Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Can They Triangulate on Defense?

    Posted by Lexington Green on February 2nd, 2004 (All posts by )

    Walter Russell Mead’s two recent pieces (in the Wall Street Journal and in the LA Times) argue that the Democrat’s weakness on defense are likely to cost them the next election. Mead suggests in both articles that the Democrats can win by running to the right of Bush on the war. Kennedy, after all, ran on the “missile” gap and outflanked Nixon on the right. Mead notes that historically, the Democrats have been the “war party” — Wilson, FDR, Truman, Johnson all led us into major overseas commitments. But that really is ancient history. Since 1972, with McGovern, the Donks have been peaceniks. Mead correctly points out that Democrat voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have signalled that opposition to the war is not the issue they care about most. This, he suggests, opens the way to a more hawkish stance for a Democrat candidate. He notes, astutely, that the Clintons are already taking this stance.

    Some proposals he offers:

    For example, Democrats in Congress could introduce a bill to make it harder for immigrants from countries that condone terror to enter the United States. Or one that would make it easier for the families of terror victims to sue, say, European and Middle Eastern banks and other companies that have done business with terrorist organizations. They could announce a strategy for the war on terror that is more comprehensive than anything the Bush administration has offered — and they could attack the administration for lacking a strategy for victory.

    Mead omits one that I think could be a winner — a vocal public attack on Saudi Arabia as oppressive, misogynistic, terror-supporting, undemocratic, Islamic fundamentalist, anti-semitic, and the homeland of the 9/11 hijackers. Attacking Bush’s handling of Saudi Arabia could be very popular.

    Still, while Mead would like the Democrat party to move back toward the public mainstream on foreign policy, I don’t see it happening until after the primaries are over, and by then it will probably be too late to convince moderate voters in the general election that they are reliable on defense. Still, this is the area where the Democrats are weakest, and you can count on them making some efforts, even bold ones, to catch up with Bush in this area. Nominating General Clark probably won’t do it, since he has come off as a nutcase.

    But there is another bold step the Democrats could take to hammer Bush on his foreign policy — nominate Anthony Zinni for VP.

     

    49 Responses to “Can They Triangulate on Defense?”

    1. Joe Says:

      Doesn’t link rot suck? Your link to “Guns and Freedom (Bill Whittle)” is dead. Maybe others too?

    2. JK Says:

      Perhaps it’s being picky to point this out, but if today’s Democrats could make rational decisions about foreign policy and defense moves as you suggest, then they wouldn’t be in this fix in the first place…

    3. Lex Says:

      JK — There is nothing like the prospect of losing an election to help focus the mind. I’m sure they will come up with all kinds of proposals between now and the election.

      Joe, thanks for noticing. No big deal, but such messages are better sent as emails.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      I’m with JK. Can they triangulate on defense? The short answer: no. I think the Dems need a few more years in the wilderness before they’ll be competitive again. Maybe in ’08.

    5. Richard A. Heddleson Says:

      Assuming the party of Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle will significantly modify its position on national defence is a demonstration of the triumph of hope over experience. Only turnover will solve this problem for the Democrats. Given the lock the peaceniks have on the party, I expect it to take another generation; OK a decade, minimum.

    6. jsb Says:

      I remember ’92 all too well. Never underestimate the ignorance of the electorate.

    7. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      The conspicuous absence of WMD in Iraq – since this was the rationale the Administration chose to use to justify the intervention, it should, and will, be judged on that basis – does not make the Administration look especially credible nor strong either. The gap in this respect is shrinking, without the Dems having anything to do to make it happen.

      They have plenty of angles. And their apparent relative weakness in the more recent past had more to do with the assumption Dean would be nominated, than the actual merits and weaknesses of the Administration’s positions.

    8. Brian Says:

      Good piece. I spotted one problem with Mead’s ideas, however.

      “For example, Democrats in Congress could introduce a bill to make it harder for immigrants from countries that condone terror to enter the United States.”

      If the Democrats propose such a bill, who would be there to cry about the discrimination and unfairness inherent in this measure?

    9. Fredrik Nyman Says:

      I think Kerry is worse for the D’s than Dean in terms of national security. Dean made a point of opposing the Iraq war, and has made a reasonable case for his opposition.

      Kerry, on the other hand, has been all over the place on Iraq. His incoherence comes across as cheap opportunism.

      What’s worse for the D’s is that Kerry has a long track record of weakness on defense and national security, voting no on the Gulf war, missile defense, and numerous weapons programs that have proved vital.

    10. bittern Says:

      As a Democrat, I expect my party leaders will be equally as chickenshit about taking on Saudi Arabia as oppressive, misogynistic, terror-supporting, undemocratic, Islamic fundamentalist, anti-semitic, and the homeland of the 9/11 hijackers as Bush, his administration, and the American people in general. The word teat comes to mind.

      Oh, I guess that tanks my own candidacy, eh?

    11. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Fredrik, the whole argument depends on what you mean by ‘weakness’. And keep in mind that perception exists on different levels. His record as a Senator is one thing, his record has a soldier is certainly more impressive than that of Paul Wolfowitz. A commander-in-chief who walked the walk in Vietnam has appeal beyond the Democratic ranks.

      I didn’t know Dean made a reasonable case against Iraq. One day the troops had to come home. The next we had to see it through. Flip, flop, flip, flop. Kerry voted for it so he can hardly be accused of weakness in this respect. But his vote doesn’t mean subsequent criticism of that policy’s implementation is hypocritical or ‘weak’. And given both the glaring absence of WMD to date despite months of claims and assurances that they existed – remember Powell’s presentation to the UN ? -, and the fact that the Administration chose to build its case on their existence, the weakness is not on one side only. Far from it.

      Missile defense ? Oh yeah, the program that was so vital before the real world crashed into the WTC. We just invaded a country under the assumption it stockpiled weapons we can’t find. So you’ll excuse my weakness if many people will not be overly worried about spending a few hundred billions more to defend ourselves from missiles we only know about thanks to the same intelligence agencies.

      The truth is, when I hear Republicans assert the weakness of their opponent in terms of defense these days, I can’t help but point out the giant ostrich egg dripping on their faces. A little bit of humility would go a long way, these days.

      Not that we’re going to get it in an election year…

    12. Jonathan Says:

      I’m all for reorganizing our intelligence apparatus, but we should do it for mishandling information prior to Sept. 11, not for the false positive of detecting nonexistent WMD in Iraq.

      We received inadequate intelligence, but it’s not clear how we could have done better, as members of the Iraqi regime apparently were lying to each other.

      Given the uncertain intelligence and the high stakes, I think we would have been irresponsible not to invade. And the war was not only about WMD.

      I also think we shouldn’t cut things too fine WRT missile defense. Sure, maybe we don’t need it, but there are still a number of despotic regimes that are trying to get nuclear-armed missiles. As long as that’s the case I think we have to maintain some defense against them. (I’d rather spend money there than on going to Mars.)

    13. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Jonathan, it’s one costly false positive. One that has significantly reduced the credibility of future similar claims.

      I agree there were other reasons to invade. In fact, I was, and still am, a supporter of the invasion. I think you know I am one of those who think the job should have been finished in 1991, 13 years and 16 UN resolutions ago.

      However, the Administration chose to center its argument on WMDs, and like it or not, its word and credibility on this issue will be given at least the same weight, at home and abroad. As it should. The Secretary of State went to the UN to essentially ridicule Hans Blix and prove to the world that we knew what we were talking about, that we knew where the goods were. Who looks ridiculous now ? Politically, I think this is terrible for Bush. Unless, of course, the Dems are so stupid and incompetent as to be unable to exploit such a massive opportunity.

      Given the uncertain intelligence, I think Saddam’s unambiguous behavior was – and quite rationally so – given a lot of weight, so I would tend to agree with you nonetheless. And after all, nobody argued before the war that there was nothing in Iraq; the dispute was about the means to get rid of the weapons that were assumed to exist : inspections or war.

      But today, the fact remains that, unless some miraculously significant pile of WMD is found soon, a massive error of judgment was made, following on the heels of the 9/11 failure. And that worries me greatly. Sure, everybody else thought they had these weapons too. So what ? Am I supposed to find comfort in knowing we’re all incompetent ?

      Regarding missiles, I disagree. If a rogue nation wants to strike the US, missiles are the last delivery medium they will use, assuming, of course, that they are fairly rational and want to survive their own attack. America can identify missiles and trace their point of origin almost as soon as they’re fired. The offender might as well call the White House and announce the launch himself. A missile attack is an irrational, signed, public crime one cannot get away with. Which leaves other alternatives, the same ones terrorists would use. So I’m not convinced. The low-yield, old-fashioned atomic bomb hidden in an oil drum on a tanker and triggered by satellite phone worries me more, today and in the foreseeable future, than some future Iranian ICBM. This is not the Cold War anymore.

      But this is all only indirectly related to Lex’s post so I’ll leave it at that for now…

    14. Lex Says:

      Gee whiz. You guys keep drifting off topic into the substance of these issues.

      Can’t you just stay focused on the politics for a while?

      The question is not: “How should we defend America?” The question is: “Who has to say which things about what to whom to win the next election?”

      We can deal with the merits of all these burning questions in another post … .

    15. Jonathan Says:

      It may have been costly politically in the short run. Too bad. Given the inherent difficulties of this situation, and the limitations on information, I don’t think it was possible to do much better than Bush did.

      This isn’t computer programming, it’s surgery with hammers. We got the big thing right by following through (and — very important — being seen to follow through) on the best information that we had. That’s the main point. If we had done nothing or backed down it would have been a disaster.

      As for missiles, I agree that there are many ways to deliver bombs. But I observe that NK, Iran et al still seem to want missiles. So I think we have no alternative but to defend against them, even though we must defend against the nuke in the shipping container too.

      To get back to politics, I still don’t see many Democratic officials, and certainly not the Party leadership, who take these issues seriously. It’s all political point scoring. Until leading Dems get out of blame mode, and start dealing with the real alternatives WRT WMD, many Americans won’t vote for them.

    16. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      All right. Let’s stick to politics. (Surgery with hammers ? I like the sound of that…)

      So far, the Dems were not seen as credible or relevant because they had no alternative proposals and couldn’t even agree on a common position. But beyond the nomination, and with the benefit of hindsight, their candidate will have more latitude to aim harsh criticism at the Administration, and have a much easier time asking questions that Republicans would prefer to avoid. Regarding WMD evidence, I still think Powell’s testimony, among many others, has turned into a public embarassment, the kind that could be used to devastating effects in negative ads, and pointed questions about its origins, and similar claims and statements, could be effective.

      However unfair and irresponsible it may seem, the benefit of hindsight is almost equivalent to attacking from an elevated position. One option is to keep asking questions and keep the opponent on the defensive. If done persistently enough, and well executed, it can create or support an appearance of responsibility on the part of the questioner. And if the Republicans get one answer wrong, or Rumsfeld says something outrageous, as he is prone to do, the better.

      Delivered by Howard “I have a scream” Dean, this would go nowhere. A focused, nominated John Kerry, however, should not be underestimated. Even though he still is a bit green, stiff and boring today.

      And Iraq is unavoidable since it will not recede from the headlines. The upcoming elections there, and the new tensions and violence they could produce, will keep the attention focused on that country for months to come. There is also the 9/11 commission, conveniently extended beyond May. No shortage of questions and mud on sensitive issues.

      The Dems have no shortage of ammo on foreign policy, and I don’t think Bush’s position on national security is as strong as many assume it to be. It has been lately mostly by virtue of his opponents’ divisions, fractiousness and overall inability to approach the issue in a consistent manner. At the very least, the perception of his strenghts and weaknesses in this area is highly volatile and vulnerable to current events.

      Domestic and economic policies is where the Dems are weakest today, imo. Their budget deficit talk centers on the tax cuts, which are not only popular, but a very small portion of the total deficit. Many of them want to replace those cuts with other spending, like education. Well, OK, but how does substituting one chunk of the deficit for a different expense reduce the deficit ? Never mind nationalized health care, the funding of which is, de facto, a new tax on all Americans. No way around that.

      Last, I wonder about the wildcard elements on both sides, depending on events in Iraq and as the WMD evidence, or lack thereof, emerges. The likes of McCain could behave unpredictably. And what about Hillary ?

      Overall, I think Bush can lose.

    17. Sandy P. Says:

      John Kerry at this point in time should not be “a bit stiff, green and boring.”

      He’s been a pol too long.

    18. Era Says:

      How about the weakness the D’s show in putting so much emphasis and faith into the U.N, or in essence, France and Russia who, as it now turns out, took oil bribes from Saddam. They took a stance on the war based on their thirst for oil, exactly what the world accused the U.S. of in starting the war.

      Hindsight also proves that Saddam was in violation of 1441. Casus belli. Hindsight shows the motives of the main countries opposed to the war. And hindsight reminds us the Dems wanted to put decisions of national security in the hands of those very countries through the U.N..

      The lack of WMD does look bad. But the decision to act on intellegence that even France held to be true was a stong move. The Dems, in submitting to the U.N., looks weak.

      I don’t think that would be too hard to pin on the Dems, whoever is the candidate.

    19. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sandy, there is nine months to go. Nine months ago, nobody gave Kerry a chance. Nine months ago, Bush looked strong on defense and weak on the economy. Five months later, he looked brilliant on the economy and weaker on defense.

      As Reynolds put it, you’d think Iowa and Dean’s loss would have taught people a thing or two about polls and media assumptions. When the latter take it for granted that Bush is strong on defense, or has good chances to be reelected, that’s when he should seriously worry. Conventional media wisdom is a great contrarian indicator. Not always reliable, mind you, but it doesn’t pay to ignore it and be complacent.

      Era.

      “How about the weakness the D’s show in putting so much emphasis and faith into the U.N, or in essence, France and Russia who, as it now turns out, took oil bribes from Saddam.”
      Actually, individuals are alleged to have taken oil bribes from Saddam, and the allegations are rather flimsy-looking, albeit plausible. People are innocent until proven guilty, even if their guilt suits our political biases.

      As for putting faith in the U.N., George Bush Sr is responsible for that. Until the Berlin Wall fell, the UN Security Council was of no use to anyone, paralyzed as it was by the Cold War stalemate. What the US would approve, the USSR would veto, and vice-versa. Bush 41 essentially resurrected the UN Security Council by using it as a formal platform for Gulf War I.

      And I don’t see why seeking allies and support through formal channels is a sign of weakness. We went to the U.N. because Tony Blair put a lot of emphasis on it, not to please the Dems. I don’t think Blair is weak. I don’t agree with his politics, but the man, to me, has more spine and conviction than many, if not most, Republican heavyweights. Who had better hope no local equivalent ever emerges from the Democratic Party, or they’re toast.

      “Hindsight also proves that Saddam was in violation of 1441. Casus belli. ” Not quite. Hindsight shows it took months of search by hundreds of personnel to find trifling violations that were no threat to peace in the region or anywhere, violations which prove Iraq’s WMD programs were essentially useless, and a shadow of their former selves. Violations that prove that containment, and embargo might have succeeded, as France dared to suggested. (And which I’ll admit ridiculing at the time too).

      Again, I think the invasion and regime change was justified 13 years ago without any need for a WMD excuse (again, thank you Bush Sr). But that’s not how it was argued and justified. In this case, the reaction looks out of proportion with the crime, and has greatly damaged the Administration’s credibility at home and abroad. If you don’t think that’s true, I believe you’re in denial. It’s not even a belief. You are in denial.

      Granted, today’s anti-war argument has a moral weakness; namely, people are bitching about doing a good thing for the wrong reason. How awful. But this is not about allocating federal education budget to get lunch milk for poor kids. This is war. A country was invaded, at great cost, for a strong motive. That motive, as explained to the UN by the Secretary of State, and to both the nation and the world by the President, was not “weapons of mass destruction-related program activities”. Like it or not, you need a bit more than that to justify a war, even against Saddam Hussein. Americans are like that. Unlike real imperial types, they don’t invade countries unless there is a need to do so. I think we had many good reasons. Except we didn’t use one of them to justify ourselves. And are now looking like idiots as a result.

      How do you think the Australians, the Poles, the Danes and all the other people who chose to help us on the ground based on our good word feel about this ? Do you think the next time we call on them their governments will have: a) an easier time selling their participation to their people ? or b) a harder time ? Pick one. (Hint: answer is not a).

      “And hindsight reminds us the Dems wanted to put decisions of national security in the hands of those very countries through the U.N.”
      Not quite. Clinton’s attitude, as explained in Kagan’s latest afterword, was “multilateral if can, unilateral if we must”. (Also see Clinton’s generally positive and responsible comments about the Administration’s policy, and the fact that he bombed Yugoslavia with no UN resolution among other things; I know it’s fashionable to hate Clinton but that exercise is no more useful nor relevant than the stupid Bush-bashing by the Left). What Dems object to is that the current administration inverted the priorities. Multilateral if we must. And like it or not, that’s the most painful, riskiest, expensive way to do things and they have a point, and one that many Americans agree with, and not just on the hardcore Left. I know thoughtful veterans who agree with them on this, and I don’t think you’d call them ‘weak’ to their faces.

      As for our national security, I think it’s pretty clear now that Iraq was no threat to it. The regime was hanging by its fingernails, surviving on oil smuggling and other rackets. Its frightening WMD program and production facilities were a Monty Python joke. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and we go to war for a few old missiles and a jar of anthrax in a fridge ? Uh ?

      The threat to our national security is that our intelligence agencies had no clue. After this and 9/11, I consider our intelligence incapabilities to be a bigger potential threat to ourselves than Saddam Hussein has been in quite a while.

      “And hindsight reminds us the Dems wanted to put decisions of national security in the hands of those very countries through the U.N.”
      Hindsight tells us that in this case, we would have been better off listening to them. We ridiculed the U.N. inspectors, we ridiculed Hans Blix when he said he believed there was nothing there. (And, once again, so did I) And now we look like morons. (And so do I, but at least I’ll admit it) Brilliant execution.

      “The lack of WMD does look bad. ”
      No shit. Bad doesn’t even begin to describe it.

      “But the decision to act on intellegence that even France held to be true was a stong move.”
      Well, maybe the fact that France held it to be true should have given us pause. (Last French intelligence intervention was to sink a Greenpease boat for crying out loud…).

      Seriously, you can’t say we can’t trust the French due to their corruption and now use them as a reliable intelligence source when what they have to say is what you want to hear. Be consistent.

      You remind me those anti-war guys who derided the CIA’s WMD estimates as baloney and then turned around and used CIA documents that allegedly agreed that the gasing of Fallujah was done by Iran and not Iraq. (An interesting and plausible story Jude Wanniski has elaborated on on his site for quite some time.). You can’t have it both ways.

      A strong move if WMDs had been found and secured. Afghanistan was a strong move. The goal was stated, and it was achieved. Quickly, and efficiently. In Iraq, the main target was explicitly stated. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there. I think the word you’re looking for is “Doh!”.

      “The Dems, in submitting to the U.N., looks weak.” Please. We can skip the partisan slogans between ourselves. Nobody “submitted” to the UN. A majority of Democrats gave the President their support. Some submission. Except now they’re looking like fools for doing so, *and* they’re in the opposition party *and* it’s an election year. They’re in a position to ask painful questions based on hindsight. If you think that’s a weak position, you could be in for a surprise. Unless, of course, the Dems can’t get out of their own way and fumble it. A distinct possibility, given their record, but one the GOP shouldn’t count on it.

      “I don’t think that would be too hard to pin on the Dems, whoever is the candidate.”
      Right. Thought experiment : imagine the current events are exactly the same, except the man in the White House is one William Jefferson Clinton. Somehow, I just don’t believe you’d be so sure of yourself, or so supportive….You’d be appalled that so many Americans were put in harm’s way due to incompetent intelligence. At the very least.

      I don’t agree with the way the Dems express their disapproval, and some of their justifications. But I don’t think their grounds for disapproval and opposition on this have grown any weaker in the past few months. In fact, they have grown stronger by the week. In fact, those who were most supportive on Iraq are the ones that look weak. Those who can say “I told you so” with a modicum of credibility are in no bad position at all.

    20. Lex Says:

      Sylvain, I agree with all of this.

    21. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Shit happens.

    22. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      (Kidding, of course).

      By the way, Lex, I lost the link you sent to that Kagan afterword but I read it – as you can probably tell – and it was excellent. You should post it.

    23. Lex Says:

      The Kagan afterword is here. I would like to write about it. I will if I can get to it.

    24. Noel Says:

      Clinton got permission from his Chinese owners to use the ‘Butchers of Beijing’ charge against Bush in ’92. The Saudi angle might work for Kerry, but he probably has a long voting record in the opposite direction.

      Both Kerry & Hillary have been pushing the ‘Homeland Security’ angle, which is largely a device to have the Feds underwrite big-city budgets. But it beats Hillary’s bizarre ‘air-quality at Ground Zero’ rant.

      btw, I’m still sticking with my ‘Hillary at a brokered convention’ prediction. But should Kerry get the nod, I see him picking a ‘minority’ veep. Maybe Richardson, Harold Ford, Hillary (if her pride would let her) or another female contestant to be named later.

    25. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Hillary as Veep. Why not ? At least it’s a real job and Kerry can’t cheat on her. As for the pride angle, it works both ways. Which one of those boys would really be comfortable with Hillary for VP ?

    26. Jonathan Says:

      I doubt that Hillary would be willing to be VP or that someone like Kerry would want her to be. Being VP would hold back her own presidential efforts, but she would still be a threat to whoever was Prez. Who would benefit?

    27. Richard A. Heddleson Says:

      A nominee who needs every advantage to defeat Bush (i.e. Kerry) would benefit from Hillary being VP nominee. Unites the party, motivates lots of voters to come to the polls, keeps her and Bill inside the tent (friends close, enemies closer) raising money. The downside? Being overshadowed. Is it worth the risk to gain the advantages? Tough call, but not a no brainer.

      Benefit to Hillary? If a win, credit for making the difference and an inside track on the next nomination (’12?). At least she and Bill get to keep some control of the party. If a loss, the loss is the fault of the head of the ticket, but she did her best for the party and builds up more credits in the party for ’08 nomination. The big question is if she could last 8 years in the job.

    28. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Given the choice, I think she’d prefer a more active, ambitious and visible position. Like Secretary of State.

    29. Jonathan Says:

      Reasonable points. She would help the Democratic nominee get votes. I guess the question then is, At what price?

    30. Era Says:

      Sylvain, This is way too long, sorry….

      In regards to oil bribes: People are innocent until proven guilty? This is politics not the law- you said something about perception earlier. The oil bribes when expanded on(not if…I hope) will be perceived poorly.

      Seeking allies isn’t the problem, going to the UN wasn’t wrong at all. But letting a few counties with suspect motives decide the course of action is wrong and weak.

      You suggest sanctions would have sufficed? France was trying to lift them and most of the opposing countries were circumventing them anyway. Don’t forget that the Iraqi people were suffering heavily because of the sanctions and Saddam was able to blame their woes on the US sanctions. That couldn’t go on for long.

      “In this case, the reaction looks out of proportion with the crime, and has greatly damaged the Administration’s credibility at home and abroad. If you don’t think that’s true, I believe you’re in denial. It’s not even a belief. You are in denial.”

      Heh- you are dead right- I am in denial and I’m pissed silly about it. But I disagree with you that going after Saddam was justified 13 years ago but not now (it was then as it is now). If people want to argue that Bush failed to present the argument properly, fine. But take an argumentative flaw out and at every level this war was justified even in hindsight. David Kay said “I quite frankly think it would be hard to come to a conclusion other than Iraq was a gathering, serious threat to the world with regard to WMD.” but from listening to the media you would have thought he came out and said, “Bush hyped the intelligence!” But, again, perception often wins out, and I’m stuck howling at the moon.

      The only guy more surprised than Bush about the lack of WMD was Saddam Hussein. There is no denying Saddams intentions. It could be argued ( though it would never float) that we were LUCKY that he didn’t have anymore WMD. One of the reasons people said we shouldn’t go to war in the first place was BECAUSE he had these weapons and tens of thousands would die from Turkey to Kuwait to Israel. But we know as soon as sanctions were lifted or weakend enough because of a lack of participation he would have reconstitued his WMDs.

      “”And hindsight reminds us the Dems wanted to put decisions of national security in the hands of those very countries through the UN”
      Not quite. Clinton’s attitude, as explained in Kagan’s latest afterword, was “multilateral if can, unilateral if we must”. “
      I’m not talking about Clinton, I’m talking about candidates trying to knock Bush, they are the ones saying that they would have made the war legitimate through the UN.… even though the countries blocking it had illegitimate motives. They are the ones crying about ignoring our allies and unilateralism (a slap in the face of our allies who did back us, but nevermind that, right?).

      “Right. Thought experiment : imagine the current events are exactly the same, except the man in the White House is one William Jefferson Clinton. Somehow, I just don’t believe you’d be so sure of yourself, or so supportive….You’d be appalled that so many Americans were put in harm’s way due to incompetent intelligence. At the very least.”

      No, you can’t make that one stick to me. I’m new to the right (libertarian, really). I voted for Gore(god have mercy on my soul). And I’ve always been a foreign policy hawk… (so, I’m a neo con I guess). It’s only been since voting for Gore that I learned of and read guys like Hayek, Sowell, Von Mises(sp?)…. The Chicago Boys. I was too young to understand or care who influenced Reagan and Thatcher. I don’t care who’s in office- taking out Saddam was the right thing to do.

      “But the decision to act on intelligence that even France held to be true was a stong move.”
      Well, maybe the fact that France held it to be true should have given us pause. (Last French intelligence intervention was to sink a Greenpease boat for crying out loud…).
      Seriously, you can’t say we can’t trust the French due to their corruption and now use them as a reliable intelligence source when what they have to say is what you want to hear. Be consistent.”

      You’re playing games here. France is an example of how everyone, including those obstructing the fulfillment of UN obligations, didn’t just think Iraq had WMD, but KNEW they had WMD.The whole world looks wrong, not just us. No that doesn’t make me feel any better about our incompetence, but it undercuts the arguments that Bush lied.

      “Nobody “submitted” to the UN. A majority of Democrats gave the President their support.”

      Now who needs to be consistent? And now who wants it both ways? The Dems did give permission to Bush yet all we’ve heard from them since are claims of illegitimacy without the UN and that we should have waited to get UN approval. Which leads me to my original point (oh so long ago) that they look weak in doing so, especially when this oil bribes thing filters into public awareness. (I should say, ‘if”, but I’m cheering and hoping and trying to keep positive!)

      All of that said, I agree with you that the the Dems are in a strong, if slimy, position in the game of perceptions and they can win….. now I need to go get a masseuse for my fingers.

    31. Matt Says:

      But should Kerry get the nod, I see him picking a ‘minority’ veep. Maybe Richardson, Harold Ford,

      Ford is too young to be VP. The constitution requires that you be at least 35 years old. I think he’s 33.

      Ford is an impressive young man and a likley leader for the Dems down the road.

    32. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Era, yes it is a game of perceptions and if you perceive those bribery charges as solid, I’ll say you haven’t looked at them. It’s dodgy as hell. And you’re right, it’s politics. If those accusations were solid, they’d be used in the field already and at the highest levels. The fact that they aren’t should give you pause before you assume they are relevant.

      “But letting a few counties with suspect motives decide the course of action is wrong and weak.”
      And who decides their motives are suspect ? That’s a bit too convenient. Call the other’s motives suspect if they oppose you. And if they support us for suspicious motives, do we change our minds ? Finally, you assume our motives are not suspicious to them. Which they were. And given the outcome so far, that perception is not going to go away anytime soon.

      Further, dismissing people as unreasanable on the basis of their disapproval does look weak. If you have a strong case, there is no need for that. It looked like the U.S. had a strong case. It didnt’. Those who opposed it are strengthened.

      You suggest sanctions would have sufficed? The evidence, my friend, suggest that they achieved their goals. I’m not suggesting. The facts on the ground so far say so.

      France was trying to lift them
      Years ago.

      and most of the opposing countries were circumventing them anyway.
      Pleae elaborate on that and explain, if that is true, how and why Iraq was in such a state of dilapidation, and why its WMD programs had essentially been discontinued. Almost everything we found related to the years before the sanctions.

      “Don’t forget that the Iraqi people were suffering heavily because of the sanctions and Saddam was able to blame their woes on the US sanctions. That couldn’t go on for long.”
      That’s not how the Administration argued it. They could have argued the invasion on humanitarian grounds. They only used it as a secondary argument. Their primary argument was WMDs, and this is all the Secretary Of State talked about during his presentation. They chose to argue it on that basis. They shall be judged on that basis.

      “But I disagree with you that going after Saddam was justified 13 years ago but not now (it was then as it is now). “
      That is not what I said. At all. What I said is that a) there is no need for WMD infractions to justify and invasion and b) it was justified 13 years ago, on various grounds. However, and I’ll repeat it until you acknowledge it, the Administration chose to justify this invasion on WMD grounds. And on those grounds, it is now established the invasion was not justified. I am glad they did. The fact remains that the credibility of the US government, and that of its intelligence services, has been badly damaged as a result. Whatever you think of Saddam Hussein and his regime have nothing to do with it.

      “The only guy more surprised than Bush about the lack of WMD was Saddam Hussein.”
      That is what some claim. There is no evidence to substantiate it. An equally credible theory is that he knew, but needed to maintain this perception to keep his regional and internal enemies at bay. Had the Kurds known the weapons were gone, they might have gotten ideas.

      There is no denying Saddams intentions.
      No. Our interpretation of his intentions based on what we knew at the time.

      It could be argued ( though it would never float) that we were LUCKY that he didn’t have anymore WMD.It could indeed be argued but I agree with you I doubt it will float in a Presidential campaign.

      One of the reasons people said we shouldn’t go to war in the first place was BECAUSE he had these weapons and tens of thousands would die from Turkey to Kuwait to Israel.
      Which was never a relevant argument. If he had the ability to do this, he was in violation of his obligations per U.N. resolutions.

      But we know as soon as sanctions were lifted or weakend enough because of a lack of participation he would have reconstitued his WMDs.
      We assumed that would be the case, but it is only an assumption. It is also the case that the sanctions supported him greatly. We now know how weakened the regime was after a decade of war against Iran and the U.S. A starving, isolated population is a lot easier to control than an open country full of well-fed people who have contacts with the outside. The sanctions also helped the regime survive. Which was one of the arguments France and Russia used to try and lift the sanctions.

      “You’re playing games here.”
      No I’m not. I just pointed out your self-contradiction. You can’t say we can’t trust the French due to their suspicious motives and then point out to their intelligence. If their motives are suspicious, you can’t possibly trust the intelligence they give you on the issue. It makes no sense. You can’t distrust the government’s ulterior motives and accept their intelligence at face value. It comes from the same people.

      In fact, if their intelligence agrees with ours and they are still opposed to it, I’d argue one should smell a rat.

      The whole world looks wrong, not just us.
      Apologies, my friend. We invaded. They didn’t.

      No that doesn’t make me feel any better about our incompetence, but it undercuts the arguments that Bush lied.
      Who said Bush lied ? I did not. I said our intelligence services have been proven no more competent than France’s on two major issues in as many years, and to the extent that is true, the President cannot possibly make the proper decisions.

      “Now who needs to be consistent? And now who wants it both ways? The Dems did give permission to Bush yet all we’ve heard from them since are claims of illegitimacy without the UN and that we should have waited to get UN approval.”You can disagree with my representation of the facts, or how they conflict with your interpretation of them but there is no contradiction in my argument. There are no ‘both ways’ here. You’re oversimplifying. At the time of the vote, the Administration was going through the U.N. process and implicitly promised it would keep doing so to secure a vote there. If not, why go through inspections ? You can argue the Dems – and their Republican colleagues – were cajoled and prodded into approval, but that they “submitted” to the UN is simplistic. You either go to the U.N. or you don’t. If you do, you see it through. Not with that stupid flip-flop for months about whether we’re going to ask for that second resolution or not. One day we because it looks like we have the votes, the next day we don’t. Then we decide a majority of the council is enough, the next day it turns out we don’t have a majority etc etc. It was ridiculous.

      And once again, your claim that the Dems are UN fanatics is contradicted by the facts. Clinton bombed Yugoslavia for threee months without a shadow of a UN resolution and many of the same Congressmen supported him. You might point this out as a contradiction – why is a resolution important now when it wasn’t then ? – but you can’t claim they want to “surrender” to the UN as a matter of principle. Let’s not forget they voted the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which contains no references that I know of to U.N. approval, and made the removal of Hussein’s regime official US policy. Again, some submission.

      Which leads me to my original point (oh so long ago) that they look weak in doing so,
      Not anymore they don’t. Soldiers are coming back in body bags due to an ill-defined mission to eliminated a threat that didn’t exist.

      especially when this oil bribes thing filters into public awareness.
      If this one as politically usable, it would have been used already. Don’t count on it. And if the Republicans were in a stronger position and had a strong case, they wouldn’t need bribe stories. Your hopes indirectly acknowledge they are not as much as you hope them to be.

    33. Sandy P. Says:

      Under Oh.My.God. at Vodkapundit:

      …Many of his constituents see him in person only when he is cutting them in line – at an airport, a clam shack or the Registry of Motor Vehicles. One talk-show caller a few weeks back recalled standing behind a police barricade in 2002 as the Rolling Stones played the Orpheum Theater, a short limousine ride from Kerry’s Louisburg Square mansion.

      The caller, Jay, said he began heckling Kerry and his wife as they attempted to enter the theater. Finally, he said, the senator turned to him and asked him the eternal question.

      “Do you know who I am?”

      “Yeah,” said Jay. “You’re a gold-digger.”

      John Kerry. First he looks at the purse.

    34. mishu Says:

      I don’t think this WMD is as much of a disaster as Sylvian paints it to be. It’s an embarassment yes but what really matters for U.S. credibility is success.

      20 years ago, we had a little war in Grenada that was spun on self defence issues. The U.S.S.R. apparently had landing rights there and apparently were working on making it an airbase. It turned out to be little more than a dirt runway. Never mind that that’s all Soviet bombers needed to touch down and refuel. It “looked” like a really lame justification for an invasion.

      As it turns out, why the war was really fought was to stem the tide of Sandinista influence throughout the region. Establish a pro-US government and hope other comunist influence in the region. One year later, Reagan won the election by a landslide. A few years later, the Sandinista’s fell out of power in Nicaragua and Salvadorian communism soon died off as well. The domino theory worked. Save for one island the western hemisphere is free of communism.

    35. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      mishu, I disagree. As I was driving to work today, all the news were about the Khan (sp?) affair in Pakistan.

      I think it looks very bad when we invaded a country with a whole army to destroy WMDs that didn’t exist, while our “ally” Pakistan has nuclear weapons and has been proliferating them all over the place.

      Never mind that they also gave us the Taliban.

      If it was not so serious, the world would be in stitches right now. At our expense.

    36. mishu Says:

      Had we continued to keep Saddam in a box, would we even know about the Khan affair?

    37. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      mishu, the answer is yes. Iraq had nothing to do with revealing Kahn’s dealings. Because Iraq’s nuclear program was long gone and dead, and previous inspections had undercovered much of its underpinnings. The latest Pakistani news came out of the IAEA’s work on Iran and Libya’s recent coming-out of the closet.

      And given its recent record, you’ll pardon me if I assume the CIA didn’t know about it. After all, it was surprised by India and Pakistan’s nuclear tests.

      Overall, don’t misread me. I totally favored kicking Saddam out. It had to be done. But the Administration totally bungled the justification for it. I will admit now I followed their argument in no small part because it fit my bias, and what I wanted to see happen. Kick him out to save the yellow Basra silk worm if that’s what it takes, but do it.

      However, let’s face it : they thought they picked the easier angle. I vaguely recall a Perle or Wolfowitz interview explaining, in short, that WMDs is the only thing all the parties involved – White House, State, DoD, CIA etc – could agree on. And they figured it would be the same for public opinions. It was not a bad bet. But a bet this size without a hedge can backfire and put you in the hole for quite some time. Now we know.

      And, for the record, a minor consolation for me would have been to know Hussein dead. I have this nasty feeling the sick bastard will die of old age in a bed, under heavy protection. While young American soldiers are dying undoing his lifelong handiwork.

      If it wasn’t obvious already, I am rather upset about the whole thing. It’s pretty bad. And I just can’t believe there is that much about it that is politically positive about it for the current Administration, anything they can use, or even spin to their advantage in the short term.

      Era above was trying to argue the Democrats look weak. All I see today is everybody from Bush to Rumsfeld to Tenet on the defensive, sounding like your average cornered bureaucrat : “we didn’t know; we couldn’t know”. Not good at all. I give them credit for getting it done and sticking to it against hell and high water.

      But politically, it’s as close to a disaster as Bush has ever come to since he got elected. And it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

      But given his record, I can’t write Bush off. And the stupidity of his opponents has to be factored in. They’ve proven quite good at getting in their own way. I don’t think we can rely on that, though. Even a broken clock etc.

    38. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Sandy, as we know, Republican politicians are all above cutting the rest of us when in line. And they *never* use their position to curry favors of any kind.

      Your point ?

    39. Noel Says:

      Matt, You are correct; Harold Ford is too young. But I still think Kerry needs the buzz of a minority veep. He’s Al Gore League stiff & boring.

      His ‘John Fonda’ past may not hurt him too badly; but his recent flip-flops on his Use of Force & Patriot Act votes bespeak a fundamental unseriousness coupled with ruthless personal ambition. Nice combo.

      Speaking purely politically, the Mass. Court just gave him a kidney shot, as he voted against the Defense of Marriage Act. That could hurt him. Of course he’s lying about his true position.

      Lex’s question was how the Dems could convince voters of their national security bona fides. Yes, they’ve been squishy or worse since ’72 (and Kerry was one of the architects of that). It helps to have a natural-born liar. But he can’t run again.

      The real answer is to actually care about national defense. But if one is a Blame-America-Firster, it creates too much cognitive dissonance. It is hard to defend that which one does not love.

    40. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Noel, I don’t think deriding criticisms of the current failures as “Blame-America-Firstism” will cut it. I am appalled by the repeated, massive intelligence failures we are dealing with. Precisely because I love the country. Never mind the taxes I pay, like everybody else, to fund, among other things, the CIA and the NSA.

      Watching everybody from Tenet on up play Deflect-The-Blame is not something I enjoy. If I hated the country, on the other hand, I would probably love it.

    41. Lex Says:

      Hey, Sylvain, take a look at this post, and the John Keegan article linked in it. It seems to me that Wretchard and Keegan are arriving at a sensible position on all of this.

      I think Noel and you are talking past each other a little bit. You are making the substantive point that the intelligence services should get the right answers to the big questions. I too wished that would happen. Ralph Peters weighs in on all this and has some practical suggestions to improve matters, particularly rebuilding our humint capabilities, in the broadest sense:

      Give us more spies. Absolutely. But when you increase the intel world’s human resources, include more linguists, more regional experts, more skilled interrogators and more analysts — and higher standards.

      We need pervasive personnel reform, not Christmas help and a round of musical chairs. The fundamental problem remains that we’ve tried to take the easy path of relying on technology, while neglecting the less congenial human factor.

      Machines can do much to support intelligence work. But we’ve turned the system upside down, assigning many thousands of intelligence personnel to support machines, leaving too few to do the indispensable work of piercing the minds of our enemies.

      Noel’s point seems to be that merely pointing this out, or otherwise pointing our failures, will not be sufficient for the Ds to win. They need to articulate a program to deal with all our security problems, both foreign and domestic, and demonstrate that they are serious about them and able to do something better than Bush has done. That is a taller order. Kerry, probably, has his work cut out for him.

    42. Lex Says:

      Hey, Sylvain, take a look at this post, and the John Keegan article linked in it. It seems to me that Wretchard and Keegan are arriving at a sensible position on all of this.

      I think Noel and you are talking past each other a little bit. You are making the substantive point that the intelligence services should get the right answers to the big questions. I too wished that would happen. Ralph Peters weighs in on all this and has some practical suggestions to improve matters, particularly rebuilding our humint capabilities, in the broadest sense:

      Give us more spies. Absolutely. But when you increase the intel world’s human resources, include more linguists, more regional experts, more skilled interrogators and more analysts — and higher standards.

      We need pervasive personnel reform, not Christmas help and a round of musical chairs. The fundamental problem remains that we’ve tried to take the easy path of relying on technology, while neglecting the less congenial human factor.

      Machines can do much to support intelligence work. But we’ve turned the system upside down, assigning many thousands of intelligence personnel to support machines, leaving too few to do the indispensable work of piercing the minds of our enemies.

      Noel’s point seems to be that merely pointing this out, or otherwise pointing our failures, will not be sufficient for the Ds to win. They need to articulate a program to deal with all our security problems, both foreign and domestic, and demonstrate that they are serious about them and able to do something better than Bush has done. That is a taller order. Kerry, probably, has his work cut out for him.

    43. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Lex, absolutely. And we agree. But your point has a corollary, and that is what I was trying to point out. Namely, just like piling on the blame will not be enough for the Dems, the ‘Blame-America-First’/unpatriotic counter-attack will not cut it either. We are well past both tactical stunts.Regarding humint, I’ll confess to have very seriously considered applying at the CIA after 9/11. Zacarias Moussaoui was a French citizen of Algerian descent, the US government whisked away a bunch of Algerian terrorists from Bosnia, and I grew up in Parisian suburbs, the very same where a Jewish school recently burned, went to school with Algerian kids…Who the heck knows, I figured I had nothing that would be of interest, but why not. Except that was not even a factor. You must be a citizen first. That you are willing to forgo 50%+ of your income, or that you have an edge over their resident analysts, or your potential as a result of a natural advantage, it does not really seem to matter. (At least for average guys like me; if I worked at the Elysee Palace, I’m sure they’d be quite interested in hearing from me).Of course, a foreign employee is a security risk. But so are all other employees – as demonstrated by the recent FBI and CIA scandals – hence the clerance/need-to-know system. Note that I’m talking here about analyst work. I doubt I’d be cut for clandestine service although I would not be opposed to giving it a shot, if only to get a bit of top-class taxpayer-funded firearms training :)…

    44. Noel Says:

      Bond…Sylvain Bond. I wish you could go straighten them out, Sylvain. Bush should have fired Tenant and some others. And still should.

      I agree that our intel is a mess and want it fixed, too. Robert Baer, from ‘See No Evil’:

      “I repeatedly asked for a speaker of Dari or Pashtun…to debrief the flood of refugees…They were a goldmine of information. We could have recruited some and sent them back across the border to report on Afghanistan. I was told there were no Dari or Pashtun speakers anywhere. I was told the CIA no longer collected on Afghanistan, so those languages weren’t needed. Headquarters instead offered to send out a four-person sexual-harrasment briefing team.”

      Democrats, including Kerry, have beaten down our agencies with political correctness, defunding, legalisms, abolishing HUMINT, persecuting agressive case officers, etc. If you beat a good hunting dog everytime he perks his ears, pretty soon he just sits on the porch.

      And State runs it’s own foreign policy, often impervious to (Republican) presidents.

      Since Vietnam, liberals have been deeply suspicious of American power. Instead of learning the lesson ‘Don’t Fight a War Half-Assed’, they learned ‘America Is Probably Wrong’. They seek to tie us down in international and transnational organizations & treaties that do not have our best interests at heart.

      That’s why they can only posture and pose. John Forbes Kerry is no JFK, and I don’t see them producing one anytime soon.

    45. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Funny. Hey I already have the decent Bond car…It would probably stand out in Iraq though. And I don’t think Roadblock does much for RPGs. Or that Lojack works in Baghdad…

      Seriously. I don’t know that they want to tie us down. They see the threats, and the cost/benefits of multilateral action differently, for sure. Sometimes, our national interests is congruent with others’.

    46. Noel Says:

      I have the recent Bond car…an invisible Aston Martin. It’s in my driveway. honest.

      Sometimes we compromise in international agreements to get something else we want. That’s one thing. But if liberals had their way, we would still be pleading at the UN and Saddam would still be in power. Perhaps the Taliban as well. That’s what I mean by being tied down.

      They want us in the International Criminal Court because they are sympathetic to the idea that America is an international criminal. Britain, for example, is being told that their use of cluster bombs may be a war crime. And some of them are kept up nights, dreaming of ways to put Henry Kissinger (and Rumsfeld) in the docket.

      Dems often use the phrase “when America is no longer the strongest nation in the world”. If that means we should treat people fairly when we’re on top, in case, some day, someone else is on top and we want to be treated fairly, then okay; that’s fair enough.

      But they seek to hasten such a day by treating it as inevitable; “when”, not “if”. That would not be some unfortunate event for them, but the desired outcome. Essentially, they agree with Chirac that American power is dangerous and must be restrained while Europe & China are bolstered. Hence the technology transfers to China.

      It is the Liberal Mind that says “We mustn’t look at Zaccarias Moussoui’s computer on Sept. 10th…that would violate his rights as a World Citizen to learn how to fly, but not land, a jet-liner!”

      It is the Liberal Mind that says “Well, of course one-eyed Saudi Clerics should be able to write their own passports, listing “Hotel” as their residence and “Death To America!” as their occupation.”

      Perhaps my freedom is advanced when the Supreme Court takes as dispositive the rulings of un-elected Euro-tribunals.
      Perhaps my country’s defense will be enhanced should International Courts be empowered to try American military officers.
      Perhaps I’m somehow safer now that Chinese ICBMs can reliably reach the United States.

      But I doubt it.

    47. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Noel, let’s not jump to easy conclusions. One Zacarias Moussaoui should not give the government the right to look into anyone’s computer files. If that makes me a liberal, so be it. And I never heard liberals claiming Chinese ICBMs should be able to “reliably” reach us. That you don’t like them is not in dispute here (duuuh :)) But some of your inferences seem no less partisan, and, to be blunt, no more relevant than the reflexive Bush-bashing of some Democrats.

      We don’t know what would have happened if Democrats “had their way” on Iraq anymore than we know what would have happened if Gore had been in the White House on 9/11. That is purely speculative; and as a result, the most likely outcomes, to you, are the ones that fit your bias. That’s unavoidable.

      As for the International Criminal Court, I think most Americans, specially on the right, have it entirely wrong on its purpose, reach or scope. Which does not mean I think the US should sign the treaty. To the extent this institution is politically and legally irrelevant from the get-go, I don’t see the point. Sort of like Kyoto.

      Kissinger in the docket ? Well….I can’t say I would mind. Sorry. Call me a liberal. Again. sigh.

      Why couldn’t American power be dangerous ? Granted, the country has an amazing record of handling and using its power in better ways than its predecessors – better than France in any case – but should we take it for granted ? Power corrupts. And neither America nor Americans are immune to making mistakes. And due to the country’s huge relative power and importance, American mistakes can indeed be more expensive for all involved. Dissenting opinion should not, and cannot be dismissed on the sole basis of its opposition.

      There is this brilliant joke out there to describe the instinctive anti-Bush bias of the media. The short version of it is that Bush walks on water and the next day, all the papers around the world title their front page “Bush cannot swim”. Very funny, and very true as well.

      But I’m not interested into falling into the same trap bashing the other side for imaginary crimes nobody but their opponents claim them to intend committing. Of course, I have my bias, and, based on my experience, it is an anti-socialist one. But I don’t believe a hatred of America, let alone one that condones the murder of Americans, is shared by most Democrats. Just because the media give more air time to extremists does not make them more representative of the mainstream of either party. During the Gingrich Congress, all we heard about was the Christian Coalition and fringe elements like Pat Buchanan. I yet have to meet a Republican who agrees with either on all, or most issues.

      The media being what it is, and even given its natural political bias, it does not follow that its coverage of the Dems is much more balanced. The media likes extremes. Moderate opinions are boring and moderate people, by definition, do not march in the streets or take to the barricades.

      But if you want to believe the Dems are twisted evil anti-Americans, that is your choice. I don’t mind. But I disagree, too.

    48. Noel Says:

      Sylvain, I’ll go point by point;

      1.) I didn’t jump to easy conclusions; it took me a lifetime of experience to arrive at them.
      2.) Yes, the government should not be able to search anyone’s computer indiscriminately; but it should have been able to search MOUSSAOUI’S computer promptly.
      3.) Most Liberals don’t want Chinese nukes aimed at them…but Clinton was positioned between a willing buyer and a willing seller and took money from both. The technology was then transferred. That’s either treason or, at best, a childish and reckless willing of the ends, but not the means–a Liberal hallmark.
      4.) We certainly do know how Democrats & Liberals would deal with Iraq. Bush 41’s Desert Storm Coalition-worship was classic State Department-think. It left the dictator in place, hence years of No-Fly patrols, Oil-for-Palaces, terrorists floating in and out of the country, WMD programs, etc. Half the first batch of WTC bombers were Iraqis. That was treated as a law-enforcement issue. Clinton/Gore had eight years to deal with Iraq. For the most part, they didn’t.
      5.) The ICC is bad for many reasons; American citzens would never have any say. We might get to vote for somebody who voted for somebody who appointed somebody who knew somebody who owed somebody a judgeship. No thanks. Our own Court is bad enough. And how long has Slobo been on trial…5, 10 years now? The trial IS the punishment.
      6.) I’m for guarding against the misuse of American power. And French, Chinese & Iraqi power, too. But if there has ever been a more benevolent super-power in the entire history of the planet, I’d like to know, as I am totally unfamiliar with it. btw, power does not corrupt. Corruption corrupts power. Power merely gives one a larger stage to express one’s own inner corruption–or inner decency. Napoleon vs. Wahington.
      7.) Of course Dems are twisted & evil; my in-laws are Dems. No, they’re good people. Hell, I was a Dem for years. I don’t mean to paint with too broad a brush; there’s an extremely broad range of people included the terms Democrat, Liberal and Leftist. But I still maintain that, broadly speaking, many of them, for many reasons, fail to grasp Job #1; defending America.

    49. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      The time it takes on to reach a conclusion is not a guarantee of its soundness.

      I don’t know any Democrat who would want the authorities to be unable to search Moussaoui’s computer, or anyone else’s, as long as it is done within the law and not through unchecked, arbitrary power.

      The Ben Laden family was a limited partner in the Carlyle Group. Does it mean one can conclude that is a “Republican hallmark” ? Some people think so. That doesn’t make it true. And believing this kind of corruption exists on one only is naive, at best.

      “We certainly do know how Democrats & Liberals would deal with Iraq. Bush 41’s Desert Storm Coalition-worship was classic State Department-think.” Bush 41 was a Liberal ? I must have missed a chapter somewhere.

      The ICC’s reach is so limited most of the evils associated with it by Republicans are red herrings. No American would be judged there.

      No, corruption does not exist in a vaccuum. Power breeds corruption. No one is immune to feeling its effects. Some can handle it without abusing it, through self-control. Many cannot. It just so happens that America’s constitution, and its overall system, are better at checking corruption than some older European arrangements. But this is not carved in stone and could change, ever so gradually. By giving the government power in exchange for security – or an illusion of security – for instance. Except it’s easy to give powers to the state, and a lot harder to take it back. Also, one can be very fair in its use of power at home, and use it in a corrupt manner abroad. Or use it to corrupt.

      I don’t think they fail to grasp it at all. You think their way of defending it is counter-productive and dangerous. They feel exactly the same way about Bush and the Republicans. And the truth is not on one single side. Never is, especially for such large, important subjects. We are not talking about the town hall budget here.