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Bloggingheads 05-07-2009 10:11 PM

Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 

brucds 05-07-2009 10:46 PM

Pinkerton on "scandalous" Obama
 
Just can't link to this too often:

http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/20...inkerton_1023/

ImprecisePsychic 05-07-2009 11:51 PM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before
 
Jim Pinkerton has a very calm and reassuring tone when he suggests the coming Obama Scandals....which makes him seem so earnest in his concerns.

His Fox News colleagues could learn a lot from him. Pinkerton presents the same nonsense as Sean Hannity but without the hysterics, he is capable of fooling more folks.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 02:10 AM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Good to see David Corn back, because he keeps Jim on an even keel, and for other reasons. I hope he gets to ask his question to President Obama some day soon.

I do share everything that Jim thinks about what Star Trek represents, as well as his sense of loss after Apollo. I think he lays too much blame at the feet of "the environmentalists," but I'll grant there have been many lefty groups that hurt the space program, among other factors.

I think we should have Jim do a diavlog with Steve Benen or Bill Simmon, where the entire hour would be shamelessly devoted to geeking out massively. Jim is a lot more pleasant to listen to when he's talking about his space-related dreams than when he's talking about his political nightmares.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 02:17 AM

Special thanks ...
 
... to David for bringing up Philip Zelikow's blog post discussing his (classified) dissenting memo against the Bush Administration's move towards instituting a torture policy. I urge everyone to read it, as well as David's post on the possible Cheney-directed cover-up.

Also of interest are a couple of posts on TPMMuckraker from Zachary Roth, dated 21 April and 4 May.

I should add that Jim deserves credit for not going into immediate defense/denial mode about this issue during the discussion.

[Added] For some more background, here are videos of Zelikow appearing on Rachel Maddow's show on 21 April 2009: {Part 1 | Part 2} (via Spackerman)

Wonderment 05-08-2009 03:17 AM

Re: Special thanks ...
 
Zelikow was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show about a week ago. Not exactly a profile in whistle-blowing courage, but then the hardcore Bushies can make even John Ashcroft look like a human rights advocate.

David has put his finger on why the whole torture investigation is so important, however, even beyond torture per se: If this specious, circular argument stands -- that I, the President, can do anything my lawyer tells me I can do, and Who-me, the lawyer, can skate because I'm just giving my honest opinion -- virtually Anything Goes, and there's no accountability for any kind of tyrannical shenanigans. We need to get to the bottom of this before the same trick gets pulled again by the next gang of Machiavellian operators, be they Democrats or Republicans.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 03:52 AM

Re: Special thanks ...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 112985)
Zelikow was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show about a week ago. Not exactly a profile in whistle-blowing courage, but then the hardcore Bushies can make even John Ashcroft look like a human rights advocate.

Oops. I guess I was updating my post to add those video links at the same time as you were composing your reply.

I'm less inclined to climb all over Zelikow for lack of courage on this one. He could have said nothing at the time, and he could have kept quiet after the fact. Especially when you start with the understanding that he worked in both Bush White Houses, what he has done ain't bean bag. I agree he comes off less impressively during the Maddow interview than one might like, but his FP blog post is pretty good.

Quote:

David has put his finger on why the whole torture investigation is so important, however, even beyond torture per se: If this specious, circular argument stands -- that I, the President, can do anything my lawyer tells me I can do, and Who-me, the lawyer, can skate because I'm just giving my honest opinion -- virtually Anything Goes, and there's no accountability for any kind of tyrannical shenanigans. We need to get to the bottom of this before the same trick gets pulled again by the next gang of Machiavellian operators, be they Democrats or Republicans.
Agreed. I eagerly await the beginning of the Senate subcommittee hearings next week, and I hope they get the Zelikow memo out by then.

claymisher 05-08-2009 03:54 AM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 112982)
I do share everything that Jim thinks about what Star Trek represents, as well as his sense of loss after Apollo. I think he lays too much blame at the feet of "the environmentalists," but I'll grant there have been many lefty groups that hurt the space program, among other factors.

Jim Pinkerton is totally full of shit when it comes to environmentalists. Yeah, I heard some dumb shit in my dorm when I was a freshman too. Whatever. As if every Republican is David Duke. I'd wager, on account of general love of science and nerdiness, your average enviro is more pro-space than the average non-enviro, and is more pro-space than they can really justify. Pinkerton is so stupid he can't recognize his own goddam allies.

Keefe, I'm putting you on the spot: Name five anti-space lefty groups. If there's many naming five ought to be easy. :)

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 04:14 AM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 112990)
Jim Pinkerton is totally full of shit when it comes to environmentalists. Yeah, I heard some dumb shit in my dorm when I was a freshman too. Whatever. As if every Republican is David Duke. I'd wager, on account of general love of science and nerdiness, your average enviro is more pro-space than the average non-enviro, and is more pro-space than they can really justify. Pinkerton is so stupid he can't recognize his own goddam allies.

Keefe, I'm putting you on the spot: Name five anti-space lefty groups. If there's many naming five ought to be easy. :)

I don't think I can name five lefty groups whose missions begin and end with "stop the space flight madness," but ever since the Apollo program wound down, there has been no shortage of groups who prioritize other goals and frequently use NASA as a whipping boy. For example, groups concerned with addressing world hunger, housing shortages, and other manifestations of poverty, or who would like to see increasing education spending or more medical research, frequently yammer about "all that money we're wasting in space when we have problems to solve here on Earth." You also see groups who obsess about exploring the oceans ("we know less about the Atlantic sea floor than we do about the far side of the Moon") and others who are against all space programs that have anything to do with the military ("nationalism should end at the edge of the atmosphere").

Close enough?

Wonderment 05-08-2009 05:38 AM

True Confession
 
Quote:

"all that money we're wasting in space when we have problems to solve here on Earth."
My first published document was a letter to the editor of my hometown newspaper. I was 11 years old. The year was 1958. The subject was the US launch of Explorer 1.

I proposed solving our problems here on Earth before venturing into space.

So yes, I'd say a lot of leftists of my generation were decidedly underwhelmed by the space program. It began in Cold War fervor, was militarized and chauvinistic from the git-go, appeared to be a seamless extension of the WMD programs, and had characters like Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun at the forefront, hyping it. Very Strangelovian.

We were wary of Big Government Science, Technology and Engineering. Hippies, feminists, civil rights activists and early environmentalists were not putting pin-ups of Neil Armstrong on their dorm walls. A prejudice? Maybe, but not necessarily an unfounded one.

Having conceded that, blaming "luddites and environmentalists," as Jim did, is ridiculous. First of all, "environmentalist" is not a slur. Secondly, many of the skeptics have doctorates in various sciences or have devoted their lives to the development of various technologies. And finally, there is an ugly anti-environmentalist element among the pro-NASA lobbies -- the attitude that we won't have to worry about overpopulation (or pollution or global warming) once we move on to colonize the galaxy."

My wariness of NASA has remained with me throughout my life, and I have no regrets. Jim says he's still worried that the "Chinese or Indians will beat us." That's what it was always about: flag waving, the imperial quest for domination, and "conquering" space. Yuck.

P.S. The opponents of the militarization of space could use a few 11-year-olds writing letters today.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 05:57 AM

Re: True Confession
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 112993)
My first published document was a letter to the editor of my hometown newspaper. I was 11 years old. The year was 1958. The subject was the US launch of Explorer 1.

I proposed solving our problems here on Earth before venturing into space.

I can appreciate the sentiment, but I believe it's woolly-headed thinking. We will never even solve all of our problems in our own houses, let alone on our entire planet. Saying we should not move onward and upward until we do is a recipe for stagnation. We as a species would never have left Africa, or later Europe, if that was our philosophy. Besides, learning new things invariably helps with some of the problems at hand, and it is also the case that looking forward to new possibilities gives new hopes.

I'm perfectly willing to agree that not every last cent should be spent on the space program. I am also happy to acknowledge a litany of complaints about NASA. To the first I'd say that we have a democracy for arguing about just such budget priorities. To the second I'd say NASA does a lot of good, despite its flaws, and also, that I'd really like to see more room made for the private sector to compete.

I am also somewhat uncomfortable with some aspects of the military's involvement in the space program. On the other hand, I don't see any realistic scenario for the foreseeable future where the military doesn't get a disproportionately large slice of the pie, so if they're going to spend some of their money on rockets and satellites, I'll say that's better than some other things I could imagine them buying, and I'll look forward to the spin-offs that we eventually get from throwing DoD dollars at problems.

Finally, while I don't like nationalistic fervor as a motivator for making progress in space, and do love international cooperation on these efforts, if what it takes to get the US back into the game is fear of being beaten by those other guys, I'll take it. Better than nothing.

Oh, and by the way? I was a hippie when I was a kid, and I did, in fact, have posters of astronauts up on my walls. Right next to the big one of Jimi Hendrix.

Wonderment 05-08-2009 06:04 AM

Re: True Confession
 
Quote:

I was a hippie when I was a kid, and I did, in fact, have posters of astronauts up on my walls. Right next to the big one of Jimi Hendrix.
Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

DenvilleSteve 05-08-2009 09:30 AM

Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature. All is right in the new territories for a while, where the decency and honesty of the rugged indivdual is remembered and valued. Then the democrats arrive, with their unnecessary and costly requirements at the DMV inspection stations, and society regresses into the daily routine of competing interests and how I feel pronouncements.

The solar system is the next frontier. Republican peoples should/will not wait for NASA to lead the way. The once great NASA has been overrun by people who dont think about building bigger and better exploration machines, who dont "work the problem".

AemJeff 05-08-2009 09:36 AM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 113003)
I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature. All is right in the new territories for a while, where the decency and honesty of the rugged indivdual is remembered and valued. Then the democrats arrive, with their unnecessary and costly requirements at the DMV inspection stations, and society regresses into the daily routine of competing interests and how I feel pronouncements.

The solar system is the next frontier. Republican peoples should/will not wait for NASA to lead the way. The once great NASA has been overrun by people who dont think about building bigger and better exploration machines, who dont "work the problem".

It's a good thing the Republicans won the Presidency in '60, or we'd have never reached the moon!

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 09:47 AM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 113004)
It's a good thing the Republicans won the Presidency in '60, or we'd have never reached the moon!

Don't believe that liberal media lie. It was thanks totally to the great Richard Nixon that we were able to fake the Moon landings.

AemJeff 05-08-2009 10:49 AM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
It's hard not to like Jim, despite the occasional glimpses of teh crazy that seem to get past the censor (as it were) from time to time. I do wonder, sometimes, whether he cultivates that impression for the perfectly rational purpose of sustaining his career as a commentator within the establishment of explicitly right-wing media. On the other hand, occasionally he really does come off as a true believer. I will say this - my earliest personal epiphanies were related first, to my lifelong love of science, science fiction, and the space program; and second (chronologically) to the idea of environmentalism - which I would characterize as a rational interest in a maintaining a sustainable, respectful relationship with nature. I see no conflict, here.

My mom, btw worked on the Apollo program throughout its entire run. She was awarded a plaque with a medallion made from the metal of the (if I remember right) Apollo 8 command module, something of which she, and my entire family, is extremely proud. The company I work for is completing a piece of video hardware that, if it passes the radiation testing in the next couple of weeks (very likely, there are well known methods of design in this regard) will be installed in the ISS. I just found out a week ago, that this piece of equipment contains a module for which I wrote some of the firmware. For a kid that at the age of ten watched the first video signal from the surface of the moon, and who knew, and was in awe of, some of the engineers responsible for implementing that video linkup - this is a huge fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Nevertheless, embarrassingly enough, with my foot and a half long pony tail I still look like a hippie, I'm still on the left, I still think that environmentalism is the only rational approach to a sustainable modern socety.

I think Jim has failed to identify the primary culprits here.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 10:52 AM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 113010)
It's hard not to like Jim, despite the occasional glimpses of teh crazy that seem to get past the censor (as it were) from time to time. I do wonder, sometimes, whether he cultivates that impression for the perfectly rational purpose of sustaining his career as a commentator within the establishment of explicitly right-wing media. On the other hand, occasionally he really does come off as a true believer. I will say this - my earliest personal epiphanies were related first, to my lifelong love of science, science fiction, and the space program; and second (chronologically) to the idea of environmentalism - which I would characterize as a rational interest in a maintaining a sustainable, respectful relationship with nature. I see no conflict, here.

My mom, btw worked on the Apollo program throughout its entire run. She was awarded a plaque with a medallion made from the metal of the (if I remember right) Apollo 8 command module, something of which she, and my entire family, is extremely proud. The company I work for is completing a piece of video hardware that, if it passes the radiation testing in the next couple of weeks (very likely, there are well known methods of design in this regard) will be installed in the ISS. I just found out a week ago, that this piece of equipment contains a module for which I wrote some of the firmware. For a kid that at the age of ten watched the first video signal from the surface of the moon, and who knew, and was in awe of, some of the engineers responsible for implementing that video linkup - this is a huge fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Nevertheless, embarrassingly enough, with my foot and a half long pony tail I still look like a hippie, I'm still on the left, I still think that environmentalism is the only rational approach to a sustainable modern socety.

I think Jim has failed to identify the primary culprits here.

Awesome post, especially the part about how you get to participate in the ongoing dream.

DenvilleSteve 05-08-2009 12:22 PM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 113004)
It's a good thing the Republicans won the Presidency in '60, or we'd have never reached the moon!

JFK fought in combat in WWII. He is an honorary republican.

pampl 05-08-2009 12:25 PM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
My guess is that democrats are responsible for everything good and pure in the world then republicans arrive and start molesting children and manufacturing meth

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 12:34 PM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 113021)
JFK fought in combat in WWII. He is an honorary republican.

So what does the zero-combat record of Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush make them?

DenvilleSteve 05-08-2009 12:36 PM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 113010)

Nevertheless, embarrassingly enough, with my foot and a half long pony tail I still look like a hippie, I'm still on the left, I still think that environmentalism is the only rational approach to a sustainable modern socety.

at some point, likely sooner than we are aware, the earth runs out of natural resources. How much cement, steel and other metals remain to be consumed in democrat make work projects? Machines could be designed to mine Mars and build giant ships the size of Texas that people would live on, orbitting the sun, just like they do on Earth. Free from federal authority, of course.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 12:38 PM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 113024)
Machines could be designed to mine Mars and build giant ships the size of Texas that people would live on, orbitting the sun, just like they do on Earth. Free from federal authority, of course.

I'd definitely support that.

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 12:39 PM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 113025)
I'd definitely support that.

Except, no I wouldn't, because if you wingnuts were living at the top of the gravitational well, within ten years you'd get it in your heads to start dropping rocks on the Earth, for Jesus.

AemJeff 05-08-2009 12:53 PM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 113021)
JFK fought in combat in WWII. He is an honorary republican.

Steve, I get the feeling you're not really trying here. Come on man, show us up with your rock-ribbed appeals to purity, decency and the Republican Way!

claymisher 05-08-2009 01:05 PM

Re: Where No Diavlog Has Gone Before (David Corn & James Pinkerton)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 113010)
My mom, btw worked on the Apollo program throughout its entire run. She was awarded a plaque with a medallion made from the metal of the (if I remember right) Apollo 8 command module, something of which she, and my entire family, is extremely proud. The company I work for is completing a piece of video hardware that, if it passes the radiation testing in the next couple of weeks (very likely, there are well known methods of design in this regard) will be installed in the ISS. I just found out a week ago, that this piece of equipment contains a module for which I wrote some of the firmware. For a kid that at the age of ten watched the first video signal from the surface of the moon, and who knew, and was in awe of, some of the engineers responsible for implementing that video linkup - this is a huge fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Nevertheless, embarrassingly enough, with my foot and a half long pony tail I still look like a hippie, I'm still on the left, I still think that environmentalism is the only rational approach to a sustainable modern socety.

I think Jim has failed to identify the primary culprits here.

This is exactly what was talking about! Thanks Jeff!

bjkeefe 05-08-2009 01:30 PM

Gleanings from Wingnuttia
 
DenvilleSteve:

Quote:

I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Fox News's Sean Hannity (via):

Quote:

HANNITY: Is it safe to say that Democrats were willing to protect pedophiles but not offer the same protection to servicemen and women? Is that an accurate statement?

KING: Sean, it is a matter of congressional record. Absolutely true -- beyond any doubt whatsoever.

uncle ebeneezer 05-08-2009 03:23 PM

Re: True Confession
 
I think space exploration is cool, and think there are several great things that come out of it (the most basic being our ongoing quest for knowledge.) But at the end of the day we have alot of areas to explore and problems to fix and I think it's about finding the right balance of our priorities. But I do think it fair, given the amount of scrutiny that Republicans love to rain on any large public project suggested by Dems, for us to turn that scrutiny around onto their pet-projects like space exploration and new weapons systems. For all the screaming and hollering about how cap&trade or the bailouts might not work, or be efficient enough therefore we shouldn't do them, well building space stations or a stronger telescope might not give us anything really practical either, and they sure as hell cost alot of $.

But I love Jim's enthusiasm for space and would love to hear him do a diavlog with one of the SciSat guys, (maybe Sean Carroll?) to give him a chance to interview somebody who knows a bit about space. Jim and Joel Achenbach might be fun too, as 2 laypeople with an interest in science.

Good diavlog. I also applaud David's eagerness to investigate TARP. It shows that he's not just about the Left, but just a good-old fashioned reporter who seeks truth.

Wonderment 05-08-2009 04:03 PM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature.
Primitive racism duly noted, Steve.

Since it was only a "frontier" to you, Steve, what if you run into some savages out there in space? Plus, last time I looked nature remains untamed.

Wonderment 05-08-2009 04:08 PM

Hot tip for David Corn
 
The civilian casualties in Afghanistan or "Afpak" are a shameful blot on the Obama administration.

The liberal media won't push it because they are in love, and the conservative media won't push it because they are open to charges to galaxy-sized hypocrisy.

It's up to you independent investigative reporters. Skip the graft, David, and get onto the important stuff: innocent dead humans.

AemJeff 05-08-2009 04:15 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 113053)
The civilian casualties in Afghanistan or "Afpak" are a shameful blot on the Obama administration.

The liberal media won't push it because they are in love, and the conservative media won't push it because they are open to charges to galaxy-sized hypocrisy.

It's up to you independent investigative reporters. Skip the graft, David, and get onto the important stuff: innocent dead humans.

Are you comparing casualty rates with a hypothetical zero or with an estimate of the deaths and mutilations that would be occurring if the Taliban were running things (executions, retributive mutilations, etc....) It seems to me that the moral calculus doesn't add up quite the way that you're implying.

DenvilleSteve 05-08-2009 04:19 PM

Re: True Confession
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 113046)
I think space exploration is cool, and think there are several great things that come out of it (the most basic being our ongoing quest for knowledge.) But at the end of the day we have alot of areas to explore and problems to fix and I think it's about finding the right balance of our priorities.

What is more of a priority than the countering of the depletion of the earth's resources and destruction of the environment?? The harnessing of the resources of the solar system is nothing more than an enormous engineering project.

uncle ebeneezer 05-08-2009 05:21 PM

Re: Pinkerton and Obama's Common Ground
 
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/ar...can-factor.php

cognitive madisonian 05-08-2009 05:47 PM

Re: Republicans explore, democrats work the angles
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 113003)
I dont think it is a coincedence that the US has lost interest in space exploration as it has become dominated by democrats.

My guess is that it is republican types who historically have set out on the frontier, faced danger, fought savages and tamed nature. All is right in the new territories for a while, where the decency and honesty of the rugged indivdual is remembered and valued. Then the democrats arrive, with their unnecessary and costly requirements at the DMV inspection stations, and society regresses into the daily routine of competing interests and how I feel pronouncements.

The solar system is the next frontier. Republican peoples should/will not wait for NASA to lead the way. The once great NASA has been overrun by people who dont think about building bigger and better exploration machines, who dont "work the problem".

This brings to mind when George Bush announced an ambitious plan for a manned exploration to Mars and the DNC responded by mocking him for being 'out of touch' with 'normal Americans.' It was disheartening to see such a disregard for scientific exploration...especially from a party that contains a subset dogmatically linked to science :p

cognitive madisonian 05-08-2009 05:51 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 113055)
Are you comparing casualty rates with a hypothetical zero or with an estimate of the deaths and mutilations that would be occurring if the Taliban were running things (executions, retributive mutilations, etc....) It seems to me that the moral calculus doesn't add up quite the way that you're implying.

For once I agree with AemJeff. If our goal is to minimize human suffering, then we must remain committed to defeating an unbelievably brutal regime in the Taliban.

The underlying objection to war, after all, is an objection to human suffering. If we could achieve the objectives of war without human suffering then what would be the objection? But if the failure to execute a war will result in greater human suffering then it is immoral to not pursue war.

Wonderment 05-08-2009 05:56 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Are you comparing casualty rates with a hypothetical zero or with an estimate of the deaths and mutilations that would be occurring if the Taliban were running things (executions, retributive mutilations, etc....) It seems to me that the moral calculus doesn't add up quite the way that you're implying.
Isn't that the same justification Bush proffered for the Iraq War?

Once the WMD thing blew up in his face, so to speak, the neo-cons retreated to how evil Saddam Hussein was and how much worse off the Iraqis would be if he was still in power.

cognitive madisonian 05-08-2009 05:59 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 113070)
Isn't that the same justification Bush proffered for the Iraq War?

Once the WMD thing blew up in his face, so to speak, the neo-cons retreated to how evil Saddam Hussein was and how much worse off the Iraqis would be if he was still in power.

You're not rejecting the notion that Saddam was evil, are you? Let's not get hung up on semantics, lest you disagree with the notion of 'evil'. Saddam was an incredibly brutal warlord who killed upwards of a million people during his reign; his sons were serial rapists and murderers.

Wonderment 05-08-2009 06:04 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Saddam was an incredibly brutal warlord who killed upwards of a million people during his reign...
So was Bush.

cognitive madisonian 05-08-2009 06:06 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 113072)
So was Bush.

come now

AemJeff 05-08-2009 06:22 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 113070)
Isn't that the same justification Bush proffered for the Iraq War?
Once the WMD thing blew up in his face, so to speak, the neo-cons retreated to how evil Saddam Hussein was and how much worse off the Iraqis would be if he was still in power.

Even if that were true, it wouldn't be a valid argument. Whatever the second order excuses were in one case, it has no bearing on the moral calculus elsewhere.

Wonderment 05-08-2009 07:04 PM

Re: Hot tip for David Corn
 
Quote:

Whatever the second order excuses were in one case, it has no bearing on the moral calculus elsewhere.
Ok, I will keep it simple. Forget Bush. Obama should be talking to the Taliban, not bombing them with drones and causing "collateral damage" (i.e., death and maiming) to civilians.

Also, I would ask you to contemplate the strategy of recent wars against Muslims waged by both Israel and the USA.

In Lebanon and much more so in Gaza, it was clear that Israel was inflicting large casualties on the civilian population because they were determined to take only the most minimal risks for IDF troops. This is probably a lot of what will see in asymmetrical (automated) warfare in the future. The vastly superior technological power will risk say 1000 of the "enemy's" civilians in order to not risk one life of their own. As long as Obama can keep the US body count down, he risks relatively little politically by killing the natives, half a world away. This is even more obvious in a potentially unpopular war, as opposed to Israel's war on Gaza which was widely supported by Israeli voters.

Civilian death is thus politically incentivized. Obama says he wants to minimize civilian casualties, but if the question is to send in the ground guys to take the village with a little collateral damage or to send in the drones to take the village with a lot of collateral damage, what do you think he'll pick?

Also, consider the incentives for letting our local allies do the dirty work, like in Vietnam. There's blood on our hands in this too:

Quote:

TODAY"S NYT, ISLAMABAD, Pakistan The Pakistani Army pressed a surprisingly vigorous offensive on Friday against the Taliban militants who had taken control of a broad swath of territory northwest of the capital, sending tens of thousands of Pakistanis fleeing the fighting.

The exodus by truck, car, foot and horse cart reached close to 200,000 people, forcing relief workers to erect new rows of tents in camps along the clotted road running south from Swat Valley, the scene of the heaviest fighting. And more trouble loomed: Relief officials said as many as 300,000 people were already moving or preparing to flee.

The humanitarian crisis unfolded as the Pakistani Army moved ahead with what it described as an all-out attack on the Taliban militants in Swat
, the epicenter of a power struggle over months between government forces and the militants.


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