Home / Dissent Is Not Treason: Congress and the MoveOn.org Ad

Dissent Is Not Treason: Congress and the MoveOn.org Ad

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The US has been through a lot of awful stuff over the past few years, but this week brought what I’d consider the most ridiculous government legislation so far, the condemnation of a MoveOn.org ad which criticized General Petraeus. There are a number of reasons this really bothers me, more than all the other shit that’s been foisted on us by Bush and his crew, and this incident as much as any other sums up why the Bush team is still so powerful, and why the Democratic party is such a pathetic bunch of cowards who won’t really change anything if they’re elected.

Back in 2006, I wrote: “The critical thing after 9/11 was the construction of the idea that to not support American aggression was to be anti-American, to oppose Bush's policies was to be a traitor. This was evident in the Dixie Chicks controversy, how could having a difference of opinion mean being anti-American? Isn't the whole point of freedom having the option of doing and saying whatever you want? But as constructed by Bush, it's an us vs. them, the "free world" vs. "the axis of evil.” Since then, there’s been a massive erosion of support for Bush, the vast majority of people are incredibly dissatisfied with the way the war in Iraq is going, yet no one is standing up to combat the Bush administration.

The Democrats got elected on the promise that they would end the war, however, they’ve done absolutely nothing. Now, the president’s veto power means they can’t do whatever they want, but that’s not an excuse to do nothing. They should be passing bills cutting funding for Iraq all the time, and forcing Bush to veto them.  They should put the responsibility for every American death firmly on Bush and whoever voted for that legislation, where it belongs. Of course, the Democrats are so incredibly pathetic, they can’t even censure Bush for his execution of the war. It’s pretty sad.

Things got sadder this week when they found something to actual act on and it was just a pointless condemnation of a newspaper ad. I don’t understand how people running a nation that was founded on criticizing exiting order can legitimately be angry at a group for criticizing the handling of this war through an attack on the man handling it. It’s absolutely perplexing to me, and I’d love to hear someone try to defend it as anything other than pure politics. The Republicans are absolutely shameless to call this ad disgusting, but have no problem with the tens of thousands of people that George Bush killed with his war in Iraq.

But, the saddest thing for me is that Democrats not only voted for the condemnation, but actually tried to expand its reach and further diminish free speech. It’s unbelievable hypocrisy to criticize MoveOn for attacking Petraeus after the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry, but condemning those attacks three years after the fact isn’t going to do anything. Where the fuck was the attack on Republicans then, particularly when Bush was attacking anyone who attacked his “military service.” That’s one the greatest testaments to their patheticness, even when their candidate actually fought in the war, they lose the military cred.

Now, I think running from Kerry’s anti-war record was a huge mistake. The protest movement in Vietnam was one of the proudest moments in our nation’s history, a moment when people tried to fight back and not just accept the will of the government. Kerry was a hero for that, not for his service in Vietnam. The soldiers in Iraq and Vietnam are not heroes, they are victims. Bush does not care about the soldiers, he does not support them and he does not respect them, nor do any of the Republicans who sent them into war for no good reason.

But, that’s just my opinion. Would I condemn someone who thought otherwise? No, and that’s why anyone who voted for the condemnation will never have my support again. I can’t respect someone who says it’s wrong to criticize the military because that is not wrong, sometimes it’s the only way to create change. No institution in this country is above critique because no institution is perfect, and they never will be, we always can be better and we should strive for that.

Inherent in conservative politics by its very definition is the notion that things should remain the same. Because so many conservatives believe our nation is going downhill morally and socially, they respond to politicians who talk about the good old days and traditional values. Guess what, the good old days never existed, the moments they lionize were marred by racial prejudice and suppression of groups based on their gender and religion. We’re still far from perfect, but I’d rather see politicians who imagine a better future, and fight for that.

It’s unbelievable that some of the people in power remain in power considering the stupid things they say. I hear people say evolution doesn’t exist, that’s patently wrong, I thought we cleared the issue up in the 1920s. How could you trust someone who denies the existence of evolution to run our schools? And, evolution and God are not mutually exclusive, the way I see it, evolution is the engine designed to make us all better. Look at 2001: A Space Odyssey, evolution is moving us closer to godliness.

Beyond that, it’s hard to believe that people making hate speech against gay people can remain in office. Humanity’s destiny is towards acceptance and unity, we’ve knocked down a whole bunch of divisions, and prejudice based on sexual orientation is the next to go. The politicians who don’t support gay marriage today are the ones who would have supported slavery and the oppression of women years ago. It’s the same belief in a new guise, and soon, this barrier will fall like others in the past have. We are destined for greatness, but need to overcome these temporary obstacles.

The problem is, the Republicans still control the game. That’s why criticizing the military is analogous to treason, it’s the same as the Dixie Chicks controversy from a few years ago. They want to make dissent with the party line un-American, when in reality, dissent is the essence of America, and even the essence of the Christianity they all value so. Jesus was a revolutionary who upended social order, just because something has become an institution doesn’t mean it must lose the spark of change that ignited it. That is the core American and Christian value, not the imagined values of a time that never was the Republicans present us with now.

But, because they control the game, everyone is pushing towards the right. Democratic candidates refuse to really oppose the war, when in reality they should be fighting it hard. People hate the war, but this small group of extremists has captured our government and the idea space in America. Democrats must define themselves in relation the Republican values because they don’t really stand for anything. I’ll freely admit that, but it doesn’t mean we can’t dream of something better. Hate and fear have possessed our politics, and no one is willing to fight it with love and progress. Republicans would have you believe they are an oppressed group fighting for mainstream values against a small bunch of extremists who control the media and cultural dialogue. That would be hilarious if it wasn’t actually being said, Bush and his crew are the extremists, completely out of touch with the mainstream.

Sadly, most Democrats don’t really do anything. They are cowed by the brilliant attacks Republicans threw at previous candidates. Bush ran in 2000 on responsible fiscal management and a refusal to go on nation building military expeditions, but it’s Kerry who was tagged as a flip flopper. Once that tag was on, there was nothing he could do to combat it because everyone has slight variations in belief over time, that’s evolution. But, that adaptation was characterized as weakness.

This inaction is enforced by the fact that it feels like average people can’t do anything to enact change. No march or petition is going to stop the war in Iraq, and I get the distinct sense people can’t do anything but laugh at the situation, hence the popularity of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. But, laughing at it isn’t going to make it go away, and until a really dynamic, exciting leader comes along, we’ll have to just wait for time to change the game and push the Bush agenda away. But, with ridiculousness like Rudy Giuliani’s sudden belief in guns for everyone and the constant use of 9/11 as justification for everything, that could be a long time.

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About Patrick

  • So let me get this straight. When the Republicans accuse MoveOn.org of bad taste they’re evil, but when MoveOn.org accuses Petraeus of treason that’s just fine? You’ve got your perspective on this just a little bit backwards.


  • Man oh man! I could go on forever with this article. I barely even know where to begin. In trying to remain civil in my dissent, I’ll simply say that I disagree with almost everything you have said. Obviously I am a conservative, but definitely not aligned with any political party. I would consider myself an independent, but the one thing I can’t stand is Bush bashing. Fine he isn’t the greatest leader we’ve ever had. There’s a big mess in Iraq. Everything that is wrong with the world is all Bush’s fault and since Patraeus works for Bush, well he is a traitor isn’t he?

    Look we are at war! Like it or not we are at war in Iraq, we are at war in Afghanistan, we are at war in places that neither you, I, or even the government fully know about as well. The War on Terror is global. We have been at war with Islamists for a quarter century at least, but just started fighting it after 3,000 civilians lost their lives in 2001. Bush didn’t figure it out until it was too late, Clinton didn’t have a clue, Bush 1, and even Reagan never took a serious look at this quagmire that started years ago. The bottom line is that they all suck!

    To win a war, we need some unity though. No running, like the Dems want to do, no calling our generals traitors like MoveOn.org , no spitting on our troops like in the Vietnam war. Dissent is perfectly fine. You can have unity and dissent at the same time, if only you keep it respectful. When our “leaders” act like stupid children, the enemy sees us as weak and they keep fighting us even harder (ie Vietnam and Iraq). Laws won’t save us, running from Iraq won’t save us, and going at each other’s throats won’t save us either.

    When the surge began I was actually a bit disappointed, because we sent so few soldiers(not victims like you claim) to clean this mess up. I thought we needed to send enough troops into Iraq to lock that country down, finish the job, and then get the hell out of there. Instead we got 30,000 troops(which really isn’t enough) sent into a still prolonged, bloody war. We need to finish the job, politics aside, and get our families home, period. Leaving early under any circumstance is a horrible mistake which I believe we will pay for with our nations blood and probably our childrens blood one day.

  • Patrick,

    Your article along with Realist’s just before it are similar in substance and tone. I heartily agree with both.

    I am most disappointed with the Dems slide to the right which was apparent during the Kerry campaign and even moreso prior to the 2006 elections. Many of the newly elected Dems in Congress voiced a general opposition to the Iraq war, but were otherwise careful to identify themselves as being socially conservative – anti-gay, anti-abortion, and so on. In the wake of the Republican tsunami which really began with the ’92 mid-term elections, the Dems became more and more weak kneed, unwilling to really take on the growing right wing flood.

    Today, amongst the Dem presidential candidates, only Mike Gravel has really come out vehemently against Bush, the war and the right wing usurpation of moral “values.” Sadly, Gravel is borderline psychotic with virtually no chance.

    Of course, we are mired in this hellish involvement in Iraq. WE created it. The idea that our incursion into Iraq had any fucking thing to do with the war on terror persists by simple minded conservatives. Saddam, his sons and his regime were dispicable and despotic in the worst sense imaginable. But Iraq under Saddam posed little, if any, real threat to us. Now, though, we are stuck. The mess that exists in Iraq will get dumped into the next administration’s lap. Whatever course is taken will be hotly and closely scrutinized, and any failures will rest on their shoulders – meaning that the next president will have Iraq pressing down on at least two areas of their body.

    Back in the the ’60s and ’70s the dissent against our involvement in Vietnam received much the same response by right wing hawks. According to them, oppostion to the war was tantamount to treason. I do believe one large mistake that the anti-war movement of that period made was its attacks against returning soldiers. Most had been drafted into service. The horror of My Lai and other such atrocities fed the flames against the military bringing about the accustations of their being “baby killers” and the like. Similar atrocities have occured both in Iraq and Afghanistan, but by and large, current war dissenters realize that most of the military are, if not always heros, they are conducting themselves responsibly and with honor. Unfortunately, they have been saddled with a task with little hope of success, just as in Vietnam. We also understand that war does things to people’s psychies. Bad things happen, even by and to good people.

    Bush has earned his detractors. He is an idiot. I agree with many, now even some who once supported him, that Bush may well be the worst president we have ever had. The results of his administration’s efforts since taking up residence in the White House in 2001 have been largely disastrous, and with regards to social issues, the environment, abortion, gay rights, stem cell research, etc. this country has taken several steps backwards. That the president and many in his administration are believers in the coming “rapture” is frightening. The U.S. has become a laughing stock throughout much of the planet. We are looked upon as foolish and as a back-sliding country mired in both war and ludicrous religious dogma. It’s hard to believe that coming out of WWII we were the world’s heros, the unrivaled leaders in enlightened thought, science and technology. Boy have things changed!


  • “When the Republicans accuse MoveOn.org of bad taste they’re evil, but when MoveOn.org accuses Petraeus of treason that’s just fine?”

    I didn’t say that. Republicans can accuse MoveOn of treason, just like MoveOn can accuse Petraeus. My issue is with this notion that certain types of speech are worthy of senate condemnation. What MoveOn did was in no way illegal or irresponsible, and they certainly had a right to say it. The message from this action is that anyone who disagrees with us is unAmerican and deserves to be censored, and sadly, many Democrats went along with it.

    And note, I did say in the article that Democrats were just as bad as the Republicans for their attempt to broaden the legislation to condemn all attacks on the military.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    It became evident to me around 2002-2003 that there was no difference between either political party in the United States. They both represent the oil and banking interests in the United States, with the difference in the parties centering on which groups within the oil and banking interests own the parties, and hence the politicos in them.

    So, for the most part, it doesn’t matter which political party one votes for in America. Of course, by that time, I had moved to Israel, and it really didn’t make a difference.

    But you folks are stuck in the States, for the most part, so for you this does make a difference.

    If you hadn’t figured it out by 2004, the ascendancy of John Kerry to the Democratic presidential sacrificial lamb status should have driven the point home. Which Skull and Bones Yalie were you going to put in the White House? The idiot who was already there, whose handlers were taking your rights away; or the other Yalie who had other bosses to answer to who would also take your liberties away?

    And did it matter?

    Patrick’s article, along with that of Realist, demonstrate that it didn’t – and still doesn’t.

    The standard Hebrew response to paragraphs like the above is “az ma?” – So what?

    So, you need to do what Israelis have been doing for the last two years, since the expulsion from Gush Qatif opened the eyes of lots of Israelis to what a farce their own government was – disengage from the State.

    For you this disengagement is a bit more urgent than it is for us. Events in Israel are not fully in the hands of the regime or its controllers. Our enemies can always attack, tearing the fabric of the puppet society into pieces. But for you, the ultimate in control, electronic chips in your bodies, is on the way, already being put in the new passports issued by the State Department. The upgrade – for you all personally, the subdermal variety, is already on the way in the not too distant future.

    The issue goes way beyond whether dissent is treason; that question was answered in the early 1800’s when the Sedition Acts of the Adam’s administration were tossed out. The issue goes to whether your personal liberty will be lost or not in the next few years.

    The ultimate right of every American – the right of revolution – is one that will have to be exercised damned soon if you Americans are to remain free at all.

  • Clavos

    The author fails to make one important point:

    While dissent is not only permitted in a free society, it is and should be encouraged.

    But moveondotorg’s “ad” wasn’t simply dissent; it was an ad hominem attack on a man who did not deserve it. A scurrilous attack in extremely poor taste, at that. But not unusual, coming from moveon, which is obviously run by rude, no-class, common scoundrels masquerading as patriots.

  • While the headline might have been a bit tabloid and over the top, couldn’t you easily argue that in pandering to the Bush administration’s agenda, he’s betrayed both the nation and the soldiers out in the field.

    Now, one could point out the very obvious hypocrisy of condemning this, but not doing the same for the Swift Boat ads, but I don’t even think that’s the issue. In this case, MoveOn asked a question that I think was valid, and even if he isn’t “General Betray-Us,” he’s certainly not leading us down the right path in the war.

  • ok..the Petraeus ad was dumb, stupid shit…

    but it was doen by a private organization in the press…Free speech and all…about equivalent to the Swift boat shit…which was NOT condemned

    now, add the attacks on Cleland’s service and even what was done to McCain in the 2000 primary…those came form candidates for office

    none of those were condemned by the Senate now, were they

    face it…Sen Reid is a worthless piece of shit, possible the worst Senate Majority Leader i can recall…that motion should have NEVER even reached the floor

    just goes to show, that some are expert in playing the double standards, and their opponents are too weak willed to stand up to it

    either way, a tempest in a tea cup

    the thing to be worried about is the precedent set by the Senate motion to condemn the ad…the Senate taking an official adversarial position to ANY free speech in the Press should worry ALL citizens, imo

    we have the Right to say dumb shit, we have the Right to speak our minds, and have it printed…we have the Right to dissent any way we see fit

    do NOT fall for the bullshit that anyone hands you that says differently

    just say fuck NO to the thought Commisars

    nuff said…


  • handyguy

    I love the title of this article, but after that Patrick loses me. The Congressional resolution is not really ‘legislation,’ just the usual grandstanding.

    The MoveOn ad was in questionable taste but the ‘Republican Noise Machine,’ as David Brock calls it, has been responsible for an enormous amount of slanderous distortion over the last 15 years, and this ad in that context doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

  • iCVelX

    I completely agree with this article. There is nothign scarier than the fact that there are people in very powerful goverment possitions for the single reason that they are “loyal Bushies”. No better example that the conveniently amnesic Alberto Gonzalez. General Petraeus is just that, another brainwashed pawn in the administration’s plan to convince us the war is in fact going well.

    There is no easier group of people to control than those who think they are free. The administion knows this and that is why it runs on slogans (most about how america’s freedom should be spread) with not real meaning. I think MoveOn.org was trying to make point, they probably knew the goverment would condemn it. The condemnation of the ad is the same condemnation the administration gives to anyone with an opinion different to theirs. I don’t think this was a horrible attack to general Petraeus, but to what he represents.

  • Clavos

    “I don’t think this was a horrible attack to general Petraeus, but to what he represents.”

    Then why didn’t they attack “what he represents” instead?

    it was an attack on Petraeus, alright.

  • iCVelX

    “Then why didn’t they attack “what he represents” instead?”

    Yes the attack was directed at him, for not being truthful to us. He is betraying us and all those in service by being a puppet of the administration.

    The only reason they are not directly attacking the administration is because the administration’s credibility is already a joke. Meanwhile for some reason the general has a faux credibility that no one seems to dare question.

  • Clavos

    “Yes the attack was directed at him, for not being truthful to us. He is betraying us and all those in service by being a puppet of the administration.”

    Do you have direct, verifiable evidence of that?

    Or are you just accepting shiton.org’s word for it?

  • iCVelX

    Every single report from people who have been in Iraq, not associated with the administration, states that there is no progress.

    Generals are not supposed to be independent thinkers, they follow plans, plans given to them by the government they fight for. That is exactly what he does, he gives us the facts they tell him. The government has a completely ridiculous way of tallying violence. For example they count if somebody is shot in the back of the head as violence, but not if they are shot in the front. Also car bombs do not count either. This information is in every newspaper, not only in national newspapers but also in those of other countries.

  • Excellent point, Clavos. What reason to any of you have to believe that Petraeus’ mildly positive and hardly ‘rah rah’ report was in any way untruthful. If he was going to make stuff up wouldn’t he have made the report more positive? I can dig up far more positive reports on what’s going on in Iraq just by going to the MilBlogs and reading a few links. But I guess they’re all lying too.

    This is another case of Moveon.org expressing their open hostility towards and suspicion of the military.


  • bliffle

    The administrations own judgement stands against him: he wasn’t put in charge of the Iraq campaign 3 years ago when, if he were any good, he could have made a difference. Bush only brought him forward after trying a bunch of others.

    I haven’t seen that he’s done anything special. He just moves troops from one place to another for a temporary good showing. Someone likened it to that old boardwalk game “Whack-a-mole”, which seems appropriate.

    He seems to be supporting Bush, so I guess he’s demonstrated loyalty to someone. But the question is, does his loyalty to Bush preclude his loyalty to the USA? Is he honestly allocating his loyalty?

    A real Hero would proclaim that he won’t leave the battlefield until his men come home. Does anyone think Petraeus is that hero?

  • The so called “surge” and its supposed successes are very like dropping a rock in a tub of water. The water gets displaced and splashes about, but the moment you remove the rock, the water rushes back in its place.

    The relative quiet may well be shortlived.


  • moonraven

    A New World Order: Re-reading Stephen Hawking

    It is time to clear
    away the nostalgia,
    now, face our future
    as destiny manifest
    in the light of past failures.

    This cherry-picking
    of facts and information
    as a religion
    has outsmoked its utility,
    and even Aristotle

    was never exempt:
    that the earth is the center
    of the universe
    has been proven false over
    and over, but we keep right

    on believing it.
    One atomic particle
    fighting another
    has become the new moral
    imperative, our new law.

    Making war—as if
    we were important—as if
    the outcome mattered—
    fails to understand
    that our entire galaxy

    is tinier than
    the head of Blake’s pin—on which
    an infinity
    of angels can fiddle while
    Rome and Baghdad explode, while

    Alpha Centauri
    disappears into the black.
    A dust mote appears
    on one retina, and a
    whole new universe is born.

  • Clavos

    “The so called “surge” and its supposed successes are very like dropping a rock in a tub of water. The water gets displaced and splashes about, but the moment you remove the rock, the water rushes back in its place.”

    Except that, in this case, the rock won’t be removed for quite some time to come, as even the Democratic frontrunners admitted during their debate at Dartmouth last week that they will leave the troops in Iraq at least until 2013.

  • Martin Lav

    What Moveon.org and most liberals fail to realize is that the reason Bill Clinton was even elected was because he was practically a Republican in that his liberals views were tempered at best. The “right” in this country is brilliant on knowing what matters to most ordinary Americans and they play upon the fears of them.

    Tax and Spend

    Most Americans are afraid of the so-called “liberal-left”. The dismissive attitudes predominate in the arrogant intellectuals airs of the Movie Stars and Talk Show Hosts of the day, SCARES the average American.

    Just like this author, calling for MORE protest and MORE liberalism is NOT what the American people vote for.

    I mean look at the last Presidential Election, MY PET GOAT could have/should have been able to beat GWBUSH, yet Kerry couldn’t. That to me should have been a lesson.

    Go mainstream people, you will get further in pushing your agenda. That may be just how you may find another Clinton in the White House…..

  • Clav,

    Perhaps, but not at “surge” numbers. Just from the political standpoint alone, there must be a significant draw down of American troop strength in Iraq to appease voters. When anyone is throwing out numbers as regards the length of our Iraqi tenure, it can only be a WAG (wild-ass guess.) Given the situation and its uncertain future. we could have a significant military presence in Iraq for decades. Look at Korea. Bush & Co managed to get us stuck in Iraqi mud up to our assholes and our dicks stuck in a ringer from which we will find it difficult to disengage without significant sturm und drang.

    Personally, I can’t imagine wanting to be the next president. There will be no graceful way out of the mess in Iraq, or even Afghanistan for that matter. As they say “fools rush in where wise men… yada, yada, yada.”


  • moonraven

    Didn’t understand a word of it, did you?

  • Baronius

    This article seems to argue that supporting Bush is unpatriotic. Patrick, it’s always easier to spot the other guys’ personal attacks. I don’t think you’re a traitor; do you think that my support for the war makes me one?

    Beyond that, there’s an odd obsession in the Left with being oppressed. I don’t recall who said it, but I recently read the comment that the anti-war movement dearly wishes for 1950’s-style blacklisting. They look for accusations of treason that just aren’t there. It vindicates them somehow.

  • handyguy

    Clavos, you are misquoting the Dem candidates. They refused to commit to a withdrawal date, a smart though very cautious move during a campaign. They didn’t say they would definitely keep troops anywhere for 6 more years. Also, troops could be in Iraq [or nearby] without being in direct combat roles.

  • They look for accusations of treason that just aren’t there.

    Aren’t they?

  • Beyond that, there’s an odd obsession in the Left with being oppressed.

    But it pales in comparison to the right, who are constantly under attack from the “liberal media” and big government trying to mess with their lives. That’s the narrative we’ve heard since the Reagan administration, and it’s pretty preposterous when Republicans control the whole government.

    As for liberal oppression, being lied to in order to start a war, and then getting stopped in any attempt to end it is pretty tough. But, this isn’t a liberal/conservative issue. Anyone who wants to condemn statements in the Senate is wrong and misguided. Democrats shouldn’t respond to this by condemning Rush Limbaugh, they should respond by point out the complete absurdity of condemning speech when we are supposedly fighting for “freedom” in Iraq.

  • And I’m not arguing supporting Bush is unpatriotic, I’m arguing supporting the curtailing of free speech is.

  • Clavos


    “They refused to commit to a withdrawal date…”before 2013.

    The year was specifically mentioned; In more than one way: it was also mentioned as the end of the first term. Watch the video; Part 1 and Part 2

    I just watched it again.

    I don’t agree that I’ve misquoted the “Big Three:” Obama, Clinton and Edwards. All three danced a classic obfuscatory politician’s dance around the question, but if you listen carefully, none (of those three) are agreeing they will be done by 2013.

    FYI, I don’t disagree with them; I think they are right, we WON’T be able to withdraw that rapidly: to do so would be irresponsible.

    I just want all you Dems who are demanding an immediate end to the war to realize that not even your own candidates are guaranteeing an immediate withdrawal.

  • Of course we can’t just withdraw. As I’ve noted, we have been the victim of an anal intrusion by the Bushies. They jumped into Iraq with both feet leaving other poor bastards to get us out. No matter how it plays out, Bush’s fuck-ups will be effectively forgotten and subsequent failures will be the provenance of the next administration whether its Dem or Rep. Iraq will be around to haunt us for decades sucking up and spitting out people and resources while terrorists and terrorism flourishes. Bin Laden was the prize on which Bush should have kept his eyes. But no.

    We’ll be stuck dealing with Iraq while Bush lols around and between Kennebunkport and Crawford figuring out how to write his memoirs with children’s blocks.

    Am I bitter? Hell, no.


  • bliffle

    “Of course we can’t just withdraw. ”

    I’m not willing to concede the point.

    First of all, I don’t see that withdrawal is harmful to our interests. We will still have accomplished ridding the ME of saddam, as that was the putative purpose of the invasion. If we had withdrawn a couple years ago it would have about the same effect and we would have been spared offering our soldiers as targets in a civil war.

    Second, I think this is a dangerous way to think and only offers a HOPE of succeeding through perseverance without a real strategic PLAN that employs that perseverance to good effect. There is no given reason to think that things will be easier in 2013 than they are in 2007. Why would they be? It seems to me that this is the mistake we made during the first Nixon administration, whereupon we lost 29,000 more soldiers without effecting a change in the outcome. Now that is dumb.

  • Clavos


    How would you respond to those who say that we fucked things up over there, so we have a responsibility to clean it up and prepare the Iraqis to take over before we depart?

    Just asking….

  • troll

    …don’t know about bliffle but I’d point out that while we might have the responsibility we clearly don’t have the competence any more than we did in the green place

  • bliffle

    “How would you respond to those who say that we fucked things up over there, so we have a responsibility to clean it up and prepare the Iraqis to take over before we depart?”

    This war was always about our strategic self-interest,never about the Iraqis. The Iraqis were never a consideration in pre-war planning, so why bring it up now? Because all the other reasons for the invasion have collapsed? Is this the frail argument upon which we must try to justify the invasion? It won’t work. No one believes it except the delusional maniacs like Perle and Wolfowitz.

    War always fucks things up. That’s why we have the old war sayings: “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up” , SNAFU, and “Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition”, FUBAR.

    Didn’t you know about that?

    That’s what war does. We knew that when we started this war, unless, of course, the war planners were so incompetent that it never occured to them and people deluded themselves into believing that everything would be peachy keen.

    And we have demonstrated NO ability to clean things up.

    Who are we going to prepare to take over? How would we know them?

  • Upon reflection, I tend to agree with Bliffle. Rather than saying we “can’t” withdraw, I would ammend that to say we likely “won’t” withdraw. We won’t withdraw primarily for “image” reasons. A complete withdrawal of troops would be seen by many as emblematic of our lack of resolve to finish what we started. Charges that by doing so would render all the sacrifices – the loss of life, the disruption of families and so on – in vain. Nevermind that whatever comes of this, it will ALL have been in vain.

    But, there are guys and gals in uniform in Iraq and elsewhere who are still drawing breath, who would like to get the hell out of there before they get their asses blown off simply in the effort of the Bushies or whoever to save face.

    I also agree with Bliffle regarding to whom do we turn the reigns? We could be “in country” for decades and upon our withdrawal all hell could still break loose.

    The so called “Balkins” are a case in point. While, technically, Yugoslavia was not a Soviet satellite, it was, of course, a communist regime under Tito. All of the various factions in that area were pretty much held in check during 40 plus years. But upon dissolution of the central government, all the old divisions and hatreds flaired up almost overnight. There is no good reason to believe that the same thing won’t happen sooner or later in Iraq. The Sunnis and Shiites ahd the Kurds all pretty much hate each other. Saddam kept them all under wraps during his bloody tenure, but the hatred just festered under the surface. Now it is nearing full bloom.

    There is little evidence to suggest that the U.S. can, through either military or diplomatic means, resolve these differences, or even put an effective lid on them. This is just another addition to the stack of reasons why we should have never ventured into Iraq in the first place.


  • Silver Surfer

    I have a different view of history. In my historical world view, America was founded on treason, and by traitors to the Crown. Despite America having kicked on very nicely thanks very much, I will always believe that it was never really oppressed prior to the revolution (and most of the populace didn’t think so either) and that Machiavelli-style machinations that gave benefit (both material and political) to some of the founding fathers and their cohorts were the real reason behind the American revolution. In my view of history, different to yours, a desire to keep slavery, and the wealth it created that was in danger of being taken away by Britian’s growing anti-slavery movement, was one of those reasons.

    That it all – eventually, and after much bloodshed – turned out to be good in the end is a moot point if you take my view of it all. I am, on this blog and possibly with a couple of other voices in the wilderness, a dissenter.

    Ah, so here’s the rub … an American holding those same views would probably be regarded as somewhat of a traitor and the voicing of them regarded as treasonous (even if not officially). Without doubt, at the very least they would be regarded as unAmerican, which all just goes to show that dissent CAN be treason, it just depends on the type of dissent and your point of view.

    So, as just reward for having got into bed with the duplicitous Frenchman Lafayette (is there any other kind?), it should be off with your heads … you traitorous pack of frog-lovers.

    To the tower, the lot of you!

  • gonzo marx

    well, how soon they forget the heinous taxation as well as the Hessian atrocities…

    but that’s ok, always expect the losers to have a different view of things



  • Silver Surfer

    Australia wasn’t involved, so we’re not losers. We just ended up with a nice flag and a Queen (no, not THAT kind, a proper one, silly ….).

    But I still think you are traitors. Perhaps the lack of loyalty is what now causes the problems besetting the American colonies??

  • gonzo marx

    coming from Convicts…i’ll wear the appellation proudly

    besides, my Oath is to defend and uphold the Constitution…not any silly figurehead monarchy of inbred bluebloods


  • Silver Surfer

    And Gonz, on a more serious note, the truth is, the average American in the colonies had it MUCH better than the average Briton at home.

    I digress, though … I think the Crown had a point: “we provide you with a great standard of living (for 1775), and military protection, therefore you owe us something – and what’s few pounds in taxes,” I ask. Possibly the taxes imposed on the American colonies weren’t that bad in the great scheme of things.

    Look at all the bloody taxes you pay now. You’d have been better off in the long run sticking with the strength.

    Representation? Pah … where’s it got ya?

  • gonzo marx

    well, far different structure of government and taxation that the UK for certain

    since i wasn’t around then, i can’t speak confidently about all that History

    such as …who were we being militarily defended from?…not the French or the Natives…was Norway going to invade and Britain stopped them?

    nah..lots of stuff and nonsense colonial imperialist bullshit

    don’t like it when they did it, and still don’t like it now when the U.S. is doing it

    never ends well…i cite India and Hong Kong as well as the U.S. on that one, plenty of other examples…

    but you get the Idea


  • Silver Surfer

    Gonz: “Coming from Convicts…i’ll wear the appellation proudly.”

    As do we Gonz, as do we. We never took their shillings. But we didn’t rebel either.

    We just learned all their sports (except soccer) and mastered these so well we set about beating them at these sports for eternity, thus endlessly compounding their misery in a way no revolution could have done.

  • Silver Surfer

    Actually, gonz … you (and we) have virtually identical structures of government … an elected legislative branch and an executive branch.

    The Queen heads up the executive branch for us, the same way the president does in the US. Except she’s not allowed to interfere.

    And different taxation structures. No way mate.

    Taxes is taxes. All imposed by governments on the working man.

  • gonzo marx

    we elect our executive, and can impeach them..they ain’t born to the job

    and the tax structures are very different, from my observations in the UK..can’t say about you Aussies, ain’t been there

    we are Brothers, bastard children of Britain..with the Canadians being the nice kids

    but for all our similarities, there are stark differences as well

    like Football…no not soccer ya sillies…or Rugby either

    but yas get the point


  • Silver Surfer

    The only member of the executive branch not elected is the Queen.

    But that has its good side, as I say. She’s not allowed to piss about with the decisions of the elected government.

    Whereas a US president has a little bit of a conflict of interest. Especially this one …

  • The problem with the queen is that, well, she’s a queen. Other than ceremonial bull pucky she has no meaningful function except to spend a good deal of the working man’s taxes maintaining her and her family’s security and lifestyle. Someday, perhaps the English monarchy will just collapse from its own weight and lack of relevance. but I won’t be holding my breath.

    If there is a government, there will be taxes. It’s often been said that we get the government we deserve. A government cannot survive, nor can it provide services without significant amounts of cash. Opponents of taxation long for smaller government, or no government at all. But I often wonder just how many of the services, oversight and protections most governments provide would those people be willing to do without?

    It’s easy for many, primarily those of some means, to say we don’t need welfare or unemployment insurance, social security, medicare and medicaid, or regulation of business and the work place, or aid to education or the arts, or national parks, etc. But what about the military? What about international relations? What about providing and regulating currency? What about building and maintaining the highway systems, communication systems, emergency response, the court system, and more? Do opponents truly believe that all of that could be properly and adequately handled in the private sector?

    I can see it now: “Bob and Linda’s ‘Kick Ass’ Army and Storm Door Company. Look over our ‘First Platoon’line of security doors,” or

    “Get your kicks on Gillette’s new ‘smooth as silk’ Route 66. Don’t settle for those other rough and stubly imitations,” or

    “Hey, you want justice? Bring your beefs before ‘Willy the Mole’s Bar and Grill.’ You’ll be glad you did. Check out Willy’s ‘Acquittal Special.” Two ‘Not Guiltys – the third one’s free.” (offer expires midnight 10/31/07, some limitations apply. Check the reverse page of your subpoena for details.)

    That’d all be great.