Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the State of the Union

I thought the State of the Union speech last night was pretty well done, especially the first--the non-domestic--half. Bush is no Churchill (who is?), but he can speak clearly and forcefully, and he seemed relaxed and confident.

My favorite line: There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat.

The first half of the sentence seemed to speak to Bush's opponents on the left, the "peace at almost any price, hang the consequences" folks. The second seemed addressed to his isolationist opponents on the right who think it's not our business to intervene in far-off places; they are the ones who might be moved by the appeal to "honor." He mentioned isolationists explicitly several times in the speech, America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. And he also very explicitly mentioned "radical Islam" as the opponent.

I saw another theme, that of the need for rising above politics, for bipartisan cooperation. Good luck on that one, Mr. Bush.

My favorite line addressed to my former party, the Democrats: Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy. But it can certainly feel like one, can't it? Especially when you can't quite come up with another.

But, as often is the case, I saw one speech. The MSM, for the most part, saw another.

In his article on the speech, David Sanger of the Times describes an anxious, weakened Bush on Iraq (note the beginning of the sentence, emphasizing the length of the war):

Three years into the war in Iraq, Mr. Bush tried anew to strike a tone of optimism, saying that "we are in this fight, and we are winning." But he also bowed to the country's anxiety about finding a path out of a mission that seems to become harder each day, and he warned anew of the dangers of premature retreat.

Hmmm. Bush tries anew to strike that tone of optimism, despite a "mission that seems to become harder every day." No evidence is offered of this ever-increasing difficulty; the reader is just supposed to understand it as a tautology. And perhaps to many Times readers, it is--after all, it has been repeated often enough.

Sanger's piece reads like a column, but it's on the front page right under the lead article on the speech. And speaking of the lead article, there's quite a bit of editorializing going on there, too. (This, of course, should come as no surprise.) A few examples:

...Mr. Bush was more tempered and less partisan than a year ago, evidence of his diminished political standing...In foreign policy, Mr. Bush broke no new ground, and used language drawn from previous speeches...The president built on the theme of his second inaugural address, and even in the face of the Hamas victory issued a strong call for democracy and elections in the Middle East...

I especially noticed that first sentence, the idea that, if Bush were more tempered and less partisan in this speech, it must be prima facie evidence of weakness and not of--well, of temperance and non-partisanship. Of course, that could be correct. But notice that authors Bumiller and Nagourney state their speculations about Bush's motives for the call for nonpartisanship as a foregone conclusion, not a hypothesis.

The coverage is not only critical of Bush (no surprise there), but profoundly cynical about his motives. Now, cynicism about the motives of politicians on either side is certainly not ill-founded. My guess (and this is not really a tentative hypothesis; I'm just stating it that way to be careful) is that such cynicism in the Times is displayed mainly in one direction, towards the Republicans.

But the greater question, for me, is this: is this sort of editorializing, which one can find in virtually every paragraph of the piece, appropriate for a straight news article? My answer is no; it rightly belongs on the editorial page.

Perhaps my brain is getting addled with age and those pernicious neocon vibes, but it seems to me that, in my youth, most newspapers aspiring to journalistic distinction used to respect that difference.

125 Comments:

At 1:22 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Tertium Quid said...

For those of us who live in the "fly-over" region, we are used to the NYT and other media editorializing on the front page.

I'm no fan of Bush's speaking style, but he said what we expected: No surrender. No backing off. No pretending we don't have a malicious enemy.

The messianic tone is hardest for me. The U.S.A. can be virtuous, but a messianic mission in this vale of tears has no prudence.

I posted excerpts from State of the Union addresses since Woodrow Wilson on my blog. It's refreshing to read how muscular Democrats once were.

 
At 1:45 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

What a joke. "Second guessing is not a strategy". Translated: don't hold me responsible for being incompetent. Don't criticize my repeated fuck-ups. Jaysus! And this from the leader of the party of "Personal Responsibility". What rubbish. And you lap it up like a puppy. My god, have you no ability to think honestly? When will you stop fawning over this incompetent, crony capitalist liar?Never is my guess...

 
At 1:46 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Interesting but unfortunately narrow view of the President's speech. Iraq is his legacy and its a failed one. Democrats were muscular when presented with imminent threats and nations built on the destruction of the modern world. Terrorism is not a new menace and we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking it is to justify Wilsonian aims.

 
At 1:52 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Shan said...

What you'd call editorializing, I'd call putting in contect. The President is at the weakest point of his Presidency. His major domestic policy of the last year was a failure, his approval ratings are the lowest of his Presidency and Republicans are having an internal debate about associating themselves with him for the mideterm elections. It is not editorializing to point that out; it is a fact.

I think what you are proposing is for newspapers to simply print the text of the speech (which the Times does anyway), without any analysis of events surrounding the speech. That is not being a journalist, it is being a transcriptionist.

Best,
Shan

 
At 1:57 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

"Neoconservatives see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is. Like teenagers, they act on impulse and rail against the counsel of experience. "Often clever, never wise," Russell Kirk said of the breed"


-From Pat Buchanan's "American Cause" website

 
At 2:17 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

"Democrats were muscular when presented with imminent threats.." - excuse me while I get sick to my stomach. That is about the most ludicrous statement I have come across in a long, long time. Sorry for the attack in your blog, neo, but this guy deserves it. The Democrat's "muscular" response to the first attack on the world trade center was to blow up a goddamn aspirin factory in Sudan and a couple of abandoned buildings in Afghanistan that had been used by al qaidah, after not picking bin laden up when given the chance. Then there was Carter's disgusting response to Iran holding our people hostage, the fiasco in Somalia and the lack of balls to send in ground forces against the Serbs in Kosovo. Muscular my a**! I simply can suffer fools no longer, but as my temper cools, I suspect he is just a cruiser from some liberal blog.

 
At 2:45 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Stan said...

Shan:

from Webster's:

"journalism": writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation

Care to re-phrase your definition?

 
At 2:52 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger saintknowitall said...

Editorial analysis on the front page??? Say it ain't so.

 
At 2:56 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger saintknowitall said...

Aqualung said:
"What a joke. "Second guessing is not a strategy". Translated: don't hold me responsible for being incompetent. "

What irony!!!

 
At 3:03 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Goesh,

Your memory only goes back to the Carter presidency? My comments regarding Democrats being muscular was in reference to the presidencies of FDR and Truman, two men faced with military and ideological juggernauts.

Tell me, what is a liberal these days?

 
At 3:10 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger chuck said...

Neo,

Your post seems to have drawn an unusual number of critics, very interesting in itself.

As to the NYTimes, I had the impression that Howell Raines wanted to move it from being the paper of record to something like the Guardian and it seems to be continuing in that direction. *Shrug*, I gave up on the Times for solid news some eight years ago and don't bother with it much. They still have a good science section, however.

We live in a strange world where 35% of the US population considers 4.9% unemployment a recession. There seem to be two vastly different realities which are irreconcilable. Which is more likely to resemble real reality? In this case I tend to judge by the numbers and the demeanor of those making the argument. In my experience, those who shout loudest are most likely to lack an argument: loud assertion is no substitute for facts.

We will just have to wait and see how things play out. I know where I am putting my money.

 
At 3:33 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger David said...

"Democrats were muscular when presented with imminent threats"..this may have been true of mainstream Democrats of the FDR type, but even back then, "progressives"..especially religious "progressives"..were spouting the same kinds of things they are today.

"German militarism, said one Methodist minister, "may be provoked by bitter belief..that there is no peaceful way of solving a desperate economic problem." Condemnation of Hitler, according to a leader in the United Church of Christ, was a "short-circuited, adolescent hatred of individual leaders." And a Unitarian minister in New York said that "If America goes into the war, it will not be for idealistic reasons but to serve her own imperialistic interests." "

http://photoncourier.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_photoncourier_archive.html

 
At 3:50 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Neoconservatives see the world as they wish it to be, not as it is."

Well, damn. I guess if such a bastion of sanity as Pat Buchanan has condemned us, this whole neocon thing was a mistake after all.

NOT. HELL FUCK N-O-T!!!

Only in the fever dreams of the most derranged moonbat would Pat Buchanan be treated by neocons with anything but well-earned derision.

 
At 4:02 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger purple jesus said...

I knew you were out there. you Bush lovers make me sick. Bush is the threat and the Terrorist! How many innocent lives has he taken. How many did he let die in Katrina, in Iraq, in afghanistan? Exxon posts record profits! Bush talks like an uneducated jack ass and you just fall in line while your rights go the way of new orleans.

 
At 4:06 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Bob said...

Why do neo-cons have such a boner for the NY Times? I don't get it. It's a liberal paper. So what? Get over it. There was a time when you could choose among several papers in every big city, and at least NY still has that. Read The Daily News if you don't like the times, or Newsday, or U.S.A. today, or whatever...

 
At 4:12 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger David said...

Shouldn't any sincere "liberal" be a little nervous at finding himself on the same side of things as Pat Buchanan?

 
At 4:23 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Buchanan is on the wrong side of many a social issue, he envisions a theocratic society. However, he is right in his condemnation of neoconservatism. Also, someone tell Anonymous to relax or maybe enlist?

 
At 4:48 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Neo,
Unfortunetly, this is the worst thread I've seen since I started reading your blog last year. It typifies the current state of Left strategy: heckle, shout down, scream, rant, anything to stop a dialogue that includes those they hate.

"Bush is the threat and the Terrorist! How many innocent lives has he taken. How many did he let die in Katrina, in Iraq, in afghanistan?"

The logic of a sick mind (and the personality type that would go to any lengths to force his will if he ever had the power; including but not limited to: forced re-education, banishment, gulags, the rat-in-the-cage-on-the-head thing, execution, and worst of all -workshops!

 
At 5:09 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"However, he is right in his condemnation of neoconservatism. "

I hope that thought comforts you when democracy is a fading memory and a theocracy more brutal that Pat Buchanan could imagine establishes its thousand-year rule over the former United States.

 
At 5:17 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Yes, Anonymous I can take comfort in the knowledge that foreign policy will be run for at least the next eight years by people with your apocalyptic view of the world.

 
At 5:41 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Papa Georgio said...

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

Unfortunately uneocons are deceiving themselves. I suppose being rubbed of reality is a disadvantage for most neocons. But it doesn't give them the right to play and reconstruct the world as they see fit. This ideology about having democracy and peace around the world is just futile. As long as man exists on this planet there is no peace.
"THERE IS NO PEACE IN OUR TIME"

 
At 5:42 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

I'm not sure what has drawn so many of my liberal/leftist/progressive friends.

But here are a few comments of my own:

Certain of you might do well to offer something more substantive than ad hominem attacks. The latter are seldom convincing.

To bob, he who wonders who so many neocons have, in his felicitous phrase, "a boner" for the NY Times (I assume he's speaking of the gentlemen rather than myself), let me just say that if you've read much here you would know the answer. I was raised on the Times as the "paper of record," trusted and believed in it, and it has betrayed me (and all of us) time and again (pun intended). In fact, it is even betrayed you--although this particular article, about Bush's speech, is not a good example of such betrayal--it's a very mild and relatively unimportant case of shading a story. The sort of betrayal I'm talking about is something far worse.

I don't ask that papers be nonpartisan. I ask that they be upfront and honest about their partisanship. The Times is an exceedingly partisan paper that often pretends not to be.

I'd also like the editorializing to be kept to the editorial page of newspapers on both the left and the right. But that's a dream, I know.

As for my preferred coverage of Bush's speech, I'd like a paper to do two things: first, give a transcript (which I believe the Times has done); second, in the article about the speech, just give an objective summary, and a description of the applause, the setting, the reaction of Congress, etc. etc. Then, on the editorial pages or in the columns, give the opinio. Is that too much to ask?

To Shan: as far as "context" goes--do you really believe the Times is just giving objective "context" here? When it says that the mission in Iraq becomes harder each day? Or in only mentioning the Hamas election in the context of democracy in the Middle East? Give me a break.

I think that many who read the Times and other solely liberal papers/periodicals have been macerating in opinion masked as "context" for so long that that have lost sight of the difference. The real context, in my opinion, is the context of a deep and utter cynicism about anything Bush does, and the opposite for the opposition.

As for the Pat Buchanan quote--aside from my utter wonderment at Buchanan being offered by liberals as an authority, I'd like to point out that it's not exactly news that Buchanan hates those nefarious neocons.

 
At 6:11 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous David Holliday said...

What a joke. "Second guessing is not a strategy". Translated: don't hold me responsible for being incompetent.

You Bush haters are the joke. How many Middle Eastern countries held free elections when Clinton was in office? He had 8 years Bush has only had 5.

 
At 6:14 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous franco said...

I see the editorializing as weakness. The writers and editors are insecure and afraid people will draw the "wrong" conclusions. My God, they even think their own readers are stupid. Well, I suppose they are in some ways if they need this kind of commentary.

 
At 6:46 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Neo,

Thank you for your rational comments. As far as the Buchanan quote is concerned, it stuck me as perfectly encapsulating the neoconservatism of the Bush doctrine and especially his second inaugural speech ("we will end tyranny"). End tyranny? How about responding swiftly and competently to a natural disaster or making sure the borders are secure or perhaps securing loose nukes.

 
At 6:50 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger RickInNY said...

A raw nerve touched.

The President's SOTU offered no surprises. He is resolute, and his view of the world and his responsibility is unchanged.

I offer up to my "progressive" mates the following questions...first, what would you do different? Second, and then what? I never really get coherent answers, rather, sputtering venom.

So, perhaps the questions posed to the opposition Party should be the same.

And how about that Botox, Hillary?

 
At 6:58 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Greg,
the NO thing was everybodies fault, but you are right about the border; what a mess.

 
At 8:01 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

"Their real and ultimately insurmountable problem is that most of their beliefs and positions are inherently indefensible"

Vasko Kohlmayer American Thinker 28 January 2006. As they say, read the whole thing.

Libs and progressives have so marginalized themselves, that ranting, ad hominem ; and other logically fallacious statements; as well as shrieking, loudly, are the only real outlets they have anymore.

They've lost the ability to evolve or change. Republicans have very few shibboleths; a wonderful Hebrew word; that are not subject to review and debate from time to time from a foundation of values.

Most of us know that taking isolated, orthodox positions and defending them to the point of absurdity is a quick road to political obscurity. We count noses and not the volume of someone's voice. We also know that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, so a reference to someone like Buchanan does not immediately make our hair stand on end.

And, speaking of hair, we rarely set ours on fire.

 
At 8:02 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Aqualung:
"My god, have you no ability to think honestly?"

This is absurd for so many reasons; turns out that this clown is a doctor; "My god, may you pray for all in his care."

 
At 8:08 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Um, the intellectual tenor of the proceedings around here seems to have reached its fresh sale date.

You know I was afraid I was going to run out of places to read people foaming at the mouth about chimpy mchitlercheneyburton, but I guess I'm in luck here too.

The news is in the paper, it's just in the back with the crop reports, ya gotta look. They asked Howard Dean where the hell all the money went the DNC supposed to use to elect people in the next election. He said that he had hired a bunch of really bright people to work on grassroots agitation, and that they were out there doing their thing, don't worry.

I read another interesting item somewhere obscure. It was from a very liberal commenter who detailed being offered money to place comments on websites using multiple anonymous avatars. He was very specific about the amount of sites he was expected to visit and comment at, and had to hew to a specific set of talking points, while trying not to appear so. In a pinch, he was at least supposed to be disruptive. The fellow said he had turned it down only because it had an assembly line feel to it, and he was happy to drop bombs for free.

There seems to be a flurry of these folks, all saying the same damn thing, in the same damn way, every place I visit. I don't think they're trying to change anybody's mind, really; I think they're doing the verbal equivalent of taking a dump on the coffee table, and figuring that'll clear the room.

All in all, Howard should ask for his money back.

 
At 8:13 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are so many "liberals" agitated when the president advocates ending tyranny. Wasn't that liberal before Sept. 11? I am not suggesting that we place the citizens of another nation ahead of ourselves but do you really believe that nations ruled by kings and dictators are not your problem?

-Mike

 
At 8:22 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Sippican Cottage: Good point about commenters. I read a number of established blogs with comments enabled and see the same comments, many identical.

Their ultimate goal, not as colorfully expressed, is to drive the readership away. Neo's just starting to pick up her trolls and everybody has been pretty good about not feeding them. But, expect them to get more and more potty mouthed in the future.

 
At 9:01 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't help but find the blanket condemnation of the so-called "MSM" rather unnuanced, and not terribly meaningful. (Is a journalist for a major news source who writes a blog part of the "MSM"?) Whatever their flaws may be, major newspapers and news networks are by far the most efficient and reliable way for most people (including bloggers) to get information about the world. Why, for example, would a blog be considered a priori to be more reliable than an established news source? It smacks of knee-jerk anti-establishment sentiment, which is something that seems to be otherwise admirably avoided on this blog.

Incidentally, the distaste of conservatives for the New York Times strikes me as somewhat intriguing, considering that many liberals consider the paper to be equally biased in the opposite direction; it was famously credulous, for example, toward the administration's line on WMDs in Judith Miller's articles. I don't know if this anger from both sides means that the paper averages out to be reliable or is just bad, but it is certainly an interesting phenomenon.

 
At 9:23 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger chuck said...

it was famously credulous, for example, toward the administration's line on WMDs in Judith Miller's articles. I don't know if this anger from both sides means that the paper averages out to be reliable or is just bad, but it is certainly an interesting phenomenon.

I didn't take Judith Miller too seriously because:

1) She was a journalist,
2) She worked for the Times,
3) She was always sounding false alarms.

I am nothing if not consistent ;)

 
At 9:44 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger The Bunnies said...

I've noticed that since Bush said "Second-guessing is not a strategy," the Left has proven his point by second-guessing that comment while still offering no alternative strategy.

When will the Left offer us an Iraq plan othter than "do what Bush isn't doing" and "let's avoid the inevitable civil war by getting our troops out as fast as possible so that nobody's there to stop them from shooting at each other."

Ex-Hero Murtha has claimed in the same interview with Tim Russert that there is already in a civil war in Iraq and we are simply caught in the crossfire, yet our soldiers' continued presence is the entire cause of the current conflict, however, if our troops leave, no civil war will start (perhaps because it's already started, I guess).

If you don't like Bush saying "Second-guessing is not a strategy," then please prove him wrong by actually offering something that remotely resembles a strategy.

 
At 9:46 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger The Bunnies said...

I've noticed that since Bush said "Second-guessing is not a strategy," the Left has proven his point by second-guessing that comment while still offering no alternative strategy.

When will the Left offer us an Iraq plan othter than "do what Bush isn't doing" and "let's avoid the inevitable civil war by getting our troops out as fast as possible so that nobody's there to stop them from shooting at each other."

Ex-Hero Murtha has claimed in the same interview with Tim Russert that there is already in a civil war in Iraq and we are simply caught in the crossfire, yet our soldiers' continued presence is the entire cause of the current conflict, however, if our troops leave, no civil war will start (perhaps because it's already started, I guess).

If you don't like Bush saying "Second-guessing is not a strategy," then please prove him wrong by actually offering something that remotely resembles a strategy.

 
At 10:04 PM, February 01, 2006, Anonymous Mitzell said...

Look people, I for one can sleep better these days knowing that we shall ban human-animal hybrids.

 
At 10:15 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Van said...

The problem with last night’s speech is that it was chock-full of pithy slogans and morale boosters while the overall message lacked objectivity. The President obviously tried to rally support for the war and his domestic schemes - his poll numbers suggest a need for such measures.

I’ve enjoyed coming to this blog. I find the dialog stimulating, but more important, I’ve learned something that about Neo-liberals.
Neocons are frightened creatures. Your primary motivation is fear. Yes, your arguments are sophisticated, your logic sound, and most of your proponents are very bright, but you are moved to action by fear. Fear of terrorists, terror attacks - the bogeyman.

That said, I’d like to comment on Neo Neocons observations.

Neo Neocon wrote that her favorite line is:
There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat - a useless pithy slogan.

Perhaps you should try telling this to the Marines who retreated across the 38th Paralell during the Korean conflict – I’ll bet you’ll get a mouth full.

Another favorite line of Neocon’s worth addressing:
“Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy. –GW Bush
But it can certainly feel like one, can't it? Especially when you can't quite come up with another.”– Neo
Really Neo? A strategy for what? A strategy for a disorganized, inefficiient war action? A strategy to war against a nation that posed no significant threat to the United States? No doubt, Saddam Hussein’s regime was dictatorial and dangerous, and Iraq’s civilian population had suffered. But there was no clear evidence that Iraq posed the immediate and growing threat that the administration depicted.


So why would the Democrats need a strategy for a war that was unnecessary? Your cherished war has done nothing to stop terrorism, and nothing to make us safe.
What you should be asking is this: how are we going to get out of this chaotic conflict? With a few exceptions, the Republicans are not discussing an exit strategy. They are determined to “stay the course”. Do you want perpetual war? Is this what it means to be a proponent of Neo-liberal Theory? Will this make you feel safer?
How many friends to you have in Iraq that as a result of military service ( to assuage your fears) cannot pay their bills and face mortgage foreclosure and bankrupsy? What’s your strategy for them? What is your strategy for the soldiers who are exposed to Depleted Uranium and PTSD? Give me a break!

The only strategy that our country needs is an end date and a gradual withdrawl.

 
At 10:24 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

The left has been working the refs so long they've forgotten how to play the game. To borrow a distinction from Nietzsche, the current incarnation of the left is not so much evil as "schlecht", bad, like a bad motor or milk goes bad. I happen to believe that a "good" left, and effective left, has made this country what it is, so its in the general interest to help them get a clue. Or ten.

 
At 10:46 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Goesh:
“The Democrat's "muscular" response to the first attack on the world trade center was to blow up a goddamn aspirin factory in Sudan and a couple of abandoned buildings in Afghanistan that had been used by al qaidah, after not picking bin laden up when given the chance.”

--You’re kidding right. Have you read the 9/11 Commision? There’s been incompetence on both sides of the isle and at many levels or our government. The Bush Administration ignored several reports about Bin Laden and his aims to attack the U.S. before 9/11.

You are being honest about the facts? How far back do you want to go to place blame for Bin Laden, President Reagan? President Bush?
It’s not worth debate.

 
At 10:50 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Mike,

We ARE placing the elimination of tyranny ahead of our citizens and our interests. This has been the case for the past couple years. How many billions of dollars has gone to IRAQ and not to the proper defense of our country. Yes, traditionally it has been liberal to "spread democracy" around the globe. We should intervene when there is a humanitarian crisis or imminent threat but we cannot continue on the course set out by the Bush doctrine and be safe.

 
At 10:59 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Oh and I have a strategy for the Democratic Party, get back to your populist roots, fast.

 
At 11:00 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

What were trying to say Van? That the Marines (and Army units) retreat from the 38th parallel in the Korean war was a good thing? Do you think they'd argue that their retreat was something they honor?

Is this how a liberal really looks at defeat? Honorably?

You go ask those Marines, Van. See who gets a mouth full.

While you at it, moron, why dont you ask soldiers and Marines if they'd like it if you took away their depleted Uranium rounds. Then cover your mouth again.

I dont know which National Guard unit you served in, but I know it wasnt mine. You dont seem to me the type of person possessing the common sense necessary to be able to function in the military. You certainly dont speak for myself or anybody else I know, so Id appreciate it if you didnt act as though you do.

 
At 11:10 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger The Bunnies said...

I'd also love to ask the poor bastards living in Pyongyang what they think of the "honor" of American's retreat in Korea.

Perhaps some think it was honorable for us, but Leftist honor seems to result primarily in boat people, Ayatollahs, and re-education camps for everyone else.

 
At 11:24 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Van: I'm not frightened. I'm scary. Remember that the same Marines who withdrew different than retreat; from Chosin came back to kick ass and take names. Get your history straight before you teach granny to suck eggs.

When you get through mouthing all the usual lies, distortions and propaganda; you might want to read the study that says many of the troops are making more money on active duty than they did on civy street.

There is a threat and you might want to read The Nameless One at Belmont Club to get just a soupçon of the threat. However, I'm sure that you are in denial in order to even make this assertion. The conflict ceased to be a straight up fight after 1683 until the concept of non-state, asymmetrical warfare gave the opposition the opportunity to continue a fight they never stood down from. Every generation of my family since Concord and Lexington have produced soldiers. This generation is no exception and now we have one of our Canadian cousins in the fight. You can go on singing the "La-La" song; others will protect your candy ass ability to suffer from cranio rectal inversion and BDS.

Frightened? You must have me confused with a Democrat.

 
At 11:32 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

To those of you who thought I was setting up a straw man in this post, take a look at the comments of anonymous at 9:01 PM.

And to the same commenter, anonymous 9:01 PM: My guess is that you haven't read much of my work, but I was a loyal and liberal NY Times reader for approximately forty years. That's a very long time, take it from me.

If you are actually interested in learning anything about what happened, take a look at the "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series.

 
At 11:37 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Van is advancing a line of thought that Markos Moulitsas coined about a week ago. He said that neoconservatives, by fighting, were showing themselves too cowardly to take their place in the terrorist lottery like brave pacifists do. It's kind of silly, but has its own internal logic.

Van, you've made a grave error in assuming that because some people have recently come by this newfound respect for the primary responsibility of any government, which is the protection of its citizens from all enemies foreign and domestic, we all have. Some of us have long thought that. And we welcome others who join us when they realize that others would let them cull us like a herd rather than acknowledge the world is filled with many persons who wish to kill us and a lot of other innocent people. Your Realpolitik stance seems a little frayed, I don't really get a Kissinger vibe from you.

I remember watching the second tower fall. I worked for a company from New York, but we were not in New York that day. We were hosting a rather large contingent of New Yorkers at our office. We had to rube goldberg up an antenna to a TV and roll it outside to see what was happening.

Those people saw their friends jumping out of the buildings rather than be incinerated alive, and then the building collapsed on them. Tears rolled down their cheeks. They didn't appear "scared" to me. They still don't.

My Uncle for who I am named, Robert Francis Altavilla, 101st Airborne Cavalry 506 infantry Division C Company has remained on Pork Chop Hill, on the 38th parallel, in Korea to this very day; his remains were never found. But I'm certain he was facing north.

I am immensely proud of him.

 
At 11:48 PM, February 01, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

"Robert Francis Altavilla, 101st Airborne Cavalry 506 infantry Division C Company

sippicxxxx, as a guy that spent 23 years of service in the military, Active and Guard, I can tell you that no such unit existed.

 
At 12:04 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps my brain is getting addled with age and those pernicious neocon vibes, but it seems to me that, in my youth, most newspapers aspiring to journalistic distinction used to respect that difference."

I think you just may not have noticed it? I mean, I've always been a conservative and it seems like this article is the same style and tone that I've always remembered... when writing about republicans... Nothing was different with Reagan (that I can recall).

 
At 12:08 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

sippicxxx:

What Im thinking now, is that you got the 101st Abn Div. cofused with the 1st Cavalry Div.

We dont hava a 506th Infantry Division, but we do have a 506th Parachute Infantry Regt. Its currently with the 82nd Abn.

The 1st Cav Div served in Korea, (and participated in Van's honorable retreat), the 101st Abn. did not.

 
At 12:18 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

But Sanger's piece is clearly labeled NEWS ANALYSIS.
That it appears on p.1 should make no difference. Readers know that "news analysis" means more than a summary.
On big issues or events many papers, not just the NYT, put an "analysis" or interpretation/editorial on the front page.
When clearly identified, why is that bothersome? If a paper put a pro-Bush "analysis" on p.1, would you be troubled as well?

 
At 12:29 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As for the Pat Buchanan quote--aside from my utter wonderment at Buchanan being offered by liberals as an authority, I'd like to point out that it's not exactly news that Buchanan hates those nefarious neocons."

Why the wonderment? Anyone who's played video games knows that if you go far enough off the left side of the screen, you end up on the right. At least if you don't fry your Nintendo in the process.

 
At 12:48 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Is that what you're thinking right now? Harry, you don't want to know what I'm thinking right now. But I'm going to assume the best.

C-Company 506 INF 101st Airborne Division It's written in white script somewhat faintly in the picture.

The whole picture is almost five feet long. It hangs over my kitchen table.

http://www.sippicancottagefurniture.com/uncle%20bobby%20(2).jpg

I did make one intentional error. His actual name is Francis Robert, but he hated Francis, and wanted to be called Bobby. So I humor him, though I never met him.

Francis Robert Altavilla is the man holding the lance with the company colors on it.

And I know some desperately want him to to be a "noble retreater," but he's facing north, and always will be. I read the after action report. It came with the medals.

 
At 1:02 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous Frederick said...

Sippican,

"I am immensely proud of him."

As you should be. He's listed with the other 204 from Massachusetts who were never recovered. Almost 36,000 U.S. soldiers died in Korea. Almost 1000 from Massachusetts alone. There were a lot of people who were against that war, a big war compared with Iraq. The soldiers in Iraq are just as big as the ones in Korea. It's the antiwar people who seem so much smaller.

 
At 1:24 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 1:26 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Hey Sippican, I didnt mean to make it sounds as though you were lying about having an Uncle there. Just that you had the Unit screwed up. Unit designations are like peoples names. They mean just as much. I hate it when the press screws it up, effectively eradicating hundreds of dedicated people into obscurity with a simple caviler mis-mention of a unit designation. Of course, it doesn't matter to them.

Fine picture of your uncle's unit. Did he serve in that unit in Korea, or was he assigned to another prior to going over?

 
At 1:43 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Thank you, Frederick

My mother, who has literally been heartbroken for over 50 years, went to Washington to give DNA last year to try to associate it with the atomized bits they recently recovered of the brave men who held that hill against all comers, to the death, and eternal life. No luck.

I wrote a tribute to my Uncle last Memorial Day, and this fellow stole it off my website, and reprinted it on his website whole. I forgave him, because Uncle Bobby is his Uncle too:

http://www.hothardware.com/dave/index.cfm?mode=entry&entry=E410D838-B0D7-73E1-418A57122E0C8FA5



Harry, I'm glad I didn't jump to conclusions about your post, at least, not in print. As I said, I'll assume the best until otherwise informed

I don't think I did get the designation wrong, as far as I know that's the correct one. I don't have the documents in my hands right now. He wasn't a paratrooper. People assume 101 means that, I think, but he was straight up infantry.

I believe he lied about his age to get into the military, too.

Goodnight to all.

 
At 1:56 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

One day, my mother came to me. She had a picture. It had lain stored and untouched, for fifty years, coiled, and she couldn't unroll it without destroying it. We slowly, ever so carefully unrolled it, the flecks of black and white popping off, as I stared at the faces. Hundreds and hundreds of faces. Five rows, stretching right off the page, four feet long, all in identical infantry uniforms, except the six cooks dressed all in white. C Company 506- Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Camp Breckinridge, KY. December 27, 1952.

And there was only four ways to stand out in that mob of faces. The cooks, of course. One man in the hundreds wears an officer's hat, and looks ten minutes older than the rest. One man is holding drumsticks over a military style snare drum. And in the very center, in the very front, one man holds the company colors on a lance. Two crossed muskets, a Capital "C" and a "506"


And he has the face that speaks to me.

 
At 2:04 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Harry, now you got me to thinking, and I figure Frederick found that somewhere, and I went looking, and voila:

E CO 17 INF RGT 7 INF DIV

Double good night to you.

 
At 2:18 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

No prob sippic. Dont throw the picture away. That's you uncle's basic training graduation picture!

The 101st Abn division history places it in Cp Brekinridge, (Later Cp Campbell) as a training division at that time.

That makes sense, that he was assigned to the 7th ID later.

 
At 2:25 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Motor 1560 said...

Sippican: Your pride is justified. All who have served should make us proud; those who returned hale, those who were wounded and those who gave, "...the last full measure of their devotion."

BTW the lance is called a "guidon"; the swallowtail flag borne by formations below the battalion level. The tip of of the staff is surmounted by a trefoil that looks like a spear.

In the two Drill and Ceremonies honor guard platoons I had the honor of commanding, I was fortunate in having guidon bearers who knew how to handle the guidon with panache as well as a proper military bearing.

The Motto of the 506th Infantry Regiment is Currahee, and Amerindian word that means, "I Stand Alone". This refers to the practice of some pinning your sash to the ground and fighting in place to the death, usually to protect the withdrawal of the village to safety.

The 506th has a long and distinguished history since its formation in 1943. The 506th was recently reconstituted and moved back to its traditional home with the 101st. Easy Company of the 506th was the storied Band of Brothers. The Currahee Mile has been reconstituted as well. I believe the Currahees have recently deployed to Iraq.

Wherever the Currahees go the memory of those who went before are with them.

 
At 3:17 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

wow, I could stay up far another hour shooting down all the clay pigeons tossed up by raving lefties...Perhaps they should read this piece about the similarities between Truman and W. Uncanny- and a terrific example of how far left (and nutty) the Democrat party has lurched.
"but it seems to me that, in my youth, most newspapers aspiring to journalistic distinction used to respect that difference." -Neo
I don't think so- but I do think they were better at the craft of writing, which hid it better, or at least made it more palatable.
Goodnight, all.

 
At 4:15 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Nicholas said...

Neo,

Don't pay any attention to the vacuous ninnies who post such inanities as "Bush is the threat and the Terrorist!" and "... someone tell Anonymous to relax or maybe enlist?". Your post was fine, and I'm speaking from a non-Republican point of view. I think when you stand back and look at who's writing coherent dialogue and who's ranting and raving, you can see quite clearly who is "reality-based" and who is not.

 
At 7:18 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger knoxgirl said...

"... No evidence is offered of this ever-increasing difficulty; the reader is just supposed to understand it as a tautology."

This is the saddest thing, in my mind. Iraq is not some shining triumph, but neither is it the unmitigated disaster the media would have us believe. The media, as part of the second-guessing left, refuses to acknowledge any progress there at all. Even the elections are only grudgingly acknowledged, if at all.

 
At 9:23 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 9:01 here - Neo, I'm not sure what in my post suggested I thought you had changed quickly. I was speaking generally about the phenomenon of NYT dislike on both sides of the aisle, which I consider interesting. In fact I have read quite a bit of your blog and am aware of your process of change (and long-time reading of the paper), although I'm not certain how it's relevant to my post. I have read enough of the blog, indeed, to observe that it is generally very thoughtful and considered, but seems to veer from these qualities in discussions of the "MSM". I hoped to spark a discussion of this matter, not an accusation of not having read your posts in their entirety!

 
At 9:32 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

"Retreat Hell! We're just attacking in another direction." (Attributed to Major General Oliver P. Smith, USMC, Korea, December 1950.)

As usual you misread what I’ve said - nice strawman.

Don’t read into my words Harry, you’re not good at it. I never said that retreat was good or honorable. I said that pithy statements are gratuitous.

You can say whatever you wish from the comfort of your keyboard, but I seriously doubt that you would call me moron to my face. What does that make you? An armchair combatant? A coward?




Blog roll –
http://americanlgc.blogspot.com/

 
At 9:49 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

To SippicanCottage:

“Van is advancing a line of thought that Markos Moulitsas coined about a week ago. He said that neoconservatives, by fighting, were showing themselves too cowardly to take their place in the terrorist lottery like brave pacifists do. It's kind of silly, but has its own internal logic.”

“Van, you've made a grave error in assuming that because some people have recently come by this newfound respect for the primary responsibility of any government, which is the protection of its citizens from all enemies foreign and domestic, we all have.”

Thank you for your comments, but you are making several erroneous assumptions about my personality and character.
First, I am not a pacifist. I’ve carried an M-16, I’ve served my country, in a time of war.
Second, I know the role of government.

You’re missing the point.
Iraq was no threat to us! This fact was welknown before the invasion.

 
At 10:02 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

Van - you say I’ve enjoyed coming to this blog. I find the dialog stimulating, but more important, I’ve learned something that about Neo-liberals.
Neocons are frightened creatures. Your primary motivation is fear. Yes, your arguments are sophisticated, your logic sound, and most of your proponents are very bright, but you are moved to action by fear. Fear of terrorists, terror attacks - the bogeyman.


You use the terms neo-liberal and neo-con interchageably. Like you, Noam Chomsky doesn't see any difference between neo-liberals and neo-cons. He tends to call Bush a neo-liberal too. Nothing upsets Noam and his groupies more than the evil capitalist/neo-liberal/neo-cons, who are supposedly led by Bush.

Noam Chomsky is motivated by a dream - a dream that America will rediscover Marxism in the form of 'anarchism', a utopian dreamworld where all capitialists, neocons and neoliberals have been magically eliminated, (maybe, hopefully, by some helpful guy like Bin Laden?). In Noam's dreams, the boogyman is his hero, the embodiment of his hope that our 'cherished state', the American government and the American military will be dismantled, leaving the evil capitalist/neo-con/neoliberals helpless or dead.

Noam idolizes the Viet Cong, and hopes America will follow their path. Noam imagines no nations, no posessions, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. I'd guess that that's what moves your actions. Do you share the same dream, Van?

 
At 10:30 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

maryatexitzero wrote:

"Noam idolizes the Viet Cong, and hopes America will follow their path. Noam imagines no nations, no posessions, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too. I'd guess that that's what moves your actions. Do you share the same dream, Van?"

Thank you for asking the question and not using ad populum reasoning. Your suttle attempts at character assination are noted.

The answer to your questions is an emphatic NO! I do not share those ideas "dreams" with Chomsky.

 
At 10:37 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

I didnt read anything into what you've written. I've read what you've written.

You mentioned the Presidents line, "no honor in retreat" as an offense did you not? Why else would you challenge any of us to go tell it to a Marine. "I’ll bet you’ll get a mouth full." You said.

What are we to make of that genius?

As to be clear about what you had written I did ask up front if thats what you meant to say. if you didnt mean it to sound they way you made it sound, try being more careful in the future.

I also wouldnt be so certain that I wouldnt say anything to you in person I dont say in a blog.

 
At 10:45 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Harry:
This:
“Perhaps you should try telling this to the Marines who retreated across the 38th Paralell during the Korean conflict – I’ll bet you’ll get a mouth full.”

Was said in the context of this:
“Neo Neocon wrote that her favorite line is:
There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat” -----my statement ------
a useless pithy slogan.”

Who is a moron?

 
At 10:51 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Read it again Van. See the same thing. What else am I to make of it?

 
At 10:51 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

The answer to your questions is an emphatic NO! I do not share those ideas "dreams" with Chomsky.

An emphatic NO! with no further explanation? Why are you so suddenly pithy?

In your other posts, you go on and on about your contempt for our views, and your contempt for our "cherished" government. But when it comes to explaining your own views, all you have is a one-word answer? Strange.

You say you don't share Chomsky's dreams, but you appear to be a very big fan of his. You share his contempt for neo-cons, neo-liberals, capitalists, Bush supporters, Bush, and the American government. You share his contempt for our liberal democracy. You copy his language and his all-around contemptuous attitude.

So, which points do you disagree with?

 
At 11:28 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

Perhaps I dont understand what it is Van considers "a mouth full." A mouth full of what? I am not correct in assuming that Van thinks Korean war vets would see the Presidents remarks as an insult?

You can retreat in an honorable fashion but retreating in itself is not honorable. Since Van seems to agree with that, Im not seeing where he would take exception to Bush's remarks, pithy or otherwise.

 
At 11:32 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

maryatexitzero -

First off, I do not need to explain myself to you and there is nothing strange about that.
You are attempting to discredit me by associating me with an extreme point of view; a point of view which likely exists only in your mind.

You wrote:
“You say you don't share Chomsky's dreams, but you appear to be a very big fan of his.”
And
“You share his contempt for our liberal democracy. You copy his language and his all-around contemptuous attitude.”

This is an inapproiate form of reasoning and not worth my time or effort. You are attempting to bait me into accepting logical fallacies. And you are violating the rules of argument (Appeal to Popularity, Appeal to Belief)
If you want to see my views on the War in Iraq, on Democracy or why I am a Liberal you are welcome to visit my blog.

 
At 11:36 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Van keeps saying he's signing off(as he did on another neoneocon post) but can’t resist coming back to bleat some favorite Bush-bashing slogans, along with this new observation:

Neocons are frightened creatures. Your primary motivation is fear. Yes, your arguments are sophisticated, your logic sound, and most of your proponents are very bright, but you are moved to action by fear. Fear of terrorists, terror attacks - the bogeyman.

Van, if 9/11 didn’t frighten you, what will it take – a suitcase nuke set off on Wall Street? Our arguments are sophisticated, logic sound & we pro-warriors are very bright, but you won’t listen because we are driven by “fear,” an illogical observation par excellence in itself.

There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat - a useless pithy slogan. Perhaps you should try telling this to the Marines who retreated across the 38th Paralell during the Korean conflict – I’ll bet you’ll get a mouth full.

The above crap about the Marines really pissed me off. Oh, I’ll admit that it is a dominant trait of the left – the barely disguised joy at any defeat or retreat by Americans - & I shouldn’t have been caught by surprise. But Marines hold a special place in my heart & Van’s pathological little excretion about the 38th parallel made my hair rise & stomach churn for a couple of minutes. There is something very sick at the left’s eagerness to wallow in an American set-back, even if it happened 50 years ago. Van, I wouldn’t advise you to bleat this sort of crap to a Marine(other than your hero – Scott Ridder) unless you want to see a dentist for some bridgework immediately after.

But there was no clear evidence that Iraq posed the immediate and growing threat that the administration depicted.

Van, for 13 years Saddam mooned the hapless & corrupt UN. We didn’t know it at the time but he was actually milking the UN for money. If Saddam wasn’t a murderous asshole one could almost admire his crassness. Of course, the UN inspectors had about as much chance of finding Saddam’s WMD as the Keystone Cops had of catching a bank robber. What he did with most of his stockpiles we’ll probably never know – buried in the desert, secreted across the border to Syria, take your pick – Saddam had a year in the run-up to the war to get rid of them. The US did manage to retrieve a nuclear materials centrifuge, buried in the backyard of one of his scientists, but the anti-warriors ignore that chilling fact, since it doesn’t fit in with their continual bleats that Saddam was no threat.

For years Saddam shot at our aircraft in the no-fly zone & he tried to assassinate the elder Bush. In addition Saddam never complied with any of the conditions & agreements put forth by the US-led coalition after he lost his bid to take over Kuwait in the first Gulf War. Furthermore, for years Saddam harbored known terrorists, one of whom was openly living in government quarters in Baghdad & was interviewed there by Christopher Hitchens.

Van’s type of thinking, which could be characterized as ‘trust in diplomacy and hope for the best,’ is what brought 9/11 on in the first place. The US needs a more proactive, less timid foreign policy than that in order to deal with these terrorist & the regimes that support them.

How many friends to you have in Iraq that as a result of military service ( to assuage your fears) cannot pay their bills and face mortgage foreclosure and bankrupsy? What’s your strategy for them?

Van, did you know the re-enlistment rate is very high among the soldiers in Iraq? Of course you didn’t - all you anti-warriors think/hope/always wish/take it for granted/devoutly believe that military morale is low. I guess they are managing to stave off foreclosure & bankruptcy pretty good, huh?

Van, here’s my strategy: I sincerely hope that Bush has the guts to stay the course until Iraq can stand on its own feet.

 
At 11:42 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Please do not speak for me.
I didn't say that I'm signing off.

 
At 11:45 AM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Van says: First, I am not a pacifist. I’ve carried an M-16, I’ve served my country, in a time of war.

Van, you say you are not a pacifist. So let me ask you: Under what circumstances do you believe a country should go to war? What is your criteria? What does another nation or ruler have to do in order for you to have your country go to war?

 
At 11:56 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

You are attempting to discredit me by associating me with an extreme point of view; a point of view which likely exists only in your mind

LOL. This point of view is expressed in all of Chomsky's writings. Haven't you read them?

 
At 11:58 AM, February 02, 2006, Blogger David Thomson said...

“Van says: First, I am not a pacifist. I’ve carried an M-16, I’ve served my country, in a time of war.”

There is only a 50/50 chance that this is true. Leftists often to pretend that they are conservatives and war veterans.

 
At 12:00 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger greg wirth said...

Van, I'll take this one for you.

Grackle, you seem to be a believer in the Bush doctrine of preemptive war, that is war started by the United States of America on a possible future aggressor based on guesstimates. It should be the policy of the Unites States to destroy anyone who attacks our shores, that would include Al-Qaeda, who are headed by two men making videotapes at the current moment.

 
At 12:23 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

grackle said:
“Van, if 9/11 didn’t frighten you, what will it take – a suitcase nuke set off on Wall Street? Our arguments are sophisticated, logic sound & we pro-warriors are very bright, but you won’t listen because we are driven by “fear,” an illogical observation par excellence in itself.”

As usuall you assume too far too much about my character. The events that occurred on September 11 did frighten me, but they had nothing to do with Iraq, or the Sadam Husain regime.

On this statement:
“The above crap about the Marines really pissed me off. Oh, I’ll admit that it is a dominant trait of the left – the barely disguised joy at any defeat or retreat by Americans - & I shouldn’t have been caught by surprise.”

On this statement - go fuck yourself!

Gackle said:
“The US did manage to retrieve a nuclear materials centrifuge, buried in the backyard of one of his scientists, but the anti-warriors ignore that chilling fact, since it doesn’t fit in with their continual bleats that Saddam was no threat.”

Really?
“-- The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday the parts needed to develop a bomb program that the CIA says were found in Baghdad are not "evidence of a smoking gun" proving Iraq had a current weapons of mass destruction program.
"The findings refer to material and documents of the pre-1991 Iraqi nuclear weapons program that have been well-known to the agency," said spokesman Mark Gwozdecky. “
And
“"The findings and comments of Obeidi appear to confirm that there has been no post-1991 nuclear weapons program in Iraq and are consistent with our reports to the [U.N.] Security Council.
"Indeed, we have always made it clear that while we have found no evidence of any ongoing nuclear weapons program in Iraq, we are not able to detect small, readily concealable items such as these."
This only proves that the sanctions and the inspections were working.

Grackle:
“Van, did you know the re-enlistment rate is very high among the soldiers in Iraq?”

Again your inadaquete attempts to speak for me. The reenlistment rate is a testimony that are soldiers are dedicated to the cause. Also, they do not want to leave their comrades behind. This is honorable and admirable behavior. I have nothing but respect for these men and women, which is why I advocate and end date and a gradual withdraw of our troups.
Their loyalty has nothing to do with the futility of this cause.

And finally, Sabri al-Banna was not associated with Al Qaeda.

 
At 12:32 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

1. Grackle et al

You're a student of history, yet you write: "What he (Saddam) did with most of his stockpiles (of WMDs) we'll probably never know - buried in the desert, secreted across the border to Syria..."
And the evidence for either burial or secret crossing is...?
We're talking stockpiles he MAY have had (remeber W jokingly looking for them under the Oval Office furnitute?) that COULD have been buried or...
No satellite photos, nothing a historian (even a NYT journalist) could use.

2.To whom was he a threat when we invaded? We drove him out of Kuweit, and during that war destroyed much of what he had. What evidence is there that he had then acquired weapons and technology to threaten any country in the region, or the USA? That he WANTED to is another matter.

3. Fighting terrorism is necessary, but maybe our leaders ought to have read Martin Van Creveld's little gem, "The Transformation of War." He lectures often at the Marine Corps University here in Virginia.

4. Maybe many here might want to ask what they mean by "the left." A liberal (bleeding heart or other) who finds the just passed cuts in education and health care despicable is not necessarily "left" in an anti-American or unpatriotic way and may believe in a sound mix of guns AND butter. Yes?
It's beginning to sound like "The Left gonna get yo Momma."
Not really.

 
At 1:40 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

Maybe many here might want to ask what they mean by "the left." A liberal (bleeding heart or other) who finds the just passed cuts in education and health care despicable is not necessarily "left" in an anti-American or unpatriotic way and may believe in a sound mix of guns AND butter. Yes?
It's beginning to sound like "The Left gonna get yo Momma."
Not really.



Some of my best friends are leftists, and they're not all gonna get yo Momma. Some of my acquaintances are fans of Chomsky's anarchism, though, and that's why I can spot them pretty easily.

As Neo pointed out in an earlier post, there are all sorts of anti-war types. Some even say they're in favor of fighting terrorism, but they never have any effective ideas of how this can be done. For the most part, their plan seems to revolve around the idea that America should stop being so arrogant/capitalistic/neo-connish/selfish, etc., and then everyone will like us again. Or, they want us to use the same tactics (soft diplomacy, peace through trade, America leading the world by example) that were proven to be ineffective by 9/11. Unlike the Anarchism fans, these leftists seem to have good intentions.

 
At 1:58 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

To anonymous at 12:04 AM, Feb 2: My youth, I'm afraid, preceeded Reagan by some decades.

I'm speaking of the state of the mainstream press during the 50s and 60s, at the time of Eisenhower and Kennedy. Although they were sometimes criticized, of course, my best recollection is that criticism in the mainstream press didn't have that vicious quality, was not relentless, and was not disguised as news but clearly labeled as editorializing.

Newspapers were drier in those days, it's true. I think that the more market-driven news coverage (which began, I believe, in the 70s??) has really changed the nature of news and commentary. But this is just my recollection; I haven't gone back to look at papers of the 50s and 60s to check it out. In the 50s I was very little, but I still used to read the newspaper--I thought it to be a very grownup activity, like sipping coffee (which I also tried on occasion).

 
At 2:13 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Defining terms -
Neo-liberal:
In its dominant international use, neoliberalism refers to a political-economic philosophy that de-emphasizes or rejects government intervention in the domestic economy. It focuses on free-market methods, fewer restrictions on business operations, and property rights. In foreign policy, neoliberalism favors the opening of foreign markets by political means, using economic pressure, diplomacy, and/or military intervention. Opening of markets refers to free trade and an international division of labor. Neoliberalism generally favors multilateral political pressure through international organizations or treaty devices such as the WTO and World Bank. It promotes reducing the role of national governments to a minimum. Neoliberalism favours laissez-faire over direct government intervention (such as Keynesianism), and measures success in overall economic gain. To improve corporate efficiency, it strives to reject or mitigate labour policies such as minimum wage, and collective bargaining rights.

Neocon:
Neoconservatism refers to the political movement, ideology, and public policy goals of "new conservatives" in the United States, who are mainly characterized by their relatively interventionist and hawkish views on foreign policy, and their lack of support for the "small government" principles and restrictions on social spending, when compared with other American conservatives such as traditional or paleoconservatives.
In the context of U.S. foreign policy, neoconservative has another, narrower definition: one who advocates the use of military force, unilaterally if necessary, to replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones. This view competes with liberal internationalism, realism, and non-interventionism.
The prefix "neo" can denote that many of the movement's founders, originally liberals, Democrats or from socialist backgrounds, were new to conservatism, but can also refer to the comparatively recent emergence of this "new wave" of conservative thought, which coalesced in the early 1970s from a variety of intellectual roots in the decades following World War II. It also serves to distinguish the ideology from the viewpoints of "old" or traditional American conservatism.”

By the way, my use of the term Neocon and Neo-liberal did not come from Chomsky. I adapted the terms and use them interchangeably after reading Thom Hartman’s book Unequal Protection.

 
At 2:17 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

OT, but maybe not:
Have been following a debate in DER SPIEGEL about whether or not the Danes should or should not have apologized for the Mohammed caricatures in one of their papers:

Many Germans are beginning to understand that Islam cannot live with the freedom of ideas their own country has taken to since the end of WWII.
"No apology" and "Welcome to Eurabia" can be found in many posts. And many German women are suggesting Islamic countries should apologise to the women of the world. "It's our culture" is no excuse. Well, Voltaire and Mark Twain and satire are part of OUR culture
No apology if the cartoon had lampooned Jesus or Moses either. (As in the case of the Pythons.)

This is one root of the conflict. Islam wants to take Europe by immigration and Israel by force. After that, the USA is isolated and China/Russia/India are the third force out there. Not unlike "1984."

At leasr W mentionmed "radical Islam" in the SOTU. Now, if he can drop the "radical," the WOT can begin.

 
At 3:24 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

If things are the way they are because of market forces, then I have to wonder why it is even worse over in the BBC, CBC, and Australian Broadcasting Corp than it is here in terms of propaganda effects.

 
At 3:37 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

The events that occurred on September 11 did frighten me, but they had nothing to do with Iraq, or the Sadam Husain regime.

Yes, but they had everything to do with terrorists & terrorism. You seem to be impressed only by al Qaeda – other terrorists don’t seem to matter to you at all - hence your willingness to let Saddam harbor any other terrorists he wishes.

Anti-warriors always love it when America suffers any set-back – even one of 50 years ago. It’s no accident that Van squatted down on this thread & excreted a pile of Marine Corps retreat in Korea. Such examples give them a warm glow inside & the urge to move their bowels & share their happiness soon follows.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday the parts needed to develop a bomb program that the CIA says were found in Baghdad are not "evidence of a smoking gun

Van, I wouldn’t put too much trust into what the IAEA says. The CIA, which I admit has compromised itself in recent years, is probably still a more reliable source for Iraqi nuclear capabilities than an international group proven to be ineffective & probably staffed with folks grimly inimical to America’s policies. Your side’s willingness to swallow whole such groups’ assessments is part of the problem. The buried centrifuge is fact. No doubt other nuclear components were buried elsewhere – ready to be put into service when the coast was clear, not to mention chemical & biological equipment.

And finally, Sabri al-Banna was not associated with Al Qaeda.

Van, what makes you think that if Saddam harbored one type of terrorist he wouldn’t harbor another?

I notice you didn’t choose to answer my question about your personal criteria for war. It’s not unexpected since I’ve gotten that same response from many of my liberal friends. Consideration of the issue seems to literally freeze them in their tracks & infuse them with an intense desire to change the subject. One wonders why.

 
At 3:40 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

By the way, my use of the term Neocon and Neo-liberal did not come from Chomsky. I adapted the terms and use them interchangeably after reading Thom Hartman’s book Unequal Protection

You mean the Thom Hartman who appears on many of the same 'progressive' web sites and radio stations as Chomsky, and the Thom Hartman who has been working round-the-clock to spread the Bush-Hitler meme.

He's done some decent work with ADD. Like Chomsky, he should have kept his day job.

Here's an interesting web site featuring Thom Hartman's essay on how Bush is like Hitler, and how he used 9/11 just as Hitler used the burning of the Reichstag. The name of Thom Hartman's essay was "When Democracy failed, The warnings of History"

Note the American flag with the Swastika on it, and the photoshopped picture of Laura and George Bush walking beneath a swastika. In this 'progressive' photoshopped piece, are the American troops are meant to resemble the Nazi SS? It sure looks that way.

Thom is just another progessive utopian, working overtime to convince the American people that our liberal democracy and our military have failed, are evil and must be dismantled. Who do you progressive/anarchist/"liberals" think you're fooling? As far as I can see, you're only fooling yourselves.

 
At 4:10 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger troutsky said...

progressive-anarchist-liberals, perfect.90 comments and though I couldnt read them all did anybody mention that liberal Judith Miller?
or she could be an anarchist.

 
At 4:18 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

progressive/anarchist quote-unquote-liberals like Thom Hartman, Van and Noam Chomsky are as genuinely liberal as Pat Buchanan.

Or Ralph Nader.

 
At 5:13 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger W.B. Reeves said...

I'm speaking of the state of the mainstream press during the 50s and 60s, at the time of Eisenhower and Kennedy. Although they were sometimes criticized, of course, my best recollection is that criticism in the mainstream press didn't have that vicious quality, was not relentless, and was not disguised as news but clearly labeled as editorializing.

Neo,

My memories of the New York Times go back slightly less far than yours but "News Analysis" was a part of their stock and trade in 60's and probably long before that. As Shan pointed out, the piece was clearly labeled as such. If a reader make the distinction between "News Analysis" and a straight news article, it isn't because the Times was "disguising" Editorials as news.

 
At 5:14 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Erasmus wants to know: You're a student of history, yet you write: "What he (Saddam) did with most of his stockpiles (of WMDs) we'll probably never know - buried in the desert, secreted across the border to Syria..." And the evidence for either burial or secret crossing is...? We're talking stockpiles he MAY have had (remeber W jokingly looking for them under the Oval Office furnitute?) that COULD have been buried or... No satellite photos, nothing a historian (even a NYT journalist) could use.

Erasmus, it goes like this: At the end of the first Gulf War Saddam had stockpiles & that’s a fact that all informed folks on both sides agree on. Saddam was suppose to account for them & he never did. Instead he practiced flatulence in the face of the UN for 13 years. My evidence for burial or secret crossing? Common sense & the fact that he buried the centrifuge. If he buried one component it should be strong evidence to any clear thinking observer that he probably buried others. Secret crossing into Syria – I’ll admit that’s speculation even though some former Iraqi regime members have said it. Their reliability index is not high as far as I’m concerned but on the other hand what they say could be true. What do you think Saddam did with the stockpiles? You ask about photos; there were a lot of satellite photos when Powell gave his presentation to the UN.

To whom was he a threat when we invaded? We drove him out of Kuweit, and during that war destroyed much of what he had. What evidence is there that he had then acquired weapons and technology to threaten any country in the region, or the USA? That he WANTED to is another matter.

It was chilling to me that he tried to assassinate the elder Bush – this even after Bush was no longer President but apparently simply because the elder Bush had headed the Coalition in the first Gulf war & he wanted to get even. This paints a picture of an egomaniac who will go to any lengths to even a score. I don’t doubt that in a few years he would have quietly slipped bin Laden or bin Laden’s counterpart dirty bomb components, biological agents or nerve gas. It’s what I would do in his place having his temperament. There wouldn’t be anything the US could do about it in that event – it would be much too late & probably nothing to connect him to it.

 
At 5:18 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Troutsky said:

"90 comments and though I couldnt read them all..."

Poor fishhead, he couldn't read them becuase of the big words.

 
At 5:20 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Ymaraskar: I don't think market forces really explain the way things are with the press these days. I think, however, that they may have accounted for the change I noticed, back in the 70s, from a more "serious" presentation of the news, with less editorializing in the straight news articles, to mixing opinion in with news on a regular basis. Newspaper bias, on the other hand, is probably an old story.

 
At 5:27 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

grackle:
Speculations are fun, and I enjoy them over a couple of beers. But they don't amount to evidence, even if one man's common sense suggests so.
As far as Powell's testimony before the UN: I'm sure you have read about his recent misgivings about that event.
Saddam was and is as you describe him, but I had not known that were listed in the International Yellow Pages under DICTATOR REMOVAL. If so, we've taken on the jobs quite selectively. Realpolitik Rules!

By the way: a Air Ministry directive to Bomber Command is on post below.

 
At 6:31 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Gackle said:
“Yes, but they had everything to do with terrorists & terrorism. You seem to be impressed only by al Qaeda – other terrorists don’t seem to matter to you at all - hence your willingness to let Saddam harbor any other terrorists he wishes.”

We were attacked by Al Qaeda, not hesbula, not Hamas. Why not go after Cuba or Sudan? Because they are not Al Qaeda.

Gackle said:
“Van, I wouldn’t put too much trust into what the IAEA says. The CIA, which I admit has compromised itself in recent years, is probably still a more reliable source for Iraqi nuclear capabilities than an international group proven to be ineffective & probably staffed with folks grimly inimical to America’s policies. Your side’s willingness to swallow whole such groups’ assessments is part of the problem. The buried centrifuge is fact. No doubt other nuclear components were buried elsewhere – ready to be put into service when the coast was clear, not to mention chemical & biological equipment.”

I will comment later after I research your statement

Gackle wrote:
“And finally, Sabri al-Banna was not associated with Al Qaeda.

Van, what makes you think that if Saddam harbored one type of terrorist he wouldn’t harbor another?”

I respond by asking where is your proof?

And finally, my criteria for sending American soldiers to war? An attack on U.S. soil or NATO would be a start.

 
At 6:39 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Van:

Don't pay any attentions to these neo-liberals. Your not the first to describe them with there true names.

I'm glad there are still few people who understand what conservatism means these days.

Even after you prove to them with a dictionary, they still will argue and label you as a sellout or a "liberal". Stick to your guns and remember these neocon are not ready to be awaken yet from there slumber. But soon they will get a bucket of cold water splashed to their faces.

 
At 6:53 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

maryatexitzero -
Your arguments are weak and lack substance. Perhaps this is why you continue to use logical fallacies in your responses.

You wrote:
“progressive/anarchist quote-unquote-liberals like Thom Hartman, Van and Noam Chomsky are as genuinely liberal as Pat Buchanan.”

---Classic Ad Hominem abusive, not worth rebuttal.

You wrote:
“You mean the Thom Hartman who appears on many of the same 'progressive' web sites and radio stations as Chomsky, and the Thom Hartman who has been working round-the-clock to spread the Bush-Hitler meme.”

--First, where’s your proof? Second this is classic ad hominem. You are suggesting that somehow because I associate with people that you disagree with that you disagree with my arguments are wrong. Maybe you should go back to the sand box with the other children.

Incidentally the article that you mentioned by Thom Hartman was published by Common Dreams (not the site that you mentioned) and has this header:

Published on Sunday, March 16, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History
by Thom Hartmann

And this footer:

Thom Hartmann lived and worked in Germany during the 1980s, and is the author of over a dozen books, including "Unequal Protection" and "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight." This article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.

Your argument is not only fallacious, and weak it's also sloppy. Nice try.

 
At 7:47 PM, February 02, 2006, Anonymous telesonic said...

Qien es mas macho, Profesor Chomsky o Ricardo Montalban?

 
At 8:07 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Van, you ignorant slut...

 
At 8:10 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

To Harry:
You wrote:
“Perhaps I dont understand what it is Van considers "a mouth full." A mouth full of what? I am not correct in assuming that Van thinks Korean war vets would see the Presidents remarks as an insult?
You can retreat in an honorable fashion but retreating in itself is not honorable. Since Van seems to agree with that, Im not seeing where he would take exception to Bush's remarks, pithy or otherwise.”

Yes, I do think that the remark is insulting, especially coming from a man who did not serve in combat a environment, and was AWOL through much of his enlistment. The statement was distasteful and inconsiderate an unnecessary.
The Marines who retreated in Korea ,and any other Americans who retreated in battle for that matter, fought honorably and with conviction. I take issue with the President’s statement because I do not respect the his military record or his motives.

 
At 8:12 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Wow Brad, how long did it take you to come up with that juvenile statment?

 
At 9:52 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

--First, where’s your proof? Second this is classic ad hominem. You are suggesting that somehow because I associate with people that you disagree with that you disagree with my arguments are wrong [? .ed]. Maybe you should go back to the sand box with the other children.

These are blog comments. There's no requirement to play by Marquess of Queensberry rules or Robert's Rules of Order.

You haven't shown in any way that you disagree with Chomsky's dreams or Hartman's Bush=Hitler meme. All you offer is a toddleresque NO!, lots of foot stomping and a content-free response. So who is being juvenile?

 
At 11:22 PM, February 02, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"I respond by asking where is your proof?"

The burden of proof is the crux of the issue re: Iraq. Eerily similar to the case for global warming, with the sides generally switched.

Neo, I remember reading Time when I was a kid in the seventies (also trying to be a grown-up - ha!), and I could already spot the finger on the scale. Of course, back then I had Mad magazine to help me see it (these days, Mad itself is just as bad). My family wasn't exactly conservative - my mom was a glass-ceiling busting feminist who voted for John Anderson in 1980 - and this apple didn't fall far from the tree, but I don't ever remember a mass media that wasn't almost mind-numbingly vapid.

 
At 12:37 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Ahaha. Van's... interesting debating style is amusing to watch. I look forward to somebody devising a counter for it.

 
At 1:13 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Van said: We were attacked by Al Qaeda, not hesbula, not Hamas. Why not go after Cuba or Sudan? Because they are not Al Qaeda.

Readers, as a matter of fact Hamas has murdered plenty of Americans. Hamas’s years of bombs in the markets, cafes & shops of Israel has murdered citizens of all nations & the surviving members of the suicide-murderers’ families were openly rewarded by Saddam while he was in power - another reason to put his murderous ass in the docket & hopefully a firing squad.

I wouldn’t go after Cuba or Sudan(yet) because neither presently represent the level of danger that Iraq was & Iran & Syria presently are, based on ability to develop portable WMD & give it to US-hating terrorists.

I wrote: Van, what makes you think that if Saddam harbored one type of terrorist he wouldn’t harbor another?”

Van’s answer: I respond by asking where is your proof?

Readers, it’s a situation where the US is not likely to be able to obtain courtroom levels of proofs, as in an American courtroom, but common sense dictates that if Saddam would harbor one brand of US-hating terrorist he would be likely harbor any terrorist dedicated to the murder of Americans.

It’s like asking me where’s my proof that a lightening strike on my head would kill me – I can’t prove it(without risking injury or death) & must resort to educated speculation, the weight of circumstantial evidence & what has happened to past lightening-struck victims.

I think one reason anti-warriors like to focus on al Qaeda to the exclusion of other terrorist groups is because that while there is no direct evidence(yet) of Saddam corroborating with al Qaeda there is ample direct evidence that Saddam harbored other terrorists. They like to pretend al Qaeda was the only threat because their cherished slogan of “Saddam was no threat to Americans” is refuted if other terrorists are brought into the equation. You can talk all you want about irrefutable proof of Saddam harboring different terrorists & their response is always: “Yeah, but you can’t prove he harbored al Qaeda.”

Van again: And finally, my criteria for sending American soldiers to war? An attack on U.S. soil or NATO would be a start.

Readers, Van’s criteria means our enemies can attack US citizens trading, visiting, working, attending schools or stationed as soldiers in foreign lands & ports with impunity, as long as it’s not in America or a NATO member country – that represents 20 countries in Europe alone. I’m sure glad the anti-warriors don’t run the State Department.

 
At 8:39 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've now read the perfectly framed democrat talking points here, they cover the entire reaction to the SOTU, and every other republican initiative or plan that goes "directly against in every fashion and form" the billionaire and hexamillionaire Johnny come lately crew :

"Ex-Hero Murtha has claimed in the same interview with Tim Russert that there is already a civil war in Iraq and we are simply caught in the crossfire, yet our soldiers' continued presence is the entire cause of the current conflict, however, if our troops leave, no civil war will start."

That sums up for me the lib left loon entire democrat party.( That's all the democrats except for Lieberman the hated God referring ZioJew and Zell Miller the hated real Democrat now referred to here perhaps for the first time as a neo neocon. )

The left's problem is that Harry S. Truman, JFK, LBJ, and any other great Democrat of historical note is entirely on GWB's side.

The lib loons must therefore come out from their cockroach shelters and Sheehan and Ramsey and Alex Jones it up for the masses. Vietnam isn't dead, and the Grateful Dead deadheads are in demolibland lead ahead.

The left will completely understand the last paragraph, and although I offer it as an insult, they will feel swelling pride while reading it. This clearly outlines their problem.

The answer is, for those weakest of links: Their jeopardy is George Bush is who they have to be, to be anybody. Even Lurch to his skiboy draftdodger Yehahh man skullboned that he would fight a harder smarter war, and when he showed up for duty, he cried about the failure he calls his Ho Chi Min museum glory days, tending to his call for arms wailing in the streets of the peacenick theatre precessions of metalhead tossing lies.

The dark shadows of nation destroying moneyman Sorros call to the new forming heart of the progressive open society dipocrats, and we all have to bear the cursing, lying, insane degaussed version of it all.

Bush is who the democrats WERE.

They have NO ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

 
At 8:52 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Gackle wrote:
Readers, as a matter of fact Hamas has murdered plenty of Americans. Hamas’s years of bombs in the markets, cafes & shops of Israel has murdered citizens of all nations & the surviving members of the suicide-murderers’ families were openly rewarded by Saddam while he was in power - another reason to put his murderous ass in the docket & hopefully a firing squad.

---Let’s see, so has the IRA, the Neo Nazi’s, the Hell’s Angels, The Outlaws, and the various mafias. These are terrorist organizations too. And how are they dealt with?

You are advocating using conventional warfare in an unconventional war. This is a grave mistake, and will likely be the cause of thousands of more dead soldiers. Mean while, Bin Laden is still on the loose. The fact that this man is still alive has been an affront to our resolve. He should be dead, or in a max security prison. And his cronies should have met the same fate by now. Our attempts at stopping terrorism have been inefficient and ineffectual.

Gackle wrote:
“Readers, it’s a situation where the US is not likely to be able to obtain courtroom levels of proofs, as in an American courtroom, but common sense dictates that if Saddam would harbor one brand of US-hating terrorist he would be likely harbor any terrorist dedicated to the murder of Americans.


It’s like asking me where’s my proof that a lightening strike on my head would kill me – I can’t prove it(without risking injury or death) & must resort to educated speculation, the weight of circumstantial evidence & what has happened to past lightening-struck victims.”

---I wasn’t asking for courtroom levels, any proof will due.

Gackle:
“I think one reason anti-warriors like to focus on al Qaeda to the exclusion of other terrorist groups is because that while there is no direct evidence(yet) of Saddam corroborating with al Qaeda there is ample direct evidence that Saddam harbored other terrorists. They like to pretend al Qaeda was the only threat because their cherished slogan of “Saddam was no threat to Americans” is refuted if other terrorists are brought into the equation. You can talk all you want about irrefutable proof of Saddam harboring different terrorists & their response is always: “Yeah, but you can’t prove he harbored al Qaeda.”

--I love your scarcasm - the way that you attempt to speak for me, though you know nothing about me, is well, absurd. You spend a lot of time attacking me personally, maybe this is because your argumets are flimsy?

Gackle wrote:
“Readers, Van’s criteria means our enemies can attack US citizens trading, visiting, working, attending schools or stationed as soldiers in foreign lands & ports with impunity, as long as it’s not in America or a NATO member country – that represents 20 countries in Europe alone. I’m sure glad the anti-warriors don’t run the State Department.”

---Thank you for embellishing on my position. I really don’t know what I’d do with out you – sarcasm. I’ve got news for you pal; if you called me an “anti-warrior” to my face you would have mouth full of broken teeth! And that you can rely on!
I can only surmise why you use such names, labels for people you know nothing about. Perhaps you were picked on as a boy, perhaps you were ostracized by your peers? There is no telling why you behave this way. But one thing is obvious – your use of ad hominem abusive only weakens your already debilitated argument.

 
At 10:40 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous elmondohummus said...

People... Please!... a good deal of this comments thread has turned into Yet-Another-Pissing-Contest. Can we all, whether we're sypmathetic to the Left or Right of the Congressional aisle, just take a little time-out here? With only a few exceptions, NNC's blog comments threads are normally thoughtful, respectful, and restrained, but half of this one's seemed to have turned into attack, Attack, ATTACK! Please! Just a tiny bit of civility here, just a tiny bit of moderation. I know we're all very passionate about our stances, but a good deal of this thread has sort of degenerated into sort of a shouting match in a library here, and Neo's blog is not normally a place where that happens. And the sad thing is that there's genuinely thoughtful, well composed commentary here in this specific thread, but it's buried in all the agita.

Please, everyone. Just a deep breath and a moment of reflection before dashing off a polemic about another poster. Neo's pretty good about not censoring anyone here, but we don't want to abuse our good hostess's patience.

By the way, anyone remember what her original post topic was here? Regarding her observation about the diminishing separation between straight reporting and editorializing? I know I'm the king of non-sequitor posts here, so I'm not going to drub anyone for thread digression, but maybe just for the sake of civility in this thread we ought to steer back towards that topic, hmmm?

 
At 11:14 AM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

OK, elmondo:

The Sanger piece was clearly identified by the NYT as "News Analysis." Page 1 or p. 17A, why would you or neo expect straight reporting?

 
At 11:49 AM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

To Everyone -

I apologize for the tone of my last post. I was pushed and I felt the need to push back.
I find some of the language thrown in my direction offensive even detestable. But I suppose that this is the intended point.
This behavior is childish and I should have not responded in like manor.
As a christian, turning the other cheek is one of my greatest character defects.

That said, thank you elmondohummus for pointing out that these posts have gone awry.

 
At 1:47 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Anti-warriors & the left love to wallow & glory in anything they consider a defeat for America. But anti-warriors are not used to folks pointing out this pathological little characteristic & calling it what it is: a symptom of a sickness rife among their ranks. If anyone points this out when they do it, like with Van with his lovingly offered Korea/Marine Corps retreat example(probably used by him many times before without protest), they squeal like stuck pigs & scream “UNFAIR!”, tell people to go fuck themselves & threaten them with physical violence – a violence they know is impossible over the internet – which makes it all the more contemptible & even funny, in a way. Van: Try keying in “crunch, bam” & “pow” when you make your useless & impossible threats – to make them even more hilarious & infantile. In case you’re wondering: This is not an apology.

Readers, on Van’s criteria for war: He still hasn’t told us how he is going to protect US citizens & military overseas – apparently he would allow them to be murdered with impunity by anyone who wants to, simply because they are not in the US or a NATO member state. I’m not surprised as this had been the US policy for years, through a couple of Republican as well as Democratic administrations. Thank you Bush senior & junior, for being born with balls. As for US allies: Under Van’s criteria Saddam would now be in possession of Kuwait, happily murdering Kuwaitis as well as Iraqis & Americans. Like I said before, I’m sure glad the anti-warriors no longer run the State Department.

 
At 2:21 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

okay, When did the 'news analysis' tag on front page columns come into existence? In my opinion, they are an attempt to follow the letter of the law by labeling opinion as other than straight news, but in a fashion as to let many readers take it as straight news. I mean, why isn't it labelled as 'opinion'? Isn't the opinion page all 'news analysis'? It's semantic shading that's points to the forwarding of an agenda, what other reason for forsaking the already established label of 'opinion'?

 
At 2:25 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Oh, and a little somthing for the 'Iraq couldn't hide anything' crowd:
http://home.att.net/~steven.newton5/wmd.html
If you can hide 25 ton fighter jets, how easy it would be to hide the components of a bio/chem/nuke weapons program... Live in denial if you like, but you may not live long.

 
At 2:28 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Van said...

Gackle:
I don't know why I keep responding to you, it's like rubernecking and you're the train wreck.

"I’ve got news for you pal; if you called me an “anti-warrior” to my face you would have mouth full of broken teeth! And that you can rely on!"

--This is not a threat. This is a hypothetical.

 
At 2:45 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Van, I'm disappointed. Where's the“crunch, bam” & “pow?”

 
At 3:12 PM, February 03, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Translated: don't hold me responsible for being incompetent.

This must be why Aqualung blames the Democrats for dropping a nuke on Hiroshima instead of saying the Americans did. This must also be why he is on FDR's case about imprisoning Japanese-Americans and being a racist/Hitler/wannabe.

Or maybe he is just saying that the only people that should be held responsible is who he decides should be held responsible. My, what a little feudalistic society Aqua has crafted in his mind here.

Have you no ability to think in anything except a feudalistic aristocratic system of whims and arbitration, Aqua? When will you stop this gross distortion of reality? Never is my guess.

 
At 9:07 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to:
" I was speaking generally about the phenomenon of NYT dislike on both sides of the aisle, which I consider interesting. "

I note that no matter how left slanted and Bush bashing the NYT can be without becoming a laughing stock pariah, it will never be left and bashing enough for the Bushhaters.

The NYT would have to call for his impeachment on the front page with the Moveon.org Hitler Nazi pic front and center for the full time until he was removed from office or assassinated for the left to be satisifed that NYT is not a faulty organ.

I really don't think it is much less than that. Ask most of these lefties and they would instantly agree that if they ran the paper that's what they do; "It is nothing compared to the global thermonuclear war and economic total collapse and destruction (insert McChimpy, BushHitler, etc.) is heading us for.

They would do it and feel they were saving all of humanity. I'm sure many of them wonder why something as such hasn't happened already.

 
At 9:45 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to : Van
" What you should be asking is this: how are we going to get out of this chaotic conflict? With a few exceptions, the Republicans are not discussing an exit strategy. They are determined to “stay the course”. "

I really have no idea how someone at this late date can even type something in like that, as if we are to accept it at all.
We don't all live in a sealed darkroom.

Is anyone else here not aware that the Iraq ING is being trained up and the drawdown as the "exit strategy" has been announced years ago ?

I wonder what the heck planet Van is on.
I guess there's some sort of loss of general consciousness in our society today.
I certainly am not asking for consensus, but facing the realities of the already years old announcements should not be a problem for people apparently so otherwise versed in lengthy blogging political discourse.

I guess I'm at such a loss to picture what a person such as that could possibly be thinking when they typed it in. I for one can't imagine demanding the democrats discuss some aspect of the Yugoslavia exit strategy under Clinton, especially if there was already a years old announced plan carrying forward and certainly coming to fruition already.

What engages these people ? Is it intense hatred that blinds ? It is typing before thinking ? Is it a troll problem ?

How can one possibly even have a right to left dialogue when something that amazingly thoughtless is put forward ?

I'm just really at a loss with these people, and all I can figure in the end, in order to give them credit for not being mindless drooling loudmouths out of their league, is that they prefer to be smart alecks for a reaction.

Am I wrong ? Is that it ?

 
At 10:36 PM, February 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always have to laugh when I hear these commonly shared views. I guess myself and very few others have done any sort of thinking in the matter whatsoever.

" The events that occurred on September 11 did frighten me, but they had nothing to do with Iraq, or the Sadam Husain regime."

response*
*Yes, but they had everything to do with terrorists & terrorism. You seem to be impressed only by al Qaeda – other terrorists don’t seem to matter to you at all - hence your willingness to let Saddam harbor any other terrorists he wishes. *

Osama bin Laden in his '98 Fatwah touched upon in the 911 commission report stated that the US troops should get off the peninsula of the 2 holy cites. ( Saudi Arabia with Mecca and Medina )
He further cited the '91 Gulf War and sanctioning effects, as the main reasons for his fatwah against the USA.

Now, how can one not understand the intimate relationship between the actions of dictators like Saddam, the responsibility of the USA in reposnding, and the resultant fatwahs that issue from none other than Osama bin Laden ?

Is everyone utterly braindead ?

I'm more than certain our military commanders are not that ingcognizant of the direct effects the '91 Gulf War against Saddam had on our USA soil security issues.

Is one to think beyond Saddam and Osama in a room exchanging blueprints of the WTC and fuel loadings of passenger jetliners or not ?

How can anyone believe that without Saddam's venture into Kuwait, that Osama would have attacked the USA anyway ?

That Gulf War placed our troops heavily on the holy peninsula- as well as inside Kuwait and about the region for a long time. It provided the humiliation of extended reachings and scandals with the UN at the helm, and deaths in the hundred thousands by way of sanctions and later corruption in corrective Oil for Food.

This is why Osama attacked.

Now there is no link ?

How many times will I hear braindead morons repeat that ?

How many more times will all those I see commenting in all places fail to point out the gigantic connection I just did ?

Why is our society so screwed up that they cannot find this connection easily and clearly in their consciousness ?

One could go to a simple domestic scenario, and they wouldn't fail the connection.

Let me give a quick example :

You (Osama) have a brother (Saddam) you don't like much, who has some children you consider part of your extended family. Another person ( USA ) repels your brother from taking over the household of a long lost family member (Kuwait). In the years after, that same person puts a burden on your brother and starves some of his children, while moving his relatives ( US military) into the area (Saudi Arabia ).
Finally you've ( Osama ) had enough. You go attack this person ( USA).

Now, why don't people get it ?

It is staring everyone in the face. It's so obvious you have to be a retard not to know it.

Isn't the above exactly why the USA concluded Saddam must be removed ?

Is it that hard for all to comprehend ?

Personally, I don't give a darn if Saddam never became a "threat" to anything anywhere ever again. The S.O.B. pulled some crap in Kuwait and the World Police showed up to fix it, with al that international support and diplomatic cooperation and agreement. Then his sick brother "took his side " in the matter. Now, in my mind the first S.O.B. deserves destruction just as the second sicko brother with the backup does.

I really don't see why it's so hard for everyone.
It's such a burden for the entire left especially, and everyone lets them quack endlessly there is no connection.

I for one am so sick of hearing it. It is WRONG, no matter what !

 
At 2:06 AM, February 04, 2006, Anonymous ElMondoHummus said...

Oh for the love of... :-|

YAPC. That's what this has turned in to. Jesus...

Look, people, it's possible to be impassioned and advance one's argument without being insulting, okay?! Enough already!

_______________________

While not strictly on topic:

"I read another interesting item somewhere obscure. It was from a very liberal commenter who detailed being offered money to place comments on websites using multiple anonymous avatars."

Sippican, you got a link for that? I'm curious to read it. In my more cynical moods, I've suspected there's something like this going on from both sides of the political aisle, but I've never seen someone talk about it so openly. Part of me thought I was just being jaded, but if this is true, it's distressing. No matter who's doing it, liberal or conservative. I'd be interested in reading and evaluating that statement myself (not that I doubt your conclusion, it's just that I like to review original sources at times. No challenge or insult intended; I'm genuinely curious to read it).

Eramus:
I readily concede the point that Sanger’s article was indeed labeled as analysis, but I have to point out that Neo also cites the lead article, which wasn’t. I’m not sure I agree with her that that article was editorializing – I’ve seen blunt opinion stated far more frankly in other news sources, though none so big as the NYT – but the point is that she cited two examples, not just Sanger’s.
____________

On topic:

Anyone read Journalistic Fraud: How The New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted? I was thinking about seeing if my local library had it. On the one hand, it addresses the very point Neo's brought up here and has the potential to be very interesting. On the other, I've read some books already on the topic of news and liberalism, and I have to say that as a conservative, I was rather disappointed in them. They turned out to be polemics, or out-and-out rants rather than thoughtful, well argued pieces of work. Neo here gets her points across better and in far fewer words than those other books I've read. I'm wondering which one "Journalistic Fraud" is: Decently argued, or mere diatribe.

 
At 12:29 PM, February 04, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Van said: Let’s see, so has the IRA, the Neo Nazi’s, the Hell’s Angels, The Outlaws, and the various mafias. These are terrorist organizations too. And how are they dealt with?

I’ve debated these issues before & have noticed that anti-warriors, when they get a little agitated, like to throw the above very weak argument into the fray.

The argument goes like this: Some bad people exist in the US or have been helped by individuals in the US, therefore the US shouldn’t fight terrorism.

Let’s take the IRA. For years the IRA raised money from US citizens. One of the IRA’s chief apologists & fundraiser was none other than Ted Kennedy, who is probably one of Van’s main heroes, but of course Van doesn’t like to do much research before bleating & probably didn’t know that particular fact. I would call the past situation with the US & the IRA somewhat analogous to the situation with Saudi Arabia & that country’s relationship with al Qaeda: No official aid from the government but certain individuals within the country probably helping to fund terrorism.

Van might be surprised to know that I consider, as Van probably does, that the US government’s past lack of sensitivity to the plight of Great Britain vis-à-vis the IRA’s terrorism of Britain as a shameful episode in US history. Thank goodness the plucky Brits didn’t let it ruin the US/GB relationship. But one less than honorable episode does not a capitulation to terrorism make. The US can’t let the embarrassing fact that the US was blind to Britain’s conflict with the IRA dictate that the US must now concede that terrorists have a right to perform their murder with impunity. But that is the breath-taking leap in logic that the anti-warriors always seem to take.

As for the Neo Nazi’s, the Hell’s Angels, The Outlaws, and the various mafias: They are criminal groups originating within the US & should be handled by the FBI & other domestic law enforcement agencies, like any other criminal group.

 
At 3:28 PM, February 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reply to: "No surrender. No backing off. No pretending we don't have a malicious enemy.
The messianic tone is hardest for me. The U.S.A. can be virtuous, but a messianic mission in this vale of tears has no prudence.
"

Ok, so Murtha was for surrender and backing off, like the vast majority of democrats supposedly are. Sheehan among the lesser internet conspiracists additionally Michael Moore and many democrats now that we've been attack free ( not others) for some time pretend we don't have an enemy.

Apparently the messianic tone means we have a president who is "muscular", as you note some democrats *used to be*.

Then we have your vale of tears complaint vs prudence.

One merely notes that without a muscular no backing off, we may indeed have a gigantic vale of tears. Perhaps not say the opposition.

Well, I guess all the calls for the attacks on the USA are a bunch of unmuscular Islamist liars. Osama recently lied when he said some arms are already inplace. Our government lied when it said they are here. Millions of illegal aliens are here as well, and we can't "find them all".but it's all lies, lies, lies.

Further, the left agrues Bush has increased terrorist recruiting exponentially.
Still no threat, apparently.
Too much preaching about war ?

Can the democrat just coem out and say it. Why not ? They keep beating around the Bush.

Hey, just say it.

" WE want the USA to pull out of all Muslim areas, immediately, without further notice, and turn all bases and other must be left behind facilities to the nations which house them. Immediately.
This we believe will bring the truce Osama talked about. We will be truly safe again. "

I mean come on. That IS THE ALTERNATE PLAN. THAT'S IT FELLERS! THAT IS IT.

Time to start saying it, instead of slowly grinding away at the current plan, trying to defeat the other idea that may work, and if successful defeat of it comes, we will be left in the middle, a noman's land, which of course got us 911 in the first place.

There is another kind of third plan, which is "increased diplomacy". John Kerry tried it. "I'll fight the war harder and smarter, and with our allies".
Well, that's not really any different.
If democrats actually wanted that for victory, they could push hard in that direction, and claim to be the key to it. Instead, ankle biting and backpressure is their "solution".

Talk about not being able to stand something. I can't stand the democrats flip flop about faces in constant repetition.

It's no wonder we need a slow talking stick to the simple facts and the plan C student President. It drives the stance home, without fluff and nuance that makes for confusion and contradictions.

 

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