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Hari on Iraq: “A Melancholic Mea Culpa”

Lefty British writer Johann Hari has had enough. One of the more prominent liberals who supported the war in Iraq, he's now throwing in the towel. His website reproduces a column he wrote for The Independent of London declaring his "melancholic mea culpa." He was pushed over the edge, he says, but watching just how routine mass killings had become; by the stone-cold fear in which some of his Iraqi friends live:
So when people ask if I think I was wrong, I think about the Iraqi friend – hiding, terrified, in his own house – who said to me this week, “Every day you delete another name from your mobile, because they’ve been killed. By the Americans or the jihadists or the militias – usually you never find out which.” I think of the people trapped in the siege of a civilian city, Fallujah, where amidst homes and schools the Americans indiscriminately used a banned chemical weapon – white phosphorous – that burns through skin and bone. (The Americans say they told civilians to leave the city, so anybody left behind was a suspected jihadi – an evacuation procedure so successful they later used it in New Orleans.). I think of the raw numbers: on the largest estimate – from the Human Rights Centre in Khadimiya – Saddam was killing 70,000 people a year. The occupation and the jihadists have topped that, and the violence is getting worse. And I think – yes, I was wrong. Terribly wrong.
I've great respect for Johann and I can imagine the anguish he feels. Our political perspectives are quite similar. Amidst those who supported the war, Hari was among the closest to those who opposed it. I, on the other hand, was just barely on the other side of the line. I thought (and still do think) that overthrowing Saddam's regime was a dandy idea but I opposed this war from the onset, assuming that it would be fought wrong and end badly. Some war supporters, Hari argues, cling to a similar view i.e. that the principles behind the war trump its actual prosecution. But no way:
The lamest defence I could offer – one used by many supporters of the war as they slam into reverse gear – is that I still support the principle of invasion, it’s just the Bush administration screwed it up. But as one anti-war friend snapped at me when I mooted this argument, “Yeah, who would ever have thought that supporting George Bush in the illegal invasion of an Arab country would go wrong?” She’s right: the truth is that there was no pure Platonic ideal of The Perfect Invasion to support, no abstract idea we lent our names to. There was only Bush, with his cluster bombs, depleted uranium, IMF-ed up economic model, bogus rationale and unmistakable stench of petrol, offering his war, his way. (Expecting Tony Blair to use his influence was, it is now clear, a delusion, as he refuses to even frontally condemn the American torture camp at Guantanomo Bay).
Hari should be comended for his frankness. No one, and certainly that includes journalists, likes to admit that he or she has been wrong, especially about matters of life and death. I'm sure this is a wrenching experience for Hari and I hope he is not made the target of jeering fools. Christopher Hitchens, meanwhile, is sticking by his original proposition. In fact, he's emotionally doubling down on his pro-war stance. There's one twist, however, in Hitchens' newest piece. His admission that he, also, would have liked to have seen this war fought out completely different but was left no choice other than to support the Bush plan [sic].

178 Responses to “Hari on Iraq: “A Melancholic Mea Culpa””

  1. reg Says:

    Not too surprisingly, Hitchens is putting a large side bet on the “document dump” somehow vindicating him. I expect that his predictive/analytical luck will continue at the rate it’s been for the past three years. If he hadn’t been so contemptuous and vituperative toward people like me for the past three years, I’d be tempted to feel sorry for him. He was on Stephanopolous’ gabfest making a big deal of his Kurdish flag lapel pin Sunday morning and he pins the tail of his support for the war on his “comrades” among the Kurds. Earth to Christopher – the Kurdis region of Iraq was independent BEFORE Bush invaded. And according to the newly released documents that I’ve seen translated to date, Iraqi intelligence services were themselves trying to hunt down Zarqawi who, apparently, was hiding in the Kurdish territory that was controlled under our air cover. Yeah, I’d be tempted to feel sorry for him if he wasn’t so full of himself and his ego wasn’t so invested in a failed policy for which he was a strident propagandist. I was sorry when he quit the Nation because I thought he was reliably “contrarian”. Now he’s just starting to sound like a guy who’s reliably wrong.

  2. reg Says:

    I have to say, I wish Hari had been right and we were wrong.

  3. Nell Says:

    It’s just as wrenching to have been right. As reg says. Suspecting what this would mean for the Iraqi people, knowing that few in this country would pay any real price no matter how badly it went… It’s been four years of growing dread (March 2002 was when I became convinced they were going to have this war no matter what).

    Seems as if virtually no newspaper opinion section space or TV time has been given in the last week to people who opposed the war before it began. Odd. I certainly don’t see everything, and would welcome learning of any examples.

  4. David Cummings Says:

    One thing that our friend Christopher Hitchens hasn’t been “sticking by” is his ridiculous, possibly gin-induced notion that there wasn’t a war in Iraq to begin with. Here is him in April of 2003:

    “So it turns out that all the slogans of the anti-war movement were right after all. And their demands were just. “No War on Iraq,” they said – and there wasn’t a war on Iraq. Indeed, there was barely a “war” at all…”Stop the War” was the call. And the “war” is indeed stopping. That’s not such a bad record.”–Christopher Hitchens, April 9, 2003, Slate.com

  5. David Cummings Says:

    I too used to be a big fan of Christopher Hitchens. He was a groundbreaker in journalism for so many years. The first time that I read him, he was, I think, still with the New Statesman. And that has been a lot of years. That initial story that I read by him exposed the October surprise in 1980. I was blown away, and I just ate up everything that he wrote after that. This is why it was so disheartening to see Hitchens – a former idol – attack Noam Chomsky in 1999 for his opposition to the Kosovo War.

    But seeing him on CSPAN in January of 05, drunk and telling an obscene fellatio joke at an opulant Bush inauguration party was just I think a real low point in his career. He’s now a neo-con, and an unamusing one at that. I feel more sorry for him than anything.

  6. David Cummings Says:

    Drunk…Well, let me correct myself. He had a drink and he appeared quite tipsy at the even, anyway. Perhaps he was sober, but it was a pathetic scene anyway displayed by a once great man.

  7. reg Says:

    Let’s go ahead and rub it in. He’d be doing it if he could. Hitchens had this to say prior to the war:

    “This will be no war…There will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention. . . . [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.”

    “Dazzling”…now there’s a hell of a word for the intense violence of modern, anonymous, high-tech warfare, be it “rapid (and) accurate” or not. But I doubt that even Hitch is “dazzled” at this juncture.

  8. reg Says:

    “a once great man”

    Extraordinarily fluent, awesomely literate, outspoken, with a demonstrated capacity to be incisive whatever one thinks of his current turn.

    But “great” ? I don’t think so.

  9. Armed Liberal Says:

    Marc, I know you read all of Johann’s column, and I presume that you read the comment from the Iraqi that he chose to append – I give him great credit for doing so, because it shows some of the moral complexity of this issue:

    ” “Your article in the Independent today, 20/3/2006, was really disappointing to all of your admirers. You let them down. You changed your mind and switched from pro-war to join the anti-war campaigners, means that you gave in bowed to the aggressors. So instead of blaming the terrorists for this mass killing in Iraq at the hand of the terrorists, you put the blame on Bush and Blair for liberating Iraqi people from the worst dictator in history. If your new stance is right, then it was wrong to stand up against Hitler in the WW II, because that war caused humanity 55 million casualties. So it was better not oppose the Axis sates. Is that fair? Is this is the justice that we are looking for? If the tyrants were left to do as they like because of the possible revenge from their followers, then our glob will be place for the tyrants only and the whole planet population will be living like sheep.

    Abdulkhaliq Hussein”

    Marc D

  10. reg Says:

    “If your new stance is right, then it was wrong to stand up against Hitler in the WW II”

    With all due respect, this guy puts a completely inane false analogy at the core of his argument. It also would be wise not to call Saddam “the worst dictator in history” in the same paragraph you invoke the memory of Hitler. Just saying…

  11. reg Says:

    Is it just me, or are the people who still try to rationalize the Iraq war rather remarkable in their capacity to scrape bottoms of barrels.

  12. David Cummings Says:

    “With all due respect, this guy puts a completely inane false analogy at the core of his argument.”

    Ain’t that the truth. Apples and orangutans.

  13. Mavis Beacon Says:

    Hitchens was wise enough to go to bat for Chalibi and, around election time, prognosticate that Bin Ladin died. I’m no longer interested in his linguisting and logical acrobatics (I supported the war because I couldn’t support the people against it). Just straight up predictions and statements of suppot. One day some one with more time and inclination can make a neat catalogue of his errors and present it as some sort of unfriendly gift.

  14. Mavis Beacon Says:

    “suppot” is a new version of “support” designed by Rumsfeld to be leaner and more agile than the pre 9/11 version.

  15. reg Says:

    This is really mean, but my “favorite” Hitchens line was a 2003 reference to a Vanity Fair article that apparently featured, and I quote, “two excellent photographs by Nigel Parry, making both Wolfowitz and Kristol look quite sexy and potent.”

    Whatever launches your armada.

  16. Paul Says:

    It doesn’t matter what a bunch of limpwrists think. They are not, nor have “supported” the war. If they had they’d be in uniform. Its just self important talk, hissy fits and fury.

    I can remember when the troops were sitting in the desert for half a year, all the lefties saying there would be 10,000 dead troops in the invasion. Then there was the supply lines that were going to be cut and the men stranded. Lately it has been the insurgency, which we’d lose, although the insurgency meme is gone and a new pisspant worry of a “civil war”.

    Of course the left, many of whom couldn’t even qualify for a basic enlistment, they are smarter than the 35 year old NCO that have been fighting in 3-4 conflicts, over 15 years. The left is smarter than these GPS, turbine tank engine repairing, sleeping in the dirt and motivation young people in a hard dangerous place. Yeah, lefties could do that. Lefties are also smarter than the officer corps. Officers who usually all have advanced degrees, many who’s career had begun as enlisted men. Yeah, lefties could command tens of thousands, half way around the world, 5 thousand vehicles.

    I can’t tell you how funny it is to hear, or read, about a lefty who’s idea of sticking to a difficult, dirty task is 5 minutes, to hear of a lefty give advice while knowing they couldn’t change a spark plug if their life depend upon it.

  17. John S. Meade Says:

    “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    I am impressed with the intelligence displayed daily on this blog, but the level and tone of disagreement disappoints me.

  18. reg Says:

    Message to the “pisspants” from a shithead…

    If that’s your best shot, you’re fucked.

  19. reg Says:

    “It doesn’t matter what a bunch of limpwrists think”

    I’m particularly impressed by the “fag” defense.

  20. reg Says:

    “Yeah, lefties could do that. ”

    Two words: Pat Tillman

  21. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    As Mark D says, the choice was to support Bush fighting evil Saddam — or oppose Bush’s fight; which means supporting Saddam.

    I notice Hari carefully avoids claiming that Saddam is still the “legal” or “rightful” president-dictator.

    Saddam has been the worst Iraqi dictator most Iraqis have ever lived thru — just as Pol Pot (as supported by all anti-V. War folk) was the worst dictator of my life.

    Surrendering to evil is easier, and sometimes less messy, than fighting evil.
    “Wrong to support the war” = “Wrong to support Bush booting Saddam” = “Wrong to support creation of democracy in Iraq”.

    I disagree with Hari, and with Marc Cooper. But I’m glad Hari told the truth about why he changed his mind — he’s tired of the news. He’s not tired of Darfur or Zimbabwe or Palestinian Authority yet, where there hasn’t been free and fair elections with a free press. (PA was close).

    The purpose of the constant gloom & doom news is to make folks tired of fighting evil, so surrender looks OK (and yes, to sell the news for profit; about 20% or else investors aren’t interested).

    Saddam murdering some 50-70 000 / year means; hm, 150 – 210 000 Iraqis would have been murdered by him in the last 3 years. But Hari wouldn’t have gotten tired of the news — CNN was censoring most negative stuff of Saddam.

  22. reg Says:

    Paul is on to something when he counsels us to trust the guy who can change spark plugs, repair a diesel turbine tank engine, and sees beyond the next five minutes…or the latest administration talking point.

    BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (MSNBC) – The concrete goes on forever, vanishing into the noonday glare, 2 million cubic feet of it, a mile-long slab that’s now the home of up to 120 U.S. helicopters, a “heli-park” as good as any back in the States.

    At another giant base, al-Asad in Iraq’s western desert, the 17,000 troops and workers come and go in a kind of bustling American town, with a Burger King, Pizza Hut and a car dealership, stop signs, traffic regulations and young bikers clogging the roads.

    At a third hub down south, Tallil, they’re planning a new mess hall, one that will seat 6,000 hungry airmen and soldiers for chow.

    Are the Americans here to stay? Air Force mechanic Josh Remy is sure of it as he looks around Balad.

    “I think we’ll be here forever,” the 19-year-old airman from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., told a visitor to his base.

  23. reg Says:

    “the choice was to support Bush fighting evil Saddam — or oppose Bush’s fight; which means supporting Saddam.”

    Tom forgot to mention that supporting Saddam means you are supporting Satan and that God, of course, is for fighting evil – ergo he was with Bush. So the only real choice that faced us was between God on the one hand and the Devil on the other. I happen to have chosen the Devil. Call me quirky, if you will. The good news is that ever since this war started I’ve been able to play some ubelievably mean guitar…

  24. Paul from Mpls Says:

    The basic problem with the war, it seems to me, from the beginning, was the premise: mainly in that it didn’t incorporate the inevitability of really, really pissed off Sunnis, which I believe it’s fair to say was the main necessary ingredient for the insurgency to immediately take hold as it did.

    Or maybe it’s more accurate to talk about the combination, the really pissed off Sunnis then being reacted to by the really pissed off Shiites, pissed at their treatment over the decades.

    (“We don’t know what we’re getting into.” That’s the reason I decided, man, we better not, not without the UN. But for my own mea culpa: I went to a march, but I got made at the marchers and didn’t carry a big puppet. I made a few phone calls, to no avail. )

    I’m just not sure any better-done execution of the war could have permanently prevented the outbreak and persistence of the kind of enraged, what-the-hell-do-they-want violence that keeps happening, and which doesn’t need very many people at all – percentage-wise – to be a problem that won’t go away and that can easily explode into something more.

    Of course this problem overlaps with the tendency to fundamentalism in the Shiites that we also didn’t foresee, I guess. But if that issue existed on its own, without the danger of vicious civil war with the Sunnis and a slaughter of the Sunnis if we leave, then it would just be a handle-able problem, it seems to me, similar to Afghanistan’s current drift toward fundamentalism. I mean if that’s what they want… Even if the country decided to somehow become an adjunct or ally of Iran – well, that would be ironic and too bad (to understate it) for the people who didn’t want to be part of a fundamentalist society. It would still be more than enough to ask W: um, what exactly did we accomplish here?

    But it’s the threat of chaos and slaughter that makes this a really hideous mistake, potentially.

    Sometimes I think: it may be that this simmering hatred between the Sunnis and the Shiites in the whole region was a war waiting to happen, an underlying cause of evil and repression that was going to come to the surface eventually. But now we own it, this conflict, and the losers will be mad at us. Forever, it seems. That’s the way they operate.

  25. Paul from Mpls Says:

    By the way, speaking of changing opinions, one of the great tricks in punditry recently has been Geroge Will’s acceptance as a wise man who was always largely skeptical of the endeavor. I don’t know how he pulled that off. If you check out his early 2003 columns at Townhall, you find alot of them makign fun of the war’ sopponents and being very clear in his view that W was acting boldly in the face of craven, dishonest opposition.

    http://www.townhall.com/opinion/contributors/georgewill/archive/2003/?next=76

    He might make an argument that his support was based on the presumption of WMDs , but I’ve never seen him say that, and I’ve never seen him blame W for misleading him, and his arguments in these columns are broader than that, based on an awareness of Hussien as a threat going into the future, a clear madman with no good intent who – if the UN was sane – would have been taken down a while ago.

    I’ve just wanted to get that off my chest.

  26. reg Says:

    I don’t think we “own” it anymore. I think it’s gone past that point and the dynamics are rooted in things we can’t control. Maybe “more troops” would have contained some of the worst of it, but I’m not sure. I’m also not certain that Iraq and Iran drawing closer is necessarily a bad thing over the long term. It’s a foundation of regional stability that could lead to some kind of “normalization” of their politics in time. I don’t believe for a minute that Bush knew what he was doing, but there’s still the possibility of some “unintended consequences” of this war that could end up in the “plus” column. I can’t completely dismiss the argument – soley from a hypothetical Iraqi perspective rooted in militant realpolitik that doesn’t shirk from watching thousands die to achieve one’s political or sectarian goals – that horrible as this current situation is, it’s all part of inevitable pain of getting rid of Saddam and an internal uprising against him would have been at least as bloody and chaotic. As an American I wouldn’t roll those dice with U.S. troops as the agents, but history is a motherfucker and, if the truth be known, I’m not 100% pessimistic that no good could come of this war. That said, it’s evident that my admittedly vague speculations have nothing to do with the actual case that was made nor, obviously, the unbelievable hubristic incompetence of the people who acted on it.

    That’s my best “pro-war” argument. Now I’ve got to quit wasting time here and call a towtruck. My Prius won’t start and I’ve got to get it over to that lesbian garage in Berkeley so they can check it out for me.

  27. Paul from Mpls Says:

    I’ve thought some of the same things, reg.

    The only way what you’re speculating on (the unintended positive outcomes) could be seen as resulting from semi-conscious design is if you accept – as some do – that really, all the admin intended was to shake the region up and let it settle into something less inherently darkness-producing. And also something less automatically anti-American, which a stability-oriented IranIraq could be.

    I have read things describing the basic idea that way. Of course that could never be the case sold to the world.

    By the way, I don’t think the admin is going to bomb Iran over the nukes, and the possibility you raise is one reason, I bet. I’ve always suspected that one underlying agenda for the admin is “geographizing” and stabilizing the Islamic rage issue; and Iran does offer that opportunity, as you say. Bombing it – fruitlessly, in the end – woud not advance that agenda in the least.

    As far as us not “owning” the problem, I hope you’re right. It just that it doesn’t take too many of these kinds of guys holding a grudge to create problems down the line. They do seem the grudge-holding sort.

  28. Paul from Mpls Says:

    I’ve always thought people in warm weather climates really have no idea what a hassle a car can be. Getting your car: started, unstuck, properly parked and not towed, and unrusted, are all fixations during the winter. You folks in other places: just drive around, devil may care, park here, park there, tra la tra la. You have no concept.

  29. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Still, good luck with the Prius. You can always trust a lesbian, I always say.

  30. tim Says:

    It has been fascinating to watch the news coverage of the third anniversary. My conclusions:
    - the military brass is done with Rumsfeld and on the verge of insubordination;
    - W is being forced to entertain unscripted and hostile questions as our ‘rulers’ desperately look for a way to recover credibility;
    - dissident voices are all over the map, not just on immediate Iraq policy but also on long-term implications. The simultaneous drum-beating on Iraq and immigration (Lou Dobbs come to mind) strikes me as not a coincidence. We could end up with a broad isolationist consensus that includes resistance to further globalization. Wouldn’t that make for some strange political alliances?

  31. Marc Davidson Says:

    “I’m sure this is a wrenching experience for Hari and I hope he is not made the target of jeering fools.”
    I appreciate your loyalty to your friend, Marc, but frankly there are consequences for bad decisions. Pundits, politicians, and their readers and supporters were all complicit (some certainly more than others) in this disaster whose cost we don’t even know yet. I say let the judgment of history be harsh on the lot of them.

  32. Michael Balter Says:

    At Bush’s press conference today he mixed up Iraq with Afghanistan while being questioned by Helen Thomas. Enlightening reading:

    QUESTION: I’d like to ask you, Mr. President — your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth — but what’s your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil, the quest for oil. It hasn’t been Israel or anything else. What was it?

    BUSH: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist — that I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect.

    QUESTION: And…

    BUSH: Hold on for a second, please. Excuse me. Excuse me. No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it’s just simply not true.

    BUSH: My attitude about the defense of this country changed in September the 11th. When we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I’m never going to forget it. And I’m never going to forget the vow I made to the American people, that we will do everything in our power to protect our people. Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy, and that’s why I went into Iraq. (CROSSTALK)

    BUSH: Hold on for a second. Excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for Al Qaida.

    BUSH: That’s where Al Qaida trained and that’s where…

    QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

    BUSH: Helen, excuse me. That’s where — Afghanistan provided safe haven for Al Qaida. That’s where they trained, that’s where they plotted, that’s where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans. I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the Security Council. That’s why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences. And therefore, we worked with the world. We worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did. And the world is safer for it.

  33. Peter K. Says:

    Hitchens says “It seems amazing to me that so many people have adopted the “Saddam Hussein? No problem!” ”

    I agree. People aren’t aware or are willfully ignorant because Republicans and neo-cons didn’t like Saddam.

  34. richard lo cicero Says:

    This morning I caught a repeat showing of

  35. richard lo cicero Says:

    This morning I caught a repeat showing of THE ROAD TO WAR on HBO which looked at LBJ and Vietnam. Of course it was a Greek Tragedy as Johnson, against his better judgement, got further and further into the mess. And there was George Ball and Clark Clifford serving as the chorus advising caution while Mcnamara argued to stay the course.

    Of course this was the Best and the Brightest at work. Now we have a group of homicidal clowns who made sure that whatever the reasons for war – always dubious – the execution made sure that this would bea first class clusterfuck. And the supporters of this fiasco are getting increasingly desperate. Chris Hitchens is becoming the new Al Capp, a sad figure of derision who increasingly sounds divorced from reality.

    So the real question once again is Lenin’s old one – What is to be done? The crowd inpower for the next three years will keep it up. Bush knows nothing and learns nothing and Chaney continues to show an arrogance only matched by his massive incompetence. So I really think that no amount of protest will change anything. We will have to wait until 2008 and an antiwar candidate. By then the public will be so sick of the war that a change will be likely. Watch the Dems all become antiwar – even “Holy Joe” Lieberman if he survives his near death experience this year. The interesting question will be the GOP response. Can Jhon McCain morph himself or will Chuck Hegel get the nod. I think you can dismiss Brownbeck and Allen as social issues are tyrumped by the war. And Frist? Ha Ha!

    We leave in interesting times!

  36. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Thsi seems like a great article; a glimpse into the regime before the war, the logic and illogic they were going by.

    There are tidbits for both sides of the debate.

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060501faessay85301-p0/kevin-woods-james-lacey-williamson-murray/saddam-s-delusions-the-view-from-the-inside.html

  37. Michael Crosby Says:

    RLC, I find it interesting that almost all of the Republican candidates who are being discussed are from the “moderate” wing of the party. What is the evidence that this group has a chance at nominating a candidate? Perhaps if Giuliani publicly confessed his past sin of pro-choicism and perhaps lapses of tolerance in its many forms, his post 9/11/01 image would prevail. But I doubt it and I certainly don’t see McCain being able to stay on course for 18 months without speaking his mind at least occasionally. And Hagel? Least likely of all.

    It would take a defeat of the greatest conceivable magnitude in 2006 to even slow the rightward march of the Christian soldiers of the party. I don’t know where they will end up in 2008, but it won’t be with a “moderate” candidate. The only hope those guys have is that the fundamentalists resume their traditional stance of disaffection and disconnection from political life. Don’t see that happening in just 30 months.

  38. Dan O Says:

    You know, I don’t understand the virulence of the reaciton to Hitchens. Is it the perceived break from the left? Is it that he has made common cause with the neo-cons? I don’t know what it is, but I’ve scarcely ever seen such heat over a writer as I witness over Hitchens.

    The Hitchens “break” is completely overstated. If you paid attention to his previous writings and intellectual preoccupations, then you are not likely to find his support of Kosovo, Afghanistan and the Iraq war all that surprising. You can certainly disagree with any of those positions, but you weren’t paying attention if any of this surprised you.

    There were some arguments in his writing in the run up to the war that he would certainly never have tolerated from others, and he came to use “moron,” “stupid,” “idiotic,” and so on too much for my taste, but I thought he was one of the most consistently interesting writers on the topic, and remains so to this day.

    And what the fuck does the amount he drinks have to do with anything? I’m so tired off hearing this line of shit. You got nothing better to say? That’s all you can bring to the table? How puerile can you be?

    As for the predictions that are wrong so gleefully quoted above I would say 1) that’s the problem with being a public commentator. You open your fly and sometimes your pants fall down, and it’s all recorded so we can gloat over it later, 2) I suspect he would readily admit that he underestimated the nature and scope of the resistance and I have seen him say some choice things about the handling of the war (inevitable or not from the Bush co. is another matter), 3) Where is all the gloating over the lefty predictions that have been so woefully wrong about a quagmire in Afghanistan and Kosovo? and 4) He was largely right about the actual invasion itself, it was in fact a cakewalk from a military standpoint, and the critics were wrong, there were not tens of thousands of American deaths. Certainly he was right to point out the inherent contradictions of arguing that there were no chem or bio weapons and then arguing that we were oign to get wiped out by poison gas. Exposing this grab-bag logic of some of the opposition is where he excelled.

    Apologies if I seem amped up about this, but I’ve just had enough of Hitchens as whipping boy, although he certainly doesn’t need me to defend him. Regardless of what you think of his drinking, his ego, his prose style, his lapel pins, and whatever else you’ve been hooting at lately he has been one of the most interesting and provoking writers on this subject.

  39. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Yeah.

  40. Marc Cooper Says:

    Thank you Dan. Well said and quite necessary

  41. Paul from Mpls Says:

    A simple fact of life that’s bugged me in all such debates is that there’s nothing more morally risk-free than the absolute anti-war (in a specific case) or pacificist (in general) positions.

    If the war doesn’t happen, great, and no one can really tell what negative consequences might be a direct result. If the war does happen and it goes “well,” great, you benefit too, although you can still decry the methodology.

    And if it goes badly, you get to crow and point out the shame of people who were for it.

    That doesn’t make it the wrong position, of course, either in general or in a specific case. But it bugs me nontheless. And it seems to relate to this little side discussion of Hitchens’ shame.

    And again, I agree with Dan O that Hitch has been and continues to be a great observer of the anti-war factions’ logical and moral and factual inconsistencies, all of which serve the general purpose of enabling them to deny the difficulty of the decision we all faced with regard to Hussien.

    Hitch : “It’s true, very few of my friends fear that I drink too little.”

  42. Marc Davidson Says:

    Maybe for some of you public discourse is like some sort of debating society. Hitchens has been a major apologist for a project that has had catastrophic consequences for the whole world, in the opinion of many. It is hardly an obsession of Hitchens’ opponents to heap scorn on him. The more articulate and the more prominent the spokesman, the greater the scorn (hopefully equally articulate). Hitchens shouldn’t be any less vulnerable to the derisive attacks than the Bush administration which actually executed the bad idea.

  43. Paul from Mpls Says:

    It’s not equally articulate, and it doesn’t face its own flaws.

  44. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    Not enough people to be newsworthy?

    The “front page” of the Sunday New York Times showed a crowd of 50,000 people paying homage to Milosevic, but not one photo showing the Over 200 anti-war demonstrations which took place world-wide. There were between 80,000 – 100,000 demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square.

    US demonstrations took place at the following locations:

    Fairbanks, AK; Phoenix, AZ; Little Rock, AR; Claremont, CA; Fresno, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Sacramento, CA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA (PHOTOS); Ventura, CA; Walnut Creek, CA; Denver, CO; Pueblo, CO; New Haven, CT; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Melbourne, FL; Pensacola, FL; Weeki Wachee, FL; West Palm Beach, FL; Batavia, IL; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Nicholasville, KY; New Orleans, LA; Boston, MA; Roxbury, MA; Flint, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Traverse City, MI; Duluth, MN; Lincoln, NE; Reno, NV; Concord, NH; Bloomfield, NJ; Englewood, NJ; Morristown, NJ; Trenton, NJ; Santa Fe, NM; Buffalo, NY; Nanuet, NY; New Paltz, NY; New York, NY; Rochester, NY; Saratoga Springs, NY; Fayetteville, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Columbus, OH; Corvallis, OR; Eugene, OR; Portland, OR; Chattanooga, TN; Logan, UT; Salt Lake City, UT; Rutland, VT; Richmond, VA; Roanoke, VA; Staunton, VA; Port Angeles, WA; Madison, WI; Sheboygan, WI

    It is shocking that main stream media misinforms the American public by refusing to show anti-war demonstrations—protests that demonstrate the TRUE outrage that U.S. citizens feel towards the Iraq War. Is there really freedom of the press, if mainstream media abrogates their responsibility and omits the truth.

    The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to the UN written by Tony Benn a British politician, who was a former Labour MP and Cabinet Ministere—after reading this excerpt some of you might wonder why U.S. politicians lack the courage to take similar actions and aggressively Demonstrate their objections to this war.

    Letter to UN and UK Attorney General

    We allege that the breaches committed by the UK Government and the USA in coalition partnership during the period 2002 – 2005 outlined as a selection in summary are as follows:-

    1 Crimes against Peace: Planning and Conducting an Aggressive War using deceit, including deliberately falsifying reports to arouse passion in support of this war.

    2 Failure to ensure public order and safety by disbanding the army and police of Iraq, without properly replacing those functions.

    3 Extensive destruction of service
    infrastructure, including drinking water, sewage systems, telephones and electricity supply, with grave consequences to the inhabitants of Iraq, especially in hospitals.

    4 Deliberate damage to hospitals and medical facilities and personnel including the shooting up of Red Crescent ambulances, and prevention of movement of ambulances.

    5 Failure to prohibit looting and arson resulting in the despoliation and pillage of museums, libraries, archaeological sites, hospitals, administrative buildings and state records.

    6 Failure to respect cultural property including the use of the Babylon archaeological site as a military camp.

    7 Economic exploitation of occupied territories by orders of The Provisional Coalition Administration to the benefit of foreign interests, including the use of Production Sharing Agreements, and IMF rules, even
    though warnings were made by the Attorney General that these may be construed as contrary to International Law.

    8 Seizing botanical assets by Provisional Coalition Administration Order 81, which ends the prohibition of private ownership of biological resources, and introduces foreign monopoly rights over seeds.

    9 Political persecution by initially sacking all Baath Party members, thereby very severely reducing the administrative and professional class who had been obliged to be members.

    10 Religious persecution: US Defense Secretary memo of 2 December 2002 sanctioned the use of religious humiliation against detainees.

    11 Use of cable ties as a restraint to detainees’ wrists causing injury and unnecessary suffering.

    12 Use of hooding detainees, willfully causing mental suffering, especially when used for prolonged periods, or when combined with assault.

    13 Use of dogs as a means of obtaining information authorized by US Defence Secretary memo of 2 Dec 2002.

    14 Forcing detainees to stand for many hours as a means of obtaining information authorized by US Defence Secretary memo of 2 December 2002, and practiced at Abhu Ghraib and other US prisons.

    15 Sexual and bodily humiliation of detainees, including rapes, and stripping naked for long periods.

    16 Aggressive patrolling with indiscriminate mass arrests of males, including 14 year olds, indiscriminate destruction of property, and invasion of women’s’ quarters contrary to tenets of the Koran.

    17 Killing and wounding treacherously by indiscriminate shooting at check points, strafing of groups of obvious civilians, and disproportionate use of force in residential areas.

    18 Degrading treatment of detainees by marking foreheads and bodies with indelible marker pens as a means of identification and control.

    19 Use of cluster bombs on grounds of military expediency. As well as being munitions causing random unnecessary suffering by steel spicules, incendiary and depleted uranium bomblets, a large number don’t explode, effectively becoming land mines.

    20 Use of depleted uranium shells, on the grounds of military expediency, causing a very long term legacy of radioactive damage to the environment, cancers and birth defects.

    21 Use of white phosphorous (WP) chemical munitions.

    22 Collective penalties in Fallujah during the first assault of April 2004 when 1,000 Iraqis including 600 women and children were killed.

    23 Evacuation of Fallujah, ( a city nearly the size of Cardiff) in preparation for a second disproportionate assault in November 2004, which employed the use of starvation and thirst on an entire population, targeting of hospitals, medical staff and ambulances, indiscriminate shooting of non combatants and destruction of private and state property

    24 Failure to keep a proper record of POW names and locations.

    25 Failure to treat POWs humanely, especially those held in the open in the sun.

    26 Abolition of Habeas Corpus: holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without charge or trial over an indefinite period.

    27 Failure to record Iraqi deaths and injuries with consequent failure to determine proportionality or medical requirements of survivors. Also causing unnecessary suffering to relatives of the deceased.

    28 Unilaterally holding that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to certain actions, especially to the use of private security contractors, and mercenaries and to the detention of certain types of enemy combatants.

    This is what Bush stated today at a press conference: President Bush said Tuesday that American forces will remain in Iraq for years and it will be up to a future president to decide when to bring them all home. But defying critics and plunging polls, he declared, “I’m optimistic we’ll succeed. If not, I’d pull our troops out.” The president rejected calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, chief architect of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    It is breathtaking to witness Bush answer reporters’ questions–it’s like watching a lesson in incoherency.

  45. Marc Davidson Says:

    Thanks for the list, Eleanor. What more is there to say? And yet we still have people here who claim that there is a dirth of civilized discourse on the merits of this war. What is outrageous is not that the proponents of the war are not shown due respect, it is that they haven’t been thrown out of office or locked up.

  46. David Cummings Says:

    You are right, Dan O. It really isn’t important.

    “Incompetent, Boorish, Drunk, and Mostly Wrong”–Christopher Hitchens on Winston Churchill, in his subheading for an article on him.

    Unlike Hitchens, I don’t recall the former Prime Minister joking about or being up front about his partaking of drink. Which begs the question: What does Churchill’s drinking have to do with anything?

    Of course, it should be said that Hitchens – a supposed admirer of David Irving and a staunch critic of the first Gulf War – was more harder on Elie Wiesel – “a contemptible poseur and windbag.”

    http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/81

  47. David Cummings Says:

    Actually, I should have provided the Atlantic magazine link – but I couldn’t find one. I do remember reading it in that magazine in March 2002.

    I am not a Pipes reader (yuck). I wish I could delete that bit of advertising.

  48. Dan O Says:

    David:

    I’m going from memory here, but you are entirely wrong about Hitchens and Irving. He patiently lays out his case in either the Atlantic or Vanity Fair within the last 18 months.

    I distantly recall the Churchill article which I remember being good, it’s main object being to take Churchill down a few pegs. Do you think Hitchens writes his own sub-headings in the Atlantic? In general I might suggest that being a drunken writer is of far less consequence (the drunkeness that is) than of being a drunken Prime Minister, don’t you agree?

    I don’t purport to defend everything Hitchens has ever written or said, and I’ll just stand by what I wrote earlier.

  49. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    David– I thought you might find this interesting:

    Criticism
    Noam Chomsky, the Jewish linguist and radical leftist, has accused Wiesel of hypocrisy for failing to speak out on behalf of the Palestinians.

    Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry, has accused Wiesel of inappropriately turning his work on the Holocaust into a business and of charging excessive lecture fees. Finkelstein has also criticized Wiesel’s support of the State of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Christopher Hitchens has also lambasted Wiesel, calling him a “contemptible poseur and windbag.” Writing in The Nation, Hitchens wrote that Wiesel was indifferent to the killing of Arabs at Sabra and Shatila, commenting that in “1982, after Gen. Ariel Sharon had treated the inhabitants of the Sabra and Shatila camps as target practice for his paid proxies, Wiesel favored us with another of his exercises in neutrality.

    Asked by the New York Times to comment on the incident, he was one of the few American Jews approached on the matter to express zero remorse. ‘I don’t think we should even comment,’ he said, proceeding to comment bleatingly that he felt ‘sadness–with Israel, and not against Israel.’ For the victims, not even a perfunctory word.”[1]

  50. David Cummings Says:

    I agree. And I retract everything that I said, including the alleged Hitchens/Irving connection…as I can now recall, I read that in Counterpunch.

    Still, I have to say that I don’t understand how Hitchens can reconcile his current position on Iraq with his position in 1991.

  51. David Cummings Says:

    Well, I read “Night” for the first time just a few weeks ago and now I am kinda bummed.

  52. Mark A. York Says:

    Well perhaps one can change their mind when new data come in?

    “I read that in Counterpunch”

    There’s part of your problem right there. I’m afraid this “hard left hard right either or” crowd. Will never agree. They can’t and policies are never formed this way. The fringe will remain irrelevant. And believe me they are.

  53. Mark A. York Says:

    They see Hitchens as a heretic. That’s the way dogmatists think. And I use the term loosely.

  54. David Cummings Says:

    You are right about that, Mark York. A lot has changed since 1991, and certainly Saddam Hussein has become a lot deadlier on his people – particularly the Kurds – since then. And honestly, I don’t doubt Hitchens’s sincerity, even though I take issue with he and the Bush Administration’s rather flippant attitudes toward working through the global community instead of going into Iraq unilaterally and without a complete plan for winning the peace.

    It is also frustrating to hear Hitchens say of those who question Bush’s handling of the war, “they are the kind of people whom, after discovering a rattlesnake in their child’s bed, immediately call People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.” (paraphrase).

  55. Wall Says:

    I guess we can count on the Weekly Standard proving Hitchens right on Saddam; I expect that evidence should roll in about the time his iron clad case proving Bill Clinton a rapist finally rears it’s irrefutable head. Ah, I remember those sweet promises, the woman who were about to come forward , blah blah blah, so you better join me in my irrational hatred of the Clintons now and beat the rush.

    So many progressive types found Hitchens disgraceful McCarthite attacks on Clinton cute that for a time it was fun to see them stuck with their unprincipled brat; but even that small satisfaction has long passed; Hitchens drinking habits are but a lame excuse for this supremely revolting figure.
    On the eve on the war Hitchens told a right wing journalist that Gore and Hillary Clinton, who had checked in with rather measured criticism of the invasion, should only get degenerative diseases. One can always forgive someone who’s taken a wrong posisition, admited it and apoligized, whatever their poliitical stripe. It’s tougher to be consoloatory to those like Cooper and Hitchens who were so vicious with people who had the gaul to get the war right. That “fat slob” (Cooper) “Bin Ladenist” (Hitchens) Micheal Moore comes to mind.
    Much more importantly, Hitchens writes a load of crap. “Conrary to inmumerable sneers, he did not only speak about WMD and Terrorism, important tough tonse consdierations were. He presented an argument for regime change and democracy in Iraq and said, in effect, that the international community had tolerated Saddams’s deadly system for too long.”
    Well, sort out that pretzel if you can. How deadly was that system, if there were no WMD and no aid to terrorists? Deadlier than the “shock and awe” of the occupying force?
    Apart from the smearing of those who disagreed as friends of terrorists, we might also remember Hitchens nasty insults of Studs Turkel, his endorsment of the sweets and flowers myth, his laughing off the very concept of the Military Industrial Complex and war profiteering, contrasting nicely with his questionable obsession with U.N. scandels; his endorcement of the original plan to install his champion Shalaby.
    Indeed, let’s not let Hitchens pretend he is mearly inching away from a best deal he could get with Bush. He wrote a teary eyed tribute to the high level of integrity the war was being waged with; no doubt gleaned from his visits to the White House where he gave an 11th hour pet talk of the eve of the invasion. Of course there is much, much more.
    The critical news still to come in on Iraq is how many of those kite flying kids, as Moore showed in his film, actually did perish under the Bush doctrine. Yet it seems it is Hitchens who will always have a roomful of rubes to lie to.

  56. Randy Paul Says:

    I have criticized Hitchens, but whatever he may choose to imbibe in is his business provided he breaks no laws. I won’t slight his obvious intelligence and eloquence.

    However, when he writes pernicious nonsense like this:

    I have known some of the liberal world quite well and for a long time, and there are quite obviously people close to the leadership of today’s Democratic Party who do not at all hope that the battle goes well in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    he should be ashamed of himself. He’s effectively accusing people of treason without a shred of proof. That’s pure mendacious McCarthyite poppycock. The fact that he could not get specific speaks to the nature of this smear.

  57. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    When I am 80; I could only hope to have Helen Thomas’ spunk–she’s great!

    HELEN THOMAS: I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet — your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth — what was your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil — quest for oil, it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

    THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise — in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist — is that — I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect —

    HELEN THOMAS: Everything —

    THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

    HELEN THOMAS: — everything I’ve heard —

    THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it’s just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We — when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I’m never going to forget it. And I’m never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

    Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that’s why I went into Iraq — hold on for a second —

    HELEN THOMAS: They didn’t do anything to you, or to our country.

    THE PRESIDENT: Look — excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where al Qaeda trained —

    HELEN THOMAS: I’m talking about Iraq —

    THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That’s where — Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where they trained. That’s where they plotted. That’s where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.

    I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences —

    HELEN THOMAS: — go to war —

    THE PRESIDENT: — and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

  58. Randy Paul Says:

    “No president wants war.”

    When a president pumps his fist and says “feels good” before sending people off to die, it certainly seems like he thinks war is kinda cool.

  59. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    http://www.pensitoreview.com/2006/03/21/helen-thomas-asks-bush-why-went-into-iraq-he-answers-911/

    Randy–read the entire story!

  60. Jim Russell Says:

    Good writing Marc. Thanks for your work on this great blog. I was going to comment but Dan, Paul and Reg are hard acts to follow.

  61. Jim Russell Says:

    Randy and Eleanore, what would be your criteria for ‘sending people off to die’. Could there ever be a reason?

  62. David Cummings Says:

    Since Eleanore and Michael sort of brought it up, I have to say that I was really flabbergasted with Bush’s press conference today.

    Apparently, it will be “years” before troops make it out of Iraq. Which means that an operation that was supposed to end after a few weeks amidst a showering of flowers and chocolates from the Iraqi people will probably end up costing the better side of a trillion dollars (at least), and continue to kill and wound more troops, the majority of whom apparently are in complete disagreement with the president about being in Iraq indefinitely.

    I also heard on television yesterday that if we are in Iraq until 2015, that would cost 2 trillion dollars (not adjusting for inflation).

    Something tells me that this is not going to fare well for Bush’s party this fall in the elections.

  63. Randy Paul Says:

    Perhaps, but I certainly wouldn’t pump my fist and say “feels good.”

  64. David Cummings Says:

    It doesn’t.

  65. Mark A. York Says:

    I watched the news conference and he just doesn’t see what Helen and you guys see. I don’t doubt he believes in it. He’s wrong and in over his head, but as much as I didn’t support Bush, I don’t doubt his sincerity.

    You put diabolical “intent” into everything, but intent is the hardest aspect of law to prove. He just lumped it all together and prescribed regime change. There was a history of it and it seemed like the right time for it. All this blather about dominating people is nonsense. And it renders you less than credible.

    I think the snake analogy is true, and I’m a wildlife biologist whose career is based on protecting animals.

  66. Mark A. York Says:

    He thinks he’s bringing them freedom, and you think he’s deliberately occupying a foreign country in order to steal from them. That’s quite a dichotomy.

  67. Mark A. York Says:

    That monitor shot doesn’t show up. Why is that?

  68. Woody Says:

    Randy Paul, I agree with Hitchens that the Democrats smirk and pump their fists (did someone else use that term?) when something goes wrong in Iraq. Their somber looks combined with their words of “disappointment” are simply bad acting. Of course, this view may not apply to you and others, but I believe that it is a general truth. Do you deny that Howard Dean doesn’t gloat with each insurgent success in Iraq?

    ——

    Eleanore, Helen Thomas is pathetic, rude, and biased (and really, really ugly.) Her performance today was a disgrace.

  69. Randy Paul Says:

    Do you deny that Howard Dean doesn’t gloat with each insurgent success in Iraq?

    Woody, I exist in the real world and unlike you and Hitchens, I don’t accuse people of vile acts without proof.

    For that same reason, I do not believe that George Bush eats Iraqi children, nor do I believe that Laura bathes in the blood of Iraqi virgins.

    Perhaps you should garner some proof for your claims. There’s a first time for everything.

  70. Mark A. York Says:

    Well the money quote is there will be no withdrawal for three years. That’s the deal. I’m happy Woody and his kids get to pay for this as I’m too old to. Asking intent questions does not, as David Halberstam said constitute aiding and abetting the enemy. Woody is too stupid to know what Halberstam meant. Or infact know who he is for that matter. LOL.

  71. Woody Says:

    Randy, if you kept up with and were honest about Howard Dean and the Democrats, you would know that there is truth in what Hitchens said and what I believe. An example that comes to mind is that Dean, over and over, predicted failure in Iraq and said that we could “never win.” Do you think that every success that proves him wrong is a cause for him to celebrate? No, he loves anything that lets him say, “I told you so.”

    His main goal, as with most Democrats, is to get back into power, and any Republican failures in foreign policy help them toward that goal. The deaths of American soldiers are excitedly put on their graphs and added to their talking points.

    Bush views military deaths in terms of the price that is paid for freedom. The Democrats view soldiers’ bodies as steps to the White House.

  72. Mark A. York Says:

    Woody that’s probably the most devious dare I say “Evil” thing I’ve ever heard any partisan moron say. The goal of evry politician is to get and stay in power. Even, yes, your guys who are running this dog and pony show. Personally I’m glad you are. The gallows is up and the rope isn’t around my neck. It’s on yours. Whether those dead bodies add up to freedom for anyone is an unproven hypothesis at this time and we’re five years in. The clock is not in your favor so I wouldn’t gloat about being right, or just, yet. All you’ve shown is your southern combative obliviousness to bad news. Clueless is how some could preceive it.

  73. reg Says:

    Woody, if that’s the best you’ve got, shut the fuck up. You’re making an ass of yourself. You’re getting more and more vile and vicious with every post on this. Not to mention that when you stoop to rant about how ugly an 86 year old woman is, you’re scraping the gutter. It’s pathetic. And I’ve decided based on the last couple of posts that I don’t even think you’re “cute” anymore. Just a disgusting wingnut lowlife. I’ve got a kid in the military so when you tell me that as a Democrat I must view soldier’s bodies as steps to the White House, I have to tell you that you’re beyond the pale and beneath contempt. Jack Murtha, a decorated combat veteran, is the most outspoken Democrat on ending the war and you’re not fit to shine his shoes. So take this argument and shove it up your ass.

  74. Samuel Stott Says:

    For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that Dubbya declined to invade Iraq on the grounds that he thought Saddam was no genuine threat to the US, nor to the West nor to the Middle East.

    What would Saddam’s regime look like about now? Would the US and Great Britain still be camping out on the Iraqi borders, patrolling the no-fly zones? Or would we have evacuated our troops by now, leaving Saddam and his boys a free hand? Do you think that the UN would have ever done anything about Saddam? Based upon what evidence? Based upon its performance in the Congo, the Sudan, Kosovo?

    Step up to the plate, all you folks who consider Dubbya a disaster. Explain what YOU would do about the Middle East, about Saddam, about Islamist terrorism.

    If you think that the US should withdraw from the region completely, hang Isreal out to dry, and let the Mideast work out all of its own problems, then say so.

    If you think that MiddleEastern Arab Muslim-majority countries are incapable of democracy, than say so. If you believe the opposite, then say so. If you think that that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria are better guarantors of peace and stability in the Middle East than the US of A, than say so.

    Let’s suppose the American Left ascends to power and control. What do you propose to do? Let’s hear it.

    My

  75. bunkerbuster Says:

    “For the sake of argument, let’s suppose that Dubbya declined to invade Iraq.”

    Besides the obvious benefits of tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis still alive, no U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib and 2,300 more beautiful American boys and girls alive, there’s:

    1. The weapons inspectors would have eventually discovered that Saddam was bluffing about WMD in order to keep his rivals within and enemies without spooked.
    2. Once it became clear that the regime was A: far more poorly armed than presumed and B: spooked out of its wits about prospects for overthrow, internal rivals may have had the courage to mount pressure for change and regional powers such Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia would have been much more confident in putting pressure on Saddam to refrain from rearming and, ultimately, to rebuild Iraq.
    3. The U.S. would have at least 200 billion more dollars available to rebuild Afghanistan. More over, the translators needed to track Arab bin Ladenists in Waziristan would not have been reassigned to Iraq, quite possibly leading to the capture and trial of bin Laden.
    4. Moderate Arab leaders such as Egypt’s Mubarak and Jordan’s Hussein could afford to be more actively, openly supportive of the U.S. and it’s war against Islamic terrorists. Radical Islamists can only be defeated by moderate Islamists. Without their support, U.S. policy in the region is lost before it’s even begun.
    5. The ultimate success of the U.N. weapons inspection process–though far from quick or easy–would have built confidence in multilateral institutions, diplomacy and patience in geopolitics.

    6. Bush may have been forced to campaign in 2004 against a Democrat instead of against Saddam Hussein. Or better yet, Zell Miller would be doing infomercials for herbal laxatives, rather than headlining the Republican National Convention.

    7. Iraqi intelligence officers may have found Zarqawi, as recently revealed internal memos shows they had tried to do, in Kurd-controlled northern Iraq and handed him over to some Shi’ite chieftains, put him in jail, tortured him or worse: made him write essays on the beautiful clarity and logic of Christopher Hitchens’ prose.

    8. Oil would be $10-$20 a barrel cheaper, adding a point to a point and half to GDP growth, benefiting the pragmatic, moderate Democrat we elected in 2004.

    9. Instead of sending letters, cookies and photos to U.S. soldiers in Iraq, our schoolchildren could do more of that for schoolchildren in Afghanistan, where we would have had far more resources to rebuild schools, roads and other infrastructure destroyed at least partly by our Cold War policy there.

    10. Halliburton shares, instead of being up 60 percent so far this year, would be lagging a Dow that was sailing past 12,000 on cheap oil and a Democratic administration.

    But, seriously, it’s plain to see how silly hypotheticals become. Reg, again, makes the most relevant point here: You have to watch this movie from the beginning. It’s bad history and bad logic to freeze everything at 9/11 or on March 18, 2003, and ask, what would you do?

    It’s far more instructive and realistic to ask how and why Hussein became such a terror in the first place. How and why Afghanistan and Pakistan became terrorist havens and what could have been done to PREVENT these situations in the first place, rather than deal with the Hobson’s choice they presented after the blood was already all over the ground.

  76. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Hey Bunker, great shots for 10 — it’s LESS silly to look at hypotheticals than read potty-mouth Reg complain about the pro-democracy pro-war position, and set up silly God – Satan straw men. Thanks, Samuel, for some clear questions. Though Bunker’s answers are mostly “wrong”.

    1. Inspections would “work” — false. Saddam would NEVER allow the inspectors to prove he didn’t have WMDs. See Blix in Feb, 2003.
    2. Assuming 1-true, other countries would pressure Saddam — ha, ha, ha. Like they’re pressuring Sudan? Saddam “won” in Gulf War 1 by surviving; he was gambling he would “win” again with inspections, that would go on and on not finding anything but he would say “I have none (wink)”, meaning I, Saddam, am smarter than the keystone cop UN bozos. (Many of whom are getting paid by Oil-for-food corruption).
    3. Saving cash is VERY likely true; the paleo-conservative (and Libertarian) position is that War costs too much. But $50 billion/ year on the no-fly zone had already been $500 billion since 91.
    4. Moderate Arabs could help the US — *** this is the most important future issue ***
    “Radical Islamists can only be defeated by moderate Islamists”. True. And Moderate Arabs … back the Strong Horse. I think modern, moderate Muslims can only evolve in a democracy, and such a democracy had to be forced. I’m certain that Syria would not have left Lebanon had the US been only in Afghanistan, but not in Iraq.

    No way of knowing, now, of course — but discussing the different probabilities of outcomes can help focus on and see the difference of opinion about probabilities of alternate futures.

    Yet your arm-waving pseudo-prayers for some way to remove Saddam without using military force can, and are, being testing in Darfur. If the UN/ moderate Arabs can’t stop genocide there, it seems silly to claim they would “somehow” be able to stop Saddam.

    Meaning, anti-war = support for Saddam. The hard reality of choice the anti-war folk don’t like to mention. Ask Reg (but be ready for obscenities, the Left’s idea of intelligent ways to persuade others; I’m sure it will be a big vote-getter in 2006 when there are real choices).

    Oh no, wait. I remember — they “could have and would have”, except Bush invaded. So, now, it’s all Bush’s fault. PA civil war in Gaza -Bush’s fault. And the murder of 500 teachers in Thailand by Islamofascists (over a few years). So is global warming, and Katrina. And the WTC. And the Cole. And the first WTC in 93 …
    How special.

  77. Randy Paul Says:

    Woody,

    Despite your delusions of omniscience, you have no absolutely no idea what I “keep up with.”

    When you accuse someone of treason, be prepared to back it up. If not, put a sock in it.

  78. Woody Says:

    Okay, you guys think it’s okay to accuse Bush of wanting to go to war and for doing so for alternative reasons unrelated to serving our nation. Then, you praise Helen Thomas for saying that very thing. You never said, “Hey, she’s crossing the line.” (Plus being plain stupid.)

    On the other hand, you take offense when someone points out (correctly) that the Democrats are low enough to enjoy the benfits of soldiers dying to further their political interests. I’m not saying that they want our soldiers to die, but it’s clear that they seem to enjoy the attack tools that gives them more than they feel sadness for our soldiers and their families.

    On top of that, Dean, Murtha, and company don’t mind telling our troops on a daily basis that they can’t win. It doesn’t cross the line, but the remarks border on treason. In fact, you can’t tell their talking points from those of Tokyo Rose.

    Many of you are just hypocrites like the others.

    And, reg, an older woman can be beautiful. There is an inward beauty, a countenance, that is superior to outward looks. I’m not the only one who notes that liberal activist women typically appear bitter, course, and unattractive. Their countenance is one of misery and blame. Helen Thomas is not beautiful on the inside. Who can stand to be around that?
    For more, see: http://boortz.com/more/funny/republican_women.html

    You guys sure can dish it out, but you’re thin skinned and can’t take it–even when it’s the truth.

  79. Woody Says:

    Randy, you used the word treason before I did, and I didn’t say that Dean committed treason. However, I’m not alone in feeling that his remarks border on that.

    Michael Reagan (son of President Reagan): Howard Dean should be arrested for treason. He should be arrested for treason. He should be put into a hole somewhere and left there until the war in Iraq is over for what he is doing. Because he doesn’t see any good news at all. The good news is — to him — is we lose the war. Because then he says and feels that they can take back the House, the Senate and the White House. We have people in this country from the left who probably jump up and down every time an American loses his life. Or her life. Because they’re thinking politics instead of what really is going on. http://mediamatters.org/items/200512090014

    Now, what does Howard Dean, himself, say about Republican treason?

    On Face The Nation this morning, Howard Dean equated VP Dick Cheney with Aaron Burr, VP to Thomas Jefferson from 1801-1804, who was tried for treason several years after serving out his term. Dean was referring to Murray Waas’ report this week that Cheney “authorized” Libby to leak classified NIE information to the press. He also asserted that Dems would take back the House and possibly the Senate in 2006. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/12/143823/725

    Yeah, he can dish it out, but squeals when he has to take it. Hypocrite. And, his motives are clear.

    I’d give you more, but Cooper’s filter blocks comments for approval if they have several links, and Marc doesn’t always get around to approving them–so, this will have to do for you.

    I gotta go. Some woman hit my wife’s car and totaled it, so I’m on the way to the Emergency Room and calling the insurance company. I know that the one at fault was a Democrat, because my wife said that she smoked.

  80. Wall Says:

    Actually, it’s hard not to have a soft spot for Helen Thomas; but I object to what She is doing here too, both on jounalistic grounds and stratigic ones. While every fair minded person knows what She is implying is the truth, why not ask a question, simple and direct, that relates to her implication. As in, “Paul O’Neill said X, is it true?” “Powell says Y, is it true?” Or even make him repeat his nonsense in a more candid way. “Mr. President, do you acutally believe the mistakes made in the invasion should be veiwed as understandable?” “Do you regret essentaily declaring “Mission Accomplished” on the starting point of the real war?”
    The best question ALL weekend, and the one that seemed to rattle Bush the most, was the woman in Cleveland who asked about the Born Again factor; here Bush declined to deny that he was influened in this folly by scripture; in fact , though it’s hard to tell sometimes WHAT he is trying to express; he seemed to protest a bit TOO much while not saying no.
    As for the Dems cashing in on the bad news from Iraq, I’ll try to bear that in mind next month when I visit New York City. I plan to go by The National Republican Party Revival Monument (sometimes called “Ground Zero” for some reason). It’s also nice that Fred Kaplin in his Slate piece manages a paragraph pointing out that at least some of the blunders in Iraq were Military, as in, committed by the Army. Since we essentaily have thrown the designs of the founding fathers out the window and been bullied by the right into equating any such talk with treason; it’s Kaplin who should be credited with real jounalistic guts.

  81. Randy Paul Says:

    Hitchens essentially accused democarats of treason, Woody. By parroting his remarks, you’re doing the same.

    I hope you’re wife is okay

  82. Mark A. York Says:

    I would have made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and escorted him out. It would have been a quieter changing of the guard with neighboring countries support after the inspections concluded with the evidence we have now.

    As I’ve said dueling op-ed blowhards is not reporting. Boortz is not a source, he’s a biased wingnut like Woody. Since Woody is by his own admission not a journalist and I have sheepskin that says I am, appeal to authority is invoked. Source is invalid.

  83. Mark A. York Says:

    “I know that the one at fault was a Democrat, because my wife said that she smoked.”

    Ever been to a NASCAR race? And take a gabder at the first lady’s history. She smokes. Or did if she’s lucky.

  84. Randy Paul Says:

    Michael Reagan is the best you can do? That’s an opinion, Woody and you know the old saying about opinions.

  85. Mark A. York Says:

    Interesting analogy on Aaron Burr, one of my favorite characters who I did quite a bit of research on for my book on the 1775 Arnold expedition to Quebec funded by my family, and ordered not paid by Alexander Hamilton, today’s conservative poster boy. Well he got his didn’t he?

    Dean’s use doesn’t quite cut it on that level, but cetainly the coniving to manipulate public opinion does.

    Just because you call someone somethign like treasonous doesn’t mean it applies. It’s just more cheap ad populum. I’ll wait for the trial.

  86. reg Says:

    “the remarks border on treason”

    Amp up the wingnuttery, Woody. Frankly, I don’t consider the values you demonstrate here as regards dissent “American” in any sense worthy of the word. Anymore than I considered your comment about blacks and the lottery “humor”. You’re an embarrassment, mostly to yourself. When Howard Dean outs a CIA operative or some such, make your case that he’s not a patriot. Apparently anything goes – no matter how rotten – if it’s “your side”. Let’s remember – in contrast to the free pass that wingnuts and wankers give to their Fearless Leader George II – that “MoveOn.org” was started on the premise that President Clinton deserved censure by the Senate for his “Lewinsky” transgressions against truth. Something to consider when Feingold calls for censure of Bush – i.e. that leftwing Democrats were perfectly willing to censure Clinton for something less important than Bush’s wholesale violation of FISA law. It’s called “nuance”, Woody, and before you open your mouth about how “Democrats” feel about the lives of young Americans serving in Iraq, maybe you should look it up. Intelligent people generally master the concept. This difference is one reson some of us hold the pro-Bush crowd and morons like Michael Reagan in such contempt.

    “it’s LESS silly to look at hypotheticals than read potty-mouth Reg”

    Tom, you’re a silly person in any event, but since you’re the kind of person who rationalizes tens of thousands of deaths on the basis of a case that boiled down to a handful of hypotheticals, I’m glad you’ve found your comfort zone. As for Samuel Stott’s “challenge”, it’s puerile. When reality isn’t going your way, change the subject to questions like “would you hang Israel out to dry.” It’s a rant that reeks of ignorance of serious discussions of the issues, steeped in the reductionist horseshit that plagues nearly every defense of Bush’s foreign policy.

    Fed up…

  87. Paul from Mpls Says:

    It’s subjective, and I hesitate to lump myself into a group so attackable as wingnuts, but I’m afraid I agree with Woody and Liberty Dad and so on: I too believe that a great many liberals do not wish for the success they say they do.

    It stems I suppose from the barely-repressed glee and viciousness with which failures are pointed out. It’s also of course not unrelated ot the basic dishonesty I see everywhere, especially in their discussions of the rationales. I simply don’t trust them.

    You can accuse someone holding our view of being wingnuts; you can assume we’re all victims of Fox News and Karol Rove; or you can wonder why the left has such an image problem.

    Inconsequential anecdote: a good friend of mine, a very very good friend, highly intelligent, a St. Paul well-read well-intentioned liberal, a fellow on the opposite side of things on these questions: in the early days of the war, when it looked like it was going to be a cakewalk and the first responses of many Iraqis did seem to be a fair amount of joy that Hussien was gone: “Now we’re gonna go marching in, and they’ll be waving flags and greeting us… shit.”

  88. Randy Paul Says:

    It stems I suppose from the barely-repressed glee and viciousness with which failures are pointed out. It’s also of course not unrelated ot the basic dishonesty I see everywhere, especially in their discussions of the rationales. I simply don’t trust them.

    Those are all feelings and senses of yours, Paul. They are not facts. If you are going to accuse people of being thrilled about insurgent acts, come up with specific examples of major figures (the loony extremists don’t count – I don’t trot out Fred Phelps every time I want to point out the looniness of the extreme right) making statements expressing glee at the deaths of anyone in inusrgent attacks: name, time, place, exact words and a source people can consult to verify your claim.

    If not, then consider how you are poisoning the discourse and keep your groundless smears to yourself.

  89. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Randy:

    I’m not accusing you, but the simple widespreadness of this perception on the right and former-left should in itself give people on the left pause. That to me is a point in itself.

    One piece of admittedly indorect evidence I cited for my perceptions is the dishonesty I see everywhere in too much of the left in discussing the war, especially the rationales and justifications. I could spend a lot of time re-citing all those examples I see, but it’s a job that’s been done a million times everywhere.

    You may likely not accept those things, but at this point I don’t much care. I just mention it now to say; even at this point here, my “smear” is not quite “groundless.”

  90. Randy Paul Says:

    Paul,

    Of course it’s groundless. If you can’t make it specific, then wtf do you call it? Well-substantiated? Carefully documented?

    You know what I do every day to compute the cost of this war? I look at the list of the newly released names of the dead and compute the average age for that day. It rarely rises over 29. I cannot tell you how much that distresses me.

    I truly hope that the war supporters are doing the same, but I do not know if they are or aren’t so I won’t accuse anyone on your side of the political spectrum of being insensitive to the real cost of this war. perhaps you can afford us the same courtesy.

    On the other hand if it gives you the warm tinglies and a sense of moral superiority to accuse my side of what amounts essentially to glee over the deaths of our fellow citizens, well I certainly can’t stop you.

  91. Mark A. York Says:

    “barely-repressed glee and viciousness with which failures are pointed out.”

    This is a perception in the realm of feeling not thinking one of the biggest problems with discourse we have. You feel that impression, but it’s only in your head. The problems are real nonetheless and reside independent of relative impression. The far left are not liberals. They are relativists who always side with the foreign warriors no matter who they are or what they’ve done. It’s always our fault. Bush makes this oh so easy with his good intentions, but reality is in between.

    Hussein isn’t gone. He planned the whole thing and we fll for it. Duped again.

  92. Paul from Mpls Says:

    And actually, that dishonesty isn’t all that indirect to this uncomfortable topic.

    The dishonesty on the rationales and justifications is (of course) a necessary ingredient in the “no possible justification for the war,” which I think it’s hard to deny is a belief is pretty damn widespread on the left.

    If you really believe the war is all about oil, all about the PNAC agenda, all about Halliburton, all about whatever, I frankly think it at least presents a little conundrum to be in any sense actively hoping for success, in the sense of a peaceful, multi-sectarian Iraq gradually becoming an enemy of terrorism and also by happenstance not automatically averse to dealing with the Americans.

    It may be that most of the left, when pressed to be specific, would hope for something like that in all but the last respect. That outcome would be okay with me too, although I’m not really sure it’s a real-world possibility; and in fact I think it would be okay with most of the W crew, at least in comparison to the civil war now threatening/beginning. But I think the left would see it as a resounding rebuke to the W crew.

  93. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Randy, you know what? You’re trying very hard to make what I’m saying vicious.

    The perception of glee of course can usually only subjective; it’s always hidden with what seem to me – this can only be subjective – crocodile tears

    Except wiht a few hard-liners who are somewhat rare. Although come to think of it, Moore of course called the insurgents the Minutemen, and by undeniable implication the true heroes in this war. Is Moore popular on the left? I forget.

    But the viciousness and dishonesty with which bad news is received and analyzed? it’s not unviersal, but it’s common. Robert Scheer’s a master.

  94. Mark A. York Says:

    I would argue that intolerant left is a far fringe and not really in the fight so to speak. Either or is alive and well here.

  95. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Mark –

    a. see my note on Moore above. The attitude here seems to be to dismiss his meaning, but frankly I think that’s disingenuous.

    b. do you honestly beleive Hussein planned it this way? I’ve wondered about that myself, although most of what I’ve read doesn’t support that. But if there’s anything to it, add this wrinkle: it would be a logical part of that strategy – a guerilla campaign dependent on withering public support globally and in the US – to get rid of all traces of WMDs beforehand.

  96. Randy Paul Says:

    Paul,

    It’s nasty and vicious when you, Tom Grey and Woody make claims that’s what mainstream democrats are doing.

    So, if you have any proof that is what is being done, please bring it forth. If you have no proof, stop the smearing.

    It’s as simple as that.

  97. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Do too many mainstream Dems love Michael Moore?

    You don’t seem to be listening very hard to what I’m saying. I’ve responded already.

  98. Paul from Mpls Says:

    here ya go:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20060314_robert_scheer_iraq/

    Vicious all though. Dishonest at many points. I put those together and read glee. Maybe it’s just me.

    Glee not any deaths, of course. But glee at being able to pin deaths on W.

  99. Mark A. York Says:

    ” to get rid of all traces of WMDs beforehand.”

    No, argument from ignorance. There never was any evidence of stockpiles of chemical weapons after 1992 even though he was thought to have them leftover at some level. According to Cobra II the ruse was aimed at making Iran think he had them. He didn’t. They weren’t truck out to Syria or anywhere else. Moore is a red herring. He’s a satirist.

  100. Paul from Mpls Says:

    I should say, dishonest and disingenuous at several key points. Such as his snarky dismissal of the idea that foreign elements are contributing to the chaos; and his related insistence that Bush in general refuses to see any intra-Iraq causes for the chaos.

  101. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Mark, I would assume you would assume I’m perfectly aware of the evidence and perspsective you site on the WMDs. Give me a break. You also probably know that on all of this, no conclusion is definitive. I was simply making an observation based on logic.

    You’re being disingenuous on Moore. He was the God of practically every Democrat I knew in the summer of 2004.

  102. Mark A. York Says:

    I’m afraid your “feelings” are biased Paul. Maybe it would be better for you not to read op-eds you don’t agree with and the same for the leftist apologizers? That way you’d have no feelings to interpret. The points are the points. The invasion set loose a myriad of sectarian feelings and vendettas intra-Iraq. You can blame one for existing anf one for letting them loose. At least I do.

  103. Mark A. York Says:

    He wasn’t to me. He’s a satirist.

    “no conclusion is definitive”

    I’ve heard this on Global warming from the right in the face of a wealth of expert evidence to the contrary. Expert testimony here is no weapons existed or went anywhere in retrospect.

  104. Randy Paul Says:

    It is you, Paul. I saw rage in that article, not glee.

  105. Paul from Mpls Says:

    On your last comment, Randy, just purely on a logical basis: you can see how rage comes across to someone who sees it backed up by dishonesty. Or how my perception of it gets changed. The dishonesty I see is a real big part of this, I think.

    Bottom line: The glee I pick up is glee at being able to pin failure and even death on W. It’s maybe the same thing as what I describe as viciousness at pointing out the failures and deaths.

    And the phenomenon is all wrapped up with the dishonesty I see everywhere in discussing the war, especially its rationales and justifications.

    I suspect but can only ever conjecture that hatred of W is what leads to the dishonesty facilitating the viciousness and the glee.

    To clarify one thing: I didn’t specify who I meant. I mean everyday Democrats I run into and read locally in letters, a lot of pundits, a lot of blogs, almost every commenter on most of those blogs, and officials of the Dean persuasion.

    This is how I honestly feel and believe. I am not making baseless smears. I am saying what it all comes across to me as. The discussion and the thinking helps me get more specific but it sure doesn’t dissuade me.

  106. Paul from Mpls Says:

    When you say “Moore is a satirist” you seem to be a. conceding smee degree of BS;l and b. claiming he has no effect. I’ll note teh first while obersving you can’t possibly mean the second.

    There’s no such as a less-than-certainly settled question?

    It’s a different issue than climate. What you’re describing is the new conventional wisdom on the question. I don’t trust any of them anymore.

  107. Randy Paul Says:

    A Bush supporter claiming dishonesty from the other side on Iraq has as much credibility as Captain Renault complaining of gambling in Casablanca. Heal thyselves.

    In any event, you’re acknowledging the subjectivity of your analysis. No independent proof just opinion.

    I feel vindicated.

  108. Paul from Mpls Says:

    It’s only subjective to the extent that the dishonesty I’m describing is subjective. On that score, the ‘what about W’ response is response I-a. It’s a Dave Kingman-esque swing-and-a-miss.

    You are in effect acceding that coming from where I’m coming from, the reaction is understandable.

  109. Mark A. York Says:

    “b. claiming he has no effect” Well effect in pointing out hypocrisies, but one can’t say it’s baseless either. Anyone can see what is hyperbole and what is fact-based. I doubt Dan Brown will alter religion, even if some believe his compliation. It’s theatre, like FOX News shows and psuedo-science experts like Steven Milloy influencing public discourse through disinformation. That’s far worse in my view.

  110. Ahmed Says:

    Here’s the thoughts of hitchens former protege

    Some time ago, I ceased reading Christopher Hitchens’s output, for the very simple reason that he’s full of shit and in violent denial about it. The man has become so infantile and ridiculous that I saw no serious point in following anything else he says. Yes, some of my readers continually send me links or quotes from varied sources, asking what I think about Hitchens’s latest outburst. And I reply that I think nothing about him — that such a dynamic speaker, writer and thinker has devolved into a sputtering death-loving crank is certainly sad, especially for us who knew him back in the day, but avidly following his toxic freak show made no sense anymore. All it did was either sicken or anger me. I’ve got enough to deal with as it is.

    Well, comes the third anniversary of our ongoing destruction of Iraq, and the Hitch links find me once again. Only this time I decide to click and read the thing. I knew what I was gonna get, but for some reason, perhaps my odd present mood, I was genuinely curious. And about four or five sentences in, I not only realized that my decision to read his column was stupid and fucked up, but that Hitchens has actually gotten worse. You can decide for yourself, presuming you wish to waste time on his fantasy musings, but allow me to highlight one consistent falsehood that I thought Hitchens had been shamed into abandoning, though clearly not. In fact, he leads the piece with it:

    “Up until now, I have resisted all urges to assume the mantle of generalship and to describe how I personally would have waged a campaign to liberate Iraq. I became involved in this argument before the Bush administration had been elected, and for me it always was (and still is) a matter of solidarity with the democratic forces in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan and of the need for the United States to change its policy and be on their side.”

    The segment in bold is a bald-faced lie, as I’ve pointed out before. Again, Hitchens did not come out in favor of “regime change” in Iraq in 1991, 1993 or in 2001. He waited till the last possible second, when his Beltway sources told him in 2002 that the invasion was greenlighted and would be unleashed no matter what. That’s when he jumped on-board, and even then he had, in his words to me, “about a zillion” concerns about Bush’s ultimate intentions. Once he got past those (which took about five minutes), he fully became the pathetic warmonger who now shouts and belches before us.

    While his opening is as honest as James Frey’s memory, his ending takes an errant dive into Jean Meslier:

    “We could have been living in a different world, and so could the people of Iraq, and I shall go on keeping score about this until the last phony pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer.”

    Hitchens doesn’t specify what “phony pacifist” he wishes to see strangled, but we do know that he hates pacifists and pacifism altogether (“an abdication” he once told me as he tore into a bratwurst), so perhaps he was pleased to see Tom Fox, the recently murdered Christian pacifist, meet his grisly (deserved?) fate. I wouldn’t be surprised, but who really knows, or cares, for that matter. I do know that Hitchens’s tough guy act is truly phony, so he might be engaged in some kind of projection.

    The guy who arranges Hitchens’s debates asked me if I would moderate a face off between Hitchens and Juan Cole. I said yes, assuming Hitchens would ever agree to it, but now I’ve changed my mind. I’d sooner open for Professor Irwin Corey than share a stage with that wretched, lying asshole.

    THE PHOTO ABOVE: Shows some recent victims of US violence in Iraq. Chris Floyd writes beautifully and painfully about it, and he’s right — “[A]nyone who knows these facts, who sees these facts, and fails to cry out against them – if only in your own heart – will be forever tainted by this same blood.”

  111. Mark A. York Says:

    Dishonest is definable without regard for ideology. It’s neutral standard that stands alone and thus, independent of subjectivity. So I disagree. Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean judge would call dishonest.

  112. Randy Paul Says:

    What Mark York said

  113. Paul from Mpls Says:

    Can anyone see where he edited Condi’s comment on Hussein and 9-11, turning it on its head?
    Can anyone see his outright lies on the progression of events on the election night 2000?
    And do you call those hyperbole?
    So, okay, he has an effect like Fox news: a lot, in your view.

  114. Mark A. York Says:

    Yes there is only “US violence in Iraq.” There is obviously no other kind in the world that anyone would choose to see who says this. Talk about full of shit. Boy howdy. Blinders on full speed ahead.

  115. Mark A. York Says:

    I haven’t looked at these edits before and sfter so I don’t know what you refer to. I know what Bush’s nonscience crony did to NASA documents though.

  116. Paul from Mpls Says:

    I’m not saying the dishonesty is subjective. I believe firmly that my perceptions of the dishonesties are quite accurate. I also believe firmly that it woud be like getting a donkey to do something diferent than it wants to get most of their adherents to acknowledge them.

  117. Peter K. Says:

    Ahmed, let us know what you really think. It’s interesting that the most vitriolic are former “proteges” like Dennis Perrin.

  118. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    “And, Reg, an older woman can be beautiful. There is an inward beauty, a countenance, that is superior to outward looks. I’m not the only one who notes that liberal activist women typically appear bitter, course, and unattractive. Their countenance is one of misery and blame. Helen Thomas is not beautiful on the inside. Who can stand to be around that?”

    Woody,
    As a librarian I know there is “truth” to the adage that you should never judge a book by its cover—besides only an old “fart” conservative like yourself would correlate a woman’s politics to her personal appearance.

    Another reason to dislike the conservative mentality—because women are quantified and valued purely based on their looks. On a scale of 1-10, I rate you minus 20.

    Besides an old fashioned conservative guy like yourself, should know that they can’t get a hot chick, unless está ganando mucho dinero.

  119. Mark A. York Says:

    Well Paul if you can’t name a specific dishonest statement that stand up to an objective judge, it’s unlikely you have one. It would be a lie to make it dishonest.

  120. Ahmed Says:

    “It’s interesting that the most vitriolic are former “proteges” like Dennis Perrin.”

    It’s even more interesting that the comment comes from hitchens current water boy

  121. Woody Says:

    Eleanore: “Besides an old fashioned conservative guy like yourself, should know that they can’t get a hot chick, unless está ganando mucho dinero.”

    Eleanore, my wife disagrees with you.

  122. Woody Says:

    Randy: “I hope you’re wife is okay.”

    Thanks, Randy. She’s pretty sore, but she’ll be okay.What’s weird is that she was in the same kind of wreck at exactly the same spot as one that I was in 29 years ago–only different stupid drivers hit us.

  123. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    Woody–I guess history repeats itself–
    George I and now George II.

    It’s so sweet that you think your wife is hot; how unfortunate for her that you’re not!

  124. reg Says:

    “my perceptions is the dishonesty I see everywhere in too much of the left in discussing the war”

    Oh Christ…the dishonesty of the “left” in discussing the war. Yeah, that’s been a big problem. Also the fact that so many of them are rooting for the other side or for our soldiers to die. I mean, it just poisons the discourse.

    Send me a postcard from Coulterville.

  125. Mark A. York Says:

    “years ago–only different stupid drivers hit us.”

    Well there’s always a Democrat around when you need one. It was obviously terrorism.

  126. Woody Says:

    Eleanore: It’s so sweet that you think your wife is hot; how unfortunate for her that you’re not!

    Once more, my wife disagrees with you–plus there are a even more fun things about me that she likes.

    Just curious…. Are you doing all this research and commenting while you are on the job?

  127. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    This is especially for Woody!

    TOP GUN FAILS TO INTIMIDATE HELEN THOMAS

    You remember “Top Gun” he was the guy in the flight suit who in 2003 landed on the deck of Aircraft USS Abraham Lincoln claiming victory in Iraq; well if you haven’t already guessed Top Gun is better known as, George Bush– the following excerpts are from his victory speech:

    “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

    Today, we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime. With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war; yet it is a great moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.
    The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 — and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men — the shock troops of a hateful ideology — gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the “beginning of the end of America.” By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation’s resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed.”

    There you have it– We went into Iraq because of 9/11. The remedy for 9/11 was to get rid of Saddam. And with the other side of Bush’s mouth, he will say Saddam never ordered the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the attackers were all Saudis—Bush’s friends; just like the guys from Dubai.

    BRAVE WARRIOR, CRINGES WITH FEAR!

    At Bush’s news conference yesterday, he took a question from Helen Thomas for the first time in four years. Helen, who is in her 80s, has been a critic of Bush, he is totally terrified of Helen and the questions she might ask, she is the only White House reporter left with some gumption and does not cower in fear when the name BUSH is mentioned.

    Thomas made it known, that the question she intended to ask Bush at the White House press conference was why did the U.S go to war in Iraq,?

    HELEN THOMAS: I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet — your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth — what was your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil — quest for oil; it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

    THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise — in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist — is that — I didn’t want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect —

    HELEN THOMAS: Everything —

    THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

    HELEN THOMAS: — everything I’ve heard —

    THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No
    President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it’s just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We — when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I’m never going to forget it. And I’m never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.
    Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that’s why I went into Iraq — hold on for a second —

    HELEN THOMAS: They didn’t do anything to you, or to our country.

    THE PRESIDENT: Look — excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where al Qaeda trained —

    HELEN THOMAS: I’m talking about Iraq —

    THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That’s where — Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That’s where they trained. That’s where they plotted. That’s where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.
    I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That’s why I went to the Security Council; that’s why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences —

    HELEN THOMAS: — go to war —

    THE PRESIDENT: — and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

    BUYER BEWARE!

    Bush’s response to Helen Thomas makes no sense–of course, this is intentional. When you ask Bush about Iraq he talks about Afghanistan; he spouts reasons for going to war against the Taliban, and then gives a convoluted explanation connecting it to September 11 — and then illogically connects Saddam and Iraq to 9/11 —his response is known as the ‘shell game.”

    Like a con artist who places a coin under one of the shells, and then quickly shuffles the shells around so that the public must look for the real answers by figuring out which shell holds the coin —a common confidence trick which is employed by the usual group of con artists and rascals– Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld and friends.

    Although Bush seems to lack intellectual curiosity, the ability to analyze data and tends to act stubborn and pig-headed; he is not quite as dumb as he looks and sounds– he is actually quite dangerous, because his power allows him to guilefully use insidious propaganda to regularly misinform and manipulate millions of Americans.

  128. Samuel Stott Says:

    Hey Bunker Buster and Liberty Dad:

    (Note to Liberty Dad: Liberty is a riseable word and there is nothing to to be proud about in being a Dad, since so many people committed to Social Justice have decided to either abort or not have kids in the first place, owing to the general fucked-uppedness of an Amerikkka in which Republikkkans keep getting elected.)

    Mr. Bunkey: you make several good points, although I am inclined to think that making points after the hard decisions are made is pretty easy. Any ideas about how to proceed? Everyone already knows that the US has blood on its hands. What country does not? What do you propose to do?

    Mr. Liberty Dad:

    Your idea that the UN is a corrupt, hypocritical and evil organization seems to be predicated upon the idea that Saddam was corrupt, evil and genocidal, and that the UN did nothing about him. You further suggest that if the UN were not corrupt, evil and hypocritical, the UN would do something about Darfur.

    But you forget this important fact: Leftists don’t CARE about Darfur. The fact that Arab Muslims are killing African Muslims at a rate unparalleled since the genocide in Rawanda is neither here nor there. There is no way to save African lives without getting all Orientalist and making Sudanese Arabs feel bad about themselves, so please get your priorities straight.

    Genocide? 200,000 to 300,000 murdered: 2 million displaced and hundreds of thousands more slated to die in the short term? Could we please return to a serious subject?

  129. reg Says:

    “Leftists don’t CARE about Darfur”

    Just in case anyone harbored any doubts that Stott is a bloviating wanker of no intellectual or moral seriousness, I’ll remind you that “leftist” Rep. Barbara Lee is one of the most outspoken U.S. politicians on the need to intervene in the Darfur genocide.

    Since Ahmed brought us back to the question of Comrade Hitchens, I’ll toss in that I was just reminded by an Atrios post that Hitchens’ recent discourse has been exemplified by such cogent observations as his calling The Dixie Chicks “fat, fucking slags.”

  130. Woody Says:

    Eleanore, it’s hard to respond to someone who keeps interrupting you and trying to fill in your answer before you’re finished. Ask any married man trying to explain to his wife why it took him four hours to get a gallon of milk or why he got in at midnight. (I was at Home Depot.)

    The rudeness of Helen Thomas shows how bad a journalist and how biased a journalist that she has become. I don’t admire bad work in journalists any more than you don’t admire perceived bad work in Presidents. Thomas is a loser and is history as far as being a central figure during and at the end of press conferences. That role should go to responsible reporters–what few remain.

    You didn’t answer my question…. Do you do your commenting and research during your work hours? If so, do you work for a public or private library? Consider whether or not that is honorable to use their time for your venting. Oh yeah, and get a boyfriend. I hear that Mark York is available. I would love to see what kind of kid that union would bring.

    —–

    At this point, I assume that people have accepted that Howard Dean’s statements, for political gain, to Americans and our troops that we could never win in Iraq were not only inappropriate for the leader of a major national party–but, also bordered on treason. Of course, the hyprocrisy of him doing that and then saying that Cheney is guilty of treason is clear and also unchallenged.

    Anyone may answer, but be sure not to do it on your employer’s time.

  131. reg Says:

    Woody, what the fuck are you talking about….you’re a flaming idiot and a disgrace. You piss on decency and funatmental American values – not to mention any commitment to truth – each and every time you flap your lips on this one. By your standard, Jack Murtha is a borderline traitor. And as I’ve said before, GOPer lowlifes such as yourself aren’t fit to shine the man’s shoes. You’re like that insane bitch Laura Flanagan who’s blaming the problems of the war on reporters on the ground there who have been risking their lives to practice journalism and get the word out on the conductg of the war while she sits on her sick ass in Washington DC slandering her betters. Like your boy, Ralph Peters, she did a ride around under protection of the military and claims “I’ve been to Iraq”. I’m so disgusted with this ilk, I can’t express the depth of my contempt. You really are a symptom of something rotten in this country.

  132. reg Says:

    “fundamental”

  133. reg Says:

    Incidentally, Woody was engaged with some factual information on the issue of American health care vs. France’s system and he completely dodged the issue and ducked out when he was asked to respond to facts rather than just repeat his usual blather of wingnut talking points.

    Suprise…he skips along merrily to another thread to make more unhinged, baseless charges and amp up his crank rhetoric.

  134. Woody Says:

    It’s a matter of priorities, reg. Saying that I’m ducking won’t speed up a response when there are important things to do–which apparently you don’t have.

  135. Mark A. York Says:

    Woody is a character in a David Brooks book. I’ll do my own matchmaking, but if you chose to slam my offspring, which are nonexistent so I’m derelict in my duty according to Herr Stott, I can only imagine the sitcom-like kids you’ve produced. They’ll be able to shop, though so the training will pay off. Mine would be smart and live to 100 like the rest of my family is well on the way to achieving.

  136. reg Says:

    You’ve been squawking like a crow on this thread, Woody. I’ve gotten plenty of “important things” done while you’ve been spending this time on your petty slanders. If you had any real sense of priorities you wouldn’t constantly open your mouth without knowing what the hell you’re talking about. Your priority is clearly accusing liberals of being communists and/or traitors and calling 83 year old women ugly. Thanks for raising the level of discourse on the important issues Marc addresses.

  137. reg Says:

    I made a reference to “Laura Flanagan” and meant “Ingraham”.

    Go check out Keith Olberman’s segment on her and the others attacking the messengers at “Crooks and Liars” – it’s excellent.

  138. Woody Says:

    reg, excellent job of misrepresenting facts. Desperate people do that, but if you’re not desperate I guess we have another name for that.

    Marc allows us to say what we think–not what we think others want to hear or will accept. I say what comes to mind–not from Limbaugh and company, but from my own take after years of observations and analysis. The fact that you don’t agree with my views adds credibility to them.

    I do hold that Democrats put their interests of power and control above the best interests of our country and our military. They just need to promise enough “free stuff” to groups with the most people, say what will get them elected rather than what they will actually do, and sit back while a complacent press gives them pass after pass. They are less patriotic, less religious, have little integrity, push socialism over individuals, and present a greater, long-term threat to our freedoms than any patriot act could approach. But, as friends, some can be okay. Why don’t you at least try to fall into that last sentence?

  139. Peter K. Says:

    “I’ll toss in that I was just reminded by an Atrios post that Hitchens’ recent discourse has been exemplified by such cogent observations as his calling The Dixie Chicks “fat, fucking slags.””

    Well they are… Any objective person would say the ratio of ad hominem nonsense for Hitchens and his critics is about 1:100.

  140. Mark A. York Says:

    “They are less patriotic, less religious, have little integrity, push socialism over individuals, and present a greater, long-term threat to our freedoms than any patriot act could approach. But, as friends, some can be okay. Why don’t you at least try to fall into that last sentence?”

    And republicans are crooks liars and thieves. I guess so are you by default.

  141. Peter K. Says:

    “Ahmed” sez:

    ““It’s interesting that the most vitriolic are former “proteges” like Dennis Perrin.”
    It’s even more interesting that the comment comes from hitchens current water boy.”

    I don’t consider myself his “water boy” as I’m sure you didn’t when you were his “protege.” Considering what you’ve written at this site, apparently you didn’t learn very much from your time with him. Maybe you were his “protege” in your mind only.

    Hitchens said
    “We could have been living in a different world, and so could the people of Iraq, and I shall go on keeping score about this until the last phony pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer.”

    *Phony* pacifist, not authentic pacifist, silly. Of course this is a play on Denis Diderot’s quote:

    “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

  142. Woody Says:

    York, you need to separate my comments about a political party and its leaders in general from my views about the typical voter and most individuals–many of whom are victims of the Democrats’ deceit rather than collaborators.

    Let’s please let this thread stick to the matter of the Iraq conflict going forward.

  143. Mark A. York Says:

    “and most individuals–many of whom are victims of the Democrats’ deceit rather than collaborators.”

    No you sling the same hash all the time. There is no separation and the voters aren’t duped save for the republican side. There’s your real victims of misrepresentation. I see no point in this conversation.

  144. Woody Says:

    Good. Pay attention to what Peter K, Ahmed, and Sam Stott are discussing and respond to them. They are on topic, which is much more interesting.

  145. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    Woody: “At this point, I assume that people have accepted that Howard Dean’s statements, for political gain, to Americans and our troops that we could never win in Iraq were not only inappropriate for the leader of a major national party–but, also bordered on treason.”

    So pessimism equals treason, huh? Boy, I must be one bad motherfucker then.

  146. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    “Eleanore, it’s hard to respond to someone who keeps interrupting you and trying to fill in your answer before you’re finished. Ask any married man trying to explain to his wife why it took him four hours to get a gallon of milk or why he got in at midnight. (I was at Home Depot.)”

    Woody,

    If you left for 4 hours or came back at midnight—it wouldn’t bother me in the least. In fact, if I would encourage you to take frequent business trips, and adventuress vacations to exotic locales such as Fallujah or sunny Kabul.

    “You didn’t answer my question…. Do you do your commenting and research during your work hours? If so, do you work for a public or private library? Consider whether or not that is honorable to use their time for your venting. Oh yeah, and get a boyfriend. I hear that Mark York is available. I would love to see what kind of kid that union would bring.”

    Your remarks are not worth responding to, but I will—you are projecting your own devious sneaky neo-conservative mentality, which is entirely based on screwing everyone they can, in order to greedily grab whatever they can for themselves—self-absorbed immature selfish jerks—so you see, you’re thinking that that if you were me, you would be doing all your personal research at work

    Unlike you, I don’t derive pleasure from being a sneaky, selfish jerk. That’s the difference between “liberal me” and “conservative you.”

    Keep your day job–your success rate at Match.com would be very low.

  147. Woody Says:

    Eleanore, I have my own business, so I’m not cheating anyone or projecting. I insist upon two-way honesty in my business and my personal life. I’ll fire a client who lies as fast as I’ll get rid of an employee for the same reason–and, I take great personal offense if someone calls me a liar.

    On the other hand and based upon your frequent and lengthy commenting, either you rarely work or you’re stealing time. One of my sisters has her Masters in library science and works in the research department for a downtown library. It’s good work. However, she is so busy that she doesn’t have time to do any personal surfing on the internet. You must work for a small system.

    You lefties love to throw out unsupported slurs–the same thing for which you accuse me. I guess that’s a better example of projection.

    Now, if everyone is through with personal attacks against me, please return to the topic.

  148. Woody Says:

    D C Sniper, I guess Tokyo Rose was just a pessimist about the U.S. military.

  149. reg Says:

    “Well they are…”

    And you’re a pathetic piece of shit.

  150. reg Says:

    I’m really disappointed that Peter K would be so far up Hitchens’ ass that he feels the need to second even the rudest, most intemperate remarks. Woody has found a soulmate.

    Me? I’m waiting for the day when the last phony Bushboozled “internationalist” has been strangled with the entrails of the last nattering “neocon”.

  151. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    “We can not win” — what does this mean?

    If it means that only Iraqis can “win”, can create a democratic Iraq, can end internal terrorism, can decide to avoid a civil war, or not — then I think it’s true.

    If it means that US soldiers are dying, now and in the future, but that in the future Iraq will be a bloodbath, whether we’re there or not — then I think it’s not true. The last part “whether we’re there or not” is crucial. As long as US soldiers are there, it won’t be a civil war of thousands killing thousands, like Bosnia was.

    But such a “worst case” scenario might well occur if the US left.

    The purpose of most of those who say this seems to be, get the US out. Now.

    Where have we heard this kind of “we can’t win” talk before? Why, in the Vietnam war, of course. Where, after the Dem Party decided to stop funding our S. Viet allies, and thus to force the US to leave, immediately, the result was horrific.
    The N. Viet commies won, as predicted by pro-war pro-freedom folk, and there was murder and murder and murder. Some 600 000 in Vietnam; some 1.5 mil. in Cambodia — murder by the commies who were known to be the expected “winners” if the US left.

    Marc C. wanted the US to leave; so did most liberals. Who did they want to “win”? They don’t admit to supporting commie victory.

    This is the dishonesty of the Left, on Vietnam. The Leftist policy was followed, leaving, yet the responsibility for the bad result is denied.

    In Kerry’s opposition to the US in Vietnam, who was he supporting?

    “we can’t win” — but in fact, 15 years after 1974, the Berlin Wall came down, so had the US stayed in Vietnam for only 15 more years, the US and S. Vietnam WOULD have “won”. And a S. Vietnam would likely be competing with S. Korea (a US ally dictator in 1974), and Taiwan (a US ally dictator in 1974), and Japan. Instead of being an economic Leftist basket case (perhaps ready for market reforms and an economic boom).

    To say “we can’t win” is mostly to promote leaving, to promote losing. And every US death is highly publicized to show the “truth” of this speculation. Of course “we could win” — but it’s costly. The honest critique is “the cost is too high.”

    Reg has only a little less potty-mouth than usual, but mostly empty on the main issue:
    whether, and when, to fight evil.

    I’m glad Barbara Lee is complaining about Darfur:
    http://www.topix.net/us-house/barbara-lee

    But I see her calling for sanctions, “pressure”, talking, complaining to Kofi. What I don’t see is a call for the US to invade and institute regime change. I don’t think the slo-mo genocide will stop until a) it’s mostly complete, or b) a military force stops the killers.

    The complaints about Bush in Iraq make it less likely for Bush to support using US force to stop genocide. To me, that’s one of the prices those who complain about Bush should be honest about — the blood of the people of Darfur who are not saved by the US Army. Because the Dems refuse to call for more violence to stop evil violence.

    Yeah, if tortue goes down 99%, there’s still some amount that should be stopped — but it’s such a big improvement that I support the basic mission. Yeah, if some 38 000 civilian Iraqis are killed (no note on how many were terrorists in civilian clothing), I would wish it would be less; but still support the mission. Democracy in Iraq.

    Unfortunately, even if we “win” and get democracy, we might not see a “unity” gov’t in Iraq — the problem with democracy and freedom is that it allows people to disagree; and they often do. Bush shouldn’t be requiring such a unity gov’t, only mentioning that failure to have one will prolly lead to more killing.

  152. Woody Says:

    reg, et al: The discussion is not about me…it’s about ideas. Try to stick to that aspect of the comments.

  153. reg Says:

    Here’s an idea: Tom “Lee’s only pushing sanctions” Grey start checking out reality before he starts punching keys.

    SF Chronicle Feb 28: Congress has passed many resolutions on Darfur and is considering more. The resolution sponsored by (Rep. Barbara) Lee, who last visited Darfur in early 2005 with a group that included actor Don Cheadle, calls for new sanctions against Sudan, appointment of a special presidential envoy, cuts in international diplomatic ties with Sudan and a freeze on many Sudanese assets in this country.

    Most sweeping is the provision authorizing Bush to use all means, including military force, to stop the genocide in Darfur. So far, her bill hasn’t gotten out of the House International Relations Committee, and Bush hasn’t talked about sending Americans into Darfur.

    Lee is also among those pushing the divestment movement. The University of California regents are due to vote on a Sudan divestment strategy at their March meeting.

    The state Assembly has passed what Lee calls a weak divestment bill, encouraging the vast state pension fund to avoid investing in businesses operating in Sudan that might contribute to human rights violations in Darfur.

    “I’m pushing as fast and as hard as I can,” Lee said.

    END CLIP

    Rep. Lee – easily one of the most vocally leftwing members of Congress – is pushing sanctions because she’s tied into liberal, student and state pension fund activist networks and understands that’s a way to engage them in the Darfur issue and doing more than issuing press releases or addressing an empty House for C-Span’s camera about a bill they won’t pass. She’s not just blowing smoke about sanctions from the Beltway, but trying to organize citizens on the ground in her backyard because it’s something – admittedly some small thing – she’s able to actually do. Activism is in her blood – she’s big on town hall meetings on issues, getting young people involved, pushing for locally-based initiatives that overlap with her efforts in Congress. Like her or loathe her – she’s deeply populist and as committed to her ideals and to promoting citizen action and community involvement as they come. A tireless voice who actually tries to matter in her community between elections and willing to take on “big issues” that elude most Pork ‘n Politics congressmen. Not at all a typical denizen of the Beltway. But the money quote in her proposed bill authorizes Bush to use military force to intervene – something only he has the power to do. I can’t believe – with lefty Lee probably the most activist, engaged congressional rep on the Darfur issue and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times the single most clarion voice on Darfur in the press, you keep repeating your line about leftists and the “liberal press” not caring enough about Darfur to call for action. Why do you keep repeating the same mindless, clueless crap over and over when it’s so easliy refuted ? I’m not saying that there’s enough involvement in the Darfur issue, but to repetitively blame it on liberals is pretty goddam stupid. Nancy Pelosi was also one of the very small congressional contingent who traveled to Darfur and has tried to push for bi-partisan action and has met several times with Bush on the issue. When Bush takes the actions recommended by Lee – or even Pelosi – get back to me.

  154. reg Says:

    “Most sweeping is the provision authorizing Bush to use all means, including military force, to stop the genocide in Darfur.”

    I’m wondering if that makes notoriously “anti-war” Barbara Lee one of those “phony pacifists” who Comrade Hitchens would string up.

    Also, anybody who routinely uses “Comrade” as a form of address and talks about stringing up his political enemies with the remains of criminals who’ve been eviscerated, no less, really should…I don’t know…maybe check into a detox clinic. The toxins in question have nothing to do with alcohol, although that may well be at least part of the problem.

  155. reg Says:

    “I’m glad Barbara Lee is complaining about Darfur”

    Actually, Grey, you’re the one who’s complaining. Lee has taken action – certainly as much as any individual short of the Commander In Chief could possibly take.

    You might want to put a sock in it.

  156. Mark A. York Says:

    The only president to intervene in a genocide was Clinton, after he blew it in Rwanda. It’s very difficult to go into these local feuds. There has to be some semblance of worldwide implications. Clearly these are areas for an international response but they never act. I can’t explain why.

  157. Peter K. Says:

    “I’m really disappointed that Peter K would be so far up Hitchens’ ass that he feels the need to second even the rudest, most intemperate remarks. Woody has found a soulmate.”

    I just agree with him. He hits a home run in the Wall Street Journal:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008120
    “The Stone Face of Zarqawi: Iraq is no “distraction” from al Qaeda.”

    It’s funny how the so-called anti-war folks like reg simply refuse to engage his arguments and resort to ad hominem.

    You folks should see V for Vendetta. One character clearly looks like Hitchens.

  158. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    “On the other hand and based upon your frequent and lengthy commenting, either you rarely work or you’re stealing time. One of my sisters has her Masters in library science and works in the research department for a downtown library. It’s good work. However, she is so busy that she doesn’t have time to do any personal surfing on the internet. You must work for a small system.

    You lefties love to throw out unsupported slurs–the same thing for which you accuse me. I guess that’s a better example of projection.
    Now, if everyone is through with personal attacks against me, please return to the topic.”

    Woody– what really bothers you are my lengthy comments—you despise facts that contradict your right-wing “fairy tale” world—and under Bush’s presidency we are all living through a very “grim fairy tale.”

    Today your second fearless leader, Cheney, came out “growling” about Democrats controlling national security. He said: “Putting Democrats in-charge of national security, is like having him sing on American Idol”—actually that might be a good idea, Simon Cowl, would give “ego freak” Cheney a lesson in humility.

    To understand why DICK Cheney considers ending the war in Iraq unpatriotic, one has to look at his association with Halliburton. Cheney owes his entire net worth to the Halliburton –he is estimated to be worth between 30 million and 100 million dollars.

    Cheney obtains nearly all of his interest income from tax-exempt sources. In 2002 he received $560,000 in municipal bond interest, which came from the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Bond fund. Cheney had about 11 million dollars invested in that fund.

    It is interesting to note, that DICK Cheney received more than 30 million dollars in 2000 when he left Halliburton Co., where he had been chief executive officer. Only a SUMMARY of Cheney’s 2000 taxes was released prior to Cheney taking office in 2000.

    Now let’s take a closer look at our patriotic DICK Cheney and see what kind of character he really is, in 1960 he dropped out of Yale, and took a job with a “power” company. He was arrested twice for drunken driving, in 1961 and 1962. Between the years 1962 and 1966, he was lucky enough to obtain five military deferments.

    Boy was he happy, that he didn’t have to go to Vietnam! His fifth and final deferment was because he claimed hardship—Lynne became pregnant (and Dick became an ardent believer in pro-life). In 1967 when he turned 26, he was no longer eligible for the draft and celebrated the best birthday that he ever had!

    AND THIS IS THE SAME PATRI0TIC CHENEY THAT HAS THE AUDACITY TO SAY, STAY THE COURSE AND ALLOW SOLDIERS TO SACRFICE THEIR LIFE FOR A LIE! THE SAME CHENEY WHO USED EVERY POSSIBLE EXCUSE NOT TO SERVE HIS COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR. Was he wrapping himself in the American Flag then?

    Woody, I hope this comment wasn’t too lengthy.

  159. reg Says:

    Home run ? That Hitchens piece in the WSJ? You must be kidding. I’d engage the argument if it wasn’t incoherent and rather radically evasive of the fact that the current situation in Iraq as re al Qaeda is direct fallout from the policy Hitchens supported. His “implosion” argument runs, of course, counter to the rationale for the war and is something he’s cooked up since most of what he was spewing in 2003 turned out to be crap. The man man is becoming a joke and if you are disturbed by ad hominem perhaps you should distance yourself from the “fat fucking slag”.

    I never doubted that you agree with him. That you seem not to deviate even from his scrapings and leavings was what spurred my comment and I find it sad.

    While I’m at it, I’lll add that the screed attacking Garrison Keillor as a “vulgarian” was one of the most patently dishonest – or clueless – bits of tripe I’ve ever read. A Soviet prosecutor would have had a hard time bettering Hitchens in bandying the “damning” quote out of context. And his pro-war columns get progressively worse and more elaborately concocted with the dismal course of the venture itself.

  160. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    Tom Grey: “This is the dishonesty of the Left, on Vietnam. The Leftist policy was followed, leaving, yet the responsibility for the bad result is denied.”

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe it’s not dishonesty, Tom? Your whole line of thinking presupposes a certain moral axiom that not everyone shares. The argument that those who didn’t want to continue to spend American money and lives on the Vietnam adventure are responsible for the deaths caused by the Khmer Rouge et al. can only be true if failure to take action to prevent a crime makes one morally responsible for said crime. Like all deontological positions this is an unprovable (and unfalsifiable) belief. You can’t just expect everyone to agree with it. I sure as fuck don’t. My position is that no one but the Khmer Rouge is responsible for the crimes of the Khmer Rouge and I certainly don’t see anything dishonest with my position– it just doesn’t happen to agree with yours.

  161. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    reg: “calling The Dixie Chicks ‘fat, fucking slags.’”

    Peter K.: “Well they are…”

    Since snaps are now an accepted part of political discourse let me counter that point with this: Yo mama is so fat that she doesn’t eat with a fork, she eats with a forklift. Ooh, that is a cooooldblooded argument there. That shit’s irrefutable, bitch.

    Peter K.: “You folks should see V for Vendetta. One character clearly looks like Hitchens.”

    High Chancellor Sutler? Naw, it’s gotta be petty criminal-turned-leader of the secret policeCreedy.

  162. Woody Says:

    Eleanore, your response was too lengthy. I would read all of it but I can scan it and see that it’s off point and useless. Also, I know something about tax in’s-and outs. Democrats in Congress voted to encourage investments into muncipal bonds by offering incentives, and that plan worked. What is wrong with Cheney participating in those investments needed to build sewers, airports, roads, schools, etc.? He’s legal, and you’re way off base to criticize his tax preparer and investment advisor.

    (Based on your evading my question, it’s clear that you are stealing time from your employer when you prepare your long rambling posts with list after list. If they can’t trust you, why should we?)

  163. reg Says:

    “You folks should see V for Vendetta. One character clearly looks like Hitchens.”

    I was watching a McDonald’s ad and thought the Hamburgler had a suspicious resemblance to Comrade H.

  164. Mark A. York Says:

    Woody for once we agree on Cheney’s (pronounced Cheeney) investment strategies. I wouldn’t expect one as astute at accumulating wealth not earned from honest work not to. That’s a money reality after all. But it is that reality that is off point. Eleanore has a point too. And that is the opportunism and exploitation of government influence peddling. He managed to take a stumbling educational career, some family connection of great influence in a small gene pool, and turn it into one of the most stratospheric political careers in our history. He didn’t make much from that, but selling his influence as secdef to Haliburton sure did. 36 million worth in a handful of years and now this payback. It’s real but he knew nothing about oilfield support work and didn’t have to since influence for contracts is all they needed. Done deal from the start and continuing to this day. This looks ethically challenged to me as a poor white boy from Maine. And the money comes from you. Well you get what you pay for. Others just get screwed.

  165. Mark A. York Says:

    Tax Trivia: “Under Cheney’s tenure, the number of Halliburton subsidiaries in offshore tax havens increased from 9 to 44. Meanwhile, Halliburton went from paying $302 million in company taxes in 1998 to overpaying taxes by $85 million and getting a refund of that amount in 1999.”

    Now that’s good for America.

  166. richard lo cicero Says:

    Anyone here who does not think Iraq is another Vietnam should read the posts here. The level of invective and bile sure sounds like the good old days when we had such reasoned disourse over SE Asia.

    I sure hope this won’t lead to a bunch of crappy Stallone and Norris movies ten years hence.

  167. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    “Based on your evading my question, it’s clear that you are stealing time from your employer when you prepare your long rambling posts with list after list. If they can’t trust you, why should we?”

    Woody— Considering all the time you spend on the internet—your business must be operating at a loss; but I guess that would be one of your tax write-offs–another sneaky tactic, by someone who cannot be trusted!

  168. Woody Says:

    Eleanore, my business is my business. As a good capitalist, I wouldn’t continue an operation at a loss. Also, I work 55-60 hours a week and an occasional diversion from work is good for me. On the other hand, your diversions should come on your own time rather than your employer’s (or, maybe that of the taxpayers?)

    —–

    York, I was horrified to see that we agreed on something. I think the world stopped spinning for a moment. On another point, investors do not have an obligation to do what is good for our country, even though they may. Their obligations are to themselves, which can indirectly help our nation. If investors operate within the law, then there is no crime. Also, no taxpayer has a duty to pay more in taxes than the government requires. If there are criticisms of individual investors who operate legally, then that is likely wealth envy.

    —–

    To get somewhat back on topic, Halliburton provides services for our country and military better and cheaper than our government or other companies can provide those same services. Recognizing that, even the Cliinton administration awarded major contracts to Halliburton. We should appreciate that company’s role in serving our nation.

  169. Mark A. York Says:

    Yes they are serving to bankrupt us in favor of them and Cheeny. You pay.

  170. reg Says:

    Here’s something for Peter K from the “fat fucking slags”

    http://www.dixiechicks.com/

    (If the Chicks are “fat fucking slags”, I think Messers. H & K have been jerking off for too long to those pix of anorexic models that grace the “Vanity Fair” ads.)

  171. Mark A. York Says:

    More fun with taxes.

    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/03/ap_barbara_bush.html

  172. Eleanore kjellberg Says:

    “Eleanore, my business is my business. As a good capitalist, I wouldn’t continue an operation at a loss. Also, I work 55-60 hours a week and an occasional diversion from work is good for me. On the other hand, your diversions should come on your own time rather than your employer’s (or, maybe that of the taxpayers?)”

    So Woody your business is your business; but my business is also your business—typical statement coming from a right-wing nut case, who wants to invade every aspect of another person’s life—I’m sure you also support warrantless searches—you chose the wrong career; you should’ve been a proctologist, that way you would be remunerated every time you searched a RECTUM, and you would have the official honor of being known as “Doctor A-hole.”

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