Wednesday, September 19, 2007

La la lala, la la lala, Elmo's Song

While I'm not really a fan of the chickenhawk meme, I am a fan of good progressive songs... ...or funny progressive songs... or good, funny, progressive songs... I also like Weird Al style parodies...

Folks may find this to be one or more of those things, like I did...

Elmo was kind enough to drop off a link in the comments, but I think it deserves it's own post.

Elmo's "Blind in Texas" blog post: Y'all Chickenhawks to Me

Song: Y'all Chickenhawks to Me

I am War.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tasering dissent

Police state USA: Student assaulted and tasered by police for asking John Kerry the wrong question

Pro-war thuggery

And typically, they're proud of it.

Like the comment one person posted to the video yesterday (since removed, as any dissent from or discussion of the party line lends not to be tolerated in some circles), it's confusing strength with rightness. Getting physical with Code Pink protesters & damaging their property doesn't make you right about continuing the occupation. It only proves you're a thug who chooses not to be civil.

It's thinking like this (& Melanie Morgan, who ripped up a sign taken from a "moonbat" on stage with glee, and a few other leaders in their movement) that encourages & celebrates violence as a way of getting what they want, that leads us into these conflicts. It is often far more courageous to refuse the temptation to violence than to give into it.

Watch the video & decide for yourself whether we want this kinda thinkin' to have any influence over American foreign policy.

(As the poster of the vid is deleting any negative comments about it, I figured I'd bring them here, as I see them. Both sides deserve to be heard.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We're In Iraq To Stay - Driving Out The Snakes

"The furious debates about the various statistics and benchmarks ought to tell you something: no one knows whether we are winning or losing this war. And if no one knows, then it will likely never end." We're still "staying the course," riding an endless train to a destination that no one seems willing or able to put on a map.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Benchmarks? Who said anything about benchmarks?

It was the White House together with Iraq, and NOT the Congress, who first proposed the "to-do list" of benchmarks they're now dismissing, saying "to do lists are stupid, and don't measure the REAL progress, anyway." They're hoping you're forgetful or just not paying attention...

The CarpetBagger clarifies the issue.

read more | digg story is not the problem

"Whether the group's strategy was wise is certainly open to debate, but Republicans are making a mistake by overplaying their outrage." "If the right took coming up with a coherent Iraq policy half as seriously as they take some intemperate newspaper ad, the nation would be far better off."

read more | digg story

Coddling the terrorists

Maybe We <i>Should</i> Try Coddling The Terrorists

The Onion

Maybe We Should Try Coddling The Terrorists

I want to make myself clear, right from the get-go: I hate terrorism. Those of you who follow the Factor know that I have never been a fan....

There really just isn't enough snark in the world.

Lawyers, Guns and Money: Anniversary

Lawyers, Guns and Money: Anniversary

Fine left-wing snark.

An excerpt wouldn't do it justice... Go read the whole thing.

The Surge

Monday, September 10, 2007

Burkean Truth

It all started with the post: Burkean Reflections: Antiwar Forces Paint Petraeus as Lying Traitor

As I've noted many times on this page, the hard left has become desperate in its attempts to discredit the administration, the military, and any other pro-victory contingents in American politics determined to see our efforts through. Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos has even put up a post telling Petraeus to f--- off.

Isn't that great? Leading antiwar forces have nothing remotely substantive to add to this debate, so they resort to name-calling, allegations of treason, and vulgar profanity. Remember though, we're not talking about fringe groups. Moulitsas himself has proclaimed many times that his movement is the future of the Democratic Party, and has become one of the party's biggest sources of unofficial "issue advertising" attacks

So, I followed the Kos link, really expecting to find Markos telling Petraeus to fuck off, like Donald said. (I didn't doubt it might be true... From what little I know of Markos, he does occasionally tell folks off in no uncertain terms.) Here's what I found:

by kos

Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 09:43:30 PM PDT

Six months. It's always six months.

(from NYT): The top American commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, has recommended that decisions on the contentious issue of reducing the main body of the American troops in Iraq be put off for six months, American officials said Sunday.

And check out this graph. How many bets that Petraeus will show that one in his upcoming congressional testimony?

Update: After his congressional testimony, where will Petraeus go? Straight to Fox News for an "exclusive" one-hour interview, apparently to shore up the support of the dead-enders.

If he wanted to build credibility as a "serious" and "non-partisan" military leader, he'd have chosen legitimately non-partisan news outlets. But that's not what he is.

Nary a fuck anywhere in the post. Two references to six months, though... (Three, if you count the NYT quote.) ((& I suspect that Markos might've been trying to reference the line from Raiders of the Lost Ark : "Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?"))

So, I posted the following at Burkean:

Just a quick correction... The F.U. in Kos's post stands for Friedman Unit, that ubiquitous six month timeframe until "we find out...whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. Thomas Friedman has been making these "six months more" predictions since 2003, and many others, particularly among those who support the occupation, have joined him in kicking the can just another six months (give or take) further down the road.
repsac3 | 09.10.07 - 12:09 pm | #

And Donald's reply:

Repsac3: No offense, but are you daft? FU stands for one thing for the majority of Americans who would see a post title like that. Of course it's a take on Friedman, but there's no doubt in my mind where Moulitisas would like Petraeus to stick his report.

These guys are the worst, and here you go defending this bull! I've said this many times in my exchanges with lefties, but this time takes the cake. Is there no low to which you'll stoop in defending the most vile activities and statments of the hard-left?
Donald Douglas | 09.10.07 - 1:59 pm | #

So then I says:

Of course it's a take on Friedman, but there's no doubt in my mind where Moulitisas would like Petraeus to stick his report.

In other words, you knew what he actually meant, but decided that he really would like to say FU (in the more offensive meaning) to Petraeus, so even though you knew his post refered to those Friedman Units, you made it seem otherwise in your post here...

That seems dishonest to me, Donald... You did nothing to correct the incorrect assumption of all those poor Americans who read Kos, but don't already know about FUs (I kinda doubt there are many. Those that read Kos've probably heard of FUs, and those that haven't heard of 'em probably don't read much Kos); in fact, you helped reenforce that misunderstanding... So much for truth...

Since when is clarifying the facts defending anyone? Both of us know that F.U. meant Friedman Unit. Seeing as how you knew what I said was true before you made the post, how is it "defending Kos" for me to say so? And why isn't it propaganda for you not to've said so in the original post?

(For the record, I actually thought you were making an honest error yourself, and would welcome the clarification, as you did when Tuggle corrected your Lincoln quote. I'm more disapponted to know you intentionally misunderstood, just to make your point.)

If telling the truth about what the guy actually wrote is stooping to any kinda low, you might want to rethink your relationship with the truth. No offense.
repsac3 | 09.10.07 - 2:31 pm | #

And Donald's rejoinder:

Repsac3: It doesn't matter what I knew. FU is FU, and you won't denounce it.

And you argue with me about truth? If Kos wanted to write a post about the "Friedman Unit" he should have. He's disgusting, and frankly, you're on the wrong side on this one.

Donald Douglas | 09.10.07 - 2:39 pm | #

I tried to reply at Burkean several times, but could not wrap my head around the fact that Donald knows he intentionally left the actual meaning of F.U. out of his post, and instead wrote about that which he read from the mind of Markos.

(Donald seems big on reading into "the intent of the poster (or author)," particularly when criticizing those with whom he disagrees. It isn't always what you actually write, but what Donald believes was in your head when you did so that counts.)

Donald admits he knew what Markos meant by titling his post F.U.. If there was any doubt, those three references to six months in the Kos post are a big clue. Donald just doesn't care, and doesn't think anyone else should, either. Like he says, "FU is FU," so even though he was able to understand it for what it actually meant--puting the lie to that "If he meant Friedman Unit, he should've said Friedman Unit" spin. Donald read & understood it, perfectly--it was his duty to pretend otherwise, and denounce Markos for something he didn't say.

I'm gobsmacked, because I really thought Donald was an honest broker for his position, and have said so to other lefties. (Hell, I've been linking to him on my blogroll, claiming he is a part of "the rational right.") While he generally is more polite than many of the other right wing bloggers I've spent time reading, some of his recent posts have called other aspects of his character into question.


UPDATE: As is my habit--I prefer not to talk about others behind their back, I let Donald know I posted this:

I don't suppose this'll go over well, but I'm stumped as to how to get through that kinda "FU is FU (no matter what I know)" logic...

Wingnuts & Moonbats: Burkean Truth

I look forward to your reply.

I hope he doesn't ban me, but I can't say as I'm sure he won't. I'm finding him unpredictable, of late...

Petraeus Wants Another Six Months Before Withdrawal Decision

Another Friedman Unit down, and another Friedman Unit in the making. Call back in six months, and maybe we'll have an answer then...

read more | digg story

The Myth of AQI - Andrew Tilghman

"Fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is the last big argument for keeping U.S. troops in the country. But the military's estimation of the threat is alarmingly wrong." How did "a microscopic terrorist organization" become our reason for a continued occupation of Iraq?

read more | digg story

West Wing, Petraeus' shop 'hard-wired'

It isn’t exactly a big surprise that a Gillespie-run public-relations team in the White House would be fully integrated into Gen. Petraeus’ team, but it does reinforce what observers have known for quite a while now: Petraeus is a part of the president’s political operation. That’s not necessarily a criticism. It is, however, a realization that Petraeus’ testimony is not that of a neutral, dispassionate observer.

read more | digg story

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The DC Establishment versus American public opinion

The majority of Americans have emphatically rejected the Beltway P.R. campaign of the last several months, and are as opposed more than ever before to the war. Perhaps most remarkably, in light of the bipartisan canonization rituals to which we have been subjected, a strong majority (53-39%) believes that Gen. Petreaus' report "will try to make things look better than they really are" (rather than "honestly reflect the situation in Iraq").

Glenn also reposts his prediction about what's going to happen when Bush/Petraeus dictate their report... from a post he made back in May.

read more | digg story

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Petraeus/Bush: Report? What Report?

Balloon Juice

Just a brilliant post...

Oh, and for the record, here is my prediction for how the Congressional testimony will go:

1.) Petraeus will enter the room, and Joe Lieberman and several other moderate Democrats will faint when they see him in Class A’s with lots of ribbons and medals.

2.) Petraeus will offer a mixed report, citing temporary tactical advantage and listing points of progress. Lots of cheese charts with arrows pointing in the right direction, but little to no sourcing, will be on display.

3.) Lieberman, freshly revived from his initial fainting, hears Petraeus utter the words “our brave men and women in uniform,” and promptly passes out again.

4.) Petraeus mentions, in passing, that we are facing difficulties. Democrats fail to press him. The difficulties are not mentioned specifically, but in vague generalities.

5.) Petraeus states the situation is too tenuous to drawdown troops before fall of 2008.

6.) Lieberman is revived yet again, only to hear the phrase “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” and promptly falls to the ground in shock and horror. Ron Paul gives him the finger.

7.) Afterwards, numerous Blue Dog Democrats state to the media that the General was impressive, and has assured them that we are making progress, and, as such, they are reluctant to do anything.

8.) Republicans, when speaking to the press, state that this is clear proof we are winning, and evidence that we do not need to cut and run like some of the Democrats want.

9.) Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and John Warner all state how impressed they are, but note that they have some unspecfied concerns and that we need to proceed cautiously.

10.) Some cranky Democrat notes that there was no real information presented, and wants to have some hard data to compare to the numerous negative reports we have received from independent organizations. Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, NRO, and the Weekly Standard promptly call him a traitor. Malkin breaks out a cheerleader outfit. Michael O’Hanlon goes on Hardball and claims the GAO is the most corrupt organization in Washington.

11.) The rest of the media cover the story until about 7:45 EST, at which point it is learned that Lindsey Lohan may have smoked pot while in rehab. The Petraeus story dies.

12.) Seven more members of the military die.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

GOP Strategy 101: Identify the obstacle, smear the obstacle

"The new report from the Government Accountability Office is obviously a thorn in the side of the Bush administration and supporters of its Iraq policy." So, true to form, the Republicans are attacking the GAO report and moving the goalposts, rather than addressing the problems listed in the report. Typical.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

National Review's new tough guy, Mark Hemingway

From Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of the right-wing noise machine, along with our brave neoconservative warmongers -- to say nothing of the likes of George Bush and Dick Cheney -- it is virtually impossible to locate genuine acts of strength, bravery, regular-guy wholesomeness, or any of the warrior attributes and virtues of traditional masculinity they claim to exude.

read more | digg story

Monday, September 3, 2007

Thomas Sowell offers superb Exhibit of the Right-wing Mind

Espousing two blatantly contradictory ideas at once, often in the same speeches or articles, is a common device among those devoted to authority.

read more | digg story

Friday, August 31, 2007

Warrantless surveillance and the new Coretta Scott King disclosures

The FBI's warrantless surveillance abuses in the past demonstrate the severe dangers of the FISA bill which was just passed by the Democratic Congress. No government (or corporate) entity should be left to police itself. Oversight is a good thing.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mike Gravel - Young Men and Woman are Dying

Mike gravel talks about his experience as a US Senator and the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq.

read more | digg story

Another Person Arrested for “Impeach” Sign

There have been a spate of arrests & other harassment of people who dare to use their free speech to advocate against Mr Bush. Here is another.

Watching Melissa Etheridge on TV at the Live Earth concert persuaded Jonas Phillips and his wife, Kindra, to go out and do something about the Bush Administration’s abuses.

So they made a cardboard sign with “Impeach Bush Cheney” on it.

And they held that sign on the sidewalk of the Haywood Road Bridge over I-240 in Asheville, North Carolina, on several different occasions this summer.

Like Kevin Egler of Kent, Ohio, who was arrested for illegal advertising with his “Impeach” sign (see - 'Impeach Bush' free speech test? Man who posted sign in Kent surprised by uproar ), they got in trouble for theirs.

read more | digg story

More on the topc:
How I Got Arrested for Holding an IMPEACH Sign | Political messages should not interfere with traffic
YouTube - WLOS: Highway Blogging

My take... If they felt that highway blogging was unsafe, they might've respectfully given the man a warning, rather than arresting him...

iRack - Mission Accomplished

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good-bye Gonzo

Monday, August 20, 2007

She called...

Sweet tribute to America just after 9/11, & the folks defending America's honor to this day.

Whatever our political or social differences six years later, we're still the same America that came together when it counted.
While I'm firmly against our going into Iraq, my beef is with the politicians that put us there, not the soldiers who went. As far as I'm concerned, this poem isn't about "the war;" it's about the men & women who serve, and the values that make this country worth defending.
So, while I am opposed to the fighting they're doing, I have no problem sharing this video tribute to the folks doing that fighting here on my blog.

She called...

Blacks, Whites...wait
African Americans and Caucasians, Asians -- excuse me --
Vietnamese, Philipenes, Koreans and Jamaicans or
Haitans, waitin' Hispanics y'all

Please be paitent
Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Venezualean, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian, Democrats
-- I beg your pardon, you partied with the late, great Reagan? --
Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim, Brothers and Sisters who never seen the New York city
skyline when the twin towers still existed.

But still She called.

From the bowels of Ground Zero she sent this 911 distress signal.
Because She was in desperate need of a hero,
and didn't have time to decipher what to call 'em,
so she called 'em all Her children.
The children of the stars and bars who needed to know nothing more than the fact that she called.
The fact that someone attempted to harm us
this daughter who covered us all with her loving arms.
And now these arms are sprawled across New York City streets.
A smoke filled lung, a silt covered face,
and a solitary tear poured out of her cheek.
Her singed garments carpets Pennsylvania Avenue and the Pentagon was under her feet.
As she began to talk, she began to cough up small particles of debris
and said, "I am America, and I'm calling on the land of the free."

So they answered.

All personal differences set to the side
because right now there was no time to decide which state building the Confederate flag should fly over,
and which trimester the embryo is considered alive,
or on our monetary units, and to which God we should confide.
You see, someone attempted to choke the voice
of the one who gave us the right for choice,
and now she was callin.
And somebody had to answer.
Who was going to answer?

So they did.

Stern faces and chisled chins.
Devoted women and disciplined men,
who rose from the ashes like a pheonix
and said "Don't worry, we'll stand in your defense."
They tightened up their bootlaces
and said goodbye to loved ones, family and friends.
They tried to bombard them with the "hold on", "wait-a-minute's", and "what-if's".
And "Daddy, where you goin?".
And, "Mommy, why you leavin?".
And they merely kissed them on their foreheads and said "Don't worry, I have my reasons.
You see, to this country I pledged my allegience
to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
So as long as I'm breathin, I'll run though hell-fire,
meet the enemy on the front lines,
look him directly in his face,
stare directly in his eyes and scream,

And if by chance death is my fate,
pin my medals upon my chest,
and throw Old Glory on my grave.
But, don't y'all cry for me.
You see, my Father's prepared a place.
I'll be a part of his Holy army standing a watch at the Pearly Gates.
Because freedom was never free.
POW's, and fallen soldiers
all paid the ultimate sacrafice
along side veterans who put themselves in harms way.
Risking their lives and limbs just to hold up democracy's weight,
but still standing on them broken appendages anytime the National Anthem was played.
You see, these were the brave warriors that gave me the right
to say that I'm Black. Or white.

Or African American or Caucasian,
I'm Asian, excuse me.
I'm Vietnamese, Philipene, Korean, or Jamaican.
I'm Haitan, Hispanic

Y'all, Please be paitent.
I'm Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezualean, Cuban,
Dominican, Panamanian, Democrat
I beg your pardon, you see I partied with the late, great Reagan.
I'm Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim,

Brothers and Sisters We're just Americans.
So with that I say
"Thank You" to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,
for preserving my rights
to live and die for this life
and paying the ultimate price for me to be...FREE!

-- Badass Marine
-- SSgt Lawrence E. Dean II
-- "Life"

The poet's myspace page: - Life - Conway, South Carolina - Hip Hop / Soul -

A pro-troops site inspired by the poet: [defunct, as of 6/09]

And while I'm being so rah-rah, a new record label where former & current troops are giving voice to their stories:
To The Fallen Records, Inc.

Here's another version, mashed with a little music & film dialog:

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Wingnuttiad

The Wingnuttiad:
"Canto the First. As promised some time ago, the start of The Wingnuttiad, a tour of Greater Wingnuttia in heroic couplets, with abject apologies to Alexander Pope.

The Argument:
The Wingnuts gather to salute their King. A brief description of their mad frolics. It is all quite silly."

Right Blog Wingnuts come in many flavors:
There are war-fiends, dopes, and homo-haters;
Photoshop fanatics, all full of phlegm,
Doggéd denouncers of the MSM!
Because they can bravely use the Google,
As they chew Cheetos and Toaster-Strudel –
“Fact-Checking” CBS with Wikipedia –
They squawk that they’re the Brand New Media:
“We’re all Fierce Foes of Islamofascism!”
The Wingnuts wail as they shake & spasm,
Their keyboards caked with weeks-old jism
(This is called “Cit’zen Journamalism.”)
“Check the kerning! link, link! and blather!
Years ago we got that bastard Rather!
If we cross-link enough, and fight fight fight,
In seven years we may once more be right!”
Because everyone knows the media’s biased,
Which alone explains the current crisis.
“The Good Lord knows it just can’t be the war!
That’s going great! No! What plagues us sore,
Is how the NY Times loves Michael Moore,
Who is fat, just like that awful Albert Gore.

There's more to be had... Follow the link to epic joy.

h/t: Lawyers, Guns and Money ---> Whiskey Fire

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jon Stewart Tears Cheney (& Biographer) a New One

Jon Stewart grills Cheney biographer, Stephen Hayes, over the inconsistencies between 1994 Cheney and present-day Cheney. Cites John Gibson as someone who will allege treason for lack of acquiescence.

read more | digg story

Whose Report Is It, Anyway?

The "Petraeus Report" -- the supposedly trustworthy mid-September reckoning of military and political progress in Iraq by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker -- is instead looking more like a White House con job in the making.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Peaceman sez: Impeach the Chenguin!!

I don't agree with everything he says, and he ain't in my party, but Dennis Kucinich is a decent man who's correct about "Big Time" Dick. It's too bad there aren't more like him serving this country...

Rock the Debates!

What is Rock the Debates?:

Never before in American history has it been more vital to have an open, honest, and innovative examination of America’s problems and solutions.

The best way to sparking the minds of Americans is to open up the presidential debates beyond the Democrat and Republican parties. Rock-the-Debates seeks to include third parties who will energize the presidential debates placing their ideas into the mix, without endorsing or opposing any particular candidate. We just want the ideas out and let the American people decide.

You can play a key role in this unprecedented, historical endeavor.

The idea is to get the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates to commit to debate third party candidates.

How? We’ll ask them to debate, get the clip on video, and place it on You-Tube. Folks in places like New Hampshire can play a key, historic, pivotal role in making this happen.

Follow the link above for more details.

Follow the following link to see where it stands, to date:
Third Party Watch - Seven Major Party Candidates Respond to Open Presidential Debates (so far)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

John Gibson: Heartless scumbag (with audio)

Fox News' John Gibson calls Jon Stewart a phony after mocking his post-9/11 return to air comments and show of emotion. What kind of a heartless bastard does one have to be to make fun of another person's grief? I never had much respect for this guy in the first place... ...but now I have even less. Follow the link for the audio...

read more | digg story

Here's a link to a video of the original show opening, September 20, 2001. Have tissues handy (unless you're more the heartless Gibson type...)
onegoodmove: Nine Eleven

I suggest watching the video, particularly if you've never seen it. (I hadn't, until tonight.)
The transcript below doesn't do it justice:

September 20, 2001

With Jon Stewart

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Show. We are back. This is our first show since the tragedy in New York City and there is really no other way to start the show then to ask you at home the question that we asked the audience here tonight and that we’ve asked everybody we know here in New York since September 11, and that is, "Are you okay?" And we pray that you are and that your family is.

I'm sorry to do this to you. It's another entertainment show beginning with an overwrought speech of a shaken host--and television is nothing if not redundant. So I apologize for that. Its something that, unfortunately, we do for ourselves so that we can drain whatever abscess is in our hearts and move on to the business of making you laugh, which we haven’t been able to do very effectively lately. Everyone has checked in already. I know we are late. I’m sure we are getting in just under the wire before the cast of Survivor offers their insight into what to do in these situations. They said to get back to work. There were no jobs open for a man in the fetal position under his desk crying. . . which I gladly would have taken. So I come back here and tonight’s show is not obviously a regular show. We looked through the vault and found some clips that we think will make you smile, which is really what’s necessary, I think, right about now.

A lot of folks have asked me, "What are you going to do when you get back? What are you going to say? I mean, jeez, what a terrible thing to have to do." And you know, I don’t see it as a burden at all. I see it as a privilege. I see it as a privilege and everyone here does. The show in general we feel like is a privilege. Even the idea that we can sit in the back of the country and make wise cracks. . . which is really what we do. We sit in the back and throw spitballs--but never forgetting that it is a luxury in this country that allows us to do that. That is, a country that allows for open satire, and I know that sounds basic and it sounds like it goes without saying. But that’s really what this whole situation is about. It’s the difference between closed and open. The difference between free and. . . burdened. And we don’t take that for granted here, by any stretch of the imagination. And our show has changed. I don’t doubt that. And what it has become I don’t know. "Subliminible" is not a punchline anymore. Someday it will become that again, Lord willing it will become that again, because it means that we have ridden out the storm.

The main reason that I wanted to speak tonight is not to tell you what the show is going to be, not to tell you about all the incredibly brave people that are here in New York and in Washington and around the country, but we’ve had an unenduring pain, an unendurable pain and I just. . . I just wanted to tell you why I grieve--but why I don’t despair. (choking back tears) I’m sorry. . . (chuckles slightly) luckily we can edit this. . . (beats lightly on his desk, collects himself).

One of my first memories was of Martin Luther King being shot. I was five and if you wonder if this feeling will pass. . . (choked up). . . When I was five and he was shot, this is what I remember about it. I was in school in Trenton and they turned the lights off and we got to sit under our desks. . . and that was really cool. And they gave us cottage cheese, which was a cold lunch because there were riots, but we didn’t know that. We just thought, "My God! We get to sit under our desks and eat cottage cheese!" And that’s what I remember about it. And that was a tremendous test of this country's fabric and this country has had many tests before that and after that.

The reason I don’t despair is that. . . this attack happened. It's not a dream. But the aftermath of it, the recovery, is a dream realized. And that is Martin Luther King's dream.

Whatever barriers we put up are gone. Even if it's just momentary. We are judging people by not the color of their skin, but the content of their character. (pause) You know, all this talk about "These guys are criminal masterminds. They got together and their extraordinary guile and their wit and their skill. . ." It's all a lie. Any fool can blow something up. Any fool can destroy. But to see these guys, these firefighters and these policemen and people from all over the country, literally with buckets, rebuilding. . . that’s extraordinary. And that's why we have already won. . . they can't. . . it's light. It's democracy. They can't shut that down.

They live in chaos. And chaos, it can't sustain itself--it never could. It's too easy and it's too unsatisfying. The view. . . from my apartment. . . (choking up) was the World Trade Center. . .

Now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of. . . of American ingenuity and strength. . . and labor and imagination and commerce and it's gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. . . the view from the south of Manhattan is the Statue of Liberty. . .

You can’t beat that. . .

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cheney in 1994 Interview: "Invasion of Iraq would lead to a quagmire."

In a 1994 interview, "Big Time" Dick explains why the US was wise not to invade and occupy Iraq during the Gulf War. I've never seen the man speak the truth before. It's a little scary...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hypocracy - or That Was Then, & This Is Now

A guy on a Con blog suggested that "wag the dog" was only about Clinton's missiles fired into the tents in Afghanistan. Earlier in the same conversation, he also said that regardless of our politics, we have to get behind our President. (Easy for the NeoCon to say... 8)

This was from one of the first links that came up when I searched "Clinton" "wag the dog" "Balkins"

I used it to prove my point, of course, but then I started really reading it...
See if you can spot any familiar themes...
(My how times change)
Clinton's Post-Impeachment Push for Power -- March 1999 Phyllis Schlafly Report

Clinton's Post-Impeachment Push for Power
How Clinton Is Using Kosovo
Bill Clinton is riding high since his "not guilty" verdict and, unfortunately, the Republican Congress is letting him get away with his foreign and domestic grabs for power. Kosovo is much more important to Americans than just pictures on the evening television news about a faraway conflict.

First, it's a "wag the dog" public relations ploy to involve us in a war in order to divert attention from his personal scandals (only a few of which were addressed in the Senate trial). He is again following the scenario of the "life is truer than fiction" movie Wag the Dog. The very day after his acquittal, Clinton moved quickly to "move on" from the subject of impeachment by announcing threats to bomb and to send U.S. ground troops into the civil war in Kosovo between Serbian authorities and ethnic Albanians fighting for independence. He scheduled Americans to be part of a NATO force under non-American command.

Clinton overrode major concerns of senior Pentagon officials that the Administration has no clear-cut military goals and that the fighting will get bloodier as the weather improves. They believe this will seriously overburden U.S. ground forces already committed to other missions in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, and Korea.

The claim that our expedition into Kosovo is to guard a "peace settlement" is another Clinton lie because there is no peace to keep, there is no hope that our involvement can eliminate the causes of the conflict, and there are even questions about who is at fault in the civil war. Clinton's Kosovo war will, like Bosnia (where we still have 6,900 U.S. troops), become a permanent, no-exit, costly U.S. project, and it could even degenerate into a Somalia-type fiasco. Clinton's statements about Kosovo are no more to be trusted than anything else he says.

Second, by putting U.S. troops in Kosovo, Clinton is provoking terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals connected to Saudi renegade Osama bin Laden, who has declared a worldwide war on Americans. Fanatics bent on jihad against the "Great Satan" United States could hardly ask for a more tempting target than Americans deployed close to terrorist bases in northern Albania.

Even more dangerous, entering the Kosovo war may provoke terrorist retaliation within the United States. It's not only our U.S. troops who will be put in mortal danger. Bin Laden has stated unequivocally that all Americans, including "those who pay taxes," are targets. At a recent Senate hearing, CIA Director George Tenet warned against the danger of a stepped-up terrorist campaign, saying, "There is not the slightest doubt that Osama bin Laden, his worldwide allies, and his sympathizers are planning further attacks against us."

Clinton's reckless meddling in Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Sudan, and Iraq exposes Americans to retaliation from terrorists regardless of whether he achieves any phony "peace" or actually sends in troops.

Clinton predicted on January 22 that it is "highly likely" that a terrorist group will attack on American soil within the next few years. He is using this risk as the excuse to create a Domestic Terrorism Team headed by a military "commander in chief," with a $2.8 billion budget. We should not underestimate the deceit and deviousness of Clinton's plans to use aggressive presidential actions to wipe out public memory of his impeachment trial.

Clinton has already issued a Presidential Decision Directive to authorize military intervention against terrorism on our own soil. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said in an Army Times interview that "Terrorism is escalating to the point that Americans soon may have to choose between civil liberties and more intrusive means of protection."

Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre has been floating the idea of designating a unit of U.S. troops as a Homelands Defense Command to take charge in case of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Hamre argues that the military's role should be formalized under a four-star general, and he has even speculated about creating a bi-national command with Canada called the "Atlantic Command."

The far-reaching nature of the plans being discussed within the Clinton Administration is indicated in the Autumn 1997 Parameters, the scholarly publication of the Army War College. The article predicts that "the growing prospect of terrorism in our own country . . . will almost inevitably trigger an intervention by the military." The article casually adds, "legal niceties or strict construction of prohibited conduct will be a minor concern."

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is supposed to protect us against a President using the Army to enforce the law against civilians. The spectacle of the military patrolling the streets of U.S. cities is something that should happen only in totalitarian countries and in movies like The Siege.

Later laws, however, have carved out a number of exceptions. The 1984 Stafford Disaster Relief Act authorizes the President, after proclaiming a state of emergency, to send active-duty soldiers to respond to a crisis and serve under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On June 3, 1994, Clinton issued Executive Order 12919 entitled National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness. It invests FEMA with plenary and dictatorial authority over communications, energy, food, transportation, health, housing, and other resources.

Our recent experiences with law enforcement by the U.S. military show the dangers. When U.S. Army tanks stormed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in 1993, scores of innocent people were killed, and when the Marines patrolled the Texas border in 1997, an 18-year-old goat herder was shot and killed.

Third, Kosovo provides a wonderful excuse to demand more spending for the military and to con the Republican Congress into approving billions of new tax dollars for what is called "defense" spending but, under Clinton, is really war spending. The Kosovo expedition will be expensive like Bosnia, which has already cost the United States $8 billion, and current costs are running at another $2 billion a year.

Instead of giving the American people the tax cuts we deserve, Congress will piously claim they are increasing "defense" spending --- but the money won't go for defense or for the anti-missile system we need to protect our people against the 13 Communist Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles whose accuracy was enhanced by Clinton's treacherous China policy. The "defense" spending will go for wars in Kosovo and Bosnia and any place else Clinton sends U.S. troops.

Fourth, Clinton's Kosovo foray will take America another large step into what he called the "web of institutions and arrangements" for the "new global era." Clinton and his chief foreign policy gurus, Strobe ("global nation") Talbott and Madeleine ("why have a military if we can't use it") Albright are determined to use American troops as global policemen and global social workers all over the world.

As far back as Clinton's issuance of Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25) in 1994, Clinton has been asserting his power to assign U.S. troops to serve under foreign command. The Washington Post reported on January 30 that "senior Pentagon officials [Clinton's appointees, of course] for the first time said they would be willing to place U.S. troops under foreign command" in Kosovo.

Where is the outrage from Republican leaders? The 1996 Republican Platform promised that "Republicans will not subordinate United States sovereignty to any international authority. We oppose the commitment of American troops to U.N. 'peacekeeping' operations under foreign commanders."

Even the overpublicized 1994 "Contract With America" promised that "We would prohibit the Defense Department from taking part in military operations that place U.S. troops under foreign command." So, where are the words of protest we have a right to expect from the many Members of Congress who signed that Contract? Except from a few patriots such as Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), we hear a deafening silence.

Unfortunately, some establishment Republicans are compromised because they are making money from foreign governments through lobbying or speechmaking or financial deals. They are giving Clinton a veneer of "bipartisanship" for his expensive interventionist escapades.

Fifth, the Kosovo escapade is another Clinton test of Congress and the American people to see if they will let him get by with such a patently dictatorial, unconstitutional action. Events in Kosovo are absolutely no threat to U.S. national security. The Clinton Administration pretends to fear that the Kosovo conflict could spread if we don't intervene. When asked on the Lehrer NewsHour on February 23 where he was afraid it would spread to, Clinton's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said Albania and Bosnia -- which, of course, are just as remote as Kosovo. It is far more likely that U.S. intervention will cause any spread in the conflict, not prevent it.

Not only is there nothing in the U.S. Constitution to justify U.S. intervention in Kosovo, there is also nothing in the NATO Charter to justify it. NATO action in Kosovo is a radical departure from anything NATO has done in the past or has ever been authorized to do. Kosovo is outside of NATO's own territorial domain, and by its threats of air strikes and ground troops, NATO is breaching the territory of a sovereign nation.

Clinton's intervention in Kosovo validates the position of Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) and others who opposed the ratification of the NATO Expansion Treaty last year. That treaty purported to be merely a promise to go to war to defend the borders of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but it was actually a mechanism to entrap the United States into sending our service personnel, under foreign commanders, to answer 911 calls to break up domestic brawls in any foreign country. Clinton is threatening to bomb the Serbs, not because they have invaded another country, but because they refuse to accept a U.S.-crafted agreement enforced by NATO troops.

Every now and then, some Americans voice the hope that, if these conflicts are a bother to Europe, European countries should take over the task of dealing with them. But Europeans, who are busy trying to make the euro replace the dollar as the world's premier currency, continue to expect American mercenaries to do our duty as their policemen.

Clinton's intervention in Kosovo cannot possibly solve the problem there any more than our years in Bosnia have solved that problem. Americans simply are not capable of erasing ethnic enmities that have festered for centuries. The Serbs consider Kosovo part of their country because it is the cradle of their culture and Orthodox Christian religion. The ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslims, want independence from Serb control, institutions and language.

If Republicans allow Clinton to go ahead with his unconstitutional, costly, foolish and dangerous expedition to Kosovo, where we have no national security interest, they are forfeiting any claim to lead America. This issue should be a litmus test for all candidates for President. The big issue that will divide them is, Do they stand for American national security interests, or do they stand with Clinton in his foolish interventionist policies?

Presidential candidates would do well to listen to the advice of President John Quincy Adams, who as Secretary of State in 1821 rejected the request for U.S. intervention in support of Greek independence. America, said Adams, "is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."


Power Grab through Executive Order

Bill Clinton has unleashed a blizzard of Executive Orders to grab new powers for the executive branch, make broad public policy changes, and even restructure our governmental system. Executive Orders have a proper place in federal rulemaking and in implementing the routine business of the executive departments. But Clinton has discovered that Presidential Executive Orders function in a Never Never Land of almost unlimited power, and he is pressing the envelope to move his agenda, both domestic and foreign.

Clinton advanced three of his favorite goals when he issued Executive Order (EO) 13107 on December 10. He increased executive branch authority, he moved America closer into the "web" of treaties, which he promised in his address to the United Nations on September 22, 1997, and he rewarded the feminists who are stood by him in his impeachment trial.

EO 13107, entitled Implementation of Human Rights Treaties, sets up an Interagency Working Group, with representatives from major federal departments, to implement our alleged "obligations" under the many United Nations treaties on human rights "to which the United States is now or may become a party in the future."

Clinton's impudence in presuming to implement treaties that the Senate has refused to ratify is characteristic. Congress had to pass legislation last year to forbid him from using funds to implement the Global Warming Treaty, which the Senate won't ratify.

Bill Clinton has almost two more years as President. Congress and the American people must call a halt to his unprecedented and unconstitutional grab for new executive-branch powers through phony "peacekeeping" expeditions, using the Army for domestic law enforcement, monitoring our bank accounts and cell phone whereabouts, building databases of our medical records, and issuing power-grabbing Executive Orders. Our freedom and independence are at stake.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Self Evident...

The song affected me the first time I heard it, and every time since. This collage video from dysprod1975 does it all over again, in a whole new way...

With all due props to On the Wilder Side where I first saw the video, & from whom I'm blatently copying the post. (This is the second time this week he's been the victim of my cut-n-paste. I hope that he shares the view that "immitation is the sincerest form..." and knows that he's fully welcome to "steal" from me, should I ever happen to get there first... which I hope to do, should he ever give a guy a break & slow down....)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

AFL-CIO Democratic Forum: Digging down to China

One of the most outstanding remarks in the forum came from Congressman Dennis Kucinich. The question was on China and whether they should be considered friend or foe. Kucinich brought the house down with his comments, and even the other candidates couldn’t hold back. If we had a Congress (I'd settle for a Democratic Party) full of this kinda guy, the world would be a better place, and I might've registered as a Democrat. Take a look…

read more | digg story

ACLU Blog: When "Torture" Is the Only Way to Describe It

"When 'enhanced interrogation techniques' are discussed in abstract and generalized terms, it's much easier to trivialize human suffering, or to ignore it. Abu Ghraib has been universally condemned--or almost universally, anyway--not because the abuses there were any more brutal than elsewhere, but because the ghoulish photos of human beings on leashes, or stacked naked in a pyramid, or standing hooded on a box, were tangible and real in a way that words on a page simply cannot be."

"But the most profound and lasting legacy of the Bush Administration's morbid embrace of torture may lie not in the injuries to detainees or their interrogators, but in the harm to this country's reputation and standing — and its security. By bringing the words of the victims into U.S. courtrooms, we begin the long and difficult process of restoring America's legal and moral standing. We can only hope that some federal judges will see past our clients' words to their humanity."

Follow the link for the whole posting.

UPDATE: And go to this link for more on the story: The Black Sites: A rare look inside the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend

First off, I need a scorecard to keep up with the players in the Middle East and how the US feels about them on any given day...

Second, it'd be really nice if the US would stop working with/supporting terrorists of any kind--even if those terrorists are fighting these terrorists--as a guiding fundamental principle.

Found this over at the Kind of Cares Bear blog. It's a repost from last February. While I'm sure it's not quite as simple geopolitically as she makes it sound, maybe it should be, ya know?

* We start with the idea that the US government should protect Americans' safety. For example, no more 9/11s.

* Iran wants to get the bomb, and the theory is that once Iran has the bomb, it will give it to Hezbollah to blow up in the US. So, Iran's bomb intentions must be fought to protect Americans.

* Iran is Shia, so the Shia are the enemy. Except, in Iraq, the Shias are the oppressed minority, so we are working with the Shia government in Iraq.

* Sunnis fight Shias, so, according to the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," Sunnis should be our allies.

* Unfortunately, Sunni militants = al-Qaida, also our enemies.

* In Lebanon, Hezbollah (a Shia organization aided by Iran) is trying to gain more power in the government, and to lessen the power of the Sunni government.

* The US is supporting Salafi Sunnis (aka al-Qaida & Co.) in Lebanon, because they will fight Hezbollah (Shias), to prevent Hezbollah from gaining power in Lebanon, and indirectly, prevent Iran and Hezbollah from getting the bomb. In other words, the US is supporting al-Qaida-related terrorist organizationsm because they are the enemies of our enemies.

* But wait, I thought al-Qaida was public enemy #1.

* Except for the fact that it was the US pursuing the same strategy, namely supporting religiously motivated militants (Afghani mujahedeen and Osama bin Laden) who are the enemies of our enemies (the Soviets), that created al-Qaida in the first place, and therefore precipitated 9/11.

* So, what was that about Americans' safety? Lather, rinse, repeat.

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: The New Liberal Menace in America

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing:
Back to the Future:

"One of the more complex phenomena of the modern American political scene is that while the ideological divide between presidential candidates seems to be ever diminishing, the partisan mudslinging and animosity between the two parties is increasingly hateful. It's a weird paradox. But it's not uncommon to hear critics of the two-party system decry a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee just as the highest rated television news programs are driven by raucous debate between right and left.

For Daily Show host John Stewart, it isn't a paradox at all. There is no disconnect between the professional politicians and the activists that drive those debates. In fact, it's exactly the way they want it. Because a polarized public, focused on hot-button issues like abortion, tax cuts and school prayer, keeps their focus off the fact that the two parties have essentially become the servants of one very important class of voters, the corporations."

There's more of this excerpt at the book's website: here

A very interesting article, indeed... While I don't agree that partisanship is a bad thing, I do think the viciousness between the parties (including between the major parties and their respective minor party cousins) is counterproductive. We are a nation full of diverse ideas, and it is from that diversity that all good things will come. We need to listen more, and judge less quickly.

Most interested in reading the book from which it comes. Adding it to the list.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Video: Voter Caging - NOW: PBS

"How secure is your right to vote? NOW investigates a secret Republican plan designed to disqualify voters."

Video: Voter Caging - NOW: PBS

I didn't think I'd ever see this discussed on American television...

Everyone who cares about free & fair elections here in the US should make themselves aware of the issue. This video is a good start...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I'm an anarchist?

Some of these quizzes are really accurate.

I'm not so sure this is one of them, though...

If I had to guess the reason, I'd bet that what they're judging as anarchism in me is more libertarianism, and they're weighing those questions way too heavily...

You scored as Anarchism

















What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with

Will the Real Conservative Please Stand Up

It all started with the first quote (& that was all I was going to post, originally) but I kept finding more in the article--a speech given at a Princeton University conference: The Conservative Movement: Its Past, Present, and Future." by "token liberal" Rick Perlstein in 2005--worth reading & remembering.

"I didn't like Nixon until Watergate" | Campaign for America's Future

"''Conservative' is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives' good graces. Until they aren't. At which point they are liberals.'" - Digby

I've noticed that, too...

We should all "support the troops"... unless they say something with which we disagree politically, in which case they become traitors.''

From the same article:

"I get the question all the time from smart liberal friends: what is conservatism, anyway? They're baffled. "As far as I can tell, anything someone on the right does is, by definition, ethical. It's not about the act, or even the motivation. It's about who's perpetrating it." It has become the name for a movement that can scream from the rooftops that every Supreme Court nominee should have an expiditious up-or-down vote, then 15 seconds later demand tortuous proceduralism when that nominee is Harriet Miers. Flexibility is the first principle of politics."


"In conservative intellectual discourse there is no such thing as a bad conservative. Conservatism never fails. It is only failed. One guy will get up, at a conference like this, and say conservatism, in its proper conception, is 33 1/3 percent this, 33 1/3 percent that, 33 1/3 percent the other thing. Another rises to declaim that the proper admixture is 50-25-25.

It is, among other things, a strategy of psychological innocence. If the first guy turns out to be someone you would not care to be associated with, you have an easy, Platonic, out: with his crazy 33-33-33 formula--well, maybe he's a Republican. Or a neocon, or a paleo. He's certainly not a conservative. The structure holds whether it's William Kristol calling out Pat Buchanan, or Pat Buchanan calling out William Kristol."


"For the stations of the cross of a conservatism in power include not merely Sharon, Connecticut, but Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; not merely Mont Pelerin, but the competing Indian casinos whose money was laundered by conservative groups on Jack Abramoff's behalf. Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson's ties to Bobby Baker. Now Republicans have made Bobby Baker their majority leader. His K Street Project is a lineal descendant of the attitudes and actions that constituted Watergate: Richard Nixon calling for the heads of Democratic donors and howling, "We have all this power and we're not using it." The American Conservative Union has made defending him to the death a point of conservative honor.

Ask yourself, What would Barry Goldwater say?"


For the rest, follow the link above or below.

It also appeared online in 2005: Rick Perlstein: 'I Didn't Like Nixon Until Watergate': The Conservative Movement Now - The Huffington Post)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Blogger Educates O'Reilly's Neighbors

You know how Bill sends his producer out to someone's house to confront him, and then puts the poor guy on TV in his bathrobe, being bombarded with questions? Bill may want to get that private police force of his to start patrolling the neighborhood. Turnabout is fair play...

read more | digg story

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A debate cut short

Anyone who's read me for awhile knows I enjoy the give and take. I like discussing and debating ideas with folks with whom I disagree. Sometimes I'm right, & sometimes I'm wrong, and often I'm a bit of both.

I've had folks curse me out, call me names, and just plain stop answering me. I'm good with all that. Shit happens, and people have to react as they will. The only thing that really puts a bug up my butt is when a person messes with my words. I'm not saying they're golden or anything, but I type slow, and give everything I say a bit of thought, and so whatever comes out probably took awhile, both in time & brainpower (such as it is). So when someone takes my offering and deletes some or all of it... well let's just say I'm very disappointed.

I have my theories as to why it happens--mostly it's about flushing the evidence, I think--but in a way that's besides the point. Knowing that someone took the time to think about what you said, and then argue their own ideas in reply, AND THEN TOSSING THEM AWAY is just plumb rude. If someone is getting off topic, or offensive, or you just don't want to play, anymore, fine. Tell them. Warn them. Ask them not to bother you with their "stupid" ideas, anymore. But don't delete them.

It's just friggin' impolite, particularly when it's been an ongoing back & forth, as in my example below.

We join the debate already in progress... (We had gone back & forth about 7 times, previous to this post. -- & I made copies, just in case.):
FN: "The Iraqis are no puppets."

"Puppet" was a poor choice of words, I guess. I did not intend to say they do our bidding, but that without our hand propping them up, they fall over. They need to do what is necessary to cut the strings. According the recent op-ed in the New York Times, some of that is happening militarily. It has to happen politically, too.

"If there is a puppet it is misguided liberals like you who are easily manipulated by Al Qaeda propaganda."

AQ propaganda? Explain... I'm talking about news from US media, FN. Political good news from Iraq isn't coming from any source, including the Murdoch/Moonie empire that Cons so trust, and that decry the lack of good reportage from the country. If it was there to report, one would think it would show up on Fox, at least.

"Iraqis are working every day to improve their country. The simple fact that if are associated with Americans can get them assassinated makes this a heroic act. All of those Iraqis who work for their government and security forces are so brave and yet they are derided by pompous Americans who don’t care if they live or die."

I'm sure you'll think this callous, but... IT'S THEIR COUNTRY. They SHOULD be the ones risking their lives to improve it. It's their "patriotic" duty, if they love their country. I'm not saying they don't deserve a little pat on the back for it now & again, but come on... Pointing out that the government is going on vacation while Americans are risking life & limb to protect them so that they can make that political progress that everyone says they need if this is going to be a successful venture, or wondering why it's taken so long to stand up an Iraqi security force is not derision heaped on by a pompous America... As long as Americans are dying for them, we have a right to expect a certain level of commitment from them.

As Mike is so fond of saying of liberals in practically every situation, by excusing & explaining away their bad behavior, you're enabling it to continue.

"Lets hope they don’t get assassinated or have their family kidnapped, tortured and killed because they were seen associating with Americans."

"The Iraqi government needs lots of time..."

The point is they should be risking their lives in the parliament working for those political improvements that are so vital to Iraq's success (& indirectly, our own), not "by the pool" on vacation.

They are wasting the time they so desperately need, and hurting their cause with their American benefactors back home.

"By withdrawing we wont end the war, we will exacerbate it."

That is the million-dollar question, I think... I'm not so sure we can end the war, either by staying or going. If the surge is working, great... I'm willing to admit I was wrong about it, should it turn out I was. But if the happy talk turns out to be premature, and the surge is not quelling the insurgent & AQ violence as promised, we may have to kick the Iraqis out of the nest & let them fly or fall on their own. We cannot & should not continue to protect them--including from themselves--indefinitely.

The Democrats will be attacked from the Right and from the extreme Left which will demand another withdrawal from Afghanistan."

There are very, very few calling for an end to our presence in Afghanistan. That was a just war, and fixing what we broke in our own defense is a worthwhile endeavor.

"Ironically, the Democrats have no plan for Iraq other than to withdraw."

And the Republican offer nothing more than "Just six months more... please!?!" over, & over, & over again... We've turned so many corners in Iraq, I'm dizzy. Friedman Unit - dKosopedia

"A withdrawal from Iraq will lead to a withdrawal from Afghanistan and endless war in the Middle East. You will no doubt say that such a thing cant be predicted so back up your claims with evidence that I am wrong..."

There you go, again... When YOU make an assertion, YOU have to prove your assertion is correct, not expect others to prove you're incorrect. If one will not or cannot to offer proof of what they claim, there is no reason for anyone to give the claim serious attention.

"...and describe how there is a plan for Iraq after a withdrawal."

I don't know that there is a plan for after the withdrawal... ...or that America can impose one. Iraq is a sovereign country that has to find its own way. THEY need to have a plan. If we support their plan, we can help them achieve it.

I might also note that there wasn't much of a plan for after the initial invasion, either, but that didn't stop the Republicans from barreling in.

"This war was started when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait."

I know you believe that. I do not.

"Yes, the age-old argument that Iraq was no threat to us just as the Nazis were no threat to England when they declared war on Nazi Germany."

If you cannot see all of the differences between Iraq's "threat" to America & Germany's threat to England, I cannot help you.

"We should have finished the job in 1991 and then dealt with the Sunni Baathists with the blessing of the United Nations."

I believe the insurgency would've been the same (as did the people in charge at the time)... ...but at least they wouldn't've had the additional problem of keeping AQ out of the mix (which to me makes the administration's decision to invade even more bone-headed that it would've been if 41 had done it.) But your mileage obviously do vary...

"Many people are just too eager to abandon the responsibility that our country accepted when we helped Kuwait."

I just don't see that commitment so open-ended & eternal as you seem to...

"Our enemies are so unjust. We are fighting the Baathists, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but somehow the United States is always the problem?"

Not at all... In fact, I place a whole lotta blame on the Iraqis themselves... which you promptly dismiss.

That said, we are Americans. We have a responsibility to keep our country on the right path, & that includes speaking out when we think it has strayed. Americans cannot (& should not) control the workings of any government but our own.

"Here we go again… “Without examples (of Democrats who slander our country), I cannot comment either way...

What is this, a court of law? If you disagree with me then just ask me why I feel that way."

How can I judge whether I agree or don't, without examples?

"Congressman Murtha – First lets look at how he lies to propagandize against our war effort."

What Murtha said was bullshit rhetoric, FN... If you need me to, I will find a Republican prediction based on facts s/he oughta know that also didn't come true, and ask you if that is also lying propaganda...

"Why is not surprising that he would resort to character assassination as well?

I don’t know if the marines accused of murder at Haditha are guilty or not and I think its possible we may never know the truth, but there is no excusing Murtha’s attacks on those marines before the investigation was complete."

Murtha was basing his statements on the evidence he did have. True, he should've been more circumspect, and given the Marines a presumption of innocence, but folks do that all the time. Go back over to Mike's, and look at what he & those commenting are saying about Michael Vick, the investigation of whom is also not complete. We all tend to judge based on the facts we have at the time. Yes, I do think that our representatives ought to be held to a higher standard of conduct, particularly when compared to a small-time hack like Mike, but I fail to believe Murtha's so bad as you claim because he jumped the gun.

"So I see that you have to throw in the stereotypical moral equivalency argument. “AQ has cells all over the globe. One of their leaders--who has actually claimed responsibility for attacking the US--is widely thought to be in the country of one of our allies, and yet we do not/cannot capture or kill him.”"

That isn't a moral equivalency argument. That's saying AQ is all over, and whatever happens in Iraq isn't going to change that. We are not going to defeat AQ, no matter how decisively we win in Iraq.

"How many U.N. Resolutions is Pakistan guilty of violating? Did Pakistan invade Kuwait?"

You misunderstand. I'm not saying anything about Pakistan, at all... I'm saying that getting bin Laden--a big deal guy in AQ, who claims credit for 9/11--would be a really good idea, if we want to strike a blow against AQ. I'm not saying it's ALL we need to do on that front, but it is something we need to do.

Liberal plans for Iraq:
Early 2006 Iraq - Finally, The Democratic Position

2007 The least bad plan for leaving Iraq. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine
The final reply:

Freedom Now said...

This conversation is over. I stayed up until 4:30am to answer your inquiries on Sunday night and had to wake up at 6am.

You left another comment of even greater length requesting all sorts of information so I deleted it.

Whenever I respond to any comment I verify most of my talking points (except those I am 100% sure that I will be able to verify). Therefore, I spend quite a great deal of time finding the right verification before committing my words to be published.

This is also how I write my blog entries and this is why I do not write them very often.

I appreciate your thoughts, but I am tired of spending hours responding to them. Thank you for your input.

July 31, 2007 10:53 AM

I replied to this, letting FN know I was dissappointed in his choice, letting him know It'd be posted here, should he ever change his mind, and thanking him for the exchange up to now.

He deleted it.

UPDATE - 7/31/07 8:15pm EDT:

I have a guess as to why FN deleted this.
I think it was this exchange:
FN: "A withdrawal from Iraq will lead to a withdrawal from Afghanistan and endless war in the Middle East. You will no doubt say that such a thing cant be predicted so back up your claims with evidence that I am wrong..."

R3: There you go, again... When YOU make an assertion, YOU have to prove your assertion is correct, not expect others to prove you're incorrect. If one will not or cannot to offer proof of what they claim, there is no reason for anyone to give the claim serious attention.

I don't think he could verify it, and he prides himself as being thoroughly researched & knowlegeable, as evidenced by what he said in his last reply:
FN: "Whenever I respond to any comment I verify most of my talking points (except those I am 100% sure that I will be able to verify)."

That's my theory, anyway...

I missed Falafel day...

I can't miss it...

I won't miss it...

So there.

In honor of Falafel Day, my offerings (A simple rehash of old posts):

What'd I Say?: Falafel Bill O'Reilly

Wingnuts & Moonbats: FauxNews: Billo

H/T for photo to Matt @The Progressive Truth

Another view from the NYT: Our War on Terror

Truth can be found in strange places. This time, it's the book review section...

Our War on Terror - Books - Review - New York Times

"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld offered perhaps the best standard by which to measure the Bush administration’s performance: “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?” Leaked intelligence reports have shown that the answer is negative. The administration’s tactical and strategic blunders have crippled American military readiness; exposed vulnerabilities in training, equipment and force structure; and accelerated terrorist recruitment. In short, although the United States has not been directly hit since 9/11, we are less safe as a result of the Bush administration’s rhetoric, conduct and strategy.

The war rhetoric has raised expectations that a “complete victory” is not only possible, but in fact necessary (even as Bush’s 2002 National Security Strategy preamble reminds us that it will be a “global enterprise of uncertain duration”). That same rhetoric has licensed the executive branch to remove itself from traditional legal frameworks and consolidate power in imperial fashion. And the torture, kidnappings and indefinite detentions carried out at the behest of senior administration officials have blurred the moral distinction between “us” and “them” on which much of Bush’s logic rested.

While our allies still share intelligence with us in order to combat domestic terrorism, our disavowal of international law has made it harder for our friends to contribute military and even financial resources to shore up failing states like Afghanistan, which is portrayed by the opposition in countries like Canada and the Netherlands as one of Bush’s wars. Many of our friends believe that too close an association with American objectives will make them electorally vulnerable and their cities potential targets.

Moreover, by branding the cause a war and calling the enemy terror, the administration has lumped like with unlike foes and elevated hostile elements from the ranks of the criminal (stigmatized in all societies) to the ranks of soldiers of war (a status that carries connotations of sacrifice and courage). Although anybody taking aim at the American superpower would have seemed an underdog, the White House’s approach enhanced the terrorists’ cachet, accentuating the image of self-sacrificing Davids taking up slingshots against a rich, flaccid, hypocritical Goliath. In rejecting the war-on-terror frame recently, Hilary Benn, the British secretary of state for international development, argued: “What these groups want is to force their individual and narrow values on others, without dialogue, without debate, through violence. And by letting them feel part of something bigger, we give them strength.”

A War We Just Might Win

First there was the Op-Ed:
A War We Just Might Win - New York Times

Op-Ed Contributor
A War We Just Might Win


VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration’s critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad is the morale of our troops. In previous trips to Iraq we often found American troops angry and frustrated — many sensed they had the wrong strategy, were using the wrong tactics and were risking their lives in pursuit of an approach that could not work.

Today, morale is high. The soldiers and marines told us they feel that they now have a superb commander in Gen. David Petraeus; they are confident in his strategy, they see real results, and they feel now they have the numbers needed to make a real difference.

Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.

In Ramadi, for example, we talked with an outstanding Marine captain whose company was living in harmony in a complex with a (largely Sunni) Iraqi police company and a (largely Shiite) Iraqi Army unit. He and his men had built an Arab-style living room, where he met with the local Sunni sheiks — all formerly allies of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups — who were now competing to secure his friendship.

In Baghdad’s Ghazaliya neighborhood, which has seen some of the worst sectarian combat, we walked a street slowly coming back to life with stores and shoppers. The Sunni residents were unhappy with the nearby police checkpoint, where Shiite officers reportedly abused them, but they seemed genuinely happy with the American soldiers and a mostly Kurdish Iraqi Army company patrolling the street. The local Sunni militia even had agreed to confine itself to its compound once the Americans and Iraqi units arrived.

We traveled to the northern cities of Tal Afar and Mosul. This is an ethnically rich area, with large numbers of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens. American troop levels in both cities now number only in the hundreds because the Iraqis have stepped up to the plate. Reliable police officers man the checkpoints in the cities, while Iraqi Army troops cover the countryside. A local mayor told us his greatest fear was an overly rapid American departure from Iraq. All across the country, the dependability of Iraqi security forces over the long term remains a major question mark.

But for now, things look much better than before. American advisers told us that many of the corrupt and sectarian Iraqi commanders who once infested the force have been removed. The American high command assesses that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi Army battalion commanders in Baghdad are now reliable partners (at least for as long as American forces remain in Iraq).

In addition, far more Iraqi units are well integrated in terms of ethnicity and religion. The Iraqi Army’s highly effective Third Infantry Division started out as overwhelmingly Kurdish in 2005. Today, it is 45 percent Shiite, 28 percent Kurdish, and 27 percent Sunni Arab.

In the past, few Iraqi units could do more than provide a few “jundis” (soldiers) to put a thin Iraqi face on largely American operations. Today, in only a few sectors did we find American commanders complaining that their Iraqi formations were useless — something that was the rule, not the exception, on a previous trip to Iraq in late 2005.

The additional American military formations brought in as part of the surge, General Petraeus’s determination to hold areas until they are truly secure before redeploying units, and the increasing competence of the Iraqis has had another critical effect: no more whack-a-mole, with insurgents popping back up after the Americans leave.

In war, sometimes it’s important to pick the right adversary, and in Iraq we seem to have done so. A major factor in the sudden change in American fortunes has been the outpouring of popular animus against Al Qaeda and other Salafist groups, as well as (to a lesser extent) against Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

These groups have tried to impose Shariah law, brutalized average Iraqis to keep them in line, killed important local leaders and seized young women to marry off to their loyalists. The result has been that in the last six months Iraqis have begun to turn on the extremists and turn to the Americans for security and help. The most important and best-known example of this is in Anbar Province, which in less than six months has gone from the worst part of Iraq to the best (outside the Kurdish areas). Today the Sunni sheiks there are close to crippling Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Just a few months ago, American marines were fighting for every yard of Ramadi; last week we strolled down its streets without body armor.

Another surprise was how well the coalition’s new Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Teams are working. Wherever we found a fully staffed team, we also found local Iraqi leaders and businessmen cooperating with it to revive the local economy and build new political structures. Although much more needs to be done to create jobs, a new emphasis on microloans and small-scale projects was having some success where the previous aid programs often built white elephants.

In some places where we have failed to provide the civilian manpower to fill out the reconstruction teams, the surge has still allowed the military to fashion its own advisory groups from battalion, brigade and division staffs. We talked to dozens of military officers who before the war had known little about governance or business but were now ably immersing themselves in projects to provide the average Iraqi with a decent life.

Outside Baghdad, one of the biggest factors in the progress so far has been the efforts to decentralize power to the provinces and local governments. But more must be done. For example, the Iraqi National Police, which are controlled by the Interior Ministry, remain mostly a disaster. In response, many towns and neighborhoods are standing up local police forces, which generally prove more effective, less corrupt and less sectarian. The coalition has to force the warlords in Baghdad to allow the creation of neutral security forces beyond their control.

In the end, the situation in Iraq remains grave. In particular, we still face huge hurdles on the political front. Iraqi politicians of all stripes continue to dawdle and maneuver for position against one another when major steps towards reconciliation — or at least accommodation — are needed. This cannot continue indefinitely. Otherwise, once we begin to downsize, important communities may not feel committed to the status quo, and Iraqi security forces may splinter along ethnic and religious lines.

How much longer should American troops keep fighting and dying to build a new Iraq while Iraqi leaders fail to do their part? And how much longer can we wear down our forces in this mission? These haunting questions underscore the reality that the surge cannot go on forever. But there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008.

Michael E. O’Hanlon is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Kenneth M. Pollack is the director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings.
After reading this--and before checking out what anyone else was saying about it--I jotted down my own thoughs:
I'm all for our getting it right. This is one of the first articles I trust suggesting we are... (Previous reports of good news I've seen have been biased in directions that caused me not to trust ‘em, or were self-serving reports from the Administration itself.) I hope we actually are succeeding, and I hope it continues. If so, I'll be glad to admit I was wrong about the surge.

I won't apologize for opposing the invasion even if we do succeed, because the ends do not justify the means. Good results can come from bad actions, and no matter how positive the result, preemptive war goes against my notion of what America stands for. I will give those who supported the thing--from Bush on down--credit for pulling it off, however.

My opposition up to now has been to our invading in the first place & the oft reported failures up to now (which are also mentioned in this article) that resulted from the administration’s poor planning and rose-colored scenarios of victory. I applaud the fact that those early mistakes & bad ideas are getting fixed.

To the extent this op-ed is accurate, I pray that it lasts…
The con blogesphere is all a-twitter with happiness that the liberal NYT has an article in support of the surge.

But the backstory on the op-ed authors, from a liberal perspective, paints a different picture:

(Check out Greenwald's piece on just how many times one or the other of thse guys have offered the war "just one more chance"... While they're billed at Bush foes, they sure have been turning all those corners with him...)
"I think we're turning a corner in Iraq"
"...the end is just around the bend"
"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow... You're always a day away..."
Glenn Greenwald - Salon

The Credibility (Or Lack Thereof) of O'Hanlon and Pollack - TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime

War Proponents Pollack and O'Hanlon: Let's Sustain Surge "Into 2008" | TPMCafe

Progressive America Times: A War We Just Might Win?!: "Right-wing blogs are overjoyed at this op-ed, but like Limbaugh, are also strangely using this opportunity to attack the liberal bias of the New York Times. I see all kinds of problems with attacking an organization as biased and untrustworthy in the same sentence that you are citing it as evidence. Limbaugh and many others on the right apparently see no such conflict of interest."