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  • Huh?

    Posted by Andy B on August 9th, 2004 (All posts by )

    So it is a gorgeous day in Chicago and I leave my office and go for a walk down LaSalle Street to Torrefazione Italia for a mid-day coffee. Truly the best in the city, they don’t burn the beans. As I leave the shop, a young lady approaches me and says in a polite and perky tone, “Would you like to help us stop Bush in November?” This is the third time in 2 months that I have been asked this question by a young kool-aid drinker on the street, and God bless them for getting involved. I respond by saying, “with 20 years in the Senate, can you point to any of John Kerry’s accomplishments that stands out and makes him a good presidential candidate?” The response: That John Kerry will stand up for the people of this country, blah, blah, blah, and George Bush has done irreparable harm, blah, blah, blah….. Just the typical spoon-fed talking points, not a hint of extemporaneous thought, nor any attempt at an answer to my question. How disappointing that was. I’m not spoiling for a fight, just for an honest effort, but all I get is pap. Most of what I see this election cycle is a largely uninformed, “undecided” segment of the electorate being pursued by largely uninformed campaign volunteers. I think I will have to resort to wearing my W 2004 baseball cap to ward off the flying monkeys (ooooh, he said MONKEYS, we know what that means) when I venture out onto the streets of my hometown.

     

    63 Responses to “Huh?”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      Not all of the kool-aid drinkers are young. I had a discussion with some mature ones last night. Did you know that Bush’s family is tight with Bin Laden’s family? And that Bush let Bin Laden’s family get away scot free on Sept. 11? And that Bush didn’t do anything for 7 full minutes after being told about the Sept. 11 attacks? Wow. I thought Bush’s war leadership and strategy for democratizing the Middle East were important, but I guess I was misinformed.

      Oh yeah, W looks like a monkey with those ears. I know that because one of the Washington Post’s cartoonists makes a point, over and over and over again, of emphasizing the president’s monkey-like features in his charicatures. It’s important to pay attention to stuff like that, because it really matters, unlike all that dry military herstory and stratagery stuff those neocon dweebs keep harping on.

    2. Jay Manifold Says:

      smirking chimp coalition of the bribed no WMD Bush lied people died Straussian neoconservative cabal theocrat Ashcroft Bush was selected fascist gutted Bill of Rights ABU GHRAIB HALLIBURTON WORST PRESIDENT EVER

      ]]] head implodes [[[

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Bring on the Google tourists.

      ;)

    4. incognito Says:

      Reminds me of a conversation I had with an animal rights activist on campus back in my Berkeley days that went something like this:

      Activist: Want to sign this petition to help stop the use of lab animals for drug testing?
      Me: If you stop using animals, what are you going to test drugs on, people? (unexploited joke opportunity, Berkeley, drugs, etc, sorry I was slow)
      Activist: Why computer programs/modeling of course!
      Me: Given that computer programs are written by programmers, wouldn’t they only reflect what the programmer takes into account in modeling efficacy or side effects?
      Activist: Well, computer programs are really good now.
      Me: Sure, but how do you account for the unknown?
      Activist: (pause) Testing of animals is cruel and inhumane…

      I forgot the rest of the conversation, but you can guess the outcome of that one.

    5. Lex Says:

      I have run into these same people on the other end of the loop, i.e. near the Borders at the corner of State and Randolph, or on Daley Plaza. On young guy asked me “Do you want to help stop Bush?” I barked back “No! I’m going to help reelect him!”

      Still, say this for the Donks. They have a little army of people out there pushing for their guy. I guess we Republicans all have jobs, or exams to study for.

    6. Sandy P Says:

      I still love this line, “Why do I want a president and first lady who would treat me as the french do?”

    7. Andy D Says:

      Here in portland we have a group called ACT “americans comming together” which knocked on my castle door and asked, “would like to register to vote and defeat bush?” I’m not evern going to waste my time “debating” with this self delusional twenty-young. What are you supposed to say? I really dont have a good argument defending a lot of the things that bush has done, should I just attack kerry?

    8. pat Says:

      Its not just the Democrat masses that are uninformed.

      With that said, even for those that are very educated on the pro’s and con’s of the candidates come down to a trust and very fuzzy reasons why they vote for one candidate or the other. Mostly based on ones feelings wrt to the war.

      later

    9. aaron Says:

      Andy, just smile and nod. Fill out the paper work, register, re-register. Rant about Bush-hitler-haliburton (you can download a script, they’re all over the internet). Invite them in for cookies. Ask how you can get more involved. Then try not to hurt yourself as you crack up when they’re leaving.

    10. j.scott barnard Says:

      Good old fashioned made up war stories do…come…back to haunt you. I suspect that’s a meme that will stick with folks going to the polls. Kerry’s full of hot air, and anyone watching the debates will see that. I just hope the first question is:

      “Senator Kerry, did you really spend Christmas in Cambodia in 1968?”

    11. Sandy P Says:

      Ahhh, the sweet idealism of youth.

      Since you do not pay attention to history, you will be doomed to repeat it.

    12. polysci Says:

      Show any accomplishment on GWB’s resume? anything? can you fill in the holes for me too? like 1974 to 1980? can ya? he is a complete failure as a businessman, and thinks he has never done wrong? GWB is a freak, rich-boy-with-rich-friends.

    13. Andy B Says:

      I wasn’t out stumping on the street for GW Bush, you ass.

    14. Jonathan Says:

      “Show any accomplishment on GWB’s resume? anything?”

      How about: Led the country through two successful campaigns of a major war. I suppose that doesn’t count, though. What really matters is what he did 35 years ago.

      Kerry made the past an issue. Now he can stew in it. BTW, what has he done lately?

    15. Andy D. Says:

      Thats a funny comment aaron. If i was a buddist monk with years of meditation i might be able to fight the urge to do a front blood choke for 20-30 seconds followed by a finishing axe stomp move. I work at a gas station for the summer and whenever i see a kerry sticker, i want to spill gas on thier car… ; )

      BUT!!! i do not think it should be taken to those steps ladies and gentelmen!!

    16. Anonymous Says:

      It’s not to much the merits of bush are great, but that the actions of kerry are so horrible.

    17. chris Says:

      “..Show any accomplishment on GWB’s resume? anything? can you fill in the holes for me too? like 1974 to 1980? can ya?…”

      Exactly as another poster put it…the liberals and Kerry himself wanted to wallow in the past, now they don’t like the rotting smell…..

      Liberals who are out in “protest mode” about this election or the war are delusional…they say things like “we had 10,000 people out protesting!!”….yeah….that’s because those of us with a brain, a job, and responsibilities are too busy…..

      Actions speak louder than words..and the sad fact is that for all their spittle filled rhetoric..that many of the protestorbots are young, clueless..and ultimately “flake” come election day (in re: “dude, my scooter like totally konked…”)

    18. Andy B Says:

      Every one of these young petitioners I have seen looked to be early twenties, which means this could be the first election that they are of voting age. It is a shame that they have already been programmed as cynics, where their main thrust (and opening line) is to bash the opponent. I would have been impressed in a positive way had ONE of these people approached me with a positive, pro-Kerry/Edwards message rather than “Would you like to help us stop Bush in November?”.

    19. Sandy P Says:

      –he is a complete failure as a businessman,–

      So was Harry Truman. So what’s your point?

    20. Barry Says:

      Jonathan, what two successful wars are you speaking about? What is your definition of successful?

    21. Jonathan Says:

      Clearly, the war to teach you to read carefully has been unsuccessful.

      I don’t want to play Twenty Questions. I’ve written numerous times that I think Bush probably did better than either Gore or Kerry would have in responding to the 9/11 attacks. You obviously disagree. Since this thread is about Kerry and not Bush, why don’t you tell us why you think your man would do a better job. Or are you just another Kerry supporter, like the ones Andy met, who is full of animus towards Bush but unable to make a coherent argument for Kerry?

    22. Lex Says:

      Jonathan, you are too intelligent to see what is actually happening here. The guy is so blasted stupid and out of touch that he literally does not know what two wars you are talking about.

      He is not mentally equipped to give you a coherent reason Kerry should be president. He probably doesn’t even know the multiplication table.

    23. Jonathan Says:

      Lex, I don’t think it’s necessary to insult the commenter. I wrote of two campaigns in a war and he read it as two wars. If he isn’t merely trolling, he is welcome to make the case for Kerry that he seemed to be itching to make.

    24. incognito Says:

      “Every one of these young petitioners I have seen looked to be early twenties, which means this could be the first election that they are of voting age.”

      Another good point Andy. Liberals rely on ignorance and naivete to fill their ranks. What better than the new voter newly brainwashed by the education/liberal complex. Liberals love preying on children. Sick eh?

    25. Lex Says:

      Jonathan, I flail myself in penitential abjection for my lack of patience with Barry.

    26. Jonathan Says:

      Let’s not get carried away, Lex. Not only is self-flagellation an overreaction to what I wrote, but now we risk getting linked by S&M enthusiasts. OTOH, our defense of Bush’s war leadership against the Democratic crowds does suggest that we have a masochistic streak.

    27. Andy B Says:

      Yes, it is bad form, but it is also opportunistic which is a large part of politics past and present. The larger issue here in my opinion is the blind acceptance, the wholesale swallowing of the story on the part of supposedly EDUCATED, YOUNG voters. These people are fresh with upper five-figure college degrees, yet they are ill-equipped for independent, extemporaneous thought.
      Look, I support the re-election of George Bush, but I realize that the long term future of the country does not hinge upon this! In fact, since I personally like GWB as a person as well as President, for his sake, a loss would probably be much better for him. Bush could retire from public life, and enjoy the spoils of being an ex-President, including no stress and a guaranteed healthy income from public speaking engagements. Kerry would assume control for the next brutally difficult four years, and would virtually lock out HR Clinton from running anytime soon. We would most likely see another Republican administration come into office in ’08. So Dem or Repub, we will be alright.
      The disturbing phenomena is that I haven’t heard anyone on the other side of the aisle from me come out and express a similar opinion. This burning desire to get rid of Bush has blinded them to all reason or debate, and that is truly radical. I have a lurking fear that if Bush does get re-elected (which I think he will) someone will try to assassinate him.

    28. Scotus Says:

      Well, I guess that, if someone thinks starting out as minority owner of a major league sports franchise, turning the franchise around, and making a major profit on its sale constitutes a business failure, then I’m at a real loss as to what to say in reply. Perhaps, for this person, divorcing your wife and marrying a mega-rich widow is the mark of true business savy.

    29. Jay Manifold Says:

      Here I am conflicted.

      On the one hand, W’s method of “turning the franchise around” consisted of stampeding the citizens of Arlington into voting for a tax increase to build a stadium. Repeated statements during the campaign to the effect that the Rangers were negotiating with other suburbs turned out to be, er, lies. Meanwhile, not one prominent Republican in the area would go on record as opposing the tax increase.

      On the other hand, the likes of “polysci” are merely adding to the barrage of cant that I like to quote prior to one of my “]]] head implodes [[[” comments. So W’s supporters may have a casual relationship with the truth, but his most motivated opponents can’t seem to get within shouting distance of it.

      As Glenn Reynolds once said, it’s like watching a World Series between the Cubs and the Red Sox. Which I’m pretty sure is an insult to both …

    30. Lex Says:

      As of today they had people out saying “Do you want to help elect John Kerry?” A bunch of them were old ladies. I said, “I’ll be helping to reelect President Bush”. But they are doing it the other way now.

    31. Akefa Says:

      Kerry was the only candidate willing to speak to the NAACP. That’s enough in itself to cause me to vote for him. Bush’s record with African Americans is dismal. And the economy has only gone down since Clinton left office.
      Do you people have any idea how African Americans are going to feel if Bush somehow pulls another Florida and gets re-elected?

    32. Jay Manifold Says:

      Wow, now it’s Democrat Story Time. From Bush-is-a-business-genius (Republican Story Time) to this in three comments! Behold the breadth of our readership …

    33. Chris Says:

      “..And the economy has only gone down since Clinton left office…”

      ???…haha…..

      Please cite your source of information and try again…

    34. Akefa Says:

      Try the esteemed economist Krugman’s book “The Great Unraveling.” Or just try reading the New York Times if you feel things are getting away from you.

    35. Lex Says:

      Akefa, Bush spoke to the Urban League, text here with many Black opinion leaders in attendance. The NAACP leadership has called him a fascist, etc. There is no way anyone with any self-respect would appear before a group which has slandered him in that fashion.

      Polls show African American voters would like school choice, but the Democrat party is protecting its unionized teachers at the expense of yet another generation of African American children.

      As to the New York Times, even it admits the growth figures and job figures. We are no longer in a recession. There is simply no basis for saying “the economy has only gone down” since Clinton. We were in a recession at the end of Clinton’s term, and we are out of a recession now. Not complicated.

    36. Andy B Says:

      Akefa,
      I beg to differ with you. The economy’s lead time runs anywhere from 6 to 18 months, so whatever is occuring at the moment that ANY president takes office has nothing to do with that president. LEI’s and capital investment had already turned down prior to Bush’s election (that’s right, I said BUSH’S election), so he clearly inherited a recession. And just so you don’t get the idea that I am a rigid neo-con, Dem-hating, trickle down idealogue, I don’t pin the blame on Clinton for the recession. It was a fait accompli after the artificially large economic boom fueled by the wide open tap of Fed cash. They over-primed the pump, but I didn’t hear anyone predict that Y2K would pass so uneventfully, so we ended up with a grievous hangover to deal with.
      Bush spoke to the Urban League, and they do a hell of a lot more tangible good with less hot air and grandstanding than the NAACP.
      Care to elaborate on Bush’s “dismal” record with African Americans? If you do, leave out the Affirmative Action crutch, because that’s a non-starter.
      Do YOU have any idea how African Americans are going to feel when their support is once again taken for granted by the Democratic party? Why is it exactly that the Democratic party stands in the way of even TRYING school vouchers, when vouchers would give so many African American children currently relegated to abysmal urban schools an option to go elsewhere? Could it be because The Democratic Party is is a cash junkie, strung out on Teachers Union money and willing to screw over minorities simply because they can’t imagine them voting Republican?

    37. Andy B Says:

      Believe it or not, those were produced completely independently. LOL

    38. Chris Says:

      “…Try the esteemed economist Krugman’s book “The Great Unraveling.” Or just try reading the New York Times if you feel things are getting away from you…”

      Krugman also endorses F9/11 wholeheartedly….so I guess I can see where being free of the burden of facts would appeal in this case as well…

      According to you we have been in a recession contiously since Clinton left office. Do you REALLY think that is the case? Sorry, but the FACTS not only don’t support you..they directly oppose you…

      Just because the NYT or Krugman say something still doesn’t make it fact…you should check your facts firsts…but I know that’s actually hard work..it’s so much easier to let someone else tell you what is true and not true…

    39. Chris Says:

      “…Do you people have any idea how African Americans are going to feel if Bush somehow pulls another Florida and gets re-elected?..”

      You mean if he legally wins the electoral votes in Florida again? Frankly I don’t give a f*** WHAT they think about it. While were on that subject…I don’t give a f*** what they think about ANYTHING as African Americans…I care what they think as AMERICANS first and only….

    40. incognito Says:

      “Kerry was the only candidate willing to speak to the NAACP. That’s enough in itself to cause me to vote for him.”

      If I were African American, that would be reason enough to vote against Kerry. You should start reading Thomas Sowell, a true leader. Here’s a good starting point.

      “Bill Cosby and the black “leadership” represent two long-standing differences about how to deal with the problems of the black community. The “leaders” are concerned with protecting the image of blacks, while Cosby is trying to protect the future of blacks, especially those of the younger generation.”

      One could argue that no one has done more to harm the black community over the long term than the Democrats and liberals. Open your eyes man.

      One favorite way of mine to look at it like is with this analogy with regards to affirmative action: Liberals think blacks are equal, but can’t survive without their help. Who are the real bigots?

    41. Barry Says:

      Jonathan, you are correct, I did misread wars for war. I presume Afghanistan and Iraq are the successful campaigns in the war against terrorism? If so, neither of those situations are resolved. From what I read, Afghanistan is safe only in Kabal. Much of the country is still run by warlords who align with the Taliban today, tomorrow, Karzi. The Taliban is constantly launching attacks. The heroin trade is flourishing once again. Iraq is completely out of control according to knowledgeable reports. I heard a person speak (who was there for the past year) and said that what is printed in US papers and seen on TV is not what is going on in the country. It is much worse than what is reported. In July, fifty-four of our soldiers died and hundreds wounded. What is Mr. Bush’s plan? Do you think the Bush administration learned anything from the Russian occupation of Afghanistan? How long has the war in Palestine been raging? Has that situation brought about justice for both the Israelis or the Palestinians? That is what I see Iraq becoming: the politics of death. That is why I ask for your definition of success in regards to Mr. Bush’s performance in waging war. I think it is a legitimate question; I need to understand your criteria otherwise I can not honestly reply.

    42. Jonathan Says:

      Afghanistan and Iraq are successes because we deposed their previous rulers who were causing trouble, and did so at acceptable cost to ourselves. The situations in both places aren’t perfect but are vastly improved over pre-war conditions. In both cases we got rid of major threats and (very important) made clear to prospective enemies that being our enemy is costly.

      I don’t know where you get your information, but my impression is that the situation in Iraq is generally improving. The local economy is picking up and we are crushing the current Iranian-backed attempt to subvert the Iraqi government. (See, e.g., the “Belmont Club” and “Iraq the Model” blogs for more information.)

      I don’t think we need to solve the world’s problems, merely that we need to respond effectively to threats to our security. Seems to me that we’re generally doing so successfully, even if we don’t always get every detail right.

    43. Sandy P Says:

      I think I found the answer to Lex’ question, via LGF:

      I can’t wait to ask a campaign caller why Kerry wants to send nuclear fuel to Iran.

      Yes, J. Add me to the list, please.

    44. Sandy P Says:

      –Iraq is completely out of control according to knowledgeable reports.–

      Who???

      And define “Justice” please.

    45. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Beirut was out of control. Mogadishu was out of control. Sarajevo, where people lived in basements with no water and little electricity, running for cover from snipers, was also out of control.

      Baghdad is not even close to any of those, and never came close to it, even during the spectacular thunder runs. And outside the capital and less than a handful of cities, nothing is going on. But by definition, there is no media there since nothing’s happening. There are no knowledgeable reports on Iraq. Unless ambulance-chasing has become a synonym for knowledge.

      Speaking of which, how does the Russian campaign in Afghanistan compare with ours exactly ? Did we go in with entire armored divisions and slaughter entire towns to install a pliant dictatorship ? I must have missed something.

      And now Bush is responsible for the decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      Riiiight.

      The “politics of death”. As opposed to the enlightened humanism of al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, al-Sadr, Saddam Hussein and all the other nice people we persecute so harshly.

      Need fries with your joint ?

    46. incognito Says:

      “Iraq is completely out of control according to knowledgeable reports. I heard a person speak (who was there for the past year) and said that what is printed in US papers and seen on TV is not what is going on in the country.”

      Funny, a former colleague of mine has also been there for the past year, and it’s not as you put it “completely out of control”. It’s dangerous of course, but the impression I got from him, as with most soldiers you’ll meet in your life time, is that there’s a dirty job that has to be done, and they’re doing it.

    47. Barry Says:

      Jonathan, thank you for giving your criteria. I’m concerned with the idea of an “acceptable cost to ourselves”. That sounds onesided to me and if so, ignores the horrific cost to the general populous of Afghanistan and Iraq. These are the innocents of war, the causalties of the “politics of death”, like those women, men and children that died on 9/11. They become a meaningless statistic, if they are even “counted”, since their deaths do not make headlines like those of the “enemy”. I am concerned with our willingness to accept the death of civilan Afghans or Iraqis as nothing. I am not saying or accussing you of doing so. In general discussions like these comments or in the news, war is a neat practical equation that literally does not count the majority of deaths, which are those of innocent people who are just trying to survive. I believe that Mr. Bush’s actions have only perpetuated the myth of war and the violence that politicians so readily renounce yet are so eager to wage. Again, thanks for your reasoned response.As to some of the other responses to my comments: the use of the Israeli / Palastinian war was to demonstrate how both sides continue to use violence (politics of death) as a means to accomplish their goals. Yet the only objective accomplished is more deaths and little negotiations. It had nothing to do with Mr. Bush. The lesson from the Russian Afghan war to my knowledge, was the ability of the Taliban to patiently wait out its adversary. Of course they had our material and political support throughout the war. I wonder if they are using similar tactics against Karzi and the US. As far as the idea of soldiers doing a “dirty job”, lets not pretend that what they are doing is akin to cleaning latrines. That’s a dirty job. A soldiers job is to follow orders which include the killing of other human beings. I do not say this in condemnation. I write this as fact. A soldiers job is to kill the motherfucker before he/she or child kills him. Nothing more, nothing less. Some of the people I’ve spoken with lived in the aforementioned areas from one year up to and including five to eight years. Their perspective is from the combatant and the noncombatant. A friend of mine lived in an urban neighborhood that I considered “dangerous” and he considered “out of control”. The reason for the different perspective: my neighbor had a knife put to his throat one evening; had his apartment robbed numerous times and his car stolen. Basically, he was on guard 24/7. I was able to avoid that situation because I didn’t live there and only chose to visit when it was considered a “safe” time to do so.

    48. Jonathan Says:

      One of the reasons why I support the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is that I think that on balance our interventions have saved many more lives than they have taken. The number of bodies found in Iraqi mass graves, for example, indicates that on average the Hussein regime was murdering more than 1000 people a month. How many people are alive today because we took down Hussein? The Taliban too were accomplished mass-killers. Terrible as war always is, I don’t think we have anything to apologize for in these cases, and that’s without considering the threats that Hussein and the Taliban posed to us and other countries, which IMO were significant.

    49. incognito Says:

      “A soldiers job is to kill the motherfucker before he/she or child kills him. Nothing more, nothing less.”

      That’s a rather narrow view of soldiers.

    50. Chris Says:

      “….The number of bodies found in Iraqi mass graves, for example, indicates that on average the Hussein regime was murdering more than 1000 people a month…”

      YES!! I am always telling people that we are already back “in the black” so to speak when it comes to human life cost of this war…and the sheer thousands of lives saved will grow to be huge in the coming months, years, and even decades that the Hussein cabal would have ruled..

      The anti war people who claim to care about Iraqis dying because of the war are intellectually dishonest…they weren’t out protesting BEFORE the war about all the innocent Iraqis dying…

      The truth is..they do not care about Iraqis dying..as long as they do it tastefully out of sight…

    51. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Barry,

      - Equating both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a gross, if not downright stupid, mistake. Israeli troops are not ordered to go kill quotas of civilians as their suicide bomber opponents are. Palestinian civilians do die as a side effect of fighting an enemy that uses the surrounding civilian population as a living shield. As opposed to terrorists whose only goal is to blow as many innocents as possible, as if it was a live Doom video game. There is no moral equivalence here whatsoever. Collateral damage in war has never been the same as cold, random murder, both morally and legally.

      - Your equating the deaths of New Yorkers and Iraqi or Afghan civilians is equally inappropriate; are you saying all or most Iraqi and Afghan civilians who have died since 2001 were killed by U.S. soldiers whose only mission was to slaughter them ? This is what you need to prove in order to assert this is somehow no different from 9/11. If you can’t tell the difference, your own shortsightedness is your problem. Don’t blame us for it.

      - As pointed out by Jonathan, the so-called “horrific cost” of these wars ought to be compared with the status quo. Many more people died in Afghanistan under the Taliban and even more in Iraq under Hussein. Which probably explains why millions of Afghans have gone back to their country and the grand predictions of mass emigration out of Iraq never happened. People vote with their feet. But you may believe they are all wrong and blind and deaf, if that is necessary to support your views. It’s your life.

      - When was the last time you saw Israelis marching with guns, chanting martyrdom, displaying bomb belts and taking pictures of their little kids in paramilitary outfits ? Your attemt at even-handed ‘politics of death’ characterization is so disconnected from reality it can hardly support your position.

      - The lesson from the Russian Afghan war to my knowledge, was the ability of the Taliban to patiently wait out its adversary.Well, your knowledge is rather patchy. The Taliban did not came into existence until 1996, or seven years after the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan, and 4 years after the fall of the puppet regime they left behind. Many of its leaders and members were foreigners. In other words, the Soviets did not fight and were not beaten by the Taliban.

      Their opponents were what was to become the Northern Alliance. Our allies, in other words. Some of the mujahideens in the 80s were to become al-Qaeda; they are yet another third element.

      - For the record, some of us also know people who have lived, or still live and work in those parts of the world, some of them as active duty military, and none of them shares your so-called ‘perspective’.

      - I don’t care what you friend called ‘out of control’. Why is his definition of ‘out of control’ a reference ? Is he some kind of authority as soon as you need this little anecdote for backup ? Baghdad and Iraq are in a far better shape than all U.N. intervention zones of the past 14 years whether you like it or not. Darfur is out of control. Entire parts of Congo are out of control. Sierra Leone was out of control. Entire chunks of Chechnya still are out of control. Baghdad most definitely isn’t one of these. There is no comparison.

      - Overall, your attempts at sophisticated nuance comes across as rather shallow, if not downright caricatural; it is obvious, for instance, that you know very little about soldiers and their job beyond the usual tired cliches. Those of us who were soldiers in the past know exactly what I mean. Thanks for stopping by.

    52. Sam Says:

      Mr. Bush, Mr. Sharon, Mr. Arafat and Mr. bin Laden share a religious fervor and certitude that trivializes the innocent lives of those they annihilate in the name of justice. They are brothers in evil certainty that authors gross violence. Their only response to terror is to elevate levels of terror. Each has chosen vengeance and the horrors of human slaughter over the forces of decency and dialogue. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”

    53. Andy B Says:

      Sam,
      I cannot know how long you pored over that paragraph to make it sound very nice, but it is basically meaningless. And if you cannot distinguish the difference between the advocacies and actions of an Osama Bin Laden, contrasted with the fundamental changes that Bush is trying to achieve, then no amount of logic or reason will sway you. Ten years of worthless U.N. resolutions fall on your deaf ears. You prefer to see more generations of human beings to be lost to prolonged hatred, bloodshed, and hopelessness over the long term rather than enduring pain, loss, and sacrifice over a shorter term, in the hope of changing a broken society. Stay home and work your worry beads.

    54. Ginny Says:

      Yes, it is meaningles. And it is sad, because it reflects its own certainty–that peace comes with emptiness, with nihilism. What motivates efforts to build for others? It may not be only but it is often that same “certainty” in a western tradition that mourns because, as Whitman put it,”my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead.”

      On a more mundane level: If Bush or Sharon had truly chosen vengeance, we wouldn’t be discussing whether bullets were hitting mosques or whether the wall moved into Palestinian territory. And was “decency and dialogue” embodied in, say, the “oil for food” program?

    55. Barry Says:

      Jonathan, in response to the idea that “on balance…”, I don’t agree that the end justifies the means. Such a notion promotes the idea that certain lives (usually the poor) are expendable. “Humanity reduced to statistics.”, a person once said. Historically our foreign policy has supported the likes of the Taliban or a Hussein who have committed similar atrocities. Remember, Hussein had US approval to engage in some of those atrocities that resulted in some of the deaths mentioned. Secondly, “How many are alive today…” can not be answered. What can be answered is that between 8000 – 10,000 civilians did die during the invasion. A false claim is made when it is said, “…considering the threats that Hussein and the Taliban posed…”. They can not be linked. One is not the other. Regarding incognito’s comment of “a narrow view of soldiers”, he is somewhat correct. The view is narrow when in a war zone because the focus is life or death. My comment was based upon conversations I’ve had with veterans from World War II, Korea, the Vietnam war, Gulf War I and the current war in Iraq. Regarding Sylvain’s response, first, the personal attacks are ridiculous. Didn’t name calling end with adulthood? They also serve as distractors. And then to put a spin on what is written is absurd. The Pal./Isr conflict was cited in order to demonstrate a long standing conflict that is mired in violence and such violence has not brought about a just solution. The loss of life in the WTC and the civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan do share a common element: death imposed upon them by a political tactic: war. According to Chris Hedges, a writer, …not less than 62 million civilians have perished” in twentieth century wars. Some intentional, others unintentional, but the result is the same: death. My history regarding the Taliban and the Russian invasion was incorrect. But the question I posed still had validity,(Is a similar strategy currently at work in Afghanistan?) and was dismissed in the history lesson given. A history lesson that was also a little “patchy” with the facts: the Taliban appeared on the scene in October of 1994 (not 1996 as stated) and controlled Spin Buldak and Kandahar by November. By March of ’95, they controlled about one-third of the country. bin Laden arrived in the country in 1996 (see Goodson, Afghanistan’s Endless War.). I didn’t use any “usual and tired cliches”. That’s your spin. See my response to incognito. Finally, I’ll give another simple, unsophisticated idea in response to your friends perception of the situation in Iraq: Ten people see the same accident and guess what? You’ll get ten different versions of what each person saw. And they all might be valid. That is one of the contradictions of living.

    56. Jonathan Says:

      Historically our foreign policy has supported the likes of the Taliban or a Hussein who have committed similar atrocities. . .

      Wrong. We never supported the Taliban. We didn’t support Hussein except to a limited degree, as an enemy of our enemy in the context of his war against Iran. We never supported Hussein’s atrocities. You might even recall that we went to war with Hussein in 1991, so even if your assertions were correct it would be indisputable that we had seen the error of our ways many years ago and corrected it. It seems the U.S. cannot do right by you.

      Your attempt to blame us for Hussein’s mass murders is ridiculous. Would you prefer that he still be in power? That’s the realistic alternative to the current situation.

      . . . Remember, Hussein had US approval to engage in some of those atrocities that resulted in some of the deaths mentioned.

      Oh bullshit. There’s no evidence for this claim, nor does the claim make sense (why would any U.S. administration give its approval to a tyrant’s atrocities?). If you make statements of this kind you should cite evidence. You haven’t done so, because there is no evidence.

      Secondly, “How many are alive today…” can not be answered. What can be answered is that between 8000 – 10,000 civilians did die during the invasion.

      It’s easy to make a reasonable estimate, as I did, of how many Iraqis would have been murdered by Hussein who are alive today because we deposed him. Even if you reduce my estimate by a factor of ten (i.e., to 100 murders per month), it does not take long before the total of lives saved by our invasion exceeds the total of war deaths.

      Your assertion of the number of Iraqi civilian war deaths is in line with guesses made by individuals who oppose U.S. policy and have little or no hard information. Even if it is correct, and I doubt it, it ignores the value of the increased freedom which liberated Iraqis now enjoy. Apparently that freedom isn’t significant in your scheme of things.

      A false claim is made when it is said, “…considering the threats that Hussein and the Taliban posed…”. They can not be linked. One is not the other.

      The logical validity of my statement does not depend on linkage between these threats. They may have been linked, but they were both threats to us even if they weren’t allies.

    57. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      I didn’t use any “usual and tired cliches”. That’s your spin.All right. That settles it then. I didn’t know calling something spin proved anything. Neat trick, I’ll have to remember it.

      Ten people see the same accident and guess what? You’ll get ten different versions of what each person saw. And they all might be valid. That is one of the contradictions of living.
      God. “The contradictions of living”….dude, spare us the soap-opera psycho-babble and two-penny colloquialisms. It could at least be funny if you didn’t affect to take it so seriously.

      One single accident happened. One single set of facts produced those ten, twenty, one thousand versions. And no, they’re not all valid just because they happen to exist, and it takes work to find out which ones are.

      Of course, it is a lot easier to take the lazy route and assume every point of view is valid, that every opinion is worth every other. Relativity is the universal cop-out. No wonder it’s so popular, it’s so kind on the self-esteem. Any moron can send Israelis and Palestinians back to back, or put al-Qaeda and the White House in the same basket, or equate all war deaths with every other because they all belong to some unique statistical number from “a writer”. It clearly requires no effort whatsoever beyond weak attempts at high-school philosophy. War crimes and collateral damage, all the same. Jews in Auschwitz and Palestinian shot during a firefight with Hamas : same thing, obviously.

      There is no name-calling here; don’t flatter yourself. You have nothing to say. It just takes you an awful lot of words to prove it. But it was nice of you to come back and do an encore.

      Oh, and the Taliban did not govern Afghanistan and come into official political existence as such until 1996. When the movement actually began is actually still being debated; 1994 is where Taliban lore and legend puts it at through Mullah Omar’s tale. But it’s nice to see you prove that your previous version of this particular ‘accident’ was invalid. Contradictions of living and all that….

    58. Barry Says:

      At least I can admit a mistake. But Taliban lore and legend??? I cited one book already and here’s another. Ahmed Rashid’s Taliban. Also, I wrote the likes of, which means similar to. I didn’t state we supported the Taliban. (Let’s remember we are allies with Pakistan, who directly supported them.) Hussein’s actions were supported by Bush Sr. after the first Gulf war, Hussein was allowed to put down the uprising in the south. In not acting, the government was complicit. US soldiers were aghast at what they saw and how they couldn’t do anything to an enemy they had recently defeated other than watch them decimate people who thought they could depend on us. That is well documented. So are: Pinochet, Marcos, the Shah of Iran, Central American regimesm, just to name a few. The legacy of our foreign policy is not all rosy. It has accomplished a great amount of good in the world, but like the fallen creatures we are, it has also been prone to the worst of human nature. Dudes, it’s one of the contratictions of life. Life is kinda messy. Sometimes you only think other peoples sh*t smells, not your own. And I mean this in regards to the foreign policy, not to any individual since it could be spun in that manner.I guess I can sum up these comments by saying your brand of bourbon isn’t mine. .

    59. Jonathan Says:

      “Historically our foreign policy has supported the likes of the Taliban or a Hussein who have committed similar atrocities.”

      So now you’re arguing that the phrase, “the likes of” gets you off the hook because you weren’t accusing us of supporting the Taliban, merely of supporting similar groups. I don’t see why that makes a difference.

      Hussein’s actions were supported by Bush Sr. after the first Gulf war, Hussein was allowed to put down the uprising in the south. In not acting, the government was complicit.

      We shouldn’t have let it happen. But we didn’t let it happen because we wanted Hussein to slaughter the Shiites, we let it happen because we misjudged the situation and believed that Hussein’s opponents could overthrow him without our close support. That doesn’t make us complicit, it makes us imperfect. I never argued that the U.S. doesn’t make mistakes. I argued that we did not support Hussein and the Taliban’s atrocities.

      I can’t tell anymore what you are trying to say. Pinochet et al are usually cited as examples of why the U.S. shouldn’t try to overthrow dictators in far-off lands. So, should we not have attacked Hussein at all, or should we should have finished the job in 1991? You seem to hold the U.S. to an impossible standard.

    60. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Yes, Taliban lore and legend; the starting date of the Taliban is largely based on lore and legend, especially that of Mullah Omar and the abduction and rape of those two girls. Others put it at the same time for other reasons, despite evidence that its creation predated 94 and actually occurred in Pakistan. The debate is not settled; except for those who either don’t know much about it or are the kind who can harbor no doubt.

      Interesting how you believed the Soviet Union fought the Taliban a couple of days ago, and now you’ve suddenly become an authority. Because you’ve “admitted a mistake” ? Making mistakes as large as this one usually proves people are no authority, as far as I know. And shouldn’t your previous error make you a bit more careful in your assertions ? And why is Ahmed Rashid the authority of reference anyway ? Says who ? You ? His publisher maybe ?

      Hussein’s actions were supported by Bush Sr. after the first Gulf warSupport ? Really ? Did we provide him with firepower and air support ? Did we send troops in to support his operation ? Did we try and deny U.N. sanctions against him as other countries did more recently and tried to do in the past ?

      If not preventing someone from doing something constitutes support, then Clinton supported Hussein in 1998 when he let him stop UN inspections.

      It was a shameful moment indeed. But claiming it constituted “support” and linking it to Marcos or the Shah is populist posturing, not history.

      like the fallen creatures we areUh ? Say what ? Can we keep the Bible out of it for a second ?

      Can’t let go of the high-school philosophy, can you ? I must admit it does bring back sweet memories but if soap-opera existential guilt is all you have to support your argument, it’s not going to be very effective around here.

      I never said or implied foreign policy was rosy, nor easy or that it didn’t smell. Or even that our final conclusions differed. But I do find your reasoning flawed and empty, when it is not based on ignorance of the most basic historical facts. Your premises and arguments are, so far, little more than noisy arm-waving, which greatly undermines your conclusions (if any).

      I guess I can sum up these comments by saying your brand of bourbon isn’t mine.And so what ? Does your subjective taste constitute a proof of anything ? Is taste all you need to make a judgment on complex political and historical facts ?

      Apologies but we prefer to build judgment on an understanding of facts, events, the motives of the player and the cost and risks of alternatives as they were and as they were perceived. Of course, we could ramble on about the “contradictions of life”, and how “messy” life is, and the “fallen creatures we are”, and always assume our shit smells worse than everybody else’s to conform with the fashionable self-denigrating meme of the day.

      Not interested. Sorry.

    61. Barry Says:

      Yes, Taliban lore and legend; the starting date of the Taliban is largely based on lore and legend If you are going to use Wikipedia as your resource, at least cite it. The statement of the Taliban appearing on the scene in Afghanistan as a force to be reckoned with was in 1994. Those are facts, not opinions or legend or lore. Instead of negatively spinning (dismissing) the books cited, why not read them to see if they are historically reliable. I never presumed to be an authority; once again, those are your words. Where does our knowledge of these topics come from anyway? Are you not like most fallen creatures who obtain it indirectly from what they read and hear? Speaking of “fallen creatures”, the phrase happens to be another way of saying “imperfect”, as your friend Jonathan used the word. Same concept, just a different style of writing.Your misinterpretation of the brand of bourbon metaphor is humorous so all was not lost. …believed that Hussein’s opponents could overthrow him without our close support. That doesn’t make us complicit, it makes us imperfect.Jonathan, that statement goes against the facts of what the military knew and the advice they gave Bush Sr. Please explain to your friend Sylvain that “imperfect” is the same as saying “fallen creatures.” I’ve enjoyed the comments and hope that some day you’ll both see the light and realize the truth about Bush Jr. and the absurdity of war. Shalom.

    62. Andy B. Says:

      Barry said, “…hope that some day you’ll both see the light and realize the truth about Bush Jr. and the absurdity of war.” Barry, I have learned alot from my dad. He did not attend a fancy college, or run a big company, but managed to survive World War II, raise me and my sisters, and stay married for over 50 years, so I tend to listen to him. He taught me a long time ago that there are plenty of “educated idiots” roaming the world, and that sometimes there is nothing to be done but wait for the passage of time to allow people to ascertain the truth about a situation. Your assuredness that you have that “truth” on your side reflects a real arrogance on your part. I have no way of knowing that what I believe is the God’s honest truth, but through assessing the situation with an open and rational mind, I have made my best attempt. That passage of time may prove me wrong in my beliefs, and if it did, I would accept and admit it. I don’t percieve the same sentiment in you, or in the rest of the anti-Bush crowd for that matter.

    63. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      - Barry, you are digging yourself a larger hole with each post. But hey, since you seem to enjoy it so much, I’ll give you a hand…

      - If my source is not Wikipedia, why would I cite it ?

      - If the Taliban’s origins were so well documented and undeniable, there wouldn’t be any discussion about it, would it ? Yes, the history about Mullah Omar is part of Taliban lore. There is little documented proof of its creation, let alone that it did not exist prior to 1994. Mainstream media did not start reporting actively on its existence and actions until 1996.

      - I never said you ‘presumed’ authority; but you clearly and unambiguously appealed to the authority of two books to prove a point, after conclusively proving you had no idea what you were talking about. Why are these sources authoritative ? How do you know ? And how can you back up a claim with sources you cannot judge and know nothing about ?

      - And which one of us admits that he doesn’t know where the Taliban came from or where ? Which one of us asserts that this and that is well documented and points to specific dates ? Why is it that your ‘fallen creature’ argument does not apply to yourself ? Why are you exempt ?

      - Your dismissal of difficult questions as a mere misinterpretation of a very telling comment on your part is quite convenient and humorous indeed.

      - So some day we will “see the light” and come to agree with you. The modesty of your opinion speaks for itself…