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The Lessons of 9/11

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If the talking points of the left are to be believed – and they shouldn’t automatically to be discounted – nothing the Administration has done in the War on Terror since 9/11 has accomplished anything meaningful in protecting us from terrorism. Yet the fact remains that we haven’t suffered a significant terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11. One constant point hammered on by critics of the War on Terror is that it’s being used as a ‘fearmongering’ tactic to build political capital by frightening voters into thinking they can only be safe by voting for Republicans in 2006. It’s an interesting perspective, but if President Bush is fearmongering he has an awfully strange way of going about it. I may be concerned about some of Bush’s methods, but his willingness to go to extremes in pursuing terrorists is more reassuring than frightening. Being told our government is doing everything they can to fight terror as he does speech after speech, ought to be what we want to hear, not something that scares us.

In a recent letter to supporters, Tom Matzzie of MoveOn.org suggested some talking points for letters to legislators which sound an awful lot like fearmongering in their own right.

And our story is important to tell—both to protect America and our democracy. Here are some key points to discuss in your letter (all of them are listed in the online tool too).
Five years after 9/11, the Bush administration has failed to keep us safe.
The war in Iraq has diverted attention from protecting America from terrorism.
The war in Iraq has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping Al Qaeda attract new recruits. Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose.
Katrina showed all of us that the Republicans aren’t able to protect America at home. The Republican Congress hasn’t followed through on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Mostly valid points, though the fact remains that there hasn’t been a terrorist attack on US soil in the five years since Al Qaeda brought down the Twin Towers, and an Osama on the run seems to be far less effective than he was sitting at the middle of his terror network and pulling every string. But at the same time, isn’t this rhetoric just as overblown as anything coming from the right? What’s more frightening or a better example of fearmongering than shouting over and over again that the people who are supposed to be protecting us aren’t doing their job? There’s clearly plenty of political opportunism to go around.

So, the War on Terror has produced mixed results. Less than half of the 9/11 Commission’s recomendations have been implemented, Osama remains at large, and there’s a big mess in Iraq. On the other hand, a lot more terrorists are getting caught than are pulling off successful attacks, that mess in Iraq is killing potential terrorists faster than it makes them, and airport security is enough of a pain in the ass to discourage regular people from flying, much less terrorists.

What both the left and the right agree on is that ‘everything has changed since 9/11′. But has it really?

Before 9/11 the perception was that the United States was not particularly threatened by terrorism. Worldwide we’re talking about one major attack against a US target every five years on average, including domestic terrorism and other non-muslim terrorist groups. Take a look at a list of terrorist attacks sometime and compare the number of attacks in Israel or the Philippines or Ireland or India with the attacks in the US. Even since 9/11 we’re not exactly under constant, ongoing attack. There’s been no appreciable increase in the frequency of attacks on civilian targets or in attempted and foiled attacks in the period since 9/11 when compared with any earlier period. 9/11 may have made us more concerned about terrorism, but there’s no indication that terrorism is more of a real threat than it was 20 years ago when we hardly thought about it.

Admittedly, every successful terrorist attack is a tragedy – none more so than the 9/11 attacks. And there are terrorists out there every day planning how they’re going to attack us. They’re a genuine threat. But putting aside the magnitude of their success on 9/11, despite all the hate the terrorists may have for us they haven’t been able to pull off that many actual successful attacks. We may not be doing the best job of protecting ourselves, but it’s clearly no easy task to mount a successful terrorist attack of any significant scale. If it were easy there are enough terrorists and enough targets that we’d be facing attacks on a daily or at least a weekly basis.

9/11 was five years ago, but despite the time which has passed we still lack perspective. The attack was dramatic and horrifying and our reaction to it has been somewhat irrational. As our political factions opportunistically use the memory of 9/11 to advance their interests, we follow along wallowing in despair and nostalgia and fantasies of revenge – none of which are particularly positive reactions, especially this far out from the actual events.

Here are some hard facts we ought to be considering on this anniversary.

• In a world where there is oppression, economic inequity and religious fanaticism there is going to be terrorism. It will never go away unless those causes are eliminated, and those causes cannot realistically be eliminated even by a nation as wealthy and powerful as the United States. This does not mean we shouldn’t make a reasonable effort to help around the world, but we have to know our limits and weigh the costs against the potential benefits. The simple truth is that with every job we create and every TV show we export to the third world we do more to fight terrorism in the long run by raising up their economies and spreading our cultural values than we do with all our threats and surveillance.

• Terrorist demands are not relevant or worthy of consideration. When the terrorists tell us that our support of Israel is the reason we are attacked, why do we care? Our support or lack of support of other nations should be based on their merits, not the opinions of their enemies, and if there’s anyone whose demands don’t deserve serious consideration it’s people who think that killing innocents is a way to solve problems and get what they want.

• The concept of a War on Terror is inherently flawed. You cannot win a war on a phenomenon which is natural symptom of the dynamics of society. We are treating the symptoms of a disease which cannot be cured. Up to a point this is a worthwhile tool of self-defense, but there are absolute limits to how effective such efforts can be and a point at which the cost we pay to distract and interdict terrorism is higher than is justified. We should certainly hunt down and eliminate every terrorist and terrorist group we can, but grand gestures like a foreign war designed as a terrorist roach motel may be too costly to sustain in the long term.

• There will be another 9/11. It’s inevitable that another major attack against Americans or on American soil will happen, and probably within the relatively near future. We need to accept this and learn to live with it. Lots of people around the world live with terrorism as a daily threat and just deal with it and go on with their lives. We should take a lesson from the example of Israel and be a bit more stoic about problems which we cannot solve – and perhaps avoid some of the mistakes they’ve made in the area of excessive reprisals.

• No amount of terrorism is going to destroy the United States. The nation is just too big, too rich and too much of a juggernaut to treat the occasional terrorist attack as more than a bump in the road. If anything the occasional terrorist attack should just make us stronger, break up our complacency and remind us of the values we have to stand for and preserve. We’re in a lot more danger from the overreaction of government in prosecuting the war on terror when they make changes to our laws which run counter to the principles on which our nation was founded. There’s no point in fighting terrorism if we give up those things which make America unique in the process.

I would not argue that we should forget 9/11 or those who died so unfairly on that day. But letting that act of violence redefine us as a nation is not a healthy response. Lowering ourselves to the level of those who attack us by stealth and terror merely weakens us and strenghtens them.

Every time you step out of your door you take your life in your hands and accept a certain amount of risk as part of life. We do what we can to minimize that risk, but that does not mean that we need to live in fear. Those who tell us we do, whether on the right or the left, whether because of terrorists or food additives or global warming, aren’t doing us any favors and are advancing their interests, not ours.

The world if full of problems and terrorism is one of them. It’s a hell of a lot better to deal with problems than to run from them and to accept the world as it is rather than live in denial. The events of 9/11 awakened us to the fact that terrorism is part of our lives. We have to decide if it makes more sense to accept that simple fact, deal with it and go on with our lives, or to continue to shake our fists and curse fate and live in a state of irrational fear forever.

Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

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About Dave Nalle

  • Lumpy

    Refreshing to see someone saying what our leaders are too gutless or opportunistic to admit.

  • Arch Conservative

    You cannot win a war on a phenomenon which is natural symptom of the dynamics of society.”

    Not even if you change society Dave?

    I mean many Iraquis hated Saddam and didn’t hate the US as much as some might have us think but were too afraid of him and his henchman to speak out.

    Many Iranians don’t particulary care for thier current ragime and would like to live more westernized lives but also live in fear of thier leaders.

    What if someone were to help topple those regimes and allow the voices currently living in fear to come to the forefront in those nations?

    How long would that go in negating the radicals in those nations?

    It’s only been several years for us in Iraq but people are unhappy because they are not a full fledged functioning democracy as of yet?

    Are the only things worth doing those things which can be done quickly?

    just a few thoughts.

  • Dean

    “the fact remains that we haven’t suffered a significant terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11.”

    Not quite.

    We are told repeatedly we could be attacked again any day and this threat will be with us for decades.

    America suffers from a constant fear which has been engendered by our leaders.

    Terrorism is intended to create fear.

    The palpable fear in America is significant and is a form of “terrorism.”

  • Lumpy

    As the article pointed out your argument is BS, Dean. the government reassuring us that they are proactive in fighting terror is more like the opposite of terrorizing us. If anything they are spreading false hope.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Our destiny in this war will be decided in 2008.

    If we elect a mainstream Republican or a hawkish/moderate Democrat, Bush’s “War On Terror” will have been “ratified” in much the same way that FDR’s “New Deal” was ratified by Eisenhower and Reagan’s small gov’t message was ratified by Clinton. That will mean we are in it for the long haul.

    But if a leftist/pacifist Democrat or an isolationist Republican wins in 2008, then the entire concept of the “War On Terror” will be washed away as the feverish nightmare of a single President.

    And this matters a great deal. Because it will determine the course of the West’s foreign policy for decades…

  • MCH

    “And this matters a great deal. Because it will determine the course of the West’s foreign policy for decades…”

    Another thing that will harm the West’s foreign policy for decades is the dwindling size of our armed forces, specifically deteriorated due to the avoidance of service by able bodied men who are willing to allow others to fight their battles for them…

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Dave “…it’s being used as a ‘fearmongering’ tactic to build political capital by frightening voters into thinking they can only be safe by voting for Republicans in 2006″

    Bush’s biggest problem is the American Short Attention Span Syndrome. Bush knows that his strongest support from both sides of the aisle has been when we were all afraid of the consequences of war. The attack, the counterattack, the fear of the deaths of our sons and daughters on the battlefield. We were all so impressed with our battlefield victories because of the superior American technology, but the American people beginning how little that actually got us without enough troops on the ground to support those goals.

    It’s my theory that he’s slowly trying to make us more and more gradually “patriotic” leading up to November.

    In fact I wouldn’t be suprised if bin Laden wasn’t located, but not caught just before the November elections.

    We’re too used to the status quo, so he’s got to make the “status quo” scarier to keep us on his side.

    Trouble is the American voter is getting bored with the whole thing and nothing will solve that problem accept bin Laden’s head on a plate.

    Jet

  • Mohjho

    Good post Dave
    Let us not forget our own domestic terror in Oklahoma City. Seems we tend to overlook the near to focus on the far. We need a sober and rational strategy that includes the help of all types of Americans, not just a small cross section of our population. One of the best places to start is our own government agencies. I always felt that we could use the resource that we have more effectively.

    The fiasco of Katrina showed a large flaw in how we staff and lead large government agencies. In business, if something doesnt work as advertised, it gets changed. Our own security agencies should be no different. Political pandering is a sure fire way to screw up communications and clog effective action to fast moving situations.

    We have the means, talent, money, and will. We just need a balanced and experienced leadership. There are talented people who live there whole lives fighting the bad guys, these are the ones that should be leading the fight.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You cannot win a war on a phenomenon which is natural symptom of the dynamics of society.”

    Not even if you change society Dave?

    I did discuss this in the article. Yes, if you change society you can remove the motivation for terrorism. But even the US with all its wealth and power cannot change all the downtrodden societies in the world. We can’t do it by force and we certainly can’t do it quickly through free trade and spreading capitalism gradually.

    What if someone were to help topple those regimes and allow the voices currently living in fear to come to the forefront in those nations?

    Is that really our job?

    How long would that go in negating the radicals in those nations?

    It would just create a different set of radicals in most cases if we don’t address the underlying problems, and I’m not sure that we CAN address those problems on a large enough scale at a price we can afford.

    It’s only been several years for us in Iraq but people are unhappy because they are not a full fledged functioning democracy as of yet?

    The fundamental question is whether it’s possible to impose democracy from above when the people aren’t ready for it. For years the US has chosen to back benevolent pro-capitalist dictators rather than democracy because it’s cheaper and seems to work better. Maybe that policy hasn’t been such a terrible thing. It’s possible that countries like Iraq just aren’t ready for democracy.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    What if someone were to help topple those regimes and allow the voices currently living in fear to come to the forefront in those nations?

    Isn’t that exactly what we went into Iraq for? You know, the war we’ve screwed up so badly, everyone wants out us of it?

    Nope, US hasn’t got the heart, the guts or the balls to do that, Arch.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    It’s my theory that he’s slowly trying to make us more and more gradually “patriotic” leading up to November.

    Nothing wrong with patriotism, Jet. If we’re all stoked up on it then we should go to the polls and vote both parties out on their asses just for pandering the way they do.

    In fact I wouldn’t be suprised if bin Laden wasn’t located, but not caught just before the November elections.

    It actually wouldn’t surprise me at all either.

    We’re too used to the status quo, so he’s got to make the “status quo” scarier to keep us on his side.

    Then why am I so totally not scared at all?

    Trouble is the American voter is getting bored with the whole thing and nothing will solve that problem accept bin Laden’s head on a plate.

    Ah, perhaps I am just bored with the sturm und drang. After a certain point it does become hard to take seriously.

    Dave

  • SHARK

    Davey, mark yer calendar: In general, I would agree with you on most of your major points here,

    ALTHOUGH I HAVE A few {minor?} quibbles:

    1) “…that mess in Iraq is killing potential terrorists faster than it makes them…”

    YOU MUST BE JOKING!?

    Davey, here’s the MAIN problem that this “liberal” has ALWAYS had with GW Bush and Iraq: that ill-advised invasion diverted military, treasury, and attention from the [new Sharkian term]-> DEFENSE against Terrorism — while creating a huge network/urban recruiting/training center for future terrorists.

    It also upped the opposition of moderate (et al) Muslims in the region.

    It also isolated the US from many European and Asian allies;

    it also burned up the post-9/11 SYMPATHY/GOOD WILL FACTOR that many foreigners felt for Americans.

    And BTW: I notice none of the Bush-Iraq war supporters have mentioned THE MOST important story in years: THE KISS between the President of IRAQ and the President of IRAN.

    HELLO! — Democratically elected, freedom-loving, Shiite THEOCRACY in Iraq!

    GOODBYE! — $300 Billion and almost 3000 American G.I. lives!

    2) “…every job we create and every TV show we export to the third world we do more to fight terrorism in the long run by raising up their economies and spreading our cultural values than we do with all our threats and surveillance…”

    As applied to specifically radical Islamic nations/populations, this couldn’t be MORE WRONG.

    “They” don’t want our “economies”. They see Materialistic American-Consumer Greed as one of the major manifestations of Evil in the contemporary world. Same can be said about our “cultural values”: those “values” [in their minds, “LACK THEREOF”] are one of the major causes of their opposition to The West.

    (A few weeks ago, I saw a photo on the front page of the Sun. NY TIMES that showed a group of soft-porn “erotic” dancers performing for the troops in BAGHDAD. I know that’s just a good ol’ all-American USO type activity that Bob Hope would be proud of — but I couldn’t help thinking, “And we wonder WHY THEY HATE US… ahahaha…”)

    You don’t get it, Dave: unlike Russia and China — who were converted by Levis, Coke, and Rock and Roll — these motherfuckers DON’T WANT our bright shiney toys. They wanna live in their sacred, medieval ways — pray, beat their foreheads on the ground five times a day, and dress their oppressed women in outfits designed by Ahmad’s Tent & Awning, Inc.

    No amount of “economic” invasions will convert these folks: it only pisses ‘em off more. *LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE.

    *which means “quit lusting for their oil.”

    3) You fail to mention the dreaded “police investigation tactics” in the Defense Against Terrorists; early on, this epithet was used as a Marketing Tool — hurled at the dreaded pussywimp liberal leftists — in contrast to the GOP’s big-balled, testosterone fueled “let’s send in the Shock and Awe” approach.

    BIG MISTAKE. England and Israel have both shown that the most effective tool against terrorists is intelligence and clever police work. Thanks to election rhetoric on the part of the Big Blustery Elephant, we through the baby out with the bathwater. Time to bring it back — without calling those who advocate it “whimpy pussys”.

    =========

    Oh, and BTW:

    Despite Bush et al claims, the fact that we haven’t had another terrorist attack since 9/11 IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF BLIND LUCK.

    As far as attacking the US (and don’t forget, they want to get us where it hurts, which means Crippling Our Economy) — there are about a million different SIMPLE ways to do this — and believe me, they’re working on ‘em.

    PS: They’ll have NOTHING to do with airplanes.

  • SHARK

    Corrections:

    “through” should be “threw”
    “whimpy” should be “wimpy”

    But as I’ve said before around here:

    Yall don’t pay me enough to be perfect — and besides: I’m not a Proofreader; I AM A HUMAN BEING!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Being told our government is doing everything they can to fight terror as he does speech after speech, ought to be what we want to hear, not something that scares us.

    Sure it should. You’re right. But the key here is the phrase “doing everything they can.” Can in this case ought to mean “are permitted by law and the Constitution,” rather than “have the ability and the gumption to do even if legally we’re not supposed to.” It often seems to mean the latter these days, in which case, if we’re NOT scared then we’re not paying attention.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Wow, I think Shark just agreed with GWB in saying that the radical islamists hate us for our freedom – mark your calendars.

    Dave

  • troll

    has anyone seen a move away from oil dependency in the US economy over the past three years – ?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I have, troll. It’s happening slowly, but it’s happening. I plan to be completely oil free by the end of next year. By then my house will be completely solar and we will have replaced the last of our gas-only vehicles with one which will run on alternative fuels.

    I belong to a civic group in our local town which is full of ‘good old boy’ types. 20% or so of them are now driving alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles and the trend is increasing. Our local utility company offers substantial incentives for solarization and is required by federal law to buy back any excess power we produce for the grid. A guy down the street from me just put in some wind turbines – i think he’s nuts, but at least he’s trying.

    Dave

  • troll

    very cool Dave…there’s the basis for optimism indeed – but the big MSM news is the availability of more oil in the gulf

  • Nancy

    I’d like to buy an alternative fuel vehicle as my next one, but meanwhile there’s the problem that there are damn few places around here to fuel up at. At least, I don’t see any ‘alternative fuel’ stations around. So, if you get one, where the hell do you refuel it?

    As for solar, the government should be doing more to mandate all new development must be solar withint the next few years. Except in exceptionally rainy/overcast areas like Seattle, there’s no excuse for it.

  • http://www.blogger.com Georgio

    I like the article Dave but I like Sharks comments better and if you think he is echoing Bush than Bush needs a new communications expert ,,,but I think Shark is saying a hell of alot more than you are giving him credit for..It is the reason I was against this war in the first place ..THAT WE ARE NEVER GOING TO CHANGE ISLAM .

  • Nancy

    I should have said this first: excellent article, Dave, and for the most part I agree with you totally, especially your comments #9. It ISN’T our job to go around changing regimes we don’t like world-wide. If people don’t like their governments, it’s up to THEM to either vote them out or overthrow them, and if they’re too wimpy & spineless to do the latter, then that’s their problem – not ours. As for imposing “Democracy”, especially the BushCo version of it, I don’t in the least blame other nations for not wanting to import the corruption-ridden, corporate-ruled, plutocratic version the US currently has; frankly it’s no better than the home-grown absolutist regimes they already have; it just pays lip service to pretending to be a true democracy. Even the claim that the US is a nation subject to the rule of law has become a hollow joke, thanks to Dubya and his ‘above the law’ behavior.

    Nor is it our part to make the whole world prosperous, or play policeman to the world. We’ve been doing that now for 100 years or more, and all we’ve gotten for it is the world’s resentment & hatred for interfering, however good our intentions. After all, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    The US would go ballistic if a foreign power – say China – were to try to interfere with our internal affairs on the scale on which we so arrogantly interfere with others'; we go berserk when foreign interests even try the relatively mild expedient of influence peddling thru monetary contributions to electioneering politicians.

    And now Junior is postulating a new religious revelation directly from God to him: the advent of the 3rd American Religious Revival. Just in time for the elections, he’s had a message from God. Oh, cripes, just what we need: Dubya is back on this kick about being convinced he’s the 2nd coming. Is there no end to this man’s delusions, and those willing to suck up to him by telling him he’s right? He’s plainly schizoid, and we’re letting him function as president? He needs to be in a padded cell – or a jail cell – not the W.H.

  • SHARK

    Jeezus, Dave, I throw you a bone and you fuck me.

    Okay.

    Dave.

    You always accuse me of “not reading” your shit: well back atcha, asshole.

    RE: “…Shark just agreed with GWB in saying that the radical islamists hate us for our freedom…”

    SHOW ME WHERE, Professor Double-Speak.

    I din’t say doodly shit about freedom, Dave. I said they hate our greed, our materialism, our lust for toys, our pornography — our valuing the sensual over the spiritual.

    They couldn’t care less about “freedom” and democracy, but they don’t “hate” us for ‘em. It’s just not the nature of a close TRIBAL CULTURE to want individualistic attributes such as PROFITS, GREED, FREEDOM, and VOTES/DEMOCRACY.

    Tribal fucks want a Chieftain to TELL ‘EM WHAT TO DO and WHEN TO DO IT.

    The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you’ll have some mental tools for dealing with **”Islamo-Fascism”.

    **coined by K. Rove at the Ken Starr Memorial Media & Language Strategy Center beneath Langley, Virginia.

  • SHARK

    Oh, and Davey, since you ignored my little olive branch, let’s talk about THE KISS.

    And your predictions about Iraq.

    I swear ta Gawd, Nalle, I can go back on BC and find about half a million places where — when discussing Iraq — you were wrong and I was right.

    I know it hurts to admit that, but I can prove it with a pencil and paper.

    Don’t make me do it.

    Apologize.

    On yer knees.

    Now.

  • SHARK

    And I posted 3 points — all of which you ignored.

    And I’d still like to hear about…

    the…

    KISS.

    Surrender, Dorothy!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Sorry, Shark. You so rarely make a comment I can take seriously at all that I’m not used to responding to you the way I would to a normal commentor. Mostly I just ignore everything you post, a reaction which you create by your extremism and irrationality. If you’re going to change styles alltogether and actually post a comment worth reading maybe you should warn us or something.

    As for the ‘they hate us for our freedom’ comment, it originates in what you say here:

    “They” don’t want our “economies”. They see Materialistic American-Consumer Greed as one of the major manifestations of Evil in the contemporary world. Same can be said about our “cultural values”: those “values” [in their minds, “LACK THEREOF”] are one of the major causes of their opposition to The West.

    (A few weeks ago, I saw a photo on the front page of the Sun. NY TIMES that showed a group of soft-porn “erotic” dancers performing for the troops in BAGHDAD. I know that’s just a good ol’ all-American USO type activity that Bob Hope would be proud of — but I couldn’t help thinking, “And we wonder WHY THEY HATE US… ahahaha…”)

    These things are representative of the freedom which is characteristic of the west. Consumerism, lack of cultural values, porn and the like are all part of the excess of liberty which we stand for. We have these things because our society does not place restrictions on how we behave, because our society values individual liberty. When you say that it’s our hedonism which pisses off the moslems – which is certainly not incorrect, if also not the complete picture – you are saying exactly the same thing in a more detailed and specific way as GWB is when he says ‘they hate us for our freedom.’ Decadence and hedonism ARE an expression of freedom.

    Sorry for goading you about it, but I don’t think you can disagree with this. Well, you can, but you’ll be contradicting yourself.

    This is separate from your point that we cannot change islam. On that point I think you are fundamentally incorrect. Any culture can be subverted and they wouldn’t react so negatively to us if they didn’t think that we WERE subverting them culturally and economically.

    Our weapon is decadence and hedonism and they are certainly vulnerable to it on an individual basis and as nations. Certain Islamic nations have embraced western values and been changed by them. Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Dubai, Bahrain and Turkey have all been corrupted to a greater or lesser extent, either by our culture or our wealth. In Iran, which is our main opponent here, their population was massively westernized and that’s why they are such hardcore fundamentalists. They saw their country losing what they saw as islamic values and an element of the population reacted against that and turned to religious extremism.

    The westernized part of the population largely fled the country as also happened in Lebanon. They’re now living in Europe and the US where they have become even more westernized and accepting of our values. Why do you think we have millions of moslems living in the US who aren’t up in arms and blowing things up? It’s because they’ve adapted to our culture and have come to like it.

    And that’s another problem they have to deal with. Our culture is inherently accepting of other lifestyles and theres is not. Moslems can come to the West and preserve the basics of their culture and be accepted. Westerners cannot move into fundamentalist Islamic countries and be accepted if they continue to live as Westerners. That is a sign of great cultural weakness, and their intellectuals are very aware of this. Clannish and exclusionary cultures just don’t hold up well in the modern world over the long term.

    As for your other point about the War in Iraq not killing terrorists, the numbers certainly don’t seem to agree with you. But the point is debatable, because we don’t really know how well recruiting is going for Al Qaeda. All we know is that would be terrorists flock to Iraq and are subsequently killed by the thousands. I find it improbable that our actions in one country are enough to generate an infinite amount of anger and terrorist conversion in countries connected only by religion. There are a finite number of people – even in Islam – who are willing to give up their lives for a cause which doesn’t immediately impact them. If those people keep coming to Iraq, eventually there won’t be any of them left.

    And BTW, there’s a reason why the 9/11 hijackers were mostly Saudis. The sad truth is that a lot of the arabs who flock to the terrorist banner aren’t capable of being functional international terrorists. There are very few educated, literate and skilled arabs who are willing to die for Allah. The better educated they are the less radical they tend to be. Most of the Yemenis and Somalis who embrace terrorism are barely out of the middle ages culturally and can’t pass themselves off as civilized enough to get on an airplane or immigrate to America. All they’re good for is strapping on a bomb and pointing towards Israel.

    As for our lack of terrorist attacks being sheer luck, I believe I said the same thing in the article. It was sheer luck before 9/11 and it’s sheer luck now. Of course the luck is produced by the difficulties involved in finding, recruiting and organizing viable terrorist cells. International terrorism isn’t easy to pull off for a variety of reasons, and that’s our biggest protection. Also most of the terrorists who get caught in the west get caught because one of their number is ‘corrupted’ by living in the west and would rather stay there than die in a suicide attack, so he betrays his cell. Another example that our cultural subversion works.

    Tribal fucks want a Chieftain to TELL ‘EM WHAT TO DO and WHEN TO DO IT.

    Which is exactly what I said in #9, Shark.

    And what’s all this about ‘the KISS’? Are we talking about the painting, the band or the Philip Jose Farmer short story, all of which are probably offensive to Islam.

    And BTW, there’s no comma in ‘Surrender Dorothy’. The witch was not asking dorothy to surrender, but was asking the people of Oz to surrender her.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Dave, if the better educated they are, the less radical they tend to be, how do you explain away Osama & his heirarchy – all of them elite, highly educated (mostly western-educated, BTW), professionals, mostly from wealthy families?

    I myself am constantly revulsed by the greedy, materialistic, hedonistic culture of lowest common (in all senses of the word) level most western (& in particular, American) culture has sunk to. If it repulses me, I can surely understand how & why it offends others around the world. However, I have the vast advantage of living in the US and seeing the good that offsets the bad, and knowing that very few persons actually behave or dress like the hollywood/TV/MTV images, and experiencing the outstanding facets of American culture that these foreign people can’t see or experience. I don’t know what the answer is to that one. Perhaps we are a little TOO free, at least as far as media abuse of the public airwaves, etc. is concerned. In that I have to join with the more reactionary crowd who do favor a degree of censorship, since obviously the media/hollywood/TV etc. cannot be trusted to control themselves where prurience & violence are concerned: anything for a nickel, no matter how offensive or detrimental to viewers (especially younger ones) it may be. I do wish there was some way to let these people know we aren’t like that, not really, that this is all hollywood hype & the media trying to prostitute anything they possibly can for a buck.

    Regarding the witch: how do you know she was addressing the people of the city & not Dorothy? I checked the book & the movie, and no direct indication was made of her intent, therefore it’s possible either version is correct (with the comma or without).

    Anyway, really good article.

  • SHARK

    re: THE KISS

    Dave, what’s up with your reading comprehension?

    (hehe)

    Comment #12: “I notice none of the Bush-Iraq war supporters have mentioned THE MOST important story in years: THE KISS between the President of IRAQ and the President of IRAN.

    PS: re. The Kiss — you left out the Brancusi, smarty pants.”

  • SHARK

    re. splitting hairs:

    I just don’t think equating “hedonism” with American freedom and democracy — at least relative to “why they hate us” — is very helpful, Dave.

    Anyway, your response has so much wrong with it — and I have so little time right now —

    But I’ll leave these for others to eviscerate:

    ”:…there are very few educated, literate and skilled arabs who are willing to die for Allah. The better educated they are the less radical they tend to be.”

    “…I find it improbable that our actions in one country are enough to generate an infinite amount of anger and terrorist conversion in countries connected only by religion.”

    “…Decadence and hedonism ARE an expression of freedom.”

    (Tell that to Goering and Mussolini.)

    “…Any culture can be subverted… they wouldn’t react so negatively to us if they didn’t think that we WERE subverting them culturally and economically.”

    Well fucking DUH!

    I’ll be back. : )

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Sorry Shark, having spent time in that culture I know that kisses between men are a commonplace greeting. It didn’t even register with me.

    And from #28 I conclude that you have some quibbles, but basically acknowledge my point that they hate us for our hedonism and that hedonism is permissable in our culture because of our freedom.

    What Goering and Mussolini had was the sick kind of degeneracy that hides beneath totalitarian regimes, and that’s enjoyed by folks like bin Laden and Saddam too. It’s not the open, free-love, porno-flogging, humanistic craziness which you and I embrace and which scares the bejabbers out of the control freaks in robes who run the mosques and madrassas.

    Dave

  • Plumrose

    Love that last paragraph.

  • MCH

    “And BTW, there’s no comma in ‘Surrender Dorothy’. The witch was not asking dorothy to surrender, but was asking the people of Oz to surrender her.”
    – Dave Nalle, last paragraph of #25

    “If you’re going to change styles alltogether and actually post a comment worth reading maybe you should warn us or something.”
    – Dave Nalle, first paragraph of #25

    At least SHARK can spell altogether, English major. How’s the saying go…take the beam out of your own eye, before worrying about the sliver in someone’s else…?

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    The witch was skywriting to the people of Oz. No comma.

  • SHARK

    Nalle: “…having spent time in that culture I know that kisses between men are a commonplace greeting. It didn’t even register with me.”

    Davey, IT WAS BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT OF IRAQ AND THE PRESIDENT OF IRAN.

    And in case you missed it, (as of today) we’ve spent 2,672 American lives + 19,910 American wounded + $300+ BILLION to “give” Iraq a “democracy” that voted for a stealth Shiite theocracy which is now IN BED WITH IRAN, aka “Axis of Evil”, aka “a radical Islamic nation developing Weapons of Mass Destruction,” aka “Bush’s Next War”.

    Iraq + Iran.

    That doesn’t bother you?

    =======

    NALLE: “…they hate us for our hedonism and that hedonism is permissable in our culture because of our freedom.”

    Okay, FUCKIT, Dave, have it yer way. They hate us for our freedom.

    [Jeesus, yer head is harder than Cheney’s dick during a tour of an off-shore oil rig.]

    =======

    re. “Surrender Dorothy” — I wasn’t asking the residents of Blogcritics to hand YOU over; I was asking YOU to get down on yer knees, admit that Bush’s Blunder is the biggest mistake in American foreign policy history — and beg for my forgiveness — and the forgiveness of ALL your past readers who put up with years of you trying to justify this ridiculous “war” in Iraq.

    : )

    Besides, you ever try to do a comma while sky-writing from a broom?

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Shark! Please not in front of the Klingons!

  • SHARK

    JET, first LOL I’ve had in days. Thanks, babe.

    =========

    One closing thought before I go to bed and have an Apocalyptic Dream starring me and a bunch of divorced, cat-owning, Birkenstock wearin’, Volvo-drivin’, America-hatin’ MoveOn.org post-menopausal females who plan to terrorize our once-great nation by parking bomb-laden catering trucks outside various rural gated-communities near Austin, Texas to the tune of Jimi Hendrix playing “Dixie”.

    “Be like the promontory against which the waves continually break, but it stands firm and tames the fury of the water around it.” – Meditations, *Marcus Aurelius

    “Let’s just hope Radical Islam ain’t the Colorado River to our Grand Canyon.” — Sharkus Alreetus

    **Professor Nalle’s Geology Professor during his undergraduate studies.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Hmmm “One closing thought before I go to bed and have an Apocalyptic Dream starring me and a bunch of divorced, cat-owning, Birkenstock wearin’, Volvo-drivin’, America-hatin’ MoveOn.org post-menopausal females who plan to terrorize our once-great nation by parking bomb-laden catering trucks outside various rural gated-communities near Austin, Texas to the tune of Jimi Hendrix playing “Dixie”.”

    I defy one of you genius English majors to diagram that sentence!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “In fact I wouldn’t be suprised if bin Laden wasn’t located, but not caught just before the November elections.”

    Yeah, because that “theory” wasn’t already mentioned, say, back in 2004…and 2002…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “Another thing that will harm the West’s foreign policy for decades is the dwindling size of our armed forces, specifically deteriorated due to the avoidance of service by able bodied men who are willing to allow others to fight their battles for them…”

    From here:

    The Department of Defense has announced its recruiting and retention statistics by the active and reserve components for the month of August. This marks the 15th consecutive month the active duty services have met or exceeded their goals.

    Active duty recruiting. All services exceeded their recruiting goals in August. The Army recruited 10,492 out of a goal of 10,050 (104 percent). The Navy recruited 4,090 out of a goal of 4,090 (100 percent). The Marine Corps recruited 4,320 out of a goal of 4,053 (107 percent). The Air Force recruited 3,167
    out of a goal of 3,156 (100 percent).

    Active duty retention. All services are projected to meet their retention goals for the current fiscal year.

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Oh THAT’S why they’re making everyone stay beyond their agreed upon hitches, the can claim it was reenlistmens towards their goals.

    Oh THAT’S why generals are screaming for more men in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I knew there was a plausable explanation.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Jet, picking through the Shark’s teeth, analyses and writes, “Hmmm ‘One closing thought before I go to bed and have an Apocalyptic Dream starring me and a bunch of divorced, cat-owning, Birkenstock wearin’, Volvo-drivin’, America-hatin’ MoveOn.org post-menopausal females who plan to terrorize our once-great nation by parking bomb-laden catering trucks outside various rural gated-communities near Austin, Texas to the tune of Jimi Hendrix playing ‘Dixie’.’

    I defy one of you genius English majors to diagram that sentence!”

    That wasn’t a sentence in the sense of the word we know it, it was a pre-attack clause – kind of like an old tobacco chewing coot working up his jaws just before spittin’ out his wad. I may not agree with what the Shark writes, but he does provide entertainment value…

  • MCH

    “The Department of Defense has announced its recruiting and retention statistics by the active and reserve components for the month of August. This marks the 15th consecutive month the active duty services have met or exceeded their goals. Active duty recruiting. All services exceeded their recruiting goals in August. The Army recruited 10,492 out of a goal of 10,050 (104 percent). The Navy recruited 4,090 out of a goal of 4,090 (100 percent). The Marine Corps recruited 4,320 out of a goal of 4,053 (107 percent). The Air Force recruited 3,167 out of a goal of 3,156 (100 percent).
    Active duty retention. All services are projected to meet their retention goals for the current fiscal year.”
    – RJ Elliott

    “I would have enlisted in the military, except all the positions were already taken by minorities.”
    – Trent Lott

  • Martin Lav

    Dave,
    For once I almost agree with you. Good article overall, but I can’t understand where you stand. I mean you’re like one of our politicians running for office or something.
    ????
    Shark is spot on with his hilarious commentary and I certainly couldn’t say it near as better ;)

    I think I’ll write a letter to GWB asking if he agrees that Freedom = “Decadence and hedonism” or is it just another word?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    MCH, is that Trent Lott quote for real or bogus? Who the fuck would say something that stupid?

    dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Davey, IT WAS BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT OF IRAQ AND THE PRESIDENT OF IRAN.

    I’ve seen photos of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam – what’s your point?

    Iraq + Iran.

    That doesn’t bother you?

    Do you want an answer that sounds good or the truth?

    re. “Surrender Dorothy” — I wasn’t asking the residents of Blogcritics to hand YOU over; I was asking YOU to get down on yer knees, admit that Bush’s Blunder is the biggest mistake in American foreign policy history — and beg for my forgiveness — and the forgiveness of ALL your past readers who put up with years of you trying to justify this ridiculous “war” in Iraq.

    Time to look up the definitions of ‘justify’ and ‘explain’. I’ve never tried to justify the Iraq war. That’s not really my job. I have tried to explain it from time to time.

    Besides, you ever try to do a comma while sky-writing from a broom?

    Good point.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I think I’ll write a letter to GWB asking if he agrees that Freedom = “Decadence and hedonism” or is it just another word?

    Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…

    So in terms of 60s folk/pop the Iraqis are really, really free now.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    Good catch Dave. :-)

  • MCH

    Ok, I goofed. It was actually Tom DeLay: “He and Quayle, DeLay explained to the assembled media in New Orleans, were victims of an unusual phenomenon back in the days of the undeclared Southeast Asian war. So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself. Satisfied with the pronouncement, which dumbfounded more than a few of his listeners who had lived the sixties, DeLay marched off to the convention.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Shark,

    Nice to see you arguing in a bit of free time…

    I usually don’t agree with Dave Nalle over Iraq, and while I do agree with him that there were weapons of mass destruction there (which were moved to Syria and will probably be used against us in the near future), and I’m sorta grateful that someone unhorsed Saddam Hussein, I do agree with you that America should get its big smiley face out of there before it loses more teeth and stops smiling altogether, even if my reasons have nothing to do with benefitting you guys. It is too much to hope for that Gog Bush will attack his daddy’s boss in Riyadh, but if your troops must die in the Middle East, at least they should die fighting the good fight.

    Nevertheless, you’re making way too big a stink over two Middle Eastern politicians kissing each other. You should consider that kiss in the same light that you would two mafia dons kissing each other in greeting. It’s important for the peons (you know, as in peed-on and pissed off) to see!!

    Also, as Dave points out, and as I can ratify, since I do live in this part of the world now, men kissing each other in greeting is no big deal, and can also be interpreted as a sign of comradeship.

    Nasser, when he was alive, had a kissing relationship with the Israeli general who negotiated his surrender in the Faluja pocket in the Negev in 1949 – he honestly respected the man, even though he was an enemy, and when they met secretly (and they did – even Nasser wanted a back door with which to talk to Israelis, no matter what his propaganda machine said about them), I’m sure that they greeted each other as two Middle Easterners do – with a kiss on the cheek.

    Heck, when I go to the Russian compound and see the old gabbái and retired book-store owner who is also a police volunteer, that is also how we greet each other – with a kiss on the cheek. I’d never do that with the all of other volunteers on Sunday night who come from Australia or the United States. They would be too embarrassed to do such a thing. But the old Jew from Hebron? He is a true child of the Middle East and a tzadík (a righteous man)- as I hope my grandchildren will be.

    So Sabbath peace to you and kisses,
    from the Hill of Frankincense (Ma’aléh Levoná) in the mountains north of Jerusalem – the Eternal Capital of the Jewish People

  • Clavos

    Uh, guys…

    Call me stupid, but I don’t think it’s the kiss shark’s railing about; it’s who were doing the kissing–he’s said it about three times…

  • http://absent-mind.blogspot.com/ Jet in Columbus

    Politics make stange bedfellows… Dear God now that picture’s stuck in my head…(ugh)

  • SHARK

    Clavos: “Call me stupid, but I don’t think it’s the kiss shark’s railing about; it’s who were doing the kissing–he’s said it about three times…”

    Thanks, Clavos, and yes…

    IT’S NOT ABOUT THE FUCKING KISS!

    Anywhoo, Dave has consistently avoided the issue — which tells me I’m onto something.

    And he still continues to avoid the implications — with:

    NALLE: “…the Iraqis have to deal with Iran. They share a rather large border. …In politics sometimes you have to deal with people you don’t particularly like…”

    Dave, if you think the Shiite majority in Iraq isn’t going to be a major partner/ally with Iran (if they already arent’), then you’re living in Oz.

    ============

    Ruvy’s portrait: [Shark] “…kind of like an old tobacco chewing coot working up his jaws just before spittin’ out his wad.”

    Ruvy, yer bright as a new penny and as sharp as a pocketful of toothpicks.

    Couldn’t have been more spot-on.

  • SHARK

    NALLE: “I never said any such thing. But shiites aren’t inherently evil, and a kiss is not the same thing as a treaty. Just trying to keep things in perspective.”

    Look Davey,

    hate to mention yer past record and all… but a year or two ago you wrote a bizarre

    insane

    and optimistic “essay” titled “No One Died Today in Iraq”.

    So — yeah, when you try to *“keep things In perspective” about Iraq;

    we’ll… um… pay attention.

    =================

    *Mere Historical Note:

    “To Keep Things In Perspective” is a common act [& phrase] in the history of humanity, sometimes used by relatively “good” men who try to publicly justify incredibly bad and dangerous Ideas.

    In the past, its initial appearance in public discourse — especially during critical large-scale militaristic endeavors — could often lead to things like

    torture
    murder
    mass graves

    and people who later say

    they didn’t know it was happening.

  • JP

    Dave, at least you’re willing to acknowledge the listing of our support for Israel as a reason we were attacked. I’m tired of euphemisms such as “they hate us becasue we’re free” taking the place of language that actually represents reality. Granted we have the freedom to support whomever we want, but our current administration is SPINELESS in its inability to even level with its own people about why our country was attacked. There’s a bone for you rabid righties out there, I called Bush Inc. “spineless.”

    I only disagree to a point with your comment that their demands are not worthy of consideration. While we should not change behavior only because of demands, if people (anyone) points out gross inequity–for example, the one-sided overkill of Israel towards Lebanon–it is worthy of consideration in that our people have a right to determine whether they actually do wish to consider supporting Israel in light of their behavior. Refusing to put reality into words for people to talk about–even if in the end we don’t change anything–is what I have a serious problem with.

    Call it my personal war on Ignorance.

  • JP

    One more thing. I loved what Jon Stewart had to say last night, “if this really is a fight for survival, up the ante–let’s World War 2 this thing–and if not, quit trying to scare everybody every 2 years.” I think we are all tired of this “fight for survival” in which we’re not willing to send in enough troops. And no, I have absolutley no confidence whatsoever in Rumsfeld’s estimates. He’s proven how poor a judge of military strategy he is. So I must DISagree and say that reassurance from Bush & Co. about “doing everything they can” is not very reassuring at all.

    Just my opinion.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    If we don’t have enough troops in Iraq right now, wherever shall we get them from?

    South Korea? Not likely, with North Korea rattling its sabers…

    Japan? No…see above…

    A military draft? Would Democrats seriously support that? Because the public surely wouldn’t…

    So, if this issue is just about putting more troops in the field of battle (as Democrats claim), where exactly are we going to find more troops?

    The military is currently meeting its voluntary recruiting goals, and has been doing so for over a year now…so, perhaps our volunteer military isn’t large enough? If so, the only option is a huge increase in defense spending (opposed by Democrats) and a military draft (oppposed by Democrats).

    In other words, a series of complaints offered from Democrats about our present situation isn’t the same thing as an actual solution to the problem…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    ALLE: “I never said any such thing. But shiites aren’t inherently evil, and a kiss is not the same thing as a treaty. Just trying to keep things in perspective.”

    Look Davey,

    hate to mention yer past record and all… but a year or two ago you wrote a bizarre

    insane

    and optimistic “essay” titled “No One Died Today in Iraq”.

    Maybe you should try reading beyond the titles of articles so that you have some idea what the hell you’re talking about. It was an accurate description of the situation in Iraq as it existed at that time – a kind of transitional period when the power of the elections and the creation of the Constitution was keeping things relatively calm. Any projections it made were incredibly qualified. It was all ‘if this’ and ‘if that’. Positive, but hardly polyanna, and a good counterpoint to the news at that time which wasn’t paying any heed to the positive things which actually were going on at the time – just as they ignore the positive signs that still exist there.

    “To Keep Things In Perspective” is a common act [& phrase] in the history of humanity, sometimes used by relatively “good” men who try to publicly justify incredibly bad and dangerous Ideas.

    In the past, its initial appearance in public discourse — especially during critical large-scale militaristic endeavors — could often lead to things like

    torture
    murder
    mass graves

    And not keeping things in perspective leads to crazy conspiracy theories accusations that these things are going on when they aren’t. The trick is to know what’s happening, but not get sucked into any of the various delusional worldviews being pedalled by particular factions. It means questioning what you’re told and going out and finding the real truth yourself. That’s keeping things in perspective.

    Dave

  • SHARK

    JP in #55 makes TWO excellent points. Good stuff!

    ========

    Dave, Goddammit. ARE YOU EVER FUCKING WRONG?

    Well, yes.

    You were wrong when you posted that Pollyanna shit about Iraq; you were wrong when — day after fucking day — in the face of mounting evidence that a blind motard shoulda been able to recognize — you refused to see that IRAQ IS A FUCKING DISASTER.

    And guess what, Davey? You were wrong with your predictions about the future of Iraq; because since we’ve been arguing about it (years) — and you’ve been publicly JUSTIFYING IT (years) — IT’S ONLY GOTTEN WORSE.

    You ever see the news, Dave? They’re finding about 100 DEAD BODIES A DAY IN IRAQ — and American soldiers can die just crossing the street.

    That’s either TOTAL FUCKING ANARCHY — or A CIVIL WAR. Pick yer “term”.

    As Iraq spirals further and further into a Viet Nam on Crack — it seems like you’re spiraling into a Semantic Weasel Position. Well, I’ve been around too long & heard too much bullshit from you to let you off the hook.

    So quit being such a chickenshit; quit playing with words to cover up what you’ve said in the past; quit using Bush-Orwellian-post WW II German-civilian phrases like “I didn’t justify the war; I only explained it.”

    Your words, your sentiments, your actions — especially hammered forth here in a “PUBLIC” forum — make you and those like you at least partially responsible for this mess, including the deaths of Iraqi civilians, the deaths of those almost 3,000 American soldiers, the wounds of those 19,000 American soldiers, and the fucking Apocalyptic Pandora’s Box that has been opened in Iraq for future Americans.

    Backing a Really Bad Idea is serious business, Nalle. At least be a man and take some responsibility for it.

  • Clavos

    Backing a Really Bad Idea is serious business, Nalle. At least be a man and take some responsibility for it.

    Oh, please, shark.

    As if anything anybody (including you, me and anyone else) says on BC makes one iota of difference to (or is even noted by) the people who run this or any other country.

    Hell, we don’t even convince each other…

    What hubris!

    BFD…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, Goddammit. ARE YOU EVER FUCKING WRONG?

    Of course I’m wrong from time to time. But there’s a difference between being wrong and having a different perspective from YOU. Just because I choose to hold out hope and see the positives of the situation in Iraq and you choose to ignore them that doesn’t make me wrong or you right. The situation there is more complex than that. It can be both your clusterfuck AND my hopeful but struggling democracy at the same time.

    And guess what, Davey? You were wrong with your predictions about the future of Iraq; because since we’ve been arguing about it (years) — and you’ve been publicly JUSTIFYING IT (years) — IT’S ONLY GOTTEN WORSE.

    I have never justified the invasion of Iraq as a foreign policy position. I don’t think it was the correct course to follow. Explaining it and hoping for a positive outcome are not the same as justifying it.

    You ever see the news, Dave? They’re finding about 100 DEAD BODIES A DAY IN IRAQ

    Actually, if you check the stats it’s only about 30 a day, but don’t let the truth slow down your rant.

    As Iraq spirals further and further into a Viet Nam on Crack — it seems like you’re spiraling into a Semantic Weasel Position. Well, I’ve been around too long & heard too much bullshit from you to let you off the hook.

    You seem to be laboring under the bizarre impression that there IS a ‘hook’ for me to be on. I have a simple position on Iraq which has virtually no connection to the arguments you keep making. You seem to have the bizarre idea that I support the war and that I think the casualty count is in any way relevant to US foreign policy. I don’t. No number of repetitions of the body count or additions of adjectives to describe how bad the situation is means anything to me. I’m fully aware that people are dying in Iraq and it’s a terrible thing. But the body count and the policy issues are entirely separate.

    So quit being such a chickenshit; quit playing with words to cover up what you’ve said in the past; quit using Bush-Orwellian-post WW II German-civilian phrases like “I didn’t justify the war; I only explained it.”

    No. I will continue to be truthful whether you like it or not. Trying to justify any war is a totally futile undertaking. I prefer to try to understand what’s going on and deal with it realistically.

    Backing a Really Bad Idea is serious business, Nalle. At least be a man and take some responsibility for it.

    Invading Iraq was the wrong foreign policy to pursue. However, once we had committed to that course, the responsible thing is to see it through, not to abandon the people of Iraq. That means finding some sort of solution for them – preferably one which lets us pull out in a reasonable period of time. You can either agree with that, or join MCH in publicly admitting that you really don’t give a fuck what happens to the people of Iraq.

    Dave

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I gotta say, Dave, that I for one DON’T give a fuck for the people of Iraq. It isn’t our place to impose democracy on them, it isn’t our place to keep them from shooting the crap out of each other over their stupid intertribal or religious bickering, and it wasn’t our place to ‘save’ them from Saddam Hussein. If they didn’t like him, they should have damn well risen up & gotten rid of him themselves, and they could have if any of them had had as much courage to confront him as they seem to have discovered when it comes to killing American troops trying to protect their sorry asses & rebuild their stinking sandhole country. Those stupid incompetent cowards can’t even learn to police themselves, let alone take over military operations, and they’ve had – what now? – 2 years or more to do it? How is it American recruits can go into boot camp & learn to be soldiers in about 3 months, while 2 years on the Iraqis still can’t get it together? Screw them. If we set a date for them to stand on their own feet, and stick to it, they’ll have impetus to learn, and fast – or sink. Either way, it ain’t our problem, and it never was until BushCo & that psychopath VP, Cheney, who pulls Junior’s strings, frontman for the big oil industry, insisted on getting us involved.

    The people of Iraq are a bunch of barbarians, which is precisely WHY Hussein worked so well there: because his kind of heavy hand is all they understand, and all they’re ever going to understand. These are people who think it’s peachy to fire off Kalishnikovs at weddings, for chrissakes. They act like deadly weapons are firecrackers. That’s the level we’re dealing with. Furthermore, these are the same crew that have been fighting & killing each other off over stupid tribal conflicts & Shia vs. Shiite arguments for centuries, if not millenia. It’s their freakin’ relaxation, their version of entertainment & recreation. The only time they abandon killing off each other is when they don’t have foreigners like US to target. Nothing we (or BushCo) do is going to change that.

    So, yes – leave them to their inclinations & let them work out their own fate. We’ve rebuilt Baghdad 6 times over by now, and they keep blowing it up. Fine. Let them live with it that way. We have discharged our obligations (if any) and then some. They didn’t want us there after 48 hours of Hussein’s ouster, so let us leave. And in future, let us keep our noses OUT of other peoples’ internal affairs. It’s not as if we don’t have plenty here in the US (like New Orleans or illegal immigration & drug dealing) to keep us busy.

    Which brings up one final comment: if Bush is so damned concerned about Iraq instead of the country he’s supposed to be president of, then he can resign his office AND his citizenship and GO to Iraq & run for office there. He has no business mixing the two, or obligating us to foot the bill for his megalomaniacal quasi-religious plans for corporate conquest under false pretenses that change weekly.

  • SHARK

    Nalle: “Invading Iraq was the wrong foreign policy to pursue.”

    heh.

    =======

    Clavos, re. Hubris —

    Dave and I share it in equal amounts; difference is: I’ll admit it.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I gotta say, Dave, that I for one DON’T give a fuck for the people of Iraq. It isn’t our place to impose democracy on them, it isn’t our place to keep them from shooting the crap out of each other over their stupid intertribal or religious bickering, and it wasn’t our place to ‘save’ them from Saddam Hussein.

    Nancy, I actually agree with most of this. Most Americans do not have any reason to care about the people of Iraq any more than anyone else does. That’s a personal position of mine which I don’t expect most people to share. I have more of a connection to the region and its people than 99% of Americans so I have a bit more empathy – up to a point.

    As for our role there, it should have been to let them go to hell in Saddam’s hand basket up until the point we invaded. At that point we became responsible for leaving them with some sort of functional government and something approximating peace and order. I don’t much care HOW we do it. IMO we could do fine by putting ‘saddam lite’ into power the way we did in other countries for the last 50 years.

    Right now, rather than pushing for a torture law and FISA reform, Bush ought to be pushing to repeal the 1977 prohibition on political assassination so we can deal with situations like Iraq the way they OUGHT to be dealt with.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I always thought that law was as stupid as they come, anyway. Who was prez when that went thru? It sounds like some sort of nonsense that Carter would have done.

    IMO we already have discharged our obligations, several times over. How many times do you feel we have to rebuild that damned pit – only to have them destroy it?

    We’re still in there because Bush can’t/won’t admit he was wrong, and Cheney is an armchair homicidal maniac.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I always thought that law was as stupid as they come, anyway. Who was prez when that went thru? It sounds like some sort of nonsense that Carter would have done.

    Indeed it was. And it was dumb as can be.

    IMO we already have discharged our obligations, several times over. How many times do you feel we have to rebuild that damned pit – only to have them destroy it?

    It’s not the rebuilding that concerns me particularly. We’ve already done plenty of that. It’s the stabilization.

    We’re still in there because Bush can’t/won’t admit he was wrong, and Cheney is an armchair homicidal maniac.

    Your first point is simplistic. It’s not that Bush can’t admit he’s wrong, it’s that he’s convinced he’s right. Not the same thing. And even you know your comment about Cheney isn’t true.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    “We’re still in there because Bush can’t/won’t admit he was wrong, and Cheney is an armchair homicidal maniac.”

    and we’re still having this argument because Nalle can’t/won’t admit he’s ever wrong and Clavos is his perpetual armchair/lap dog.

  • Clavos

    arf, arf!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    (pets Clavos on the head and gives him a chunk of bloody haunch o’ lefty)

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Grrrr, Chomp, chomp. Slurp.

  • SHARK

    Nalle: “…pets Clavos on the head and gives him a chunk of bloody haunch o’ lefty

    The Beauty of the Internet Discussion = Violent, text-based video game — wherein repressed, wimpy nerds in black trenchcoats can become macho men at the stroke of a keyboard.

  • Clavos

    Damn, sharky–didn’t know you’re a psychiatrist.

    I’m impressed–I think.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I think Shark has confused Blogcritics with the game of Adventure he was playing on his TRS-80 when he took his first hit of acid.

    Dave

  • SHARK

    Dave, just for the record:

    1) I don’t do video games. They’re for illiterate Motards.

    2) I was doing acid when Radio Shack’s most advanced computer was a friggin’ Abacus.

  • Clavos

    I was doing acid when Radio Shack’s most advanced computer was a friggin’ Abacus.

    oooo! You’re so naughty, shark!

  • MCH

    “The military is currently meeting its voluntary recruiting goals, and has been doing so for over a year now…so, perhaps our volunteer military isn’t large enough? If so, the only option is a huge increase in defense spending (opposed by Democrats) and a military draft (oppposed by Democrats).”
    – RJ Elliott

    Amusing how nervous the keyboard warriors get at the thought of a draft…
    (grin)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    I’m not at all nervous about a military draft. If we are really and truly in WWIII (as some folks have suggested), and it would require a draft in order to win the peace in Iraq while confronting Iran before they go nuclear, I would support it. However, most people wouldn’t support it, and therefore it wouldn’t actually be implemented.

    But if it was implemented, and the draft age was set high enough to include me, and I actually passed a military physical despite being half-blind, I can assure you I wouldn’t spend my time in the service playing little kids’ games on a tropical island.

    But I guess that’s just me… ;-)

  • MCH

    You mean you wouldn’t let daddy talk you out of it again?

  • Nancy

    Actually, Dave, I DO sincerely think Cheney is a psychopath. He certainly displays all the hallmarks to an alarming degree, in both personality and behavior.

  • Nancy

    In any event, if only for the cost-savings, we need to rescind that stupid anti-assassination law. Hell, if Bush is going to go in publicly for torture & illegal spying, I can’t see how the US having an official assassination policy will do us any additional harm reputation-wise, plus it makes far more sense to take out a leader than to try to take over a country.

    I always did think Carter was about the most naive president we’ve ever had. Not the worst or the most incompetent – that’s Junior, hands down – but his attempts to be a mild-mannered christian + his gullible mentality didn’t help us any. Actually, if Nixon hadn’t tried to subvert the electoral process, I would consider him to be one of the best. A president needs to be a conniving, ruthless barracuda where foreign powers vs US interests are concerned, but also to be loyal to & in the service of the American people. Nixon was the first, but failed signally in the second. Oh well.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Actually, Dave, I DO sincerely think Cheney is a psychopath. He certainly displays all the hallmarks to an alarming degree, in both personality and behavior.

    I’m curious how you formed this opinion, since he rarely makes public appearances and has been unformly rational and inoffensive when he does, except for the occasional entirely understandable outburst of swearing.

    it makes far more sense to take out a leader than to try to take over a country.

    The problem with taking over countries is that once you do, you have to be responsible for them and it’s a pain in the ass. Back in the 19th century we understood this. In the Mexican War Polk was eager to PAY the Mexicans to take their country back just so we wouldn’t have to run the hellhole. He had the right idea.

    Actually, if Nixon hadn’t tried to subvert the electoral process, I would consider him to be one of the best. A president needs to be a conniving, ruthless barracuda where foreign powers vs US interests are concerned, but also to be loyal to & in the service of the American people.

    This describes Bush exactly. So how does your irrational hatred of them fit with it?

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Because Bush has repeatedly & consistently demonstrated that his only allegiance is to his own wallet, his ultra-rich friends, and his Saudi masters, instead of the people he swore an oath to serve & protect. He’s a traitor to the US & frankly IMO he deserves the same fate as the Rosenburgs.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Nancy, in what way does your set of accusations against Bush not apply to EVERY other politician?

    As for his loyalty to plutocracy rather than the ‘common man’, why is that a problem? America is characterized by everyone working hard to get rich. If policy favors the rich and those who work hard and earn money, doesn’t that ultimately benefit everyone who takes part in that process of wealth building? In otherwords all of us?

    In fact, I’d go farther to say that if you aren’t working your ass off to advance yourself then you haven’t figured out what it is to be an American and you’re the one betraying yourself AND the American dream. People who sit around expecting the government to take care of them and resenting the successful and trying to figure out ways to bring them down through the power of government are the REAL traitors, IMO.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Oh get real: do you consider Bush ever worked hard – or even worked at all – to earn his money? He was BORN to overprivilege and too much wealth, as were his parents. He’s never worked a day in his life, and never will. That he’s failed in every single endeavor he’s ever attempted is proof of that. If he HAD actually put some effort into anything, he might have been able to salvage something of his myriad spectacular failures; instead he’s always depended on mummy & poppy & the family wealth to buy his way out of trouble. Only this time, he’s out of his depth and they can’t – only it’s not a business or ball team he’s taking down with him, it’s millions of innocent citizens and a nation he’s tanking.

    I have no objection to anybody who WORKS to enrich themselves – as long as they do it honestly, without abusing those in their employ or cheating – not the Ken Lay route. More power to them, and I applaud them & hope they enjoy their success, I really do. But this does NOT apply to the Bush family, or to Junior, or Cheney, by any standards however loose, or by any stretch of imagination. Bush & his ilk are leeches on society.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Whether Bush worked or not isn’t relevant unless you’re a subscriber to the theory of the ‘politics or personal destruction’.

    The point is that the laws which favor the acquisition and retention of wealth are good for ALL Americans who work hard and want to get wealthy. The fact that they also benefit those with inherited wealth is a not terribly significant side-effect which does no one any harm.

    And those with old wealth are NOT leeches on society. They are sources of capital. They maintain stock portfolios, invest in businesses, provide venture capital for new startups and serve on the boards and manage businesses. They are an essential part of the business economy which makes it possible for new businesses to get started and for existing businesses to expand and prosper.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Nancy,

    Just for the record, Cheney was not born to privilege. He’s the son of a minor league government worker (his father was a soil conservation agent with USDA in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Dick was born) and a housewife mother.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “You mean you wouldn’t let daddy talk you out of it again?”

    Well, I’m not 17 anymore, so I suppose he would no longer have any say in the matter.

    Also, we are talking about a military DRAFT, as opposed to a purely volunteer military. But I guess such important distinctions are lost on someone like you…

    Tell me, what was the weather like in Hawaii during the Easter Offensive?

  • MCH

    “But if it was implemented, and the draft age was set high enough to include me…”
    – RJ Elliott

    Usually those who promote sending others to fight their battles while staying home who use the “I’m too old” excuse are in their 40s. But you’re only what…26?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Just for the record, Cheney was not born to privilege. He’s the son of a minor league government worker (his father was a soil conservation agent with USDA in Lincoln, Nebraska, where Dick was born) and a housewife mother.

    Perhaps that’s why she thinks he’s insane – he’s a class traitor!

    Dave

  • JR

    Dave Nalle: Right now, rather than pushing for a torture law and FISA reform, Bush ought to be pushing to repeal the 1977 prohibition on political assassination so we can deal with situations like Iraq the way they OUGHT to be dealt with.

    Nancy: I always thought that law was as stupid as they come, anyway. Who was prez when that went thru? It sounds like some sort of nonsense that Carter would have done.

    Dave Nalle: Indeed it was. And it was dumb as can be.

    Executive Order 11905, banning political assassination (see Sec. 5(g)), was issued by Gerald Ford.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Thanks, JR. I always thought it was Carter, but I certainly can believe it was from the Ford administration. Ford and Carter were holding a kind of ‘dumb off’ during the late 70s.

    For the record, Carter and Reagan both also issued similar executive orders during their administrations, but no president since Reagan has reissued such an order.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    I’m surprised a Republican like Ford issued it, instead of Carter. It just seems so … Carterish. Still if any GOP did issue it, I’m not surprised it was Ford. He was a lovable stumblebum, but not terribly presidential.

    If Cheney was born to the working class, then he sure picked up the plutocratic indifference to common decency & ethics in a hurry.

  • Clavos

    indifference to common decency & ethics in a hurry.

    That’s not just a plutocratic characteristic, Nancy.
    Every crook, thief, burglar, rapist, etc. in history has exhibited it, and most (but not all) of them are decidedly low class.

  • Nancy

    Yes, but historically it’s been the rich & privileged who have exhibited it first & best. That’s how they got to be rich & privileged in the first place: the kings & nobles were just better bullies & robbers than everybody else, and on a larger scale.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Yes, but historically it’s been the rich & privileged who have exhibited it first & best. That’s how they got to be rich & privileged in the first place: the kings & nobles were just better bullies & robbers than everybody else, and on a larger scale.

    Not true at all. Have you never heard of the concept of Noblesse Oblige? Many of the old money folks here in America continue to be taught to pursue public service and use their money to do good for others. Some may have personal character flaws, but as a group they do a hell of a lot of good. It’s the nouveau riche who never had that kind of sense of obligation instilled in them when they were young who tend to be more mercenary.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Yes, but historically it’s been the rich & privileged who have exhibited it first & best. That’s how they got to be rich & privileged in the first place

    There I think you’re guilty of exaggeration, Nancy.

    In my line of work, I deal with wealthy people on a daily basis; some of them are VERY wealthy, and not a few are powerful as well.

    For the most part, they are no different than other people. Some are definitely arrogant jerks, but most exhibit a certain sense of noblesse oblige, and are actually quite charming and straightforward.

    And, they all put their pants on one leg at a time.

    That said, I don’t deal much with politicians; most are wealthy business people or professionals, and a few are inherited wealth.

  • Nancy

    I spent 8+ years dealing mainly with the very wealthy, and learned to despise most of them as inveterate cheats & thieves, utterly without social conscience (unless they got credit for their donations), ethics, or justice. Most of them were self-centered, self-important, selfish, arrogant, and just plain greedy. BTW, my very first contact with the filthy rich was with the Kennedys, specifically the old woman, Rose. What a nasty, 2-faced, hypocritical bitch she was. There were plenty of other Big Names I could name you’d recognize, too, but I won’t go into it. Not enough room. I spent enough time among them to learn that most of them got as rich as they were because they were bigger thieves, liars, cheats, and bullies than anybody else, and they didn’t hesitate to take the last penny off the eyes of the poor to line their already bulging wallets. I truly hope JC was right when he said the rich don’t get into heaven, because most of them I met deserve to fry.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Nancy, I share your opinion of the Kennedys, also from personal experience. But the fact that one family is particularly boorish and self-centered doesn’t mean that they all are. And, in fact, all the Kennedys I’ve known are not equally bad. Because of his personal problems I think Teddy Jr. developed some actual character. Just as with poorer people, it’s all about family values. If they pass down pettiness and greed from generation to generation that’s what will characterize them. Plus, the Kennedys are still nouveau riche even if the money goes back 3 or 4 generations.

    I think that as a group the rich are no worse than anyone else. For every Kennedy there’s someone who’s rich and has good qualities. Just as there are plenty of poor people who are selfish, greedy and obnoxious. I think you just single out the rich because when they misbehave it seems more offensive because they have so much going for them that they ought to be a bit more grateful and sensible, but as Clavos said, just having money doesn’t actually make them special.

    Dave

  • Martin Lav

    and the lessons of 911 are?
    New money supports freedom in order to support hedonism while old money supports freedom to support equal opportunity to hedonism?
    I’m confused…….as usual, maybe.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Nalle’s description of Bush as conniving is the funniest thing ive read on this sight.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Where was that, PETI? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten all about it…

    Dave

  • MCH

    “But if it was implemented, and the draft age was set high enough to include me, and I actually passed a military physical despite being half-blind, I can assure you I wouldn’t spend my time in the service playing little kids’ games on a tropical island.”
    – RJ Elliott

    “But if I would have gone over there (Vietnam), I’d have been killed, or I’d have killed all the Hippies in the foxholes. I would have killed everybody.”
    – Ted Nugent

  • http://opinionated.blogsome.com/ jamal

    Not only is Bush currently pushing his ‘war on terror’, he has suggested the invasion was warranted although he does acknowledge mistakes were made, and has been accused of luring Saddam into war.

    The threat of a 45 minute attack by Saddam Hussain’s Weapons of Mass destruction was a lie, and the subsequent war on Iraq has only served to pertuate terror elsewhere.

    You may not have suffered a significant terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11, but the fact remains you live on high alert of major incidents occuring, with many of your troops dead.

  • MCH

    52-YEAR OLD FEMALE SOLDIER KILLED IN IRAQ

    By DINESH RAMDE – Associated Press Writer – 09/29/06

    MILWAUKEE — Sgt. 1st Class Merideth Howard, 52, a turret gunner in the Army Reserve’s 405th Civil Affairs Battalion, became on Sept. 8 the oldest female U.S. soldier killed in action since military operations began in Afghanistan and Iraq. A car bomber slammed into her vehicle, killing her and Staff Sgt. Robert Paul, 43, of The Dalles, Ore.

    For Howard, age was never an issue, said her husband, Hugh Hvolboll, who moved with her to the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha in 2004. “She did anything she wanted to,” he said.

    Howard held undergraduate and master’s degrees in marine biology. When she discovered she was prone to seasickness, she switched careers and became a firefighter in Bryan, Texas, becoming the city’s first female firefighter in 1978.

    She was about 5’4″ but she made up for her size with determination and a strength that matched her burly co-workers, recalled Bryan Fire Department Chief Mike Donoho.

    Even so, some question why a woman her age would be called up to active duty. Her 78-year-old uncle, Herbert Kurtz, said he felt Howard was too old to dodge bullets. “I was drafted in the Korean War. Heck, at this rate, maybe they’ll draft me again,” he said.

    Of the 66 women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 51 are 30 or younger, according to Judy Bellafaire, chief historian for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. Four women, aged 41 to 44, were the oldest casualties before Howard.

    Howard’s friends and family say she knew the risks when she joined the Army Reserves in 1988. She planned to retire in two years at the 20-year mark, they say. “She had beautiful blue eyes,” Hvolboll said. “We hit it off right away, like we’d known each other for years.”

    The couple dated for 14 years, marrying in December 2005 only when Howard found out she was being called up. Howard’s lasting legacy, her husband said, is the love she had for friends, family and life.