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Wonderment
07-10-2010, 08:14 PM
I'm starting this thread to discuss the escalation of the Afghanistan War under the Obama administration.

Here are two quick starters for discussion:

1) Three concerns (http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/643) peace activists have about the DNC attack on Michael Steele.

2) Today's death toll: Surge of attacks kills 6 American soldiers and 12 Afghan civilians. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hvWEqwq3CrRvaQCmt21MfoYhjZJQD9GSC1IO2)

Wonderment
07-10-2010, 08:19 PM
Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236?RS_show_page=0): "If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular."

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 08:26 PM
Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/119236?RS_show_page=0): "If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular."

That much we can agree on.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 08:29 PM
I'm starting this thread to discuss the escalation of the Afghanistan War under the Obama administration.

Here are two quick starters for discussion:

1) Three concerns (http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/643) peace activists have about the DNC attack on Michael Steele.

2) Today's death toll: Surge of attacks kills 6 American soldiers and 12 Afghan civilians. (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hvWEqwq3CrRvaQCmt21MfoYhjZJQD9GSC1IO2)

Just remember that the deaths won't be stopped by American withdrawal.

http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2008/05/01/abused-afghan-women-often-wind-up-in-jail-12345.phtml

Wonderment
07-10-2010, 08:34 PM
Just remember that the deaths won't be stopped by American withdrawal.

You don't really view the Afghanistan War as a human rights mission, do you?

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 08:40 PM
It is probably futile to try to get Wonderment to acknowledge this, since he is bound and determined to view the President as unlimited in power and someone who chooses to do or not to do things based only on personal whim, but for a little context, I'd encourage those looking to jump into this thread to begin by reading Eric Alterman's recent piece, "Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now (http://www.thenation.com/article/37165/kabuki-democracy?page=full)," which was earlier brought to our attention by uncle eb (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169052#post169052) in another thread.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 08:43 PM
You don't really view the Afghanistan War as a human rights mission, do you?

Sure I do. I think the invasion was a perfectly justifiable use of force - and now that we're there, I think we have a responsibility not to walk away and leave that nation in the hands of murderous fanatic thugs.

Wonderment
07-10-2010, 08:54 PM
It is probably futile to try to get Wonderment to acknowledge this, since he is bound and determined to view the President as unlimited in power and someone who chooses to do or not to do things based only on personal whim, but for a little context, I'd encourage those looking to jump into this thread to begin by reading Eric Alterman's recent piece, "Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now," which was earlier brought to our attention by uncle eb in another thread.

I will read the article, but in the meantime I'll ask if you're suggesting President Obama had no choice but to escalate the war when he chose to escalate it?

cragger
07-10-2010, 09:25 PM
As you say, various bad things would (continue to) happen in Afghanistan if we withdrew. However, the link you posted is about bad things happening now, or at least in 2008 after 7 years of the US-installed government and US and allied occupation. It doesn't appear that adding the war/occupation with its attendant killing and self-perpetuating resistance has been a very effective medicine for the disease of the brutality reported in that link or elsewhere.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 09:28 PM
As you say, various bad things would (continue to) happen in Afghanistan if we withdrew. However, the link you posted is about bad things happening now, or at least in 2008 after 7 years of the US-installed government and US and allied occupation. It doesn't appear that adding the war/occupation with its attendant killing and self-perpetuating resistance has been a very effective medicine for the disease of the brutality reported in that link or elsewhere.

Actually, one of the things happening now is that the number of women willing to report incidents of abuse is rising.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission registered 2,374 cases of women complaining of violence in 2007, compared with 1,651 in 2006 -- a sign that more are seeking help.

Family response units have been established in the police force, and there are tentative signs of sympathy in officialdom -- at least in the relatively liberal capital, Kabul.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 09:41 PM
I will read the article, but in the meantime I'll ask if you're suggesting President Obama had no choice but to escalate the war when he chose to escalate it?

I am not saying that. I am saying, however, that to make any choice other than the one he did would not have come without significant, and probably even crippling, costs to the rest of his agenda.

I am also saying that I am thoroughly tired of you portraying decisions you don't like as solely his. He owns some of it, no doubt, but why not grow up and admit it's not as simple as nagging Daddy to do what you want? Why not talk about the right-wing noise machine that never shuts up about "appeasement" and "surrendering to our enemies" and "making us less safe?," whose volume only trebles when we have a Democrat in the White House? Why not talk about the Villagers, who are always eager to echo those wingnut and chickenhawk talking points once they get legs? Why not talk about the military-industrial complex, which owns Congress? Why not talk about the Dems in Congress who have showed no spine whatsoever in offering him support for a peace agenda you'd prefer? (I am thinking here of everything from denial of funding to close Gitmo to their recent eagerness to jump all over Kinsley-gaffer Steele for being so unAmerican as to be opposed to endless war.)

Why not talk about the fetishization of Teh Troops by the average American yahoo? Or the bed-wetting by same whenever some lame tries to set his shoes or underpants on fire? Or the responsibility we all share for all of the above becoming entrenched and being allowed to fester?

I think you're taking the easy way out by trying to pin all the blame on one guy because you don't know how to deal with any of the others who deserve it at least as much. And as I have pointed out numerous times, you're not going to accomplish anything by going this route, except to contribute incrementally to general anti-Obama sentiment and increase the chances of the GOP regaining the White House. And them where will you be? With a new administration possessing even more eagerness to Bomb The Ragheads For Jesus, plus a whole raft of far worse policy goals, plus a much more corrupt, cronyist, and cynical form of governance.

[Added] To bring it back to the topic at hand, why don't you think about starting a thread that is against the US occupation of Afghanistan, rather than against "President Obama's war?" At the very least, you'd probably get some support from me and a few others, rather than this reaction of irritation, of Oh lord, here we go again. I should also think that you'd get a more fruitful and interesting discussion overall.

[Added2] On a related note, I recommend this post by Charlie Davis (http://blogs.alternet.org/charlesdavis/2010/07/09/the-neocon-method/) (via (http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/07/09/transparency/index.html)).

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 09:58 PM
"Your hypocrisy is showing. Not only with the "Purity Police" thing directly after worrying about someone else's spelling...but for the fact that I have watched as you have dressed down others here for speaking outside of school."

Didn't take long.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 10:03 PM
[...]

Homophobic slur noted.

As is your ongoing stupidity in being unable to distinguish argument from the kneejerk demand to Banish!!!1! for the first indication of wrongthink.

As are your increasingly pathetic attempts to take shots (throw spitballs, more like), at me and others, due to your inability to make a substantive argument of your own, on any topic whatsoever.

It must be awfully sad to be you, and the worst part of it is, you're getting to be too old to realize it or do anything about it.

Wonderment
07-10-2010, 10:12 PM
I am not saying that.

Good. Because Afghanistan is not once mentioned in that 17,000-word article you cited.


I am saying, however, that to make any choice other than the one he did would not have come without significant, and probably even crippling, costs to the rest of his agenda.

Pure speculation. I don't buy it. The White House could have spun Afghanistan any way it wanted -- lining up the generals to support de-escalation, blaming Karzai, focusing on domestic priorities, joining our allies blah-blah-blah.

I am also saying that I am thoroughly tired of you portraying decisions you don't like as solely his. He owns some of it, no doubt, but why not grow up and admit it's not as simple as nagging Daddy to do what you want?

I'm not going there. Support for Obama, like yours, can also be caricatured as hagiography or whatever. Stick to the issues.

Why not talk about the right-wing noise machine that never shuts up about "appeasement" and "surrendering to our enemies" and "making us less safe?," whose volume only trebles when we have a Democrat in the White House? Why not talk about the Villagers, who are always eager to echo those wingnut and chickenhawk talking points once they get legs? Why not talk about the military-industrial complex, which owns Congress? Why not talk about the Dems in Congress who have showed no spine whatsoever in offering him support for a peace agenda you'd prefer?

I have talked endlessly about all those things.

And as I have pointed out numerous times, you're not going to accomplish anything by going this route, except to contribute incrementally to general anti-Obama sentiment and increase the chances of the GOP regaining the White House.

You can't simply use that as the "Shut up!" card for all critical discourse about the Obama administration.

[Added] To bring it back to the topic at hand, why don't you think about starting a thread that is against the US occupation of Afghanistan, rather than against "President Obama's war?"

The whole line of argument -- "We inherited two wars...." strikes me as very phony. Moderate Dems. want to play the war as just another piece of the disaster they encountered when they won the election and took over. But that's disingenuous. Supporting Bush's war effort in Afghanistan and escalating it were decisions that Pres. Obama made. There is strong progressive Dem. opposition to the war in Congress, and there is no way to spin that except for what it is: a criticism of the White House.

Ocean
07-10-2010, 10:17 PM
So what is the reason, in your opinion, for Obama to escalate the war? What would be the agenda?

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 10:23 PM
Homophobic slur noted.

As is your ongoing stupidity in being unable to distinguish argument from the kneejerk demand to Banish!!!1! for the first indication of wrongthink.

As are your increasingly pathetic attempts to take shots at me, and others, due to your inability to make a substantive argument of your own, on any topic whatsoever.

It must be awfully sad to be you, and the worst part of it is, you're getting to be too old to realize it or do anything about it.

Homophobic slur? You mean "Queef"? Sorry, I was calling you that well before I discovered that you were a FREAK and its not a play on QUEER its a play on "Keefe"...dumb ass. Unlike "Perez", "Queef" is rather anti-prophetic as that is a sound you are certainly not familiar with.

Oh my, back to the "old" stuff. Hahaha. That's "substantive".

But yeah, carry on...sincerely though, with the constant hypocrisy and fraud that you engage in...how is anyone suppose to take you seriously???

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 10:30 PM
Good. Because Afghanistan is not once mentioned in that 17,000-word article you cited.

I didn't cite it. I suggested people read it, in the hope that they would understand the context in which a Democratic president operates in this country.

Pure speculation. I don't buy it. The White House could have spun Afghanistan any way it wanted -- lining up the generals to support de-escalation, blaming Karzai, focusing on domestic priorities, joining our allies blah-blah-blah.

Funny how my thinking can be dismissed as "pure speculation" while your alternate universe scenario can be confidently stated as fact.

I'm not going there. Support for Obama, like yours, can also be caricatured as hagiography or whatever. Stick to the issues.

I am. Don't resort to 'fur-like insults just because you know I'm right about how you view Obama. I don't at all view Obama as a saint or as without flaw, and if you'd cool down, you'd admit it.

I have talked endlessly about all those things.

I'd call it more like an occasional mention of some of them, and more to the point, I'd still fault you for not acknowledging up front that they are key to the topic you wanted to discuss.

You can't simply use that as the "Shut up!" card for all critical discourse about the Obama administration.

Calm yourself. If I wanted to tell you to shut up, I'd tell you to shut up. I have no problem being blunt. I don't want you to shut up; I simply want you to talk about things like the Afghanistan situation with a little more adult acceptance of the complexities and realities of the situation, and a little less petulance about one guy.

The whole line of argument -- "We inherited two wars...." strikes me as very phony.

I'm sorry you think so. I think to deny that is to deny reality.

Moderate Dems. want to play the war as just another piece of the disaster they encountered when they won the election and took over.

I wouldn't say "just," but I do think it is legitimate to view the situation in Afghanistan, like so many other things, as inherited messes.

But that's disingenuous.

I'd say your view is far more guilty of that. You appear to be starting with the assumption that these existing problems could have been made to go away with one wave of a magic wand, if Obama had only wanted to.

Supporting Bush's war effort in Afghanistan and escalating it were decisions that Pres. Obama made.

Yep, although it is not true to say that Obama supported the way Bush conducted affairs in Afghanistan. In fact, he campaigned heavily on just the opposite.

There is strong progressive Dem. opposition to the war in Congress, and there is no way to spin that except for what it is: a criticism of the White House.

If it were strong, it would not be so easily dismissed. If it were strong, I'd be more aware of it, and, I'd wager, you'd have referred to it and linked to examples of it in your opening salvo.

Talk is cheap, most especially among members of Congress. If you want to convince me that this opposition is strong, you'll have to substantiate it with something more than mere assertions.

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 10:37 PM
So what is the reason, in your opinion, for Obama to escalate the war? What would be the agenda?

Thats a little badhatharryish.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 10:40 PM
Homophobic slur? You mean "Queef"? Sorry, I was calling you that well before I discovered that you were a FREAK and its not a play on QUEER its a play on "Keefe"...dumb ass. Unlike "Perez" my "Queef is rather anti-prophetic as that is a sound you are certainly not familiar with.

Interesting to note that even when you backpedalingly deny that you are making a homophobic slur, you are unable to avoid make another homophobic slur.

For the record, though I am not as old as you, I am aware that certain adolescents used to use "queef" to mean "pussy fart." Pretty stupid, though unsurprising, of you to think that I hadn't heard that one before. However, it does not change the case that everyone is aware what you hope to convey by calling me, and referring to me, as Queef. I would add that I doubt it's lost on many people that you're too gutless even to throw your slurs without comforting yourself with the notion that you have some sort of plausible deniability to retreat to. You're a coward, through and through.

By the way, you can continue to call me whatever you want and say whatever you want about me for as long as it makes you feel better about your own sad self. I don't have the same worries about my sexual orientation as you do. I merely note your use of the slurs for the record. As I have stated before, I am inclined to think accumulating evidence of this sort may be useful someday.

cragger
07-10-2010, 10:51 PM
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission registered 2,374 cases of women complaining of violence in 2007, compared with 1,651 in 2006 -- a sign that more are seeking help.

Family response units have been established in the police force, and there are tentative signs of sympathy in officialdom -- at least in the relatively liberal capital, Kabul.

Perhaps so. The statistic above may mean more women were seeking help, or that more were being victimized, or simply that reporting and record keeping were better.

Similiarly, the suggestion of "tentative signs of sympathy in officialdom -- at least in the relatively liberal capital, Kabul" is a rather small return for half a decade of war and so on by that point. While there are undoubtedly other things to which one could point as signs of small and tentative progress, we are now the better part of a decade in on this war and the situation is pretty universally considered terrible. We have to consider not just whatever progress, but also the costs, and not just US and NATO troops and dollars but how many other people died, were wounded, orphaned, made homeless, and so on. Are we looking at another decade, or fifty years, or one hundred to get from terrible and unacceptable to "pretty darn good"? What will the cost side of the ledger look like by that point?

I'm just saying that pointing to something bad somewhere doesn't lead automatically to the idea that the solution is to have a war. Or to the conclusion that war is necessarily an effective cure for all ills. Looking at this particular situation with the costs incurred, the situation obtained after 9 years of application of war as an attempted solution, and the prospects going forward leads me to the conclusion that this is a poor path we are on and that if we continue along it, the next 9 years are likely to look much like the last 9.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 10:54 PM
Thats a little badhatharryish.

Can't wait till the president of your fan club reads that.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 10:56 PM
...I merely note your use of the slurs for the record. As I have stated before, I am inclined to think accumulating evidence of this sort may be useful someday.

At the very very least, a BhTV search on the phrase "for the record" will document one of the lamest, most unimaginative strings of wannabe insults by anybody who ever worked so hard and failed to even achieve the tiniest dent against his target. The first rule of insults is to understand who it is you're trying to attack. Fail. The second rule is don't get caught repeating yourself. Fail. The third rule is never look like you're trying. Fail. It's pathetic.

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:00 PM
I might. ...do cows ...someday.

Poor Queef, has to invent his own persecution. But yeah..."someday".

Ocean
07-10-2010, 11:03 PM
Thats a little badhatharryish.

Evilish comment. ;)

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 11:10 PM
Perhaps so. The statistic above may mean more women were seeking help, or that more were being victimized, or simply that reporting and record keeping were better.

Similiarly, the suggestion of "tentative signs of sympathy in officialdom -- at least in the relatively liberal capital, Kabul" is a rather small return for half a decade of war and so on by that point. While there are undoubtedly other things to which one could point as signs of small and tentative progress, we are now the better part of a decade in on this war and the situation is pretty universally considered terrible. We have to consider not just whatever progress, but also the costs, and not just US and NATO troops and dollars but how many other people died, were wounded, orphaned, made homeless, and so on. Are we looking at another decade, or fifty years, or one hundred to get from terrible and unacceptable to "pretty darn good"? What will the cost side of the ledger look like by that point?

I'm just saying that pointing to something bad somewhere doesn't lead automatically to the idea that the solution is to have a war. Or to the conclusion that war is necessarily an effective cure for all ills. Looking at this particular situation with the costs incurred, the situation obtained after 9 years of application of war as an attempted solution, and the prospects going forward leads me to the conclusion that this is a poor path we are on and that if we continue along it, the next 9 years are likely to look much like the last 9.

I understand. I think we're already there, and we're fighting that war. I agreed with the explicit reason for the invasion as a response to an attack hosted by the former government, and I fully supported that invasion. Having taken that step, I think we own the situation there. My view is that that has created a moral responsibility to see the process to a successful conclusion. I the moral equation includes costs like millions of women unable to get an education and thousands of deaths at the hands of fanatics, in addition to countless women abused in unimaginable ways. We're already at war. I don't believe withdrawing would mark a net improvement in the lives of the people in the country or involved in the conflict.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 11:11 PM
Can't wait till the president of your fan club reads that.

I have a feeling it was intended as a compliment.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 11:14 PM
I might. ...do cows ...someday.
Poor Queef, has to invent his own persecution. But yeah..."someday".

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Misusing the attributed-quote mechanism of vBulletin is not only about the lamest lie you can try, it is also in direct violation of one of the Comment Guidelines (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/faq.php?faq=vb3_board_faq#faq_guidelines) of this site.

(Screen shot (http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/5026/furscreenshotofcommentg.png), for the record.)

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:17 PM
Evilish comment. ;)

Maybe. I seriously feel bad that no one (from your side) stepped up to the plate for her after ledocs ridiculously off-base post. Smug? Her? What a joke. You're a psychiatrist right? Does not projection jump off the screen at you when you see it. Maybe I am in the wrong business. In any case, I sure hope she has not called it quits here. I envied her ability to sidestep the insults and try to remain kind or get out of discussions when others turned them sour. Seems to prove that no matter what the approach is from the right...well...

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:18 PM
I have a feeling it was intended as a compliment.

It was.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 11:19 PM
I have a feeling it was intended as a compliment.

Heh. There are times when the wingnut mind is beyond my comprehension.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 11:20 PM
[...] Seems to prove that no matter what the approach is from the right...well...

The only thing this proves is that you can't make an argument, so you're forced to trail off impotently, and hope that others will fill it in for you.

And, oh, I'm sorry. You were saying (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169190#post169190) something about imagined persecutions?

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:22 PM
...impotently...

So you got nuttin?

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 11:24 PM
The only thing this proves is that you can't make an argument, so you're forced to trail off impotently, and hope that others will fill it in for you.

And, oh, I'm sorry. You were saying (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169190#post169190) something about imagined persecutions?

We should take this elsewhere. There are more posts in this irrelevant fight than there are on-topic.

I recommend here:

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169198#post169198

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 11:25 PM
So you got nuttin?

Hey, at least I got far more than repeating myself from thread (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169183#post169183) to thread (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169109#post169109).

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 11:28 PM
We should take this elsewhere. There are more posts in this irrelevant fight than there are on-topic.

I recommend here:

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169198#post169198

Can't hurt to try (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169203#post169203), I suppose.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 11:30 PM
Can't hurt to try (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169203#post169203), I suppose.

I may disagree fundamentally with Wonderment on this topic, but I think he has a right not to have this conversation hijacked by a sideshow. I'm as guilty as anyone.

Ocean
07-10-2010, 11:39 PM
Maybe. I seriously feel bad that no one (from your side) stepped up to the plate for her after ledocs ridiculously off-base post. Smug? Her? What a joke. You're a psychiatrist right? Does not projection jump off the screen at you when you see it. Maybe I am in the wrong business. In any case, I sure hope she has not called it quits here. I envied her ability to sidestep the insults and try to remain kind or get out of discussions when others turned them sour. Seems to prove that no matter what the approach is from the right...well...

If you had those feelings, then you should have stepped to the plate. I bet that quite a few commenters may have agreed with the general sentiment that ledocs expressed, if not exactly word by word. I certainly could relate to his comment. I didn't feel any urge to intervene in that conversation one way or the other. As to smug, if this is the definition we are using:

smug (smg)
adj. smug∑ger, smug∑gest
Exhibiting or feeling great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one's situation; self-righteously complacent:

I think it fits the description rather well. That doesn't mean that badhat is the only smug there is or there will be. But she certainly projects the image of someone who thinks very highly of her accomplishments, and often communicates her disdain for those who haven't similarly succeeded. Or perhaps it's her libertarian schtick coming through in an annoying way.

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:43 PM
Ummm...I did respond to ledocs.

As to the rest, I am sorry I brought it up with you and I won't be sending any patients your way...albeit I may create some for you.

bjkeefe
07-10-2010, 11:45 PM
I may disagree fundamentally with Wonderment on this topic, but I think he has a right not to have this conversation hijacked by a sideshow. I'm as guilty as anyone.

--> (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169212#post169212)

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:50 PM
At the very very least, a BhTV search on the phrase "for the record" will document one of the lamest, most unimaginative strings of wannabe insults by anybody who ever worked so hard and failed to even achieve the tiniest dent against his target. The first rule of insults is to understand who it is you're trying to attack. Fail. The second rule is don't get caught repeating yourself. Fail. The third rule is never look like you're trying. Fail. It's pathetic.

Why are you even here posting in the side thread?

Fail.

Wonderment
07-10-2010, 11:52 PM
So what is the reason, in your opinion, for Obama to escalate the war? What would be the agenda?

I think it was an erroneous, but rectifiable, part of his campaign rhetoric. (Unfortunately, given the opportunity to rectify, he doubled down.)

During the campaign, in order not to be perceived by the US electorate as an incorrigible wuss and pacifist, he couldn't come out against both wars. To defeat his war-mongering and pseudo-patriotic opposition he had to say Iraq was "wrong war, wrong place" implying that Afghanistan was the "right," noble and just war and that we should shift our resources and commitment there.

Once he said that he painted himself into a corner and ended up having to ask the Pentagon, "What do you need?" Of course, the militarists are always prepared to answer that one: "More of everything: weapons, soldiers, and money-money-money-money-money."

Psychologically, I think he's intimidated by the military with its pomp, bravado and blood-and-guts sentimentalism. The military fawns all over him as Commander-in-chief and he starts taking himself seriously as Leader of the Free World in the Greatest Country on Earth. It's a potent recipe for self-deception, delusions of grandeur and an odd kind of submission to military gamesmanship.

He set himself up for the escalation of a war that's unwinnable, unsustainable and evil.

Among the Dem. aspirants for the presidency, my guess is that Richardson, Biden, Dodd and Kucinich would have been strong enough to say No to escalation. Clinton and Edwards would have, like Obama, said yes.

AemJeff
07-10-2010, 11:53 PM
Whoops. --> (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=169220#post169220)

Whatfur
07-10-2010, 11:57 PM
Fifteenth rule: non-sequiturs either have to be hard to detect or funny - preferably both.

Sometimes questions are simply questions.

Let me know if you would like me to answer it for you.

Wonderment
07-11-2010, 12:13 AM
Calm yourself. If I wanted to tell you to shut up, I'd tell you to shut up. I have no problem being blunt. I don't want you to shut up; I simply want you to talk about things like the Afghanistan situation with a little more adult acceptance of the complexities and realities of the situation, and a little less petulance about one guy.


I didn't mean you personally. I mean the tendency of Democrats to want to stifle all criticism of Obama on the grounds that it will only strengthen Republicans. The Michael Steele sideshow is a perfect example, as EJ Dionne notes here. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/07/AR2010070703189.html)

He also comments on the strength of antiwar sentiment among the Dem. base, as reflected in Congress:

The most incendiary words came from the indefatigable Brad Woodhouse, the Democratic National Committee spokesman, who accused Steele of "betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan."

Woodhouse added: "It's simply unconscionable that Michael Steele would undermine the morale of our troops when what they need is our support and encouragement."

I have some empathy for Woodhouse, who must be weary of dealing with the other side's demagoguery day after day. He probably couldn't resist giving Republicans a taste of their own medicine. But this is dangerous stuff in a democracy and particularly perilous from a party that, less than two years ago, rightly insisted it could oppose the Bush administration's foreign policy on thoroughly patriotic grounds.

And Woodhouse's statement came shortly after 60 percent of House Democrats -- 153 in all -- voted for a troop-withdrawal amendment sponsored by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and two of his colleagues. It would have required President Obama to present a plan by April for the "safe, orderly and expeditious redeployment" of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

The amendment, which drew support from nine Republicans, would also have allowed for a vote in Congress to stop additional war funding if withdrawal does not start by next July, when the administration has said it will begin reducing forces in Afghanistan.

Ocean
07-11-2010, 12:14 AM
I think it was an erroneous, but rectifiable, part of his campaign rhetoric. (Unfortunately, given the opportunity to rectify, he doubled down.)

During the campaign, in order not to be perceived by the US electorate as an incorrigible wuss and pacifist, he couldn't come out against both wars. To defeat his war-mongering and pseudo-patriotic opposition he had to say Iraq was "wrong war, wrong place" implying that Afghanistan was the "right," noble and just war and that we should shift our resources and commitment there.

I suppose the above is a reasonable interpretation with some obvious facts (what he said during the campaign) and some attribution of motives on your part.

Once he said that he painted himself into a corner and ended up having to ask the Pentagon, "What do you need?" Of course, the militarists are always prepared to answer that one: "More of everything: weapons, soldiers, and money-money-money-money-money."

That seems also a reasonable interpretation. It wouldn't have been wise to ignore the Pentagon in matters of war, and obviously highly unlikely that the Pentagon would have said they didn't need anything.

Psychologically, I think he's intimidated by the military with its pomp, bravado and blood-and-guts sentimentalism. The military fawns all over him as Commander-in-chief and he starts taking himself seriously as Leader of the Free World in the Greatest Country on Earth. It's a potent recipe for self-deception, delusions of grandeur and an odd kind of submission to military gamesmanship.

Here is where I think that you're implanting a narrative that doesn't naturally follow from any of the above. It wouldn't be difficult to believe that he may have delegated too much decision making on the military, but the rest of your interpretation seems to me somewhat malicious.

He set himself up for the escalation of a war that's unwinnable, unsustainable and evil.

I don't think anyone thinks that war is winnable. At most it could be stabilizable before exiting.


Among the Dem. aspirants for the presidency, my guess is that Richardson, Biden, Dodd and Kucinich would have been strong enough to say No to escalation. Clinton and Edwards would have, like Obama, said yes.

Your speculation escapes me. I don't know the characters so well. It sounds about right for the little that I know.

If I can sum up the above, I would say that in your opinion Obama made a mistake during his campaign committing to a war that had very poor prospects of being successful. He stuck to his word and followed the military's advice. This is not reproachable per se, but only in that the initial commitment may have been a miscalculation. The rest of your characterization about his delusions of grandeur is just speculation and not something that I could possibly agree with. I just don't see it that way.

The important issue is what to do next. I would hope that if the escalation proves to be the wrong strategy, that Obama will be able to reassess and have the guts to change direction. However, bringing some stability to the region before leaving may be the right thing to do.

AemJeff
07-11-2010, 12:17 AM
...
Among the Dem. aspirants for the presidency, my guess is that Richardson, Biden, Dodd and Kucinich would have been strong enough to say No to escalation. Clinton and Edwards would have, like Obama, said yes.

As a sitting Senator, Obama had the strength to vote against authorizing the war in Iraq. Which, obviously, not everyone on that list had. It's also possible that his actions in Afghanistan have been based on principle.

Whatfur
07-11-2010, 12:23 AM
Big Peace... (http://bigpeace.com/)has a couple articles on the subject.

AemJeff
07-11-2010, 12:26 AM
...
I don't think anyone thinks that war is winnable. At most it could be stabilizable before exiting.
...

That was an excellent post. I'd quibble slightly with this, in that I think creating stability - such that something like a democratic government could be self-sustaining, or sustainable with relatively modest cost (compared to the current situation) - would be counted as an overall strategic win.

Wonderment
07-11-2010, 12:47 AM
If I can sum up the above, I would say that in your opinion Obama made a mistake during his campaign committing to a war that had very poor prospects of being successful. He stuck to his word and followed the military's advice.

Not exactly. He had lots of room to change his mind without violating his word. That's supposedly why he took a lot of time to deliberate before deciding on the escalation. Someone a bit more skeptical about militarism and a bit more experienced with the Pentagon might have reached a different conclusion.

It's true that most Republicans would have gone berserk and called him a girly-man for "pulling out," but at the time he had a lot of political capital, a bully pulpit and firm majorities in two houses of Congress. It was worth the fallout; many lives hung in the balance, not to speak of the bazillions of dollars pissed away.

The important issue is what to do next. I would hope that if the escalation proves to be the wrong strategy, that Obama will be able to reassess and have the guts to change direction.

Yes, I hope so too.

Ocean
07-11-2010, 12:59 AM
Being able to admit mistakes without shame, and changing course would be admirable. But it has to be played well or it would backfire.

bjkeefe
07-11-2010, 01:46 AM
I didn't mean you personally.

Okay.

I mean the tendency of Democrats to want to stifle all criticism of Obama on the grounds that it will only strengthen Republicans.

I take your point, but I think that is a grotesque overgeneralization. Things haven't changed since Will Rogers got off his famous line (http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/26205.html); come to that, as far as I can tell, they've only gotten worse. Jesus. Did you forget the antics of the ConservaDems during HCR and FinReg? How about the preening of Kucinich and Feingold (both of whom I generally like, btw) on several matters? How about that assclown Sestak? And much more powerfully, how about 9 out of every 10 liberal or so-called liberal pundits?

Just to illustrate, I can't think of the last time we've had someone on Bh.tv who mounted a full-throated defense of Obama, with the possible exception of Bill Scher, doing it one policy or issue at a time, in opposition to Matt Lewis.

I'm not saying I want the Dems to be the way the Reps were with Bush, marching in lockstep behind PlayCaptain Flightsuit. Nor do I want the SCLM doing nothing but penning hosannas. But there is a gulf the size of the solar system between that and where Teh Left is most days, regarding Obama.

The Michael Steele sideshow is a perfect example, ...

To me, that Kinsley gaffe by Steele is the perfect reason why I think you should be spreading "warist" blame around a little more evenly.

... as EJ Dionne notes here. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/07/AR2010070703189.html)

He also comments on the strength of antiwar sentiment among the Dem. base, as reflected in Congress:

Thanks for that reminder. I had forgotten about that resolution. Okay, good. That's a step. And there were some other nice quotes in the EJD piece, too.

But the resolution doesn't strike me as all that much in light of Obama's timetable. It seems like a nice bit of symbolism, or, I suppose, buying a little insurance against Obama changing his mind. But leaving borrowing trouble aside, the basic view I've adopted on the US involvement Afghanistan as of late is this: I didn't much like the increase back when Obama decided on it, but I saw it as reasonable, given all the factors. I am reserving judgment beyond that until the time for the scheduled withdrawal rolls around. I don't think the military buildup will work, so I'm hoping that (1) Obama will acknowledge that, and (2) he will have shown that he gave it enough of a shot so that not every chattering class twit joins with the Republicans, immediately, in howling about him surrendering to the terrorists.

So far as I can tell, regarding Afghanistan, Obama has pretty much done what he said he wanted to do while campaigning, or at least, modulo the realities of working in a democracy. I know that you're a pacifist, but your mindset here seems beyond even that in what you're demanding in the face of reality.

I think, as Ocean has already said, that you are imagining a lot of motives on Obama's part that muddy your ability to discuss this sensibly. And when you do that, when you go all out in making this exclusively about "Obama's war" or, as in the recent past, playing the "just like Bush" card, I think you should not be surprised that you provoke some annoyed reactions.

bjkeefe
07-11-2010, 01:55 AM
Big Peace... (http://bigpeace.com/)has a couple articles on the subject.

For others: don't bother. It's just another BigHo Breitbart site.

I mean, it'll be a gold mine for comedy, but nothing beyond that.

Five words, right from the masthead, right below "Big Peace."

Editor in Chief Peter Schweizer

Five more:

Featuring Frank Gaffney and Blackfive

What's next, BigSandwich, edited by Karen Carpenter?

Wonderment
07-11-2010, 02:26 AM
I think you should not be surprised that you provoke some annoyed reactions.

I'm not surprised.

bjkeefe
07-11-2010, 02:28 AM
Very good post from mistermix (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/08/a-good-question-2/), excerpting Andrew Bacevich (http://www.tnr.com/blog/foreign-policy/76091/non-believer) and Daniel Larison (http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2010/07/08/obama-and-afghanistan/).

Both of the latter are worth reading in full, as well, and boy oh boy, would that be a good diavlog.

bjkeefe
07-11-2010, 02:55 AM
You want to read something a little frightening, read MJ Rosenberg's predictions (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/07/jeff_goldberg_edges_toward_calling_for_bombing_of/) (via DougJ (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/07/bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran-2/)) about Serious Person Jeffrey Goldberg and the new and improved neocon push to go to war with Iran.

Let's hope MJR has no idea what he's talking about. But let's act like he does, and spread a little attention beyond Obama.

[Added] A follow-up (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/09/jeff_goldberg_still_lying_after_all_these_years/) from MJR on JG.

Florian
07-11-2010, 03:26 AM
You want to read something a little frightening, read MJ Rosenberg's predictions (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/07/jeff_goldberg_edges_toward_calling_for_bombing_of/) (via DougJ (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/07/bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran-2/)) about Serious Person Jeffrey Goldberg and the new and improved neocon push to go to war with Iran.

Let's hope MJR has no idea what he's talking about. But let's act like he does, and spread a little attention beyond Obama.

[Added] A follow-up (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/09/jeff_goldberg_still_lying_after_all_these_years/) from MJR on JG.

Thanks.

Appalling, appalling. It is always the same historical analogy that is trotted out by American hawks. Is that because they know nothing else about history? Or is it because some Jewish Americans know that they can always play the holocaust card, and win?

bjkeefe
07-11-2010, 03:29 AM
Why not talk about the fetishization of Teh Troops by the average American yahoo?

Why not talk about this 30-sec spot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7zgMrZVtq4) (via (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/07/heaven-help-us-4/)): "Tommy Sowers: Combat Bible?"

And here's the punchline (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/Happy-Hour-Vid-Missouri-Democrat-Touts-Combat-Bible-Pickup-Truck-4269).

Whatfur
07-11-2010, 10:50 AM
...What's next, BigSandwich, edited by Karen Carpenter?

Ha!

bjkeefe
07-11-2010, 02:48 PM
You want to read something a little frightening, read MJ Rosenberg's predictions (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/07/jeff_goldberg_edges_toward_calling_for_bombing_of/) (via DougJ (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/07/bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran-2/)) about Serious Person Jeffrey Goldberg and the new and improved neocon push to go to war with Iran.

Let's hope MJR has no idea what he's talking about. But let's act like he does, and spread a little attention beyond Obama.

[Added] A follow-up (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/09/jeff_goldberg_still_lying_after_all_these_years/) from MJR on JG.

More on the resurgent neocons: DougJ notes a post (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/11/the-liberal-brookings-institute/) by occasional B'head Steve Clemons and comments:

There are those who describe neoconservatism as a ďzombieĒ ideology (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/07/the-iraq-tragedy-ctd.html), but itís far more alive than undead. Two of the three major newspapers have neoconservative editorial boards (WSJ is right-wing across the board, but I think itís air to describe their foreign policy as neoconservative), many of the most influential politically-oriented magazines are owned and/or edited by neocons (The New Republic, Weekly Standard, and Atlantic for example), and now even the liberal Brookings Institute has a neocon heading up its Middle East foreign policy team.

The failure of the Iraq war is irrelevant. The think tank/media system still incentivizes neoconservative beliefs.

The impetus for Clemons (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/10/robert_kagan_takes_franchise_to_brookings/) to blog was as follows.

Word has just reached us that Robert Kagan, currently Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is moving his franchise over to Brookings.

[...]

... it seems that much of the foreign policy team -- particularly in Brookings Foreign Policy Chief Martin Indyk, Saban Center Director Ken Pollack and now Robert Kagan -- is hardening its capacity on the Israel/Iran front.

Kagan -- next to Francis Fukuyama, Elliott Abrams, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Frum -- is one of the top tier serious intellectuals among neoconservatives, though it's clear that Frum and Fukuyama have distanced themselves from the broader movement to establish their own reformist franchises.

Kagan's move is important for Brookings as the institution has been working hard to get Haim Saban to give another large infusion of resources to his namesake unit, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at Brookings. Securing Kagan is one way that Brookings may have sweetened the pot for Saban who is according to one Brookings source "painfully flamboyant" about using his money to try and influence the DC establishment (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/05/10/100510fa_fact_bruck) through think tanks and other vehicles to secure Israel-first, Israel-defending policies out of Washington.

Kagan is, of course, another B'head.

War is good business, especially for those who don't actually, you know, have to fight.

bjkeefe
07-14-2010, 04:16 AM
See John Cole's response to the perpetually tiresome concern troll Peter Daou. Start with Betty Cracker (http://www.rumproast.com/index.php/site/comments/quote_of_the_day18/) -- she's got the links and a bonus funny picture!

[Added] Note that comment #72 is the part by JC we're really after -- sometimes it takes the page a while to load completely, to advance down to that point.

[Added2] And see also (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/07/speaking-of-false-choices/).

Lyle
07-14-2010, 12:23 PM
Is that because they know nothing else about history?

Hey, your tried and true France's knows better argumentation. Do you know nothing else to say? You remind me of Marie Antoinette when you write stuff like this.

Florian
07-14-2010, 12:37 PM
Hey, your tried and true France's knows better argumentation. Do you know nothing else to say? You remind me of Marie Antoinette when you write stuff like this.

When Goldberg and others of his ilk come up with a better argument than Munich, let me know about it. And when you can come up with a more relevant name in French history than Marie Antoinette to characterize what I said, I will respond to your post. Otherwise, not.

Lyle
07-14-2010, 12:44 PM
No, I think Marie Antoinette suits you perfectly. You're oblivious to what is going on around you and think you know better. Yep, your Marie Antoinette in pants circa 2010.

Goldberg is simply saying if the world really doesn't want the current Iranian regime with nuclear weapons, Iran will have to be physically prevented from building them. He's not actually wrong about this and apparently the Saudis and the UAE concur. Cause as you know the Saudis have given Israel the green light to fly over Saudi airspace to attack Iran, if that's what Israel decides to do.

I'm not sure Goldberg has even stated he believes Iran should be attacked, but that certain Arab countries would like for Iran's nuclear arms capability to be neutered by somebody.

Florian
07-14-2010, 12:54 PM
Goldberg is simply saying if the world really doesn't want the current Iranian regime with nuclear weapons, Iran will have to be physically prevented from building them. He's not actually wrong about this and apparently the Saudis and the UAE concur. Cause as you know the Saudis have given Israel the green light to fly over Saudi airspace to attack Iran, if that's what Israel decides to do.

I'm not sure Goldberg has even stated he believes Iran should be attacked, but that certain Arab countries would like for Iran's nuclear arms capability to be neutered by somebody.

Sorry, Lyle, there is no argument there, only assertion. You and Goldberg apparently think you know what the "world" wants. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are not the world. Nor is Israel. Nor are you.

Lyle
07-14-2010, 01:11 PM
What are you talking about? Saudi Arabia hasn't given Israel the green light to fly over Saudi airspace to bomb Iranian facilities if Israel decides to do so? UAE officials aren't worried about the potential of Iranian nuclear weapons?

You actually think diplomacy will prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons? What? Come on Marie Antoinette, come off that balcony. :)

Florian
07-14-2010, 01:15 PM
What are you talking about? Saudi Arabia hasn't given Israel the green light to fly over Saudi airspace to bomb Iranian facilities if Israel decides to do so? UAE officials aren't worried about the potential of Iranian nuclear weapons?

You actually think diplomacy will prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons? What? Come on Marie Antoinette, come off that balcony. :)

No, I don't think diplomacy will prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. I think it will almost certainly do so. And I think it will almost certainly never use them. If it did, it would face swift retaliation and annihilation.

Lyle
07-14-2010, 01:22 PM
I agree completely... and hope the latter comment turns out to be the truth. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

TwinSwords
07-14-2010, 01:28 PM
No, I don't think diplomacy will prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. I think it will almost certainly do so. And I think it will almost certainly never use them. If it did, it would face swift retaliation and annihilation.
Of course, Republicans don't see the point of waiting for Iran to use nukes before annihilating them; they want to annihilate them now. They have been fantasizing about annihilating Iran since 1979, and thought they were going to finally get their chance under Bush. One of the reasons conservatives are such angry people is that so many of their punitive and violent fantasies (towards populations both domestic and foreign) failed to materialize during the Bush years. One of the functions of the tea party is to give voice to the impotent rage conservatives felt following the 2008 collapse of the Republican Party -- rage that has only increased after (nearly) two years of Democratic government, and the deliberate, systematic encouragement of the Republican base to believe the craziest of conspiracy theories about Obama and the Democrats.

Considering that the nature of the Republican Party is now and has for two generations been fundamentally reactionary, they keep moving further and further to the right, fueled by their insatiable rage at nearly every dimension of our society. The next wave, starting in January, 2011, is going to be the ugliest yet (http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2010/07/government-of-by-and-for-bloviators.html).

Florian
07-14-2010, 02:14 PM
Of course, Republicans don't see the point of waiting for Iran to use nukes before annihilating them; they want to annihilate them now. They have been fantasizing about annihilating Iran since 1979, and thought they were going to finally get their chance under Bush. One of the reasons conservatives are such angry people is that so many of their punitive and violent fantasies (towards populations both domestic and foreign) failed to materialize during the Bush years. One of the functions of the tea party is to give voice to the impotent rage conservatives felt following the 2008 collapse of the Republican Party -- rage that has only increased after (nearly) two years of Democratic government.

Considering that the nature of the Republican Party is now and has for two generations been fundamentally reactionary, they keep moving further and further to the right, fueled by their insatiable rage at nearly every dimension of our society. The next wave, starting in January, 2011, is going to be the ugliest yet (http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2010/07/government-of-by-and-for-bloviators.html).

I am, by nature, inclined to think that people in general have enough common sense to flee extremes when they cast their votes. I think Obama's victory reflected this moderation. I am almost certain that some republicans and many independents voted for him precisely because they were afraid of Palin (as much as of McCain) and everything she represented. If what you say is true, and I have no doubt that there are a lot of angry people in the US, American foreign policy could, I suppose, be headed for another disaster in the Middle East. But I have the impression that most of the anger is directed against Obama's economic policies. Very few Americans take any interest in foreign affairs, which in a way is rather fortunate, because they know so little about the rest of the world!

Anyway, my hope is that the foreign policy establishment is sufficiently well-informed about the world to avoid a war with Iran.

Wonderment
07-14-2010, 04:44 PM
. I think Obama's victory reflected this moderation.

How do you explain the utter lack of moderation in 2004 when Cheney was reelected.

Very few Americans take any interest in foreign affairs, which in a way is rather fortunate, because they know so little about the rest of the world!

They take an interest when Americans are dead. Afghan casualties are rising quickly. That will increase anti-war sentiment if current loses continue.

I see this in my daughter's friends, military spouses. They already resent Obama for the surge and the increased deployments to Afghanistan. If he keeps them there without progress, resentment will turn to hatred.

Americans would also care if politicians weren't too craven to connect the dots between military spending for Iraq and Afghanistan and unemployment and economic stagnation at home. The problem is that the "deficit hawks" are too hypocritical to include the warmongering in the deficit.

Florian
07-15-2010, 02:45 AM
How do you explain the utter lack of moderation in 2004 when Cheney was reelected. .

That is a good counterexample to my generalization. Of course the dynamics of every election are different. Kerry, rightly or wrongly, was perceived as weak and wishy-washy in the "war on terror," and Americans were on the whole more gung-ho about Iraq. It took them a long time to figure out that the whole thing was a fraud.... But I agree, Cheney was certainly one of the most sinister figures in recent history to be vice-president.


They would also care if politicians weren't too craven to connect the dots between military spending for Iraq and Afghanistan and unemployment and economic stagnation at home. The problem is that the "deficit hawks" are too hypocritical to include the warmongering in the deficit.

Big if. I sometimes wonder if American politicians evn want to understand the relationship. Very few Americans seem to realize how unprecedented in world history is the amount of money spent on "defense" in peacetime by the US.

TwinSwords
07-15-2010, 12:03 PM
Just happened across this image on another site; seems appropriate, if a bit trite.

http://media.fukung.net/images/539/div_10474542800.jpg

kezboard
07-15-2010, 12:12 PM
I'll ask if you're suggesting President Obama had no choice but to escalate the war when he chose to escalate it?

No choice? Well, not really. But I have a really hard time believing anyone in his position would have done otherwise. Not because it's the best decision to make, just because it seemed completely foreordained. Seriously, Wonder, can you actually imagine him saying last summer that he was going to begin withdrawal?

kezboard
07-15-2010, 12:14 PM
"Queef" is rather anti-prophetic as that is a sound you are certainly not familiar with.

LMAO, Fur, I admire the effort, but if that's supposed to be an insult it fell way short. Accusing someone of not being a queef generator is not really that offensive.

kezboard
07-15-2010, 12:17 PM
I can't think of the last time we've had someone on Bh.tv who mounted a full-throated defense of Obama

Mark...god, what's his last name...the "fewer prisons, less crime" guy.

TwinSwords
07-15-2010, 12:34 PM
Mark...god, what's his last name...the "fewer prisons, less crime" guy.

Kleiman (http://www.samefacts.com/).

Florian
07-15-2010, 01:40 PM
Just happened across this image on another site; seems appropriate, if a bit trite.

http://media.fukung.net/images/539/div_10474542800.jpg

Trite but true. GŲring no less than Hitler was a man of the people and understood the people well. What is frightening, to me at least, is that American democracy may not be immune to this kind of thing.

bjkeefe
07-15-2010, 01:44 PM
Mark...god, what's his last name...the "fewer prisons, less crime" guy.

Yeah, Kleiman, as Twin says.

I agree that he's obviously aligned with Obama on most issues, but I don't remember him making specific, detailed cases on Obama's behalf.

It could well have happened when he was talking to McMegan, though. This would mean not that I don't remember hearing as I certainly did not hear. I will have to take your word for it, if you're confident in your memory.

bjkeefe
07-15-2010, 02:01 PM
You want to read something a little frightening, read MJ Rosenberg's predictions (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/07/jeff_goldberg_edges_toward_calling_for_bombing_of/) (via DougJ (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/07/07/bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran-2/)) about Serious Person Jeffrey Goldberg and the new and improved neocon push to go to war with Iran.

Let's hope MJR has no idea what he's talking about. But let's act like he does, and spread a little attention beyond Obama.

[Added] A follow-up (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/09/jeff_goldberg_still_lying_after_all_these_years/) from MJR on JG.

Still more from MJ Rosenberg, who has set Jeffrey Goldberg aside for the time being, and moved onto the Sestak issue:

1. "Chicken Hawk Neocons Target Vice Admiral Joe Sestak & Commentary Blogger Goes Berserk (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/12/chicken_hawk_neocons_target_vice_admiral_joe_sesta/)"

2. "Neocons: Dual Loyalties Or Just One (http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/14/neocons_demand_sestak_put_israel_first/)"

From #1, the Commentary blogger is, you'll probably be unsurprised to hear, Jennifer Rubin. Nor will it surprise you that this is her opening phrase:

Itís no surprise that the likes of M.J. Rosenberg, whose hatred of Israel and venom for its defenders is practically unmatched, ...

It's a wonder she thinks anyone who's not already in her camp is going to read past that, but maybe she's only interested in rallying the troops. (Assuming she's not clinically deranged, I mean.)

Lyle
07-15-2010, 02:14 PM
What is frightening, to me at least, is that American democracy may not be immune to this kind of thing.

You're worried about Obama becoming FŁhrer und Reichskanzler? Man, you're like one of those crazy Tea Party crackpots everyone likes to talk about these days.

Florian
07-15-2010, 02:17 PM
You're worried about Obama becoming FŁhrer und Reichskanzler? Man, you're like one of those crazy Tea Party crackpots everyone likes to talk about these days.

No, I am worried about people like you. :p

Lyle
07-15-2010, 02:26 PM
Aww.

chiwhisoxx
07-15-2010, 03:20 PM
As a sitting Senator, Obama had the strength to vote against authorizing the war in Iraq. Which, obviously, not everyone on that list had. It's also possible that his actions in Afghanistan have been based on principle.

...wut?

I was perusing this...interesting thread, and this comment sort of stuck out. The authorization of force vote for Iraq occurred in 2002, while Obama wasn't a sitting senator until 2004. Am I missing something here, perhaps a rip in the time-space continuum?

AemJeff
07-15-2010, 03:52 PM
...wut?

I was perusing this...interesting thread, and this comment sort of stuck out. The authorization of force vote for Iraq occurred in 2002, while Obama wasn't a sitting senator until 2004. Am I missing something here, perhaps a rip in the time-space continuum?

You're right. He was still an Illinois state Senator at the time and only vocally expressed his opinion about it. My mistake entirely.

chiwhisoxx
07-15-2010, 06:37 PM
There's actually a reason I brought up the state senator/senator distiction Jeff, it wasn't just to be a pain in the ass. There was a narrative about Obama's bravery in opposing the Iraq when so many others hadn't, which was especially powerful in the primaries juxtaposed against Hillary's Iraq track record. However, it seems to me that it matters immensely that Hillary was a senator at the time, while Obama was a state senator. It's difficult to argue the stakes weren't a lot higher for Hillary; her vote actually mattered, or at least it theoretically could have. Obama's opposition to the war came with no consequence, so the decision to publicly oppose it is a lot easier. Some dude who launched a failed primary challenge against Bobby Rush opposes the Iraq war isn't quite the same as sitting senator opposing the Iraq War resolution when virtually no other senators were opposing it, save for (I think?) one of those loony lefty senators from Vermont.

TwinSwords
07-15-2010, 06:47 PM
It's difficult to argue the stakes weren't a lot higher for Hillary; her vote actually mattered, or at least it theoretically could have. Obama's opposition to the war came with no consequence, so the decision to publicly oppose it is a lot easier.
What were the stakes for Hillary? What consequences would Hillary's opposition to the AUMF have been? It's not clear what you're suggesting the stakes or consequences would be.


Some dude who launched a failed primary challenge against Bobby Rush opposes the Iraq war isn't quite the same as sitting senator opposing the Iraq War resolution when virtually no other senators were opposing it, save for (I think?) one of those loony lefty senators from Vermont.
Way, way off. Here are facts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Ir aq_Resolution_of_2002):

ó 126 (61%) of 208 Democratic Representatives voted against the resolution.

ó 21 (42%) of 50 Democratic Senators voted against the resolution: 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).

ó 1 of 49 Republican Senators voted against the resolution: Sen. Chafee (R-RI).

ó The only Independent Senator voted against the resolution: Sen. Jeffords (I-VT)

What I find interesting is how something so dramatically untrue (no one voted against the AUMF except that one lunatic from VT) becomes conventional wisdom that can be stated with great confidence. It suggests, I think, how totally and completely conservatives dominate the terms of our national discourse, and the difficulty liberals have at pushing against the narratives established and repeated ad infinitum by the conservative, corporate media.

chiwhisoxx
07-15-2010, 07:10 PM
What were the stakes for Hillary? What consequences would Hillary's opposition to the AUMF have been? It's not clear what you're suggesting the stakes or consequences would be.



Way, way off. Here are facts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Ir aq_Resolution_of_2002):

ó 126 (61%) of 208 Democratic Representatives voted against the resolution.

ó 21 (42%) of 50 Democratic Senators voted against the resolution: 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).

ó 1 of 49 Republican Senators voted against the resolution: Sen. Chafee (R-RI).

ó The only Independent Senator voted against the resolution: Sen. Jeffords (I-VT)

What I find interesting is how something so dramatically untrue (no one voted against the AUMF except that one lunatic from VT) becomes conventional wisdom that can be stated with great confidence. It suggests, I think, how totally and completely conservatives dominate the terms of our national discourse, and the difficulty liberals have at pushing against the narratives established and repeated ad infinitum by the conservative, corporate media.

Oops, I was referring to the debate about Afghanistan while talking about Iraq. While we're on the subject of things that are dramatically untrue, it's unfortunate that me rushing this post as I was leaving my computer and being careless allowed you to bloviate about conservative media bias

I still don't understand how you think there would have been no consequences for voting against the war for Hillary. You think the thought of political repercussions for voting against an unpopular war didn't cross the mind of the 25 to 30 ish Democrats who voted for it? Whether or not you think there would have actually been consequences, it most certainly entered Hillary's calculus before the vote.

AemJeff
07-15-2010, 07:12 PM
There's actually a reason I brought up the state senator/senator distiction Jeff, it wasn't just to be a pain in the ass. There was a narrative about Obama's bravery in opposing the Iraq when so many others hadn't, which was especially powerful in the primaries juxtaposed against Hillary's Iraq track record. However, it seems to me that it matters immensely that Hillary was a senator at the time, while Obama was a state senator. It's difficult to argue the stakes weren't a lot higher for Hillary; her vote actually mattered, or at least it theoretically could have. Obama's opposition to the war came with no consequence, so the decision to publicly oppose it is a lot easier. Some dude who launched a failed primary challenge against Bobby Rush opposes the Iraq war isn't quite the same as sitting senator opposing the Iraq War resolution when virtually no other senators were opposing it, save for (I think?) one of those loony lefty senators from Vermont.

I'm sanguine about you pointing out my mistake - that's how it's supposed to work, in my opinion. I disagree somewhat with your analysis, though. I don't blame the Democrats for voting to authorize the resolution; I might have too, had I that choice to make. I think any president is owed a great deal of latitude in decisions of war. Not a rubber stamp - I want to be clear about that. Given the case for the resolution, as it was presented by the Bush administration, (and taking into account the previous two years) there was, I think, a justifiable inclination to give them (Bush 43) what they were asking for. So, I agree that it was no "Profile In Courage" for any Dem to have voted for it, but you can easily argue a principled rationale for having done so.

Obama was consistent in his opposition throughout, and it seems clear that he was right. I think his opposition put him out there further than support would have, and it seems clear he was considering running for higher office. (Else why take such a public position on a foreign policy issue?)

TwinSwords
07-15-2010, 07:30 PM
Oops, I was referring to the debate about Afghanistan while talking about Iraq.
Hey, no big deal. I make as many (or more) mistakes as anyone else. I wasn't really interested in having a gotcha moment. Rather, my point was (1) to correct the zombie fiction that support for the war among Democrats was nearly unanimous -- a major Republican lie and talking point* -- before it becomes further solidified as "fact," and (2) to highlight another example of how conservative narratives become conventional wisdom in spite of the truth -- which they achieve through their media-enabled domination of the terms of our national discourse.


While we're on the subject of things that are dramatically untrue, it's unfortunate that me rushing this post as I was leaving my computer and being careless allowed you to bloviate about conservative media bias
LOL! Oh, don't worry, I will bloviate whether you rush through your posts or not. Don't feel like it's your fault. ;-)


I still don't understand how you think there would have been no consequences for voting against the war for Hillary. You think the thought of political repercussions for voting against an unpopular war didn't cross the mind of the 25 to 30 ish Democrats who voted for it? Whether or not you think there would have actually been consequences, it most certainly entered Hillary's calculus before the vote.
If you go back and look at my post, you'll see that I did not assert what you are claiming I asserted. I never said there would have been no consequences or that fear of political repercussions didn't cross her mind. I just asked you to elaborate on what exactly you thought the "stakes" or "consequences" would have been.

I have my own theory, or rather, I accept what was then the conventional wisdom about Hillary's vote: she was positioning herself for a presidential run and thought (wrongly, it turned out) that voting against the war would be a liability later. So she voted for it.

If that CW is true, it means Hillary made the easy decision, not the difficult one -- precisely the opposite of what you seem to be suggesting. As it turns out, Hillary miscalculated badly. At the time, many Democrats assumed Bush II's war would go as well as Bush I's, and that there would be political dividends for those who supported the effort. Unfortunately for Hillary, she failed to predict what a monumental disaster the war would become, and the subsequent fact that the vast majority of Democratic voters would come to believe the war was a big mistake. It's quite possible (probable?) that if she had voted against the AUMF, she'd be president today.


*Please note: I am not saying you were lying when you made your erroneous assertion. I'm convinced you believed it. Nevertheless, "almost all Democrats supported the war" is one of the many lies the Republican Party has repeatedly advanced in the years since the war became a disaster. While you made an honest mistake, a great many of the pundits, politicians, and strategists in the Republican Party tell the lie knowingly. When they thought the war was going to be a Glorious Adventure, they wanted to take all the credit and highlight Democratic opposition. Once it became clear it was a disaster of epic proportions, they wanted to share credit with Democrats.

Wonderment
07-15-2010, 08:05 PM
Yeah, I think it's fair to surmise that Obama would have been in this group had he been in the Senate. I certainly hope so.


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).

Note, who is NOT in this group: Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Clinton -- i.e, all the Senators who were really angling for higher office.

That left progressives like me -- who could never forgive a YES vote for the invasion of Iraq -- with one viable candidate. Once Gov. Richardson and Rep. Kucinich were eliminated, there was no one left but Obama.

chiwhisoxx
07-15-2010, 08:57 PM
Alright, well I appreciate the good faith exhibited in most of these responses.

Swords, I didn't mean to come off as hostile as I did, I was embarrassed by a stupid typo, and thought you were going for more of a gotcha thing. I'll cop to not being an expert about the finer points of the Iraq debate circa 2002, as I wasn't paying much attention to this stuff then.

And those are fair points Jeff. But, just out of curiosity, what exactly were the reasons that Obama didn't support the war in 2002? Was his reasoning actually prescient, or did he just oppose on a sort of vaguely dovish platform? The cynic in me says that he thought that opposing the war would have some potential value down the road, while there wasn't a lot of upside in supporting it politically.

AemJeff
07-15-2010, 09:09 PM
...

what exactly were the reasons that Obama didn't support the war in 2002? Was his reasoning actually prescient, or did he just oppose on a sort of vaguely dovish platform? The cynic in me says that he thought that opposing the war would have some potential value down the road, while there wasn't a lot of upside in supporting it politically.

That's part of my point. We can't read his mind, we can only judge his words and the context in which they were said.

bjkeefe
07-16-2010, 08:37 AM
That's part of my point. We can't read his mind, we can only judge his words and the context in which they were said.

And to that end, Lawrence Lessig grabbed a copy (http://www.lessig.org/blog/2008/01/barack_obamas_2002_speech.html) of Obama's speech off of an archived version of Obama's old website. Here is the text that he presents:

Obama: I'm not against wars but

COLUMN FOR THE HYDE PARK HERALD FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2002
by Senator Barack Obama, D-13

The following is a speech that I gave at a recent rally regarding the situation in Iraq. The rally was downtown at Federal Plaza and several Hyde Parkers attended:

Good afternoon. Let begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil.

I donít oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I donít oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administrations pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.

I donít oppose all wars.

And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perles and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Roves to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone thru the worst month since the Great Depression.

Thatís what Im opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. Heís a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Queda.

I am not opposed to all wars. Iím opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today.

You want a fight, President Bush? Letís finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Queda, thru effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Letís fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons in already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Letís fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Letís fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not we will not travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

Sounds pretty consistent to me with he was saying six years later, and as such, I think you take these words at face value, unless you have good evidence to the contrary. Agree with them or not, this is, as of now, the best guess at what the man truly thought.

I think you also have to give him serious props for prescience.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 11:57 AM
I don't think it is fair to surmise at all that Obama would have not voted for the Iraq war bill. As you showed yourself, the four Senators gunning for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency at the time voted for it. Bill Richardson, you can bet, would have voted for it as well... cause he's as rightward leaning as Hillary Clinton can be on foreign policy.

So personally, I think Obama would have voted to go to war against Saddam Hussein... like all the other Democrat Senators did. I mean, he's come around to more or less saying the surge was correct after all (since it allows him to gain plaudits in his handling of Iraq), even though he didn't support it as a Senator (a time when being pro-war was at its nadir).

So, Wonderment is correct (has been for awhile)... it's everybody's War.

TwinSwords
07-16-2010, 01:21 PM
Sounds pretty consistent to me with he was saying six years later, and as such, I think you take these words at face value, unless you have good evidence to the contrary. Agree with them or not, this is, as of now, the best guess at what the man truly thought.

I think you also have to give him serious props for prescience.

First of all, thanks very much for posting this; it really helps to flesh out the discussion already taking place in this thread.

But more importantly, I think, it's a useful reminder that there were an enormous number of people who knew back in 2002 and 2003 that we were making a major mistake invading Iraq.

Back in those days after 9/11 but before the March, 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush was riding sky high in the polls, with approval ratings at 70% or higher. He had the unquestioning and full-throated support of the media, which tolerated no dissent, openly ridiculed and mocked anyone who opposed Bush or his war plans, and made examples (by firing) anyone in the journalistic ranks who dared to question the sanity of the path Bush had put us on.

Bush was assumed to be a shoo-in for reelection in 2004, it was assumed the Iraq war would be a major victory (just like the war his father fought against the same enemy), and it was assumed that opposing him was folly that would be paid back with defeat at the polls in 2004. Nearly the entire media was cowed into submission, along with a significant chunk of elected Democrats.

But the Democratic rank and file -- not pundits with jobs in media to protect or politicians afraid of being voted out of office, but actual Democratic citizens -- were never on board for Bush's war. And we felt left out in the cold, with nobody speaking for us. This was before MSNBC was "the liberal MSNBC." There was no place to turn in the mainstream media to hear anyone express our point of view. It was, like so much of the last two generations in a nation with a corporate/conservative controlled media, a frustrating time to be a liberal or a Democrat.

It was because of this environment of total ideological conformity that the liberal blogoshere evolved. The only place we could find people who were saying what we were thinking was on the internet, on the early blogs like Eschaton. (The corrolary, of course, is that this is why the conservative blogosphere took so much longer to evolve and mature; conservatives didn't need an alternate avenue to hear their ideas expressed: they already had the MSM.)

It was also in this environment of total ideological conformity that we discovered politicians like Barack Obama and Howard Dean. Dean was the vocal critic of the administration who, he said, was from "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," drawing a sharp contrast between himself and those other elected Democrats who had been (or still were) too cowardly to stand up to Bush.

I know conservatives deeply resent the fact that we turned out to be right, and that they led us into unmitigated disaster, but the satisfaction of having been right is no compensation for the horrifying toll the war took on our nation and the rest of the world.

.

handle
07-16-2010, 03:03 PM
Nice post.
It is devastating to see my prewar visions of another generation of young men and women returning with physical impairments, and PTSD, come to fruition.
Sometimes being right is no consolation whatsoever.

Warning:
If anyone chimes in here with the "Saddam was a bad guy" justification, I will probably harass you for years to come....

chiwhisoxx
07-16-2010, 03:37 PM
It's fine to say that there were people who were skeptical of Iraq in 2002-2003, and felt like their voices weren't being heard. I'm sure that was the case. But I feel like a decent chunk of this allegedly prescient contingency would oppose almost any war. There are people who say they don't necessarily oppose all wars, but their principles lead to them opposing any actual war in reality. The DV Will and Jonah did for the 4th comes to mind; Will says he doesn't oppose wars automatically, but when pressed to come up with a war he thinks was justified, he won't even say the Civil War qualifies. I don't remember what he said verbatim, but he definitely hemmed and hawed.

So my point is, I'm sure there were people who opposed, for example, The first Iraq War in the buildup to that war. They probably felt like their voices weren't heard, etc. etc. Obviously it's not a perfect parallel, but these are people who are going to likely oppose wars on principle, so in order to actually contribute to the debate, they needed to supply specific facts about the current war that are likely to make it a failure. I don't know what people were saying to oppose the war in 2002, and I'm guessing debating that would involve a decent amount of revinionist history. I'm willing to concede some people probably did make some points that were pertinent to Iraq's eventual failure about the nature of occupations, and nation building, and things of that nature. (For the record, there was also a lot of "No War for oil!, which is as stupid as it is unproductive, but I'm guessing and hoping that BHTV commenters aren't really part of that crowd)

But the problem is, in order to actually claim presience, you'd to have made the actual critiques that led to failure in Iraq. And Iraq, as almost all wars are, is an overdetermined event. It's incredibly difficult to pin down exactly why we failed, and it's obviously the case that there were a plethora of factors. So I'd guess that the number of people who actually predicted failure in Iraq by pointing to something specific that we could all agree was a major factor for failure in Iraq is a vanishingly small number of people. Again, this is a guess. Maybe I'm wrong. But I'm hesitant to go into the debate, as it would probably turn into a case of some revionism combined with trying to turn the plural of anecdotes into evidence.

For a lot of you who feel vindicated (vindicated is the wrong word, I know, because no one feels good about the results in Iraq) about opposing the war early on, the points I made probably don't do much to deter your feelings of vindication. My point was simply that this isn't a black and white case of those who opposed, and those who favored. There are shades of gray. To ask a somewhat provocative question, in terms of elevating debate about Iraq, how different is someone who predicted failure for the wrong reasons compared to someone who supported a war doomed to fail? I apologize for the rambling, as this isn't very coherent, but I'm very anxious to see responses, and I wanted to get it all out.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 04:10 PM
... otherwise why in the world would President Obama showcase (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/02/joe-biden-update-larry-king-iraq-obama-sarah-palin.html) the current Iraqi situation as his accomplishment?

You people weren't prescient about shit. :)

bjkeefe
07-16-2010, 04:18 PM
... otherwise why in the world would President Obama showcase (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/02/joe-biden-update-larry-king-iraq-obama-sarah-palin.html) the current Iraqi situation as his accomplishment?

You people weren't prescient about shit. :)

This is the stupidest thing ever to be posted on an Internet forum, and it will hold that title until the next time Lyle posts something on an Internet forum.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 04:29 PM
Aww... you don't have argument, you just yell stupid. How is the point I made "stupid" again?

You're not happy Saddam Hussein is dead, Iraq is free, and the surge against al Qaeda in Iraq worked? President Obama is.

AemJeff
07-16-2010, 04:32 PM
I wonder how many Iraqis died to ensure the "accomplishment" in Iraq. I know how many Americans did.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 04:40 PM
I wonder how many Iraqis died to ensure the "accomplishment" in Iraq. I know how many Americans did.

Yeah, I didn't say there wasn't any pain and suffering involved. I've simply said Iraq hasn't been a disaster and that our current President isn't claiming it to be such.

A disaster would have been Saddam Hussein defeating us. A disaster would have been Shia fanatics defeating us in Iraq or al Qaeda in Iraq defeating us. None of that happened though. Iraq, however, is now a functioning democratic state, al Qaeda in Iraq is crushed, and Saddam Hussein no longer exists.

Our armed services personal deserve a Nobel Peace Prize don't you think?

AemJeff
07-16-2010, 04:41 PM
Yeah, I didn't say there wasn't any pain and suffering involved. I've simply said Iraq hasn't been a disaster and that our current President isn't claiming it to be such.

A disaster would have been Saddam Hussein defeating us. A disaster would have been Shia fanatics defeating us in Iraq or al Qaeda in Iraq defeating us. None of that happened though. Iraq, however, is now a functioning Democrat state, al Qaeda in Iraq is crushed, and Saddam Hussein no longer exists.

Our armed services personal deserve a Nobel Peace Prize don't you think?

I'm sure all of the dead thank you for your concern.

handle
07-16-2010, 04:46 PM
... otherwise why in the world would President Obama showcase (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/02/joe-biden-update-larry-king-iraq-obama-sarah-palin.html) the current Iraqi situation as his accomplishment?

You people weren't prescient about shit. :)
This thread is the best illustration of the contrast between a conservative and a wingnut I have ever seen. Apologies to chiwhisoxx for my role in provoking snark in an otherwise fascinating discussion.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 04:55 PM
So because people were killed it was a "disaster"? Iraq can only be judged by the myriad personal tragedies involved with the invasion and occupation?

Lyle
07-16-2010, 04:56 PM
What's a "wingnut"? Is President Obama calling Iraq a disaster today?

AemJeff
07-16-2010, 05:01 PM
So because people were killed it was a "disaster"? Iraq can only be judged by the myriad personal tragedies involved with the invasion and occupation?

It's called "moral calculus." It requires the ability to count past one and to make distinctions finer than simple dualism.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 05:03 PM
So your "moral calculus" says the world would be better off today with Saddam Hussein in it... and in charge of Iraq and brutalizing its people?

bjkeefe
07-16-2010, 05:07 PM
It's called "moral calculus." It requires the ability to count past one and to make distinctions finer than simple dualism.

So why are you wasting your time talking to Lyle then?

handle
07-16-2010, 05:12 PM
Another great post on the subject, I wish I had more time to respond in kind. For now I will only say that I didn't foresee "failure" in Iraq, and the lead up to the occupation went about as well as could be expected after Turkey nixed any chance of a flanking maneuver.
I just never felt, especially in light of the weapons inspection reports that it would be worth the enormous costs to engage in an extended occupation.
And I certainly did not foresee the kind of chaos that ensued, or that our people would see fit to dismantle the existing infrastructure.
I have to admit being completely wrong about the surge, but at the time I did not realize that Bush had finally learned not to give quite as much weight to Cheney's input, as is now coming out.
Depending on ones rational of course, the war as a whole could be considered a success or failure. I break it down like this:
WMD discovery? -fail
WMD prevention - success?
Learning how to pacify a volatile and chaotic political entity? - definite progress.
Topple a cruel dictator? -success
Worth the costs and effort? I say no, but the historians will write the story.

Predicting success in the withdrawal may be getting ahead of ourselves, and the costs continue to pile up. But I'd like to think we've learned to deliberate a bit more before supporting our leaders in a decision to use force... at least until next time.

handle
07-16-2010, 05:13 PM
What's a "wingnut"? Is President Obama calling Iraq a disaster today?

And the acute self-awareness award goes to....

AemJeff
07-16-2010, 05:18 PM
So your "moral calculus" says the world we better off today with Saddam Hussein in it... and in charge of Iraq and brutalizing its people?

Instead of years of brutalization via "collateral damage," brutal sectarianism, religious war, revenge killings, hostage taking, ethnic cleansing, blatant terror, the complete upheaval of social order, etc...?

Like I said, I'm sure the dead, the maimed, and everyone else who lost, thanks Lyle for his concern and his unquestioning moral surety.

AemJeff
07-16-2010, 05:19 PM
So why are you wasting your time talking to Lyle then?

A damned good question.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 10:09 PM
Ah... I still don't know what you mean by "wingnut". Please be more specific as to why I qualify as a "wingnut".

And you didn't answer the second question, so I'll ask you again... is President Obama calling Iraq a disaster today?

Lyle
07-16-2010, 10:18 PM
Instead of years of brutalization via "collateral damage," brutal sectarianism, religious war, revenge killings, hostage taking, ethnic cleansing, blatant terror, the complete upheaval of social order, etc...?

Yes, definitely. I mean, little if any of the post-war brutality that happened is happening today. Mexico is more violent than Iraq is now. The brutality that happened has now lead to stability, which was the exact point of the brutality... at least the brutality our wonderful soldiers unleashed in Iraq.

You don't support our armed services in getting the Nobel Peace Prize for liberating Iraq and helping to see Iraq past the post-war brutality of Shia and al Qaeda fanatics?

Like I said, I'm sure the dead, the maimed, and everyone else who lost, thanks Lyle for his concern and his unquestioning moral surety.

What do they say about your views and concerns Jeff? You actually think they all agree with you and that they all think their sacrifice was in vain? Do you really think every single veteran of Iraq thinks he or she accomplished nothing in Iraq? That they didn't help a single human being before being killed or maimed?

Lyle
07-16-2010, 10:21 PM
When are you going to make an actual argument? Stand up for yourself Bud, and defend your name-calling response. Why am I stupid for arguing that Iraq was a success and not a disaster, and pointing to the Obama administration's own words to buttress my argument?

Wonderment
07-16-2010, 10:26 PM
Mexico is more violent than Iraq is now.

Also our fault*, thanks to our consumption habits, arms export business and War on Drugs mentality.

*Partly.

Lyle
07-16-2010, 10:43 PM
The actual killing isn't our fault. The Mexican pulling the trigger is 100% responsible, just like al Qaeda in Iraq was 100% responsible for strapping some guy with explosives to go and suicide bomb a marketplace.

I would concur with your point as far as the consumption of drugs in the U.S. and the Drug War itself, but Mexicans used to transport drugs across the border without resorting to al Qaeda levels of violence. Something changed in the black market down there, and now they are all killing one another, innocents, soldiers, cops, and whomever. And because Mexico is Mexico and the government there can't really control the country effectively or incubate a decent economy, this vacuum of government and economic stagnation allows for the gangster thugs to run riot, I guess.

Hopefully Mexico can figure out the problem and get it under control though. We can do our share by legalizing pot and giving up on the Drug War in general... but Mexico needs to mature and handle their business as well.

Wonderment
07-17-2010, 12:28 AM
Something changed in the black market down there, and now they are all killing one another, innocents, soldiers, cops, and whomever. And because Mexico is Mexico and the government there can't really control the country effectively or incubate a decent economy, this vacuum of government and economic stagnation allows for the gangster thugs to run riot, I guess.

One pressure on Mexico was the "success" of the War on Drugs in Colombia. There are other market pressures concerning meth, weed and heroin.

Another factor was the "War on Drugs" mentality of the PAN president Calderůn. It's another example of waging a war that can't be won and that only makes matters much worse.

Hopefully Mexico can figure out the problem and get it under control though. We can do our share by legalizing pot and giving up on the Drug War in general... but Mexico needs to mature and handle their business as well.

I agree. There is institutional corruption across the board in Mexico. It's almost impenetrable. Bear in mind, however, that Mexican corruption -- as horrific as it is -- is a kindergarten tea party compared to far poorer and far far more corrupt nations like Afghanistan and Iraq. Mexico ranks 89th here (http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table) (middle of the pack), while Iraq ranks 176th of 180 and Afghanistan 179, second only to Somalia.

Wonderment
07-17-2010, 12:33 AM
Also, keep your eye on the bala (bullet) (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/16/AR2010071606252.html?hpid=topnews)

Lyle
07-17-2010, 12:44 AM
One pressure on Mexico was the "success" of the War on Drugs in Colombia. There are other market pressures concerning meth, weed and heroin.

Another factor was the "War on Drugs" mentality of the PAN president Calderůn. It's another example of waging a war that can't be won and that only makes matters much worse.

Colombia is an interesting point, because more or less they've gotten their country and drug problems sorted out. However, when Colombia was struggling with what Mexico is going through today, Mexico wasn't... at least in terms of the ridiculous levels of violence.

I agree. There is institutional corruption across the board in Mexico. It's almost impenetrable. Bear in mind, however, that Mexican corruption -- as horrific as it is -- is a kindergarten tea party compared to far poorer and far far more corrupt nations like Afghanistan and Iraq. Mexico ranks 89th here (http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2009/cpi_2009_table) (middle of the pack), while Iraq ranks 176th of 180 and Afghanistan 179, second only to Somalia.

Yep, Mexico has got some maturing to do. I wish them well... and of course they're not as far off the pace as Iraq, Afghanistan, or Somalia (plenty of other countries too).

Lyle
07-17-2010, 01:00 AM
Yeah, not really our problem. Guns and grenades, and whatever else come from all over. I mean, Mexico probably has to import most of its weapons, be they machine guns from Belgium, pistols from Brazil, or assault rifles manufactured in Bulgaria but that come in from the United States. We're about as responsible for stopping illegal guns from getting into Mexico from the United States, as Mexico is responsible for keeping Mexican citizens from illegally entering the United States.

I mean it just isn't our problem if US manufactured grenades stored up in Honduras or Nicaragua get brought in to Mexico somehow. It's not like our government or our weapons manufacturers are out right dealing with drug cartels in Mexico. The best we can do is support the Mexican government whack (preferably arrest and prosecute) these guys before they whack innocents or government officials, or whomever it is they are out to kill or mutilate.

edit: on top of drug policy changes hopefully to come down the road.

Wonderment
07-17-2010, 02:28 AM
The best we can do is support the Mexican government whack (preferably arrest and prosecute) these guys before they whack innocents or government officials, or whomever it is they are out to kill or mutilate.

Why is the best we can do whacking people?

Why not negotiate? Why not end Prohibition? Why not let adults consume whatever substances they want, including alcohol?

It's true there would be a (slight, I believe) spike in addiction if you could buy heroin, meth and crack at the local convenience store. But if you invested a tiny fraction of the War on Drugs (whacking budget) on substance abuse prevention and rehab, you would end up with a relatively minor health care issue (nothing compared to tobacco, alcohol and overeating abuse care).

I don't want to revisit the whole legalization argument because it's been said and done a thousand times here, but I would ask you to consider the benefits of legalization over whacking.

Repealing alcohol prohibition was a bi-partisan cause. There's no reason why conservatives and liberals can't have a joint effort to end drug prohibition as well.

Lyle
07-17-2010, 02:38 AM
Why is the best we can do whacking people?

Why not negotiate? Why not end Prohibition? Why not let adults consume whatever substances they want, including alcohol?

It's true there would be a (slight, I believe) spike in addiction if you could buy heroin, meth and crack at the local convenience store. But if you invested a tiny fraction of the War on Drugs (whacking budget) on substance abuse prevention and rehab, you would end up with a relatively minor health care issue (nothing compared to tobacco, alcohol and overeating abuse care).

I don't want to revisit the whole legalization argument because it's been said and done a thousand times here, but I would ask you to consider the benefits of legalization over whacking.

Repealing alcohol prohibition was a bi-partisan cause. There's no reason why conservatives and liberals can't have a joint effort to end drug prohibition as well.

Oh, I agree... that's where my last edit comes in -- Along with arresting, prosecuting, and whacking the "bad guys", there should be policy changes, like de-criminalizing and/or legalizing drugs (and before that I clearly stated that marijuana should be legalized and the Drug War done away with). So I'm with you already.

... but the criminal violence in Mexico is in the now, and must be dealt with as criminal violence is dealt with the world over... met with good police and prosecution work, and in some instances violence itself, i.e. whacking (re-watch the Untouchables and tell me you don't feel a bit good when Kevin Costner's character throws Al Capone's hit-man off the top of that courthouse).