Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A mind in the first throes of change?

Via Dymphna at Gates of Vienna, I came across this article by one Jonathan Freedland, a writer for the Guardian.

Jonathan Freedland is what Norm Geras might call a "principled leftist"--at least, Freedland sounds like one. In the essay, he is struggling mightily with something he calls "heresy," the idea that Bush might have been right about certain things:

For a left liberal like me, it is not easy to commit heresy. After all, we are meant to be open-minded free thinkers, unshackled by taboos. Nevertheless there is one thought so heretical, merely to utter it would ensure instant excommunication. I hesitate even to pose it as a question. But here goes. What if George W Bush was to prove to be one of the great American presidents?...

Today's conventional wisdom, taking in every foreign ministry in the world – including most of the US State Department – holds that Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom has been a tragedy of errors. Based on faulty premises, disingenuously sold and incompetently planned, the mission of 2003 is widely regarded as an abject failure.

But the future may not see it that way. The war removed one of the most hated tyrants of modern times, shifting Saddam Hussein from a palace to a prison cell. Couple that with the toppling of the Taliban, a regime of cruelty and brutal philistinism, and Bush's defenders have a powerful opening argument.

Next, they can point further afield. For didn't the war in Iraq, admittedly prosecuted at a high and bloody price, not set in train a wider series of events. Note Libya's rapid decision to come clean...

Lebanon is the clearest example, with its Cedar Revolution leading to an outburst of people power on the streets of Beirut – and the ejection of the Syrian occupier. Tentative moves toward electoral democracy have followed in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and Bahrain. Even Syria seems, grudgingly, to understand that it lives in a changed region and that it too will have to adapt...

Yes, there are contradictions and hypocrisies, but that shift represents a break from at least 60 years of US foreign policy – and in the right direction. If Washington was to honour this ideal, articulated well by Bush, then the world would be a better place...

...change will eventually come to the Middle East, just as it came, eventually, to Eastern Europe. And, when it does, it is at least conceivable that the man future generations will credit as the pioneer will be none other than George W Bush.


Freedland's essay is a good example, I think, of a mind in the first throes of change. The tone is a bit wobbly--well-intentioned but rather stunned. He's almost shocked to find himself saying these things (ah! I remember those feelings well).

Freedland doesn't explain exactly how he got from there to here, but I wish him luck on the rest of his journey--assuming there is a "rest."

I don't for a minute doubt his sincerity in wanting freedom to come to the Middle East; I also don't doubt his extreme reluctance to credit it to Bush. But, when push comes to shove, Freedland is to be commended for desiring the former, even if it comes with the crow-eating humiliation--the heresy--of the latter.

39 Comments:

At 1:35 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

I wonder what effect the Abramoff, Delay, Cunningham, Safavian, Tobin, Ney, and other GOP scandals will have on your new neo-conservative personna? I find it interesting that you haven't devoted a single punctuation mark to any of this in your blog, yet this stuff is playing out in every news outlet in the country (with the exception of certain right-wing blogs, of course). Shouldn't you at least comment, just to show how trivial all of this is to your cause and to our democracy? Why the silence if all of this is no big deal? Your silence sounds like a neo-con admission of guilt.

 
At 1:37 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

Let no one make such an honorable man eat crow. If anyone gives him grief, let it be those of the Left, to their loss.

 
At 2:06 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I notice how he mentions the State Department. A bunch of bureacratic goons that Bush had better not let in Iraq if he wants us to win.

I find it interesting how old Dean kept lieing on national TV about how Abramoff only sent money to Republicans. The video is pretty funny in that link.

A lot of Democrats become criminals which isn't so much of a scandal as it is a logical progression.

Neo's not a front line trooper, she probably leaves that to other people. People that are harder targets, sort of like terroists and them not attacking US troops. They, like all cowards, want to go for the easy prey.

She's pretty happy in the rear, doing humanitarian work and logistical analysis of the propaganda war. Once in a while however, some suicide bombers penetrate the security cordon and even the rear echelon folks have to watch out.

The morale killer for all Democrats is pretty easy. Just go here.

Time is running out for the defunct Democratic Party and the terroists, all at the same time while the David Dukes and the George Galloways and all other socialists, terroists, revolutionaries, fake slogan bearers, and their ilk begins to disappear from the Light.

That is why people like Neo-Neocon and other open minded people have either jumped ship or are thinking of jumping shit. And there are no Revolutionary Thugs to stop them, as guaranteed by the military power and the militia power of the United States.

 
At 2:07 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

No matter how badly Freedland, et al, do not want to credit Mr Bush for the changes apparent to almost everyone, the fact remains that to even the most nearsighted observers, it was Mr Bush that overcame the inertia of the region- and it that inertia was overcome with more than just words.

Clearly stated, it was too many on the left that didn't believe democaracy and freedom were were worthy enough ideals.

Any way you cut it, that remains a truth.

 
At 3:04 PM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aqualung asks:
"I wonder what effect the Abramoff, Delay, Cunningham, Safavian, Tobin, Ney, and other GOP scandals will have on your new neo-conservative personna?"

I'll answer as someone with views similar to Neo.

The Abramoff "scandal" is typical political/human behavior. People taking bribes?!! The shock, the horror!! It has been going on since the beginning of civilzation. And if you believe only Republicans engage in it, then you need to remove your blinders.

Why would you think the revelation that some people in power (in this case mostly Repubs), took money for favors, will cause any neocon to suddenly abandon their belief in Bush's Middle East policies?

Is your logic "if one Repub is corrupt then my faith in all of their actions is shattered?" We are talking politics here, not religion. No logical person believes any person or party is completely infallible, unlike religious faith which begins with the presumption of the perfection of God.

I don't equate Bush or the Repub party with God, or the devil, for that matter. I wish Libs would stop doing so.

 
At 3:21 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Huan said...

aqualung

those that would somehow rationalize these scandals deserved criticism. those would pounce on them are exploiting it for politics.

silence is to be taken as disappointment rather than endorsement. afterall, what else can one say?

 
At 4:00 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

The thing is, we are talking about religin. Since politics is the religion of the Democrats. They sure as heck are not interested in Christianity, don't they keep telling us Separation of Church and State?

I don't equate Bush or the Repub party with God, or the devil, for that matter. I wish Libs would stop doing so.

The libs keep doing that precisely because it annoys people like you.

 
At 4:58 PM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ymarsakar said:

"The thing is, we are talking about religin. Since politics is the religion of the Democrats."

Interesting point, politics as religon for some people. That could explain a lot. If some Libs see the Dem Party as their "Savior" they would accept the tenets of its ideology w/o question, as one who in the thrall of religious zealotry.

Freeland himself uses the word "heresy" to describe the point of view expressed in his article.

Extreme conservatives probably have their own issues with "faith" in more ways than one.

I think those who consider themselves moderates intuitively understand that treating politics as religion leads to faulty logic, bad decion making, and dangerous outcomes.

I admit to having a fear and distrust of any & all zealots, religious, political, whatever.

 
At 6:36 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger truepeers said...

For a left liberal like me, it is not easy to commit heresy. After all, we are meant to be open-minded free thinkers, unshackled by taboos. Nevertheless there is one thought so heretical, merely to utter it would ensure instant excommunication. I hesitate even to pose it as a question. But here goes. What if George W Bush was to prove to be one of the great American presidents?...

On the one hand, the romantic left has traditionally defined itself as heretical, in opposition to all the stale conventions of soicety. But clearly, if the great heresy of our time is to like old George, then the stale conventions, the overly-ritualized modes of thought are today characteristic of the left, as of course they are. The very desire for heresy is perhaps the stalest ritual of old.

So Freedland can tell himself he is still the same old Freedland, the independent-minded heretic going against the new orthodoxy of the Guardianista elites. But in order to do so he has to like old George and admit that orthodoxy, conservatism, has much more liberating potential for people around the world, than anything else on offer today. So when is he going to stop thinking of himself as a heretic and really become free?

 
At 7:35 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

I hope Freedland can come to see that his current view is not a heresy of liberalism, but a return to the old faith. It is the current manifestations of liberalism that are a heresy. Back in the day, believing that government could be a force for good and defending the nation were not considered mutually exclusive positions. See Humphrey, Hubert.

Hell, see virtually every Democrat prior to 1972, and at least 50% of them until the mid-80's.

 
At 7:37 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

aqualung, you have raised the same points and been answered many times. Somehow you don't seem to be taking it in.

 
At 7:48 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger chuck said...

aqualung:

Your silence sounds like a neo-con admission of guilt.

Your noise sounds like an admission of desperation.

Cheap thrills. Anyone can play that game.

SC&A,

Clearly stated, it was too many on the left that didn't believe democaracy and freedom were were worthy enough ideals.

I have never in my life had the impression that anyone on the left cared a whit about freedom and democracy. Those ideas were simply outmoded tropes with which to belabor such fools as did believe in such things. Roger Baldwin, who founded the ACLU, was representative of the type.

 
At 8:00 PM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope "aqualung" isn't a Tull reference. Tull sucks, especially the flute solos. This is just a guess aqualung, but are you around 55 years old with a salt and pepper ponytail? Has your underground struggle against Dick Cheney taken years off your life? Are you a street fighting man who also has to worry about retirement? If the answer to any of those questions is yes you might want to consider acting like an adult because it is starting to get embarassing.

 
At 8:11 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Dymphna said...

I swan, neo -- you do get the most interesting commenters...what a range..

BTW, do you think the left hates religion so much because their politics is their religion...?


Gotta go-- Yorkshire pudding waits for no one.

 
At 10:41 PM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous ElMondoHummus said...

Off topic, in response to one of the above comments:
If truly guilty, the scandals committed by Abramoff, DeLay, Cunningham, et. al. are inexcusable. And to me, Cunningham's scandal is particularly distressing; anyone who's studied the Vietnam war will have come across at least one mention of "Duke" Cunningham's aerial heroics. A towering hero brought down by such a grubby little thing as money. These events truly are distressing. If the ones named are indeed guilty, then they need to answer for what they've done. Our legal system will take care of that.

But...

Does that invalidate any of the experiences that Neo has experienced here? Does that bring into question any of her observations? Does that mean that she's the one in the wrong, that she misunderstood the anger and vitriol, the pure condescension she was subject to in this post, for example?

Every large group, whether loose, disparate ones only having worldview or philosophy in common (liberals and conservatives, for example), or organized, official ones with actual structure and purpose (political parties, for example, but also businesses, social movements, etc.) will have a range of people, from the honorable, trustworthy, honest folks to (bluntly speaking) the trash, the zealots, the cynically manipulative, the industrially ignorant, the robbers/thieves/felons, etc. Honest and good to malicious and bad. The range will be there to some degree, and that’s just humanity, like it or not. Pointing out crimes, misbehavior, and abuses of power and trust is a legitimate thing to do. Those guilty should be exposed. Abuses, misuses, theft, graft… you name it. It should be brought to the light of day. That’s merely being civic minded. But gleefully pointing them out merely to smear a group is the thinnest of logic; you have to establish that there is some characteristic of the group that lends itself to encouraging the abuses committed by the wrongdoers before extending the condemnation to the group. Otherwise, you’re assigning guilt by mere association, and there’s nothing logical, fair, conservative, or even liberal about that. That kind of behavior approaches superstition. Or prejudice. How does it happen that the misbehaviors of some somehow impact the trustworthiness of others? What some have done doesn’t invalidate or delegitimize Neo’s experiences or her blog. Disparaging her blog by bringing up the misdeed of others is misdirection, an attempt to argue by hyperbole and an attempt to paint the aberrations and deviations as the norm.

 
At 10:52 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

aqualung: another example of a liberal who cant argue the main point and strays off to cover the myrad ten-thousand other lib talking points they have floating around out there.

Its always shift & deflect with these guys.

If aqualung even stuck around lond enough to have his/her own question answered, I bet the follow-up would have been more deflection.

 
At 12:11 AM, January 11, 2006, Anonymous ElMondoHummus said...

And now, for something actually on topic:

This observation crosses the political spectrum: It’s odd how, in respect to public figures such as politicians, our immediate reaction is to establish the aura of right or wrong to the person rather than the act and have trouble attributing anything but the basest of motivations to acts committed by those we view in a bad light. Freeland isn’t praising any plans to cut taxes, or implement school vouchers. He’s not lauding Bush’s stand on stem cells, nor the Republican’s stance on abortion. He’s not saying that he now thinks the Patriot Act is a good thing. All he’s talking about is Bush’s impact on the Middle East. Granted, it’s the biggest subject regarding Bush, but numerically it’s only one item on his platform, only one accomplishment among all his duties. And yet, Freeland’s troubled by conceding that this single thing, this one decision (actually, it’s a series of decisions, but all to the service of one goal) “may” have been the right thing to do. Or at least be judged in that way by future generations. “Bush” and “good” are not antonyms, but by Freeland’s own admission, conceding the possibility of being wrong about one point in the spectrum of topics regarding this president is “heresy”.

Isn’t that odd? Take Christopher Hitchens and Oliver Kamm -- two people who are far, Far, FAR from being conservatives. There seems to be some bemusement on their part at their “colleagues” who cannot admit the good in getting rid of Saddam and the Taliban. It’s merely one point to concede, yet some are unable to do even that. It’s possible to admit the good even while criticizing the execution, and there are many principled liberals and leftists who do this, but there’s sooooo much noise generated by the ones that don’t that the principled stances are lost in the grand cacophony of arguments in this debate. And yet, principled leftists – I refuse to put that term in irony quotes; such people do exist! – are easily able to concede the accomplishment without impugning their own liberal worldview. Kamm readily praises what Bush has done and expresses disappointment in the folly of those who opposed it:

” Were it not for President Bush, and had there been a President Gore, Saddam would still be in power.

Democrats had the chance to avoid the type of embittered and personalised partisanship that characterised Republican attacks on President Clinton’s Kosovo intervention. They could have offered a thoughtful critique of the flawed execution of Bush’s foreign policy. Instead Kerry ululates about the President’s perfidy in exaggerating Saddam’s military threat.


Link...


And Hitchens?

” "Anybody But Bush"--and this from those who decry simple-mindedness--is now the only glue binding the radical left to the Democratic Party right. The amazing thing is the literalness with which the mantra is chanted. Anybody? Including Muqtada al-Sadr? The chilling answer is, quite often, yes. This is nihilism. Actually, it's nihilism at best. If it isn't treason to the country--let us by all means not go there--it is certainly treason to the principles of the left.”

Link...

And yet, neither of them give Bush a free pass; Hitchens, for example, has complained of the "near-impeachable irresponsibility in the matter of postwar planning in Iraq." (same link as above). It is absolutely possible to support the overthrow of Saddam without violating liberal principles. But it’s odd that many cannot. And how much of that stems from the fact that they cannot attribute any credit for anything positive to Bush?

To be fair, there is a large amount of incoherence on the conservative side regarding former president Clinton. As said above, this observation crosses the political spectrum. I may not have many examples readily at hand – it’s midnight, and I want to go to sleep, plus examples of Clinton Derangement Syndrom are easily found all over the net – but it exists, and it’s every bit as irrational as Sudden Onset Bush Revulsion. I may not have liked Clinton, but I find it quite impossible to hate him, and I’m not about to disparage any accomplishments merely on the basis of my own conservative worldviews. Sure, I feel Reagan was a far better chief executive, but I’m not going to belittle Clinton’s presidency. That’s just petty.

Maybe Freeland really is "A mind in the first throes of change". Or maybe not. Doesn't matter, really. What's important is that he's willing to pierce the veil of preconceptions and grope towards what he's starting to recognize as the truth. Whether he ends up like Neo or not doesn't matter. It's the truth that does, no matter how the perception of it is arrived at or whether it sits on the left or right side of the political spectrum.

 
At 8:02 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

I didn't read the article, but I wonder if he mentioned Libya and how they 'fessed up' to developing a nu-ku-lar program? Once Iraq was invaded and saddam's forces ran and the US was in Baghdad in record time, ol' Momar quickly realized Bush was not some wishy-washy leader afraid to pull the trigger when it came to dealing with terrorism and supporters of it. There are some real outspoken, intelligent ME bloggers calling for major reforms in Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia in particular. Without the invasion and expulsion of tyrants in Afghanistan and Iraq, I believe these bloggers would not be in operation. They are encouraged by what they are seeing, I have no doubt of that.

And now to digress and go off subject,which bothers me not in the least. I've noted how the Left is simply unwilling to even acknowledge the sacrifices made by the US to promote Democracy, not only in Iraq but anywhere we have ever been and used the force of arms. I came across an article in this month's VFW magazine about an action at Dong Son Viet Nam on 11/4/67. The article states, " The U.S. Marines were determined to deny them (NVA) access to the rice crop and screen the district polling places because of upcoming elections." D Co. of the 1st Bn. 5th Marines engaged the NVA and sustained 54 KIA and 104 WIA on that day alone. There was a Chaplain of all things out with the grunts on that day and he was tending to the wounded. When a Corpsman (medic) went down, Chaplain Capodanno shielded the wounded Corpsman and took 27 bullets in his back in the process. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. When supporting companies had to be brought in, Sgt. Lawrence Peters was wounded and when the NVA began to infiltrate, he stood in full view firing and directing his men. He was wounded two more times and finally fell but his action prevented the infiltration and saved many lives. He too was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.The action at Dong Son was but one small part of an 11 day operation. Over on Hill 43 on 9/6/67, Sgt. Rodney Davis and B Co of 1/5 were likewise heavily engaged. He threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of his squad and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. This is but one example from a long, long history of sacrifices the US has made on behalf of other people. I note too that these three men essentially killed themselves to save lives. We see the jihadis killing themselves to take lives and this is the critical distinction between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, the classic good and evil dichotomy. We die to save lives, they die to take life. Light spreads and extends in all directions. Darkness is only the absence of light and that is why we will win. It is a fundamental law of nature and we are willing to make the sacrifices to sustain it.

 
At 8:24 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

Gee, I guess I hit a nerve with all of these neo-cons pouncing on my mention of the culture of political corruption that doesn't just involve one or two of their beloved icons but pervades the entire GOP congress. It's all of a piece, you see. People in the public trust manipulating their positions for personal and political gain, everything being greased by money and influence. What makes the GOP so infuriating is that it actually campaigns on the premise that it is the "moral values" party. Yeah, assuming those values are greed, hypocrisy and deceit. Nothing says it all like Michael Scanlon's email in which he characterizes the Christianist supporters of the GOP as wackos! So, all I originally said was that it is interesting that given all the verbiage displayed here about the righteousness of neo-conservatism, not a word about the corruption that defines it.

 
At 9:00 AM, January 11, 2006, Anonymous benning said...

"For didn't the war in Iraq, admittedly prosecuted at a high and bloody price,"

Okay, he may be getting closer to sanity, but ... what is it about War that American Leftists just don't get? Which War was fought without bloodshed? Does the liberation of two countries not count as worthwhile? Or must we always shrink from spilling blood unless the President is a Democrat?

Just wondering ....

 
At 9:25 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Its interesting and flustrating for me to read most of these comments.

I'm sure that my limited education and Texas upbringing has a lot to do with it.

But here lies the meat of the matter. In my cirlce of friends and community, no one condones corruption, political or otherwise. No one condones crime of any kind, from the kids that spray paint crap to the Judge that does not serve Justice but something else.

Can you classify us in some manner as left, right, blue, red, neocons, moonbats, religious, liberals?

Yea, you can and you will, but thats not what is behind or representive of us. Even if all you hear is something else in the Media.

We all know how representive, fair and balanced the media is.

We are Texans that believe in the American Dream, the idea that right is right, wrong is wrong and that there is very few times that there is an in between.

The ol' saying, that we hang horse and cattle thieves, wife stealers and anyone who harms a child cuts right to the heart of our Great, independant State and its population.

Yea, we are ol' fashioned and mostly hard to get along with. We fight amongst ourselves and have been known to challenge someone to "come outside and we will settle this".

Politics is like sex, too much and you start to not appricate it and misuse it and abuse it. Too little and you get start getting frantic about it.

Hell, I think I forgot my point....thinking...Hummmmmm...

OHHHH Yea,

Anyone that has to take to heart and write out that he has had a change of heart or that his beliefs have taken a turn, is living his life and limiting his self to his detrement and disservice.

Labels and groups and parties and communities are only good when they include the ability to think for yourself and to hell with everybody else.

That, my friends is what a true Texan does.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA
And yes, I know I can't spell worth a crap.

 
At 10:03 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

That is beautiful Papa Ray.The pure embodiment of the Bush -supporter philosophy and mindset.In a thousand word rant I could not have articulated it better.Thanks.

 
At 10:53 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

Aqualung, I don't think either party has a monopoly on corruption. I like to see any crooked, career politician nailed be they Repub or Dem. Come on, Aqualung, if it were just the Repubs mired in this scandal don't you think MSM would be going absolutely wild with stories and headlines? It would be first thing on the 6:00 PM news every day. They aren't running wild with it because the stench of Abramoff is also wafting from the Democratic camp. Neither side is expressing much sympathy for the Indians who were exploited by the way. Some of the Dems, like Dorgan from N. Dakota, scrambled to return money, others are scrambling to cover their asses but MSM is loathe to go after their own little darlings. Nice try, Aqualung, but no cigar today. I was a Jethro Tull fan in my day too, "..snot running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes, hey Aqualung..." I was trying to parody some of the verse but could only come up with, "Bush hysteria gushing from their butts, their cliches lock them deep nasty ruts, hey DNC..." but then, alas, I am no bard.

 
At 11:12 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

Goesh, such rubbish! Let's see. DeLay: indicted. Safavian: indicted. Libby: indicted. Tobin: convicted. Cunningham: confessed felon. Abramoff: confessed felon. Scanlon: confessed felon. Rove: remains under investigation. Frist: remains under investigation. And we learn that Abramoff had over 200 contacts with the Bush administration in the first 10 months of the Bush presidency! Of course, now W barely knows who he is (kinda reminds me of his response to Ken Lay: why, Kenny, I hardly knew ya!). Up to 20 staffers and representatives actively being investigated in connection with Abramoff. And we are just at the beginning. And what, dear readers, do all of the above have in common? I'll leave you to guess. By the way, accepting contributions from an Abramoff client unaware of his felonious behavior and accepting money directly from Abramoff is not the same thing. Abramoff donated DIRECTLY only to the GOP.

 
At 11:18 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger James Becker said...

Hi Neo,

I imagine that Mr Freedland is in the middle of changing to some extent, but I believe a different explanation is equally possible.

That is, liberals, and even the left don't really dislike the war for its own sake. They dislike it because George is running it and getting the credit/blame for it.

Wars always make politicians more popular for a while, which allows them to win elections and change other things. George used his popularity to cut taxes a little, nominate conservative judges, institute Medical Savings Accounts. He would like to also use it to create private savings accounts for SS - the ultimate conservative idea.

If Al Gore, were president, and conducted the war in an identical way, and used the political popularity to institute a left/liberal agenda, most of today's war opponents would be happy with it. They'd say "Al Gore made mistakes, but he really cares about the Iraqi people. The old policy of isolation/sanctions just wasn't acceptable."

A lot of current war supporters would hate the war in that case for the same reasons.

Once in a while a leftist will take the delusion seriously, and then do an honest analysis of the war for its own sake. Unhindered by hatred of capitalism, or conservative religious worries (we are becoming a theocracy!), the war looks different. It looks like a good/bad event with many side effects which also good and bad. It also looks especially attractive when compared to the sanctions alternative. A very bloody alternative indeed.

James

 
At 11:25 AM, January 11, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

James,you describe the Right Wing during the war in the Balkans! The Right uniformly condemned it because it was being waged by a Democratic Administration. Of course, the reason for intervening there was never obfuscated. Ethnic cleansing and genocide were being perpetrated by a despot on the soil of eastern Europe. I remember DeLay at the time making excuses for Milosevic, suggesting that he wasn't so bad and it was all none of our business. How times have changed!

 
At 1:03 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

Aqualung, there are always many versions and stories to be told about a war, that's for sure. One objection to the Kosovo campaign on the part of Republicans and some Democrats was the Clinton Administration's intentions of 'buddying up' with the KLA, Kosovo Liberation Army. By the way, Senator (R) McConnell from Kentucky was adamant about sending troops into Kosovo. INTERPOL it seems had just too many names on their list from the KLA, names connected with international terrorism and running heroin for the Russian mafia. Personally I think this was the biggest reason why ground forces weren't sent into Kosovo, especially when rumors began to circulate about the KLA doing some ethnic cleansing of their own. Without being able to rely on the armed assistance and tactical intellignece of an indigenous group, the risk of bad PR via casualties was deemed to high. I recall seeing clips after the bombing stopped of entire Serb units withdrawing intact, even with their chow wagons in tow. It could have been rather bloody had we gone in on the ground. Hmm, just cause and the moral high ground have limitations after all, even with a Democratic Commander in Chief.

A few other asides on 'that war': Milo is still on trial - hmmmm, so much for the efficacy of international justice. Saddam will be rotted in his grave by the time time a verdict is reached on Milosovich.It reminds me of the UN in Rwanda somehow. Anyway, Halliburton, and I'm sure you are familiar with their corruption, got called on the carpet in a Senate hearing for price-gouging plywood. Some of the H. boys showed up and told the Senators that if they didn't like the prices being charged, they were free to hire someone else. That pretty much ended the inquiry. And speaking of rebuilding, the last I was able to learn about Kosovo and that long forgotten war was infrastructure is seriously still lacking. This coincides with the last news I read over some deadly conflict in a number of villages between Serbs and Muslims. This in turn is validated by a conversation I had just over 2 years ago with a returning US solider from Kosovo. He told me, and in his exact words, "There are places there where the UN doesn't dare to go." So much for moral clarity and intent without obfuscation insuring the successful prosecution of a war, eh?

Amazing isn't it how friends one day are enemies the next. The Serbs were of great assistance in opposing the Germans in WW2. Their resistance and guerilla warfare tied up a fairly large number of German divisions and they rescued a number of allied fliers as well. These divisions could have been employed against allies on either front, but weren't because of the Serbs. It sort of reminds me of when saddam and his lads took on the Iranians, our old foe, and were our friends with saddam for a while. Moral clarity has done nothing to the murky waters of war regardless of the Administration.

Lastly, Aqualung, you are such a wicked lad to compare the indictment of Tom Delay to the conviction of Ol' Democrat Dan Rostenkowski for instance. Who could ever forget Dirty Dan from Illinois??? Certainly not I!

 
At 1:05 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

Freedlands concept of history fails to recognize "the winner gets to write it " rule. If the Nazis had been victorious, "the future" would see Adolf as the great liberator.Consider the US "liberation" of northern Mexico, or Hawaii, or the Phillipines or Cuba. How do the history books portray these?The stereo -typical"open minded liberal" is as blind to this concept as most conservatives.

As for your "velvet revolutions" or "cedar revolutions" being inspired or even caused by the democratization of Iraq and Afgahnistan,we should take an objective look at conditions in Libya or Uzbekistan or Lebanon and try a realistic analysis. Then there is always the democratization of Chile or El Salvador or Nicaragua providing reasons to be skeptical or the more recent US supported attempted coup in Venezuela.

You should also know that when Geras speaks of principled leftists he isnt talking about confused liberals like Freedland, he means the left which uses a Marxist analysis to describe US actions in Iraq as a war of imperialism.Include me .

 
At 1:19 PM, January 11, 2006, Anonymous brinster said...

Harry Reid and Byron Dorgan, who happen to be Democrats, are under investigation for their connection to Abramoff. Was Dr. Dean lying when he said that no Democrats had taken bribes from Abramoff?

 
At 1:55 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

brinster said: Was Dr. Dean lying when he said that no Democrats had taken bribes from Abramoff?

No, he was simply giving the marching orders. Any money taken by Demorats was simply "something else" and beneath discussion.

troutsky said: You should also know that when Geras speaks of principled leftists he isnt (sic)talking about confused liberals like Freedland, he means the left which uses a Marxist analysis to describe US actions in Iraq as a war of imperialism.Include me.

The Trout has just taken himself out of the discussion. From his profile, I see that he has a considerable investment in Marxist analysis. This is a delusional state that has proven very resistant to any known treatment. It is a virus that takes over the entire organism. It may write what, superficially, may look like a common language but when dissected is based on assumptions made in an earlier age (e.g. Imperialism as a relevant meme) that are no longer relevant. There are several mutant strains of this virus.

In modern organisms it has been severely attenuated. Organisms completely taken over by one of the purer, older strains are dying out for the most part. Freedland, in all likelihood was infected early but his intellectual immune system is fighting the virus and may even throw it off completely.

Only people with weak intellectual immune systems are likely to be infected by Trout's strain because the hatcheries are no longer producing pure strain Marxists.

So, he may be safely ignored since he is only minimally infectious and will soon remove himself from the gene pool.

 
At 2:23 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

It's my day to ramble, no doubt. Motor 1560, I had my Marxist fling years ago and outgrew it but Trotsky continues to flail away with a decayed ideology much like an old-fashioned farmer would plow with mules expecting to compete in the world of mechanized agriculture. I hope he totally ingores me as I do him. I hope when he sees my name he automatically skips down to the next respondent.

 
At 3:44 PM, January 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see how self-proclaimed leftists like Freedland can call themselves liberal. Liberal means open to new ideas and a willingness to change. The group-think he describes regarding Bush, sounds very illiberal to me.

A true liberal recognized from the start the possibility that Bush's policies might be right. Only a narrow-minded ideologist would have rejected that possibilty outright.

Anyone who claims to know for CERTAIN that Bush's policy to invade Iraq was wrong is either endowed with the Cassandra-like ability to see the future, or is kidding himself.

 
At 6:33 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Motor,
It is more than Troutsky's claim to Marxism that takes him "out of the discussion," it is his laughably superficial understanding of it. The posts on his site (and comments here) read like stuff written by a "developmentally disabled progressive teenager." I doubt that he even understands the intimate connection between Rousseau and Marx, and what it has wrought. The comments here, or anywhere, should reflect something of an intelligent dialogue, and nobody has an argument that is immune from rational critique and refutation (as Aqualung seems to think): I left a poorly constructed comment a while back that was properly taken to task by some anon in the know. That's how it should work. All this repetitive, off-topic shouting (and spamming; think Steve J.) and strident reductionism collapse the comment threads into heaps of inanity. Moreover, the ridiculous “politically correct” lectures about recent history (Cuba, “Northern Mexico,” etc.) are so completely out of context with the totality of human history that they are meaningless. What was this thread about?

 
At 11:41 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Self aggrandizement, just like every other thread.

 
At 11:57 PM, January 11, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Don't feed the trolls, unless you can psyche them out. And to do that, requires propaganda. Anyone got any good propaganda posts?

Gee, I guess I hit a nerve with all of these neo-cons pouncing on my mention of the culture of political corruption that doesn't just involve one or two of their beloved icons but pervades the entire GOP congress.

I'll tell you the secret of propagandists. The more you write to them, the more I understand your viewpoint and how to muddle it up with a mix of truth and falsity. And propaganda is the Democrat's strong point, make no mistake about that.

Go to Mesopotamia, the Iraqi blog, and you will see debates between terroist supporters and Marines and it doesn't get anywhere. You can't win in an arrogance contest with a Frenchmen, what are you, insane?

The more you write, the more material they can pick from to create a double reality layer. Trust me, it works. And people use it. Or vice a versa.

People got to go back to the Jacksonian tradition here. Honorable opponents need to be treated honorably. Dishonorable opponents don't get jack. Honesty as a virtue means lying to the enemy and telling the people you protect the truth.

Flexibility is not a character flaw, as the fanatic liberals might want you to believe.

Take my advice, and it might make for a better environment in this thread. Which has been so far full of insightful and enlightening comments, by logical and reasonable people of many backgrounds with real useful information to contribute.

Honest discussion is between honest people. First you have to find some honest person. If you want to just have fun, and trade lies, then I'll want to get a piece of that too, you know. Lies are fun, so hard to craft and so useful to learn.

But most Republicans and American citizens want to treat everyone as an equal. Others don't. Some people are nice and others aren't. Especially in France.

Look, this is like the advice Neo gave. Except in reverse. Speak your piece and let your friends decide for themselves if they are worthy of your friendship or not. Do the same thing to people you talk to on the internet. Everyone's actions determine how they should be treated, with kindness or with disappointment.

I'll tell you a story. Hitler once thought America was big and powerful and just. Why? Because he thought we enslaved the blacks and that is how it should be done. Then he saw how we put blacks into our military and he realized that we were "mixing" the blood of Pure Aryans with filthy inferiors, so he thought we were weak. And so he declared war.

Does anyone think that telling Hitler that America was strong precisely because we didn't care about blood and purity, would have convinced him from his fanaticism?

Humans are not convinced by words. They are convinced by deeds. And unless you're going to go over and put a gun into Hitler's balls, he ain't going to change his beliefs. Heck, he still wouldn't. Neither would Osama.

Makes no sense. But still, that's just how humans are. Don't let it get to you, life's too short to worry about things like this. It's nice to see people wanting to put a lot of energy into writing, but come on, surely there is something that is more worthy of your energies, fellow commentators?

 
At 11:30 AM, January 12, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

Goesh, brad and others, Im sorry you would rather dismiss me than engage,on my blog or here, but such is the power of framing an issue within sideboards of your own creation. If you would rather discuss within self imposed limits, so be it.I know my ideas are challenging but i thought that was the point.

 
At 3:00 PM, January 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Troutsky;

Let me clue you in to the harsh truth;
They are choosing to ignore you not because what you profess to be "your" ideas are challenging; but because they are just dumb.

Does any serious person over 20 really still believe in Marxism?!! I'm 43, and recognized at 19 what a crock it was.

Color me amused. I'll still read your comments though, for the humor aspect.

 
At 4:05 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Troutsky,
Yes, a challenging discussion is the point, and many of your comments are interesting. It is never my intention to insult someone, as I did in the last post; however, the numerous comments in many threads (from you and others) that presuppose ignorance are very insulting themselves. This is not a forum for high school students, and most, if not all, the folks here are very conscious of recent history and current events. Moreover, most of those who comment here have viewed the world from a left/liberal perspective in the past, and are familiar with Marxist arguments; thus, they are not unaware of how and what the opposition think and know. One of the most damnable elements of the leftist perspective is the deeply held belief that knowledge is the key to people’s worldviews; that if someone doesn’t see human society or history or economics though the “virtuous” lens of PC leftism (actually elitism), it is because they are ignorant of the “truth.” This is simply not the case: Two people can have the same knowledge base, similar experiences and be equally intelligent, and come to very different conclusions on any number of questions. So join the fray, make goods points, and challenge the debate, but be respectful of the folks you debate with, and don’t resort to arguments that we have heard for decades or spam out “facts” of which we are all aware.

 
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