Saturday, August 06, 2005

Terrorists and their Western apologists--therapists hatch some theories

Roger Simon recently linked to this essay by Dr. Robert Harman, which attempts to analyze terrorists and our reaction to them, and in particular the symbiotic psychological connection between terrorists and their Western apologists.

Dr Harman is an orgonomist. Huh, you say? What's an orgonomist? "Orgonomist," as in Reich's "orgone box," one of those branches of psychoanalysis that seems to have made a sharp turn and plunged into extreme eccentricity quite some time ago.

But orgonomy is apparently alive and well and living in Princeton, New Jersey. I can't quite figure out what orgonomists really do at this point, or whether they've jettisoned the orgone box (as far as I can decipher from the website, they have, thankfully). I'd never even heard of the American College of Orgonomy before, but its members appear to be bona fide psychiatrists who attempt to integrate some aspects of body dynamics into their practice of psychotherapy. For some reason, part of orgonomic theory seems to be to delve rather deeply into the political, which is extremely unusual for a psychotherapeutic discipline. (See, for example, this article analyzing the phenomenon of liberalism, written almost half a century ago by a leading orgonomist.)

In light of this history of a political focus on the part of orgonomists, it's not so strange after all that Dr. Harman was able to write his article only a month and a half after the events of 9/11. Apparently he'd already been thinking about these sorts of questions for quite a while.

Harman doesn't really pick up steam until the second half of the essay, the part that is subtitled "Who Are They?" and the sections that follow it. He sees the relationship between terrorists and their liberal apologists as an almost-perfect sadomasochistic symbiosis. The following excerpt contains the heart of his message on the subject:

...when his nation is attacked, the normally decent, true liberal is at risk for having the following masochistic reaction, particularly under the influence of vocal pseudo-liberals who occupy opinion-making positions (academia, the clergy, the media, etc.):
He will criticize and may even blame his own nation.
He will develop a guilt-ridden or anxious desire to "solve" the problem by being nicer to those who might hate or dislike his country.
He will elaborate various disaster scenarios which he fears will occur if force is used aggressively. Usually the imagined disaster is a variation of "it will only make them hate us even more" or a feared dramatic escalation of violence which we will not have the will or the strength (so the liberal believes) to handle.
He fears that his nation and its leaders (especially if they are not liberals) are stupid and clumsy, and he may insist on replacing a directly aggressive defense with half-hearted responses which actually would be clumsy and ineffective.

This type of masochistic reaction only increases the sadism of the terrorist, leading to new attacks which further increase the masochistic response, and so on in a vicious cycle. The September 11th attacks were the culmination of a decade of such a cycle of sadomasochistic interaction.

I think the most remarkable thing about this passage (other than the fact that it was written by an orgonomist), is that it was delivered at a conference on Oct. 21, 2001. At that relatively early date, Harman seems to have understood exactly what would be the ensuing liberal/leftist reaction, although it really hadn't developed yet.

Another fascinating observation by Harman is his discussion of the linkage between fanatics on the far left and those on the far right (what he refers to as "red" and "black" fascists, respectively):

...there is often a synergistic relationship between black and red fascism...The red fascist is incapable of expressing his aggression in a gut level way and of communicating a high, sustained emotional charge, thus he admires the black fascist's ability to do these things...the black fascist expresses himself emotionally, sometimes in a nearly incoherent way. This can be seen in some of Osama Bin Ladin's speeches and in Hitler's diplomatic communiqués, which are emotionally charged, but don't hold together logically. Thus the black fascist benefits from the red fascist's ability to use logical arguments to persuade liberals into immobilizing any nation's effort to forcefully oppose the black fascist's aggression. Eventually the red fascist and the black fascist will turn on each other and one or the other will prevail, but they are temporarily united as one in their hatred of life. This is seen today in the synergistic action of the covert hatred of America on the part of the pseudo-liberal and the overt hatred of America on the part of the Islamic fanatic...

Since this was written in October of 2001, I would say that Harman ought to get some sort award for prescience, although of course his prescience is based on the study of history. This cooperation between far right and far left is precisely what has come to pass; the two work as a sort of tag team. The Islamofascists provide the emotionally aggressive "juice" and the leftist apologists supply the "logical" arguments designed to lead Western nations to appeasement, attempting to cause effective action against the Islamofascists to be blocked and immobilized.

The fact that Islamofascists stand for everything the far left is ostensibly against--persecution of women and gays, just to take two obvious examples--has been a puzzlement in endeavoring to understand why it is that leftists seem nevertheless to ally with them. But Harman doesn't look at this alliance in political terms, so he sees no contradiction in it. Instead, he sees the politics as a sort of nearly-irrelevant screen, an excuse for the deeper emotional interactions that drive the whole engine. The sadist and the masochist are pulled together by ties stronger than logic or politics, and the wimpy intellectual worships the angry thug who acts as his/her bold and rageful surrogate.

To find a good example, one can see this dynamic working most clearly and nakedly in the writings of British leftist journalist Robert Fisk. In his famous Afghan beating article, (dating from December, 2001, months after Harman's observations) Fisk writes:

They started by shaking hands. We said "Salaam aleikum" – peace be upon you – then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn't see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn't blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.

As a psychiatrist, Harman thinks in terms of individual psychology. As a family therapist, I don't ordinarily think that way, although I do understand such terms and believe his analysis to be a good one. But if I had to come up with a simple explanation for the behavior of so many liberals or leftists who make excuses for terrorists, I would describe it differently.

I think there is a similarity to the attitude of many abused children who blame themselves for the abusive actions of their parents. Children believe in an ordered and just world. It may seem paradoxical, but for most abused children it is less threatening and terrifying to see themselves as the guilty ones, and to believe that their abusive parents are punishing them for a good reason, than to know that the world is a place in which parents can be irrationally abusive towards their own innocent children. Part of the work of therapy with such children (even after they've grown up) is to convince them that they themselves were/are not evil and deserving of the abuse.

I think that, in a similar way, most liberals and even some leftists like to believe that the world is a just and sane place, and that people are rational actors--particularly people in third-world countries (the actions of the "evil" US and Israel are often excluded from this benign formulation). If such people are out to get us, it's merely because we have done something to them that has made us deserve it. The reasoning is similar to that of the aforementioned abused child.

There is a tremendous power inherent in such a formulation, although it is a hidden sort of power. For the child, it means that he/she is in some sort of control, rather than at the mercy of a powerful, irrational, and cruel person--his abusing parent. After all, if the child's behavior is the reason for the abuse, than the child can stop the abuse, if only he/she can identify that key behavior and change it. It resets the locus of control and puts it back in the child--although only theoretically (in fact, it is an impossible dream of the child, and cannot be accomplished).

A similar dynamic is true of many of the liberals and leftists who blame our actions for the behavior of terrorists. Terrorists are frightening, cruel, violent, unpredictable. Anyone could be a target at any time. But if we say that they are only reacting to things that we ourselves are doing, things we could easily change if we wanted to, then the locus of control goes back to us, and the world is a far less scary and far more ordered place.

(ADDENDUM 8/8/05, 9:15 PM: Welcome, Instapundit and Roger Simon readers! If you're a glutton for punishment and interested in reading a few more of my long-winded tomes, go to the heart of this blog--its raison d'etre, as it were. Scroll down on the right sidebar to find the links under the title, "A mind is a difficult thing to change." It's a series about the formation of a political identity, and the process of changing one's mind politically.)


At 11:15 AM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to gush but posts like this are the reason that neo-neocon is fast becoming one of my favorite sites.

At 12:20 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to see things so clearly and matter-of-factly since your "mugging". It is difficult for those of us who are fans of your thinking and your ability to explain so well to imagine all your intelligence being used to support the very positions you now make mincemeat of. The journey you are so generously sharing remains endlessly fascinating. Thanks for another great post.

At 2:07 PM, August 06, 2005, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

An excellent piece.

I happened to have just read the following (on the surface, largely unrelated) posting:
and found your own observations about the victims of child abuse to be rather disturbing in the context of the above, linked posting...

At 3:35 PM, August 06, 2005, Blogger camojack said...

Brilliant! Sort of off on a tangent, but often anymore the word therapists brings to mind "Celebrity Jeopardy" on SNL...the actor portraying Sean Connery pronounced it "The Rapists".

At 4:16 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love the Reichians.

They've always been politcal, since Wilhelm himself left Germany as a result of his psychoanalysis of the Nazis as a group. He determined that they were sexually stunted and seeking healthy orgasmic function through shared atrocity.

They're Freudians. Go figure.

Styron had his depression treated by an Orgonomist; the passage in Drakness Visible describing the visit is quite interesting.

At 4:42 PM, August 06, 2005, Blogger Barba Roja said...

So the nutcase occult-minded psychologists agree with you. Go figure.

At 4:51 PM, August 06, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

- and to think I have been calling the apologists sick bastards all this time - simply an outstanding piece here, Neo

At 4:52 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black or Red?

At 4:53 PM, August 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops - sorry goesh. 'twas re: LA

At 5:11 PM, August 06, 2005, Blogger Mike's America said...

Thank you, thank you... I was thinking along the same lines today when I posted "To Win This War, First Know Your Enemy"

In it, I describe how Dutchman Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered not because of his support of the United States or Israel, but because he used his right to free expression to explore the subject of women and Islam in the documentary "Submission."

That masochistic tendency of liberals that Dr.Harman, the orgonomist, describes is something that particularly troubles me.

How will we be effective in this war and hopefully prevent what Al Queda warned would be worse than the horror of September 11 if we cannot recognize that the problem here is NOT US?

At 6:10 AM, August 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is the most insightful piece I've read in a long time -- thanks.

I hope this doesn't seem like a gratuitous comparison, but your analysis reminds me of a conclusion I came to in trying to understand why a friend believed so strongly in Christianity, whereas it seemed obvious to me as I became an adult that the evidence for the truth of the religion was entirely absent. As I pressed her, she became agitated, and finally waived my arguments about evidence aside by saying "I don't know how I would go on living if I didn't believe in God."

Her deep need to see the universe as ultimately moral had trumped her ability or willingness to look at the evidence.

At 8:14 AM, August 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Excellent comment about child abuse, very perceptive!

At 9:36 AM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Great double ideas: the S & M cycle,
and the child abuse kind of "abused in control".

Michael J. Totten's posts on the Left and the Islamofascists, with Leftist Galloway now supporting the killers, led me to write up a post about OUT of Power Left Supporting Islamofascists

It adds a different, non-contradictory view, to your insights. Miss you on MJT's comments -- glad I can find you here.

At 9:20 PM, August 07, 2005, Blogger Unknown said...

What is the allure of masochism? Submission, atonement--it makes one feel a bit holy, especially for those who have rejected religion, the traditional platform. Most people draw back, though, before it becomes dangerous. A fringe of the left I think may never recover--it simply feels too good.

The extremes, black and red, often do meet. In a scant four years, Baader-Meinhof transformed itself from a protest against the unfinished de-Nazification of Germany to brothers in arms to the Islamists, even accompanying them on airliner hijackings! A few survivors today are fanatical right wingers--I guess if one Utopian, authoritarian vision doesn't work, there's always another.

At 3:39 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The September 11th attacks were the culmination of a decade of such a cycle of sadomasochistic interaction."
-(excerpt from Harman)

'I think the most remarkable thing about this passage (other than the fact that it was written by an orgonomist), is that it was delivered at a conference on Oct. 21, 2001. At that relatively early date, Harman seems to have understood exactly what would be the ensuing liberal/leftist reaction, although it really hadn't developed yet.'
-(excerpt from neo-neocon)

hadn't developed yet??

looking at the behavior of the previous presidential administration,(Somalia,USS Cole,
1993 WTC,etc.)
Harman had perhaps seen the pattern already.

this article by Norman Podhoretz
(originally in Commentary,linked here in FrontPageMag)
shows the chronology back to
Carter+the Ayatollah and
Regan and the Marine Barracks
in Lebanon.

FrontPage :
World War IV by Norman Podhoretz

clearly,the pattern preceded 9/11.


At 6:11 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't need a Freudian or a Reichean to explain 911 to me and the motives of Islamofascists. It's all verbal gymnastics and hype in many cases. Often the therapists has as many unresolved issues as the patient !

At 8:37 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The followers of the "religion of peace" aren't interested in negotiation or compromise. If they were, there would be a Palestinian state as we speak. This is a war, and it's been going on for much longer than most of us realize. bin Laden, for instance, is still angered over the crusades.

Muslims are attacking everyone, all over the world. The U. S. is world's biggest target, so we get most of the ink.

A 63 year old man was beheaded in Southern Thailand while he was checking his rubber trees. 59 Hindus were massacred on a passenger train. What do either of these have to do with Iraq?

It's happening everywhere, and these murderers would rationalize their acts whether or not we were engaged in the War on Terror.

At 11:11 AM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This posts brings to mind another I read recently that opined on the apparent need for many on the left to view world events in terms of an ordered sense of "justice" that plays itself out according to our actions.

For instance, terror attacks are simply retribution for our past, or present, misdeeds, or, in the words of Ward "Little Eichmans" Churchill, "chickens coming home to roost".

A negative action brings about a negative reaction.

Conversely, if only we would present the world with positive actions, we could all sit around the camp fire and sing songs.

This is a very nice, neat way to wrap up the universe and it gives them an theoretical path to attain the yearned for Utopian dream.

The stumbling block to this, in my opinion, extremely naive world-view is the fact that it is based solely on the erronious assumption that all people of the world are seeking justice, and will respond to it in kind.

For subscribers to this way of thinking, there is simply no room for the uncomfortable truth that there really are people that do not want peace, and would reply to an olive branch with a sword point.

It may not be Utopian, but nonetheless, it is true.

The terrorists themselves will tell us this, when they're not scoring propaganda points by parroting the words of George Galloway.

Our very existence is an impediment to their goal.

I, for one, refuse to appologize for my existence.

At 2:31 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To add a small variation on this: During a discussion last week, we were talking about the intense need that even middle-aged adults (e.g. us) still had to make our parents love us, and giving up on that desire, no matter how destructive it may have been, left a great sense of loss.

The talk then turned to abused children, and their need to love their parents and believe they are loved in turn. A woman there made what I found to be an original and compelling argument. She said that, in terms of evolution, until a century or so ago, the children who were able to stay with their parents, regardless of how horribly treated, probably had a better chance of survival than those who found it unbearable and went out on their own.

I'm not an "Evolution is everything" type, but I found it a fascinating and credible idea to at least partly explain this tragedy.

Seeing this as an analogy, "Red Fascists" who can best maintain their delusions about the "Black Fascists" have a much better chance to survive -- as "Red Fascists."

At 3:10 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You (and the good doctor) have hit upon a point that Paul Berman made in his fantastic book, Terror & Liberalism, which I just finished during a family vacation last week.

Berman doesn't get into the sadism-masochism issue, but he believes that many liberals have to rationalize the irrational behavior of fascist death cults, because accepting them for what they are would completely undermine their (the liberals') fundamental precepts about how the world operates. In a rational world, "pathological mass political movements" (Berman's term) simply could not happen. Since the world is rational, Islamism must not be a patholitical mass political movement; i.e., Islamists' actions must be rational. And because their actions are so incredibly evil, the people against whom those actions are directed -- e.g., us -- must have done something even worse. America deserves hatred, and terrorists deserve sympathy for having been so horribly victimized. Q.E.D. So, in Berman's analysis, goes the reasoning of (part of) the liberal world. He also draws upon some historical examples of the same phenomenon in making his argument.

If you haven't read the book, you should do so. I think you'd really enjoy it. Berman is a card-carrying liberal (I'm not, by any stretch), but his analysis and his critique of the Left's response to terror are very honest, and very persuasive in my view.

At 3:16 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another angle. Not abnormal psychology but primative anthropology.

At 3:29 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if to prove Dr Robert Harman's point about the Islamist/Sadist Pseudo-Liberal/Masochist relationship - Islamofascist Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed flees the UK when true liberals warn that he might be arrested for treason.

At 3:34 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I disagree with the premise I have a hard time refuting it. It's an interesting point stated with none of the vitriol or venom of many bloggers. Although I am curious as to how you would respond to the actions. While I don't believe the US or any country deserves terrorism, given that it's here what do we do now? How do we counter the irrationality?

At 3:59 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never understood how some of my rather intelligent (liberal) friends have such a negative view of the U.S. that they can rationalize such evil acts as 9-11 (granted, the U.S. have done some things that were flat out wrong but IMHO the good the U.S. has done far out ways the bad). The child abuse analogy is may be applicable to some liberals but I suspect there are a number reasons why liberals react they way they do.

One of the things that I have observed is that many liberals treat “oppressed” evildoers like they are animals without free will (blindly reacting to stimuli). For example, you hear the same tone and in some cases similar language when a liberal rationalizes some atrocity by a terrorist to that of a conservationist who blames bear/mountain lion attacks on people intruding in their habitat. Has anyone else noticed this similarity?

At 4:09 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is suicidal that the political correctness of Western societies leads to the search for justification and appeasement, rather than action. How about a demand for those who are given the opportunity to be part of free societies to take responsible action?

At 4:59 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe someone else (can't remember who) also compared the anti-war left with battered wives: they keep thinking that if they apologize sincerely enough, and try hard enough, and be nicer enough that their abusive husbands will stop beating them. Same mechanism as the abused child. The spiral of violence is the spiral of abuser/abused where the abused keeps inciting more violence by being more and more passive and appeasing.

The world should have learned this abuser/abused mechanism in WWII when the world tried to appease Hitler only to have Hitler become more and more abusive. The result was 50,000,000 dead.

At 5:02 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fail to see how one can classify National Socialists as "far right" as opposed to International Socialists that are "far left". Why? Both kinds of socialists proclaimed total supremacy of the Idea over the individual rights. In fact, both denied the human rights as a concept. They say that Hitler allowed private property - but, well, so did Lenin - for a while. No property may be consdered private when the proprietor himself is viewed as a property of the State. All the difference is - Nazis wanted to kill the jews first, commies were saving them for later. One of my grandfathers fought his way from Stalingrad to Berlin, another was not so lucky - commies buried him somewhere in the permafrost of the Kolyma basin. The one who survived used to say that he wants us to understand that the country is being ruled by a gang of murderers.

So - I am surprised when you look for the similarities between the nazis and sommunists, for I can't see any notable difference.

At 5:30 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By believing that they have some tenebrous control of the reactions of the enemy, the Left falls into a racist world view. In their formulation, the enemy is incapable of forming a philosophy that does not factor in the actions of its victims and is also incapable to being pro-active in carrying them out.

Phil Yo Pain:
The Nazis and the Soviets hated one another because of the different ends they sought for their Socialisms. The Soviets strove to remake the world for the benefit of the Working Class, while the Nazis sought to remake the world to the benefit of the German Volk. Sometimes, it is the smallest difference that make for the greatest animosity.

At 6:16 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't your analogy of the abused child and the irrational and unpredictable parent sum up the basic psychodynamics of co-dependence? (common in the alcoholic home,e.g.)

Would it then make some sense to describe liberals (or the western mentality in general, infused by liberalism as it is) - as "co-dependent"? And does co-dependence bear any relation to the psychological phenomenon of "dhimmitude" as described by Bat Ye'or?

By the way, I think it would be interesting if in a future post you addressed the phenomenon of widespread pederasty and childhood sexual abuse in the Muslim world. Frontpagemag has had several interesting articles on the subject. I was interested in the phenomenon as an underlying psychoanalytic explanation for the "humilation-rage dynamic/victim mentality" so common in the Arab world.


At 7:12 PM, August 08, 2005, Blogger Reliapundit said...

The red/black anomaly which you linked to is merely what scientists call an ARTIFACT - that is, an anomaly whoich is casued by the diagnostic tool being faulty, and it does NOT reveal ANYTHING about the underlying condition.

The artifact is false because it is based on a faulty diagnostic tool: the traditional political spectrum which places communism on the extreme left and fascism on the extreme right. This scheme is TOTALLY FASLE and distorting of REALITY.

The proof thsat it a false spectrum is that in this traditional spectrum there is NO logical place for anarchism. Where fo you oput it? In the Middle? No. It has NO LOGOCAL PLACE. ERGO: the scheme is faulty.

The truthful and accurate political spectrum places all statist creeds on the extreme Left and anarchism on the extreme right. And demcratic republic (with varying degrees of socilaism/.statism/welfare states in the middle).

This spectrum is borne out by history, after all Hitler called his party the National SOCIALIST Party; Hitler wass a socialist, just like Stalin. Unlike Stalin, Hitler was not a Marxist; (Marxism is a sub-grpoup of socialism - as is Fascism. Mussolini's Facsist Party was socialist, too - and STATIST -- the fasci is the Latin word for a bundle of straws; alone a singhle straw is easily broken, but together the bundle is STRONG; hence the imporetance - top the FASCIST/STATIST of the state. Indovisual don;t count; opnly the state is strong. The Hitler-Stalin front in WW2 was not unlike the Styalin-trotsky battle: it was internecine - a war between socialists.

In this light, there is NO anomaly: all fascists are Leftists. As are all NAZIS - AND ISLAMOFASCISTS AND BAATHISTS.

The "traditional poltical spoectrum ewas devised by Marxist socialist academeics to distance themselves from Nazism ansd Fascism.

Don't get sucked into their LIE - or into contemporary contortions to explain it. As typified by this:

The fact that Islamofascists stand for everything the far left is ostensibly against--persecution of women and gays, just to take two obvious examples--has been a puzzlement in endeavoring to understand why it is that leftists seem nevertheless to ally with them.

The islamofasicts (baathists) and the post-modern socialists are ALL statists, elitsts, and anti-West; this is what unites them.

At 8:39 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Josto, that was a gratuitous and irrelevant comparison for you to use against Christianity. To assume that because you are not spiritually in a place to experience the "evidence" of god, and because your christian friend could not articulate clearly her reasons for belief, does not support or negate the existence of god or Jesus nor does it accurately explain away christianity as simply a need to control one's world. Sounds like as you have gotten older, you have unfortunately not gotten wiser, only more convinced that the only source of truth is your own experience. The evidence of god's truth is all around you, and unfortunately you seem eager to declare to others your blindness. That's an unfortunate place to be.

At 9:13 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Test comment by Rodan

At 10:18 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assistant Vilage Idiot,

I believe I got the battered-wives analogy of the anti-war left from Ted Lapkin of the National Review. His article on July 21, 2005 “Battered-left syndrome” was an eye opener. Go to

He writes:

“... the antiwar Left is severely afflicted by the political equivalent of battered-wife syndrome. With each new beating, the scarred and bruised victims of spousal abuse tend to excuse and rationalize the actions of their tormentors. A stubborn unwillingness to accept the proposition that their partners are violent louts plunges these woeful women into a morass of self-deception that spawns only further violence...

“After each al Qaeda outrage, leftist ideologues are quick to castigate their own countrymen for a catalogue of sins, both real and imagined. With a perverse combination of self-loathing and adoration of the enemy, the radical Leftist mantra preaches that if only we were nicer, the jihadists could not fail to love us. It’s our own fault if Osama bin Laden doesn’t realize what good people we are.”

To me, this is the real “cycle of violence” referred to so often by the anti-war left. To them the cycle of violence is when Israel or America or England retaliates in response to terrorist attacks, then terrorists attack again.

But, in truth, the terrorists are stopped from attacking when America, Israel, or England respond with real, overwhelming force against the terrorists. They are bullies, and bullies only attack the weak.

The real “cycle of violence” is the cycle of appeasement of the bully by the weak one – the weak, beaten up one is the one who incites the violence of the bully by their attempts to appease the bully – different versions of this cycle have been talked about in this thread: masochist/sadist, abused child/abusive parent, battered wife/abusive husband. I would add Europe/Hitler to the list. Eric Fromm wrote in a brilliant book “Escape from Freedom” in 1947 (?) that appeasing the authoritarian personality (Hitler, Stalin) incites attack.

At 10:22 PM, August 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that this essay at Belmont Club provides a better explanation for the affinity that leftists have towards Islamic terrorists:

The Left, long accustomed to seeing itself as the vanguard of history, has been definitively rejected in its strongholds: first in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union where it once controlled entire states, and now by the Arabian secret societies and terrorist organizations which formerly took it as their ideological creed. It is now rotting garbage in the dustbin of history, and survives artificially only in the sheltered precincts of western academia and bohemia the way a dying sect lingers in isolated deserts.
The hollowing out of the Left -- the death of its Bolshevik core -- is one of the great unwritten stories of the late twentieth century. The decline of the cadre of professional revolutionaries at its center was simultaneously matched by the inrush from the periphery of the network of sympathizers, fellow travelers and "useful fools" which it once adopted as protective coloration. It was a classic case of the inmates taking over an asylum from which the keepers had fled. To appreciate the difference one can compare the Communist cadres faithfully depicted in For Whom the Bell Tolls or And Quiet Flows the Don or even Silone's Bread and Wine with the freak show of autonomists, zapatistas, rage-against-the-machine cultists, transgender spokespersons, abortion rights activists, militant gay and lesbians and tattered academics that characterize today's Left.

And for those desperately seeking to find a difference between fascism and communism, it makes for interesting academic discussion now that the US has defeated both. But I would defy you hair-splitters to tell the difference from the INSIDE of a fascist or communist state. Its like arguing over whether a heart attack is worse than a stroke, or a stroke is worse than a heart attack.

At 10:25 PM, August 08, 2005, Blogger Gordon Freece said...

Children believe in an ordered and just world.

Moral order? Cosmic justice imposed by an infallibly wise father figure? An old bearded guy in a robe, by any chance?

Sounds like God to me. Sounds like a lot of lefties mistake ObL for the Good Lord. They could've stuck with the usual God and saved themselves the trouble of finding a new one, if you ask me.

At 12:47 AM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love war.

At 7:29 AM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there is a similarity to the attitude of many abused children who blame themselves for the abusive actions of their parents. Children believe in an ordered and just world.

Sounds similar (though not exact) to some of the thoughts that Shrinkwrapped is having...

At 10:05 AM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, this is my first time on your blog. It always warms my heart to learn that I wasn't the only one to go through the liberal-turned-surprised-conservative transformation. Great comments on the orgone article! I read it last weekend and I found it very persuasive. Thanks!

At 1:02 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really can't understand you people. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

After 9/11, the U.S. government acted with commendable restraint. Rather than lashing out immediately -- which would have satisified a good number of Americans -- it determined that the perpetrators were Al Quaeda, supported by the Taliban. It rapidly gathered the support of a sympathetic world and attacked the bad guys: Al Quaeda and their Taliban sponsors.

Tragically, when the hunt for Bin Laden petered out in the hills of Afghanistan, the Bush administration took its eye off the ball (cynics say that Afghanistan, Al Quaeda, and the Taliban were never the objective, but just a pretext for attacking Iraq, as the PNAC had been advocating for a decade).

Imagine a different scenario. Imagine that the U.S., with the wholehearted backing of the international community, had not wavered in its purpose, but had continued to attack Al
Quaeda and the Taliban. Imagine they had put 150,000 troops in Afghanistan and pursued Bin Laden without restraint. Imagine they had threatened, bullied, or arm-twisted Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else in the world Al Quaeda were hiding under the rocks.

What could have been accomplished? Al Quaeda could have been exterminated, root and branch. Afghanistan could have maintained the virtually opium-free status they achieved under the Taliban (who used the simple expedient of killing drug dealers and growers), and could have become a democratic base in the Muslim world.

Okay, that didn't happen; Bush blew it big time, and now we're stuck in the hellhole he's created. What next? The subject of another post, perhaps.


At 3:48 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don’t know if I speak for all of the “you people” that you mention in your post, and I suspect that you aren’t too interested in the response, but I will try to summarize briefly my thoughts about why going into Iraq was and is the right thing to do to protect us from further 9/11s.

The short version is that we are at war with more than al Qaeda. We are at war with a network of terrorists (including al Qaeda) and the regimes that spawn, support, and protect them. Knocking over the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was insufficient to effecting the change in the Middle East that we need for our safety at home.

We could have targeted Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Iraq. Iraq was stupid enough to be a refuge for Afghanistan terrorists fleeing for their lives; stupid enough to be harboring world renowned terrorists and hosting terrorists training camps; and stupid enough to be shooting at our planes at the time, so Iraq got picked.

It is now vital that the rest of the effort in Iraq succeed – i.e. that Iraq becomes a fairly functional democracy. The presence of Iraq and Afghanistan as non-tyrannical semi-democratic or better governments changes everything else in the Middle East. What we are trying to do is empower those Muslims who want to be part of the modern world to win in their life and death struggle with the fascist element of Islam who want to tyrannize them, and the entire world.

If we fail, and the Baathists reassert their tyranny in Iraq, we will have hurt our safety at home, not helped it. We will only fail if the anti-war people convince enough Americans that this is Bush’s war rather than Western Civilization’s so that we withdraw prematurely. The center of this war is in the hearts and minds of Americans. We choose whether to fight or try to appease those trying to kill us.

At 3:53 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don’t know if I speak for all of the “you people” that you mention in your post, and I suspect that you aren’t too interested in the response, but I will try to summarize briefly my thoughts about why going into Iraq was and is the right thing to do to protect us from further 9/11s.

The short version is that we are at war with more than al Qaeda. We are at war with a network of terrorists (including al Qaeda) and the regimes that spawn, support, and protect them. Knocking over the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was insufficient to effecting the change in the Middle East that we need for our safety at home.

We could have targeted Syria, or Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or Iraq. Iraq was stupid enough to be a refuge for Afghanistan terrorists fleeing for their lives; stupid enough to be harboring world renowned terrorists and hosting terrorists training camps; and stupid enough to be shooting at our planes at the time, so Iraq got picked.

It is now vital that the rest of the effort in Iraq succeed – i.e. that Iraq becomes a fairly functional democracy. The presence of Iraq and Afghanistan as non-tyrannical semi-democratic or better governments changes everything else in the Middle East. What we are trying to do is empower those Muslims who want to be part of the modern world to win in their life and death struggle with the fascist element of Islam who want to tyrannize them, and the entire world.

If we fail, and the Baathists reassert their tyranny in Iraq, we will have hurt our safety at home, not helped it. We will only fail if the anti-war people convince enough Americans that this is Bush’s war rather than Western Civilization’s so that we withdraw prematurely. The center of this war is in the hearts and minds of Americans. We choose whether to fight or try to appease those trying to kill us.

At 3:55 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry for the double post, and for mispelling tequilamockingbuird's name.

At 4:00 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your evidence to back up your fantasy “what-if” scenario is what? It is really sad, once liberals were against the status quo and passionate for freeing the downtrodden but I guess if there is a choice between keeping a murderous dictator in power or thwarting a Republican president we now know liberals will opt to keep the dictator in power.

At 4:30 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I'm a blog newbie, and I'm having a hard time jumping back and forth between your message and my response.

First, you say "I think you aren't too interested in my response", or words to that effect. Why do you think that? I've asked an earnest question(s), and I'm sincerely interested in a reasoned and "non-ad-hominem" response like yours. Thanks.

(Gotta jump back to your message).
(Back again).

Okay, the U.S. could have attacked Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Iran instead of Iraq. I'm not too sure about Syria -- I think Syria is militarily pretty weak -- but attacking Saudi Arabia (surely you're not serious about proposing that) or Iran would have been an entirely different kettle of fish. I've long maintained that the U.S. invaded Iraq not because it was strong or presented any kind of a threat, but precisely because it was a weak, crumbling regime ripe for overthrow.

(Gotta jump back to your message).
(Iraq stupid enough to be shooting at U.S. planes? Six months before "shock and awe", the U.S. and British planes were far exceeding the 'no-fly' rules they had unilterally established and were making bombing raids far into Iraq in preparation for the coming war).

The rest of your message is a "now that we're there" kind of thing, which I avoided in my post. Yes, now that we're there, it would be better for us and the world that we succeed than that we fail. I'd like to leave that as a separate topic, for now (as I said, it can be the subject of later discussion). First I would like to have someone justify what I see as an unjust and illegal war. If Al Quaeda had been ruthlessly pursued in Afghanistan and elsewhere, rather than the U.S. making that disastrous detour in Iraq, the world would be far better off.

At 4:41 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Homer, but if you don't have anything reasonable to add, please stay out of this discussion. Any reasonable contributions are welcomed, of course.


At 5:11 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've just visited your website, and I commend you. You're worth talking to further.

At 5:14 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit snippy aren’t we? Of course you are the arbiter of what qualifies as a "reasonable contribution." You still have not produced any evidence that supports the superiority of your preferred course of action against Al Quaeda.

At 5:56 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq is not THE enemy. Al Quaeda is not THE enemy.
Calling either or both THE enemy frames the issue incorrectly.

Islamofascism is the enemy. Any entity which facilitates it is the enemy.

Saddaam was in the terror business--the authors of the 9-11 report such as Lugar exhibit a kind of bewilderment when people quote them as saying there is no connection between Saddaam and al Q.

Saddaam was on the verge of getting out from under sanctions and inspections, and the reports indicate he had every intention plus the intellectual capital to start on WMD.

Once he was free as a bird, our danger from Islamofascism multiplied.

Islamofascism can't be countered by playing whack-a-mole with the various bad guys. The swamp has to be drained. One of the drains is regime change in Iraq.

In addition, a report--source unqualifiable but not the first time I'd heard it, said that, immediately after 9-11, intel had a big attack coming after us.

Islamic regimes' intel were not cooperating with us.
They hated us and held us in contempt.
Bush & Co. decided that hate and fear was better than hate and contempt. Since there was no short-term way of changing the hate. Thus, Iraq. Now, says the report, we have cooperation and have forestalled various ops against us.

At 5:59 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. I'm Canadian, and I'm one of your friends. Thank you for being honest and forthright.


At 6:04 PM, August 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That reply was to thedragonflies, not to Richard Aubrey.

To be continued ...

At 8:03 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A more detailed reply.

(I've learned how to jump back and forth between messages on my tabbed browser, Firefox).

Evidence to back up my what-if scenario? I don't have any, and I don't need any, to suggest what might have happened. It's speculation. What do you think the outcome would have been if the U.S. had pursued Al Quaeda instead of diverting their attention and resources to Iraq?

Yes, I consider myself to be a liberal -- and I know that's a term that will convict me and alienate knee-jerk "conservatives" right off the bat, and they won't answer or even consider my arguments. (In fact, that's the category I placed you in after your initial response; your subsequent message made me think your comments deserved consideration).

Against the status quo? Not necessarily. Passionate for freeing the downtrodden? Not particularly. Sure, let's free the downtrodden; who could argue against that? But there are downtrodden people all over this world -- East Timor, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, North Korea, etc. (it's a long list). Why Iraq, a sovereign country that presented no threat even to its neighbors, after ten years of brutal sanctions, let alone the U.S.?

The "murderous dictator" thing: I have never heard anyone from the Western world defend Sadaam Hussein. Of course not! But bear in mind that most of the atrocities he's accused of (and which I don't doubt took place) were 20 years ago, when he was an ally of and supported by the U.S. in Iraq's war against Iran. Rumsfeld was smiling and shaking Sadaam's hand at the time.

I don't care that Bush is a Republican president. The point is that he is a terrible president. He squandered the good will of the world after 9/11 and led the U.S. into war on a lie. (A far more serious offence, in my opinion, than having sex with a young intern and then lying about it).


At 8:46 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a lifelong Christian Republican New Yorker, yet I agree with tequilamockingbird above. I have never heard a liberal defend Saddam, Osama or the terrorist who attacked MY CITY on 9/11. Where do you come up with this?

Furthermore, Reliapundit, Hitler was anything but socialist. The USSR was anything but socialist. Hitler was a fascist and the USSR was communist. The far left and the far right are both hell bent on taking away our freedoms. If you don't think that America is leaning fascist, read what Mussolini had to say. He preferred the term corporatism to fascism. Oh, I would say that this country is run by corporations over the interests of the people. For sure... and it's getting worse.

It is far better to think clearly and objectively, read between the lines in your history books, connect the dots and read the 4 Gospels. Jesus was a socialist, by the way.

At 10:01 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mom:

Fascism /, / n.
1 the totalitarian principles and organization of the extreme right-wing nationalist movement in Italy (1922–43).
2 (also fascism) a any similar nationalist and authoritarian movement. b (loosely) any system of extreme right-wing or authoritarian views.
Fascist n. & adj. (also fascist).
Fascistic // adj. (also fascistic).
[Italian fascismo, from fascio ‘political group’, from Latin fascis ‘bundle’: see fasces]

That's the Oxford dictionary entry. I've read other dictionaries that define fascism as the mesh of corporate, government, and military interests.

Jesus was a socialist! Beautiful!


At 10:21 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mom:

Believe me, I would like nothing better than to get the guys who attacked YOUR CITY. At the time, though, they were in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not in Iraq. (Thanks to W & Co., they're definitely in Iraq now, learning their trade and increasing their hatred of the West).


At 10:31 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The assertion that Saddaam was too secular to put up with al Q is bogus. Not only do we have other examples of similar unidentical twins (Churchill and Stalin) working together, the record of al Q's connections with SH is clear. In addition, there was an Iraqi intel officer at the Kuala Lumpur meeting of the 9-11 planners.
Yes, he was getting out from under the sanctions. The UN was under pressure to end them--would have--the Duelfer report describes them as "crumbling".
SH had WMD. He did not account for them. We know he had them, the UN said so. We don't know where they are. Perhaps they were destroyed but there were no records kept.
It was SH's responsibility to the UN to account for everything on a proactive basis. It was not the role of the UN to be playing catch up in a game of hide-and-seek, which is what it devolved to.
SH was interested in supporting terror.
With his reinvigorated WMD program, which the US inspectors said were inevitable, his ability to provide WMD to terrorists would be obvious.
Whether replacing contempt with fear is the same as supplementing it is an interesting question. Whether that was the motivation, or a motivation, is unclear. I was reporting a bit of speculation.

Where would we be if we'd put all our resources into chasing al Q?
Prove we haven't put all we have into it. Armored divisions don't collect much intel in the slums of Kandahar.

If we'd had more resources to apply without stepping on each others' fingers, we'd be about where we are. Somebody, someplace, would be issuing tapes calling the faithful to jihad. Somebody, somewhere, would be handling the money. And they'd be using OBL to make the tapes, or they'd be using him as a martyr.
Nothing different would have happened.

At 10:44 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assistant Village Idiot:

A more detailed response.

First, you have a point about
Afghanistan being first. I confess to being a bit muddled about how, and how quickly, W & Co. determined that Al Q was the perpetrator and that the Taliban in Afghanistan were sheltering them. However, I accept the "received wisdom" that that was the case. (As I've told you, I'm Canadian, and Canadian NATO troops are in Afghanistan today).

I'm not in any way a pacifist in what has definitely become a global struggle. I just think that the U.S. administration has bungled the situation enormously by attacking Iraq.

Now that we're in this morass, what's the best way out? Any ideas?


At 11:00 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

Thanks for your response.

I don't accept that Sadaam was cooperating with the Al Q terrorists, or that he was "getting out from under" the sanctions. It's not a point that either of us can prove. You have your beliefs on the subject, I have mine.
That's not necessarily bad -- reasonable people can disagree.

The WMD? I think it's been completely proven by now that he didn't have them. His responsibility to prove he didn't have them? If I accuse you of beating your wife, what can you do but deny it? He said he didn't have them, and -- lo and behold -- he didn't have them. He was putting up a sign saying "Beware of the dog" as a bluff, without actually having a dog.

"Reinvigorated WMD program"? I'm sorry, but I don't think there's any evidence to support that. On the contrary, his military capability was so badly damaged by the first Gulf War, and ten years of sanctions had so crippled his ability to threaten his neighbors, let alone the U.S., that he was the perfect example of a paper tiger.

Anyway, thanks for your comments.


At 11:13 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

Sorry I didn't completely answer your message (it was at the bottom of the page and I thought you were through).

"Where would we be if we'd put all our resources into chasing al Q?
Prove we haven't put all we have into it. Armored divisions don't collect much intel in the slums of Kandahar."

Sorry, but I think that's pretty self-evident. When you've got just a few thousand (6,000? I don't know) troops in Afghanistan -- do you deny that Al Q was based in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Musharaff, our supposed ally)? I don't think you can make any case that attacking Iraq had anything at all to do with 9/11.

If you'd had more resources to apply? You've got all the resources you want -- well, some people claim the Iraq invasion was fought on the cheap, without enough troops -- to invade Iraq. The resources could have been applied in fighting Al Q instead. I repeat: Resources were diverted from the legitimate attack on Al Q and the Taliban to attack Iraq instead.


At 11:16 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't have to accept anything.

Especially if it's inconvenient.

Nevertheless, you're wrong on the facts. Saddaam was required by the UN to 'fess up. You don't have to accept that, but in the real world it's a fact.

The US teams looking for the WMD reported SH was preparing to get started--or restarted. You don't have to accept that, but in the real world it's a fact. Maybe you should argue with the teams who reported it. But that they did is a fact.

That the effect of the sanctions was crumbling comes from the Duelfer report. You don't have to accept that, but in the real world it's a fact. Take it up with Duelfer, tell him you don't accept it, and see how it affects the real world.

Saddaam's military ability was crippled by the first Gulf War. That's a fact. But he was working on repairing it--which is a fact you can accept or not. Smuggling, bribes, and cheating helped him and when the UN dropped the sanctions, there would be no legal way to stop him going overt.
And there's lots more stuff to buy. And he has oil money.

We know he had WMD because the UN said so. You can accept that or not, but in the real world it's a fact.

I must say that your reiteration of "don't accept" is particularly annoying. Facts are facts. They can be asserted. They can be contested. But that somebody doesn't accept them is meaningless, and to continue to say it as if it makes the slightest difference except to you is silly.
And, in this case, you are not accepting facts which many people, including many on your side, already accept. Those on your side take different tactics of dealing with them, but they don't deny the facts exist.
Many of the people on your side worked to remove sanctions. And you want us to think the sanctions were indefinite? Oil-for-Food has been in all the papers and you want us to think the sanctions were working?
You can accept or not accept anything you want. That has no bearing on the facts of a case.

At 11:21 AM, August 10, 2005, Blogger M. Simon said...

How do you account for the fact that Rove is trying to steal all our orgones and turn us into hive people.

At 11:37 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


To reiterate about fightin al Q:

You can't fight them with conventional military forces. It was the Taliban with al Q fighters who hadn't figured that out who got waxed in Afghanistan, when we used spec ops, local fighters, and air power to do it.

Since then, al Q has put up no conventional or even unconventional forces to combat. That means our conventional forces are not applicable and can be used elsewhere without reducing resources available for going after al Q.
We have efforts going on in over eighty countries. Some are noisy, as in Iraq. Some use conventional forces, as in Iraq. Some use special ops and/or humanitarian aid, as in the Sahel.
Google up "Caspian Guard" and you'll find two efforts in the WOT which do not take conventional forces, or not much, but are effective.
al Q is not THE enemy, and going after other buttheads elsewhere is not detracting from the WOT. Ignoring the other buttheads in order to catch what has turned into an idea whose primary motivators spend most of their time hiding would cost us severely.

Big, big, dirty secret: "Resources" are not fungible.

At 11:46 AM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

I'm a little surprised by your reliance on the U.N., when the U.S. denied and opposed everything the U.N. asserted at the time. Perhaps you could ask John Bolton about that.

The reports that you cite as facts, well, I confess I'm just a layperson without the facts immediately to hand, and I DON'T ACCEPT that what you're claiming is true. You can say it, but that doesn't make it so. About the inspectors' reports: Have you ever heard of Scott Ritter? Is it necessary for me to tell you what he -- an inspector and ex-Marine who fought in Gulf War I -- was saying a year before the invasion?

Of course Sadaam was trying to evade or bypass the sanctions. Who wouldn't? But in spite of that, he had no capability. The country was crippled. He couldn't even provide water and electricity.

Yes, I'll stand by the Volcker report, and I was prepared to do that from the beginning, when right-wingers were prejudging it as a whitewash. If there's corruption there, root it out, by all means.

Yes, many people "on my side" tried to have the sanctions overturned; you're aware, of course, that the U.N. that you place such store in estimates that 500,000 people, mostly infants, died as a direct result of the sanctions. As I've said, one of the good effects of the Iraq invasion was to overturn the sanctions. Is it necessary to repeat that although you say people were working to repeal the sanctions, the country was absolutely crippled by them and had no offensive capability whatsoever?

"The real world" and "facts": In the real world, and in fact, the U.S. is mired in a hopeless situation, involved in an unnecessary war of Bush & Co's choice, where their only choice is whether they cut and run or cut and walk.


At 12:11 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

The Taliban got waxed in Afghanistan? I don't think so. They're not running the country anymore, but there are 10,000 NATO troops, and I don't know how many Americans, trying to keep the lid on that country. I read an article recently that said Afghanistan was "on the cusp", and I think that's probably true. The opium production has skyrocketed -- the Taliban killed every opium dealer or grower it could get its hands on -- and warlords control vast areas of the country. It's sad; perhaps it would be much different if the U.S. hadn't diverted its efforts to Iraq. Of course, Afghanistan doesn't have any oil.

I Googled up "Caspian Guard." It looks as though Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan may be the next U.S. target. Weapons of mass destruction? Connection with 9/11? Or maybe to free the oppressed people?

Sadaam's Iraq was hostile to the U.S., but there was no justification for invasion.

You can't fight Al Q with conventional forces? What are 138,000 troops doing in Iraq? I know your position that Al Q is not the enemy; who exactly is the U.S. gunning for in Iraq, except the terrorists who have flocked there since the invasion and the locals who have had their friends and relatives slaughtered by the American military?

I can tell you, if I was a 19-year-old Iraqui and my family had been murdered by invaders, I'd be reaching for my Kalashnikov. Wouldn't you?


At 12:19 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you were a nineteen-year-old Iraqi and your parents had been murdered by Baathists, what would you reach for?

You confuse--by this time I'm sure it's deliberate--the facts. The UN said Saddaam had WMD. We know he had WMD. The UN said he had to account for them. The UN sent in inspectors to do just that. What would they be doing that for if the UN thought they didn't exist? The existence of WMD at one time is not at issue. It's their fate after GW1 that's the question.
The inspectors thought SH had the resources to start over. Argue with them.

If you want to remove the sanctions, you can hardly insist the sanctions would have lasted indefinitely.

The 500,000 baby schtick is false, as I'm sure you know. To the extent the Iraqi people had a hard time, it's because of SH's diversion of the OIF funds.

I'm glad to hear you say stoutly that OIF corruption should be rooted out. Crap. The issue is not that, but that the OIF BACK THEN provided SH with money. Not even a good attempt to dodge.

You are talking to an adult. Juvenile shucking and jiving is not invisible. Who did you think you were going to fool?

There is no purpose in talking to you further.

At 12:28 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

Okay, Richard. Thanks for your time. Over and out.


At 12:52 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[Evidence to back up my what-if scenario? I don't have any, and I don't need any, to suggest what might have happened. It's speculation.]

If you have nothing to back up your speculation why should we pay any attention to it?

[What do you think the outcome would have been if the U.S. had pursued Al Quaeda instead of diverting their attention and resources to Iraq?]

My understanding is that the U.S. has continually been pursuing Al Quaeda ever since 9-11 with no let up. Throwing more troops into the search for Bin Laden (whom I think has long departed this world) would be a total waste of manpower given the size, geography and politics of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I actually think the current administration has been very cunning in its strategy against terrorists.

[In fact, that's the category I placed you (…knee-jerk "conservative"…) in after your initial response; your subsequent message made me think your comments deserved consideration.]

I am honored that my comments were worthy of your consideration. Are you by chance a professor or otherwise involved in the academic world?

[Why Iraq, a sovereign country that presented no threat even to its neighbors, after ten years of brutal sanctions, let alone the U.S.?]

Hmm…lets see, Saddam supported terrorism, dearly wanted ever more dangerous WMDs, had WMDs that nobody knows what happened to, bribed UN officials running the “brutal sanctions” (do you think the mismanagement of the sanctions had something to do with their brutality?), violated the ceasefire agreements of the previous conflict and plotted the assassination of a U.S. President. Yeah, no reason to go after Saddam at all.

[The "murderous dictator" thing: I have never heard anyone from the Western world defend Sadaam Hussein.]

Maybe it’s me, but if a group of people do whatever they can to keep a murderous dictator in power (by preventing his removal) then I consider them supporters of said thug regardless what they say.

[Of course not! But bear in mind that most of the atrocities he's accused of (and which I don't doubt took place) were 20 years ago, when he was an ally of and supported by the U.S. in Iraq's war against Iran. Rumsfeld was smiling and shaking Sadaam's hand at the time.]

Perhaps the above event had something to do with a radically different geopolitical world 20 years ago? Different times, different priorities, different strategies.

[I don't care that Bush is a Republican president. The point is that he is a terrible president. He squandered the good will of the world after 9/11 and led the U.S. into war on a lie. (A far more serious offence, in my opinion, than having sex with a young intern and then lying about it).]

Said goodwill was very short and ended well before the invasion of Iraq. Frankly, I don’t give a sh** about getting/keeping the world’s goodwill – that’s a fool’s errand at best. President Bush did not lie about the numerous reasons for going to war with Iraq. At worst he was mistaken about Iraq’s WMD status at the time. I figure during our yearlong “rush to war” Saddam had plenty of time to move, hide or destroy his stash.

At 1:22 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...



If I have nothing to back up my speculation, why should you pay any attention to it? It's speculation, Homer, which I stated up front. Pay attention to it or not, just as you choose.

Pursuing Al Q? Most definitely, but to a limited extent. The attack on Iraq was an inexcusable diversion: it had nothing to do with Al Q or enemies of the Western world, and everything to do with the Bush & Co. (read PNAC) objectives. You do know what PNAC is; right?

Your first reply was stupid and inarticulate, and I'm not going to bother with stupid inarticulate people. Your second message was more thoughtful and reasoned. No, I'm not a professor; are you?

Sadaam was a bad guy? No argument here.

Keeping SH in power by opposing invasion? Please. Sadaam was a bad guy; end of story. (So's Bush, in my opinion).

Radically different geopolitical world 20 years ago? Definitely. Rumsfeld cosying up to a murderous dictator? Definitely.

"Said goodwill" was true and heartfelt, and the whole world supported the attack on Afghanistan (although, as I've said in an earlier post, I didn't completely understand it at the time but have since been convinced it was the right course).

And yes, Bush did lie. The WMD thing was a scam to get the American public to support the invasion.


At 1:32 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, guys, "Bring it on! We got plenty tough force". (I saw him say it).

At 1:47 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much as I love the sound of my own voice -- or the color of my own print -- I'd like to hear from someone else. My site meter says there've been 101,000-plus hits to this site; does no one have anything to say?

At 2:05 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The reason I asked you whether you were a professor or not was in response to your overweening condescension. Usually, only professors exhibit such arrogance.

The reason “Bush Lied” meme does not gain traction with me is that Bush’s comments on Saddam’s WMDs were exactly like those of the previous administration and many of the leadership in the Democrat party back in the late ‘90s. Also, during our “rush to war” I distinctly remember Blair pleading with other leaders at an EU meeting about Iraq stating that all of the EU intelligence agencies knew of Saddam’s WMDs and his plans to get more. Nobody raised their hand and said, “Excuse me, our intelligence states that Saddam has no WMDs.” Given the opposition of France and Germany to the looming war would they have not loudly proclaimed that Britain’s and America’s intelligence was wrong? Before the war everyday knew Saddam had WMDs and the only people saying otherwise were obviously paid stooges of Saddam (now we know his paid stooges included many in the U.N. and countries who opposed the war). It is only now after no significant amount of WMDs has been found in Iraq that Bush’s critics condemn him for lying about WMDs.

At 2:17 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yeah, you're right about the received wisdom that everybody had about WMD in Iraq. It turns out that it was only a few sources -- Ahmed Chalabi and some relatives and henchmen -- that were spreading the story.

Before the war, anyone who said Sadaam had no WMD was a paid stooge? Google Scott Ritter.

"Overweening arrogance"? Sorry. I'm trying to have a reasoned discussion. I dismissed your first post and then apologized for doing so. If I offended you, I apologize again.


At 2:59 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to break my promise to myself.
Ritter got $400k from SH to make a documentary which is almost certainly not playing at a theater near you.

There is speculation that there may have been some blackmail about his sniffing around the junior high.

At 3:05 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

Yeah, right, Richard. Thanks for your contribution.


At 3:10 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


[Yeah, you're right about the received wisdom that everybody had about WMD in Iraq. It turns out that it was only a few sources -- some relatives and henchmen -- that were spreading the story.]

So every major intelligence agency on the planet got their intel about Saddam’s WMD from Ahmed Chalabi and his ilk? Assuming this is true how does that prove President Bush lied about Saddam possessing WMDs and conspiring to get more?

At 3:56 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Damn! I posted a reply but it seems to have been lost in cyberspace, so I have to do it again.

Yes, I do think that every major intelligence system on the planet got its information from "Chalabi and his ilk". Iraq was an enclosed society with secret police that made the Stasi and the KGB look like amateurs. The U.S., like every other country on the planet, had almost no information on Iraq. However, I would think that the POTUS would have more intelligence than you, or me, or the rest of the great unwashed.

There were no MWD: That's a fact that I don't think even Richard Aubrey will contest.

Did Bush lie? Yes, I think so. And before you jump on me, it's an opinion; it can't be proven one way or the other. (Gone are the days when we can get access to tapes of what happened in the Oval Office). I can't prove he did; you can't prove he didn't.

I just think that the curve into Iraq was totally unjustifiable as a response to 9/11. It simply makes no sense and was fought for other reasons (as I've said in previous posts, Google PNAC).

That's why Iraq was invaded, and the lies were just a smokescreeen.


At 4:49 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


As I see it there are several possible explanations for the lack of WMDs in Iraq:

a) There were WMDs and Saddam had them hidden, had them moved to another country (Syria?) or had them destroyed.

b) There were no WMDs, all the intel agencies got it wrong and so President Bush got it wrong.

c) There were no WMDs, all the intel agencies got it wrong but President Bush some how knew (psychic powers/god like intellect?) that there were no WMDs and lied about them.

Now as a gullible conservative I figure option a) is most likely since I doubt every single intel agency got their info about Saddam via one source and everybody got it wrong. I find it interesting that most liberals go for option c). Somehow they know President Bush knew more about Saddam capabilities than all of the intel agencies and lied about it to drag us into this war. Hmmm…have you ever heard of Ockham's Razor?

Of course the WMD question obscures the fact that President Bush gave several reasons for ousting Saddam including bringing democracy to the Middle East. His administration focused on WMDs since they figured it was the “best” reason to promote the invasion to the UN given the UN/Saddam WMD follies that occurred before the war. Bush had plenty of legitimate reasons to oust Saddam without WMDs. You are aware that if one side of a conflict violates a ceasefire agreement then it is perfectly legitimate for the other side to resume hostilities?

At 5:59 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes,I have indeed heard of Occam's (sic) Razor. Without looking it up, and maybe I'm wrong, it means that the simplest and most obvious thing is likely to be right.

How about this one, which you didn't include in your list: HS had no WMDs; in fact, they were gone after 1995. That's it; there weren't any. However, in an attempt to intimidate his Middle Eastern neighbors, he refused to admit that.

Sorry, but he had no MDW.

I think that Bush knew that. Hell, I knew that! The inspectors were being granted unlimited access, but that didn't matter: Sadaam was going to be overthrown, no matter what. That was a decision that was arrived at by Bush & Co. at least by the summer of 2002, if not on September 12 2001 -- see Bob Woodward's book, "Plan of Attack".

As a diversion, let me read to you the other books on my shelf: "The Family", by Kitty Kelley; "The New Rulers of the World", by John Pilger; "Bush at War", by Bob
Woodward; "The Bush-hater's Handbook", by Jack Hiberman; "I'm Not The Only One", by George Galloway; "Who Let the Dogs In", by Molly Ivins, one of my absolute favorites along with Maureen Dowd, who is on book review; "Sex, Lies and Politics" by Hustler's Larry Flynt -- keep an open mind; that's excellent reading -- "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for
Global Dominance", by Noam
Chomsky; "The Great Unravelling", by Paul Krugman; "America Rules: U.S. Foreign Policy, Globalisation and Corporate USA"; "Bushwacked", by Molly Ivins -- like I said, one of my favorites -- "Chain of Command", by Seymour Hersh -- the absolute best, whatever I said about Molly Ivins and Maureen Dowd -- and "W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty" by Elizabeth Mitchell.

I'd recommend all of those to you. If you have any suggestions for me to read, please let me know. Oh, I missed "The CEO of the Sofa" by P. J. O'Rourke.


At 6:15 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOOOOKay, Tequila.

It's one thing--breaking my promise again--to be dishonest. It's quite another to be so inefficient at it.

You are Canadian and new to the cyberworld?

If so, you may not be aware that the bulk of the points you are trying to make have been retired. Only a few "selected not elected" types keep on repeating them, and even those folks seem to have a weary hopelessness when they do it.
Your "facts" are almost entirely untrue.
Now, you'll probably challenge me that you got the spelling of Iraq right. Good for you.

There is one other item you ought to remember. Once caught lying like a rug--or repeating the lies of others as if you believe them--nobody is going to believe you in the future.

I suggest you change your handle and start over with a bit more finesse.

Crap. I should have known when you didn't "accept" what is known to be true. That should have been my first clue.

Life span I'll never get back.

At 6:53 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Aubrey:

Thanks again for your input, Richard. Always nice to hear from yo. Bye now.


At 6:58 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn! Once again I posted a reply that didn't show up. I'm sorry if this message is -- more or less -- duplicated, short though it is.

Thanks for your input, Richard.
Always nice to hear from you.


At 9:01 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's 3:00 a.m. in that very un-American GMT time zone. Gotta call it a night. A bientot, mes amis! C'est Richard et Homer aussi. Bonsoir!


At 11:20 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm confused, in an earlier post you admitted that all the major intel agencies believed Saddam had WMDs before the war but were duped by Ahmed Chalabi. But you continue to insist that President Bush knew differently without a shred of evidence to back up that assertion. I thought liberals based their beliefs on fact and logic however this mania about Bush lying seems to contradict that. Why are liberals so obsessed with trying to portray Bush as a liar? Perhaps it is due to their dismissal of the whole character issue in previous Presidential elections and they got stuck defending an absolute cad. It seems their current tactic is “Well our guys lie and cheat but we don’t lie and cheat nearly as much as the Republicans.”

At 2:09 AM, August 11, 2005, Blogger M. Simon said...

You might like this:

The Origins of Islamic Rage.

The short version: child abuse.

At 8:01 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assistant Village Idiot:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

"tmb": Is that me?

I'll adress the "whack-a-mole" subject in a minute. First, the book list. A giveaway? Absolutely. I'm not trying to disguise my political beliefs. However -- and I'm going from memory here rather than sorting through old messages -- I think I asked for suggestions about what I could read that would give me a different point of view. Look at the name of this site: I'm not preaching to the choir here. I'm trying to have intelligent discussion with people whose beliefs are different from mine.

Is there anything wrong with saying "I think Bush knew"? Of course I can't back that up, but I can express an opinion. If you think he didn't know, can you back that up? No, you can't. But what do you think?

"Remain forever a liberal"? Not necessarily. Back in the Watergate days I was pretty conservative when the whole world seemed to be liberal. I didn't even become radicalized when Bush was appointed president by his father's Supreme Court in 2000. He muddled and fumbled through his first seven or eight months without doing too much harm. He seemed pretty ineffectual for the first few days after 9/11 -- "My Pet Goat", etc. -- but then he got around to attacking Afghanistan. As I've said, I wasn't too clear about that at the time -- I'd never heard of Osama bin Laden or Al Q -- but I trusted U.S. intelligence (big mistake -- an oxymoron?). I had no objection to that, and I decided to let that play out and try to learn more about it. I soon came to the conclusion that it was absolutely right and justified.

Then came Iraq. I think history will condemn Bush for his wrongheaded murderous adventure. "I think": I know you hate me using those two words. Can I back it up? No, I can't. But I can think, at least for the moment, until Bush & Co. make the American people so fearful that they'll accept thought police.

Whack-a-mole: One question, and one question only. Did not Bush lead the U.S. to war on a lie? "I think" he did.

If you don't want to answer that question, then pose a different one for me, and I'll do my best.


At 8:29 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I insist that Bush was lying? Yeah. Remember Hans Blix? The inspectors inside Iraq, in the last weeks and months before the invasion, were given unfettered access to any sites they wanted and were coming up dry. At the same time, Rumsfeld was saying he knew exactly where the WMD were located. Did he share that "information" with the inspectors? (Rhetorical question). No.

You thought liberals based their beliefs on thought and logic? Yeah, right, of course you think that. That's why you hold liberals in such high esteem.

"Liberals" and "conservatives" are sometimes a useful shorthand, but people are people. I know some "liberals" for whom I have not a shred of respect. I know some "conservatives" I regard very highly. (Some of my best friends are conservatives [g]).

Wait a second: is "the absolute cad" Clinton? Eight years of peace and prosperity, even though he was handcuffed for the last three years by Starr's Star Chamber, which spent upwards of $50 million investigating Whitewater, which came to nothing, and ended up with Clinton lying about an adulterous affair. Not the same ballpark as leading the nation to war on a lie, I suggest -- hell, it's not even the same game. If Clinton could only have kept his pants zipped, I think he'd be remembered in history as one of the best U.S. presidents ever -- a lot better than St. Ronnie, that doddering old fool who was canonized when he died last year. Man, that was a tough week for a news junkie. Oh, well; Nancy was a strong president (with the advice of her astrologer).

But I digress. Sorry.


At 8:33 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

M. Simon:

Interesting. Thanks.


At 9:48 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sorry, I got a bit carried away there and didn't address your last point.

"Our guys" lie and cheat? Well, let's face it: Politicians are politicians. They all lie or cheat to some (usually minor) degree. They have to if they're going to get elected. If the idealists do manage to tell the truth and get elected, they either become corrupted by the system or they resign.

Well, maybe that's a bit harsh.

However, Rove & Co. have elevated lying and cheating to an art form. I have to hand it to those guys. They're on the verge of turning the U.S. into a one-party system, like the U.S.S.R. No one in history -- in the Western world, at least -- has lied and cheated so successfully. A couple more Supreme Court appointments and Chief Justice Scalia or Thomas, and their mission will be accomplished. The military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned of 45 years ago will reign supreme. Corporate interests will prosper like never before. CEOs who earned 30 times their average workers' salary in the 1950s, and who (earn) 450 times that today, will increase the gap between rich and poor. The middle class, which has been constantly decreasing since the Reagan/Thatcher years, will approach the vanishing point.

Environment? Global warming? Starvation in Africa? Geddouddahere, you liberal shmuck. Let's make money!

Hey, why should I care? I'm lucky: I'll be inside one of the gated communities looking out.


At 11:20 AM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I formally surrender this discussion to you. I cannot compete with your wild accusations that are based on opinion with no factual basis, nor can I compete with your ever-moving goalpost. In your world Bush is the face of evil and is intent on destroying all that is good in America. You hold this belief with a religious fervor that makes a die-hard jihadii look like a slacker. I suspect I would have a more rational discussion with a crazed suicide bomber.

At 4:26 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget it TequilaBird, you'll never get anyone around here to admit to any debatable element of the Iraq invasion: it just is, was, and always will be the right thing to do. (On the other hand, if it doesn't work out, believe me, it will be all your fault.)

Anyone who thinks otherwise is just a panty-waisted sissy, a terrorist sympathizer/enabler (where did that Christian NY mom come from? A welcome breath of fresh air around here), or that good old American standby, a Communist.

(By the way, if you don't see your comment show up at first, I suspect it may help to hit the "refresh" button on your bowser...)

At 6:54 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Homer! Good to hear from you. Bye now.


At 7:06 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The unknown blogger:

I'll never get anyone around here to admit -- interesting word, implying that you did it but you'll never admit it -- to any element of the Iraq invasion? Thanks for your refreshing honesty.

Panty-waisted sissy, terrorist symphatiser/enabler, Communist? Do you understand the Latin term "ad hominem"?

Nice to hear from you. Thanks for your contribution.


At 7:08 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and thanks for the "Refresh" tip. Like I said, I'm a newbie.


At 7:36 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again: Refresh or no refresh, my message was lost in cyberspace (although I know enough about computers to say that I'm sure I screwed up somehow).

You said "bowser". We all make mistakes. I thought I was wrong once, but it turned out I was mistaken.

(It's an old joke, but a favorite. Indulge me.)


At 8:57 PM, August 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, guys, I've only been on this site for 48 hours, and I'm rapidly losing interest. Richard Aubrey and Homer have retired from the fray -- no doubt because of my irrefutable logic and debating skill -- just kidding, Richard and Homer, who I'm sure are lurking. Just kidding!

I'm a nightowl -- nightmockingbird? -- and it's 2:45 a.m. here on GMT. That's time for even people on the Left Coast to have got home from their work oppressing the downtrodden and have lit a Monte Cristo and got the little woman to mix them a martini. Time to relax on the computer with their good friend tequilamockingbird.

Where are you guys? I'll check in tomorrow. If nobody can come up with a coherent message between now and then, adios, amigos. I know Richard and Homer et al will hate to see me go, but that's life!



At 6:56 AM, August 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tequila. How's "Bored"?

You began by pretending to be discussing in good faith.
Then you started to lie.
Move goalposts.
Not accept what is certain, but inconvenient.
Change subjects.

A lie can be told in four words. Refuting it can take paragraphs plus digging out an old cite.
It's easier to lie and lie and lie than to refute each lie, by a good deal.
When it becomes clear it is not a matter of you being uninformed, but in fact, lying, the charm dies.

For some reason I don't understand, liberals have two illusions--among many--that interest me.
One is that convincing a hundred people that the liberal lies like a not very convincing rug is worth it if one escapee from a group home can be convinced. I don't follow the math.
The other is that boring others half to death is the same as convincing anybody.

At 8:11 AM, August 12, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tequila, you said you were a blog newbie, and unfortunately it really, really shows. If I were you, I'd stop posting comments for a little while, spend some time just reading the comments of others, and see if you can pick up a bit more of the prevailing etiquette than you have so far.

For one thing, taunting people for not responding as often and as fast as you would like them to won't get you more responses. It'll just get you pegged as a troll. There are other blogs where the comment sections are little more than rapid-fire insult sessions, but this isn't one of them, thank goodness.

The same is true for all those comments you posted in which you changed the subject, moved the goal posts, supported your opinions with "speculation" rather than facts, and avoided uncomfortable information that contradicted your views by insisting, without data, that you "don't accept" it. (If I "don't accept" that there is no Easter Bunny, do you believe this will cause him to show up at my house with chocolate eggs?) This blog tends to have quite a few commenters with an extensive command of the facts and ability to research their views. You certainly don't have to agree with their political opinions, but if you're going to try to argue effectively with people who reason on this level, you're going to have to sharpen up your own critical thinking skills quite a bit. As things stand, you don't even seem to realize how feeble your arguments look in comparison to the competition, or how much harm you do to your "side" by looking so misinformed and irrational.

I'm just sayin'.

At 10:15 PM, August 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well, it's been more than a week now. A little slow, wouldn't you say?

Thanks for your message. I appreciate the advice. Your post is well written. Clear writing reflects clear thought.

You're right; I shouldn't be taunting people for not responding fast enough for my liking -- or for any other reason, for that matter.

Frankly, I didn't understand people criticizing me for "changing the goalposts". No one ever elaborated on or explained what they meant by that. I think every message I wrote, except the first and last, were directly addressed to specific people; I thought I addressed, seriatim, each of the points they raised. I then usually went on to elaborate or expand, and admittedly sometimes got sidetracked. Perhaps I wouldn't have been vilified for "changing the subject" or "moving the goalposts" if I had made my elaboration or expansion the subject of another post.

That's about the extent to which I can agree with you, however.

My reiteration of "I can't accept" something? I used that phrase exactly once, saying that I could not accept that Saddam was cooperating with the Al Q terrorists and getting out from under sanctions (no "evidence" was proffered to contradict me, of course; it's for me to provide "proof", not the other way around). The next post in reply accused me of constantly reiterating that I "didn't accept" things that were inconvenient, an assertion which you dwelt on at length with your Easter Bunny analogy and which is simply untrue. It was asserted by someone else after that lone usage, and after that it was assumed and asserted by one and all that I "didn't accept" everything under the sun.

My correspondent at the time was trumpeting the Duelfer report. It's 1500 pages long. I haven't read it and I don't intend to read it. But here's the Fox News take on the Duelfer report:


"Report: No Iraq WMDs Made After '91 Thursday, October 07, 2004

WASHINGTON — The chief U.S. arms inspector in Iraq has found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (search) production by Saddam Hussein's (search) regime after 1991.

But the final report by Charles Duelfer (search) concluded that, although the weapons stockpiles were destroyed, Saddam’s government was looking to begin a WMD program again.

The Bush administration invaded Iraq in March 2003 on the grounds that its WMD programs posed a threat to American national security.

In his report, Duelfer concluded that Saddam's Iraq had no stockpiles of the banned weapons, but he said he found signs of idle programs that Saddam could have revived once international attention waned.

"It appears that he did not vigorously pursue those programs after the inspectors left," a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity, ahead of the report's Wednesday afternoon release by the CIA.

U.S. officials also said the report shows Saddam was much farther away from a nuclear weapons program in 2003 than he was between 1991 and 1993; there is no evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda exchanged weapons; and there is no evidence that Al Qaeda and Iraq shared information, technology or personnel in developing weapons.

The White House continued to maintain that the findings support the view that Saddam was a threat.

"We knew the dictator had a history of using weapons of mass destruction, a long record of aggression and hatred for America," President Bush (search) said in a speech Wednesday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. "There was a risk, a real risk, that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or materials or information to terrorist networks. In the world after Sept. 11, that was a risk we could not afford to take."

Duelfer was presenting his findings Wednesday to the Senate Armed Services Committee (search). His team compiled a 1,500-page report after his predecessor, David Kay, who quit last December, also found no evidence of weapons stockpiles.

The CIA officially released the Duelfer report about 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday on its Web site, though some of its conclusions were leaked to the media in advance.

Partisans on both sides of the aisle didn't waste time reacting to Duelfer's conclusions.

"The Duelfer report is yet another example that there really are two Americas," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. "There's the one that exists in the Bush fantasy world, and then there's the real America. In the Bush fantasy world, they still claim that Iraq was an imminent threat with weapons of mass destruction."

But Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the report didn't really offer any new insights.

"I really don't think (the report) changes anything," Roberts said. "Everybody made the wrong assumption (about the WMD threat)."

Duelfer concluded that Saddam's regime hoped to convince the world it had complied with the United Nations resolutions implemented after the first Gulf War and wanted the U.N. to lift the strict sanctions against the country.

Duelfer, a special consultant to the director of Central Intelligence on Iraqi WMD affairs, found Saddam wasn't squirreling away equipment and weapons and hiding them in various parts of the country, as some originally thought when the U.S.-led war in Iraq began, officials said.

Instead, the report finds that Saddam was trying to achieve his goal by retaining “intellectual capital” — in other words, keeping weapons inspectors employed and happy and preserving some documentation, according to U.S. officials.

Duelfer and the multi-national Iraq Survey Group (ISG) (search), which also worked on the report, say it’s still not known whether Iraq moved weapons caches to Syria or other countries.

The ISG is still poring over thousands of official Baathist documents that have yet to be translated. Currently, some 900 linguists have been hired and are working in Qatar to get the job done.

About 35 to 50 “old, decayed” chemical and biological shells have been found in Iraq so far, all of which are said to have been produced in the 1980s.

Saddam was importing banned materials, working on unmanned aerial vehicles in violation of U.N. agreements and maintaining industrial capability that could be converted to produce weapons, officials have said. Duelfer also describes Saddam's Iraq as having had limited research efforts into chemical and biological weapons.

Duelfer's report will come on a week that the White House has been defending a number of issues involving its Iraq policy and the war there.

Remarks this week by L. Paul Bremer (search), former U.S. administrator in occupied Iraq, suggested he'd argued for more troops in the immediate aftermath of the invasion, when looting was rampant.

A spokesman for Bush's re-election campaign said Bremer indeed differed with military commanders.

Bush's election rival, Democrat John Kerry (search), pounced on Bremer's statements that the United States "paid a big price" for having insufficient troop levels.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the Duelfer report "will continue to show that he [Saddam] was a gathering threat that needed to be taken seriously, that it was a matter of time before he was going to begin pursuing those weapons of mass destruction."

But Vice President Dick Cheney (search) said in an Aug. 26, 2002 speech, 6 1/2 months before the invasion, that "simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us."

On Wednesday, the White House also continued to assert that there were clear ties between Saddam before the invasion and the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search).

But a CIA report recently given to the White House found no conclusive evidence that Saddam had given al-Zarqawi support and shelter before the war, according to ABC News and Knight-Ridder.

The CIA report did not make final conclusions about a Saddam-Zarqawi tie, but does raise questions about the Bush administration's assertions that al-Zarqawi found a safe harbor in Baghdad before the invasion — and raises questions about whether Saddam even knew al-Zarqawi was there.

During Tuesday night's debate, Cheney said "there is still debate over this question." But he added: "At one point, some of Zarqawi's people were arrested. Saddam personally intervened to have them released."

In a speech on Oct. 7, 2002, Bush laid out what he described then as Iraq's threat:

—"It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."

—"We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas."

—"Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles — far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and other nations — in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. "

What U.S. forces found:

—A single artillery shell filled with two chemicals that, when mixed while the shell was in flight, would have created sarin. U.S. forces learned of it only when insurgents, apparently believing it was filled with conventional explosives, tried to detonate it as a roadside bomb in May in Baghdad. Two U.S. soldiers suffered from symptoms of low-level exposure to the nerve agent. The shell was from Saddam's pre-1991 stockpile.

—Another old artillery shell, also rigged as a bomb and found in May, showed signs it once contained mustard agent.

—Two small rocket warheads, turned over to Polish troops by an informer, that showed signs they once were filled with sarin.

—Centrifuge parts buried in a former nuclear scientist's garden in Baghdad. These were part of Saddam's pre-1991 nuclear program, which was dismantled after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The scientist also had centrifuge design documents.

—A vial of live botulinum toxin, which can be used as a biological weapon, in another scientist's refrigerator. The scientist said it had been there since 1993.

—Evidence of advanced design work on a liquid-propellant missile with ranges of up to 620 miles. Since the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq had been prohibited from having missiles with ranges longer than 93 miles.

FOX News' Ian McCaleb, Bret Baier, Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report."


Admittedly a bit of a mixed bag, but it's obvious that very little of significance was found, but that same "very little" was puffed up by the Administration into a supposed threat, one not supported by the evidence. How any reasonable person can interpret that report as helping to justify war mystifies me.

Another post I ignored was the Scott Ritter smear -- totally unsupported, of course. Again, I guess it's just for me to provide "proof", not the people arguing with me.

I've been accused several times of lying, which is nonsense and doesn't deserve a reply.

You say "This blog tends to have quite a few commenters with an extensive command of the facts and ability to research their views." Well, I don't know where they're hiding. Most of the responses I've received are from people who have trouble stringing together three consecutive sentences that are properly punctuated (clear writing reflects clear thought; the reverse is also true).

Thanks again for your advice.


At 10:36 PM, August 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an article you may not have seen.


Al-Qaida: The wrong answers
By Soumayya Ghannoushi

Monday 08 August 2005, 20:36 Makka Time, 17:36 GMT

Once again I watched the nauseous devastation and massacre, this time in the heart of my city, near the universities and libraries where I have spent much of my adult life.

Madrid and Bali, Casablanca and Riyadh, I have come to predict al-Qaida's responsibility for a given criminal act through the following test. If I find myself at a loss for an answer to the questions: "Why the innocent?" and "For what purpose?", then, in all likelihood, the crime is of al-Qaida's doing.

The absurd, random mass carnage of young and old, male and female is its trademark. Residential buildings, tourist resorts, rush hour trains and crowded buses turn into grand spectacles of mass murder where no heed is paid to the victim's identity and the extent of his/her responsibility for the policies of a country defined as the enemy. The boundaries between the world of politics and that of organised crime are blurred, as political demands get wedded to criminal methods.

Al-Qaida, it must be said, is no pioneer in this field. For although it founds its ideology on religious references and speaks a language overwhelmed by religious symbols, al-Qaida falls largely within the modern tradition of revolutionary anarchists - from the Jacobins and the Bolsheviks down to latter-day Marxist guerrillas like the Baadr-Meinhoff Gang.

Destruction as a passion

Like these modern revolutionary nihilists, al-Qaida warriors subscribe to an instrumentalist logic that recognises no distinction between the legitimate and illegitimate, thereby sanctioning acts of terror for the attainment of their ends. Like them, they are more interested in the act of destruction than its effects. As the father of Russian anarchism Mikhail Bakunin put it, 'the passion for destruction is also a creative passion'.

"It is necessary to realise that every action instigates reaction."

Luis V, Mexico

More comments...
Al-Qaida is also a revival of the radical currents that surfaced in Islamic history from time to time only to be defeated by moderate mainstream Islam led by the Ulama (scholars). In particular, they appear to be a continuation of Kharijite thought with its dualistic puritanical conception of the world and the community of Muslims and of Gnostic underground organisations like the Assassins and Qaramita, who sought to disrupt the stability of Muslim societies through acts of terrorism.

Al-Qaida would be best seen as a mixture of these political and ideological strands. Apart from the ideological justifications it takes recourse to, one would, indeed, be hard put to find much that distinguishes it from Latin American anarchist groups. Their acts share the same destructive ferocity, the same absurdity. The difference is that where one finds its ideological legitimacy in Marxism, the other seeks it in the Islamic religion.

Islam misinterpreted

How can the murder of the innocent be perpetuated in the name of a religion that likens the loss of one human life to the loss of humanity at large? How can Islam be said to sanction such acts of aggression when it openly forbids revenge and declares in no less than five Quranic chapters that: "No bearer of a burden bears the burden of another"?

How can the killing of ordinary men and women going about their business be permissible when even the battlefield has been regulated by the strictest moral code: "Destroy not fruit trees, nor fertile land in your paths. Be just, and spare the feelings of the vanquished. Respect all religious persons who live in hermitages or convents and spare their edifices"?

Perhaps the one thing al-Qaida militants have proven good at, apart from the shedding of innocent blood, is fanning the flames of hostility to Islam and Muslims. From the darkness of their caves and hiding places, these self-appointed spokesmen for about one and a half billion Muslims worldwide have excelled in stirring latent negative images of Islam within the Western psyche. Through their senseless crimes, Islam, in the minds of most, has become a euphemism for mass slaughter and destruction. Thanks to them, racism, bigotry and Islamophobia could rear its ugly head unashamedly in broad day light.

The terrible irony is that Muslims currently find themselves helplessly trapped between two fundamentalisms, between Bush's hammer and Bin Laden's anvil, hostages to an extreme right wing American administration, aggressively seeking to impose its expansionist and hegemonic will over the region at gunpoint, and to a cluster of violent, wild fringe groups, lacking in political experience or sound religious understanding.

'Us' and 'them'

Although the two claim to be combating each other, the reality is that they are working in unison, one providing the justifications the other desperately needs for its fanaticism, ferocity and savagery.

No wonder it didn't take the neo-conservative world supremacists long to spot the immense opportunities 11 September handed them. Their puritanical missionary belief in being God's instruments on earth and grand imperial ambitions could now be realised through shameless emotional blackmail and bogus moral claims.

The two share a shallow, myopic, dualistic conception of the world populated by 'us' and 'them' in Bush's language, 'believers' and 'non-believers' in Bin Laden's. Al-Zarqawi and his fellows then brandish the sword of excommunication (takfir) against the Muslim body itself in an endless orgy of maiming and mutilation.

Some are to be expelled, because they are Shia, others because they are Sufis, or Mu'tazilites (rationalists), and so on in a perpetual elimination process that spares no one but a handful of puritan elects from its deadly reach.

The vast stock of common denominators is ignored; that which tears and divides is sought. These would rather see the world turn into an ever-raging battlefield, Muslim societies into blazing scenes of sectarian schism and civil war in a region rich in ethnic, religious, sectarian and linguistic diversity.

I daily use London's trains and buses and could have been one of Thursday bombings' victims. I hardly think that killing or maiming me would have aided the causes the bombers claim to defend. The truth is that these narrow-minded fanatics are a scourge to the causes they purport to champion.

Ask any Iraqi or Palestinian if the bombing of the innocent in Bali, Casablanca, or London has helped alleviate their suffering. If anything, they have handed their oppressors an open permit to butcher and destroy, safe in the knowledge that blame has been shifted from them to their victims.

Just causes, unjust means

So, Sharon demolishes the homes of Palestinians, expropriates their lands and sends his helicopters to massacre them in their hundreds in the name of combating terrorism. Arab regimes stifle dissenting voices, imprison and assassinate in the name of resisting terrorism. American tanks and gunships invade, occupy, kill and rampage, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

Al-Qaida's mindless acts have turned the aggressor, who colonises, massacres and pillages, into a victim. For all their material vulnerability, victims have a very powerful asset: their moral case as innocent victims. Perhaps this is the cruellest dimension to these senseless crimes: That the powerless has been stripped even of his victimhood. Even this has been appropriated by the powerful.

The causes al-Qaida extremists speak for are certainly just causes. The sanctioning of genocide and occupation in Palestine, slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Iraq, through exposure to depleted uranium and years of barbaric sanctions first, then through bombing and shelling without bothering to count the dead, brutal invasion of the country, destruction of its infrastructure and humiliation of its people undoubtedly rank among modern history’s bloodiest crimes and darkest tragedies.

But the mindless killing of the innocent in Madrid, or New York is the wrong answer to these real grievances. These are illegitimate responses to legitimate causes. Just as occupation is morally and politically deplorable, so, too, is this blind aggression masquerading as Jihad.

Soumayya Ghannoushi is a researcher in the history of ideas at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London.

Any comments?


At 7:55 AM, August 21, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're not getting much information on how the Iraqui constitutional negotiations are going. Here's a report:


Consensus elusive on Iraq charter

Sunday 21 August 2005, 12:18 Makka Time, 9:18 GMT

Kurds offered to compromise on self-determination

Iraqi leaders are battling to wrap up a constitution within 48 hours, but consensus on thorny issues remains elusive, with Washington pressuring the Kurds to drop their demands over control of vital oil resources.

Sharp differences remain on federalism, the role of Islam and sharing of oil wealth, some of the key planks of the first post-Saddam Hussein charter which is due to be put to parliament on Monday after a 15 August deadline was missed.

"We have a problem here... there is one group who wants a 21st century constitution and there is another group who wants a seventh century constitution," said one source closely involved in the negotiations.

"Unfortunately, America is looking at both the groups with the same eye. They just want the draft to be ready on time."

The Kurds, who want their de facto autonomous northern region to include the oil centre of Kirkuk, have been demanding first rights to the oil produced there.

Last week, negotiators proposed one formula for distributing Iraq's vast oil wealth whereby each oil-producing region would take a small percentage for itself, with the rest transferred to Baghdad for national distribution.

An exact arrangement is still to be worked out, and the Kurds are pushing for maximum gains.


Iraqis will vote on the constitution
in October ahead of new elections
Iraq's constitution is seen as key to the country's political transition and possible early withdrawal of US-led troops.

It is due to go to a referendum in October ahead of new elections in December.

Sources close to the negotiations said US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who attended meetings until late on Saturday, has asked the Kurds to soften their stand on oil as well as their demand for self-determination.

"The US is pressuring the Kurds to give up these two demands," said one source.

Federalism compromise

Kurdish leaders on Saturday offered to compromise on self-determination.

Zalmay Khalilzad has asked Kurds
to soften their stand, say sources
They had been keen for language to be included in the charter giving them the right to self-determination, which would effectively allow them to secede from Iraq at some point in the future.

The United States on Saturday dropped its opposition to enshrining Islam as "the" main source of legislation and not just "a" main source - a move aimed at pleasing the majority Shias.

Washington is determined to see the date met after the first deadline was missed last Monday, fearing that any delay in the political process will benefit Sunni Arab fighters opposed to the government.

Islam's role

The Kurds have rejected moves to make Islam as "the" main source of law, saying it would harm women's rights and Iraq's secular tradition.

"We have a problem here... there is one group who wants a 21st century constitution and there is another group who wants a seventh century constitution"

Source involved in the negotiations
"We will oppose this as much as we can," Kurdish constitution committee member Mahmud Otham said.

The role of Islam has proved a heavily divisive issue, with leaders of the Shia majority insisting religion be considered the main legal foundation, and that clerics be given political roles.

One Western official said "no one is looking to establish an Islamic state. The intent is to ensure that Islam is respected in addition to other established rights."


Observers speculate that the Shias and Kurds, who enjoy a majority in parliament, may forge a compromise over the heads of Sunni negotiators.

An al-Qaida-linked group has
warned Iraqis to boycott poll
"We have been sidelined... we have met the leaders only twice since the new deadline," said Saleh al-Mutlaq, a constitution committee member from the former Sunni Arab elite which largely boycotted January's landmark elections.

"They (Shia and Kurds) will prepare a draft and ask us to sign. If we do it, we will be blamed by our people and if we do not the leaders will blame us for obstructing the political process. This is unfair."

Mutlaq had warned that the Sunnis would defeat the constitution at the during the mid-October referendum if they are ignored.

Under Iraq's interim law, the charter will fail if two-thirds of voters in any three provinces reject it in the referendum.

Sunni Arabs form a majority in al-Anbar, Ninevah and Salaheddin provinces.

Boycott warning

Ansar al-Sunna, a group linked to al-Qaida, warned Sunnis to boycott the referendum.

"A constitution is for illegitimate states," it said in an internet statement on Sunday.

"Anyone who obeys a law other than God's law is a miscreant."

With August one of the deadliest months for American troops since the March 2003 invasion, US President George Bush defended the Iraq war again in his weekly radio address on Saturday.

"We must finish the task that our troops have given their lives for and honour their sacrifice by completing their mission," said Bush, whose approval ratings have slipped to some of the lowest levels of his presidency.


Are the U.S. supporting a proposal that Islam be "the" main source of legislation, and that the Kurds drop their demands for oil revenue and self-determination, just so that an agreement, however flawed, can be reached by the deadline?


At 11:42 AM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've reread the message beginning this thread, and since I'm not a "western apologist" for terrorists, I guess I'll look for another discussion, such as "terrorists and Westerners who would like to hunt them down and exterminate them rather than run off down blind alleys for political and ideological reasons".

That essay by Dr. Harman simply does not apply to me -- or to anyone I know, for that matter, though I don't hang out in liberal or "pseudo-liberal" circles.

I supported Gulf War I 100%, as did a number of Arab states. I stayed on the fence with regard to the invasion of Afghanistan, never having heard of Al Quaeda or Osama bin Laden, until I soon became convinced it was an appropriate response to 9/11, and have supported and defended it ever since.

Appease the perpretrators of 9/11? Au contraire, mon frere: Hunt them to the ends of the earth and exterminate the scum.

One place we knew they weren't, though: Iraq.

I believe the Iraq invasion to be completely unrelated to the "War on Terror", or whatever you want to call it. I believe it to have been the worst military decision since the Japanes bombed Pearl Harbor.

"Make the U.S. safer?" Yeah, right, while thousands of jihadis are learning their trade under battle conditions so they can use their newfound skills against the West worldwide. Lovely. Thanks for keeping us so safe, Mr. President.

Once this crew in the White House is discredited for a generation, perhaps we can make some progress.


At 2:25 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, things seem to be improving:

"The Harris Poll is out today, showing President Bush's approval rating down sharply over the past two months to 40 percent. Just two days ago, the American Research Group also found it down sharply, to 36 percent.

"In both cases, those are all-time lows for Bush that put him in dangerously unpopular territory. And the results lead inescapably to the conclusion that the American people are deeply unhappy with the war in Iraq and blame the president.

"The Wall Street Journal reports: "President Bush's job approval ratings are at their lowest point of his presidency as only 40% of U.S. adults have a favorable opinion of his job performance and 58% have a negative opinion, according to a Harris Interactive poll.

"This is a decline from just two months ago in June when the president's ratings were 45% positive and 55% negative. Much of this decline can be tied to the public's opinion on important issues. The war in Iraq has climbed to the top of the most important issues list and the economy is now viewed as the second most important issue, according to the poll."

"This chart shows how the war in Iraq has grown in importance over time.

"Harris Interactive adds: "Americans are also less satisfied with the way things are going in the country now as compared to in June. A majority (59%) of adults say things in the country have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track and 37 percent believe things are moving in the right direction. In June, those numbers were 38 percent who said things were moving in the right direction and 55 percent who said things had headed off on the wrong track."

"An American Research Group poll released Monday found Bush's overall approval rating down to 36 percent in August, from 42 percent in July."

I wonder how many million Republicans those figures include.


At 2:12 AM, September 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you're paying $2 billion a month on an unneccessary war, other priorities are lowered:


"No One Can Say they Didn't See it Coming"

By Sidney Blumenthal

In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

Biblical in its uncontrolled rage and scope, Hurricane Katrina has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter and hundreds to thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.

A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003 the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than 80 percent. Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans' levees, but it was too late.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."

The Bush administration's policy of turning over wetlands to developers almost certainly also contributed to the heightened level of the storm surge. In 1990, a federal task force began restoring lost wetlands surrounding New Orleans. Every two miles of wetland between the Crescent City and the Gulf reduces a surge by half a foot. Bush had promised "no net loss" of wetlands, a policy launched by his father's administration and bolstered by President Clinton. But he reversed his approach in 2003, unleashing the developers. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency then announced they could no longer protect wetlands unless they were somehow related to interstate commerce.

In response to this potential crisis, four leading environmental groups conducted a joint expert study, concluding in 2004 that without wetlands protection New Orleans could be devastated by an ordinary, much less a Category 4 or 5, hurricane. "There's no way to describe how mindless a policy that is when it comes to wetlands protection," said one of the report's authors. The chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality dismissed the study as "highly questionable," and boasted, "Everybody loves what we're doing."

Well, maybe not anymore.


At 7:41 PM, September 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."

"You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie".

Words of wisdom from our esteemed Commander in Chief.

Anyone heard what's going on in Iraq these days? I haven't. All sweetness and light, I trust.

Remember when Florida (where I lived for three years) weathered four major hurricanes last year: Charlie, Jeanne, Frances, and Ivan? As I recall, FEMA, Bush, and the federal government were commended by virtually everyone, on a bipartisan basis, for their excellent response.

Of course, that was brother Jeb's state, in a federal election year. Could it be that W and Turdblossom were playing partisan politics? Naah -- just the Democrats do that.

What's happening in the Turdblossom/Plame story, by the way? Katrina casts a long shadow, obscuring many things.


At 3:25 PM, September 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's talk about "hatred" of George Bush.

"Hatred" is not a word that I would use to describe my feelings about W, but "disgust" and "contempt" come to mind.

Here's a little anecdote for you. As I've said in earlier posts, I'm a Canadian who has been, generally speaking, pro-American all my life. I've lived in Europe for the past six years (and, by the way, in Europe we get media reports that I consider more "fair and balanced" than the fearful, obsequious, flag-waving, drum-beating reports that flooded U.S. media after 9/11 -- e.g., the pro-Administration reports by Judith Miller in that hotbed of liberal pinko faggots, the NY Times).

A Canadian friend called at my house one Saturday morning; we were going to go downtown in our little town in the Netherlands. I came downstairs wearing a Hard Rock Cafe sweatshirt from Washington, DC. (This is the summer of 2000, pre-Bush). He said to me, "Aren't you worried that people will think you're American?"

Now, as soon as I open my mouth, at least half the Europeans who hear me think I'm American, probably because American tourists in Europe outnumber Canadians about ten to one. Though I speak pretty close to news-announcer American (Peter Jennings was Canadian, of course), most Americans and almost all Canadians can tell the difference. But the anti-American spirit that underlay my friend's comment came as a complete surprise to me; after a year and a half of living in Europe, I had honestly never considered the idea that I might be the victim of anti-Americanism.

I replied, "I don't care if I am mistaken for an American. If I'm badly treated by small-minded Dutchmen because they think I'm American, to hell with them." (Or words to that effect).

(Incidentally, Canadian troops played a very large role in liberating the Netherlands from the Nazis, so Canadians are especially well regarded there.)

You often hear that "9/11 changed everything." Well, Bush changed everything. In December 2002, before the Iraq invasion, I sent to Canada for a quantity of Canadian flag emblems and lapel pins that I could wear, with the object of differentiating myself from that contemptible gang in the White House.

The whole world stood with the U.S. after 9/11. Some might ask how Bush et al could have lost the goodwill of the world so quickly, but it isn't right to think that they lost it, as if they turned around and it was misplaced somewhere: Bush took the goodwill of the world and threw it out the window with both hands.

I wear a Canadian flag lapel pin on my suit at work, not always or even frequently, but sometimes. I was recently asked: "Do you wear that pin so that people will know you're not a Yank?" I considered my reply and said -- diplomatically, I thought -- "As soon as I open my mouth, a lot of people think I'm American, and I'd just as soon they didn't make that mistake."

I've never been, and I'm still not, anti-American. I'm anti-Bush.

More to follow.


At 4:04 PM, September 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who would have believed that Bush would do something right?

Wow! What a difference a couple of days can make! Is Turdblossom working his magic again after his bout with kidney stones? (Any of us who have had them can tell you that there's not much you can do except whimper in pain). For some reason, against all the odds, Bush has done a couple of things right. What's going on? Two remarkable things have happened.

First, although Bush was two weeks too late in making the speech he did Thursday night in Jackson Square, and five years too late in finally taking responsibility for one of his numerous mistakes and failures, nevertheless, I thought the speech was excellent. If his actions match his words, Bush can turn this around. (It's going to cost a hell of a lot, though, and some legislators are already balking at the price tag; it can also get sidelined by corrupt and greedy Administration friends -- Allbaugh, this means you -- who will undoubtedly grow rich on the fat reconstruction contracts, wallowing around in the trough).

Now, let's not get carried away with adulation for W on the strength of one good speech. I don't think the speech was Bush's heartfelt reaction because he's a good and compassionate person (if that was the case, it would have come two weeks earlier); I think he initially didn't care because he didn't realize what a political shitstorm Katrina was going to become, and now he's into damage control big time. That's why I suspect that it might be Turdblossom's work. Nevertheless, it was a good speech.

Even more important was Bush's performance at the U.N. He was the opposite of the arrogant, blustering bully he was in 2002, when he scornfully addressed the U.N. in his thinly disguised charade of seeking their support for his planned invasion of Iraq. Bolton's attempt to derail the whole show -- why is it not obvious to everybody that the man is a walking catastrophe? -- was thwarted by wiser heads, and Bush, in his humble and modest presentation, said three things that amazed me: "We are committed to the Millennium Development Goals"; "I call on all the world's nations to implement the Monterrey Consensus"; and "The United States is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to free flow of goods and services as other nations do the same. This is key to overcoming poverty in the world's poorest nations".

Remarkable! Outstanding!

I can honestly say that in his entire term, I don't think Bush accomplished anything of value other than -- at least for a while -- eliminating the Taliban, and we'll see on Sunday and subsequently if that was truly an accomplishment. (Eliminating Saddam is a benefit, but nowhere near worth the price).

I mean that literally. I believe he's accomplished nothing. He's damaged the U.N., Nato, and the E.U.; he's been a disaster on environmental issues; he's brought in tax cuts that benefit his wealthy corporate backers and fund-raisers enormously but hurt low-income Americans; he's turned Clinton's record surplus into a record deficit and turned the U.S. economy into a basket case; he's appointed large numbers -- not just Brownie and Allbaugh, but dozens -- of unqualified supporters to well-paid influential positions; he's damaged relations with friends and allies so badly that there is no international reservoir of goodwill for Bush's America; and above all, he's chosen -- chosen -- to plunge the U.S. and the world into the disastrous hellscape that is Iraq.

He's totally unqualified to be president. As I've said in an earlier post, if he had a job that suited his ability, he'd be pumping gas in Crawford, Texas. He has no previous lifetime accomplishments -- other than sobering up, which is not to be derided. He used family connections to start a couple of oil companies that he ran into the ground, made a bunch of money on inside trading that was borderline then and would definitely be illegal today, was given a baseball team to play with, and used family and political connections to smear his opponent and wind up as governor of Texas, where the legislature sits -- what is it, 40 days every two years? His accomplishments as governor of Texas include signing more execution warrants than any governor in history and granting clemency to Henry Lee Lucas. His lack of intellectual curiosity is astounding; he reads Mad Magazine and Sports Illustrated and watches ESPN. I wonder if he'll do any book reports on that "reading list" he supposedly accomplished on his vacation. He said he was reading an Elmore Leonard novel -- my guess is that that's about as intellectually challenging as his reading gets. His holiday briefing in August 2001, which included an item titled something like "Bin Laden Intends to Strike Inside U.S.", was six double-spaced pages, because he doesn't like to read anything longer. (I'd be willing to bet that an equivalent briefing for Clinton would be 40 or 50 pages, single-spaced). I'll grant you that Kerry is no prize pig, though I think he'd be better than Bush, but Al Gore, the man deprived of the presidency by Bush Sr.'s Supreme Court, is far superior to W -- as a politician and as a man.

That speech in New Orleans -- if backed up by action -- and that expression of support for the Millennium Development Goals, the Monterrey Consensus, and the Doha Round -- if backed up by action -- are, in my opinion, the only good things he's done.

Well done, W! You've been a terrible president for five years, but you did a couple of things right this week.


At 4:09 PM, September 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and I like to read an Elmore Leonard now and then; no criticism there.


At 6:14 PM, September 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Neo-Neocon:

Now that I'm the only participant in this blog, although I see from the counter that thousands of people have visited the site, and the site has become a monlogue rather than a discussion, I'd like you to rename the site and turn it over to me, the de facto owner.

The new name of the site will be "The Sensible Liberal". The premise will be that the energies of the U.S. government should be directed unstintingly toward the masterminds and organizers behind 9/11 -- remember them? Where are they now? When is the last time you heard of any search for them? They're long forgotten in the shambles that is Iraq.

"Neo-Neocon"? How long will it take for you to acknowledge that this gang in the Administration is a disaster for the U.S. and the world? They were and are wrong. But they are malovelent. You're a naive dupe.

At 6:35 PM, September 17, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hands up -- how many agree with Tom Delay that there's no more fat left to be cut out of the federal budget?


At 6:38 PM, September 17, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, there's got to be somebody who agrees with good ol' Tom! He's a Republican, after all.



At 6:52 PM, September 17, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he hasn't even been indicted yet.


At 6:27 PM, September 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want anyone to think that my fairly extensive criticisms of that embarrassment known as the President of the United States was comprehensive. It's just what happened to occur to me. A glaring omission in my remarks is his dodging of the draft by leapfrogging hundreds of more qualified applicants -- his fitness rating was abysmal -- to sit out the Vietnam War in -- what did they call it, the Champagne Regiment? -- in the Texas Air National Guard.

There's an aspect to National Guard service that may not be known to younger readers of this blog. Is everyone aware that during the Vietnam War, service in the National Guard was a gold-plated insurance policy against having to serve in combat? That's not the case now, as the hillbillies and hilljillies (sorry; I just like the expression too much to pass it up) in Abu Ghraib have ably demonstrated. In the Vietnam years, the National Guard did not get sent overseas into combat. No way in the world would Bush have seen combat in Vietnam. He was keeping an eagle eye, so to speak, on any possible offensive from Mexico -- or maybe Oklahoma.


At 7:09 PM, September 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The basis for my takeover of your site on the premise that "the energies of the U.S. government should be directed unstintingly toward the masterminds and organizers behind 9/11" ... is far too narrow. As someone once said, back when others participated in this site, the threat is more than just Al Qeada, the organization that allegedly perpetrated the actions of 9/11; the enemy is Islamofascism.

That's a very much thornier problem, complicated enormously by the fact that although they weren't in Iraq when W and the boys waged their immoral, illegal, distastrous invision, believe me, baby, they're there now.

Where do we go from here, N-N? I don't give a damn if W et al succeed in Iraq -- in fact, I hope that thehy fail so badly that W is impeached, prosecuted for war crimes and hauled off to jail, and the whole disgusting bunch of them are discredited for a generation -- but I hope that some kind of an Iraqi-agreed consensus can be achieved and the Sunnis, Kurds and Shia can work this out for themselves rather than at the end of a democratic American rifle.

More later.

At 7:50 PM, September 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neo-Neocon: How's it going in your transformation from butterfly to slug? How do you like these neofascist swine you find yourself supporting and associating with? Is it a source of pride to you? Elaborate, please. We're waiting with bated breath.


At 5:13 PM, September 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's happening with the nuclear situation in Iran? To be frank, I have no idea. But I know one thing -- I'll depend on the U.N. and the IAEA for my information, not on those lying bastards in the Administration.


At 5:18 PM, September 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone objects to my use of the term "bastards", I have plenty of similes you can substitute if you prefer; I'll supply a list on request.


At 5:19 PM, September 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "lying", of course, needs no qualification.


At 4:32 PM, September 22, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, "similes"? I meant "synonyms". Too much tequila?


At 5:52 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Irony" (Oxford):
"A state of affairs that appears perversely contrary to what one expects".

Exquisite. A new book, "The West's Last Chance", by Tony Blankley (I won't offer any sarcastic comments; we all know Tony's political views; right?) is reviewed in glowing terms by Pat Buchanan (I won't offer any sarcastic comments; we all know Pat's political views; right?).

In closing, to encapsulate the wisdom of the views expressed in Tony's book, Pat says the following:

"If government does not act, he warns, vigilantes will, but that will not save Western Civilization. An unabashed Atlanticist, he concludes on a Churchillian note:

"'If the United States and Europe act together as the West, in defense of our common values, we can undo the nightmare scenario of the Islamists and defeat this new threat of global tyranny that is every bit as dangerous as the Nazi threat that the Greatest Generation met and extinguished more than 50 years ago.'"

Tony! Pat! Mes amis! Comrades! Companions in arms! I agree entirely and without reservation! We're on the same team, guys!

Just one thing: If the U.S. had stayed on course in the war on terror and Islamofascism as a followup to the attack on Afganistan -- when "the United States and Europe acted together as the West, in defense of our common values" -- instead of veering off into Iraq for Bush's personal, political, and idelogical reasons, the West would have remained united, and Blankley's hopes would have been realized.


At 8:41 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems a long time ago now when I took a week off from this "discussion", as it was at the time, on the advice of one of the participants (some Greek name; sorry, and no disrespect), and I noticed that the meter count on this site was about 132,000. As I made a post earlier today, I noticed the count: 143,409. That's 11,000 hits without a reply. I checked back a few minutes later, and the count was 143,425. I stayed on the site and hit "Refresh" a few times, and I found that someone was visiting the site about once a minute.

All these hits without a comment. Interesting, but puzzling; no?


At 8:50 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

145,436. Check the time between messages.

(And that includes previewing the message.)


At 10:14 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 9:52 AM, September 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

145,680 and counting.

Readers may be surprised to learn that I hardly ever read leftist blogs, but I visit the Drudge Report pretty well daily.

Full disclosure: My bookmarks include and Aljazeera -- try it! You'll be surprised -- but that's the extent of my lefty reading, and the fact is that I hardly ever visit those sites. (Aljazeera is particularly good when the U.S. media is focusing completely on some piece of crap like Michael Jackson, and if there was an all-Iraq 24-hour channel, I'd subscribe.)

On Drudge, however, I read Tony Blankley, David Broder, David Brooks, Tina Brown, Pat Buchanan, Bill Buckley, Ann Coulter, Christopher Hitchens, Molly Ivins, Michael Kinsley, Joe Klein, Krauthammer, Paul Krugman, David Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh, Peggy Noonan, Bob Novak, Bill O'Reilly, Wes Pruden, Andrew Sullivan, Helen Thomas, and George Will. On the "World Front Pages" -- which I don't get to at all lots of times, because I don't even have time to read the columnists -- I read Fox News, Weekly Standard, and WorldNetDaily. If I'm pushed for time, I first read Ann Coulter, Christopher Hitchens, Molly Ivins (my absolute favorite -- can't do without her), and Paul Krugman. (Two left, two right, of the last four). I just this very day read that Phyllis Schafly is a "well-known conservative commentator" -- I confess my ignorance; I've never heard of her; how do you pronounce that, anyway? -- so I'll check her column out as soon as I'm finished here.

Anyone have any recommendations for
"must read" conservative sites?

Some left, lots and lots of right -- I want to know what you guys are talking about. I have my political predispositions, but I really do try to keep an open mind. Ann Coulter, the Limbaugh twins, and Wes Pruden are lunatics, but I find them fascinating, like rattlesnakes. (I've read David Corn's column twice, and he's the left-wing lunatic equivalent; I won't go there again.)

Following a link from the leftist pinko faggot Washington Post -- oh, I should say that have electronic subscriptions to the WP and the NYT -- I came across an article in that bastion of free speech, the National Enquirer, that said that the pressure has got to Bush and he's drinking again.

If he's drunk, at least he's got an excuse for his incompetence. Maybe Boris Yeltsin can visit him at Crawford?

Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine ...


At 3:40 PM, September 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our Fearless Leader should wage a War on Hurricanes.


At 4:10 PM, September 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But having declared a War on Hurricanes, what is his strategy to win it? How many foot soldiers (hillbillies and hilljillies; I love that term) have to die on the way? Are they going to be deployed on the Gulf beaches (that's the Gulf of Mexico) to fire their weapons at the enemy hurricane? If -- God forbid -- the War on Hurricanes seems not to be going well, is there an exit strategy? Bomb the hurricanes!

Never mind that; if you are opposed to the War on Hurricanes, if you think it's a tragic mistake on the part of the President and the Administration, you're an anti-American piece of filth. Support the President and our troops! And let's not dishonor the memory of the brave soldiers who were sent by the Administration to die on the beaches and who were drowned by the storm surge! We can't quit now, or it will be a victory for the hurricanes!


At 6:08 PM, September 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of course, our brave hillbillies and hilljillies are mostly sons and daughters of lawyers, doctors, Senators, and Congressmen. It's not that they're mostly poor, and the military is their only opportunity to learn a trade or get an education -- they're mostly well-to-do, the whole world is open to them, with good jobs at Bechtel or Halliburton, or with Bill Frist or Tom DeLay, and they have a deep belief in the rightness of the War on Hurricanes.


At 7:17 PM, September 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


But enough nonsense. Back to the real world, and a name I'm sure the Administration and the military are sick of by now: Pat Tillman.

After the murk and lies and coverup in earlier investigations into Tillman's death, there was a new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon's Inspector General, and there's a great article about the subject at

Really all I knew about Tillman was that he had given up a pro football career to volunteer for the military out of a deep belief in the rightness of the "War on Terror" -- heroic by any standards. I didn't realize he was such an exceptional person (or that he opposed Bush and the war on Iraq).

More on this later -- much more.


At 5:04 PM, September 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm leaving the subject of Pat Tillman, though I'll be back to it, because there's lots to say. I hope the inquiry gets lots of media coverage. Pat Tillman was a great man, and I don't blame the Administration for trumpeting his recruitment in the Rangers. Their shameless manipulation of the circumstances of his death is contemptible, but by now, who's surprised when this Administration does contemptible things?

It brightened my day to see that Tom DeLay was indicted. Now let's go after the Big Guy -- impeach Bush for war crimes.

One of the conclusions of the Nuremberg War Trials was that the principal war crime, within which all other war crimes are contained, is the waging of aggressive war.

The Administration was at great pains to characterize the invasion of Iraq -- entirely different from the UN-sanctioned invasion of Afghanistan, now; as always, let's keep that difference prominent -- as not an aggressive but a "pre-emptive" war. The premise was that Iraq was bristling with weapons of mass destruction, and according to British Intelligence, was capable of mounting a WMD attack on Britain within 45 seconds. (Looking back,it seems impossible that naive people were taken in by such transparent lies). Of course, the Administration are soft-pedalling the WMD premise now. When Iraq turned out to have about as many WMDs as Sri Lanka or Costa Rica, they tried to bolster their lies with tales of Saddam's ties to terrorists and by linking him to 9/11. By now they're pretty much stuck with the premise that the "regime change" was in order to free Iraq and bring democracy to the Middle East.

Now, tell me, if that indeed was the reason for the invasion (it's not, of course; we all know that, but the Administration have backed themselves into the corner where that has become the horse they're backing), then how about some war-crime trials for the waging of aggressive war?

I hope you end up in the Crowbar Hotel, Tom, and I hope you get lots of company from your yet-to-be-indicted contemporary politicians. I'm an equal-opportunity, non-partisan jailer, by the way; there's lots of room for Democrats back there too.


At 7:05 PM, September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning, America!

Isn't it a great day, and hasn't it been a great week? DeLay's indicted; Frist is being investigated; Judith Miller is out of jail and testifying, with possible serious repercussions for Turdblossom or Scooter, or both; and unknown numbers of slimy Republicans are quivering in their Guccis about what Abramoff might spill to the Feds if he pleads. (Just the slimy ones, mind you).

Things are definitely looking up.


At 7:58 PM, September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Bush lied: True or False?

Well, I guess that depends on what the meaning of "is" is -- whoops, sorry; I was thinking about the Master Prevaricator there. I guess it depends on what the meaning of "lied" is.

If you're presented with a whole bunch of conflicting information, some of which supports your ideological position and some of which doesn't, and you cherry-pick that information and ignore the opposing view, and then you publicly and forcefully present your side as though it's definite and uncontroverted -- and by doing so, persuade the American public to support a "pre-emptive" military invasion; we're not talking about some harmless and insignificant exaggeration here -- is that lying?

A whole lot of people were convinced by the admittedly very convincing performance of Colin Powell at the UN. Some people who were extremely suspicious of the Administration believed implicitly in Powell.

“It’s a blot,” Powell said. “I’m the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now.”

Powell claims that he believed at the time what Tenet told him, and that he believes now that Tenet believed what his minions told him.

Did Powell lie? Well, not exactly; it depends on what the meaning of the word "lie" is. Did Bush lie? As our friend Rush might say: Ditto. Did Cheney lie? Without a shadow of a doubt, IMHO.

It's a good thing the insurgency in Iraq is in its last throes.


At 8:50 PM, September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, just a slight amendment to my last post. I referred to Tenet's CIA "minions", a vaguely derogatory term. By chance, the next article I read on the Internet pointed out that Tenet's underlings -- which I intend as a neutral term -- were browbeaten and bullied by the Administration to come up with the desired results. So I regret referring to them in that way.


At 9:20 PM, September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez, the mistakes keep coming. A couple of messages back I referred to Iraq being supposedly capable of attacking Britain in 45 seconds; should have been 45 minutes.

Hey, that's still pretty quick on the draw; Sundance Saddam. It's something that most countries -- though not the U.S., of course -- would be proud of. When it comes to a massive WMD attack, what's a factor of 60 between friends?


At 10:21 PM, September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Bush-burnisher Karen Hughes, having left her Crawford/Austin/Washington cocoon, had a life-changing experience when she learned how Bush is regarded overseas.


At 10:49 PM, September 30, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God almighty. That moral rock of conservatism, William Bennet, has said on his weekly radio show:

"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Just to put that in context:

'He went on to qualify his comments, which were made in response to a hypothesis that linked the falling crime rate to a rising abortion rate. Aborting black babies, he continued, would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down".'

This is the self-righteous pillar of rectitude (a guy with a multi-million-dollar gambling habit, but let's not cast personal aspersions) who wrote "The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals"; and "Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism", and of course his seminal work, "'The Book of Virtues', a compendium of parables snatched up by millions of parents and teachers across the political spectrum."

Thank you for that, Bill. You're a moral inspiration for us all.

May I put my hands around your throat?


At 12:20 AM, October 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sinking in with Americans that the Bush administration has misled the country into an unneccessary and disastrous war.

"Among Americans, support for the war continues to dwindle, while growing numbers conclude that troops should be withdrawn partially or completely. Only 32 percent of people surveyed for a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released last week approved of Bush's handling of Iraq, compared with 40 percent last month and 50 percent earlier this year.

"The survey also showed that 59 percent now consider it a mistake to have sent U.S. forces to Iraq, up from less than half earlier this summer. And 63 percent believe troops should be withdrawn partially or completely, up 10 points from August. Just 21 percent of those surveyed believed U.S. forces would win the war, while 34 percent said they consider the war unwinnable".

It's a tragedy that we're there. History will condemn Bush for putting us there in the first place. The "War on Terror" -- an idea supported by civilized people everywhere -- was supplanted by Bush's misguided invasion of Iraq.

It seems a little hard to forgive him his trespasses when you consider the magnitude of the results of his trespasses compared to that of yours and mine. Are there any biblical scholars out there who can justify all the death and destruction our esteemed Commander in Chief has made the decision and chosen to wreak on the innocent Iraqis? I mean civilians, not rebels or insurgents. The civilian death toll -- how many died in that pyrotechnical display we saw on TV that was shock and awe? -- by the most conservative count is upwards of 20,000, and counting -- although nobody's really counting; they're just Iraqis, after all.


At 12:25 AM, October 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I guess nobody's counting but me and Neo-Neocon -- where's she, by the way?



At 9:23 AM, October 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Helen Thomas, Karen Hughes, talking to a group of Turkish women, said President Bush did all he could to avoid a war in Iraq.

Is there anyone who believes that to be true? It's an out-and-out lie.


At 8:07 PM, October 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Washington Post reports "The Heritage Foundation, usually respectful of Republican Party officeholders, recently noted that the party's ascendancy has coincided with an extraordinarily expensive Medicare prescription drug bill, the most costly farm bill in modern history, a 51 percent increase in spending on veterans and an increase in the annual number of pork projects from 6,000 in 2001 to 14,000 this year.

"Who should be held responsible for runaway government spending? Mr. DeLay is certainly a good place to start. His governing principle was not to stand on principle but rather to rain taxpayers' money on every lobby that could return the favor with campaign contributions. But the biggest responsibility lies ... with Mr. Bush."

On Bush's reluctance to veto:
".... Bush has been too cowardly to do that. He is the first president since John Quincy Adams to have served a full term without once exercising his veto, and his second term has so far been no different. This summer Mr. Bush promised to veto the transportation bill if it cost more than $256 billion. His threat brought the bill's size down quite a bit, but in the end he caved and signed a package that cost $295 billion .... Mr. Bush's father had the courage to veto 44 bills in four years, and President Ronald Reagan once vetoed a transportation bill because it contained about 150 pork projects. But the bill that Mr. Bush just signed contained at least 6,000 pork projects.

"The president's defenders plead that it's hard to veto bills when his own party controls Congress .... President Franklin D. Roosevelt held office at a time of huge Democratic Party majorities in Congress, but that didn't stop him from vetoing a record 635 bills. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter also coexisted with large Democratic majorities, yet Kennedy vetoed 21 bills during his short presidency, Johnson vetoed 30 and Carter vetoed 31."

Well, that's all bad enough, but how about this. Bush won't veto barrels of pork, but "... the administration threatened Friday to veto a defense bill if .... it contained language outlawing cruel and inhuman treatment of foreign detainees."

So he'll let slide billions in pork, but balks at outlawing torture of prisoners. Lovely man. Lovely administration.


At 9:10 PM, October 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More material I promised about Pat Tillman, an American hero. Following are selections taken from an article published at by Robert Collier:

"A new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon’s inspector general finally will answer the family’s questions:

"Were witnesses allowed to change their testimony on key details, as alleged by one investigator? Why did internal documents on the case, such as the initial casualty report, include false information? When did top Pentagon officials know that Tillman’s death was caused by friendly fire, and why did they delay for five weeks before informing his family?

“There have been so many discrepancies so far that it’s hard to know what to believe,” Mary Tillman said. “There are too many murky details.” The files the family received from the Army in March are heavily censored, with nearly every page containing blacked-out sections; most names have been deleted. At least one volume was withheld altogether from the family, and even an Army press release given to the media has deletions.

"The documents contain testimony of the first investigating officer alleging that Army officials allowed witnesses to change key details in their sworn statements so his finding that certain soldiers committed “gross negligence” could be softened.

"A fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty.

"Tillman's parents have avoided association with the anti-war movement. Their main public allies are Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, who have lobbied on their behalf.

"Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, Tillman earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State and graduated summa cum laude in 3 1/2 years with a 3.84 grade point average. He worked on a master’s degree in history while playing professional football.

"His 224 tackles in a single season (2000) are a team record, and because of team loyalty he rejected a five year, $9 million offer from the St. Louis Rams for a one-year, $512,000 contract to stay with Arizona the next year.

"Moved in part by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Tillman decided to give up his career, saying he wanted to fight al Qaeda and help find Osama bin Laden. He spurned the Cardinals’ offer of a three year, $3.6 million contract extension and joined the Army in June 2002 along with his brother Kevin.

"A personal letter from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, thanking him for serving his country, now resides in a storage box, put away by Pat’s widow, Marie.

"Instead of going to Afghanistan, as the brothers expected, their Ranger battalion was sent to participate in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The Tillmans saw combat several times on their way to Baghdad. In early 2004, they finally were assigned to Afghanistan.

"Although the Rangers are an elite combat group, the investigative documents reveal that the conduct of the Tillmans’ detachment appeared to be anything but expert.

"Tillman’s death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration — just a week before the Army’s abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal. The Pentagon immediately announced that Tillman had died heroically in combat with the enemy, and President Bush hailed him as “an inspiration on and off the football field, as with all who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror.”

"Not until five weeks later, as Tillman’s battalion was returning home, did officials inform the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by his fellow soldiers.

"On April 22, the family was told that Tillman was hit with enemy fire getting out of a vehicle and died an hour later at a field hospital.

"Although there was ample testimony that Tillman died immediately, an Army report — dated April 22, 2004, from the field hospital in Salerno, Afghanistan, where his body was taken — suggested otherwise. While it stated that he had no blood pressure or pulse “on arrival,” it stated that cardio pulmonary resuscitation had been conducted and that he was transferred to the intensive care unit for further CPR.

"On April 23, all top Ranger commanders were told of the suspected fratricide.

"On April 29, four days before Tillman’s memorial, Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, and other top commanders were told of the fratricide. It is not known if Abizaid reported the news to Washington. Mary Tillman believes that with her son’s high profile, and the fact that Rumsfeld sent him a personal letter, the word quickly reached the defense secretary. “If Pat was on Rumsfeld’s radar, it’s pretty likely that he would have been informed right away after he was killed,” she said. White House, Pentagon and Army spokesmen all said they had no information on when Bush or Rumsfeld were informed.

"On April 30, the Army awarded Tillman a Silver Star medal for bravery, saying that “through the firing Tillman’s voice was heard issuing fire commands to take the fight to the enemy on the dominating high ground.”

"On May 2, the acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee was told of the fratricide.

"On May 7, the Army’s official casualty report stated incorrectly that Tillman was killed by “enemy forces” and “died in a medical treatment facility.”

"On May 28, the Army finally admitted to Tillman’s family that he had been killed by friendly fire.

“The administration clearly was using this case for its own political reasons,” said the father, Patrick Tillman. “This cover-up started within minutes of Pat’s death, and it started at high levels. This is not something that (lower-ranking) people in the field do,” he said.

"The files show that many of the soldiers questioned in the inquiry said it was common knowledge that the incident involved friendly fire.

"After they received the friendly-fire notification May 28, the Tillmans began a public campaign seeking more information. But it was only when the Tillmans began angrily accusing the Pentagon of a coverup, in June 2005, that the Army apologized for the delay, issuing a statement blaming “procedural misjudgments and mistakes.”

"The Tillmans demand that all avenues of inquiry remain open.
“I want to know what kind of criminal intent there was,” Mary Tillman said. “There’s so much in the reports that is deleted that it’s hard to tell what we’re not seeing.”

"Patrick Tillman drily called the new Army probe “the latest, greatest investigation.” He added, “In Washington, I don’t think any of them want it investigated. They (politicians and Army officials) just don’t want to see it ended with them, landing on their desk so they get blamed for the cover-up.” The January 2005 investigation concluded that there was no coverup.

"Throughout the controversy, the Tillman family has been reluctant to cause a media stir. Mary noted that Pat shunned publicity, refusing all public comment when he enlisted and asking the Army to reject all media requests for interviews while he was in service.

"Mary Tillman said a friend of Pat’s even arranged a private meeting with Noam Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan — a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the Sept. 11 attacks, “Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.”

"Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

“I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush.”

"Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry.

"Senior Chief Petty Officer Stephen White — a Navy SEAL who served with Pat and Kevin for four months in Iraq and was the only military member to speak at Tillman’s memorial — said Pat “wasn’t very fired up about being in Iraq” and instead wanted to go fight al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He said both Pat and Kevin (who has a degree in philosophy) “were amazingly well-read individuals … very firm in some of their beliefs, their political and religious or not so religious beliefs.”

"Baer said Tillman was popular among his fellow soldiers and had no enemies. “The guys who killed Pat were his biggest fans,” he said. “They were really wrecked afterward.” He called Tillman “this amazing positive force who really brought our whole platoon together.
He had this great energy. Everybody loved him.”

"Mary Tillman says that’s how Pat would have wanted to be remembered, as an individual, not as a stock figure or political prop. But she also believes “Pat was a real hero, not what they used him as.”


I'd highly recommend reading the whole article. It goes into considerable detail about the fatal firefight, the failures and mistakes of the leadership, and the coverup.

One part I could scarcely believe was that on Tillman's death, Anne Coulter called him “an American original — virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be.”

Shades of Josef Goebbels and the Aryan superman, circa 1933-1945! I said earlier Coulter is a lunatic, but fascinating to watch, like a rattlesnake; that remark is somewhat less than fascinating.

Good luck to the Tillman family with the inquiry. I hope everything can finally come out.


At 9:41 PM, October 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well, Retired Army Lt. General William Odom, now a scholar at the Hudson Institute, agrees with me. He said yesterday: "The invasion of Iraq was the “greatest strategic disaster in United States history,” He said the invasion of Iraq alienated America's Middle East allies, making it harder to prosecute a war against terrorists.

I said it was the worst military decision made by anyone since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

The U.S. should withdraw from Iraq, he said, and reposition its military forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border to capture Osama bin Laden and crush al Qaeda cells.

At 9:54 PM, October 02, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Colin Powell a coward?

I've just recently read a scathing report on Powell's career by Robert Parry from Parry claims that throughout his career and his involvement with the My Lay coverup, with the Iran/Contra scandal as chief aide to Caspar Weinberger, and on to the present day, Powell always carefully tries to be all things to all people, deliberately avoiding taking strong stands on controversial positions, as a leader sometimes must.

An interesting read. I knew nothing about Powell's military career, but I always thought his performance as Secretary of State was cowardly. It became obvious early on in his term that he couldn't stomach the Neo-Con idealogues in the Pentagon and the White House, and the correct thing to do, ethically and morally, was to resign, something it seems to me was more common years ago. It seems pretty rare nowadays for people to resign on principle.

At 5:58 PM, October 05, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Perhaps I should have been less naive; as I extend my blogging experience, I expect to keep on learning. The 160,148 that I thought was the number of visits to this site -- and I was astonished by the lack of feedback -- is in reality the number of hits on neo-neocon's home site, from which sprout a number of tentacles, of which this is one. The fact is that there's no way -- unless I'm making yet another newbie mistake -- of tracking the visits to this particular blog -- of how many visits are coming here, rather than to ne--neocon in general in all her multitudinous forms, but it's a safe assumption that not many of them are being directed here.

All right, so it's not a dialogue but an online diary; I can live with that. It's been fun.


At 4:40 PM, February 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderfully insightful stuff. I enjoyed your "mind changing series" immensely. Read also anything by Victor Davis Hanson, Military historian and alltime vouice of reason. What happened to you as a result of the "mugging" is a classic example of how "it's an ill wind that blows no good"
Feb 06

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