October 6, 2004


SENATOR KERRY: I can make America safer than President Bush has made us.

And I believe President Bush and I both love our country equally. But we just have a different set of convictions about how you make America safe. I believe America is safest and strongest when we are leading the world and we are leading strong alliances.

I'll never give a veto to any country over our security. But I also know how to lead those alliances.

This president has left them in shatters across the globe, and we're now 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq and 90 percent of the costs.

I think that's wrong, and I think we can do better.

Four years ago, I would have voted for this policy in a heartbeat. This is what I mean by not stupid in a dumb way. But it is stupid in an ignorant way.

It’s stupid because it is a precise example of how to fight the last war. We are in a World War right now. It is being fought all across the globe and the consequences of winning or losing this war will effect every person on the planet. It is World War IV. If you can’t see that then you are either not paying attention, or are mollified by our spectacular successes over the past three years.

I credit John Kerry with the genuine desire to protect this nation, because the alternative to believing that is the back alley short-cut to insanity. He has, in mind, precisely the correct formula used to protect the ideals of Liberal Democracy and ensure its victory in WWI, WWII and the long, twilight, Cold War fight of WWIII.

Allies and alliances defined the First War. After four years of mind-shattering horror, the European powers had fought themselves to utter stalemate – and those trenches might yet today mark the borders between Germany, Belgium and France were it not for the arrivals of the American allies. Don’t misunderstand me – we did not win that war on the battlefield. That credit goes to the British and the French. But the endless supply of American troops disembarking, full of confidence and optimism and raw heroism, convinced Hindenberg and Ludendorf to desperately roll the dice on the spring 1918 offensives before they faced a million fresh American troops, full of fight. But defense was king in that war, and the Ludendorf Offensives failed. The counterattacks succeeded. The alliance won that war.

The alliance won World War II – that is beyond dispute. Without Britain hanging on during the lonely and dark opening years, where would the Western invasion have come from? Soviet Russia defeated almost 70% of the strength of Nazi Germany, and the United States defeated Japan single-handedly at sea, and with a great deal of help from the British and Australians and New Zealanders in brutal island jungles. An Alliance won that war – not us. Not us alone.

For almost fifty years, the most successful alliance in history had the guts and the commitment to put American cities on the line in order to prevent Soviet tanks from crashing through the Fulda gap. American, and to a deteriorating degree, European taxpayers built and maintained the armed forces needed to keep half of Europe free while the other half slowly rotted under the weight of an ideology so corrupt that it can now only thrive in the hothouse environment of the western coffee shop or faculty lounge. That, too, was an alliance victory.

If John Kerry were running for president in 1916, or 1940, or even 1976, he would have my enthusiastic vote, for the alliance of the US and the European powers is what saved Europe and the world not once, or twice, but three times in a single lifespan. One might expect some gratitude and respect for this, but as I say, the scales fell from my eyes some time ago.

But this is not 1916, or 1940, or 1976. Europe, ruler of the world in the first war, had become a military freeloader by the end of the third. Europe was not able to muster the military muscle or political will to extinguish a genocide within Europe – and things have gotten worse since then. The French nuclear carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, returned from her sea trials with a reactor room flooded with five times the allowable level of radiation and with one of her propellers at the bottom of the Atlantic. She borrowed a screw from her predecessor, the Foch – which was faster – and now sits in port making impressive appearances during national holidays and furthermore showing that if God exists he has both a sense of justice and a sense of humor.

The Germans cannot deploy an effective force beyond her own borders. The Russians – the mighty Russians -- could not call up so much as one decent ten-man special ops squad when she and her children needed them the most. Japan has constitutional restraints – drafted in American English – preventing her from deploying her defense forces overseas: a fact that has given me many nights peaceful sleep. And as for China… even if she decided, out of the kindness of her heart, to commit her forces to help her arch-rival…who do you think, Senator, would benefit the most from us sharing our weapons, tactics, logistics and intelligence with China?

An alliance would be nice – if the allies could shoulder some of the burden. But the sad, inconvenient, disappointing fact is that there is only one army on the face of the earth that can fight on the same battlefield with the United States; whose forces, technology and training rival ours in quality if not in scale, and whose trust has been forged by three world wars when we have stood alone, together. That country is Great Britain, one of the members of what Senator Kerry called the “trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted.”

The sad fact, the unpleasant reality of 2004 is that there is only one nation in the world that is of any strategic value on the battlefield, and that ally is with us as she has always been, a staunch friend through many dark nights who deserves something better, I perceive, than slander from a man proclaiming himself the greatest diplomat since.. well, since himself. I will say this for John Kerry: he is a man unrivaled in his own esteem.

An alliance of European powers is a chimera that no longer holds any significant value. That is a critical point. It is an essential point of delusion embedded in Senator Kerry’s world view. He waits for rescue from a knight long dead and moldering, sitting beneath a withered oak tree in rusted armor.

That’s point one.

Second, you cannot even throw the cloak of wishful thinking over Senator Kerry’s strategic nakedness, because as those of us in pajamas are well aware, the governments of the Grand Rescue Alliance – that is, Germany and France – have both announced publicly and in the most clear language available that regardless of who wins the election in November, they are not coming to Iraq.

That is not my opinion, that is not a product of the Republican Smear Machine…that is an official statement from the governments of the nations in question, stating unequivocally that they are not going to be a part of a coalition that is against their interests even if it is lead by an American who went to Swiss schools and speaks fluent French.

Is it possible to put this any more plainly? They do not have any meaningful capability, and they are publicly pledging that their lack of meaningful capability is…not…coming.

As a final thought on this essential issue, consider this, from your own personal experience: I have found that the only thing worse than doing a hard, dirty, thankless job by yourself is depending on help from someone who will not be there when you need them. We have a few good friends in this fight: Britain -- the Aussies, God bless them -- the Poles and the Italians and a few others: 4am friends who will drive 300 miles in a snowstorm to help us when we are broken down on the side of the road. Those are friends. Those are the people we need in a tough and dirty fight. Those people deserve gratitude and honor, not scorn and mockery.

Senator Kerry, your powerful allies don’t exist, and even if they did, they have plainly told you they are not coming. Welcome to 2004, John. It sucks, I know. That’s just what we’re dealt.

SENATOR KERRY: I have a better plan for homeland security. I have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror by strengthening our military, strengthening our intelligence, by going after the financing more authoritatively, by doing what we need to do to rebuild the alliances, by reaching out to the Muslim world, which the president has almost not done, and beginning to isolate the radical Islamic Muslims, not have them isolate the United States of America.

I’d consider voting for this policy. But John Kerry has a 20 year record of having voted against every significant weapons system the US has deployed during his term in office. This is an assertion on the Senator’s part; words from a man who has been steadfast, constant and consistent in his ability to say what he thinks his audience wants to hear. His voting record – the put your money where your mouth is record -- is the polar opposite of this assertion. I’m taking the walk over the talk on this one.

Now, assume for a moment, that you are one of the Islamicist enemies of this nation. President Kerry has outlined a plan to reach out to the Muslim world and isolate you. President Bush, on the other hand, predicates his reelection on the premise that he will

…pursue(d) al Qaeda wherever al Qaeda tries to hide. Seventy-five percent of known al Qaeda leaders have been brought to justice. The rest of them know we're after them.

By the way, for about seventy of that seventy-five percent, you can go ahead and substitute the word “killed” in place of the more delicate “brought to justice.”

As a deterrent, I honestly and regretfully don’t think our terrorist enemies are much deterred by the thought of dying. I think they are fully ready to die. People who are fully ready to die in order to kill you and your family, who are undeterred by death, are likely not to be terribly concerned by the thought of being isolated by the more sensitive approach of John Kerry’s sworn mission to hunt down, and isolate, chastise and severely reprimand terrorists.

Terrorists don’t seem to be too afraid of stern language. But I do notice, that while the fear of death does not seem to deter these people, the fact of being dead does significantly decrease their operational effectiveness. That’s a casual observation on my part – no real Harvard study to back it up. More of a hunch, really.

75% of known pre-9/11 al Qaeda killed in three years. Where’s my calculator…? 75% divided by three equals uh…25% a year. Well I’ll be a blue-blooded socialite! Why, at the rate of 25% a year, I calculate that ol’ Dubya will have bagged the whole lot of em in …one more year!

I say let’s give him the chance.

Quagmire! Quagmire!

No, not this season’s fashionable entry: I was referring to last seasons’ quagmire, Afghanistan.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Ten million [Afghani] citizens have registered to vote. It's a phenomenal statistic. They're given a chance to be free, and they will show up at the polls. Forty-one percent of those 10 million are women.

The fact is that liberal feminists, when all is said and done, would rather have a man who can turn a witty phrase over a nice Cabernet Sauvignon than one who liberates a nation of women, and gives them the vote, to boot. What refined morality they possess.

You know what our enemies really fear? Women. Women scare the hell out of them.

Hey, there’s no shame in that: women scare the hell out of me, too, only I don’t shoot them in the head in their burkas in front of a cheering crowd in a soccer stadium. And in that regard, I find I am exactly like the Taliban…because they're not doing it either. They are dead or in caves. Has this president deterred atrocities coming our way from Afghanistan, home of the International Jihad 2001 Road Tour? You’re damn right he has. I have a word for how that makes me feel. It’s an archaic, old English word, no longer in common usage. It’s pronounced, “GRAT-eh-tood”

You liberate the women of the world and Islamic Terror evaporates. They fear this the way we fear interruption of our Cable TV service. It is the death knell for their tradition of dominance and brutality, and it is not just the sight, but the very idea, of liberated, independent and unafraid women that causes them such hatred and revulsion when they look to the West.

Ladies, President Bush has freed the women of Afghanistan, and shut down the state-run rape and torture of women in Iraq. And for every one of those women who was raped and tortured to death, remember that half the entire country lived in daily fear of being spotted by some Ba’athist pig with too much time on his hands as he hid behind the tinted windows of his limousine, cruising the streets of Baghdad or Mosul or Basrah looking for a little fun.

Senator Kerry, on the other hand, has not only said, he has promised that he will do no such thing.

SENATOR KERRY: But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking it off to Iraq where the 9/11 Commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein.

Somewhere, in an infinity of alternate universes, there must be a place where at this very moment, Ben Stein is wandering the wasteland of Tora Bora with clipboard in hand, stumbling over the rocks, never looking up, and saying, “Osama..? Osama..? Osama..?”

God, the restraint that the President must have when that murdering bastard’s name is mentioned in derision as a sign of Bush’s incompetence. It’s practically superhuman.

First of all, you may recall that three years ago, the President -- correctly, in my estimation -- pointed out that this was not a criminal manhunt for Public Enemy Number One, but rather,

Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.

“Secret even in success…” An interesting phrase, that. What does that mean?

Osama bin Laden has not been seen since the battle of Tora Bora in December of 2001. Remember now, this is not someone like Abu Nidal, a genuine terror mastermind described by the US State Department as having carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. Targets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries. Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul and the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in Greece in July 1988

Abu Nidal was rightfully phobic about being photographed. Anonymity was camouflage to him: incredibly tight operational security, even plastic surgery. The man wanted to remain unseen. In fact he did remain unseen, retiring in his golden years to a nice apartment in Baghdad until he was assassinated by Saddam just before the war to maintain the well-established fact that Saddam had no ties to terrorism. No living ties to terrorism. Well, to that terrorist. It’s all very nuanced and sophisticated.

Contrast this behavior to that of Osama bin Laden, who did not operationally plan the 9/11 attacks (see dead underlings, above) but was rather the figurehead for an international organization of many thousands of fanatics, their numbers much thinned now.

Osama made endless videotapes. Lecturing, preaching, instructing, firing an AK-47: all the things that make young jihadis feel funny in the pants. After 9/11, he wowed ‘em in several tapes gloating and laughing over the attack and its aftermath. He was reliably heard on the radio during the final phase of Tora Bora, then…nothing.

Maybe he escaped. It’s possible.

Then came the videotape condemning the Israeli incursion into Ramallah and Jenin…only it didn’t. The US corporate scandals? Silence. Anniversary of Holy Tuesday? Cue the tumbleweeds.

The freaking invasion of a Muslim country by the Great Satan, and this new Caliph, the Leader of the Oppressed, cannot bring himself to shoot a crummy VHS in front of a white wall condemning this outrage? This glory-seeking egomaniac, the New Saladin riding the White Horse across the desert, who practically put out a 10 DVD commemorative set every time the US so much as hiccupped, is now suddenly silent, and has been for three years?

You may call that a Terror Mastermind. I call it a greasy wet spot on the wall of a cave in Afghanistan.

The man is dead. Dead, or just possibly captured. The likelihood of him having been killed at Tora Bora by US “outsourcing” was rising with his deafening silence concerning each American counterstroke and became 100% when nothing was heard from the late Osama after the US invasion of Iraq.

Does President Bush know what became of him? I would say, very likely. We know what did not become of him: he didn’t become a Martyr. He did not become the symbol of Glorious Death resisting the Great Satan. He did not become a Symbol or a Cause or an Example to Them All.

He became, if you will pardon the expression, AWOL. Bugged out. Handed in his walking papers. Fizzle…poof. Gone.


Unfortunately, I do not have fake (but accurate!) documents to back this claim up. I just have common sense, a psychological history, and the ability to see Naked Emperors. The man is dead – just possibly captured; he has been for years.

Now, do I fault President Bush for not announcing this? I do not. For the President to not disclose something so beneficial to himself, politically, must mean that there is a reason of great magnitude behind the official silence. Are we, the American People, entitled to know what this secret is?

We are not.

We are not, for the same reason we were not entitled to know that allied cryptographers won WWII by breaking the Japanese and German codes and having the good sense to shut up about it. But don’t dare breathe such sentiments to the current editors of The New York Times. Had those people been running the paper in 1943, tomorrow's headline would have read:


I suspect that if I live another ten years, I’ll be sitting watching the History Channel some night in my pajamas and all will be revealed to me. Until then, I’m happy not to know. I know some people have a hard time with that. Go to hell. This is serious business. Not everything is about you.

Has President Bush deterred bin Laden from repeating his attack on the US? I don’t honestly see what Osama can do these days, what with him being in several thousand crispy pieces and all.

One nice thing about those hyperbaric bombs, developed by that Vietnamese immigrant who fled to the US after certain people’s ideological heroes overran her country and likely killed most of her extended family: they make a small boom, release some nastiness, and then make a much louder boom.

I hope that son of a bitch knew what the sound of that first little boom meant.

And now, finally, the piece de resistance, the Main Event.


SENATOR KERRY: Well, where do you want me to begin?

First of all, he made the misjudgment of saying to America that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through the inspections…

…And we pushed our allies aside.

Yes, after only thirteen brief years of Iraq’s causus belli of repeatedly and energetically violating every clause of the cease-fire agreement that stayed the US hand in 1991 when he was down, out and routed, and after only fourteen barely-have-time-to-pee months of non-stop, back-to-back UN sessions, resolutions, meetings, condemnations, threats, blocked inspections, harsh language, sanctions, embargoes and Saddam’s willful disregard of international protest, the Smirking Chimp ordered the raring-to-go German, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Belgian armored divisions out of theater so that he could have his unilateral war.

Thanks for clarifying that opaque moment in history, Senator.

And so, today, we are 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost: $200 billion -- $200 billion that could have been used for health care, for schools, for construction, for prescription drugs for seniors, and it's in Iraq.

The inference being, I suppose, that a more sophisticated foreign policy and lack of Texas accent could have persuaded France, Germany, Russia, indeed, the entire UN – all with their hands deep in the oily pockets of Saddam – to put their billions back on the table and step up like good fellows to trade their cash for some decent-sized share of the casualties…three or four hundred killed, perhaps, something in that ballpark. Yes, exactly: the Kerry team, using the same impeccable diplomatic finesse they displayed in calling the desperately courageous leader of Iraq a “puppet” and our true, abiding friends a rabble of bribed, coerced, bought and extorted lapdogs, will convince the most selfish, perfidious and unreliable “ally” in human history to step up and do the right thing because he is asking them?

And Bush is arrogant?

But wait! There’s more!

John Kerry, in his bones, cannot envision winning a tough fight. He supported the effort in Iraq when we had a three-week victory, just as the anti-war activist and enemy collaborator has now fashioned himself as Rambo gunning down commies in a hail of bullets. But now that things are just a dirty, nasty, slugfest – a war that is nothing more or less, in fact, than French premier Clemenceau’s description of a series of catastrophes that results in victory, this defeatist says he alone can save us from the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place?

US marines are killing Ba’athist remnants and Syrian and Iranian mercenaries at a ratio of something like 600 to one, which, I might point out, is a damn sight better than the 150 to one against us that those 19 hijackers pulled off on 9/11. The insurgency in Iraq is burning casualties at an absolutely insane and unsustainable – indeed, ruinous pace. Why? Well, they have been paying close attention to Senator Kerry and his history, and saw how unsustainable, devastating, insurmountable NVA and VC losses during the Tet offensive bought victory because we decided we had had enough. Because we were told we were nothing more than a modern day horde of Ghengis Khan and the people whose freedom we were fighting for did not have the guts or the spine to stand up for their own defense. Today, that nation – Vietnam -- remains a basket case while the rest of Asia rocketed out of the stone age.

That is the model Senator Kerry has for Iraq. I’m not claiming he’s malicious. Not at all. I genuinely don’t think he gives much thought to Iraqis or Vietnamese at all.

I do know what he does give a lot of thought to, and that is the melodious sound of the phrase, President Kerry.

PRESIDENT BUSH: I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. What message does that send our troops? What message does that send to our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis?

Yes, almost got it, Mr. President. But what the hell does this policy say to our enemies? Does this deter attacks on our troops? Or does it say, in the clearest and most unmistakable terms, that as long as you blow up our men and women, President Kerry will begin plans to pull them out as soon as the hand comes down on Inauguration Day?

Does it not ultimately say that this “mistake” was another War Crime? That it was an unjustified and unwarranted attack on an innocent and harmless nation? Does this not make any future preemptive action on the part of President Kerry for all intents and purposes impossible to achieve? Does this “Global Test” nonsense mean every single nation in the world must approve of our pre-emptive actions, including the one we mean to invade to defend our people? No? How many then? 90% of the globe must agree? Fifty percent? France? Who?

But of course, there’s a four point plan at www.JohnKerry.com that will “change the dynamic on the ground.” Yes, this plan on a website will stop Improvised Explosive Devices from detonating. This plan will bring the sworn enemies of this nation into a series of binding arbitrations that will convince them this is all one jolly misunderstanding. This plan – unlike any military plan in human history – will survive contact with the enemy, and his intentions, his will and his capabilities will melt away like the morning dew because Senator John Kerry has a four-point plan at www.JohnKerry.com.

Finally, and most tellingly, Senator Kerry says that Iraq is “a long, long way from the fight on terror.”

Senator, you might choose to read some history: it might broaden your perspective. The last time this country was attacked, it was by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, whose capitol city was Tokyo.

The first land battle the US Army fought after Pearl Harbor was at Kasserine Pass. Kasserine Pass, Senator, is in Tunisia. Tunisia is in Africa. Africa is a long, long way from Japan.

Tunisia did not attack the United States, Senator Kerry. Tunisia, in fact, was a far, far more innocent battlefield than Iraq, which had spent the preceding decade, and then some, committing overt acts of war against British and American aircraft flying missions to enforce UN mandates.

US troops fought in Tunisia – and they fought badly; infinitely worse than they do in Iraq – because people of vision and courage and great intelligence perceived that this was the first, best front against an enemy that straddled the entire globe. We did not begin our war by launching an armada of landing craft filled with Marines on a suicide mission from Midway to Tokyo. We did not send fleets of transports to get shot down over Berlin carrying fifty divisions of paratroopers.

We attacked in Tunisia because it was the soft underbelly of a powerful enemy. There is a word for this type of action, Senator Kerry, and that word is “foothold.” It is a place where the enemy is weak. It is a place we can capture, fortify, defend and launch further attacks from. As Tunisia, so Africa. As Africa, so Italy. As Italy, so Germany.

We were not attacked by the natives of the Marianas, or the Solomans, or the Marshall islands, and yet these innocent people died along with our troops. It was part of a strategy for victory, Senator. I know you understand the term ‘strategy.’ It’s the other term that seems to me to stick in your craw as I examine your entire career.

Here’s something you might want to read up on aboard the campaign jet: bright people have done studies on what the operational limits of a terror cell are. It’s actually kind of… biological. See, as a terror cell grows in members, it gains not only mutually-reinforcing enthusiasm, but capability. However, the bigger the cell, the less secure it becomes.

Zarqawi’s cells having been fighting us from the day Saddam’s statue fell. So I ask you, Senator: if there were no terrorists in Iraq, where did these organized units come from? Did they parachute in? Saddam’s Fedayeen are not and did not behave as a defeated military unit, but as an organized, cell-based structure. Where did they come from? And poor, unlamented Abu Nidal? And how many others?

When operating outside of rogue nations, law-enforcement pressure limits the cell to about 80 members, and the operational center is much smaller. Any larger and the cell fragments into smaller, more secure, but less capable splinter cells.

However, when protected by a nation-state, such as Syria or Iran – Iraq and Afghanistan having been wiped off the blackboard in this regard in a puff of chalk dust, and Libya having suddenly found religion – there is effectively no limit to how large and capable a terror organization can become, since there are no law-enforcement pressures limiting its growth.

Putting a democracy – even a very bad democracy – in the heart of the Middle East is a dagger at our enemy’s heart. It is as if Canada were overrun by the Taliban: inconceivable, unnaccaptable and intolerable. It draws all the enemy’s resources. It provides a fatal example that people of Arab lands can live in freedom, and eventually, prosperity. A free Iraq is a fatal, deadly poison to the Ideology of Death that threatens this nation and the world.

The essence of deterrence, Senator, is to cause uncertainty in the mind of your opponent. The missile defense system, which you oppose, does precisely this. It doesn’t matter if it has a 3 out of 5 success rate. Fifty such anti-missile installations enormously, in fact fatally complicates an enemy’s ability to plan a first strike or, far more likely, to issue nuclear blackmail.

You have made it clear that you would cancel the bunker-busting bombs that cause uncertainty – deterrence, Senator – in the minds of unstable lunatics like Kim Jung Il and the Iranian Thugocracy.

They do not have to guess what you will do, Senator: you have already given that away, in the same way you gave away the atrocity fictions the Vietnamese Communists were torturing your “Band of Brothers” to obtain, without success.

President Bush believes that a free and democratic state provides a shockingly clear example that there is another way for Arab peoples to live. He believes, as I do, that all people want to live free and determine the course of their own lives. You claim that this is a mistake. You seem to be determined to fulfill that prophesy.

You lack the vision, Senator, to see this as a many-front war. You lack the insight to see how the sight of Saddam crawling from a hole inspired an identical self-possessed lunatic to give up Libya's nuclear weapons program. Iraq deterred Libya, you eternal defeatist. And all of the rest of the former free-range dictators now hang on the results of this election to see whether they will get a man who has capitulation in his very marrow, or one who has weathered unbelievable pressure, slurs and insults, and very likely thrown away his second term, to face reality and do something. Something unpopular. Something that he knew would make his poll numbers go down.

I know. I know, John. Inconceivable.

Senator Kerry, I do not desire to be President of the United States. I will settle for being the head coach of the Florida Gators. I have a four-point plan on how to win against the Tennessee Volunteers. My plan is foolproof, and it will change the dynamic on the field. I place little weight on the fact that the game I have in mind was played several weeks ago: that is why my four-point plan is so perfect! I have analyzed all of the Florida errors, and they will not be repeated when I replay that game in my head.

And I might add I have won every Monday morning game I have ever quarterbacked.

Vote for me.

My friends, if any of you think this may in any way convince people unsure of what to think about this critical election, for God's sake print out as many NON-COMMERCIAL (Short form: that means, no charge) copies as you can and drop them out of airplanes if you are able. This election is entirely too close.

Posted by Proteus at October 6, 2004 3:01 AM

Welcome to the Eject! Eject! Eject! commenter community. Please read and understand the following:

1. This is not a public square. This is a dinner party on personal property. Good conversation is not only tolerated but celebrated here. But the host understands the difference between dissent and disrespect, even if you do not. Louts will be ignored until the bouncers can show them the door.

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Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!



Wow! I think there's a nail or two in there with their heads squarely hit.


And now I've got to go to work. Damn. More later, I guess.


From all of us Aussies: Great to see you back Bill! Excellent, as usual. We face our own election this very weekend, and our political dynamic is very close to yours. Pray that there are 50.1 of us here who agree with your words, just as we pray for the same in the U.S.

You mentioned FDR's Pearl Harbor speech, and the famous line from that speech:

"We will gain the inevitable triumph, SO HELP US GOD!"

has echoed thru my mind over the last few years. We will win, eventually, because we must....LLL's not withstanding.

Keep up the good work mate!

Great stuff, once again. I can use this in many discussions to come.

Oh.. and welcome back :-)


Thanks Bill, I needed that!!

Welcome back, I've been waaaaaaaiting.

Now off to spread the word!!!!

Thank God you're back, Bill. Just in the nick of time!

Excellent, your desperation is showing.

Your "logic" is long-winded, specious, and sarcastic. The rush to press of this incoherent nonsense can only be a result of your sudden lack of certainty at what Nov. 2 will bring.

While I am NOT certain what will happen, I can only hope (desperately as well) that this Bush abomination will come to an end.

You folks are overlooking one positive thing for your camp though: smugness is never worn with much elegance and, since last Thursday, it has suddenly and thoroughly disappeared from the right as a whole.



Thank you for articulating what many of us believe. Keep the faith......

The Aussies have stood by us in every war of the last 100 years.

Please give them credit. (Now, I'm back to read from that point onward. EXCELLENT post, Sir!)


Hopefully this splendid essay will, as a secondary yet needed benefit, inspire Spock to lend his voice to the fray again soon...

Outstanding. Inspiring. Nifty. It was all those things, and more.

A society is only as perfect as the people that populate it.

Your voice lends to the perfection we stumble our way toward.

That is why we succeed.

There can be no quarter.



Thanks for another great read. I could wish that Bush possessed some of your eloquence, but that's just another form of Monday morning quarterbacking. As Spanky proves above, it's much easier to snipe at the plans of others than to implement (or even voice) and defend your own. I'll be passing this along to as many as I can get to read it.



Thanks for this. Copies(non-commercial, of course) are being routed to many recipient right now. And yes, this election is entirely too close.

The Conservative Zone congradulates you on yet another prose-filled missive of extraordinary quality. Glad to see you back. I was getting worried there for a while.

"Smugness is never worn with much elegance...."

That certainly explains why Kerry needs the Botox.

Good stuff Bill.

Thanks Bill!

Just like always, just when i was beginning to waiver and loose the slightest amount of faith, you have restored it.

Next time, don't wait so long. Please!

Excellent work Bill. I am off to Kinko's. I am volunteering to stump for Bush for the next few weeks here in Washington. I would be proud to hand out this essay to anyone willing to take the time to read it.

Thank you Bill. Reading President Bush's speech from 9/20/2001 brought it all back for me. I only wish he could be as inspiring today as he was then. Thank you and your compatriots for filling the void and doing the work that a very tired President can no longer handle on his own. It must be devastatingly difficult to fight the Islamofacist across the globe and the fifth column here at home. The President needs our support and I will only be too happy to pass on your work to those who still don't get it.

Thank you. You have provided another tool for the work that needs to be done.

My greatest fear is that so many people could have watched the planes smash into the towers... could have watched the towers crumble... and yet still not grasp the simple brutal reality that we are in a war. There is a deeply rooted perverseness in that, maybe denial on a scale so vast that it needs a new name.

Joseph Heller did one small service in the story of "Catch-22."As the story unfolds, Yossarian returns repeatedly to the mission in which he tried to give first aid to his wounded crewmate. Each time the scene is replayed he is able to recall and face the memory in more detail. In stages, he is repulsed, paralysed, but finally steels himself to examine the gunner’s wound, and hesitantly apply his rudimentary first aid skills to the minor wound he finds.

But the scene keeps coming back. It’s not over.

He’d got it wrong, and there was much worse to come.

Finally, Yossarian has to replay the scene in its full horror--- the gunner indicates another wound, seemingly minor, which requires Yossarian unfasten the gunner’s flack vest for examination. Of course, unfastening the vest reveals in the most horrible way possible that the boy is dying; that no amount of rudimentary first aid can begin to help.

Yossarian's utter inability to deal with the MEMORY of the gunner’s catastrophic gut wound and his own utter impotence in the event, is a perfect metaphor for modern Liberalism.

My heart tells me that no amount of thoughtful eloquent passionate reasoning will penetrate the obstinate denial of reality; only further lessons by terrorists will do.

Women scare the hell out of you? Good to know ;^)

Seriously, I'll share the URL in hopes of raising the blood pressure -- or inspiring some contemplation -- of various liberal friends and relatives. Please wish me luck.

BTW, 18th!

Thank you so much. I'm forwarding this to my sons in Iraq and my daughter in college as required reading. What a perfect birthday present!

Heh ... it's my birthday as well, Marty. I thought the exact same thing - how lucky am I to get TWO Bill Whittle essays marking the day I was born!

Excellent work, Bill. I've already linked to both parts of DETERRENCE and I'll be printing out a couple copies to drop on the appropriate friends and relatives.


Thanks, Bill!

More, please.

This essay is the best birthday present I could have hoped for! SO glad to see you back, Bill. I really needed to hear someone put down so eloquently what I have been thinking.

Thanks, Bill. I needed that! In this election year with politics-as-usual, with even more nasty stuff added (forged documents/Rathergate), I have been drooping.

I voted for W in 2K only because I did not want to see Gore win, thus possibly giving Bill Clinton access to the White House for another 4 to 8 years, and to female interns. He was bad enough when there was a possibility to paying the bill (impeachment), but I figured that a "no pay to play" world would be just what Clinton wanted.

Then, came 9/11/01 and W's subsequent speech. I suddenly realized that I had stepped into the right vote the year before. Your essay has reminded me of those dark days, that great speech by W that made me feel so uplifted. And, your essay has reminded me of why we have come the way we have, and how any other way would have been worse and probably more fatal.

Thanks, Bill! --Don

I am a soldier in the United States army. I was in Iraq with the Fourth Infantry Division.

I was guarding some Iraqi workers one day. Their task was to fill sandbags for our base. The temperature was at least 120. I had to sit there with full gear on and monitor them. I was sitting and drinking water, and I could barely tolerate the heat, so I directed the workers to go to the shade and sit and drink water. I let them rest for about 20 minutes. Then a staff sergeant told me that they didn't need a break, and that they were to fill sandbags until the cows come home. He told the Iraqis to go back to work.

After 30 minutes, I let them have a break again, thus disobeying orders. If these were soldiers working, in this heat, those soldiers would be bound to a 10-minute work, 50-minute rest cycle, to prevent heat casualties. Again the staff sergeant came and sent the Iraqis back to work and told me I could sit in the shade. I told him no, I had to be out there with them so that when I started to need water, then they would definitely need water. He told me that wasn't necessary, and that they live here, and that they are used to it.

After he left, I put the Iraqis back into the shade. I could tell that some were very dehydrated; most of them were thin enough to be on an international food aid commercial. I would not treat my fellow soldiers in this manner, so I did not treat the Iraqi workers this way either.

This went on for eight months while I was in Iraq, and going through it told me that we were not there for their freedom, we were not there for WMD. We had no idea what we were fighting for anymore.

All it told you, chief, was that your unit has a crap NCO or two. Extrapolating beyond that is unwise -- unless you think your E-6 is the walking embodiment of American strategic policy in Iraq.

Good to see a new essay Bill. Well writ, as usual.

Agreed- Good to see you back, Bill.

I echo Angry Oz Warrior: we Aussies are proud to be in this war. I don't like John Howard on a lot of things - he's socially far too conservative but still refuses to give us a decent tax cut, not to mention his abominable preference deal with a truly despicable minor party - but I'll be voting for him this time around just on this issue.

We were with you in Vietnam until the end. You've just articulated why we need to be in Iraq until we're done.

Thank you. I'll be sending this one to a lot of my AU friends; it's almost as relevant down there as it is up here.


Awesome piece. Mindblowing. you have my sincere congratulations for spelling out so precisely and clearly what many've deeply felt.


A fantastic job here, particularly in directly explaining how foolish and completely superfluous an old-Europe "alliance" is to winning this war.

I was reminded of the old Cold War era joke:

What does NATO stand for?

Needs Americans To Operate

I'm awed. That was just so damned splendid. Gratitude.

A great read as always, Bill. Thank you for reaffirming my faith.

Shout it from the mountaintops! Bill is back!!!!

Senator Kerry's comments at Thursday's debate indicate to me that he is more concerned about the security of Somalians than he is about that of Americans.

Quotes are from the transcript at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/debatereferee/debate_0930.html of 30 September debate.

In his answer to why he has not discussed sending US troops into Darfur, Sen. Kerry starts with this: " I think the reason that we're not saying send American troops in at this point is severalfold. Number one, we can do this through the African Union, providing we give them the logistical support."

Followed by this: "I also believe that it is -- one of the reasons we can't do it is we're overextended."

His reasoning appears to be that we haven't sent US troops because the African Union can do the work, and besides, we don't have anyone available.

He continues on with this, however: "But I'll tell you this, as president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I'd be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.
KERRY: It's the moral responsibility for us and the world."

To which I think, "Alright. Fine. Sen. Kerry thinks that US military power should be used to solve other countries' problems."

What I want to know is where is his statement to the effect that we could never allow another September 11th?

Where is his explanation of why invading Sudan--with UN approval or not--to solve their internal problems is a legitimate use of US military force while invading Iraq to finally defuse the threat Hussein's regime posed to the US is not?

Is there another legitimate way to understand what he has said?

Bill, you're the best argument I've ever heard for gay marriage.

Because I love you.

Please don't tell my wife.

(Tongue very firmly in cheek)


Important style/trechnical comment:

Some of us linke to get your essays with ONE link. The "Part 2 is continued below" bit at the end of Part 1 should be a hyperlink, so someone I've sent to you can just click and keep reading. (They may arrive several months later, too, so going back to your home page is no guarantee of anything.)

On to the essay:

Good essay, as usual. Putting my editor hat on, here are some thoughts as you think about what you wrote, and think about reworking it for the book...

The Kerry shots are deserved, but the "liberals are insane" type shots are counterproductive if you're trying to convince folks on the fence. Some liberals are not insane, and they're a key audience of potential allies given your goals, and so no point insulting them.

Leave that approach to Kerry, ok?

If it's a point you feel you must make, talk about yourself only. Nothing wrong with "I believed that, too, once. I was wrong." or even "I must have been insane to believe that. It's the privilege of the young, and I abused the privilege. I'm better now. How about you?"

Channel Lileks for those parts, not Misha. You do that most of the time, but you only have the break the pattern once or twice to undo everything else.


I believe Osama is alive, though it's not a certainty. He's a patient man. Don't underestimate him. I also believe George W. Bush isn't sure where Osama is or what happened to him. Neither of us knows, so all we can say is "we'll see."

The larger point about "not being entitled to know everything" was worthy, but I would have stressed Osama's quietness as the victory and given the speculation re: his death a passing mention only. As it is, your stuff about Osama being dead is a distracting target amidst a more more important argument.

Finally, if you're reworking the essay for the book, consider keeping most of the content but reworking its order and tightening the specific points each section addresses. Ideally, each secton should be complete in itself, make its case strongly, and not leave any major arguments related to that point for later.

I know this is working in my writing when all I have to say later on is "as I noted earlier (finish the recap in one sentence)" or words to that effect. When I see myself 'adding on' to an earlier argument, it makes me go back and restructure.

Hope some of this helps - I know how tough a large writing project like a book is, especially when you're also putting pressure on yourself because of the stakes.

And welcome back!

Nice essay. In part 1, you distinguish between stick and carrot men, albeit with no room for *nuance*. How about those who might beleive in a little of both? How about just common sense men?

You say the scales fell from your eyes on the morning of 11 September. Why? Do you really beleive that our (USA's) conduct has been so fundamentally good and just that we should be loved and respected by the whole world? We DO have enemies, and on that September morning, they got lucky. You then speak of deterring these enemies. Might it not ultimately be more beneficial to examine why we have so many enemies, and to ask ourselves what we can do about it? I think so, though maybe I'm too much of a lily livered, weak willed, liberal When I look at the world three years on, I see a slowly worsening quagmire in Iraq, where the security situation is such that even those who were sympathetic to our cause there are getting fed up with us Yanks. We say that we bring the battle to the terrorists over there so that they dont mess with us here at home. But to the average Iraqi, it is as if we are turning their land into a magnet for terrorists who want to fight us. For what? For 11 September? WHat did Iraq have to do with that? Why should Iraqis be paying the price today for what Afghan based Saudis did three years ago in the USA?
The situation in Afghanistan is only slightly better, and the best we can hope for there is a state on the model of Colombia. (think narcostate...)

You state that we have survived wars on drugs, poverty, and public lasciviousness. Arent these ongoing even today? How many Americans are in prison today for the crime of just trying to get high? I guess I'd sign on to Bush's vision of an open ended War on Terror if he had first won the war on drugs. THe way I see it, they are about equally winnable.

Your analysis of why our enemies attack us using terroristic tactics is pretty good. They aren't stupid, and deniability certainly plays a role here. More importantly though, is the fact that there is no other way to attack us. As I said, our enemies arent stupid.

Come November, I am going to vote for John Kerry. I am an American living abroad, and in my experience the opinion of America (and especially Bush) has never been lower. Contrary to what many conservatives think here, its not about a popularity contest. Its much more important than that. Its about our credibility, and its about working together with others, who share our values, to defeat those who dont share our values.
Im going to support Kerry, because I'm hopeful that his somewhat more nuanced outlook on things will allow for a reassesment of our policy of supporting thugs while talking nice about democracy and human rights. Maybe Kerry will be more willing to do the right thing as opposed to the popular thing in terms of the number one destabilizing issue in the Middle East, if not the whole world: bringing about a just solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Im convinced that a just solution to this problem will do more in terms of lowering the threat of terrorism against America than anything GWB might consider, whether spending hundreds of billions on the military to attacking all the countries in the axis of evil.

Whoever wins in November, terrorism will not be defeated and will not disappear. WHat we can hope for, however, is to reduce the appeal and sympathy that terrorist attacks generate, and eventually, in this way, reduce the likelihood of such attacks being planned & carried out in the first place, or failing this, reducing the chance of such attacks succeeding. Just as we will never defeat the scourge of illegal drugs, terrorism will never go away in an absolute sense. With common sense though, with a little carrot, a little stick, and above all, a little bit more smarts as to how we go about things, we can have a much bigger effect on the chance that terrorist attacks against us will be attempted, period. This is why I am going to vote for Kerry next month.

Bill credits the President for a good speech--the credit goes to the speech writers and the idealogues who control the President and these writers.

You saw Bush in the first debate against Kerry and wondered: Where is the eloquence?

You've cringed through those (deliberately rare) press conferences, interviews, praying he doesn't mangle a sentence or a word or a thought.

Bush armed with a script is a totally different person (sometimes he appears to learn along, absorb, as he reads...).

Now we know why Bush sat there motionless when informed of the 9/11 attacks--he had no clue what to think or do. I don't buy the "he didn't want to scare the children" crap any longer.

What would Clinton have done that morning? Bush Sr.? Reagan? Kennedy?

This is what's so scary. We expect the leader of the free world to be able to think and speak for himself. Can Bush even write a coherent op-ed by himself (as Reagan and Clinton often did) to defend their positions?

Yesterday, we saw the real President--Dick Cheney.

Unquestionably the war on terror is a "multifront" war, as Bush noted during the debates. The question is, is he the right person to wage it? Is Rumsfeld (who questioned whether this approach is creating more terrorists than it is destoying) the right person to be Secretary of Defense?

There are too many ideologues, far too many egotistical characters in this administration who believe in not changing paths or adapting for fear of being labeled flip-floppers, despite the fact that they have all flip-flopped, especially on Iraq:

* Tenet ("slam dunk")
* Rumsfeld (from "bulletproof" evidence of Saddam-Al Qaeda connection to no "hard evidence"; from we are winning the WoT to not sure and back to we are winning)
* Bush (we are winning the WoT to not sure and back to we are winning)
* Wolfowitz (wildly off mark on US casualties in Iraq; changes his story when caught)

Cheney and Wolfowitz told Bush this was going to be a cakewalk--rose petals etc. Rumsfeld wanted to prove he could win with his flexible, agile military and told Bush we needed no more than 130,000 troops for this best-scenario invasion.

This appealed to Bush who wanted to prove Clinton and his dad wrong for shrinking from removing Saddam. Bush Sr. sent 660,000 troops in 1990; Bush Jr liked the idea of doing it with a fifth as many.

Even Bremer said we needed more troops. But even today, as the US cedes control of major towns to insurgents, no one wants to change anything because it is better to "stay the course" than flip-flop.

Well, this ex-supporter flip-flopped and will vote for Kerry as will many other conservatives who were embarassed by the neocons.

nicolas says:

Maybe Kerry will be more willing to do the right thing as opposed to the popular thing ...

And so President Bush is guilty of doing "the popular thing"? Didn't you just finish griping about how unpopular his policies are in Europe? I myself am only moderately concerned with doing the right thing and even less with doing the popular thing. I am very, very concerned wuth doing the necessary thing.

We do what must be done first, what can be done second, and what they'll like us for doing last. You are welcome to vote for John Kerry in November, nicolas; voting for whom you like is your right and privilage. I myself am a registered Democrat - I have been all of my adult life - and I'm voting for George Bush. So far I've gotten four other Democrats on board with me ... it's the least I can do to make sure the right man ends up in the White House.


Thank you, Mr. Whittle, for your clarifying eloquence.

I am reminded, strangely, of a book on the Rocky Mountain Locust, the scourge of farmers in the nineteenth century. Every few years, it seemed, the locusts would arise and eat the crops and make life fairly hellish.

And then, somewhere around the turn of the century, they disappeared.

Nobody worried about it; farmers held their breath for a few years, and slowly relaxed and eventually forgot about it. It wasn't until recent years that a biologist studying records managed to figure out why the locust had disappeared - it had two life stages, the second, locust, form being when population pressure forced a change in behavior. The primary form was that of a solitary grasshopper, one whose birthplace and critical habitat was linked to a small group of valleys in the Rocky Mountains.

A small group of very fertile valleys.

The locust was literally plowed out of existence; the farmers who cultivated those valleys knew nothing of the scourge of the Midwest that they were removing.

Why do I bring this up? The comment that "terrorism will not be defeated and will not disappear" may be true, but it also is not the major goal. We may not be able to get rid of all the grasshoppers, but we might be able to reduce them below the critical point that turns them into locusts...

Excellent piece as always.

I've been saying much the same things myself lately.

I figure if we all keep up the logic and insight for another couple of weeks we can all convert another liberal back from the Duh Side.

So far I have a count of 6, and with your essay I'm going to attempt to bag another 6.

Keep up the good work.

Wow. Pulled the thoughts right out of my past and my cerebral cortext, organized them and eloquently expressed them and it didn't hurt at all.

I often rue my "Ideology Days" and the pompous arrogance that went along with that mindset. My Dad always told me that after I grew up, "things will look a whole lot different to you.". Still have that liberal "wish it were so" mentality sometimes, because I sure do wish I knew then what I know now!

Thanks for writing this . . . . Dad?


I think that the right thing and the necessary thing are one in the same.

And so President Bush is guilty of doing "the popular thing"? Didn't you just finish griping about how unpopular his policies are in Europe?

Insofar as his policy vis a vis Israel and the Palestinians, yes, he is doing the popular thing (amongst mainly fundy Christians in USA) as opposed to the right and/or necessary thing.

Bush is unpopular not just in Europe, but pretty much everywhere. Even in the UK, our number one ally, Bush has something like a 70% disapproval rating. THe numbers go much higher in the ME and Asia. I'm not sure about Central and South America, but my guess is that his numbers there arent good either.

Being unpopular sucks, but being unpopular and wrong at the same time really sucks. Its because of these reasons that I'll be voting against Bush come November. Its funny, you say you are a registered democrat, while I am a registered Republican (though really more a libertarian....) Most libertarians I know are either not planning on voting, or voting Kerry in disgust with Bush. You can also vote for who you like Sandor. It is also your right and privilege.

This is quite simply the best posting I've ever read on a blog. Thank you. I'll be by to read more!

Great Work Bill! I hope this reaches the undecided. I will do my part.
But one has to remember that Fact and Logic do not work on all people.

Joe, thanks for bringing up the derogatory liberal comments. Although I can overlook them, most of my liberal friends will not. They'll see those insults and shut down any open-mindedness to the good stuff in Bill's essays -- which completely negates the italicized graf at the end of Part 2.

Bill wrote the essay for a certain audience but wants that group to share it intact with a different audience. That's a bit of a juggling act.

Before sending the URL to those friends, I'm trying to figure out what to say in my e-mail to convince them to read the essays despite the anti-liberal sentiment in it.

American's so-called "opinion" won't mean a hill of beans if a nuke detonates in NYC. And lets not fool ourselves, we have support from foreign intelligence agencies abroad in the global war on terrorism whether it concerns Paris, Madrid, or Berlin, these alliances have been sewn from years of cooperation during several adminstrations. Nuance is nonsense and is afforded to those that spend their time critizing rather than acting, "its his plan with my pizzaz!!"

Has this war been difficult? From a casualty standpoint, no. We were losing 500 people every other day in WWII, we lost 50 every other day in Vietnam, we're losing two every other day in Iraq. While its harsh to break it down strictly by the numbers, I find it especially difficult given the fact I've got family and friends serving in Iraq today, I think its high time people begin to have some perspective. War is ugly, confusing and error prone. Just ask the troops during the Battle of the Bulge what its like to fight in 20 below weather waist deep in snow without winter weather clothing. The steps we've during both conflicts are unmarked in the history of warfare, in little of two years we've vanquished two facist regimes and are on the way to holding elections for some 50 million people. This may seem difficult to conceptualize for a large segment of American soecity that has no concept of duty, know's not of the realities of soldiering or warfare, but when framed against history our recent efforts are a testament to US and allied might and determination not seen in modern history.

Thank you for this terrific essay. Like your others, it's a bit hard-line in places and that may be off-putting to centrists and moderates who are not necessarily drinking the Kerry kool-aid, but so be it - that's your appeal and I would not ask you to change a word of it.

Like you, I am essentially a classic liberal who has seen the failure of the "carrot approach" (Carter and Clinton) and the success of the "stick approach" (Reagan and Bush). The ideology of Bin Laden, Zarqawi and Khomeini is anathema to the Western liberalism I cherish and took for granted for too long; it's a poison that must be defeated. I have faith that, as with Nazism and Communism we will defeat it - or at least deter it long enough for democratic thought to take hold in that part of the world - but we are at enormous risk at this point in history.

I greatly appreciated this essay and will post on it shortly.

Bill, just a note on your Rambo Kerry reference: I find it interesting that you used Rambo, Sylvester Stalone's Vietnam hero character. When I first watched the Rambo movies, I was unaware of the fact that during the Vietnam war Stalone fled the country and went to europe to evade the draft. He made pornographic movies to help support himself. After the war he came home and had the audacity to star in a film where his character upon learning that he is heading back to Vietnam, says something to the effect of "can we win this time?!"

This is the level of hypocrisy I find in Kerry.

Wonderful essay, well written and very well thought through. I even misted up a bit at the quotes from the President's post 9/11 speech.

There is one thing that I haven't seen anyone address or explain, and maybe you or your readers can help me out here.

John Kerry has promised to send more troops into Iraq and has promised to increase the size of our military (adding two active duty divisions?) in order to do this. So, this "wanna-be" President is going to ask our brave young men and women to put their lives on the line for what he has expressly stated is the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" and a "colossal diversion".

But, isn't this the exact same thing that Kerry organized and fronted a group of disenchanted vets to protest against when he returned (early) from Viet Nam? Wasn't the point of his rhetoric then that it was immoral for the government to ask soldiers to die in a war which they (and supposedly the government) no longer believed in?

I don't get it? Has he actually changed his mind about asking OTHER people to die for something the Kerry himself thinks is merely a diversion? Perhaps it is mere political expediency to merely parrot President Bush's promise to hunt down and kill terrorists (and those who harbor, support, train them) wherever (except apparently in Iraq) they may be?

Someone please help me out here? Bill? Anyone?

P.S. As a former Navy Fighter Pilot, your use of "Eject!Eject!Eject" is wonderfully appropriate for so many "beliefs" these days.

Oh and God Bless the Brits, the Aussies, the Poles, and even the Italians. Some of us will even acknowledge the tremendous courage being shown by those Iraqis who are volunteering to become targets by undergoing training to become security forces, policmen, etc. because they believe in the cause of freedom.

Regarding my anti-liberal bias...all I can add is that I have tried to show that I myself am as guilty of this way of thinking as the next idealist.

Whenever I make fun of that worldview, I try to shape it in terms of making fun of myself. I don't know how to attack the flaws I have found in my former beliefs without attacking the flaws I have found in my former beliefs. This screed is not likely to change the votes of any hard-core liberals, who would rather have Hitler in office than GWB, if we are to take them at their word. I do not want or need the affection of such people. Half the battle -- more than half --is shoring up the defenses. By trying to make everyone happy, I think I will make no one happy.

Of course, that's just how it looks to me on this Wednesday morning. As I say, I think a world full of nothing but latte-sipping liberals would be dandy. Then old crusty curmudgeons like myself could sit on the porch in our underwear and polish the old shooting irons with complete peace of mind and fade into irrelevence at our leisure.

That will be a great day. None of us will live to see it.

Wow. Simply wow.

Awesome post.

If one thinks the "War on Terror" is a punitive attack on al-Qaeda one agrees with Kerry. If you think it is a "GLOBAL War on Terror" to prevent another 9/11 from occurring, you agree with Bush.

I doubt (m)any will wake up, drop the carrots and pick up a stick on reading this.... but one can hope.

Alas, logic have lost it's power. Maybe it's something in the water? or too much tin foil headwear.


Thanks for the fantastic essay. I have a request. An mportant one.

If you really want to write something that will affect this election, take this masterful work, and hack it to bits. Slice and dice it until you're left with a two or three page essay that I can leave on windshields, hand out on street corners, email to friends and know they may read most of it. I know that brevity isn't your thing, but please--this is too good to only be read by the oddballs willing to wade through fourteen pages of politics, and the close friends of those oddballs. Please do this. Like you said, this election is entirely too close.

I'm willing to help, and I've had quite a bit of editing experience. If you like, drop me a line at tim@timothygoddard.com. Or don't. But please, help cover that "small gap in the lines."

Came here via LGF, but have added you to my daily reading list. This is great stuff!


Dead on. Waiting eagerly for the book.

Joseph C,

Ditto the post after yours.


You didn't sound any better at LGF. BTW We had eloquence and he had a failed Presidency (Bubba).


Did you really read Bill?


Thanks Aussies! We do know and remember who our friends are. BTW Great wine that Yellowtail!

Ye gods, I can't remember when I read anything more powerful.

You rule. You just rule. Thank you.

Bill, thank you.

I wish I could do so well at extracting those flickering thoughts that (obviously) so many of us have had, and putting them all down is such a concise form.


Bill, I totally understand "shoring up the defenses." I wonder if it's possible to accomplish that and change the votes of moderates or centrists with this screed.

Isn't there a difference in delivery when preaching to the choir vs. seeking converts? As Joe mentioned, maybe it's the difference between Misha and Lileks.

Crawling back into my hole to return photo submissions and edit articles now...


You missed the point of the suggestions for getting rid of the insane liberals label. If you wrote it just for us who agree with you, you wasted your time.

Your comments are very good and deserve a wider audience, and by refusing to take out the insulting language your comments are much less useful than they could be.

Maybe you watch Survivor. Everybody claims they are there to win a million bucks. But invariably most of them figure they "have to be themselves" or "I say what I think". Its cool to have those opinions but it doesn't advance the goal they are there for and invariably they are voted off. They get to be right, but without the million bucks.

We want to win this election for George Bush and if you are going to neuter extra help because you insist on insulting the liberals that might help you, I can't believe you are serious. Do you want all the help you can get? Then rewrite your essay minus the baggage so we can use it without embarrassment.


Bravo!! Bravo!!!

As always, Mr. Whittle...thank you for your thoughts and the effort of putting them into words. It's good to see you back in action.


You didn't just hit it out of the park this time.

You slammed it off the whole damned planet, on its way out of the solar system.


(And just last night I was slightly worried that Silent America's Emmissary might not show up in time for the election. Never again shall I doubt.)

nicolas: One thing that constantly amazes me is the diversity of people who classify themselves as "libertarian". It's common among socially liberal Republicans - those are the folks we expect to identify with libertarianism - but there are many fiscally conservative Democrats in there too. I'm one of them.

I never switched my party affiliation to "Libertarian" or "Independent" because, until 2000, I still saw enough of value in the Democratic Party to keep me from leaving it (men like Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller still make me want to stay). But the behavior of liberals since the War on Terror began has been so atrociuos - so vindictive and mean and downright slanderous - that I think I will be switching to "Independent" after the elections.

In any case, I disagree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the WoT and President Bush's strategy. Old Europe was never going to join the fight and putting Kerry in office won't change that. The reason the Germans and French hate us is becaue we do what's in our best interest without consulting (read: "paying deference to") them first. The Arabs hate us because we're dragging them, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century. The Islamist radicals hate us because in our civilization they see an end to the facist theocracies they dream of imposing on the entire human race.

So be it. They'll like us when we win.

And it is nice when the "right thing" and the "necessary thing" are the same thing. I prefer it that way myself. But if you think that real life works that way all of the time then you're living in the same dream world that the far-left liberals are when they preach pacifism. It sucks, but sometimes people have to suffer, bleed, and die in order for a larger peace to come about. Like Bill and everyone else here, I wish that weren't so. But it is.

Again, so be it.

I bet President Bush, like me, wishes he could sound "nicer" ... it'd make it way easier to sway moderates and independents. It'd disarm the liberals. But being "nice" in matters of war means either weakness or deception; since I won't allow myself to be guilty of either I'm forced to adopt the "stubborn" and "hawkish" stance (i.e., "find the enemy and destroy him regarless of who it pisses off").

The subtlety and nuance of Kerry-esque liberals might have a place in domestic politics. But in war, conviction and leadership ability are far more important. President Bush has both in spades. That's why I'm voting for the man, and it's why every person who carefully and critically considers the situation will vote for him too.


What an extraordinary essay! It's as if you took all the random thoughts buzzing around in my own head about Bush, Kerry, and the nature of the current war, catalogued them, fact-checked and annotated them and then most eloquently expressed them. Thank you!

And to those commenters who note that 90% of this or that European nation's population don't like Bush:
1. They don't vote.
2. Considering that they have been fed anti-Bush propaganda consistently since the day he was elected by such "news" organizations as Reuters and AP, it's not surprising.
3. Considering, further, that the capability and willingness of the United States to act only serves to demonstrate how ineffectual their own militaries are, it's even less surprising. Lots of people like being free riders, but don't like being identified as such.
4. If and when the truth about Oil for Food corruption is fully disclosed, I suspect it will clearly demonstrate why their own governments opposed any action against Iraq. I read that a recent poll showed that the same populations would have approved the Iraq war if it had been sanctioned by the UNSC. Considering that France and Russia were both sucking greedily at the Oil for Food teat, the probability that they would not veto any resolution approving such action is only a little lower than the probability of winning the Powerball lottery.
5. I suspect -- just a hunch -- that those sophisticated, nuanced folks can't get past Bush's Texas accent.

Nicholas writes that Bush is doing the popular thing rather than right thing regarding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Nicholas argues that the right course will produce a just peace. It seems that for Nicholas and for Europe the just peace is too put the squeeze on Israel to make all the concessions.

I would rather argue that the current Palestinian leadership is incapable of a just peace as it is ideed composed of terrorists. Israel was willing long ago to trade land for peace, but Arafat rejected that. Visiting the PLO website showed me that they are not willing to live with Israel. Their map shows only the country of Palestine with no Israel. IS that the just peace that Nicholas and his European friends want?

This post was fascinating! Great job!
I say, please could you apply for the job of president's advisor in the coming debates ASAP?

We need this president in oofice for 4 more years, and you have just proven this fact in as articulate was as possible.

Keep it up, please.

Another wonderful essay! We (meaning my whole office) really missed reading your stuff.
Thanks Bill!

God bless you, Bill. God bless.

Reading this essay just made my day.

Welcome back, Bill!

This one's going out to a lot more people than I usually forward your URL to.

It's not 'History', but it's still excellent. I still consider 'History' and 'Courage' to be your finest, but then, I am a student of history and have been privileged to have some involvement through most of my life with America's aerospace industry and the space program, so my bias is easy to come by in those regards.

Again, welcome back.

As always, wonderful!

I started out being impressed by your passionate writing. Then I became downright moved by your sense of history.

What a great tragedy that your nation's passion and its sense of history appear these days to be ever so gradually atrophied by complacent, lazy thought and irrelevant philosophies.

What a great tragedy that we should have to look for essays of this quality on - with all due respect - little-known weblogs, when they should be published in your nation's greatest newspapers.

I do not have the privilege to vote in your upcoming elections, but for those of you who do, ask yourselves this question: if your enemies were allowed to vote, whom would they choose? Then, for the sake of everything you hold dear, please vote the opposite.


nicholas wrote:
Maybe Kerry will be more willing to do the right thing as opposed to the popular thing in terms of the number one destabilizing issue in the Middle East, if not the whole world: bringing about a just solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Im convinced that a just solution to this problem will do more in terms of lowering the threat of terrorism against America than anything GWB might consider, whether spending hundreds of billions on the military to attacking all the countries in the axis of evil.

Okay, I'll bite: what is the just thing to do about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Abandon Israel to the wolves? Pressure them into immediate withdrawal and acceptance of a Palestinian state? Gather all to a large campfire and sing camp songs?

When I visited Israel years ago as part of an Anglican tour which included Arab-Israeli Christians (who certainly thought of themselves as Palestinians) I remember being persuaded that Israel was responsible for many nasty things. I still think that. But over the past 20 years I've seen huge (majority) support among the Palestinians for equally nasty things. So how do we solve this, in any reasonable time frame?

And I would just point out that currently the extreme-right settlers no longer seem to wield the influence they once did. But Hamas and Islamic Jihad still dictate Palestinian and Israeli policy at will. Getting too close to peace? Blow up a mall, a nightclub, a bus stop. That takes care of that.

Until the Palestinians are able (doubtful) and willing (clearly false) to take out Hamas and Islamic Jihad, there will never be peace without mass slaughter. It simply will not happen. First, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Israeli settlement movement must all be marginialized. Whatever else it is, Isreal is a functioning democracy, so the settlers may be neutralized peacefully. But Hamas and Islamic Jihad have no incentive to allow peace to break out and face no credible threat from the current Palestinian Authority.

Until their cash, infused in huge amounts by Syria, Iran, and upstanding private citizens throughout the Arab world, dries up, Hamas and Islamic Jihad will simply torpedo any chance for peace.

So how do you propose to overcome this?

Hint: Bush appears to have a plan. Maybe not a good one, we'll have to see. But both Syria and Iran clearly think we are an active threat. They seem to be reacting very differently so we'll see whether the gamble pays off. But without some method of compelling these state sponsors of Palestinian terror to reign in their attack dogs, there's just no hope of a Palestinian state, and end to the tit-for-tat violence, or a stable Israel and Palestine.

Great, great post, Bill, and I'll try to direct as many people as possible to it.

Just one little side question, irrelevant to the essay as a whole: you claim that the UK is the only other country in the world whose armed forces match ours in quality. I'm no expert, just an amateur news junkie, but how about Israel?


You define "deter" in a strange way. Here's what M-W.com has on it: "to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting". That is, deterrence is active. It means taking or threatening an action that changes the incentives of a would-be opponent.

Similarly, in your carrot versus stick contrast, you offer a false dichotomy. In both cases are actions. The assumption that some action is necessary is smuggled in.

The sensible people on my side of this debate are not talking about taking action to deter terrorists. As you admit: they cannot be deterred very easily.

Rather, we are saying that inaction is the correct course, to not-provoke terrorists. Our criticism is exactly that too much action has occurred, in the past, and that those actions and their results are the grievances that terrorists have. They are specific grievances, against America. These include 50 years of your interventionism, but the specifics on Al-Qaida's list are these:

(1) we support their hated Israel, ergo, at one remove the killing and other mistreatment of Palestinians
(2) we killed Iraqi children via "sanctions"
(3) we occupied their holy country, Arabia

These things are all true, albeit not the whole truth. But you cannot expect those aggrieved by them to care about mitigating factors, i.e., that Saddam worsened the effects of the sanctions. They are fanatics. They do not see the truth as well-educated right-wing Americans see it. They see the truth that educated right-wing Arabs see.

These grievances are the reason why they attack America and American interests, but not, say, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and any number of other western, but peaceful, nations. They are rational men. They attack us to try to influence our policy. They don't attack nations whose policy they don't care about one way or the other.

Now we've added a new grievance to the list: we have occupied Iraq. A whole generation of Iraqis is being radicalized against us. (Cough Abu Ghraib cough.)

You don't "deter by being nice". Deterrence is applicable only in the context of conflict. Rather, what my side sees (and your side apparently does not) is that ideally you remove conflict in the first place by being nice.

"Deterrence" assumes conflict is not tractable. It is usually better than appeasement (i.e., being nice when conflict is intractable). But it is not better than simply having no conflict to begin with.

I suggest that, ideally, America should have no conflict with the world. America's policy should be viewed with indifference by the world. In the past it was fairly safe to do things that caused distant peoples to hate you. They'd attack your colonial army, maybe, but the home front was too far to attack. In this era of technology, breeding hate is no longer safe. Therefore it behooves us to stop breeding it.

That is the lesson of 9-11.

And the historically clear way to produce indifference amongst distant people is quite simple: don't hurt them. Trade peacefully with them if possible, otherwise, leave them alone. Make simple and clear boundaries that they agree on. Spank them if they aggress, otherwise, nothing. This is isolationism, in a nutshell.

The nuclear genie is not going back into the bottle. In the long run, terrorists will get nuclear weapons if they want them. (Is anyone so daring as to say, no terrorist will ever get a nuclear weapon?) When that time comes, I hope that they no longer have serious grievances against us. And if we want that to be true in, say, 20 years, we'd better start now, acting inoffensively in the world. This means pulling back from the world militarily. Trade peacefully; let them run their own affairs without interference from us.

Meanwhile, our new policy of preemptive attack against a weak country (Iraq), but not other recent or soon-to-be nuclear states (Pakistan, Iran, perhaps North Korea) sends a clear signal to every third world dictator type: get nukes ASAP if at all possible. That is, our belligerence is arguably counterproductive on the issue of nuclear proliferation.

Given that terrorists will almost certainly get their first nuke from a nuclear state, and probably a non-Western nuclear state, is that sort of belligerence really in our interest? I think not. We are not deterring in Iraq; in fact, we are making nuclear terrorism against the USA more likely.

Well, it's too late to change what we've done in Iraq, but it's not too late to change our policy and firmly disavow what President Bush and his people did. That's a good reason not to vote for Bush.

Not that I'm voting for Kerry. As you say, he's basically Bush lite. He's in cuckoo-land if he thinks that "alliances" are going to get us anything in Iraq. I don't think he thinks that, actually; I think he's too smart. I'm not voting for either him or Bush. Badnarik remains my choice.

Bill, as usual, you're well-meaning,long-winded and (as you said of Kerry) kind of stupid, too.

Your argument is one I've heard before, and it boils down to this: "It doesn't matter whose ass we kick, as long as we go out there and KICK SOME FUCKING ASS."

This is the essence of the "deterrence" doctrine.

Many of my liberal friends cannot understand how anyone can support the Iraq war when Iraq had nothing substantive to do with 9/11. They don't understand that the "deterrence" camp doesn't necessarily care about the connection; the "deterrers" wanted to show off our military muscle on anyone in order to scare everyone (e.g. "shock and awe").

That's the "deterrence" argument, and it raises two important questions:

- What if the ass-kicking doesn't reach the most important asses?

- If we try to kick ass and fail, do we fail to deter, and succeed in encouraging?

As to the first question, it's entirely possible that while kicking Baathist ass, we've let Islamist asses run around unscathed. I'm a firm believer in the "if you're going to kick ass, kick the right asses" school of thought. What's Osama up to? Whose nukes are being shopped around? We don't really know. Meanwhile, butts are being kicked (and body bags filled), but are they the right butts?

As to the second question, if you believe that successful military operations deter, then it's axiomatic that failed military operations encourage. I'm not calling Iraq a failure yet, but at this stage it sure as hell isn't a success, and it offers Islamist radical hopefuls much evidence to the effect that America CAN'T simply waltz into a country and do whatever it wants.

We kicked Baathist ass, but then we opened the gates to an insurgency we can't even name at this stage.

The soldiers, officials, businesspeople, reporters, and civilians we need to make Iraq a success leave their bunkered compounds at the risk of their lives.

In fact, I think it's safe to say that Iraq has showcased for the world many of our strategic weaknesses viz. the Middle East: we don't have many Arabic speakers; we don't have enough troops on the ground to dominate; our soldiers would rather be home; our human intelligence is lean at best; our nation is divided on the war itself; Bush has proved a lousy diplomat; our troops in the field can be picked off in small but constant numbers; our homeland security remains underfunded; we don't have the troop strength to start another pre-emptive war; etc, etc, etc.

In other words, even if one believes in deterrence, has our performance in Iraq served to deter anyone? I think it's quite likely that it hasn't. In fact, I think it's quite likely that our performance in Iraq delights our enemies: they can do whatever the hell they want while we scramble around trying to put Humpty together again.

You raise the example of our invading Tunisia in WWII - - more specious ridiculousness, Bill. Al Qaeda was not Hitler and Togo's Axis. We didn't need to avoid its strongholds in favor of its alleged weak underbelly, Iraq. We needed to go right at its heart.

And for some unfathomable reason, we didn't. everything that this administration has said about Iraq has been an attempt to explain why it's more important to attack someone who HASN'T attacked us than someone who has.

Then, we get stupid stuff like this: "Half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing [9/11] by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean."

Nobody's talking about being "nice," Bill. Nobody says, "oh, negotiate with Osama." People say, go find him and kill him. And people like me add, don't waste time and lives and credibility on unnecessary military adventures. That's what's going on. Not some "nice/mean" divide.

If there's a divide, it's between the people who say, "attack the right terrorists," and the people who say, "attack anybody, anywhere, just to show how tough we are."

Once again -
Thanks for the words I've been wanting to say for many months.

Thought I recognized Gainesville from your "McDonalds at University and 13th" reference. G'ville is so liberal, especially compared to Jacksonville. Love the Florida Times Union!

Wow, simply wow.

Wonderful essay Mr. Whittle, truly marvelous.

I'm 17 years old and have been into the conservative blog scene for a few months now. I came to your website by way of instapundit.com and must I say, why haven't I heard of you before?!?!?! Your essay was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you =D

Now sending this essay to my friends and family

Bill: Great as always.

nicolas: I'll go further than ExRat -- based on what is already publicly known about the U.N. oil-for-food scandal, it's amazingly clear that the Germans, the French, the Russians and U.N. officials were all too happy to profit from kickbacks, enrich Sadaam and starve roughly 5,000 Iraqi children each month. So when I hear someone talk about how Old Europe or other parts of the world "share our values," I don't know whether to laugh or vomit.

Moreover, on the Israel issue, you should notice that Kerry-Edwards, like Bush-Cheney, think that the problem is that Israel does not have a partner for peace. And they're all correct about that. I suppose Kerry is also trying to win the "fundy" vote. Btw, that's a very tolerant liberal smear you have working there, nic.

Bill Clinton twisted Barak's arm out of its socket to get enormous concessions for Israel, and the Palestinian response was to launch the second intifada. The rest of the world does not care, because anti-Semitism still prevails in most places around the world, and that cancer is spreading again throughout Old Europe.

And the indiffernce to the lives of their fellow human beings goes beyond Jews; as Bill noted, Old Europe waited for the U.S. to stop genocide against Muslims in Europe. The U.S. had to do this without U.N. approval. How did the U.N. do with Rwanda? What is the "international community" doing about genocide in Darfur today?These are not people who "share our values." At least, they do not share my values.

If I could write, this is exactly what I would say! Thank you so much for laying it all out and allowing me to pass it on to others.

Bravo, sir.


Well written, from the heart. One additional point worth making--when JFKerry says the war is 90% American casualties, I am pretty sure he is not counting Iraqi casualties which sadly are increasing all the time. Good luck and good hunting to them as they hunt down the thugs in their country.


That was the most precise explanation of the war on terror and why John Kerry is the wrong man for the job that I have ever seen or read. Well done, sir.

If there's a divide, it's between the people who say, "attack the right terrorists," and the people who say, "attack anybody, anywhere, just to show how tough we are."

If that's what we we're really saying, we could've attacked Canada and been done with it a long time ago!

Really, you're falling right into the 'deniability' trap that gives terrorism it's strength. Because Saddam could deny any ties to 9-11 we shouldn't go over and fry his ass?

Sorry! Too late for that. He chose a bad day to play possum, and even his Olde European bed-pals couldn't keep him out of the muck.

In the end, he was a supremely Useful Idiot. We've got troops in the heartland of Islamofascism and are successfully terreforming the area, fighting them THERE instead of HERE.

I really like the posts by the people who just don't get strategery. Or, Bill's simplification of the differing points of view into "nice" versus "mean" so that he can address the larger ideas without going into a truly long winded essay because he has to "edumacate" the boffins.

Yeppers - it sure would be nice if we just "left people alone" and didn't antagonize them so they'd just leave us alone. Heavy sigh...yeah like that would work.

We'd send rice pudding to some Muslim third world hell hole - and the radicals would be pissed off because we forgot the salsa they wanted as a topping. We'd send them Pace Medium salsa and they'd become even more pissed off because we didn't know they really wanted Old El Paso Extra Hot. Bingo - new compound grievance...attack, attack, attack. You can't nuance fast enough to keep up with their ever shifting whims of affrontery.

It's a hopeless, fantasy that you can somehow score with these people by leaving them alone - they only move the goal posts to justify their next atrocity. Or, are you just not cognizant of the pattern?

Once again Bill, well written and thought provoking. Will pass it along to many in hopes they will do the same.

Vote Bush / Cheney...I'm making sure my pit bull is registered to vote...we must offset all those dead people that vote for Democrats in some way...

This is not politically correct thus not addressed by MSM - radical or extremist Muslims believe all infidels should be killed and Muslims should rule the world. This is not a new situation, having been growing for many years.

Human nature:
1. If it is not a problem to me, it is not my problem.
2. If it is a problem to me but there is someone else that is willing to pay the price to correct it, let them do it.
3. Even if I don't have a problem yet there is someone else that is willing to expend their time, energy and money to create a change that might benefit me, let them do it.
4. It is the difference that makes the difference. Without the difference, many don't see it.

Moderate Muslims are humans and are subject to human nature.

Many people, including many moderate Muslims, have not discerned a difference between moderate and extremist muslim pursuits, that matters to them. A World War between Islam and the rest of the world is not a good thing for anyone.

Some moderate Muslims are realizing that it is not just infidels that are at risk from the extremists, but themselves, as moderates, as well. This realization is what could prevent a religious World War. It requires the moderate Muslims to get control over their religion or risk severe injury or extermination.

What many people seem to miss is that the US and its Allies have helped create just such a condition, or tipping point, in Iraq. The Iraqis are now starting to accept responsibility for themselves and their country and are recognizing the adverse consequences of ignoring extremist Muslims.

Some believe it is the weapon that is responsible for the insult. Others believe that it is the person using the weapon that is responsible. The moderate Muslims in Iraq have found the WMD in Iraq, and it is the extremists. The extremists are not happy about this discovery, since this discovery could spread outside Iraq. The rest of the world should be relieved and give the Iraqis full support. The problem is the rest of the world are humans and follow human nature. Thank goodness for the US, its Allies, the Afgans and the Iraqis. They are striving to save the world from itself. Hopefully, the rest of the world will never progress to the point of religious World War that they realize it also.

Excellent post as usual. But as a professional picker of nits, may I remind you and your readers that America's first fight in Africa during WWII was not as Kasserine Pass? It was in fact, on the shores at Casablanca, versus (ironically) the French. If Tunisia was a long way from Tokyo, wouldn't you admit that fighting the French was just a bit further.

My friends on the left are quick to remind me that Iraq didn't attack us on 9-11. I'm quick to remind them that thanks to preemption, they never will.


Just be nice and they will leave you alone, really? So I am assuming that if a rapist broke into your house and wanted to rape your wife/sister/daughter, your position would be to not antagonize him and then he would go away?!

As a criminal prosecutor, I am constantly confronted with the assertion that there is no "deterrence" in the criminal justice system.

My response is that the rapist I put in prison for life is going to be deterred from raping my family, my neighbor, my friend. Sadam Hussien is currently deterred from invading Kuwait, gassing Kurds, starving his own population. Do you really believe people like him would be willing to play nice if we just traded with them? That somehow, their meglomania would be satisfied if only they could get a few more Dell Computers or a good Big-Mac?

The problem is that these people are not motivated by the selfish materialism you seem to think is the basis of all aggressive action. These are people who have a fundamental belief that their lives will be better if they sacrfice those lives in the name of their belief, while killing as many others who do not believe as they do, as possible.

Since your argument/position is truly inconceivable in an intelligent-thinking individual, I will assume you were just trolling and laughing at any attempt at enlightenment. But that's OK, others can, and will, read what is written in the original essay and the comments that have followed, and maybe, just maybe, some small glimmer of hope will break through the blinders too many people are wearing these days.

Yeah, it was America's own fault that the terroists had no choice but to fly those airliners into the Trade Center. After all, we wouldn't just sit back, play passivists and trade nice with them. They did it because they just had to have American goods. America got just what it deserved, huh?

Thanks for firmly and accurately portraying the reason why Kerry just doesn't get it. Any arguements about health care / medicare / social securtity / environment / economy / education / taxes / jobs etc., etc., are moot if we don't win the war on terror. All it takes is one more attack on US soil and all the above goes down the drain anyway. That can and will be prevented through deterrence, a subject Kerry clearly does not understand.


Well said.

I would quibble with you on the Islamists' willingness to die for their cause. Most of the suicide skyjackers of September 11 did not know they were on a suicide mission. Only the pilots knew. You would think that for the most important attack on America that Al Qaeda could muster a full complement of suicidal attackers. Yet it did not. It could not.

Al Qaeda did not stand and fight on Tora Bora. Bin Laden abandoned his troops the moment the bombing got too intense. He radioed back to his faithful followers to fight to the death while he made his escape. They did not heed his command but fled like rats. They seemed to value their lives quite a bit.

By contrast, the Japanese commander of Iwo Jima, General Kuribayashi, died fighting with his 22,000 troops, of whom only 1083 were captured alive, most of them wounded. Now THAT was a suicidal enemy. And we beat them.

By comparison with the Japanese, the Wahhabis seem more reluctant to die for their cause. They are only fierce when they have the advantage and cowards on the defensive.


"You know what our enemies really fear? Women. Women scare the hell out of them." ....Bill


Thank you. All the way though this essay I kept thinking, "I love this man!!!" Its so nice to have all the logical evidence laid out in a way that makes perfect sense. Thank you for making the case easy to understand and explain.

Great essay! I found myself nodding (and muttering!)in agreement at many points. We're at a crossroads I don't think we've seen since the Civil War due to the division that runs through this country and elsewhere.

God bless you for saying so well what needed to be said.

Great history lessons! Thanks. I've packaged it into reading primers for the Democratic candidates. They could use some knowledge from one who knows.

I'm amazed that in all this there's nobody asking *why* these people are so pissed off at us. It's like having faulty steering, smacking into a tree, and then proceeding to nuke the tree.

My first thought on Sept 11 when I realized what was going on was "As you sow, so shall ye reap."

All the pain and suffering we've inflicted on the rest of the world (usually through inaction, by trumpeting the value of democracy while supporting dictators and other murderous thugs so we can get whatever natural resources or cheap labor we need) is being repaid.

Invading Iraq was a terrible mistake and has done nothing but swell the ranks of those who hate us.

Mission accomplished, all right...

-- Richard

Leonard wrote:
These grievances are the reason why they attack America and American interests, but not, say, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and any number of other western, but peaceful, nations. They are rational men. They attack us to try to influence our policy. They don't attack nations whose policy they don't care about one way or the other.

Surely you can't believe this? Not in the face of the numerous public statements by al Qaeda itself which belie this. The "grievances" you mention are indeed some of al Qaeda's main points, and we have some blame for each of them. But let us not forget that the ideal model regime for al Qaeda was the Taliban, and that al Qaeda will not be happy with anything less than the re-estaglishment of the Islamic Caliphate under Wahabbist doctrine.

The US might appease them in the near term, though it's hard to see how with abandoning Israel completely, but we can only appease them finally by capitulation. Islam in general believes that God has destined them to eventually rule over all the earth, whether through peaceful conversion or conquest. And Wahabbis largely ignore the "peaceful conversion" aspect of that. You cannot expect to successfully appease those whose core doctrine is your unconditional surrender, unless you eventually intend surrender. Europe made the mistake of forgetting this in the 1918-20 and again in the 1930s and paid the price in blood for failing to choke two murderous ideologies at birth. If we follow your course of action, we'll be guilty of doing the same.

And as for Iraq "adding" to their grievance, when you're the Great Satan, you really can't worsen your position. But perhaps you meant to say that the invasion made al Qaeda's grievances more credible to otherwise moderate Muslims. That may be true, but the same could be said about overthrowing the Taliban, pursuing Osama bin Ladin, and virtually any other action. Remember that virtually any attack on Muslims by non-Muslims "enrages" the Muslim world. (Whereas wholesale slaughter of Muslims by Muslims often gets a pass.)

It would be nice to live in your world, but sadly we don't. There are many, many people who cannot be deterred, bargained with, bought off, brought around to see the truth, etc. It may be that much, perhaps even nearly all, of the Islamic world can be dealt with peaceably, but the huge core of vicious ideologues making up al Qaeda will never yield to kind words or deeds. Indeed, such actions are simply viewed as weakness and an invitation to torture, slaughter, and death.

Now, with all this said, you can (and should) feel free to point out that we might be able to do a better job of separating the moderates from the fanatics by addressing the various grievances of the Muslim world. I'd even agree, but point out that much of that world still views life through the prism of despotism, with gentleness being confused with weakness. Argue forcefully for a more just US policy, and you have my support. But consider carefully what "just" means in the Middle East. Is it truly just to turn aside as Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians, etc. are murdered by their governments? Is it truly just to allow Palestinian terror groups to hijack the hopes of the Palestinian people? Can we repair the past sins of the US by abandoning the Iraqi people to Saddam or worse?

It would be nice to live in a world where being nice defuses conflicts before they occur. But we live in a world where that only some of the time. More often you get no benefit from kindness (but suffer no loss above the cost of the action). And now and then you come across someone who interprets your kindness as an invitation to kick in your front door, rape your wife and kids and kill you. Kindness does not, and will never, sway the likes of the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and the Sudanese government.

And one final thing. Never forget that, apart from any other reason, many hate the US precisely because it is large, powerful, successful, and (therefore) an unbearable witness of their poverty and impotence. To honor-bound cultures around the world, that humiliation can only be repaired by two things:
1. The destruction of the United States.
2. The achievement of something like that same success.

If you want to avoid number 1, perhaps you should consider number 2. Perhaps, for demonstration purposes, picking some of the most beaten down places to start in. Like, say, Afghanistan and Iraq...

I just came across your site and your Deterrence article. I too am a retooled liberal. 9/11 also changed me. I found your article right on the mark, especially about despising Bush in the past (and the Republicans) and now think that he is one of the few politicians who really 'get it'. What a change to undergo and it is so infuriating to see such power hungry pandering from the Left/Liberals who I used to cheer for. That is now no longer the case. I am ashamed of their hypocrisy and fear their blind hatred of this country will certainly embolden our enemies.

While deterrence is the vital issue of the day, the crucial issue of our Time is the traitor within. The rot, the rust, the corruption in our foundations. The Left. Address that...and the rest of our arguments fall into place because we will no longer be in the position of trying to get everyone pulling in the same direction.

John Kerry is a recruit. He is the life long tool of our enemies. There is no redeeming 'anything' about him or in him. Why are we even discussing him other than than to arrange his trial on charges of Treason? To discuss this agent of our enemies in any terms other than his surrender to the authorities is to elevate him and his positions without cause and does harm to the Republic. John Kerry IS the enemy. He is the very embodiment, the type, the motif, the pattern, the design of our True Enemy. Those who stand outside our borders ready to do us harm are as gnats compared to those INSIDE our borders who corrupt and defile the sacred qualities of our Constitution, our purpose in the order of the world, and the hallowed, consecrated, solemn foundations upon which we rest. Our real enemies are INSIDE our borders working to tear down our gates and walls and our Will from within, just as cancer tears apart the body, but cannot be seen from without. I say NEVER negotiate with Cancer.

I ask Bill whether or not he will still attempt the 'even-handed' essay approach concerning Mr. Kerry once it becomes widely known that JFK was an officer of the United States Navy until 1978, meaning that Kerry was an Officer when he defamed his own, forced corrupted testimony upon Congress, arranged and jury-rigged fake EVERYTHING about Vietnam in his drive to tear down the Republic, and negotiated with our enemies for our surrender even as he was an officer. An Officer of the United States Navy negotiating with our enemies for our surrender. How does this not outrage you to the point of burst blood vessels??? The legal term of treason cannot be anymore clear than this man. See Article 14 Sec 3. Also see Art 3, Sec. 3. Yet all our pundits - bloggers and MSM alike - continue to eleveate a Traitor to the status of candidate with whom we must treat by failing to take note that Kerry is ALREADY a criminal falsely in possession of an office he cannot hold and which no amount of pressure on the Media results in his being held accountable.

Cease with this elevation of JFK to candidate status and parrying his remarks and positions. He is a criminal. He is an agent. He must face Justice, or we mock the world as well as mock our own Republic.

Thank you.

Beautifully written and passionate. I find myself regularly responding to the "Saddam didn't attack us, Bin Laden did" and "we should have finished the job in Afghanistan" crowd. I work with very well educated colleagues (just read the many diplomas on their walls), yet many of them seem to think that we had only one enemy on 9-11 and no other country should be attacked unless it attacks first, or it maintains a published mailing address for Bin Laden. You've answered the charges more elegantly than I could ever hope to.
Attacking Iraq didn't "make" more militant Islamists hate us, it simply provided a convenient cover story for pre-existing hatred. Before 9-11, we were not only hated (after all, we were attacked before the Bush administration did anything mean to all those terrorists), but we were believed weak. A terrible combination.
Many have forgotten what deterrence means since the fall of the old Soviet Union. John Kerry may never have grasped the concept.
President Bush's occasionally inelegant syntax never kept me awake at night. Kerry's gramatically perfect "nuanced" view of the world will never let me sleep soundly.

Well done, Bill, now we're all pumped up again, and we need it after (the incessant, slow, drip, drip of) the anti-Bush media has made rivulets of the once-solid ground of our convictions.

The bad guys of the world, bL, Zarqawi, and their ilk, wouldn't like us no matter what rules operated on the playground. Nihilists don't need reasons, just bodies upon which they can display their contempt for human life, through the killing of which they can claim (in their own minds) their superiority.

Old Europe doesn't like us because they want to be numero uno in the world -- hence the drive for the European Union. And they don't like us because of our "ignorant," "backward," largely Christian view of the world. And, as someone else posted, its populace is being fed the same elitist garbage we're poisoned with by our own literati.

The rich and powerful (currently the U.S.) have always been scorned by wannabees: they envy us and hate us at the same time. It's lonely at the top. Bless the Brits, Aussies, Poles, Italians, Hungarians and others who share our view of the world and who recognize REAL danger when they see it.

I do believe your comments about women were mark-on. Women have a civilizing effect on men; and as long as the bad guys (see above) keep women subjugated, they can keep being the bad dudes they want to be. But once you let the women start reading and thinking, well, anything can happen; they might eventually want the vote, or decision-making power, and bye-bye to your male-dominated mass-killing sprees.

The author of "The Pentagon's New War Map" said on C-Span not long ago that this Islamist-Fascist thing is all about sex. Terrorists simply cannot deal with modernity -- and the freedom it gives to women. That's why they're hell-bent to impose Allah's ways on the rest of us -- or destroy us in the process.

Think about it: Islamists hate Jews and Christians. I wonder why? Could it be these two religions give freedoms to women anathema to radical Muslims?

Bush's strategy to democratize the weak-link, Iraq, is an effort to bring modernity to the Middle-East, and that is why it's being met with such fierce resistance. For us to win here, like someone else has said, is to win on the cheap. To lose is to face a deadlier reckoning down the road.

Meanwhile, Iran hovers like the sword of Damocles. Its freedom-hungry people watch and await the outcome of events in Iraq -- will the Mullahs be emboldened by a quick U.S. exit? or will the people (bouyed by successful elections next door) press forward to topple the Mullahs whose nuclear aspirations bring their country to the brink of war?

It's great to be a Florida Gator!

Let's Roll Indeed.

Thank you for standing up for what many of us believe. Keep up the sensational work.


Very excellent post. Took me awhile to read, but I feel inspired. Thank you.


Superb, simply superb.

Amazing what you can do with reality.

Richard wrote:
"I'm amazed that in all this there's nobody asking *why* these people are so pissed off at us."

I'm amazed that three years and countless murders of innocent victims later (Bali, Madrid, Beslan, etc.) someone still wants to blame the victims instead of the perpetrators.

Should the victims of Auschwitz blame themselves for the actions of their Nazi exterminators? The logic is beyond the pale for me to understand.

I have to study the whole thing, which I don't have time for right now.

But what I've read hits nail on head:

We are threatened by homicidal fanatics. We can't solve this one with charm or resolutions or international consensus. We have to kill them.

Bush wants to. Kerry's not sure.

All the rest is commentary.

Stirring as usual, Mr Whittle. And if you believe the mainstream 9/11 story, very logical.

I would not vote for John Kerry for anything but soylent green, though I'd prevent my kids from eating that batch...

I'd love to believe the Mr. Bush is telling the truth about the war on terror, whatever that is. What's a terror? Where can I find it except in the darker recesses of my own heart? We can certainly fight terrorISTS, but how can we fight terror short of a spiritual quest to eliminate it from our own souls?

After the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, photographs of a bunch of Arab guys appeared very quickly in the papers. Where is the proof that they were actually the ones who did it? I can't say I believe all the conspiracy theories that abound about what really happened, but it sure would be nice to see some real proof that the dead guys in the pictures were responsible for the incredible flying that day.

I'd love to believe that George Bush is on our side, but it's hard to do when he signs the U.S.A. T.R.A.I.T.O.R. Act and the Department of Fatherland Sekurity Act and the First Amendment Doesn't Apply to Political Campaigns Act, and when his Secret Service keeps arresting people holding posters that say mean things about him, and when he says in his interview in the latest (October 2004) issue of Field and Stream (p. 108) that he wants to extend the "assault" weapons ban and legislate instant checks on all gun sales (the Democrats call this closing the gun show "loophole"), and when he is likely to sign the newest excretion of the Congress, H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act", about which GOA has strongly warned. You may like this guy, and maybe he's better than Kerry, but he's no friend of mine.

But man you tell a good story, and I really want to believe it.

Superb! Thank you. A little old Lakota lady in South Dakota.

I thought you were a dead link, good thing Glenn posted your story.

Another great read.

Thanks Bill.

Way to go, Bill! You obviously spent your time away very wisely. Thanks, and welcome back!

Allan: anyone attempting to rape my wife I would kill if I could, otherwise, resist as possible. So your assumption about that is not correct. (In any case, your analogy is weak, unless you assume that the rapist that you hypothesize is motivated by revenge, perhaps because I killed one of his kids.)

The rapist you put in prison is not "deterred". He is "prevented". There's a big difference between the two things. Deterrence, which is what both Bill and I are talking about, is something that happens to a free person. What you are talking about works fine on the unfree, but that is not what America faces in the world, unless you are talking about literally imprisoning anyone in the world who might possibly become a terrorist.

But back to deterrence: Saddam was quite deterrable. Iraq did not attack America; that was Al Qaida; the two are different (though I note that Bush and co are pushing hard to make them the same, and many ignorant Americans seem to believe it.) States are, in general, deterrable. What is not deterrable are men, or groups of men, who have nothing we can threaten. That is to say, nothing they truly care about, or, such anonymity that we don't know what to threaten.

As for your assertion that my position is "inconceivable in an intelligent-thinking individual", well, I think that must reflect badly on either your intelligence or your powers of imagination. I can certainly understand your position, and I do not claim that you and others who hold your position are stupid. I just don't agree with it, and I think I can do some good here by offering a contrary position. And no I am not trolling - I believe it.

As for your statements about blame for 9-11: clearly it was the fault of the terrorists. They had free will, and chose to fly those airplanes as they did. This is not controversial. Did America get "what it deserved"? I don't think so, but then I don't really know - I am not God. What does anyone "deserve"? All I am saying is that the murderers had reasons, reasons based in grievances against the USA that they had, and that those grievances were not fantasy. America was hurting many Arab muslims then, and we still are. Now, I believe we would agree that having reasons is a very different thing than having justification. But in either case, if we are rational ourselves we should be able to understand the actions.

Does American malfeasance, let's say for example, killing 100000 Iraqi children, justify Arab muslim malfeasance, say, 9-11? Not in my moral universe, no. In my moral universe, two wrongs do not make a right. Killing those children was wrong, and the blood is on our hands - you, and I, and other Americans as well. Killing the people in the WTC was also wrong, and in that case the blood is on the hands of the murderers - not us. But in my moral universe, killing innocent children in pursuit of statecraft is, quite simply, wrong. It is evil. It is never "worth it", to quote one on your side. Perhaps you can reflect on that while you consider the complexities of 9-11.

Nice work Bill.

Let's add the key differences between Bush and Kerry.

Kerry's Global Test requires absolute, 100%, proof of a massive threat to the United States before he will pull the trigger on military action. This is consistent with his Cold War mindset; when the enemy was the nuclear armed Soviet Union with roughly comparable strategic nuclear capabilities.

Caution and nuance and absolute proof, with a veto by the French (hence Kerry's De Gaulle comment) and/or the United Nations (Kerry wanted the US forces controlled by the UN back in the 70's) might well have been a good idea back then. The Soviet Union wasn't going to sneak in nukes into New York or Chicago and set them off. Not doing anything had advantages then.

Like Emilio Estevez said, "That Was Then, This Is Now."

Bush has set the bar lower to a preponderance of evidence. Hence his comments that Kerry and Edwards saw the same intelligence and voted for the War. Bush (and others in his administration) has said that if they have evidence a nation is a threat to the US they will act.

Bush acted on the intelligence available, which was as it turns out, wrong. Wrong by the CIA, the French, the Russians, Germans, and others. But he did indeed act when given a choice.

Kerry has said he voted for the war so Bush would not act but negotiate further, and go back again to the UN and get an agreement with Saddam. That he will only act if he can "prove to the World" that the action is justified but prefers agreements with existing regimes.

I don't think any President will *ever* have 100% proof simply because intelligence doesn't work that way. So to me Kerry's policy of absolute proof being required for military action means that no meaningful military action will be done.

Just as Clinton refused Sudan's offer of Bin Laden in 1996, or numerous opportunities to kill Bin Laden (but with civilian casualties) afterwards, Kerry seems destined for a policy of avoiding military action and bargaining with existing regimes.

The risk is that Kerry's absolute proof policy will result in nothing being done until *AFTER* a major American city vanishes in a nuclear fireball. Clinton not doing anything led to 9/11. That's a real cost.

The risk with Bush is that he'll act on imperfect intelligence and just be wrong. But he will act.

So your choices are clear ... inaction and avoiding problems like Iraq (but a risk of getting nuked while Kerry demanded absolute proof) or active intervention in places that can pose a threat but also long, drawn out deployments to nasty places around the world.

Dwight: surely I can believe that. That is why I wrote it. I don't know what "public statements by Al Qaida" you are referring to, but frankly I am not that interested. Just as politicians say one thing and do another, so do terrorists. (They are politicians in a way, after all.) If you want to know what countries Al Qaida really cares about, look at who it attacks, not who it talks about attacking.

Again, you go on about "appeasement". You seem to have missed the entire thrust of my post, which was to try to break the boolean thinking that I saw in Bill's post. It is not just "deterrence" vs "appeasement". It is "peace" on the one hand, versus, on the other "war". "War" breaks down to "deterrence" vs "appeasement" (or just outright battle, a third option).

I am for peace. It is neither deterrence nor appeasement.

Now, you say that radical islam cannot live in peace with us. That is a fair point. Perhaps it cannot. However, that remains to be seen, insofar as we have not lived in peace with it. Rather we have been pushing around Muslim nations since after WWII, and they resent it. During that time radical Islam caught on among the people. Coincidence? I think not. I'd also like to point out that America lived in peace wrt Islam until the mid-20th century. How was that possible? Perhaps you might reflect on that.

I'm glad you understand that "virtually any attack on Muslims by non-Muslims enrages the Muslim world. (Whereas wholesale slaughter of Muslims by Muslims often gets a pass.)". I'd say that's a good reason for us to avoid attacking Muslims, other things equal. Wouldn't you? And in fact, that is exactly what I am advocating. Isolationism. Pull back to America; trade with the world if they are also nice, but don't attack them unless they attack us first.

And yes, I am perfectly aware what this means for middle easterners. Namely, that they are all going to be living under despotism for the foreseeable future. That something worth fighting, but fighting it is not the mission of the US government. There's a document that says that the US government is supposed to do: to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". That's all - it's a very limited charter. Nothing in there about imposing democracy on the rest of the world. I'd hope that we'd agree on what the USA is supposed to do.

Welcome to the world of the living - and at a most opportune time!

We reformed liberals allow a greater degree of intellectual diversity than the Kerry camp (to choose but one example). I believe that Osama bin Laden is presumably alive until we have proof that he's a grease spot on a cave in that no-man's land along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it's refreshing to see one of us write so eloquently about the thoughts of our minds and the feelings of our hearts.

The Biased News Network may deny this, but the bullies in the War on Terror are as excited as sharks smelling blood in the water over the prospect of a Kerry presidency. If he's elected, he'll make us long for the good old days of Jimmy Carter (/gag reflex). Not only will his government be weak and indecisive, but we can expect his appointees to be more mediocre and corrupt than Clinton's. You have been forewarned.


You must not have gotten the leftist memo on the whole "America killed 1 million Iraqi kids via sanctions" meme.

That's hush now, because of the whole UN/Euro involvement in the oil for food scandal.

Make sure you're working from the up to date memesheet, OK?

Bless you, Bill. Copies to all, as fast as I can get them out.

Excellent essay that I wish I had written. I disagree on only one point. We should make clear to the entire realm of Islam that, with the next attack on American soil, the sacred city of Medina turns to dust, and any attempt to avenge that will reduce Mecca to dust. It thereby becomes religiously incumbent on Muslims to protect these shrines by hobbling the terrorists among them. Let them decide the value of these central sites of their faith, a pilgrimage to which is incumbent on every able-bodied Muslim. Would I feel any remorse? Perhaps when I was younger, but not now.

Thank you for that. I appreciate how thorough you are. I hope that many for all walk will read this and make the right decision this November.

Thanks again,

Leonard says: "I am for peace."

In a sense everyone is. It's just a matter of how you define it. The Islamic Fanatics are for peace. Peace through conquering the rest of the world.

Hmmm... For Peace. Perhaps we should have persuaded Russia and England to submit to Hitler. Then we would have had peace. No, wait. We would have had to submit to Japan. Theeeeen we would have had peace. Is this what you're implying? Absolutely incredible!

You have peace when one side wins. Period. This is not a utopia where people just get along. There are bad people in this world or does that just escape you?



Unfortunately, many, if not most die-hard Kerry supporters don't have the patience or intellect to read and process such a lengthy essay, even one as coherent and readable as this one. The left seems to be influenced only by cheap incindiary slogans (the louder and more hysterical, the better), film images, protest placards, rumors, and the perception of what is "hip" in Hollywood.


How was the status of your domestic tranquility on September 12th, 2001?

How to you propose to achieve Peace? In this day and age, against these enemies, you'd have to give up something to ensure it, in effect buying your enemies of so they "promise" to no longer attack you, in otherwords: appeasement.

Sure, any attack by Non Muslims on Muslims enrages the muslim world. Likewise, those voices are equally as silent when we help the muslim world, consider Saudia Arabia in 1991, Bosnia in the mid 1990's.
Heck, IIRC one of Al Qaeda's early "complaints" about the US was that we had stationed troops in the holy Land (Saudia Arabia), while forgetting we were there because the madman to the north of them had more tanks and troops than they did, and we were invited to be there. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Something along the lines of "we'll stop supporting Israel if you stop attacking us."
If thats not appeasement, what is it, besides letting a friend and ally hand out to dry?

To deter something is to prevent or discourage the occurance of an action. So exactly how is not locking up a murderer not deterring him? How is killing a bomb maker not deterring him?

In regards to leaving with peace with Islam until the mid 20th Century...you nead to read your history, or at least read those books not approved by the local school board.
Shores of Tripoli, Barbary Coast, any of that ringing a bell?
Hey, how about 1948, when Israel was created, and we supported them? Coincedence that the Muslims started hating us?

As for your Isolationism bit, heres what I want you to do. Explore your house. Look in the fridge. Check out your electronics, stuff like that. Then do a little research, and find out how many of those products:

A. Are made or grown or manufactured somewhere else other than the US.
B. How many of those products are not owned by US companies.

Explain to me/us how isolating ourselves from some of those manufacturers would be a good thing, and how the economics of America would be better if we were isolated.

And,if you would, please tell me why your idea and policy of Isolationism would work this time.

I know if a time when America was isolated. We were nice to the world, but when a country stopped being nice, we started being "mean" to them. We thought Japans treatment of China was bad, and wanted to "improve things." SO instead of playing nice with Japan, we played "Not Nice" and cut off their oil in order to bring them to the bargaining table, surely a fair and equitable move?
All we got was Pearl Harbor and a couple hundred Thousand Dead and a lot more wounded over the next 4 years. They got a Million or so dead and two A-Bombs. Isolationism really work, doesn't it?

It looks to me as if your saying that if I was talking about doing harm to you, and saying it everywhere, to your friends, my friends, in the news, and one day I was approaching you with a gun pointed at your head, you wouldn't pull your own gun until I fired at you. Why is that effective?


Bravo Bill!

Thank you, once again.

I rack my brains wondering what it would take to break the spell of leftist wish/assumption/philosophy/dogma that funnels all thought away from reality. It's truly horrifying. I'm glad you're on our side Bill.


Leonard said:

Saddam was quite deterrable. Iraq did not attack America; that was Al Qaida; the two are different (though I note that Bush and co are pushing hard to make them the same, and many ignorant Americans seem to believe it.)

I disagree, my friend. Kerry and co are pushing hard to get ignorant Americans to believe that Bush and Co said Iraq was linked to 9-11. Don't believe me? Then ask yourself one question. No tricks, no traps, just put yourself in full Spock mode and engage in a cold, hard act of pure logic:

Given the fact that Saddam was a major sponsor of terrorism around the world (according to a State Department assessment...from 1999), not the least of which was sending $25,000 to the families of Paleswinian suicide bombers (AKA Not-so-Smart Bombs) and taking potshots at US and UK No-Fly-Zone patrol planes (which, as has been pointed out elsewhere, is an overt act of war).... is it possible...is it JUST POSSIBLE...that he allowed Al-Queada to operate within Iraq?

AQ was operating in many countries before 9-11. In the debates, Kerry and Prettyboy said that they are "now" in 60 countries. They were in many if not all of those countries on 9-10. Hell, one of the rotten bastards was caught not far from where I live, taking flying lessons. (Z. Moussaui.) Here's another question, remarkably like the first: If AQ was operating in Minnesota, if they were operating in Florida, is it POSSIBLE that they were operating in Iraq?

I don't mean overt collaboration, the kind where Saddam struts around one of his palaces wearing a t-shirt that says "Osama is my Homeboy", I'm talking about the wink-wink nudge-nudge don't ask, don't tell kind of operation.

Finally (you made some good points in your posts and I'd like to respond to more of them but it's late and I have to work in the morning), let's be blunt. NO ONE in the administration has said that Saddam was behind 9-11. Never. Not once. If we had one scintilla of evidence that could prove even the most tenuous of links, it would have been sung from the mountaintops. And although the thought of hearing Bush or Cheney singing anything makes me want to jab icepicks in my ears to prevent hearing such a horror, any such evidence would have been waved around in the UN Security Council in November of 2002, a la Joe McCarthy's infamous "list".

(And as a parting shot, totally off the subject thread, History has proven that McCarthy was right, his downfall came from his gleeful desire to use a chainsaw instead of a laser scalpal.)

(Yeah, I know, they didn't exist in 1949. It's a metaphor.)


Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you Mr. Whittle. I will send this link to all my left wing friends who do not understand why I became a neocon to explain why I will proudly vote for Bush.

Thank you. js

You put all my fellings and views into words, Very well done! Thank You !

Mr. Whittle,
If I were the non-lefty Soros, I would buy billboards in every city in every swing state that said,
"Eject, Eject, Eject!"
Heck, just a few here and there would create their own self-sustaining buzz on the street.

Or better yet, Friday night W could come out and lay it all on the line with the American people: "My fellow countrymen, you know what I believe as determined by my course of action these last three and a half years. I'm sure many of you know what it's like to have a thought that is so clear in your mind, yet becomes lost, diluted, or simply muttered on the short trip to vocalization. And though I feel my convictions deep to my soul, unfortunately, I too am often unable to articulate them, It is critical that you know precisely how I feel, even if through a surrogate.
From the earliest day's of our nation's history, individuals with the gift to make the rhetorical case fighting for and preserving our freedoms have performed heroically on the battlefield of public opinion and national sentiment. Such a person exists today and he has managed to convey with total clarity not only my thoughts, beliefs, and emotions, but that of many Americans. With my apology to the good people of St. Louis, I wish to return here next week, where those who are present will have had time to read this work, and we can discuss it in detail."

Like you said Bill, this is too close and it's too important
to have losing as an option. Thanks.

Outstanding. Simply outstanding. I'm sending this to as many people as I have e-mail addresses for.

This is a brilliantly commonsensical essay. I have been struggling over whom to vote for. (It's not for nothing that my blog is called AmbivaBlog.) My problem with Bush is that I'm afraid he is an inadequate front for the bold policies he's representing. That speech that won your heart when you were really scalded scared -- it was written by a speechwriter, you know. You talk about wishful thinking -- I think people have wished a strong leader into being where there isn't one, out of fear. That's why there's cognitive dissonance when Bush appears and speaks his own mind in his own voice.

Nonetheless, you have just about convinced me to vote for the policies he represents. I agree with you that Bin Laden is probably dead by now (possibly of natural causes), and al-Zawahri sounded a little desperate in his last tape. We haven't had another terrorist attack, and we know they WANT to. (I wrote on my blog about being awakened by an explosion that I was completely sure was it, before my eyes were open. It turned out to be a dregs-of-Ivan thunderclap.) That means we have them on the run, and talk about alliances, they don't get more important than Pervez Musharraf.

One niggly point of fact, though: Re your assertion that Bin Laden was not heard from after the US invasion of Iraq, this is from the Fox News website:

Bin Laden Tape Blasts U.S., Saddam, Palestinians
Monday, January 05, 2004

CAIRO, Egypt — The voice on an audiotape calling for Muslims to keep fighting a holy war in the Middle East is likely that of Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden, intelligence officials told Fox News.

The voice on the tape, broadcast Sunday on the Al-Jazeera satellite channel, said the U.S.-led war in Iraq was the beginning of the "occupation" of Gulf states for their oil.

The voice referred to recent events -- including the Dec. 13 capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (search) and peace initiatives between Israel and the Palestinians. The voice refers to Saddam as "a comrade in treason and agentry to the United States."

The speaker urged Muslims to "continue the jihad [holy war] to check the conspiracies that are hatched against the Islamic nation."

Intelligence officials believe the voice is in fact that of the elusive bin Laden because of the mention of events since the capture of the deposed Iraqi president and they think the tape was made within the past couple of weeks.

Mr Phantom Spammer (Q/Mother), that's a particularly rude way to try to get your point across. Next time, please consider the following before inundating a comments board:

1) Make sure your comment is directly related to the original post, or at least to something else on the comment thread.
2) Put your post into a single comment rather than thirty.
3) Provide a name, email address, or at least a web address.

Otherwise, you're liable to be labelled as a cowardly, vacuous, inconsiderate troll. And the label would probably be correct.

That is all.

If Bush wins this election, I will have envisioned thoughts like this resonating through voting booths across our land.

If Kerry wins this election, I will have only thoughts like this only as my solace-somewhere someone else was able to beautifully articulate what I cannot for all of those who on October 6, 2004 crystalized what this election was about.

I will then move to the mid-west-Kansas, Colorado, anywhere. I live near downtown Los Angeles now with my husband and 15 month old son. I don't want to be near the next testing ground for Kerry's "lack o' premptive attack and global test" policy.

Alec Baldwin said he would move, I mean it.

It just isn't going to be worth it to me to risk the global test...

I e-mailed this to all I know. Even Bush haters. It is revolutionary and sadly enough, it is true.

John Kerry and every other defeatist loser line:
1. Americans cannot walk and chew gum at the same time, or fight a major war in Iraq and much smaller action in Afg.
Reality---Note to Iran or Korea: we've just admitted we
are at the operational limit, so please behave as we lack
the resources to deal with you too.
2. We would succeed if only we had the Belgians, French, and every other "power" behind us.
Reality 1---They will never fight because it will expose
the charade that they actually lack the equipment,
training, and capability to do so.
Reality 2---They only ever cared about their own
interests, appeasing their own Muslim populations and
the continuance of oil for food scam, not our interests.
3. "We outsourced UBL in Tora Bora..."
Reality---For a young man who had so many searing
memories, you'd think the one lesson he would have
taken from Vietnam is that POLITICIANS in Washington
should not micromanage military operations. Will he,
as Commander, plan operational details and determine
extent we rely on foreign troop involvement.
4. "more troops died in August than died in July...It's a
mess and their living in fantasy land"
Reality---This battle cannot possibly, in any way shape
or form, result in an American defeat unless those who
would be President shape the argument thusly: Car Bomb
+ Beheadings = more of the same, they don't have a
plan, things are getting worse, they'll never be able to
hold elections in that environment=WE FAILED.
ANYONE CAN SEE THAT KERRY/EDWARDS INVITE, ENCOURAGE, AND GIVE A FORUM TO THOSE WHO PERPETUATE THIS VIOLENCE. Therein, in classic Tet sytle, lies their only hope to victory. In which case, the two Johns have American and Iraqi blood on their hands.

Move over, Ralph Peters and Mark Steyn

This is added to MY "required reading list" to make OML for my "kids"--it Joins Black Hawk Down, The War In 2020, and the movie Gardens of Stone.
A hearty and humble, THANK YOU

(Now to prepare for the inevitable "lectures" about the "Hatch" act....there ain't many in my immediate neighborhood, but, then, it only takes one....)
Choose...domesticate or Eradicate...do so wisely, but swiftly


"We" pushed around the Muslims? If by "we" you mean the U.S., I couldn't disagree more. Rather, I say that no non-muslim country in the history of the world has done more in favor of muslim people and shown more tolerance for Islam than the U.S. The only thing "we" haven't done is convert to Islam. If, on the other hand, you mean caucasians, you have a point, U.K., France, and Germany being the most aggregious. However, it fails to take into account from whence the aggression originated. Muslim hordes had been rampaging Europe long before the Crusades began to turn the tide. A little historical context please.

Where exactly are you getting your figure of 100000 Iraqi children dead at American hands? Please, PLEASE, don't let it be the number of kids who reportedly died due to Sanctions. Not those sanctions... not those U.N. sanctions... you know... the ones where billions were syphoned off to buy new French and Russian missiles, and to build palaces.

Could you possibly link the quote for me where Bush or one of his administration asserted that Saddam = Al Qaida. Bush made quite clear that this war was not on Al Qaida alone. It was on them, and other terrorist groups, and any country that aided them. Please don't tell me you somehow believe Saddam wasn't providing support for terrorists. You can't really believe that Abu Nidal's retirement in Baghdad, and 25 thousand dollar checks to terrorist families, and that Ansar al-Islam's base just north of Baghdad (to name just a very few connections) were somehow going on without Saddam's approval? Can you?

You say you are "for peace", and at the same time you declare the U.S. should engage in isolationism. Please explain in your perfect world how this would be possible. How indeed, were we to deter Saddam, if we were engaged in Isolationism? Assuming that your figure of 100000 kids dead by American hands weren't a lie, can you possibly take that example and imagine that some 3rd world countries could decide to blame us and attack America and her interests after we allow genocides and mass starvations killing millions to occur when we had the power to make things better? What are we to do if a muslim uprising occurs in France, and suddenly we have an ICBM armed muslim country threatening us and our allies?

The die is cast Leonard. Isolationism is morally and practically impossible. That path was only available to a world in which the Rosenbergs never got in bed with the KGB and the French learned a little humility and compassion. That path now leads to death and destruction on a scale the world has never seen, all laid directly at our feet. The wolves will come to our fences, and we will have to kill them to keep them out. Providing for the common defence requires full engagement with the world outside our borders, so the wolves never have a reason to come sniffing around the unavoidable holes in our fences.

Wonderful - too bad this isn't required reading for every voter!

Splendid writing. Wonderful. Thanks.

My father went to WWII in a submarine. The day the Western Union bicycle messenger came to our house with That Telegram I was hiding in the boxwoods by the front steps. My mother began screaming before the messenger got to the front door. I shivered under the bushes for hours. It was a Very Bad Day.

Here's the deal. Germany did not attack America's soil. But it was deadly earnest work we had to do, defeating the Axis. We undertook the policy of deterence by fighting them Over There rather than Over Here. I rather doubt all that many here remember just how loud the voices were raised in America before during and after WWII about the numbers of dead and how awful everything was and how the goivernment was lying to us and our failure was just around every corner. That was when we faced an enemy beyond the pale. W face an equal enemy now and apparently those lessons are utterly forgotten. Saddam is not worth the life of even one American GI, but here's the kick in the seat of the pants....our Republic is. Your freedom is worth my life if that's what it takes. I'm damned sorry any blood is spilt to defend The Light but to ignore the military lessons of 5,000 years of Mankind's struggle to hang on to some semblance of freedom and safety and rational living is to damn all generations past and future.

Our Nation again has to be defended and the price is monstrous. But I praise the men and women who Volunteer and Train and Serve and sometimes die and sometimes are wounded terribly, irrevocably for their love of Country but more than this, who love what we're supposed to be more than others fear for them. These volunteers? Their love is more powerful than the fears that follow them.

We want peace. Who doesn't? It's pretty clear now who doesn't. To entertain delusions that our enemies simply seek peace is to wallow in a mindset that is catastrophically dangerous to everyone on the planet. We do what we do because th world is full to the brim with Bad Men who don't care what it takes to get their way. There is no answer to that madness but to find them and kill them. No other course is possible.

I grieve for the Mothers who've lost their most precious gift. But I grieve more for Mothers who cannot rise to the occasion and honor their Fallen as we honor them. By holding fast and firm to the core truths of America even in the face loss so greivous.

Amen, and amen. I'll be sending this along to family and friends. Welcome back.

Not only did I read DETERRENCE from beginning to end but also most of the 160 Comments. It is heartening that there are still people out there who manage to think --even though some (like nicolas) are about as wrong in their thinking as can be. Never mind -- your essay, Bill, is just brilliant and I am doing all I can to alert everyone I know, whatever their political affiliations/leanings etc. are to read it before they go to the polls November 2nd; I never thought I'd see my often jumbled and incoherent ideas expressed with such clarity, logic, and historical perspective -- thank you, thank you!


I would like to believe that "Mother" and "Q" are actually two real persons who just happened to start up a conversation here, but don't know each other in the world outside this comment stream.

I would love to believe that Casey is a real person, a real patriot soldier who was lured into the army by some cynical recruiter who mis-lead Casey with lies, saying that joining the army is as safe as, oh, going on a camp-out with the boy scouts.

But I can't help noticing that each post by "Mother" is followed instantly by a logically worded and absolutely targeted post by "Q" which is a phenomenon that is almost impossible for two uncoordinated people posting and reading each other's posts, along with all the others.

In addition, neither "Mother" nor "Q" are linked to any external e-mail. I could understand if "Mother" were possibly unwilling to link, but it's an un-likely coincidence for both of them, considering again their un-canny side by side posting.

Finally, I have seen exchanges similar to theirs on other sites, and I challenge "Mother" and "Q" to actually Identify Casey by last name and his army unit, and the specifics of his assignment so we can see that this is not just some sickening and disgusting ploy to somehow make people feel horribly guilty about the war, as though the terrorists had nothing to do with it.

I grew up as a Navy Brat, and I have seen families suffer peacetime and combat losses of people they love dearly. I have great sympathy for them, as much as I have great sympathy for the people murdered by terrorists. I have lost personal friends to terrorsts, as well, Navy Captain George Tsantes, murdered by greek terrorists on an Athens street in 1982. I make my challenge to "Mother" and "Q" with a clear conscience:

Either show the information proving your postings are genuine real-time conversations about a real person, that we can independently verify, or please cease to interrupt a civilized exchange with sickening and perverted lies.

David March
Virginia Beach, VA

I see that "Mother" and "Q" exchange later includes a link to Real Voices. Evidently it's another 527 group. I'm sure they are very sincere, and I'm sure they have located some actual families who are devastated by the loss of loved ones serving in the U.S. military.

As much as I may feel sympathy for their loss, I can't accept the reasoning that George Bush wasted the life of a single soldier.

And I utterly despise the grotesque perversion of using a robotic pseudo-conversation all carefully scripted and posted automatically so as to appear to be a conversation with a grieving mother.

Does anyone have any suggestions about a proper protest for this technique?

Here's their opening.

View our powerful TV spot, "A Mother's Tears".

About Real Voices

If you had a minute to say anything you wanted to George W. Bush in front of thousands of American voters, what would you say? Chastise him for his reckless military adventure in Iraq? Scold him for domestic policies that hurt average Americans while enriching the few? Or just urge him to be honest with the American people for a change?

a site which, if you are willing to subscribe to SALON, allows you to view "excruciating new TV ads, [in which] family members of soldiers killed in Iraq speak out about the horrible waste of their loved ones' lives."

The link seems t

Just a word to the wise: Read the Mother/Q posts and you see they are nothing more than a regurgitation of the DNC talking points.

What a crock of shit! This kind of robospam turns up at sites all over. It's just some advertising puke's juvenile fraudulent strumming on reader's emotional response.

Well, what else would you expect from lowlifes that use amateur forgeries to try to smear the President?

can i still wear my tie-dye if i decide to vote republican?

I will send this essay to many friends. I can only hope that they will read it!

And Leonard, learn a little history. The Arab nations were on the Nazi side in WWII. In fact, they also chose the German side in WWI. That means they were our enemies in those wars, also. Do you think they did all of that because the US was so terribly mean to them way back then?

Your rational little world doesn't exist, more's the pity. I only wish it were possible to get them to ignore us by ignoring them. I'd be only too happy to do so.

by the way, great essay. it really changed my mind on this election. i live in California, and have always voted Demo, and now i'm thinking about switching over to 'Pub, but i have a lot of tie-dye, and like to wear it because i like the colors. is there such a thing as a Republican that wears tie-dye? hate to give it up just to change political affiliations.


I live in LA. In the groovy new Republican scene, you can tie-dye, you can Basic Black, you can Retro Grunge, you can Old Navy and you can just hang in your baggies. This is not your Dad's Republican party any more.

The real question is, are you willing to be seen in the company of people doing the plaid-on-plaid scene? Huh? Got that kind of GUTS, boyo?

Come on in, buddy. The water's warm, and there is the extra benefit of pissing off someone's (hippie) parents.

"It would be nice to live in a world that behaved like a Hollywood party or a university campus, filled with kind, educated people with lots to lose, who cherish reason and responsibility"

I can't speak for Hollywood parties, but it's clear you haven't spent much time on university campuses in the last ten years or so. :)

But still...great essay. One of your best.

Watch out, Bill, You're today's 'Blogtruth' link on Lucianne.com.

What would that be? An L-valanch?

I e-mailed Lucianne last night about your post.

N. O'Brain
Imperial Minister for Useless Information

as a Bulgarian who lives in Germany I can only say AWESOME!!!
I really pray that G.W.Bush wins with a landslide on Nov. 2, so that old Europe will grasp what is at stake in this war.
I will forward links and hard copies as fast as I can.

BTW, Bulgaria is with 450 soldiers in Iraq and I am really proud of it!


Why go to the trouble of rambling on for 10 pages or so when a couple of lines would have sufficed? Muslims are terrorists, annihilate the cornerstone of their faith, hey presto, problem solved, because the rest will become subservient. Genius.

I dont know what I find more nauseating, your politics or your prose. Shoddy beliefs packaged in poor English.

Wow, this is the best blog I've read in a while. I'm sending links and printing out copies pronto!

Great post.

I'm terrified of Iran, and then terrorists, with nukes. See:

I've upped my probability of Iran getting nukes in 4 years: Under Kerry, 50%; under Bush, 10%.

(Yeah, a big chance Iran will successfully lie even to Bush. NO chance they'll stop for Kerry.)

Good article, on the whole. As far as the targets of deterrence strategies go, you might like to look at my article "The structure of terrorist movements"

A wonderful piece.

Quick rant on this Democratic track record...

Shouted abusive names at an Iraq purple heart winner in Wash. State.

Beat a US soldier home on leave at a concert.

1000+ arrested at the RNC vs. what? 4 at the DNC?

Shots fired into the GOP office in Knoxville.

Storming the GOP office in Orlando, injuring 2.

Storming the GOP office in Miami.

Storming the GOP office in Milwaukee.

It goes on and on. Note to the Libs. At this point I don't care what Bush may have lied about. I don't care if he really went AWOL. I don't care about Halliburton. I will never, never, put myself on the same side as you violent A-holes. There is nobody more violent than the Liberals. And your "leaders" do not come out and separate your party from these acts by condemning them. These criminals represent you, and you let them. It is not difficult to portray your party as the party that is soft on terror. You advocate terror. You participate in it. Not in the more well rounded, mature style of terror that your mentors in Al Qaida do, YET, but terror none the less.

I refuse to be on your side, even if it were right, because your methods are perverse and disgusting. I don't want friends like you. I am a better person for not being like you.

James if you want to read the simple shit come to my blog.


If you want the same shit and outstanding entertainment i.e. a good read. Come here.

What an astute analysis of the situation - couldn't agree with you more about Kerry.

I especially agree with the comments about the intelligence - with every major intelligence agency reporting he did indeed have WMDs, how could our president not have acted? Had he not acted and Sadam really had the weapons and used them on the US or passed them to terrorists, we would be going through an impeachment or worse right now. Given the decision that our president had to make, I believe he made the right one.

Bill, you're back. And in fine, fine form. I hadn't checked on you in awhile -- thanks to Lucianne (the Pajamahedeen's Mother Superior) for directing traffic your way today.

I agree with everything you wrote. In a couple places you touched on something most deserving of attention. I suppose a one-word description might be "DISCRETION" or "PRUDENCE."

In short, the concept of keeping one's mouth shut, for reasons of both security and stability. There are so many things about this war which cannot be discussed openly in front of microphones. One reason is because there only seem to be grown ups on one side of the conversation.

I think President Bush is relying on you, me, and pajama citizens everywhere to educate ourselves, draw our own conclusions, recognize unspoken truths and consequences, and remain committed through this "slug-fest" as you call it... for as long as it takes. That's our job.

And to that end, your essays provide a marvelous contribution to the national conversation among thinking citizens. You can say things our president & military commanders cannot. And you do so beautifully and powerfully. Thank you.

"All the pain and suffering we've inflicted on the rest of the world (usually through inaction, by trumpeting the value of democracy while supporting dictators and other murderous thugs so we can get whatever natural resources or cheap labor we need) is being repaid."

Wait a minute. You're telling me that the 9/11 hijackers were driven to murderous rage by our inaction? Doesn't that imply that, if we hadn't gone into Iraq, that Iraqi citizens might similarly have been driven to a murderous rage by our failure to rescue them? How does this work anyway - who gets driven into a murderous rage by the United States leaving well enough alone and not overthrowing dictators?

It boggles the mind.

A small quibble - I'm not so sure we saved the world in 1917. The Kaiser's eventual successor after we helped knock him off the throne made the Kaiser look like the second coming of Thomas Jefferson. I could easily see the Kaiser becoming a valuable counter or even co-belligerant against the Soviet Union before it developed nukes, saving billions of people enormous suffering. But I admit we'll never know for sure, and it sure seemed like a good idea at the time....

Anyway, it would have been better still if we could have occupied and fixed Germany in 1918 rather than waiting until 1945. But we didn't have the resources to do that back then. We do now, and it's safer for us in the long run if we use those resources and do the job right.

As the Brits would say, absolutely brilliant. And the one point I had never considered was about the women. I suddenly feel empowered myself. First time reader, hooked forever.

Anyone who has known me for very long also knows that I was a Liberal Democrat for many years. I wanted to live in a world where people looked after one-another and trusted each other to be kind and caring and did this just because they are kind and caring themselves. Of course, I have grown up in the past few years and events since 9-11 have hastened this maturation. Some of the changes in my world-view came about after carefully considering the facts and changing my beliefs accordingly. The basis for other changes in my beliefs were not as easy to discern; in fact they were probably based more on "gut feeling" rather than reasoned incite.

The net result is that I am voting for President Bush this fall after having voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since 1980. And its not that I am a Democrat who is crossing party lines. I am now a Republican. I believe in more of the ideals that define this political party than any other. It is the right political party for me.

Oh, and the "gut feeling" I spoke of a moment ago...
"Deterrence" expertly explains that which I could not communicate. I have not become a Republican because I do not care about others, the United States and the world. I became a Republican because I do care.

"...we have been pushing around Muslim nations since after WWII"

Curse those 'Merkans for buying oil!!!!!!!

Curse those 'Murkins for saving Kuwait and Saudi Arabia!!!!

Curse those 'Murkins for giving $2 Billion (that's with a B) in aid to Egypt every year!!!!

Curse those 'Murkins for freeing 50 million people from bloodthirsty tyrants!!!!!

Curse those 'Murkins for thier freedom!!!!

One of the best written expositions on how this is really WW IV and the Churchill-esque thinking of one George W Bush compared to the Neville F Kerry.

I know I have about 50 people to send this to, and copies to print out and stuff in mailboxes. Absolutely perfect for understanding exactly what is at stake in this election beyond what affects each of our personal lives.

Curse thoese 'Murkins for dragging the Islamic world kicking and scraming out of the 7th century!!!!!!!

Zarqawi an Iraqi "insurgent?" Or is he another Al-Qaeda terrorist? He's still in Iraq, last I looked. But, of course, there is/was no connection between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. He wouldn't be there if we hadn't invaded Iraq? He was there BEFORE we invaded Iraq. And how about the reward money to the Palestinian suicide bombers? No connection, of course. The Islamic terrorists don't only want to kill us (Americans). Otherwise that 63 year old Malaysian man wouldn't have been beheaded while he was checking his rubber tree. That group of Hindus wouldn't have been blown up on that train in India. Those Spanish folks would still be going to work. Turks (muslims, by the way) wouldn't have been blown to smithereens in an attempt to obliterate a Synagogue. If you think we're the only targets in this war, you're way off base...you're in the bleachers.
Self-hatred is the biggest motivator in this war. Name the last Islamic Nobel Prize winner in the sciences. Where do the universities in the Islamic world rank with those of the rest of the world? How many patents come out of the Islamic world? Fewer than 400 industrial patents were issued to people in Arab countries during the last two decades of the 20th century, while 15,000 industrial patents were issued to South Koreans alone.
Self loathing transferrence. "It's everybody's fault (especially the infidel Americans) but mine..and I'll blow myself up to prove it."

"And in fact, that is exactly what I am advocating. Isolationism. Pull back to America; trade with the world if they are also nice, but don't attack them unless they attack us first."

apparently you have never read a history book. we've tried isolationism before. millions died while we kept our eyes downcast.

above comment from the always forgetful me. *checks 'remember info' for next time*

"A small quibble - I'm not so sure we saved the world in 1917. "

Ken, I agree. But we did hasten the victory by applying our capability to "out-industrialize" to the problem. Cut off Germany's incoming supplies with a blockade, and provide manpower and munitions at a rate the Germans could not possibly keep up with. That was our contribution to WW I.

Sadly, the victorious powers in Europe and a myopic American government put completely unrealistic and unattainable penalties on an already broken and defeated people as terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The political actions from 1918-1921 by the French were basically an iron clad guarantee for WW II, and their overly punitive stance towards Germany made the soil all too fertile for the message of the National Socialists in Germany.

Ironically, the world learns less and less from history with each passing day, as evidenced by the current global war with Islamofascism.

Mr. Whittle,

As a long-time reader and a most infrequent poster, I'd like to add my thanks and applause for your wonderful essays. This newest addition is both heartening and sad at the same time. Sad because it makes me weary to the very marrow of my bones to realize just how many people simply don't GET IT.

I too am an armchair quarterback in this War, but I will say that I am proud, beyond my ability to put into words, of my husband, a US Marine, who spent the majority of last year in Afghanistan, and is currently spending the next 12 months, at least, in Iraq. And of my brother, a US Army soldier who spent 15 months in the "Wild Wild West" (the soldiers' term) of Baghdad.

They get it. They've been there. They have spent time with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. They will look you in the eyes and state that what we did, are doing, is the RIGHT THING.

Thank you sincerely for your support.

If you don't mind terribly, I have a question for you, sir. I've often wondered, moreso after today's read, if you ever forward a copy of your essays to these men about whom you write?

I think Prime Minister Blair should have a copy of this latest. I think it would do him good to know that there is support for him on this side of the Atlantic; perhaps much more than he is aware. I think this is an excellently posed expression of support that President Bush should read. And honestly, I'd love to hear of a reaction from Senator Kerry on your thoughts.

Camp Lejeune, NC

Americans don't read, especially articles the length of "Deterrence". Americans are media-led, and the media is pro-Kerry. Bush is a disaster when he tries to speak spontaneously. Cosmetically, Kerry is the winner. No swing voter's mind will be changed in favor of Bush as a result of the debates, let alone a voter already comitted to Kerry. By the way, I'm with you. Thanks for not having given up in despair.

Great stuff!!! Make this man the POTUS speech writer.

Right now our country needs security and strong leadership. A change now would most definitely tell the world we are changing course in the middle of a very significant time in history. I doubt we would have the support from other countries with a leader that can not make up his mind from one day to the next and changes everytime it's popular to do so. It would put us in a weakened position. Get out and Vote but Vote for the stronger leader, the leader that knows what he is doing and where he is going. A leader that stays the course and can make decisions that protect our country and ultimately bring about changes for the better. Vote for our President, a strong, honest man with commitment and conviction. He is our leader and our Commander in Chief and he will support our troops and see us through this change in the Middle East that is necessary and inevitiable for world peace and democracy. The people in the Middle East want to be free and to be able to raise their children with good strong values, not murderers or marters.
We don't need a change right now we need stability and security. Our country is doing well right now, yes it could be better but a change now would send the wrong message to the rest of the world. By the way I also want to say that some of the Hollywood Actors have a different view on this and that's okay but it isn't okay for them to act as if they are experts and really know what they saying because they don't know any more then your or me, they just have the attention of the audience because of who they are,not what they know, however they take advantage of this in a very detrimental way. I suggest you listen to those that know more not Actors that Act like they know and can lead you in the wrong direction because of their emotional liberal attitudes. No one wants war but sometimes it is necessary to protect others and help to bring about change for the betterment of people and the majority the people in the Middle East want peace and democracy. It is just the few that are resisting and these are murderers and marters that dont' want change. They want to control and keep things the same so they can control, not for the welfare of the people. So when you vote remember the world does depend on us, no we are not perfect and we don't have all of the answers but we do know how to help others bring about change to help make a better and safer place for their children to grow up. Yes it is important for us to respect other ways of life but the people in other countries while they have their own beliefs and way of life also want a safer more peaceful place to live and to be able to raise their children and give them a good education without fear. Think about it before you vote. Who can promise this and help to make this come about? Certainly not Senator Kerry, he's just too much all over the place and doesn't appear to have any Plan at all, it's just whatever happens, like when the wind changes course. So Vote for the only man we have to get the job done and done well. Vote for our President, President George W. Bush. Thank you.
S Remmen 10/07/04

How 'bout this: "After bin Laden declared war against the U.S. in 1998, two al Qaeda operatives went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. Later, a delegation of Iraqi officials traveled to Afghanistan and offered to set bin Laden up."

And this?: "During heated discussions with other Clinton administration policy-makers about the effect of launching missile strikes on bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan, then NSC Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard Clarke worried that bin Laden would "'boogie to Baghdad'"
From Debra Burlingame's WSJ op-ed. More here: http://911familiesforamerica.org/


"Why go to the trouble of rambling on for 10 pages or so when a couple of lines would have sufficed?"

Brother, why go to the trouble of writing a couple of lines or so when a simple "Bush lied, people died" would suffice?

Bill writes so much in order to set up an argument and allow his readers to understand how he has come to his conclusion. It's a complex world out there beyond America's borders, and even though Bush's strategy could be distilled to a crude "All muthafuckers must die", the thought process leading to such a black and white plan of action is anything but simple for those of us interested in the moral use of force.

The fact that you so spectacularly haven't understood the argument or the conclusion speaks volumes about you.

But in deference to your sensibilities, rather than write those volumes I'll just keep it short:

Get a clue.

Yowee-zowee! Just met you for the first time, Bill, via the link from Lucianne.com and now I'm lloking forward with delight to reading your other articles. Can't get enough of such meaty stuff, especially out here in Calee-fornee-yah, deep in the heart of liberal country (UC Berkeley is only 17 miles away; it's like being dropped behind enemy lines). And when I get home tonight the "W '04" sticker that's been gathering dust on the desk is getting slapped onto my car. You shame me that I wasn't willing to run the risk of getting my car keyed when there's so much at stake. And yes, you CAN love tie-dye and still be a registered Repub (maybe because I'm also a native-born Californio?) -- I'm just too old to wear it now!


I'm your basic Hippie Parent. I'm OK with Bush.

But that Alan Keyes is a lunatic.

It is Obama for me. He has actually been somewhat of a voice of reason re: the War, lately.

Isn't today October 7th?


I don't know you but I feel like I do. Your piece was absolutely wonderful and truthful. I pray it reaches a lot of people. May God Bless you.

I read all of the comments too and have a few things to say to Leonard and others:
Leonard, do you honestly think that if we leave these people alone they will leave us alone? Do you not understand that these people hate us and everyone in the world like us? By us I mean free people. Do you not get that their separatist muslim state means a state with no one in it but them? Do you not get that means all others should be dead? Do you not get that no matter where they decide to settle that is where that separatist state should be? Do you not get that when fighting what they conceive as their enemy that they make no difference as to whether they kill children or soldiers? If you really think that we deserved to be attacked, you have the freedom (here not there) to move to where they are. I'm sure they will welcome you with open arms. BTW didn't Spain appease the terrorists and weren't they bombed anyway? So much for appeasement.

Shiloh, well spoken...blaming the victims of the attack is like saying "she deserved to be raped because she was wearing a short skirt"...

Krakatoa, we have done more for Muslims and for needy people everywhere in this world than any other country EVER. We boost their economies and try to help their poor and we should feel guilty?Why should we feel guilty about being American? We should be proud as hell!

Aiden, you're right...when our enemy attacks us we should be able to fight back mightily. We care about civilian casualties very much unlike our enemies...it is why our soldiers are losing lives trying to protect their holy shrines while bad guys are shooting at us? Do they not realize that if we were the Evil Empire they like to believe we are that there would already be no Mecca? Can you say scorched earth?


Whiskey1 and Still Americans...well spoken. John Kerry doesn't love our country. If he did, in time of war he would never call our President (regardless of who he is) a liar...he would never tell the world we are at our limit on military ability...he would never tell the world we need to make up for the wrong we've done...yet he has done all of these things. Treason? You damned right. Just like the treason he committed when he came back from Vietnam and endangered his fellow troops with his antiwar rhetoric and lies. Just like his negotiations with North Vietnam communists. HOW IN THE HELL DID HE MAKE IT INTO OUR COUNTRY'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?????? Global test? Does this not scare the living daylights out of everyone? To have a man in office who wants us to atone for our sins? Who wants us to answer to a corrupt organization like the United Nations?

The advertisers of Mother and Q...you didn't accomplish anything with your Michael Moore crap...if Mother really does exist, how proud would your son be to know that he died for his country and his mother trashed his death for political reasons.

One last comment...John Kerry compared our possession of nuclear weapons with that of North Korea. John Kerry sees no difference between the United States of America and North Korea... how will he ever see the enemy if he thinks we are the enemy?

Charlie Dulfer

"The former regime had no formal written strategy or plan for the revival of WMD after sanctions. Neither was there an identifiable group of WMD policy makers or planners separate from Saddam" tasked to take this up once sanctions ended.

Of course, Saddam didn't have a written WMD strategy or WMD policy making group--he feared disloyal insiders who might defect with this information. The dictator was careful not to provide the US a pretext for war.

This shows that Saddam got religion--he realized there was no risk-free path to developing WMD. Rather than seek another bloody confrontation with the US,

He hoped for improved relations with the United States and, over several years, sent proposals through intermediaries to open a dialogue with Washington.

In other words, a few more months of sabre-rattling and inspections--as John Kerry proposed would have transformed Saddam into Gaddaffi.

People of honor admit when mistakes are made. Duelfer was brave to say, we were "almost all wrong". Unfortunately, the Bush team appears incapable of such honesty, preferring instead to deluge their base with peurile propaganda at the risk of incurring widespread global (as in including your own countrymen) ridicule.

So which is worse, global ridicule or 3,000 dead American citizens?


Nice to see adam makin' the rounds. His intent seems to be to piss off us right-wing nuts. I'd get pissed, myself, but it's hard to when you're trying to supress a horse-laugh.

It's a question of judgement. The President and the Vice-president gave a whole bunch of arguments for invading Iraq--WMD, connections to Al-Quaeda, etc. We now know that all those arguments were wrong. In the case of those arguments they exercised bad judgement. I am not disposed to trust their judgement again.

Mr Whittle:

Lengthy, requiring skimming while at work, so I can't quote perfectly from your work. What I did read in detail, however, was superb.

I did not make the mistake of voting for Mondale, but I see a lot of my realizations in your work here. I had wanted to do on my own blog an analysis as systematic and detailed as yours, but you've made that unnecessary.

And, as for the "blame America first" commenters above, such as nicolas, perhaps those who seek to destroy us because of their own condition (though in reality there aren't many of those) should reform their own corners of the world. Free democracy and capitalist economy would be a good place to start.

And to Dean above, John Kerry's judgements in the past haven't been too sparkling, especially as regards the ending cold war in the 80's and intelligence in the 90's. Bush's solution to the problem may need fine tuning, but he understands the problem, and the desired end result, the improved lives of free people.

Thanks for the extended effort.

In "Deterrence", Bill claims that the women of Afghanistan are now free.

Similarly-- among undecided women voters observing the VP debate using a minute-by-minute electronic response device-- Cheney's highest-rated moment was when he spoke of women having-been successfully liberated from sexist oppression in Afghanistan.

And it has been 2 years since President Bush made a 'mission accomplished' declaration-- stating unequivocally that "Today, Women are free!" in Afghanistan.

Visiting the women's detention center in Kabul, I met Ellaha, a bold 19-year-old prisoner who startled me by greeting me in English. (Like many Afghans, she uses only one name.) She had been attending college as a refugee in Iran when her family pulled her out, alarmed that education might corrupt a young lady's morals.

Her family returned to Afghanistan, and she found work in a U.S. construction company, where her bosses were so impressed that they began arranging a scholarship for her to go to Canada to study.

That horrified her family because the patriarchs had decided that she would marry her cousin. "I didn't agree to marry him," she told me through an interpreter, "because he is not educated and I don't like his job - he is a butcher. Plus, he's three years younger than me."

"When it was almost time for me to go to Canada, and I was asking about flights," she added, "they tied me up and locked me in a room. It was in my uncle's house. My father said, 'O.K., beat her.' I'd never been beaten like that in all my life. My uncle and cousins were all beating me. ... They broke my head, and I was bleeding."

Ms. Ellaha's younger sister, who had been pledged to another cousin, was facing the same treatment. After a week of being tied up, the two sisters agreed to marry their cousins.

"So we went home," Ms. Ellaha added, "and escaped."

The two sisters moved into a cheap guesthouse as they prepared to flee Afghanistan. But their family learned where they were hiding, and the police came to arrest them.

On what charge?

"It's because their lives were in danger," said Rana, the head of the detention center. Ms. Ellaha agrees that her family was pretty close to killing her. The sister is apparently back home, but I was not allowed to interview her.

The police subjected Ms. Ellaha to a mandatory virginity test. Fortunately, her hymen was intact, or she would have faced a prison sentence.

Now she worries that she will be released into her family's custody and then forced to marry her cousin. If that happens, she told me, "I will kill myself."

The entire jail is a kaleidoscope of woe. It's been two years since President Bush declared that in Afghanistan, "Today, women are free." But that's news to the inmates.

Nazilah, 17, had been married to an old man with tuberculosis who beat her - she was his second wife. She ran away and was picked up by the police. Now the authorities are figuring out whether they can return her to her husband's family without getting her killed.

Then there is Sohailla, 18, who says she was kidnapped for three days by the family of a young man who wanted to marry her (the police suspect that she went to his house voluntarily). The police subjected her to a virginity test; after she failed, she got a three-year sentence for fornication.

Inequality is so deeply embedded in this society that there are no easy solutions. In a new opinion poll in Afghanistan, 87 percent of those surveyed said women needed to ask their husbands' permission to vote. There was little difference in the answers of men and women.

The best route to change is new schools, new clinics and more economic opportunity - and those steps are just what the lack of security is blocking in much of southern Afghanistan, the most traditional part of the country. Mr. Bush urgently needs to bolster security in rural areas in the south, so reconstruction projects can go ahead there. The liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban was crucial, but only a first step.

If this sounds like a gloomy assessment, it was reinforced when I located Ms. Ellaha's father, Said Jamil, a carpenter, and spoke to him on the street in his Kabul neighborhood. He told me that he was arranging for his daughter to be released to him - but he vowed that he would no longer allow her to "be so free."

He did promise me that he would not beat Ms. Ellaha or force her to marry her cousin. I asked him to show mercy toward his daughter, but I have a bad feeling about what lies ahead.

This is how "women are free" in Afghanistan.

Wonderful, breathtaking essay and emailed to everyone I know. Also, amazing (for the most part) comments. Thank you. Oh...I've been a Republican forever and wear tie dye when I'm not wearing a lot of black and believe with all my heart and soul that plaid should never see the light of day. Sorry Scotland.

Ah, Leonard (hope you're not my brother Len in CA), yes, you've forgotten the Barbaray Pirates, not to mention Saddam in Bush Sr.'s watch. My, how wonderful the world would be if we had just let Saddam grab Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and, eventually, who knows what else.

Try reading some of the accounts of the terrorist leaders in Saudi Arabia when they went on their killing rampage a few months ago. This from their own lips: They killed anyone and everyone non-Muslim they could. As a sacrifice of the infidels to Allah. Political motives were barely mentioned, and would not even apply to some of the innocents murdered.

Isolationism may not be suicide for US, in the short term, but it would be in the long. And until then, tens of millions, no, more probably, hundreds of millions would die. So much for being nice.

Another thing. A lot of the hatred of the "infidels" goes back to the sacking of Jerusalem in the 1st Crusade. Those Crusaders were truly barbarians. Go read up on it and then consider the motivations of our enemies.

Whoops, got in a hurry and forgot to add my name!
And, I should have said "reconsider".


This is the most eloquent thought out piece I have read since 9/11 that totally lays out what I think. You spell out exactly how so many of us believe and feel.

Thank you, Bill... You are now one of my favorites to read every day.

Something I'd like to add: What if 9/11 had not happened? We would then be facing the prospect of facing BOTH Iraq and Iran. Iran WILL have the bomb and then we will have the nightmare of of jihad on our soil with nukes. Iraq and Iran would have joined to at least cooperate against the great satan. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." While 9/11 was horrible beyond words, how much more so would a nuke in one of our cities and facing Saddam and mullahs at the dssame time? Like Japan did at Pearl, our enemies struck too early, giving us a chance to prepare and respond. Thank God we have a president who has the vision and courage to act.

I found a few tears while I read your essay. You revisited the days of 9/11 with a vividness that cut at my soul. Instead of getting down in the minutae of the war, you remind the readers of the cogent yet emotional arguements for the war.

One early morning in November 2001 found me and a dozen journalists bouncing around the back of an ancient pickup truck a few miles into northern Afghanistan. As we passed one bombed-out village after another, a fortyish correspondent for Moscow radio stretched out his arms. "It's great to be back," he grinned broadly. I squinted under the white-hot sun, focusing on the spiderweb-shaped bullet wound running up his arm. Field surgery, courtesy of a Soviet medic. I asked why he was so pleased. "Because this time," he elaborated, "all of this crap"--he waved his other arm through the dust--"belongs to you!"

The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was a dry run for George Bush's Iraqi oil grab. Kabul was the proving ground for new bombs and missiles destined for Baghdad. Changing rationales for war--first it was about catching Osama, then about closing Al Qaeda training camps, then liberating Afghan women--presaged the Administration's throw-every-excuse-at-the-wall-to-see-if-it-sticks strategy for Iraq.

Most of the mistakes that led to failure in Iraq were first made in the war against Afghanistan: unpopular foreign exiles appointed as puppet rulers by the CIA, failing to send enough troops to provide basic security, unsavory no-bid deals with White House-connected corporations to exploit energy resources, torture and murder of detainees and POWs, propping up tribal chiefs with histories of genocide, and making life for the average Afghan even more difficult than it was under the previous despotic regime. And, like the Iraq war, the Fourth Afghan War was a substitute for the war we should be fighting--against the 9/11 criminals, who were all in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Afghanistan will again preview future failure in Iraq on October 9, when the United States will hold its first occupation-era national election. A real Afghan election? Not now; not in 20 years.

Afghanistan doesn't even have a government. Puppet president/former Unocal oil consultant Hamid Karzai is the weak, ineffectual mayor of Kabul. As Agence France reports, "Karzai has tried and largely failed to extend his control outside the capital of Kabul and into medieval-era provinces which remain under the sway of regional warlords." In 95 percent of the country, the warlords and their thuggish commanders issue visas to travel through their districts and charge entry fees to travelers. And the Taliban are back. U.S. military officers have already ceded several large provinces to Taliban governors.

Afghan bureaucracy is non-existent. Afghans don't have passports, driver's licenses or national ID cards. Representatives of the Karzai government can't travel freely, nor do they know who lives in their country, since they have never taken a census. Estimates of the total population vary widely, between 24 and 28 million. Millions more live in in Iran and Pakistan; absentee ballots are impossible because Afghanistan doesn't have a postal system. To add to the fun, many Afghans are like Madonna; they only use one name. Because there are no phones or electricity to allow officials to crosscheck records, Madonna from Kabul can easily register as Madonna from Mazar-e-Sharif and Madonna from Kandahar. The Bushies brag that 12 million Afghans registered to vote; they leave out that only 10 million are eligible.

Echoing the concerns of other watchdog agencies, a report by Human Rights Watch concludes that "there remains a high degree of political repression, and politically active Afghans in every region reported that they regularly censor themselves for fear that they might face threats or violence at the hands of factional leaders."

A UN official cites a warlord from eastern Afghanistan as an example: "If the powers of warlords such as Hazrat Ali here are not curtailed, the elections will mean nothing. One of the major sources of power and authority for Hazrat Ali and his gang is his close relations with the U.S. military and intelligence. He has successfully used this relationship to harm and intimidate his political rivals. He has arrested people and constantly threatens them with sending them to Guantánamo."

The freedom and democracy that Bush and Bill tout in Afghanistan is a fairy tale for the ignorant.

Ah, the usual doom'n'gloom from those who want failure to succeed. Surprise, surprise.

It is widely held that it is a sign of intelligence to be able to hold in one's mind two beliefs each of which contradicts the other.

It is less widely appreciated that this is also true of insanity, self-delusion, and idiocy.

So, adam, would you tell us that the U.S. should have accepted the judgment of the United Nations, whose official inspection teams concluded for 12 years that Saddam was attempting to pursue and refine his outlawed weapons programs?

Or are you telling us that we should have waited for the endorsement of France and Russia and Syria and the platoons of journalists who were all greedily pocketing their profits from Saddam's oil-sale vouchers they received through the "Oil-for-food" charade?

Or are you suggesting that we place our confidence in Kofi Annan, who was in a position to have sent U.N. forces into Rwanda but instead WITHDREW those forces and allowed 800,000 Tutsi Rwandans to be slaughtered--- many of them with GARDEN TOOLS--- when just a few battalions of U.N. troops with small arms might have staved off the massacres?

Your most recent post quotes Mr. Charles Dulfer, and adds your own comments meant to suggest that Mr. Dulfer’s statements somehow PROVE the validity of YOUR comments. To suggest that “a few more months of sabre-rattling and inspections--as John Kerry proposed would have transformed Saddam into Gaddaffi” IGNORES the simple fact that Gaddafi [sic] did not disavow HIS nuclear weapons program until AFTER the U.S. showed that it was deadly serious about using military force to impose the expressed will of the United Nations, even though the United Nations was too timid to do so.

Sorry, guy, but they do not. Very simply, the absence of stockpiles of WMDs does NOT prove that Bush lied. It only proves that United States intelligence people agreed with United Nations intelligence people. If Bush lied, then the United Nations was lying, too. Go back and read United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and you will find that the official estimate of that body was that Iraq had been defying the will of the international community for a dozen years; that it was in “material breach” of both the instructions of the United Nations with respect to the Weapons Inspection Teams, *AND* with respect to its compliance with the terms of the armistice that ended the Gulf War of 1991.

Here is the website of the U.S. Department of State, with all the United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq dating from its invasion of Kuwait:

You know, adam... the thing that is remarkable about people like you is that you are so comfortable taking facts and simply turning them upside down and inside out and saying “Black is NOT BLACK, it is whatever color I say it is right now.”
That’s all very well when you have an entire continent of people of goodwill, willing to give their lives to preserve your right to be a complete turd.

But the Islamic fascist fundamentalist Jihadists will slaughter Democratic supporters of Kerry, just as gleefully as they will slaughter Republican supporters of Bush.

You can wave your “Fahrenheit 9/11” ticket stub all you like, and tell the terrorist YOU EMBRACE DIVERSITY AND MULTICULTURALISM, and Moral Relativism, and Post-Modern Deconstructivist Marxist Dialectic principles.

The terrorist will say, “So fucking what? Allah is Great! Quit struggling while I saw...”

Do you honestly think John Kerry, with all his precious purple hearts and botox and blow-dried manicures and Hamlet-esque ambivalence, and metrosexual urbanity and exquisite grasp of the declension of irregular French verbs and his unmatched ability to balance the force vectors of wind and wave while standing upright on a fiberglass wave-riding vehicle and his extremely principled and courageous career of avoiding Senate intelligence commitee meetings... You honestly think this guy is going to risk mussing his hairdo to protect YOU?????

You really are silly.


No email... no links... why am I even bothering...

Let's keep it simple. Are Afghani women better off now, or back when they were under the control of the Taliban?

Is Afghanistan moving in the right direction in allowing women to vote? Or was it all better off under a regime that considered women chattel?

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and accept your anectdotes as true. I somehow miss the logic that concludes that just because Afgani society didn't change overnight into the very model of liberal feminism the effort in Afganistan is a failure.

How long did it take for America to allow women to vote? Refresh my memory please, hmmm?

Honestly, I never realized when growing up, that so many people in this world refused to grow up with me. Oh how luxurious our lives, that we can consider anything short of instant gratification an absolute failure.

It is really funny how feeble are some of the crappy attempts at fraud by the left.

If that post above is actually by a legitimate journalist, and not just some adolescent fiction by a DNC-hired college sophomore, why is there no signature?

Because it's CRAP. It's made up fiction posing as truth.

DAmmit, you stupid creeps! I WILL give serious consideration to an honest statement signed by a real person, EVEN IF IT IS ONLY AN OPINION. I honestly believe other thinking people may come up with analyses that are more correct than my own.

What I reject is stupid, fraudulent PROPAGANDA pretending to be informed first-hand observation.

To post contemptible frauds like the alleged story of a journalist under the name of "FACTCHECKdotCOM" is an insult to the intelligence of anyone, regardless of political inclinations.

And to Paul R: It is fair to say the misbehavior of Christians during the crusades was often barbaric, but the murderous brutality of the Muslim culture dates to the life of Mohammed himself.

Please look at any simple timeline of the history of Islam and you will see that starting during its founder's life, murder, beheading, torture, military assault, and beatings were employed constantly, repeatedly, regularly, routinely, to advance the goals of the religion and enlarge the number of people under its domination.


David March:

That was about as surgical a smackdown I've seen in a while. hehe

Silly really is a great description for Kerry and his ideology. Just as it is silly to pretend you are having a tea party with your dolls, it is also silly to believe that everyone is really the same inside. Look at the Jeffrey Dahmers and John Wayne Gacys and al-Zarqawis of the world and tell me we are the same. I shudder to think that so many intellectuals can answer in the affirmative. That within their ivy-addled brains they harbor the capacity for such cold cruelty is yet another indictment of post-modernism.

It is silly to believe that fairness be enforced, rather than justice. Tell me how exactly one defines and arbitrates fairness?

It is silly to say your opponent is doing it all wrong, then say you'd do the same thing, just better.

It is silly to claim 13 years is a rush to war, but failing to achieve full women's suffrage in less than 2 is an eternity.

It is abject silliness for the majority of them. What really worries me are the few that aren't being silly, but rather calculating.


I'm new to your site. Got directed here by a link from Lucianne.com. Deterrence (parts 1&2) is some of the best stuff I've read. Very well organized and written. I've already posted your link on a leftie board that I regularly torment hoping to get some to see the light. So far, not unexpectedly, it's just pissing them off more.

But keep up the good work. I'll be back. And you just may have sold a book.

As Americans prepare to "pull a Spain," I have some questions for the man who would be commander in chief:
1. The President, we now know, made a collossal error in judgement by attacking an Iraq which did not have wmd. Since you yourself stated that they had them and were a threat, how egregious would it have been if a President that believed they existed did not react?

2. If Bill Clinton invaded Afghanistan in the fall of 2000, if only for the embassy and ship bombings that had occured to that point, so disrupting the terrorist networks that the 9/11 plot did not become operational, whether that was information that we ever learned or not:
-do you think such actions would have passed a global
-been viewed as illegal by Kofi Anan?
-might have alienated our European allies?
-would have created more terrorists angered by
American arrogance?
-would have been the wrong war, at the wrong place,
at the wrong time?
-might have necessitated the U.S. acting alone or with
just several countries, not a true alliance composed of
western European nations?

Excellent questions, Notafrogamerican

So, this "wanna-be" President is going to ask our brave young men and women to put their lives on the line for what he has expressly stated is the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" and a "colossal diversion".

Is this really so hard to understand? It is wrong to get a teenage girl pregnant, but once that has happened it is RIGHT to stand by her one hundred percent. Kerry thinks it was wrong to invade Iraq, but now that we are there, it is right that we commit to winning the battle one hundred percent.

There are many good points to be made against John Kerry, but this isn't one of them.

Bill, I am one of those who understand and agree.

Why? Because I have learned from history, and have been taught by my precursors to learn from history.

If you learn history from Sesame Street, you will surely be against post-20th century U.S. foreign policy, and you will be shown wrong as you have been shown wrong on 9/11, and you will not understand or agree with Bill.

How could it have been forgotten?

--Phil, American citizen born in USSR.

Excellent questions, Notafrogamerican
Really? Excellent? These are HORRIBLE questions, because the point that's being made is obviously that as long as an action could, MIGHT be saving lives, it's acceptable.

No. America and Americans should and do require more than that. Hindsight is 20/20, and it's easy to sit and say that we should have attacked Afghanistan before September 11. But by that same twisted illogic, you could say that we should have grounded all airplanes in the country on September 10, or that we should have outlawed all pilot schools in 1999. But that path leads to lunacy and horror.

The pseudonymous "FACTCHECKdotCOM" wrote:

The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was a dry run for George Bush's Iraqi oil grab.
Riiiiight. Oil is over $50/barrel, which we're paying. Not one tanker has eased up to the port and filled up with "stolen oil."

Get your head out of your ass and look at REALITY. The fresh air and change of perspective will do wonders for your cognitive abilities.

What have we here?-- David March denouncing "Mother", above, as a fiction... only to eat his words when he realized he was reading the words of a real mother of a real soldier killed in Iraq.

You'd think Mr. March might temper how prematurely his knee-jerks when he reads something he doesn't like.

But you'd be wrong.

Because soon-after we have David March pre-emptively declaring FACTCHECKdotCOM's post to be "just some adolescent fiction by a DNC-hired college sophomore".

The term "cognitive dissonance" refers to when someone lacks the character to reconcile reality with their own wishful thinking.

In the vernacular, this is known as a "brainfart" if it happens once. And if it happens again, it's known as "head so far up Bill's..."

Matt. Wrong.

Kerry has no standing to lead, much less win, this battle.

First, he cannot square his statements today with those he made prior to, and directly after the re-engagement of hostilities with Iraq.

They are diametrically opposed, which makes your premise false. Kerry supported unilateral military action against Hussein both under Clinton, and during the Democratic primary process.

He now does not support the justification for war, and has offered no substantive plans for winning the peace further than what is already being done.

My biggest problem with Kerry is that so far, not one person has been able to show me he has a history of making the right decisions. Indeed, everything I find about him shows him to chronically make the WRONG decisions for the wrong reasons.

Yes, people can change. One of Kerry's problems is that he changes way too often. How am I supposed to believe that on this issue finally, Kerry has seen the light and will pursue the goal of victory to the end?

Indeed, by saying "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place" Kerry has laid the groundwork for leaving the job unfinished. He has given himself an out, which is his specialty.

No, Kerry represents a considerable weakening in our chances of success.

Riiiiight. Oil is over $50/barrel, which we're paying. Not one tanker has eased up to the port and filled up with "stolen oil."
Your argument only shows that we're not STEALING the oil, not that we aren't GRABBING it.

If I make some device that renders all nuclear weapons powerless, and the government comes and takes it away, does it matter how much they give me for it? 100 dollars or 100 billion dollars, the fact of the matter is that they have it and no one else does.

I don't think that the war was all about oil but you haven't refuted his claim yet.

No, Kerry represents a considerable weakening in our chances of success.
I wasn't talking about any of that. All you said was one of those good points I mentioned. All I'm saying with that post was that "wrong war" and "send more troops" are not incompatible.

Now, Kerry's OTHER remarks, yeah, those don't work. But I wasn't talking about those.

Take a breath, MattH:

The questions are excellent, because they are predicated on knowns.

How else are we to learn from history, if we do not use history's lessons?

Certainly, pre-emptive strikes require good intelligence, or else we end up with disaster. Iraq, despite faulty intelligence, is not a disaster. It has it's rough spots, but so too did post-war Germany and Japan.

The Bush Doctrine accepts the reality of the world within which we live. It accepts that we cannot any longer hope for the best, but must instead, act decisively to keep mass slaughter from our shores. Cheap and portable WMD are a reality, and we will not be able to keep it out of the hands of all terrorists at all times.

So the job of protecting America includes encouraging Democracy across the globe. It includes curtailing the existence of those cesspools that serve as breeding grounds for ideologically and religiously indoctrinated agressors.

There really is not much middle ground available between free-market liberal Democracy and totalitarian Theocracy. They are fundamentally opposed to each other, and on the part of the Theocracies, violently so.


yes I do believe if we leave them alone they'll leave us alone.

It works for the nations I mentioned. Switzerland, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan. In fact it works for practically every nation in the world. It also worked for us for the 1.5 centuries - 150+ years - in which we left them alone. There were no radical Islamic attacks on the US until recently. We only seriously started to push them around fairly recently. See, nobody cared about the Arabs until we discovered they were sitting on all that oil.

I do understand that some terrorists hate us. I claim they do so for reasons, reasons which we can understand with the tiniest bit of imagination. For instance, that we occupy parts of their nation, that we killed them, supported or even helped emplace the dictators that rule or ruled them, etc. These things would piss me off too, were the situation reversed. They are not hard to understand.

But no, they don't hate us "because we're free" or any rot like that. If you truly believe that, then you ought to ask yourself why they don't attack Canada and Japan, and Switzerland, etc. etc. Those nations are free and rich, just like us. But they don't push around Arab nations; that's the key difference.

Peace works, or at least, it does for other nations, and it did in the past (when we gave it a chance).

I never said we deserved to be attacked, in fact I said the opposite. Please don't put words in my mouth.

As for your invitation to love it or leave it, well, I am not here to serve the government. Rather, the reverse. In my country, the idea is that the government was ordained and established by the people (via the states). So I'll pass, thank you so very much. However I do gladly invite the government (and you) to leave, if it (or you) cannot tolerate existing on the same continent as a person like me.

Magnificent, as always, Bill.

From the looks of all the linkage, it appears you are increasingly setting more heads to nod. A good thing; I wonder where most come from?

Still looking forward to The Book.


Your beliefs do not jibe so well with history and reality. I won't ask you to leave. A certain amount of idle fancy is welcome in any society, and frankly, I very sincerely hope that at some point in the future, humanity will be as civilized and free of violent urges as you already believe it to be.

It'll be boring for sure, but at least we won't have to face the consequences of believing the best of madmen.

That was like seeing a bright, shining star rising across a placid lake, and then finding out that not only was it beautiful and poignant but that every person who has ever said something stupid and indefensible, or drives slow in the left lane was wrapped in barbed wire, loaded onto a rocket ship and shot directly into the heart of that red-hot sun. Aesthetic joy combined with almost criminal self-satisfaction. Sweet, Brother Bill, sweet.

Leonard wrote
yes I do believe if we leave them alone they'll leave us alone.

Why not also pay them some gold every year, just to be safe? Perhaps funnel it through Denmark as well, for tradition's sake.

Then we should really have peace in our time.


Its almost laughable to argue that it is equally "wrong" to ask our military personnel to die for a "colossal diversion" and the "wrong war . . . " as it is to get a teenage girl pregnant. I agree both are "wrong", but only a very weird moral relativism would argue that they are "Equally" wrong. One results in death, the other in life (maybe), perhaps an unappreciated or unwanted life, but still a life.

To argue that Kerry has committed to "win" the war (mere campaign rhetoric, not a deeply held belief) and that is somehow a "Right" thing to do, like "standing by" this teenage girl is also fairly humurous considering that the democratic ticket has labeled this whole "war" nothing but a big lie. We all know that Kerry would simply drive the teenage girl down to the nearest abortion clinic (without notifying her parents of course), and get rid of the "problem". Much like doing the "Cut and run" we all know he will do in Iraq if he ever got elected.

Nevertheless, this ignores the question I was asking which was that Kerry threw an absolute fit because he believed it was immoral for our government to ask soldiers to die in a war he did not believe in. But now, he says he will ask soldiers to die for a war he does not believe in. Is that somehow no longer immoral? Is it not, perhaps, the most hypocritical thing we've ever heard? Do you understand the point?

Fantastic write-up on Deterence. Amazingly well thought out. I only hope more people read it.


Dude, you be supah-funny. Thanks for the laffs.

Peace, out.

Leonard, do you believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, too?

Cause that makes as much sense as your last post.


I've never had a forum to say this, but having done a lot of reading on WWII, and seeing several Aussie posters who frequent here. I feel obligated to extend sincere gratitude for the true friendship of the folks down under, at least from this American (most of the folks I know think likewise btw).

Thank you, thank you, thank you! For standing by us when the chips were down and the stakes are high.

May God bless you too.


yes, "we" (meaning: the US government) pushed around Arabs. It's a simple fact of history. You may not know what the US has done recently over there; but many of them do. Now, it is also true that we have helped Arabs. However, the Islamic terrorists are choosing not to look at the whole picture, or else, they only care about parts of it. How hard is that to understand? They don't care that we give Egypt billions; they do care that we give their hated enemy Israel billions.

Yes, the sanctions killed some 500000 iraqis, mostly children, under certain assumptions. Obviously we cannot know how many would now be alive since that is not how history went. Perhaps it is really 1M who died due to our sanctions; perhaps it's only 200000. I made up that 100000 by simple assigning 20% of the blame to the USA; leaving the other 80% to Saddam, Europe, the UN, etc. That is, I pulled the number out of my rear end. The point not the exact figure. The point is at least some of the blame for those deaths belongs to the USA.

Do you deny it? Recall what a person on your side, Ms Albright, said of suffering caused by the sanctions: "it's worth it".

Regarding isolationism, you ask me to explain how it is possible. Well, it's trivial really. We just pull our troops out of the world and don't go there. We stop giving money to foreigners and we stop getting involved in their fights, even diplomatically. There's nothing complicated about any of those things - they are all inaction. Action is hard. Making action be effective to the end sought is even harder (as you folks here, and Mr Bush, are finding out in Iraq). Not doing something is easy. It is the default state of human affairs.

In fact I am an isolationist for moral reasons: peace is moral, initiating aggression is not. However, there are also practical reasons: government is generally incompetent to do much of anything. By contrast it is very good at not-doing things; thus, isolationism in the abstract is probably within its competence. Running an effective foreign policy is not. The Iraq Attaq is a good example of this. There were intelligence failures, diplomatic failures, planning failures, and implementation failures.

[Incidentally, to "Thresh" and anyone else who doesn't know what isolationism is: it means political non-involvement with the rest of the world. It does not mean not trading with them, because trading is something that is not done by the government; rather, it is something that individuals and corporations (private entities) do.]

Obviously, if we didn't meddle with other countries we would not be deterring Saddam. Let his neighbors deal with him, deter him if necessary. They are perfectly capable of doing so, and in fact might learn something from it if they had to take up the burden themselves. They might well be better places for it.

Am I concerned that Saddam might have gobbled up Iran? (He didn't.) Kuwait? Not on behalf of America, no. It would make zero difference to America; oil would continue to flow because Arabs want to sell it, and that's all we buy from Arabs. It would certainly make a difference to Iraq's neighbors; well, they would deal with it.

And as I have said before, I am all for individual Americans getting involved if they care to. Let them go off to fight the Saddams of the world, if they want. Or let them send money to the anti-Saddam fights. This is their right, and it ought to be legal. Just keep America (meaning: the USA government under the Constitution) out of it. The mission of America is not to go abroad seeking monsters to destroy; it is as I quoted earlier.

Its almost laughable to argue that it is equally "wrong" to ask our military personnel to die...as it is to get a teenage girl pregnant. I agree both are "wrong", but only a very weird moral relativism would argue that they are "Equally" wrong

I didn't say they were equally wrong, I never even said the word 'equally'. Please don't put words in my mouth.

I didn't even say they are wrong in the same way. I said that "wrong war" and "send more troops" are not incompatible, just like "unwanted pregnancy" and "don't abandon the girl" are not incompatible. That is what used to be known as 'analogy' but nowadays is "that thing with all the dots."

I don't like to repeat myself but again, I am not saying Kerry is consistent. He's not. But that specific argument that I initially addressed was not part of his inconsistencies.

You don't need to preach to me. I'm on your side, I agree with the Bush doctrine. That's why I am trying to help out by telling people not to waste their breath on shoddy arguments when there are so many good arguments to be made.

...And the laffs keep on coming. Thanks again, Leonard. These are difficult times and we need all the laffs we can get.

Peace, love, dope.

YEEHAW! He's back!

Thank you for that brilliant essay, Bill... It was certainly worth the wait. Thought-provoking, quite repectfully put (in an age of vicious troll-slander) and well written.

I didn't agree with everything, but I don't have the time to give you my arguments yet. In the meantime, I just wanted to say congrats, and welcome back.

Kudos to Hugh Hewitt for telling us about your aritcle.
Fantastic! Incredible! Stated what I've been thinking all along.
Great job! Keep it up & keep the faith!
W'04 is a WINNER!!!!

You know what drives me crazy about reading a comment list like this? It's like being at a Grateful Dead concert - - everybody's sucking out of the same bong and telling each other how great the music is. The key isn't the music. The key is the shared bong.

What almost everybody on this list is huffing, as far as I can tell, is the pleasure of killing, of violence, of vengeance.

And what seems to anger people about Kerry is that he would not kill fast enough, or forthrightly enough, or lustily enough. To support all that, we hear that he doesn't love America, or that he loves the United Nations more than us, or that he's got his infamous "global test" and will wait for the French to let us cock our pistols, etc. He'd let the Iranians nuke us, or the terrorist attack us, etc etc.
In fact, Kerry's position boils down to this: If you're going to kill, KILL THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

But too many people here seem, to me, to be too stoned on blood to consider that we might be killing the wrong people. Bush & co. know how to feed that, too, painting a picture in which the WHOLE WORLD - from the UN to Samarra - is shot through with evil that needs the cleansing power of the sword. Iraq had little or nothing to do with the Islamofascists? So what? Kill 'em anyway, because someday, they might.

I can understand the intoxication with vengeance. It helps cover the fear 9/11 triggered.

So a guy like me says, "Al Qaeda attacked us. We respond by attacking a secular dictatorship that had virtually nothing to do with Al Qaeda. It didn't make sense a year ago, and it makes less sense today - the President made bad choices about how to use violence."

"But," responds our blood-bong hitter, "at least he knows that violence is necessary in this hard and ugly world after 9/11 everything changed and do you think the Islamofascists care what we think blaming America go to the gulag you pinko meanwhile let's get out there and KILL SOME MORE FUCKING PEOPLE because EVER SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME Allah Mohammed nuke it into the sand ...."

(gurgle, gurgle - whoooooooosh)

Now, the real test will be, when the drugs wear off, how will the music sound?

Ah, I see. So to be good people we should do nothing. Nothing at all. Thanks Len.

It'll sound like the "Ride of the Valkaries", asshat.

Sheesh, reactionary leftists are stooopid.

Ahh, once again we see the inconsitency that always seems to result when passivists, isolationists, etc try to justify the unjustifiable.

Leonard says:

"peace is moral, initiating aggression is not"

and yet the "aggression" initiated on 9/11 is our fault because we "pushed around Arabs".

Taking this to its logical conclusion, it is moral in Lenard's world to respond to a "push" with a murder, but it is immoral to "push" regardless of the justification.

As far as initiating "aggression" goes, perhaps you need to read the history of Islam. It is a religion that was "spread" at the point of a sword, one that forced people to "convert" or die, one that teaches only the true believers in Allah are fully people, all others are infidels and can be treated as not fully human. So, I guess under Leonard's belief system, Islam is an immoral religion as it begets the initiation of aggression.

Hmm, how to reconcile this with the whole concept that "It's all America's fault" for "pushing around the Arabs"?? History, proves that those poor mistreated Arabs were initiating aggression before America (the U.S.) was even a glimmer in some greedy European's eye. So, how could it all be America's fault?? Consitent inconsistency, kind of like Kerry, no?

What almost everybody on this list is huffing, as far as I can tell, is the pleasure of killing, of violence, of vengeance.

No, that would be you projecting. HTH. HAND.


Y'all ain't right 'bout what you said.

Killin' ain't fun.

Unless'n we's talking 'bout folks that need killin'. Now that's differnt.

What the hail's a bong?

/lonesome cowboy burt


I understand the concept of an Analogy, honest I do, I was trying to point out just how inappropriate your analogy was.

You continue to argue that "wrong war" and "send more troops" are not compatible and label it a "Shoddy argument", but (not trying to be preachy here), you continue to miss the whole point. The argument isn't the inconsistency of "wrong war" and "send more troops", the argument is 20 years of claiming it is immoral to ask people to die for a war Kerry did not believe in, and now doing that precise thing, asking people to die for a war he doesn't believe in.

That is not a "Shoddy" argument, it is pointing out hypocrisy of the highest order in someone whose promised actions he has himself labeled immoral. Sorry to belabor the point, so I'll just shut up for now since no one was able to explain or justify Kerry's position.

Excellent article. I had forgotten some of trhose things as well. Liberals, like cockroaches, scurry and hide when the light shines on them. This is definetly the light.

That is truly the BEST thing I have read in 3 years about the realities we face. Thank you. I am posting a link to you and sending this on email to as many people as I can aggravate (who will still talk to me afterwards). Great work. Thanks. You captured my feelings 110%.

This is inspired, brilliant. My daughtor saw F9/11 and is now a raving Kerryite. I'm glad she is passionate and will vote, but having run out of arguments, this is just what I needed. Again, brilliant, cogent, fair. Thanks Bill

In pondering your conjecture on Osama's whereabouts and the probability that GW knows exactly where he is (and isn't), and given the fact that Bush desperately needs to pull a corpse out of his political hat yet refuses to make use of "1 slightly used carcass-no longer needed by former owner" to delight his fans and dazzle his naysayers, I am overwhelmed by a sentiment I’ve rarely felt for a politician: respect.

Thank you for another outstanding essay.

Bill writes - snip - Some of them, though, are psychopaths who’d kill you for a nickel and think nothing more about it – they’d trade your life, and the welfare of your spouse and children, for two hours of getting high and it would not bother them in the least - snip

For some time now behavioral sciences have recognized that sociopaths and psycopaths exhibit entirely different brain activity than people who control themselves and have a good handle on conscience, remorse, right and wrong, etc.

When shown film of an astonishingly gruesome human killing in progress, you and I exhibit brain wave activity that lights up like a full bore generator. We're horrified, shocked, repelled and our brain energy readouts reflect the intensity of our freak out. Socio and psycopaths exhibit no brain wave activity at all, no more than might register from buying a pack of gum. Meaning - your pain and screaming and death means absolutely nothing to them. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Nothing registers. What you will endure has ZERO effect inside their brains. Try and wrap your mind around that.

When this is coupled to the kind of drive and determination tyrants often exhibit, what kind of carrot would work with such a monster? Answer? None. Therefore, the calculus of this paradigm is simple - hunt them down and kill them.

It really is that simple. Never Negotiate With Cancer. Never.


My point is simply that any statement by Kerry is worthy of attack if it is in direct contrast to previous actions and statements. Why should I believe him now?


One of the marks of intelligent decision making is not picking the best examples that only support your bias to the exclusion of those examples that demonstrate the inadequacy of the action you are predisposed to.

History is pretty clear that your isolationism is nothing more than a pipe dream. Weapons tech being what it is further demands that we take an active role in the world.

Your "out your ass" assertion of American responsibility for Iraqi deaths under sanctions is completely specious, and I don't accept it. How many billions of dollars were spent on weapons and palaces that might have saved those lives? How many lives have been lost regardless of sanctions? I can make an out my ass assertion too, based on the simple assertion by all inspectors that Saddam would have had nukes within 2 years of the end of Desert Storm. Lessee... call it 4 nukes, carry the one, add in prevailing winds, lets call it 25 million dead and change.

I think it's fairly obvious that your plan for isolationism depends an awful lot on the presumption that these people, despite their actions throughout history and their ululating missives to the contrary, will leave us be if we simply ignore them.

Regarding your "simple fact of history" on the U.S. pushing around the Arabs. Are there any specific examples you'd like to share? Taking your statement that the Arabs are being terribly selective about which actions they choose to recognize, does it occur to you they may choose to interpret any number of seemingly innocent actions as a mortal threat? Suppose for instance they decided Coca-cola was a threat to Mecca cola.

The ultimate act of US aggresion against the poor brown Islamic people of the Middle East is buying their oil.

N. O'Brain
Imperial Minister for Useless Information

What you have written is everything I have always believed and wanted to say myself but never had the ability to articulate!!! I will definitely help spread the word!


Leonard - Osama bin Laden included our sanctions against Iraq (leading to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi children) among his grievances. So in order to satisfy the jihadists we can apparently impose no economic sanctions to deter rogue Muslim states from acquiring WMD because that also risks retaliation. So what is the solution? A world in which anyone can get a WMD and we just hope they don't use it and only retaliate after the fact? This is where considering the jihadists "reasons" ultimately leads. But wait - I know what you'll say. As long as we have WMD they feel they need them as well and who are we to be hypocritical on this score? So the solution is to scale down our own WMD so we eliminate their motivation to have them and then we don't need the sanctions. Now that we're defenseless we hope they're nice. This is the fantasy of the left. Utter pacifism is a noble individual choice. I am entitled to commit suicide personally. But why the left expects collective national suicide is beyond me. So regarding what to do about Saddam. What precisely did the left propose? Contain him indefinitely with the sanctions (which were pissing off UBL)? Lift the sanctions and assume that Saddam wouldn't reconstitute his WMD? Or was it OK that Saddam reconstituted his WMD because after all we have them? I have never heard a credible solution from the anti-Iraq war crowd on this because I don't think they have a solution. Oh right - so if France and germany had come in with us we would be less a target for terrorist anger for invading Iraq? That doesn't make sense either. I have to come to the conclusion that the left is primarily angry because it was a Republican president who took us to war and not really because of the war itself.

Let's follow through Leonard's isolationist thinking: it's 1942, and our beloved Germany has finally succeeded in conquering the British Isles. They were certainly tough defenders, but they could only hold back the siege of our glorious Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe for so long. Thank goodness for the Fatherland that the Americans decided not to send equipment or troops or to run our blockade (although we would have had an even more glorious victory!) Now that we control all of Europe and northern Africa, we have the resource base to attack the Communist hordes. Our Japanese allies have kept the Americans at bay by harassing California for some time, and are massing for an attack through Mexico.

Flash forward to 1947: it has been a long, bitter fight, but our adored Fuehrer strides down the streets of Moscow to the delight of crack Waffen SS divisions. With the Jews of Europe now finally gone, we are rid of an infestation that would have eaten the great Reich like a cancer! The riches of Russia and Siberia are in our hands, and we will now be able to use our economic might to break the will of the Americans.

Now 1951: At last! The Americans could not overcome the power of our newly developed atomic weapons! It’s a shame that I will never see San Francisco or Miami (since they are now radioactive, smoking ruins), but it is magnificent to see our exalted Defender of the True Race, Herr Hitler, lord over the newest subjects of the Third Reich – the President and First Lady of the former USA! New York is truly an impressive city, behind only Berlin and Paris. Now we can make begin to make the Earth a truly pure Aryan brotherhood.

FARFETCHED? I suppose. However, can someone design a more plausible outcome for the Axis era if they decided to have WWII and the US didn’t come to Europe, but waited for the war to come to the US? How could isolationism have solved this problem? Indeed, if the US had entered the war immediately after September 1, 1939, it may have been easier to defeat the Nazis. Or better still, what if the US had stepped in when Neville Chamberlain was busy in his appeasement strategy, and FDR had warned Hitler that the US would not tolerate his aggression (and taken steps to back it up)? Maybe 250,000 young Americans would have been spared, along with even greater numbers of Germans and Japanese.

Those who do not remember history (or fail to learn from it) are doomed to repeat it. The world’s only superpower cannot be a sleeping giant.

At the moment I can't think of anything better to do than ingest alcohol. I know that's not going to help a damn thing, but the fact that almost 50% of the public are prepared to vote for the false hope that Kerry represents (if it even rises to that sorry level) just depresses me. We also need to establish a professional cadre of nation-builders who can learn from the mistakes of Iraq and bring that expertise to the Caucasus, which will be the next theater of operations. The Russians are currently making a mess of it, and it'll eventually have to be cleaned up. The critical errors are piling up.

And a Kerry presidency won't do a damn thing about establishing that vital profession... though it's certainly the case the Bush hasn't done much about it, either. What sort of shock do we need, to get a proselytizing spirit about Lockean Liberalism? What sort of profound leap does it take? A sixth victory for Lance in the Tour de France? God, I wish the magic were only that cheap!

Then again... it might help. Who knows?

The French think they have the ultimate endurance challenge, and for a Texan to win it for an unprecedented sixth time in a row might actually give them pause about all their snooty presumptions.

Sorry, but I just love to gloat about Lance. It makes me feel better. Truth is, he'll probably vote for Kerry. :-(


You say:

So a guy like me says, "Al Qaeda attacked us. We respond by attacking a secular dictatorship that had virtually nothing to do with Al Qaeda. It didn't make sense a year ago, and it sakes less sense today - the President made bad choices about how to use violence."

Your entire argument is dependent on Iraq having been un-affiliated with Al-Qaeda. That there was contact between Saddam and Al-Qaeda is well documented by the 9-11 commission. In the Bush Doctrine, action isn't predicated upon a country actually pulling the trigger. Instead, action is taken against ANY country that harbors gives support to terrorists.

Re. your little attempted dig of Iraq being a secular country...

Saddam's secularist dictatorship wasn't all that secular in it's last years. He was clearly attempting to ratchet up hatred of the U.S. by appealing to the enemy of his enemy on a religious basis.

Here's a good article outlining some of his efforts:


And here is an excellent compilation of the Al Qaeda links to Saddam:


Got any other arguments you want to throw out here?

You have touched every base. While I hope and trust that President Bush will come out swinging on Friday in the second debate, I cannot help wishing that you were there to say these things for the illumination and education of all those people who will be watching the debate who are still stuck in a September 10 mindset.

Well-written, well thought out, and completely correct. I was with you until the last paragraph when you mentioned you were a gator. Oh well, it just proves no one is perfect.

You make some interesting points in deterence 1 and 2. The problem with your whole piece is that you dont reallize that Bush is a dumb military strategist and is creating more terrorists than he destroying. He can not win the war fighting this dumb. He may or may not even reallize that he is not even fighting the real war. He is going to destroy the US or the Arab world (the innocent and radical). Maybe not during his term but he has set WW3 in motions. Unforunately if he wins the 2nd election you will find out that I'm correct.

If you don't know who is friend and who is foe you have to kill both or you will lose.

Dear John - bless your heart, friend. You're pounding the Dumb Theme even as GWB dances in the End Zone for the ninteenth time since Sept 11. The DNC meme that GWB is dumb is itself the height of Dumbness and Dumberness. It doesn't get any dumber than to call a guy dumb who took all your money at the poker table and then slapped you around like cheap hooker and then finished it off by getting you to bet your car and took that, too.

But listen, the truth is you're scared. You're little and you're unshriven. You have four toes on each foot, your hair is like unto wool, and your language skills are like unto the braying of beaten mules. You will forever be Behind The Curve if you cannot assess that the world already Hates Us so why not at least protect ourselves. But this will make no sense to the DNC Kos Crowd who, after hitting the pipe, gin up visions of sugar plums and what they do with their fingers and plums is beyond the brief of this website.

Go away. Go to another country. Go to Canada and grow hash. At least there, if you live in the Eastern part of Canada, you will know even as you are known.

Until then, get off the bus.

This is the best thing I have ever read on the Internet. Seriously.

I linked to it on my blog. I just want to say thank you for taking the time to say it. I wish I could articulate it as well as you have. Fortunately in 2004, all I have to do is link to it instead.

Carry on, sir.



Thank you. I have to send a response to a very well thought out e-mail that my nephew sent me on why he thinks the country is going in the wrong direction. I’ll be using a lot of what you said here to debunk most of his arguments.

"As if there was any question of negotiation - far from it....they must obey the demands of the mujahedeen. If you refuse, we slaughter."

This is a quote from Al Zarqawi's website. Kerry and the Kumbaya Choir singing on this comment thread seem to believe that if the US would only change its attitude and act with more sensitivity toward the Islamists, we could all rejoice and go home. Please read and try to understand what Zarqawi is telling you.

It is not about President Bush, it is all about being a moslem or an infidel. Make your choice, but stop whining about the evil President Bush. The only thing Mr. Kerry can do to be better than Bush is to act even more aggressively. He has to be willing and able to kill them faster and in greater numbers.

Excellent essay. Thank you.

I've also taken an extremely long time to read the numerous posts, and to most I complement you on staying on target with your comments. I also noted that the liberal posters tend to want to change the topic. Has anyone else noted that when in a discussion with the liberal left they insist on state plititudes, and when you start addressing their arguements with facts they want to change to the topic to another.

The letter from the military doctor posted by Mosul demonstrates how attitude will filter your perceptions. The Doctor is obviously a Democrat to the bone. The band aid purple hearts were pointing out that although a recipient of three of the medals, John Kerry never saw the inside of a hospital. I would have thought that a Doctor witnessing what is claimed in the letter would have taken umbrage of John Kerry being awarded purple hearts for minor wounds, rather than complaining about the Republicans. By the way, I thought the Republican leadership made a point of disavowing the Band Aid purple heart signs etc, and stating that they did not question Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam. I may be mistaken, but seem to recall a story about the band aids on FOX that made that point.

I happened to catch a fellow by the name of Dinesh D'Souza on C-span. He was giving a speech about Islam and the terrorists. In that speech, he pointed out that it is our freedom that they hate, not what we’ve done. They don’t like the fact that we decide what is right and wrong for ourselves and do not rely upon something outside ourselves. He pointed out that in Afghanistan, the women were required to be modest, hence, how could one claim that a woman was being modest when she had no choice in the situation. Over here, we have the choice, and so when you come upon a modest women, you know she is modest and not someone who is required to cover herself from head to toe. Mr. D’Souza is someone worth reading. I highly recommend his web site. http://www.dineshdsouza.com

Again Mr. Whittle, thank you.

I just sent it to everyone (as long as they aren't in the state of Mass.) in my address list. Very clear and coherent. Nice job, never been to this site before but I will be back.

Oh, and the people who I sent it to mostly live in Iowa. Hopefully they can convince some fellow Iowans to vote for Bush with this essay.


Hey Krakatoa - -

Thanks for the links. Note that even the Wall Street Journal opinion page considers Saddam's embrace of Islam "cynical."

And while Miniter's allegations are interesting, he does wear his bias on his sleeve, doesn't he? So I'm automatically inclined to distrust his reporting (we all know what bias does to reporters).

But what really makes me wonder about his many damning facts is that if they're so damning, why doesn't the President himself bring them out to explain why we had to be in Iraq? Are his reports corroborated from other sources? Does the "mainstream media" ignore them because they run counter to the alleged left-wing conspiracy, or because they're un-verifiable?

I don't know. I guess I'll have to read "Shadow War," too. I'm curious to learn about the Qaeda attempt on Bush's life, the many arrests we've secretly made, and the possible reasons why the Bush admin wouldn't trumpet these developments to the skies in order to convince skeptics like me that we're doing what we need to do.

And yeah, I understand the Bush Doctrine of "pre-emption." It leaves me wondering, "who's next? Syria? Iran? Pakistan? North Korea? Saudi Arabia?" All of them are just as threatening as Iraq, if not more, in terms of serving as possible nexuses between terrorists and states.

And it seems to me that it'd be a lot better, in light of our first pre-emptive excursion, to focus on finding the terrorists and killing them.


One of my brother warriors in the USAF sent me your website. Very well written...this most recent post. I had a few extra minutes before my next flight, so I decided to read the posted comments. There are many diverse views out there...

I don't know if anyone is interested, or cares, but I did a little fact checking myself and discovered that "FACTCHECK.COM" is a private site funded by a guy named George Soros. This individual apparently has an intense dislike of Conservatives in general and the President in particular. However, "FACTCHECK.ORG" is a site for an accredited non-partisan group that does exactly that...check facts. There's a fascinating disection of the "Chaney-Haliburton" issue...one some of the indivuals posting on this site might be well-advised to peruse.

Keep writing, and we'll keep reading.

Check Six
Woody Juvat

A tour de force of ass-kicking goodness. Thanks for the important message, sir. You are linked.

I could be wrong, but it seems that there are fewer terrorists with a pulse these days. Could it be that a substantial number were killed in Afghanistan, and maybe one or two in Iraq?

Also, ya don't have to be an American to be hated by the Islamofascists. Or to be a target.

Bill, thanks for the great comeback. I was remiss in not thanking you previously.

Wow! I've printed out a few dozen copies and am now loaded for bear after spamming everyone I know who needs an education.

Absolutely awesome article. Thanks.

You laid it out very clear, if only the unbelievers could see the truth. It is a great article.

Thank you very much.

Thanks Bill,

I found your page through MSN. It is now a Favorites page. I plan to give this to as many people as I can. It clearly demonstrates the different views of the political spectrum. Reading the posts left me with the opinion that some people will never GET IT!!

Thanks for the ammo!

Thanks Bill.

You took the time to write, I took the time to read AND all the follow-ups also.

I agree with your thesis.

You will probably be interested in reading the "Pentagon's New Map", by Thomas P. Barnett. Very interesting read on the post 9-11 world.

I am a 57-year old woman who believes in carrying a REALLY BIG STICK and I believe in pre-emption.

I count myself a member of the Pajamahedeen. And you know what? I think I'll wear those pajamas to the polls on election day.

Wow. Amazing piece. Women scare the hell out of me too, but hopefully they'll start to scare the hell out of the Islamic nutjobs who used to cut off their heads or hang them to cheering crowds in soccer fileds, simply because they burnt the toast. My wife hasn't forgotten me screwing up on a birthday twenty years ago. These hooded nuts of uber-faith are in for some richly deserved wrath once freedom hits the Islamic world. Maybe Gloria Steinhem will find a future hubby who fled from a torqued jawed Muslim lady.

I will add my praise to the heap already bestowed. It is not redundant. An inspiring piece that has helped to clarify my thinking. Amazing how quickly the world forgets.

Even if Bush loses, this essay has given me the vision of a man who did what was right regardless of the cost. Again, it is negative thinking, but I am almost morbidly curious to see what our world would look like in say, 2007, if Kerry wins this elections.

I will add one thing. I certainly respect Bush if he has secret news about Osama or WMD and is keeping them secret for operational security. But, if he loses the election and the news comes out in about 6 months that Osama has been dead for years, then I will be a little miffed.

In other words, it is okay by me if Bush grandstands a little in order to save civilization.

Peace to the lefty posters who think that the world will love us if we leave them alone. You do not have much longer to enjoy that illusion, so savor it while you can.

p.s. I voted for Mondale too, in my first election. I am so embarassed.

One could not have stated the difference this election means any better than this essay has. So many excellent points were made. I will forward this to some like-minded friends because they will read and analyze longer opinion dissertations. I'm afraid that the people I know who hold the "can't we all just get along?" view with people who are intent on our destruction aren't inclined to look at history or facts. The only arguments that many on the Kerry side can absorb are the inane "blood for oil", "Bush is Hitler", "Bush lied", or the ever popular "Haliburton". Nice sound bites (simple but the people buying into them are simple). Boy, if this war were about oil, you'd think Cheney and Bush would be in Bill Gates' income range by now (must be stashing it away in some Swiss account). Also, I sure have not seen cheap gas where I live. Thank God WWII wasn't fought under the the same political rules of engagement by the side not in power - hint - the Republicans. Who knows what the world would be like today if the vast majority of America wasn't behind and supportive of FDR.

Of course when the next big attack comes to us on American soil, the REACTIVE outcry from the left will be, "It was Bush's fault" and "what did Bush know and when?" (no matter who wins the election, but with Kerry, it is assured).


You try sending goods overseas without the goverments permission, or oversight, and see how much money you make before you land in jail. Heck, you can't send something through the USPS overseas without filling out at least one form describing the contents.

And it you think buisness, ecspecially international buisness, doesn't involve politics, the exactly what the fuck is the color of the sky in your world?

Wishes and dreams are nice to try and live by Leonard.
Unfortunately, its not theat type of world today.

This sounds like people who only believe the lies told them by certain Republicans, Has anyone looked at the fact there were no WMD's found, and wasn't that the reason we attacked IRAQ, does anyone believe that IRAQ has OIL, and there are people in politics who are also in the OIL BUSINESS, how about the VP's ex-company doing all the business in IRAQ, I wonder if they have been given back the valuable package given the VP when he left to be the VP. I could go on and on, however I doubt this draft will ever get posted. If it does, please all you readers, think about your position in life, IS IT BETTER THAN IT WAS 3 1/2 YEARS AGO? I am telling you I am not better off, and I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel GO JOHN KERRY, WE NEED YOU.

George, does Sarin gas count as a WMD? 7 shells found at last count. And one could potentially kill 100,000 people. And a few "mustard gas" shells were also discovered. But WMDs weren't the sole pretext of the invasion. If you believe they were, you've been spending too much time at michaelmoore.com.

Powerful argument for President Bush, beautifully written. You remind me again of the heavy burden this man carries.

I wish it were not so,
but as we grownups know
wishing does not make it so.

What took me so long to find your site? Thanks to NRO's The Corner.

George says:
"If it does, please all you readers, think about your position in life, IS IT BETTER THAN IT WAS 3 1/2 YEARS AGO?"

Let's push aside the fact that yes, in the terms you're talking about (i.e., primarily economic), my life is much better than it was 3.5 years ago. Here's something to consider: 3.5 years ago, the United States had no comprehensive defense against terrorism, no understanding of the danger from Islamofascists, no idea that we were in a War on Terror. And don't be blind about it -- 3.5 years ago we were in a war. 3.5 years ago was post-WTCI, post-embassy bombings, post-Cole, and we were still blind to the fact. Now, 3.5 years later, I won't claim that we have yet a comprehensive defense against terrorism, but we're getting there. And we (at least those of us who learned anything from recent history) understand that there is great danger from Islamofascists. Furthermore, everyone realizes that we're in a War on Terror.

3.5 years ago, we were blind and ignorant with our pants down. We're not anymore. So yes, my position in life, and yours, and most others in the country, are better than 3.5 years ago. It may not shake out -- yet -- in terms of money or social status, but if that's all you're looking for, I pity you.

wtg Josh

Shilo : I said Bush is dumb military strategist not a dumb person. You insulted me personally for having a different oppinion than you. You should appologize. If this is not a place for debate I won't post here anymore.
Here is why I don't think we are going down the right path for US safety with the war in Iraq.

1)The US soldiers can't tell the difference between who is the enemy and who is a civilian.
2)Iraqis will see the US as the new controling people. (remember Iraqis are innocent, we are in thier country telling them what they want) They want us to leave.
3)A Civil war will break out after we leave.
4)Israel/Palestine and Saudi Arabia is where the center for the war on terror is.
5)Americans beleive in an end to the cycle of violence with a winner and a loser. The people we are fighting against beleive that they will keep fighting on and on across generations.

1. The enemy is easy to spot. They're the ones shooting at our guys.
2. They won't after we leave.
3. Possibly, but potentially only in 3 provinces.
4. There is no center for the war on terror. It's worldwide.
5. You're right on that one...it may very well take generations.

This piece is absolutely AWESOME!

I'm going to distribute it as widely as I can.

This is a serious indictment of contemporary liberalism. I know and work with many people for whom this form of liberalism is all they know. They cannot understand or perceive a different perspective that is valid. If the view is different, it is invalid, by default, regardless of historical circumstances.
This is why this election is the most bizarre and the most important of my lifetime.
Thank you for sharing your heart and your analysis.


My point had nothing to do with whether Saddam was a true believer or not. The point is he was taking the steps necessary to ally himself with the Islamo-fascist terrorists.

I picked those two websites via a search in Yahoo.

The information contained on them looks a lot like what you can find if you read the 9-11 commission's report. Pretty good corroboration if you ask me.

I don't know why the President and his administration doesn't drum this information out on a constant basis. It is truly beyond me, and obviously a frustration to all on my side of the debate.

Who's next? Well, maybe you don't understand the Bush Doctrine quite as well as you think. Ideally, there will be no next. Ideally, a Democratic Iraq will start inevitable momentum to wider democracy in the Middle East. The Bush Doctrine is about more than simple pre-emption. It is also about demonstrating that we can and will use our might judiciously and with firm resolve to finish the job. And if the ideal doesn't come to pass, the Bush Doctrine recognizes that the threat of force is useless if there is no reasonable belief by our enemies that the use of force is actually on the table.

North Korea will likely never be a target for pre-emption. They are not much of a threat conventionally, but by the same token, a conventional invasion of them would be far more costly than Iraq. Their nuclear threat is significant, thanks to the bilateral strategy of trust, but don't verify employed by Clinton and Albright, coincidentally the same strategy Kerry wishes to revive. North Korea is a perfect reason for continuing research and deployment of SDI. Kerry, to the surprise of nobody and with the support of N. Korea, would reverse this program.

I find it the absolute pinnacle of arrogance that Kerry would stand there in the first debate and have the absolute gall to blame N. Korea's nuclear program on Bush. The dishonesty of this position is beyond debate, and I think there are very few people on my side who could have responded much better than Bush did at the audacity of Kerry's accusation.

I join many with congratulations on a good job. Too bad this article can't be required reading in every college classroom.

I hold out hope that our President has an "ace in the hole" and will play that notion in the coming days. If national politics stay right where they are now I am afraid that Kerry will win.

I can't help but believe that the GOP has a few more ideas to sway voters their way. I have heard enough of the rhetoric of the current campaign.

One thing for those who read this...if Kerry wins there is a silver lining in the cloud of defeat. We won't see Hilary in 2008. That might not be of much consolation - but it may be the only good news we can cling to.

No real leader has all the answers for all the problems. But listening to Kerry makes one think that he is the exception...what a crock ! Our President may not be the best leader in every aspect of national government but he will keep us safe and work to rid the world of the true infidels.

The DNC should elect PollyAnna as their spokesperson. What a perfect compliment to their illusionary approach on protecting America today !

1)Agreed. But if you don't know who the enemy is until they shoot you or blow you up that is too late. Also they can work for you in the day and shoot at you at night (with a gun and training you gave them).
3)I don't know what will happen when the Civil war starts.
4)Agreed. (but I think Israel and Saudi are logical places to start fighting terrorism, not necessarily militarily)

Brinster: I ended up in this forum because one of my friends sent me a link to this article because he thought this article was good (I think it is a good article also). Is this a place for debate or is this a forum where like-minded people come to share common ground?


Bush is not a military strategist. Neither is John Kerry. The difference is that Bush knows it. Hence he lets his military leaders make the strategy.

1) The difficulty in identifying the enemy doesn't make our enemy any less lethal should we ignore them.

2) No they don't. Every poll I've seen shows the Iraqis want us to stick around until they are on their own feet with a government and the military to defend it.

3) Sez you.

4) Palestinian terrorists had less to do with Al Qaida than Saddam did according to all reports I've read. They share a method. Saudi Arabia is the home of Wahabbism, for sure. So are you suggesting we should invade them?

5) You are right. Once again, ignoring the enemy doesn't make them any less dangerous. Would you rather face them now, or face them when they have more devastating weapons in their arsenal?

So glad, so glad, so GLAD to be reading you again! Thank heavens!

What did we do to piss 'em off? We musta' done sumthin!

Well yeah, we DID do something, we built us a successful civilization without Islam---the supposed perfection of human social organization, ordained by Allah hisself. They, by contrast, have built sh**. Our EXISTENCE is a repudiation of the most holy tenets of their faith, thus we must cease to exist.

That, my liberal it's-all-our-fault friends, is what this battle is about, not oil, not the West Bank, not any reason that you and I would think rational. And yes, I said "battle" instead of "war" for a reason---they have been struggling to "...make [the infidel] feel subdued..."(Koran, sura 19 I think) since the 7th century. We are witnessing the latest flare up is all.

Krakatoa : Excelent points
I think I have my answer. Debate it is!!!!!!

I don't think Bush stays out of military strategy like he should. Bremer , Shenseki, Powell seem to echo my view.
1)Fight smart - yes. Ignor them - no. We are making them lethal by fighting dumb.
2)You are absolutely right at this point in time.
3)Make a prediction will there be civil war or not. I predict yes. I dont bet money but if I did I'd give you 4 to 1 odds.
4)Our involvement in Israel is a huge part of terrorism puzzle.
5)see 1

Bush should turn Iraq over to Powell. Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld and Rice have a combined 0 days of combat experience. If Kerry wins he should enlist Powell's help.


In reference to my post above: it's not Koran, Sura 19, though that does blast Christians as blasphemers. I'm beat (it's about 1 am here) so I'll not look it up, but I think "...make the infidels feel subdued..." is from Sura 9 (the "Sword" verse). Sura 9 is an enlightening read anyway, so read it. It's usually the last, and therefore the most authoritative, verse in the Koran (though Dawood's translation put's it near the beginning).

Night all.


It's about bedtime. ;p

Do me a favor... put up some links showing Shinseki, Powell and Bremer saying Bush is getting in the way of military strategy.

1) How exactly are we making them more lethal by defining the battle field and killing them?

3) Civil war, its probability, its potential scope and even the question of its value is worthy of far more debate that I am up to before bedtime.

4) Accepting for the sake of argument your premise that the Israel/Palestine conflict is a huge part of the terror war, what exactly is Kerry's plan? It seems to me that particular situation has benefitted greatly by Bush's refusal to accept Arafat as a power broker, and his support of Israel's security fence and Israel's campaign of pre-emption on Hamas targets.

This essay may be the best ever I have read during my time of perusing Bogland. Thanks for the wit! There are some of the liberal persuasion who will be offended by the tone, but I believe that there is much here to convince the unconvinced that George W Bush is the man for the job and that John F Kerry would be a disastrous and frightening alternative. Great, fantastic work, sir!

Perhaps this weekend, I'll be able to respond in length to some of the asshattery (is that a word?) that is rampant on this board, most specifically from Beetroot. But once again it's late, I just watched "FahrenHype 9-11" (a wonderful rebuttal to MM's putrid Fahrenheit 9-11, available at your local video store), and I have to be ready to go to work in 7 hours. So I'll just deal with this one bit of nonsense from the formerly reasonable liberal known as Leonard:

In fact I am an isolationist for moral reasons: peace is moral, initiating aggression is not.

Well, allright, that's not entirely nonsense. But Leonard my friend, just like Mighty Casey at the Bat ((WHIFF!!!)), you utterly miss the point about peace and initiating agression. See, not only is there no peace if you initiate aggression, there's no peace if you don't respond to aggression in kind. Turning the other cheek may be a wonderful ideal of Christian sentiment, but it will only invite another bitch-slap from an aggressor. Take it from a former cheek-turner, the stick works better than the carrot.

When I was 15, there was a kid in my history class who was harassing me. Let's call him Mister Outhouse, as a variation on his real last name. He didn't do anything physical at first, just nasty looks, veiled threats, and his own pet name for me, "Spud Head". I didn't do too much about it. In fact, I did nothing about it. As I said, this was during the time I was a cheek-turner. Sticks and stones, right? Besides, he was always strutting around in his sweatpants with the TaeKwonDo Tournament patches. So one day as I'm walking to my table, Mr. Outhouse throws a kick squarely at my chest. He didn't actually kick me, but my momentum carried me right into the sole of his Nike high-top just as my step ended.


Anyway, we stood there toe-to-toe for a few moments. I kept hoping that the teacher would finally get his arse out of the smoke-filled lounge and into the room, but I was on my own. No allies, not even the guy who sat at the same table I did. (Not that he could have done much, he was the quintessential 98-pound weakling. Helluva nice guy, great trumpet player, but not the guy you'd want covering your back.)

All good bullies need toadies, and Mr. Outhouse had his in Sean Workman. (His real name.) Sean made some comment at my expense. Mister O. chuckled and glanced back his toady with a grin of appreciation for what he considered le mot juste. When Outhouse brought his attention back to me, I was in the process of demonstrating one of Newton's laws of motion. I forget which one it was, but I was thoughtful enough to illustrate the principle by placing my fist on his jaw at high velocity.

The teacher FINALLY came into the room shortly after I threw that punch, and that was the end of it. No reprisals, no recriminations, no ambushes at my locker. Aggression stopped aggression cold in its tracks. Maybe you'd say that I was the one who started it. Maybe you'd have a point; after all, he never actually kicked me, or even laid a finger on me. But all through the first part of that 10th grade year his nastiness had been steadily escalating, and for the 2 years after that, he barely acknowledged my existence.

peace is moral, initiating aggression is not.

Whatever. Initiating aggression bought me 2 years of peace, an incredibly valuable asset to have in the world of High School. There's more to morality than just declaring "I want peace". So do I. So do most Americans. So. What are you going to do to DEFEND that peace?

(Here's a hint: it's going to take a LOT more than putting a "Free Tibet" bumper sticker on your car.)


To Wry:

I do not; did not; will not retract a single word of my accusation that those so-called conversations were faked. The alleged "exchange" between "Mother" and "Q" was a contrived fictitious exchange scripted and pasted in, possibly by a program, NOT a real exchange between two posters as it is meant to be perceived. Of course there are mothers whose sons have been killed in Iraq; I’m sure there are some who are antagonistic to Bush. They have the right to their opinions. They have my sympathy for their loss, but I am not obliged to suspend my ability to see reality to prove that.

If you have spent any time reading the comment stream here over the last two and a half years, you would know that this is the very first time I have EVER challenged a post as fraudulent. Twice in one 24 hour session.

My objection, and the core of my objection to the faked conversation is that it is a cheap attempt to post all the Democratic Party “talking points” in a forum like this in a way that is meant to stifle any challenge to the logic, or facts. It is intended to be perceived as the direct, real-time outpouring of a tragically-bereft mother, to whom we readers owe at least the chance to have her say without adding to her torment by challenging her in this time of loss.

It is simply, a SHITTY attempt to substitute emotion for logic.

But it is transparently fraudulent, at least insofar as it attempts to portray itself as the innocent exchange between a bereaved mother and some other reader who just “Happened” to see her post, and decided to respond.

The posts all appeared in a flood, interrupted only in a couple of places by the other posters. This was clear from their timestamps--- They followed each other minute by minute. If you take so much as thirty seconds to study what normally goes on here, you will see that there have been some 300 posts in LESS THAN 24 HOURS since Bill Whittle created and published "deterrence (part 2).” Considering that each post takes a finite amount of time to compose, a real exchange between two people carrying on even a scripted conversation--- UNLESS IT OCCURRED AT 4AM--- would have to take something like 45 minutes or so, for each person to post, for the other person to read, absorb, compose and post a reply, for the total number of postings by the two fictitious contributors.

In fact, in the twenty-odd posts that constituted the faked exchange, there were only two interruptions from other posters, at a time of night when people are most likely to be reading and exchanging posts. Their entire “exchange”--- all of their posts--- appeared in the comment stream in just a few minutes between about 10pm and 11pm. For two people to carry on a “conversation” or “exchange” of that many posts, would normally take many hours, with scores of other posts interrupting between each of their comments. And unlike most people who post here, whoever posted those declined to include a link. Either of them.


"half of Europe free while the other half slowly rotted under the weight of an ideology so corrupt that it can now only thrive in the hothouse environment of the western coffee shop or faculty lounge. That, too, was an alliance victory."

I suppose you've never heard of China?
If so, please explain America's dependence on them. Go lookup something called a trade imbalance. How can it be that America is the multi-billion dollar bitch of the commies now? That's some coffee shop. OK so maybe your forte isn't economics.

Here's an easy to way to check America's economic strength:

Go find out how much stuff you own that is made by Americans in the USofA? After answering that question, did we really win WWII? I question that assertion.

Bonus fun: Travel to another country and see how many things Made in U.S.A tags you can find.

Thanks again, Bill, for reassuring me that I can vote Republican in my favorite well-worn tie-dye without feeling out of place, or like a hippie that was too stoned to be able to see the ballot card. I was turned on to your site by a link from IMAO, and I have it bookmarked now. Keep up the good work.


I analyzed the outcome of the War On Terror on my site, Libercontrarian, and came to very similar, albiet much less-well-fleshed-out, conclusions as you.

It was a very powerful piece of writing. It was also delightful. The media should cover this story, so that our nation can be adequately reminded about the nature of the enemy and of the war in which we are presently engaged.

Nick Horianopoulos


"Is this a place for debate or is this a forum where like-minded people come to share common ground?"

I'm new here, but, from quick observation I would say it is a bit of both!

Also, Bush has not started WW3. It is WW4 and it was already in motion before 911.


Naw, you can't be my bro'. Anyway, I didn't say Kuwait and Iran, I said Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Thinking that Saddam would have stopped at Kuwait if we were not there to stop him is just plain silly. And, the other nations in the neighborhood would have taken care of it? How? Do you think they would have allied with us if they could take care of it themselves? Remember, at that point Saddam unquestionably had WMD, and was armed to the teeth -- significantly more potent than when he fought Iran. Just because WE and a lot of help defeated him fairly easily does not mean Iraq was not powerful. Ok, so if he has Kuwait and Saudi, plus his own oil... He can basically set the world oil price. Bad enough (that's probably good for 10 -100 million deaths world wide, per decade), but it also finances his further ambitions. (How do you think Hitler got so far in WW 2? Just through Germany's resources alone?) Where does it stop? Bill is right, wolves eat lambs, unless the lamb whips out a big gun and shoots the wolf.

Now, as far as Switzerland, Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, etc., go... Are these nations thought of as the SOURCE of freedom and democracy, or the culture the Islamo-terrorists hate? Israel, heck, Israel is not hated by most Muslims because it occupies so much of Muslim land. It is hated because of what it is. And envy. And jealousy.

David March,

Hey, I'm mostly on your side! It is true that there were plenty brutalities on both sides, but the sacking of Jerusalem was THE most brutal episode I have found in what I've read. And where it happened (a "Holy" city) counts too, especially from the Muslim perspective. But my point is not whether or not there is something worse the Muslims did. Rather, it is that the Muslim radicals' hatred of the infidel goes back a long, long way, and our oil policies, etc., are a negligible factor.

I have a better way to check America's economic strength: look at the GDP. Look at the standard of living. China is such an unbelievable shithole that the fact you even draw a comparison is quite amusing. I really don't give a damn that the US doesn't manufacture cheap plastic pieces of shit in a dingy factory.

By the way, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the explanation of how we lost WW2. What are you waiting for? Post it, I can't wait.


China's ideology and economy are totally different than the ideology Bill refers to.

I'm in electronics manufacturing and I have a pretty good picture of the Chinese competition, thank you!

Did you know China is running a trade deficit overall? In some areas, plants can only get electricity a couple days a week? That's not to say they are not a fearsome competitor, they are.

But, we will be fine if we do not limit ourselves or think we have to stick to to what we have done well in the past. Go read a magazine called "Expansion Management" for a few issues and tell me our economy is weak! Among other things, the Japanese are building automobile plants here as fast as they can. Besides, manufacturing isn't everything, and I say that while in manufacturing!


Excellent analysis of the fake. Thanks!


China's ideology and economy are totally different than the ideology Bill refers to.

I'm in electronics manufacturing and I have a pretty good picture of the Chinese competition, thank you!

Did you know China is running a trade deficit overall? In some areas, plants can only get electricity a couple days a week? That's not to say they are not a fearsome competitor, they are.

But, we will be fine if we do not limit ourselves or think we have to stick to to what we have done well in the past. Go read a magazine called "Expansion Management" for a few issues and tell me our economy is weak! Among other things, the Japanese are building automobile plants here as fast as they can. Besides, manufacturing isn't everything, and I say that while in manufacturing!

Oops, sorry 'bout the double post. Time to go to bed! Wife is furious!

One question quiz. Who said this: "The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president's strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush."

L. Paul Bremer III

And.....Bremer was the chairman of the National Commmission on Terrorism before he headed the CPA.

David March says:
"But it is transparently fraudulent, at least insofar as it attempts to portray itself as the innocent exchange between a bereaved mother and some other reader who just “Happened” to see her post, and decided to respond."

What tipped me off more than anything else is the fact that 'Q' started asking the questions of 'Mother' before Mother had posted anything. But they're gone now :).

SuperHappyFunBall says:
"Here's an easy to way to check America's economic strength:

Go find out how much stuff you own that is made by Americans in the USofA? After answering that question, did we really win WWII? I question that assertion."

So we're economically weak because we're so rich that we can continuously buy high-quality products made everywhere else in the world? I know that there's some economic danger in a trade imbalance, but the flipside is that it's also an indicator that the dollar is strong globally. If we were an economically weak nation, businesses in other countries would be unwilling to trade for our dollar.

Oops -- previous unsigned comment was me.

David March,

Your chickenshit beating-about-the-Bush doesn't change that fact that it was an actual interview with an actual mother of a son killed in combat in Iraq.

And the grieving mother's words have since been deleted from this forum, because this is a forum for deluded head-in-the-sand fools with no respect for American heroes in uniform.


Stephen wrote:
"I'm amazed that three years and countless murders of innocent victims later (Bali, Madrid, Beslan, etc.) someone still wants to blame the victims instead of the perpetrators.

Should the victims of Auschwitz blame themselves for the actions of their Nazi exterminators? The logic is beyond the pale for me to understand."

Trying to understand (and in some cases, taking responsibility for) the motivations of the terrorists is not blaming the victims.

Every Palestinian (or Iraqi or Afghan or Somali) who sees American-made rockets fired from American-made helicopters into their refugee camp is going to make a very obvious link between their suffering and our country.

Do I think the terrorists should be hunted down and killed? Absolutely: they crossed a very hard and well-defined line, and they should pay with their lives. I doubt anyone would seriously dispute that.

However, you're treating the symptom and not the disease. You have to get to the root causes, which usually boil down to poverty, ignorance, longstanding ethnic or cultural tension, and a perception that their country, if not their entire culture, is under assault by the west, most prominently America.

Failure to treat the disease means the symptoms will recur. This takes thoughtful planning and a long-term perspective, neither of which most nations are capable of (witness our increasing energy consumption, unchecked urban sprawl, unchecked population growth, etc.), so I think we're locked into this cycle of senseless violence indefinitely.

Malthus would approve.

-- Richard

Today's unemployment report DOESN"T MATTER.

The number of dead soldiers in Iraq DOESN'T MATTER.

Wall Street corruption, street crime, the AIDS epidemic, public schools...

The national deficit DOESN"T MATTER.

ALL THAT MATTERS is the threat of AL-QAEDA!!!

Thank you, Bill, for saying this so relentlessly.

PAY NO ATTENTION to distractions from the MAIN THING:

Terrorism is all that matters, and only the President is capable of fighting it. KERRY COULDN'T POSSIBLY DO IT.

Outstanding work, Bill. Simply outstanding.

I'll be forwarding this one to the people who didn't get the message when I sent them the last one. And here's to the next one-- Don't you dare lose sight of the fact that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS except the only thing that does: the terrorist threat.

Bravo Zulu!

Magificent, Mr. Whittle.

Thank you.

For God's and the Country's sake , PLEASE send this to the White House now!

You have done us all a great service by plain speaking the truth of the matter.

By the way, John Petain Kerry's vanity and the infinite varity of self-worship are extreme to the point of being sociopathic.

Your disection of his so-called policies, which, once in a state of hectic revision and are now morbidly fixed, reveal an insane disassocaition from reality which can only be shorn up by lying on an heroic scale.

Keery has proven that he will sacrifice anything and anyone, including his commrades in arms and wives, to have his way in the world.

The man is dishonerable, utterly dangerous and I pray that he will be defeated.

I am grateful for your hard work and moral sense.

Sean Sculley, NYC

Root causes. Poverty-bin Laden isn't exactly poor but he has managed to exploit the poor in the Islamic world. Neither are the others in his inner circle. Zawahiri, for instance, is an Egyptian doctor. Ignorance-The West is in no way responsible for this. The failed culture of Islamism is. Longstanding ethnic or cultural tension-We've had that here since before our inception, and we've not managed to blame it on anyone else. The PERCEPTION that their country, if not their entire culture, is under assault by the west, most prominently America-the key word is perception. How was this perception arrived at? Has it not been carefully nurtured in the tenets of Wahhabism? This current conflict isn't new. It's been going on since the crusades, and it's an attempt to return Islam to glory.

Great job Bill, masterfull, and I too would rather coach the Gators. Thanks for the hard work you put into this. I have been telling people for 21/2 yrs that when you drop Daisy CuttersTM(USAF) you get well known terrorist masterminds pushing up daisies. Now if we can handle LSU sat nght........God Bless, Art

"ALL THAT MATTERS is the threat of AL-QAEDA!!!"

I would disagree with that... the threat is posed by Islamic Extremism (and not so extremism, but that's another subject). Al Queda is but the extremist entity at the forefront, and the one that has (for now) hit us the hardest. There are other battles to be fought, and other enemies to be destroyed besides them.

Two thoughts:

First, to Krakatoa. I ask "who's next for pre-emption," and you say, "ideally, nobody," which is a completely useless answer. Planning of ANY kind must never assume conditions will be ideal. And the assumption behind pre-emption as a doctrine is that new threats will be constantly emerging, anywhere, anytime. That's why it's enshrined as a "doctrine," not just trotted out as a one-time explanation.

Furthermore, since virtually everything that has happened in Iraq since the invasion has been far less than ideal (e.g. the massive and growing insurgency which we not only didn't predict but still can't really identify), it seems unreasonable to think the scenario, or future scenarios, too rosy.

And even IF Iraq becomes a beacon of democracy and freedom - an enormous IF promoted by the same people who told us that we'd be greeted with flowers and that the insurgents were just a few dead-enders - why would that prevent other countries from evildoing?

I mean, get it together, man! Sounds to me like you're defending pre-emption by saying that it won't be necessary to use it anymore. I'm not buying that, just like I'm not buying "North Korea's no threat." If Iraq - which didn't have nukes - was a "gathering" threat, then what the hell is NK?

Strange. And as for you, Mark, I'm glad you learned how to punch bullies in the face, and I understand the metaphor for pre-emption and deterrence. Extend the metaphor a little bit, however - - so the bully bullies you. And you hit him in the face. And then you decide that you're going to go start beating up all the people you can find who might be his friend or help him out someday. Pretty soon you're beating people up all over the place. You beat up some people who don't have anything to do with your first bully. Then some of your victims get together and meet you after school and REALLY beat the shit out of you. Now you're mad. You're outnumbered so you start packing heat. Your mom is pissed because you're not studying and your grades are slipping, and you get kicked off the football team for fighting with one of your tormentors. The original bully is watching all this and laughing: "man, I really sent this guy off the deep end," but the next time he catches you alone and tries to start something, you take a shot at him. It misses, an innocent bystander gets hurt, and all of a sudden you're down in the principal's office and there's cops all over the place and you're asking for help but nobody wants to help you. The bully's still out there. You're pinned down and screwed.

I agree your story is much nicer. So is the story where we go into Iraq, kill some people, scare ('deter') all the terrorists back into their spider holes, and build a flowering happy democracy where freedom reigns and children laugh. I don't see that happening yet, and I see all the trends going in the opposite direction.

But I'm an asshat, so, there you go.

Your words are so right on!! ThanK you!!

I am wondering if the recent increase in the murder of innocent Iraqi Muslins by the Islamofascists may signal a MAJOR turning point in WWIV. This new direction of terror aimed towards their ‘own brethren’ represents at least a sign of desperation on the part of the fascists.

I seem to remember that several months ago the Islamofascists kidnapped, and then released an American soldier because he was a Muslim. Would that matter to them today, or would it be 'off with their heads' Muslim-American non-true-believers?

Anti-fascist Iraqis standing beside us and fighting as (or more) determedly as the enemy, may be one of the most significant developments since 9/11. Being, most notably, motivated by the Islamofascist killings of innocent Muslims ‘including’, of course, anti-fascist Iraqis suggests the desperation of the fascists. The fascists seemed to be much more careful in directing their terror only six months ago. Now, it seems that the fascists believe that everyone is expendable including innocent Iraqi children.

Who can deny we are at least making progress since Muslims are now fighting beside us against Islamic fascism? May the optimists venture that we are winning the war because anti-fascist Muslims are now in the fight? (We should not forget the Afgans who also stand so valiantly with us.)

Finally, could this event signal the beginning of a ‘stick in the eye’ reformation of Islam in terms of redefining jihad/murder?

Thanks again for your brilliant article.

Outstanding article - I have several friends who are fence sitters leaning towards Bush and if this doesn't put them in the Bush camp then nothing will. Of course out here in the People's Republic of California it is a moot point but it is still our civic duty to get them to see the light...

DETERENCE: Great Piece!

Conservatives, lets play nice, we should kindly asked the bleeding heart liberals to go join the fanatical Islamists and be done with them.

Liberals, just to show you that we conservatives care here is instructions on how to join the fanatical Islamists:

1. Go to the nearest international airport catch a flight to Paris.
2. Once in Paris catch a flight to Cairo.
3. Once in Cairo catch a flight to one of the following Islamic countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Yemen, etc.
4. Once you are in one of the above countries ask for political asylum, convert to Islam

By the way do not try to voice your dissenting opinion because here are a few things that could happen and at least one of them will.

1. Imprisoned for life without cause.
2. Have your tongue cut out.
3. Public beheading.
4. Stoned
5. Beaten

Oh yea almost forget they do not use toilet paper. You have to use your left hand to wipe up after using the facilities. So remember to shake hands only with your right hand. Advancing a hand shake with your left hand is a sign of disrespect and could lead to unhappy things.

Any way enjoy your stay with the happy go lucky radical, fanatical, extremist Islamists.


So... has anyone pointed out the fact that the crucial case against George Bush is that, well, he's a complete moron? Or is that taken for granted by now?

To all "No WMD have been found moonbats"; This summer the Polish brigade recovered 16 152mm artillery shells filled with nerve agent. (Sorry, don't recall who reported it) which was in the news two days. Any body who has worked in munitions knows that arty projos aren't produced in volumes of 10s- the production runs for high explosives usually number in high 6 or 7 figures. So assuming that chemical weapons (which even the lamestream media report Saddam used) were produced in production runs of "only" 10,000, then perhaps George Soros can tell me where the other 9,984 nerve agent 152mm shells from that production run are? No? I thought not.



I stand corrected!

Osama bin Laden DOESN'T MATTER.

I truly am not concerned about Osama bin Laden. He is a person who has been marginalized.

Afghanistan is now free, so his terrorists can't operate there any more.

Osama may be sick or dead, so it doesn't matter if he's ever caught.

That's why Iraq was the ONLY THING THAT MATTERED, because Saddam Hussein was the #1 nuclear threat and #1 terrorist threat. And now Saddam is marginalized, so Iraq is not a threat.

All that matters is the imminent threat of Islam.


Not abortion or protecting the sanctity of marriage or going to mars or hillarycare.

The only thing that matters is the Axis of Evil.


Fox One Two Three... Boola-Boola!!

I am so tired of reading about how there was no plan to win the peace and how we were caught with our pants down by the "insurgency". Apparently people have very short memories and absolutely no understanding of military tactics.

If you will recall, the original plan for taking out Iraq included a massive onslaught from both the South and the NORTH! The U.S. had the entire Fourth Division prepared to invade from Turkey and they would have been the ones to sweep through and take out the Saddam loyalists AND plug the border from Syria (the source of so many of these so called "insurgents"). Just a few short days before the invasion was to take place, Turkey pulled the plug an allowing our ground forces to stage out of their country, thus the entire two-pronged North-South pincer movement had to be tossed out infavor of a run up from the South.

Had the Turks not prevented this, the U.S. and coalition forces would have caught the vast majority of loyalists/insurgents/Ba'athists before they could ever start any so-called insurgency (how can it be an insurgency when most of the "insugents" are foreign?). This is what the President tried to explain, rather ineloquently, during the debate when he talked about having expected to have caught or killed these folks during the initial attack. Oh well, thanks Turkey, at least as a fellow memeber of NATO you let us use your air-bases.

P.S. Since both John Kerry and John Edwards very publicly stated BEFORE the war that Iraq had WMD's and was an IMMINENT threat to the U.S. - did they not also "mislead" the American people? Or is only Republican's who lie and mislead????

THANK YOU! I want the whole world to read your words. I will pass this on and hope my liberal and narrow minded friends will look beyond the feel good to the sane and safe. Emotions although important to a balanced life can be dangerous at this time in history.

(Three-part post)
To Paul R:

I apologize for giving the impression of any hostility to you by addressing your post in the same comment in which I *did* attack another post with obvious "dis-esteem."

I only meant to remind that the barbarity of Islam is inherent in the culture and the tenets of the religion. During Mohammed's lifetime, he lead military assaults against his opponents, and ordered the executions and beheadings of defeated unbelievers. Within a few decades of his death, the leadership of Islam changed several times by MURDER of one leader, with the victim replaced by the perpetrator of the murder.

Within a century of the death of Mohammed, Islam had been imposed by military assault and slaughter, on territories extending up the Levant through Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria as far as Byzantium (present Constantinople), and Eastward across North Africa all the way into Spain. Islamic culture controlled Spain until the Muslims were expelled in 1492 by Queen Isabela and King Ferdinand.

I would never defend the horrible barbarities done by Christians to each other and to adherents of other religions. But it is fair to distinguish that the barbarities are LAPSES from and CONTRADICTIONS to the basic beliefs of Jesus the Christ, not simple enacting of the instructions of his teachings. Ditto for Bhuddism and several other religions.
As to the pathetic insults of the poster using the name "Wry," your personal attack on me notwithstanding, the fraudulent posts did NOTHING to support any of their allegations; they simply regurgitated the typical laundry list of lies about the war in Iraq, that are part of the larger pack of lies that identify leftwing tin-foil hat wearers as candidates for the asylum.

I call that long list of accusations "The Catechism of the Delusional" because it is consistently invoked by people who seem to think that simply making an accusation is sufficient. No logical proofs or references or supportive research EVER accompany the accusations.
For instance, Halliburton got several contracts to supply services to the U.S. military in Iraq. These were NOT "no-bid" contracts; Under the Clinton administration, it was decided to PRE-QUALIFY certain suppliers so that in times of rapid deployment of U.S. military forces, the troops would not have to await the outcome of a prolonged bidding process for the services. In fact, Halliburton provided services to U.S. military during CLINTON's deployment of American forces in Bosnia, under approximately the same so-called "no-bid" conditions as apply to the current Iraq services.

The WHOLE point of having a private contractor supplying services that had previously been part of the military, is that it was determined that the cost to the U.S. taxpayers would be LESS to have private industry do it, than to have the government supply those services.

I mis-spoke myself:

" Islamic culture controlled Spain until the Muslims were expelled in 1492 by Queen Isabela and King Ferdinand."

Islam controlled SOUTHERN Spain--- Al-Andaluz, or "Andalusian Spain"

Good grief. This could not BE more 100% spot-on. You've done SUCH a fantastic job, and everything you say is, of course, correct.

I've linked (and excerpted) on my own page. I'm considering issuing threats to my readers if they don't read this. It's fantastic - and chillingly true.

Thanks for writing this. Kudos.

Last week there was the news that administration officials, including National Security Adviser Condeleezza Rice, were told on several occasions that those tubes they claimed Saddam Hussein was going to use to produce nuclear bombs were actually tubes that would be used to manufacture small artillery shells.

Even though Rice was informed of that on at least three occasions, she continued to claim in testimony to Congress and speeches to the public that the tubes represented "proof" that Saddam was in the process of producing weapons of mass destruction.

Now this week, the weapons researcher who was dispatched to find the truth about the weapons reports that Saddam had destroyed them in 1991 and 1992, a full decade before George W. Bush and his bevy of neocons decided we needed to link him with the war on terror.

Thousands of young American men and women are casualties in this war. More than a thousand have died. Many more will continue to be killed and injured unless this country figures out a way to get us out of the mess George Bush has started.Instead of fighting the war on terror, capturing Osama bin Laden and spending money on our own domestic security, Bush went after a pitiful and, yes, ruthless dictator. That decision continues to cost us dearly and we're less safe today than before.

The first step has to be to replace this president before he does more damage.

Allan wrote: I am so tired of reading about how there was no plan to win the peace and how we were caught with our pants down by the "insurgency". Apparently people have very short memories and absolutely no understanding of military tactics.

Yesterday, the highest-ranking woman in U.S. Army history campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in Rock Hill on Wed-nesday, telling Democratic Party faithful that President Bush had no clue what he was getting into in Iraq.

Retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy said Bush has no clue how to get out of Iraq either.

Kennedy, a 32-year Army veteran, was the first woman to become a three-star Army general.

A week old, but very disturbing news regarding cd found in Iraq with information about schools in U.S.

1. The enemy knows how perception of run of the mill, generic, blow up a financial center style attack would probably only galvanize support behind President, being rather transparently an attempt to imitate Spain.
2. Despite the images, we have become desensitized to the horror of 9/11. The Russian school massacre five or 10 times greater, on our soil, is not able to be put into words.
3. The administration is in a lose-lose situation regarding communicating such a threat. Even warning of the possibility of such a strike invites the charge of October fear-mongering, and using our children's safety as a political tool. Or conversely, "you knew there was a threat against the children and did not share that information with the American people?"
4. Such an actual attack, properly timed, would "prove" that the war in Iraq was a distraction, homeland security has been ignored, we should have been focusing on the real enemy, al Queda, etc. etc. etc.

And with Kerry's subsequent pronouncements to seek justice, do you not think that some of the outrage would be manifested in a blame Bush scenario?

For many reasons, let us pray something of this sort is not
in the cards.


Cabinboy summed it up for me: "Thank you for articulating what many of us believe. Keep the faith......"

I tend to be a liberal Republican who was sent your article by a conservative friend; I happily and eagerly read everything I can to learn and understand the world situation as best I can. This is where I think we disagree. I believe that the world does matter and that America should not arbitrarily act as if it existed in its own bubble. I do not think Kerry has ever said his plan for America is just to be nice, nor do I think that is what liberals or democrats (since they are actually 2 different things) would like to see. People who want Bush/Cheney out of office are looking for honesty, accountability and a plan for Iraq that involves more than the status quo. I do not disagree that the world is a different place today, but this occurred long before 9/11--it is just that Americans were not faced with the changing world until 9/11. We have always lived as if the oceans that separate us from Europe and Asia are still as vast as they were prior to the airplane. What I feel 9/11 brought to the forefront of people's lives is the realization that we are no longer protected from attacks by distance, and this sudden epiphany has created an oppressive fear that if we don't attack now, more danger will come to America. However, I do not believe anyone can stop them from coming unless we build a wall around America and keep all foreigners out, so the war in Iraq is not the end all and be all for our safety--we will never be completely secure again--we will never be able to look at an unattended bag again and think nothing--sinister thoughts and fears will control, especially for New Yorkers. Therefore, I disagree that attacking without provocation is the best course of action. I strongly believe that a part of why Bush/Cheney wanted to believe that Iraq was the biggest threat to America is due to oil and money. I understand the view that Bush/Cheney will not admit their mistakes b/c of troop morale, but I do not think that is a reason to ignore the reality of Iraq and the horror that exists there everyday, and seems to be getting worse. For Cheney to say hindsight means nothing and he would have done everything the same in Iraq does not instill in me calmness or security, and to me that is the worst kind of person--one who is incapable of learning from his mistakes--re-evaluating a situation after time has passed is a sign of logic and intelligence. I have been to the middle east many times, and we are just getting a taste of their daily lives, and rashness is never the answer. I do not want a wimp or a coward as my President, but I do not think compassion is bad, I do not think foresight is bad, and I do not think logic is ever bad. Others may disagree but fear and Iraq will not be the only issues that lead me to a decision when I vote as they are here to stay no matter who is elected (per the military experts on both sides, we will be in Iraq for 5 to 10 years no matter who is elected), so the issues that are more persuasive for me are civil liberties, education, health care, taxes, jobs, out-sourcing, the environment, and our own freedoms which this administration is trying to change and, in my opinion, limit.

Mr. Whittle,

God bless you, sir.


According to you, "ideally, nobody" is a completely useless answer. Obviously this means you place no faith in the doctrine, despite evidence that it is working. Libya didn't give up their Nuclear ambitions just because dear old Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi woke up one morning and said "Gee, maybe we should all just get along".

Why do I think that a free and democratic Iraq will encourage other countries to follow that example? I could wax poetic and say things like freedom is a cancer to totalitarian regimes. Once it is seen first hand, once it is experienced, it takes hold of people and never lets them go. But to be brutally honest, I believe that it has to work, because the alternative means that people there just might be incapable of co-existing with a free world peacefully. If that is true, then the choices we are left are truly horrible. I wrote on this possibility here:


N. Korea and Iran's posturings all go out the window if Bush is re-elected. They aren't idiots. They understand that the more trouble they make for Bush now, the more likely it is they get a Kerry presidency with all the laxity of resolve that implies.

So no, I don't find the answer to be completely useless. Because in any debate, it does no good to proceed to advanced planning without establishing a baseline understanding of where we start from.

Baseline for me is that the Bush Doctrine, with the threat of pre-emption having been shown to be real, encourages rogue states to eschew terrorists and indeed to move towards democracy without the actuality of an invasion on their soil by American troops.

Now, what if that doesn't work. Suppose Syria and Iran continue to support terrorism, and pursue WMD. Are they next? Certainly, they must be on the list.

Iran can not be allowed to go nuclear. And I feel pretty confident that under a Bush presidency, they will not be allowed, either through diplomacy or through military strikes. Kerry on the other hand has backed a plan that would give the Iranians the very materials they are trying to produce now. His plan, to "call their bluff" is patently ridiculous.

The same goes for Syria, if they continue their support of terrorists, and fomenting unrest within the Middle East. The Bush Doctrine makes clear, this sort of activity will not be accepted. The stakes are far too high.

I've seen no real reason to believe the "massive and growing insurgency" is going to lead to civil war. The Iraqi people are firmly behind their government. They are vocal in their disapproval of the terrorists in their midst. They have a volunteer armed forces growing quickly in resources and training. I see plenty of cause for hope, and much good that can come of the current situation.

Indeed, this insurgency may be the best possible thing for Iraq.

Consider: When we kicked Saddam into a hole in the ground, the Iraqi population was literally shell-shocked by years of Saddam's rule and by a lightning-fast dismantling of his regime by U.S. troops. They were feeling inadequate and powerless.

What better opportunity to allow them to find a national identity and pride than by coming together to put down an insurgency such as this?

I'm not saying it's a plan by Bush & co. Obviously he would have preferred the flowers, not that his administration ever stated that would happen. Were mistakes made? Certainly. Could it have been done better? Sure! Was a better plan put forward by anyone? Absolutely not.

And in the end, when action is necessary, it is critical to take action with the best plan you have, and make adjustments as the situation changes. Kerry offers no plan outside of what is already being done. He simply says that by sheer force of will and good hair, he will achieve better results.

If an overinflated ego and perfect locution could persuade everyone to set aside their differences, win wars and control world economics, France would rule the world.

Unfortunately for France and for Kerry and for all those who desperately support their Leftist ideology, reality has a cleft palate and a nasty disposition.


The Sept 10 Status Quo for the middle east is exactly what Kerry has said he is for. He would not have removed Saddam. He would not force Iran to give up it's nuclear ambitions. He would not encourage the spread of democracy in the region. The status quo is fine for him and for his European clones. The status quo keeps the oil rolling in while human suffering and the terrorism it helps breed festers.

The Bush Doctrine is a sharp departure from the status quo.

You mentioned the issues you are voting on.

"so the issues that are more persuasive for me are civil liberties, education, health care, taxes, jobs, out-sourcing, the environment, and our own freedoms which this administration is trying to change and, in my opinion, limit."

Those issues are vastly off topic for this thread, but if you'd like to email me to discuss them, I'd be happy to take the time to listen to your worries and discuss the positions of Kerry and Bush on those issues.

theraisk at hotmail.com

Excellent post.

A few points of disagreement though, international terrorism requires more than just a military response. If the terrorists are active in 20-30 countries then that is just too many to invade simultaneously, putting aside any consideration of global stability in the aftermath. We need the assistance of others for intelligence gathering and interdiction of operations and support to the terrorists. Walking around with a 'with us or against us' attitude does not help earn the trust required for those countries to help (and to allow US forces to operate there).

The WMD intelligence fiasco is especially damaging here as it directly damages US credibility on the scale and immediacy of any threats we detect.

It's really very clear. If we want near-global acceptance and cooperation in our black war against terrorists then we need the help of governments around the world. They have to feel that our activities are justified, reasonable and directly related to terrorism. The War on Irag, from their point of view, was none of these things.


I share your concern regarding "September 10" thinking. In particular, I am concerned about August 6, 2001-- when President Bush recieved a breifing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Attack In United States". President Bush and his advisors failed to react appropriately to the threat.

Everything changed on September 11 they say.

But one thing that didn't change is the Bush Administration's failure to understand what "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the United States" means.

Condoleezza, Cheney, Bush... all of them deny the clear meaning of that warning; instead making outlandish statements that the briefing was -not- a clear sign of bin Laden's intent. -Not- a clarion call to action.

Instead of protecting America, they're more interested in covering their own asses.

The disconnect between reality and the fantasy Bush is peddling grows ever-stronger in Iraq, Afghanistan, in our Homeland Security, and in our worldwide failure to marginalize the terrorists.

Bush compounds the problem and solves nothing.

Kerry remains an unknown quantity. Time will tell whether he is as big a fuck-up and idiot as Bush.

But Bush is a PROVEN loser. Cheney and Condoleezza are proven liars. They've got to go, for the good of America.

It's our only hope.

Some un-named person wrote:

Yesterday, the highest-ranking woman in U.S. Army history campaigned for . . . John Kerry . . .

Uhm, so what? The commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, General Tommy Franks supports President Bush.

My own 20 years of Military Service in the U.S. Navy, attendance at the War College and final rank as a Navy Captain (not quite an Admiral or General, but . . .) I guess don't qualify me to remind people that much of the problem in Iraq was the result of the refusal of Turkey to allow the 4th Division to stage out of their country.

But some woman who managed to get promoted to general in the Army is apparently unaware that President Bush did not write the strategic plans for the Iraqi war. The President has consistently deferred to his Military commanders when it comes to Military strategy (unlike most democrats), but this one single female ex-general is compaigning for John Kerry and therefore Bush is an incompetent boob. Apparently everyone else, other than this woman, bringing up Military strategy and the FACTS of history are somehow imcompetent to comment. Funny.

In response to people who have a problem with the wrong war, wrong time, wrong place comment, here's something to chew on. The War On Iraq is over. We won. We defeated Saddam's armies and gained control over the country.

We are now fighting the War In Iraq, against a very different enemy. It is the execution of this war that has been bungled.

The motivation for the War On Iraq has turned out to be incredibly weak (no significant links to Al Qaeda, no significant WMD programs). This leaves regime change but since when did we decide that all governments in the world need to pass a 'US Test' or be eliminated?

The motivation for the War In Iraq is pretty easy. If we don't stabilize the country and the region then the world will be much less safe. We should be doing everything in our power to win this war. From a global (not just US) point of view, the only thing worse than a Saddam-led Iraq would be an Al-Zarqawi-led Iraq. Losing or leaving is not an option.

To some extent, the rest of the world views this quagmire as our fault (rightly). We need to admit that, express remorse for the screw-up and then say "OK, so how do we fix it". Telling them they should accept responsibility for fixing our mistake when we won't even own up to it is not going to work. It doesn't work for individuals and it sure doesn't work when you're already the strongest country in the world and have people a little scared by casual use of power.

Wry bleated:
And the grieving mother's words have since been deleted from this forum, because this is a forum for deluded head-in-the-sand fools with no respect for American heroes in uniform.

It was deleted because this isn't a forum. It's a comments section for a weblog and it doesn't belong here. If you wanted to post a link to a site where the interview was posted, that posting would probably not have been deleted. But no, you had to completely reproduce it and clog up the comments section in it.

All it really proves is that you are just another damned ghoul taking advantage of a mother's grief to promote your own cause.

The shame is on you, asshat. Alas, that won't work on you since you have no way to sense shame. You'll do anything to promote The Cause, no matter how slimy or dishonorable it is.

Go away. I'm sure Leonard and the other folk posting disagreeing views will actually do better without some undead devourer of corpses like yourself shambling around here.

The full article excerpted below is available at:

Allies dismiss reports of Saddam payoffs

By Betsy Pisik

NEW YORK — French, Russian and U.N. officials warned against making hasty judgments yesterday after the U.S. Iraq Survey Group reported that Saddam Hussein had used the U.N. oil-for-food program to buy influence at the United Nations.
The report accused key officials — including former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky and retired U.N. oil-for-food director Benon Sevan — of accepting oil vouchers, which could be exchanged secretly for cash.


The ISG, headed by former U.N. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer, on Wednesday issued a 1,000-page report detailing Iraq's quest for weapons of mass destruction, including the possibility that more than $10 billion had been wrung from oil sales authorized by the U.N. program.
The ISG found a pattern of gifts and bribes to officials of nations serving on the Security Council, in an apparent effort to hasten the crumbling of the already weak sanctions on the regime.
The regime was "using every tool possible, through its deception, front companies or sweetheart deals on oil and other things, to try to suborn the sanctions regime and try to acquire things it was not supposed to be buying under the sanctions regime," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.
Mr. Duelfer told Congress in releasing the report on Wednesday, "It's pretty clear that the Iraqi strategy and tactics of dividing the Security Council were having a fair amount of success.
"I think that's clear in the report when you see that the amount of conventional military equipment that was being sold to Iraq, being transported into Iraq ... with the help of some Security Council members, there is, in my mind, little doubt that the ... constraints that the U.N. was able to put around Iraq were collapsing."
The report fueled impatience on Capitol Hill over the slow pace of the [former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul] Volcker investigation and the U.N. refusal to make documents available to Congress.


U.N. officials say privately that they hoped Mr. Volcker could work a little faster, at least to investigate the apparent complicity of their own personnel.
The first phase of the independent investigation, originally expected next month, is not expected to be ready until early 2005, according to a U.N. official.
"Obviously, the secretary-general is keen to get to the bottom of this, get it out in the open and over and done with," an official said. "But I do not think he can put any pressure on him [Mr. Volcker] to speed it up."


It is interesting that the Kerry campaign look at a 1,000 page report and all they find worthy of note is the ONE fact that everyone ALREADY KNOWS---no stockpiles of WMDs.

All you need for a weapon of mass destruction is a few pounds of a nasty substance, and enough explosive to disperse it. It doesn't need to be even the size of a briefcase. There have already been found some several dozen artillery shells full of Sarin LIQUID, which becomes a GAS or cloud of tiny droplets on detonation.

Unfortunately, the pitiful state of American secondary education under DEMOCRATIC PARTY administration over the last half of the 20th century deteriorated to the extent that many high school graduates no longer are given the information they need to be able to assess certain types of data.

It used to be widely understood that manufacturing processes depend on mass-production assembly lines to be efficient or affordable. Consider the ball point pen: Because of the microscopic texture of the ball needed for optimal ink retention, and the critical tolerances between the ball and the conical tip needed to allow the ball to turn and the ink to flow, making a SINGLE ball point pen could cost thousands of dollars. But to set up a factory capable of manufacturing a million pens per 24 hours, ends up bringing the cost down to a few cents apiece.

The discovery of ten Artillery Shells filled with Sarin chemical poison, clearly shows that at some point SADDAM HUSSEIN in fact, had a factory producing such weapons of mass destruction.

Even if the factory were dismantled, and the shells shipped out of Iraq, He still had the industrial know-how, the technicians and scientists and workers, and a United Nations on the take, casting a blind eye on Saddam's flouting of the sanctions.

In the 1920's and 1930's, Germany was secretly building up its military capacity with the aid of sympathetic countries, which shared expertise and manufacturing capacity. Once Hitler came to power he accelerated these programs. By the time he revealed to the world Germany's new armaments, aircraft, ships, and tanks, England and France and the United States were a decade behind the times.

None were willing to actually use military force as allowed by the Treaty of Versailles to compel Hitler to comply with the restrictions imposed on Germany by its surrender at the end of World War I. It has been well established that the Treaty of Versailles imposed burdens on Germany that made her people justifiably resentful of the allies' harshness. However unreasonable the reparations burden were, the problems they caused were allowed to lead to war by the gutless leaders who were unwilling to confront Hitler's growing belligerance.

Similarly, it can be argued that the sanctions on Iraq caused hardships AS THEY WERE MANIPULATED BY SADDAM, which make many Iraqis blame the U.S. Still, it was SADDAM who was the decision maker, the one in charge, the person calling the shots.

Kerry repeatedly stated that Saddam was a threat, that we would be justified in using military force to disarm him. It is only now that he is trying to get elected by the deconstructionist postmodern marxist blow-dried manicured tofu-gnawing left, that he reverses these claims.

His slogan should be “Peace in Our Time!”

What a well-written example of how Bush has managed to misrepresent what the differences are between Kerry and Bush.

The way to win this war is to fight and WIN, not just to fight. That is the difference betweent the two positions, and to suggest that Kerry and his supporters are filled with compassion and forgiveness is blatantly false.

I mean, just read it: "half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean."

Who is advocating being "nice" toward our enemies? Yet that is why many people will vote for Bush - because they are convinced he is the only one that thinks we should fight back.

They are really that simple.

Every time I hear a Republican talk about why Bush should be re-elected they feel the need to remind us that we are at WAR, that we MUST WIN, that we were attacked, that we can't afford liberal wishy-washy hugs and understanding, that we need to fight and not to "waver" or "fail."

And it is false. Not that we are at war - we are. Not that we need to fight - we do. But that the Democrats don't agree. 9/11 was an attack on all of us, not just the Republicans however much they seem to think so. And we all want to destroy the enemy, not just the republicans, however much they seem to think so.

And Bush, when attacked, said we would attack back. That was pretty much a no-brainer. Duh. When somebody is foolish enough to attack us then we should respond with such overwhelming force against them, their supporters, and even those that thought about maybe supporting them, that those who seek to do us harm in the future tremble with fear and drop their plans. We should respond so fiercly that anybody who dreams of attacking us will wake up in a cold sweat trembling for even daring to think of such things.

So any president would have attacked back. What did this president do? He attacked the WRONG GUY. Jeez. And he let the BAD GUYS get away because he didn't deploy enough force into Afghanistan.

And then, bizarrely, the administration bragged about our "victory" in Afghanistan, proclaiming the new Rumsfeld way of waging war on the cheap using air power and a few elite troops.

And then, bizarrely, when criticized for attacking a country that had nothing to do with it, that had no history of terrorism, that presented a steadily diminishing threat that had been successfully contained for over a decade, the response is essays like the one above reminding us how we can't win by being nice.

Well, we can't win by fighting the wrong people and fully committing our limited military resources in the wrong place.

And now that we have done that we MUST win in Iraq - because all of the reasons given for invading - WMDs, terrorism, instability in a vital region, etc - well, NOW they are a problem.

Iraq wasn't part of the war on terror until Bush made it one, and so now it is. But it didn't have to be. And yet, if you point out the obvious, you are a "flip-flopper."

We were attacked on 9/11. And both sides know it. And the democrats want to hunt down and kill the terrorists. And we disagree with how Bush is going about it - we think that his efforts have been counterproductive.

And instead of defending his policies and pointing out how he has done things to win this war (an admittedly hard thing to do since he has exercised poor judgment in a "steadfast" and consistent way) the argument in many people's minds is democrats = pacifists.

When the generals (to discuss the last war, since apparently that is all we democrats are capable of) were deciding where to invade France there was a group that wanted to invade at the Pas de Calais and another that wanted Normandy. The Normandy decision won out - but not because some generals tried to convince those who wanted to invade at a different location that "Nazis are bad" and "Hitler is evil" and "we must prevail." Nobody who was for invading Normandy thought that those suggesting a different location wanted to beat the Third Reich by "being nice."

It is easy to point out the weaknesses of Europe in defense matters, but to make the leap from that to "we don't need them anyway" and they are "freeloaders" is immensely ignorant. Especially when this writer points out how our few "friends" in Europe are standing with us (including Poland, which now, apparently, wants to leave). It is xenophobia, pure and simple.

I am voting for Kerry because I want to win the war on terror, not just fight it. And not because I haven't realized that we were attacked and that we need to track our enemies down and kill them wherever they are - it is because I do realize that, and the President was focused on Iraq and fighting the last war instead of fighting and winning this new one.

So I agree, there are many millions of people who prefer a man who says the wrong things well over one who says the right things badly. And they are voting for Bush, who tells them what they want to hear even when the facts show the opposite is the case.

And here are some naive, leftie, liberal, peacenik types who disagree with the President as well - all from the Army War College, and all convinced that we must win this war:

Bounding the Global War on Terrorism found at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/pubresult.cfm?pubid=207.

IRAQ AND VIETNAM: DIFFERENCES, SIMILARITIES, AND INSIGHTS at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/pubresult.cfm?pubid=377. It notes that most comparisons overplay the similarities and understate the differences.

Strategic Consequences of the Iraq War: U.S. Security Interests in Central Asia Reassessed at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/pubresult.cfm?pubid=383.

And as for the oft-repeated "Kerry always votes against defense" see the non-partisan www.factcheck.org.

In short, this was a well-written essay that argued against a position that doesn't exist. Good job for thinking we should fight and win! Everybody already agrees with that! How about focusing on the winning part now, and stop counter-productive and inept decisions in the White House that makes that tougher?

Vote Kerry and help us destroy the terrorists.

Bill, you don't write often enough, but I keep checking in, for simple insights like this:

"And all of this rage and fury and spitting and tearing up of signs, all of these insults and spinmeisters and forgeries and all the rest, seem to come down to the fact that about half the country thinks you deter this sort of thing by being nice, while the other half thinks you deter this by being mean."

Who knew? I did -- we all did -- but I've never thought of framing the issue so simply and clearly. Any candidate who could communicate with your lucidity would be a shoe in. Too bad we've got what we've got to choose from. Anyway, keep writing. It's ALWAYS a pleasure when we can get something out of you.

Mr. Whittle, excellent article! I have been sharing it on other blogs, and with friends, etc. However, regarding this section of the article, I received quite a hostile response (below). Any assistance in responding to this would be appreciated!

> The last time this country was attacked, it was by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, whose capitol city was Tokyo.
> The first land battle the US Army fought was at Kasserine Pass. Kasserine Pass, Senator, is in Tunisia. Tunisia is in Africa. Africa is a long, long way from Japan.
> Tunisia did not attack the United States, Senator Kerry. Tunisia, in fact,was a far, far more innocent battlefield than Iraq, which had spent the preceding decade, and then some, committing overt acts of war against British and American aircraft flying missions to enforce UN mandates.
> US troops fought in Tunisia - and they fought badly; infinitely worse than
> they do in Iraq - because people of vision and courage and great
> intelligence perceived that this was the first, best front against an enemy
> that straddled the entire globe. We did not begin our war by launching an
> armada of landing craft filled with Marines on a suicide mission from Midway
> to Tokyo. We did not send fleets of transports to get shot down over Berlin
> carrying fifty divisions of paratroopers.
> We attacked in Tunisia because it was the soft underbelly of a powerful
> enemy. There is a word for this type of action, Senator Kerry, and that word
> is "foothold." It is a place where the enemy is weak. It is a place we can
> capture, fortify, defend and launch further attacks from. As Tunisia, so
> Africa. As Africa, so Italy. As Italy, so Germany.
> We were not attacked by the natives of the Marianas, or the Solomans, or the
> Marshall islands, and yet these innocent people died along with our troops.
> It was part of a strategy for victory, Senator. I know you understand the
> term 'strategy.' It's the other term that seems to me to stick in your craw
> as I examine your entire career.



Tunisia was under occupation of the Axis allies at the time. Same with the Pacific atolls....the Solomons, Marshalls, etc. You're treading into some unwanted territories here for a bushy. These places became battlegrounds as a result of *international treaties* which the USA *honored*. That's not something we've seen out of this bunch. Do yourself a favor, before someone with more time to devote to the
argument comes along and wipes up the floor with you. Shut up.

Thanks, for the ammo. I have way too many liberal friends and it's hard to beat them back when they attack in packs.


"What a well-written example of how Bush has managed to misrepresent what the differences are between Kerry and Bush."

I'm sorry. What was Kerry's plan as you understand it?

Uh, what was WWIII the cold war? I'm not familiar with WWIII.

Other than that good post!

Tunisia and the Pacific atolls were battlegrounds not because some stupid treaties told us to make them battlegrounds. They were the enemy's weak point, attacking them was a strategic decision, not a political one. If Tunisia was a powerful fortress of Axis troops, no international treaty would have made us attack there. Likewise if Japan could have been conquered easily, we would not have bothered with the atolls, regardless of the all-important international treaties.

Bill's point is that we will not be able to threaten the heart of Islamofascism without a foothold. Iraq is that foothold. Of course they will respond that this is not justification in invading any old sovereign nation. At that point you're back to the same old debate about whether the invasion was "justified," which I'm really not interested in after two years of the same old arguments.

Regardless of that debate, there is no question that the prescence of significant US might so close to the enemy strengthens our position in the war on terror. It is strategically advantageous to us to have a stable Iraq as an ally from which we can more easily project American power into the Middle East. Just having the ability to do so could weaken the resolve of terror sponsor nations. Once again, Libya is the prime example.

m-ehrhardt at northwestern dot edu

Yes in some circles the Cold War is referred to as WWIII. I really don't care for that designation, but Bill's the one with 350 comments on his essay so he gets to pick.


1) The reason Bush is making us less safe is by pushing moderate arabs into the arms of terrorist organizations. When you accidentally kill an Iraqi kid the kids parents, who did nothing to the US, now want to harm the US. We will demonize the parents but if someone invaded the US (like the saudi arabians did) I would try to kill them by any means possible.

Heres a few links you requested.

I don’t know if you believe the smear campaign against Wesley Clarke or Joseph Wilson or UN inspectors anyone who dares to challenge the administration’s record on the war in Iraq or the war on terrorism but Bush doesn’t listen to his people. At least he doesn’t listen to the smart people.


Shenseki “retired” in the middle of a war after those statements.


I think Powell will “retire” right after the election – win or lose.


You know Bush and Bremer are not on the same page. Bremer and the administration are scrambling to do damage control.


Do yourself a favor, before someone with more time to devote to the
argument comes along and wipes up the floor with you. Shut up.

How Exactly do you wipe up the floor with someone online? Do you mean you might win a debate? We can all afford to lose a debate, but to show weakness in a real fight is death. Perhaps wiping up the floor refers to a fight, which we very definately are in, the loser will not be alive to fight another day. I will make only one comment that Bill did not miss at all. The greatest Americans, the greatest successes, the most valuable strides to make us safer may never be known. Many of our great Americans do not do it for notice, not to be "celebrities", but because someone must do the "hard" work. How easy it is to sit and bitch, the hardest part of my job is keeping my mouth shut. It's a tough job. Off topic, I thank all our allies, and all iraqi's that work so hard for so little notice. It's tough work, but the rewards are so beneficial to those that follow. I work hard so my kids may not have to. I do note they choose to work hard, damn American kids.


Simply awesome.

Just a thought, vote for Kerry if you believe in him, I certainly would, if I believed in shallow lies. I will not say "I told you so", for I know better. I am a Libertarian, so I am not backing a man, I just know the risks we take by not facing down this enemy. Insult our allies, make sure to comfort the enemy, change positions as it seems to benefit you, not America, wait, I am being stupid, shallow, and clueless. You win that debate. I am ruthless, I shall shut up.


On the issue of "Why do these people hate us so much?", a question some people apparently take seriously, I was reminded of a remark by Primo Levi.

Primo Levi was an Italian Jew sent to Auschwitz. Since he was a chemist, he was recruited for work, and miraculously survived the war. He is one of the most eloquent writers about the Holocaust, and has published several books, the most famous of which is "If This Be A Man." I recommend it.

He considered the question of "Why do the Germans hate us so much?"

His response: "The Germans were insane."

He made no "nuanced" analysis of the Germans, their motives, their deepest desires or fears, their sense of entitlement, their need to find a place in the community of nations, their historical grievances, their feelings of inferiority or insecurity, etc. He just saw the obvious.

He didn't confuse the (insane) perpetrator with his victim.

For some actions, there is no possible explanation, excuse, rationale, or defense, and it seems either tendentious or distracting to yearn for such things. And some people do yearn for a (rational) explanation, and this says more about them than about the actual reality. Some actions are so barbaric there is no rational explanation, and it is pointless to embark on that search.

It is sometimes irrational to suppose your enemy is rational, or even capable of rationality.

Patrick Chester, David March, and whoever else doubted the veracity of the interview with the Mother of a son killed in Iraq--

--your desperate attempts to avoid reality are cowardly and un-American.

The mother was addressed as "Cindy". She said her son's name was "Casey Sheehan". She stated his rank, his specialty, his unit, and the exact date he was killed.

If you were really concerned in the slightest about whether the interview was real, you would have googled "Cindy Sheehan" or other readily-available data. And you would have known for sure that the mother's words were real.

But truth wasn't your purpose. You didn't WANT to know.

You wanted to hide & obfuscate and to generate Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt.


This applies as well to Krakatoa and others who were quick to dismiss the veracity of letters posted here from troops in Afghanistan & Iraq. That means brinster's flippant dismissal also.

You're fake patriots.

I completely agree wry, you do not want to know. How many of my family died for your right to call me stupid, disgusting, insolent? How many more will die who "volunteer". I am false, but I do not live in your America, do I. I fight where I am sent, you enjoy my efforts. Let us presume you have your way, to be patriotic, and hide. I no longer wish to debate people who are not willing to "fight", but are clearly willing to fight what is right. "I told you so" will be my death threat, believe it, or hide. No man willing hides from a truth, no woman strong would allow that. Thank god we have strong women and men.


Dear Wry:

I don't think that the posts were deleted because they were fake. Maybe there was such an interview somewhere sometime with a bereaved woman who lost her son. The posts were deleted because it was not a real conversation between two posters. This was explained in detail some time back, but apparently you weren't paying attention.

Here's an example: My last post was on October 7th at 10:00. (Pacific, of course. Twas midnight here in God's Country.) That post, entirely original, took about an hour to compose. Plenty of revisions, additions and excisions. Even if the "two" posters were faster typers (and clearer writers) than I, taking perhaps 30 minutes per post, it would have taken 9 or 10 hours for "them" to read and respond to each other.

Bottom line, it was not a conversation, it was a cut-and-paste put-up. I've seen that kind of "debate" strategery in chatrooms for years, so I saw through it right off the bat, and consider myself fortunate to have skimmed over them.


What can I say that hasn't already been said? Brilliant essay, Bill, brilliant.

To TWD: My brother, a Marine just back from his second tour in Iraq, informs us otherwise. Seeing how he's been and seen with his own eyes, he knows better than that. Iraq needed to be dealt with, and you're deluding yourself if you believe otherwise. I'm not going to cover most of the arguments you've made -- since you'll find the refutations in the previous comments, but I will address a few points:

So any president would have attacked back. What did this president do? He attacked the WRONG GUY. Jeez. And he let the BAD GUYS get away because he didn't deploy enough force into Afghanistan.

Wishful thinking. Nader never would have attacked -- we are talking about a bloke who wants to disband the military altogether, only keeping the self-defencive forces (National Guard, Air National Guard, Coast Guard). I also believe he's mentioned the desire to "amending" the Constitution until it looked something like Japan's.

And instead of defending his policies and pointing out how he has done things to win this war (an admittedly hard thing to do since he has exercised poor judgment in a "steadfast" and consistent way) the argument in many people's minds is democrats = pacifists.

OK, this says to me old-style Democrat, possibly harkening back to the days of FDR or JFK. Well, many of us would dearly love a return of the Democratic Party back to the days when they were a respected rival instead of the massive howling moonbat joke they are now. Lifelong Democrats have mourned the loss of the party to the lunatic fringes and now consistently vote the other way (be it Republican, Libertarian, Constitution, etc) because, and I quote, "the Democrats have all lost their minds." Even traditional liberals have "officially" broken with the left because of the refusal to acknowledge the necessity of military action in Iraq (Christopher Hitches being the most noteworthy).

Looking at the latest insanity, one is hard-pressed not to agree. We're all hoping Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman, et al can reclaim it, but until then, we have to keep in mind the Party is now ruled by nutcases like Sen. Kennedy.

It is easy to point out the weaknesses of Europe in defense matters, but to make the leap from that to "we don't need them anyway" and they are "freeloaders" is immensely ignorant. Especially when this writer points out how our few "friends" in Europe are standing with us (including Poland, which now, apparently, wants to leave). It is xenophobia, pure and simple.

Don't put words in other people's mouths -- it severely weakens otherwise good points.

Here is the definition of "xenophobia": "fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign." (Source: Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary)

Last time I checked, it said nothing about a realistic outlook regarding Europe's military abilities (or lack thereof). My husband (a former Navy Yeoman) has many an anecdote concering French naval "prowess". They simply don't have the kind of navy they once had (and looking at the historical record, that really wasn't a lot to brag about, either). The last few decades of their own economic disasters and flirtations with socialism have left their respective militaries lacking...and the truly sad part about it all is that said military personnel are the only ones who realise it.

A lot of European forces are not needed in a global war of this size because they simply can't handle it military-wise. A coalition is only as strong as its weakest chain -- and truthfully, if France and Germany decided to put aside their own interests and join it, it would actually be a hindrance rather than a help. Just look to Bosnia for further proof...how effective were U.N. forces there? Again, my husband was stationed there -- he's seen it for himself.

I am voting for Kerry because I want to win the war on terror, not just fight it. And not because I haven't realized that we were attacked and that we need to track our enemies down and kill them wherever they are - it is because I do realize that, and the President was focused on Iraq and fighting the last war instead of fighting and winning this new one.

I'm glad that you realise these things, but what you don't realise is that the majority of your fellow Democrats don't. You may not have come to grips with the fact that this isn't your Democratic Party anymore. Truman is dead, FDR is dead, JFK is dead. While there are the aforementioned Democrats with common sense and clarity, they are the minorty. And most of these realise that -- differences aside -- it is most unwise to "change horses in the middle of a war". If you really, truly want to win, you would be wise not put your trust in a man who makes the same empty promises as he's been doing since his military "service."

It wasn't a dismissal. It was a question.


Dear Wry,

Try not to lie so much:
Patrick Chester, David March, and whoever else doubted the veracity of the interview with the Mother of a son killed in Iraq--

Where did I say I doubted the veracity of the story? I said it was the wrong place and a simple link to the interview would have been sufficient. But no, you don't feel the need to use such considerations so you can flood a comments section with agitprop.

You wanted to hide & obfuscate and to generate Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt.

Says the ghoul who hides behind a pseudonym and exploits the deaths of others --and the agony such a death inflicts upon loved ones-- to further its cause. Thanks for showing that my initial estimate of you gave you too much credit.

VWRC Man: the interview is real, or at least looks like one I've encountered before. Posting the whole thing in this comments section was wrong.

Since US-funded mercenaries are the 2nd largest partner in the Iraq coalition-- ahead of Britain in numbers of boots on the ground-- I've been trying to locate data concerning the number of hired guns that have been killed or maimed in Iraq.

But, as far as I can tell, the statistics have not been made available to the public. Does anybody here know of a source that can tell me how many hirelings have been beheaded, ambushed, rocketed, paralyzed, etc. ?

You have an instant fan. Found you via the Kerry Spot on NRO, where I was indoctrinated in the pajamahadeen.

This is a remarkable piece. I've read a lot of commentary, from a lot of professionals, and I don't typically have patience for bloggers, but you are something else entirely.

It was so long! I started reading at 10 AM or so and I just finished, 11 PM ET thanks to all the interruptions. I read a sentence here and the 4 year old would bug me, a paragraph there and it's time to get on a conference call, a word at a time and they all "glowed like burning coal" as Bob Dylan would say. Huzzah, huzzah! You give me faith. Thanks so much, I will be back.

I have no time to read, I mess in muck most of my day, but to see decent folk see means alot. False hope is injustice, false reason harmful. I can not comment on what matters, I live in the dirt and mud, I know only how to survive myself. I spent 50 years knowing how to beat my enemy, but my friend I will never know how to defeat. I learned who to trust, and it is not me. Nor is it you, those who would beg for my defense.


So we should vote out of fear? Isn't this terror our enemy? The only reason I can see to vote for president bush is his strength in making people feel safe, on no other issue do I see sucess. A lot of that is the state this country is in and the incomptence of many underlings I supose, but those are his responsablity as well as our saftey.

You have written beautiful persuasive essays on history, empire, america's glory, but the lack of commentary on the issues that are important to me as a liberal, the enviroment, education, minimum wage life; these make me feel you are a feel good writer more then a true adresser of any issue but the views of the batty. The batty are mostly a vocal minority as far as I have seen (New York City, other bits of the state, Friends in california, A few highly left private schools.) Sounds like loco liberal territory, but I have never seen one, unless they were in hiding (not possible I think.) What will you have to pursuade those of us who are not insane and already almost agree with you?

Of course, the batty are growing, so these issues must be adressed. Still: you picked worst case for kerry's actions (not doing anything.) Why do you mislead so? This essay made me burn for a while, and now it has died and I feel like you're a moore of the right, picking and choosing at the possibilities. Can some other fan point me in a different direction? Am I misled, or am I right.

I guess I sound like a troll, but I want to understand the other side. I've told you where I've lived my life. It's hard to twist my head around any of this that it seems sensible.

The Casey Sheehan letters are probably true. He was a soldier killed on April 4th of this year. His mother, as is her right, appeared in a Democratic Add as a mother against the war. I certainly don't begrudge her that one bit.

However, to anyone with at least half a brain, which appears to exclude Wry, those letters and answers were not off the cuff comments and remarks. They were cut and pasted in.
They've been posted before on other forums.

Google is your friend.



(I apologize for the bandwidth here, but we need to consider exactly this sort of thing in the context of the issues being argued.)

Excerpted from :

In June of 1993, while the U.S. Quick Reaction Force and U.N. peacekeepers were bogged down in Somalia and were being subjected to armed attacks by Aidid's militia, President Clinton decided to initiate U.S. military action against Iraq, doing so without consultation with Congress or seeking its endorsement of the particular military action initiated, asserting that he was acting under the authority of various U.N. resolutions and the Persian Gulf Resolution (U.S. Public Law 102-1), the latter being the congressional joint resolution of January 14, 1991, passed by Congress on January 12, signed into law by the President on January 14 (two days before he ordered the launching of Operation Desert Storm), and still in force as American law. On Clinton's orders, U.S. air strikes, aimed at the Iraqi Intelligence Service headquarters in Baghdad, were launched on June 26. In justifying the cruise missile attack, the Clinton Presidency cited evidence that the Iraqi Intelligence Service had instigated and fostered a conspiracy to assassinate former U.S. President George Bush during his visit to Kuwait two months earlier (April 14-16).

In April, the Kuwaiti authorities had uncovered the assassination plot, arresting 14 Iraqi and Kuwaiti nationals for planning to put a 175-pound bomb in a location where it would have exploded and killed Bush as he was being presented an award honoring him as the leader of the Persian Gulf War coalition which drove the Iraqi invaders out of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti authorities immediately informed the U.S. government of the conspiracy and arrests. Receipt of the information was quickly followed by President Clinton's ordering the FBI and CIA to conduct a thorough investigation to find out whether Saddam Hussein had authorized and sponsored the plot. The investigation uncovered convincing evidence of links between the would-be assassins and the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

President Clinton perceived the situation as a major test of his mettle as U.S. Commander- in-Chief and leader of the Western powers. He suddenly abandoned his attempts to send Hussein a conciliatory and somewhat ambiguous message--a message to the effect that he thought Hussein could redeem himself with the U.S.A. and that, if he did so, Clinton would be open to normalization of U.S.-Iraqi relations. On the evening of June 23, when he met with his National Security Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser, the National Security Council members and General Colin Powell, Clinton was determined to send Hussein a different message, one which, in the words of George Stephanopoulos, the President's Senior Political Adviser, would be "an unambiguous, unapologetic message ... but with weapons, not words." [George Stephanopoulos, ALL TOO HUMAN--A POLITICAL EDUCATION (Little, Brown and Company: Boston, 1999), p. 159.]

Those in attendance at the meeting, polled one at a time, unanimously recommended in favor of the President's plan for launching missile trikes against Baghdad. Scheduled for Saturday, June 26, the attack commenced at 4:22 p.m. (EDT), when cruise missiles were launched toward Baghdad from two U.S. Navy vessels positioned in the Persian Gulf--the destroyer USS Peterson and the AEGIS cruiser USS Chancellorville. Once the missiles had landed in Baghdad, President Clinton delivered from the Oval Office a public address announcing the military action he had initiated against Iraq and explaining why he had done so.

I have read the additional comments and wish to address the Q/Mother postings, which I did not read because emotional diatribes are a dime a dozen. Had that mother's son been alive and aware of her would he have approved? I know not. I only know that if you want to reference another website, you can do so and those interested will peruse your submission. Don't think that because we point out that in 18 months, 1,000 soldiers have died in Iraq compares poorly to the 24,000 soldiers that died in a single day at Antietem (sp?). Every soldier we lose is a high cost, one expended for the betterment of the world, not for oil, not to be macho. The islamofascists(sp?) do not want democracy, therefore, they will continue to fight until they draw their last breath. Our soldiers understand the importance of their mission. John Kerry and his ilk do not.

I would suggest that those who think John Kerry will do more should review his speaches during the primary. It was only when Dean seemed to gain some credibility that he started swinging further left. You left wing folks will be left high and dry, even if Kerry manages to get elected. Something I think is highly doubtful. If you really want someone who will represent your concerns and selfish attitudes, Ralph Nader is the man.

As for me, I'll be voting for President Bush. At least I know where he stands.

Get. Out. Of. My. Head.

How scary is it that this election is as close as 2000? How scary is it that fully 50% of the population of this county doesn't get it? How scary is it that John Kerry might actually win on Nov. 2?

I have to have more faith in my fellow Americans. I have to.


we are all narrow-minded. Liberals and Conservatives alike. i, like our gracious host, used to vote Democrat, but now i am going to vote Republican because i dont believe that the sacrifices that our countrymen and women have made in Iraq and Afganistan should be in vain. yes, i am against war, when war isnt necessary, but when war is the only proper response to thousands of innocent people being killed in a terrorist attack, i will back my president 100 percent. we Americans, as a nation, who have enjoyed all the benefits of being children of a world power for decades, have forgotten what it is like to be vulnerable, since weve been untouched on our own soil for almost two centuries before the attack on the 11th of September. When President Bush was "selected" i was pissed off, because of the whole scandal about the hanging chads, dimpled chads, etc, and that the whole vote came down to the state that his brother was in charge of, all the democrat bullshit, but once the attacks occurred, i realized that Gore wouldnt have been tough enough to deal with the reality of America at war with anyone, maybe with the exception of the French. The war is on, and must be seen to the conclusion. that is why i will vote Republican in my favorite tie-dye, and feel good about myself afterwards.

You have written an essay that humbles, shames and inspires me. You have expressed exquisitely what so many of us feel. I will encourage everyone that visits my blog to come read it as well as on my boards and chats.

Thank you for your effort.


Funny, I think if GWB was actually serious about the War on Terror, he'd have targetted Iran or North Korea instead of Iraq and he'd have made certain that Americans made the appropriate sacrifices at home to aid the war effort. Gasoline rationing anyone?

Instead, he targets a presumably "easy" takedown, ending up enmeshing American troops for the next 2-10 years, preventing any form of American military intervention anywhere else. It's like invading Tunisia, and getting stuck there for a decade. It would have been *exactly* what the Germans wanted.

More to the point, at the same time he's instituted massive tax cuts and done nothing to reduce American dependence on the oil that bankrolls the terrorists. Does this sound like a country at war?

Not to fault him too far. If he actually treated this as a real war, Wall Street and most of his consituents would tear him limb from limb. He's only allowed to wage war if it only really affects the less-well-off (whose lives are the only true sacrifice here) who generally enlist. Heaven help Bush if he tried to spread the pain or actually expected sacrifice.

Meanwhile, of course, Iran develops atomic weapons while America now looks on helplessly. Perhaps they were even persuaded to do so by the Iraq invasion. Funny how the *real* threat gets ignored. And why? Because facing that threat really would cost. And neither candidate dares that.

Where was the "easy" takedown? What do tax cuts have to do with foreign oil dependence? The assumption that "the less-well-off" comprise the military is a false one. The enlistees are from every walk of life, every profession...and they didn't enlist because the Bush economy destroyed any job prospects for them.

Iran and North Korea will be dealt with in due time.

AURRGGHH! I've been going crazy down here! I haven't been able to get to a computer for more than 20 minutes at a sitting for the last 3 days -- the same 3 days that this essay and this astonishing comment stream have been up. So I've missed too many opportunities to respond to some pretty amazingly bizarre posts. Thank God for Krakatoa and Shiva Archon and others of their ilk -- you saved me a lot of words.

First though... to "Wry"... *I* deleted the "Mother & Q" dialogue. Not Bill. That tactic of saturating the comment stream (and sucking up Bill's bandwidth) with TWENTY-TWO posts, for something that could have been accomplished with ONE POST, is unrestrained carpet-bombing, as far as I'm concerned, a tactic used by professional spammers (who I've had to practically make a CAREER out of deleting from this site). If "Mother & Q" HAD contained their contrived little "conversation" to one single, sappy posting, I would not have touched it.

So it was "their" TACTICS, not their message, that got them deleted. If "they" really want that conversation to be seen here, they can put it in ONE posting and try again. Otherwise, tough noogums.

As for the bajillions of other points and counter-points that I've been dying to respond to, I guess I'll just have to condense and focus on one or two for now.

Particularly irritating to me was this crap about assigning the deaths of "100,000 Iraqi children" to the U.S. as a result of the imposed sanctions.

Ignoring, for now, the tiresome cheesiness of portraying the outrages of war through the lens of its effect on the "widdle childwen" (of course it's horrible, to EVERYONE, children included)... ignoring the issue of lumping every child's death over more than a decade under one single cause, despite the high mortality rates that already existed in that hard-scrabble, oppressed society... and ignoring, for now, that it wasn't us "Righties" that wanted to resolve Hussein's intransigence with impotent threats and ineffective sanctions anyway... let's just talk about why those sanctions were put there in the first place.

Did "we" (meaning the U.S. AND the UN) impose those sanctions just because somebody declared "It's Arbitrary Sanctions Day!"? No, those sanctions were imposed because Saddam Hussein wasn't playing by the rules that he'd agreed to (and let's not forget that the circumstances that forced him to "agree" to those rules in the first place were also caused by Saddam Hussein).

And did "we" (again meaning the U.S. AND the UN) continue to drag out those sanctions for all those years just because we thought it'd be funny to see just how miserable we could make the innocent Iraqi citizenry? No, those sanctions continued to drag on because Saddam continued to make a mockery of the inspection process and the treaty's enforcement efforts. They could have been removed at any time, by Hussein... all he had to do was follow the rules that he'd already agreed to follow.

So let's get this straight -- SADDAM created the initial situation (by invading Kuwait), SADDAM agreed to the terms by which his complete ruin was forestalled (by signing the ceasefire), SADDAM created the need for "stiffer" enforcement of the terms (by ignoring them, corrupting and stalling and evading the inspection process, and brazenly defying the "authorities" overseeing everything), SADDAM caused the sanctions to drag on for years (by not behaving, and by not giving a shit about the suffering of his own people), and after 12 friggin' impotent, laughable, embarrassing years, SADDAM finally forced SOME kind of resolution to that one-sided stalemate (by making it clear that we were a joke to him, and nothing would ever change as long as that status quo was maintained, and if anything, they'd get worse).

So, EVEN IF we accept the bogus, rounded-up, and highly contrived "relevance" of the plight of those "100,000 Iraqi children," by every measure of responsibility, that is ALL -- 100% of it -- on Saddam's shoulders. Not ours. Not even the UN's.

OUR responsibility lies, first, with CHOOSING that ridiculous strategy in the first place, and second, with WAITING AS LONG AS WE DID to end it! I find it amazing that I'm STILL responding to charges (from "lefties" and ivory tower pacifists) that we didn't give the sanctions a chance! And then, in almost the same breath, they follow up with how cruel those sanctions have been (as if that's something that "we" wanted), and then milk it so flagrantly with "widdle childwen" references.

Gawd. Go back to just calling Bush stupid and evil, will ya'?

And this thing about crucifying ourselves -- after all, if someone attacks us, it MUST be a result of something that WE did FIRST, right? I mean, I know that, during MY life, I MUST HAVE instigated every bully's assault on ME through my, what? My association with other band and AV nerds? My complete lack of interaction with the bullies and their crowd? What?

I'm not saying that the U.S. HASN'T ever done things that draw some negative attention. It, like ANY large impersonal organization, HAS to have rolled over some toes along the way. No, what I'm saying is that this willingness -- no, this INSISTENCE -- on hunting down only OUR faults and foibles, on portraying the outrageously grotesque actions of our enemies as "natural responses" to our "past crimes and oversights," on further weakening our already-existing paper tiger image by calling for us to back down, to apologize, to make some kind of arbitrary reparations, and to pull back from the world and roll up the coastlines after us, is tiresome and sickening. Get some perspective. It's not "all about US."

The individual perpetrators are almost always pulled from the ranks of the terminally angry -- angry NOT because of U.S. support of Israel or of the Shah or whatever, but angry because they simply grew up in a miserable place, where life is hard and cheap, and only the truly brutal stand a chance of even rising above the level of "bruised sheep," where there is no future and no hope of betterment, and where the only institutions of "formal education" that even exist are staffed by professional agitators and religious zealots -- and the "leaders" and "organizers" live only to see their personal or fundamentalist agendas acted out.

The U.S.'s involvement (i.e.; "meddling") in their cultures is not relevant. If "meddling" WAS the standard by which their "retributions" were created, then the U.S. ought to be the LAST country on their list. We've been "involved" barely 50 years, AT MOST, and that involvement has come entirely in the form of unpopular support for unpopular people, factions and nation-states... as opposed to CENTURIES of outright conquest and usurpation, religious purges and crusades, assassinations, theft of treasure and the redrawing of their borders by other nations and leaders.

So I don't buy that this sudden escalation of violence and hatred is a result of our "misdirected support" of the wrong people. These are the actions of the perpetually angry, guided by the religiously-motivated against the blasphemy of our prosperity, fed by advanced weaponry and global connectedness, satisfied by instantaneous reward, appeased and openly supported by the timidity, self-loathing and second-guessing of their targets, and all without fear of reciprocity.

War sucks. War IS a last resort, and war WAS instigated as a last resort. 12 years of impotent finger-waving and tut-tuts was about 12 TIMES more leash than should have been let out here. But war -- THIS war in particular -- is making a very real dent on every one of those issues listed in the paragraph above. And this leader -- aided by the best of our friends and allies -- is/are the one(s) who made that dent.

And finally, regarding last night's (2nd) debate -- if I'd had nothing else to go by before watching that debate, I'dve called it about an even draw. Both held their ground well, both were sufficiently convincing and well versed, and both made their cases. And if Kerry would -- or COULD -- do, or even TRY to do, everything that he claimed he could and would, personally, I could live with that. But I DON'T believe many of his assertions, I DON'T think that many of his "solutions" will work, I don't believe ANYbody that says they've got all the answers, and I'm put off by his ego and two-facededness.

But, considering the things that I also don't like about George Bush (and there are a few), it ultimately comes down to this -- with John Kerry, I've got to take his word for everything, from his "beliefs" to the efficacy of his "big plans" -- with George Bush, I've SEEN what he'll do, I've SEEN him stand tough and persevere in the face of brutal opposition, and I'm living, peacefully and more securely, in the nation that he has led for the last four years. I don't HAVE to guess or hope that his promises will be kept... they already are.

'Nuff said... for now.


To Wry:

I think I understand a little bit about your reaction: You feel very deeply the woman’s hurt at the loss of her son, which by your reasoning can not be justified by a military action which you judge to be wrong. Again, I don’t doubt that there are such people as Cindy. I have had many friends and family who served in the military; I am the son of a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who served in the Pacific in WWII. I have lost friends while serving in the U.S. military in peacetime and in war. I do not take any of this lightly. I regret that you and I find ourselves at odds over some of these details, because our enemies really don’t give a shit about whether you and I agree; they will happily kill us both.

I agree in general that we anger people in many parts of the world by taking action to attack. We angered Germans and Japanese when we attacked them, bombed their cities, burned homes, leaving torn bodies, orphans, cruelly maimed survivors. But those wounds between warring populations can be healed. If we stand paralyzed by the fear that some will be angered, or the fear that some innocents will be hurt by our ACTION, that has to be weighed against the certainty that many more innocents will be allowed to die by our INACTION.

Just to show that we Democrats and Republicans are all Americans on the same side... let’s review some of the application of U.S. military forces under the Presidency of Wm. Jefferson Clinton, for situations in which no CRITICAL United States interest or security issues were discernible (Most of these were done without securing prior approval from Congress, under constitutional doctrine of presidential prerogatives and statutory war powers:

Mogadishu, Somalia 1993---started (under previous adminsitration) as humanitarian relief, but “mission creep” lead to expansion of goals to include capture of warlord Aidid, without deployment of adequate forces, under inept U.N. supervision.

Haiti 1993--- deployment of U.S. forces without any congressional consultation or approval, to force General Cedras to allow implementation of new government under Jean-Bertrand Aristide. U.S. Troops were deployed and en route to Haiti as the UNSC were considering a resolution which was passed, endorsing U.S. unilateral action. U.S. troops were actually place in Haiti in 1994, and stayed until they were replaced by United Nations Peacekeeping units in 1998.

Bosnia --- intervention in the conflict resulting from the disintegration of former Yugoslavia following the 1980 death of its leader of 4 decades Marshall Yosip Broz Tito, ethnic conflict between Christians and Muslims

Several of distinct major military operations against Saddam Hussein:

Cruise missile attack on Baghdad as punishment for plotting to assassinate former President George Bush 1993

"Operation Vigilant Warrior" (October, 1994) Saddam had deployed armored divisions near the southern border with Kuwait, Clinton ordered a show of force by U.S. forces, Saddam backed down & moved his forces away.

“Operation Northern Watch” 1996--- Joint Alliance air strikes on military targets, particularly anti-aircraft installations, because Saddam’s forces continued to fire on U.N. / Alliance aircraft enforcing “no-fly” terms of Iraq’s surrender.
"Operation Desert Strike" (September, 1996) Saddam attacked Kurds in the North with tank columns, Clinton made only minor symbolic attacks against southern military targets, essentially giving Saddam free hand to crush Kurdish community once again. Saddam took Clinton’s half-hearted use of force in this instance as confirmation that U.S. would not after all, offer any but token opposition to his resumption of pre-Gulf-War status.

"Operation Desert Fox" (December, 1998)Deployment of U.S. Naval forces as a show of strength to intimidate Saddam to persuade him to allow continued U.N. inspections, after he had repeatedly balked, and those teams had left Iraq in frustration.

Balkan Intervention (Again) in the Kosovo-Yugoslav(Serb) war 1998,78-day aerial bombardment intended to force Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to cease massacres of Muslim civilians

Cruise missile strikes against sites in Afghanistan and Sudan 1998

Plans for incursion into Montenegro 1998--- General Wesley Clark received approval to draft contingency plans, and in fact prepared detailed preparations for attacking Yugoslav naval forces (including their deisel-powered subs and surface vessels) and establishing a beachhead in Montenegro to counter anticipated further belligerence by Yugoslav Serbs against other Balkan groups.

However, increasing popular support within Montenegro for the independence movement is not likely to be a major consideration of Milosevic in deciding whether to lower the boom on Montenegro and start another Balkan war. Not known for allowing Yugoslavia's parts to separate peacefully, Milosevic can be counted on to resort to military force and violence to keep Montenegro in the Yugoslav federation. And the highest-level military authorities of the U.S.A and NATO are well aware of this. Like it or not, another Balkan war is coming soon, and the U.S.A. and the Western alliance, sooner or later, will be right in the middle of that war.

Anticipating the coming Montenegro-Yugoslav War and NATO's intervention into the conflict, U.S. and NATO military athorities are determined that, when these developments materialize, the U.S.A. and NATO will be better prepared than they were in the Kosovo- Yugoslav War. In the case of Kosovo, the U.S.A. and NATO, weeks after their intervention into the war, still did not have plans for conducting an on-the-ground military campaign. Unwilling to take any chances this time around, General Wesley Clark, in early October, requested his superiors in the U.S. Department of Defense to authorize him to begin drafting contingency war plans for Montenegro--plans for NATO military action in Montenegro, in the event that the country is subject to Yugoslav/Serbian military aggression and/or subversion by internal forces inspired and supported by Milosevic. U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and General Henry Hugh Shelton, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved General Clark's request, giving him the green light to start drawing up the contingency plans for war in Montenegro.

The contingency plans drafted by General Clark call for an amphibious task force, including over 2,000 U.S. marines, to attack and seize the Montenegrin seaport of Bar. The goals of this military assault on Bar would be to (1) capture or destroy the vessels of the Yugoslav Navy, especially its two diesel-powered submarines and its modicum of small ships equipped with cruise missiles, (2) obtain complete control of the seaport, and (3) use control of the port to establish a secure beachhead for NATO military operations in other parts of Montenegro, including a ground-force invasion to drive FRY/Serbian forces out of the country and allow it to be governed by its own duly constituted authorities.

General Clark's contingency plans also call for (1) a brigade of assault troops transported by helicopters to land at or near the Golubovci airport and seize control of it and (2) military jets to clear the skies of hostile aircraft and destroy any missile or artillery batteries putting up resistance to the NATO operation.

I may have some details a little mixed up--- a lot of this is from memory of the news reports of those days, and only some of it researched. But these are not invented or made up. I invite anyone to correct me on detail.

Sorry Bill and GHS... The post above was MUCH longer than I meant to post. I accidentally included the full article on Wesley Clark's Montenegro plans and all the background data. Please feel free to delete.

I apologize for my carelessness.

A very thought-provoking post. As others have commented, it seems difficult to imagine that anyone could look at the historical facts and not come to the same conclusions. You "just" did it exceptionately well, as many of us wish we could.
I do agree with a few comments that some of your enthusiasm might be construed as provocative to moderates such as I, and therefore diminish the overall effectiveness of the post. I'll give it to people I know who are definitely pro-Bush to hearten them and use the ideas when talking to fence-sitters.
Thanks for your time and effort.

Where was the "easy" takedown?

Are you telling me that anyone in the Whitehouse expected to have major forces committed in Iraq a year after the job? Iraq was chosen not because it was a primary target in the WoT, but because it was thought to be easier.

What do tax cuts have to do with foreign oil dependence?

Nothing. But it has a lot to do with the ability of the USA to commit enough resources to the WoT and the armed forces. Right now, the USA can only fight the WoT because China is buying up the bonds necessary to finance it... At the very least, the money spent on the tax cuts could have been spent on boosting the salaries of the enlistees, the people whose lives are at risk. Of course it could never happen. Bush's main supporters would have crucified him.

The assumption that "the less-well-off" comprise the military is a false one. The enlistees are from every walk of life, every profession...

Oh come on. What percentage of the armed forces new recruits have parents making more than $100,000? A few? Yes. In fact, it's newsworthy every time someone who *is* from a middle or upper-middle class background becomes a casualty!

Iran and North Korea will be dealt with in due time.

Sadly, due time in Iran would be before January. It's not going to happen. After that, the Western world continues to exist at Iran's whim (and desire for self-preservation - we're going to have to hope that they feel they've more to lose by launching than restraint...)

More to the point, it could never happen. Even now, if Iran was actually attacked, they'd make certain no oil got out of the gulf. (That's what the terrorists and missiles are for...) The president knows that, and has no wish to be seen as the cause of $200/barrel oil prices and the world-wide depression that would follow it.

Iraq was GWB's "feel-good" war, and the price of that venture is not just the lives lost and the dollar cost, but the loss of the ability to face the real threats.


re. Your assertion that Bush is making us less safe by pushing moderate arabe into extremism...

First, I think moderate Muslims need the wake up call. They have no stature to claim their religion is one of peace if through their silence they tacitly approve the methods of the extremists within their ranks.

Second, which moderates are you talking about? Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Kuwait, Pakistan, Yemen to grab a handful.... they are all very active against the terrorists. Saudi Arabia is scrambling to recover from their deadly error ofcreating the mess of Wahabbism, but they are killing terrorists as we speak.

The same was said when we went into Afghanistan. The same was said when we engaged the enemy on Ramadan. The same is said no matter what pro-active move we make. The results of the two ideologies could not be more clear. A sensitive approach to the "Arab Street" bought endless attacks on innocents abroad, intifada against Israel, and finally, the 9-11 attack. Engaging the enemy has brought a near cessation of attacks agains Israel, a severe drawback of tensions between Pakistan and India, Pakistani engagement in rooting out the remnants of Taliban and Al Qaida in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and near blanket condemnation within Iraq against the terrorist actions of Zarqawi.


Wesley Clark is no expert. Recall, he is the man who advised engaging Russian troops in Bosnia.


Joseph Wilson and Richard Clarke... their most "earthshaking" claims have been debunked by none other than the 9-11 commission.

Here's a nice display of media bias concerning Wilson:


Here's a nice fisking of Clarke's post-commission face saving:


And here's a nice post-mortem on Clarke's career:

re. Paul Bremer... you call it scrambling for damage control. I call it more accurately correcting the misleading reporting by the press. Who are you going to believe? Paul Bremer himself, or those in the press who only have printed things to support their own interpretation?

Why should I be at all alarmed that Bremer and Bush would have differences in opinion? Why should I be bothered that Bush would install people who supported his goals?

Regarding Shinseki. The contention he was fired or "retired" as you put it, are patently false. He was rotated out, per the schedule set 14 months in advance of his "retirement".

Again, even were it true that he was rotated out for having fundamental differences in how Iraq should be dealt with, why should I feel uncomfortable about this? Shinseki, appointed the Army's chief of staff by Bill Clinton, is not the be all and end all of military strategy. Shinseki was resisting Rumsfeld's plan to recast the Army into a faster, more easily deployable arm of the military. It is important to troops on the ground that they feel their leadership is 100% in synch with the strategy being used.

Rumsfeld's vision of the Army has proven to be exactly what is needed in a war on terror. Shinseki's resistance to change outside of beret color was a distraction from the war. Shinseki, if you recall, also estimated huge numbers of troops necessary for the Afghan campaign. He was retired per schedule, and the Army is better for it.

The real scandal here isn't that Shinseki was rotated out, but that he may have allowed political aspirations to get in the way of his job.

Here's an excellent review of the situation:


I didn't read the article from foreign sites, simply because I don't have any reason to believe that foreign press has any real insight into American politics.

Regarding the alternet story about Bush's "religous war" and his conflicts with Colin Powell: I find it strikingly intolerant to disparage a man's faith so.

Furthermore, even were it true, it would have no bearing on my estimation that this is a just war, that Iraq was the most important target, and that Bush is a far more steady and capable leader for holding his convictions dearly, and not doing the most politically expedient thing Kerry is so famous for.

I have often said of Dan Quayle that I truly respect him. I would never, EVER want him as president, but the man has his beliefs, and is true to them. The same is true of Howard Dean.

Now, the fact that Bush and Powell are often at odds with policy issues gives the lie to the statement that Shinseki was fired/retired whatever over a simple disagreement in troop numbers. Powell went so far as to question whether we should even take the war to Iraq. He later came to agreement with Bush. However, if Bush allows no difference in opinion, why wouldn't he simply ask for Powell's resignation? I think we could both agree that Powell probably wouldn't hesitate if asked. He has a particular affinity for avoiding conflict.

Finally, to call the author of that article, Robert Scheer, a partisan hack would do a disservice to partisan hacks. This is a man that cannot get past the Bush Lied/People Died mantra.

Likewise, Stanley Kutler's article. Certainly there are differences between Powell and Bush. But the fact that Kutler holds Richard Clarke's self-aggrandizing words as gospel, and that he would say the following after the 9-11 commission has debunked this viewpoint invalidates him as an objective arbiter of facts:

"May the government make a blatantly dishonest case, based on hyped claims that Iraq held vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction, and had strong links to Al Qaeda, to lead the nation to war?"

Whether Powell retires or not I have no reason to debate. It would be a loss. But it has no bearing on the debate of who would be the better president.

I'm one of those who believes we do have ample troops in Iraq. Unless your goal is to completely man the borders and go on large offensives, what exactly does having more troops on the ground bring to the table in Iraq. Indeed, more troops (which equals more targets) would drive up casualty rates. Iraqi national guardsmen are swelling both in number and in training, as evidenced by their cooperation in the most recent actions, and the planning for Fallujah, and in no small part owing to Bush’s diplomatic efforts in getting Nato to help with the training. As I stated earlier, it is a GOOD thing that the Iraqis have some work to do. It will give the Iraqi population a truly vested interest in their democracy, having participated and sacrificed in the battle to ensure their liberty.

Finally, I have a question for you, John.

Why do you think John Kerry would make a better president? Tell me what about his record convinces you that he has the wisdom and resolve to lead this country, and indeed the world, in the fight on fundamental Islamic terrorists?

If you cannot find anything in his record (as I have failed to do) indicating such, what makes you think that now, FINALLY, John F Kerry can finally be trusted to do the right thing rather than swerve at the first indication his poll numbers are dropping?

Because if your best answer is that Bush is a failure despite his having brought liberty from despotism and the hope of true freedom to 50 million people, then you are betting the farm on a candidate with no credibility other than he is saying what you want to hear.

I have many MANY problems with GW Bush. But electing a president is not about finding the perfect man or woman to vote for, but finding the best among those offerred at the time. Voting for the man who tries to be all things to all people is voting on a pipe dream. Because that man is incapable of being true even to his own fading convictions beyond a desire for power.

On that note, I must beg off any further debate. I'm hitting the road tomorrow for a new job in Las Vegas (Baby!) and doubt I'll be in a situation where I'll be able to respond. I appreciate your civil and thoughtful attitude throughout our exchange. It sounds to me as though you are someone who is capable of critical thought, which gives me great hope that at some point in the future, you'll come over to my side. ;)

Thanks GHS for the nod... always happy to do my part. Glad to see you are back though. Between you and Dave March and Nanashi and all the rest I figure the comment board is well represented by the right.

Oh, and to Wry: "You're fake patriots"... I never commented on your post in the first place... and besides, I'm rubber, you're glue.


Oh really, Tom West?

Care to explain how an invasion of Iran or North Korea would be staged/executed? (Hint: South Korea is not very enthusiastic about conquering their neighbors to the north.)

I've been gone from commenting here for a long time, and it took me a long time to get through 361 comments! Still, it's good to be back. Great thoughts. Everyone.

I spend a lot of my professional time working on national politics--advising candidates and campaigns, deciphering issues, etc. There is right and wrong, and then there is politics.

So, let's talk a little politics.

When Bush decided to make the Battle of Iraq a central front on the GWoT I commented to my colleagues that the decision was politically very risky. Essentially Bush was betting his entire political career--his current Presidency and any chance at a future Presidency, the current ascendancy of the GOP, etc.--on a new doctrine of pre-emptive action.

And then it hit me. The point of the Battle of Iraq was not to benefit Bush politically. It was "to provide for the common defense" as Bush is required to do in his oath of office. He pursued the Battle of Iraq with ferocity because it was the right thing to do.

That's why it is so simple for him. Evil vs. Good. With Us vs. With the Terrorists. Then commit yourself to action.

This defines Bush. He is a man of deep commitment--to God, to his family, to certain principles, and to this country. While he makes plenty of decisions based on politics (he is, after all, a politician), this was not one of them. He is quite politically savvy, and this was akin to political water torture--a prolonged, expensive war with many "hidden successes"? He would not do this for political reasons.

Now for Kerry

My analysis--which is not cursory, but quite extensive--leads me to believe that Kerry does not do anything unless it has positive political advantages for him. His "flip-flops" are all produced by his desire to gain personal political capital from every moment. Even his choice of law school--Boston College--was motivated by his desire to gain political advantage; BC was deemed more "appropriate" than, say, Harvard for a "man of the people." It's as if Kerry has to check the polls each morning to see what his "core values" should be today.

Want to vote for principle? Vote Bush.
Want to vote for politics? Vote Kerry.
This election is about the leader vs. the lawyer.

It's that simple.

To me, policy toward North Korea vs. Iraq is obvious:

Prior to the Battle of Iraq, Iraq was exactly where North Korea was in 1993--a rogue regime with nuclear ambitions. The Clinton administration chose to deal with North Korea through negotiations, a treaty, and concessions of aid (money and food).

Now North Korea is a growing nuclear threat, after lying to the US, and violating the treaty.

John Kerry thinks we should have dealt with Iraq the same way as Clinton. He also thinks that we should deal with Iran the same way. What, in the international histories of Iraq and Iran, makes Kerry think that they would behave any differently than North Korea did?

Bush chose differently. Iraq will never have the chance to become the nuclear threat that North Korea is now.

Bush dealt with a potential nuclear threat before it materialized. And this is bad...how?


Huge institutions, like the US military, are slow to react to sudden changes.

When you went to the recruiter on September 12, 2001-- the military was surely still in a "September 10" mindset, regarding their recruiting needs.

That was back before today's giant, endless manpower commitment emerged in Iraq. And, back on 9/12, our military wrongly expected that we could count on a real "Desert Storm" coalition. Instead of the shabby, hollow faux-coalition now in Iraq.

But, in the intervening years since 9/12/01, the Pentagon has revised their understanding of their manpower needs.

In other words, Bill, you can volunteer again today-- and this time they will gladly take a pilot with your skills. Especially since you are willing to do -anything-, not just fly a jet.

You are not too old for the California Air Guard. If you try to join, they will definitely take you now.

Likewise, for the first time, much serious military work is being performed now by private contractors. This wasn't true back on 9/12/01.

Private contractors are even-less picky about how old you are, than the National Guard is. Private contractors will have you serving in Iraq even faster than the Air Guard. You can be over there by Xmas, no problem.

Or else you can sit at home in Hollywood basking in the sound of your own words.

Wake up! Shake loose the "September 12" mentality, that has you waiting for the military to call you. You need to stop waiting, stop talking about it, and go down to the recruiter.

Practice what you preach.

If the war on terror is so singularly important, you should be willing to fight it yourself.



Thank you for sharing your gift of eloquence with us. For putting into words those thoughts that so many of us are unable to catch and put to paper.

So many people it sometimes seems are so concerned with the pettiness of which candidate speaks with prettier words. I wish everyone could just understand: it is not about how you say it, it is about what you say AND do. President Bush wants to try and save my life. John Kerry will let me get killed.

Enough said.

You're welcome. Bill inspires me to write as eloquently as I can.

Oh come on. What percentage of the armed forces new recruits have parents making more than $100,000? A few? Yes. In fact, it's newsworthy every time someone who *is* from a middle or upper-middle class background becomes a casualty!

Quite a few, actually. My husband's paternal family owns all that land off the freeway and to the west of Woodlawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, not to mention a sprawling ranch elsewhere in the county. However, he decided that he wanted to do something meaningful with his life and enlisted in the Navy. Moreover, he has worked with people who had even more money than his family had, yet they were also enlistees. Likewise, when my father enlisted in the Air Force (later to be commissioned) his family owned lakefront property in Florida. My brother is back from his second tour to Iraq with the Marines, and I served my own enlistment with the Army over at DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir as a surgical technician (after some training in Persian Farsi at the Defense Language Institute of Monterey), and while our family isn't wealthy, we're well within middle class.

Remember, kids: research is your friend.

Sadly, due time in Iran would be before January. It's not going to happen. After that, the Western world continues to exist at Iran's whim (and desire for self-preservation - we're going to have to hope that they feel they've more to lose by launching than restraint...)

More to the point, it could never happen. Even now, if Iran was actually attacked, they'd make certain no oil got out of the gulf. (That's what the terrorists and missiles are for...) The president knows that, and has no wish to be seen as the cause of $200/barrel oil prices and the world-wide depression that would follow it.

Are you really that uninformed or just playing at it? While I don't expect that many people to have the kind of expertise I have with Iran (especially considering some of that knowledge is made up of things I am not permitted to disclose), there are a few no-brainers that anyone who has been paying any kind of attention to Iran at all for the past 10 years would notice. Simply talking with the many Iranian refugees throughout the country or even reading their blogs blows this pet theory of yours out of the proverbial waters.

For one thing, the mullahs are more than simply unpopular -- the average Iranian detests them with a passion and blames them for a shoddy economy that could be significantly boosted by American trade. They are already scrambling to maintain what power they have in their own country. Nuclear weaponry is a non-issue if they find themselves ousted...and with the current socio-political climate in Iran, it won't be much longer before they are. So they're a wee bit busy at the moment to worry about foreign matters, even those on their front doorstep.

Not that they can't bluff, however...and they do so with gusto. But the fact of the matter is that the most they can do is fund a few terrorist groups -- mostly those in Iraq. But as the terrorists they funnel money to are dwindled away, the Iranian mullahs really have nothing left. They can't afford to host many cells in their own country -- not with the U.S. looming over them from the outside and citizens all too willing to rat them out on the inside. What's more, the oil wells of Iran have long since run dry, and remember that shoddy economy I mentioned earlier? Even if there are still terrorists, a protracted battle will whittle away the Iranian funds to practically nothing. Time is no man's friend -- but never has this been a larger truism than for the terrorists and their sponsors.

Lastly, there's already a counter-revolution gaining rapid ground within the country itself. And while many of these Iranians would love nothing more than a U.S.-led coalition coming in to help them out, at the same time they also want the pride of being able to earn their freedom. Even those who may not be sympathetic will tire of the neglect of schools, roads, services, and so on in lieu of funding terrorists most Iranians don't support.

The way of dealing with Iran via the War in Iraq could not have worked out more to the advantage of the U.S. or the Iranian people.

There is an un-publicized, subtle effect owing to the Battle of Iraq. While Libya's dismantling of WMD gets the press, Iraq has produced other byproducts. Nanashi mentions it above--Iran is trying desperately to undermine the US in Iraq, as she has so eloquently put it.

But there is more. The US presence has placed significant pressure on Saudi Arabia to crack down on the terrorists within its own borders. The Saudis have turned a blind eye to terrorism and its funding for years. But they don't want to have the US next door any more than Iran does. The more they cooperate with the GWoT, the sooner the US will reduce our military presence.

The Palestinians are experiencing Saddam-withdrawal. The intifada is not going as they had hoped, what with the Israeli wall and the targeting of specific Hamas leaders for extremely specific missile strikes.

It's almost as if the US presence in Iraq is having a transforming power over the whole Middle East. Wait--didn't someone once say that was a goal of the Battle of Iraq?

Why, it's almost nuanced.


Great stuff! Well worth the wait. I think you "get it."

Speaking of Ben Stein. You may want to read his article "A Star In Today's World." I think he "gets it" too. Here's a link, it's posted at Liddy's website.


The moment I see "kids", my spine tingles. We are all kids, but none of us "kids". I will not labor in retrospect, but I will bring up the best men we forget. Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon. These MEN asked to be put into harms way, they did not expect to be noticed, they always knew noone would know their heroics, they did what they knew had to be done. Without saying too much, these men are our best, willing to do what they must. Now I expect to debate that any authority will allow their men to die for our reason, this is debateable, though I see no insight into such reason. I choose to look at their reason to put themselves into harms way...They chose to save a life. I pattern my life around the ideas these men believe in, they are without need, they are americans. Mrs Shughart said, to paraphrase, If anyone could survive, Randy would. I live and die to provide hope, that we provide for those less able, less willing, less secure, and less competent. I miss my friends, I cry for them, those I lost, but I know they do not cry, for they know they gave something to life that means something. This became very personal when I had to allow that islam might demand such forfeit. I will think about this loss, and hope we come to a common conclusion, though I doubt we can.




I've done what I think is a pretty good post referencing your piece. It examines the strategy and goals of Bush's media policy vis-a-vis inflicting a _severe_ defeat on the left. If you have a chance to have a look, I'd be honored.


Some of the really egregious posts remind us that the United States now has several generations of high school graduates that generally cannot distinguish between a proton and a crouton; between The third law of thermodynamics and the Phlogiston theory of Heat; between a Kyoto Accord and a Kyoto Accordion.

Pity about how public education has suffered under the left's dominance in so much of the 20th century. Social experiments such as the shift of priorities from actual quantifiable skills to "self-esteem" and "multi-cultural sensitivity" and the Professor Harold Hill "whole language" approach to reading comprehension has reduced millions of public school graduates to semi-literacy. Of course, that necessarily includes composition and logic skills.

The effects spread in ripples through the life of the second and third generation inheritors of the NEA's self-protective legacy. Students who can't read well are condemned to extreme difficulties in the sciences.

How can they assess for themselves whether a given group can secretly build and operate a nuclear-weapons industry if they don’t have the reading skills or basic science to survey even lay literature on nuclear technology? How can anyone who hasn’t absorbed middle-school geometry and trigonometry have any basis for judging the fundamental reliability of a poll that claims accuracy to some specified margin of accuracy? How can they choose between nuclear or fossil fuel power if they have no understanding of black lung disease, mine safety issues, or the natural radiactivity of coal?

In short, how can they be expected to spot the lies and inconsistencies in a candidate’s or party’s pronouncements?

Experience can overcome a bad early education, but it takes time. It requires finally that they recognize the reason everything is so dark is that their line-of-sight is blocked by their own abdominal anatomy.

You’d think the smell would be a clue.

I know Rush has espoused the idea that Osama is dead, for quite some time, now, and along with your statements here, I'm starting to think he (and you) might be right.

Despite that, it has still confused me how any American could tolerate 12 years of being shot at as we enforce the terms of a ceasefire, and then be upset with ol'GW (Bush) because he tied down a loose cannon.

I don't understand them.

Fantastic essay.

It will go down in the history of the Blogosphere as a milestone. Thanks.


common sense and wonder has an excellent article explaining how the U.S. government has worked with Halliburton and its subsidiaries for many years.

You do know that Iraq is a different country from Afganistan right? The Al-Quedas who flew the planes into the WTC on 9/11 were mostly Saudis organized from Afganistan - NOT from IRAQ. Bush invaded IRAQ. A Totally Different Country. 1,000+ American soldiers died in Iraq. We've spent over hundreds of billions of dollars. And for what?? Not for weapons of mass destructions, but now as Bush and Cheney claimed, it's because of the oil-for-food programs. Bush totally rushed to war and we're all paying for it.

We are not safer now. Iran is stepping up on its nuclear program. North Korea continues to be a wild card. Bush is not dealing with either of those eminent threats. HELLO!!!

I will vote for John Kerry. At least he had been to war and will be able to discern when it's necessary to sacrify American lives for a just cause, unlike Bush who did not even serve his country fully who continues to sacrify American lives in his invasion of Iraq.

All I can say is WOW! Well said sir!

One Vote, you do know that there are more terroristst than only Al-Qaida, right? And that they live in more countries than just Afghanistan, right? And that they are all sworn to kill you, right? And that Iraq supported terrorists, funded terrorists, trained terrorists, and harbored terrorists, right?

Do you actually believe that John Kerry's three months in Viet Nam gave him the wisdom to "discern when it's necessary to sacrifice American lives for a just cause?" What do you base that judgment on, his thirty years of opposing every use of American force in America's national interest, not to mention that of our allies?

There is no hope for you.

Easy takedown redux: Tom, you neglected to mention Afghanistan. I'm sure the war planners thought that was going to be a cakewalk. After all, look at the success the Russians had there, right. 10 years, with nothing but war dead to show for it. Even Alexander The Great couldn't do anything in Afghanistan. We did it in six weeks. As to the "yes but," yes of course there are elements of the Taliban and al Qaeda left. And they're being picked off, too. And did you notice, they had their first election yesterday? Did you also notice the first voter was a woman?
How many in the military have parents making over $100,000? Damn, how many American kids have parents making over $100,000? You don't even entertain the possibility that they're there because they believe in what they're doing; that they're doing what they do out of patriotism. You insult them. Take a look at Karl Zinsmeister's account of those in the military.
Iran, as I said, will be dealt with. You can be assured that the Iranian mullahs are checking their shorts as we speak. Not only are they worried about us, they have a rather large student insurgency to worry about. The Iranian youth are fed up with the oppressiveness of the Islamic Republic.
You only have to look at Libya to see what kind of effect the war has had. The Colonel decided he didn't want to be dragged out of a spider hole, and gave all his WMDs up.
Finally, suppose that the war in Iraq is, in part, a diversion? Suppose, for instance that jihadists are assuming we're concentrating our resources there, and are letting their guard(s) down? There are probably terrorists all over the world falling over dead from "unknown causes."
Have a nice day. :)


Huge institutions, like the US military, are slow to react to sudden changes.

When you went to the recruiter on September 12, 2001-- the military was surely still in a "September 10" mindset, regarding their recruiting needs.

That was back before today's giant, endless manpower commitment emerged in Iraq. And, back on 9/12, our military wrongly expected that we could count on a real "Desert Storm" coalition. Instead of the shabby, hollow faux-coalition now in Iraq.

But, in the intervening years since 9/12/01, the Pentagon has revised their understanding of their manpower needs.

In other words, Bill, you can volunteer again today-- and this time they will gladly take a pilot with your skills. Especially since you are willing to do -anything-, not just fly a jet.

You are not too old for the California Air Guard. If you try to join, they will definitely take you now.

Likewise, for the first time, much serious military work is being performed now by private contractors. This wasn't true back on 9/12/01.

Private contractors are even-less picky about how old you are, than the National Guard is. Private contractors will have you serving in Iraq even faster than the Air Guard. You can be over there by Xmas, no problem.

Or else you can sit at home in Hollywood basking in the sound of your own words.

Wake up! Shake loose the "September 12" mentality, that has you waiting for the military to call you. You need to stop waiting, stop talking about it, and go down to the recruiter.

Practice what you preach.

If the war on terror is so singularly important, you should be willing to fight it yourself.




Have you considered the Marine Reserve? They accept volunteers for active duty up to age 36. Above that age, they'll take volunteers for non-active duty, up to age 45. Furtthermore, if you're over 36, you can still qualify for USMC active duty by joining MFR, and then getting a waiver by passing a physical.

Don't say you "can't", boy.

A partial list of Private Military Contractors who will gladly hire Bill Whittle to fight terror in Iraq:

Hart Group
Control Risks
Triple Canopy
Halliburton (LOGCAP program)
Logo Logistics
Henderson Risk
Steele Foundation
Vinnell Corp., Vinnell Arabia
Global Risk Strategies
Combat Support Associates
Nour USA
Red Tactica
Regency/ESS/Compass Group
Custer Battles

Dear Bill and Bloggers,
After careful reflection, and a lot of first hand experience, I dare to dip my toe into this cesspool of comments.
Most of you are living under a carefully woven blanket of illusion. It frightens me. The two Presidential Candidates frighten me as well. We are in for a long and bloody war, of 20 - 30 years, if we manage to stave off the nuclear threat. We have entered into a conflict that NO ONE WILL WIN. Our mistake was, INVADING IRAQ.
We have done that, it is too late for retreat, and by doing so, we have insured the Bush/Cheney Junta will succeed in their goal, which was to insure that America enters into a LONG-LONG WAR.
They do not want this war to end. That was the point.It is too profitable. Our Economy is closely tied to the Saudi's. If the Saudi Royal Family were to divest themselves from America, we would have the Mother of all Depressions, That is how deeply tied we are to them. Please look back in History, START WITH THE CRUSADES. This war in Iraq, is merely a continuation of that, in another form. It was a carefully planned, and we knew, going in, what to expect. We can not retreat, neither can we win. We have stirred up the hornets nest, and in having done so, must be stung. Perhaps, if we can provide the illusion of retreat, under the guise of a change of command, the hornets will go back into the nest, and we can live a bit longer, or more quietly, until mankind can evolve past the binds of Religion, and enter into a time of Spirituality.
As Marcus Aurelius wrote: "What is no good for the Hive, is no good for the bee." We can not kill off the 100,000 + Muslim/fanatics, nor the one Billion Muslims, who have entered into sympathy with them, and are fearful of us all.

Nanashi, thank you.

After months absent from the Op/Ed pages, pro-war columnist Thomas L. Friedman has penned a piece that reads like a direct rebuttal to Bill's DETERRENCE essay.

"Sorry, I've been away writing a book. I'm back, so let's get right down to business: We're in trouble in Iraq.

I don't know what is salvageable there anymore. I hope it is something decent and I am certain we have to try our best to bring about elections and rebuild the Iraqi Army to give every chance for decency to emerge there. But here is the cold, hard truth: This war has been hugely mismanaged by this administration, in the face of clear advice to the contrary at every stage, and as a result the range of decent outcomes in Iraq has been narrowed and the tools we have to bring even those about are more limited than ever.

What happened? The Bush team got its doctrines mixed up: it applied the Powell Doctrine to the campaign against John Kerry - "overwhelming force" without mercy, based on a strategy of shock and awe at the Republican convention, followed by a propaganda blitz that got its message across in every possible way, including through distortion. If only the Bush team had gone after the remnants of Saddam's army in the Sunni Triangle with the brutal efficiency it has gone after Senator Kerry in the Iowa-Ohio-Michigan triangle. If only the Bush team had spoken to Iraqis and Arabs with as clear a message as it did to the Republican base. No, alas, while the Bush people applied the Powell Doctrine in the Midwest, they applied the Rumsfeld Doctrine in the Middle East. And the Rumsfeld Doctrine is: "Just enough troops to lose." Donald Rumsfeld tried to prove that a small, mobile army was all that was needed to topple Saddam, without realizing that such a limited force could never stabilize Iraq. He never thought it would have to. He thought his Iraqi pals would do it. He was wrong.

For all of President Bush's vaunted talk about being consistent and resolute, the fact is he never established U.S. authority in Iraq. Never. This has been the source of all our troubles. We have never controlled all the borders, we have never even consistently controlled the road from Baghdad airport into town, because we never had enough troops to do it.

Being away has not changed my belief one iota in the importance of producing a decent outcome in Iraq, to help move the Arab-Muslim world off its steady slide toward increased authoritarianism, unemployment, overpopulation, suicidal terrorism and religious obscurantism. But my time off has clarified for me, even more, that this Bush team can't get us there, and may have so messed things up that no one can. Why? Because each time the Bush team had to choose between doing the right thing in the war on terrorism or siding with its political base and ideology, it chose its base and ideology. More troops or radically lower taxes? Lower taxes. Fire an evangelical Christian U.S. general who smears Islam in a speech while wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army or not fire him so as not to anger the Christian right? Don't fire him. Apologize to the U.N. for not finding the W.M.D., and then make the case for why our allies should still join us in Iraq to establish a decent government there? Don't apologize - for anything - because Karl Rove says the "base" won't like it. Impose a "Patriot Tax" of 50 cents a gallon on gasoline to help pay for the war, shrink the deficit and reduce the amount of oil we consume so we send less money to Saudi Arabia? Never. Just tell Americans to go on guzzling. Fire the secretary of defense for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to show the world how seriously we take this outrage - or do nothing? Do nothing. Firing Mr. Rumsfeld might upset conservatives. Listen to the C.I.A.? Only when it can confirm your ideology. When it disagrees - impugn it or ignore it.

What I resent so much is that some of us actually put our personal politics aside in thinking about this war and about why it is so important to produce a different Iraq. This administration never did. Mr. Kerry's own views on Iraq have been intensely political and for a long time not well thought through. But Mr. Kerry is a politician running for office. Mr. Bush is president, charged with protecting the national interest, and yet from the beginning he has run Iraq policy as an extension of his political campaign.

Friends, I return to where I started: We're in trouble in Iraq. We have to immediately get the Democratic and Republican politics out of this policy and start honestly reassessing what is the maximum we can still achieve there and what every American is going to have to do to make it happen. If we do not, we'll end up not only with a fractured Iraq, but with a fractured America, at war with itself and isolated from the world.

there you have it, folks: right war, right place, right time-- wrong president

Very nice, cogent exposition. Very well done. re: the comments about the press view of the Tet offensive, which, even according to surviving VC, effectively wiped out the Viet Cong -- I wonder if 9/11 was in part prompted by the press coverage of GW Bush as an idiot, an unelected president with no vision, no clout, and no brains.

Can do,

You listed the firm "Custer Battles" among those for-whom Bill could find employment fighting terror in Iraq, if Bill wanted to walk his talk.

Better scratch that one from the list:

One of the highest-profile security companies in Iraq has been suspended from doing business with the U.S. government after being accused of overbilling millions of dollars through a series of sham companies.

Custer Battles, a security firm based in Virginia, sent fake bills to the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority that had run Iraq during the U.S. occupation, according to an Air Force memo obtained by The Times.

The company, which provided all security at the Baghdad airport, is also the target of a lawsuit unsealed Friday that accuses employees of systematically bilking U.S. taxpayers and threatening one worker and his 14-year-old son at gunpoint.

The firm, which has a former Republican candidate for Congress as one of its principals, is the latest in a string of companies linked to Republicans that have been accused of wrongdoing in Iraq...

...The company is also under investigation by the FBI and the Pentagon inspector general's Defense Criminal Investigative Services, the memo said. It could not be immediately determined Friday whether those investigations were still underway...

...Several other former GOP officials have come under investigation in connection with contracts in Iraq. The Pentagon's inspector general has asked the FBI to investigate a deputy undersecretary of Defense in connection with a police radio contract. A former top Republican official in the Transportation Department was investigated in connection with an airport contract, U.S. officials have said.

Mike Battles, one of the company's owners, unsuccessfully ran for the House as a Republican from Rhode Island in 2002. He has also contributed to Republican causes and had received campaign contributions from the nation's top GOP officials...

...Custer Battles was a fledgling firm with no experience in the security industry when it landed a $16-million contract in the spring of 2003 to secure the Baghdad airport after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The company hired Nepalese Gurkhas to fill out its limited staff and quickly expanded its presence. It won a contract in August 2003 to provide logistical support for a massive currency exchange in which Iraqis turned in trillions of old dinars for the nation's new currency.

That contract committed the Coalition Provisional Authority to paying for all the company's costs for setting up centers where the exchanges would take place, plus a 25% markup for overhead and profit, according to the Air Force memo signed by Deputy General Counsel Steven A. Shaw.

Custer Battles then purchased trucks, equipment and housing units to carry out the contract. It created a series of "sham companies" registered in the Cayman Islands and Lebanon, the memo said.

The companies were then used to create false invoices making it appear as though they were leasing the trucks and other equipment to Custer Battles. The scheme inflated the 25% markup allowed under the contract, the memo said.

In October 2003, company representatives accidentally left a spreadsheet in a meeting and it was later discovered by CPA employees. The spreadsheet showed that the currency exchange operation had cost the company $3,738,592, but the CPA was billed $9,801,550 — a markup of 162%...

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-custer9oct09,1,2825413,print .story?coll=la-headlines-world

The Bush administration decided not to join the whistleblowers' civil suit alleging fraud against the company, run by a former Republican congressional candidate. The whistleblowers' attorney said a Justice Department lawyer told him the reason was that the alleged victim was the U.S.-financed and led Coalition Provisional Authority, not the U.S. government.

Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo said the department didn't comment on why it declined to join such suits.

It's unusual for the Justice Department to decline to join a suit that has a load of documents and when criminal prosecution is likely, said Patrick Burns, a spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, a group that monitors citizen suits...

http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/9872416.htm?template=contentModules/p rintstory.jsp

Give us a break, Mr. Friedman. The hyperbole of comparing a domestic political campaign to the combat of Iraq is only valid if you acknowledge that it is the lunkheaded LEFT apes that have been SHOOTING at Republican Party campaign offices, and RIPPING UP Republican signs at rallies, ASSAULTING U.S. military personnel home on leave from Iraq duty, and VIOLENTLY VANDALIZING and breaking into Republican offices.

Mr. Friedman suggests Bush should APOLOGIZE to the United Nations for NOT FINDING WMDS????????

MR. FRIEDMAN, it was the United Nations that BELIEVED the weapons were there. THAT IS WHY they spent TWELVE YEARS trying feebly to cajole Saddam Hussein to allow inspections to let anyone know whether they existed.


Sorry, Mr. Friedman, You shouldn't expect people to swallow the enormous internal contradictions of your own assertions.

I calmly, rationally, after careful consideration of the evidence, can say with no malice or distortion, that the person who posted Mr. Freidman's statements is ... [insert your favorite derogatory insult/slander/slur]

I find that terms like Idiot, Cretin, Dunderhead, FecalFace, Moron, simpleton, inmate, LIAR, et cetera, used to convey meaning but have been so overused by the Left in their attempts to dismiss supporters of Bush, they have actually lost credibility and meaning for actual sensible discussions between rational persons.

When you lie too often to people who can discern the lies, you have to invent new vocabulary to describe the truth.

More troops or radically lower taxes? Lower taxes.

False dilemma. Bzzt. You'd think a NY Times jounalist could hide his fallacies a bit better, this one is just plain obvious.

Fire an evangelical Christian U.S. general who smears Islam in a speech while wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army or not fire him so as not to anger the Christian right? Don't fire him.

False cause. Perhaps he was a good general whose strategies saved the lives of American soldiers? You can't assign a cause for keeping him, and therefore its true.

Apologize to the U.N. for not finding the W.M.D., and then make the case for why our allies should still join us in Iraq to establish a decent government there? Don't apologize - for anything - because Karl Rove says the "base" won't like it.

False cause take two. Forget the base, the US has nothing to apologize about because the UN itself thought Saddam had WMD! The UN should apologize to us for never putting teeth behind the inspections.

Finally I must interject...what allies!? I think Bill already plainly showed why this fantastic European alliance doesn't exist.

Impose a "Patriot Tax" of 50 cents a gallon on gasoline to help pay for the war, shrink the deficit and reduce the amount of oil we consume so we send less money to Saudi Arabia? Never.

Stupid idea. Just because you don't like politics, Mr. Friedman, does not make them disappear. Care to offer a NON-SUICIDAL option?

Fire the secretary of defense for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, to show the world how seriously we take this outrage - or do nothing? Do nothing. Firing Mr. Rumsfeld might upset conservatives.

Wow, this one's full of them. First, outright lie and false dilemma, as those who committed the abuses are currently going to trial. Hardly "do nothing." If you think they won't rat out their COs when they take the stand you're delusional. Furthermore, begs the question, where's the incontrovertible evidence of Rumsfeld ordering prisoner abuses? Finally, false cause take three, as there are more plausible reasons for keeping Rumsfeld than just pandering to the base.

Listen to the C.I.A.? Only when it can confirm your ideology. When it disagrees - impugn it or ignore it.

False dilemna. There's nothing to suggest the administration ignored evidence. Just because a report was not believed to be accurate does not mean it was ignored.

I mean, seriously...I don't think the NY Times is much of a great newspaper, but this is just shoddy writing. It's this kind of rhetorical nonsense that has pervaded Bush Bashing for the past four years, and its blatantly fallacious and inaccurate.

m-ehrhardt at northwestern dot edu

God you people are stupid. The truth is that, as the earlier veteran commented, we aren't doing good in Iraq. We're making a mess of things. We shouldn't have entered there in the first place: it will fall apart.

Deterrence is weak. How do you deter terrorism? Harsh laws, the death penalty? Those don't work for suicide bombers. You have to change the culture of the extremists, and you don't do that by killing them and making a mess of their countries. Or by setting up bases in the middle of their country and taking it over.

The most important thing is to destroy the terrorist cells, and they would be on track to be destroyed... if Bush hadn't bred a whole new legion of them in Iraq. There's no reason that Kerry can't use the resources that Bush at his disposal to destroy the terrorists just as effectively.

Two of the biggest issues, if you're well-informed, are the porous borders and the economy. Both have been handled HORRIBLY by Bush. He doesn't attempt to be fiscally responsible. He practices voodoo economics. He's flushing all of our money away, and in the meantime using our credit to spend limitless amounts of money. What will happen when we can't pay the interest? Everything will fall apart. The choice will be defaulting on the debt or printing out a bunch of money(leading to inflation).

If you've read the Time magazine lately, the borders are MORE POROUS than they were before 9/11. We've got 3 million illegal immigrants coming in every year, and not all are Mexican. Bush even wants to give them benefits!!!!

Afghanistan's first election in 5000 years. Another obvious failure. I might be stupid, and I may be wrong, but how does one destroy terrorist cells without destroying terrorists. I know, a stupid question from a stupid human.

I have one very simple question, that anyone with even the simplest mind should easily be able to figure out: Who would our enemies vote for? Need we take a poll to find out who is sane?


If the war on terror is so singularly important, you should be willing to fight it yourself.

I do believe Bill addressed this, he sees his VALUE in this war now. Washing planes has value, but he has much more value writing. The world needs both ditch diggers and Great men to lead. Bill can lead, I will dig the ditches. I try very hard not to get carried away with my own ramblings, far too many are more qualified, but I will support Bill until my dying breath. Not because he is always right, but he has the common sense to know right from wrong. (Men is not PC, I know, but it used to be proper english)


God you people are stupid. The truth is that, as the earlier veteran commented, we aren't doing good in Iraq.

You are correct, I am stupid, but "good" is an adjective, the correct response is "we are not doing well in Iraq", or any chosen adverb.


Rik, If I could, I'd buy ya a beer.

Take a look at this: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/09cnd-afgh-xl.jpg

Boy, we're an evil country, ain't we?


Define good.

Or is anything less than throngs of Iraqi's lining the streets cheering the soldiers and throwing flowers in adulation a failure?

Most people expected Iraq to take a long time, COnservative estimates say 8 to 10 years. Which IMO isn't all that bad, look how long it took to rebuild Germany and Japan after World War Two. The obvious difference is that neither of those two countries had active terrorist cells operating during reconstruction. But then they had both also been pretty much ground to dust, something that didn't happen in Iraq.

Has America made mistakes in the War on Terror? Yes. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional.
Will it make more? Yes. You can't avoid that.
Are things in Iraq now beter than they were two years ago? Depends on who you ask. Theres plenty of blogs out here that give both sides of the story.

Hey, Thresh... Rik was correcting the grammar of the comment by "BC" three or four posts earlier, just echoing his words to identify the bit he was addressing.

comments on both sides here are pissing away a lot of energy in name calling. I've risen to the bait a couple of time meself.

I realize I'm not going to convert anyone by using my smart-ass mode, just piss'em off. What good does that do? Sure, I made someone cry because instead of crumbling from their mean words, I came back with a fiendishly witty... Well, an attempted sarcasm. Witty or lame, it's a waste of energy. Thanks for calling me on that, Gaydar.

I'll try to stick to point by point responses, and not hissy-fits.

New Rule for BC: Read the essay.

Bill said:
[Terrorists] can not be deterred.

But they can be defeated. And the people they depend on for survival can be deterred.

I constantly hear how we need to "change the culture" of the Muslim extremist, but never have I heard from the left HOW we're supposed to accomplish that mighty task. Because playing nice-nice ain't gonna work. Far as I can tell, the best way to change the culture in the Middle East is to try spreading democracy and at least some measure of freedom.

Your "two biggest issues" are both red herrings that have nothing to do with Bill's essay. Once again: read first, post second (preferably never).

m-ehrhardt at northwestern dot edu

Nicolas' lacks conviction which is proven by one of his first posts here. He didn't first state that he is "voting for Kerry". He wrote that he is "voting against Bush". This is very telling.

It's very scary to me that so many folks out there will be voting to get Bush out of office (mostly because of baseless propaganda) at all costs and really haven't educated themselves enough to considered the consequences of putting a man in office whose main goal his whole adult life has been to be popular.


Well spoken!! First time here for me and I just finished reading 'Deterrence' and 'Strength' (quite a read). I'll be back for sure.
One thing that caught my attention, and something I'd like to comment on was: at one point Bill, you said you weren't 'religious'. I think that's really too bad because I firmly believe that the spiritual is one aspect of tremendous importance in this mortal conflict.
SPIRITUAL RENEWAL is absolutely vital for victory in this conflict.
Now I know you may think I'm crazy but please hear me out.

I firmly believe that this is the answer both for 'how to change the culture of the Muslim Extremist' and how to shore up the character of our great nation (how to recognize good and evil and know what to do about it).
I too was enraged by Fallujah but what stopped me was this thought: If I, a miserable sinner though I am, can feel this much rage over the wickedness of men, what must a Holy God think of the whole cockeyed world? And yet He died to save sinners?
I ask myself, would I die to save those retches in Fallujah? Honestly, not in a million years! Yet that is precisely what God did - reminds me of a line from the Lord of the Rings, "many that live deserve death and some that die deserve life." I ought to thank God every day for his mercy because I know that I am in the group that 'deserves death'.

WHICH brings me to another thing you wrote. You asked us to think long and hard about what would bring a man to the place where he would murder his own daughter. That got me thinking along these lines: what on earth separates me form being like such a man? My conclusion?
I am reminded of someone's analysis of the 'applicability' of Tolkien's RING, "...it is both an external force and an internal weakness that plagues everyone, and under the right - I should say 'wrong' circumstances it would and could be you." Or as the Bible states it, "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." A point on which we SHOULD all be able to agree on.

If not our inherent goodness then what? Our wealth? Rule of thumb: good guys rich bad guys poor? Ha! A more privileged upbringing? No, as you so eloquently pointed out 'they' hate us not because of anything we have done to them but for who we are. WELL who are we? Are we a superior race? No. Are we vastly more intelligent then any nation before? What is it that separates The UNITED STATES from any nation in the history of the world? What in fact is it that allowed the United States of America to become anything other than what had already been seen in the brutal history of the world?
I humbly, but boldly proclaim to be THE GRACE OF GOD!

I myself am a living testimony that the grace of God is true power: power to tame my 'evil heart'.
I can TESTIFY to this power; rather then repeat something told me or something I read or some empty 'religious' ritual.
Because this POWER is REAL
this GOD is REAL. I know this is real because it HAPPENED to me, just like I know a bat is real when it whacks me in the head.
This is not some mushy 'whatever is real for you' kind of thing. I know what God has done to me. Whether anyone else believes it's doesn't change the facts.
NOW here is why this is so important to this conflict. This power of God (his grace), this conquest over the hearts of wicked men like myself is the only thing separating us from them, the only thing that enables the 'complex level of trust needed for a free society'. And this power is also the HOW to how do you change the culture of the Muslim Extremist!

Keep up the good work!
May the scales continue to fall from your eyes!!

Z Ramsli

My apologies for calling all of you stupid. I just get a little heated when I find so many people maintaining that George Bush is the best thing since Abe Lincoln.

I'm grateful for the grammar lesson; it's just unfortunate that you don't bother to examine any of the other points I brought up.

Debating with idealogues is a waste of energy; I should sleep.

Mr. Whittle, your kung-fu is awesome. It has been 5 days since you posted your essay, and still people are commenting on it. That's a long time in this day and age of instant gratification and short attention spans. Keep writing, and I'll keep reading (in my favorite tie-dyes, of course).
Your newest Rebublican convert,


I trust the Economist, and hopefully you do too. Hopefully there is some sort of source besides Bush trustworthy.... the Economist is one that I can plainly tell you has no liberal bias. In fact, they're FAR more right-leaning than Bush himself is. This link can help explain to you why voodoo economics is bad. Spent a lot, tax a little, and you're just padding the pockets of the corporations. They aren't investing much of that extra money(noticed the salaries of CEOs?), and, as many professional economists will tell you, a fiscal crisis looms in America's future.

Your argument that hardball always has to be played doesn't make sense in our globalized world. If you want to play hardball with Iraq, don't pussyfoot around. Annhilate everyone. Don't just destroy their buildings and set-up a puppet dictator. That just makes the Muslim extremists happy. I can see 3 possible results from Iraq:

1) We give them democracy, and they write a constitution that makes them a theocracy. Saddam was secular; the majority of Iraq is not. How do we prevent that?

2) We set-up the Iraqis with a government, and they kick the Americans out and try to work out the problems on their own. Civil unrest increases. The conflict between the Sunnis and the Shiites increases, but the conflict between the secularists and Muslims is even more fierce. They struggle to work out their differences, and are still politically and economically unstable 5 years down the road.

3) We decide to occupy Iraq, use it as our "foothold", and start to build bases in here. We face the insurgency with decreasing support from our Iraqi "allies". The US-trained Iraqi army could even turn against us. We use Iraq as a base to start our offensive on the terrorists of the Middle East region, to the outrage of the Middle Eastern region and our allies across the world.

None of the situations look all that optimistic, but I plan for the worst. If things go better, we can enjoy that, but it things go wrong, we're prepared. The biggest trouble with the third one is paying for it, and losing our international trade agreements. We're already stretched thin. Launching an offensive in the Middle East is something we cannot afford. Five years down the road, we may be dealing with a fiscal crisis helped along by Bush and the aging baby-boomers. Can nobody see past their the short-term?

I'll correct one thing: setting up Iraq as our "foothold" in the Middle East wouldn't make the Muslim extremists happy. It would make them justified. That, more than anything, is what they need in order to recruit.

Breeding resentment is not deterring. It's encouraging to terrorists. I find it hard to believe that the US is not breeding resentment in the Arab world with its actions at the moment.

Care to explain how an invasion of Iran or North Korea would be staged/executed?

No I can't. But I can say that Americans will not tolerate any campaign that seems likely to be costly. (For them, not the soldiers dying in it.) This means that each campaign *must* be the most urgent, because it may be the last one you can get away with.

Afghanistan was necessary. If it turned into a costly campaign, then so be it. Luckily, it was not (except for the soldiers who died there...) This means the American public could accept another war.

GWB chose Iraq. Sadly, the campaign stuck. Note: I don't claim that anyone could necessarily have known what it would have taken to prevent the present quagmire. However, everyone should have know that it *could* have turned into a quagmire and chosen campaigns accordingly.

What do I fault GWB for? For talking war while doing everything in his power to isolate the electorate from the effects of war. Tax cuts and increasing spending while trying to fight a real war? Come on. Either call it an extended police action, which is how it is being treated on so many levels, or call it a war and treat it as one (and suffer the political consequences if you cannot persuade the electorate of its necessity).

GWB seems to be trying to gain all the political advantages of having a war without paying any of the political price.

Nanashi, I've noted that the Army rather specifically does *not* collect data on the economic background of enlistees, although there were plans to do so in 1988.

My personal experience with the army has been that the non-technical, enlisted men on the ground (i.e. those most likely to get injured or killed) tend to be largely from rural, 2nd quartile-income backgrounds. I've found almost none who were from 5th quartile (US last survey, household income of $87K or higher).

There was representation from higher education and economic levels, but they were almost always in the navy, air force, and army support services. Absolutely honourable and necessary, but not likely to endure the casualty rates that would make news at home.

Again, in the absence of statistics, this is personal experience.

While they did not choose their career for the money (given military pay scales!), I think that one way of "sharing the pain" and letting the American public know there's a real war on, would be to direct the tax cut moneys towards those who are most likely to pay the price of it. Not a bribe, it would be recognition in a way that would be meaningful to the American public. If that level of recognition is not acceptable, then I'd say the American public has spoken and the president should apologize for starting a war that did not have public support.

As for the situation in Iran, I sincerely hope you are correct. However, I will say that exiles are notoriously unreliable predictors of the future of their own country (Chalabi anyone?). As for military-oriented publications (which I do read with great interest), few predict that the Iranian government is in any real danger. Even the military-oriented blogs generally indicate Iranian instability is wishful thinking. Remember, Saddam was massively unpopular as well.

Russ Fletcher,

Bush dealt with a potential nuclear threat before it materialized. And this is bad...how?

Actually Bush dealt with a non-existent potential nuclear threat and unfortunately has placed the US in a position of not being able to deal with a real not-very-potential nuclear threat.

Thomas Friedman said Impose a "Patriot Tax" of 50 cents a gallon on gasoline to help pay for the war, shrink the deficit and reduce the amount of oil we consume so we send less money to Saudi Arabia? Never.

Shiva Archon replied Stupid idea. Just because you don't like politics, Mr. Friedman, does not make them disappear. Care to offer a NON-SUICIDAL option?

If the president cannot convince the electorate or its representatives to make even the slightest sacrifice (beyond the sacrifices made by enlistees and their families) for this war, he has no business in calling one. If this option (or any option that actually causes a bit of financial pain) *is* suicidal, then the public has clearly declared that war is not an acceptable option to them. If he truly believes that a war is necessary, then he should go ahead anyway, and then be willing to pay the political price.

As it is, the president seems to be trying to have his cake and eat it too. Yes, I'm brave enough to call for war... No, of course you don't have to *pay* for it. (Of course, the same cannot be said for the next generation of American taxpayers that will have to pay off the deficit that is being accumulated now.)

Virginia Republicans are accusing Democratic candidate David Ashe of being "weak on terrorism," despite the fact that he has,uh, spent most of the last two years serving as a Marine in Iraq...


The Virginia GOP is a bastion of Whittle-ism

Note: I don't claim that anyone could necessarily have known what it would have taken to prevent the present quagmire.

That would require the media not wishing to make it look like one. Clearly an impossible task.

If you want to read an excellent review of a Marxist's awakening and transition to support of NeoConservatism... Or more properly, if you want to really understand the difference between NeoConservatism and its predecessors... read Johann Hari's interview with Chris Hitchens.

Here's the URL:

After reading this essay I feel that the writer fails to realize the major problem. We currently have a problem with our military. They are spread thin and undersupplied. There are no real plans that have been given to the public to build a stronger military and resupply it. Furthermore, our defense against attacks lies with the National Gaurd and militias. Detterence, what detters a hacker from breaking into a system? Is it that he may be found and retailiated against or is it that it's just too damn difficult to break through? I can tell you one thing: when someone planning an attack sees a weak and vulnerable opponent they will strike whether that opponent will retaliate or not. We do not need to weed out terrorists and immobolize them because more will spring up. We need to protect ourselves by building a strong defense and networking with other nations in order to help defend our allies as well. Going on the offensive will NOT detter attacks from happening again. Look at what happened to other western nations. Look at Russia. Look at France. These nations have fallen victim to terrorist attacks and our offensive actions against terorism, our coalition against terrorism, has not dettered them from happening and will not detter them from happening because we are too busy fighting rather than thinking and defending.

Russ Fletcher: Bush dealt with a potential nuclear threat before it materialized. And this is bad...how?

Tom West: Actually Bush dealt with a non-existent potential nuclear threat and unfortunately has placed the US in a position of not being able to deal with a real not-very-potential nuclear threat.

Actually, Bush dealt with exactly what I said he dealt with--a potential nuclear threat, just as North Korea was in 1993. Saddam was a dictator who had nuclear ambitions, an active nuclear program (though, as yet, no weapons), and the will to use it. All of this is quite evident from the Duelfur (sp?) report.

Each of those descriptors applies to North Korea (nuclear ambitions, an active program, and the will to use it) in 1993. Clinton's policy--which Kerry thinks was wonderful, thinks worked well, and wanted to reapply in Iraq--of appeasement, negotiation, treaty, and concessions (food and money), produced the "real not-very-potential nuclear threat" today.

Why would we want to return to Kerry's/Clinton's plan? It didn't work.

To quite Bill Whittle from "History"...to be opposed to using force even to remove the vilest of dictators and the plainest of threats, you have to:

believe at least one, if not both of the following:

1. People will always be able to come to a reasonable agreement, no matter how deep or contentious the issue, and that all people are rational, reasonable, honorable, decent and sane,


2. It is more noble to live under slavery and oppression, to endure torture, institutionalized rape, theft and genocide than it is to fight it.

All I would add to #1 is that they will not only be reasonable enough to come to the agreement, but honorable enough to live up to it. Kim Jong Il clearly was not honorable enough. What, in his history, makes you think that Saddam Hussein was?!

David March, your insight on Kosovo/Bosnia is quite correct. I would like to point out that it was and still is, a breeding ground for Al-Queda. When the hunt for S.M was on, the US was helping fund, none other than Osama Bin Laden, who frequented the foothills of the former Yugoslavia. The ethnic cleansing was horrible, and indeed in need of the Worlds intervention. In my opinion, however, it would have been allowed to continue, if the United States did not have an interest in the then "AID" of Al-Queda.
The US entered the Balkans to help save the lives of Muslims. How the coin has flipped.(Or the leadership of our Nation)

An excellent essay. However, it's a shame that it had to be written. It wasn't long ago that the major points it makes would have been considered obvious, and therefore mundane to the vast majority of Americans. More evidence that unfortunately, leftists are winning the battle for truth.

I'm grateful for the grammar lesson; it's just unfortunate that you don't bother to examine any of the other points I brought up.

I examine all points brought up, and I AM WRONG. Grammar allows "good" to be used as an adverb, and David rarely understands my rhetoric. I have seen all sides in my life, and leave it to those that are really at risk to deal. I will dig the ditches, and know value. Everyone has a valid opinion, we do see that, some just debate better than others. I rarely find a reason to be upset with type, the man shooting at me is much more annoying. Spelling forgets aluminium as well. Nice semicolon usage, very impressive.


I would like to point out that it was and still is, a breeding ground for Al-Queda. When the hunt for S.M was on, the US was helping fund, none other than Osama Bin Laden, who frequented the foothills of the former Yugoslavia.

Who do we not fund? When you pay taxes, check out the pie chart...wait, it is hidden in that interest we pay daily. There are few links to truth, which makes me ignorant.


The left do not fight, they wish for dependence. Anyone able works, anyone unable fights for what they can "take". Taxes are simply stealing from the able to give to the unable. I did not write the book, but it holds true. We used to call that stealing, now they call it social security, or some other lame label, it is still theft. Take my money to support another, seems socialism to me. By now I should have millions in my account, I will gladly give it up so my sons and daughters do not pay for our failures. My ignorance is appalling.


FABULOUS. But I have to say, you totally killed your entire argument when you stated that you would be satisfied if you could coach the Gators in a winning game against UT. Because of this, I am unable to accept a word you wrote. ;-)

Kidding. I'm actually going to c&p both articles and email them to everyone I know. ;-)

Illuminatis: The army is spread thin. This is why we've begun a huge adjustment of global military positions, including pulling troops out of South Korea and Germany to allow shift changes in Iraq and other future warzones.

Pulling back and "turtling" won't work against terrorists, because you can't use the Army to defend the US against terror tactics.

Deterrance 1 and 2 is the best apologetic for the war on terrorism I've come across. Great work! I'll be making sure as many people I can find read this.

You want to hear another Kerry "Flip Flop"?

Kerry says that he's against the death penalty, but he favors abortion!

Go Figure!

Holy cow, Cringely. Fascinating stuff. If you're right, it means that power-hungry demons of both major political parties have participated in this, since the Democratic Party dominated congress until Clinton's presidency, and even since then, they've had the ability to frustrate any Republican domination, by the power of "filibustering."

I am extremely sympathetic to any argument that the war on Drugs, for example, is a mis-guided and ultimately waste and diversion of treasure. You can liken it to the Abortion question: Abortion is a terrible solution for irresponsible sexual behavior, but the alternative is young women bleeding to death in back alleys, and dying horribly of abdominal infections. Similarly, drug addiction, even under medical supervision, wastes lives and minds, but people seem to be intent on doing that to themselves anyhow; why not legalize the activity and so at least minimize the profit and distortions that follow from all that "tainted" money?

As in most things, the money is exactly why there is so much resistance to change.

This is quite stirring. It almost had me going for a while there. Unfortunately, like most pro-Bush screeds, this one fails to acknowledge the reality of the situation.

Alliances matter.

10,000 Iraqi civilians killed by "smart bombs" is -- by your own logic -- just as useful to the enemy as 10,000 vaporized in a mushroom cloud.

The world was on board for Afghanistan, but not Iraq; and that is because it's easy to tell the difference between self-defense and unjustified aggression.

Iraq is not a foothold. Iraq is not under control. Iraq is not drawing a finite number of terrorists to it like moths to a flame; Iraq is spawning new terrorists throughout the world.

If Osama is dead, the American people do deserve to know. Failing to tell us would be outright manipulation of a most un-American kind.

George will lose, and he will deserve it.


"Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man, against every man. For WAR, consiteth not in battle only, or in the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known." --Hobbes, Leviathan

9/11 rallied the world to our side. But, immediately, Bush pissed-away our allies and depleted our military and financial reserves, by pursuit of an unworthy war.

Bush and Bill Whittle both seek to counterfeit a reason to travel further along that wrong course.

But their hoax cannot occlude the common power of truth and reason that increasingly unites civilized citizens everywhere against such folly.

There was a right war, a right place, and a right time. But the Wrong President lost our bearings, catastrophically.

Unable to admit their error, Bush and Bill now seek to generate cognitive bewilderment that's every bit as perilous as being literally cast astray into a trackless wild.

They are fools. And other fools follow them, clapping.

"They have few qualms about distorting scientific knowledge when it does not conform to their political agenda."

-so says a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Anyone see the irony in that?

Ah yes, only the "enlightened" can see the imperial majesty of the "common truth" guy. All others are fools. My, how convenient.

I want to thank someone for posting the thought-provoking article from “Oct. 9th issue of the non-partisan New Scientist magazine.”

It’s reassuring that it was able to be critical of the Bush administration, raising questions without being hysterical and rabid. Some of the issues involved though, are inherently ambiguous. There is real scientific debate yet about the extent and causes of “global warming.” All of the issues mentioned deserve our attention, regardless of which party ends up in the white house for the next four years. But this means we have the responsibility as individuals to familiarize ourselves with enough scientific information to make sense of the issues.

Scientists are human. They have biases and prejudices and nutty mentalities, as certainly as anyone else. The history of science is NOT a history of a steady, logical, step-wise accumulation of wisdom and objective judment. It is a record of the struggles and strivings and contentions among and between sometimes brilliant but ALWAYS quirky human beings. The same Isaac Newton who refined and published the calculus in “Principia”--- arguably one of the most widely utilized mathematical tools of modern science for four centuries--- also devoted much of his energy to mysticism and alchemy.

Quite often the public is presented with scientific questions that simply cannot be answered without years of careful, methodical research. In some ways, we’ve been very badly served by news media that feel their mission is to advocate for or against issues which they themselves are manifestly unqualified to judge. We as consumers are partly responsible for some media misbehavior, because we are so hungry for certainty and unsatisfied by ambiguity. Writers feel enormous pressure to come up with neatly packaged articles with concise conclusions, and especially, HEADLINES and openings that capture the essence of the issue in a memorable aphorism, with as much alliteration as possible.

Well, Wegner’s theory of continents drifting about and bumping into each other, floating on the surface currents of the planetary magma, took a number of decades to find wide acceptance. Most scientists held it in contempt until there had been massive research showing identical geological formations at the edges of continents now separated by thousands of miles, and new technologies that allowed deepsea exploration revealing the mid-ocean volcanic ridges where the plates are separating.

Sunspot cycles, and a much longer term variability of the Sun’s output (and the probability that these cycles influence the earth’s ice-ages and thaws) have only come to be partly understood from patient daily observations by individual scientists over many decades, across the span of centuries. The sunspots spew out enormous clouds of charged particles which, besides causing the mesmerizing Aurora displays, can add significantly to the “energy budget” of the atmosphere when they collide. Multiplying the difficulties of sorting out all the factors involved in Earth’s climate is the extremely slow but significant deviation of the planet’s axis of spin.

When complex scientific issues become the subject of partisan pressures and propaganda, the resulting policies can be completely wrong, no matter how enthusiastic their support.

I’ve abandoned a few friendships over this sort of thing, once when someone I cared for and admired told me she refused to take a job at a particular school because they included Darwinian selection in the science curriculum. I feel very badly about it, because the lady is generous and loving and energetic, and I am aware that her faith really saved her after a devastating childhood with an alcoholic suicidal parent. But the irrational aspect of rejecting science for religious dogma is a problem I don’t know how to deal with.

On the other hand, I feel like the typical liberal hypothesis is equally irrational, especially when they think they can simply define reality, so reality is obliged to accommodate their definition. (“I define a foetus as simply an undifferentiated bit of flesh with no more divinity than a bit of fingernail. Therefor, there is no moral/ethical dimension to abortion. It can’t be murder because I say it isn’t.”) You can see from my previous post that I accept abortion as the unfortunate best TEMPORARY solution to a hideous dilemma. But I am convinced that the juvenile pacifier of self-serving sophistry is very much at the root of the prevailing “cognitive dissonance” and inability of our present culture to deal with ALL questions of morality and ethics.

The person signing in as "The common power of truth and reason" should properly be signing in as "The common power of propaganda and pretzel-logic."

All you've done in your post is state a list of un-supported assertions. If you want to persuade anyone, you gonna haveta supply a few actual logical arguments for those assertions. Otherwise, all you're saying is "Bush is wrong wrong wrong because I say he's wrong wrong wrong."

Why does everyone seem to forget that President William Jefferson Clinton fired thousands of missiles and artillery rounds and smart bombs and dumb bombs, killing thousands of people without going to plead his case before congress, and without purchasing replacements for all those hideously expensive cruise missiles, which is why we're having to pay for re-stocking NOW???????

Why was it perfectly acceptable for Clinton to circumvent and ignore the United Nations, sending U.S. military into Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, etc., but it's EVIL for Bush to do likewise?

Sorry, but when double standards are so conspicuous, they devastate the credibility of comments that are based on them.

Mr. March,

You ask why Clinton's military endeavors were "perfectly acceptable", while Bush's are not?

Your question is based on a false premise.

Clinton's actions were not perfect, and Bush's were not 100% wrong.

If you were to honestly size up both records, however-- you would have to admit that When Clinton Ignored The UN, he didn't alienate our allies. When Clinton Expended Ammo, it didn't exceed the budget surplus he amassed. And when Clinton lied about his penis, no one died.

And, in the post 9/11 world, many of Clinton's actions grew more admirable, in retrospect.

Meanwhile, those who cried bloody murder back when Clinton was in office-- have abandoned their Powell Doctrine, their fiscal responsibility, their war-planning credibility, and their honor.

Tom West:

You call a 50 cent tax on every gallon of gasoline a slight sacrifice? Perhaps its a small sacrifice for a well off soccer mom, but what about the poor guy living paycheck to paycheck that now has an extra burden placed upon him?

Even worse, a huge gas tax would have a devastating effect on business. Transportation costs would skyrocket, driving up the cost of nearly everything. Airlines, already struggling, would not survive such a huge increase in cost. Shipping costs would rise so fast that any company that depends on long-distance shipping would reduce purchases. With consumers spending more money on gas, they buy fewer consumer goods, further depressing business. Mr. Friedman's gas tax would cost many thousands of jobs in nearly every single industry in America. People who lose their jobs have no money to spend, while costs continue to go up. All in the middle of a recession.

As I said before, stupid idea. And suicidal not only politically, but economically as well.


Visitor: You are correct, in a way. Alliances matter when they actually provide assistance to each other. The Democrats are correct in calling the "30 nation" coalition ridiculous; the only countries worth anything in this alliance are the US, the UK, and to a lesser but still important extent, Australia and Poland.

However you quite failed to understand Bill's point against the wonderful European Alliance that Kerry is counting on: it does not exist. Alliances do NOT matter when they do nothing to help solve the problem in Iraq. Our alliance with Mongolia has no effect at all on the situation in Iraq; for all intents and purposes it's a useless alliance. An alliance with France, Germany, and/or Russia would be precisely the same thing. With the possible exception of Russia, these nations would be militarily useless.

Furthermore, these nations have already pledged to not send troops to Iraq under any circumstances, even a Kerry victory in the election. Their national goals differ greatly from those of the United States, and they had economic interests in Saddam-era Iraq.

How was Bush supposed to overcome these things? MAJIC.

And in closing I must say to all those who disagreed with Bill's essay:

Please stop cutting and pasting articles and pretending it's an argument. GHS, I hope when you scroll through the thread you'd just delete those, as they add nothing to the discussion and require no thought whatsoever.

Most of the people here on both sides spend a lot of time thinking about and writing original responses. Cutting and pasting random articles takes 5 minutes and is inconsiderate debating at best.

hmmm...that would be, MAGIC...not majic...

If you want to persuade anyone, you gonna haveta supply a few actual logical arguments for those assertions.
--David March

Mr. March,
You have erred in claiming that"we're having to pay for re-stocking NOW" because Clinton-- as you put it-- "fired thousands of missiles and artillery rounds and smart bombs and dumb bombs, killing thousands of people without going to plead his case before congress, and without purchasing replacements for all those hideously expensive cruise missiles.

In fact, those items were replaced as they were expended. And the defense contractors were paid for their replacements, back then. The reason those items are not showing up on federal budgets until NOW, is not due to Clinton. But rather due to the Republican Congress, which chose to structure "paying for" those items in future-years; rather than back in the 1990's.

If you are upset that "Clinton" didn't pursue a pay-as-you-go policy toward arms; then that puts you squarely in league with Kerry, and against Bush. How so, you ask?


In recent weeks, John Edwards and John Kerry have stated that the cost of the Iraq War is $200 Billion. This figure has been criticized by third party observers and by the Bush campaign as too high. Critics have pointed to "official numbers" from the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, which suggest that the cost of the war is under $120 billion so far and won't reach $200 billion until sometime in 2005. [1]

Is the Kerry campaign stretching the truth? Not really. The "official numbers" are based on monies appropriated by congress for 2003 and 2004. They do not take into account the stockpiles of weapons accumulated over years that were used up during the war. This includes missiles, ammo, destroyed helicopters, planes, tanks, and humvees. Just because the replenishment of all the stockpiles won't take place for a couple years (FY 2005-6 budgets) does not mean it can't be counted now.

In fact, standard business and nonprofit rules dictate that such costs be considered. If you were sitting on $150 billion in inventory and it went down to $75 billion, what would your balance sheet show? It should show that you lost $75 billion in inventory. A reduction of assets is considered an expense, even if the assets are not cash. The DOD budgets for 1995-2002 were paid for by taxpayers, and certainly included weapons that were used up in Iraq. [2]

Beyond the hardware there are other aspects of the $379.9 billion DOD budget (FY2004) [3], like the cost of the command, control, and communications and intelligence infrastructure (C3I) needed to wage war in Iraq, that the "official numbers" do not show. This includes the cost of building US military facilities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Factoring in all of these costs, the cost of the Iraq war is almost certainly over $200 billion already. So, by your own accounting preferences, Kerry is correct.

[1] See http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx@DocID=253.html .

The Factcheck.org web site was created with an endowment from a Republican, Walter Annenberg, who made a fortune by creating the magazines TV Guide and Seventeen. Annenberg was also publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years and served as ambassador to Great Britain during the Nixon administration.

According to an obituary of Annenburg (he died in 2002): " He was identified as one of the wealthy Republicans who funneled money to Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President in 1972, just" before the campaign-disclosure law went into effect. Mr. Annenberg's gift was reported as $254,000. He continued to support Nixon through the Watergate years, lashing out at the media and at students for hounding the President." http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/4189273.htm

[2] For more details on the cost of creating the weapons stockpiled used up in the Iraq, see the DOD's own figures:


[3] See www.cdi.org for details on the military budget.

Personally, I clapped long and hard for the Afghans, who happened to have their first election in 5000 years, thanks to whatshisname.
My hands hurt.

It's easy for Kerry to stand on the sideline and point fingers, criticizing every move and exaggerating every statistic that may benefit him (ie- $120 Billion becomes $200, just like that). It's easy to say anything to benefit your own quest for power using false statistics, because who's going to actually check into the truth of what he says?

We will. And we will call his lying ass on it every time. The fact remains that he hasn't been off the sidelines and in the game, hasn't stopped pointing fingers for 30 years. This is not a man who deserves to be in charge of this country. We deserve better than that, and we already have it.

You (and here I'm referring to Proteus) have missed the point entirely. Yes, deterrance is worthless against terrorists who are willing to die to kill Americans. Yes, Iraq was one possible haven for such terrorists. As you've pointed out, the existence of failed states around the world provides a breeding ground for nasty ideology.

So we just have to clean them up, right? Starting with Iraq, then Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, then all the rest.

Let me make this perfectly clear: It. Cannot. Be. Done.

I don't give a rat's ass how dedicated our president is. It could be George W., John Kerry, Herbert Hoover, or Lincoln himself. The task which you've spelled out as neccesary to win the war on terror is *impossible.* We've spent a thousand lives and a hundred billion dollars on Iraq and its nowhere near enough, and that's just one of a half-dozen states that are at the top of the list. Nobody would like to clean out the rat's nest that is the Saudi Arabian government more than me, but the fact of the matter is that every step we take over there makes things worse.

It's *not* a matter of the carrot and the stick, because the stick is useless. When we invaded Iraq we handed the terrorists the greatest victory since 9/11. Because now our troops are there, getting shot at; and sooner or later, they'll have to come home. Whenever that happens, however that happens, the terrorists get to claim that they've driven off the American oppressors, and for every one we've shot down a dozen take his place.

So what can we do? We can try to blunt the worst of it by tracking down the most dangerous weapons. And we can defend the US -- but not when our entire military is off trying to subdue a country a tenth our population. But this president thinks of the war on terror like football -- we're on "offense", now, which is good. "Defense" is bad. But all our offense in Iraq protects us from another attack by, say, Saudi Arabians -- how, exactly? And meanwhile the Homeland Security programs Bush created and crowed about go unfunded, enlistment in the armed forces is going through the floor, and we face the biggest defecit in history. I don't know about you, but I sure as hell don't feel any safer.


You wrote:

It's easy for Kerry to stand on the sideline and point fingers, criticizing every move and exaggerating every statistic that may benefit him (ie- $120 Billion becomes $200)

I would reply that Mr. Kerry sometimes uses verbal shorthand that offers nitpickers things to complain about. He talks of 1.6 million lost jobs; that's the private-sector loss, partly offset by increased government employment. But the job record is indeed awful. He talks of the $200 billion cost of the Iraq war; actual spending is only $120 billion so far. But nobody doubts that the war will cost at least another $80 billion. The point is that Mr. Kerry can, at most, be accused of using loose language; the thrust of his statements is correct.

Mr. Bush's statements, on the other hand, are fundamentally dishonest. He is insisting that black is white, and that failure is success. Journalists or partisans who play it safe by spending equal time exposing Bush's lies and parsing Mr. Kerry's choice of words are betraying their readers.

It's not hard to predict what President Bush, who sounds increasingly desperate, will say in tomorrow's Domestic Policy debate. Here are eight lies or distortions you'll hear, and the truth about each:


Mr. Bush will talk about the 1.7 million jobs created since the summer of 2003, and will say that the economy is "strong and getting stronger." That's like boasting about getting a D on your final exam, when you flunked the midterm and needed at least a C to pass the course.

Mr. Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a decline in payroll employment. That's worse than it sounds because the economy needs around 1.6 million new jobs each year just to keep up with population growth. The past year's job gains, while better news than earlier job losses, barely met this requirement, and they did little to close the huge gap between the number of jobs the country needs and the number actually available.


Mr. Bush will boast about the decline in the unemployment rate from its June 2003 peak. But the employed fraction of the population didn't rise at all; unemployment declined only because some of those without jobs stopped actively looking for work, and therefore dropped out of the unemployment statistics. The labor force participation rate - the fraction of the population either working or actively looking for work - has fallen sharply under Mr. Bush; if it had stayed at its January 2001 level, the official unemployment rate would be 7.4 percent.

The deficit

Mr. Bush will claim that the recession and 9/11 caused record budget deficits. Congressional Budget Office estimates show that tax cuts caused about two-thirds of the 2004 deficit.

The tax cuts

Mr. Bush will claim that Senator John Kerry opposed "middle class" tax cuts. But budget office numbers show that most of Mr. Bush's tax cuts went to the best-off 10 percent of families, and more than a third went to the top 1 percent, whose average income is more than $1 million.

The Kerry tax plan

Mr. Bush will claim, once again, that Mr. Kerry plans to raise taxes on many small businesses. In fact, only a tiny percentage would be affected. Moreover, as Mr. Kerry correctly pointed out last week, the administration's definition of a small-business owner is so broad that in 2001 it included Mr. Bush, who does indeed have a stake in a timber company - a business he's so little involved with that he apparently forgot about it.

Fiscal responsibility

Mr. Bush will claim that Mr. Kerry proposes $2 trillion in new spending. That's a partisan number and is much higher than independent estimates. Meanwhile, as The Washington Post pointed out after the Republican convention, the administration's own numbers show that the cost of the agenda Mr. Bush laid out "is likely to be well in excess of $3 trillion" and "far eclipses that of the Kerry plan."


On Friday, Mr. Bush claimed that he had increased nondefense discretionary spending by only 1 percent per year. The actual number is 8 percent, even after adjusting for inflation. Mr. Bush seems to have confused his budget promises - which he keeps on breaking - with reality.

Health care

Mr. Bush will claim that Mr. Kerry wants to take medical decisions away from individuals. The Kerry plan would expand Medicaid (which works like Medicare), ensuring that children, in particular, have health insurance. It would protect everyone against catastrophic medical expenses, a particular help to the chronically ill. It would do nothing to restrict patients' choices.

By singling out Mr. Bush's lies and misrepresentations, am I saying that Mr. Kerry isn't equally at fault? Yes.

Dear ApolloPT,

You also wrote:
The fact remains that he hasn't been off the sidelines and in the game, hasn't stopped pointing fingers for 30 years. This is not a man who deserves to be in charge of this country. We deserve better than that, and we already have it.

Let's examine your claim, Apollo. Lets steer clear of your & my subjective opinions; and look at the objective record:

Before he was 40, John Kerry graduated Yale with honors, and volunteered for service in Vietnam. After earning 5 combat medals, he returned to the US, testified before Congress about the War, and founded Vietnam Veterans for America-- the only Vietnam Vets group with a charter from Congress. He was then accepted to Boston College Law School, graduated, and became a prosecutor in Boston. He ran for the US House of Representatives once and lost, but in 1982, he ran for Lt. Governor of Massachusetts and won. In 1984, at age 40, he was elected to the US Senate, where he's served for 20 years.

Still with me ApolloPT? Good...

Before he was 40, George W. Bush was accepted as a "legacy" student at Yale University, where he blew off classes and graduated with a GPA variously described as 1.68 or 2.0. His family's friends pulled connections to get him into the Texas Air National Guard, and to get him accepted for flight training despite the lowest acceptable score on the test. In both cases, he magically jumped ahead of hundreds of other people on waiting lists for those positions through absolutely no merit or achievement of his own.

Bush expressly stated a wish not to serve overseas, though a later attempt to volunteer for a 3-month overseas tour was denied due to his lack of experience. With two years remaining on his enlistment, Bush refused to take a required physical (shortly after random drug testing began) and never flew again for the TANG, despite saying in his "autobiography" that he did. (Recently released records strongly suggest that Bush fraudulently collected pay and credit for months in which he did not serve.)

Upon discharge from the TANG, Bush worked on a failed Senate campaign in Alabama, and then earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, despite a complete lack of academic credentials that would get him admitted. He then, by his own admission, bummed around mostly drunk, participating in senior management of one failed company after another, until finally sobering up at the age of 40. (He then continued to preside over more failed companies, bailed out each time by family friends, until winning election as Governor of Texas during the big Republican sweep of 1994.)

Bush has no signature achievements for the last 20 years, either, and none for the time before 1984 either. Kerry has both. Kerry spent 19 of the past 20 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is extensively familiar with international policies and world politics. Bush had never even been to Canada before his election as President.

Kerry was instrumental in uncovering the Iran-Contra scandal in the Senate. Bush supported his father, who as President, pardoned those involved in the illegal arms sales before they could come to trial and reveal embarrassing details.

Kerry was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, the one he keeps mentioning he worked with John McCain on, to find out about missing and captured US soldiers in Vietnam. Bush has still never been to Vietnam.

Kerry is the ranking Democrat on the Senate East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, and is an expert on North Korea. Bush is now negotiating with North Korea not to make any more nuclear warheads, after pushing the country to do exactly that by cutting off all aid and calling them "evil" for two years.

Kerry was ranking Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations from 1987 to 1997. He wrote a book about international crime: The New War: The Web of Crime That Threatens America's Security. Bush had staffer Karen Hughes write a fact-challenged autobiography in his name, A Charge to Keep, and apparently has not yet read the whole thing.

People wonder why the left calls George W. Bush dumb. One reason? He keeps inviting comparisons like these that show exactly how unqualified he is for the office he holds and seeks. Bush isn't the pot calling the kettle black; he's the pot calling the noonday sky black.

Dear Bill,
I do not think that I am alone in my wish that you POST YET AGAIN. I am a sensitive sort, and by the time that I read all of the drivel, excuse me, Posts, I am ...W...e...a...r...y...and simply can not go on...New page please...(am I too bold?)

Hey Common Power:

Thanks for throwing some factual sand on this fire.

I enjoy reading these posts in part because they reveal the mindset of the Bush supporter. Correct that - the mindset of what smells like a budding nationalist reactionary movement.

Not everyone who supports Bush is infected with the virulent blend of fear and anger we sometimes see here. But the brew can be pretty toxic. I have a Croatian friend who likens our political situation alternately to Germany 1933, or Serbia in 1989 - periods in which power-hungry governments convinced small but vociferous minorities that their safety was so threatened as to justify what could be called "pre-emptive war" (against the Jews, the Croats, etc). These minorities hijacked the political discourse and led their respective nations down paths to self-destruction. My friend is convinced that the same kind of political community is emerging here.

I differ with my Croat friend on a basic point - there IS a real threat, as 9/11 showed, that demands action, both offensive and defensive. The threat wasn't manufactured out of whole cloth. It's real.

But I share his concern when I see how many people have been suckered into believing that the man who offers the simplest, most emotionally satisfying, and nakedly violent solution is the right man for the job, despite demonstrable failings. A Democrat with Bush's credentials (as you laid them out) would be pummelled mercilessly by Republicans. The ONLY reason I can see that people tolerate the obvious holes in Bush's many stories is that he embraces unequivocal force. Bush throws them the red meat they want, so they overlook his faults and the failings of his Potemkin policies.

This would be troubling enough on its own, but it's even more troubling given the fact that a real (if profoundly asymetrical) war must be won.

But every time I start to agree with my Croatian friends that the reactionaries may take complete control of America, I encounter the other side, and I take some comfort. Our country is far more intellectually and politically diverse than is reflected here.

But these are troubling times indeed. We'll see how the elections go - - basically, the question is, can Bush scare his way to victory?


I am in your debt-
This is the single most lucid diatribe that I have had the pleasure of reading regarding
the seriousness of our upcoming day at the polls.

I stand ready to trade in my jammies for fatigues and an AK-

I suppose the satisfaction of knowing that what you have written will be aggressively circulated by me, and I suspect thousands, will be bested only by a Kerry defeat and the subsequent opportunity to continue to take the fight to the dark forces that would blacken our freedoms.

To those that would do so-

We're coming and we're bringin Hell with us-

Roll On Brother!

I am Spartacus

It is not just the President saying the economy is getting stronger, so are many anyalist, of course in your hate America first world they are all just liers as well. But lets go with your argument that raising taxes and taking money out of the economy is a much better plan, ya right!

Unemployment is something that the government does not have direct control over unless you are suggesting those folks be given government jobs which would require those who are working to give up even more of thier lower payday moneys to fund them.

And the Kerry plan, oh ya, we're still waiting.

I'm betting that he and TeRAYsa payed less of a percentage than you did in taxes, which is typical of the talk out both sides of your mouth politican that he is.

As for the deficit, moneys to stimulate the economy will pay off in the long run much sooner than to take the money and bankrupt the economy, again just some of that common sense, ya know.

Lets talk about tax legislation proposed by John Kerry last March to end tax breaks for U.S. corporations that do business overseas was designed with a loophole that would let the H.J. Heinz Company the centerpiece of Mrs. Kerry's family fortune keep its overseas tax breaks, and get a lower domestic tax rate at the same time, this reported by Donald Luskin, chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics LLC, published in National Review Online in July of this year.

Mr Luskin also spoke of the income to assets ratio of Heinz Kerry fortune, saying that even if one picked extremely conservative investments, Luskin said, "her reported income was suspiciously low".

"Let's put this in terms that people of less extreme wealth can relate to," he wrote. "If you had $100,000 invested last year and your investment income was only $500 - thats 0.5% the same percentage as Mrs. Kerry's income - then something would be very much out of whack." Most savings accounts offer more interest income.

Luskin said that Heinz Kerry's financial figures, such as they're known to date, suggest that she is either "the world's worst investor" or "Mrs. Kerry may be the world's greatest cheat."

Two peas in pod these two are, right up there with the trip to Cambodia at Christmas. Everything Kerry has ever done has just been window dressing with very little substance or contribution leading up to his life long ambition to be president. So sorry but the history of both TeRAYsa and JFK does not even come close to an inkling of charactor and integrity that the Bush family has!

This country deserves Better and has it !!

So, Beetroot and The Common Power of Truth and Reason....

Are you two going for a full church do, or will you be satisfied with a justice of the peace?

A few remarks for Common Power, etc:

Your attribution of our late economic performance entirely to the doings of George Bush indicates a slightly naive view of matters which I'd like briefly to observe.

Even if one agrees to stipulate, which I do not, that the economy is in some sort of shambles, I find myself wondering how George Bush is personally culpable in this state of affairs. There are four elemental economic truths I'd like you to consider:

1. The economy really still does go through boom-to-bust-to-boom cycles, all the fatuous optimistic nonsense in the late '90s about the death of the business cycle notwithstanding;
2. Sometimes economic "shocks" occur, which have considerable influence on the economy despite the actions of government to mitigate them.
3. Our elected government can influence the economy via the levers of fiscal policy;
4. Our appointed central bankers can influence the government through the levers of monetary policy.

Let's start at the end and work our way backwards.

Alan Greenspan has done everything short of printing reams of hundred-dollar bills and handing them out on streetcorners to inject liquidity and provide a monetary stimulus, and has done so consistently throughout the recent economic troubles. If I'm mistaken in my belief that you don't really implicate Mr Greenspan in your perceived economic malaise, I'm sure you'll let me know. Till then, we move up in the list to consider fiscal policy.

I'll leave aside generally the obvious truism that it is Congress, not the President, who is the prime actor in determining fiscal policy. While "the Bush tax cuts" is a useful phrase for providing a shorthand for discussion purposes, it fails to capture the truth of the process. Still, lest I digress, if I understand the nut of your argument correctly, it is that the Bush-influenced fiscal policy is fundamentally responsible for--the phrase fits so well--your perceived economic malaise. How could this be? I'll quote at length a little essay I wrote on the subject last year:

So how could Fiscal policy produce a recession or massive loss of jobs?

1. It could be restrictive at the wrong time.
2. It could be neutral when matters plainly suggest loosening is in order, or loosen only a little when a lot is in order.
3. There are some really subtle and long term issues with currency valuation, which depends upon many other things on fiscal policy.
4. The size of the deficit has some theoretical long run impact on long term interest rates, which may nudge GDP (and hence job growth) in the wrong direction.
5. Protectionism, not strictly an element of fiscal policy, is generally not good for the economy on balance.
6. The tax code itself can, by its sheer complexity and the cost of ensuring compliance with its myriad byzantine provisions, reduce GDP.

Those are about it. Anything else from the fiscal policy side, which you're welcome to suggest, essentially has only fringe influence on the actual behavior of the economy. Let's briefly review our fiscal policy performance against the above items:

1. Being restrictive at the wrong time is bad for the economy. It basically means taking more money away from people just when the economy is getting into trouble and is headed for recession anyway. Restrictive fiscal policy relies either on increasing taxes or cutting government spending, neither of which has happened during the current administration.

2. Being neutral means relying only on automatic stabilizers for economic stimulus; or for tax receipts and spending to give opposing influences (both are presently stimulative). These automatic stabilizers refer to the tendency of tax receipts to automatically drop in a recession (fewer working people paying taxes); and the tendency of government spending to automatically increase in a recession (more welfare and other transfer payments to those same people now out of work). This is an acceptable response to a mild recession caused by the normal process of the business cycle (a recession caused by high interest rates, themselves a monetary policy response to check inflation in a high-GDP-growth environment). In a recession caused by the bursting of an asset bubble (such as our recent, post-Nasdaq collapse recession, or the decade long funk in Japan after the bursting of their real estate bubble) neutral fiscal policy relying on automatic stabilizers will not prove adequate. We've had three rounds of tax cuts, and are in no danger of accidentally having employed restrictive or neutral fiscal policy.

3. Let's leave aside discussion of what's really causing our currency to decline lately, and whether that's George Bush's fault; that's a complex discussion but it's not relevant to what we're considering here. Currency devaluation, which we've had a mild form of lately, tends to be beneficial to the economy in the short run as our exports become more affordable to foreigners, and they tend then to buy more of them. At the same time, foreign goods become more expensive to import into this country, so more Americans buy American goods. So the short run consequence of our recent currency trends would be to increase GDP and create jobs, not the opposite. In the longer run, a cheap currency tends to decrease foreign investment in US capital markets, making the cost of capital higher for US firms, which tends to result primarily in compromising worker productivity levels, not GDP or employment directly. [Yes, I'm aware that productivity will indirectly influence both GDP growth and employment. But all this is a change in the opposite direction from what we're experiencing now so it's not really relevant.]

4. A big deficit will, over time, tend to crowd out private investors and may result in long term interest rates being higher than they otherwise would be. All the estimates I've read credit this influence with being real but minimal, on the order of one-third to one-half of one percent (0.33% to 0.50%) higher interest rates. This element tends to be very slightly restrictive (most normal recessions come from the Fed increasing interest rates more like 3% to 4%) but is dwarfed by the fiscal stimulus which the deficit itself represents.

5. The steel tariffs were bad, and anyone who's read my articles before knows I despised them. I'm glad they've been rescinded, and they were the one fiscal policy George Bush has embraced which was unquestionably bad for the economy. But the cost to the American workforce was estimated, even by opponents of the tariffs, at "only" about 30,000 jobs. Nevermind that those who tend to accuse President Bush of wrecking the economy also seemed to support the retention of these tariffs.

6. The tax code should be fundamentally reformed along the lines of what Ronald Reagan supervised in the early 1980s: cut all marginal rates, close as many loopholes as possible, and simplify the tax code. I've perused a copy of the actual IRS code (not the little instruction books or publications they give you, but the actual law), and it runs to literally 10,000 pages. The money a company spends on lawyers and CPAs to guide them through this maze is certainly better than running afoul of the law, but a simpler tax code would allow businesses (especially small businesses) to rechannel this money to be spent on higher wages to workers, newer machinery, more advertising, and generally growing the business instead of paying what is essentially a surcharge on tax compliance. Paul O'Neill spent his time as Treasury Secretary advocating tax reform instead of paying attention to current economic issues, and this rightly cost him his job; but tax reform shouldn't be abandoned just because it's not the single absolutely highest priority.

I still fail to see how George Bush has, by fiscal policy, done anything which would be harmful to the economy.

Now: shocks to the economy. September 11 clearly shoved an already wobbly economy and predated any of George Bush's controversial measures. About the only other significant outside shock, though it's developed gradually, are high oil prices. Terrorist psychos trying to blow up oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and being occasionally successful in doing so in Iraq has not actually damped oil output much, despite all the alarmism, but has perhaps placed a "terror premium" on oil prices, in the form of higher prices for oil futures contracts due to uncertainties in future deliveries. China's demand is also growing fantastically, contributing to high oil prices in a more conventional economic manner. So high oil prices may be costing us a few points of GDP growth, but it's worth pointing out that GDP growth and job creation have not been as positively correlated since our economic recovery began as they have been historically. Since the moaning I hear about the economy seems more about jobs than GDP, perhaps even the high oil prices aren't to blame for lagging job growth.

So finally we reach the top of the list, and have to ask about the underlying business cycle. Here I'll mention that the comparison to Hoover's time is more apt than it may at first seem, since both Presidents were unfortunate enough to have long-gathering economic troubles burst early in their Presidencies. The Great Depression and our recent recession have a fundamental similarity beyond the fact that neither Hoover nor Bush caused nor could have prevented them: they were busts caused by a burst asset bubble.

Most economic cycles have turned negative when growth is arrested by high inflation, or alternatively, by high interest rates put into place to choke off high inflation. The inflation itself was the fairly natural product of the business cycle's expansion phase, as more people work and earn money and look to spend it on goods which become increasingly scarce compared to the demand for them.

In the 1990s we saw a number of trends convene which had the ability to produce Great Depression-like effects on the economy: unprecedented levels of stock ownership meant that the artificial effects of the dot-com and Nasdaq bubbles were participated in by a majority of the country. Consequently, more people either were rich, if they converted their dot-com winnings into cash, or at least felt rich, if they simply admired the ever-larger number on their portfolio statement each month. Richer people bought more things, but based on a richness which was false--recall Bill's earlier discussions of his brief tenure as a dot-com multi-thousandaire. These consumers bought lots of stuff with money that sort of didn't really exist and definitely hadn't been earned yet, increasing demand for goods and services, which ordinarily would begin to cause inflation. But one additional new element helped to prevent the expected inflation, and that was high levels of worker productivity increases. (Stay with me here.)

Higher levels of productivity meant that all this stuff which was being demanded, and consumed, by monies which hadn't been earned, could be produced without hiring so many more workers that wages got out of hand, until (in the tech industry at least) they did get out of hand, which at least provided more jobs eventually as still more bubble-derived wealth was made and spent.

The dot-com fiasco was reinforced by the whole Y2K scam. Remember that one? I recall supervising the replacement of our company's mainframe and accounting software with brand spanking new hardware and software which promised to be "Y2K Compliant." We probably would not otherwise have bought that new hardware and software until, say, a couple more years from right now. A lot of goods and services which--in a bubblefree economy--would not have been demanded or consumed until the present decade were purchased last decade.

So what? The point is that none of what went on in the late '90s was really a result of anything fabulous we were doing at the time so much as an accelerated consumption based on an asset bubble and on the fantasy that we had somehow banished the business cycle to the dustbin of history. When asset bubbles burst, they produce recessions very different from inflation-driven recessions. Property, plant and equipment purchases are all accelerated during periods where companies' balance sheets swell with overvalued assets, which produces a hell of a lot of unused plant capacity when the dust settles and we begin to look to the expansion phase of the cycle. Unused plant capacity means that simply dropping interest rates to near zero--just ask Japan--doesn't really entice companies to go buy more stuff, since expanding plant capacity is the last issue on their minds at that point. Until that unused capacity works its way out of the economy, growth will be sluggish.

Lastly, the continuing "productivity miracle," where workers can produce more per unit of labor than previously, coupled with all this swell unused plant capacity, has made it simple enough for companies to make and sell more stuff (growing GDP) without hiring many new workers (hence the lagging employment situation).

The whole point of this, and I'll stop for now though I'm sure I will receive a detailed invitation to continue the discussion, is that the whole economic situation is pretty complex. To glibly blame George Bush for some pretty obscure elements of it--really, when was the last time we had to look past GDP, the unemployment rate, inflation, and interest rates and get to the absolute quantity of jobs available in order to determine that we were in economic trouble?--seems, to say the least, superficial.


UPDATE: Below the fold is a letter from Col. Day to Joe Scarborough regarding John Kerry:

Read More »

Dear Joe:

The major issue in the Swiftboat stories is, and always has been, what John Kerry did in 1971 after he returned from Vietnam. Kerry cast a long dark shadow over all Vietnam Veterans with his outright perjury before the Senate concerning atrocities in Vietnam. His stories to the Senate committee were absolute lies..fabrications..perjury..fantasies, with NO substance. That dark shadow has defamed the entire Vietnam War veteran population, and gave "Aid and Comfort" to our enemies..the Vietnamese Communists. Kerry's stories were outright fabrications, and were intended for political gain with the radical left - McGovern, Teddy and Bobby Kennedy followers, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and the radical left who fantasized that George McGovern was going to be elected in 1972.

Little wonder that returning soldiers from Vietnam were spit upon and castigated as "baby killers." A returned war hero said so. Kerry cut a dashing figure as a war hero, lots of medals, and returned home because of multiple war wounds, even a silver star. His Senate testimony confirmed what every hippie had been chanting on the streets - "Hey hey LBJ..How many kids did you kill today?" He obviously was running for political office in 1971. Until Lt. John O' Neil, himself a Swifboat commander, spoke out before the 1972 elections against Kerry's outright deceptions, there was no one from the Swiftboat scene that could contradict Kerry's self serving lies.

I was a POW of the Vietnamese in Hanoi in 1971, and I am aware that the testimony of John Kerry, the actions of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, and the radical left; all caused the commies to conclude that if they hung on, they would win. North Vietnamese General Bui Tin commented that every day the Communist leadership listened to world news over the radio to follow the growth of the anti-war movement. Visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda and Ramsey Clark gave them confidence to hold in the face of battlefield reverses. The guts of it was that propaganda from the anti-war group was part of their combat strategy.

While the Commies were hanging on, innumerable U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Air Force members were being killed in combat. Every battle wound to Americans after Kerry's misdirected testimony is related to Kerry's untruthfulness. John Kerry contributed to every one of these deaths with his lies about U.S. atrocities in Vietnam. He likewise defamed the U.S. with our allies and supporters. His conduct also extended the imprisonment of the Vietnam Prisoners of War, of which I was one. I am certain of at least one POW death after his testimony, which might have been prevented with an earlier release of the POWs.

My friend and room mate Senator John S. McCain denounced the Swiftboat video by John O'Neil. I have a different take on the Swiftboat tape and disagree with my good friend John. John Kerry opened up his character as a war hero reporting for duty to the country with a hand salute...and his band of brothers..of which he was the chief hero. Most of his convention speech was about John Kerry, Vietnam hero, and his band of brothers. John Kerry's character is not only fair game, it is the primary issue. He wants to use Bill Clinton's "is", as an answer to his lack of character. The issue is trust. Can anyone trust John Kerry?? "Never lie, cheat or steal" is the West Point motto. When a witness perjures himself at trial, the judge notes that his testimony lacks credibility. Should we elect a known proven liar to lead us in wartime??

I draw a direct comparison of General Benedict Arnold of the Revolutionary War, to Lieutenant John Kerry. Both went off to war, fought, and then turned against their country. General Arnold crossed over to the British for money and position. John Kerry crossed over to the Vietnamese with his assistance to the anti-war movement, and his direct liaison with the Vietnamese diplomats in Paris. His reward: political gain. Senator, United States. His record as a Senator for twenty years has been pitiful. Conjure up, if you will, one major bill that he has sponsored. John Kerry for President? Ridiculous. Unthinkable. Unbelievable. Outrageous.

Col. Geo. "Bud" Day, Medal of Honor, Vietnam POW 1967- 1973, USMC- USA-
USAF- Attorney 1949-2004

Responding to Common,

Unfortunately for your attempt to slur Bush and differentiate him from Kerry, the idea that “legacy” applicants were admitted without being qualified, is simply wrong, and indicates a profound ignorance of the stringency of Yale admissions policies. Your first problem is that John Kerry was ALSO a legacy student. That means ONLY that his father was a Yale graduate, Class of ‘37. A “legacy” applicant is given some extra degree of attention in the application process, as the alumni tend to be extremely generous in supporting Yale. It is, after all, a privately endowed institution, and historically has depended upon gifts from alumni for that endowment. It does NOT mean that a “legacy” student is admitted without meeting the same academic standards as any other applicant.

But there is another and even more important detail in which your attempt to insult Bush misses the truth.

Kingman Brewster was chosen in 1963 by the Yale Corporation to begin as President after serving as Provost for several years. As provost he had spearheaded a revolutionary set of changes in Yale’s faculty and student populations, recruiting the best, regardless of background or connection to Yale. In the 1950’s one half the faculty had taken their degrees from Yale itself, and the student body was mostly graduates of private prep schools, with approximately 25 per cent “legacy” students--- sons of Yale men. Brewster was determined to change this, drastically, and quickly.

Brewster outraged many alumni by beginning immediately to recruit the best students from both public and private schools, with much greater emphasis on geographic and background diversity. Children of Yale grads suddenly had a much smaller chance of getting in.

Quoting from Yale Archives/Presidential Records of Kingman Brewster:”As well, in 1963, the administration enacted a needs-blind policy for all applicants, so that lack of necessary finances could not become an admissions factor. The inevitable result of these new policy initiatives was a more diversified student body. While angry alumni accused Brewster and [R.Inslee] Clark of reverse discrimination, the administration argued that public school standards in quality and achievement had risen sharply, justifying tougher and more thorough screening processes for all applicants. As with faculty expansion, the effects of the student body shift were most noticeable throughout the 1960s, during which time the number undergraduates who entered Yale from private schools had dropped from 51 to 38 percent, and alumni sons decreased from 24 to 13 percent”

So, John Kerry entered Yale in 1962 as a “legacy”admission--- the son of a Yale man--- in the LAST entering class for whom that status conferred any advantage. Kingman Brewster’s admissions policy ended that. George W. Bush had to survive a far more rigorous and competitive applications process two years later to gain admission to the entering class of 1968. Brewster announced the policy was to use the admissions process to recruit students:

“whose capacity for intellectual achievement is outstanding and who also have the motivation to put their intellectual capacities to creatively influential use, in thought, in art, in science, or in the exercise of public or private or professional responsibility.”

In reviewing these details, I admit I have the slight advantage of having applied to Yale in the spring of 1967, and entered that fall. I ended up stuffing a four-year program into five years, and graduated in 1972. This makes me a member of a small group of humans (some sixty or seventy thousand, tops) to have attended Yale simultaneously with George Bush, and Bill and Hillary. Jeez. Now I come to think of it, I used to lurk around the Law School in my senior year. That was probably Hillary that slapped me that time...

But the upshot of all that, in relation to the rant of Common further up the page above (I’m giving up addressing that person as though this is a conversation), is that Common doesn’t have a clue about what Common is talking about, obviously did no research, simply regurgitated a steaming load of horse manure from some other source. It casts a dreary light on the rest of the assertions, which are ultimately a bunch of unsupported slanders against Bush, and the same old “RAH RAH” inflated resume garbage about Kerry.

Tragically, instead of providing any criticism of substance, we are pelted with the same tedious DNC talking point garbage that has already been exhaustively debunked on this site and many others. It’s like being stoned to death with popcorn.

I am not impressed with Kerry just because he’s been a senator. The people of Massachusetts, it must be remembered, have continued to elevate Ted Kennedy to that vaunted post, despite he’s shown as emphatically as can be done by a human, his contempt for women’s rights, the sanctity of marriage, sobriety, the law, low-velocity physics, and personal responsibility, at Chappaquiddick.

Oh, and by the way. When William Jefferson Clinton was busy chasing Ms. Lewinsky around the White House, it was while he was supposed to be paying attention to the many military interventions into which he had sent American Military into harm’s way. For Clinton to devote so much attention to his penis while American Troops were in combat by his order is the ULTIMATE utter disregard and irresponsible bullshit. I expect more responsible behavior from a 10-year-old.

Finally, the really important comparison to make is between Clinton and Kerry, Not Bush and Kerry:
Kerry has shown repeatedly throughout his career that he places his own advancement ahead of the welfare of American combat troops. His lies before congress contributed to the prolonging of the war, resulted in untold additional agonies for U.S. servicemen held prisoner by North Vietnam, and resulted directly in the contempt and abuse returning American soldiers received. His meetings with North Vietnamese while they were killing American troops in the field, while he still held a commission as a U.S. Naval Officer are a clear violation of UCMJ.

Kerry and Clinton are both Moral Lepers.

"...the mindset of what smells like a budding nationalist reactionary movement." It took a while, but the nazi moniker finally showed up. But whose campaign headquarters are being vandalized and shot at? Now THAT'S a brownshirt strategy.

This just in from the Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, Oct. 12 -- Local insurgents in the city of Fallujah are turning against the foreign fighters who have been their allies in the rebellion that has held the U.S. military at bay in parts of Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, according to Fallujah residents, insurgent leaders and Iraqi and U.S. officials. . . .

"If the Arabs will not leave willingly, we will make them leave by force," said Jamal Adnan, a taxi driver who left his house in Fallujah's Shurta neighborhood a month ago after the house next door was bombed by U.S. aircraft targeting foreign insurgents. . . . Several local leaders of the insurgency say they, too, want to expel the foreigners, whom they scorn as terrorists. They heap particular contempt on Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian whose Monotheism and Jihad group has asserted responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks across Iraq, including videotaped beheadings."

Bill,GHS,David,& last (but certainly not least)Recovering Lib.
Just a note to let you know the electic co. will be shuting me down.
I probably won't be back.
Something to think about.Who's face was in the clouds of the WTC?
I gave my life to Christ,He gave me a *Nickleback*.Now i'd better "Learn How To Crawl"
PS. I would do it all over again. Bye All!!!

Good old beetroot. We can always rely on you to take the most repugnant spin on things, and then hold that up as the centerpiece for both OUR argument and YOUR counter-arguments as well, no matter how many times or ways our ACTUAL views are described for you.

Yep, that's right -- people who support this war, contrary to all the reasons that have been exhaustively expressed and re-expressed here over and over and over again (just for people like you who think they "know the REAL reasons") support it solely because they love the smell of napalm in the morning. That's it. Despite the myriad ways it's been explained to you, none of which include anything close to that, that's still all you're ever going to believe -- therefore it must be so. Well, 'nuff said I guess.

Yep, somebody pissed us off, therefore we've got to do what any good red-meat-eating white male chickenhawks would do and blow them all into little scorched pieces. At no point along the way are the years and decades of failed negotiations, reneged promises, violated treaties, et al, even remotely relevant. All there is in your mind is (1) bad guys kicked us in the nuts, and (2) we're responding by blowing their heads off, and now we're just going after their families for the sheer joy of the carnage. My, such clarity of vision you have... all the way to the end of your nose.

Yep, we're all just mindless drones to our "power-hungry government" that has "convinced [our] small but vociferous minority that [our] safety was so threatened as to justify what could be called "pre-emptive war."" That's it! You got it! Everybody but you and your like-minded "majority" (since apparently it's only our "vociferous minority" that's being swayed by that silver-tongued devil in the Oval Office) is just being led along by the nose-hairs to their destruction, "...suckered into believing that the man who offers the simplest, most emotionally satisfying, and nakedly violent solution is the right man for the job, despite demonstrable failings." Dazzling!

That's right, since "a foothold in Iraq" can ONLY mean the first of many endless wars throughout the Middle East, probably most of Central Asia, and maybe even a sizable portion of Africa (because it couldn't POSSIBLY mean what it has been repeatedly explained to mean), then it's plain to see what an outrageous, power-hungry, naked grab for world dominion is actually transpiring here. Well, no WONDER you're so appalled. All you have to do is ignore everything we've said in answer to your inflammatory charges, and there ya' go! Justifiable outrage!

You're right! George Bush MUST be dumb if he thinks he can achieve global power in just the eight years (maximum) that he can remain in the White House (FOUR years, more likely, if his objectives are as universally unpopular as you say they are). What was he thinking? No WAY it could be an objective more noble or important than his own political career.

And how DARE he continue down the path that he swore he would continue-down-without-faltering, an oath that he uttered to our near-unanimous approval at the time. What's wrong with him? Hasn't he seen how well continuous negotiations and offered support worked in North Korea? Why aren't we working toward ANOTHER twelve years of impotent stalemate and growing tension? Can't Bush see the underlying "truth" behind the nearly complete absence of terrorist activities over the last three years (except, of course, for the war zone and a few other countries where their own sudden reversals on the appeasement of terrorists brought a brief spate of reprisals)? I mean, come on! It's so obvious! Clearly, in "reality," the terror situation has only gotten much WORSE, their numbers are GROWING, nobody (especially Libya) is at all impressed with our newfound willingness to take this miserable fight to THEIR doorsteps, and Lord KNOWS, no promise or threat that the U.S. ever uses again will have any credibility whatsoever, what with us doing what we SAID we were going to do and all.

My, the power George Bush must be enjoying right now, being the unassailable dictator that he is... able to make decisions unilaterally, with no need for congressional support whatsoever, no need to pay attention to the voting populace at all, with sole proprietary access to the details of Saddam's regime, and completely free of repercussions for any missteps along the way.

And watch how easy THIS is to say: "The FACT is, this war is a disaster." OR "this quagmire will never end." Wow! With such 'givens' being so easy to say without qualification, why aren't we ALL saying it? Oh that's right... we're just war-loving suckers relishing every little morsel of red meat Bush throws to us. We're gonna' buy WHATEVER he says, every time. Good. Now I understand.

What really sucks for ME, now that I've heard the clarion call of "Truth" from you, is that, with all my time in the military, and all the military history I've studied in my life, I can't find another war that's been more cleanly, precisely, sparingly, or considerately fought. Not even the "popular" ones -- you know, the ones that even YOU would find worthy. The casualties have never been lower, nor the collateral damage for that matter. The objectives of the military campaign were quickly achieved, and the political objectives that followed are still more-or-less on-track. The Iraqi infrastructure is being rebuilt to a better level than it was before, its leadership is being handed back to its own people, its police and defense forces are being steadily rebuilt to a self-sustaining level, and the Iraqis themselves have been taking over the counter-insurgency duties one piece at a time. And the only thing "quagmirish" about this situation is the extent to which this generation of voters is unaccustomed to such trials and tribulations.

So, you can see my quandary here -- how to fit this "reality" into your "Truth?" I guess I'll just have to keep trying, as you and legions of others just like you, have done throughout every war ever waged. You were there wailing about the suicidal insanity of squaring off against the British in the late 1700s, you were there bemoaning the horrors we were inflicting on the innocents of the American Confederacy in the 1860s, and you (alongside Charles Lindbergh) were right there in the 1930s, outraged by our misdirected efforts against the near-messianic figures of Hitler and Mussolini.

Thank God your voice is there, beetroot. It makes the alternatives so much clearer.

And to "Common Power of the blah-blah-blah," what a fine exercise in selective history-telling you showed there. I never knew how utterly perfect Kerry was, and how utterly irredeemable Bush was until then. Apparently Kerry never did anything BUT good, and Bush has never done a thing right or legitimately in his life. And "the pot calling the clear blue sky black?" Wow! Used car salemen must love you, if you think of that kind of slick pandering and patronizing as "clear blue sky."

Oh, and I remember the Purple Heart that Frank Burns got in M.A.S.H. too -- for a piece of eggshell that he got in his eye. But at least it was in a war zone.


Both of you vote for whoever you want. I WANT that. What I DON'T want is you telling me why I'M voting or why I support this war, because you've clearly got no clue whatsoever. Beetroot hasn't listened to a thing being said here over the last two years, and I'm tired of repeating it. So... whatever... move on.

I take heart though, knowing that, if nothing else, my vote will at least serve to nullify beetroot's.


Thanks for this excellent two-parter. The opinion front is a crucial front in the war on terror. Thanks for fighting it.

Short version of DETERRENCE:

Kerry = Osama.
Bush = Our Only Hope.

Therefore, if Kerry wins the election; the patriotic thing to do-- is incite violent revolution against the federal government of the United States.

An extremely persuasive essay, I will try to point it out to the people I know who are voting "Against Bush". Reading all of the comments has enlightened me even more in many respects. What I'm surprised no one brought up in the course of the points against Kerry was that he is for a "One China" policy. He says he is for a peaceful resolution but somehow I doubt that if 6 months after his inauguration China decided to invade Taiwan he would do much more than pull any and all troops out of their way.

Therefore, if Kerry wins the election; the patriotic thing to do-- is incite violent revolution against the federal government of the United States.

Isn't that idea just a tad extreme? Are you going for the winner of the Hyperbole Award?

If not, please connect the dots for me. I didn't get that out of Whittle's essays.

If Kerry wins, I'd much rather participate in a peaceful revolution within our fellow citizens' minds and hearts.

Hey Silverback:

Glad to hear I've offended you so terribly. That makes it sound like I'm on the right track.

It's as plain as day that Americans supported the war in Iraq because the gov't successfully convinced them that Hussein was part of 9/11 (I believe polls at the time of invasion showed that something like 80% of us believed there was a direct connection - a number directly attributable to administration spinmeisters).

It's also a historical fact that the neocon movement had long advocated armed overthrow of Iraq; and that Rummy et.al. were barking for it on Sept. 12 ("a target-rich environment").

So I put two and two together, combined with what I observed with my own eyes, and the picture I get is, GWB and co. scared the country into backing an invasion which had little to do with Al Qaeda and everything to do with their pre-9/11 geopolitical agenda. As someone said, it was like responding to Pearl Harbor by invading Mexico.

So I look at this and say, well, this doesn't make any sense, so why the hell do people defend it so fervently? Leave aside the fact that the invason/occupation of Iraq has proven exponentially more deadly and complicated than we were told it would be; even if it was going swimmingly, I'd still ask myself, why do Americans support it?

And, as you know by now, my conclusion is, Americans were scared, and Iraq slakes the thirst for action. All the stuff about "deterrence" and "projecting power" and "foothold for democracy" is backfill - not without some legitimacy (e.g. deterrence is clearly valuable at times), but basically the war came first, and the explanations came later.

So you're right - I read all this stuff, all these nuanced arguments and passionate defenses and angry attacks on the hippies and traitors, and it doesn't change my basic opinion. Our government scared us into supporting a war whose purpose isn't entirely clear. (i.e. if, for example, we're worried about terrorists getting nukes, why haven't we been focused on Russia's loose nukes, or Pakistan's obvious threat, etc etc.)

Like it or not, bullshitting their people into backing military adventures is exactly what autocratic regimes do. I'm pretty confident that American democracy will prove stronger than the autocratic impulses of Bush/Cheney & co (I mean, these guys won't let you into a campaign rally unless you sign a "loyalty oath" - how American is that?), but I don't mind telling you that they scare the shit out of me.

But back to your original point: yes, you've got me figured out pretty good. I think much of what gets slung here is bull ("clinton and kerry are moral lepers"), and I think that many people like Bush because he offers a simple, violent solution to a problem that scares most of us badly ("I stand ready to trade in my jammies for fatigues and an AK ... we're coming and bringin Hell with us").

Where you may not get me is this: even if the theories and ideas behind the war are correct, that makes it even more damning if the Prez and his planners have screwed it up.

With that in mind, check this out:


Kind of innaresting. Hersh has been right about a lot of things over the years, and he's been right about a lot of things about this war (e.g. he was the first to report that despite our rapid military advances in the Battle of Bagdhad, that military men worried about low troop numbers compromising our ability to secure conquered territory or stop looting, sabotage, etc).

What, exactly, was said to convince us that Hussein was part of 9/11?

Hey Common Power of Truth and Reason!

And Plagerism as well?

Or are you indeed that piece of shit paul krugman.
If so, go salute yourself.

For a blow-by-blow deconstruction of "Common's" post http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_luskin/luskin200410130936.asp

Beetroot, what makes you believe that only quaking fear makes a person decide that decisive action needs to be taken to nullify a lethal threat?

By what reckoning do you figure that the Executive Branch of this government is capable of addressing only one problem at a time?

You say it deeply scares you that the organizers of a rally for a political candidate should demand a promise of civilized behavior from those attending the rally, but evidently you are comfortable with a PRESIDENT who concedes that he lied under oath, and used the power of his office to intimidate, smear, blackmail, and threaten, and ultimately to obstruct the right of an individual citizen to adjudication of her claims that she was sexually harrassed by him, when he at all times had ultimate dispositive power over her employment.

(One more time into the breach.)

In other words, it’s fine with you that President William Jefferson Clinton tried to keep Paula Jones from suing him for whipping out his pecker and asking her for a blowjob while he was Governor of Arkansas and she was a state employee, then as President, he told a pack of lies, had his people repeat them, had his lawyer accuse Jones of lying, and went to extraordinary lengths to avoid having his affair with a young intern come to light and underscore that his behavior as PRESIDENT confirmed the fundamental accusations Jones was making. THAT’s what the business was about. It wasn’t just that he was an ASSHOLE for screwing Lewinsky. It was because he abused the powers of government in completely selfish ways to obstruct justice for another citizen.


I guess you have no problem with Clinton’s pardon of convicted Puerto Rican Terrorist Murderers of U.S. Police officers, on the eve of the election in which Hillary was depending on the Puerto Rican vote for her election to the Senate. (How does that square with putting more police officers on the street?)

I guess you’re not concerned with the scores of pardons of convicted big-money embezzlers and other white-collar felons that William Jefferson Clinton signed in the last hours of his Presidency. I suppose you figure he was just being a nice guy, and bribes had nothing to do with it.

Those are just a few items on a long list, beetroot, that convince me Clinton is a rotten sick worthless baggie full of pus.

But, HEY! Moral Lepers have successfully ruled lots of countries. Clinton is just one of the minor league players in that crowd. Jeez. I’m sure the number of people that went missing on his account is relatively small. And there’s no denying he has a fine mind, excellent policy-wonking detail-juggling stainless steel strainer of a brain. Yeah, I’m convinced he rose to high office purely on the strength of his principled behavior and the public’s recognition of his unmatched political savvy.

You should read up sometime on the activities of certain Arkansas law firms and Arkansas insurance regulating agencies (members appointed by the governor) in relation to BCCI and Bert Lance. Yeah, Bert Lance, the confidant of James Earl Carter, another paragon of Southern Scrupulous Integrity.

One thing that becomes clear from the study of history is that very little of what is actually going on is known at the time it is happening. We have the illusion that what we see on the telly and in the newspapers is everything significant that there is to know about everything that’s going on; if it ain’t in the “news” it didn’t happen. Of course, it’s the news organizations that have been selling this idea for most of the last century. In fact, even if journalists actually lived up the the high ethical standards of objectivity they claim, they are not capable of delivering all that much information.

The group I see using its power to SUPPRESS the rights of others to express opinions contrary to its own, by threats, intimidation, lawsuits, and extortion against publishers, broadcasters, and individuals, is the Democratic Party. The people that are SHOOTING GUNS into the campaign offices of those that oppose them are leftists and AFL-CIO thugs. The people who assaulted a soldier home on leave from IRAQ, for wearing a T-shirt with a message that offended them, WERE LEFTISTS. The people that have insisted the United Nations cares so much about the rights of the common man (pay no attention to all those oil vouchers) are the LEFTISTS, Liberals and Democrats. The people who were trying to foist off a bunch of amateurish forged Army records to try to smear the President were ---guess what?--- Liberals.

So bull us no more fecal matter, please. If NAZIsm is rearing its ugly puss in the US of A, its under the banner, thank you very much, of the increasingly desperate lunatic extremists within the Democratic Party. Their report card is soon going to have so many notations “Does not play well with others” that some social services staff doctor is going to prescribe a massive dose of Prozac.

Hey March:

In case you haven't read about it, it's now common practice for Cheney and Bush's organizers to require those who attend their rallies to sign papers that state that they're Republicans and will vote for the president. It's not about "civilized behavior." It's a deliberate strategy designed to surround the Prez with wildly cheering throngs, making great TV footage, and keeping any dissenting opinions firmly at bay.

I used to live in a formerly Communist country, and I heard all about their practices from the people who'd suffered under them, and like it or not, that's Communism 101 right there.

This is well in keeping with this President, who, when he deigns to give a press conference (fewest in Presidential history), rarely answers or even takes challenging questions. That's why he looked like a deer in the headlights during that first debate - - he's completely unused to speaking in front of the non-converted, and he reacted to challenges by getting angry and frustrated.

And while it doesn't surprise me that, given the rabidly partisan tenor of the times, that some stupid people would do some stupid things (shooting at a Bush office, tearing up signs, yelling at some poor vet), those isolated incidents do not come close to matching the conservative movement's highly organized efforts to maintain power and dominate the political discourse.

You yourself have clearly bought into some of their propaganda - for example, you evidently distrust the press and believe it full of lies and bias. Fostering this mindset is one of the great achievements of the modern conservative movement. By turning your back on the press (which is imperfect, naturally), you leave yourself with no alternative but to get your news from propagandists. Let me guess - do you think you get the straight story from Rush? Or the Prez himself?

But I digress. Let me tell you one thing: I don't give a damn about Clinton. I do give a damn about "lethal threats." And where you and I fundamentally disagree is on the lethality of Iraq as regards the war on terror. I'm all for killing terrorists, but the evidence linking Saddam to terrorism has NEVER been strong and has ALWAYS been premised on the notion that, IF he had some weapons, MAYBE he would give them to Al Qaeda, etc etc.

"Well, of course," you might say. "It's pre-emptive."

Well answer me this: do you think that the chance of Al Qaeda getting a nuke and bringing it to this country is:

a) more likely now than in 2001;
b) less likely now than in 2001;
c) the same as in 2001?

Beetroot said: "...Bush/Cheney & co (I mean, these guys won't let you into a campaign rally unless you sign a 'loyalty oath')..."

Sorry, guy - didn't happen. I personally went to see the President, about a month ago, when he was campaigning here in central MO. I not only didn't have to sign any such "loyalty oath," I was not even asked, at any point, if I supported President Bush as I made my way through the various checks and security locations. No one around me, at least within my sight and hearing, was either forced to sign anything or vocally pledge their support for the President.

It didn't happen.

beetroot, you don't "offend me." You bore me and you annoy me, but you don't offend me. You bore me because you don't say anything new, and you annoy me because you don't listen to the answers to your challenges OR your "questions" when they're given.

Even if your assertion that "...polls at the time of invasion showed that something like 80% of us believed there was a direct connection [between Iraq and 9/11]" was true -- and though I'VE never heard of any such poll or any such concensus, that doesn't mean there wasn't one -- what's that got to do with the people HERE and the answers you've gotten HERE, or the statements made in Bill's essays HERE? I've never known anyone, anywhere, on "my side of the fence" who EVER thought such a thing. I'm sure there were probably some somewhere (your side isn't the only one capable of producing misinformed, uninformed, or intentionally delusional members), but, as has been repeatedly expressed here in numerous comment streams, that's NOT one of the bases for our thinking.

Iraq had no direct connection with 9/11, and we never thought it did. Iraq was an entirely separate agenda right from the beginning, and aside from Hussein's support of terrorist activities in general, the only remote connection between the two was the timing -- trying to ride the popular momentum of the Afghanistan invasion while there was still something to ride. Beyond that, Iraq was primarily about payment coming due on promises and threats already tendered (by the U.S. and the UN together, although, in the case of the UN, they turned out to be just more empty bluffs), ending a decade-long stalemate of impotent sanctions, corrupted enforcement, and unanswered challenges, and all with the bonus opportunity of being able to establish that beachhead (or "foothold") of stability in the region at the same time. And everyone -- most especially including our "co-threateners" in Europe -- was given the opportunity to participate and make good on their own bluster. We didn't WANT this to be a unilateral action -- it SHOULDN'T have been a unilateral action -- but damn, do we HAVE to follow cowardly, stupid and self-destructive tactics just because the Europeans insist? How many more times were we going to reinforce our legacies as toothless, spineless, paper tigers and laughingstocks to the likes of Hussein and Khadaffi? Would there EVER have been a time when you would have finally agreed that more drastic measures were called for? And as tiresome as it is both for me to repeat it AND for everyone else to have to hear it again, these points apparently can't be repeated enough, I guess.

So, as for that "...historical FACT [my caps] that the neocon movement had long advocated armed overthrow of Iraq" (along with a long list of Democratic congresspersons, like Daschle, Kennedy, et al, who also, pre-9/11, made public statements acknowledging Saddam's growing danger, his aggressive pursuit of WMDs, and the likelihood of the need for a forcible resolution if he couldn't be made to behave and comply right soon) -- you're damned right they'd "long been advocating that overthrow." 12 years is a ridiculous amount of time to have let that process flounder like that, to allow Hussein to continue making a mockery of every term of the ceasefire he'd signed himself, to continue oppressing his people without restraint, and to grow in prominence among Arab circles as a defier of the rest of the world! Of COURSE they were pressing for his overthrow -- EVERYONE was, in AND out of the "Neocon" camp, in AND out of the U.S.A.. Bush was just the one who finally had the chutzpa to put his money where his mouth was -- where LOT'S of people's mouths were.

You said, "As someone said, it was like responding to Pearl Harbor by invading Mexico."

Well, as someone ELSE just said, "It was more like responding to Nazi Germany by invading Tunisia." You'd almost think there was a plan there.

See, despite all the words printed here -- over and over and over again, for all the new Bush-o-phobes who discover this site, and then, without reading everything here (which no one would expect everyone to do right off the bat) make their debut by making the same old tired and cliche'd assertions, and asking the same old obvious-and-already-answered questions -- despite all these oft-repeated explanations and contentions, you're STILL saying stuff like, "Our government scared us into supporting a war whose purpose isn't entirely clear." [it's only unclear if you insist on ignoring the answers and explanations] "...(i.e. if, for example, we're worried about terrorists getting nukes, why haven't we been focused on Russia's loose nukes, or Pakistan's obvious threat, etc etc.)" [what would you like us to DO about Russia's loose nukes? That is, beyond what we're already doing? Even Russia wants them rounded up and accounted for. And just what IS "Pakistan's obvious threat?" Are they attacking their neighbors without provocation or warning? Are they even threatening to do so? Are they violating the terms of any ceasefire agreements? Have they shown any of the predatory patterns of Hussein's regime? Of course there's an implicit danger anytime ANYone gets ahold of a nuclear arsenal all their own, but in terms of the "problem children" of the world, there are a few more higher priority threats out there ahead of Pakistan on "the list".]

And ANY link with "berkeley" in its title is right there on a par with sites with "survivalist" and "Zionist Conspiracy" in theirs -- just chock full of unbiased, level-headed, non-selective "reasoning" -- chock full of a LOT of stuff, actually, except credibility.

Damn, I should know better than to respond this late at night. I always regret it later.



Obtaining Cheney Rally Ticket Requires Signing Bush Endorsement

By Jeff Jones
Journal Staff Writer
    Some would-be spectators hoping to attend Vice President Dick Cheney's rally in Rio Rancho this weekend walked out of a Republican campaign office miffed and ticketless Thursday after getting this news:
    Unless you sign an endorsement for President George W. Bush, you're not getting any passes.
    The Albuquerque Bush-Cheney Victory office in charge of doling out the tickets to Saturday's event was requiring the endorsement forms from people it could not verify as supporters.


Can Do said (among other things): "The Albuquerque Bush-Cheney Victory office in charge of doling out the tickets to Saturday's event was requiring the endorsement forms from people it could not verify as supporters." (Quoting from an article in an Albuquerque newspaper...)

I can't help what they do in New Mexico (or any other state), if that actually is the way they do it. I live in Missouri, and I stand by my earlier statement. I had to sign absolutely NOTHING in order to get my pass, nor did I have to attest to my support of the President in any other way. I neither saw nor heard anyone else being asked for such statements, either, even though there were large numbers of people around me the whole time.

What can I say? You're quoting from an MSM source, and I'm quoting from my own direct experience.

Here are some ways my friends can figure out if something is true or not

If it appears in print it must be true.

If it appears in print with the right name beside it it must REALLY be true.

If it agrees with what I already think it’s probably true.

If it’s different from what I already know it’s WRONG.

If it’s by somebody I hate, it can’t be true.

If it’s by somebody I like, it’s probably true.

If it’s by somebody I don’t know, I don’t know whether it’s true or false.

If everybody I know thinks it, it must be true.

I am Quincy, and I’m in third grade.

Hey, How many 3rd graders are up at midnight typing on some obscure political blog?

Give us credit for some intelligence, eh?

..."he's completely unused to speaking in front of the non-converted"..... You mean, for instance, at the UN?

Interesting. Partisanship as an excuse for thuggery. Yes, the left is completely docile.

From The Army Times: Bush leads Democratic Sen. John Kerry 73 percent to 18 percent in the voluntary survey of 4,165 active-duty, National Guard and reserve subscribers to Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times.

"Voting for Bush Is Like Running In The Special Olympics: Even If You Win, You're Still Retarded." Isn't that just the funniest thing ya ever heard? This is on a campaign poster for Craig Fitzhugh, a Tennessee Democrat running for the state house. Echoes the sentiment of a few posters in here. Of course, this is an aberration. It's only the "Rs" who are mean-spirited.

I can't help what they do in New Mexico (or any other state), if that actually is the way they do it. --Jim Cline


The they in your sentence is BUSH. And, although it's true that you can't control how he runs his campaign-- you can do your part by not voting for him.

But you are going to vote for Bush, so you are not just a helpless bystander. You are part of the problem.

Particularly galling, about the loyalty-oath that is required to attend Cheney's campaign speeches, is that the damnable document was reportedly penned by George W Bush himself!

Don't try to blame some low-level campaign workers, like when Bush blamed volunteers for the counterfeit "MADE IN USA" stickers that were placed over the real "MADE IN CHINA" labels on boxes behind him in a campaign photo-op. --Or like when Bush blamed soldiers for the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner used in his flightsuit photo-op.

Examination of the loyalty-oath form-- Heavily Suggests that it was indeed written by Bush himself. To wit, the form used in New Mexico read:

I, ____________________

herby endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States.



"Herby" ??
"Reelection of the United States" ??

I rest my case.

According to "HERBY"s logic, if someone finds a confession of having sex with a dozen crippled porpoises- written in perfect french, on a napkin from an expensive Men's spa, that proves it's a real document by the poodle candidate.

Beetroot, I gotta admire your stayin power. You must be motivated by principles or some kinda fear to keep on come to a site where people disagree with you and slag you off. Even if you wrong, at least you have the fire of passion> Man I wonder why you bother if these folks really believe the stuff theyr saying here, you think your going to change their minds? What is it about this place makes you feel like its worth all the typing and reading n arguing?

Me too. I agree w Michigan Mike. What do you get out of this, Beet Root? I’m interested in knowing why you want to spend so much energy on people who seem like they disrespect you for thinking different than they do.

I looked at Kerry’s biography at the site http://www.worldhistory.com/wiki/J/John-Kerry.htm
seems like its a neutral sort of place, not obviously promoting him or trying to discredit. Just information. The article indicates Kerry has people that are antagonistic to him and his actions, but I mean how can you not make enemies by saying what you think?

It shows what seems to be like family snapshots of Kerry with John Kennedy on his yacht when Kerry was still in prep school. He like worked on Kennedy’s campaign and even dated Jackie Kennedy’s half-sister. And Kerry’s Father went to Yale AND Harvard Law School and served in the Foreign Service and as an attorney for the Bureau of United Nations Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. The really weird thing though is that Kerry’s family on his mother’s side traces all the way back to some of the first white families governing Massachussetts, and Kerry is actually distantly related to the BUSH FAMILY! Is that nuts or WHAT?
Didn’t someone do a geneology thing on Clinton and they found out he’s like a descendant of George the Third, the king of England?
So anyway, seems like it’s a good place to find out more about Kerry if your wondering what his background is about, and how he got to where he is


Shiva Archon,

Americans are *already* paying far more than a 50 cent tax on every gallon of gasoline for this war. It's just that they're simultaneously borrowing the amount so it doesn't come out of your paycheck today.

I'd hate to be the one claiming that American's support the war unless they have to pay for it. Kind of makes the president a liar for hiding the costs.

Would you argue that America can't actually afford the war that it's started? As for the "we can't pay for it now" argument - I'd say that America's economic position is stronger now than it's going to be any time in the next 20 years. It would hurt a lot less to pay it off now than later. Unemployment is down, GDP is up, consumer spending is up. Corporate profits are way up. The only thing that makes it not feel like success is comparison to the heady days of the internet boom, and that's not coming back...

A minimally honest approach would be to inform each taxpayer how much more s/he would pay if the cost of the war was to be covered now. Maybe amortize the costs over the income tax receipts or something.

Go away for a few hours and look what happens. That was NOT my mother, folks.

Dear Tuberous One, I read newspapers and books, watch television, listen to radio, look up information in encyclopedias, do Google and A9(Amazon) searches.

I don’t cast the I-ching, read Tarot cards, palms, entrails of chickens.

As a result of having been involved in various normal activities such as sports, spelling bees, music performance, college, business--- life, and matters arising from it--- I’ve had a chance to see many times that news organizations reporting on events or conversations I witnessed, got important details completely wrong, even when their intent was benign. To assume that any particular news report is accurate is simply naive. It is the responsibility of individuals to actively track down information from as many sources as possible, ESPECIALLY checking to be sure you’re not automatically discounting or ignoring information simply because you don’t like it.

Hey, I admit I’m biased. I admit I have a point of view; my own interpretation of the way the world works. You can’t begin to function and make decisions without having some internal scales for evaluating information. One area where I seem to be different from some folks is that during a few periods in my life, I’ve done a fair amount of reading of history, concentrating on the period from about the last half of the 19th century through World War II, but a lot of ancient history too.

A few ideas come through from that: 1) There are distinct patterns in the ways human beings behave, both individually and as cultures. To see those patterns manifest repeatedly in different periods and places helps make sense of emerging but possibly not yet clear parallels in current events. 2) NOBODY completely understands the whole story of everything contributing to unfolding events except the Almighty, and we don’t have access to the up-to-the-minute updates from that source. 3) Governments and leaders face an enormous challenge in sorting through available information to assess problems and solutions. The ideal of Democracy (and representative republican forms) works well or badly according to how much the governed keep themselves educated and informed, and how much they allow their designated leaders to make decisions without paralyzing them by demanding endless instantaneous debate and plebiscites on issues. 4) There is an inherent dynamic balance between the need for the governed to have as much reliable information as possible in order to reinforce the trust and resolve of the leadership, versus the occasional critical need for secrecy of information and planning needed by government to protect the governed from enemies whose capabilities and plans are hidden.

When I was twenty years old, I began to appreciate that what I didn’t know actually was far greater than the puny bit that I DID know. I think playing violin --- or maybe better, LEARNING to play--- had begun to impress me with the sense that there were skills and ideas and perspectives that could only be achieved after decades of patient cumulative experience and striving. I started on the violin at age 9, see? I was playing with professional-level orchestras by age 12, but I had already grasped that there was a vast range of skill and artistry that I would need to work years to achieve.

That’s true for a lot of human activities, from business, investments, healing arts, politics. It’s so obvious, that to bother saying it is almost insulting. But the fact remains that it is very frustrating for younger people to feel passionate about issues, and feel they have answers, and see that other people agree while others violently disagree and the only thing they can say is “You’re wrong. I can’t explain WHY I know you’re wrong, but when you’re as old as I am, you’ll understand...”

My disaffection for the Democratic party comes from observing over the last 45 years the gulf between its stated values and the actual behavior of the leaders the party has selected and endorsed. I could explain in detail, but I’d need to write a 500-page treatise. If you don’t believe the things I’m saying, and say that even if they’re true, you don’t care, we’re not likely to make much progress in the short term.

To Mike and Sela - -

I like to hang around here because it's challenging; I think the administration's own failures in Iraq thus far (how many dead in the Green Zone today? Who are these insurgents, exactly? How much more has it cost in lives and dollars than predicted?) show what happens to those who spend their lives in echo chambers of those who agree with them.

Take Great Hairy Silverback - - I suggested to him that he check out the details of Sy Hersh's speech at Berkeley. Now, Hersh is one of the most respected investigative reporters of our lifetimes - he broke the My Lai story out of Vietnam, and he'd put out a series of really prescient reports about the shortcomings of our Iraq tactics (e.g. the low troop numbers that resulted, as his sources predicted, in major instability and sabotage) before hitting the hypocrisy jackpot with Abu Grahib (sp?). One may not like what he has to say, but his work worth considering.

Instead, Great Hairy responds, "ANY link with "berkeley" in its title is ... chock full of unbiased, level-headed, non-elective "reasoning" -- chock full of a LOT of stuff, actually, except credibility." Which reflects rather poorly on him, in my opinion. It's not like I suggested he read the proclamations of the Berkeley Student Union (or the West Point student union, for that matter). Hersh has quite a bit of credibility.

And what Hersh is interested in is precisely what people who post here should be interested in: how well is the theory playing out in practice?

After all, most of the musings on this site are essentially theoretical, and not always bad theory at that. In theory, taking out one threat should deter others. In theory, all enemies should be discouraged by the conquest of one enemy. Whittle's essays contain a ring of truth. They resonate with people, because everybody knows that sometimes the time for talking is over, and you have to go out and kick some ass.

But I have a theory of my own, as you may know, which is that 9/11 scared people so badly that they were willing to support an invasion of Iraq despite the fact that it had nothing substantive to do with 9/11. Even Great Hairy admits it: "The only remote connection between the two was the timing -- trying to ride the popular momentum of the Afghanistan invasion while there was still something to ride."

In other words, the administration took advantage of a window in which the normally conservative public believed that war might in fact be the answer, in order to prosecute a war whose purpose was, in part, to demonstrate our willingness to wage war.

But back to Whittle's point: if a successful war on one enemy deters other enemies, what does an unsuccessful war do? Does it embolden those same enemies? Encourage them? Make us LESS safe? It's arguable that our experience in Iraq so far has highlighted our weaknesses as well as our strengths. We promised order and we've created chaos. We're years into it and we can't leave our forts. Maybe things aren't as bad as they look, but when I listen to the non-theoreticians, the news is pretty bleak.

Which is why I think that those who agree with Whittle should cast an especially critical eye on this administration and the choices it has made. If waging war well is the best way to keep us safe, what does one do with the people who wage war badly?

Silverback would rather debate the finer points of Whittle's argument, like whether Iraq is Tunisia 1941 or Mexico 1941 (for the record: Tunisia was full of Germans, who were open allies with the Japanese, who'd just bombed us; Iraq's connections to Al Qaeda were tenuous at best, and manufactured at worst). I'm interested in a different question: are we, in fact, deterring our enemies?

I'm not confident that we are, and I think the failures of our practice can be laid directly at the doorstep of an administation that made its war policy inside a neocon echo chamber, entranced by muscular theories.

And as for the Fiddling One: I'm not sure what you're getting at there. You're saying that history tells you that Democrats are historical hypocrites? (as opposed to Republicans, who are ...?) I think that history also tells us that nations have been frequently undone by ill-considered military adventures. That's what worries me.

Powerful, impressive and well thought through.

Well, I knew I'd regret writing so late last night, and I was right.

Beetroot, when I said what I said about "anything with berkeley in the title," I said it AFTER I'd already read your link... all the way through. And in retrospect, I didn't say it strongly enough. The article was every bit the heap of one-sided tripe I knew it would be, not just Hersh's extremist OPINIONS, but the interviewer's evaluations of Hersh as well. Hersh, like you, continues to hand out these grandiose assertions as if they're "facts": the war's a "failure," Abu Ghraib has turned THE WORLD against us, all Iraqis hate us, on and on and on. And the only additional insight that Hersh was cited as having was "insiders who told him the war is a failure." Someone's opinion, passed on as reinforcement for someone else's pre-existing opinions, made public by someone else who already shared those same opinions. And I already know what those opinions are, and what kinds of people share them.

And I see you're still fixated on the lack of a connection between 9/11 and Iraq as an indication of the wrongness of this war, as if the only possible reason for going to war with a nation these days is a direct connection with the 9/11 attacks -- as if vengeance and retribution, eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, is the only sound reasoning for going to war. Not one of the points I brought up about "our" -- meaning, the U.S. AND the UN's -- SHARED threats of a forcible resolution to Hussein's non-compliance with UN 1441 was addressed, nor any of the points about the bankruptcy of ANY unenforced edicts or baseless threats, nor the HUGE amount of time (and lives) already wasted on impotent gestures that a man like Hussein doesn't even recognize, nor the many opportunities that Hussein was given to avoid an invasion. All we keep hearing is "war bad, therefore THIS war bad, therefore anybody who sees anything other than badness is bad." "Bush stupid, Bush liar, therefore anyone who listen is stupid and a sucker for liars."

What am I doing? I'm just wasting my time. You're not listening, you've got your agenda all carved in stone. How about, in your next post, you just refer us to the already repeated points in your earlier posts.

And to "sela," who wanted to know why beetroot would "...want to spend so much energy on people who seem like they disrespect you for thinking different than they do." -- have you actually been READING beetroot's postings -- you know, the ones where he's called Bill stupid, and the rest of us (you know, the other people with differing opinions from beetroot's), collectively, blood-bong-sucking druggies at a Grateful Dead concert, slavering vengeance addicts, nationalist zealots, and panicky hyenas just waiting for someone to throw us some red meat? But I'm paraphrasing -- he didn't use the words "slavering" or "hyenas." The responses are entirely in-kind, sela... "Leonard" was addressed evenly, and predominantly on the merits of his points, because that's how HE approached it -- by arguing the ISSUES. Beetroot, while expressing himself well and clearly, made things more personal, and got the same in return. And Gaydar wanted to act like a name-calling child, and got deleted altogether. So let's not pretend that beetroot is some poor beleaguered martyr to the cause, surrounded by howling wolves -- he's getting just exactly the kind of argument he wants.

Unfortunately, I've got no time to go where I want with this -- a hell of a time to be busy.

But hey, don't stop on MY account.


I needed to read this essay. We are lucky you aren't washing planes. I wanted to post when I first read it but couldn't find the words to express the importance of essayists in the WOT. Your comment about anger at Bush for not continuing his eloquence after 9/12 made me want to reply but I didn't have the words to do as well as: http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=7239. As a newbie i tremble at whether that link worked.

Bill: who ever you are, I read the complete essay, I only have one question, are you a republican? if so, you must believe the coin has two sides, I find when reading your essay, alot of the information you provided is your personal oppinion, and not fact, is that right, or do you have the facts.

Do you have children in Iraq, or do you have close friends with children in Iraq, or are you aware of any BUSH family with children or relatives in Iraq.

I still remember that we went to Iraq because of the WMD's, None Found, and now we know the intelligence provided was flawed, what have we done to correct the intelligence in the future, how many intelligence people have been FIRED, given the PINK SLIP, I feel that by electing JOHN KERRY, we will have a comander In Chief who has been in a WAR ZONE, and understands what it is to live under those conditions, not a Fantasy Soldier, who has no idea what war is all about.

Please BILL, provide the readers of your postings with information from the other party, that way everybody will be better informed, because what I read in your posting, It apparent you are very connected to the Republicans.

Thank you for reading my small VOICE

"Herby" (or whoever) said: "The they in your sentence is BUSH."

So say the rumor mongers of the left - just because someone says something, doesn't mean it is so. And even with that said, just what part of "It didn't happen to me, nor to anyone around me" do you not understand?

..."You are part of the problem."

Thank you - it's nice to know that I am having at least some effect on the ones who most need it.

..."--Or like when Bush blamed soldiers for the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner used in his flightsuit photo-op."...

I guess you missed the interview with Gen. Tommy Franks, a few weeks ago (and quite some time after his retirement went into effect), when he claimed credit for that little "sign fiasco." Or do you just tune out anything that doesn't fit into your little world...?

"Examination of the loyalty-oath form-- Heavily Suggests that it was indeed written by Bush himself. To wit, the form used in New Mexico read:" -->snip

"Herby" ??
"Reelection of the United States" ??

"I rest my case."

Yep, I'm just totally convinced that this is the way a Yale graduate would write. I can see that it takes some pretty serious evidence to convince you. //sarcasm off// Of course, if that's how a Yale graduate writes, then it's just as likely that Kerry penned this thing as it is the President's work.....

You know, and just for the sake of argument, if this is how the GOP makes sure that its candidate has a friendly crowd, it follows that it is how the Democrats keep Kerry's crowds just as friendly...at least, since the little episode when the union Kerry supporters tore up the little girl's Bush/Cheney sign several weeks ago. Picking on children is bad PR, so they'd have to make sure the thugs didn't get another chance at some small child.

Let me clear up something for you, "Herby." I am NOT a Republican. I AM conservative, where fiscal and defense policy is concerned, but fairly liberal re social policy. I've chosen to support the President NOT because I agree with every policy he promotes, but because he promotes the safety of this country. (..and I wish he'd do a bit more of that re the northern and southern borders..) YOUR fair-haired boy couldn't find his butt with both hands where national security is concerned - all you have to do is look over his voting record during his time in the Senate. Considering that I am also a Vietnam-era veteran, I have just a wee bit of a problem with his perjury in front of the Senate hearings in 1971, too, as well as his "visits" with the enemies of this country in Paris during that same timeframe. (Please note that he has openly admitted to those "visits"...)

Slandering the President will get you absolutely nowhere without some kind of concrete (as in "not made up") evidence. In the meantime, your own candidate is a slander on this country, all by himself.

George wrote: "Please BILL, provide the readers of your postings with information from the other party, that way everybody will be better informed, because what I read in your posting, It apparent you are very connected to the Republicans."

George, one doesn't have to be "very connected to the Republicans" in order to have conservative beliefs. (And, just because one's beliefs are conservative about some things, there's no requirement that they be so about EVERYthing.) The whole idea of a weblog like this is for its owner (in this case, Bill Whittle) to be able to post his own, personal opinions about whatever he wishes. He pays for the bandwidth, he writes what he wants.

If you wish to see the "other side's" point of view discussed, there are quite a few weblogs out there that do exactly that. They don't bother with discussing the "Republican side" of issues, either - it's their bandwidth, so they use it however they wish. I'd suggest you check them out, too, if you want to see both sides of the discussion. (Help, guys - I can't provide any links for George at this moment...!)


Excellent as always.

That Extra ride awaits. Give me a call.


I just love people like "Michigan Mike", "Sela", "Beetroot", and the latest "George". How wonderful it must be to live in a perfect world where war goes exactly as planned and the very fact that someone was in a war zone 40 years ago makes them emminently qualified to run the country!

Geez, the swarmy questions of "where are the insurgents in Iraq" and similar little queries intended to point out ineptness on the part of the Bush administration actually only point out the complete idiocy of those making the comments. It's as if they think the U.S. Government has a magic crystal ball that shows all and President Bush is simply too stupid to use it. Take it from someone with 19 years in the USAF and the intelligence community...the world just isn't that simple. To borrow an over-used expression from the first debate..."it's hard work". Anything worth doing usually is.

These people would have called Normandy a disaster and demanded an immediate pull-out. After all, Hitler never attacked us!

Geez...the only thing more depressing than their writing is the possibility that my kids could be exposed to the same public school "teachers" that "educated" these idiots (shudder!).

--Or like when Bush blamed soldiers for the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner used in his flightsuit photo-op.

Care to provide a link where he said it was their fault? Or did someone from the Bush Administration simply explain that the banner was for the crew of the Lincoln whom were returning home after completing their mission of providing air support for Operation Iraqi Freedom?

Because that's the report I've seen spun by the likes of you into saying that Bush was "blaming" the crew for the banner. Odd, looked more like a "sorry you didn't understand what it meant" report.

Perhaps you should have simply listened to the speech so you wouldn't look like another ignorant weasel grasping at anything to Get Bush.

Pax: Thanks, you explained the part about intelligence estimates better than I could.

Hey Great Hairy:

A few points. First of all, you may not like Hersh's opinion (and I'll acknowledge that the Berkeley piece is heavy on his opinions and light on his reportage; much better to read his reports, or his new book), but if you consider his body of work over the decades, the fact is, he's been right more often than not.

Second of all, let's look at your points:

"Hussein's non-compliance with UN 1441"

- as I understand it, Hussein actually WAS being forced to comply with the UN's basic demand, that he disarm, as evidenced by the fact that he apparently had no WMD's. Those sanctions/inspections may not have been perfect, but it can be reasonably argued that they were working.

"the bankruptcy of ANY unenforced edicts or baseless threats,"

- there are many ways to enforce a threat besides a unilateral invasion, as was proved by winning a 40-year cold war against a nuclear superpower, and as was proved by GHB in Gulf War '91;

"the HUGE amount of time (and lives) already wasted on impotent gestures that a man like Hussein doesn't even recognize"

- how many lives wasted since the invasion? How much time wasted that could have been devoted to more pressing WOT stuff?

" All we keep hearing is 'war bad, therefore THIS war bad, therefore anybody who sees anything other than badness is bad.' 'Bush stupid, Bush liar, therefore anyone who listen is stupid and a sucker for liars.'"

- Maybe other people tell you that, GHS, but did I? Haven't I been saying all along that while deterrence may in fact be good, a poorly-planned war may also fail to deter? I may be guilty of lumping you, personally, whoever the hell you are, in the blood-bong gang, but you're guilty of lumping me into the hairy hippie brigade.

"he's called Bill stupid"

- the first thing that Bill, that masterful essayist, did in his essay was call someone else stupid. Goose, gander. He's a tough guy, he can take it.

"and the rest of us (you know, the other people with differing opinions from beetroot's), collectively, blood-bong-sucking druggies at a Grateful Dead concert, slavering vengeance addicts, nationalist zealots, and panicky hyenas just waiting for someone to throw us some red meat"

- I didn't call everyone here that, but yes, it's true, I read a lot of these pro-war blogs and postings and that's the vibe I get. And it's not a totally uninformed vibe either, Oh Hairy One; I've been to the rallies where guys laugh while carrying signs reading "War Is The Answer," "give war a chance," etc. And I've heard intelligent writers and talk-radio idiots alike whose basic position is that post-Vietnam America needs to restore its lost faith in war as a tool. And I've felt, on this site and others, the hunger for war.

I dare you to deny that that hunger is there.

Now, I understand the neocons are not some evil cabal that rule the world,but they ARE a distinct group of intellectuals and policy wonks who reject policies of multilateralism, containment, negotiations and so on, in favor of "hard power" exercises like military overthrow.

And I know that these guys had been basically pushing the "war is the answer" policy for years without much success, only to find themselves suddenly in vogue, and their policies adopted, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. And I ascribe that sudden success of those radical ideas (and the pre-emptive war doctrine is indeed radical) to the fact that Americans were fucking scared.

I mean, what else am I to think when conservative America, which loathes the UN generally, which takes its resolutions about as seriously as the Kyoto proposals, whose representatives in Congress wouldn't even pay UN dues, suddenly rushing to commit thousands of lives and troops to enforce a UN resolution?

And what am I to think when I see large numbers of Americans supporting the Iraq war but no one really agreeing on why we're there?

Okay, so you, Hairy One, support it because you want to enfore UN resolutions efficiently. Much greater numbers supported it because Bush and Cheney convinced them that Hussein was linked to 9/11 (check those polls from invasion time). Still other people support it because they believe in the neocon theory of deterrence. Still others support it because they believed that Hussein had WMD's that could kill us soon. Still others support it because they believe the President's current line about creating a foothold for democracy in the Middle East ....

.... it's like there's a flavor for everyone, which just strikes me as suspicious. Talk about flip-flopping - - this admin has had a different reason every few months.

That's why I say things like "its purpose isn't entirely clear." The many rationales for it are easy to find, but they're all flawed in various ways.

And what I sense on this message board, and many like it, is increasing defensiveness about this war, wrapped in bravado. More and more Americans are concluding that the Iraq war was a mistake (check the polls, and the debates), and the island of the true believers is shrinking.

So yeah, back to my original post, I think a lot of people are sucking on the blood bong. Don't tell me you haven't met somebody who wants to "nuke the muslims" into dust. And that same anger, unfortunately, gets channeled at "the liberals" and the Kerry supporters whom so many here apparently love to hate.

All of which concerns me deeply, because nothing is more dangerous than a government that can harness the hate of its citizenry.

But don't take it personally.

PS Hey Pax - - where'd you get that hippie name?

It's interesting how much attention is being given to the flu vaccine issue.

In past years, the flu vaccine, and the manufacturers and researchers responsible for developing the vaccines, have been criticized for various reasons. One year it was felt the vaccine had been formulated badly--- i.e., the people who decided months in advance which strains of the emerging flu viruses would be included and which would not were accused of having guessed wrong. The weird thing is that the accusations were being made BEFORE the flu season (in America) had really gotten into full swing. The accusations were pretty much forgotten as the season advanced and no noticeable difference was noticeable in comparison with earlier years.

But of course, fear has its own pathology. The reports we're seeing NOW of elderly people suffering in long lines, awaiting flu shots they can't even be sure will be available, show that the fear and concern about flu is real, regardless of any other factors.

We know that many tens of millions of people died in the world-wide influenza epidemic of 1918. Both of my grandfathers died in that epidemic. I've read that the U.S. lost more army recruits to influenza contracted in their stateside barracks than to combat wounds that year. Influenza can be a serious, even lethal disease. It's effects are most threatening to people who are most susceptible to disease generally--- infants, elderly, those with diabetes, chronic lung problems, and impaired immune systems. People who have had organs transplanted are normally given immunosuppression therapy to prevent their bodies' natural defenses rejecting the organs. People with active HIV episodes are vulnerable.

I don't know what is the best set of responses for this particular shortage, but it does seem to be clear that the CDC's vaccine purchasing program--- which was Hillary Clinton's well-intentioned but badly thought-out concept--- needs to be cast out.

The liberal's hostility to drug company profits seems in this case to be clearly to blame for the exit of domestic suppliers from the pool of manufacturers for vaccines. The U.S. government dictated a non-negotiable limit on revenues for the vaccine regardless of development costs, so companies decided because of the likelihood of lawsuits for ANY vaccine-related complications, that it's not worht the risk. Meanwhile, the same liberals that tell us it's evil for drug companies to profit from those vaccines, insist that it's perfectly reasonable to put NO LIMIT on the profits trial lawyers can enjoy from SUING the vaccine manufacturers for complications that arise from the use of those same vaccines. In a normal population of hundreds of millions, it is simply inevitable that someone somewhere will have some unfortunate reaction to a mass-produced vaccine.

The shortage results from impossibly contradictory condictions imposed on the pharmaceutical manufacturers. We need to have a more realistic understanding of how things work, and that is not possible when the government is run by Liberals like Hillary Clinton who substitute naive doctrinaire dogma for dealing with the world as it is.

Ugh. So many typos... I promise to do my composing in a word processing program in the future, instead of directly in the comment box. Sorry.

Sy Hersh has been right more often than not. Of course, he CAN'T be wrong this time.
And yeeehah, I kinda got a hankerin' for war, while I'm sittin' here on the Group W Bench.

p.e.p., it must have been rough going through life with that name.

"Your "logic" is long-winded, specious, and sarcastic. The rush to press of this incoherent nonsense can only be a result of your sudden lack of certainty at what Nov. 2 will bring."

Coherent to whom? Long winded and wrong? Let us step back and attack at random, who determines either? My best guess annoys the most wary, for it is not my weapon of choice. Let us see value, not rhetoric. I will not worry if you "win", I worry only if I lose.


Half the battle -- more than half --is shoring up the defenses. By trying to make everyone happy, I think I will make no one happy.



"Your chickenshit beating-about-the-Bush doesn't change that fact that it was an actual interview with an actual mother of a son killed in combat in Iraq."

My chicken shit bleating is about my survival, how odd I live as others die around me. Actual life is all about death, death the end of what you believe. Believe as you will, vote as you will, live as you believe.


"As to the second question, if you believe that successful military operations deter, then it's axiomatic that failed military operations encourage."

Let me ponder this comment a moment. Failed in what way? Who determines failure? axioms exist? I can only imagine where these people live. Life is failure to such pensive thoughts, let it be dealt with eventually.


"They are fools. And other fools follow them, clapping."

I presume we all know who the fool is, lest it be our own desire, it might be our lacking. How odd the fool is the last to know reason.


I used to completely agree with your view on President Bush. I still agree wholeheartedly with your assesment of Kerry. I could never imagine myself voting against Bush. Then came Falujah and Najaf. Now I see the choice before me in the elections: I can vote for a candidate with no spine and even less guts, or for the one with half a spine. And I'll pick the guttless one: Bush has the resolve to start the war, but not to finish it, not when finishing it requires shedding more blood than he expected. Granted, it'll take lots more blood than he expected. Rivers of it. Most of it is not our blood though, not blood of our soldiers. But Bush can't bring himself to unleash the needed level of slaughter and nightmare on our enemies.

So, are we safer with a presedent who'd go out of his way to avoid a fight, or with the one who starts it and does not finish? Neither is a great choice, but that's what we are dealt. Regrettably, the wimp is the more secure choice: when you start prodding people with sticks, they get pissed at you. This would not matter if our President had the guts to send the newly pissed off enemies after the 75% of Al-Qaida leaders he already dispatched. But apparently he cannot bring himself to unleash this much killing.

And the terrorists are catching on. Immediately after Saddam's fall, they were afraid. Remember Libya and Syria practically rolling over when Bush sort of hinted that they just might be next? Fast-forward to today. After watching Falujah and Najaf, Iran reasonably concluded that they can deal with Bush, if they are willing to bleed enough, because he will lose his nerve before they lose critical amounts of blood. So, they essentially advised him to go pound sand when the question of nukes came up. They'd do the same to Kerry, sure. But if Kerry was in office, Iran might feel less threatened, and work on their nukes a bit slower. With any luck, it would buy us enough time to for a real leader with spine and resolve to emerge.

Lordy... how to keep this short... I guess I just can't.

Beetroot, you said, "...you may not like Hersh's opinion... but if you consider his body of work over the decades, the fact is, he's been right more often than not." I'm willing to accept that, but not in the way you think. Even his interviewer in that article portrayed him as the guy who breaks the big stories (i.e; My Lai, et al), the "biggest muckraker of our time." So I'll accept that he digs and finds and uproots better than most, but that does not mean that his OPINIONS hold any more weight. After all, by Hersh's conclusions, Kissinger was a "war criminal." In other words, he might be the first to break the big news about stories like Abu Ghraib, but that doesn't mean his conclusions about that bringing the ruin of the western world are anything more than just another person's personal slanted opinions.

You said, "Hussein actually WAS being forced to comply with the UN's basic demand, that he disarm, as evidenced by the fact that he apparently had no WMD's..." [the dead Kurds and gassed Iranians said he DID, and the INSPECTORS said he did, some even concluding that it would have taken him less than 4 more years to finalize his nuclear program, if I'm recalling my year-old information correctly)] "...Those sanctions/inspections may not have been perfect, but it can be reasonably argued that they were working."

But they WEREN'T working, and that's one of my/our key points. They weren't affecting Saddam AT ALL, but they WERE making life miserable for his people. They weren't slowing down his pursuit of WMDs, they weren't stopping his attempts to shoot down U.S. aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone, they weren't mitigating his defiance of the United Nations, they weren't slowing down his spending -- they were a joke to Hussein. But, as folks from "your" side of the fence are still pointing out, they WERE crushing the life out of the Iraqi people -- 100,000 Iraqi children DEAD, according to Leonard, for instance, that being just the "U.S.'s 20% of the responsibility," he says.

And 12 YEARS of sanctions? It barely took Germany a year of sanctions, embargoes and blockades to succumb to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles after WWI. Starving people, spreading disease, and the incursion of Communism finally convinced them to sign, and ended the siege. More than a DECADE of similar afflictions hadn't moved Hussein an inch. I'm sorry, but in MY book, that's a FAILED STRATEGY.

You said, "...there are many ways to enforce a threat besides a unilateral invasion, as was proved by winning a 40-year cold war against a nuclear superpower, and as was proved by GHB in Gulf War '91..."

Which "ways" had we left untried? Negotiation? Did that. Bribery? Did that. Sanctions? Did that too. MULTI-lateral invasion threats? Ditto. The UN had used that very threat repeatedly, using the U.S. like a rabid dog on a leash for added emphasis. It wasn't until Bush made it clear that HE, unlike everyone else, WASN'T bluffing, that the UN started fizzling out and waffling about it, calling for restraint and for giving the 10+ years of failed negotiations and sanctions "another chance." And surely you aren't advocating another half-century-long Cold War scenario, are you? Especially considering how completely different our enemies are now.

You then asked, "...how many lives wasted since the invasion? How much time wasted that could have been devoted to more pressing WOT stuff?"

The "wasted lives" that I was referring to were the Iraqi civilians that continued to die under Hussein's rule. So, in answer to your question, ZERO Iraqi civilians have died due to Hussein's predations since the invasion. Many have died (ridiculously few compared to just about ANY other war in history) FOR A PURPOSE since then, on both sides and for both causes. And while those are decidedly tragic and wasteful, it's not the same as those deaths that were due solely to Hussein's appetites or those of his contemptible sons.

You said, "...I may be guilty of lumping you, personally, whoever the hell you are, in the blood-bong gang, but you're guilty of lumping me into the hairy hippie brigade."

Actually I don't lump you into that category at all. In fact, as I mentioned in my earlier posts, my biggest complaint about you was not with your individual issues (which weren't unique or even unusually outrageous, and not without merit considering your overall perspective on things), but with your penchant for ignoring our responses to your questions and charges. You'd say something general (like "the war's a failure," for instance), first as if that were a given, and then, when several people would respond with counter-conclusions AND their data and reasoning, you'd come right back, repeating almost your exact same words, and without addressing their response at all. But when you DO get down to specific responses -- as you did in your last post -- then the exchange gets downright interesting. And to that extent, I was able to take an actual interest in your last post.

Now about your statement -- "...the first thing that Bill, that masterful essayist, did in his essay was call someone else stupid. Goose, gander. He's a tough guy, he can take it." The only reason I brought that up was not to say that you shouldn't have said it -- I disagree with it, but that's not the point. I brought that up, TO "SELA," not you, to show that you were dishing out as good as you were getting, to show that you weren't being "disrespected" because of your "different point of view," but were getting just exactly the kind of argument that you wanted. That's all.

You then said, "...And I've felt, on this site and others, the hunger for war... I dare you to deny that that hunger is there."

Okay, "I deny that that hunger is there." There, I said it. Now having said it (just to take you up on your dare), I'll admit that there IS an element to this side of the fence that prefers action to stalemate and impotence. And "action," on the international stage, usually means war. In other words, while I'm sure there are SOME who might just want "war" for the sake of war, I think the "hunger" you're sensing here is just a hunger for "resolution." Nothing else was having any effect, time was working against us, Saddam had the full measure of his opponents and was milking them for all they were worth, while he grew stronger in the Arab eye, richer, greedier, more sadistic, and more smug in his undeterrable destiny. So, yep -- I was HUNGERING for a resolution to that. And to that end, I have yet to hear a better one than the invasion that everyone had been laughably threatening for so long.

THIS statement you made, however, I thought was one of the best explanations I've read for why you think and believe what you do -- you said, "...these guys had been basically pushing the "war is the answer" policy for years without much success, only to find themselves suddenly in vogue, and their policies adopted, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. And I ascribe that sudden success of those radical ideas (and the pre-emptive war doctrine is indeed radical) to the fact that Americans were fucking scared."

Well spoken, definitive (for once), and even understandable. And possibly -- POSSIBLY -- not even wrong.

You said, "...it's like there's a flavor for everyone, which just strikes me as suspicious. Talk about flip-flopping."

That goes for both sides, folks. As I said already, I'm still fielding posts from one side of "your" side that talk about the outrageousness and cruelty of our sanctions, while at the same time fielding others that say the sanctions should have been allowed to continue, because "they were working." And I consider BOTH to be wrong.

It's all in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

And you finished with another interesting perspective as well, when you said, "Don't tell me you haven't met somebody who wants to "nuke the muslims" into dust. And that same anger, unfortunately, gets channeled at "the liberals" and the Kerry supporters whom so many here apparently love to hate... All of which concerns me deeply, because nothing is more dangerous than a government that can harness the hate of its citizenry."

Your perspective is consistent, if nothing else.

I don't know what difference it makes that there are people who espouse "nuking the Muslims into dust." There are people who want to nuke all kinds of people into dust, including homosexuals, abortion doctors, lawyers, and for me, screaming-car-dealership-commercial makers. The few that are actually serious are the extreme, and seldom play a major role in policymaking. But the SOURCE of their anger is understandable.

That's not the anger that's being vented on the "Liberals" and Kerry, however. At least that's not what I've been reading here. From what I've seen, people don't like Kerry because of his voting track record, his self-inflated "achievements" in both Vietnam and the Senate, his public denouncements of our policies in Iraq before an enemy that's desperately LOOKING for a weakness in our resolve, and his self-assured delusions that he has all the answers to every problem, and that the world will just follow in tow. And all the anti-Liberal statements I've seen have focused mostly on their tendancy to follow "compassionate" ideals at the expense of reality and historical precedent -- for the most part. And in neither case does "war lust" factor in to "our" distrust of those on THAT side of the fence.

I also don't agree that the government is "harnessing the hate of its citizenry," although I AM concerned that Kerry will try to harness the blind idealism of it.

We need a middle ground. And places like this blog, whether you agree with its host or not, are good places for the black and the white to meet, in bloodless combat, and hopefully with SOME attention paid to the other's points.

Lordy, this went WAY longer than I'd wanted.

Sorry all. I'm done now.


To answer just one of your many questions: Yes, I do think that another "cold war" is in fact in the offing, and isn't, in fact, a bad alternative. Why? Because the world is full of regimes that will develop WMDs, and may potentially align themselves with terrorists, but which we can't afford to invade. Pakistan's not going anywhere. Iran's not going anywhere. Syria, North Korea, and who-knows-who in the former Soviet bloc are bristling with dangerous stuff. From where I sit, a policy of diplomatic containment, economic partnership, gold-star intelligence and constant vigilance is the only global strategy that can keep us safe, since invading and controlling every potentially dangerous hot spot is simply not possible.

Is there a place in the strategy for military action? Of course. Does it makes sense to blow up nuclear installations in unfriendly countries when you can? Maybe so. Can we muscle the world into compliance, or scare it into submission? I don't think so. Maybe its a failure of my own idealism. But my basic feeling is that the paradigm of "find the evildoers, kill them, and live in peace afterwards," is, to be mild, unrealistic.

And also, a note on "flip-flopping" - it's one thing for many people to offer many perspectives on a single issue (e.g. Lefty A says, "sanctions suck," and Lefty B says, "Invading Iraq sucks"). But it's something dramatically different for the executive of an enterprise to offer many reasons for his actions, and for those reasons to shift as the conditions shift (I almost puked when Cheney, in the debate, said "I never said there was a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda").

And a final thought: you call it a hunger for "resolution" (with which I sympathize), others might sign on for "action," and others might openly lust for blood (perhaps not on this board, but certainly in our nation). But it was the combination of these elements that allowed the Iraq invasion to take place, and it's people's belief in the legitimacy of these courses that lead them to continue to defend the Iraq invasion even as it proves far more difficult, bloody, and expensive than the administration promised us.

(remember, they LAUGHED at the notion that it would take an extended occupation; they told us it would pay for itself; they scoffed at the significance of the looting, sabotage, and resistance ....)

So you want resolution - can you say, at this point, that you got it? Maybe it'll come someday, but I'm very pessimistic. I'm of the opinion that, five years from now, we'll still be hoping for resolution of some kind over there ....

.... oh well. 'Nuff said on all this. I'll leave you, GHB, with some recommended reading: I'm halfway through The Right Nation, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Woodridge, two Brits from the Economist. If you want a sharp, balanced look at the genesis, goals, rifts and divisions in the American conservative movement, so far it's proven pretty good.

Hey Beet!
What our veep said was...

"Concern about Iraq specifically focused on the fact that Saddam Hussein had been, for years, listed on the state sponsor of terror, that they he had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with Al Qaeda."


Listening is a skill. Try it sometime.

This is a letter from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard, serving in Iraq.

* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.
* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships faster.
* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
* Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.
* The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war.
* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.
* Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.
* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.
* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever
* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.
* An interim constitution has been signed.
* National Elections are scheduled in January for the first time ever .
* Girls are allowed to attend school.
* Textbooks that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.

Don't believe for one second that these people do not want us there. I have met many, many people from Iraq that want us there, and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So If you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight. If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a friend and let them know there are good things happening.

Ray Reynolds, SFC
Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion

Sounds like abject failure to me.

Don't get me wrong. I don't agree with EVERything Beetroot says. I think it's great that he keeps on coming back. Its like he's pretty sure people are listening to what he says, and thinking about his ideas. They HAVE to to put together there own replies, yeah? I'm trying to figure out a lot of things myself, so this is one place i come and read what people are saying just because they don't all agree, but at least they let each other say what they want, and when they disagree, they talk about the ideas mostly instead of just name calling.

Brinster, do you have a link or can you tell us where the letter from Ray Reynolds, SFC, came from?

It definitely sounds encouraging, but I like to have some way of independently confirming information like that.

I'm going to do some searches on some of the items, and post in the new comment stream, if I find anything remarkable. Thanks for the post.

George W. Bush likes to say that you can't be a September 10th President in a September 11th world. Well I submit to you all that Bush is a September 10th President to the very core, and that a cursory examination of his policies will reveal exactly that.


First off, let's deal with the big one. The obvious one. The War in Iraq. This is not a September 11th war. In fact, it is a military operation that has been in the planning stages since 1997 (with the official signing of PNAC) and was suggested numerous times to the Clinton administration. It is a war that was planned for from the first months that Bush took office.

Furthermore, the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 or al Qaeda, and had neither the means to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction nor the desire to then provide those weapons to outside entities such as terrorist organizations. There is no September 11th rationale for the War in Iraq.

Tax Cuts

Let's talk tax cuts. This is also not a September 11th idea. In fact, it's a policy that George Bush mentioned many times during the 2000 Presidential Election. I won't go into the misrepresentation of benefits here, but consider the obvious. President Bush has said repeatedly that September 11th changed our economy and drove us further into recession. His tax cut program was specifically designed and explained to the American people as the right way to handle a budget surplus, by giving that money back to those that earned it if the government didn't need it.

That might have been the case in a September 10th economy, but as we sank into recession, and as our fight against terrorism both at home (Homeland Security) and abroad (Afghanistan) incurred huge costs, wouldn't the prudent, September 11th policy be to repeal that tax cut to ensure the safety of America by funding these vital projects properly? How can a massive tax cut be the correct policy for both a September 10th Budget Surplus and a September 11th Budget Deficit?

Global Alliances

Without alliances, we cannot combat terrorism. It's just that simple. Just as the sharing of information needed to be radically redesigned within our own agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA, and local law enforcement agencies) to combat terrorism within the United States, that same swift sharing of information absolutely must take place between like-minded nations, all of whom are endangered by global terrorism. The United States has the most proficient and effective military and information gathering agencies in the world today, but they are not omnipotent. They cannot be everywhere and see everything. Without strong alliances with the free nations of the world, it is impossible for us to stop terrorist organizations before they strike.

Fostering alliances and building trust has never been more important than it is now. Bush's attitude towards the free nations of Europe has wounded those alliances. Bush's own Secretary of Defense scoffed many of our strongest allies off as "Old Europe." When the United States does not share its terrorism intelligence with its allies, and vice versa, the terrorists do win. Bush's administration thought it could rely entirely on internal intelligence and internal military force to fight terrorism. If we learned anything on September 11th, we learned that this is not the case.

Osama bin Laden

"I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." - George W. Bush, 3/13/2002

I honestly can't think of a more September 10th attitude concerning Osama bin Laden. How can the President of the United States, the man that claims to be so very "tough on terror," say that he is not concerned about the most active and dangerous terrorist alive today? How can he not be concerned about the man who perpetrated the most devastating attack on American soil in living memory? In short, how can this man hope to protect us in a September 11th world if he cannot recognize those that pose the greatest threat to America?


All of these opinions and decisions come from a September 10th outlook. They are the "old" mode of thinking. In fact, they were Bush's exact thinking before September 11th took place. Richard Clarke, the Counter-Terrorism expert trusted by every President since Ronald Reagan, said of the Bush Administration's foreign policies, "It was as though they were preserved in amber." No change. No evolution. Nothing more than rationalizations and excuses for executing grossly inadequate foreign and domestic policy that had been designed and arranged before George W. Bush ever set foot on the campaign trail.

President Bush's policies do not enrich America. They do not protect America. And they do not strengthen America. His only method for combating terrorism is to wage war against entire countries, which is itself a disappointingly September 10th mentality. Terrorism is not a country. It isn't a location we can bomb. It's not a single, neatly-structured regime we can topple. In this September 11th world, we need to fight a war of information. We need to fight a war of intelligence and yes, of policy. Our world has changed, but George W. Bush has not.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't Bush's good friends the Saudis been harboring more terrorists for more years than Saddam ever has?

I'm just one of those people that don't "get it," I guess...

Yes I keep coming back ... primarily as a form of procrastination. But also, whether anyone here happens to care or not, to respond to people like "guinsPen" who wrote:

"Hey Beet! What our veep said was... 'Concern about Iraq specifically focused on the fact that Saddam Hussein had been, for years, listed on the state sponsor of terror, that they he had established relationships with Abu Nidal, who operated out of Baghdad; he paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; and he had an established relationship with Al Qaeda.'"

That's just the latest and greatest from a man with a demonstrated willingness to say virtually anything to advance his agenda. All of those things may be objectively true - but do they constitute grounds for an invasion that draws the lions share of our military resources? How many other countries fit the same profile? How significant was that "relationship" with Al Qaeda? How many countries "sponsor terrorism"?

And more importantly, IF all those things are true and constitute grounds for unilateral invasion, is the war being properly fought? Why so few troops? Why the looting, the sabotage, the disbanded army and the gutted civil sector? Why not learn the lessons of Bosnia, Kosovo (where we had four times the per-capita troop presence to secure the country)? Why the constant trickle of complaints about troop strength, security, unused aid dollars, the lack of prewar planning, the danger to contractors, the insurrection?

"Freedom is untidy," says Rumsfeld, as if it were obvious. Well, if it is, why did all this untidyness catch us by surprise?

The point is no longer that the Bushies invaded Iraq when they didn't have to. That's a given - - they told us themselves that it was a war of choice, against a potential, not an "imminent" threat. No, the point is they tried to pull it off and they've SCREWED IT THE FUCK UP.

And here's my theory for why they screwed it up: the principle of small government ran into the principle of world domination. Remember, Rummy came into power committed to "downsizing" the military, making it more "agile," getting peacekeeping and "constabulatory" missions off its map and basically turning it into a reduced-cost, high-efficiency strike force.

Okay, makes sense. But it's not compatible with the neocon theory that we need to "project power," spread democracy, and be big badasses. That theory exploded into policy after 9/11, but the President was too weak to push it all the way through.

Too weak you say? Too WEAK? Our GWB? Yea and verily, says I, because if the guy was so tough, he would've said to Americans, Yes, we're going into Iraq, but it's going to take time and sacrifice and occupation and serious, long-term military engagement.

But that goes against a big part of the hardcore conservative grain. And it goes against America's less ideological conservativism too: why go out and fight when we can stay home and watch TV? Do we really have to go?

They (bush and co) must've known it would be a hard sell to say, 'we're going to invade and occupy a country.' So instead, they told Americans, it'll be a short war, it'll pay for itself, it won't take too many troops, and it won't take very long. Regardless of whether one thinks that "they lied" to get us into Iraq, I think it's arguable that "they hid" from the potential implications of their decision.

We're seeing the results of that shortsighted, weak policy now.

I'm delighted to see, of course, as Ray Reynolds reports, that Iraqi children are learning to wash their hands. And I truly don't doubt that many Iraqis want us to succeed.

But Ray's list of statistics is almost pitiful, when laid against the counterheadlines showing daily death and constant frustration for troops whose control of the country is fitful at best. It can't obscure the fact that the US military does not control Iraq. We can't even spend the money that we've budgeted for civil projects. It's too dangerous. The head of the UN aid programs was just kidnapped by armed thugs from her car in Baghdad, for crying out loud.

Is failure unavoidable? I don't know.

Did Bush & Company screw this thing up? I think so.

So all the pretty talk about the theory - the principle and history of deterrence, the impact of displays of strength, the diplomatic significance of a democracy in the heart of the Middle East - - it's all hot air if the damn war is a mess. The only question is, can these guys do the job they say they can do? I don't think their record is very promising. I think they're much better at controlling American media and political discource than they are at running wars.

So back to Mr. Pen's thoughts on the VP debate: the most significant momenn, in my opinion, came when Cheney's said that he "never suggested a relationship between Hussein and Al Qaeda." That is just pure, unmitigated, lying bullshit. For an entire year before the invasion, the Bush administration carefully tended its message that Hussein was as dangerous as Al Qaeda because he occupied a place in the "nexus" of states and terror and that the smoking nuclear death cloud was just around the corner because that relationship is just that dangerous. It was a perpetual drumbeat - hussein bin laden hussein 9/11 al qaeda hussein etc etc - and it took all of five minutes for CNN etc to come up with clips of Cheney talking about the connection.

And the he sits there on national TV and flat-out LIES about it .... it's just brutal.

And I contend, as I've contended all along, that it's tuff guys like N O'Brien, above, who thinks the soundtrack to Iraq will sound "like the 'Ride of the Valkaries', asshat," guys who don't think they take no bullshit from nobuddy - it's those guys who'll let Cheney and Bush get away with that kind of crap because they're so happy that Americans are out there killing again (pardon me, silverback, out there "resolving" things) and not knuckling under to some sissy pinkos from the UN or the Upper West Side.

And as for you, Rik, you quoted me:

"As to the second question, if you believe that successful military operations deter, then it's axiomatic that failed military operations encourage."

Then you said:

"Let me ponder this comment a moment. Failed in what way? Who determines failure? axioms exist? I can only imagine where these people live. Life is failure to such pensive thoughts, let it be dealt with eventually."

What the hell does that mean? I thought my point was pretty clear (if debateable). But I don't know what you're getting at at all, bud.


I am having a difficult time finding blog sites w/ a significant amount of economic talk where the participants know what they're talking about. Can you point me in any direction(s)? Or anyone else that knows? Much obliged.

Damn. Here we go again.

I guess I'll start with Unwavering's "analysis" of current events. He said, "...In fact, it is a military operation that has been in the planning stages since 1997 (with the official signing of PNAC) and was suggested numerous times to the Clinton administration. It is a war that was planned for from the first months that Bush took office."

To this I say, first, "Umm -- DUHH!" We've got war plans for the invasion of just about every country on the planet except for maybe Great Britain and Australia, and we've probably got plans for them too (just in case they've been occupied by bad guys and we need to go in and drive them out). The only additional "planning" that occurred in 1997 was an update and improvement to the older plans, taking into account the current political dynamic. So THAT gets a big "so what?"

But even if there'd NEVER been a pre-existing plan for invading Iraq before 1997, by then Saddam Hussein had already been blithely flipping off the world and violating the terms of UN 1441 for 6 friggin' years! I'd consider my president to be pretty damned negligent if he HADN'T started making contingency plans for invasion by then.

You then said, "...the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 or al Qaeda..." [AGAIN, "we know," "we agree," "we never thought otherwise," and most importantly, "SO WHAT!"] "...and had neither the means to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction nor the desire to then provide those weapons to outside entities such as terrorist organizations."

What?! Another blanket write-off about WMDs? Imagine my surprise to see THAT one.

Saddam Hussein not only had the means to ACQUIRE them (since all that required was money and a conduit across his borders), he was busily working on the means to BUILD them himself. The UN inspectors told us that -- the evidence WAS there, despite Hussein's evasions and impediments to the process. And "no desire to then provide those weapons to outside entities...?" What? Where'd you get that one? He had the desire, the motive, the means, AND the track record. He had the camps, the safe houses, and the dedicated funding. That WAS Hussein's link to terrorism, not any involvement with al Qaeda or bin Laden.

You then said, as another "given," "...Without alliances, we cannot combat terrorism. It's just that simple." Not true. It may be substantially more difficult and unilaterally costly, but it is not impossible -- as evidenced by the near-unilateral combating of terrorism that is going on right now. Which leads us to your following statement, "...Without strong alliances with the free nations of the world, it is impossible for us to stop terrorist organizations before they strike." Wrong again.

Ignoring the fact that we didn't WANT this to be a unilateral action -- we STARTED with multilateral dedication to the cause, we joined in the UN hue-and-cry and threats of retaliation, and then we watched them all fade away, one by one, as it slowly began to look like maybe those crazy Americans were actually SERIOUS about this "taking the war to the terrorists" stuff -- how about the unthinkable possibility that this war on terrorism HAS been working for the last three years? Lord knows, terrorists (whether affiliated with Hussein or bin Laden or al Qaeda or not) have had plenty of opportunities. So why haven't they struck? I'm not saying they won't EVER AGAIN, but I AM saying they've sure been quiet for a bunch of stirred up hornets. Of course, there've been some sporadic attacks in places (like Indonesia) where the local politics regarding terrorism suddenly reversed, and this includes Saudi Arabia, where THEIR sudden retraction of support brought a brief backlash to THEIR doorsteps. There was also a nasty attack in Spain, which, thanks to the population's timidity, successfully manipulated the national elections into putting an isolationist president in place, just like the terrorists wanted. And then there's the inevitable violence in the war zone itself -- which ain't exactly the same thing as EXPORTING violence to US, UK, or Aussie shores.

We are speaking "their language" now, addressing their actions in terms "they" understand now, and though the fight is definitely nowhere near being over, it's damned sure working.

You asked, "...How can the President of the United States, the man that claims to be so very "tough on terror," say that he is not concerned about the most active and dangerous terrorist alive today?" [referring to Osama bin Laden]

I gather you didn't actually read Bill's "DETERRENCE" essay, did you. To quote but one line (of many paragraphs related to this very subject), "Osama bin Laden has not been seen since the battle of Tora Bora in December of 2001." Bill goes on, at great length, to describe what this means from a headline-grabbing front-man like bin Laden, and just how much more President Bush likely knows about bin Laden's current condition than he is bound to pass on to you. So, in answer to your question, the reason President Bush can be unconcerned about Osama bin Laden is that he is NO LONGER "the most active and dangerous terrorist alive today." And I, like President Bush, will leave it at that.

And you said, "...His [meaning Bush's] only method for combating terrorism is to wage war against entire countries, which is itself a disappointingly September 10th mentality."

That's NOT his "only method." It's not even his preferred method. And it wasn't the only method attempted in Iraq. Every non-violent form of negotiation, persuasion, extortion and coercion was employed against Hussein, for 12 outrageously wasteful and embarrassing years. But Hussein just spent the "Oil for Food" money on himself, he blocked and evaded and corrupted the inspection processes, he continued to posture and threaten, and he continued to illustrate for the world just how utterly impotent and laughable its efforts at containment and enforcement were. War was a last resort. But invasion had already been threatened, by Bush AND the UN (as a persuasive incentive to comply), and once that genie was let out of the bottle, it had to either WORK (as in Saddam finally knuckles under and behaves, which obviously didn't happen), or it had to be ENFORCED (in lieu of any future "coercive gestures" being rendered moot). Europe chose to weenie out and verify Saddam's assessment of their toothlessness. The U.S., while continuing right up until D-Day to try to convince its "allies" to make good on their word, chose to do what it said it would do. And if not one other good thing EVER comes out of this conflagration, the U.S. is better off now for having shown both its enemies AND "friends" that its promises DO mean something now.

To "Freakmonger," who said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't Bush's good friends the Saudis been harboring more terrorists for more years than Saddam ever has?" Well...

Funding? Yes. Harboring? Not so much. But in either case, their recent "puckering up" in that regard -- which brought on the brief wave of terrorist retaliations on their own soil, and gave them a little taste of their own medicine -- was a direct result of the U.S.'s proactive and aggressive response to terrorism in general, and its treatment of another "harboring nation" in particular, namely Iraq. Libya also seems to have been paying attention to that little lesson as well. NOTE: that's two more countries that have been, at least temporarily, taken off the "invasion list." See how this works?

And then, good old Beetroot: "Why so few troops?" [because, for the invasion, that was all we needed. And if the bulk of our co-threatening "allies" had stuck to their resolutions, that was all we'd have EVER needed] "Why the looting, the sabotage, the disbanded army and the gutted civil sector?" [because that's what looters and saboteurs do... because that's what resistance elements (to be found in ANY conquered nation, including ones that YOU like) do... because an INTACT Iraqi army, led by the same commanders and zealots that Saddam installed, would be an obvious threat to both our troops and the Iraqi populace in general after we'd left -- Iraq needed a defense force, but one suited and loyal to the new government... obviously] And "...why the constant trickle of complaints about troop strength, security, unused aid dollars, the lack of prewar planning, the danger to contractors, the insurrection?" [no field commander in history has EVER been satisfied with the numbers of troops he's had available -- more is almost always better, and yes, it would be better here too... security and danger to contractors I would think would be a pretty friggin' obvious concern for people in an occupation zone, along with the existence of some sort of resistance, so, well, duuhhh...]

And as long as you're fretting over the "constant trickle of complaints" coming out of Iraq, be sure to ponder the good news too. Brinster gave some fine examples about 5 posts before your last one, Beetroot.

And then, astonishingly (but entirely in-character), you said, "...if the guy was so tough, he would've said to Americans, Yes, we're going into Iraq, but it's going to take time and sacrifice and occupation and serious, long-term military engagement."

Short answer: HE DID. Right from the beginning. Right there on September 12th, 2001. Bill even included an excerpt from his speech in this essay, just in case you "forgot"...

PRESIDENT BUSH: "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism."

From day-friggin'-one, it has ALWAYS been understood that a general war on terrorism would not end with the planting of an American flag in Kabul. It has ALWAYS been understood that this would be a protracted hunt, a rooting out of the vermin, an elimination of terrorist refuges. But note that nowhere in that quote above, and nowhere in anything I'VE ever heard from President Bush since then, has it ever been claimed that this would mean an endless string of massive military invasions of one soveriegn nation after another. That is NOT the plan. As with THIS invasion, war will always be the last resort. But, from this point forward, thanks to President Bush, every foreign leader with a willingness to harbor or sponsor terrorists is now on notice that war, if threatened BY THE U.S., IS a very real possibility... that even if no one else will, the United States WILL made good its promises and threats. And if Saudi backpedaling and Libyan abandonment of its nuclear ambitions isn't clear enough indication that that can work, then nothing else will be.

But, in keeping with your arguing technique thus far, you once again ignored Bush's speech, Bill's essay, and every commenter's response to your charges, when you said, "...So instead, they told Americans, it'll be a short war, it'll pay for itself, it won't take too many troops, and it won't take very long."

Talk about LIES. "They" never said ANY of those things. They never said the war on TERRORISM would be short -- exactly the opposite. And the WAR against Iraq WAS short -- quick, efficient, and effective. The current struggle to keep the peace against dwindling insurgent actions IS taking a while... it'll probably get worse up through our elections next month, for the same reasons that they blew up the trains in Spain. But they are dwindling. The "insurgents" are decimating their own ranks, alienating their host population, and are being dealt with, more and more, by the Iraqis themselves. This is not an unforeseen problem, it's not a unique or unprecedented situation, and all casualties on all sides considered, it's still a hell of a lot "cheaper" than the alternative of PROVING our pre-invasion image of being a gutless, toothless paper tiger whose bluster and empty threats they can ignore.

And then back to another one of your famous "givens": "...So all the pretty talk about the theory - the principle and history of deterrence, the impact of displays of strength, the diplomatic significance of a democracy in the heart of the Middle East -- it's all hot air if the damn war is a mess."

Those last 7 words say it all: "IF the damn war is a mess." You, and those like you, have decided that this "damned war is a mess." Well, to the extent that EVERY war ever fought is a mess, then I guess you're right. But even if it was an official recognized "fact" -- even if this particular war was the biggest debacle ever -- why would that make the "principle and history of deterrence, [and] the impact of displays of strength" just so much "hot air?" You yourself, just two posts back, actually espoused the "merits" of another Cold War -- the biggest experiment in global deterrence and displays of strength ever attempted -- as a better course than this current one. If that concept is just a bunch of hot air, then why would you suggest an even larger-scale variation of it as a preferable alternative?

Then, after calling Cheney a pure, unmitigated, lying bullshitter, you said, "...For an entire year before the invasion, the Bush administration carefully tended its message that Hussein was AS DANGEROUS [my caps] as Al Qaeda because he occupied a place in the "nexus" of states of terror..."

Uh-huh. What part of that was incorrect? He WAS "as dangerous," even moreso, since he had the money, the WMDs (yes, those very same bugaboos that he actually USED against the Iranians and the Kurds), and the global ambitions that al Qaeda did not. He also had all this WHILE he was ignoring and defying the terms of UN 1441 -- you know, like a known violent criminal, with a history of using weapons against innocent civilians, violating the conditions of his parole, and shouting at the lousy coppers to fuck off. That makes him WORSE than the individual thugs who might borrow his weapons and hide in his house on their way to killing themselves off.

Lordy, what a waste of my time. My first day off in three weeks, and I blew the morning throwing these words into the fire.

I need to go fly.


I came here from Modblog and you've got a point with liberals. Remember though, the fight in Iraq is done by military generals, not only Bush. His job is to pass laws he think is legit or make personal appearances around our country and the world. I think the briginear generals and four star generals give George W. analayst in lay-man terms in which he declairs war (which is basically his only job as a military leader), because in my opinion, American Generals are the wisest generals on Earth (all of them have some type of battlefield experience.) and control the most devistating millitary force known to man. The president isn't just a military leader like you say he is.

I'm afraid that I've got to take issue with PFC Reynold's list. I can't vouch for many of the figures, but there are many that seem very iffy, and some that are bizarre.

* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.

School attendance was one of the high points of Saddam's Iraq. Where are the extra 80% students coming from? You might be able to manufacture this figure by taking population attendance the day before the war or something.

* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there so education can occur.

I suspect that 1,500 schools were not weapons caches well before the war.

* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.

Again, the oil exports are far lower than pre-war Iraq exports.

* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before the war.

Pre-war hospitals were operating at 35% capacity? Drugs were in very short supply, but nothing I'd read about sanctions mentioned that most hospitals were closed because of them.

* Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in place.

Look, even the US does not claim this. Unless we don't count any insurgent controlled city as major.

* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.

I'd be very impressed if there were any major cities in pre-war Iraq that did not have sewer or water lines.

* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.

Only the numbers currently in training begin to approach these numbers, and again US officers don't try to pretend that these are effective numbers.

* Girls are allowed to attend school.

Again, Iraq was almost unique in the Middle East in the high participation of females in education. Everything I've heard is that the security conditions in Iraq are making it very difficult for girls to be safely educated.


Look, I'm not disputing that in some areas things have improved for Iraqis, but manufacturing a list that could only be used by politicians (who could then claim a dozen caveats when the numbers are examined in earnest - I can see it now: "We didn't say that girls weren't allowed to attend school before...") only destroys the credibility of legitimate claims. Personally, I can't take any of the list seriously given the obvious attempts to exaggerate the parts I know something about.

so damn true. remember this on nov 02, "vote kerry.... this message paid for by al-qaeda." i even agree with this even though i am in the army national guard and will most likely be sent to iraq in the next few months. support a president that will defend you at all cost not the liberal senator from mass. he even said the men that fought with him in veit. did it in veine. he will let you loose your life or life of a family memeber in veine too. because he wants to talk and not back it up. bush will kick you ass then when you are not able to cause anymore harm he will tell you what you did? it is like a bar fight. the that stands and talks gets hit hard unsepectingly while the guy that swung first stands over his victim to tell them why they got hit. which do you prefer to be?

brin, I shall buy you that beer, if I survive long enough. If not, love and raise your family with your own respect. Ben Franklin (we are on first name terms), told me once, back what you believe, for you will never get a second chance to deny it. I trust the only american that signed all three documents that made America what it could be. Ben put the US over any other reason.