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August 17, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Has No Personal "Right" To Petition

I have been asked several times what I think of Cindy Sheehan's actions, but so far I have declined to criticize her. I have, however, harshly criticized the media and those pundits who have gone picnicking on her grief; who have feasted on the spectacle of a mother who has suffered an agonizing loss. Who have used a woman who is hurting and wants answers - answers I suspect no living person can provide to her - to further their anti-war and anti-Shrub agenda.

But I have no trouble with attacking another facet of the Sheehan brouhaha: the ridiculous notion that the President of the United States owes this woman a personal audience. MoDope, aka Dierdre of the Sorrows, was all over that one like a duck on a June bug:

There's an angry mother of a dead soldier camping outside his Crawford ranch, demanding to see a president who prefers his sympathy to be carefully choreographed.
It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people...

Yadda...yadda...yadda... Obviously Mo hasn't been doing much reading during her little sabbatical. The President has met with over 900 family members of the fallen to date. But then mastery of the facts was never a prerequisite for working at the Times.

Ms. Dowd's big finale is delivered with her own trademark, overly-twee brand of wordplay. Meant to point up the callousness of the Evil Empire, it only betrays her own shallow hypocrisy:

Selectively humane, Mr. Bush justified his Iraq war by stressing the 9/11 losses. He emphasized the humanity of the Iraqis who desire freedom when his W.M.D. rationale vaporized.

But his humanitarianism will remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.

No Ms. Dowd. You are the one who cynically flogs the body counts of an all-volunteer military to justify your anti-war agenda. It is you who hyped the WMD argument (only one of the three reasons given for this war) and minimized the plight of the Iraqis, and you who continue to argue for our withdrawal - a withdrawal that would doom the Iraqis to an ugly fate at the hands of ruthless terrorists. As Arthur Chrenkoff points out:

...both sides can play the "grieving parents" game - except that it's not a game, and it shouldn't be played. The right has not used people like Lynn Kelly, Linda Ryan, or hundreds of others, to make their case in our current war. It would be decent if the left stopped using Cindy Sheehan to make theirs.

As for the notion that ordinary citizens somehow have the "right" to stop in for "tea and sympathy" with the Prez any time the mood strikes, well, that is, simply put... ludicrous. One can't help but note that it is mainly perimenopausal women and liberal pundits making this argument; the snarkier angel of my nature wants to say they belong in the same general class of human being.

The right of petition is guaranteed in the US Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people … to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." — from the First Amendment

But the notion that this right is a personal one; that a given individual has the right to drop in on the President and say, in effect, "Yo....wassssuupppp, my homes?????" is, quite frankly, absurd.

Perhaps the most famous petition in American history is The Declaration of Independence. Notably, the Founding Fathers did not find it necessary to drop in on His Royal Highness King George III in person. They set out their grievances in writing, in an organized fashion, and delivered them by proxy.

Even in Colonial times when the population of the colonies was much smaller, petitioners were expected to move up the chain of governmental authority, working through their local government representatives who were appointed to represent them. One simply did not "start at the top":

In theory, disgruntled colonists could take their appeal to the royal governors, and, if still unsatisfied, to the king in England.

Nowadays, we have State Representatives and Senators to represent us. Where are Ms. Sheehan's elected representatives, pray tell? And though we have the right to petition both state and federal governments for redress of grievances, there is no guarantee that we will receive a personal response. The sheer number of petitions makes this impractical:

The direct appeal and individualized response that once marked petitioning belong to a more organic past when leaders knew petitioners by name. No branch of the government today is equipped to provide such personal attention. As the Supreme Court has observed, the right to petition requires only that the state receive complaints and grievances, not respond to them. Historical practice aside, the Court has explained that "[N]othing in the First Amendment or in this Court’s case law interpreting it suggests that the rights to speak, associate, and petition require government policymakers to listen or respond to individuals’ communications on public issues."

In addition to the demands on the time of public officials, in the President's case there are security issues such as the fear of assassination to be considered. For all these reasons and more, idiotic petitions like this one from Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of a lawyer and someone who certainly ought to know better, are beneath contempt.

Neither Cindy Sheehan, nor any other American citizen, has any "right" to a personal audience with the President of the United States. In any case, Ms. Sheehan has already had one meeting with Mr. Bush. Even if she had a right, that would be one more than her quota.

Many other parents of the war dead, some who support the President, have not yet had that opportunity, and the President is going above and beyond the call of duty in meeting with these families. As a military wife and daughter, I applaud him for it. And I think it cruel and cynical beyond measure for people like Maureen Down and Elizabeth Edwards to encourage Ms. Sheehan in her misguided crusade.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Cassandra at August 17, 2005 07:53 AM

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Comments

Glad to find this blog. I agree with this post and will use its theme in my discussions as to why I am not a Nazi for supporting Bush, the Iraqi front, and his not meeting Cindy.

no one

Posted by: none at August 17, 2005 10:05 AM

"...the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

Why should this be true? By extension then does any death give "the parents" the moral authority over the cause of that death. The loss of a child is a tragic event, but it does not automatically confer "MORAL AUTHORITY" on anyone.

Posted by: Richard at August 17, 2005 10:52 AM

Heh.

What I love is that she assumes that the majority of bereaved parents agree with Sheehan. If you accept her argument (and I don't) then the weight of moral authority argues AGAINST her position. We know this because there is *NOT* an army of bereaved parents camped out on Bush's lawn.

Just one. Sheehan.

And the MSM don't want to hear from any of the parents who support Bush, or the families of the troops who are happy to be over there.

I know, because when they try to pump them for nasty quotes about the President and they don't get anywhere, they can't shut them up fast enough. Just like the MSM hyped those 6 or 7 9/11 widows who bitched and moaned about their benefits, but totally ignored the group of 150 9/11 families who formed a group to get the word out that they supported the administration.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 11:00 AM

I wonder what her son would say to his mom?
I'm sure he (and she)knew the risks when he signed up, was she not proud of him then?

Posted by: Vanessa at August 17, 2005 12:47 PM

I agree

Posted by: Donna Hudson at August 17, 2005 12:48 PM


GREAT BLOG: SUCH common sense:

SHEEHAN wants to tALK to the President about what ????

there are 135,000 deployed troops: they have accurate, intelligent reliable information, possible solutions to offer:
they deserve a turn:

OF 300 million USA citizens about 1% are qualified to give the President, ideas, solutions, about over a million issues concerning the USA and WORLD
they need the audience:

SHEEHAN appears to be a fame and fortune Hunter. SHE has 20 world wide media forums a day: I have not heard one constructive comment from her or her supporters:
An anarchists dream come true:

Posted by: letty braegelmann at August 17, 2005 12:55 PM

Boy are you so wrong. This isn't about Cindy Sheehan's "right" to meet the president. She (and everyone else) have pointed out she has met him, in one of those hyper-phony group meetings that the administration construct. She wants an audience with him to face up to the cost of this war (and of course ALL wars) on HER terms, not the artifical ones manufactured by the GOP and its apologists.

And the "MSM" is so pro-Bush it's not funny, so don't even get started on that one.

But then you like Bush, so you're just can't help but be completely wrong on everything, can you? Christ, you and side are such an embarrasment to this country it makes me sick.

Posted by: Smarter Than You at August 17, 2005 01:05 PM

Great Blog site.
This woman is disgracing her Son's ultimate sacrafice for Her own "15 Minutes"

Posted by: Dawg at August 17, 2005 01:14 PM

Lousy blog site. Cindy is not disgracing her son, but you guys and your nonsensical arguments sure are a disgrace. What she's doing is great. You guys simply haven't a clue what's going on in the world. Oh, you watch FOX News....that explains it.

Posted by: Smarter Than You at August 17, 2005 01:27 PM

Whoever is writing this has not done his/her homework. The Declaration was written by a committee - not an individual - and published to the citizens of this country AND TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ADDRESSEE. Many years later, when Jefferson presented his papers as the US Ambassador to the Court of St James, he was snubbed by the King. Much as our own current King George snubs his own citizens. When has this man been willing to meet in a public forum in which all of the spectators have not been screened for loyalty to his screed? His public reason for going into Iraq was, pure and simple, WMD. He hasn't found what wasn't there which he had been told by the UN and American inspectors. So he switched to bringing Democracy to the region. But, as heinous as Saddam was, he was no threat to the US. By diverting troops and the war away from Afghanistan, which was a justifiable effort, he has allowed that country to slip back into feudalism with its newly established war lords. I feel sorry for you who can't think for yourselves.

Posted by: SG at August 17, 2005 01:29 PM

What an insult, there is no disgrace in wanting to understand why her son died.

Posted by: peace loveing mom at August 17, 2005 01:32 PM

Are you trying to make the case for NCLB?

Notably, the Founding Fathers did not find... does not sound as though I were saying one person wrote the Declaration, now does it?

Read the SOTU address. It is posted on the White House site: there were 3 reasons given for going to war. 3: count them. Re-writing history to suit your private agenda is difficult when the written record still exists, and contradicts you. But hey, don't let the facts hit you on your way out the door.

And he does not screen the families of the fallen, which you would know if you had bothered to read the Newsweek article linked to in my post.

Reading is fundamental: I highly recommend it.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 01:36 PM

You suck!

Posted by: Pat Putnam at August 17, 2005 01:36 PM

What have the Bush twins done to help the war effort? Are the drunken sluts still wasting the taxpayers money by having secret sevice agents follow them while they go on their drunken pub crawl?

Posted by: fortunate son at August 17, 2005 01:37 PM

I have to side with Smarter Than You and other progressive minded Americans who hate Bush more than they hate the guys who are sawing off heads in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan met with the president, yes, but she never got to ask him why he murdered her son, or why he enjoys beating up his wife. She has some hard questions for him this time - questions printed directly from the moveon.org website, and she wants real answers - also printed directly from the moveon.org website. Just a private meeting alone is all she wants: him, her, a few hundred journalists, and a large contingent of hysterical moveon.org members who will scream "LIAR" whenever Bush speaks, and be there to catch Cindy should she melodramatically swoon with grief. To end this illegal war and stop the killing, Sheehan has a list of demands for Bush, also printed out from the moveon.org website. First, he must immediately bring the troops home and cleanse the Muslim holy land of his Quran-mishandling kufr once and for all. Then he must remove every last Jew from Israel. Finally, he must promise an end to imperialist U.S. aggression abroad. Simple requests. But if the Shrub won't listen to Bin Laden, I doubt he'll listen to a poor grieving mother.

The problem with you cons is that you're bereft of compassion, which makes it all the harder to use your compassion against you. You're an embarassment to this country and those of us who constantly disparage it. I'm sick of you Cassandra! Not quite "Death with Dignity" sick, but pretty damn close!

Posted by: Liberal Larry at August 17, 2005 01:37 PM

You all should be ashamed. This country is going down the tubes and none of you see the light at the other end because there is none

Posted by: June Greene at August 17, 2005 01:39 PM

Ms. Sheehan's son died because he signed his name on the dotted line saying he would go to war if his country asked him to. He drew a paycheck for some time under this understanding, as many have.

They asked.

He went. If this surprises her, someone was not paying attention.

It is very sad, and I am sorry. I have not criticized her for grieving, but talking with the President is not going to add anything to this fundamental understanding of the facts.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 01:40 PM

Cindy!! Your died a hero for his country, honor him as one. He saw a job that needed to be done and undertook the task. Be proud of him, never forget him or his sacrifice. Keep his heroism alive through honor. Stop disgracing his deed to his country. As you hold your "vigil" remember it was the actions and sacrifices of your son and many other sons and daughters over generations that enable you to do so.

Posted by: Marine Daughter & Sister at August 17, 2005 01:42 PM

The writer of this column obviously has no clue of what it means to lose a loved one to a meaningless war. I would ask her or him if they have a child serving in it. And would they join the troops since they are backers of the war. Supporters of the war are all talk and no action. Nothing but words from them. Ask them if they or if their child or loved one would join and they say the same bullshit. "Uh, well, I am getting educated at so and so University, I can't". Supporters of the war only go as far as words. They express their support through their mouths, but nothing else such as the writer of this absurd pro-war argument. It's such a crock coming from them.

Posted by: practiced_bravado at August 17, 2005 01:43 PM

Larry, you have convinced me.

I am ashamed of myself. I am going to the next immediately room to seek death with dignity - preferably by ingesting large quantities of medicinal alcoholic beverages. I've heard this can be extremely painful, but I deserve to die that way for my war-mongering, hegemonistic ways.

Sigh...

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 01:44 PM

It just saddens me to know that this young man fought for his country to only have is mother act in the way that she is. Is she not proud of him? I am grateful to have men and women fighting for our country so we can live the freedom we live. Sheehan wants us to pull out of Iraq after all her son has done I just don’t understand.

Posted by: Denise at August 17, 2005 01:48 PM

Wrong,wrong,wrong...George Bush is not the Pope; you don't have an "audience" with him,you talk to him. Or at him, as the case may be. For the record, I am not a perimenupausal woman,and I have no family involved in the war in Iraq. I am a VietNam veteran who opposes this war.
And yes, every citizen has a right to speak with the leader of our country; that is a fundamental right given to us; that is why we are the leader of the free world. We have the right to protest what our government does. The President DOES owe every citizen of this great country an explanation of his policies. We have the right to demand the truth about what our leaders do.The last time I checked, we weren't living in Stalinist Russia.
Unfortunately, George Bush wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the ass. He refuses to admit his mistakes; as far as he is concerned, he can do no wrong. He has lied and lied again about his reasons for getting us into this unjust war. He lied about his own service, and how he dodged the draft in the 70s. He thinks that he is God, playing chicken with our young people's lives. He chooses his truths selectively and his sympathy is well-rehearsed. THERE IS NO REASON FOR US TO BE IN IRAQ. He only wanted to avenge Saddam's threat against his father. GEORGE BUSH IS A LIAR AND A CHEAT WHO HAS NO SCRUPLES. We absolutely have the right to know why our president lies to us and does the things he does. And you, Company, are truly villainous, and ignorant of the rights we as Americans hold sacred. No wonder you are such a firm supporter of his.You are cut from the same cloth.
If you really think that Bush doesn't owe us anything and that he is absolutely right in what he is doing, then I ask you - why aren't YOU over there, supporting Bush's lies? Maybe you could save another innocent life, be it American or Iraqi, by giving up yours?
BTW, I do, absolutely, support our troops; I just don't support our lying President. He doesn't deserve to walk in the footsteps of Lincoln, FDR, Reagan, MacArthur and all those who have made our country great.
We are paying obscenely high prices for gas right now; do you understand why? Because George Bush wants to make sure he and his oily buddies stay wealthy while the rest of us drown in debt. How many millions of us have no health care? Because George Bush doesn't want to upset the apple cart of his wealthy friends. He is making a mockery of our Constitution and hurting his own people because he can't stand the truth of his policies and doesn't care about anyone but himself and his slimy friends.Perhaps you should check your family tree; are you sure you aren't related to Adolph Hitler?

BTW, I voted for Bush in 2000. I didn't make the same mistake in 2004.
God Bless America. Bring our troops home NOW!

Posted by: Kate at August 17, 2005 01:55 PM

Yep Cassandra. You're all talk and no action. Why, I bet you'd even call 9-11 if your house was burning down. Sure, it's fine for you to send someone else's child off to risk their lives to put out your illegal and unsanctioned by France house fire, but I sure don't see you joining the fire department. You claim to support the troops, yet you refuse to call for their immediate retreat and are constantly reluctant to demonize them. Uneducated neocon illogic at it's finest.

Cindy lost a son in Iraq, which means she can propagandize for the enemy and remain immune to all criticism from the likes of you. Likewise, I lost a great uncle at Iwo Jima, which makes me an authority on World War 2. So I'll be damned if I sit here and let someone who has never lost a loved one to the horrors of war call me a "limp-wristed collaborator" because I side with the enemy in any American military action ordered by a Republican president.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at August 17, 2005 01:59 PM

Well Kate, the Supreme Court disagrees with you, but hey, don't let that stop you.

And we'll just suspend normal government operations, increase the size of the Secret Service and allow each and every citizen who has something on their mind to take up the President's time to sit around and chew the fat all day.

Heck... the man has nothing else to do, does he?

If you set aside your feeling for a few seconds and think through this logically, you'll see just how silly this really is. There is no way the man has time to meet with every Tom, Dick, and Kate who disagrees with his policies, and that is exactly what you are proposing they have a "right" to do.

Where do you draw the line?

Explain that one to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 02:02 PM

Hm. We are paying obscenely high prices for gas because some refineries shut down after running at 95% capacity. Check with OPEC and your basic law of supply and demand econ 101 list via Adam Smith.

When North Sea Oil began production in the early 90s, gas dropped from a dollar a gallon to about 85-99 cents a gallon. Their supply glutted the market and dropped the price of crude. OPEC got
them to cut back production and prices went up again.

Check with your taxman about the nearly 1/3 of the sticker price being solely local taxes for the use of the road.

When we lived in Germany, gas was 2.50 a gallon on the economy and we had to pay a toll fee to the Swiss government to drive in Switzerland. Supposedly gas over there is more expensive and as a good little liberal, shouldn't you be glad of the opportunity we have to pay what the EU does?

After all, we have the most of everything.

About Saddam: He violated sanctions. He had proven links to Al-Qaeda.

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 02:08 PM

Thank you Kate, my feelings exactly

Posted by: peace loving mom at August 17, 2005 02:09 PM

Peace at any price means slavery. The settlers on the Gaza strip are moving and this may cost the Israeli prime minister his office because he ordered it for the sake of peace.

Gaza has nothing. The Palestinians there have vowed that the Israeli withdrawal is only the beginning, which to me, given the history of Palestinian greed and self righteousness means that no matter what, they will never be pacified until Israel no longer exists, or any other state that disagrees with them.

That would also include America.

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 02:12 PM

I am on your side cindy!!! I have a 23 yr old brother that was in Afganistan for 2 yrs...he came home though...thank god! I'm so sorry for your loss.. wish I could be there w/ all of you to support you! I'm praying for you........
*in my heart*
Trina

Posted by: Trina Rene'e at August 17, 2005 02:19 PM

If I were the Sheehan woman, in the middle of the night, I'd walk down to the end of the road and knock down his big ol' RFD mailbox, take a big fat dump in it, and leave the red flag up with a roll of Charmin hanging on it. "Candygram for Mongo!" That would get his saddle blazing.

42

Posted by: fortytwo at August 17, 2005 02:20 PM

If the lunatic really expects a personal meeting with Bush, why did she show up with a band of goons in a bus with Impeachment Tour on the side of it....Some wacko shows up at the front door of my business with a banner that says "I'm gonna put you out of business"...I'm not gonna' talk to them or listen to them, I'm gonna' shoot at them.

Posted by: Jeff at August 17, 2005 02:23 PM

Bill Clinton certainly had no problem meeting with ordinary citizens to discuss the issues of the day and, if time permitted, grope them. That's because he was a Man of the People who would drop everything, including his pants, for the little people. And while he may have been a little boisterous at times, at least no one ever died. At least, no one who didn't have it coming.

Ah, those were wonderous time, weren't they? The economy was booming, gas cost about 3 cents a gallon, and so-called terrorists were little more than flight students, too busy learning how to fly commercial aircraft to bother with planning attacks. Now, five years later, the Bill of Rights has been destroyed, the environment has gone to crap, France hates us, and there are Christians in position of power. If the decibel level of my hysterical screeching is any indication, then America has turned into a living hell.

Posted by: Larry Chomstein [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2005 02:23 PM

Dear author of this blog, you said it best.
To the rest of you liberal minded people who think that the right wingers are insensitive, couple of questions:
1. Who should have compassion on the weak?
2. Did Sheehan's son get paid well prior to Iraq's conflict?
3. Did GWB put a gun to his head and make him join the military?

Sheehan is getting her 15 minutes of fame at the expense OF her son and his sacrafice for our country. He knew the risks that where involved once enlisting in the military. Apartently mommy didn't, that's not anyone's fault but her own. If she wants to make a change in this country I would suggest a college degree and employment in government.....otherwise, go home

Posted by: rightstand at August 17, 2005 02:58 PM

Please describe for me, someone please.... what is meant by a "Cindy Sheehan brouhaha"

Cecil

Posted by: cecil Laughinhhouse at August 17, 2005 03:01 PM

Kate writes:

The President DOES owe every citizen of this great country an explanation of his policies. We have the right to demand the truth about what our leaders do.

But she has some explanations and truths of her own:

BTW, I do, absolutely, support our troops; I just don't support our lying President. He doesn't deserve to walk in the footsteps of Lincoln, FDR, Reagan, MacArthur and all those who have made our country great.
We are paying obscenely high prices for gas right now; do you understand why? Because George Bush wants to make sure he and his oily buddies stay wealthy while the rest of us drown in debt. How many millions of us have no health care? Because George Bush doesn't want to upset the apple cart of his wealthy friends. He is making a mockery of our Constitution and hurting his own people because he can't stand the truth of his policies and doesn't care about anyone but himself and his slimy friends.Perhaps you should check your family tree; are you sure you aren't related to Adolph Hitler?

Since you've got all the answers, Kate, perhaps you can share them with Cindy Sheehan. Heaven knows the Chimpler won't do it. At least she can then go home and grieve with her family in private. We can always find some other grieving mother with which to bludgeon King George McHalliburton.

Posted by: Tongueboy at August 17, 2005 03:05 PM

A "Cindy Sheehan brouhaha" would be what she herself described as "a media circus".

She is one bereaved mother with an opinion.

There is a link in my post to the opinions of many, many other bereaved parents who disagree with her. Very strongly.

What makes her opinion front-page news, and their opinions not important enough for the media to print?

Oh.... I forgot. They respected the decision their sons made. And they support the administration. So their opinions don't count.


Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 03:10 PM

You know, I sort of wondered how Clinton had such a firm grasp of the issues, but then it isn't hard to come to that conclusion when he employed that phatally good looking sweet tongued Monica. After that, his policies always seemed fallacious.

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 03:11 PM

Well Kate, the Supreme Court disagrees with you, but hey, don't let that stop you.

And we'll just suspend normal government operations, increase the size of the Secret Service and allow each and every citizen who has something on their mind to take up the President's time to sit around and chew the fat all day.

Cassandra, you'd almost think that's the idea. Hey, if Moses could get along without Aaron (until he got Aaron, that is), surely the Chimp-in-Chief can meet with 1,500 - 2,000 grieving mothers and any other oddlot assortment of citizens who show up at the ranch. @ 1 hour a piece (the amount of time Cindy Sheehan has demanded), those grieving mothers could tie up a shirker like Curious George for months on end. Cool, it's a two-fer: embarrass Lancelot Link for months on end AND impede an illegal and immoral war effort.

Oh wait, strike that last clause 'cause everybody knows ---

THEY SUPPORT THE TROOPS!!

and, that DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC!!

Posted by: Tongueboy at August 17, 2005 03:17 PM

i'd just like to point this out, the president, g w bush, has NEVER in his LIFE not to mention in his presidency, gone above and beyond the call of duty!!!!..a baseball analogy is in order here, georgie was born on 3rd base, and he thinks he got a triple!!!...

Posted by: fred at August 17, 2005 03:27 PM

What a circus! Cindy made her point weeks ago -she should go home, grieve and honor the memory of her son by doing something positive - move forward. Work and protest against the true villians - hunger, terror, disease, fanatics, murders, those who do not value human life, and the injustices going on throughout the world. What does she expect to hear in a meeting with the President? I actively support our troops. All of the soldiers I commuicate with know the risks, are proud of what they've done, and believe in what they're doing. Nothing is as simple as these activists would like to make it.

Posted by: Deanne at August 17, 2005 03:27 PM

I am honestly conflicted about this Sheehan woman. Somewhere inside me I look at her and I'm not sure what I see: she is a con job, tool of Michaelf Moore, raving, greiving Mom out of control, anti-war, Jane-Fonda-wannabe, Messianic star-grabber, somebody in love with the cameras, youngest, wildest, wild child in the family.
I don't know, she's one of them. She's embarassed her family to tears, they've disowned her, saying her son would have died of shame over what she's doing.
The mediae feed on her, blowing up an already wounded and fragile ego, sucking on her public grief, the story of the hour, sandwiched between Israel, airline crashes and that unfortunate teenager in Aruba, "film at eleven."
Meanwhile, the toll being taken is on - US. Feel your temperature being taken, America? Feel the tide being turned on Iraq, fellow citizens?
Of course you do. Guess who is doing it?

Posted by: roger fulton at August 17, 2005 03:31 PM

Cindy Sheehan has made a mockery of her son's death. His sacrifice is now overshadowed by her antics. She is NOT the only mother that has lost a son/daughter in Iraq and her comments are doing more harm than good - especially to the rest of our troops still there. Good thing there are no such things as ghosts. I think her son would tell her a thing or two about her behavior and her actions. This is war - people die; he knew it when he signed up. She has every right to mourn her son; but she has no right to spew her venom and diminish what our fighting soldiers are doing right now in Iraq. Did we learn nothing from the Vietnam era? Haven't we heard how those veterans felt about the protests & how harmful they were to their psyche & morale? She is selfish and unmindful of our soldier's feelings and of the feelings of their families as well. As far as meeting, again, with our president; he already met with her once. She is no more entitled to his time than any other mother. She needs to go home and get some grief counseling. But hey! Guess she is too busy enjoying her time in the spotlight too much for that.

Posted by: bynki at August 17, 2005 03:33 PM

This whole nonsense startes with Kristin Breitweiser and her 9/11 families group. We allowed them, in our deference for their grief, to have unprecedented access to government officials (and yeah, I know how odd that sounds) to the point that they were actually advising members of Congress on intelligence policy.

We even allowed them to turn a whole section of the 9/11 Commission gallery into a Wailing Wall. More than that, we let them practically run the Commission hearings. They had something to say about virtually ever witness and they said it live on television every night, as if they were an expert in intelligence, national defense, or independent commissions.

And from that has spawned this Sheehan - a horrible beast of an endless news story wholly-created by political opportunism and pimpery.

Posted by: Jimmie at August 17, 2005 03:34 PM

Deanne, I think that's what mystifies me most about this whole thing.

When you talk to the people who are closest to what is going on over there, who are doing the fighting, who are getting shot at and blown up and risking their lives and missing valuable time away from their wives and kids, and they support the President and understand what we are trying to do.

I've talked with guys who've been over there twice and can't wait to go again. And guys who don't have to go (Reservists) who are signing up to go. Just the other day I had a guy email me to try to get my husband to intercede with him because the military won't take him. He wants to do his part.

Go figure.

Then you talk to the media and the people who are sitting around in their comfy Barcoloungers and all they can do is complain. But just let there be another attack and they'll be the first ones to blame the military and the government.

It never fails.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 03:35 PM

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Frankly, we don't all have to agree. We should just RESPECT the opinion of others.

Mrs. Sheehan lost her son because of a lie. The United States of America went into Iraq because it firmly and infatically believed there were WMD hidden there. We have since found out from several independent agencies the weapons do not exist. Then the American public was told that we were in Iraq to liberate the Iraqi populace. We received this reason AFTER we were already in Iraq slaughtering their citizens in the name of liberating them.

Then Saddam Hussain was found and captured resulting in the ultimate liberation of the Iraqi people.

So where do we stand now, no weapons of mass destruction found, and Saddam Hussain captured. Why are we still in Iraq?

Because we were bamboozled and hoodwinked like always, and continue to be. Face it. This is Vietnam all over again, but worse. We have painted ourselves into a very small corner. There is no war to win. The country we should be at war with is considered our friend and will ultimately rise up against us one day. Why do I believe this? Because we are overly dependent on them.

And, while we are on the subject of a country rising up against us, has anyone noticed that the axis of evil are really and truly not afraid of the United States of America or the sanctions that may be imposed upon them by the United Nations. Why is this? Because, there is a very big market for nuclear weapons and the knowledge of how to make them.

Not Afraid to Look At Reality

Posted by: Caroline Westbrook at August 17, 2005 03:37 PM

Amen, Jimmie.

You've heard me rant about the Jersey girls.

I was lucky on 9/11. My husband was in the Pentagon, but he didn't die. But if he had, I pray to God I'd have had more grace than that.

My mother in law was approached by people who wanted her to join a class-action lawsuit for Agent Orange after my father in law died because he was a Vietnam vet and he spent so much time on the delta. She turned them down cold.

Some money you just don't need. He served his country proudly, and he would have rolled over in his grave if she'd done something like that.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 03:39 PM

Caroline, you are slandering every military person who is currently serving in Iraq right now.

I don't know what the heck you're reading or listening to, but you need to get better informed.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 03:43 PM

Someone mentioned how great some of our past presidents were. Don't you know they all lied to us? What the hell is the matter with you all? I'm a Korean what ever u call us. I didn't want go. I made it. I forgot the dumb president who got us into it. BUT I ain't going around crying about it. I think I have as much right to cry as a MOM. Yep, Bush ain't worth a shit. We Americans are. You all had better start worrying about illegal immigration! We can pack up our bags and come home from Iraq, right into the arms of "What the Hell has happened at home? Bush should be dragged out of the bunkhouse and tried for the lack of border control. Mom, get on your horse and leave Crawford!

Posted by: Gayle at August 17, 2005 03:50 PM

I find it interesting that you mention that Mr. Bush. ( I would hardly call him President as he has not acted in a manner befitting a true American President) has met with over 900 Families who have lost family members in the war. I did not realize that it was so many. The sad part is there should be no casualties as we would not be at war if it were not for our tyrannical leaders manipulations. He is killing more Americans than any terrorist has. I believe he and Saddam are entierely too much alike that is why he went to Iraq in the first place, He wanted to be the only absolute dickhead ruler who enjoys killing his consituents. Thay wanted to impeach Clinton for Oral sex yet they stand around with their thumbs up their asses while Mr. Bush pulls his stunts. This country is going to hell on a fast track and we need strong decisive, informed leadership to help fix Bush's major mess and get this country back where it belongs as one of the leading superpowers. Somebosy impeach that bastard please.

Posted by: GS at August 17, 2005 03:52 PM

Once Saddam was captured there was no longer a reason to be there?

Please, the first thing that sets up in a power vacuum is fascism, not democracy. If we let fascism set up we have only traded one dictator for another. It doesn't solve anything.

No democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy. EVER. You want to reduce global war and thus become safer? Increase the number of democracies in the world and reduce the number of dictatorships.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 03:54 PM

Open dialog comes from open minds.

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt

1.Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

2.Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in Fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

3.Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

4.Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a Fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

5.Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under Fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in Fascist nations.

6.Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in Fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

7.Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in Fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

8.Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a Fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

9.Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

10. Rampant Sexism - The governments of Fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under Fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

11.Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

12.Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

13.Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

14.Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in Fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the Fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each.

------------------

"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a Fascist dictatorship, or a parliamentarian, a communist dictatorship
...


Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." -- Hermann Goering.

"It is fortunate for the government that the people do not think." -- A. Hitler, Mein Kamph.

"The luxury of being a cynic is that 90% of the time you are right. The rest of the time you are delighted." -- George F. Will

42

Posted by: fortytwo at August 17, 2005 03:54 PM

Cassandra, Thank you for inserting the link in your blog to the other families' comments, i.e., the more than 900 families that the President met with. It's hard for me to read comments, like Caroline's, that imply something as simple as a "lie" is to blame for this war and the deaths of our soldiers. Sad to say, thats the simplicity of politics speaking. You're right, they sit home in their easy chairs and can't think beyond their TV sets. They complain about everything, the price of gas - when gas in this country has been at bargain prices for years... the inconvenience of security procedures - dah ... Thank you for your blog, it's right on....

Posted by: Deanne at August 17, 2005 04:02 PM

He is killing more Americans than any terrorist has.

Ummm... wrong.

First of all, Bush has killed NO Americans. 1700+ have died in the war.

3000 died on 9/11.
400,000 Iraqi dead are buried in mass graves in Iraq.

Learn to count. America has excellent community colleges if you need help.

Thay wanted to impeach Clinton for Oral sex

No, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice. Offenses for which he was later disbarred by the Supreme Court of the US and suspended by the state of Arkansas. They, unlike the Congress of the United States, applied the law.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 04:07 PM

Cassandra:

The same information available to me, is also available to you. One must have the courage to read it and accept it for what it really says. You, of course, are entitled to your opinion, however, please be more specific. Exactly what am I missinformed about? The tens of thousand of families that have been destroyed because of a lie.

Or, the lies the American people we told to get us to invade Iraq in the first place. Or, maybe its the fact that the American public, now more informed with real facts about Iraq are not signing up for the military. Rrecruitment is down something like 25 to 30%. You think the smell of the draft is in the air?

Or perhaps its the fact that the current President of the United States has the lowest approval rating of a re-elected President in almost twenty years. Could that be because he is doing such a bang up (excuse the pun) job?

This country was lied to in order to get our patriotic citizens to go over and wage war because of a vendetta, and also to get our grubby hands on its natural resources.

There are plenty of countries that have atrocities happening to its populace. Atrocities that have been going on for more than several decades. Why are we not there liberating those people? Could it have something to do with the fact that there "don't seem to be no oil in those hills."

Change Can Only Happen When You Face the Truth.

Posted by: Caroline Westbrook at August 17, 2005 04:07 PM

good one Masked Menace.... 42, sooo long ! don't have time to read the whole thing now... but some good quotes at the end. later...

Posted by: Deanne at August 17, 2005 04:09 PM

You say that Mr. President doesn't have time to sit down and talk with Cindy Sheehan...but I'm sure you wouldn't argue that he has time for 18 holes of golf every day? 20% of his presidency has been spent on vacation...that's more than any president.

Posted by: HugPuppies at August 17, 2005 04:11 PM

Cassandra, right on the money as usual. It is disconcerting to see how many uninformed and misinformed people there are, who buy into the, "Bush lied," BS. Sad.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 04:13 PM

She's got the right to say what she wants - whether her son was killed in Iraq or not. You have the right to think it's "shameful". And I have the right to think you're a moron if you do. That the media is choosing to shine the spotlight on her probably reflects their growing perception that opinion is changing in America, and that most Americans are now beginning to understand that the big winners of our Iraq misadventure were the Iranians and Iraqi Shiite Theocrats. Our kids and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died for nothing because, while Saddam is gone, something just as bad, if not worse is about to replace him. More than anything, I think Sheehan now wants an acknowledgement of the horrific error that was made, which led to her son's death, and which will take other peoples' sons and daughters lives (needlessly or perhaps uselessly), until we ultimately leave. She's not going to get it though, because she's dealing with a human being that is pathologically opposed to admitting a mistake. But that's the beauty of her stubborness...and why what she's doing is just so damn compelling.

As a side note, for all you liberal war hawks out there,

1) The Chinese are not our enemy, they are economic competitors, but should be encouraged to continue along their free-market path, which will ultimately (and hopefully) lead to a more open society.

2) The Iranians are not our enemies. As signers of the NPT, they have every right to process and develop nuclear fuel/technology for peaceful purposes, exactly like China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Israel, South Korea, and others. Even if they wanted to develop a nuclear bomb, they are at least a decade away according to a recent CIA report.

I can't stand you liberals that criticize Bush for invading Iraq on the one hand, and then talk about how we need to put more pressure on the other members of Bush's axis of evil, or even China for taking all our manufacturing jobs. You're a bunch of 'tards as well!

Posted by: Nathan Polackwich at August 17, 2005 04:15 PM

I would ask her or him if they have a child serving in it.

Well, in Cass's case, the answer is no to a "child" but yes the rest of the family, including her husband. They have served in most of our actions, dipshit.
***********************************************
And would they join the troops since they are backers of the war. Supporters of the war are all talk and no action. Nothing but words from them.

That is a nice standard, but you should of course realize that conservative people join the military more than liberals. So supporters of the war are typically what we have in the military. Also, "children" who join the military aren't children at all. They are adults. It isn't the parents decision to say "go" or "don't go." It is the soldiers.

Besides, what kind of standard is that? What does the "unsupporter" have to do? That's a pretty easy job. "So long as I don't support any war effort, I don't have join." Most of you said you supported Afganistan. Why didn't you join when we went there? Because you don't hold yourself to the same standard. So quit with the Chickenhawk stuff. You are the hypocrite not acting behind your own words.

But assuming you didn't support Afganistan either, if all supporters of the WOT, which includes Iraq, are obligated to join the military, then I want to know why all these Cindy supporters are here and not in Texas raising their protest signs. If you oppose the war, then get out there and be heard. Otherwise, you are enablers, you gutless hypocrites. Quit your jobs, if you have any, and get out there. Just like you expect of Cass and those that agree with her.

*********************************************
We are paying obscenely high prices for gas right now; do you understand why?

Adjusted for inflation, gas cost more in the early 1980's (about $3.03 then, in today's dollars). Why did it cost so much then?
*********************************************
Because George Bush wants to make sure he and his oily buddies stay wealthy while the rest of us drown in debt. How many millions of us have no health care? [Answer: Those not responsible enough to have any.] Because George Bush doesn't want to upset the apple cart of his wealthy friends.

Upset the apple cart? Anyway, if this analysis has merit, it seems to me that the smart thing to do is become a friend of George Bush, not an enemy. I keep calling to invite him to dinner, but he doesn't return my calls.
***********************************************
Perhaps you should check your family tree; are you sure you aren't related to Adolph Hitler?

Wow! A Hitler accusation. Pulling out the big guns. I mean, not guns. Guns are bad. Pulling out the big analogous persyns of history.
***********************************************
If Cindy gets her hour with the Pres., do I get an hour too? I want to complain about how timid our war mongering has been and how we are spending too much domestically for social programs that should go to tanks, bombs, guns and soldiers?

Posted by: KJ at August 17, 2005 04:17 PM

He is killing more Americans than any terrorist has.

Hmmm, less than 2000 soldiers have died so far, but we lost 3000 civilians to terrorism on 9-11, we lost 19 soldiers in the Khobar Towers, we lost 168 in the OK city Bombing, we lost 17 in the Cole bombing, we lost 213 in the US Embassy bombings in Kenya (I can go on if you like), not to mention any future attacks, but somehow Bush has killed more?

I believe he and Saddam are entierely too much alike that is why he went to Iraq in the first place,...

Really, show me the mass graves of people who have had the nerve to say something negative, show me the rape rooms, the jails, the national athletes who were whipped and beaten for losing. If Bush were the least like Saddam, you and your family would already be dead. (And I don't mean laughed at, scorned, insulted, or ignored. I mean tied to a post, bullet in the brain dead.)

Thay (sic) wanted to impeach Clinton for Oral sex

No he was impeached for perjury, a crime you and I would be in jail for regardless of the subject matter, and Clinton was disbarred for.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 04:19 PM

Let's be clear that we honor Casey Sheehan for his sacrifice in service to our country. We respect his courage to volunteer for the Army twice and to volunteer for the rescue mission where he was killed. Keep in mind that Casey was an adult when he decided to do these things, he didn't need his mother's blessing and it's doubtful she gave it.

It's appropriate to have sympathy for Cindy Sheehan due to her loss while disagreeing with her politics. But she doesn't deserve any kind of special treatment because of her "sacrifice", she didn't make a sacrifice, her son did.

Posted by: RWing Nut at August 17, 2005 04:21 PM

Cassandra,
Aren't you glad that you've got so much traffic today?
I think it's almost a full moon tonight. (whistling to myself and walking away)

Posted by: David at August 17, 2005 04:27 PM

There are plenty of countries that have atrocities happening to its populace. Atrocities that have been going on for more than several decades. Why are we not there liberating those people? Could it have something to do with the fact that there "don't seem to be no oil in those hills."

Just because you can't do everything doesn't mean you should do nothing. The police can't catch every criminal, should we abandon trying to catch the ones we can. You do what you can with what you have. Iraq is not the end all and be all. The transformation is Iraq has spurred transformations in Jordan, Egypt, and other places. Putting a solid democracy in the middle east could very well prevent the need to take military action in Iran, Syria, etc.

Besides, how in the helk would you even begin to build support for attacking Iran, North Korean, Syria, and others. We have barely begun (if at all) diplomatic efforts in those countries. The screaming of "Give Peace a Chance" would be even worse. Iraq on the other hand, we have been trying diplomacy unsuccesfully for over decade. Exactly how long were we supposed to ask "Pretty Please" while he shot at our planes.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 04:37 PM

The same information available to me, is also available to you. One must have the courage to read it and accept it for what it really says. Exactly what am I missinformed about? ... maybe its the fact that the American public, now more informed with real facts about Iraq are not signing up for the military. Rrecruitment is down something like 25 to 30%. You think the smell of the draft is in the air?

WTF??? What are you smoking? The Army is the only one of the services that has had any trouble making its numbers, and the Army has ALWAYS had trouble making its quotas. Which you would know if you knew anything about the military, which you don't:

... in May the Marines slightly exceeded their recruitment goal. The Air Force and Navy likewise met 100 percent of their requirements. The Army traditionally has had the hardest time meeting its targets, given the reputation — warranted or not — that the other branches offer more specialized training and skills that will better enhance civilian careers without the same level of risk as ground combat.

Second, the year is only half over. The Army may well rebound and meet its full 2005 quota, as nearly all branches of the active services (the Army and Air National Guard were exceptions) did in 2004. Much depends on whether the economy continues to improve and thus competes for high-school graduates, and whether the Iraqi military can take over its envisioned preponderant military role, keeping the insurgency out of the daily headlines.

By the way, last month the Army met its quota.

The active-duty Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are at or slightly ahead of their year-to-date goals, Whitman said. The Marine and Air Force reserves are also at their goals, but the Air National Guard is behind, Whitman said.
Whitman said the military is generally meeting its goals for retaining current soldiers. Officials credit that to a desire on the part of the troops to finish the mission of making Iraq a stable democracy.

Stop making stuff up.


Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 04:38 PM

And Nathan, FWIW, I have not said Ms. Sheehan's actions are "shameful". I have gone out of my way to say she is entitled to her opinion. I just don't think she is entitled to vent her spleen in front of the President, as a matter of law or a matter of right.

And that is simply my opinion. I have not criticized her in any way, shape, or form. I have criticized those who, IMO, are using her for their own ends.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 04:42 PM

The war is lost. Bush has now killed more U.S. troops than the Iraq freedom fighters have. He's also killed more innocent Iraqis than Saddam did, and more Japanese at Hiroshima than the Germans did at Pearl Harbor. yet no oje isd asking the important questions, like why weren't there any Jews in the World Trade Center on September 11? Why was Bush reading a book to a goat when New York burned? That fact is that if the Shrub had simply taken Saddam's word for it that he didn't have any weapons, then millions of innocent children would be alive today. Sure, Saddam was a bad guy, but so is Chuck Woolery. Why doesn't Bush bomb him? Because Chuck Woolery doesn't have any oil, that's why. Now, thanks to Bush's carefully pre-planned yet reckless rush to war, we now face the possibility of someone even worse taking Saddam's place - someone friendly to the U.S. and it's interests. Our only hope is to turn tail and flee in shame right now, so that we can blame Bush for the genocidal killing fields that are likely to spring up in our absence.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at August 17, 2005 04:43 PM

And if you really want to help solve the problems of starvation, human rights abuses and genocide/democide, then support the spread of democracy. You want to know why Africa starves? It's not for a lack of food, it's because their gov'ts are killing them as a tool of oppression. Food is available, but is being sent only to gov't supporters and blocked from all others. Africa doesn't need aid, they need guns so they can fight back.

No democracy has even suffered a famine, no democracy has ever waged war on another democracy. And yes, democracy has been instituted through force on several occasions. Some of them are called Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 04:47 PM

1.Obsession with National Security - Whatever.

2.Religion and Government are Intertwined - Uh, the most oppressive regimes in history (Mao, USSR, etc.) were atheistic. Whatever. And that is not the case in the US. There is less religious influence now than ever before. Just a few decades ago, there was prayer in schools, prayer before football games, prayer at graduation, creches on courthouses, Christmas on school calendars, etc etc. Now, none of that.

3.Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Patriotism is a virtue and a vice, and every country should promote its virtues. This is a meaningless statement.

4.Labor Power is Suppressed - Again, communist regimes started in part as labor revolts.

5.Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Most fascist regimes use police to cause fear. The people don't "overlook" aggressive police - they fear them. Wrong again. Certainly not a problem in the US.

6.Fraudulent Elections - Maybe. But this doesn't apply to the US either.


7.Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - National treasures have never been taken by US leaders for personal use. There is a political class, but it exists in every US administration. You think Clinton's cabinet was filled with first time govt. employees?

8.Corporate Power is Protected - Commies, the worst oppessors, don't have corporate power. They outlawed private business. Lousy finding.

9.Controlled Mass Media - Yes, very common. Never been the case in the US, including today.

10. Rampant Sexism - I love this: "divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed." Wrong. First, homosexuality has never been unsuppressed except in recent decades in ANY country. Divorce is not a virtue - it has never been encouraged. In many fascist countries, abortion is a tool. In others, it is suppressed. Either way, in America, it is everywhere on demand. And sex roles? Let's ask our female secretary of state about that one.

11.Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - This is called politics everywhere.

12.Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Heh. That is so much a problem in the US? The academics have been attacking the US for years.

13.Supremacy of the Military - I wish we would "neglect" our domestic agenda. As it is, domestic spending has grown faster under Bush than any other President. So we seem to have the opposite problem.

14.Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Yeah. I'm sure panties on the head was Mussolini's favorite tactic.

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the Fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each.

Notice how he conveniently left out all the hard line Communist regimes, though many were certainly socialist. Wouldn't want the sample to interfere with the predetermined results, now would we Dr. Britt.

Posted by: KJ at August 17, 2005 04:50 PM

You are so right Larry, Saddam only killed those who were actually guilty of saying something bad about Saddam, or knowing someone who said something bad about Saddam, or looked at someone who said something bad about Saddam or just plain looked at Saddam or his family funny.

Posted by: Al-Sadr at August 17, 2005 04:54 PM

42:

Long on quotes and Fair Use, short on analysis. What in God's green acres are you talking about?

Posted by: Tongueboy at August 17, 2005 05:01 PM

SADDAM DIDN'T KILL THOSE PEOPLE!!!! Their heads just fell off! Spontaneous Human Decapitation is a serious problem in Iraq and other countries impoverished by acts of U.S. globalist hegemony. Scientists believe it stems from a vitamin defiency, a by-product of all the baby milk factories Bush has destroyed. Besides, even if Saddam sometimes flew off the handle and gassed a few thousand people, he was a generous member of the international community who knew where to send the bribes. In contrast, Slobodan Miloslovic was a cheap bastard who wouldn't even tip his French barber. He therefore deserved to be ousted, no matter how many apartment complexes full of innocents Clinton had to bomb to make it happen. These stupid neocons would realize this if they stopped listening to Pillpopper Limbaugh and watching Faux News with Pat Robertson.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at August 17, 2005 05:06 PM

Masked Menace - Our planes didn't have to be there in the first place.

Oh, yeah, that's quite a "solid democracy" Iraq's got going there! Gonna do wonders for the rest of the Middle East! Generalized Sunni/Shiite war, and/or Islamic radicals overthrowing repressive governments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others, which we support...Terrific!

and Hitler was elected. So was Ho Chi Min. Democracies start wars all the time. In my mere 28 years, when hasn't America been fighting someone?

Cassandra - The quotas are being "met" because they're lowering the goal posts. The fact that our Reserves are so strained and that we're talking about 3rd tours of duty shows something's wrong.

Neither of you seem to have any inkling of the isolationist principles this country was founded on. Oh yeah, I know, 9/11 changed everything! Young Arab men are willing to fly planes into buildings because of our football, porn, and freedom. Nah, maybe there's something else going on.

John Quincy Adams said (I'm sure you've all seen this quote, but it's good to reread)

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.

Posted by: Nathan Polackwich at August 17, 2005 05:06 PM

You know, if Ms. Sheehan wants to be heard, then let her do it the old fashioned way: Sue Bush. End of story.

Posted by: The Snarky One at August 17, 2005 05:08 PM

Oh, I get it, 42! You are trying to imply that the U.S. is becoming or already is fascistic because of the stupid rubes who avoided your sage advice and, thoroughly outnumbering those with the gnostic knowledge of the Smirking Chimp's evil plans for world domination, voted that Lancelot Link look-a-like into the White House and shudder into possession of nuclear launch codes.

Yeah, I'm with ya' pal. Need a word of advice: do you use Regular or Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap?

Posted by: Tongueboy at August 17, 2005 05:08 PM

SADDAM DIDN'T KILL THOSE PEOPLE!!!! Their heads just fell off! Spontaneous Human Decapitation is a serious problem in Iraq and other countries impoverished by acts of U.S. globalist hegemony.... These stupid neocons would realize this if they stopped listening to Pillpopper Limbaugh and watching Faux News with Pat Robertson.

Well actually Larry there is evidence that our noble but murdering troops (who we totally support anyway) committed horrendous Nazi-like atrocities against Saddam... like piping in hours of Christina Aguilera music and taped shows of The Bill O'Reilly Show on The Fox Channel ... Honestly, who can blame Saddam for being a tad bit testy?

The Twig clearly provoked him into putting all those Iraqi women and children into mass graves. And anyway, he was just putting them out of their misery anyway. If they'd had any sense they wouldn't have been living in the desert.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 05:16 PM

Germany was not democratic when it started WWII. Hitler had stripped all power from the legislature and assumed a dictorial power position.

"Our planes didn't have to be there"? Hahahahahahaha. Yeah, we could have just let them invade Kuwait (ever hear about what Iraq did to the Kuwait people), then someone else - probably Saudi Arabia. Or we could do what the UN asked us to -- enforce a no fly zone.

I though the Left was in favor of "containing" Saddam. That meant our planes had to be there.

Posted by: KJ at August 17, 2005 05:18 PM

Nathan's rants proves the ancient Chinese proverb:

"Liberals think Conservatives are evil. Conservatives think Liberals are stupid. Everybody thinks Paleoconservatives are too over-the-top, godawful, ostrich stupid to be evil."

Posted by: Tongueboy at August 17, 2005 05:19 PM

Proves? Prove...

Posted by: Tongueboy at August 17, 2005 05:19 PM

KJ, exactly.

Stalin killed 42.7 million, Mao "only" killed 37.8 million and Hitler (not exactly religious either) killed 21 million. Chiang Kai-shek (don't know about religion here) at 10.2 million, Lenin (another atheist) at 4 million, and Tojo at 4 million round out the top 6.

Of the top 6 the atheists lead (giving benefit to the doubt about CHK and Tojo being religious) 84.5 Million slaughtered to 14.2 million.

Posted by: Masked Menace at August 17, 2005 05:21 PM

Nathan, you don't know what you're talking about. Talk about "lowering the goal posts..." the anti-war folks want a draft. THAT is lowering the goal posts about as far as they can be lowered.

In an age when terrorists can fly planes into buildings, destroy cities with suitcase bombs, and lob SCUD missiles from hundreds of miles away, it's pretty damn dumb to still be talking isolationist nonsense from the 1700's.

I hate to break this to you Nathan, but the geo-political situation has changed just a wee bit since 1776.

The Marine Corps is our oldest military service. They have protected America since Tun Tavern because they have changed and adapted with the times, but their morals, ethics, and discipline have not. I believe even John Adams would agree with that statement.

You place your trust where you will.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 05:24 PM

TO DENISE - I AGREE ALL THE WAY WITH WHAT YOU WROTE - YOU SAID IT ALL IN A NUTSHELL AND NO TRUER WORDS COULD HAVE BEEN SAID - YES BUSH WANTS TO BE THE ADOLPH HITLER OF THE WORLD NOW - TRYING TO PROVE WHAT POINT? YES LIED ABOUT HIS SERVICE AND BEING A DRAFT DODGER. HIS SECOND TERM IS WORSE THAN HIS FIRST AND THE UNITED STATES IS GOING DOWN THE TUBES BECAUSE OF HIM. HE IS GETTING RICHER AND CHENEY TOO.NOTICE THAT HE NEVER GAVE BACK ANY OF THE MONEY THAT ENRON GAVE FOR HIS CAMPAIGN - HE SHOULD GIVE THIS BACK TO THE EMPLOYEES THAT LOST EVERYTHING - CALLS HIMSELF A GOOD CHRISTIAN AND A MAN OF GOD - HE IS NOTHING BUT THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE AND THE ADOLPH HITLER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. HOPE HIS IDIOT BROTHER JEB DOES NOT RUN NEXT - WHAT A WORLD IT WILL BE THEN. GREAT ARTICLE DENISE - BEST ON THE SITE

Posted by: elizabeth at August 17, 2005 05:27 PM

KJ, not only was Germany not a democracy at the start of WWII, Hitler wasn't even elected.


First, Hitler was never elected. He ran in two national elections in 1932. In the first, he got 30 percent of the vote, and no one got a majority. In the resulting runoff election, he increased his votes to 37 percent, while his opponent, World War I hero Field Marshall Hindenburg, got a majority. And since the Nazi party won 230 seats out of 608 in the Reichstag, it did not have the majority to make Hitler Chancellor.

So how did this happen? By backroom backstabbing, double-crossing, threats, and promises, including among former Chancellor Franz von Papen, present Chancellor Lieutenant General Kurt von Schleicher, and the elected President Hindenburg.

Planes didn't have to be there? Sure, who cares if Saddam slaughtered the Kurds. He should have the right to slaughter his own people. I mean, come on, they're just a bunch of brown skins after all, right?

Posted by: Masked Menace at August 17, 2005 05:38 PM

Elizabeth, the Caps Lock is just to the left of your left hand.

Try to stick to facts and leave the ad hominems and insults behind.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 05:41 PM

Again with the Hitler references?

As cited above, Hitler killed 21 million people, how many has Bush killed again?

And don't even think of citing the 100,000 number. That number was the midpoint of a estimate that ranged from about 8000 to 198000. If I told you someone was going to win between 4% and 96% of the vote you say something was wrong with my sample. It's the same thing here.

Posted by: Masked Menace - Your friendly neighborhood sadistics major at August 17, 2005 05:44 PM

Let's see, "Bush lied," and, "Bush was a draft-dodger." Clinton is God, Bush is the devil, and Al Gore is the rightful President of the United States.

Military recruiting is down, and we are going to have a draft.

Bush is Hitler, based on 14, "points." (which don't have any basis in reality)

Therefore, President Bush is obligated to meet with Cindy Sheehan, to answer her MoveOn.org pilfered questions????

Have I got all this straight, so far?

I'm sorry, but the topic of this thread was not whether anyone agrees with what Sheehan is saying. The topic of this thread is not whether Sheehan has a right to say what she is saying. The topic of this thread is not whether the war is justified. The topic of this thread IS: "Does she have a right to demand a meeting with the President of the United States?"

Clearly, Cassandra made an excellent case that the President of the United States is NOT OBLIGATED to provide a meeting with every U.S. citizen who has, "questions," about his policies. Period.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 05:47 PM

HAY CASSIE U DONT KNOW WAHT UR TALKING ABOUT EVERY-1 KNOWS BUSH LIED PEOPOLE DIED!!!!!!!
AND. I KNOW THE IRAQ WAR WAS WRONG CUZ I READ IT AT THAT IRAQ war wrong blog!!! and larry i love ur sight to!!!
cant we all just get allong?! x-ept u CASS AND U OTHER "NEO" "CONS" U REMIND ME OF THAT MORRON CHARELS KRATUHAMMER AND THOSE OTHER "NEO" CONS FUNDIE'S LIKE BILL KRYSTAL AND JERRY FALLWELL!!! AND DON'T FORGET HITLER!!! U PROBABLY THINK THE WHOLE WAR IS ABOUT MOSLEM TERRORRISTS BUT THE TRUTH! IS ITS ALL ABOUT MAKING THE NEO CONS RICH AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER!! U SHOULD READ ALEX JONES AND GET A CLUE!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!!
http://www.infowars.com/
AND LARRY'S SIGHT TOO!!!! AND MAYBE U WILL LEARN SOEMTHING 4 A CHANGE!!! U POEPLE MAKE ME SO MAD I WANT 2 MOVE 2 ARRUBA WHERE ITS SAFER!!!!!

ROCK ON CINDY SHEEHEN FIGHT THE POWER GRRRL!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!!! at August 17, 2005 05:48 PM

Godwin's Law in action.

It's poultry in motion :)

And that 8000 to 198000 weren't all killed by our troops, by the way. Just a technical point. But it matters, you know.

And then there's the entirely 'trivial' point of how many were starving under the UN's enlightened Oil for Food sanctions and Saddam's reign, where Amnesty International's reports had Saddam as one of the world's worst human rights abusers. And that was BEFORE they found out about the mass graves.

But hey... who's counting? What's 400,000 dead Iraqis here and there.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 05:49 PM

You mean I can't meet with him to discuss my seatbelt ticket due to the federal gov'ts funding restrictions?

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 05:50 PM

sorry about the cap's i always forget 2 look b4 i post my blog!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 05:51 PM

It's kind of scary when I have trouble distinguishing between Larry's posts, and the posts of these kool-aid drinkers.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 05:52 PM

they were not "starving" and that UN "oli for food: thing is bullshit proppoganda from the zionist new world order and u no it!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 05:53 PM

Beulah darlin'

Did you forget your meds again, grrrl? I'm startin' to long for death with dignity again...

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 05:54 PM

no u can't meet with DEAR LEADER menace b-cuz Der Bushitler doesnt' have time 4 YOU!!! hes to busy with the zionist pigs!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 05:55 PM

i aint ur darlin darlin

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 05:56 PM

cuz u r a NEOCON FUNDIE!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 05:56 PM

Hmmm... face the truth. I hear that a lot.

Well, the truth is, there is a war going on out there. Some say that its an unethical war, an immoral war. I don't know if that's true or not. War tends to not be the kindest of endeavers as it leaves people dead, dying, and grieving. Its a terrible solution, but a needed one.

The war that we are fighting is not necessarily the War in Iraq that everyone is so focused on. That is only the theater of battle. And I for one would much rather that it be fought there and not here in the streets of America. Not, that I have anything against those brave folks of Iraq, nor do I take delight that it must be fought at all.

The war we are fighting is one against radicalism and fanaticism. The type that flies airplanes into skyscrapers. The type that cannot be reasoned with. The type that is very very dangerous. It just so happens that this time its with certain institutions that subscribe to a destructive Muslim bent. Next time, it may be with Communist China or North Korea. Or maybe, and I hope it never comes to this, it may be with ourselves. The type of folks that feel they need to blow up a Federal Building to make a point.

Now, while I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan for her loss, I feel it is a indicator of the understanding that people have about what is going on. Compassion is good. I have loads of it. It saddens me every time I read about another death. It saddens me that Mrs. Sheehan has lost her son. But... having compassion about these things does not make any of that other stuff go away.

Should we leave Iraq, as Mrs. Sheehan wishes, and ignore the threat, the war will not end. Instead, it will only disappear from view until we find it on our doorstep. Or on Europe's doorstep. As it is now, they are doing what they can to combat terrorism in the safest way they know how. And that means, making change in places that are the easiest to make change in and hope that puts pressure on those places where it is more difficult.

So... all the other anti-war arguments, I sadly don't buy it. War for oil? It may be. But, that doesn't make much sense given technology nowadays. In the next ten years, we should be moving away from gas. Hopefully. How about us taking the high moral ground? Well, yes. I'd like to do that. In the perfect world, we can all take the high ground and agree to disagree so that we won't have to kill each other anymore. But, this isn't the perfect world. Sadly, there are those that wish to destroy you not because of what you say, but because of what you believe... or even worse because of what they believe.

Anyways... In the perfect world, I would applaud Mrs. Sheehan. Reminiscent of the old days when people could walk up to the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue. In the perfect world, I would ask why we're not taking on every bad regime and injustice out there, even though we are just one country with limited resources. In the perfect world, the only wars we'd have would be thumbwars. But, sadly, its not. And what she's doing, and what she's making a big deal to ask, isn't the solution.

Posted by: ceramic at August 17, 2005 05:58 PM

You make me spit my drink out one more time wommyn and I'm going to have to larn' you some manners...

Heh.


You mean I can't meet with him to discuss my seatbelt ticket due to the federal gov'ts funding restrictions?

Well helk. I've been meaning to discuss my tax bill with him for some time now. I think I'll take a stroll down to Pennsylvania Avenue and see if old W wants to have a brewski while we hash things out.

I'm sure we can come to some kind of understanding.

I know mah rahts.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 05:59 PM

The topic of this thread IS: "Does she have a right to demand a meeting with the President of the United States?"
Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 05:47 PM

JANNYMAE ! yes its freedom of speech!!! she cn demand a meeting with anyone she want's!!! dont u no its a constitutional right!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 06:00 PM

Cass, not only does it not distinguish who killed them it also doesn't distinguish between whether they were innocent civilians or if they were (illegal) enemy combatants. A guy shooting an RPG at a tank isn't exactly a "civilian".

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:01 PM

ya it is ur right !!! u should go tell him about ur tax bill b-cuz u are not paying ENOUHG!!!! GREEDY aint helpin the workin poeple like me and u probably wanna keep all ur money 2 ur self so u can pay ur BROWN MAID'S!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 06:03 PM

Is President Bush obligated to meet that demand?

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 06:04 PM

YA!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 06:04 PM

"ridiculous notion that the President of the United States owes this woman a personal audience."

I thought that public officials not only worked for we the people but were accountable to the people also.
President Bush can use the miltary for purposes that at best are still "we will stay the course" and "complete the mission" without defining either the course or the mission.
Is it the sign of a moral, ethical and simply decent leader to turn a blind eye to the mother of a slain soldier? Is a small momnet of this mans time while on yet another "vaction" to difficult or is it that he simply doesnt care.
The only thing left for our new "King George" is for him to say "let them eat cake"

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:04 PM

One of my favorite quotes:
War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over. - William T. Sherman

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:05 PM

What was that? Brown maids? Who has brown maids nowadays anyways. Mine are all mechanical. Dish washer... dryer... vacuum. A few of them are brown, I suppose.

Posted by: ceramic at August 17, 2005 06:06 PM

So, Nick, everyone who wants a personal audience with the president, ought to be granted one? How utterly absurd your logic is. I'm saddened that you Bush haters will defend any behavior to satisfy your hatred.

I'm afraid that your assertions that the course and the mission have not been defined, show how ignorant you are. Have you not been paying attention for the last four years? I guess not.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 06:08 PM

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.TEDDY ROOSEVELT
Was he Wrong?

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:11 PM

Who said that Nick?

Do you almost make up arguments and then refute them? You must be a source of endless amusement to yourself.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 06:14 PM

JannyMae "So, Nick, everyone who wants a personal audience with the president, ought to be granted one?"

The President is accountable to "we the people"
and a mother father or family who has lost someone goes to the front of the line.

The President has time to take a vaction and golf then he has time for this woman and every one of the families that have lsot someone.

Are these the actions of a strong and resolute leader or the actions of one that thinks he is above those that he serves

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:15 PM

I thought that public officials not only worked for we the people but were accountable to the people also.

Yep, they are. At the ballot box. But also notice it says *we* the people, not *I* a member of the people.

Is it the sign of a moral, ethical and simply decent leader to turn a blind eye to the mother of a slain soldier?
And how exactly do you propose to do that with all of them? If he met with her, but didn't with the next one would you beat him up for that as well. Lot's of soldiers have died over the years some in combat some not in combat the President doesn't have the time for them all. Even if you take just the 1800 or so, for an hour each, 16 hours a day it'd take almost 4 months to see every one. A third of a year! Yep, no problem with time there.

And if you think that Bush's "vacations" means he's more than 5 minutes from the job you're nuts. I go to the beach and I leave my job behind. Bush goes to Crawford and everything goes with him.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:16 PM

Cassandra. Teddy Roosevelt said that quote and simply the question is was he wrong. Simpler I cant make it

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:17 PM

That's silly, Nick. Of course we criticize the President. He's a public figure. He's supposed to be criticized because everything he does is scrutinized. Even watching the man gives me the willies and makes me want to shake my head.

But in this, the 'War on Terror', I do stand with him. It may be a patriotic thing to do, but that doesn't mean its the reason why I think it ought to be done. Just a nice little bonus.

Posted by: ceramic at August 17, 2005 06:19 PM

What has America come to when the mother of a slain soldier is turned a blind eye by the leader of this nation and people defend the actions because he's "too busy".
Not too busy for photo ops on the ranch and not to busy to take the most vaction time of the last 5 presidents.

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:20 PM

No he's not wrong, but no one here is saying that it is.

Also keep in mind that saying there should be no criticism isn't the same as saying that all criticism is valid.

Just as you have a right to say Bush is wrong/dumb/Hitler, I have a right to say that you are.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:20 PM

ceramic being in favor of the "war on terror" is fine. agreeing with the method thats being used to fight it is another.

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:22 PM

Sure. Anyone can armchair general a war, Nick. Even me. I really personally don't know what to do about this stuff... but given the reasons that I've read and heard about, it seems that what the President and his staff are doing works. All the other reasons to not be in Iraq or proceed with a 'War on Terror' make no sense.

Posted by: ceramic at August 17, 2005 06:26 PM

Masked Menace "Just as you have a right to say Bush is wrong/dumb/Hitler"

Never said Bush was any of those things.
This is not the leadership of a moral man just an arrogant one who feels he is above the people he is supposed to serve.
And the part I really don't get is how many defend these actions

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:27 PM

Nick is one of those people who will keep shifting the argument so that no one can ever win. He still has not answered my question.

He is forcing me to defend a position I did not stake out. I never said no one can criticize the President, and Cindy Sheehan HAS BEEN CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT 24/7 ON THE FRONT PAGES OF EVERY NEWSPAPER IN THIS COUNTRY.

So it's an ignorant question. She is doing exactly what Roosevelt says she should be able to do.

Nick wants me to defend the ridiculous position that an elected official should have to stop everything EVERY SINGLE TIME ONE OF HIS CONSTITUENTS WANTS TO COMPLAIN so they can jawbone away.

OK Nick. There are literally MILLIONS of people in the US.

And Nick wants to change the laws of the United States WITHOUT ANY VOTES to make this happen.

Sounds... hmmm... kind of like what happens in countries with dictators. In democracies, we follow the rule of law unless enough VOTERS agree to change the laws.

But Nick doesn't like that because his emotions are in control, not his mind. He wants to spout quotes from Teddy.

Bully for him.
You do the math.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 06:29 PM

Well, you think it's arrogant and immoral not to meet with her. I just think it's pointless to meet with her.
So sue me that I don't get upset about it.

And as I said, a third of a friggin' year isn't a few rounds of golf, the gov't follows W while he's "on vacation". The only difference between him being "on the job" and "on vacation" is his location.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:32 PM

I, too, support this illegal and immoral war on terror. I just think it should be fought differently. For starters, we can turn tail and run from Iraq and Aghanistan. And I agree with John Kerry's assessment that the main front for the War on Terror is not in the Middle East, but right here at home. Instead of wasting money on guns and smart bombs that only kill people, we should shore up our first line of defense by giving firefighter unions the tools they need to pull our mangled bodies from large piles of smoldering rubble. Then we should ratify Kyoto so no more innocent children die in tsunamis and other Bush-caused natural disasters. Most importantly, we must legalize marijuana so that America's glaucoma sufferers will no longer spend their finals days in a mellow-harshing Abu Ghraib of darkness.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at August 17, 2005 06:34 PM

Cassandra "Nick wants me to defend the ridiculous position that an elected official should have to stop everything EVERY SINGLE TIME ONE OF HIS CONSTITUENTS WANTS TO COMPLAIN"
How about just this one the one right outside his door is that asking too much?
"And Nick wants to change the laws of the United States"
What law is that? Are there now laws about what citizens the president should or should not talk too?

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:34 PM

Anyway, Nick needs to pick up a book sometime and read a few presidential biographies. I suggest you start with FDR. Or Teddy. Who loved sports and spent literally hours and hours playing games, hunting, fishing, etc.

FDR used to spend ENTIRE SUMMERS up at his summer place. Try reading about his "schedule" sometime, Nick. The guy quit work at 4 pm for drinkie-poos with his girlfriend and buddies.

He didn't even bother attending the last DNC convention - the Dems were furious. But the guy got his work done, and that's what counts.

Grow up.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 06:36 PM

Masked Menance "And as I said, a third of a friggin' year isn't a few rounds of golf, the gov't follows W while he's "on vacation".
For the amount of money we are spending on our chief executive balanced against the results we are geting if this man was in the private sector he would be unemployed

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:38 PM

But after he meets them and someone else shows up, should he meet with them too. And with the one after that, and the one after that. And what about the next one after that? 'Cause they'll always be a next one. Where should he draw the line, and would someone else just call him arrogant and immoral for not meeting with that person.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:39 PM

Yes, it IS asking too much.

Why just this one? Why her and not someone else?

Why does she get TWO meetings and some other parents haven't even had one?

You be the President and explain that to a parent of someone WHO ACTUALLY SUPPORTS YOU but hasn't even gotten a visit yet. Or try explaining it to a parent who has lost TWO children.

There is no purpose to this meeting. Bush knows she doesn't agree with him.

She knows why her son is dead.

She has already met with him once.

End of story.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 06:39 PM

Casandra your comment on past presidents proves a very very sad point.
The American people dont learn from history we jsut keep repeating the same mistakes

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:40 PM

For the amount of money we are spending on our chief executive balanced against the results we are geting if this man was in the private sector he would be unemployed

First, that's your opinion, I wouldn't fire him.

Second, What the helk does that have to do with what I said? Don't change the subject.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 06:43 PM


Nice sidestep of the question, Nick. Try again to answer it, please. Here, I'll reword it for you: "Should everyone who demands a personal audience with the president be granted one?"

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 06:43 PM

JannyMae: ""Should everyone who demands a personal audience with the president be granted one?"
Doesn't it depend on the reason? And is there a better reason than to if nothing else comfort the mother of a fallen soldier?
And here's my question. If after meeting with the President she has so many unanswered questions that she is willing to go to these lengths isn't it not possible that the President didnt communicate clearly to her what she wanted to know?
Where does the responsiblity of the president begin?

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:47 PM

Larry:
Illegal...? Not really.
Immoral...? Depends on who you ask. But, no. Still don't think so.

As for the rest of that stuff, man... I want some of what they're putting in your water. Would improve my humour.

Posted by: ceramic at August 17, 2005 06:48 PM

Is there any higher quality of leadership than showing compassion and understanding to the families of those fallen in war?
Who was it who said "is easy to give the order to attack when you yourself dont have to do the attacking.

Posted by: Nick4nCt at August 17, 2005 06:53 PM

"Doesn't it depend on the reason?" You still are answering the question with a question, huh, Nick?

Excuse me, but who says my reason is more valid than someone else's? Your argument is ridiculous, Nick, and you know it.

Wake up, Nick. Sheehan doesn't even really want to meet with President Bush. She has as much as said so. She wants to make a political statement. She's made it. This is not about her grief, it's about her hatred for George W. Bush. That you are too blind to see that, speaks volumes. She is, "demanding," answers to questions that have already been answered. That you, and she, can't see that, is also very sad.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 06:55 PM

JFK would say yes. He granted a personal audience to anyone that asked. He and Lee Harvey Oswald used to shoot the breeze in the Oval Office all the time. Bush goes on vacation while the world burns, and won't even allow a bereaved mother and a few hundred other raving lunatics camped out in front of his ranch ONE SINGLE HOUR to screech carefully-scripted sound bites at him so those fine young men sawing off human heads in Iraq will have fresh footage for their next recruitment video.

Posted by: Liberal Larry at August 17, 2005 06:56 PM

THIS ONE'S FOR YOU, BEULAH MAE, DARLIN'


It's all that I kin do to keep on tryin'
I get so tared of callin' out yer name...
I stand there just a-yellin, "Dubya, Dubya"
Every day, the same old tared re-frain.

Hell, you don't have to call me Cindy Sheehan
And you don't have to call me Charlie Pride.
You don't have to call me Merle Haggard, anymore.
Jes don't go and get on my fightin' side.

Coz I'll hang around as long as you will let me
And I never minded standin' in the rain.
I'll stand there just a-yellin, "Dubya! Dubya!"
But you never even call me by my name.

I've seen my mug a few times in the paper
I've seen it on local TV screen
But I don't think I'll ever view
1000 Pennsylvania Avenooooo
Until Sweet Jesus has his final judgment day.

I's asleep the day The Shrub came outta Crawford.
Almost missed my chance to nab that ornery cuss
Afore I got to the front porch t'let him have it
He got runned over by that durned Impeachment Bus!

So now I'll hang around as long as you will let me
Coz I never minded standin' in the rain.
I'll stand there just a-yellin, "Dubya, Dubya"
You never even called me, I wonder why you don't call me?
Why don't you ever call me by my name?


Posted by: David Allen Coe at August 17, 2005 07:01 PM

And is there a better reason than to if nothing else comfort the mother of a fallen soldier?

I could think of a hundred more pressing reasons myself.

Border Control
Port Security
Eradicating federal grants for "Male Homosexual Erotic Response to Lesbian Porn"
Strategies for routing the remaining insurgents
Pressuring Syria to stay away from Lebanon
Helping Isreal prevent another holocaust through being "pushed into the sea" by Hamas and Hezbollah
Shall I go on?

Second, it isn't about comfort for Casey's mother. If she is to be believed she got that last time. This is about her getting to makd a political statement.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 17, 2005 07:22 PM

Cindy, your son died because he signed on the dotted line to serve in the military. He was free, white and over the legal age. He was trained, he served and did his job and he was killed because of what he believed was the right thing to do.

Posted by: Cricket at August 17, 2005 07:22 PM

Our Hostess wrote:
Who said that Nick?


Do you almost make up arguments and then refute them? You must be a source of endless amusement to yourself.

No, Nick just doesn't like Strawmen and beats them up every chance he gets.

...otherwise. Woah. SOME people seem a bit... threatened by your words.

(Bush must see everyone who demands it? Oh goodie. I'll just hop in my car and make a quick drive over to Crawford... riiiiiight.)

(That reminds me: talk to my mother. Inform her that if I die before she does and she uses my death to make a hysterical attack against anyone, then she's so getting haunted by me.)

Posted by: Patrick Chester [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2005 07:25 PM

She can say whatever she wants, but she is not entitled to be free from criticism, nor is she entitled to an audience with the president. This is especially well said: Jonah Goldberg

Posted by: JannyMae at August 17, 2005 07:26 PM

You know... I hate to bring this up. That poem, which is a good one in my opinion, makes me feel even sorrier for Mrs. Sheehan. Bad enough that she loses her son... but then she goes and wastes her time. Of all things, on waiting.

Posted by: ceramic at August 17, 2005 07:26 PM

Have you been a perimenopausal woman yet,
Cassandra? If not, you will be...some day. Enjoy...

Posted by: CMooreCole at August 17, 2005 08:30 PM

Actually I am now.

That's why I didn't feel too bad about lobbing a bit of snark at them :)

Posted by: Cassandra at August 17, 2005 08:32 PM

Daaaaaaaaaam! Who opened the gate and let the moonbats out? LMAO!

I will address one point that someone of far superior intellect brought up though, about 3rd tours and lowering standards. I'll try to type real slowly so you guests can follow along!

Let's use my son as an example: he's been deployed four times. The second and fourth were mandatory. The first and third he volunteered for. Yes, he VOLUNTEERED for two tours. Yeah I know, he just did it 'cause he likes killing babies, mass murdering innocent civvies, and raping Iraqi women all in the name of Dubya but he volunteered nonetheless. Which is a wee bit more than our guests have offered methinks! ;-)

But you do have me confused. How can the upbeat in retention figures be considering "lowering" the standards? If they are being retained then they are qualified from the beginning of their enlistment. Plus four years of requals, MCI classes, field training, and there's always that standard lowering combat experience. Hmmmm! Or did you mean new recruits? 'Splain to me what standards have been lowered 'cause I just don't git it!

And Beulah? I need to party with you girl! ROTFLMAO!!

I need a shower. I feel so.......... dirty!

HEH! :-o

And for you Nick, you ol' quotemeister you, here's one of my favs dug out of the dark by Daniel over at Grim's Hall. Since you are so drawn to Teddy Roosevelt. Stern men with empires in their brains Nick. Think about it!

“All we can decide is whether we shall meet them in a way that will redound to the national credit, or whether we shall make of our dealings with these new problems a dark and shameful page in our history. To refuse to deal with them at all merely amounts to dealing with them badly. We have a given problem to solve. If we undertake the solution, there is, of course, always danger that we may not solve it aright; but to refuse to undertake the solution simply renders it certain that we cannot possibly solve it aright. The timid man, the lazy man, the man who distrusts his country, the over-civilized man, who has lost the great fighting, masterful virtues, the ignorant man, and the man of dull mind, whose soul is incapable of feeling the mighty lift that thrills "stern men with empires in their brains"—all these, of course, shrink from seeing the nation undertake its new duties;” - The Strenuous Life by Theodore Roosevelt.

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 17, 2005 09:21 PM

“...As WND [World net daily ] previously reported, it was after this first meeting with Bush last June that Cindy was less abrasive about the president, telling the Reporter of Vacaville, Calif., “I now know he’s sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis. I know he’s sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he’s a man of faith.”

She met him, she thought Bush was a nice man, the way she is acting now just confirms Cindy Sheehan needs professional help. Is it Alzheimer, drug use, or a head injury ?
Don't know, but she needs professional help.

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 17, 2005 09:29 PM

To KJ, Tongueboy, Masked Menace, Cassandra

Sorry, I gave no response to your clever retorts, as I was laying pavers/playing with the kids.

First, I feel terrible when bad things happen to anyone, anywhere (whether your brown, black, white, ugly, or have a fat ass), and the U.S. should do whatever it can to help from a humanitarian standpoint, as we have with the tsunami victims. But picking sides and dropping bombs is another matter - particularly when the matter doesn't concern us. We do not have the resources to be the world's policeman. This country was founded to stay the Hell out of the world's problems. Because we don't have the resources we can't do an effective job. Because we can't do an effective job, we'll only do more harm than good, as we're seeing day after day in Iraq.

The Hitler thing is semantics. Germany was a democracy when Hitler originally came to power. The Vietnamese did elect Ho Chi Min. True American style liberal democracy requires a lot more than a show of hands or purple fingers. The masses are not always right, as we've seen before, and are now seeing in Iraq (Shiite Theocracy and all).

I didn't mention the 100,000 killed number, but you clearly showed a lack of statistical understanding when you site your 4%-96% figure, Cassandra.

This statistical survey is a bell curve. The number could be anywhere from I don't know 5,000 to 200,000. But the extreme numbers on either end have a very low probability of occurrence, while the peak number (100,000) is the highest probability. Otherwise I don't know whether the Lancet's methodology was correct, which is why I don't site the 100,000 figure, but rather "tens of thousands of Iraqis."

John Quincy Adams gave his "monsters" speach in 1821, and things are always "different this time." It seems to me you're cherry picking the founders' ideals that suit your purposes.

Finally, I ain't on the left. I'm a gun owner, anti affirmative action, anti welfare, and pretty much anti-state (which is totally contrary to the lefts' socialist ideals). I frankly think both the left and the right in this country suck ass, though I'm more of a Pat Buchanon follower when it comes to foreign policy. Both sides are held hostage to special interest groups, corporate lobbyists, etc.

Posted by: Nathan Polackwich at August 17, 2005 09:38 PM

HAY CASSIE HOWD U GIT DAVID ALLAN COE HERE!!!
HE AINT NO "NEO"KKKON!

AND MR JARHEAD DAD, ILL PARTEEEEE WITH U NE TIME BABY DONT BE SUCH A TEASE!!!!

NATHAN WHO IS PAT BUCHANON!!! U SHOULD READ ALEX JONES I THINK U WOULD LIKE HIS SIGHT INFOWARS.COM!!!!

Posted by: BEULAH MAE!!! at August 17, 2005 10:09 PM

Sorry, Buchanan...spelling is not my forte.

Posted by: Nathan at August 17, 2005 10:47 PM

Nathan -

I wouldn't take on Cass by trying to explain statistics to her - she'll mop the floor with you on that subject.

General comment - I am very sorry that this woman lost her son in Iraq. I have a son who is requesting information from the Army (he's 14) and he's told me he would fight for his country. I honor that impulse in him, but I don't want him to die in a war, because he is my son. I don't want him to die, period, before he reaches old age. But if he chooses this path when he's an adult, I will respect his choice, and pray for his safety.

Of course a soldier in harm's way has a chance of dying in battle. But if an untimely death is in the cards for any young man, which sort of death would be better? Dying for something you truly believed in, or dying a meaningless death, wrapped around a phone pole from driving too fast? As a mom, I'd choose the former.

I hope that Mrs. Sheehan finds peace for her wounded heart. I don't think her activities of late are enhancing her chances for healing any time soon, however.

Posted by: MathMom at August 17, 2005 11:11 PM

Goodness, Cassandra. Looks like you hit the Idiot Motherlode today!

Good on you!

Posted by: Jimmie at August 17, 2005 11:55 PM

I support Cindy Sheehan's efforts to meet with president Bush and her right to ask him why her son died. I also support our troops fighting in Iraq although I believe this was an unnecessary
war. To be honest, I support any war our government chooses to fight as long as our governement is honest and responsible enough to level with the American people.

My biggest source of frustration is that we never seem to fight to win. In Vietnam we were not allowed to take the fight to the enemy for fear that Russia or China or both would enter the fight. We fought the war with one hand tie behind our back and after losing 56,000 men, we simply cut and ran home. In iraq, we were stupid enough to believe that all our highly sophisticated and technologically superior Army could defeat Iraq in a matter of days and that would be the end of it. Our president was so convinced that he declared victory as soon as bagdad fell. Then the war started, we had too few troops on the ground
and we lost control of the country. Now we're losing 1 marine here, 4 marines there and its Vietnam all over again.

I believe that when our government decides that we need to go to war, we should fight all out to win with no other consideration to anything else until we have won. That means we should have sent 500,000 troops to iraq, defeat saddam's army quickly and then disarmed the entire country. We should have never returned the country to the Iraqi's until it was totally secure. I believe that if we don't have the stomach to fight a war to win, we should stick to diplomacy.

What do we gain by getting ourselves into a war and then have to cut and run when things go wrong and the American people get tried of losing soldiers one by one with no end in sight.

Posted by: Eugene Hernandez at August 18, 2005 12:04 AM

Eugene, to a point, I sympathize with your frustration.

But we don't ever *have* to cut and run.

That is a political decision. In Vietnam it is widely acknowledged that we were on the verge of victory when we left. That is the true tragedy of that war - that after 55000 deaths, we than left the South Vietnamese at the mercy of a cruel foe who stepped in and slaughtered them.

Today, Vietnam is one of the worst global human rights abusers. That wave of boat people after Saigon fell was no accident. The Senate just condemned their religious persecution of Christians and Buddhists and protesters recently.

The reason we keep giving up is that our own free society allows the anti-war Left to agitate so much that it saps the will of the people so that we have no will to finish what we start.

We are a spoiled and complacent people. And the sad truth is that despite all our whining and whinging about honesty in government, if government IS honest with us, if they tell us the truth, we don't back them when they try to do the right thing in the world anymore.

We truly get the government we deserve.

RE: Bush "declaring victory" - that is total BS. The Mission Accomplished statement was not a declaration that the war was over. A "mission" is not an entire war, as anyone in the military knows. It is a specific military term - if a plane goes out to bomb a town, they don't think they've won an entire war.

The press and the Democrats have lied and blown that whole thing out of proportion and the American public bought it hook, line, and sinker because they're ignorant of military jargon. The mission to oust Saddam *had*, indeed, BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, and there was absolutely nothing inappropriate about the President, their Commander-in-Chief, thanking his military for a job well done. We knew what he meant.

And it's pretty damned churlish for the press and a bunch of civilians to carp and snark about it, if you ask me.

If you'd been listening to Bush's speeches, he has said OVER AND OVER that this WOULDN'T BE EASY. That it WOULDN'T BE QUICK. That it WOULD TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE.

The press has repeated lies like that stupid cakewalk quote, which, by the way, was NOT said by anyone in Bush's cabinet or even his staff BUT BY KEN ADELMAN, A RETIRED GUY FROM THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION WHO WROTE A COLUMN IN THE WASHINGTON POST FOR GOD'S SAKE! WHO THE HELL CARES WHAT HE THINKS???

Yet Bush has been dogged by that quote for years as though he or someone who worked for him said it. And ignorant people who can't even use Google keep repeating it like it was the Holy Gospel.

We did defeat Iraq in a number of days - 3 weeks to be exact. But taking ground and holding are two different things. The reconstruction of Germany and Japan and the post-war South took YEARS, not mere months.

Open a history book. We have become a nation of wimps. We are the world's most powerful and richest nation.

Democracy is the best defense against terrorism and international aggression. Democracies are peaceful neighbors - THEY DON'T START WARS AND THEY DON'T FEED PEOPLE INTO PLASTIC SHREDDERS. THEY DON'T GAS THEIR OWN PEOPLE. Saddam had started two wars already and was funding terrorists left and right, but most people don't bother to learn the facts.

If we don't step up to the plate to champion democratic ideals, a vaccuum is created. Nature (and politics) abhors a vaccum - someone will step in to fill the void, and I guarantee you it will not be someone good. Among the world's greatest armies by combat power:

United States
China
Israel
India
Russia
Korea, South
Korea, North
United Kingdom
Turkey
Pakistan
Iran

Europe doesn't care. They wouldn't even step in to save Bosnia in their own back yard.
Israel has their hands full just keeping the Palestinians from overrunning them.
Russia is in chaos.
South Korea is a poor nation and spends all her time watching N. Korea

That leaves China - that great respecter of human rights.
Or perhaps you'd rather see North Korea?
Turkey?
Pakistan?
India?
Iran?

Is that the world you want to leave to your grandchildren? In a world with nuclear bombs, we can no longer afford to be isolationists.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 05:39 AM

I'm sick to death hearing how are kids are dying in this war. We now or ever have sent kids to war. Thats what Iraq and Iran have done. The left uses this expression because of the fools out there think that is what we do. There have been a lot of men and women who died for this country and never were they ever called kids. They were refered to as men and women or sons and daughters "NOT KIDS". Ted Kennady and fools like him are traitors to country. You people SUCK get out of our America.

Posted by: Fred at August 18, 2005 06:23 AM

Math mom, I'm a chartered financial analyst, and will wipe the floor with Cassandra on statistics.

BTW, the interesting thing about Vietnam was how they turned around and fought the Chinese after we left, dispelling the whole notion that they were simply another communist domino that would fall if we didn't do something. Further, 30 years laters, despite the fact that we lost the war, we're now trading with them, their country is opening up, and they remain no threat to us. So what were we fighting for exactly? Why did all those people have to die?

Free trade not democracy at gunpoint is how we can secure our country. China is a perfect example of that. Rather than taking a hostile approach to them, our countries' economies have become more and more intertwined. The more that happens, the more remote the threat of war becomes. Simply put, war is very bad for business.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 08:48 AM

After reading quite a few of comments here and other blogs. Two things become apparent. People can't spell and don't know how to turn the caps lock off. Half are for and half are against, which tells me your both wrong! You just won't yield ground on you dumb belief long enough to listen. What if the other person is right, history will tell, unfortunely we won't be here to read it.

Posted by: Dennis at August 18, 2005 08:50 AM

The President needs to talk to her, she is deserving of at least that. When I was drafted for Vietnam, I was told by a wealthy friends father that ''I was born to fight and die for the country while his son a college student was born to stay here and see the country ran well''I never forgot what that bastard said to me and I watched as wealthy men and senators sons and many others in power position got out of the war while poor blacks and whites were drafted. We never fought for this country and its bullshit war, we fought for each other....this country needs to draft every person who turns 18 no matter who they are, who the hell gave them a pass anyway....so don't tell me she doesn't deserve anything

Posted by: Robert e Deininger at August 18, 2005 09:00 AM

Nathan, I'll tell you what we were fighting for.

When I graduated from community college, I would have been my class valedictorian. I had the highest GPA: a perfect 4.0. But the committee called me in and said they wanted to give the award to another candidate I knew, and I agreed.

He was a South Vietnamese immigrant. His parents thrust him, as an infant, into the arms of total strangers as their boat departed the Saigon harbor when it fell in 1973.

He never saw them again. From papers hidden in his blankets, his adopted parents were able to track his family down in Vietnam. Years later he learned his parents had been imprisoned and killed by the Communists.

My father-in-law served two tours in Vietnam. He fought with the South Vietnamese Army against the NVA who were invading South Vietnam and were backed by China because they wanted to see Communist dictatorships spread over Southeast Asia. They won, with the result that Pol Pot took over in Cambodia and there was genocide - millions were killed. When Saigon fell, the Communists proceeded to slaughter the South Vietnamese.

Yes we trade with Vietnam now. And they continue to throw dissidents in prison with no trial and no right of habeus corpus. But, as you so often observe, "that is not our problem". The Vietnamese petition our Congress all the time for help, but we ignore them.

Free trade does not oust a violent dictator bent on supressing your human rights and killing you. That is arrant nonsense.

And Dennis, if half the world is for rape and half against, does that mean BOTH are wrong?

Interesting use of "logic" - I take it you fall firmly in the moral equivalence camp. There is no good and no evil. No right and no wrong.

I hope I never meet you in a dark alley.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 09:10 AM

I wasn't aware that Ho Chi Min or Saddam were bent on supressing my human rights and killing me...thanx for clearing that up! Seems to me we were over there and not vice versa. If they come over here, I'll be the first one to defend my family and this country, but that simply isn't the case, and hasn't been since WWII.

I care very deeply about the plight of others in this world. And injustice anywhere is definitely "our problem." The distinction is that our government is there to serve "us"...not the Iraqis, Israelis, Vietnamese, Cubans, etc. Solving the rest of the world's political problems is anathema to the founders' ideals, and well beyond what our resources will allow us to do anyway. By your liberal, save the world logic we'd be occupying in and fighting in virtually all of Africa, the Middle East, North Korea, a couple of Soviet Republics, Cuba, etc. That is not the kind of world I want to bequeath to my children. We should support and encourage freedom through free trade, humanitarian assistance, and diplomacy - end of story. In the unlikely event that we should be attacked (by a nation-state, not a multi-national group of criminals like Al Qaida), we should hit back and hit back hard. Stopping Al Qaida requires two things: 1) undermine their support in the Arab world by changing our foreign policy in the Middle East, and 2) beefing up our intelligence capabilities.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 10:04 AM

Nathan, the 4-96% is mine.

And as long as we're resume quoting, I have a M.S. in Statistics and am one of only 2 Sr. Statistical Portfolio Analysts at a national bank (and soon to be VP). I think I know my stuff.

Of course the things a bell curve, the interval estimates given are the 95% confidence interval. But the mean is not the only metric of importance. I'm not worried about a standard deviation of 30k+ when it's the estimate is 1.9 - 2.1 million, but I'd be taking a hard look at my sample if my CI for a death toll in a multi-year war almost covered 0 and 200k. The damn thing is not even a dartboard, it's a shotgun at 100 yards.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 10:24 AM

I haven't looked at the study in great detail, but you'll notice that I don't quote it. You understand that it's a bell curve, but I doubt everyone else reading this blog does, which is why I wanted to clarify the 4%-96% statement.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 10:34 AM

I wasn't aware that Ho Chi Min or Saddam were bent on supressing my human rights and killing me

Then you haven't been paying attention. Saddam has been funding terrorism which is bent on killing you for years.

The distinction is that our government is there to serve "us"...
Yes, they are there to protect us and given that democracies don't go to war with other democracies, removing a dictator who has shown no reluctance to resort to non-state methods against us *protects us*. If we get this right in Iraq, it may help prevent the need to use the military against Iran, Syria, etc. in the future which also *protects us*. We have already seen some preliminary success toward democratization in this through Syria's withdrawal from Jordan and the start of elections in Egypt, and SA.

By your liberal, save the world logic we'd be occupying in and fighting in virtually all of Africa, the Middle East, North Korea, a couple of Soviet Republics, Cuba, etc.

Because you can't do everything is no reason to do nothing.

While we *could* do all of that, we can't do all of that at once so we pick the one where our resources are best utilized.

Right now the ME is it. Cuba and the old Soviet Republics are a minor threat when compared to the ME and NK. Some parts of Africa (Libya) still concern me, but not as much as the ME. We haven't spent near the time on diplomacy with NK that we have with Iraq, so building support for that war would be much more difficult.

The ME is the biggest threat that is actionable. Iraq (compared to Iran) is a softer target and is centrally located which means that news of reforms will reach a larger portion of the area. But it does mean that things would be harder as an Island in a sea of totalitarianism. But we were told up front it would be hard and would take a long time. The entire admin spent a lot of time saying "This is going to be much harder than some are leading you to think". For some reason "long hard slog" sticks in my head.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 10:44 AM

Well actually I understood it Nathan.

I wasn't into whipping it out on the table and measuring, but I also work with statistics in my job. Part of my job is analyzing software metrics. I do database and regression analysis all the time, so I'm quite familiar with statistical concepts. I also taught probability and statistics for two years.

I think maybe we stipulate that we all know our basic math.

And Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism, Nathan. Iraq harbored the man who planned the 1993 WTC attack, they harbored Abu Nidal (Pan Am Flt 103, Lockerbie, Pan Am Flt 73). Nidal's group mounted over 100 attacks in over 20 nations leaving over 900 people dead or injured.

Iraq harbored Abu Musab al Zarqawi (al Qaeda) BEFORE the war.

Recent intel from a Gitmo detainee:

We have been told by Hudayfa Azzam, the son of bin Laden's longtime mentor Abdullah Azzam, that Saddam Hussein welcomed young al Qaeda members "with open arms" before the war, that they "entered Iraq in large numbers, setting up an organization to confront the occupation," and that the regime "strictly and directly" controlled their activities. We have been told by Jordan's King Abdullah that his government knew Abu Musab al Zarqawi was in Iraq before the war and requested that the former Iraqi regime deport him. We have been told by Time magazine that confidential documents from Zarqawi's group, recovered in recent raids, indicate other jihadists had joined him in Baghdad before the Hussein regime fell. We have been told by one of those jihadists that he was with Zarqawi in Baghdad before the war. We have been told by Ayad Allawi, former Iraqi prime minister and a longtime CIA source, that other Iraqi Intelligence documents indicate bin Laden's top deputy was in Iraq for a jihadist conference in September 1999.

THE MOST IMPORTANT REVELATION:

12. In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars.

Yep... Saddam was no threat to us...whatsoever.

He just invaded Kuwait in the 1990's. Threatened to kill our President. Paid terrorists who attacked Americans.

Defied 12 years of UN sanctions and fired on our planes in the no-fly zone (that were there to keep him from gassing the Kurds in northern Iraq - that's called "genocide").

No threat.

Whatsoever.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 10:56 AM

Saddam's secular regime was an enemy of Al Qaida, as well as the Shiite Theocrats in Iran, who themselves are enemies of the Sunni-Wahabi members of Al Qaida. Saddam's secularism, BTW, is why we encouraged and helped fund Iraq's war on Iran in the 80s. We were attacked by Al Qaida (again, Sunni-Wahabi extremists), and that's where our efforts should be focused.

People being tortured (your Gitmo example) will tell you whatever the Hell you want them to tell you.

Your Abu Nidal example is a joke. His group hadn't been active since 1991 for Christ's sake! Further, Saddam himself likely ordered his killing in 2002!

While Zarqawi was in Iraq before the war, he was in a Kurdish controlled region in the North protected by the no-fly zone.

Let me get this straight, we should fight a war because a country "might" have harbored (not ordered or help fund, mind you) a terrorist that attacked us a decade ago? Yeah, I'll send my sons over there for that one:)


Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 11:11 AM

When you people finish your diatribe against President Bush, get your name on the ballot to serve in any capacity of government so that the squeal in the dark may be recorded for posterity.
I pray that God directs the actions of any President........what a task the man has!
For you in Florida......B..A..L..L..O..T, if you still don't know what it is........ask!
"Nellio"

Posted by: Beaufort Hartley at August 18, 2005 11:19 AM

Nathan, I think I am finished with you.

The guy was still paying terrorists right up to the days right before the war. He was stealing UN funds intended for humanitarian relief while his people starved. Apparently that sort of thing is OK with you.

If you don't want to face that, you go right ahead. It's a free country.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 11:26 AM

Yeah, I'm done, too. I guess we're all supposed to accept your blanket statement that "he was still paying terrorists right up to the days right before the war." Forget that your own government has told you there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaida (when they had every incentive to do otherwise).

Saddam wasn't a good guy, no denying it. But a guy with a thoroughly degraded military due to a decade of sanctions who was writing bad romance novels wasn't worth $200 billion (estimates of $700 billion by the time we actually leave), almost 2,000 U.S. soldiers killed, and 13,000 serious injuries...And most of America agrees with me now. Further, infant mortality, child malnutrition, and pretty much every statistic you can name is far worse now than it was before we invaded. Heck, the new Constitution, which will have Islam as a foundation, is even going to significantly degrade women's rights. This war has been an unmitigated disaster and you know it. It ain't just a river in Egypt...

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 11:54 AM

Iraq and Israel should just become part of the great United States of America. I am sorry for all of you that have lost a loved one, but retreating now would leave their names dying for nothing. Something great will come out of this war on terror. And make no mistake about it, Iraq was a terrorist state. And i'm sure I don't have to point out that Afghanistan was as well. And the Afghani terrorists accounted for almost 4,000 deaths of innocent people in the USA in the time frame of about 30 minutes. The fallen soldiers from Afghanistan died for 9-11, and are still dying for those innocent Americans. Why we chose to hit Iraq? I'm not quite sure at this point, besides the fact that it did harbor, train, and fund terrorists. Or maybe just for the fact of it being the most strategic point of the Middle East to have some control of. The war on terror must go on and must be won. The war must also come to our US borders as well. Support our Troops and Support our President, because if this war isn't won in a swift fashion, then the next elected president of the USA is going to be in for a rude awakening..

Posted by: Tom at August 18, 2005 11:59 AM

My own government has *not* told me that.

A minor staffer issued an unofficial statement that was contradicted the very next day by chairman Thomas Kean and at least one other board member and has been trumpeted by the press ever since. They never said there was "no link" - they said, on the contrary, that there were NUMEROUS connections but no *evidence* of a direct operational relationship between the two. Very different things.

Words have meaning, Nathan.

From the 9/11 commission report:

My testimony focuses on the role and actions of Iraq as a state sponsor of terrorism under the control of Saddam Husayn. Iraq under Saddam was a major state sponsor of international terrorism:

Baghdad actively sponsored terrorist groups, providing safe haven, training, arms, and logistical support, requiring in exchange that the groups carry out operations ordered by Baghdad for Saddam's objectives. Terrorist groups were not permitted to have offices, recruitment, or training facilities or freely use territory under the regime's direct control without explicit permission from Saddam.
Saddam used foreign terrorist groups as an instrument of foreign policy. Groups hosted by Saddam were denied protection if he wanted to improve relations with a neighboring country and encouraged to attack those Saddam wanted to pressure. If they refused Saddam's "requests," they were exiled from Iraq

Iraq under Saddam supported international terrorist organizations to bolster Iraq's revolutionary credentials, ensure his own role as Great Arab leader, and intimidate rival governments. In examining the history, methods, and patterns of behavior of Saddam Husayn in supporting international terrorism, some "truths" stand out. Beginning in the early 1970s, Saddam provided safe haven, training, arms, and other forms of assistance to Palestinian and Arab extremists. Baghdad hosted the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and the Hawari faction of the PLO. In addition, Baghdad created the Arab Liberation Front (ALF) as its personal surrogate in the wars against Israel. Although the ALF conducted no terrorist operations, Saddam used it in the 1970s and resurrected it again in the current Palestinian intifada as a means to recruit Palestinians and, in 2001, to win praise for offering $25,000 to the family of each Palestinian "martyred" in an Israeli attack.

At any rate, I am done.

I am not going to re-argue the war with you.

I have written about this for almost two years and I am done with it. You would not be convinced if the proof were right in front of your face because you have already made up your mind.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 12:09 PM

Nathan, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Just because Saddam was secular and Bin Laden was religious does not mean they wouldn't work together. Hell, we sided with Stalin in WWII and he was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world. We hated Stalin, he hated us, but we were still useful to each other.

Yeah, a cell with the air conditioning turned off is torture. Right. Sleep deprivation with Christina Aguleira music is torture. Right.

If you want to see torture look no further.

I'm with Cass, if you can equate the two, this conversation is over.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 12:10 PM

So, there has been no benefit to the Iraq war? Libya would have given up their nukes, and Syrian troops would have withdrawn from Lebanon, and Saddam would have not continued to pursue nuclear and other WMD technology?

The claims you make about infant mortality and starvation, and other "statistics," are quite dubious. Sorry, but you would have to provide evidence, which I'm confident you can't.

Keep your head buried in the sand, Nathan.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 18, 2005 12:16 PM

My daughter died of breast cancer three months ago. She was a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve. She did not agree withe the war in Iraq but agreed with the war in Afghanistan. The whole controversy is not about the right or wrong of war on terrorists or justification for the war but the right or wrong of the president's choice of the battlefied of the war.

Posted by: DFlack at August 18, 2005 12:16 PM

To further clarify, they said there were numerous connections, just no direct operational cooperation for the 9-11 attack. Saying that there was no link at all, ever, because they didn't work together on one particular attack is blatently false.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 12:17 PM

Oh, I am so sorry about your daughter. How awful for you.

I think the two are connected, however. There is an awful lot of evidence out there which has not made its way into the mainstream. Or that people on one side (or the other) do not find convincing for one reason or another. If you have already made up your mind that Iraq was no threat, then no amount of evidence will convince you otherwise.

And after all the reading I have done over the past two years, I more convinced than ever that Iraq was a threat - not an immediate one, but as the President said in his SOTU speech, one we could not afford to allow to go unchallenged any longer, and not an ally we needed to leave open to bin Laden. So that is the side I chose.

But this topic must be very painful for you. Once again, I am very sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 12:33 PM

One more point, then I am also done:

Nathan said: "But a guy with a thoroughly degraded military due to a decade of sanctions..."

Talk about a blatantly false statement. Our troops have found numerous, immense stockpiles of conventional weapons. They are STILL uncovering caches of conventional weapons. The military was not degraded, it refused to fight.

Posted by: JannyMae at August 18, 2005 12:40 PM

Yeah, sanctions didn't hurt him, his gov't or his military, he just let the people starve instead.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 12:58 PM

A Section
Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos; Malnutrition Nearly Double What It Was Before Invasion
Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
1,199 words
21 November 2004
The Washington Post

"Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.'

'After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.'

"These figures clearly indicate the downward trend," said Alexander Malyavin, a child health specialist with the UNICEF mission to Iraq.'

'The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across a country convulsed by instability and mismanagement. While attacks by insurgents have grown more violent and more frequent, deteriorating basic services take lives that many Iraqis said they had expected to improve under American stewardship.'

'Iraq's child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi, a central African nation torn by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than rates in Uganda and Haiti.'

"The people are astonished," said Khalil M. Mehdi, who directs the Nutrition Research Institute at the Health Ministry. The institute has been involved with nutrition surveys for more than a decade; the latest one was conducted in April and May but has not been publicly released.'

'Mehdi and other analysts attributed the increase in malnutrition to dirty water and to unreliable supplies of the electricity needed to make it safe by boiling. In poorer areas, where people rely on kerosene to fuel their stoves, high prices and an economy crippled by unemployment aggravate poor health....'

'Iraqi health officials like to surprise visitors by pointing out that the nutrition issue facing young Iraqis a generation ago was obesity. Malnutrition, they say, appeared in the early 1990s with U.N. trade sanctions championed by Washington to punish the government led by President Saddam Hussein for invading Kuwait in 1990.'

'International aid efforts and the U.N. oil-for-food program helped reduce the ruinous impact of sanctions, and the rate of acute malnutrition among the youngest Iraqis gradually dropped from a peak of 11 percent in 1996 to 4 percent in 2002. But the invasion in March 2003 and the widespread looting in its aftermath severely damaged the basic structures of governance in Iraq, and persistent violence across the country slowed the pace of reconstruction almost to a halt.'

'In its most recent assessment of five sectors of Iraq's reconstruction, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington research group, said health care was worsening at the quickest pace...."


http://www.washingtonpost.com


There's more, but you get the picture. If you want an article on infant mortality, I can provide that, too.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 02:38 PM

Saddam's Last Line Of Defense
March 26, 2003


"Founded in 1980, Iraq's Republican Guard gets the best equipment, the best training, the best pay, the best housing — all meant to ensure the corps will respond when it's time to defend Saddam Hussein. Its commanders are closely watched by intelligence agents who report to Saddam's son Qusai.'

'But while the Republican Guard gets the best Iraq has, it's believed to be the best of very little. Iraq's army is seen as poorly equipped after the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War and more than a decade of trade sanctions imposed because of the 1990 invasion of Kuwait."

CBS Broadcasting Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 02:56 PM

Nathan, I am not going to argue with you anymore.

You are quoting from a UNICEF Study that was conducted by a man whose team admitted the results were not verifiable due to the methodology used and that the comparable statistics from the pre-war period could well have been much higher. The findings were disputed by our government - if you bother to wade a bit farther into Google you can find the same documents I did.

The majority of Iraqis want democracy. They are trying to elect a democratic government and draft a constitution.

A few outsiders are willing to use violence to prevent that. They are to blame for the current problems in Iraq.

It's that simple. If they stop, we will leave and there will be peace.

Now go find something productive to do with the rest of your day.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 03:08 PM

You're right, everything's hunky dory and we're not responsible for anything that's going wrong or mistakes that have been made. That's the new America I guess...The insurgency's all being caused by "a few outsiders", the majority of Iraqis want U.S. style democracy, not a theocracy with Islam at its core. And we'll leave our permanent military bases behind, if the insurgents would only stop. It's you people who have your heads stuck in the sand...In 10 years, when we're still stuck in this unnecessary morass, I wonder if you'll still feel the same way. I know I will...

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 03:19 PM

No we don't think it's all hunky doorey, but we do think it's a hell of a lot better than you do.

Money Quote from a US soldier:
"Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers also I'd be pretty depressed as well!"

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 04:30 PM

Time will tell, but you know, similar optimism was expressed throughout the Vietnam war. I sincerely hope you're right, but I've read a tremendous amount on the subject over the years, and have been an avid reader of history since I was a kid, and I'm not optimistic. Insurgencies are almost impossible to defeat because they care about their homes and country more than the troops of the occupying force. Every one you kill has brothers, cousins, fathers, etc. that now have a new motivation to attack the occupiers (imagine what you'd do if, say, Chinese troops were patrolling your streets). I've read quotes from soldiers who say that "every one I kill creates three more!" When a Shiite theocracy allied with Iran in the throes of a sectarian civil war emerges and our troops are right in the middle of it (which is about where we're at now), will you continue to be so sanguine?

And BTW, I'm really not trying to be a jerk here (I often can't help it, though:)), but to put my thoughts out there, as I see it. The more Americans think and talk about these issues the better. It's good for you to hear my side and vice versa. The more we insulate ourselves and discuss things solely with people who support our point of view, the worse off we'll be as a country.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 05:00 PM

Nathan, we know you're not a jerk :)

And we appreciate your comments.

It is just that a time comes in every conversation (and we've had so many of these) when you start to talk past each other. And also, frankly, when you look at the pile of work sitting on your desk and say "AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!"

We are mostly old friends here, and over the past two years, we've had this particular conversation too many times, so perhaps we just get tired faster :)

I've been writing about this so long I start quoting myself, and I get tired of looking up the same info.

Thank you for your comments. We did enjoy the debate.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 18, 2005 05:18 PM

Time will tell, but you know, similar optimism was expressed throughout the Vietnam war.

Which by many accounts we had almost won when we left. Our military fought Vietnam with one hand tied behind it's back and still almost won. That is, until the population lost it's will due to the doom and gloom reported daily by the press. We won the Tet offensive but it was reported as a loss.

It's the same today. The terrorists attack our military and we kill 100 terrorists while losing 2 soldiers. The media is only too happy to report only the loss portion. One report counted the terrorists ability to mount an attack as a loss. Read that again carefully. We didn't lose because they beat us, killed more of us than we killed of them or they took control of a section of land away from us, but because they existed at all.

Insurgencies are almost impossible to defeat because they care about their homes and country more than the troops of the occupying force.

The problem is most of the "insurgents" aren't Iraqis at all. They're Iranians, Syrians, Saudis etc. They aren't freedom fighters defending their homes, they're foreign fascist's bent on imposing their will on others.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at August 18, 2005 05:40 PM

Dear Nathan,
You seem to have some anger management issues here; if I were Dear Abby, I would advise counseling (that's a joke).

Seriously (or not), there is a lot of debate on OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom, as it has been called, not Operation Find Iraqi WMD, which would be OFIWMD, a lousy acronym), and what it means.
Here's my two cents (pennies banging off the monitor):
1) Saddam Hussein was a very bad man (agreed? can we agree on this one?)
He started the Iran-Iraq war (although Khomeini was waving the bloody red shirt to incite Shias to rise up against him), which killed between 500K and 1 mill on both sides. He (and his loyalist followers in the gov. and the B'ath party) used chemical weapons against the Iranians. He used chemical weapons against his own people (the Kurds, in the Anfall, 1987-88).

There is a list or inventory (I have read it, and will try and send this to Cass, if she wishes to post it with a link to her site) of what was actually found in two large bunkers IN IRAQ at the end of the Gulf War (1991), and it was plenty scary, and it was also destroyed. We could not know and could not assume THAT WAS ALL THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS THAT SADDAM HUSSIEN HAD!

2) At the end of the Gulf War (1991) an armistice was reached which brought the fighting to an end (alledgedly). Saddam Hussein and his gov. did not live up to the terms of this armistice (with the US), and did not live up to the terms imposed by the UN SC regarding WMD and inspections.
And frankly, as much as various intelligence agencies (in several different countries) tried to find out what was going on inside Iraq, nobody really knew. And comparisons with the standard of living then and now are impossible to assess also, because nobody really knew what was going on in the countryside.

Anecdote: I have a friend who had family in Iraq (including his sister, an MD), and he wired them money to live on (they could cross over into Jordan for a few hours to get the money wires); life was VERY hard for many Iraqis in the '90's.

3) Saddam had done quite a bit to subvert the UN sanctions (Oil for food program), and ridicule the whole UN SC. He had willing helpers on the Sec. Council (In my opinion).

What were we to do? "Oh, boys will be boys" and walk away (that is simplistic, but I'm running out of time to write this)? Pull out of the Middle East entirely?
I don't think we should be the world's policeman,
or create a "Pax Americana", but really, what would have been the consequences?
An enticing thought (pull out!), but nature abhors a vacuum, especially of politcal power, and who would have filled a power/political influence vacuum if the US pulled out entirely? Or remained to be thought of as weak and ridiculed by Saddam, a gangster?
This war has cost a lot of blood and treasure, and it is not a trivial matter to me or others here who post regularly, and no one can be sure of the outcome, 20 years down the line. But if we had done NOTHING, I doubt the situation would have spontaneously transformed itself to something of our liking, regardless of whether you agree with GW Bush or not.

Posted by: David at August 18, 2005 05:42 PM

Most of the 50 something palaces Saddam had were built during the oil for fraud 12 year period
( I think it is 48 out of 54 palaces, not shure ).

That is a lot of money not going to sick and starving children.

And we all know a lot of people received all sorts of payolas while Annan father and son were diverting attention away from what was really going on.
( Koffi's son was paid $30,000 a year but apparantly popped out of his ass $250,000 which he invested in some European country, that is even less money for the Iraqi kids )

And about how the Red cross and Unicef got their numbers on dead iraqi children, there are on going investigations of which so far we know;

They got their numbers from Saddam's ministry of health, where a lot of relatives of Saddam's friend were working. They had no way of verifying the information.
So obviously the bigger the number of victim , the more the UN would push for more money which just fed the beast.

More and more facts are becoming available on what really happened, and anyway you slice it, the USA is not the worst offender, if an offender at all in this bigger scam than Enron where business men from France, Russia and even Canada got rich .

So if children died it was evey body's fault but the US.

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 18, 2005 05:45 PM

I appreciate everyone's comments as well. Just to respond real quickly (well, not too quickly), I do think we need to be intellectually honest about who the insurgents really are - particularly because a lack of understanding about who your enemy is and what his motivations are puts you at a severe disadvantage whether at war or peace.

The insurgency is almost 100% in the Sunni middle now. To think that the Iranians, who are Shiites, would be aiding the same insurgents who are not only attacking U.S. troops, but Shiite political leaders and police recruits (who have close ties to the Iranians) defies logic. 95% of the people we've caught over there are home grown Iraqis. They're using the foreign jihadis for suicide bombs and cannon fodder, nothing more. This is a FACT, which has been reported in such pro-war periodicals as the Economist and WSJ (I don't feel like searching around for the articles, which are numerous, but I can find them if necessary). While Zarqawi is undoubtedly playing a significant role, he's essentially become our bogey-man that we blame for anything and everything that goes on over there. Most of the insurgent groups are small, home grown cells that are acting more or less independently.

The insurgents cannot defeat us on the field of battle - but they don't have to to ultimately win. All they have to do is continue to fight and exist. As long as they do that, they know that we'll eventually leave - whether next week, next year, or next decade, and they'll still be there. That's why insurgencies are almost impossible to defeat - they're more willing to die for their cause than we are for ours. The will to defend your home country and family (whether we view it as justified or not) will always be stronger than an occupying soldier's willingness to die to "find WMD" or "support their democracy."

Masked Menace, I wonder if you're not trying to refight the Vietnam War all over again with the current War in Iraq. The American people decided, after almost a decade of losing their sons day after day in some jungle thousands of miles away, that the fight simply wasn't worth it anymore. Given that we're now trading with Vietnam, and they pose no military threat to us, this turned out to be exactly the right decision. Maybe their society isn't as free as we'd like it to be, but it's better than many, and it's better than us killing each other over it. Eventually, should the Iraq War continue to progress as it has, and we continue to lose our sons and daughters, day after day, and year after year, with no end in sight, the American people will come to the same conclusion about Iraq (as the poll numbers show you they already are). And you know what? It'll be the right choice again.

Posted by: Nathan at August 18, 2005 09:16 PM

" Given that we're now trading with Vietnam, and they pose no military threat to us, this turned out to be exactly the right decision."

Then this is also true;

Given that we're now trading with Japan, and they pose no military threat to us, this turned out to be exactly the right decision ( to nuke them twice ).

Given that we're now trading with Germany ( or Hitler's country ), and they pose no military threat to us, this turned out to be exactly the right decision ( to bomb their cities night and day for months ).

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 19, 2005 07:41 PM

I'm not sure I understand your analogy Friend of USA. We ended up with the same end result (trade, no military threat) whether we nuked civilians/fire bombed cities, or simply left without winning (as we did in Vietnam). So, if given the choice and it makes no difference, for the sake of my own soul, I would forgo killing hundreds of thousands of civilians - but that's just me!

But WWII and Vietnam/Iraq are not comparable anyway. In the former we were attacked by these nations (well, Japan anyway, but Germany was clearly trying to take over the world). These were powerful countries bent on empire and world domination. In the latter we were not attacked, and the countries were second-rate powers. Bombing the living daylights out of the Vietnamese and losing 60,000 soldiers made no difference there (blame the politicians for wasting their lives not me for pointing out the obvious). The ironic thing about Iraq is that it may actually turn into more of a threat under its new, Shiite dominated theocracy in the midst of sectarian civil war, then it was under the repressive, but secular regime under Saddam. As they say, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Posted by: Nathan at August 20, 2005 10:35 AM

" But WWII and Vietnam/Iraq are not comparable anyway"

Exactly, and Iraq is not comparable to Vietnam either.

Different situations require
different solutions.

It is not - Because - the US pulled out of Vietnam that they became a peaceful trading partner.
It has nothing to do with pulling out - nothing at all.

Pulling out or quiting the fight is not a magical solution that turns ennemy nations into peaceful trading partners.

Japan was not a democracy before WWII, and despite nuking them and forcing them to surrender
- which was very humiliating - they still became trading partners, the second or third richest nation and a very peaceful one at that; different situation, different solution.

With Russia it was the cold war to avoid war; different situation, different solution.

War is stupid and very ugly but sadly, it's part of human nature - and not american nature only as the left would have us believe - and anyway with time, eventually, most countries that were once ennemies , no matter if they were bombed, invaded, if they won or lost a war, forget old fights and become trading partners.

But still, no one can tell what may or may not happen 60 years down the road, the US has to deal with the immediate danger.

I don't believe the US should nuke every hostile nation, but I don't believe avoiding war for the sake of avoiding war is a very brilliant approach either.

No one has ever imposed peace on an ennemy by being extremely peaceful and extremely passive.

It was not peace, sensitivity, patience, or being understanding that stopped the Nazis, it was violence, yes violence that taboo word, I'll say it again; violence that stopped the Nazis, and a lot of it.

Middle eastern extremists brought this war upon themselves on 9/11, and now they are slowly losing it, slowly because the US is using never seen before extreme restraint to avoid harming innocents.( again , different situation, different solution )

But it is still a certain amount of violence that'll get rid of the extremist decapitator monsters that are stuck in the 7th century and that are killing their own people and their children.

You don't like it, I don't like it but that is still reality.

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 20, 2005 12:54 PM

I'm not saying pulling out is a magical solution that turns countries into peaceful trading partners. I'm saying that, at least in the case of Vietnam, winning the war was unnecessary, which implies that fighting the war was unnecessary.

Iraq is different in that, no matter what we do (stay or leave), things look as though they're going to end up signifcantly worse for both the people of Iraq and America. It may be that our presence on the ground is even exacerbating the situation. In lieu of this, I don't see why any more of our soldiers should lose their lives, why we should spend more money, and why we should have more blood on our own hands. It's up to the Iraqis to solve their problems now. If that means splitting the country into three pieces, so be it.

I'm not saying war is never the answer. It clearly was in the Afghan war, WWII, the Civil War, and the Revolution. Every other one of our wars, however, has proven to be unnecessary and not beneficial to the U.S. (except perhaps S. Korea, but there's no telling what Korea would look like today had there been no Korean war in the first place. Perhaps it would all look like N. Korea, or perhaps it wouldn't - hard to say). One of the worst things about Iraq is that is has taken resources and attention from Afghanistan, where the fight against the actual people that attacked us on 9/11 is taking place. And because of that negligence, Afghanistan is becoming increasingly unstable, and we're suffering more and more casualties.

And BTW, as I've said repeatedly, I probably feel the same way about the left as you do. Virtually all of our nation's wars have been fought by progessives that dreamed of changing the world. I'm a far right libertarian. I believe in limited government, federalism, strict adherence to the Constitution (including only Congress having the right to take us to war), property rights, free markets, and low taxes. The Republican party used to stand for that, too. But now the party's been hijacked by Christian Fundamentalists that want the government in everyone's business and Neoconservatives (that used to be left wing nuts themselves) that want to change the world. Seems to me like Republicans have turned into the Democrats of old, and I'm calling them out on it. I don't know what the Hell the Democrats have turned into - a bunch of spineless jellyfish with no ideas of their own - Monday night quarterbacking decisions they didn't even have the balls to vote against.

Justifying the Iraq war by saying the Muslim extremists brought it on themselves is insane. That's like attacking China after Pearl Harbor and saying those Asian radicals brought it on themselves. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Had they had contact with them over a decade ago? Perhaps, but so did we throughout the 1980s in Afghanistan (what was that you were saying about different situations?). Perhaps we should invade ourselves for our "ties" to Al Qaida.

Finally, we may be using "extreme restraint" to avoid harming innocents, but when you drop 500 lb. bombs, cluster bombs, use depleted uranium rounds, and are in a situation where you can't tell the bad guys from the innocents, civilians get hurt, pal. And the more civilians we hurt, the more insurgents we create, the more bombs we have to drop, and on and on. Further, the more this viscious circle plays out, the more the Arab world empathizes with Al Qaida and not us, and the more terrorists we have to deal with.

The solution is to use our intelligence resources to destroy Al Qaida (the majority of whose members are highly educated, middle to upper class Arabs that have or are currently living in the West - not some poor goat herder in the middle of the desert), secure our own country without giving up our freedoms, stop coddling Israel (contrary to popular opinion they are not the 51st state), and otherwise stop meddling in Middle Eastern Affairs. There is a reason Arab terrorists aren't bombing Sweden or Costa Rica, despite the fact that Swedish and Costa Rican girls are, for the most part, a lot more "free" (a play on "They hate our freedoms") than American ones!

Posted by: Nathan at August 20, 2005 03:21 PM

I, for one, am beginning to lose patience with those who allege I dishonor the troops should I criticize the Bush Administration and this un-winnable war begun under false pretenses. As I am certain everyone else does, I have ultimate respect for each and every serviceperson in uniform, regardless of where they serve. They are doing their job, despite grueling conditions, low pay, and the fact that many military families require public assistance just to make ends meet.
................................................................................................................................
By the same token, I neither have disrespect for the Kentucky coal miner who has a life expectancy of less than 50 years, and a 1 in 7 chance of dying even sooner due to a mining accident. But I have every right to criticize the coal company for denuding the Earth, leaching toxins into the groundwater, and shortchanging the workers and their families.
.................................................................................................................
Failure and fault begin at the top. Aim high. But those anti-troops balloons will not hold water any longer.
.................................................................................................................
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Posted by: fortytwo at August 21, 2005 09:16 AM

They are doing their job, despite grueling conditions, low pay, and the fact that many military families require public assistance just to make ends meet.

What a load of BS. Yes, a few military families are on public assistance, but that is because they insist on doing stupid things like having large families when they are only an E1 or E2 (before they make enough money) or buying a Corvette on a Lance Corporal's salary. Being in the military does not relieve one of the responsibility to do basic math before taking on debt or financial responsibilities.

Military pay is actually quite competitive when you add in things other than basic pay and account for benefits, age, education, and like experience, which many studies fail to do:

http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=1354&sequence=1

The results of a comparison of pay levels might surprise some observers. Enlisted personnel earn more than about 75 percent of U.S. male high school graduates of the same age. Similarly, officers' pay falls at about the 75th percentile among male college graduates of the same age. For those who reach the higher ranks, where promotions are most competitive (E-8 and E-9 for enlisted personnel and O-6 and above for officers), pay rises to well above the 75th percentile among civilian workers. Those findings do not imply that military pay is too high; one could argue that service members deserve high pay because of their exceptional quality and devotion to duty and the sometimes arduous and dangerous conditions in which they work. Alternatively, the military may simply have to offer good pay in order to meet its needs for well-qualified personnel.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 21, 2005 09:39 AM

Cass, there is the old chestnut of needing public assistance. We never did even though we were qualified for WIC when the Engineer was an E-6.

We refused. Several years later when he was commissioned, we were expecting our fourth child
and we were told that we qualified again...and
we refused, again.

It wasn't because I saw WIC as assisstance, but rather because we didn't need it financially.

Posted by: Cricket at August 21, 2005 09:49 AM

42, it's not that you criticize the President or the policy, we do that all the time, it's how your side DOES it that creates the problem. Your side isn't looking for solutions, it is hate filled and idiotic. Look at the rhetoric. Calling our guys Nazis or comparing them to Pol Pot will not win you any friends on our side!

The very nature of the attacks your side uses gives aid and comfort to our enemies which in turns puts our men and women further into harm's way. If you cannot see this then that's just too damn bad and quite typical. THAT is why we do not believe the ones that want to simply debate the policies. Your side had it's chance and failed miserably while putting our's into danger they didn't have to face.

You want to debate the issues? Have at it but leave the bulls**t rhetoric at home. By attacking personally every person that supports the WoT and Iraq you do a major disservice to our men and women in uniform. THEY are the ones that have to answer for your BS! Not YOU sitting comfortably behind your keyboard sucking down the very freedom they die to give you. Your side has absolutely no moral fiber or the character to understand what they are doing is dangerous. And you wonder why we get pissed off with it? Gee, go figure!

"I, for one, am beginning to lose patience with those who allege I dishonor the troops should I criticize the Bush Administration and this un-winnable war begun under false pretenses."

Try looking at the truth and you won't have that problem. And frankly, I don't give a tinker's dam if you are losing patience or not. When you say crap like "un-winnable war" you are disparaging the men and women who are fighting it. Period! Get over it! Offer alternatives that can be debated and quit giving comfort to our enemies.


"As I am certain everyone else does, I have ultimate respect for each and every serviceperson in uniform, regardless of where they serve."

No, you don't! And we are not stupid enough to believe you do! If you truly supported the troops, while you may disagree with the policy, you'd support the mission. The two are one and the same and you can't have it both ways! You would put your leaders in their proper place when they go over the top in their rhetoric knowing full well it will cost American lives. If that is your idea of "supporting the troops" then take it and shove it where the sun don't shine. With support like that we don't need any enemies!

"They are doing their job, despite grueling conditions, low pay, and the fact that many military families require public assistance just to make ends meet."

I'll just leave that to Cass's post. I have watched hundreds of times these young PFCs and LCpls getting in over their heads because of bad decision making. But then your side doesn't believe in personal responsibility. Only herd mentality where no one is accountable for their actions. I forgot for a minute! Never mind! :-o

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 21, 2005 11:49 AM

"Offer alternatives that can be debated and quit giving comfort to our enemies."

I've offered up a few ideas, but I guess they haven't been provocative enough to warrant a response:) But here are the problems/solutions, as I see it:

1) Gain a better understanding of who our enemies are. A recent study of the Al Qaida members we've captured so far (I believe it was over 400 or so worldwide) has shown them to be predominately middle to upper class Arabs, that have either studied in and/or lived in the West.

2) Gain a better understanding of why these young men are willing to blow themselves up to kill as many of us as they can.

A better understanding of who our enemies are and what they want will allow us to attack on two fronts: a) militarily - but this should be more of a cloak and dagger war given the dispersed and shadowy nature of the enemy, and b) politically - by altering certain areas of our foreign policy that breed hatred of us.

I imagine the nature of the political attack we should make will be the most contentious issue on this board. There are many here, I'm sure, that believe nothing America does justifies our enemies' hatred of us. In my own life I've found that, in retrospect, in virtually every physical altercation I've been in, I was at least partially at fault(alcohol playing no small role).

What Americans need to realize, as I have, is that while America has been an unbelievably great thing for Americans, it has not been so great (all of the time) for the rest of the world. While the part we played in defeating the Nazis and Japanese in WWII saved humanity, in my opinion, the way in which we fought the Cold War, for example, - by installing and supporting brutal dictators rather than allowing smaller nations to choose their own form of government, was less than honorable and instilled a great deal of antipathy towards us in the populations that had to live and die under these dictators (I don't dispute that in a number of cases their communist masters would have been just as brutal).

I'll come right out and say that I don't have a very good understanding of the Muslim mind, and why us having a few thousand troops in Saudi Arabia makes them so damn mad! My guess is that, similar to what we did during the Cold War, they don't like the U.S. supported governments that run countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for instance. Clearly, we support these countries' governments, which were not chosen by their people, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oil. In any event, they don't seem to like that.

They also don't seem to like our clearly one sided support for Israel vs. the Palestinians.

Finally, they don't like our continued presence in Iraq now that Saddam is gone.

In order to turn general Arab opinion in our favor and isolate Al Qaida in Arabs' eyes as the extremist, murderous group it is, we need to do a cost/benefit analysis of our policies to see which ones we should keep, and which we should throw by the wayside. My suggestions are..

a)Work as a good faith negotiator (if asked) in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict - no more. That means no sales of weapons or financial support to either side. Our one-sided support of Israel is costing us a fortune in reputation.

b)Admit that Iraq has become one big mission creep. I don't recall the President ever suggesting during the run-up to war that we were going to war to spread democracy (which would explain the utter lack of postwar planning). We went to war because Saddam supposedly had WMD and was a threat. Since no WMD were found and Saddam is gone, we don't need to be there. Our continued presence has turned into a lightening rod, which Al Qaida is successfully using as propaganda.

c) Push and make a big show of democratic reform in the U.S. supported regimes in the region. I believe Bush has taken steps here, but these steps have been overshadowed by the Iraq and Palestinian issues (another reason to detach ourselves from both).

Finally, we should be true to the ideals this country was founded upon. That means all Americans, no matter the charge, have a right to a speedy trial and judgment by their peers, and the Geneva Conventions apply to any POWs we take. As Benjamin Franklin said, "those that would trade security for Freedom deserve neither."





Posted by: Nathan at August 21, 2005 09:07 PM

I have a few questions of my own;

Why are most muslim countries stuck in the seventh century?

The USA has not been around since the seventh century, can't blame them...

And why a muslim - today - wants to kill a man because 95 years ago that man's great grand father stole a chicken from his great grand father?

Carl Rove's great grand father must have caused that conflict, yeah that's it...

Why do they still believe it's normal to stone women to death for imaginary crimes, and gang rape them to punish them for having been raped or why some muslim fathers slash their own daughter's troaths for losing their virginity;
" honor- killing " they call them...Why ?

Violence in Hollywood movies and in video games
was not around seven centuries ago, can't blame that either...

...

I don't know why they are stuck in the seventh century but there are at least two things that are easy to understand;

1- People who consider acts of violence and killing as normal solutions to disagreements, will use violence and killing when they disagree with us.

2- The press and academia are making it worst
( do I really need to say they are 95% lefties ? ) by telling them they are right to hate us; "Gitmo is a gulag!!! Bush is a bigger terrorist!!! American soldiers are raping Iraqi kids!!! They are flushing Korans!!! "
The left in general ( Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore et cetera..) are inciting hate, they are cheer leaders to the ennemy.
And they are trying to demoralize troops.

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 21, 2005 11:10 PM

"Generalization and abstraction are the plea of the hypocrite, scoundrel, and knave"
- William Blake

Jeez, Friend of USA, you're as obsessed about the Left as Masked Menace is about Vietnam.

In my job as a money manager we often use what we refer to as the jellybean approach to decision-making. This approach stems from interesting phenomenon that the average of a group of people's guesses about the number of jellybeans in a jar ends up being remarkably close to the actual number. Everyone brings a slightly different perspective to their analysis of the jar, and, combined, all of those perspectives end up being more powerful than any single person's (no matter how smart) perspective.

My point is that the Left brings a certain perspective to the table, as the right does, and as Libertarians such as myself do. America is not as bad as many on the Left suggest. Nor is it as infallible as many on the right suggest. The truth lies somewhere in between, as it always does.

Posted by: Nathan at August 22, 2005 09:24 AM

Friend of USA has one thing very correct. Many people in the middle east are fighting ancient conflicts. They think it is still honorable to avenge some wrong done during the Crusades. As a Christian, my religion has some bad history there, but of course the Crusades were a war that followed Muslim aggression that followed Roman/Byzentine aggression that followed clan aggression that followed . . . . I doubt we can go back far enough to satisfy anyone's revenge lust. The truth is that the Crusades aren't some long ago history story to many people in that area. They think todays Westerner should pay for what the West did then (and the West was largely a bunch of ragtag clans and mercenaries, and a few knights). Muslims aren't the only ones, in fairness. I know the Greeks are still pissed about a lot of that history.

You can't reason with someone fighting a century old grudge. And the US should know that. We have people still complaining about 150 year old slavery like today's white man was responsible for it. You can't reason with them either.

Period.

Posted by: KJ at August 22, 2005 09:42 AM

Agreed, but it seems to me that young Arab men are not blowing themselves up to kill us because of ancient conflicts like the Crusades. They're doing it (in my opinion) because of 1) our support of Israel, 2) our support of non-representative regimes in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and 3) our continued presence in Iraq. As I said, a cost/benefit analysis is required for each of these policies. Is supporting Israel worth the terrorist threat (to us) that comes with it? Are they so much better than the Palestinians (remember that 4X as many Palastinians have been killed over there since 2000 as Israelis, and I believe those are civilian numbers)? Can we make more of an effort to push Democratic reform in U.S. supported Arab regimes? Is our presence on the ground in Iraq helping or hurting our cause? Will another couple hundred billion dollars and thousands of soldiers' lives be worth putting one group of Islamic extremists (Shiite theocrats) in charge of Iraq vs. the Sunni Extremists we're currently fighting?

Posted by: Nathan at August 22, 2005 09:57 AM

"I've offered up a few ideas, but I guess they haven't been provocative enough to warrant a response:) But here are the problems/solutions, as I see it:"

Doesn't have to be provocative, it simply needs to be honest. The hate-filled rhetoric is dangerous and the Left refuses to tone it down. If nothing else it has gone way over the top and therefore it will draw nothing but disdain from me.

"1) Gain a better understanding of who our enemies are. A recent study of the Al Qaida members we've captured so far (I believe it was over 400 or so worldwide) has shown them to be predominately middle to upper class Arabs, that have either studied in and/or lived in the West."

And just how do you suppose we do this? Every time we try to interrogate the bastards we hear cries of "inhumane" treatment and "torture". As far as who our enemy is and why they do what they do we have a pretty firm grip on the sitrep.

"2) Gain a better understanding of why these young men are willing to blow themselves up to kill as many of us as they can."

This is actually a repeat of your question #1 but I'll expand the answer. Religious fanatacism has been around since the beginnings of civilization and no religion has clean hands. We are facing the radical fringes of Islam. What's so hard to understand?


"A better understanding of who our enemies are and what they want will allow us to attack on two fronts: a) militarily - but this should be more of a cloak and dagger war given the dispersed and shadowy nature of the enemy, and b) politically - by altering certain areas of our foreign policy that breed hatred of us."

You seem to have forgotten who attacked whom in this WoT. I make NO APOLOGIES for being an American or for our policies set forth to ensure our Country's very survival. Here is where you just can't seem to come to grips with reality: WE ARE IN A WAR FOR OUR VERY SURVIVAL! 9/11 should have removed any doubt in your mind as to what the stakes are but I guess if you've lived your life in total comfort there is nothing you are willing to lay your life down for. Good thing there are those of us left that are still willing!

"I imagine the nature of the political attack we should make will be the most contentious issue on this board. There are many here, I'm sure, that believe nothing America does justifies our enemies' hatred of us. In my own life I've found that, in retrospect, in virtually every physical altercation I've been in, I was at least partially at fault(alcohol playing no small role)."

If by that you mean it is our fault for living in freedom and under a democratic Republic then just shame on us! You attack my Country I will kill you. And I won't fault myself for doing so!

When I was a young man I hit a port in the ME. It was my first time in that part of the world and I was young, naive, and Southern. I was on shore leave and in a bazaar near the waterfront. A fundalmentalist Muslim was walking in front of me with his wives two steps back as is custom. One of the wives stopped to pick out some fruit from a fruit stand but failed to ask permission I guess. The man turned and struck her across the vail and knocked her to the ground right at my feet. I reached down to help her up and the man attacked me with a knife that was about a mile long. I carry a scar over my right eye to this day.

For helping a woman that was beaten down onto my feet this man went beserk. If this is your idea of what is my fault for being an American then you'd best grow a set and rethink your commitment on life. The fanactics of this religion want nothing more than to cut your heart out for no other reason than you being a "non-believer". Period!

"What Americans need to realize, as I have, is that while America has been an unbelievably great thing for Americans, it has not been so great (all of the time) for the rest of the world. While the part we played in defeating the Nazis and Japanese in WWII saved humanity, in my opinion, the way in which we fought the Cold War, for example, - by installing and supporting brutal dictators rather than allowing smaller nations to choose their own form of government, was less than honorable and instilled a great deal of antipathy towards us in the populations that had to live and die under these dictators (I don't dispute that in a number of cases their communist masters would have been just as brutal)."

America has been the BIGGEST beacon of freedom to the world. No other country has done more for the world than the United States of America. Of course we have made mistakes but we have NEVER been the type to colonize or seek empires. The mistakes we have made have been in securing freedom. You want to blame us for the world's ills well I ask you just where in the hell the world would be without us?!

"I'll come right out and say that I don't have a very good understanding of the Muslim mind, and why us having a few thousand troops in Saudi Arabia makes them so damn mad! My guess is that, similar to what we did during the Cold War, they don't like the U.S. supported governments that run countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for instance. Clearly, we support these countries' governments, which were not chosen by their people, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oil. In any event, they don't seem to like that."

We get less than 15% of our oil from the ME. Learn that fact and understand it. Without the bedwetter tree huggers of America we'd have the refining facilities in our own country to be self-suffcient to a great extent. We are now down to 6 refineries left in this country which has forced us into greater dependency on foreign refineries. It's not the oil, it's the refining of that oil!

You just said, "Clearly, we support these countries' governments, which were not chosen by their people". Well? WTF? Which is it? We are right now in the process of giving the people of Iraq the freedom to elect there own rulers and determine their own path yet you do not support the effort. Now pardon the hell outa' me but this is just hypocritical as all get-out!

"They also don't seem to like our clearly one sided support for Israel vs. the Palestinians."

I knew it'd get around to being all the Joos fault! Name the parameters of the State of Palentstine before the "invasion" of Israel for me. Israel was a legally founded country given their boundaries after a complete World War in which our side won. The other side fought against us for the decimation of the entire Western Society. Sound familiar? As in history repeating itself? The Palestinians were nothing more than a puppet state thrown into the area as a buffer by other Arab countries to use as a base to attack Israel. And just why in the hell are we supposed to pull back from supporting a legally founded country when it is being illegally attacked by others that were not long ago our enemies? You have a weird sense of who's your friend!

"Finally, they don't like our continued presence in Iraq now that Saddam is gone."

Who doesn't? The infamous "Arab Street"? I don't seem to be hearing that from the Iraqis! Funny how that works huh? We have drawn the bulk of the resources of Al Qaeda into Iraq to fight against our military instead of killing our civilians sitting behind keyboards in the comfort of their A/C. We are wasting the bastards and if you could actually get the positive news you would see that they are having trouble being replaced. Did you even read the letter we intercepted from Zarqawi? No? And why not? Could it be that it was buried down in the bowles of any of the few newspapers that even bothered to report on it? Zarqawi himself stated how badly he was being decimated and the red v red troubles he was having. To the extent that he may have to abandon Iraq and fight in another, smaller arena. If you really care to pay attention you will find out just how good a job our men and women are doing!

"In order to turn general Arab opinion in our favor and isolate Al Qaida in Arabs' eyes as the extremist, murderous group it is, we need to do a cost/benefit analysis of our policies to see which ones we should keep, and which we should throw by the wayside. My suggestions are.."

We are constantly doing just that. Evaluate, adapt, overcome. We are the most fluid military in the history of this planet!

"a)Work as a good faith negotiator (if asked) in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict - no more. That means no sales of weapons or financial support to either side. Our one-sided support of Israel is costing us a fortune in reputation."

Covered that.

"b)Admit that Iraq has become one big mission creep. I don't recall the President ever suggesting during the run-up to war that we were going to war to spread democracy (which would explain the utter lack of postwar planning). We went to war because Saddam supposedly had WMD and was a threat. Since no WMD were found and Saddam is gone, we don't need to be there. Our continued presence has turned into a lightening rod, which Al Qaida is successfully using as propaganda."

Oh just yawn about it being all about WMDs. Follow the links and read the damn speech. WMDs was only one part of the equation and nation building was on the list. How convenient to gloss over something that doesn't support your agenda!

Just why is Al Qaeda successful with their propaganda? Gee, ya' think it might have something to do with the utter lack of coverage of anything positive by our own MSM whose very own agenda is creating another Vietnam? When was the last time you saw one of our Heroes awarded a Silver Star? When was the last time you read anything front page about the unbelievable courage expended by our men and women on the ground? All we get is body counts and negativity. The ONLY place we get the positives are from local media and milblogs. I bet you cannot name three American Heroes without Googling that won Silver Stars for courage above and beyond. But I bet you can name Sheehan or the asshats from Abu Ghraib.

Do you even know the nation building we are doing? I know you know how much it costs because that is one of your whines. But do you know what you are even getting for your money? Well we do! That's because we hear about it from our loved ones on the ground constantly. They wonder why the American People don't hear about their efforts with the new schools, roads, hospitals, power stations, or even their battles that they win daily.

Yeah, go figure you think Al Qaeda is winning. They are winning the propaganda war because of support from your side! They know that all they have to do is hold out and they'll eventually win simply because of the cowardice of the Left and people like you that do not have the strength of will to fight for what you believe to be your God given rights as an American!

"c) Push and make a big show of democratic reform in the U.S. supported regimes in the region. I believe Bush has taken steps here, but these steps have been overshadowed by the Iraq and Palestinian issues (another reason to detach ourselves from both)."

Just what do you think we're doing? Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, etc. The taste of freedom is strong and we will carry the day. In spite of, and without the help of, your side!

"Finally, we should be true to the ideals this country was founded upon. That means all Americans, no matter the charge, have a right to a speedy trial and judgment by their peers, and the Geneva Conventions apply to any POWs we take. As Benjamin Franklin said, "those that would trade security for Freedom deserve neither." "

I suggest you read the Geneva Convention accords. These people you want to call POWs are not. They are not deserving of anything under the GC. As a matter of fact there is an accord that deals directly with non-uniformed combatants and that is simply they can be hung or shot. You want to make this sound like we are fighting a war on a battlefield between armies. That quite simply is not reality. The only "rights" these terrorist bastards have are the "rights" we deem prudent to supply them. This holier-than-thou attitude you have is mis-directed and not founded in fact. Another strawman that your side uses to cost American lives. I could tell you just exactly what your bleeding heart bulls**t costs in terms of on the ground SOP and how it puts our guys in further harm's way but it would violate OPSEC. Just suffice it to say that this pantywaist attitude is making us fight with one hand tied behind our backs. Learn this and learn it well: WAR IS HELL! There is NO WAY to kill an enemy gently. We ARE NOT fighting and army but instead are fighting religious fanatics that do know give a rat's a*s about Rules of Warfare or the Geneva Convention until such time as they are caught. We ARE NOT fighting an honorable enemy that plays by ANY set of established rules. YOU and the LEFT are the ones that give them the freedom to persevere. As soon as you understand that the sooner you will see what it will take to reach the ultimate victory.

Yeah, Special OPs are important but your side will not tolerate the death and destruction required to finish the drill. The MSM literally looks for anything resembling some sort of code for humanitarianism that only they have the official rule book for. Y'all change that rule book to suit your needs on a daily basis and it gets our young men and women killed. But what's a few brainwashed neanderthal American Military lives if it gets you the power you feel you deserve. Right? Yeah, and you want to take me to task over YOU losing patience? Uh, OK. Go ahead!

At least you are trying to verbalize your position although you have not offered anything new. We are doing just about everything you state you'd like to see done except running away with our tails tucked between out legs. I honestly appreciate your civility and understand that I am on my last good nerve with the rhetoric flowing from the Left. I've got a son in harm's way at present and I've attended too many funerals as it is to have the guys further endangered by some who hate their own country. The tactics used were proven winners in the fight in Vietnam as far as the anti-America crowd goes. It will get more shrill as time goes own. And no, we do not blindly follow down the Admin's path. We ARE constantly questioning policy ourselves but we do so in the proper manner knowing full well that any form of open public hate-filled rhetoric just gives aid and comfort to our enemies. "Supporting the troops" is not something that is simply a political strategem to us!

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 22, 2005 12:38 PM

Fantastic post, JarheadDad.

Why is it that so many people can't see the whole picture? Why is it that they keep spewing the same falsehoods?

"I don't recall the President ever suggesting during the run-up to war that we were going to war to spread democracy (which would explain the utter lack of postwar planning). We went to war because Saddam supposedly had WMD and was a threat. Since no WMD were found and Saddam is gone, we don't need to be there. Our continued presence has turned into a lightening rod, which Al Qaida is successfully using as propaganda."

Then you have an extremely POOR memory, Nathan. Apparently, this whole thing escaped you:


Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (PL 105-338)

October 31, 1998

An Act

To establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq....
Read the rest here


Posted by: JannyMae at August 22, 2005 01:54 PM

I'm glad you appreciate my civility - you could learn some yourself, Jarhead. It's a funny thing about the Internet, somehow we end up talking to people in a tone that would get them a new asshole ripped if we talked to someone like that in person. Your son is in the military, so I sympathize with your feelings to some extent. My best friend is in Ranger school as we speak and will be shipping out to Afghanistan this December. That is a war I fully support and believe that's where our resources should be focused.

You know, as I read back over my posts, "hate filled rhetoric from the Left" is not something I'm seeing - perhaps you're referring to someone else, particularly as I'm a far right Libertarian, as I've stated ad nauseum.

"Every time we try to interrogate the bastards we hear cries of "inhumane" treatment and "torture"."

That's so weak! Oh, so I guess to Hell with beefing up our intelligence and fighting the people that are actually attacking us because those damn lefties won't let us! Boo Fucking Whoo! - Let's go invade a secular Shiite country!

"Religious fanatacism has been around since the beginnings of civilization and no religion has clean hands. We are facing the radical fringes of Islam. What's so hard to understand?"

You seem to have forgotten who attacked whom in this WoT...Here is where you just can't seem to come to grips with reality: WE ARE IN A WAR FOR OUR VERY SURVIVAL! 9/11 should have removed any doubt in your mind as to what the stakes are but I guess if you've lived your life in total comfort there is nothing you are willing to lay your life down for."

Well, life's a bit more complicated than that. Most of Al Qaida is Sunni Wahabi. The Iranians are Shiites. Saddam and the Bathists are secular Sunnis. Saddam and the Bathists did not start the WOT any more than the Chinese bombed us at Pearl Harbor. Sunni Wahabi Al Qaida started the war. They are based in Afghanistan, and were funded by rich Saudis and Pakistani Intelligence.

You're saying we're in a war for our very survival and I'm the one who can't come to grips with reality?!! Al Qaida can only destroy us if they compel us to destroy ourselves by trading our freedom for security. Can they blow a few things up and kill hundreds of people occassionally? Possibly, but it won't be as easy for them as it was on 9/11 thanks to beefed up internal security. They are not a threat to our liberty. They're a rag-tag bunch of misfits scattered all over the globe, not a huge, threatening power like Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the Soviet Union. To argue otherwise is sheer exageration. Our Federal Government intruding further and further into our lives and suspending more and more of our rights is the biggest threat to our Liberty.

You don't know me and what I'm willing to fight for. I've got two little boys, and would lay down my life for them in a heartbeat. But I wouldn't pull a hangnail to nationbuild Iraq. Saddam's gone, our presence is now counterproductive, and it's their responsibility to get their shit together.

"If by that you mean it is our fault for living in freedom and under a democratic Republic then just shame on us! You attack my Country I will kill you. And I won't fault myself for doing so!"

Well said! But seriously, you're incoherent rant has gotten my ire up. Are you threatening to kill me?:) Walk through my front door and I got something for you, JarheadDad;)

"For helping a woman that was beaten down onto my feet this man went beserk. If this is your idea of what is my fault for being an American then you'd best grow a set and rethink your commitment on life."

No, that's not my idea of what is your fault for being an American. There is no fault involved here. My point was that, while America has been great for Americans, it has not (with the exception of WWII) always been great for the rest of the world. In a number of instances we overthrew democratically elected socialist leaders and replace them with brutal dictators.

"We get less than 15% of our oil from the ME. Without the bedwetter tree huggers of America we'd have the refining facilities in our own country to be self-suffcient to a great extent. We are now down to 6 refineries left in this country which has forced us into greater dependency on foreign refineries."

There's actually about 150 refineries in the U.S. that are operating at full capacity to meet our gasoline needs (which is why I've owned stock in them over the past few years), but you're right when you suggest that a lack of refining capacity is a problem. However, while the ME only produces 25% of the world's oil currently (we produce 40% of our own from extremely mature wells), the big problem for us going forward is that 2/3 of the world's remaining oil is in the Middle East. Refining capacity has nothing to do with why a barrel of oil is so expensive....believe me, following the integrated oil companies is part of my job.

"You just said, "Clearly, we support these countries' governments, which were not chosen by their people". Well? WTF? Which is it? We are right now in the process of giving the people of Iraq the freedom to elect there own rulers and determine their own path yet you do not support the effort."

I find it typical that you would see things so black and white. We support a number of countries' governments in the ME that were not chosen by their people. We are also working to give the Iraqis a republic. Both are true - there is no hypocracy about it.

"I knew it'd get around to being all the Joos fault!...And just why in the hell are we supposed to pull back from supporting a legally founded country when it is being illegally attacked by others that were not long ago our enemies?"

Oh Gosh, I know, I'm an antisemite for suggesting that the Israeli Palistinian conflict is not our business, and we're better off acting as a good faith mediator and nothing more.

"We have drawn the bulk of the resources of Al Qaeda into Iraq to fight against our military instead of killing our civilians sitting behind keyboards in the comfort of their A/C."

95% of the insurgents are home grown Iraqis. The majority of Iraqis (both Sunnis and Shiites) want us to leave. The Kurds want us to stay, but only in so much as we can protect the autonomy they had under the no-fly zone.

The majority of Al Qaida is middle to upper class Arabs that were educated and/or live in the West. They're not all hopping on planes to head to Iraq. Their using the war in Iraq as propaganda to recruit new members.

"Oh just yawn about it being all about WMDs. Follow the links and read the damn speech. WMDs was only one part of the equation and nation building was on the list. How convenient to gloss over something that doesn't support your agenda!"

You're insane if you think this country would have gone to war to nation build. Without supposed WMDs and ties to Al Qaida there would have been no war.

"Just why is Al Qaeda successful with their propaganda? Gee, ya' think it might have something to do with the utter lack of coverage of anything positive by our own MSM whose very own agenda is creating another Vietnam?"

They reason they can't cover the war is that they can't leave the Green Zone without being killed.

"When was the last time you saw one of our Heroes awarded a Silver Star? When was the last time you read anything front page about the unbelievable courage expended by our men and women on the ground? All we get is body counts and negativity...I bet you cannot name three American Heroes without Googling that won Silver Stars for courage above and beyond. But I bet you can name Sheehan or the asshats from Abu Ghraib."

I agree, we should hear more about the heoroic men and women that are over there.

"Do you even know the nation building we are doing? I know you know how much it costs because that is one of your whines. But do you know what you are even getting for your money?"

No not really...

"Well we do! That's because we hear about it from our loved ones on the ground constantly. They wonder why the American People don't hear about their efforts with the new schools, roads, hospitals, power stations, or even their battles that they win daily."

They don't hear about them because our reporters get killed when they leave the Green Zone. Further, security problems have ground the reconstruction to a halt. Battles may be won, but our lack of troops on the ground means that the second they leave a city and move on, the insurgents move right back in again.

"Yeah, go figure you think Al Qaeda is winning. They are winning the propaganda war because of support from your side! They know that all they have to do is hold out and they'll eventually win simply because of the cowardice of the Left and people like you that do not have the strength of will to fight."

I'll get into a knock down, drag-out fight with the best of them, tough guy. I'm suggesting there's a more intelligent way to wage this war.

"I suggest you read the Geneva Convention accords. These people you want to call POWs are not. They are not deserving of anything under the GC."

Many of them have been found to have nothing to do with Al Qaida. I guess they should have been hung or shot, too. More importantly the "enemy combatant" moniker is a slippery slope. Whose to say that a U.S. citizen criticizing the government's policies isn't an enemy combatant with only the rights the government deems prudent? I bet you would! You seem to be willing to destroy American liberty in order to save it from Al Qaida. No, I'll take my chances with Al Qaida, thanks.




Posted by: Nathan at August 22, 2005 04:15 PM

Well I'll be double-dogged-damned! I do owe you an apology Nathan. I thought I was answering 42! Blame it on senility but I still don't take anything back except your leaning toward the cowardice of the Left! I promise I wouldn't have been as harsh had I realized the difference.

I believe the Librarians are against the war as an entire platform. Unfortunately for them what used to be a grand idea and experiment got stolen by the liberal malcontnets that got run out of their own party by the even further Left anti-America crowd. And yes, I was a Libertarian for quite some time back in the days when Boortz first began his recruiting drives (84?). Left that party because I'm truly a Southern Democrat and although the Repubs are the closest party to my ideology I am not a big fan of giant corporations. And I absolutely detest big government with every ounce of strength in my body! I've been a registered Independent since 94 and will remain that way until I die I guess!

As far as my civility goes I don't have any left! And if that is a problem than tough! My last good nerve was frayed with Sheehan spitting on the Honor of her Son and I'll stand behind anything I say. In any way you would care to choose! Old I may be but I've lived my life through trial by fire and have no qualms about my abilities to handle myself. Or any doubt or lack of self-confidence to do so. Living has a tendency to do that for you! Pick your poison!

Feel the Love? Or is it all about testosterone? Just remember; I'm the old bull that would just saunter down and love them all! :-o

As far as your ideas go they are isolationist in any event. Isolationism will not work in today's atmosphere as if it ever has in the past. That's something you Librarians are dead set on. Your take on Al Qaeda's capabilities shows that plainly enough. Also your take on the numbers that we are fighting in Iraq.

You are correct about the refineries also. I was so annoyed while writing that I should have said we only have the capability to refine 6% of our needs. Not 6 refineries. And while our production is coming from old wells may be true you also have to put that in context. How many "new" wells are sitting capped because of nowhere to go with the oil? How many "new" fields are sitting undeveloped because of the same reason plus the lack of R&D to go after it? Yeah, I have a wee bit of interest in that same industry. I also drive for a living and have watched my profits drop 28% due to the cost of fuel. The answer lies here at home and not your idea that we invaded Iraq for oil.

"I find it typical that you would see things so black and white. We support a number of countries' governments in the ME that were not chosen by their people. We are also working to give the Iraqis a republic. Both are true - there is no hypocracy about it."

I am a black and white kinda' guy! I knew exactly what you were referring to but it was still hypocritical. We either never support a country that may have vital interest to our security due to their form of government or we don't. By playing both ends against the middle it becomes hypocritical. My point being is that sometimes we have to dance with the devil or spend all of our resources pissing on forest fires.

"Oh Gosh, I know, I'm an antisemite for suggesting that the Israeli Palistinian conflict is not our business, and we're better off acting as a good faith mediator and nothing more."

Nope! Where did I call you an anti-semite? If I did I wouldn't have beat around the bush about it. I'm not made that way. I questioned your position based on the history of the situation and asked a simple question as to what parameters Palestine had before the formation of Israel. Yes, we have definitive interests in supporting another democracy in the region. It was the only democracy for years. Freedom is the only hope for the stability of the region. Dumping an ally for the sake of appeasement smacks of cowardice. I truly hope that is not your position and I don't believe it is but there is no way we drop Israel as an ally. Again, isolationism will not work. Along with any appeasment we may get from the move.

"They don't hear about them because our reporters get killed when they leave the Green Zone. Further, security problems have ground the reconstruction to a halt. Battles may be won, but our lack of troops on the ground means that the second they leave a city and move on, the insurgents move right back in again."

The problem isn't that they get killed it is they are too damn stupid and arrogant to even understand the sitrep! They try to "catch" our military doing something they can use to further their own Left agenda and then wonder why they are totally distrusted by the very troops they want to crucify. They spend their money instead on getting the "story" from the other side and feel honored when they receive a major story on our boys when they get killed. Complete with video no less. The bastards are actually helping to finance an insurgency and the deaths of our people are all in a days work. Piss on 'em! Come out of the Green Zone my ass!

How is it that guys like Michael Yon can report from the hottest AOs? We lose good ones like Vincent but By God he had courage. He didn't bother holding up a bar in the Green Zone and got his butt out in the world. Even when the "journalists" go outside the wire they only do so to try and "catch" some form of atrocity by our troops. Checked the Pulitzer's lately?

Reconstruction is at a halt? Who's blowing this sunshine up your butt? Maybe in the Triangle there are delays but I believe you'll find that the regular Iraqis have had enough and are protecting their own on a pretty consistent basis. Notice the increase on red v red? Man, I hear so much positive stuff on the construction projects that were completed it's not even funny. You might want to recheck your sources and see if that pertains to a certain area. The rat lines are being cut and the terrorists are not filtering back in anywhere except a 6x6 plot of sand. Once the rat lines are totally destroyed they'll be hard put to supply their insurgents in Baghdad and the Northern areas.

"I'll get into a knock down, drag-out fight with the best of them, tough guy. I'm suggesting there's a more intelligent way to wage this war."

Well at least you've acknowledged your Master! :-o I think if you study the Ops in place and the push that is going on you will find that it is pretty damn intelligent. There's a lot to said about submitting to a superior force and what field level CO doesn't always want more boots on the ground? They key is and always has been building the Iraqi forces. And I've heard how hard that is due simply to the difference in natures. Our military training is at odds with their lifestyle. Which can be said about just about anything I guess but it is changing for the better rapidly. Unbeknownst to the American People who do not see this happening because there is simply no coverage. It doesn't fit the agenda as well as "Fifteen Iraqis get blown to hell today".

"Many of them have been found to have nothing to do with Al Qaida. I guess they should have been hung or shot, too. More importantly the "enemy combatant" moniker is a slippery slope. Whose to say that a U.S. citizen criticizing the government's policies isn't an enemy combatant with only the rights the government deems prudent? I bet you would! You seem to be willing to destroy American liberty in order to save it from Al Qaida. No, I'll take my chances with Al Qaida, thanks."

Frankly I do not see where you could even consider these bastards as anything but terrorists. Government or no, it is simply what they are. Do I believe we are giving up too many personal liberties? You're asking that of a man whose had his handgun removed from a commercial vehicle because of Federal control? Uh, yeah, but I also see the vast majority of it as a necessary evil. The bitch is not how we deal with captured terrorists but why we do not do anything in our own country to stop the infiltration of our own borders. Enemy combatants be damned and I really have little use to how our actions are "perceived". I value American life a good bit more than that!

What you are advocating is isolationism and appeasement whether you admit it or not! That dog simply won't hunt!

So what's it gonna' be? Duelling at daylight? Your choice of weapons? ;-)

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 22, 2005 05:32 PM

Dammit! That's 46%. I remember the big dropout in refineries (87? 88?) when we first went below 200 active refineries. I was involved with the Moncrief Field in LA at that time. I had also thought I put 160 in that first post anyway not 6. Do you remember which Regs killed the refinery business? Or how much money was lost building pipelines to nowhere?

As if I can spell or type anyhoo!

Pruf reeding is valable! :-o

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 22, 2005 06:23 PM

"Many of them have been found to have nothing to do with Al Qaida."

It has nothing to do with being a part of Al Qaida. They do not wear uniforms, do not report to a formal chain of command, do not carry openly, hide among civilians, fight from religious and medical buildings and under white flags. They violate every requirement of the GC for lawful combatant. Whether or not they are AQ is irrelevent.

"Whose to say that a U.S. citizen criticizing the government's policies isn't an enemy combatant with only the rights the government deems prudent?"

Oh, please! If you fear the gov't stripping your rights for political speech because of capturing combatants WHO ARE TRYING TO KILL SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS, frankly, you're paranoid.

There's a good reason the Libertarian Party languishes as a fringe group. Give up your isolationism and shut the helk up about pot for a few years you could replace the friggin'
democrats as a national party. Too bad smokin a joint with your head in the sand is just too damned important.

Posted by: Mildly Annoyed Terrier at August 22, 2005 06:31 PM

1 - " That is a war I fully support. "

and then you don't support it;

" But I wouldn't pull a hangnail to nationbuild Iraq. Saddam's gone, our presence is now counterproductive, "

...

2 - " Oh, so I guess to Hell with beefing up our intelligence "

Where does Jarhead says he's against improving intelligence ?!...

...

3 - " Al Qaida can only destroy us if they compel us to destroy ourselves by trading our freedom for security. Can they blow a few things up and kill hundreds of people occassionally? "

It sounds like the possibility of having your bag searched at the train station is much worst to you than hundreds of innocent americans getting killed in terrorist attacks.

...

4 - " They are not a threat to our liberty. "

Rewind to the months following 9/11;
Americans from Montana to Florida were scared of traveling by plane or visiting New-york ( and any other possible target for that matter ), I would call that a threat to liberty, plus the economy suffered and less income means less liberty too.

Hell! even Canadians and Europeans cut down on their traveling to the US.
Many american businesses were badly affected.
I would call that a threat to liberty.
A BIG treath to liberty.

...

5 - "...not a huge, threatening power like Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or the Soviet Union. "

Japan attacked a US military target.

Not one of those three ever attacked civilians in the continental US like terrorists did on 9/11.
Only Al Qaeda did that, and that is beyond a threat, it actually happened, and they keep saying they will do it again.

...

6 - " They're a rag-tag bunch of misfits scattered all over the globe, not a huge, threatening power "

A nuisance like prostitutes or shop lifters maybe?...

How much power did they need to kill 3000 innocents on 9/11?

With these people the threat comes as much from their brain washed minds as from weapons.

Who would have called 19 men with box cutters a huge threatening power before 9/11?

The world is changing, what can I say...

...

7 - " Are you threatening to kill me?:) Walk through my front door and I got something for you, JarheadDad;) "

The smiles mean you understand Jarhead was talking about terrorists, right ?

...

8 - " You seem to be willing to destroy American liberty in order to save it from Al Qaida. No, I'll take my chances with Al Qaida, thanks. "

Al Qaeda is being taken care of right now as you are enjoying your liberty. ( and random bag searches don't count, see number 3 above. )

...

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 22, 2005 07:32 PM

" Even when the "journalists" go outside the wire they only do so to try and "catch" some form of atrocity by our troops. Checked the Pulitzer's lately? "

That is so true.

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 22, 2005 07:41 PM

JarheadDad, I think you might be alright! I'll respond more later once the kids are in bed, and after I smoke this J...

Posted by: Nathan at August 22, 2005 07:45 PM

Cassandra, thanks for the divergent molehill of microminutia. I'll file it under 75% of things to google.

JarheadDad, perhaps you misunderestimated me. I don't have a side. I attacked no one personally, nor did I post any hate filled, idiotic, or bulls**t rhetoric, or call anyone a Nazi. Neither am I pissed off.

I am an individual American citizen who made a statement. Thank you both for your illustrative and verbose confirmation thereof.

QED



"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." -- Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

Posted by: fortytwo at August 22, 2005 09:47 PM

Or you could just shut up and take the word of *actual people who get paid a military salary* and have been living on it for over 20 years.

Or you can just continue to change the subject and spout irrelevant quotes.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 22, 2005 09:54 PM

JarheadDad: I bet you cannot name three American Heroes without Googling that won Silver Stars for courage above and beyond.

Alvin York, Audie Murphy, and John Kerry. No google.


------------------------------------------------------------

“I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?” ----------- Barry Goldwater, 1964

Posted by: fortytwo at August 22, 2005 10:09 PM

Cassandra: Or you can just continue to change the subject...

The subject was never about military pay. That was your tangent.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


"America's belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed." George W. Bush 1/20/05

Posted by: fortytwo at August 22, 2005 10:20 PM

Wrong. You brought it up as symptomatic of poor conditions, with which you alleged the military has to contend during wartime.

I merely refuted your false allegation.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 22, 2005 10:32 PM

1) Isolationism won't work? When's the last time we tried it? Maybe if we'd stayed out of WWI, the Germans would have taken France, and Hitler never would have come to power.

2) Appeasement's not the issue with Israel. So what if they're a democracy - so's France! They've got spies all over our government (Franklin and the AIPAC guys were passing all kinds of info back to their govt.), and their neocon sympathizers appear to be the ones that brought us great hits like the forged Niger Uranium documents, which led us down the WMD wild goose chase. With friends like that,...

3) Reconstruction is not going well, despite what you're being told:

Washington Post (8/14/2005)

"Pressed by the cost of fighting an escalating insurgency, U.S. expectations for rebuilding Iraq -- and its $20 billion investment -- have fallen the farthest, current and former officials say.

The United States had high hopes of quick, big-budget fixes for the electrical power system that would show Iraqis tangible benefits from the ouster of Hussein. But inadequate training for Iraqi staff, regional rivalries restricting the power flow to Baghdad, inadequate fuel for electrical generators and attacks on the infrastructure have contributed to the worst summer of electrical shortages in the capital.

"Water is also a "tough, tough" situation in a desert country, said a U.S. official in Baghdad familiar with reconstruction issues. Pumping stations depend on electricity, and engineers now say the system has hundreds of thousands of leaks.

"The most thoroughly dashed expectation was the ability to build a robust self-sustaining economy. We're nowhere near that. State industries, electricity are all below what they were before we got there," said Wayne White, former head of the State Department's Iraq intelligence team who is now at the Middle East Institute. "The administration says Saddam ran down the country. But most damage was from looting [after the invasion], which took down state industries, large private manufacturing, the national electric" system."

4) If the most powerful military in the world isn't quelling this insurgency, I seriously doubt Iraqi "troops" with limited training and equipment will be able to make much of a difference. This thing is heading towards (and is actually already there) a Sunni Shiite civil war. The Iraqi troops we're training won't fight the insurgents effectively, but the Badr Corps will.

5) I'm saying that some of the guys that went to Guantanamo were innocent (in fact, many were ultimately put on planes and sent home). That's why the Geneva Conventions should apply. But, you know, we could have said the Nazis or anyone we've fought were essentially animals that the Geneva Conventions shouldn't apply to. I don't trust the government, or you to draw that line correctly.

Friend of USA

1) I support the war in Afghanistan. I view Iraq as counterproductive.

2)Jarhead poohpoohed beefing up our intelligence 'cause those damn lefties won't let us interrogate them.

3)Searching bags on trains? Why not, I'm fine with being searched on airplanes (though they should save their energy and just racial profile). Giving up the right to a speedy trial and a jury of my peers and the government having the right to search my property without a warrant? I'll tolerate casualties for those freedoms and take my chances. The government can't protect you from everything, you pussy.

5) Attacking soft targets shows weakness not strength. That's the best they can do. They're not going to overrun the country like the Nazis or Japanese might have.

6) I don't view prostitution as a nuisance. I still don't call 19 men with box cutters a huge threatening power. Highly successful mass murderers, yes. Now that we've hardened the more obvious targets, it won't be so easy for them.

7)I thought I'd leave it open to interpretation, as his rant wasn't clear to me.

8) Glad to hear that whole Al Qaeda problem's being taken care of!

Posted by: Nathan at August 22, 2005 10:37 PM

Ok, Cassandra, you win. Victorious in the battle of defensive sensativity you chose to wage over a hairsplit detail, albeit merely incidental to the post.

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell someone you are, you aren’t.” -- Margaret Thatcher

Posted by: fortytwo at August 22, 2005 11:00 PM

Tell me, do you ever use your own words, or do you subsist entirely on borrowed plumage?

Posted by: Cassandra at August 22, 2005 11:15 PM

" The government can't protect you from everything, you pussy. "

What the fuck is that?!

What has that got to do with anything I said?!

You feel better now Nathan?

Maybe I would be doing that too, you know throwing insults at the person who so easely demolishes every argument I have.
But you see, I don't know how that feels to have my arguments demolished easely, so I never have to resort to throwing insults.

And before you come back with more venom, re-read this;

" I'm glad you appreciate my civility [...] It's a funny thing about the Internet, somehow we end up talking to people in a tone that would get them a new asshole ripped if we talked to someone like that in person."

Posted by: Friend of USA at August 22, 2005 11:17 PM

Why get one's khaki boxers all in a bunch over a few quoted conservatives?

----------------

"Politics, like life, is a cycle. Make hay while you can; you'll just have to shovel out the barn later." -- 42.

----------------

"Go..." -- Dick Cheney

Posted by: fortytwo at August 23, 2005 12:02 AM

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." -- Thomas Jefferson.


Yes, I am disgusted, but no, I am unperturbed. I do not get angry. Anger only serves to retard the angry.


Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea and most likely Iran, have nuclear (not nucular) weapons capability. 9/11 was engineered by Saudis, hiding out in Afghanistan; and we invaded Iraq? Did I get that right?


The issues of significance on the President's list of justifications when he solicited Congress for war powers were:


1) The allegation of the impending attainment of nuclear weapons capability by Saddam Hussein, and that he already had missile systems in place to deliver them to New York and London within 45 minutes notice,


2) The allegation that Iraq had extensive chemical and biological WMD research and production capabilities as well as stockpiles,


3) The allegation that Saddam Hussein was an ally and direct supporter of, and influential upon, Osama bin-Laden and the Al-Quaida extremist organization(s), and was providing that assistance within the borders of Iraq,


4) The allegation that Saddam Hussein and the forces of Iraq were directly involved with the planning, funding and perpetration of the attacks upon the World Trade Center complex in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, VA., and a corn field in west central Pennsylvania by Saudi Arabian terrorists who hijacked four American commercial jetliners and led them to crash into their respective targets,


of which, all four reasons have since been proven to be unequivocably untrue. Ask yourself: How in the world could our super secret, highly funded, high-tech intelligence community have been so utterly wrong?


The liberation of the Iraqi people was never even mentioned, however had it been the only reason, or even the primary reason, the President had for justifying his request for war powers, his request--without question and without regard to the prayers of the Iraqi people--would have been summarily denied by Congress and thoroughly condemned by an overwhelming majority of the world community.


A plausible allegory would be if your local police were to arrest and charge you with, and imprison you for: murder, rape, child molestation and the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs, when you were guilty merely of causing a traffic accident due to driving an automobile while impaired. Neither is, by any stretch of the imagination, equitable. Our involvement in Iraq does not even resemble being justifiable.


To date, I have met no one on either side--or the middle--of the issue, ever, who has disgust for, disregard for, or has deliberately disparaged the noble men and women in service to our country, our political process, or the land of their birth. Indignance with respect to the misperceptions that any American is unpatriotic in these regards unfounded, at best. And to compare the conflict in Iraq to the devastating wars in the first half of the previous century against world-wide fascist aggression and unconscionable genocide is equivalent to comparing the tsunami of last December in the Indian Ocean to a hailstorm and some momentary tornadoes in Kansas. There is no comparison.


Many Iraqi citizens today would have little difficulty pointing out that under Saddam Hussein they had electricity, waste and sewerage service, and running water in the capital city of Baghdad for more that 7 hours per day, as they do not now; and that oil was flowing regularly and generating revenue, as it does not now.


Despite the horrific atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds, Shiites and other Iraqi peoples, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and there were 100,000 more Iraqis and 1,800 more Americans alive two years ago than there are today.


If not for the invasion, the United States budget deficit would be one fourth of what it is now, reducing the prospect of the burden of unimaginable debt being left upon the backs and futures of our great-grandchildren into the year 2040 or beyond, instead of being left upon the backs and futures of ourselves and our children, who, with luck, would be able to rebalance the budget within the next twelve to fifteen years. Call me selfish, but long term fiscal responsibility is high on my list of criterion for sound leadership..


American citizens and other legal residents would not be subjected to false arrest and unspecific terms of imprisonment, strip searches at travel junctions, and the squanderous corruption and waste of taxpayer dollars now associated with the haphazard implementation of needless and ineffective security measures and bureaucracies.


The outright lies the Bush Administration has hoodwinked so many Americans with, the carnage they have inflicted upon the long term health of our national economy for none other than narrow ideology and personal gain, the proliferation of additional, and unproductive shuffling of existing, incompetent government agencies; the imposition of myriads of unenforceable regulations, the mounting curtailment of rights and infringement of liberties they have arrogantly perpetrated upon American citizenry overall in the name of National Security. These are greater threats to our nation and to the freedom now, and in the long term, that each of us as individuals cherish so dearly, than the prospect of a terrorist attack upon our own soil can--or will--ever be. I would rather have terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan than Bush, Cheney and the rest of those corporate puppets in Washington.


Had the retaliation ended with the deposition of the Taliban and bombardment of Al-Quaida encampments in Afghanistan, we would be no less secure than we are today. The Homeland Security Act is a bad joke laden with pork and loopholes for corruption and curtailment of rights. All it has done is snarl traffic at major travel junctions, create more inefficient bureaucracies to squander tax dollars on, and infringe further upon our Civil and Constitutional rights.


Before anyone should happen to misperceive my thoughts as irreverant, unpatriotic or vulgar, ask yourself: Are you safer now than you were 4 years ago? After almost four years since he was originally declared the target of the war on terror, a 48 year old, gray haired A-rab, who walks with a limp and tucks his beard into his gun belt, is still at large and operating a video recording studio from the Flintstones old neighborhood.


You can't smoke or carry a lighter, or a nail file on a commercial airliner, but you can carry matches, throwing stars and/or a bow & arrow, and drink alcohol until you pass out. You can purchase semiautomatic weapons at gun shows at your county fairgrounds. You can purchase kerosene and high nitrate fertilizer in unlimited quantities at your local Southern States store, just like Tim McVeigh did.


You can even build a homemade catapult from Bowflex parts and mount it in your pickup. Hell, if you were so inclined, you literally could park your pickup in a legal parking space on Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C., and launch cowpies through the windows of the Oval Office.


Every airport runway has miles of unpatrolled fenceline. Every bridge and skyscraper has a virtual bullseye on it. Every major seaport remains porously vulnerable. The manufacturing and energy industries are less inclined to invest in security measures than they are to invest in environmental safety, an irony that leaves virtually every site in America that could potentially rain toxins upon the populace completely unprotected.


Save for the flying lessons, 9/11 could have been organized by a teenager with a cell phone and a stolen American Express card. If a terrorist is so zealous that they will commit to a suicide attack, no amount of homemade security will stop them.


It's like the myth of being chased by a barracuda while swimming in the ocean. A barracuda can manage up to 40 mph. If you were chased, you were caught.


Iraq is now a sargasso that will likely take another decade to get out of. Just like Nixon was the 'end the war' candidate in 1968, economic and political interests blockaded him at every step. It took 7 years. Civilians get killed in a ratio of 30 to 1 over American casualties and the people in charge who started the "war" get rich on every drop of blood spilled by either side. Just like Viet Nam. Next they’ll be telling us there is “light at the end of the tunnel.“ When will they start chalking up body part counts as a measure of success?


War is the last resort of a desperate regime. This administration predetermined before taking office to invade Iraq. They lied to Congress and the American people, contrived the need for military urgency, and declined to exercise diplomatic and economic options it had available to it. Read up again on facism. The similarities of behavior are coincidental.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism By Dr. Lawrence Britt


1. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.


2. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.


3. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.


4. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.


5. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.


6. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.


7. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.


8. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.


9. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.


10. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.


11. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.


12. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.


13. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.


14. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.


Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliamentarian, a communist dictatorship ...


Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." -- Hermann Goering



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The (most recent) criterion given by the Bush administration for withdrawal of American troops are: 1) that there be an Iraqi Constitution and a date for free elections, 2) that Iraqi military forces be adequately trained and equipped to protect the Iraqi borders and provide security in wake of the insurgences within the country's borders, and 3) that Iraqi police forces be trained and equipped to handle domestic safety and security.


Let's step back and take a deep whiff of reality here.


We are talking about a bureaucracy which has operated for 30 years wherein corruption has been the status quo. We're talking about military rank and file that--not so long ago--commonly surrendered on the battlefield to American news people. We're talking about a police force that--until recently--was skilled at intimidating, torturing, and killing innocent, unarmed civilians, yet ineffective dealing with rampant violent crime and the epidemic of firearms in their city streets. 138,000 of the most sophisticated armed forces in the world cannot provide protection, safety and security now.


Faced with these realities, how could the Administration's academic criteria ever come to pass? Where are our leader's heads? Where are the voter's heads? Where are our JOURNALIST'S heads? We could withdraw from Iraq tomorrow with the same net results as if we were to remain as occupiers for another decade--sans the proliferation of bars and brothels, and American casualties.


Osama Bin Laden's intent when he sent suicide terrorists aboard domestic airliners on 9/11/2001 was to disrupt--if not destroy--the American economy and way of life. To him, the 3,000 tragic deaths and property damage were symbolic and incidental. The $3 trillion budget surplus Bush inherited in 2001 is now an $8 trillion deficit. The rate of the deficit is still growing; so much so that we rely upon our heretofore evil enemy Communist China, and Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive monarchial regimes on Earth--among others--to purchase billions in U.S. Treasury bonds to just keep our spend-and-don’t-tax credit-card government afloat. We pay $3.00 a gallon for gasoline and Iraqis pay a nickel. And a significant portion of our population lives in daily fear.


In my own words, “If that isn’t irony, there is none.”


------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"All I know is what I read in the papers." -- Will Rogers.

Posted by: fortytwo at August 23, 2005 04:37 AM

Apologies, Friend of USA - when I get pissed I can't help myself. You do have some delusions of grandeur, though, if you think you're demolishing my arguemnents. I responded to each and every one of your comments, none of which required much time or energy.

Posted by: Nathan at August 23, 2005 07:49 AM

Know Thy Enemy.

http://www.reason.com/hod/db082205.shtml

Posted by: Nathan at August 23, 2005 08:22 AM

You crossed the line this time 42! What you have posted here is against all normal protocol and etiquette for posting comments on someone else's blog. The constant use of other's quotes and ideas smacks of plagarism and it is now impossible to tell what is your opinion and what is someone else's.

You want to debate, or as in this ccase heatedly argue, then fine. But if you want to write massive missives and and confuscate your own thoughts with those of others start your own damn blog! This stuff is an affront to your Hostess and quite frankly if it were me I'd ban you until you could behave!

And no, I didn't even read past the first two papragraphs because I scrolled down and saw what you did. Your attempts at compiling every strawman from the Left may be admirable in your eyes but the palgarism is dispicable in mine. Argue your own damn points and make it clear where they are coming from. What a waste and you damn sure owe Cass an apology!

Like I said, start your own damn blog if you want to do soemthing like this. Attract your own readers and open the debate on your own merits! Nothing you have said here is of any import simply because we do not who's ideas they may be!

Posted by: JarheadDad at August 23, 2005 09:14 AM

42, Your quoted 14 traits of fascism is pure bunk. KJ, ran down a point by point refutation yet you posted it again!

And since you're a fan of quoting others:

"Notice how he conveniently left out all the hard line Communist regimes, though many were certainly socialist. Wouldn't want the sample to interfere with the predetermined results, now would we Dr. Britt. - KJ"

"KJ, exactly.

Stalin killed 42.7 million, Mao "only" killed 37.8 million and Hitler (not exactly religious either) killed 21 million. Chiang Kai-shek (don't know about religion here) at 10.2 million, Lenin (another atheist) at 4 million, and Tojo at 4 million round out the top 6.

Of the top 6 the atheists lead (giving benefit to the doubt about CHK and Tojo being religious) 84.5 Million slaughtered to 14.2 million." - Masked Menace©

Posted by: Mildly Annoyed Terrier at August 23, 2005 10:23 AM

Don't know how much of a role religion played, but I view Communism/Fascism as essentially the same thing (two routes to the same destination)- total state control.

Posted by: Nathan at August 23, 2005 11:48 AM

"compiling...palgarism [sic]" Hardly.

"Go..." -- Dick Cheney

Posted by: fortytwo at August 24, 2005 03:31 AM

What is really pathetic here is, the President could have diffused this whole issue very easily had he just invited Ms. Sheehan in for tea and lady fingers, let her have her say, and she would have gone home. Based upon his behavior towards her over the last few weeks, he probably would have served her toes instead.


For those who have attention spans that exceed two paragraphs and know how to invoke spellcheck, and who can avoid microhairsplitting and wandering tangentally to topics unrelated--as use of the word 'Facism' is semantic and not to equate anyone specific with Adolf Hitler, nor to equate any American political party with Nazism, and that Stalinism and communism are alien to the comment--there may be something to be learned here, from a legitimate man of the cloth. Else, wallow blissfully.



Living Under Fascism



By Rev. Davidson Loehr


First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin


4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756


www.austinuu.org


11/07/04 -- -- You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word 'fascism' in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don't mean it as name-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying. That's what I am about here. And even if I don't persuade you, I hope to raise the level of your thinking about who and where we are now, to add some nuance and perhaps some useful insights.


The word comes from the Latin word 'Fasces,' denoting a bundle of sticks tied together. The individual sticks represented citizens, and the bundle represented the state. The message of this metaphor was that it was the bundle that was significant, not the individual sticks. If it sounds un-American, it's worth knowing that the Roman Fasces appear on the wall behind the Speaker's podium in the chamber of the US House of Representatives.


Still, it's an unlikely word. When most people hear the word "fascism" they may think of the racism and anti-Semitism of Mussolini and Hitler. It is true that the use of force and the scapegoating of fringe groups are part of every fascism. But there was also an economic dimension of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and '30s as "corporatism," which was an essential ingredient of Mussolini's and Hitler's tyrannies. So-called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a model by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe.


As I mentioned a few weeks ago (in 'The Corporation Will Eat Your Soul'), Fortune magazine ran a cover story on Mussolini in 1934, praising his fascism for its ability to break worker unions, disempower workers and transfer huge sums of money to those who controlled the money rather than those who earned it.


Few Americans are aware of or can recall how so many Americans and Europeans viewed economic fascism as the wave of the future during the 1930s. Yet reviewing our past may help shed light on our present, and point the way to a better future. So I want to begin by looking back to the last time fascism posed a serious threat to America.


In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on family values, the flag, and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray advocates of traditional American democracy ' those concerned with individual rights and freedoms ' as anti-American. That was 69 years ago.


One of the most outspoken American fascists from the 1930s was economist Lawrence Dennis. In his 1936 book, The Coming American Fascism ' a coming which he anticipated and cheered ' Dennis declared that defenders of '18th-century Americanism' were sure to become "the laughing stock of their own countrymen." The big stumbling block to the development of economic fascism, Dennis bemoaned, was "liberal norms of law or constitutional guarantees of private rights."


So it is important for us to recognize that, as an economic system, fascism was widely accepted in the 1920s and '30s, and nearly worshiped by some powerful American industrialists. And fascism has always, and explicitly, been opposed to liberalism of all kinds.


Mussolini, who helped create modern fascism, viewed liberal ideas as the enemy. "The Fascist conception of life," he wrote, "stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State. It is opposed to classical liberalism [which] denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual." (In 1932 Mussolini wrote, with the help of Giovanni Gentile, an entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism. You can read the whole entry at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.html).


Mussolini thought it was unnatural for a government to protect individual rights: The essence of fascism, he believed, is that government should be the master, not the servant, of the people.


Still, fascism is a word that is completely foreign to most of us. We need to know what it is, and how we can know it when we see it.


In an essay coyly titled 'Fascism Anyone?,' Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies social and political agendas common to fascist regimes. His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 'identifying characteristics of fascism.' (The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. Read it at http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm) See how familiar they sound.


1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism


2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights


3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause


4. Supremacy of the Military


5. Rampant Sexism


6. Controlled Mass Media


7. Obsession with National Security


8. Religion and Government are Intertwined


9. Corporate Power is Protected


10. Labor Power is Suppressed


11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts


12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment


13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption


14. Fraudulent Elections

This list will be familiar to (genuine) students of political science. But it should be familiar to students of religion as well, for much of it mirrors the social and political agenda of religious fundamentalisms worldwide. It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism. They both come from very primitive parts of us that have always been the default setting of our species: amity toward our in-group, enmity toward out-groups, hierarchical deference to alpha male figures, a powerful identification with our territory, and so forth. It is that brutal default setting that all civilizations have tried to raise us above, but it is always a fragile thing, civilization, and has to be achieved over and over and over again.


But, again, this is not America's first encounter with fascism.


In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, 'write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist' How many fascists have we' How dangerous are they?’


Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan. See how much you think his statements apply to our society today.


'The really dangerous American fascist,' Wallace wrote, 'is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.


In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism he saw rising in America, Wallace added, 'They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.' By these standards, a few of today's weapons for keeping the common people in eternal subjection include NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, union-busting, cutting worker benefits while increasing CEO pay, elimination of worker benefits, security and pensions, rapacious credit card interest, and outsourcing of jobs ? not to mention the largest prison system in the world.


The Perfect Storm


Our current descent into fascism came about through a kind of 'Perfect Storm,' a confluence of three unrelated but mutually supportive schools of thought.


1. The first stream of thought was the imperialistic dream of the Project for the New American Century. I don't believe anyone can understand the past four years without reading the Project for the New American Century, published in September 2000 and authored by many who have been prominent players in the Bush administrations, including Cheney, Rumsfleid, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Donald Kagan to name only a few. This report saw the fall of Communism as a call for America to become the military rulers of the world, to establish a new worldwide empire. They spelled out the military enhancements we would need, then noted, sadly, that these wonderful plans would take a long time, unless there could be a catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor that would let the leaders turn America into a military and militarist country. There was no clear interest in religion in this report, and no clear concern with local economic policies.


2. A second powerful stream must be credited to Pat Robertson and his Christian Reconstructionists, or Dominionists. Long dismissed by most of us as a screwball, the Dominionist style of Christianity which he has been preaching since the early 1980s is now the most powerful religious voice in the Bush administration.


Katherine Yurica, who transcribed over 1300 pages of interviews from Pat Robertson's '700 Club' shows in the 1980s, has shown how Robertson and his chosen guests consistently, openly and passionately argued that America must become a theocracy under the control of Christian Dominionists. Robertson is on record saying democracy is a terrible form of government unless it is run by his kind of Christians. He also rails constantly against taxing the rich, against public education, social programs and welfare and )prefers Deuteronomy 28, (from the Hebrew Testament http://www.cforc.com/kjv/Deuteronomy/28.html) over the teachings of Jesus. He is clear that women must remain homebound as obedient servants of men, and that abortions, like homosexuals, should not be allowed. Robertson has also been clear that other kinds of Christians, including Episcopalians and Presbyterians, are enemies of Christ. (The Yurica Report. Search under this name, or for 'Despoiling America' by Katherine Yurica on the internet.)


3. The third major component of this Perfect Storm has been the desire of very wealthy Americans and corporate CEOs for a plutocracy that will favor profits by the very rich and disempowerment of the vast majority of American workers, the destruction of workers' unions, and the alliance of government to help achieve these greedy goals. It is a condition some have called socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor, and which others recognize as a reincarnation of Social Darwinism. This strain of thought has been present throughout American history. Seventy years ago, they tried to finance a military coup to replace Franlkin Delano Roosevelt and establish General Smedley Butler as a fascist dictator in 1934. Fortunately, they picked a general who really was a patriot; he refused, reported the scheme, and spoke and wrote about it. As Canadian law professor Joel Bakan wrote in the book and movie 'The Corporation,' they have now achieved their coup without firing a shot.


Our plutocrats have had no particular interest in religion. Their global interests are with an imperialist empire, and their domestic goals are in undoing all the New Deal reforms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that enabled the rise of America's middle class after WWII.


Another ill wind in this Perfect Storm is more important than its crudity might suggest: it was President Clinton's sleazy sex with a young but eager intern in the White House. This incident, and Clinton's equally sleazy lying about it, focused the certainties of conservatives on the fact that 'liberals' had neither moral compass nor moral concern, and therefore represented a dangerous threat to the moral fiber of America. While the effects of this may be hard to quantify, I think they were profound.


These 'storm' components have no necessary connection, and come from different groups of thinkers, many of whom wouldn't even like one another. But together, they form a nearly complete web of command and control, which has finally gained control of America and, they hope, of the world.


What's coming


When all fascisms exhibit the same social and political agendas (the 14 points listed by Britt), then it is not hard to predict where a new fascist uprising will lead. And it is not hard. The actions of fascists and the social and political effects of fascism and fundamentalism are clear and sobering. Here is some of what's coming, what will be happening in our country in the next few years:


The theft of all social security funds, to be transferred to those who control money, and the increasing destitution of all those dependent on social security and social welfare programs.
Rising numbers of uninsured people in this country that already has the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance in the developed world.


Increased loss of funding for public education combined with increased support for vouchers, urging Americans to entrust their children's education to Christian schools.


More restrictions on civil liberties as America is turned into the police state necessary for fascism to work. Withdrawal of virtually all funding for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. At their best, these media sometimes encourage critical questioning, so they are correctly seen as enemies of the state's official stories.


The reinstatement of a draft, from which the children of privileged parents will again be mostly exempt, leaving our poorest children to fight and die in wars of imperialism and greed that could never benefit them anyway. (That was my one-sentence Veterans' Day sermon for this year.)
More imperialistic invasions: of Iran and others, and the construction of a huge permanent embassy in Iraq.


More restrictions on speech, under the flag of national security. Control of the internet to remove or cripple it as an instrument of free communication that is exempt from government control. This will be presented as a necessary anti-terrorist measure.


Efforts to remove the tax-exempt status of churches like this one, and to characterize them as anti-American.


Tighter control of the editorial bias of almost all media, and demonization of the few media they are unable to control ? the New York Times, for instance.


Continued outsourcing of jobs, including more white-collar jobs, to produce greater profits for those who control the money and direct the society, while simultaneously reducing America's workers to a more desperate and powerless status.


Moves in the banking industry to make it impossible for an increasing number of Americans to own their homes. As they did in the 1930s, those who control the money know that it is to their advantage and profit to keep others renting rather than owning.


Criminalization of those who protest, as un-American, with arrests, detentions and harassment increasing. We already have a higher percentage of our citizens in prison than any other country in the world. That percentage will increase.


In the near future, it will be illegal or at least dangerous to say the things I have said here this morning. In the fascist story, these things are un-American. In the real history of a democratic America, they were seen as profoundly patriotic, as the kind of critical questions that kept the American spirit alive ? the kind of questions, incidentally, that our media were supposed to be pressing. Can these schemes work? I don't think so. I think they are murderous, rapacious and insane. But I don't know. Maybe they can. Similar schemes have worked in countries like Chile, where a democracy in which over 90% voted has been reduced to one in which only about 20% vote because they say, as Americans are learning to say, that it no longer matters who you vote for.


Hope


In the meantime, is there any hope, or do we just band together like lemmings and dive off a cliff? Yes, there is always hope, though at times it is more hidden, as it is now.


As some critics are now saying, and as I have been preaching and writing for almost twenty years, America's liberals need to grow beyond political liberalism, with its often self-absorbed focus on individual rights to the exclusion of individual responsibilities to the larger society. Liberals will have to construct a more complete vision with moral and religious grounding. That does not mean confessional Christianity. It means the legitimate heir to Christianity. Such a legitimate heir need not be a religion, though it must have clear moral power, and be able to attract the minds and hearts of a voting majority of Americans.


And the new liberal vision must be larger than that of the conservative religious vision that will be appointing judges, writing laws and bending the cultural norms toward hatred and exclusion for the foreseeable future. The conservatives deserve a lot of admiration. They have spent the last thirty years studying American politics, forming their vision and learning how to gain control in the political system. And it worked; they have won. Even if liberals can develop a bigger vision, they still have all that time-consuming work to do. It won't be fast. It isn't even clear that liberals will be willing to do it; they may instead prefer to go down with the ship they're used to.


One man who has been tireless in his investigations and critiques of America's slide into fascism is Michael C. Ruppert, whose postings usually read as though he is wound way too tight. But he offers four pieces of advice about what we can do now, and they seem reality-based enough to pass on to you. This is America; they're all about money:


First, he says you should get out of debt.


Second is to spend your money and time on things that give you energy and provide you with useful information.


Third is to stop spending a penny with major banks, news media and corporations that feed you lies and leave you angry and exhausted.


And fourth is to learn how money works and use it like a (political) weapon ? as he predicts the rest of the world will be doing against us.

(from http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110504_snap_out.shtml)


That's advice written this week. Another bit of advice comes from sixty years ago, from Roosevelt's Vice President, Henry Wallace. Wallace said, 'Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels.'


Still another way to understand fascism is as a kind of colonization. A simple definition of 'colonization' is that it takes people's stories away, and assigns them supportive roles in stories that empower others at their expense. When you are taxed to support a government that uses you as a means to serve the ends of others, you are ' ironically ' in a state of taxation without representation. That's where this country started, and it's where we are now.


I don't know the next step. I'm not a political activist; I'm only a preacher. But whatever you do, whatever we do, I hope that we can remember some very basic things that I think of as eternally true. One is that the vast majority of people are good decent people who mean and do as well as they know how. Very few people are evil, though some are. But we all live in families where some of our blood relatives support things we hate. I believe they mean well, and the way to rebuild broken bridges is through greater understanding, compassion, and a reality-based story that is more inclusive and empowering for the vast majority of us.


Those who want to live in a reality-based story rather than as serfs in an ideology designed to transfer power, possibility and hope to a small ruling elite have much long and hard work to do, individually and collectively. It will not be either easy or quick.


But we will do it. We will go forward in hope and in courage. Let us seek that better path, and find the courage to take it ? step, by step, by step.


Davidson Loehr
document.write(SerDate) 7 November 2004


First UU Church of Austin


4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756


www.austinuu.org


-----------------------------------------------------------------


"Each one of us today may regret the fact that the advent of Christianity was the first occasion on which spiritual terror was introduced into the much freer ancient world, but the fact cannot be denied that ever since then the world is pervaded and dominated by this kind of coercion and that violence is broken only by violence and terror by terror. Only then can a new regime be created by means of constructive work. Political parties are prone to enter compromises; but a philosophy never does this. A political party is inclined to adjust its teachings with a view to meeting those of its opponents, but a philosophy proclaims its own infallibility."


"It is fortunate for the government that the people do not think." -- A. Hitler, Mein Kamph, 1924



http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=173


Posted by: fortytwo at August 27, 2005 05:31 AM

Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

Posted by: fortytwo at August 27, 2005 05:35 AM

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