winning—or losing—just that we’re at a crucial juncture where things could quickly swing back toward chaos, or ahead toward increased security and stability. The choice at this point really does lie with the Iraqi people, and their government, or whatever branches of their government are actually functioning. Meanwhile, there is a great story to be told—at Camp Courage and throughout Iraq—of the efforts of American soldiers at a crossroads, who are serving simultaneously as fighters, diplomats, civil servants, and tribal consiglieri, while trying to build trust between Sunni and Shia sheiks, the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi police, local Nahia and Qada councils (think city councils) and the Concerned Local Citizens movement, any of whom might be working at cross-purposes with each other at any given time. It’s a down-and-dirty study in the application of counterinsurgency doctrine.

Hoofin
02-21-2008, 06:07 AM
Seriously, bjkeefe. Don't you find a serious concern that, for example Iran or Pakistan, could present a challenge of one sort or another in the next four years.

And we have heard zero from any of the likely candidates about theire view of the War Powers Clause. Or the War Powers Act, which to me the act is unconstitutional.

To me, this is very relevant to Pakistan. It is likely that we could see the country taken over by some kind of Osama Junior from the Peshtun tribe. And what a fix that would be.

A president would then say we have to escalate in the Afghani theatre, if only to protect the commitment we have already made there. All of this done without treaty. (Senate ratification.)

It's not a good idea to have a president who does whatever he or she wants and all the good Americans better just go along if they want to be considered good. This is what kings used to do.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 10:24 AM
Hoofin:

I don't disagree with any of those worries. I believe you and I share the same concerns with a lot of people: that the executive branch has gotten too much power lately, especially in the war-making realm. The only thing I disagree with you about, here, is the necessity of talking about it in the exact terms that you are insisting upon. I'm not saying you're wrong to remind us of this aspect of the problem, but I do think you're wrong to think that many people aren't aggrieved by the same thing, just because they don't use the words you wish they would.

As for the candidates themselves, well, what can I say? The electorate is not in a mood to have this issue to be front and center, framed in the way you would like it to be. But don't you think the resentment over the way the Iraq invasion happened, the saber-rattling at Iran, and the wiretapping, torture, and secret prisons are all of a piece with this? I do.

Bloggin' Noggin
02-21-2008, 01:04 PM
Glad you liked the link, Brendan.
I'm also glad that both Ezra Klein (http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=02&year=2008&base_name=mccain_and_the_lobbyists) and Matt Yglesias (http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/02/a_real_story.php) (see the last paragraph of MY's post) stand up for reportorial standards and liberal values, even when it means siding with McCain against the NYT.
Here's Ezra:
MCCAIN AND THE LOBBYISTS.

If the New York Times has evidence that John McCain conducted an affair with a lobbyist, then they should come out and say so. To try and imply it primarily by reporting the concerns of members of McCain's staff and halfhearted denials from his allies is confusing for the reader and bad for the paper. They don't get to create plausible deniability by hiding the charges in a much longer exploration of McCain's reputation for honesty and his history with lobbyists and special interests -- the substance of the story is whether McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, and whether he then advocated for her clients improperly. Those two things either happened or they didn't, and the paper should just tell us which it is.

bjkeefe
02-21-2008, 01:47 PM
BN:

Strictly speaking, I'm pretty close to those who are criticizing the NYT for the McCain piece. On the other hand, there is considerable buzz that the NYT has had the story for a while, and that McCain came down really heavily on them some time ago, threatening lawsuits. It's possible to read the NYT piece as the sad output of letting too many of one's own nervous lawyers filter it.

It's also interesting to note McCain's initial non-denial denial (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/179399.php). (I haven't looked at the ongoing coverage yet, or the latest McCain responses.)

In the crass world of political competition, though, I'm delighted. Even if this story has no or little merit, it's a good thing to fire an opening salvo against the saintliness of the McCain image. No matter how much one might think the gloves have been left on by the press regarding Obama, there's no comparison to the uncritical coverage of McCain over the past decade, especially by the so-called liberal media.