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  • Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on July 15th, 2004 (All posts by )

    Peggy Noonan in the WSJ:

    I do not feel America is right to attempt to help spread democracy in the world because it is our way and therefore the right way. Nor do I think America should attempt to encourage it because we are Western and feel everyone should be Western. Not everyone should be Western, and not everything we do as a culture, a people or an international force is right.

    Rather, we have a national-security obligation to foster democracy in the world because democracy tends to be the most peaceful form of government. Democracies tend to be slower than dictatorships to take up arms, to cross borders and attempt to subdue neighbors, to fight wars. They are on balance less likely to wreak violence upon the world because democracies are composed of voters many of whom are parents, especially mothers, who do not wish to see their sons go to war. Democracy is not only idealistic, it is practical.

    (via Instapundit)

     

    28 Responses to “Quote of the Day”

    1. Gordo Says:

      Incredible. By Noonan’s standards, the US – by virtue of its actions in Iraq – doesn’t qualify as a democracy.

      That’s not to say that the US isn’t a democracy..but it does demonstrate that even democracies can lose their way when their leaders employ the politics of fear, hate, and lies.

    2. Andy B Says:

      What is so incredible? Noonan said “slower than”, not “never”. As the various investigations reach their conclusions, where are we seeing the “lies” emanate from? One by one, the opponents of this war are having their arguments discredited by fact, not emotion. Fear, Hate, and Lies appears to be the modus operandi of Moore, Wilson, et al.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Gordo,

      You seem to be assuming either that defensive wars and wars of aggression are morally equivalent, or that our war against radical Islam is an immoral war of aggression. Please clarify and support your position. You might also tell us where you stand on the morality of U.S. participation in the second world war.

      WRT “the politics of fear, hate, and lies,” I agree that some of our Democratic Party leadership is practicing such a politics. What do you think we should do about it?

    4. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      but it does demonstrate that even democracies can lose their way when their leaders employ the politics of fear, hate, and lies. As opposed to the wise leaders and ex-leaders of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Taliban, North Korea and Palestine ? If our politics are those of fear, hate and lies, how do you qualify theirs ?

      Just asking. Only curious.

    5. Gordo Says:

      Andy,

      Goodness gracious, Andy. I’m paraphrasing and simplifying, but here are the whoppers:

      1. Iraq had WMDs when the US launched its invasion
      2. Iraq posed an immediate and urgent threat to the security of the US
      3. Iraq and al qaeda had meaningful ties
      4. Iraq refused to let inspectors in before the US invasion
      5. Iraq had reconstituted nuclear weapons

      I could go on… but that gets at the big points. Essentially, they represented Iraq as a war of necessity, when in fact it was a war of choice.

      And what exactly does Moore lie about? And if Wilson lied about anything, does that exculpate the felons who exposed his wife and are still serving in the administration?

      I am amazed at the capacity of those on the right to seemingly ignore the weight of evidence against their fundamental assertions. I think it is because people on the right have lost the ability to distinguish between a “belief” which can have differing degrees of confidence, and a “fact” which has been determined to have sufficent factual evidence to be a certainty. I am sure you will now argue against my facts with your beliefs.

    6. Andy B Says:

      Your pre-disposition to dismiss makes the idea of having an intellectually honest debate nothing but a waste of time.

    7. Anonymous Says:

      Jonathan said:

      “You seem to be assuming either that defensive wars and wars of aggression are morally equivalent”

      No. I’m not assuming that. Defensive wars and wars of aggression are not morally equivalent. The US is not fighting a defensive war in Iraq. Iraq in no way threatened the US, and we (the public) now also know that their army wasn’t even a threat to its neighbors. Iraq was not an immediate threat to the US.

      Jonathan said: “or that our war against radical Islam is an immoral war of aggression.”

      Who said we are at war with radical Islam? I dont’ care if they are radical. I don’t care if they are Islamic. I only care if they say they are dedicated to killing Americans or the destruction of the US. Al qaeda and al Zarqawi’s offshoot organization are the only groups I am aware of publicly dedicated to such an objective. Maybe there are more (probably are) but to generalize and refer imprecisly to our enemy as “radical Islamists” only serves to needlessly broaden the scope of this war and endanger its success. This actually helps people like bin Laden attract people and resources to his cause – because it plays to his assertion that the US is against all Islam. Such are the politics of hate.

      Jonathan said: “Please clarify and support your position. You might also tell us where you stand on the morality of U.S. participation in the second world war.”

      What does WWII have to do with our war in Iraq? We were attacked in WWII. Iraq did not attack the US. We fought the WWII through to total victory – meaning that we employed martial violence unmercilessly until the Axis’ armies were crushed, their populations subdued, and their institutions reduced. In Iraq, Bush let Iraq’s 400,000 strong army melt into its population with its weapons, yet still declared “mission accomplished”. Now they form the backbone of the insurgency. We tolerated the insurgencies in Falluja. Would we have tolerated that from any element of Japanese or German society after WWII? Would we have let the Nazis take over, say, Stuttgart for a few weeks in 1946? Hell no…

      Jonathan said: “WRT “the politics of fear, hate, and lies,” I agree that some of our Democratic Party leadership is practicing such a politics. What do you think we should do about it?”

      To some extent, I’m sure this does exist in the Democratic party (Zell Miller and sometimes Joe Lieberman), but in my humble opinion, the national republican party are far more egregious practitioners. And with far more damaging consequences, as they are the party now in power.

    8. Gordo Says:

      Oops.. that was my post above

    9. Sandy P Says:

      –2. Iraq posed an immediate and urgent threat to the security of the US–

      Not in his –was it SOTU 03 speech (?) he didn’t.

      We must not wait until…..

      And in this 14 month “rush to war”…

      Geez, it’s taken us 30 years to figure out we actually won Nam.

      The inspectors were there, they weren’t refused. Didn’t they have to leave at some point in time?? However, I do seem to recall certain conditions about letting them stay in, like no US spy flights overhead.

      He knew what he had to do, he refused. He was a big boy, Saddam made his own decisions.

    10. Scotus Says:

      “Oops, that was my post above” sums things up perfectly, Gordo.

    11. DSpears Says:

      I must have missed the press conference where they announced that they officially found no weapons of mass destruction.

      On the subject at hand, I’m quickly turning into a good old fashioned Jacksonian isolationist and thoroughly rejecting the Wilsonoan idea of making the world safe for democracy. At one time I was viewing the war on terror as the little brother of the Cold War, where thoroughly defeating communism was the right thing to do not only because communists governments around the world wanted to take over the world, but that they had the means to do it, but because it involuntarily enslaved it’s population. It was a noble cause, and if anything we didn’t fight it hard enough or finish the job.

      But I am coming to the conclusion that most people under Islamic governments are not enslaved, they are quite satisfied with living in countries where their religion is enforced with guns and torture chambers. In short, I’m not sure I’m ready for many of these people to be able to vote.

      Point of discussion: The Saudi government is a despotic monarchy, who is raltively friendly to the US (on the surface anyway). Ask yourself what would happen if tomorrow the Saudi people were able to determine the policy of their government: Day 1 would entail ending ties with the US, invting Osama back home where he could do his good work without interuption, and start the “final” war with Israel (which would probably end with their quick defeat).

      In short, does anybody want all of those millions who cheered on 9/11 to actually be able to tell their governments what to do? I have a feeling that if every Islamist state became a democracy tomorrow, Ms. Noonan’s attributes of world democracies would change dramatically.

      I don’t think I want these people to be able to vote.

    12. Ginny Says:

      Well, maybe you are right. But think about all those people who voted & demonstrated for Saddam. The cleansing air of transparency also leads to responsibility. While it would be nicer for America if Iran was under the Shah, it is probably better that the populace has learned to distrust the mullahs on their own. There will be a lot of ugly transitions whatever we do – but the present is pretty ugly, too. I’d trust the marketplace of ideas as much as I’d trust the marketplace of commerce.

    13. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      And what exactly does Moore lie about?The facts ? I know, those little things are so pesky, but what can you do ?

      And if Wilson lied about anything, does that exculpate the felons who exposed his wife and are still serving in the administration?Interesting. It sounds like people are innocent until proven guilty, unless they are Republicans. Felons are people who have been convicted, just so we’re clear.

      As for Plame’s alleged cover status, the last thing an actual cover agent – FBI, CIA, DEA, you name it- would do is pose in Vanity Fair (assuming her employer’s rules don’t forbid it in the first place). Never mind the fact that the nature of her employment was known to many people in D.C. Since when is “exposing” a known fact a felony ?

      Moreover, if your wife is in fact a cover agent, why would you tell the world “oh my god, yes, she really is” at the top of your lungs as soon as a columnist claims that she is ? The only responsible thing to do would be to deny it. For two reasons : 1. to protect her and 2. to try and draw out those who exposed her by forcing them to reveal more to support their assertion.

      Most importantly, Wilson is in fact the one who exposed his wife. Until Wilson confirmed it, Novak only made a claim that he could not support had Wilson or Plame denied it. By so loudly confirming her status as a CIA employee, Wilson is the one who exposed her and Plame is his accomplice. It is also a cover agent’s duty to protect their cover. Is Plame fulfilling that duty by saying nothing and letting her husband go live on every network to tell the entire planet that, yes, she is a CIA agent ?

      Last but not least, if Wilson “lied about anything”, why would anyone trust his claim about his wife’s “exposure” ?

      Hello ?

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. However, it looks like the most outlandish claims and accusations require very little supporting evidence for you to believe them, as long as they fit your bias.

      As for World War II, Japan did attack the U.S. Did Germany ? They did declare war on us, but what immediate risk was there that they could carry out their public threat ? Did we need to mobilize against them at once ? Why not deal with Japan first ? But there is no need to go back so far in time. What about Yugoslavia, which Clinton bombed for three months in 1999 with no UN resolution and against the opposition of most of the world outside the US and the EU; did they attack us or anyone else ? Or is that OK if the President is a Democrat ?

      We tolerated the insurgencies in FallujaAnd what would Gore or Kerry have done ? Bombed the city to the ground, World War II style ? Your argument about Iraq is that we’re too soft. I hate to rain it on your parade buddy but you are going to have a hard time finding someone on that side of the political spectrum who is going to smash’em and crush’em.

    14. Fûz Says:

      I’m not ready to concede that democracies are slower or less likely to go to war than tyrannies.

    15. DSpears Says:

      The fundamental thing that democracy does a pretty good ( isad pretty good job, not perfect for the nit-pickers lurking) job of insuring is that the government won’t invade, murder and torture it’s own people.

      The success rate of democracies not invading other countries is less than 100%, but far better than your average despotic or monarchic regime. The success rate would be a lot higher if it weren’t for France invading it’s former colonies with regularity.

    16. Jonathan Says:

      I think Noonan is broadly correct, or I wouldn’t have posted the quote, but I might have framed the argument differently. Democracies have a big advantage, relative to dictatorships, in handling mistakes. If enough Americans think the attack on Iraq was a mistake, they’ll vote Bush out of office and his successor will pursue different policies. But if a majority of Russians thought the pact with Hitler was a mistake or a majority of Iraqis thought the wars against Iran and Kuwait were mistakes, they couldn’t do anything to prevent their rulers from continuing indefinitely to pursue the unpopular policies.

    17. Gordo Says:

      Sylvain said:
      “And what exactly does Moore lie about?The facts ? I know, those little things are so pesky, but what can you do ?”

      They are pesky indeed. Care to come up with one that proves Moore lied about anything in Fahrenheit 9/11? You see, just saying it is so doesn’t quite make it so. Unless you are saying you “believe” it to be so, regardless of any evidence supporting your belief. See my response to the post above regarding right-wing “beliefs”

      Sylvain said:
      “And if Wilson lied about anything, does that exculpate the felons who exposed his wife and are still serving in the administration?Interesting. It sounds like people are innocent until proven guilty, unless they are Republicans. Felons are people who have been convicted, just so we’re clear.”

      Correct. But a FELONY is a crime, which was committed by a — FELON (If you know you have been burglarized, doesn’t that mean that there is a burglar out there, somewhere?) And who would this FELON be? Well, Novak himself said the person who told him the identity of Wilson’s wife – AKA “the FELON” – was a “senior adminstration official”. So (still following me here?), the FELON is a yet to be identified senior administration official. And this FELON is still advising the president. Sure, Bush could simply tell this person to come forward and resign, but he hasn’t. Says a lot about our president that he prefers the company of FELONS.

      Sylvain said:
      “As for Plame’s alleged cover status, the last thing an actual cover agent – FBI, CIA, DEA, you name it- would do is pose in Vanity Fair (assuming her employer’s rules don’t forbid it in the first place). Never mind the fact that the nature of her employment was known to many people in D.C. Since when is “exposing” a known fact a felony ?

      Wilson’s Vanity Fair appearance occurred well after the Novak article appeared. Get your facts straight.

      Sylvain said:
      “Moreover, if your wife is in fact a cver agent, why would you tell the world “oh my god, yes, she really is” at the top of your lungs as soon as a columnist claims that she is ? The only responsible thing to do would be to deny it. For two reasons : 1. to protect her and 2. to try and draw out those who exposed her by forcing them to reveal more to support their assertion.”
      Most importantly, Wilson is in fact the one who exposed his wife. Until Wilson confirmed it, Novak only made a claim that he could not support had Wilson or Plame denied it. By so loudly confirming her status as a CIA employee, Wilson is the one who exposed her and Plame is his accomplice. It is also a cover agent’s duty to protect their cover. Is Plame fulfilling that duty by saying nothing and letting her husband go live on every network to tell the entire planet that, yes, she is a CIA agent ?”

      Your reasoning is seriously unhinged. The senior administration officials who leaked Plame’s name to the press – Novak – exposed her. If others knew her identity then the investigation must go further to identify all the felons who revealed her identity. Exposing the identity of covert US agents is a FELONY, because it undermines NATIONAL SECURITY – something republicans evidently don’t give a damn about when it comes to their political ambitions and vendettas. Are you saying that the only way the exposure of an undercover agent is a crime is if the agent who was outed cannot deny or defend themselves, and in this case it is the agent – not the ones who outed her – who has broken the law??? ARE YOU FOR REAL? So I guess Aldrich Ames – who exposed the names of countless CIA agents in Russia that were summarily and immediately executed, should never have been imprisoned. He should be running around free. And the agents got what they deserved because the Russians didn’t believe their denials. Your lack of respect for those who risk their lives to preserve our national security is reprehensible.

      Sylvain said:
      “Last but not least, if Wilson “lied about anything”, why would anyone trust his claim about his wife’s “exposure” ? Hello ?”

      Hello yourself. Remember that is was the CIA – not Wilson – that asked the Justice Department to investigate this. Why? Because Plame was undercover, she was exposed in Novak’s article, and that is a serious crime.

      Sylvain said:
      “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. However, it looks like the most outlandish claims and accusations require very little supporting evidence for you to believe them, as long as they fit your bias.”

      The evidence is there. You choose to ignore it.

      Sylvain said:
      “As for World War II, Japan did attack the U.S. Did Germany ? They did declare war on us, but what immediate risk was there that they could carry out their public threat ? Did we need to mobilize against them at once ? Why not deal with Japan first ?”

      You must be joking. Nazi Germany, an ally of Imperial Japan, declared war on us in WWII (Big difference you downplay – Iraq never declared war on us). The Nazi’s immediately began attacking and sinking our merchant fleet – as close as the waters off New Jersey and the Gulf of Mexico – before we launched the North African campaign. They declared war and attacked. We had no choice but to respond. War of necessity – not choice.

      Sylvain said:
      “But there is no need to go back so far in time. What about Yugoslavia, which Clinton bombed for three months in 1999 with no UN resolution and against the opposition of most of the world outside the US and the EU; did they attack us or anyone else ? Or is that OK if the President is a Democrat ?”

      Clinton never lied about the purpose or reason for this military action. It was primarily humanitarian. In the case of Iraq, we were told we faced an urgent, immediate threat. That was a lie. We were told there were close connections to al Qaeda – another lie. That’s the difference. If Bush said we were doing this only to libeate Iraq from Hussein, fine. But he didn’t.

      Sylvain said:
      “We tolerated the insurgencies in FallujaAnd what would Gore or Kerry have done ?

      Can’t say. But I think Kerry, being a thoughtful, reflective person, and also a veteran of combat, would have thought the whole matter through much better. My opinion.

      Sylvain said:
      “Bombed the city to the ground, World War II style ? Your argument about Iraq is that we’re too soft. I hate to rain it on your parade buddy but you are going to have a hard time finding someone on that side of the political spectrum who is going to smash’em and crush’em.”
      That is what you have to be prepared to do when you fight a war. And if you’re not prepared to do that, you shouldn’t get into it in the first place. There is no substitute for total victory. The American people, to their credit, are not prepared to do that in Iraq. Why? Because Iraq never attacked or really threatened us. Bush tried to make the case, but it was never that strong, even if everything he said was true. So if we weren’t prepared to do that in Iraq, we should never have gone in. The lesson of ages of warfare is that half measures guarantee only defeat. We won WWII because we were prepared to firebomb and nuke the civilian populations of our enemies. Every conflict after that, when we have flinched from such full application of force, have left our enemies standing and ultimately victorious.

    18. Jody Says:

      Jonathan—

      “Democracies have a big advantage, relative to dictatorships, in handling mistakes.”

      Absolutely. And it follows, does it not, that an administration would best serve the country if it engendered a political culture of openness, willing to admit mistakes and correct them.

      Now, don’t assail me with Clinton or Kerry—I’m dreaming of something better in the abstract. Clinton was then and this is now. And Kerry can’t win, though Bush can lose. I’m just wondering if Bush would do better by the country (and with the electorate) if he were more collegial and less imperious. More democratic.

      Jody

    19. Lex Says:

      Gordo needs a blog of his own or a job.

    20. Jonathan Says:

      Jody,

      I don’t know what you’re talking about — abstraction? reality? Bush, Clinton and Kerry are who they are. Imagining them different is IMO a waste of time.

      In reality, the US system has advantages over Imperial Germany, the USSR and similiar regimes. They can be more decisive, turn on a dime, while we’re ponderous and slow to make decisions. But then they have no institutional protection against leaders who pursue bad ideas to the death and take their countries with them. That’s a huge advantage for us.

    21. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      This is going to be fun. What would we do around here without the occasional troll.

      – So if it’s “right-wing”, we have to quote the word “beliefs”. Because, well, if you’re right-wing, none of what you believe can possibly be “correct”, “right” ?

      – Do I care to come up with a Moore example ? No, I don’t care but you do so here is one at random. A claim that the White House authorized these somewhat famous Saudi family to leave the country, when Richard Clarke, a quoted source of information in Moore’s film and no friend of the Administration, has gone on record to say that he is the one who authorized this. He said so in a public testimony under oath, long before the movie came out.

      He said so repeatedly, as in this Associated Press interview :

      “Clarke took issue with some elements of filmmaker Michael Moore’s new documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which depicts how the Bush administration allowed Saudi nationals and members of Osama bin Laden’s family to leave the United States days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

      Clarke said he thought the Saudi government was “perfectly justified” in wanting its citizens to leave the United States out of fears of “vigilantism” by Americans.

      […]

      Making the incident a big part of the movie was a mistake, said Clarke…”

      If Moore was a Republican, you would call that a lie. But he’s one of the good guys with real beliefs – without the quotes – so it’s probably only a “mistake”. I’m sure he promised he wouldn’t do it again.

      For other facts that have been slightly, how shall we say, altered, see Kopel’s detailed list. The current count is at 59. That’s about one lie, distortion or deceit every 90 seconds on average. So you’re right, the quality of his product is improving, I guess. Ooops sorry. I meant : “lie”, “distortion” or “deceit”.

      – A felon is someone who has committed a felony. Not someone who is suspected of having committed one. Huge difference. People are innocent until proven guilty. They are not called felons until their guilt has been proven.

      Is someone accused of murder referred to by the press as “the murderer” before the jury’s verdict is delivered, or are we extremely careful to refer to them as “the alleged murderer”, or “the defendant in the case” ? Why would we make that crucial difference if there was no harm in calling people accused of a crime by the name of the crime itself ? Why is it OK here ? Because you believe the offender is a Republican ? (We don’t even know by the way; “senior Administration official” doesn’t say anything about who appointed him or her and how they vote; until not so long ago, Richard Clarke was also a senior Administration official in this Administration….)

      And no, I’m not following you since my whole argument is that there might not in fact be a felony here. You assume as a fact that there was one with no evidence so your point can hardly be relevant to my argument.

      – Where did I claim that Plame’s Vanity Fair appearance predated the affair ? Show me.

      And what does the timing of her appearance relevant ? A cover agent’s primary duty to her position and employer is to protect that cover. If she can appear in Vanity Fair as soon as someone says she works at the CIA, it is quite hard to believe that she either has something to protect, or that “blowing her cover” put her and her career in danger, as Wilson claimed. “My gosh honey, everybody knows you work for the CIA. Let’s have you pose in Vanity Fair so everybody knows what you look like too.” Who’s exposing who here ?

      – There is nothing unhinged about it if you can at all reason logically; admittedly a big if in your case. And yes, I am for real, thanks for checking.

      Let’s go through this exercise again. Say you do cover work for the CIA. And outside Langley and those people with clearance – you don’t get access to that info just because you’re a “senior Administation official” – I am the only person who knows you are a cover agent. Now, someone in the media, whatever their source, claims in the open that you are a cover agent.

      Your first duty is to say nothing or deny it. That’s the rule. Never, ever acknowledge your connection. Why the heck Plame would let her husband break that most fundamental rule on her behalf is a puzzle you are clearly unable to explain; and why Wilson would further “endanger” his wife and end her future career by confirming her status is another one. Why Plame herself would nail the coffin of her position further by posing in Vanity Fair is, as you would say, rather unhinged.

      Now, to get back to our story, if I step forward and acknowledge your status to the world, and people have reasons to believe that I’m credible because I’m very close to you, how does that help you ? Until that point, it was only an unsubstantiated claim by a columnist, based on an anonymous source i.e. one of unknown credibility and reliability. One that the columnist cannot back up without revealing his source. One that his informant cannot back up without risking exposing himself or herself. But now that I have confirmed it, neither one of them needs to take any risk because my acknowledgement has made it a fact in the eyes of all.

      Never mind that if you think the people in charge are incompetent liars anyway, why would you trust what some unnamed “senior Administration official” is claimed to have said to a third party ? Interesting how the evil Republicans in charge are trustworthy when you need them to be to fit your little narrative, even when completely unnamed and quoted by a Republican.

      Why wouldn’t Wilson deny his wife even works for the CIA ? What risk is there to saying Robert Novak is wrong ? The Agency would never have contradicted Wilson. And Novak would have looked like a fool; or, driven by his ego, revealed his source. Either way, Wilson and Plame won. They either hurt Novak’s reputation and shut him up, or made him expose felony and alleged felon.

      Instead, Plame and Wilson chose a course of action consisting of fully exposing her – including in the pages of Vanity Fair – and immediately concluding her career. So if she did turn out to have been under cover, I’m actually grateful that Novak and his tipster put out of CIA circulation an agent who is not only exceedingly incompetent, but married to a posturing fool who doesn’t know when to shut up.

      – The CIA never acknowledged Plame’s cover status directly or indirectly – it never does that since it would violate its own cardinal rule – and its DOJ request cannot confirm that she was under cover….since it has nothing to do with that but relates to the leaking of memos from her proving that she was involved in the selection of her husband for his Niger mission. The CIA only asked the DOJ to investigate the leak of a classified memo by Plame. No complain from them whatsoever about Plame’s alleged status being exposed. CIA memos are classified whether their authors are undercover or not. And while the vast majority of CIA employees are not under cover, everything they do at work is classified. And those with access to their work are not supposed to leak it to the press on their own initiative, whatever their motive. Ask Daniel Ellsberg about that one.

      Plame’s work is certainly as classified as any other CIA employee’s. But that does not make her a cover agent.

      The evidence is there. You choose to ignore it.I choose to ignore your evidence. Which has nothing to do with the evidence. After all, you clearly indicate you choose to believe a liar because it is convenient for you to do so. It does not even matter that Wilson “lied about anything”; his unproven claim about his wife’s cover status is, regardless of his questionable reliability, entirely sufficient for you to make accusations of felony. Because you need the conclusion, it doesn’t matter where the premise comes from or the absence of evidence to support that premise. And the existence of actual evidence that the source of your assumption lied is essentially armwaved away.

      You would make one shitty lawyer. Or maybe you’re one already ?

      – Maybe you should go back and look at the arguments of those who, in 1941 – and there were many in both House and Senate – had misgivings about going to war in Europe…It will sound strangely familiar. It certainly looks like a war of necessity with the benefit of 64 years of hindsight. It was not so obvious to many “thoughtful” and “reflective” people with war experience back then.

      – Speaking of lies, no one ever said Iraq was an immediate or urgent threat, aside from those claiming the Administration was saying so. The argument actually presented to you and everyone else was that Iraq should be dealt with preventively because we could not afford to wait for it to become an immediate or urgent threat. If you can’t tell the difference, that’s fine. Don’t blame others for your intellectual limitations.

      Why would a clear and present danger require an argument for prevention to be dealt with anyway ? The preventive war argument was necessary precisely because Iraq was not an immediate danger.

      I’m just curious as to what, in the declassified National Intelligence Estimate released at the time, says Iraq was an “urgent” or “immediate” threat ? Just a random thought.

      – There were connections and contacts between al-Qaeda and Iraq. No lie there. But connections do not mean association. Since when is saying that there are connections the same as saying that Saddam did 9/11 ? Al-Qaeda attacked the US. Al-Qaeda has publicly indicated it wants WMDs to attack the US again. Saddam had – or so we thought at the time, and given his rap sheet, it was a perfectly reasonable assumption – WMDs and there were contacts between Iraqi agents and al-Qaeda on several occasions, none of which have been denied by the Senate report, if you had actually bothered to read it (and you probably never will since it might disturb your comfy little distortion field). There were repeated contacts and both the CIA and reports from the government did say they were too limited in nature and scope to claim association. But they certainly existed.

      Besides which, if we should not have trusted the CIA’s intel on WMDs, why should we have trusted the same CIA when it said there was not much going on between Iraq and al-Qaeda ? If you can’t trust them on this, why should you trust them on that ?

      – Yes, your opinion. His being “thoughtful” and “reflective”, and a few months in Vietnam 35 years ago are no guarantee that things would have turned out differently to anyone except those who want to believe so to reinforce their own bias and assumptions.

      That is what you have to be prepared to do when you fight a war.It may be so but this is very, very far from being the case that Moore or the majority of Democrats are making. Find out where the next local Democratic Party meeting is and go tell them that the only correct military strategy to win this is to do whatever it takes to achieve victory, including killing large numbers of civilians if that’s what it takes.

      Note their reaction. If anyone calls you “thoughtful” or “reflective”, let us know.

      There is no substitute for total victory.You obviously have not read or learned much about low-intensity and guerilla warfare as opposed to conventional war. Military victory is actually secondary in that case. Political victory over the population is objective #1 and required to achieve a military victory You can achieve military victory in the field and still lose the war. Like France in Algeria, for instance.

      Your opponent only has to blow something up or kill someone, anyone, to prove its existence and deny you “total victory”. There will be no “total victory” in Iraq by purely military means. And certainly not by bombing the shit out of everything in sight. We are not fighting a uniformed military anymore. That phase has been over for over a year. Try to keep up.

      Every conflict after that, when we have flinched from such full application of force, have left our enemies standing and ultimately victorious. I see. So we lost Vietnam because we were not prepared to firebomb and nuke Vietnamese populations ? We’d have won if we had done that ? And our mistake in Fallujah is to not have firebombed or nuked the place into behaving itself ? Riiiiight. I’m sure it would go down real well if Kerry actually said that. Very thoughtful and reflective all right. Try this one at your local Michael Moore fan club and let us know how it goes.

      And this conclude my last reply to your amusing prose. It’s always fun to skewer a troll but I must admit, you’re such an easy target I won’t even bother doing it again.

      And that’s a first.

    22. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Lex, I have both but my last carpet-bombing probably indicates I am not having a life tonight. Oh well. Now even the Pontani Sisters know. Sigh.

    23. Gordo Says:

      Sylvain:

      I come on to these sites to suffer fools like you, but I’ve had about enough of you. You make so many misstatements of fact and worse, of reasoning, that they speak to your lack of intelligence and integrity better than I ever could. Nonetheless, for purposes of demonstration, I’ll readily dispatch with a few examples:

      First, I asked you to point out one lie of Moore. You offer the following:
      “- Do I care to come up with a Moore example ? No, I don’t care but you do so here is one at random. A claim that the White House authorized these somewhat famous Saudi family to leave the country, when Richard Clarke, a quoted source of information in Moore’s film and no friend of the Administration, has gone on record to say that he is the one who authorized this. He said so in a public testimony under oath, long before the movie came out. He said so repeatedly, as in this Associated Press interview :
      “Clarke took issue with some elements of filmmaker Michael Moore’s new documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which depicts how the Bush administration allowed Saudi nationals and members of Osama bin Laden’s family to leave the United States days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
      Clarke said he thought the Saudi government was “perfectly justified” in wanting its citizens to leave the United States out of fears of “vigilantism” by Americans.
      […]
      Making the incident a big part of the movie was a mistake, said Clarke…””

      What you point out above is not a lie. Clarke doesn’t dispute the fact that the White House authorized the Saudi’s to leave, only Moore’s JUDGEMENT that this was wrong. Moore is correct in his facts. You can argue about his judgement of whether these acts were right or wrong, but you can’t dispute the fact. Do you understand the difference between a FACT and an OPINION? Or maybe a FACT and a BELIEF? Evidently not. You illustrate my point again far better than I could ever. Thanks.

      You also say that “Speaking of lies, no one ever said Iraq was an immediate or urgent threat, aside from those claiming the Administration was saying so”

      Wrong. Let me acquaint you with the facts, again. The following is a run-down of administration statements regarding gathering, immediate, and urgent threats.

      “GATHERING” THREAT: McClellan told reporters that the White House only “used the phrase ‘grave and gathering threat.’ We made it very clear that it was a gathering threat.” According to the Roget’s Thesaurus, (this is a book that identifies synonyms of words, Sylvain) “gathering” is a direct synonym of “imminent”. And a synonym, for your information, is defined as “a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word” – meaning the White House’s continued attempts to differentiate between the use of “imminent threat” and “gathering threat” are hollow and silly semantics. It was President Bush who said in October 2002 that Iraq was a “gathering threat” – and has continued to repeat this phrase for the next two years.

      “IMMEDIATE” THREAT: Once again, Roget’s Thesaurus defines “immediate” as a direct synonym of “imminent” – and the Administration also repeatedly used this phrase to describe Iraq. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Congress on 9/19/02 that “No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.”

      “URGENT,” “UNIQUE,” “TERRIBLE, ” “MOUNTING” THREAT: Other phrases of similar hue to “imminent” were also repeatedly invoked by the Administration to play on America’s post-9/11 fears. The phrases “urgent” and “unique” threat were also repeatedly invoked. As President Bush said on 11/23/02, “The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq.” He said on 10/2/02 that “the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency.” Vice President Dick Cheney said on 1/30/03 that Iraq poses “terrible threats to the civilized world.” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said on 1/29/03 that “Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country.”

      Finally, let me point out that once Novak’s article appeared, the CIA formally lifted Plame’s status as an undercover agent. At that point, it made no difference what Wilson said to whom – the damage had been done. The moment her status was revealed by Novak, regardless of any protestations or denials made by Wilson or Plame, foreign intelligence services around the world immediately took her name and associations and connected the dots – undermining her years of work as an operative. Do you think they would honestly wait and hear what her defence against the charges would be before they lock up those that were associate with her? Again, you’re reasoning is absurd on its face. And, the irony (for the benefit of other readers, since you probably don’t understand the concept) – is that she was working on weapons of mass destruction. Again the craven hypocrisy of the White House shows through (and your ignorance).

      Anyhow, Sylvain, I’m sorry I disturbed your self-delusional, moronic reality. I come on to these sites from time to time to bat around a few wingnuts like you. You were fun, thanks.

    24. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      OK, this is too funny. For the record, I can’t resist.

      – The CIA formally lifted Plame’s status ? Really ? And where is the evidence for that formal declaration ? Please show us. No claims from third party reporters who don’t understand what they’re talking about. The actual public statement by the CIA that they are lifting Plame’s status. I want to see that. I really do. It would be a first, you see.

      As a rule, the CIA will request an investigation for anyone of its employee named in the press. This has nothing to do with cover status. Your inference is unsubstantiated. And that unproven inference, and Wilson’s unproven claim, is all you have to prove her status. An invalid inference and a claim by a proven liar. That’s not going to take you very far among us evil “wingnuts”. Sorry.

      – Clarke didn’t authorize the Bin Ladens leaving ? Really ? Since you are obviously in the know, maybe you should go tell Newsweek and MSNBC how “self-delusional” they are.

      “Because while the film claims that the “White House” approved the flights, it fails to note who exactly in the White House did so. It wasn’t the president, or the vice president or anybody else supposedly corrupted by Saudi oil money. It was Richard Clarke, the counter-terrorism czar who was a holdover from the Clinton administration and who has since turned into a fierce Bush critic. Clarke has publicly testified that he gave the greenlight—conditioned on FBI clearance.”

      What part of this is unclear exactly ? Where are Bush or Cheney involved ? Once again, I can provide evidence to support my position; where is yours ?

      And even if Bush had approved it, so what ? What rule was broken ? What was illegal about it ? The FBI cleared it. What else do you need ? What impropriety occurred here that we should be upset about ? What rule did the FBI overlook ?

      – So a couple of quotes pulled out of context is all you have to prove this giant obnoxious lie, when absolutely none of the documents, reports and white papers given to Congress and the public by the White House suggest that Iraq was an imminent threat ?

      Are you also saying, or implying, that these few statements are the sole basis of Congressional approval for war against Iraq, when none of the supporting evidence provided to them to make an informed decision indicated Iraq was an immediate threat ? (It did make other claims, but not that one; you’d know if you actually read the reports).

      And once again, why would anyone need to argue the need for prevention if a threat is imminent, urgent or immediate ? Or is that one of the dozens of glaring inconsistencies we must avoid for your comfort ?

      And since when does “unique” mean “urgent” ? Since when does “mounting” mean “immediate” ? Does “terrible” mean immediate ? Does “serious” mean “right now” ?

      And gathering means “imminent” ? Really ? I don’t know. Every dictionary I checked says it means “growing” or “increasing” in this context. Nothing about imminence.

      So we have a couple of chosen quotes out of a one-year period. And some desperate thesaurus search for a synonym back-up. Is this all you can do to prove that big government lie ?

      You’re right. There are grounds here for impeachment. If not treason. Hang them high ! No penalty is too harsh for these traitors to the nation ! Michael Moore for President !

      “foreign intelligence services around the world immediately took her name and associations and connected the dots – undermining her years of work as an operative” Really ? Is that so ? Says who ? And how would they do that since no one would know her as Valerie Plame if she’s under cover ? (You know what a cover is, don’t you ?)

      Since Novak did not reveal what cover Plame was operating under, what dot was there to connect ? But once she appeared in Vanity Fair, her cover was indeed blown for anyone who ever dealt with her in person. In other words, she blew her own cover.

      Or maybe, just maybe, she was under cover but under her own name. Yeah. That makes sense. (“Miss Plame, you are going to operate under cover as Valerie Plame”. “But that’s already my name” “Yes. We know that. But don’t tell anyone, OK ?”)

      She most likely never had any cover. The only one who ever claimed she did is a proven liar, who told the world he blew the whistle about Niger before backtracking under oath in front of a Senate committee when confronted with proof that he made no such warning.

      Do you think they would honestly wait and hear what her defence against the charges would be before they lock up those that were associate with her?Uh? Since “they” don’t know her as Valerie Plame and nothing in Novak’s column says who Plame operates as or what she looks like, who can lock up who on this basis ? And who is “they” anyway ? And who are these “associates” ? According to whom ? Are we gone into la-la land again ?

      So my reasoning is absurd…well, sorry, I don’t need to make shit up as I go along, inventing a formal lifting of status that never happened – there is no such process in the first place, by the way – and making unprovable claim about foreign intel services and the exposure and locking up of “associates”.

      Can you support your position with any evidence, or at least one single logical inference ? Or is any speculation sufficient, as long as the conclusion confirms the outcome you already chose ?

      No worries. You aren’t disturbing anything even remotely connected to the real world. Not that you could.

      But you are a guest here. Nobody asks you to come, stay or comment. If you don’t like it, you may leave. If you cannot support your assertions and assumptions with anything except lies, random speculation and attempts at veiled insults, you are not welcome here. First and last warning.

    25. Gordo Says:

      Sylvain,

      Well, here’s something you’ll never see from a right winger – a concession. It was early this morning and before I had my coffee when I responded. You are right about Moore’s claim about Clarke’s role in letting the Saudi’s go.

      However, I also checked Newsweek’s reference and found something there you would probably never link to, because it provides some balance to the discussion and your take on Moore. I’ll take the liberty of reposting it here:
      “None of this is to suggest that there aren’t legitimate questions that deserve to be asked about the influence that secretive firms like Carlyle have in Washington—not to mention the Saudis themselves (an issue that has been taken up repeatedly in our weekly Terror Watch columns.) Nor are we trying to say that “Fahrenheit 9/11” isn’t a powerful and effective movie that raises a host of legitimate issues about President Bush’s response to the September 11 attacks, the climate of fear engendered by the war on terror and, most importantly, about the wisdom and horrific human toll of the war in Iraq.”

      As far as the “imminent” or immediate semantical argument, yes, these words are extremely important. The public will likely support as a casus belli an imminent threat, which they more or less heard on many occasions as I pointed out. Regardless of whether evidence provided to Congress supported that notion of urgency, Congreesional leaders follow public sentiment, which was affected by administration statements regarding urgency.

      You’re just plain wrong in dismissing this and in failing to admit you are wrong. But that’s what wingnuts like you are all about.

      As for our dispute over Wilson and Plame, my comments stand. Justice is looking into this and we’ll soon find out who in the administration is responsible. I’ll be back then, for sure.

    26. Jonathan Says:

      Gordo, you seem to be saying that we serve bad food and the portions are too small.

      Sylvain, if someone argues by making assertions, by dismissing your detailed response to his assertions and then himself responding with more assertions, and finally by calling you names, he probably isn’t primarily interested in logical argument. In that case, why maintain his behavior by responding?

      Lex suggested that our friend needs his own blog, which sounds like a good idea. But running your own blog takes work and exposes you to criticism (which takes more work to refute), and it may be that nobody will read what you write, whereas stirring up trouble on other people’s blogs is fun, easy and guarantees you an audience. For some people, the temptation to throw turds into a crowded swimming pool is overwhelming.

      We can respond by either a) policing comments closely and deleting the abusive ones (what our colleague TMLutas refers to as the “bonsai” approach), b) attempting to refute such comments, which is burdensome for the responder and monopolizes comment threads, or c) ignoring abusive commenters and allowing the ripples from their verbal turds to be displaced by higher-quality comments that follow. (Note also that alternative (c) has the advantage of encouraging abusive commenters who are not total jerks to clean up their act, because by not reinforcing bad comments we increase the relative incentive to leave productive ones. And note that I am not talking about spam or comments which are insulting from the get-go — these I favor deleting immediately.)

      I’m not yet sure which of these approaches is best, but I’m leaning towards (c) for my own behavior, and I hope that you will consider doing so too.

    27. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Well, here’s something you’ll never see from a right winger – a concession.Funny you should say that, John McCain was just on CNN – in a replay from a few weeks ago – saying how he thought the planning of the war was inadequate. Followed by a recent Chuck Hagel appearance where he says that Iraq is bad for the war on terrorism. But hey, it’s only two senior card-carrying “right-winger” Senators.

      Your caricatural bias and self-righteous intolerance are truly delightful. If people like yourself didn’t exist, “wingnuts” on both sides would have to invent you. Honest.

      – I have absolutely no argument about that quote from Newsweek. And since I did link to that article moments ago, I find it quite fascinating you’d claim I’d never link to it. Go figure.

      Does this carefully extracted paragraph say or imply that Moore’s content is true or reliable ? Many of the questions he asks are indeed perfectly legitimate. No argument from me on that count. But I do and will argue that most, if not all of his answers are flawed, inaccurate, twisted or just plain wrong.

      Your blatant unwillingness to make this simple distinction says a thing or two about your ability to deal with even the most basic questioning or criticism of your views and assumptions. What you want to hear obviously takes precedence in determining what is true.

      Or maybe, you are saying that if a question is legitimate, then any answer to it is also legitimate…Obviously, Moore thinks that’s the case.

      What I really wonder though, is why you’d omit the short paragraph immediately following the one you so kindly quoted :

      “But for all the reasonable points he makes, on more than a few occasions in the movie Moore twists and bends the available facts and makes glaring omissions in ways that end up clouding the serious political debate he wants to provoke.”

      Since you are such a thoughtful and balanced individual, why would you keep out this rather relevant qualifier to your quote ? Too damning ? Or does “balanced” mean “anything that praises Moore’s view” ?

      Oh, and for the record, the article’s title is “More Distortions From Michael Moore”. Clearly, I was trying to misrepresent a story that was positive for him. How egregiously manipulative of me.

      – Your semantic argument is weak, at best. The notion that a couple of chosen quotes are all that convinced Congress and public opinion in this matter is both false and nonsensical. The claim that a clear majority of Congress will do anything opinion polls tells them to do regardless of the publicly available evidence – or lack thereof – they are given is puzzling to say the least; and makes me wonder how you could suggest voting Kerry since he is one of those sheep who voted in favor of the war. Do you really want to elect a guy who will vote a war along with everybody else only because it’s “popular”, despite his being involved in a failed one 35 years ago ? What’s “thoughtful” and “reflective” about that ? What’s so impressive about someone who follows public ‘sentiment’ instead of evidence provided to him ?

      – The one urgency we dealt with flowed directly from our stationing huge amounts of troops there to force inspectors back in; Kofi Annan, among many others, did acknowledge that these inspections could not have happened without military pressure :

      ” I think there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the pressure has been effective, that it has worked. Without that pressure I don’t think the inspectors would be back in Iraq today. It took us four years to try to get them in there. Four days after President Bush spoke at the UN and challenged the world and Iraq, Iraq accepted to get them in. So there is not doubt that the pressure has had an effect.”

      So yes, there was an urgency in deciding what to do at that time due to our military buildup – which started before Bush’s UN speech – and what were perceived as the shortcomings of the inspection process (wrongly, as it turned out). That was the urgency at the time. It had nothing to do with Iraq being an immediate danger to the US.

      You’re just plain wrong in dismissing this Well, that settles it then. Never mind that I provided supporting evidence for pretty much every single one of my main arguments and you are still unable and/or unwilling to do so. And have avoided most of my specific questions. All you have is an empty, self-righteous claim you are right, backed up by nothing but a refusal or an inability to back-up your claim. Or, quite possibly, both.

      But that’s what wingnuts like you are all about.Name calling usually comes from those in a position of weakness. When they cannot handle or counter the message, they back off and insult the messenger instead. In the online world, it’s also called trolling. You have been warned already. Why the urge to make such a lame-ass sore loser out of yourself in a public forum ? Because you’re anonymous ?

      – Yes, a classified CIA memo was leaked by someone with clearance. It is a serious issue, and that is what the DoJ is looking into, as it should. In the meantime, why not read the Senate report for yourself ? Or does the cold exposure of Wilson’s other outlandish claims as a big pile of posturing bullshit frighten you ? But hey, I’m the one afraid of the truth around here.

      Now let me try my best bear impersonation and ask you point blank : “You don’t come here for the hunting, do you ?”

    28. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Jonathan, Almost every single question is avoided and the name-calling is indeed on the rise, which is a sure sign of retreat and imminent defeat, as we well know. The obvious sore-loser attitude is another clue.

      Once in a while, I will admit to enjoying making an example, however futile that may be. It may be a waste of time to engage such a tool but I’d argue it’s my waste of time…