Thursday, March 02, 2006

Fear: charges and counter-charges (the only thing we have to fear is...)

I've been a bit puzzled as to why neocons have been accused so often of being motivated by fear in taking the policy positions they do (see this, for example).

When I've written here about the evolution of my own opinions, I don't see fear as predominating, or even as taking an especially active role. In addition, I would wonder about the emotional makeup of any ordinary citizen who didn't have at least a tiny bit of fear after watching the events of 9/11 unfold, or on observing the spectacle of suicide bombers who seem to relish and seek out the murder of women and children.

But now, reading this post at All Things Beautiful, about the lawsuit brought recently by the NY Times against the US Defense Department, in which the newspaper seeks to gain access to documents about the National Security Agency's domestic spying program, I had one of those sudden Eureka moments. Here's the money quote from Alexandra:

As I have always said, the left hates the President far more than it fears al-Qaeda, therefore any arguments of this nature [that the release of the documents threatens national security] will simply be filed as some sort of phobia, with different words attached to it....that is until the next attack.

Concerns about the dangers posed by terrorists, hesitations about the wisdom of press leakage of possibly sensitive security material, all of these must be labeled as unwarranted fears--as Alexandra explains, "as some sort of phobia"--so that they can safely be ignored to pursue a different agenda. And what is that agenda?

It seems to have two interrelated parts. The first is to have a role in bringing down a detested President--and in this, there is precedent. Apparently, the Times is aching to relive its dragon-slayer days (Richard Nixon being the original dragon): the publication of the Pentagon Papers, when the Supreme Court upheld the Time's right to do so despite government claims of national security threats. The aftermath of this lawsuit helped to bring Nixon down--with his own guilty cooperation, of course, since the Watergate burglary was motivated partly by a desire to get the goods on Pentagon Papers leaker Ellsberg (see this).

In 1997, Adam Clymer of the Times wrote, in a review of a new book--The Day the Presses Stopped: A History of the Pentagon Papers Case, by David Rundestine:

The Supreme Court's 6-to-3 decision in the Pentagon Papers case was a monumental victory for The New York Times and The Washington Post and a huge defeat for the Nixon Administration. In practical terms, it meant that the United States Government bears an awesome -- perhaps impossible -- burden before it can censor the press. But the opinion written by Justice William J. Brennan did not tell courts how to weigh that burden, though it made clear that a just claim of injury to the national security is not enough.

So, "a just claim of injury to the national security is not enough." Think about it: what would be enough? How bad an injury to the national security is sufficient to muffle a story, and how certain does this injury have to be?

The Pentagon Papers case marks the point at which the Court set the bar very high in favor of the press and against the government's ability to claim national security as a reason to stifle information. In his Times article, Clymer goes on to dismiss the book's contentions that the Pentagon Papers' publication represented an actual threat to national security. I'd have to do a lot more research on that subject to venture an opinion as to how large a threat was posed; I simply don't know. But the book's author, David Rudenstine, certainly thinks the danger was a bona fide one:

[Author] Mr. Rudenstine, an associate dean at Cardozo Law School of Yeshiva University, has spent years getting access to secret transcripts and briefs. He uses them to make it clear that Government witnesses like Lieut. Gen. Melvin Zais honestly believed that the country could be harmed by further publication... But Mr. Rudenstine's most striking conclusion -- that there were real threats to the nation in the papers -- is debatable....

So Rudenstine came to the "striking" conclusion that the attempt to stifle the Papers' publication was not just a grudge match by Nixon against the press, but motivated (at least in part) by an honest belief that publication would be dangerous--and that this contention has legs.

And who is Rundenstine? Some Republican party hack, a hawkish Nixon-loving neocon? Apparently not, if you study his bio, here (scroll down a little bit and you'll find it). He seems to have typical liberal bona fides, with a background in the ACLU, legal services, and the Peace Corps. And here's another similar bio of Rudenstine, which includes the fact that he is ex-Harvard President Neil Rudenstine's brother.

I would have imagined that if someone such as David Rudenstine had contended that there was a bona fide case to be made by the Nixon White House of an actual possible threat to national security when the Times published the Pentagon Papers, that Clymer would have paid quite a bit more attention to it than he did. As it is, his dismissal of Rundenstine's claim seems perfunctory, at best. It's hard to escape the notion that Clymer's review is a poorly-disguised a case of butt-covering, by the Times, for the Times, and of the Times.

(As a little aside, while researching Adam Clymer for this post, I was reminded that Clymer himself had a subsequent moment in the sun; apparently, he was the Times reporter whom Bush called a "major-league asshole" during the 2000 campaign, to which Cheney responded "big-time.")

So, going back to Alexandra's quoted accusation about leftists--it seems that the NY Times, as well, could be considered to have a history of hating (or fearing?) certain Republican Presidents more than it fears the consequences of its own national security disclosures.

But I mentioned that the "neocons are motivated by fear" accusation has a second (although absolutely related) agenda, and that is fear of the consequences of overreaching by the executive branch of the government. Many conservatives have this fear, too (and libertarians are extraordinarily sensitive to it). But it's a question of at what point each group draws the line between acceptable intrusions and unacceptable ones, and what they might consider justification for those intrusions. National security is far more likely to be considered a justification by conservatives than by liberals or leftists, who have a history of seeming to actively downplay such concerns.

The legacy of Vietnam is that the left has a lingering mindset that considers national security concerns to almost always be mere excuses for government spying. This is the sort of approach that led to the famous CIA/FBI firewall (I discuss the firewall's development here)). The left, and many liberals, seem to feel that the raising of security issues in these situations is almost always bogus--a sort of screen, used by a proto-totalitarian government to cover its own misuse of power, with the goal of getting away with domestic spying on its enemies, and the further consolidation of its own power.

If this is the conception, then national security concerns must be downplayed in almost all cases, and the role of fear as motivation for those concerns exaggerated instead. The fear of many leftists/liberals is a different one: the evil Cheney is going to tap their phones and look up their library history, to be used for his own nefarious purposes. (That's not even too much of an exaggeration: I've had friends express as much to me, and it sure didn't sound as though they were joking.)

There's an interesting cyclical process going on here: the publication of the Pentagon Papers was one of Nixon's motivations for Watergate, which in fact did represent an abuse of power by the executive branch, which led to further checks (such as the firewall) on that power, which in turn hampered the government's capability to conduct surveillance of terrorists, which then was part of the reason 9/11 wasn't prevented, which later led to Bush's decision to implement the so-called "domestic spying program" in question, which has taken us to the present-day lawsuit by the Times to compel the release of the NSA documents.

So, how does this all tie into the accusation that neocons and Bush-supporters are motivated by fear? The accusers cannot afford to concede that there are bona fide national security concerns involved, or their argument would begin to collapse. That collapse might even end up reaching back in time to events such as the Pentagon Papers lawsuit--which could end up at least partially exonerating the evil arch-enemy Nixon (for his attempt to stop their publication, not for Watergate). Thus we have the need for Clymer's airy dismissal of Rudenstine's research about the Pentagon Papers lawsuit. The collapse might also reach back to the famous firewall, and implicate those who erected it in at least partial responsibility for the failure to prevent 9/11.

Another recent post, "Don't Worry, Be Happy...About Iran," by Gerard Van der Leun, touches on some of the same themes, although it concerns a different issue and a different NY Times article. In it, Van der Leun locks formidable horns with Barry R. Posen, the MIT political science professor whose op-ed piece dismisses, with a perhaps now-familiar breeziness, the security considerations that would be involved in Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons.

Dismissing that particular "fear" is quite a stretch, even for the Times. But Posen seems up to the task. And, on reading Posen's article with my newfound insight about the left's need to deflect such fears and label them as unfounded, it's interesting to see how well Posen's article follows the familiar framework.

Van der Leun writes:

On the one hand, the message of [Posen's] essay is "Don't worry. Be happy," while on the other it is the parallel message of "What? Me worry?"

It's true; the "stretch" in this case seems to take Posen close to Alfred E. Newman territory.

And note how often Posen explicitly and implicitly mentions fear in the first paragraphs of the article (emphasis mine):

The intense concern about Iran's nuclear energy program reflects the judgment that, should it turn to the production of weapons, an Iran with nuclear arms would gravely endanger the United States and the world. An Iranian nuclear arsenal, policymakers fear, could touch off a regional arms race while emboldening Tehran to undertake aggressive, even reckless, actions.

But these outcomes are not inevitable, nor are they beyond the capacity of the United States and its allies to defuse. Indeed, while it's seldom a positive thing when a new nuclear power emerges, there is reason to believe that we could readily manage a nuclear Iran.

A Middle Eastern arms race is a frightening thought, but it is improbable...


As Van der Leun points out, the arguments Posen musters for that improbability are not exactly convincing. But Posen, by offering them--and the Times, by printing his article--is following in the time-honored tradition of trying to reassure by downplaying national security concerns. I'm not sure what motivates Posen--perhaps he actually and sincerely believes that he's speaking the truth--but it seems that the risks of believing him and of him being wrong are rather high, unacceptably high. And that's not just fear talking; it's common sense.

If you really want to hear fear talking, you can hear it in the voice of appeasement. This appeasement can be seen most clearly in Western Europe today, although it is not confined to it. It bows down--in the name of "tolerance"--to forces that would weaken freedom of speech and a host of other Enlightenment values so dearly won and highly cherished.

As David Warren points out in his recent column, quoting Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brave woman born in Somalia but residing in the Netherlands, who's not afraid to speak out and to risk her life in the process (emphasis mine):

Publication of the cartoons confirmed that there is widespread fear among authors, filmmakers, cartoonists, and journalists who wish to describe, analyze or criticize intolerant aspects of Islam all over Europe. It has also revealed the presence of a considerable minority in Europe who do not understand or will not accept the workings of liberal democracy. These people -- many of whom hold European citizenship -- have campaigned for censorship, for boycotts, for violence, and for new laws to ban 'Islamophobia'. … The issue is not about race, colour, or heritage. It is a conflict of ideas, which transcend borders and races.

In this conflict of ideas, we cannot win if we are afraid to defend our own values against those who would seek to destroy them.

Warren adds (my emphasis, once again):

Even after the experience of the Great War, and the Depression, people on the eve of the Hitler war could not appreciate what was coming. It is only in retrospect that we understand what happened as the 1930s progressed -- when a spineless political class, eager at any price to preserve a peace that was no longer available, performed endless demeaning acts of appeasement to the Nazis; while the Nazis created additional grievances to extract more.

This is precisely what is happening now, as we are confronted by the Islamist fanatics, whose views and demands are already being parroted by fearful “mainstream” Muslim politicians. We will do anything to preserve a peace that ceased to exist on 9/11.


Of course, it's not only fear operating--some of the motivation for appeasement is hope (naive and often misplaced, I'm afraid): the conviction that talk, trust, and kindness will prevail, that all people are reasonable and good and don't really have in mind what they say they have.

And then there's another hope, the one Churchill labeled as "feeding the alligator in hopes it will eat you last." At least that hope is a bit more realistic: it recognizes that sometimes you're dealing with an alligator.

Perhaps the whole disagreement between right and left boils down to this one: who are the alligators, and how hungry are they?

90 Comments:

At 2:45 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

which in turn hampered the government's capability to conduct surveillance of terrorists, which then was part of the reason 9/11 wasn't prevented

This is a LIE. 9-11 occurred because Fredo had little interest in Al Qaida before despite being warned that AL Qaida was the #1 threat to America.

 
At 2:48 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

I would have imagined that if someone such as David Rudenstine had contended that there was a bona fide case to be made by the Nixon White House of an actual possible threat to national security when the Times published the Pentagon Papers

OK, I'll bite: What was the harm?

 
At 3:04 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

That the "neocon" agenda -- or whatever it was that led to the invasion of Iraq -- was based on fear is obvious, in that the main premise was that Saddam could attack us with WMD's soon, or would allow terrorists to do so.

It is still based on fear if it believes that Iran poses a serious threat to anyone.

It is further based on fear when the large Muslim minorities of Europe are blithely, if not explicitly, compared to you-know-who.

Of course, those who are opposed to the surveillance activities of the government are motivated by fear -- I think MAINLY, rather than any other factor.

The difference is that the left's fear is directly tangible and tied to a governmental usurpation of privacy rights, which violates the 4th Amendment to boot.

On the other hand, the other fears, about terrorist nukes, Iran nuking Israel or giving a nuke truck bomb to Al Qaeda -- perhaps "Fusion" is not a good name for a car after all -- about Muslim mobs sacking Rome, or whatever, are clearly exaggerated even if they contain a kernel of truth and proper concern.

Looking at the 20th Century in Europe, there is NO WAY that this conservative would approve any increase in government authority or rights over individuals. To me it's a slippery slope going straight to hell.

At the same time, the Arab/Muslim world is a very volatile planet right now, but, we have to be careful, plan carefully, and not overreact. Otherwise, we will fail. (Note: We will not "win" if we indiscriminately nuke populations in the Muslim ME. Give me a break.)

 
At 3:14 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

ABOUT SURVEILLANCE:

We've had reports that a Quaker group, PETA, a gay college group, and a 77 yr old retired history professor have all been spied on by this Administration.

In addition, the FBI reported that the thousands of "tips" they recieved from the NSA shortly after 9-11 were worthless.

I'd say there was plenty of reason to be skeptical about current govt spying.

 
At 3:55 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous armchair pessimist said...

Neo-con,
Let me add one more ingredient. An instinctive opportunism on the part of a pampered, cosmopolitan elite that wishes not only to back the winning horse, but to even remain in the saddle. I "fear" they saw away at the branch that supports them.

 
At 4:02 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

neo - this is an outstanding, OUTSTANDING take on the outlook and motivations of many left/liberals. Reading it is a benefit to me.

To the comments: sigh.

steve j:
First, you take a specific assertion: Gorelick Wall, and turn it into hazy generalized guess: Bush had little interest in Al Qaeda. Your opinion is noted. There is no possible way it can be debated.

Second, the allegation, ultimately, is that the Pentagon Papers hurt our effort to combat the expansion of the communism which was directed by the USSR.

steve(steve J?):
It's unfair to expect an author to minutely define every term (fear) used. If an author had to do that, nothing would ever get written - or read! It's curious that you acribe hysteric fear to those who fear Jihadis at a different level from you, yet you ascribe strategic calculation fear to those who those who fear civil rights slippery slope at the exact same level as you. It's good to know we must plan our foreign policy carefully - I was wondering if such was actually necessary.

steve j(if that is your real name):
"We've had reports..." Gosh, I can't IMAGINE that "reports" might be unreliable. Re: FBI - if the FBI has to run down 100 leads, or 500 leads, to track a terrorist - then those leads need to be followed. FBI manpower may need to be stepped up, but it's ridiculous to argue - as, admittedly, unnamed NYTs sources have argued - that the FBI is unfairly forced to track "too many leads" along the path to stopping future terrorist attacks.

Further, if you had been following the NSA/FISA story in the more reliable blogs, as opposed to the less reliable MSM, you would know that no one has or is claiming in the NYT or the WaPo that the government is "illegally spying." They are claiming the government is illegally using international phone intercepts as evidence in warrant requests to FISA judges. Ironically, in light of your comment - the FISA judges are stubbornly protecting the Gorelick Wall - even at this late hour - in the pages of the NYT. The government may or may not be illegally spying on citizens - I wouldn't know. But this flap - NSA/FISA/NYT, with a late assist from WaPo, is not about spying on U.S. citizents - despite all the Congressional and MSM hysteria which trumpets domestic spying.

 
At 4:21 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

Goth -- BTW, I am not the same as Steve J, not my fault that Neo is a Steve-magnet -- the sense I got from the article was that the left had #1 unreasoning fears, #2 appeasement fears, and #3 phony fears to establish a power grab; whereas the Neocon fears were justified. (as is always the case, summaries distort).

All I was trying to say was that at least some of the Neocon fears -- at least as expressed rhetorically -- were not substantiated enough to justify something as tangible asthe suspension of the 4th amendment or the violation of the concept of individual privacy/dignity, a relatively recent "emanation" of the constitution, I will admit, but one that every lefty and every right libertarian I know would endorse.

As far the Grey Lady is concerned, I think she's trying to sell papers. As far as lefties are concerned, this is the standard 'mock the sitting lame duck' that we always get. IOW, I don't think it's a big deal.

To accuse the Euro-American media of appeasement however is over the top, WRT those silly Mohammed cartoons. I mean, I saw them, BFD, and so did everyone else who wanted to see them.

I don't either side has a monopoly on justified fears, but, next time fear comes down the pike, I want to see the EVIDENCE before we invade somewhere .....

 
At 5:00 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Neo,

I think your tracing of the circularity from Pentagon Papers/Watergate through firewall to 9/11 to Patriot Act/ FISA/ NSA controversy is quite brilliant, and, as far as I know, original to you...

Great stuff!

Jamie Irons

 
At 6:02 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

Steve no j:
I think you go a bit far in your phrasing. You accuse neo(or someone) of wanting to suspend the 4th Amendment. "Suspend" is a bit overheated, as the truth is you and neo maybe just disagree about the proper application of the 4th Amendment.

Immediately after this bit of heated rhetoric, you accuse neo of going "over the top" re "accusing the Euro American media of appeasement". I am quibbling in a bit of a technical fashion, but I must note that you are being inconsistent. Also, re the cartoons, you are arguing against yourself. That the cartoons were generally innocuous is an argument in favor of publishing them. A major aspect of the story is just how innocuous the cartoons are - AND how the Danish Imams intentionally misled Muslims by inserting three additional, and highly inflammatory, cartoons into their travelling presentations. Its not a stretch to speculate that some lives might've been saved - such as this priest(http://michellemalkin.com/archives/004492.htm) who was murdered in Turkey, if the cartoons had been widely distributed via newspapers.

Re: "right to privacy", I can think of some SCOTUS justices who might view this differently.

Re: "evidence"
I suspect you and I disagree about exactly what the threat is that our nation faces. If we agreed as to what the threat is, we might agree about what steps should be taken to address it. For further reading, I recommend the post which is above these comments.

 
At 6:24 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Foobarista said...

The NYT and other top members of the MSM demand the right to vet any and all information so they can decide whether it's relevant to national security or not. Secrecy and national security is too complex to leave to elected officials or the military - only those with proper journalistic credentials and need for scoops are capable of judging whether something should be printed in a paper and disclosed to the enemy.

 
At 6:49 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

me too, Jamie.

The Pentagon Papers release WAS dangerous to national security, because the US gov't was lying to the American people. But if/when a democratic people stop trusting their (lying) gov't, the gov't will not have enough power to stop terrorists. Enough effective power.

Peggy Noonan writes about the loss of dignity to ladies who fly; some airport security is silly/ rude.

But when Steve says our fears; "are clearly exaggerated even if they contain a kernel of truth " -- why are they exagerated?

I fear there is a genocide in Darfur, with thousands being killed. Now. But I don't fear for my own safety on that.
If I were a Newspaper editor, I would fear for my own safety for printing the cartoons.

Steve j: "This is a LIE". You're in BDS denial. Sharing data regularly would have helped the gov't efforts; but still might not have been enough. 9-11 occurred because crazy Muslims, willing to kill themselves in order to kill many others, had a smart killing plan, and followed it.
They're at war -- you want us to surrender instead of to fight back.


The Pentagon Papers and the get-Nixon MSM feeding frenzy led directly to the loss of S. Vietnam. A US "ally" (corrupt client) losing to genocidal commies.

Yet so many 60s folk think being anti-war is possible without being pro-commie, pro-genocide.


Nixon then, like Bush now, was not good about articulating a Vietnamization process -- only S. Vietnam could "win" their freedom. But, with some US Army help and lots of US cash, over no more than 15 year after 1974, they could have won a S. Korea type capitalism.

The Papers made the US run away, lose the war. (Really the 600 000 murdered S. Vietnamese lost -- but I'm sure that Steve would say any fears of losing in Vietnam are exagerated.
Losing Iran in 1979, fears exagerated.

Fears of nukes, or any WMDs, are purely exagerated -- until they happen. Then they're the fault of the Pres. for having little interest in the threat.
Right.


Rational Fear is based on two issues: magnitude of the bad outcome, and probability. I consider a WMD, and especially a nuke, to be extremely high magnitude "bad outcome." So the change from 1 in 10 000 to 1 in 1000, or 1 in 100, becomes very significant. This is also a problem in looking at Nuclear Power Safety (where I worked at the Electric Power Research Institute).

How do you tell the difference between 1 in 1000 (doesn't happen) and 1 in 100 (doesn't happen)? For myself, I now think it's up to some 1 in 10 (still quite unlikey) chance that a WMD is used by terrorists on a city in the next 4 years.

So to me, it justifies a lot more security. And even racial profile, so mostly Muslims get frisked at airports -- just as complaints about absentee landlord port managers seem greater if they're Muslims. And acceptance, after more verification.

 
At 6:52 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

First, you take a specific assertion: Gorelick Wall, and turn it into hazy generalized guess: Bush had little interest in Al Qaeda.

Fredo admitted that to Bob Woodward.

 
At 6:53 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

Second, the allegation, ultimately, is that the Pentagon Papers hurt our effort to combat the expansion of the communism which was directed by the USSR.

How???

 
At 6:56 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

It's good to know we must plan our foreign policy carefully

http://tinyurl.com/exk73

We have no idea what kind of ethnic strife might appear in the future, although as I have noted, it has not been the history of Iraq's past.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FEBRUARY 27, 2003*

*At that time, Wolfowitz was the Deputy Secretary of Defense

 
At 7:00 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

you would know that no one has or is claiming in the NYT or the WaPo that the government is "illegally spying."

Federalist Society Board Member Argues Bush’s Surveillance Program Is IllegalThe right-wing spin machine wants you to believe that critics of the Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program are all liberals. Here’s Bill Kristol in the most recent issue of the Weekly Standard:
[L]iberals recoil unthinkingly from the obvious fact that our national security requires policies that are a step (but only a careful step) removed from ACLU dogma.
Actually, there are many very conservative people who vigorously oppose the program. For example, constitutional scholar Robert Levy — who is a board member at the right-wing Federalist Society — is an outspoken critic. The Federalist Society recently posted a Q&A with Levy on their website. Here are some highlights:
– The text of FISA §1809 is unambiguous: “A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally engages in electronic surveillance … except as authorized by statute.”
– I know of no court case that has denied there is a reasonable expectation of privacy by U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens in the types of wire communications that are reportedly monitored by the NSA’s electronic surveillance program.
– [I]n FISA §1811, Congress expressly contemplated warrantless wiretaps during wartime, and limited them to the first 15 days after war is declared.
Levy makes a powerful case and he’s not alone. Other prominent conservatives who have criticized the program include Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), conservative columnist George Will, former Reagan deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein and AEI scholar Norm Ornstein.

 
At 7:05 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

TOM GREY: you want us to surrender instead of to fight back.

LMFAO!!!!

Sure pal, anything you say.


BTW, are YOU in Iraq?
.
.
.
.
Didn't think so

 
At 7:17 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

The Pentagon Papers and the get-Nixon MSM feeding frenzy led directly to the loss of S. Vietnam.

The Vietnam War was lost in 1967 when LBJ turned down Westmoreland's request for an additional 200,000 troops.

Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc Aug 3, 1995
How North Vietnam won the war
Wall Street Journal.
(Eastern edition).
New York, N.Y.: Aug 3, 1995. pg. A8

Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, answers these questions in the following excerpts from an interview conducted by Stephen Young, a Minnesota attorney and human-rights activist. Bui Tin, who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's army, received the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975.

Q: What about Gen. Westmoreland's strategy and tactics caused you concern?
A: .... Then Johnson had rejected Westmoreland's request for 200,000 more troops. We realized that America had made its maximum military commitment to the war. Vietnam was not sufficiently important for the United States to call up its reserves. We had stretched American power to a breaking point. When more frustration set in, all the Americans could do would be to withdraw; they had no more troops to send over.

 
At 7:40 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Steve j, the "Fredo" joke is getting tiresome.

The quintuple posting is tiresome.

But most tiresome of all is your refusal to acknowledge when you have been answered on one point, but simply shift to another, somewhat related.

There are elementary rules of discourse among persons seeking to discuss and debate. Your inability to acknowledge the slightest bit of justification for any view or motivations but your own suggests that your are not interested in arriving at the truth.

 
At 8:39 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Steve, a good place for folks interested in the legal issues to start would be at this site:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article02/01.html#5

It’s a rather dry treatise on Article II of the Constitution. Read it & you’ll find that in time of war the President has the power & legal right to snoop on the enemy. It says absolutely nothing about Presidents needing to ask FISA’s permission. Personally, I’m disappointed that the NSA has listened only to overseas calls. If a terrorist suspect calls anyone, even from inside the US, say, from Chicago to Dallas, I want my government to be listening.

In the case law concerning these issues it seems that Articles almost always trump Amendments & Congressionally created law.

Of course, I’m against domestic intelligence gathering, such as was done by Nixon, on political opponents for political reasons, or unauthorized wiretapping by the police. Presidential discretion kicks in for me if the US is being attacked or otherwise at war & who is being listened to - not whether a politician wants to listen in on political opponents or whether the police want to catch a bank robber.

To accuse the Euro-American media of appeasement however is over the top, WRT those silly Mohammed cartoons. I mean, I saw them, BFD, and so did everyone else who wanted to see them.

Most of the Euro-American media is currently bowing to the power of the New Totalitarians, the rest attempt to camouflage the indignity by becoming apologists for their own tormenters. After bowing comes prostration. Let’s all look away from this stomach-turning sight.

It is still based on fear if it believes that Iran poses a serious threat to anyone.

Steve must be a Posen disciple. Anti-warriors doubt a nuclear Iran would be “serious.” Anybody out there want to sell the Brooklyn Bridge? I’ve spotted a couple of customers for you.

We will not "win" if we indiscriminately nuke populations in the Muslim ME.

If the terrorists pull off a really big strike – say, a small nuke vaporizing an American city – I’ll bet 3 or 4 ME countries would immediately find themselves nuked. Why? Because there would probably be no way for the US to determine just which of several countries gave the nukes to the terrorists & the missile deployment strategy would be quickly programmed to a take-no-chances scenario. If they have been talking the talk(as Iran does) & walking the walk(as Syria does) they get destroyed & one or two others, just to be certain. No, the US wouldn’t “win,” but the US might survive.

There would be a depression to follow, probably world-wide. Perhaps there would be more strikes in the US from terrorists, each time a few million more nuked in a merciless & desperate effort to stop it, continuing until the US is strike-free. Far-fetched? Unthinkable? Maybe, maybe not. If the terrorists manage a big statement I really don’t think the US would simply sit & wait for the next strike. I doubt if much diplomacy would be tried – who do you deal with? The terrorist don’t deal. No country is going to admit to giving them the nukes. There’s only so many options & most would been already tried.

The Vietnam War was lost in 1967 when LBJ turned down Westmoreland's request for an additional 200,000 troops.

Naw, Steve. The Vietnam War was lost in 1974 when a Democratically controlled Congress cut off all military aid to South Vietnam. Let’s reminisce: In 1972 Nixon won re-election hands down over McGovern on a “Peace With Honor” campaign. In 1973 all US troops were gone from Vietnam. South Vietnam fought on quite well & easily held their own for a year until the Congress cut their water off. In your quote Bui Tin & Stephen Young seem to be fabricating false history.

 
At 8:39 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

Gcoth: Thanks for a pleasant rebuttal. Here's my comments.

No, I didn't accuse Neo wanting to suspend the 4th amendment, I am saying that just rolling over and allowing the executive branch to do whatever it wants in terms of surveillance "because we're at war" is slippery slope stuff. I don't want it. There are ways to get permission to do this stuff. So they can do it.

I don't think this surveillance stuff is impeachable I just want it to stop and follow the typical safeguards. I don't think that's so hard.

I didn't say the cartoons were innocuous, they were no big deal to ME, but then I'm not a member of any religious sect and I like religious jokes, anyway.

Actually I thought Neo had a fairly good thing going about tying the latest flap into Nixon/Watergate but the bit about the "appeasers" and the Motoons didn't really function. And I think that, say, Michelle Malkin's promotion of the cartoons is ridiculous. I mean, we're not talking about samizdat publications of Solzhenitsyn novels here ....

SCOTUS judges may disagree with right to privacy, and in fact I KNOW they would. Nevertheless, on balance, I think that I would rathe have the right to privacy. "As technology increases individual liberty decreases" I don't recall if it was Tolstoy or Gandhi who said that, but it's true. As denser social constructs makes it easier to control people, and regulate people, all the more necessary to have guarantees of individual dignity and autonomy. That's what I get from 20th Century history.

I'm perfectly willing to make it an amendment.

As I said in an earlier post, I have been expecting a nuclear surprise ever since 1993. 9/11 didn't make me change my mind.

However, 9/11 happened because we were SURPRISED, not because of nukes.

Nature of the threat? Well, that presupposes our assumptions about how things happen. For myself I think the Islamic world in general is overpopulated and that has put enormous stress on their infrastructure, including institutions, ideology, culture, and political, social and economic categories of operation. IOW, they are in for big changes. I expect that change will not be easy and there will be violent episodes, and wars among them.

I don't think they will be nuking Israel or the US, but I do think that if terrorists got ahold of same they would try to use one in the US (not Israel, too many Arabs and Muslim shrines there.) For that, as I said earlier, we should be relying on giant SWAT teams and GOOD intelligence. No need to go about invading countries or doing Shock 'n' Awe spectaculars.

We can't ignore Arab world, not only because of potential terrorism here, but also because of the oil.

I think the Dubai deal is basically, a good idea. We have to have more exposure to Muslims and they have to have more exposure to us. That way they may realize that we are not "the Great Satan" they think we are.

The fly in the ointment is that most Muslims are anti-Israel. That's a problem I can't pretend to have any answers for, except that ultimately it will have to be a two way street.

 
At 8:51 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

Grackle:

Thanks for comments. Comments back:

I think this "at war" excuse to allow the executive to do whatever it wants without oversight is getting out of hand. Period.

Moreover, just when was war declared? Was the congressional vote in Fall 2002 a carte blanche?

The Iranian Threat: They don't even have a nuke yet, they are not a threat. If they get a nuke (i.e., harness a chain reaction) they have no credible means that I know of actually delivering it here (they won't try delivering it to Israel, otherwise it will come back "Return to Sender.") So again, they are not a threat at least not MILITARILY. Iran getting nukes would change the balance of power in the region. Like I said, giant SWAT teams.

These scenarios you guys keep offering. American city is damaged (not vaporized) by a small car nuke. Perhaps 100 K dead and radiation panic.

Guess what? We do nothing, except look for the killers. If we just go out and nuke Damascus in blind retaliation, we would not only become a pariah to the rest of the world, but we'd send a big radioactive cloud right down on Israel.

I mean, the day after 9/11 I wanted to send Rambo to Mecca to steal the holy stone from the Ka'aba so we could set it up at Ground Zero and use it as a pissoir. But, I was angry, know what I mean? I didn't really mean it.

 
At 9:12 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

In your quote Bui Tin & Stephen Young seem to be fabricating false history.

Johnson's decision during the summer of 1967 to limit American participation in fighting against Hanoi effectively prevented the United States from achieving a conventional victory in the Vietnam War.
President Johnson's unwillingness to commit additional troops to the war was welcomed by Hanoi's senior strategist, Vo Nguyen Giap. He believed that Hanoi's strategy of attrition was clearly beginning to achieve results. During the summer of 1967, Giap wrote an article published in English as "The Big Victory, the Great Task," wherein he presciently concluded: "At present, the United States does not have enough troops to meet Westmoreland's requirements ... . America's economic and military resources, although great, are not boundless."


http://historynet.com/vn/bllbjstrategy/index1.html

 
At 9:14 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

As a footnote to ongoing WOT discussions, I have been reading around this evening and I'm surprised that not only Buckley but Will and Derbyshire have all gone belly up on Iraq. This is getting heavy. Maybe Golden Dome was Tet, after all ....

 
At 9:21 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger maryatexitzero said...

Perhaps the whole disagreement between right and left boils down to this one: who are the alligators, and how hungry are they?

Alligators are usually hungry at one point or another. But they are kind of tasty broiled, served with a salsa.

In a functioning world society, the Islamists would never be as powerful as they are today. In the worldwide food chain, they're weak enough to be considered food. The biggest mystery in our so-called war against terror isn't our fear or our enemies' strategy - they're following the rules of the Arab way of war, their goal is to install a Sharia-led system of Islamic states, a 'caliphate' in as may nations as they can. Their oil money gives them the means to do so.

The biggest mystery is - why do legitimize them? Why do we tolerate them? Why are we financing their war against us?

Our enemies are pretty easy to understand. They know that their oil will run out soon, they see that they have a small window of opportunity to grab money and power, and they're going for it.

Our motives are almost impossible to understand. We know can easily defeat them, we know that they're in favor of slavery, apartheid and genocide - we've seen how they treat people who can't defend themselves, like the Sudanese and the Europeans - but we continue to think that we can 'reform' these zealots. Why?

Other than our actions in Afghanistan, we never respond to their acts of war. One of our diplomats was murdered today. That was once considered to be an act of war. 9/11 was an act of war, and Saudi Arabia was as culpable as the Taliban. So, do any of our elected Representatives, Democrats or Republicans care? No.

Despite Neo's heroic efforts to understand the anti-war left, I still don't get it. Unless you're paranoid, you can't believe that Bush was responsible for 9/11. You can't believe that Bush is more dangerous than the genocidal fascists who have slaughtered and enslaved millions of Sudanese.

The pro war right is a mystery too. We're supposed to be fighting terrorism, why is Bush giving money to Hamas? Why does he call the genocidal Sudan and the Saudis our allies in the war against terror?

Are we using the Islamists as a weapon in our negotiations with the Chinese? Are the Democrats using the Islamists as a weapon in their war against the Republicans (and vise versa)? We can't run a country or fight a war until we understand what our goals are.

 
At 9:23 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger gcotharn said...

Steve,
I note all your points. I want to bail on this comment thread, as it is pretty much hijacked, and I don't want to contribute to that any further. However, I cannot leave without noting that none of the NYT or WaPo articles have alleged that illegal surveillance occurred. This is a widespread misconception. What the NYT and WaPo articles allege is that domestic info from international to domestic phone calls - which was automatically thrown out before 9/11, so as not to conflict with the Gorelick Wall - is now being retained by NSA, and used by FBI to try and acquire warrants from FISA judges, in order to investigate the domestic parties to those international to domestic calls.

Despite widespread speculation, in myriad forums, about illegal surveillance, the actual NSA/FISA flap is about what was anonymously alleged in several NYT and WaPo articles. And that was that the Gorelick Wall is being ignored by NSA and FBI in their requests for FISA warrants.

I just can't, in good conscience, leave the impression hanging out there that illegal surveillance has occurred. That issue is not what this series of NYT and WaPo articles are about. You notice how Congress, when better informed of the issue approx a week or more ago, backed waaaaay off their previous hysterical allegations. This would be consistent with Congresspersons suddenly understanding that the kerfluffle is not about illegal surveillance, but, rather, is about the FISA Court's (illegal, imo) propping up of the Gorelick Wall.

 
At 9:34 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Maybe you guys would like to send some emails to Max Friedman while he is pissed off, I'm sure he would like to debate some issues with you.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

 
At 9:51 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Steve said...

I started reading Max Friedman, but when he said

and the nearly complete failure of the media to tell about the tremendous progress being made daily in Iraq, are only part of the truth about the anti-American, left-wing, so-called liberal or mainstream media, in America.

he hurt his cred, and when he wrote


At to this list both Playboy and Penthouse magazines during the 1970s when they ran often damaging articles about U.S. intelligence operations and techniques.


I'm sorry, I lost it.

 
At 9:53 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger antimedia said...

This absolutely cracks me up.

"I am saying that just rolling over and allowing the executive branch to do whatever it wants in terms of surveillance "because we're at war" is slippery slope stuff. I don't want it. There are ways to get permission to do this stuff. So they can do it.

I don't think this surveillance stuff is impeachable I just want it to stop and follow the typical safeguards. I don't think that's so hard."

In the beginning there was the Constitution. Then along came the equivocators......now the President must ask permission to exercise his Constitutional duties.

It's hard to blame people for this kind of ignorance since our schools don't even bother to teach government any more. They're too bush teaching basket weaving and living in harmony (which is probably good for a barbershop quartet.)

 
At 9:59 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Mike said...

Steve said "that not only Buckley but Will and Derbyshire have gone belly up on Iraq as well."..."Maybe the golden dome was tet after all"

I thought Buckley was opposed to it from the begining and Derbyshire was opposed to it because he doesn't like brown people. Will has been saying overstrech for years.

The tet comparison is still stupid.

 
At 10:01 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous Mike said...

Oh, and I agree with Steve about the president having to check in with congress and/or judges before listining/spying on people. Checks and balances are good for the country.

 
At 10:19 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Joseph Marshall said...

Well, speaking personally, neo-neocon, I'm not absolutely sure what neocons are motivated by besides "being strong", "fighting terrorism", and "staying the course".

Insofar as these are not mere glittering feelgood generalities, to be repeated over and over like a mantra, they simply seem to boil down to this: Send the troops somewhere to shoot at somebody.

It really doesn't matter if the troops are sent to the right place. It really doesn't matter if they are shooting at the right people. It really doesn't matter if they are sent there for the right reasons.

It really doesn't matter if they are genuinely needed somewhere else for something else. And it really doesn't matter if sending them to a specific somewhere actually makes the general problem worse instead of better.

As long as the troops are sent out to shoot at somebody, neocons appear to be perfectly content, come what may.

But one thing I am certain they are not motivated by is the need for genuine, definite, and postive results in the real world.

Over the past 4+ years since 9/11 there has been only one genuine, unequivocal, and permanent positive result from all this "being strong", "fighting terrorism", and "staying the course"--Saddam Hussein has been removed from power.

That's it.

Over 3,000 soldiers lost in both wars; over five times that number greivously wounded and many more of these than in past wars now crippled for life; and 244 billion dollars lavished on Iraq alone and the only assured result has been the removal of Saddam Hussein from power.

Everything else--the scattering of Al Queda and the Taliban from Afghanistan, the truly stable and secure establishment of any democratic government anywhere, or any significant defeat of the "Axis Of Evil" has never yet been brought to a completely successful conclusion.

None of them.

And there is, frankly, no objective reason to believe or convincing argument to be made that they ever will be.

Now I won't mention the fact that virtually everything else that is going on in this country, and in the world, makes so little impression on neocons that stuff they really should be afraid of is completely off their radar screens.

It's hard enough getting neocons to ask for real results even in the stuff they want to pay attention to.

Having said this, it is now about time to insert a little reality in the matter of secret snooping, as well.

Though most neocons are too willfully obtuse to acknowledge it, absolutely none of the spying which has been done by the NSA could not have been done legally, through the FISA process. None.

Circumventing the FISA process was simply a pure, naked power grab. Period. It was not necessary. It has not been particularly useful. And it has served no purpose other than to free the President from having to acknowledge and obey the law. None.

These are the baseline facts from which any serious, intelligent, and significant discussion of "national security" in these matters must proceed.

I have seen none of my good conservative friends who are willing to do anything but evade those facts. None.

So I have no idea what motivates neocons, because I have no access to their parallel universe.

None.

 
At 10:26 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

All I'm trying to do is understand the procedures.

I don't know if we have to bite each other's heads off.

communication rulz.

 
At 10:54 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

now the President must ask permission to exercise his Constitutional duties.

Nothing in the Constitution allows the President to break the law.


Ex Parte Milligan (1866)

"The constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with its shield of protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of men that any of its great provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of Government."

 
At 11:04 PM, March 02, 2006, Anonymous rickl said...

There's an interesting cyclical process going on here: the publication of the Pentagon Papers was one of Nixon's motivations for Watergate, which in fact did represent an abuse of power by the executive branch, which led to further checks (such as the firewall) on that power, which in turn hampered the government's capability to conduct surveillance of terrorists, which then was part of the reason 9/11 wasn't prevented, which later led to Bush's decision to implement the so-called "domestic spying program" in question, which has taken us to the present-day lawsuit by the Times to compel the release of the NSA documents.

That was brilliant. I would have never thought of it that way.

Are you in open competition with Wretchard now, for Most Insightful Blogger?

 
At 11:13 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger antimedia said...

Steve writes, "Maybe Golden Dome was Tet, after all ...."

Nope. Tet was Johnson's Waterloo. Bush doesn't know what Waterloo is. Maybe, after Bush is gone, the next President will chicken out on the war, but this one could care less about polls, Congress or the people. He will do what he believes is right even if the whole world thinks it's wrong.

If you haven't figured that out, you haven't been paying attention.

 
At 11:17 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger antimedia said...

Boy the pickin's are easy tonight.

Mike writes, "Oh, and I agree with Steve about the president having to check in with congress and/or judges before listining/spying on people. Checks and balances are good for the country."

To which no sane person would disagree. What that has to do with Congress usurping the President's Constitutionally granted powers is left as an exercise for the reader.

steve j, who is obviously a clown, writes, "Nothing in the Constitution allows the President to break the law."

The obvious rejoinder being, nothing in the Constitution allows Congress to limit the President's Constitutionally granted powers through legislation.

Check. Mate.

 
At 11:20 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

So, Neo-neocon, should we fear the takeover of our ports by the government of Dubai, or not? You haven't taken up this issue. Why not? The Bush regime has held power by fear mongering and Arab bashing, so why is it so defensive when its MO bears fruit? Afterall, as the neo-cons constantly remind us, we live in a post 9/11 world! Live by the sword, die by the sword, I always say...

 
At 11:24 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

Antimedia, that's the strangest interpretation of the constitution I've ever heard. By your reasoning, why bother to have laws at all, if the president can break them or ignore them at his whim? That's the definition of despotism.

 
At 11:31 PM, March 02, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

Maybe, after Bush is gone, the next President will chicken out on the war, but this one could care less about polls, Congress or the people. He will do what he believes is right even if the whole world thinks it's wrong.

My guess is that the above comment was meant to inspire confidence; actually, it makes Bush sound like a sociopath.

 
At 12:04 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

steve j, who is obviously a clown, writes, "Nothing in the Constitution allows the President to break the law."

The obvious rejoinder being, nothing in the Constitution allows Congress to limit the President's Constitutionally granted powers through legislation.


As you may recall, Truman found out the hard way after he attempted to seize the steel mills during the Korean War. Justice Jackson offered the most penetrating analysis and demarcated three degrees of presidential power.
LINK

These are the following:

1. When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum

2. When the President acts in absence of either a congressional grant or denial of authority, he can only rely upon his own independent powers ... In this area, any actual test of power is likely to depend on the imperatives of events and contemporary imponderables rather than on abstract theories of law.

3. When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter....

Fredo's little NSA frolic falls into category 3 because Congress has explicitly limited the means by which American citizens may be spied upon, Title III and FISA.

 
At 12:17 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My guess is that the above comment was meant to inspire confidence; actually, it makes Bush sound like a sociopath."

All neocons are sociopaths. They are completely insensitive to anyone else's feelings, using the most cruelly worded facts imaginable to rip apart the beautiful utopian dreams we've spent our whole lives building.

They don't care who is weak and who is strong, and refuse to accept their responsibility to surrender their so-called rights to anyone weaker than themselves. All they care about are outdated notions like liberty and the rule of law, backward ideas that have long been consigned to the dustbin of history since the triumph of Marxism worldwide.

They need re-education, every last one of them.

 
At 12:19 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous rickl said...

Off-topic, but in regards to my 11:04 comment: I can't post on Belmont Club, because Blogger won't let me. No matter what password I type, I get an error message. I click "Sign up here", go through the procedure, and get the message "this username is already taken". Yet I've never seen anybody post on Belmont Club using my username.

The only reason I'm able to post here is that I can choose "Other" instead of "Blogger", whereas I don't have that option on Belmont Club.

Does anybody have any advice or an explanation?

 
At 12:28 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous rickl said...

Steve J.:

Fredo's little NSA frolic falls into category 3 because Congress has explicitly limited the means by which American citizens may be spied upon, Title III and FISA.

Title III and FISA were Constitutional amendments? That's news to me.

 
At 1:04 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Steve, once again, here’s your quote that I responded to:

The Vietnam War was lost in 1967 when LBJ turned down Westmoreland's request for an additional 200,000 troops.

However, the war continued on for seven long years – too long for it to have been “lost.” Let me put it this way: The Communists didn’t win until Congress cut the funds in 1974 & that is simply a fact, unchangeable despite the self-serving recollections of any number of North Vietnamese ex-honchos.

Even the article you linked to as proof doesn’t claim the war was “lost” in 1967, but rather says something decidedly different: “Johnson's decision … to limit American participation … prevented the United States from achieving a … victory in the Vietnam War.” Must I point out that not achieving a victory in 1967 is not the same as losing an entire war? You lose when you stop fighting. Here’s an excerpt from the very same article:

Even a cursory survey of the record indicates that American military operations were successful in achieving the limited nation-building goals established by policymakers. In 1972, an invasion force of 22 North Vietnamese divisions was defeated on South Vietnamese battlefields through the combined application of American air power and South Vietnamese ground operations. Guerrilla forces supporting the Communist effort within South Vietnam had by then collapsed, and the South Vietnamese population had been mobilized in every village, town and city to support an elected government in Saigon. American forces withdrew from South Vietnam when North Vietnam had yet to win the war. North Vietnam's attack against South Vietnam did not succeed until some time after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

http://historynet.com/vn/bllbjstrategy/index1.html

I hate to bore the readers with such an extensive quote about conditions in Vietnam in 1972 – 5 years after you allege the war was “lost,” but every word contradicts your stance. The US was kicking butt in Vietnam in 1972, not losing. I’ll indeed concede that by 1972 the US Isolationists had already won the propaganda war – just as they seem to be winning it now.

Moreover, just when was war declared? Was the congressional vote in Fall 2002 a carte blanche?

The “Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq” is extensive in the power granted to the President. Yes, I would say it is definitely a carte blanche. The bulk of the Resolution is a preamble that lists Saddam’s many sins. Here’s a short general quote from the end of the preamble:

… the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force …

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

The constitutional “authority” cited in the above quote is Article II of the Constitution, which is the article specifying Executive power.

 
At 1:21 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger antimedia said...

aqualung writes, "Antimedia, that's the strangest interpretation of the constitution I've ever heard. By your reasoning, why bother to have laws at all, if the president can break them or ignore them at his whim? That's the definition of despotism."

Start with the Federalist Papers. When you catch up to me we'll talk.

Steve writes, "My guess is that the above comment was meant to inspire confidence; actually, it makes Bush sound like a sociopath."

It was meant to be a simple statement of observeable fact, nothing more. I don't play word games. If you think that makes Bush a sociopath, that's your privilege.

steve j writes....nothing worth responding to...hackneyed talking points that ignore vast quantities of court precedent, not to mention the Constitution.

steve j, you started this comment thread with a stupid statement that had no relation whatsoever to reality. You've gone downhill since. You should quit. Or try actually thinking for once.

 
At 2:20 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE -

Perhaps you overlooked the significance of the Bui Tin quote.

 
At 2:25 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

steve j writes....nothing worth responding to...hackneyed talking points that ignore vast quantities of court precedent, not to mention the Constitution.

Was Justice Jackson mistaken or has his analyis been superseded?

 
At 2:32 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

ANTIM: steve j, you started this comment thread with a stupid statement that had no relation whatsoever to reality.

Once again, Bush told Woodward that he hadn't paid much attention to Al Qaida before 9-11.

They Had A Plan
Long before 9/11, the White House debated taking the fight to al-Qaeda. By the time they decided, it was too late. The saga of a lost chance

By Michael Elliott
Posted Sunday, Aug. 4, 2002; 2:31 a.m. EST
http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101020812/story.html

The proposals Clarke developed in the winter of 2000-01 were not given another hearing by top decision makers until late April, and then spent another four months making their laborious way through the bureaucracy before they were readied for approval by President Bush.

 
At 2:57 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

GRACKLE - Perhaps you overlooked the significance of the Bui Tin quote.

Steve, Why be so cryptic? Why don’t you just haul off & tell us what the significance is.

 
At 3:00 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE -Steve, Why be so cryptic? Why don’t you just haul off & tell us what the significance is.

The North Vietnamese realized in 1967 that the United States would not committ the forces necessary for a decisive victory. From that point on, all they had to do was not lose.

 
At 6:21 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

Antimedia...go read the Constitution, then we'll talk... (I can do that too!).

 
At 10:22 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger antimedia said...

agualung, I actually have read the Constitution. Have you? If so, please point me to the section that says that Congress can intrude upon the powers of the Commander in Chief.

Do you think it's an accident that the President can decide to use military force without consulting Congress? Do you think it's an accident that the President can plan and execute a war without consulting Congress. (Yes, Congress is supposed to declare war. Don't get off track.) Do you think it's an accident that Generals don't ask Congress for direction regarding war plans?

This isn't rocket science.

steve j, you really need to get some meds. To claim that a President, who had just taken office nine months earlier and was still forming his administration "didn't care" about Al Qaeda is to display a profound ignorance that cannot be overcome by reasoning. The very quote you cite is laughable. The administration didn't consider Clarke's plans until April? Clinton's admin ignored Clarke for years.

Please get some help. You're suffering from severe BDS.

 
At 10:38 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

The liberals and the media began their Tet exercise with Tet. In other words, well after we'd been in the war.

This time around, they started it prior to going after the Taliban. Remember the brutal Afghan winter, Afghanistan--grave of Western armies, million dead?

I am puzzled about two things with regard to the port. One is why now? Bad, bad PR. On the other hand, it has been said the only US firm that can handle this stuff is Halliburton and that PR would have been worse.

The PRC owns the Panama Canal, which Clinton allowed to be run by Hutchison-Whampoa. Any time they want to have a functionary pitch a thermite grenade in a lock mechanism, we go from having a two-ocean navy to having two one-ocean navies.

And that's presuming they don't simply refuse and let the International Court hear the case.
Which, I'm sure, would be applauded by the dems.

 
At 10:42 AM, March 03, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Steve J: As far as blog etiquette goes, you may or may not know that when you write a whole bunch of short, separate comments a few minutes apart, each time you have a thought, one right after the other with no other commenters or responses in between, it's considerred a form of spamming. It's best to integrate those comments and publish them as one.

 
At 11:32 AM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

The North Vietnamese realized in 1967 that the United States would not committ the forces necessary for a decisive victory. From that point on, all they had to do was not lose.

Gee, I think Steve must be a holdover from the Vietnam war era. Are you in your 60s, Steve? Steve has exactly the same type of giddy hero-worship of the North Vietnam Communists that the anti-warriors of that era did. They get the school-girl vapors & almost faint dead away when these assholes come out with their self-serving braggadocio & swallow every word without question & love to wallow in the “glory” of the eventual Communist victory.

I’ll agree with this: In 1967, “from that point on,” as Steve puts it, the North Vietnam honchos were hoping that their helpmates in the states, we’ll call them the Isolationists, would do their part to hand South Vietnam over to them. They were almost wrong, South Vietnam almost remained out of Communist hands, but 7 years later the democratically controlled Congress, in a spasm of immense bad judgement(part of the Nixon feeding frenzy), simply gave South Vietnam to the Communists.

That’s the part they hate to acknowledge, I think in part because it might tarnish the myth of North Vietnamese tactical & military superiority. Steve & his buddies are absolutely lustful in their desire that the same type of betrayal happens with Iraq, their little Cindy Sheehan buttons cloud over from their heavy breathing at the prospect.

 
At 12:10 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve said...

I don't think we need to fight the Vietnam war again. We lost, but the reason we lost is that the American people were not behind the kind of effort that would have been necessary to win.

That is one of my criticisms of this war: a lack of leadership to galvanize the American people to the long term project that this must be.

I can come up with several realpolitik explanations for why this war is necessary. I do not buy the "democracy building" argument.

Interesting to me, that not only have several conservatives now explicitly thrown in the towel, but another, V. D. Hanson, is retracting his "We are Winning" rhetoric and going more for a long slog of managing chaotic change, which, in fact, I think is the right approach. We don't really want a Saddam Lite in Iraq, but we may end up with something similar, but a bit more open-ended. And that'll do.

 
At 12:19 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Neo, you're onto something here. If you're a liberal, you have to buy the orthodoxy, and make reality fit into the suitcase of the ideology, no matter how much you have to stomp on it and contort it to get it in.

It seems to me that there are two underlying approaches in the routine opposition of the Left to our national security efforts:

1. They think the Right is deluded about the threat; that they're imagining it, or exaggerating it, or making it up. "Really," they say, "we can manage our security in the tried-and-true fashion of diplomacy, the UN, sanctions, etc."

2. They think that we deserve what we get, and they're rooting for our enemies. They'd be glad to see the US fail. They'd take a secret pleasure in one of our cities being blown up, provided it was a city in a red state (e.g. Dallas or Salt Lake City).

Don't underestimate #2. I think the combination of the two groups gives a synergy to the Left that makes their effect in the MSM and academia so pernicious.

Remember the guy who said, "Anyone who blows up the Pentagon gets my vote..."

 
At 1:06 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Grackle, you're doing great!

But you left out a key issue: Vietnam was a proxy war between N. Viet commies supported by the USSR (not China so much; they supported Pol Pot more), and S. Viet neo-democrats supported by the USA.

Do you have a link to the vote (who voted) for the 1974 surrender by the US Democratic Party of the S. Vietnamese (corrupt) client regime?

All the US had to do was keep paying the South to keep fighting for 15 more years, and the North would NOT have won -- and S. Vietnam today would be a lot more like S. Korea.
Instead of being worse than Cuba. Thanks to the anti-war folk AND the murderous N. Viet commies (who the anti-war folk thought were morally superior to Tricky Dicky).

 
At 1:19 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous kung fu said...

I recommend this George F. Will column to all of you.

 
At 1:59 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE - Steve has exactly the same type of giddy hero-worship of the North Vietnam Communists

Here we see the hysteria common to the fear-based right. When someone differs with them on an issue, they are compelled to slander them to preserve their own sense of self-righteousness.

At this point, rational discussion comes to an end and we move into the realm of Limbaugh and Hannity.

 
At 2:37 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger MikeZ said...

"Fear" seems to be becoming a meaningless word, an epithet for the left to throw around. "Islamophobia", for one. In most cases, they seem to want to redefine "fear" as "hate" or "dislike".

Rational fear is the thing that keeps us alive. If you're Swedish, and walk through parts of downtown L.A. or Detroit without fear, you're not fearless, you're suicidal. Same for a Jew who walks down a dark alley in Palestine - or more recently, in Paris.

Rational fear triggers at least two responses: fight or flight. For us now, it would be unwise to choose flight - which can include "ignore the problem and hope it'll go away".

It won't go away. If we ignore it, or try to appease it, the New Orleand levees won't be the only things breached.

 
At 2:37 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is funny is that you think the constant whining of you and your leftist compatriots is anything like rational discourse.

It isn't. It's more like a parade of morons.

Or should we start giving pulitzers for such insightful things as 'Bush is teh suxor!'?

Have fun as you ride your party into oblivion, because in case you haven't noticed, the people are not buying your lunacy.

 
At 3:05 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

ANON: Have fun as you ride your party into oblivion, because in case you haven't noticed, the people are not buying your lunacy.


From the Fox News poll:

- 39 percent of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing, only the second time Bush has fallen below 40 percent in Fox polling

- 81 percent believe Iraq is likely to end up in a civil war.

- 69 percent oppose allowing Dubai Ports World to manage U.S. ports.

 
At 3:23 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good lord man, each new poll brings with it a new hope that the evil Bu$h will finally be vanquished. Is that it?

Poll, after poll, after poll and you still think each one represents xmas morning to the left. It would be funny if it wasn't so pathological. Whatever helps you keep your chin up I suppose.

How many polls is this now? Considering that Bu$h can't run for re-election, and assuming that this poll (like every one before it) actually meant something, you still have the task of, you know, actually winning an election ahead of you.

Crazy does not win elections, nor do meaningless polls. Come back to reality, we miss you.

 
At 4:22 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Good lord man, each new poll brings with it a new hope that the evil Bu$h will finally be vanquished. Is that it?

Poll, after poll, after poll and you still think each one represents xmas morning to the left. It would be funny if it wasn't so pathological. Whatever helps you keep your chin up I suppose.

How many polls is this now? Considering that Bu$h can't run for re-election, and assuming that this poll (like every one before it) actually meant something, you still have the task of, you know, actually winning an election ahead of you.

Crazy does not win elections, nor do meaningless polls. Come back to reality, we miss you.

...not much of an argument against the claim that the people don't approve...

 
At 5:31 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

This is a LIE. 9-11 occurred because Fredo had little interest in Al Qaida before despite being warned that AL Qaida was the #1 threat to America.

The left love to blame Bush for things. We all know that. But it becomes difficult for them when it comes to blaming Bush for 9/11.

One major problem for the anti-warriors has to do with the Clinton administration being very aware of OBL. Clinton even had a chance to kill OBL but didn’t drop the ordnance on the man would be the New Caliph. A Clinton administration, you can be sure, would never have bombed the site in Pakistan where the US recently caught several prominent al Qaeda members at a banquet given in their honor. They would think about it; they might even have a some staff working on a plan, but in the end no Democratic Party President would have the guts to give the order. But their real difficulty is the stark fact is that before 9/11 Clinton had 8 years in which to do something about bin Laden & Bush had only 233 days.

Another problem for the anti-warriors seeking to Blame Bush for 9/11 is illustrated by Condoleezza Rice’s opening statement to the 9/11 Commission, relating how Bush kept key Clinton Administration members well into his first term:

President Bush retained George Tenet as Director of Central Intelligence, and Louis Freeh remained the Director of the FBI. And I took the unusual step of retaining Dick Clarke and the entire Clinton Administration's counterterrorism team on the NSC staff.

Bush told all the former Clinton officials(now Bush officials) to continue the Clinton Administration’s anti-terrorist initiatives & programs. It’s very hard to blame Bush for OBL when the function of dealing with OBL is supervised by Clinton holdovers.

It happens that Clarke had a new plan to contain al Qaeda, formulated during the months following the USS Cole bombing & preceding the election, that he presented to Rice. Rice, realizing I suppose that it was inadequate, instead tasked Clarke to formulate a new plan not to contain al Qaeda but to destroy it, keeping already proposed features such as freezing al Qaeda assets & accounts, but to also incorporate new, more aggressive strategies designed to eradicate al Qaeda altogether; the bombing of the banquet given to honor al Qaeda members as happened recently in Pakistan is an example of that new Bush strategy.

 
At 11:29 PM, March 03, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

"A Clinton administration, you can be sure, would never have bombed the site in Pakistan where the US recently caught several prominent al Qaeda members at a banquet given in their honor. They would think about it; they might even have a some staff working on a plan, but in the end no Democratic Party President would have the guts to give the order."

Thanks grackle. That about sums up why Kerry lost the last election. This is why its important to the Dems to make people believe terrorism isnt realy a problem.

This also goes back to one of Neo-neocon's past posts about getting ones hands dirty.

 
At 1:30 AM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Steve sez: As you may recall, Truman found out the hard way after he attempted to seize the steel mills during the Korean War.

I like your link, Steve. But the issue in that 1952 case was whether the President could seize property & interfere in a labor dispute. The ruling held that such powers were granted by the Constitution only to Congress. In Black’s majority opinion he sums it up thusly:

Even though "theater of war" be an expanding concept, we cannot with faithfulness to our constitutional system hold that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has the ultimate power as such to take possession of private property in order to keep labor disputes from stopping production. This is a job for the Nation's lawmakers, not for its military authorities.

It’s all very interesting, however the current issue is whether the Congress can pass laws that hinder the President’s constitutional right under Article II to gather intelligence on the enemy in wartime. I think we can all venture an educated guess on how the present Justices would rule on that. How about some decisions more germane to the debate?

 
At 1:37 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE - How about some decisions more germane to the debate?

OK,

UNITED STATES v. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

407 U.S. 297 (1972)

(b) The freedoms of the Fourth Amendment cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances are conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch without the detached judgment of a neutral magistrate. Pp. 316-318.


http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=407&invol=297

 
At 2:27 AM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Steve: Once again, Bush told Woodward that he hadn't paid much attention to al Qaeda before 9-11.

Steve is off base with this. The actual question Woodward asked of Bush is: Did you want to have bin Laden killed before September 11?

Bush’s answer: Well, I hadn't seen a plan to do that. I knew that we needed to -- I think the appropriate word is 'bring him to justice.' And, of course, this is something of a trick question in that notion of self-defense which is appropriate for...

Condoleezza Rice, in her testimony to the 9/11 commission, provides some context to Bush’s response to Woodward’s question:

I think you can see here a president struggling with whether he ought to be talking about pre-9/11 attempts to kill bin Laden. And so, that is the context for this quote.

The president goes on. When Bob Woodward says, "Well, I don't mean it as a trick question; I'm just trying to your state of mind," the president says, "Let me put it this way. I was not -- there was a significant difference in my attitude after September 11. I was not on point, but I knew he was a menace and I knew he was a problem. I knew he was responsible. We felt he was responsible for bombings that had killed Americans. And I was prepared to look at a plan that would be a thoughtful plan that would bring him to justice and would have given the order to do just that.


When the actual words are examined in context we can appreciate Steve’s inaccurate paraphrase for the distortion it is. Bush didn’t say “he hadn't paid much attention to al Qaeda before 9-11” to Woodward or anyone else. He was actually asked about something totally different: whether he wanted to have bin Laden killed before 9/11. I find that I have to fact-check Steve’s comments carefully. He’s very prone to hazy generalizations & unfounded assertions.

 
At 3:31 AM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Steve keeps trying, but the case law he cites has little in common with the present issue. The 1972 case is about some Vietnam war protesters conspiring to blow up government property, a la Timothy McVeigh & the Oklahoma City Federal Building. It’s criminal & it’s domestic. The current controversy is espionage & foreign. The main reason cited for the Court’s decision against the government:

There is no evidence of any involvement, directly or indirectly, of a foreign power.

In other words, the defendants in the case were not agents of a foreign power; they were home-grown Vietnam War protesters.

And in the conclusion the Justices were careful to define the limits & exceptions to the decision:

We emphasize, before concluding this opinion, the scope of our decision. As stated at the outset, this case involves only the domestic aspects of national security. We have not addressed, and express no opinion as to, the issues which may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents. Nor does our decision rest on the language of 2511 (3) or any other section of Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968[a law forbidding unauthorized wiretaps]. That Act does not attempt to define or delineate the powers of the President to meet domestic threats to the national security.

That’s probably why the NSA wiretaps were limited to overseas calls initiated by suspected al Qaeda agents. In fact, after reading this case, I’m more inclined than ever to believe that the President is on firm legal grounds in regards to the wiretaps.

 
At 7:58 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Alexandra said...

All Things Beautiful TrackBack God Will Be My Judge'

 
At 8:35 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

So, Antimedia believes Bush's power during wartime is absolute, and congress has no oversight role. Bush is Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces; nothing more. He cannot comandeer all aspects of this society and pervert them at will, just because he declares a never ending global war on terrorism. So, by your logic, in this GWOT, Bush can do ANYTHING he chooses including murder, torture, imprisonment without charges being filed (ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, by the way), manipulation of elections, and the squandering of billions in public money on a lost cause. Of course, he has been able to do most of these things but only because he has accessories to all of this in a collusive and corrupt GOP congress. I would love to see you supporting a Democratic president's power under similar circumstances; of course you never would, because with all of you neo-cons, it's Bush and party over country. So, if Bush can kill, torture and eavesdrop on innocent Americans without oversight, how exactly, do we distinquish him from Saddam Hussein in his heyday?

Hey, and why no discussion of the Dubai ports deal or the Katrina tapes on this site? Maybe the name of this blog should be changed to "Head in Sand Blog". Whaddaya think?

 
At 9:47 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE -

Fredo said "not on point" to Woodward. Fredo or one of his minokns were told by Clinton, Cohen (SECDEF), Tenet, Berger and Clarke that Al Qaida was America's #1 Threat.

Fredo decided to concentrate on Iran instead and devoted the first two National Security Council meetings (late Kan & early Feb 2001) to Iran.

 
At 9:50 AM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

That’s probably why the NSA wiretaps were limited to overseas calls initiated by suspected al Qaeda agents.

We were only told that one end of the conversation was overseas. We weren't told that the conversation started overseas.

In addition, AG Gonzalez testified recently before the Senate Judiciary Committee that they go through FISA for taps solely within the U.S. BETWEEN 2 suspected Al Qaida agents.

That position makes hash of their article II war powers claim.

 
At 12:45 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger aqualung said...

Gee, we read today that the Pentagon was forced by a FEDERAL JUDGE to release the names of detainees at GITMO, which until now, the Bush administration has refused to do. Maybe there is judicial oversight afterall. I guess we need to continually sue to keep this administration from breaking the laws of the land. Wouldn't it be easier, not to mention cheaper and less criminal, to simply obey the law?

 
At 1:54 PM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

So, by your logic, in this GWOT, Bush can do ANYTHING he chooses including murder, torture, imprisonment without charges being filed (ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, by the way), manipulation of elections, and the squandering of billions in public money on a lost cause.

No, not anything, but he does have the right & duty to gather intelligence on the enemy under powers delineated in Article II.

I would love to see you supporting a Democratic president's power under similar circumstances; of course you never would, because with all of you neo-cons, it's Bush and party over country.

I don’t speak for all neocons, but I would happily vote for a Democrat, as I have most of my life, if the Democrats would get on the correct side of this war. I fear there is small chance of that because the Democrats, with their hysterical opposition, have rendered themselves incapable of defending the country. I voted for Reagan in his 2nd term election & voted for Bush on his 2nd term. All my other Presidential votes have been for Democratic Party candidates.

Fredo said "not on point" to Woodward. Fredo or one of his minions were told by Clinton, Cohen (SECDEF), Tenet, Berger and Clarke that Al Qaeda was America's #1 Threat.

More obfuscation by Steve. Bush told all the Clinton holdovers to continue whatever they were doing about terrorism, al Qaeda & OBL. The holdovers, despite whatever Steve thinks they may have thought or said about al Qaeda’s significance, recommended only the apprehension & trial of OBL, as if OBL was a Timothy McVeigh, a policy of containment. Bush & Rice, on the other hand, initiated a policy of eradication, which they carry through at this moment, despite the screaming & hand-wringing of the anti-warriors.

Furthermore, Bush told Woodward merely that he was “not on point” to kill bin Laden before 9/11. The holdovers from the Clinton era were certainly “not on point,” in the way that Steve uses the phrase, recommending as they did only comparatively weak actions to Bush & Rice, as if OBL & al Qaeda were the Mafia.

I notice too that the anti-warriors alternate between condemning Bush for concentrating too much on Iran & castigating him for not paying enough attention to Iran. O Consistency, where is thy sting.

Steve sez: We were only told that one end of the conversation was overseas. We weren't told that the conversation started overseas. That position makes hash of their article II war powers claim.

All the government has to demonstrate is that there were foreign agents involved in the overseas calls. Where the calls originated from has no bearing on the issue. Foreign agents calling from overseas or their helpmates calling them from the USA, it’s all espionage & is covered by Article II. I’m all out of hash, Steve, how about some crow?

In addition, AG Gonzalez testified recently before the Senate Judiciary Committee that they go through FISA for taps solely within the U.S. BETWEEN 2 suspected Al Qaida agents.

Signifying what, exactly?

 
At 2:27 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Wouldn't it be easier, not to mention cheaper and less criminal, to simply obey the law?

IANAL, so I can't say whether you're correct in these measures being illegal; I'll just respond to that one sentence. The answer is 'maybe, maybe not.' However abusable such measures as the PATRIOT act, secret prisoners, etc. are, they do have legitimate uses; I can certainly conceive of scenarios where even breaking the law would save lives sufficient to justify breaking the law (and where following the law would not be able to produce the same results). As such, to answer that question with any degree of competence, you'd have to do a detailed costs/benefits analysis; your question is not an answer.

 
At 2:32 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

In sequential order. To Mary at the far end. Search for "To May" to quick step.

(That's not even too much of an exaggeration: I've had friends express as much to me, and it sure didn't sound as though they were joking.)

It is normal for a guilty conscious to project things it cannot accept to things the other side wants to do to them. The truth is that it is the liberal utopians that restrict civil rights through the KELO Act and other organizations like the ACLU, and not framed and infamous Republicans.

which could end up at least partially exonerating the evil arch-enemy Nixon (for his attempt to stop their publication, not for Watergate)

People who don't do propaganda tend to suck at it when they first start. Case in point. Vietnam was an expertly run propaganda machine, on greased gears, if you look at it objectively.

Good propagandists don't get caught. (Remember Dan Rather? He's 71 some... and he was only caught how many years ago?)

Sort of analogous to "good secret spies aren't known". Or "good operatives are behind the scenes, not in the scenes".

In this conflict of ideas, we cannot win if we are afraid to defend our own values against those who would seek to destroy them.

The achime of battleskill is not in taking a fortification with a fight, but in winning without a fight at all. Psychology plays a big part. 3 to 1.

The Islamics seem to have been boning up on their war skills. Kudos to them. When are we going to take the gloves off, that is what I wanna know.

To me it's a slippery slope going straight to hell.

This is why people still believe the Republicans voted the KELO Act in on the SC.

Nice, ain't it. Good frame, I'm taking notes.

Like I said before and steve ran away from, steve has a different version of history than I do.

(as is always the case, summaries distort)

One of the reasons why I don't do summaries unless specifically requested.

Immediately after this bit of heated rhetoric, you accuse neo of going "over the top"

Woah, if Neo had accused of being over the top, how would people describe me I wonder? Pretty heavy.

AND how the Danish Imams intentionally misled Muslims by inserting three additional, and highly inflammatory, cartoons into their travelling presentations.

Like I said, good propagandists don't get caught. You may think you know this fact, but try convincing anyone here, let alone AL-Jazeera territory of that. Good propagandists do not get caught for the simple reason that they already control the battlespace and can make anything you say about them, turn into a lie.

It's a fortification. Propagandists own the battlespace of men's minds, so they are in the fortifications shooting arrows at you but you can't shoot back cause they are protected.

Accussations just fly off the walls and hit your own guys. You need heavier firepower, a lot heavier, but if you are unwilling to use it, tough nuts. Go siege and eat soup with a knife then.

Nixon tried to storm the gates with a bunch of idiots. Not a good idea.

I suspect you and I disagree about exactly what the threat is that our nation faces.

That tends to ahppen, gctharn, when people have different versions of history.

I noticed steve j posted six times. It's a sign of a mind that cannot edit, preview, or otherwise review his writing for such flaws as logic problems and reasoning errors. Why review your belief, shizza, when you can post as many of them as you can?

Liberal utopia run rampant.

9-11 occurred because crazy Muslims, willing to kill themselves in order to kill many others, had a smart killing plan, and followed it.
They're at war -- you want us to surrender instead of to fight back.


Not to get all religious, but I think 9/11 happened because God decided America was getting decadent, weak, and defenseless. So he gave us a wake up call, and then let us decide what to do with it.

America has always been lucky in our history, you could say we had been blessed by the grace of God. This wakeup call did not result in millions dieing as it easily could have if the terroists had been smart and waited for iran to get a nuke in a few years. But we were saved from that, just as we were saved on Pearl harbor.

We got the warning, and it was always just before the point of no return had been passed.

What is that, if not the Grace of God?

Fears of nukes, or any WMDs, are purely exagerated -- until they happen. Then they're the fault of the Pres. for having little interest in the threat.
Right.


Exactly, that is the catch 22 all conscientious propagandists seek to create.

But most tiresome of all is your refusal to acknowledge when you have been answered on one point, but simply shift to another, somewhat related.

Don't you remember your Sun Tzu?

Strike where they are weak, move when you are weak and they are strong. Old trick.

There are elementary rules of discourse among persons seeking to discuss and debate.

There is very little debate once a war has commenced. Debate is for the time before a war.

There are ways to get permission to do this stuff. So they can do it.

Why do I get the feeling that those "ways" involve the Supreme Court, i.e. the KELO Act to steal private property?

As denser social constructs makes it easier to control people, and regulate people, all the more necessary to have guarantees of individual dignity and autonomy. That's what I get from 20th Century history.

Steve got his government guarantees from the 20th century, I got my 2nd Ammendment guarantee from the 18th. I prefer my guarantee to his, since I think it is will expire soon.

(not Israel, too many Arabs and Muslim shrines there.)

This must be why AL-Qaeda didn't bomb the Golden Shrine Mosque in Samara.

For that, as I said earlier, we should be relying on giant SWAT teams and GOOD intelligence.

Some people like a policestate and are willing to trade their liberties in return for safety, but some don't.

But, I was angry, know what I mean? I didn't really mean it.

Some people get angry and that allows them to take actions they otherwise wouldn't have the will to do. Other people, get less angry and more calm, and act just as Steve would act if angry, except with better judgement in the calmness.

To May

The biggest mystery is - why do legitimize them? Why do we tolerate them? Why are we financing their war against us?

Look at the above. Most civilizations produce men that can only do violence when angry. Same with women. There are few men and women that can do violence with a cold and calculated precision, based upon rationality and long range planning. So few that the momentum is against them, and it is far easier to go with the flow and let the anger seep away, to fall back to sleep, and dream pleasant dreams while other people die screaming in the night far from your home and nation.

You can't believe that Bush is more dangerous than the genocidal fascists who have slaughtered and enslaved millions of Sudanese.

There are psychos that believe that if they kill their daughters then they would gain honor. Believe it.

We're supposed to be fighting terrorism, why is Bush giving money to Hamas?

Bush is a multilateralist, what did you expect?

Why does he call the genocidal Sudan and the Saudis our allies in the war against terror?

Not to beg the question, but, that is also cause of multilateralism.

Joseph Marshall is a good propagandist, a very well constructed word smith. If I was a Democrat and a terroist enabler, I'd hire him in an insant. The true believer trait would be just a bonus.

These things are funny to read. Cause, it's a lot of talk and no action. I really can't take serious people who aren't willing to do anything or support anyone else doing anything.

What are they afraid of, failure?

the one with the 3 bullet point list of Justice Jackson was hilarious. It was 2, yet they say it was 1, and they think 1 matters. There is no spoon, anyone?

A socio path... oh, that's rich.

Was Justice Jackson mistaken or has his analyis been superseded?

Your interpretation has been superseded as well as mistaken.

Jeez, louiz. You guys write more than I do. Can't you condense it? I'm not even done reading yet.

Interesting to me, that not only have several conservatives now explicitly thrown in the towel, but another, V. D. Hanson, is retracting his "We are Winning" rhetoric and going more for a long slog of managing chaotic change, which, in fact, I think is the right approach. We don't really want a Saddam Lite in Iraq, but we may end up with something similar, but a bit more open-ended. And that'll do.

Man, that's a good idea, I'll have to "blog" about that. Among other things since my abscence.

At this point, rational discussion comes to an end and we move into the realm of Limbaugh and Hannity.

Rationality came to an end when I read all the comments and I realized that stuff was wack and way too long.

A lot of people will get upset at irrationality. I tend to feed off of it, it is chaos, and I focus a lot of my attention on how to mold chaos. Republicans and conservatives will attack, to them, illogical people. I don't attack illogical people, I try and take them apart psychologically and emotionally. The benefit is not to convince, the benefit is to derive information of my opponent's strengths and weaknesses. Debate was never to me, an opportunity to convince anyone, but to learn.

...not much of an argument against the claim that the people don't approve...

CBS's Bush Approval Poll with the 39% had 250 Republicans and 400 something Democrats.That sound like an argument to you?

Polls are only useful if you prevent the public from getting at the raw data. So long as you can filter the results to them, it is useful.

Wouldn't it be easier, not to mention cheaper and less criminal, to simply obey the law?

Look, I don't want to live under the rule of judges and the laws that they and their lawyers write up. You may, but you should move to Europe. Then everyone would be happy.

 
At 5:07 PM, March 04, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

That the "neocon" agenda -- or whatever it was that led to the invasion of Iraq -- was based on fear is obvious, in that the main premise was that Saddam could attack us with WMD's soon, or would allow terrorists to do so.

Here Steve confuses wise & prudent caution for fear. What 9/11 proved is that the US could no longer afford the passive foreign policy of the years leading up to 9/11. This time airplanes into 3 buildings, next time perhaps a nuke, given the often expressed intentions of the enemy, seems to me to be such an obvious & logical progression – but not to the anti-warriors; their basic stance is that it could never happen. We pro-warriors must do our best to see that they not be allowed the luxury of an error of this magnitude.

Notice Steve’s wording: “ … that Saddam could attack us with WMD's soon, or would allow terrorists to do so.”

We readers have no idea what Steve means by “soon.” Two weeks, two months, two years, two decades – we just don’t know. Maybe Steve will clarify that for us.

“Allow”? “Enable” would be the better word. Portable WMD, because of the technological requirements of their manufacture, would have to be provided to terrorists. But that doesn’t seem to bother the anti-warriors very much. Here are two themes that are seen a lot:

Saddam had no WMD & was not intending to manufacture any in the future, and/or

Saddam wouldn’t give WMD to terrorists because they were religious while Saddam was strictly secular & he would be afraid that the religious terrorists would overthrow him & establish a theocracy in Iraq.

Apparently for some anti-warriors, the concept of Saddam attacking the US with WMD, not “soon,” of course, but at some vague point in the future, doesn’t set off any alarms whatsoever. La De Da, no need to worry, skip idly through fields of clover, stopping to smell the roses, because the wolf is only halfway to Grandma’s cottage.

 
At 8:07 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE - Bush & Rice, on the other hand, initiated a policy of eradication,

Their "policy" is a miserable failure.

Terrorist growth overtakes U.S. efforts
By Sharon Behn
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
March 2, 2006
http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20060301-113323-8165r.htm

Thirty new terrorist organizations have emerged since the September 11, 2001, attacks, outpacing U.S. efforts to crush the threat, said Brig. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the Pentagon's deputy director for the war on terrorism.
"We are not killing them faster than they are being created," Gen. Caslen told a gathering at the Woodrow Wilson Center yesterday, warning that the war could take decades to resolve.

 
At 8:42 PM, March 04, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE: We readers have no idea what Steve means by “soon.” Two weeks, two months, two years, two decades – we just don’t know. Maybe Steve will clarify that for us.


“Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists.”
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021007-8.html

 
At 3:05 AM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

"We are not killing them faster than they are being created," Gen. Caslen told a gathering at the Woodrow Wilson Center yesterday, warning that the war could take decades to resolve.

It needs to be pointed out that the General was not talking about the Iraq war “taking decades to resolve,” but rather the global War On Terror. One realizes this only if one pursues & reads the link. Steve’s a bit shy about supplying context.

But this has been what the administration has been saying all along, beginning right after 9/11, that the WOT is going to be a long, hard slog. We’ve heard it over & over again from the President & also Rummy & Rice.

I’ve no doubt that terrorist organizations are growing & could certainly continue to grow. After all, the US is confronting the terrorists & their enablers, something that, for various reasons, the US didn’t care to do before 9/11 & that has certainly infuriated the enemy. Yes, rather like a housing market, terrorism is on the “upswing.” My puzzlement comes from Steve’s need to quote such a common Bush Administration cautionary but I’ll guess that it is a sub-group of the We-Shouldn’t-Fight-Terrorism-Because-Fighting-Terrorism-Tends-To-Piss-Off-The-Terrorists Meme that anti-warriors tend to whip out at odd moments.

Steve quotes Bush: Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

Below is some of what Bush said that came before the above statement.

If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.


So readers, when we pursue the link & read the words that came before the Bush quote we learn that Bush was referring to stockpiles of WMD Saddam was known to possess at the end of the first Gulf War. Elements of those stockpiles were the same WMD used earlier against the Kurds & the Iranian Army. The terms of the cease fire specified that Saddam must account for those WMD stockpiles. He never did, a fact about which the anti-warriors remain placidly unconcerned. Clearly, in Steve’s cherry-picked quote, Bush was speaking about the potential for Saddam to distribute elements of those same WMD stockpiles to terrorists.

 
At 7:03 AM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Steve J. said...

GRACKLE -

Well, you bought into the fear-mongering and lies by this regime and you don't have the intellectual honesty to admit it.

 
At 12:06 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Bush once said that you can't win the WoT the normal way. And the Democrats crucified him for saying that the war couldn't be won.

Yet Steve J now tries to say that he never agreed with Bush, that killing terroists really won't win the WoT.

Steve J is just trying to agree with Bush without appearing to, for his own covert reasons.

Intellectual honesty is about believing in things that are justified more than they are unjustified, intellectual honesty has nothing to do with people agreeing with your hidden and covert agenda steve j.

 
At 1:42 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Steve J.: You might find this interesting; I sure did.

 
At 2:02 PM, March 05, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Steve gets mad: GRACKLE - Well, you bought into the fear-mongering and lies by this regime and you don't have the intellectual honesty to admit it.

I’m rubber & you’re glue

Everything you say

Bounces off me

& sticks to you

(My best schoolyard taunt)

 
At 7:42 PM, March 05, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Grackle, that sucks.

Go with the force shield example. Any damage you do to me, I will return a thousand fold.

 
At 3:27 PM, March 07, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

And the parade of strawmen continues, despite a battlefield strewn with their shredded corpses. Fight on, brave grackle and antimedia!

 
At 4:38 PM, March 24, 2006, Anonymous motivation books said...

motivation books For You.. Check it out

 

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