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And so the gloating begins

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At all of the protests I have been to, some of the most common expressions protesters have written on their signs were, “The war on Iraq cannot be won by the inferior U.S. military,” and “There are no chemical weapons in Iraq,” and “It’a all a lie–Saddam is a really nice guy.”

Well, I guess we can’t write these sentiments on our signs any more. Turns out the U.S. military is strong, and it may turn out that Saddam did have chemical weapons and that there are even more horrible stories about his totalitarian regime than we previously heard. Oops.

For those who only watch Fox News, and thus believe the common caricature of war protesters is accurate, let me fill you in–the preceding two paragraphs are riddled with sarcasm. The anti-war camp’s arguments have never depended on the following:

1. The U.S. can’t win this war.
2. Iraq has no chemical or biological weapons.
3. Saddam isn’t as bad as they say.

Still, we can expect triumphalist pro-warriors to act as if this was the case. They will point their victorious fingers in our faces and say, “See? Told ya we could do it!” and “See? He had frickin’ sarin!”

As if this is the same as saying, “Therefore a hasty unilateral invasion and military occupation of Iraq is the most sensible solution to the problem and justifies the history-changing doctrine of U.S. preventive war.” As if the anti-war camp ever disagreed about the superior power of the U.S. military, Iraq’s likely possession of chemical weapons or the villainy of Saddam.

Ah, well, we’ll just have to grin and bear it. Reason has a difficult time penetrating emotion, and victory parties are pretty emotional.

For the record, though: I’m glad it looks like the war is not going to be a dragged-out affair, I believe it is likely Saddam has chemical weapons stashes in Iraq (the inspections, after all, found some, and they weren’t done yet), and I think it is more than just probable that horror stories about this totalitarian regime–both during the years that the U.S. gave ally Saddam money and weapons and chemicals, and during the years when the U.S. did not–will be even more horrifying than we have yet heard (in other words, I think those reports from lefty human-rights orgs that right-wingers had been ignoring for decades are probably accurate).

I know this doesn’t matter. The rationale from much of the pro-war camp will be, If we won, how could we have been wrong? And this will help the Bush Doctrine of preventive war (i.e., The Rationale For Empire In All Of The Entire History Of The World) gain more popular support. The requirements: We win easily, we find (or “find,” if necessary in the future) weapons of mass destruction, and horror stories of government abuse must come out in the aftermath. As long as these conditions are met, the war was justified.

The “I Told You So Olympics”

(Oh, and an update: Again, I am red-faced about my previous criticism of George W. Bush’s extremist religious views. When I made these comments I was unaware that he was personally “called by God.” The BBC offers further evidence of his divine mission.)

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About Brian Flemming

  • Eric Olsen

    I think it is intellectually honest of you to acknowledge the successes of the war whether you see them as such or not – will you change your opinion about the advisability of the war if your assumed imperial march through the Middle East doesn’t materialize?

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    I’m also concerned, based on information from various sources, that there will indeed be an imperial mach across the Middle East. Indeed, there seems to be not insignificant support in the American population for carrying this on into Syria and Iran. For my part, though, if that does NOT happen, I will be relieved no end, but I WON’T change my mind about this war.

    I have specific reasons for my antiwar stance, and imperialist tendencies is only one on a fairly robust list.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    “Imperial Mach”. I like that. Very Star Wars. Remember you heard it here first.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Eric,

    “…will you change your opinion about the advisability of the war if your assumed imperial march through the Middle East doesn’t materialize?”

    Yes, I would change my mind about what I think is the likely result of a preventive war doctrine in the Middle East. I think a preventive war doctrine is inherently destabilizing to the entire globe (not just the Middle East), and as an American I am ashamed that our country has dedicated itself to a policy of peace by violence rather than peace by cooperation.

    But I will most definitely have been proved wrong in my predictions of the Bush Administration’s specific goals in the Middle East if the U.S. simply gets rid of Saddam and then exhibits no further aggression. As I said in the last message at the discussion here:

      Let’s define what is what. I would say a sign of “perpetual war” would be additional military actions in the Middle East, rationalized with the usual improvised reasons we have come to expect from this Administration. Having provoked the Muslim world into becoming more overtly threatening, we will continue to, as you so ominously say, “eliminate those who threaten us.” The list will expand. The goals will get hazier. The body count (mainly Muslim and civilian) will rise. Rather than a quick wrap-up, there will be a looking-ahead to more jobs we can do to “eliminate those who threaten us.” The necessary evidence, always emotionally stirring and generally falling apart upon later scrutiny, will show up just in time to take each series of escalating actions. And every time, the mantra will be–just this one, and then we’re done.

      If the U.S. installs democracy in Iraq and then gets the hell out of the region, my jaw will drop. I am not expecting that to happen. If it does happen, I have been wrong. That’s the definition of my being completely wrong: The U.S./U.N. sets up a democracy and then we exit the region (militarily–not humanitarian, advisors, etc.). If that happens, I eat my hat.

      Can you define what your expectation is? What would be a sign that you are wrong?

      What I’m hoping is that the perpetual war scenario I outlined above is not roughly what you would tolerate and just call by a different name. I’m hoping that scenario frightens you as much as it frightens me, and you have a good idea of what it will take to convince you that we’re headed for it, some idea of what a warning sign would look like–not that you say it’s going to happen, but if it did, that’s what you would call a warning sign.

    I’m kinda still waiting for an answer to this from you. Us anti-war folks have been noticing lately that the pro-war side doesn’t like to take a firm stand on these two questions:

    1. What would be a specific sign that empire is the goal of the Bush Administration?

    2. What would be a specific sign that we are on our way to a police state in the U.S.?

  • Matt Libby

    A pro-war comment on your two questions:

    1. Puerto Rico and Iraq become the 51st and 52nd states. Afghanistan will have to wait until it builds a better economy and gets rid of those remaining Taliban fanaticists.

    2. Downloading of MP3s is impossible.

    The extremism and paranoia in your post can only be countered with comedy.

    My question to the anti-war community:
    Are all of our government’s actions simply a small cog in the great conspiracy machine?

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    Actually, Brian’s arguments are based largely on the Bush administration’s own policies and philosophy, not conspiracy theory. Paul Wolfowitz has long campaigned — he was part of GHW Bush’s administration — for a policy of controlling American interests through “exportation of democracy”. The principal method for exporting democracy, as proposed by Wolfowitz and other neoconservative theorists — collectively known as the “Hawks” — is invasion of sovereign nations and installation of so-called democratic governments that meet American standards. A government selected for its fealty to the US and not by its own people is hardly democratic. Nonetheless, this is the philosophy of a core group of theoreticians and policy makers in high positions within the Bush administration. Wolfowitz, you’ll note, was essential in creating the in-country American administration that will take over Iraq when the war is deemed complete.

    Due to these policies, I can conclude that the Iraq war is intended to be a first step in implementing this troubling philosophy, an American brand of imperialism. But, as Brian notes, I could be wrong. However, failure to realize this philosophy’s ultimate goal does not absolve the administration of responsibility for this war. Regardless of its place in the big picture, this war is indeed “peace through violence”, instead of “peace through cooperation”, a harbinger of awful things to come.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    “The U.S./U.N. sets up a democracy and then we exit the region (militarily–not humanitarian, advisors, etc.).”

    I’ll second that. If we pull our military out entirely, no permanent or semi-permanent bases established in Iraq, etc., I’ll gladly admit I was wrong about long-term intent.

    Oh, if Mike Hawash hasn’t done anything illegal, I’d like to see him get out of jail, too. They could start by, say, charging him now or releasing him.

  • Myth

    Yes, I am strongly anti-war but no, I do not think that the government is a huge conspiracy. However, I think that some in the Administration are trying to limit freedom because they are so deluded by trying to stay “safe.”
    Never sacrifice freedom.
    Peace.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Matt,

    “The extremism and paranoia in your post can only be countered with comedy.”

    How about answers instead of evasion?

    The questions were:

    1. What would be a specific sign that empire is the goal of the Bush Administration?

    2. What would be a specific sign that we are on our way to a police state in the U.S.?

  • Matt Libby

    Points well taken. I do not agree, however.

    We are not an imperialistic population. I don’t think you could get enough votes to make Puerto Rico a state.

    The interests in Iraq are just not valuable enough. We’ve already liberated Kuwait and have Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE under wing. These nations, under the OPEC umbrella, would do more than enough to ensure our resources that our needed would make it to our shores. Our money is a pretty valuable resource as well. It is not a one-sided sale.

    Who would you have us cooperate with? Saddam?

    One point on this war:
    A “cease-fire” was signed in 1991 under the conditions that Saddam fully disarm to the UN specifications. SCUDs are illegal under the UN specifications. Was this obligation fulfilled by Saddam in 12 years and 17 UN resolutions?

    If it wasn’t fulfilled, we are no longer bound by the original cease-fire agreement.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Please Brian, do document where you found that the UN inspections had found chemical weapons. I hadn’t heard that before. Until today, there had been no signs of the chemical weapons the UN tried to find.

    I’m with Matt on this: it appears it is impossible for the anti-war community to see anything but a gigantic conspiracy.

    What I like most about the anti-war community is how rife with paranoia it is. What I see coming from the pro-war side tends to be well-reasoned, documentable evidence that supports their cause, presented in a calm, factual manner. The anti-war arguments tend to come flying like shrapnel – angry and hot and generally based around what amount to conspiracy theories. What gets me is, they’re more likely to believe baseless, crack-pot theories than to use their own common sense to see how ridiculously convoluted the schemes they purport the government is perpetuating have become.

    1. What would be a specific sign that empire is the goal of the Bush Administration?

    That we run their government as if it is another state. Won’t happen. Guaranteed.

    2. What would be a specific sign that we are on our way to a police state in the U.S.?

    When you don’t have the right to voice ridiculous concerns like this.

  • Matt Libby

    I was not trying to evade the questions. The conspiracy paranoia lately must’ve gotten to me.

    1. The question is a little rigged. We are an empire already. The United States is the lone superpower in the world. There isn’t a Russia from recent times, or a Germany, or Japan from WW II to oppose us with their own brands of government and rival military might. That alone makes this country an empire. The Romans were an empire because they were largely unopposed. Their military training and weapons were some of the best of the era. Germany tried to become an empire as well as Japan. Kill all the dissidents and rule through fear and intimidation. The mistake that they made was to, essentially, “strip mine” the countries that they were trying to acquire and overextend their control. We are a benevolent empire and, I believe, try to apply our power for the greater good. Saddam was trying to create his own version of the Roman empire, in the Middle East. Should we stop him now? Or wait and save everybody’s butt, from a dictator that the local countries wanted to do nothing about, after the fact (i.e. France in WWII)?

    2. To be honest, when I can no longer purchase a firearm.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    Tom, UN inspectors definitely found warheads equipped for the delivery of chemical weapons. I can source it if you want, or you can take my word for it.

    Analysis of Bush administration policy is not a conspiracy theory. “Defense Policy Guidance”, P. Wolfowitz and I. L. Berry, and “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, numerous contributors, are real documents that state intent. If that’s a conspiracy theory, then administration members planted the information in order to inspire such a theory.

    “What I like most about the anti-war community is how rife with paranoia it is.” Hmm… What would you call FBI investigation of antiwar advocates and shooting rubber bullets at a peaceful, if possibly unlawful, antiwar protest? Sounds like paranoia to me. Ergo, the FBI and Oakland police are actually antiwar factions?

    “That we run their government as if it is another state. Won’t happen. Guaranteed.”

    So if we run it like an occupied territory, that won’t meet your definition of empire building?

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    You’re correctly defining a superpower, I suppose, but not an empire. An empire is a number of nations governed by a single authority. To become an empire, we’ll have to get out there and collect those nations. Arguably, it looks like we’ve started.

  • http://coldfury.com/Sasha Andrew Ian Castel-Dodge

    I don’t think it is inappropriate to gloat, but I am pleased with outcome of this war so far. I was a reluctant convert to the war against Iraq. I was finally convinced it was justified early this year. I hope it continues to go successfully and hope casualties will remain as low as they are now.

    To anti-war types: not all those who support this war are gun-ho morons. I happen to have met and attended several meetings with Kurds. I was convinced of Saddam’s babarity with graphic ilustrations of his brutality.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Matt,

    “We are not an imperialistic population. I don’t think you could get enough votes to make Puerto Rico a state.”

    Ahem. You mention Puerto Rico as an example of America’s lack of colonial ambition?

    “Who would you have us cooperate with? Saddam?”

    First, I would have us not frame the issues we face in this simplistic, binary manner. It has one end point: guaranteed perpetual war. If everyone on the globe is either for us or against us, we will be fighting wars against our enemies forever. I know it feels good to get down to brass tacks–and say it’s love Saddam or hate Saddam, which one are you?–but we will never, ever achieve peace on this planet with this kind of thinking.

    I would have us cooperate with the rest of the world. I would have us elect a new leader who does not have contempt for international treaties and international organizations. I would have us be patient with international processes, using our strength to push our agenda but not as a bludgeon to insult the dignity of all other countries.

    No, I have never advocated for “cooperating” with Saddam. I thought we should have pursued a toughened coercive inspections process that included bombing the fuck out of any site Saddam didn’t give us access to, and included other methods of force if those didn’t prove effective. It is obvious to all reasonable observers that we could have achieved such an inspections process had our President wished to pursue it. But he didn’t. His goal, and the goal of those currently holding sway over Administration policy, is specifically not to cooperate with international bodies.

    Bush’s flagrant insulting of the U.N., his pulling out of environmental and other vital treaties, and the published doctrine of preventive war give us a future in which war is inescapable. By “cooperation,” I mean we stop acting like this.

    Tom,

    Here:

      Since 1991, in carrying out its mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 687, the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) has destroyed, or made harmless, a “supergun”; 48 Scud missiles; 40,000 chemical munitions; 690 tonnes of CW agents; 3,000 tonnes of precursor chemicals; and biological warfare-related factories and equipment. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found a nuclear weapons programme far more advanced than suspected, and dismantled it.

    This is the first you’ve heard of it? On what were you previously basing your belief that Iraq had chemical weapons? Or didn’t you think Saddam had them?

    You can find more documentation at the source (UNSCOM) here.

    ” What I see coming from the pro-war side tends to be well-reasoned, documentable evidence that supports their cause, presented in a calm, factual manner…”

    Okay.

    “The anti-war arguments tend to come flying like shrapnel – angry and hot and generally based around what amount to conspiracy theories.”

    Okay.

    “What gets me is, they’re more likely to believe baseless, crack-pot theories than to use their own common sense to see how ridiculously convoluted the schemes they purport the government is perpetuating have become.”

    Okay.

    1. What would be a specific sign that empire is the goal of the Bush Administration?

    That we run their government as if it is another state. Won’t happen. Guaranteed

    I hope you’re right.

    2. What would be a specific sign that we are on our way to a police state in the U.S.?

    When you don’t have the right to voice ridiculous concerns like this.

    I think there is a flaw in your thinking here. If it gets that far–that I can’t voice criticism of the government’s motives–wouldn’t that actually be too late?

    If what you’re saying is that it’s paranoid to worry about the erosion of civil liberties until we no longer have any left, and then it’s time to get worried…well, sorry, I’m going to go with my strategy. Which is to look at verified instances of anti-Constitutional behavior by the government and raise hell about them while I still have the right to raise hell.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    Andrew Ian: “To anti-war types: not all those who support this war are gun-ho morons.” So you’re saying that you are unequivocally against violating US laws in order to promote this war?

  • pro-war

    Told ya so

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Brian: please don’t act like I’m an idiot. You know exactly what I meant. You said that the UN had found chemical weapons and they did not. In the past six months they found chemical warheads, and only warheads, and could not uncover any of the actual chemicals that the coalition is uncovering right now. We all knew they were there, but they didn’t find them (how hard did they look is the big question, I guess.) I am WELL aware of Iraq and Saddam’s past. I wouldn’t even be arguing against you if I wasn’t.

    What are your links supposed to do? New American Century? Explain why I’m supposed to take this seriously. It has nothing to do with the government, it’s just a website that wants to suggest things to the government. All you did was post opinion pages, which do nothing but prove that you have nothing substantial with which to prove your point. And a link to your own site with a photoshopped picture . . . what exactly does this do again?

    Brian, I haven’t seen any of my civil liberties eroded. I’m free to say and do as I please, as free as I was before. The only people who seem to be having problems are those that were doing things that could get them in trouble in the first place – Bush administration or no.

    And, as always, the anti-war arguments grow ridiculous and bloated. You have an answer to everything that supports your position, no matter how convoluted. And it always gets reduced to unsubstantiated and unsubstantiatable conspiracies.

    On a completely separate note:
    I have to say, Blogcritics was fun, but this war crap has infiltrated what seems like practically ever corner of this site. It’s gotten old. I came here to read about music, movies, books, and what I get is what I see on other sites that I’m no longer visiting or posting to – war BS. I’m tired of it. I’ve just about given up on Blogcritics, but I keep hoping it’ll get back on track. The war issue is dead – there is no swaying anyone’s opinion no matter what. I don’t know why this is even continuing, other than that people just can’t resist posting article after article about the subject. We all want to stand up for our convictions, but it’s pointless when your opponent constantly one-ups you. No one is right, no one is wrong. As of this post, I’m doing what I can: no more comments on the war. We all should do the same and help return this site to something fun to read again.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    Tom, you should have clarified in your original statement that you meant UN inspectors had not found chemical weapons in Iraq in the last six months. Your comment implied that they had NEVER found WMDs.

    “New American Century? Explain why I’m supposed to take this seriously.” NAC is an organization with significant influence on the Bush administration. Some of their contributors are directly involved with the administration. Their papers and theories are repeatedly quoted and implemented by the Bush administration. That’s why you should take it seriously: The government is using their suggestions.

    “I haven’t seen any of my civil liberties eroded.”

    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.
    -Pastor Martin Niemöller

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Tom,

    You said that the UN had found chemical weapons and they did not. In the past six months they found chemical warheads, and only warheads, and could not uncover any of the actual chemicals that the coalition is uncovering right now.

    What I said was this:

    “… I believe it is likely Saddam has chemical weapons stashes in Iraq (the inspections, after all, found some, and they weren’t done yet)…”

    To me, you seemed to indicate that you disagreed with a claim that UNSCOM having found chemical weapons in the past meant there might be more. I had no way to know you meant “in the past six months.” I guess it was a misunderstanding. You say, “You know exactly what I meant.” No, I didn’t. I hardly think it’s obvious from your statement.

    New American Century? Explain why I’m supposed to take this seriously. It has nothing to do with the government, it’s just a website that wants to suggest things to the government.

    Here’s why you are supposed to take this seriously: This group, by all accounts (left and right), has enormous influence over the Bush Administration.

    All you did was post opinion pages, which do nothing but prove that you have nothing substantial with which to prove your point.

    Here is a link to a non-opinion site”.

    Brian, I haven’t seen any of my civil liberties eroded. I’m free to say and do as I please, as free as I was before. The only people who seem to be having problems are those that were doing things that could get them in trouble in the first place – Bush administration or no.

    You mean doing things like…being an Arab?

    Your statement I would provide as another warning sign that we are on the way to a police state (not that we’re there, that we’re on the way). There are people being held right now by the U.S. government without charges, without lawyers and without any idea if they will ever be released. We don’t know their names, we don’t know what they are supposed to have done, we don’t know why they were picked up in the first place. All we know is that they are being held. Your position is that they were doing something to deserve this treatment. How the hell could you know?

    This kind of utter confidence that if the police do it, the person must be guilty–even without due process, even without the public’s being informed–turns the police into judge, jury, and, possibly already in the U.S., executioner.

    And, as always, the anti-war arguments grow ridiculous and bloated. You have an answer to everything that supports your position, no matter how convoluted. And it always gets reduced to unsubstantiated and unsubstantiatable conspiracies.

    As always, you provide no evidence to support this assertion. I don’t mind being asked to support the claims I make, but I can’t substantively respond to a general accusation of conspiracy-mongering. I don’t know what you’re referring to. If you somehow see analysis of this Administration’s publicly declared foreign policy to be conspiracy theorizing, well, I guess we disagree.

    I have to say, Blogcritics was fun, but this war crap has infiltrated what seems like practically ever corner of this site. It’s gotten old. I came here to read about music, movies, books…

    I just opened blogcritics.org to the front page of the site. On my display, twelve articles are visible at first. Ten of these are unrelated to the war.

    This article, by contrast, was clearly related to the war, and you clicked on it and commented on it. I don’t see how Blogcritics is in any way responsible for your frustration.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Brian is just determined not to recognize this war as a significant success, no matter what the practical outcome. Whatever happens, he’ll figure out how to set the goalposts somewhere else.

    Indications are that the Baathists are pretty well kaput. We’ve wiped out the worser parts of their military, but only a relatively very few civilians- who are human shields on the Baathists hands to account for anyway. We’re going to find some stashes of nasty stuff that will no longer be available for attacking us or anyone else.

    We’re a little safer, and the people of Iraq will be a whole lot better off. In the process of stopping Hussein’s butchery for good, we’ve probably killed less civilians in the war than what Baathist thugs routinely would have in the same few days except for us destracting them, ie with bullets in the head and such.

    It’s looking like a win-win situation, but Brian’s just not going to accept that these real world events are significant things if they clash with his ideology and political affiliations.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Al,

    The goalposts aren’t moving. There is no inconsistency between any statements I made in this discussion and any I have made prior to it. I challenge you to prove otherwise using quotes. If indeed I have been inconsistent, you shouldn’t have much trouble juxtaposing quotes to indicate that.

    I have also gone on record, here and here, stating what it will take to convince me I am wrong. I did it specifically to set a definitive goalpost that I can easily be called on in the future.

    I would invite you to do the same.

    1. What would be a specific sign that empire is the goal of the Bush Administration?

    2. What would be a specific sign that we are on our way to a police state in the U.S.?

    I answered your question here, clearly and without weaseling out of it.

    Will you answer these? Or do you want to leave everything open so that no matter what happens, you can shift your position?

  • Eric Olsen

    Brian, Sometimes I am off pursuing global domination and miss when I am summoned: I will be assured that we are not on an imperial march when we do not significantly engage any Middle Eastern country unprovoked within one year after this war ends. The American people simply wouldn’t stand for it without overt provocation.

    I will be convinced we are heading for a police state: when the state of our civil liberties is worse than it was when Hoover headed the FBI, when Republican senators wave through the next round of Patriot Act-type internal security measures, when the American people buy the security for privacy argument. I have no LARGE problems with Patriot 1, especially with the sunset clause, although I would like to know what’s up with the book snooping aspect.

    I believe our main difference is I have much more faith in the American people than do you and as a result I am not nearly as alarmist.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Eric,

    1.

    I will be assured that we are not on an imperial march when we do not significantly engage any Middle Eastern country unprovoked within one year after this war ends. The American people simply wouldn’t stand for it without overt provocation.

    Actually, that wasn’t quite the question. Am I to take this that you are saying if the U.S. DOES significantly engage another Middle East country, you will start to be concerned about imperial ambitions? For example, what if the U.S. decides to invade Iran, as 50% of the U.S. apparently supports, if Iran does not abandon its nuclear program?

    2. It seems like we are mere inches apart on this question. I assume Patriot 2 makes you nervous, as do the secret trials, indefinite detentions without trial and use of torture?

    I believe our main difference is I have much more faith in the American people than do you and as a result I am not nearly as alarmist.

    Oh, in the American PEOPLE I do have faith. After all, they are the ones who elected Al Gore in 2000, and Gore had a firm commitment to the environment, to the same treaties Bush contemptuously rejected and to the U.N.

    It’s true I’m worried about how their emotions are being manipulated by this Administration, which has so much control over things like orange alerts and the media in general (how else to explain that 50% of Americans believe the completely unsupported claim that Saddam and 9-11 are connected?).

    But if I didn’t have faith in the American people, I wouldn’t be out marching in the streets with them.

  • docRussia

    Brian Fleming>>> how about this;

    1: The US levies taxes on the Iraqi’s. If we start taxing them, then you may have a point, untill then- shut your trap.

    2: the second amendment is effectively abolished. Your buddy, Al Gore, was all for this. If you are really worried about a police state, fight to defend ALL of the constitution, not just the first ammendment.

    In other items: Screw the UN! It should be quite obvious that the UN body as a whole is far from impartial and fair. The UN seems only interested in getting the US to submit, and relinquish it’s sovereignty.

    Saddam and 9-11 unconnected? maybe, maybe not, look up info about Salman Pak. It would seem there are similar modalities between Saddam and 9-11. Not that it matters, this is not about revenge for 9-11, it would just make victory a little sweeter.

    Iran- we need to take a proactive stance (even if by millimeters) in supporting the fledgeling democracy movement there. I hope it does not require military intervention, but it might.

    As for people being held without lawyers or charges, or release dates. The terrorists in Guantanamo can rot to death there, for all I care. My only compunction is that it necessatates more american troops deployed there to watch them. Gitmo is a little slice of Hell, I have been there, and I would not wish for anybody I cared about to be deployed there. As for the terrorists, it’s better than they deserve.

    My faith in the American people is buoyed by the fact that we can still depend on Marines when things are ugly. It is also buoyed by the fact that Oakland cops drew a firm line with protestors. If you decide to make someones job difficult, don’t be too surprised when they reciprocate. Some of us are getting sick and tired of the airheaded siliness of idiots funded by organizations that would love to see America fall.

    Terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism have eclipsed the hope of peace in our time. Let us face this gathering menace now, and spare our progeny from horrors yet unrealized.

    So untill you start protesting AGAINST gun control, socialism and the PC thought police, or untill you put YOUR butt on the line to protect the American virtues of life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….. Shut the Hell up!

  • Erin Belcher

    Did anyone read the BBC article that Brian’s article linked to?

    If true, it is an alarming thought.>

    Especially when you consider that Charles Manson believed the same thing of his actions. Only George has the presidency and the formality of a war. Scary. But we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. All we know is that he beleives that God placed him in the whitehouse, and that this war on Iraq is ordained by God.

  • Erin Belcher

    Part of that didn’t go through.

  • Erin Belcher

    Does the president believe he is playing a part in the final events of Armageddon?

  • Doctor Slack

    Brian, a good and quite accurate post. I don’t put too much stock in the recent “endgame” talk, but I do think the Iraq War — at least the war on the Baath — will be over relatively soon. (Incidentally — surprise, surprise — the latest WMD story has fallen through, and there are now signs they’re finalling dropping the whole charade.)

    Interestingly enough, some of the pro-war folks here seem to be a touch behind the propaganda curve. Matt, you don’t need to be in denial about “empire” any more, man. Bill Kristol is out of the closet, James Woolsey is openly yearning for World War IV, and Syria and Iran are now being targeted for “regime change” (absurd “spontaneous pro-American rebellion” fantasies intact).

    So, this is the part where you abruptly switch from denying the imperialism charge to pretending you knew it was the plan all along, and that there’s no inconsistency in your position. Good luck with that! I suggest you start by rakishly adopting the label “neo-Reaganite imperialist” for yourself in a tongue-in-cheek “f*ck you liberal swine” sort of gesture.

    I also see that Brian’s brought up the “f-word” to a predictable chorus of denial. Well, let’s look at the question seriously. What are some of the most prominent features of fascism?

    Militarism (that’s when you base the core definition of a state on the readiness of its military, say via phrases like “my faith in the American people is buoyed by the fact that we can still depend on Marines when things are ugly”): Check.

    Imperialism: Check.

    Dictatorship: Not explicit just yet, but it’s hard to ignore that the War on Terror — not only with non-state actors but also against various states — has the effect of putting unusual authority in the hands of the Commander in Chief. The term is not metaphor; it was deliberately chosen to imply an open-ended and literal state of warfare of indeterminate length and involves laws like the PATRIOT Act on the domestic front. Now the RNC is raising Cain should anyone dare to suggest replacing the Commander in Chief in time of war. Connect the dots.

    Intimidation of political dissidents: People have been questioned by the Secret Service for wearing inappropriate t-shirts; one guy has been arrested and given three years for making a joke about the “burning Bush.” And of course, bands of volunteer brownshirts aren’t proving hard to whip up at a moment’s notice — these are the “pro-war rallies” whose apparent purpose is to physically disrupt anti-war rallies — I’m sure docRussia above would be pathetically eager to join them. So yes, this is definitely rolling and ramping up.

    Scapegoating: It’s called “racial profiling” these days, and the Bush Administration has brought an especially sophisticated American touch to it by adapting the wink-and-a-nudge Southern Strategy — publicly proclaiming it’s not at war against Islam while simultaneously, say, rounding up and detaining Muslim men during routine INS procedures. So it’s on the rise.

    Appeals to populism and traditionalism: A full meal deal of this kind of thing to be imported directly from the conservative repertoire, but with the key difference that inconvenient traditions like civil liberties are bypassed by empty repetitions of words like “freedom.”

    Chauvinistic nationalism: Yep. “Freedom fries,” anyone?

    About the only thing that isn’t there by comparison with older forms of fascism is a borrowing of some form of socialist doctrine, which characterized both the Italian and German flavours of fascism. Here, the neocons’ main innovation is to replace socioeconomic controls with large-scale crony capitalism — in that sense it’s more like Japan under the militarists.

    Now, have there been American political movements in the past with some of these characteristics? Sure. But with all of them? I don’t believe so. And yes, it justifies the use of the “f-word.” At BEST, the neocons are an example of American proto-fascism — not quite confident enough to show itself fully.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Erin,

    Charles Manson–commanded by God to start a race war.

    Osama bin Laden–commanded by God to fight a holy war.

    George W. Bush–commanded by God to fight a holy war.

    I’m glad all God has commanded me to do is write Blogcritics posts that annoy people like docRussia.

    docRussia,

    Here’s picture of a woman who did put her safety on the line “to protect the American virtues of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Doctor Slack,

    Man, depressing analysis. I have to admit, I hadn’t laid it out exactly like that for myself yet. The tough thing I’ve found with anyone who is pro-war is convincing them to even consider that it is possible that the U.S. could make a move toward fascism in this emotional time, and it if is even possible, then what would it look like as it started to happen?

    The pro-war argument against even considering the notion for a second is that it’s crazy even to think about it. Well, when do you start thinking about it? When the transition is over?

    Oh, and about the brownshirts? I’m afraid the connection isn’t only metaphorical. When I was on Hollywood Boulevard during the Oscars, creating a photo-study of pro-war demonstrators, I saw a swiftly walking group of about ten young men in brown quasi-military uniforms. They clearly weren’t officially a U.S. military branch–they were just sort of “military-inspired.” I never got a chance to find out who they were or get a picture of them–they walked so fast (in disciplined single file) it seemed like they were “on patrol” among the demonstrators. But they were scary, and they with their attitude and dress, they were clearly sending a message to the peaceniks–we are bad-ass, and we don’t like you. I hope they were maybe Explorer scouts or something who had simply stepped up a notch in military dress. I dunno. But brownshirts? Yeah–we got ‘em.

  • http://www.sanfordmay.com san

    “Does the president believe he is playing a part in the final events of Armageddon?”

    It’s less important that Bush feel that he is a part of the Biblical Apocalypse than it is that “he believes that God placed him in the whitehouse, and that this war on Iraq is ordained by God.” It’s bad enough that he is predicating this war on his own religious beliefs — and, apparently, divine order — regardless of exactly what those beliefs entail.

    But you’re right: It is scary.

  • Matt Libby

    It’s been a little bit, so I will have to catch up on the previous statements.

    I do want to comment on one issue raised:

    The picture of the woman hit by the beanbags or rubber bullets is posted for shock value. If it was a man, it wouldn’t have quite the same effect. I’ve seen the news video and the protesters were assaulting police with objects long before shots were fired. How would you propose defending yourself against flying rocks and bottles? A violent peace protest (big oxymoron) can do nothing but harm. I, personally, would not associate myself with such fanatics. It gives the entire movement a black eye. Pun definitely intended. A legal protest, petitions, calling of representatives, etc. are all forms of CIVIL dissent. I support this right. Let’s get a count of the protesters who actually voted in the elections… I believe a lot are simply misguided individuals who have found a place to fit in, however gang-like it may be, and were not interested in government elections or actions until they found a cause to rise up against.

    As far as I’m concerned, they were involved in an illegal protest attempting to shut down legitimate businesses and they were ordered to disperse. Their protest could have continued somewhere else. They did not have to interfere with workers who are trying to feed their families and who have nothing at all to do with the decisions of this war. Their actions also indirectly contributed to the injuries to these innocent workers. My favorite line in that article is “Oakland police are being the most aggressive of any department I’ve seen in the Bay Area since the war began,” said protester Damien McAnany, a database manager. “The San Francisco Police Department never used any of this stuff against us.” Hello! This is Oakland, home of Raider nation, not San Fran, home of the flower children.

  • docRussia

    If you want a picture of someone who risked her safety for American values, I think that PFC Lynch would be is a bit more appropriate. IMHO that protestor was engaged in illegal activity. I wish that the longshoremen had not been caught in the crossfire, but they are generally tough guys, and they will be OK. PFC Lynch sustained two GSW’s from real bullets, in addition to several fractures. When this is compared to what the poor protestors endured *sob* it begs the question: “what were they really risking?” a couple of bruises? give me a break!

    You will not have a tough time convincing me that emotional times like these could open the door to tyranny. It is possible, and I freely admit that, so you can cut that trash out about pro-war people being unwilling to consider such. If you want to know what it would look like, it would look like the president or some other politician assuming power that they could not be forced to give up. So if GWB says that there will not be another presidential election for an indefinite period… well, that’s what the second ammendment is for. Don’t try to confuse terrorists being detained with the mass deportations of Jews, because it’s absurd how different the two are.

    and as for the ten “brownshirts” you describe: probably just some punks who don’t have what it takes to actually enlist. They are just sad examples of hooligans trying to act tough. As for the majority of pro-america demonstrations; Yes, I have been in attendance, and the cops never considered using rubber bullets because they never had to figure out how to keep us from interfering with people going to work. Granted, rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee was shouted down and booed offstage, but when a crowd descended on her and let her know how unpopular she was, all the cops had to do to break things up was to tell the crowd to disperse once, and… they did.

    It is so typical of the hypocrisy of some to be far more disruptive and violent than their opponents, and turn around and talk about “intimidation of political dissidents.”

    As for GWB being guided by divine decree. You are on crack! Look at the evidence, look at how careful the administration has tried to be about showing that the US is NOT trying to start a holy war. It’s Saddam Hussein who would not let muslims practice openly, not GWB. Every day as I pass a local mosque, I see a cop car outside PROTECTING them as they worship. Hardly signs of racial profiling under a police state.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the anti-war camp is, overall, a collection of people who take their stand on an emotional basis (they hate Bush/ love Gore, closet communists/socialists, despise the thought that violence is ever called for, etc., etc.), and then filter and interperet the facts to support the position they take. This is what I call emotive based reasoning. Sure, I use my emotions to provide the force for my convictions, but I use logic to dictate the position of these convictions.

    Believe me, if GWB dissolved congress, or closed the supreme court, or suspended elections, then I would say he’s a f’ing tyrant, and it’s time to do something about it. unfortunately, he does not have the time to take it slow (six more years assuming he is re-elected), so untill he tries a stunt like that, it all really is just a conspiracy theory.

    and doctor slack… don’t confuse militarism with military preparedness- it betrays your ignorance.
    I could go on like this for days, but I have work to do, and I am getting the sneaky suspicion that reality will not stand in the way of your opinions.

  • Doctor Slack

    docRussia:

    “The simple fact of the matter is that the anti-war camp is, overall [yadda yadda yadda buncha commie socialist pacifists yadda yadda yadda]”

    Ahh, the freeper routione: talk up your “logic” and issue a plainly illogical blanket Sixties Berkley-esque stereotype of your opponents. Ever wonder why this fails to impress?

    Tell you what, go tell the Veterans for Peace what a bunch of over-emotional commie socialists pacifists they are. That should be entertaining!

    “As for GWB being guided by divine decree. You are on crack!”

    Actually, it’s apparently Dubya’s close friends as quoted in USA Today who are on crack. Better let them know they’re off message, buddy. Let us know how that goes.

    “Look at the evidence, look at how careful the administration has tried to be about showing that the US is NOT trying to start a holy war.”

    You mean like, how Bush said America should be a humble nation before he got elected? Riight.

    Look, there’s a point at which you have to start noticing which public pronouncements are being acted on and which are being contradicted. Bush has, at scattered intervals, said clearly that his war is not a war on Islam — but has also (whether from sheer ignorance I don’t know) publicly dubbed as a “crusade” a war on the majority of states in the Middle East, and lined up the Southern Baptist Convention on the borders of Iraq (just to do “disaster relief” of course). When there’s a discrepancy between rhetoric and action, don’t expect people to believe the rhetoric.

    “So if GWB says that there will not be another presidential election for an indefinite period… well, that’s what the second ammendment is for.”

    So you’ll ignore any troubling signs before that happens as “conspiracy theory” and wait until you have to take up arms against your fellow Americans? [NB: please learn what “conspiracy theory” means before attempting to us this term again.] Is this something you actually fantasize about, or are you just complacent enough to believe you’ll never be called on this?

    “It is so typical of the hypocrisy of some to be far more disruptive and violent than their opponents”

    Right, it’s “disruptive” and “violent” to block a building. So much more so than this, for instance. I know who my bets are on for escalating violence in the coming weeks, and it’s not the antiwar camp.

    “don’t confuse militarism with military preparedness”

    I don’t. I equate militarism with the degradation and dismissal of diplomacy as a tool of statecraft, with long-term military adventurist projects, with exaggerated encomia to the military in public and state discourse, and with the increasing identification of offices of statecraft with military endeavours (eg. the increasing habit of the RNC referring to GW Bush in his military aspect as Commander in Chief).

    Don’t pretend these things are simply “military preparedness” — it betrays your ignorance.

    “I could go on like this for days,”

    Oh, I’ll bet. Question is, could you say anything substantial?

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    “…and lined up the Southern Baptist Convention on the borders of Iraq (just to do “disaster relief” of course).”

    The Tennessee Baptist Convention is gathering food in boxes to deliver to the Iraqis.

    Is this a ploy to smuggle the power, wonder-working power of Jesus Christ into the heart of Islam?

    No no no no no.

    Well, yes.

    From their website:

      PLEASE do not place any additional items/literature inside the box. We will be providing state conventions stick-on labels to be placed on the outside of the box (John 1:17 in Arabic).

    And what, pray tell, is John 1:17? Surely not something to rub the Muslims’ noses in the fact of their heathen state, right? Surely not something that says, “Not only are you starving, but you worship the wrong God, too!” Right? Right?

    John 1:17
    For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

    Translated into Arabic, and with the props that accompany it, this says something like, “Accept Jesus Christ as Lord–unless maybe you want to get bombed again? Why don’t you think about that while you eat your rice.”

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Eric,

    “I will be convinced we are heading for a police state: when the state of our civil liberties is worse than it was when Hoover headed the FBI, when Republican senators wave through the next round of Patriot Act-type internal security measures, when the American people buy the security for privacy argument. I have no LARGE problems with Patriot 1, especially with the sunset clause, although I would like to know what’s up with the book snooping aspect.

    Republicans Want Terror Law Made Permanent

  • docRussia

    slack/Fleming> Try this on for logic: ANSWER and not in our name, organizers of many anti-war rallies, are linked with communist and socialist organizations like the world workers party. Communist and socialist groups are well represented at anti-war rallies. One can even see pictures of banners prominently displaying the old hammer and sickle among marchers. Logic dictates that communists and socialists are part of the anti-war movement, if not the lead element.

    I never said everyone was, but they are a significant portion.

    As for the vets against war; any organization whose purpose is “the abolishment of all war” will of course be against any war, no matter how justified. I doubt they are largely communist or socialist, but these guys apparently are so traumatized by their experiences that they have taken a position, that if adopted by all just nations would destroy all but the most vicious regimes in the world.

    GWB believes in God, and if he believes in the judeo-christian kind, then part of the teaching is that God puts you in situations to test you. GWB believes, IMHO, that have been put into the current position as a test both for him and for humanity. I don’t know if that is true, it is only an opinion of faith. What your article stated slack was merely that he held this opinion, not that he believes that God came to him in a vision and gave him marching ordeers as you allege.

    Diplomacy was never dismissed; it was exhausted. Exhausted and futile.

    I do not fantasize about a second civil war. Last time that happened here a whole generation was virtually wiped out.

    Don’t link to the enquirer, it betrays your gullibility.

    violent perpensities have been displayed already by the “peace” protestors. City workers found a cache of molotov cocktails during cleanup.

    Anyway,It’s getting boring exposing the flaws of Slack’s argument, there is just no sport in it.

    Mr. Flemming, I think I see what your saying about what is going on, although I still disagree on your interperetation. The purpose of secret trials, as I understand it, is to protect intelligence sources. This does not worry me. I think that yes, we should maintain due vigilance, but we cannot afford to have intelligence sources worried about whether the data they gather will end up exposing their cover during trial proceedings. The immediate effect of this would be that sources would stop sending all of their observations, in which case there is no purpose for even engaging in intelligence/counterintelligence operations, leaving us blind to many attacks. The detentions are not of US citizens. The fact is that we could execute every last one of them for espionage. We have decided to season justice with mercy.

    There will probably always be a pendulum that swings between privacy and security. It seems to me that as an example, in response to growing crime 25 lears or so ago, Civil liberties got nudged aside, and cops became more aggressive to deal with the crime. Crime slowly started to ebb, the pendulum swung through center, and then instances of cops shooting innocents started to pop up. People pressured the politicians, who reigned in the cops, the pendulum stopped and has started to swing back. As long as this pendulum does not adopt a position too far to either extreme, we will be OK. I believe that your position, Mr. Fletcher is that as the pendulum has started to swing again toward security, you are alarmed that this is the beginning of a tyranny in the US. It is possible for that to happen at crucial times such as these, but frankly, this is not what is going on. The US gov’t may not be as touchy-feely as you would like, but their first job is to protect the nation and uphold the rule of law. Being nice takes a back seat. keeping in the good graces of foreign politicians with their own agenda takes a back seat. yielding to biased international bodies takes a back seat. Protecting my family, through the use of force and of law is their damned job! If they fail to do so, I will cast my lot to throw them out on their butt, and they can try working for a living. Anyway, I believe I see your point, but I disagree.

    enough said.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    doc,

    “ANSWER and not in our name, organizers of many anti-war rallies, are linked with communist and socialist organizations…”

    Sorry, doc. This ruse won’t work on me. I actually go to the marches here in L.A. I’ve actually observed the people who march, and thus I don’t have to depend on Bill O’Reilly and fantasy to form my impressions of the anti-war movement.

    I’ve probably seen more dogs than commies.

    This “issue” has been partly dealt with here. Pro-warriors were asked to back up these unsupported accusations in the comments here. Of course, they failed.

    If you have any actual evidence that commies are a “significant portion” of the peace movement (just so you know, saying something out of the blue does not transform it into evidence), I’m open to it. Until then, I think I’ll trust my own lying eyes.

    Don’t link to the enquirer, it betrays your gullibility.

    Huh? My last two links were to the New York Times and the Holy Bible. What are you talking about?

    Oh…wait. You mean Slack’s link…to the Cincinnati Enquirer? It’s not true because it happened in Cincinnati?

    Anyway,It’s getting boring exposing the flaws of Slack’s argument, there is just no sport in it.

    How do you know until you try?

    The detentions are not of US citizens.

    Tell that to Mike Hawash.

    The fact is that we could execute every last one of them for espionage. We have decided to season justice with mercy.

    And the difference between this attitude and fascism is…?

    You do realize that Saddam Hussein’s police only imprisoned and tortured those who were determined to be threats to the state, right? I believe that under your logic, they deserved it.

    Unless, of course, you can prove to me that the secret trials, secret detentions, secret tortures and secret executions here in the U.S. are all justified.

    Oh–you can’t do that, can you? Because they’re all SECRET.

    You have no idea what’s going on docRussia, and neither do I. I don’t make a habit of assailing anyone’s credibility, but let me show you how easy it is on this issue: If you claim that you are certain that innocent people aren’t being imprisoned and punished under the secret tribunals, please provide a tiny shred of evidence to show your basis for this claim.

    You can’t. All you have is faith. If I’m wrong, tell me what courthouse I can visit to request the trial transcripts and other public records. Or for that matter–ANY evidence of due process.

    You can’t. Where does your faith come from?

  • Doctor Slack

    “One can even see pictures of banners prominently displaying the old hammer and sickle among marchers”

    Brian’s pretty much dealt with this.

    “Anyway,It’s getting boring exposing the flaws of Slack’s argument, there is just no sport in it.”

    Freeper maneuver #2 — when caught talking out one’s a**, make a blanket claim of intellectual superiority and pray someone buys it…

    “Diplomacy was never dismissed; it was exhausted. Exhausted and futile.”

    Spoken like a true militarist. Diplomacy takes place across years — militarists rarely have patience for it, and are impatient for glory.

    “I do not fantasize about a second civil war.”

    Then you agree that it’s best to say, and do, something before it gets to that point, yes?

  • Matt Libby

    Ok, guess I should get in this…

    If you have any actual evidence that commies are a “significant portion” of the peace movement (just so you know, saying something out of the blue does not transform it into evidence), I’m open to it. Until then, I think I’ll trust my own lying eyes.

    Maybe not communists, per se, but definitely socialists. I would dare to venture that approximately 90% of the anti-war movement is from some sort of left-leaning political standing (majority non-voting). The Democratic party platform is pure socialism. The redistribution of wealth is all they are concerned with. You say what about their environmental standing? Environmental politics are merely indirect attacks on capitalism and an attempt to redistribute wealth from the fines collected through their restrictive legislation. For the majority of these people, the war is secondary to the advancement of their own pathetic political agendas. Unfortunately, this reflects badly on the people who genuinely do care about the loss of life.

    Tell that to Mike Hawash.

    As stated by Shannon Love in the comments on that article, no one would even care if this were a mob or drug trial. It is only because of its relation to terrorism that it draws the ire of the civil rights advocates.

    Spoken like a true militarist. Diplomacy takes place across years — militarists rarely have patience for it, and are impatient for glory.

    Is 12 years enough diplomacy? How many more? Do we just negotiate and negotiate until we are cursed by another cow-towed administration that will bow to the whims of a dictatorial regime? Why don’t we just let the French or Russians handle it? They’ve done such a wonderful job enforcing the UN sanctions. Hmmm… Night vision. Oh wait, that’s supposed to say rice… Roland Surface to… Ooops, wheat grain… I am in agreement that diplomacy with Saddam has long been exhausted.

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    Matt,

    I would dare to venture that approximately 90% of the anti-war movement is from some sort of left-leaning political standing (majority non-voting). The Democratic party platform is pure socialism.

    This is your response to an accusation that the Communist Party controls the peace movement? Hee-hee! That’s so easy. The commies control the peace movement, because…the Democrats are really commies!

    Dude, that’s more than HALF THE NATION. If you add up everyone who voted for Al Gore and everyone who voted for Ralph Nader, that’s a more than clear majority of U.S. voters. (As we both know, Al Gore ALONE won the popular vote, so I don’t even need to add in the lefty Naderites.)

    These are the folks you call “non-voting”?

    Where do you get your statistics? Tell me where you formed your impression that most peace activists don’t vote. You think they’ll march all day in the sun but they won’t spend 5 minutes in a voting booth?

    Really–WHERE DID YOU GET THIS IDEA? I really want to know.

    As stated by Shannon Love in the comments on that article, no one would even care if this were a mob or drug trial. It is only because of its relation to terrorism that it draws the ire of the civil rights advocates.

    Wow. Where to begin? First, civil-rights advocates have been more than a little concerned with govt over-reaching in the War on Drugs. (And the ACLU defends the Constitution even if it means defending Oliver North.)

    Second, this response in no way addresses the issue–that Mike Hawash is in jail without charges. What difference does it make whether those crying out for justice have done it for Don Corleone, too? Are you completely uninterested in the violation of an American citizen’s constitutional rights if Democrats/commies/civil-rights advocates are interested?

    Do they have cooties?

    Is 12 years enough diplomacy? How many more?

    And to think, Slack suggested pro-warriors were impatient or something. As you seem to be unfamiliar with the record, those 12 years also included constant military operations (i.e., bombs). It was a combination of diplomacy backed by military strength. When the inspections REALLY started working the best (i.e., last month) was when we applied even more pressure via the military in combination with more pressure via the U.N.

    In fact, the inspections were working so well that Bush had to stop them. THAT was a complete abandonment of diplomacy. Not because 12 years of diplomacy had led to frustration, but because the past several weeks of diplomacy had resulted in unprecedented SUCCESS toward the stated objective (disarmament).

    No historian will write up what happened at the U.N. Security Council this year as a sincere attempt to use diplomacy to achieve disarmament.

  • Matt Libby

    Brian,

    You wrote:
    because…the Democrats are really commies!

    Socialists, there is a difference…

    Where do you get your statistics? Tell me where you formed your impression that most peace activists don’t vote. You think they’ll march all day in the sun but they won’t spend 5 minutes in a voting booth?

    Really–WHERE DID YOU GET THIS IDEA? I really want to know.

    From Federal Election Commission:
    These are from 2000, 2002 not in yet…
    Total Voting Age Population: 205,815,000
    Total Registered Voters: 156,421,311
    % Registered: 76
    Total Voters: 105,586,274
    % Registered Turnout: 67.5
    % Voting Age Turnout: 51.3

    Assuming an even split based on Republican and Democratic; a little simplistic, but according to the popular vote, pretty close. This leaves 48.7% of eligible voters not turning out. According to the majority of polls by the various news agencies, Republicans overwhelmingly support the war and an almost even split among Democrats; hence the 78% approval rating. Being that only half of Democrats turned out to vote and half are against the war… You can see where this is leading. Among the 18-24 demographic, majority of war protestors, the turnout rating of eligible voters is about 35%. Take a straw poll next time you’re out… On second thought, conspiracy theorists may be delusional about having voted.

    Mike Hawash is in jail without charges.

    Yes, Maher Hawash is in jail. He is being held as a material witness and is under investigation for contributions to suspected terrorist-funding organizations. Has anyone been killed on US soil by a terrorist act since 9/11? No. Why is this? Sometimes the good apples get rounded up with the bad ones. We are not perfect. I feel for this guy, I really do. I would definitely not be happy about the situation, and I am very concerned with civil rights violations. Why all the concern now? There was never this loud of a voice in opposition to these detainments. These have occurred through several decades. I just feel that it is not so much genuine concern as it is an affront to the current administration.

    And to think, Slack suggested pro-warriors were impatient or something.

    After 9/11 and our changes in foreign policy, there is less time for diplomacy. Actions need to be taken. Time is a funny thing because it is available to all. Terrorists would have had time, Saddam would have had time, and we would have had time. Or would we? It is obvious the containment/sanctions strategy was not working. Look at the imported weapons that have been uncovered since the war began. The only thing diplomacy would have created would be more oppression, an increase in the strength of the Iraqi military, and an increase in Saddam’s anger towards the U.S. Sometimes, you have to act for what you know is right, regardless of what others think. You can only be sure of one person’s motives, your own.

    No historian will write up what happened at the U.N. Security Council this year as a sincere attempt to use diplomacy to achieve disarmament.

    You are right on this statement. They will write about how certain parties on the UN were willing to put up with a brutal despot in exchange for lucrative oil (and possible weapons) contracts. They will write that the U.S. was not going to sit idly by and that we decided to take a risky action to liberate an oppressed Iraqi people.

  • the Rev Nick

    Well, here we are now, with the war all but won, and the people of Iraq CHEERING and WELCOMING us, and tearing down the statues. I would like to point out that all the anti- war nonsense was irrelevant (sic?) once the war started, now (and I don’t even know if this is possible, at least grammatically)you are redundantly irrelevant. But I heard on the radio something that has near enraged me. A prison was liberated by coalition troops- a prison full of CHILDREN. You people like to say “peace at all cost”, well THAT WAS THE COST FOR TWELVE YEARS. Children thrown into FUCKING PRISON!! For not joing some stupid youth group, some for as long as FIVE YEARS! Just so you know, by the by, I didn’t even bother yo read the above stupid pointless article, I just had to express my rage and disgust. CHILDREN! IN JAIL! Let that sink in. “It’s the childern that’ll suffer if we invade” you gutless cowards sniveled. It was the children that suffered becouse we didn’t finish off Hussein years ago. Say what ever you want, I’m sure you will, go on about what ever stupid left wing idealogical bullshit comes to mind, whatever anti American rhetoric you can spout off, but the truth is this: the people of Iraq now HAVE A CHANCE. The future is now open to these people, they are going to be allowed to decide their own destiny for the first time in almost thirty years. Oh- wait- this is a war of conquest, I forgot. Assholes.

  • the Rev Nick

    And another thing, you left wing conspiracy nuts, how can you honestly believe that, after a couple of YEARS of wrangling with this two bit dictator, that now the U.S. is just going to waltz across the mid east, burning and pillaging merrily? Get real and grow up. Come on, people think for a second- our government is STILL elected by the people, and I seriously doubt the American people will stand for willy nilly invasions. GOD you people are stupid. I know I shouldn’t call names, but MAN!

  • docRussia

    Not communists, huh?
    then why does the workers world party proudly advocate anti-war rallies, and prominently display A.N.S.W.E.R. as number 4 on its short link list? Why are the demonstrations in Russia against the war overwhelmingly represented by communists? It’s fact. Deal with it. If it makes you uncomfortable, reconsider your bedfellows.

    As for your precious Mike Hawash, why is his wife afraid to talk? If he had done nothing wrong, then who would seek retribution? The gov’t you paint as the gestapo? if that were true, they would have just snapped her up too. Could it be that maybe the charges are legitimate, and she is afraid that by saying anything terrorist organizations will shut her up with a cuban necktie? I just read a little, but he still sounds fishy.

    You are right, I do not have access to classified material. And true, it all hinges on faith. Occam’s razor would dictate though, that the secrecy is legitimate.

    Saddam Hussein imprisoned any who disagreed. The fact that you are not imprisoned, though you disagree, demonstrates that there is no comparison. (and no, I don’t want to throw you in prison).

    Inspections only met any meager success directly due to the threat of military force. Once France stated that it would not authorize the use of force under any circumstances, diplomacy failed.

    As for acting now before civil war is necessary- utill we the government has executed 3000 innocent americans, the terrorists are the bigger threat. As long as we survive this threat, we can correct the gov’t later. We can’t correct shit if we are destroyed.

    It amazes me how blinded you are by your anger. Are you really so pissed that the electoral college voted for Bush, that you are willing to weaken and damage America because of it?

    pathetic.

  • Doctor Slack

    “Not communists, huh?
    then why does the workers world party proudly advocate anti-war rallies, and prominently display A.N.S.W.E.R. as number 4 on its short link list?”

    Ah, good, so can we then assume your agreement in the war makes you the same as this guy?

    “As for your precious Mike Hawash, why is his wife afraid to talk? If he had done nothing wrong, then who would seek retribution? The gov’t you paint as the gestapo? . . . Occam’s razor would dictate though, that the secrecy is legitimate…”

    See, the irony of all this is that these same wingers, a couple of years ago, were hectoring everyone in earshot about how government is corruptible and can’t be trusted. I guess that only counts when the subject is welfare programmes rather than, say, arresting and imprisoning people.

    But, now, looking at guys like this simply switch off the skeptical centre of the brain where the Bush Administration is concerned, and proclaim Mike Hawash (for instance) must be guilty because the gov’t says so… well, it’s hard not to conclude that this was all simply a lie. Or a pose. Riight, Matt, only by trampling on the rights of American citizens can security be assured. I’m always amused when these people want to lecture the antiwar movement about its lack of faith in American values ‘n whatnot.

    See, it’s not really the actions of the Bush Admin that convince me that fascism is on the cards. It’s watching the “how dare you weaken America” wingnuts clap hands over ears and squawk “conspiracy theory! conspiracy theory! lalalala I can’t hear you!” every time some new outrage is committed on American soil.

    Freeper maneuver #3, courtesy of the Rev Nick — regurgitate the GOP talking point of the moment as loudly as you can and use it to knock the stuffing out of a strawman “leftist” argument. In this case, the argument of the moment is “rapture in Baghdad! Saddam falls! Hahaha you Saddam-loving commies thought we couldn’t win! You just didn’t know how EEEEVIL Saddam was! LOOK!!!!”

    The Rev Nicks of the world will open their veins with a thousand rusty butterknives before admitting that most of the antiwar movement also expected a quick conventional victory and a honeymoon of some length for American troops — indeed, cheering crowds welcome the end of just about any war (cf. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge entering Phnom Penh, Laurent Kabila marching into Kinshasa in the Congo, the Israelis in Beirut and so on).

    What matters is what happens in the weeks and months after the initial “victory” — if the Iraqis still love you six months or a year from now, and the Syrians and Iranians are still singing the praises of Bush’s courage and bold vision two or three years on, and the US has resumed its place as an admired member of the international community, and all of this has happened without war being leveraged as a way of permanently destroying basic freedoms in the US — then y’all will have been right and we will have been wrong.

  • Doctor Slack

    Oh, incidentally — it will be interesting to see how representative of Iraqi opinion the images coming out of there are right now. Of course, since Al Jazeera was attacked yesterday there’s no-one left inside Iraq to contest CENTCOM’s version of what’s happening. (Before our wingnut contingent starts lining up and saluting the flag, remember these are the same people who repeatedly burned you with almost half a dozen “we found WMD! oops! no we didnt'” false stories during the march to Baghdad.)

    We don’t know how many people died in Baghdad to this point, or how many more will die (the fighting, you’ll recall, isn’t over). People like this, I’m betting, are happy to see Saddam go, but won’t necessarily welcome the coalition the morning after. Scenes like this are still fresh in people’s minds on the ground… don’t expect those feelings to magically vanish either.

    The coming weeks are going to be interesting. We can only hope they’re interesting in a good way. Right now, we’ll have to content ourselves with the fog of war we call TV and its various moments of coreographed absurdity. (A fave thus far: I think al-Douri wins Most Absurd Capitulation Speech with this quote… on behalf of a government he’s no longer in touch with!)

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    doc,

    As for acting now before civil war is necessary- utill we the government has executed 3000 innocent americans, the terrorists are the bigger threat. As long as we survive this threat, we can correct the gov’t later. We can’t correct shit if we are destroyed.

    It amazes me how blinded you are by your anger.

    Let’s see…you believe that IRAQ was going to destroy the U.S., and I’m the one blinded by anger?

  • docRussia

    Fleming-
    Iraq would not, and could not destroy America by itself right now, er, a year ago. With sinister allies and time, it becomes a real threat. So we deal with Saddam now, before he can put together WMD delivery systems for terrorists, before France and the rest of old europe is emboldened to sell out the US for their own ends. We deal with Saddam now, and install a stable democratic state, with a capitalist economy. Iraq will be in worse shape before it gets in better shape, but once it is through the rough parts it will do just fine, and it will be an example to the rest of the Middle east that they can have a good standard of living without being a sheik. This is how you “drain the swamp” of terrorism. Install a free press. Install democracy. Facilitate private enterprise. THEN we will not worry as much about terrorists.

    This war does not garauntee that we will not be attacked by terrorists.

    This war does not garauntee that we will not be attacked with WMD

    This war DOES garauntee that we wil not be attacked by terrorists using Iraqi WMD for the forseeable future.

    This war garauntees a shot at changing the middle east into a more modern, and civil society, which IS in our national interest.

    and I did not stutter; I said you are blinded by your anger.

    Today was a good day. Though fierce fighting still lies ahead, nobody now can honestly doubt the outcome, no matter how hard they wish. There is much left to do even after the hostilities have ceased. What is left will require dilligence and care, and it will not be newsworthy for the most part. Many people will have to work very hard, and endure much to produce for the Iraqi’s the possibilities we promised. Yet we cannot afford to fail.

  • docRussia

    p.s. I do not always trust the government. I keep a watchful eye. I vote. I try to find the reality of what is, I just don’t spend my spare time looking for reality as I wish it were.

  • http://www.supdawg.com the teacher

    garauntee? good spelling ignorant right wing kiddo.
    “before France and the rest of old europe is emboldened to sell out the US for their own ends.”
    OLD EUROPE???? wtf?!?!?
    hell, we’re selling them out (in addition to a hecka lot of ppl in USA)- why dont they do it back to us?
    enjoy life (before you get nuked. the end is coming.)
    peace.
    (sorry for being such a cynic :) )