You make some very good points here. I believe it is fair to acknowledge the plan approved by President Bush for the post-war occupation was whole fully inadequate (and, yes, it's true that the intelligence consensus did not see the situation coming, but he is the President and "the buck" stops with him. Furthermore, his own political skills, if the truly ever existed, have long since abandoned him. If Iraq is completely lost history will judge George Bush's part in it.
The Democrats, or at least the leadership, seem not to appreciate, or care not about, the truly disastrous circumstances that are likely to result if the United States were to withdraw at this moment. The situation on the ground is indeed far ground ideal to put it lightly. Indeed I think it's reasonable to conclude that the situation in South Vietnam before the Hanoi's invasion less chaotic. However the fact is withdrawing is not, based on history, and what is going on currently on the ground likely to end the conflict nor cause al-Qaeda and it's allies to view the the US in something other then anything less then a "paper-tiger."
I fear there may be a unbridgeable gap between the "hawks" and "doves" as there was in the last days of the Vietnam War. Democratic leaders certainly have been careful not to make predictions as to the post-war period, which is probably an indication they intend to lay blame against the George W. Bush for any said occurrences. While I would like to think that Republicans arguing on ethical grounds against a troop withdraw, I doubt that such a position would play with the war-weary American people.Comment Posted By Jim On 29.04.2007 @ 16:48
Rick, your brother shouldn't be fired, that would be way over the line.Comment Posted By Jim On 16.04.2007 @ 16:55
And really, to accuse the Democrats of manufacturing this scandal, is blaming the mess on the messenger.
These are all GOP members involved in all of these actions, from the beginning; these actions are out of scope with all previous administrations, including Republican ones; and these actions show undue influence on the execution of justice, in a way not shown by any previous administrations.
This is no more a manufactured scandal than Mark Foley's actions.Comment Posted By jim On 14.03.2007 @ 15:03
There's a direct and important difference between firing every single attorney, and then hiring new attorneys which have to be approved by Congress (Clinton) - and a) selectively firing attorneys who all have good employee reviews, for no other reason than that they are being too good at investigating crime committed by members of your political party, and appointing new members without Congressional approval. (Bush)
Can you understand this important difference between these 2 administrations?
Can you see how the Bush administration's actions can and does lead to worse problems for our democracy, as it combines *both* encouraging of corruption AND an imbalance of power that favors the leading political party AND favors the power of the executive?
If you cannot see this, please show how the Clinton's administration's actions were also this imbalanced and therefore destructive.Comment Posted By jim On 14.03.2007 @ 15:00
Strong, coherent analysis.Comment Posted By Jim On 7.02.2007 @ 17:49
I personally find Congressman's Good comments most unfortunate.
"Sir, the oath of which you speak is done FOR THE CAMERAS. It is not an oath taken as a promise to God. There is no requirement to swear an oath on any written word or book. The public oath is a PR image for the â€˜folks back homeâ€™. Please learn a little bit before you write things which are not true. Some folks might believe you â€“ and that would be a shame. Congresspeople could swear an oath on a phone book if they chose to."
I believe there are two oaths. One done in public as a group, and one done in private. Many people I think take oaths very seriously. I would be disturbed if it were otherwise.
I agree that to deny to opportunity for Congressman-Elect Ellison (who I don't particularly like) to take the oath on the Koran would violate the "no religious tests" guaranteed under the Constitution.
It is possibly worth noting that Dennis Prager, the radio host who somewhat inadvertently began this discussion, has condemned Congressman Goode's comments.Comment Posted By Jim On 21.12.2006 @ 18:42
I'm not sure how to express what I want to say. All I can say is I wish you the best. When you know that the time you have with your pet is limited there is something both harder and yet somehow more caring about the relationship.
I remember when we were told by the vet our small dog Sheba had only a few weeks to go (she managed a full strong six months before we had to put her done). The limited space of time really makes you understand what the friend that you have had for so long. I smiled a little bit extra when Sheba was around. Appreciated her a little more. But I really did miss her when she was gone.Comment Posted By Jim On 16.12.2006 @ 15:41
I apologize for screwing up the codes on my post.Comment Posted By Jim On 15.12.2006 @ 22:47
I realize I clearly place myself in the minority here, but I do not have such hostility to Mr. Goldberg's opinion. Admittedly, I should add as a disclaimer. I have been a fan of his for some time.
Now let me say that I disagree with Jonah Goldberg's opinion that backing a strong-arm man similar to Augusto Pinochet would be the correct strategy in our current situation. Indeed I think it would be fair to call his opening claiming his views applied to all "fair minded person" as arrogant.
Now let me proceed with my disagreements with this particular piece:
[quote]On the International Thuggery Scale, both men rate around a 4 or 5 on a 10 point scale. Castro would be ranked slightly higher for being stupid enough to believe that not only Communism works, but that he should export that ideology to his reluctant neighbors.[/quote]
Really? That's interesting since Castro [i]never[/i] (under pressure)[i] held a fair national election and upon losing that election stepped down.[/i] Castro killed, and certainly imprisoned more people to (including on such state threatening grounds as homosexuality). I agree that another Communist would rank close to Pinochet: Former dictator and soon to be president of Nicaragua Daniel Ortega.
[quote]Neither brute enters the truly sublime territory occupied by Mao, Stalin, Kruschev, or Pol Pot (in that order). [b]But while weâ€™re at it, why not make the argument that what Iraq really needs is a Mao?[/b] Now there was a guy who knew how to put down an insurgency! If a peasant from some village casts a sideways glance at the authority of the Chinese government, donâ€™t bother with the dissident or his family. Wipe out the whole village and raze it to the ground.[/quote]
Because Jonah Goldberg didn't make that argument. It's easy to argue against an argument someone doesn't make. It's worth noting that we supported authoritarian governments other then Chile during the Cold War (ie: South Korea, the central American governments) and they turned into democracies partially and or largely because of U.S. . Sometimes pragmatism can be combined with idealism. Incidentally, again, this doesn't mean this is such a case in my opinion.
[quote]On the plus side, Goldberg only writes columns for the LA Times once a week. Otherwise, weâ€™d be forced to endure this kind of sophistry far more often.[/quote]
Needless character insults.
[quote]And yeah, Pinochet made the trains run on time and infant mortality went down, and his â€œfree marketâ€ reforms (short hand in Latin America for enabling crony capitalism and other kleptocrats) created some trickle down wealth â€“ after he left. And while I understand the realpolitik reasons for the US supporting this thug, I think to wish his kind of rule on anyone â€“ especially an ally â€“ is the height of idiocy.[/quote]
First, you are underplaying the advantages of Pinochet's economic reforms. You can speak of croynism if you want (and no doubt there was a top-down element too it and Pinochet himself was corrupt as hell), but the simple fact was after he left power the [i]junta's[/i] had transformed the country from a socialist mess in massive recession to economic jewel of South America. No, I would not wish that kind of rule of an ally of ours. However, Chile was not an ally before Pinochet care to power. It was an ally of the Soviet Union. And, overall it was better off with Augusto Pinochet as President then Salvadore Allende.
[quote]There are other options in Iraq that are bad but donâ€™t involve a Pinochet-inspired thug to rise to power. Groveling before Syria and Iran, begging them to help us pull our chestnuts out of the fire is bad but not as bad as siccing a Castro or Pinochet on the Iraqi people. Mookie al-Sadr running things would be almost as bad as a murderous strongman like Pinochet or Castro in charge. The point being, while there may be only bad options left in Iraq, some bad options are worse than others. And Goldbergâ€™s Pinochet fantasy is about as bad as it gets.[/quote]
[i]Almost[/i] as bad. Why just almost? Why not not nearly as bad? Generally one of the advantages of Pinochet is that he had some economic and diplomatic sense. He killed a lot of people early on (something less then 10,000) but not many (in comparison) after that. al-Sadr is a thug who has shown no evidence of ability of statesmanship and lots of ability to lead sadistic violence against anybody who was not only not a member of the Shi'a but also those who personally oppose him in a leadership role. What would this guy, an extremist cleric, have as an advantage against a more secular persona (possibly with real military training, unlike al-Sadr) in being less bloody?
[quote]Goldberg has now confirmed every nasty thing that the Glenn Greenwalds, Dave Neiwerts, and Jane Hamshers have been saying about the right being in love with authoritarianism and dictators.[/quote]
If people on the left can decide with this column on war strategy that someone is an authoritarian then that is then they are being overly judgmental. It would not be the first time however that people right, left, or center have decided to wrongly classify someone as "bad" by something they read. It is unfortunate.
[quote]For that, he should be criticized roundly by all sides of the political spectrum.[/quote]
It's the "circling the wagons" routine. How about everybody come to their own conclusions independently and praise his opinion, attack his opinion, or decline to say anything at all.
...Comment Posted By Jim On 15.12.2006 @ 22:46
I don't really disagree with anything else.
Look, it's so simple.
Warrants warrants warrants warrants.
The law requires warrants.
Warrants are easily gotten. 5 out of 15,000 have ever been refused.
Warrants can be gotten for up to 72 hours after the fact. That's 3 days.
There has been no reason EVER presented, for why the Bush administration could not or even should not have gotten warrants.
Let me present it for you in equation form:
Legal = surveillance + warrants
Illegal = surveillance - warrants
X = (Bush administration wiretapping program)
X = surveillance - warrants
Can you solve for X?Comment Posted By jim On 1.12.2006 @ 13:54