The Optimistic Mr. Bolton

I just got out of a roundtable with former UN Ambassador John Bolton sponsored by The American Spectator and Americans for Tax Reform. A few things that came up...

- I asked Bolton to assess our response to Pakistan's crisis and whether supporting Musharaff was at odds with our stated goal of promoting democracy. "You've got a situation where America's interests and values are not congruent," Bolton said. "What's our strategic priority? It's ensuring that the nuclear weapons in Pakistan's arsenal don't fall into the wrong hands. Unhappily, in the near term, we have to rely on Musharraf." And he rejected the idea that we were necessarily undermining "democracy" by backing Musharraf, because Benazir Bhutto has a bit of the thug in her: "You know what her title is? Chairperson for life. This is not a conflict between democracy, on the one hand, with a bunch of people in white hats, and martial law, on the other hand, with a bunch of people in black hats."

- Grover Norquist asked (twice) to find "a diamond in the coal": the greatest legacy of the Bush administration. Bolton, answered, twice, that this was the Proliferation Security Initiative. Paul Mirengoff of Powerline pointed out that he didn't mention Iraq. Bolton said removing Saddam Hussein was a "strategic victory" but "where we went wrong was in the phase after... we would have been better off to turn affairs over to Iraqis much more quickly, not to have become an occupying power, not to become part of the problem. You don't enhance people's political maturation by making their decisions for them."

Bolton expanded on that thought: "The evidence is now clear that Republican administrations are no better at nation-building than Democratic administrations, which tells me that we're no good at nation-building. We should focus on building our own nation." I think he's said this before, but it was striking in a roundtable where he was arguing that we could bomb Iran's nuclear sites and eventually overthrow the regime. So I asked him on the way out: What did we learn from our nation-building adventure in Iraq that could inform what we do in Iran? If we attack, "we need to make it clear that is not aimed at the people in Iran, but aimed at the Mullahs." I pointed out that this is what we said we were doing when we took out Saddam: "Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country." It didn't make the occupation any easier. "The problem with Iraq is that we stayed and we stayed too long."

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  • ||

    The problem with Iraq is that we stayed and we stayed too long.



    No talent ass clown.

  • Bingo||

    Argh, he basically lines up the perfect argument for non-interventionist foreign policy and concludes by saying we should intervene. When did people become so smitten with projecting power?

  • Lurker Jack||

    The problem with Iraq is that we stayed and we stayed too long.

    The very definition of clueless.

  • Lurker Jack||

    When did people become so smitten with projecting power?


    See: The Spanish-American War

  • ||

    I won't resist piling on Mr. Moustache.

    "we need to make it clear that is not aimed at the people in Iran, but aimed at the Mullahs."

    And who, after all, has more credibility with the people of Iran than John Bolton?

  • ||

    +1 de stijl, you win an internet

  • thoreau||

    Yes, Mr. Bolton, let's intervene in a Middle Eastern country with several ethnic groups, at least two of which have strong secessionist sympathies and almost all of which have close ties to neighboring countries. And one in which the largest ethnic group has very strong ethnic/nationalist pride. (Seriously, Persians seem quite proud to be Persians. Which is cool and all, but is also a sign that we shouldn't invade and rally otherwise secular people around the flag.)

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • ||

    Apparently Bolton hasn't been reading the news lately. We're kicking ass now in Iraq, thanks to the Iraqi's that are fed up with the violence. Could this have occurred had we left after catching Saddam? I doubt it. I wouldn't expect H&R to document the reduced carnage and the troop drawdown announced yesterday. Too many commenters here are convinced the war is lost, and no matter how much good news there is, most won't allow their brains to overcome their false pride in predicting defeat.

  • Reinmoose||

    no, you guys.
    Next time we'll get overthrowing-the-regime right! Don't you see we've learned from our mistakes, and next time we'll do it better?
    ;)

  • The Extispicator||

    This is tough. If I can't get a non-interventionist, would I settle for a bomb-them-but-don't-occupy-just-leave-ist?

  • Reinmoose||

    James Ard:
    Too many commenters here are convinced the war is lost, and no matter how much good news there is, most won't allow their brains to overcome their false pride in predicting defeat.

    Regardless of whether we win or lose, thinking that we lost is not a prerequisite for being against the war.

  • ||

    The problem with Bolton is that he and his peers have so thoroughly discredited themselves that it's hard to listen objectively to anything they have to say...let alone agree with it.

  • Episiarch||

    Next time we'll get overthrowing-the-regime right! Don't you see we've learned from our mistakes, and next time we'll do it better?

    Iran can be the neocon do-over. As absurd as that seems, I think that is what they think.

  • robc||

    James Ard,

    Actually, I think most of us here think the "war" was won years ago and are wondering why we are still there. All the initial goals have been achieved for years:

    WMDs arent a threat (mainly becauase they never were)
    Baathists removed from power/Hussein captured
    Democracy set up (Kurdistan [and maybe Iraq sort of])

    The troops should already be home.

  • ||

    If we attack, "we need to make it clear that is not aimed at the people in Iran, but aimed at the Mullahs." I pointed out that this is what we said we were doing when we took out Saddam: "Your enemy is not surrounding your country, your enemy is ruling your country." It didn't make the occupation any easier. "The problem with Iraq is that we stayed and we stayed too long."

    Huh, we just did it wrong, but the concept is still good? WTF? It sounds like a socialist talking point. Don't these people ever learn?

  • ||

    "We're kicking ass now in Iraq, thanks to the Iraqi's that are fed up with the violence."

    Sounds to me like the Iraqi's are kicking ass, and they would have gotten fed up a lot sooner had we been gone.

    That said, what is your definition of "kicking ass"? Not that there's anything wrong with such a baseless, redneck admiration for war for war's sake, but I'd be interested to know how you view it.

  • ||

    James Ard, We are in Iraq to (today, anyway) create a stable functioning democracy. Give me a call when that happens. I'll buy.

  • ||

    I wouldn't expect H&R to document the reduced carnage and the troop drawdown[sic] announced yesterday.

    One battalion rotating out before the holidays does not make for a "draw down."

    Bolton really confuses me. At times, he really seems to make sense, and at other times he seems crazier than Ted Kaczynski. I don't know what it is, but I'm guessing his mustache grants him limited mind control ability.

  • ||

    Lamar, I am against war for war's sake. I am for wars that are necessary to insure that a brutal dictator that hates, and baits America is not allowed the chance to kill as many of us as he would like.

  • ||

    Bolton shouldn't be mouthing off about other people's "political maturation," when he is still juvenile enough to look at Pakistan in terms of figuring out whether Bhutto or Mushariff is a "white hat." It demonstrates that, for all this talk about democracy, the word means nothing to him beyond "if only the right people were in charge."

    Which is why he gets the question about whether to back Mushariff so wrong. In a country where only 20% of the public supports the Islamists, elections not going to put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal into the wrong hands. A coup could put those weapons into the wrong hands, or some kind of broad, popular front-type anti-dictator movement that includes both democrats and Islamists could put those weapons into the wrong hands.

    Standing by Mushariff and his illegal, undemocratic actions undermines democracy, and makes it more likely that Pakistan will continue its tradition of coups, or of driving liberals, democrats, leftists, lawyers, and other opposition groups to join with Islamists in an anti-government popular front.

  • Bingo||

    Persian chicks are hot.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    Regardless of whether we win or lose, thinking that we lost is not a prerequisite for being against the war.


    All wars are justified by victory.

  • ||

    As predicted, the Iraq hawks are now trying to spin the drawdown planned for the end of the surge - a drawdown long-planned by the Pentagon, and dictated by troop availability, as if it were a response to events on the ground.

    Good to see the True Believers have moved onto the Declaring Victory and Getting Out phase, but it's really easy to see through this one.

  • ||

    I won't resist piling on Mr. Moustache.

    Can we at least agree to leave the moustache out of this? They aren't responsible for the actions of their hosts.

  • ||

    We're kicking ass now in Iraq, thanks to the Iraqi's that are fed up with the violence.

    James, this war has been run by fools and idiots. If you go to war you don't haul the enemy to Gitmo, you kill them. You don't allow senior Al Queda people to excape because no commander has the courage to do the deed without calling home to Florida. You don't hamstring your military and you don't leave the Marines hanging out to dry. OMIGOD, we can't fire into a Mosque, we might offend somebody. The troops can't have beer, we might offend somebody. NEWSFLASH! We already offended somebody by showing up with bombs and shit.

    A lot of us took a cautious wait-and-see approach to this war in Iraq and today there are millions of us who are just roast turkey. Stick a fork in me because I AM SO GOT DAM DONE with this war.

    You've got a country the size of So Cal with a population the size of LA and we can't handle it? We've spent billions and killed tens of thousands. Sodom is dead and has been for a log, long time.

    From my perspective, I see the US in Iraq to be a repeat of Korea. We have been in Korea for my entire life. And I am old. Let that sink in for a moment. MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    You war babies had your chance. It's been six damn years and nothing has come of it but grief. So, unless you can resurrect General Patton and put him in charge of the festivities, I'm done.

  • ||

    Even if the drawdown was already scheduled, that doesn't mean circumstances on the ground aren't improving. Recent headlines in the USA Today online, Yahoo news, and even my Baton Rouge Advocate have all detailed lower death rates, fewer IEDs, fewer rocker attacks, al Quaida out of Bagdhad, Sunni triangle tribes going after al Quaida, Shiites taking back their neighborhoods, roads reopening, etc. Still not a peep about these developments here.

  • Bingo||

    joe: I think that Iraq will be a non-issue in 2008, but there are a lot of hawks are doing their best to make Iran an issue. Because if you don't want to bomb Iran for the children the terrorists will win and you hate the troops. Someone needs to point out that the Bush Doctrine and its idea of pre-emptive war on anyone that says hostile things about the US is a ridiculous foreign policy.

    The "if you're not for us you're against us" schtick needs to end.

  • ||

    Taktix, I didn't RTA but my local rag had a headline that included the term reverse surge

  • ||

    "is not allowed the chance to kill as many of us as he would like."

    Then we shall invade North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Syria, much of Africa, Venezuela, Uzbekistan.....

    I'm sorry. I think you don't know what you're talking about, you think the American military's purpose is to sucker punch anybody who looks at us funny, and if you were serious about war for the purposes you stated, our country would become weak both economically and militarily.

  • x,y||

    Too many commenters here are convinced the war is lost, and no matter how much good news there is, most won't allow their brains to overcome their false pride in predicting defeat.



    Whether we win or lose is irrelevant, or, if you prefer, whether we're winning or losing is irrelevant, to the question of whether we should have a noninterventionist foreign policy.

  • ||

    James Ard,

    Even if the drawdown was already scheduled, that doesn't mean circumstances on the ground aren't improving.

    I agree. However, since the drawdown was long-planned and wholly unrelated to events on the ground, pointing to it as an indicator of success is misleading.

    As for the wonderful wonderfulness that defines contemporary Iraq (Ahem, Ahem), perhaps the Reason staff's caution in trumpeting good news stems from having been burned so often reporting good news, such as the breathless, teary-eyed reports they published after Purple Finger Day.

    Would you like me to go back in the archives and find some choice quotes from you, Mr. Ard, about the signficance of that good news?

    Really, it's no problem at all.

  • ||

    I didn't RTA but my local rag had a headline that included the term reverse surge

    I think that's a Kama Sutra position...

  • ||

    If our invasion of Iraq had anything to do with Libya giving up it's nuclear ambitions, then I think our sacrifice paid off in potentially millions of saved lives. Hopefully Iran will draw the right conclusion and not pursue their nukes either.

  • ||

    Look at the real history of our wars not the crap that you were taught in schools and by the media. Our wars have always been fought to benefit special interest bankers, corporations, etc. They have never been about what the "his"story books say they were about. To hell with war! A waste of life and property and an expansion of government all in the name of faux patriotism. Wise up warmongers the politicians have you fooled.

  • ||

    Bingo,

    I am confident that Iraq will be a major issue in the 2008 elections. As the President explained, absent a political solution among Iraqi factions and involving their neighbors, the violence will not end, and we will either be looking at widespread killing resuming, American troops numbers and casualties being high, or both. Not to mention, the prominence of the Iran issue can only serve to remind people about the Iraq War. Finally, it remains the intention of the Bush administration and the Republican candidates to build permanent bases in Iraq in order to maintain a permanent American presence - a presence that will inevitably scuttle any possibility of a political solution.

    But yes, it is vital that the Democrats start talking about the Bush Doctrine and Neoconservative foreign policy, in order to make it clear that avoiding such debacles is primarily a question of ideology, not management ability.

  • ||

    Our wars have always been fought to benefit special interest bankers, corporations, etc.

    Actually, that's exactly what I was taught in the local children's prison. And in college.

  • ||

    I think that's a Kama Sutra position...

    LOL

    and I sort of thought it had to do with stopped up plumbing.

  • ||

    If our invasion of Iraq had anything to do with Libya giving up it's nuclear ambitions...

    If the Iraq War can't be shown to have succeed in Iraq, no one is going to buy any arguments about its wonderful indirect effects.

  • Episiarch||

    I think that's a Kama Sutra position...

    Is that like RAC? (Have fun looking that one up iih, but don't do it at work.)

  • Colbert||

    Iran can be the neocon do-over

    Stop stealing my material, Episiarch.

  • ||

    I am for wars that are necessary to insure that a brutal dictator that hates, and baits America is not allowed the chance to kill as many of us as he would like.

    So Saddam was trying to kill Americans? How, by plotting 9/11?

    Really, this tripe is so old. Anyone who believes Saddam was a threat to the US and was trying to kill Americans really doesn;t deserve to be taken seriously.

  • Episiarch||

    Stop stealing my material, Episiarch.

    Screw you, Stephen--you couldn't even get on the Dem ballot in South Carolina, your show is in reruns because of the writer's strike, and the Strangers With Candy movie was disappointing.

  • ||

    So he wasn't shooting at American pilots in the no-fly zone?

  • ||

    "The problem with Iraq is that we stayed and we stayed too long."

    Isn't that the problem with Afghanistan too? Why are we still there?

    I think Bolton is right. Regardless of one's position regarding why we got in, it's vital to get out quickly once the target in question (regime, dictator, etc.) has been eliminated.

  • ||

    So he wasn't shooting at American pilots in the no-fly zone?

    Who's baiting whom, there?

  • ||

    We didn't say in Iraq too soon, because the nation-building, the client state, and the basing rights were the purpose of the invasion to begin with.

  • ||

    er, too long.

  • ||

    FYI for anyone interested in hearing it straight from the ass clown's mouth, Bolton was on the Diane Rehm Show yesterday morning.

    http://wamu.org/programs/dr/07/11/12.php#18088

  • ||

    "Can we at least agree to leave the moustache out of this? They aren't responsible for the actions of their hosts."

    I've been saying that for decades.

  • ||

    Anyone who believes Saddam was a threat to the US and was trying to kill Americans really doesn;t deserve to be taken seriously.

    I have to take issue with this because it is only obvious in retrospect. Sodom was seen as a serious threat by the US state department going back at least two decades. There have been a whole slew of people who now claim to have known all along but they didn't tell anybody at the time. From King Bush I through the Clintonians eight year reign and on into the Post 9/11 world of Hiro Nakayama, it was an accepted truism that Sodom was a big worry.

  • ||

    Benazir Bhutto is too unreliable and corrupt for him, but Ahmed Chalabi is the George Washington of Iraq.

    If you want a good larf, poke around the National Review archives for stories about Chalabi. Like the Terry Schiavo case, they were covering Chalabi years before it was cool.

    Apparently, the CIA's mistrust of Chalabi and skepticism about the quality of the information he was providing was just part of the same leftist anti-Americanism that caused them to express doubt about the extent of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs. They just don't WANT us to beat the terrorists, gosh darnit.

  • ||

    Anyone who gives flak to the shitheads at the UN I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt. Still, Jo-Bo, what the fuck? Might as well have said: "Iran will be completely different from Iraq, because, first of all, they're DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!" Um, sure.

  • John Bolton\'s moustache||

    Someone please confine my owner to a mental institution. I shall greet you as my liberator!

  • John Bolton||

    Talk to the moustache, gents......[waves hand in a dismissive gesture]

  • fyodor||

    joe,

    Very good points in your 12:11 post.

    To do the devil's advocate thing, I wonder if the fear of democracy is not based on the specter of an Islamist electoral victory but of the creation of circumstances that make an Islamic coup more likely, either during the uncertainty leading up to an election or in the aftermath were a divided or weak government elected.

    Whether that's a legitimate fear in comparison to the current situation is far from convincing, but then, I was doing the devil's advocate thing....

  • ||

    Sodom was seen as a serious threat by the US state department going back at least two decades.

    Not really. Two decades ago, we were selling him weapons and protecting him from sanctions after he gassed the Kurds. After we kicked him out of Kuwait, even his neighbors didn't see him as a threat and there was never any evidence that he was a threat to the U.S..

  • Russell Seitz||

    "Grover Norquist asked (twice) to find "a diamond in the coal"

    Pity he doesn't have a science advisor to tell him to try sending it to hell in a handbasket.

    But to be fair to Pinky Bhutto, she did not top the Most Likely To Make Dictator list among her undergraduate contemporaries. Tachito Somoza won by a landslide.

  • e||

    Seriously tho, why would Dave Weigel appear in public at a roundtable with the likes of Michael Bolton. As I'm sure Bolton would agree, there's no point in negotiating with madmen.

  • ||

    Not really. Two decades ago, we were selling him weapons

    Use of an approximate time frame of two decades puts the meaning across.

    In 1988 Iraq announced a nuclear weapons program.

    As you said, in 1991 we were kicking him out of Kuwait. That was 17 years ago,

    Here's one decade ago, February of 1998:

    We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction. Madeline Half Bright quoted on CNN

    Pretty close to two decades and the difference doesn't matter in the context of the overall point, particularly since there was a series of events leading up to Desert Storm that stretched back a couple of years at least.

  • ||

    Yeah, that Michael Bolton sucks. I hope an Otis Redding zombie eats his brains.

  • ||

    "I have to take issue with this because it is only obvious in retrospect."

    No, I have to disagree with that, T-dubs. I only knew one person who believed in the Prez's run-up to war. Many of us wondered why this guy who couldn't beat Iran was all of the sudden going to mustard gas the US. We had a no-fly zone and the baddest bitches on the block (Saudi Arabia) on our side. No, it is not only obvious in retrospect. I do not want to see that garbage become conventional wisdom. I protested before this war, I screamed and shouted, and now it burns me when people say that the very words I screamed and shouted weren't obvious at the time.

    No way. Saddam was a wuss with enemies at his doorstep and American military might in his skies. It was obvious then that he was absolutely no threat.

  • ||

    t was an accepted truism that Sodom was a big worry.

    He was a worry re: what he might do to his neighbors, not about his ability to strike the US. Unless Israel and Kuwait are now part of the US.

    A bog worry != a threat to us

  • ||

    What Lamar Said, too!

  • ||

    As you said, in 1991 we were kicking him out of Kuwait. That was 17 years ago

    Right, but that doesn't mean he was a threat to us.

    And while I know that the Clinton administration was all for regime change, there was no evidence at the time that Hussein was a threat to the U.S.. After Kuwait, the only nation he was a threat to was his own.

  • ||

    In 1998, there actually were WMDs in Iraq. Then, after Operation Desert Fox, they were demolished and ongoing WMD programs dismantled.

    Pointing to the statements by Clintonites about a threat when the threat actually existed does not make the inaccurate claims by Busshies about a threat that did not actually exist any more credible. Nor does it demonstrate that the Clintonites were in agreement with the Bushies about the threat in 2002/2003.

    If Dick Cheney had said in 2001 that the Red Army was a threat to our well being, would pointing to what Hary Truman said in 1951 make Cheney any less deluded or dishonest?

  • ||

    The Clinton administration was all for "regime change" by the dictionary definition - they wanted the Saddam government to be replaces by a different government.

    But as the term has come to be used - to mean support for a policy of an American main-force military invasion to topple a government and install a client state in its stead - there is absolutely no evidence that the Clinton administration supported that.

    As a matter of fact, after Saddam kicked out the inspectors in 1998, they considered launching an invasion and specifically ruled it out as foolhardy, choosing instead to launch air- and sea-based strikes instead.

    They didn't support OIF-style "regime change." They didn't even go along with it. They specifically rejected it.

  • ||

    Frankly we have no business being involved in a foreign countries affairs. Some of you are cavalierly discussing regime change as if we have the right to decide what goes on in another country. These are sovereign nations we have absolutely no right to interfere in their affairs. The US is too powerful there are no real threats to our internal sovereignty. Our politicians and government are the biggest threats to our way of life. I'm not worried about the commies or the muslims. We should be more worried about ignorant voters and power hungry politicians.

  • ||

    National security being the reason for interventionism is bullshit. We wouldn't have the problems that we have around the world if we had just listened to

    Washington: "It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world"

    We should trade freely with other countries and stay out of their business beyond trading. We have all we can handle holding on to our on democracy let alone worrying about trying to export it to other countries.

  • ||

    Pointing to the statements by Clintonites about a threat when the threat actually existed does not make the inaccurate claims by Busshies about a threat that did not actually exist any more credible.

    So, it's only a REAL threat when the politicos you approve of say it is?

  • ||

    Bush I specifically rejected regime change as well, and he had a plausible reason to do it.

  • ||

    "So, it's only a REAL threat when the politicos you approve of say it is?"

    That's not a fair representation of what Joe is saying.

  • ||

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans are guilty of selling this bullshit to the country. Vote for RP if you want to get back to the type of nation that behaves lawfully. Rudy "freedom is about authority" fucking Ghouliani is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination according to the MSM. All I can say is WTF has happened to our country.

  • ||

    For the record, I'm not saying there was a threat. I'm saying the State Dept has believed there was a threat for a long time. It wasn't news when the Bushies took up the chant.

    It was sort of like when the USSR collapsed and we learned that the CIA could not have been more wrong about their decades of overestimating the prowess of the Soviet economy. They were off by something like a factor of five.

    Lamar says there was never a threat, he may be right. That contradicts Joe's claim that there once was a threat but when GWB took office there wasn't a threat any longer.

  • ||

    "Lamar says there was never a threat, he may be right."

    TWC: I think you are stretching the word "threat" beyond credible limits. Further, I never said "never." I merely said that Saddam was not a threat when Bush sold us the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Who kidnapped the real TWC?

  • ||

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans are guilty of selling this bullshit to the country.

    That is the distilled essence of my point. :-)

    I am fully in agreement with Ron Paul's foreign policy remarks. If it were within my power to do so, I would have the entire American military home from around the world by Christmas.

    For those who skimmed by my earlier remarks, Iraq strikes me as a Korea in the making. We have been in Korea for my entire life. And I'm old. Think about that. The US has been in Korea for my entire life. That is shocking.

    I have a cool picture my high school buddy Doug Veazey took in Korea in 1971. It is a photo of a sign that says Photography of the DMZ is Prohibited.

    Guess what? It still is and that sign is still there and so are we.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    For those who skimmed by my earlier remarks, Iraq strikes me as a Korea in the making. We have been in Korea for my entire life. And I'm old. Think about that. The US has been in Korea for my entire life. That is shocking.


    It's not shocking at all. It's the whole point of this war. The US wants permanent bases in the middle east, and the political environment in Saudi Arabia was getting a little too uncomfortable.

  • ||

    So, it's only a REAL threat when the politicos you approve of say it is?

    How sad for you. The question "Is it true?" doesn't even occur to you, just an observation about the speaker's political party.

    It was a REAL threat when it was REAL. Objectively, factually existing in the world outside your head. It was not a REAL threat when it was made up.

    When Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons and an active nuclear program, there was a REAL threat. When he did not, there was NOT a REAL threat. This does not change because you don't like Bill Clinton.

    Telling the truth about the state of a threat in 1998 does not, by any fair reading, make one responsible for those who lied about that threat four years later.

  • ||

    It's not shocking at all. It's the whole point of this war. The US wants permanent bases in the middle east, and the political environment in Saudi Arabia was getting a little too uncomfortable.

    Permanent bases from which to launch additional wars. National Review's cover for one of the months in the summer of 03 read "On to Syria!"

  • ||

    Excellent post David and damn good reporting.

  • ||

    Lamar, I was frothing-at-mouth, flying-the-flag-upside-down, anti-war over Desert Storm. But then, I was just as pissed that King George I didn't finish the job he started, which may have saved us a whole lot of trouble today if he had. Always with the half-ass measures. Always.

    On your other point, I may, in fact, be out to lunch, and you guys may be a lot brighter and more astute, but I just think the whole lot of them from Desert Storm onward were true believers. Different approach, different methodology, but all held the same belief in the incarnate evil and world menace that was vested in Sodom.

  • ||

    Yes Joe, it is a truly sad day and I shall be eternally grateful to you for opening my eyes with the truth

    You really are missing your calling, you should take your remarkable prescience on the road. Perhaps to DC. Look at all the grief you could save us.

  • Episiarch||

    Hey, joe, where you goin' with that gun accusation of partisanship in your hand?

    Once again, you accuse someone of being a Republican shill who clearly is not--solely because they call your rose-tinted opinions of your particular party bullshit.

  • ||

    You know, bullshit like saying that there weren't any WMDs in Iraq prior to the invasion.

    That kind of partisan bullshit.

    Does the difference between truth and falsehood even matter to you, or are the partisan implications of statements the only factor you can even deign to consider?

    Wait, don't answer that. We already know the answer.

  • ||

    You know, if I was such a deluded partisan, who allowed partisan preferences to blind me to the truth, you'd think there would be some factually incorrect statements to point to to back that charge up.

    But Episiarch doesn't accuse me of being a partisan shill for making incorrect or dishonest statements, but for making accurate, truthful ones.

    You know what? If telling truths that don't further your preferred "not a dime's worth of difference" narrrative makes me partisan, fine, guilty as charged.

    I make truthful, accurate statements, I'm going to continue to make truthful, accurate statmeent statements, and I don't intend to stop making truthful, accurate statements just because you don't like their political implications.

  • ||

    Hey, let's start a new blog!

    We can call it:

    THE HAMMER OF TRUTH

    Oh, wait, that cigar smoking Gordon guy already did that. :-(

    Wouldn't do any good anyway, because as Jack Nicholson once remarked, we can't handle the truth.

  • Jack Nicholson||

    Hey, TWC, that wasn't me, that was Joe.

  • ||

    joe

    I'm sorry but both of the parties are filled to overflowing with unprincipled assholes. The Dems refuse to impeach Bush and Cheney. If Clinton could be impeached for lying about head why aren't the Dems going after Shrub and Darth for committing actual crimes? The Dems want to give blanket immunity to the Telecoms who committed fucking crimes. I don't know any longer which party contains the biggest assholes. What to do? Vote for RP.

  • Episiarch||

    I gave you shit, joe, because you accused TWC of being a Republican shill because he doesn't agree with your "facts". You've done this to me plenty of times.

    My point is that as soon as someone disagrees with you, you call them a partisan Republican, even if they have never supported either party. Why? Because a) disagreeing with you automatically means disagreeing with Dem talking points, and b) you assume that attacks on Dems are the same as support for the GOP.

    You see, point A is indicative of your intense partisanship, and B is indicative of your defensive partisanship. Whee!

  • ||

    I gave you shit, joe, because you accused TWC of being a Republican shill... I did? I called TWC a Republican?

    Where? Could you quote it for us? I haven't the foggiest idea what you're talking about. A Republican, you say? Hmm...I'm pretty sure I didn't do that, but you seem to have had a very strong emotional response. Let me put it this way: I believe that YOU believe I called TWC a Repubican. Feel better?

    BTW, those are some nice scare quotes.

    I didn't report any "facts." I reported facts. Easily verified, widely known facts.

    Not "facts." Facts. As in, statements of reality that accurately describe the objective truth.

    Does that even matter to you? Do facts become "facts" when they don't further your preferred partisan narrative? Does their relationship with objective truth mean nothing to you?

  • ||

    See, Episiarch, since you so plainly strive to be Queen Nanny of All Partisans, let me school you a bit.

    THIS is an accusation that someone is a partisan:

    "So, it's only a REAL threat when the politicos you approve of say it is?"

    That was TWC accusing me of being a partisan. I'm sure we're all holding our breath waiting for you to tsk-tsk at him. What with you being such an even-handed opponent of all things partisan, and having such a powerful emotional response whenever you see someone unjustly accused of partisanship..

    Naw, just jokin.

  • Episiarch||

    You are correct, joe, I was reacting to this:

    This does not change because you don't like Bill Clinton.

    This is normally an accusation used to smear someone as a neocon, VRWC member, or Republican. You never explicitly called TWC a Republican.

    However, you are still accusing TWC of not believing you because of what politicians he dislikes. Which is still accusing him of being partisan.

  • Episiarch||

    That was TWC accusing me of being a partisan. I'm sure we're all holding our breath waiting for you to tsk-tsk at him.

    Correct again. Except that you ARE SUPER FUCKING PARTISAN. The only one who seems unable to see this...is you. TWC does not strike me as partisan, so why would I tsk-tsk him?

    You are basically complaining that I didn't give him shit for thinking the same thing about you that I do.

  • ||

    Thanks Epi, I'm buying. Step right back through here, through those 12 foot double doors. Tell Danny your with me and he'll get you a nice bottle of red. He'll know to put it on my tab. I'll be along in a minute but you can go ahead and get started.

  • ||

    However, you are still accusing TWC of not believing you because of what politicians he dislikes. Which is still accusing him of being partisan.

    At last, progress! I've finally managed to get it through your skull that a person can have partisan blinders without being devoted to one of the two parties. Woo hoo!

    TWC does not strike me as partisan, so why would I tsk-tsk him? You wouldn't, because you don't have a very good idea of what it means to be partisan.

    If I'm so super fucking partisan, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to think of some statements I've made that fly in the face of objective reality and demonstrate a bias.

    Since you can't, since you've never been able to in all the times you've thrown these little fits, and since you threw out an accusation that I "called TWC a Republican" when, in fact, you were just misreading what I wrote (as usual), perhaps your perception of how terribly partisan I am tells us more about you than about me.

  • ||

    Some funny libertarian neologisms and descriptions from Wilton Alston and contributors at LRC. There are more at LRC. I thought they were hilarious and wanted to share them pass them on to your friends.



    Unhaling: Smoking something without actually, you know, smoking it, e.g., "Clinton is famous for unhaling during his supposed only attempts to spark up the chronic."

    Greenback Emissions: Slang for the smell rising off the cash people make from the anthropogenic global warming scam, e.g., "As chairman of Generation Investment Management, Al Gore's financial holdings are starting to give off some substantial greenback emissions!"

    Terraphobiosity: The practice of using the threat of terrorist attacks to keep the sheeple in line, e.g., "Politicians have long been practitioners of terraphobiosity, but this President takes it to high art."

    Smirkism: One of the banal justifications President Bush gives either before or after one of his (patented) smirks, e.g., "We have to fight them over there, so we don't have to fight them here." (The smirkism is the sentence in-between!)

    Chenie (noun): The mythical figure that pops out when a neocon rubs a magic lamp.

    Chenius (noun): One whose dumb ideas are consistently hailed as brilliant.

    Christafarian (noun): A social conservative so detached from reality due to his myopic religious fundamentalism, that one is convinced he's been smoking something.

    Evangungelist (noun): A person who thinks Jehovah is Hebrew for United States Armed Forces.

    FEMAnist (noun): A person who believes all natural dangers, social ills, and economic problems can be prevented, cured or resolved by the promises of the government and its agencies.

    Ignoronus (noun): A pollster, talking head or radio personality who deliberately omits Ron Paul from any political discourse or dismisses Mr. Paul's candidacy altogether, e.g., "Stevie Wonder could see that Hannity is a real ignoronus."

    Imminent Tomain (noun): The reality that with governmental organizations looking after one's health and welfare it's only a matter of time until you become sick or poisoned due to their incompetence.

    Incompetense (noun): The stress felt as one waits for the government's next boneheaded move.

    Neoconsensus (noun): Unity generated by a bogus cry against terror, under a blanket of state-sponsored security, e.g., "The phrase, 'If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists!' is intended to drive neoconsensus."

    Proctician (noun): A cross between a proctologist and politician. Acts obsessively to snoop, sift, and sniff into every nook, cranny and orifice of private citizens. Believes every action and transaction should be subject to taxation and regulation. Feels property may be owned by individuals, given proper permits and other statist whatnottery, but also believes government should dictate how the property may be used.

    Properganda (noun): Information, typically gathered by simply reading press releases, that has been approved for wide distribution to the US public by the mainstream media.

    Rudycule (verb): The use of a derisive remark, intended to cause contemptuous laughter towards anyone suggesting that US foreign intervention and militarism abroad may cause blowback.

    Subcity (noun): An urban hell created by a misguided application of government funds, e.g., "The best way to create a subcity is to pay people for personally negligent behavior."

  • ||

    James, great stuff. Now, if only I could remember even one of those terms I'd be a hit at the next cocktail party.

  • Episiarch||

    If I'm so super fucking partisan, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to think of some statements I've made that fly in the face of objective reality and demonstrate a bias.

    Since you can't...


    joe, every one I have ever pointed out has caused a volcanic reaction from you that you are not. You clearly will accept no evidence that you are partisan, even though many people consider you to be so. That's fine, but just because you won't accept it doesn't mean I will change my mind.

  • ||

    Joe, It has been apparent from the git go that you ain't Republican and you ain't libertarian.

    Test:

    Quick, what comes to mind when someone says:

    Abolish building codes

    Privatize the federal highway system

    The rich pay the lion's share of the tax burden

    Fertilize your lawn on a weekly basis

    GWB isn't as stupid as everyone thinks

    I love the suburbs

    Hillary is a crook

  • ||

    I don't care about your mind, Episiarch. I care about my honor and reputation.

    I'm perfectly happy swatting away your feeble charges, and pointing out that there is nothing behind them than your feelings, even if you never learn the error of your ways.

  • ||

    TWC,

    To be fair, I believe joe has only claimed to be a liberal in previous posts...

  • ||

    TWC,

    I'm a liberal Democrat. I've never made any bones about that fact. I consider it a point of pride.

    What I object to is the constant insistence that what I have to say is unreliable, biased, and inaccurate as a result.

    On a daily basis, I make accurate, truthful claims that people respond to with ad homenim attacks about how I must be wrong, because I'm a partisan. You can tell that what I write is nonsense, you see, because it tends to make the Democrats look better.

    Well that's bullshit, a work of partisan hackery I've never stooped to. I'll put my record of accuracy and honesty up against anyone's. If truthful, accurate statements tend to make the Democrats look better, so be it. It's dishonest and cowardly to object to hearing the truth because you don't like its partisan implications.

  • ||

    TWC glad you like them they are pretty funny.

  • Episiarch||

    I'm perfectly happy swatting away your feeble charges, and pointing out that there is nothing behind them than your feelings, even if you never learn the error of your ways.

    projection-->claim victory. You are sticking perfectly to pattern, joe. Enjoy the lead-lined casket that is your mind.

  • ||

    That's what you write whenever you get whupped.

  • ||

    You know what's sticking perfectly to pattern?

    That fact that you make a charge, can't back it up, stop even trying to back it up, then use the word "projection" to cover your ass.

  • fyodor||

    joe,

    Your logic regarding the timeline of the existence of Saddam's WMD's is impeccable. But I question your premise that Operation Desert Fox clearly destroyed all of Saddam's WMD's and his ability to make more. Even Madeleine Albright specifically said at the that the operation would only lessen Saddam's WMD threat but not destroy it.

    What say ye to that?

  • ||

    fyodor,

    Just to be clear, I didn't state that ODF destroyed Saddam's WMD capabilities.

    I wrote that the Iraqis destroyed them after the bombings. The bombings were punitive measures to force the Saddam regime into compliance, not the means by which the weapons and capabilities were destroyed.

    In 1998, there actually were WMDs in Iraq. Then, after Operation Desert Fox, they were demolished and ongoing WMD programs dismantled.

  • ||

    On a daily basis, I make accurate, truthful claims that people respond to with ad homenim attacks about how I must be wrong, because I'm a partisan.

    I believe that there are many people at H&R that could make the exact same comment about you.

  • ||

    Abolish building codes - We'll just communicate in codes that don't appear to be codes.

    Privatize the federal highway system - Good idea. Gov't funded roads are like subsidies to exurb developers. Hey, you got a piece of crap chunk of land? Get a road built out to it and it could be Whitestone Shallows Estates at Lake Lilly Pad: A Gated, Deed Restricted Community.

    The rich pay the lion's share of the tax burden - Hmm, kind of a tough case to make when you use the word "burden." Get rid of that and it might be about right.

    Fertilize your lawn on a weekly basis - Old man who probably screams at the nightly news.

    GWB isn't as stupid as everyone thinks - but since Americans are pretty stupid as a whole, it isn't surprising that they'd get this wrong too.

    I love the suburbs - I think "real estate" refers to the stupid house I built on top of a crappy piece of land.

    Hillary is a crook - Probably more honest than that other famous dude who said, "I am not a crook"

    This is Fun!

  • Episiarch||

    You know what's sticking perfectly to pattern?

    That fact that you make a charge, can't back it up, stop even trying to back it up, then use the word "projection" to cover your ass.


    Whatever you want to imagine in your fevre dream, joe. Your mind is an Al-Gorean "lockbox" and nothing ever changes it--ever. Your reaction to criticism is battening down the hatches and screaming defiantly at the sky. I don't expect rationality from you.

  • Bingo||

    joe:
    Blah blah blah blah blah. Blahblah. Blah blah albahi blah bluh. Partisan! Bluh blah blahhh blah bl-blah. Blah blah blah. Teh, blah blah blblah.

    I await your rebuttal.

  • ||

    Bingo:

    That's what she said!!!!! ah ha ha ah ah ah ha ha ha ha,,, whoopee!

  • ||

    That's a nice little outburst, Episiarch.

    Would you care to try to defend you initial point?

    Do you even remember what it was?

  • fyodor||

    the Iraqis destroyed them after the bombings

    Wow, interesting. Do we have any evidence of this beyond the fact that we suspected them of having WMD's beforehand and then found none after our invasion?

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    joe:

    Would you care to try to defend you initial point?

    Do you even remember what it was?


    In all fairness, joe, I just read this entire thread nonstop. And I don't remember what anyone's point was.

    Of course, I am drunk. (Or am about to be.)

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    It's pretty good beer if it gets you drunk in the past.

    "Now with even more hops and tachyons!"

  • ||

    fyodor,

    We have the testimony of Iraqi defectors and captured troops who testified about dumping the stuff.

    We have the ISG and the UN inspection teams, who confirmed that former weapons sites had been emptied and demolished.

    The same inspectors have found areas where large amounts of chem agents had been dumped, out in the deserts.

    I believe the Iraqi Survery Group's final report describes this all.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    OK, anyways, on to the who was lying when topic:

    In Bush I's war with Saddam, I wasn't particularly in favor of it, but neither was I particularly ag'in it. I figured if anything was excuse enough for that sort of limited-outcome war, the invasion of an even nominal ally was it. I at least saw how this was tied to national interest (though I hate that term), and if a war is started in reaction to the actions of another nation, I thought that was at least a plausible reason.

    During Clinton's strikes, I (as I imagine many others did) thought that the airstrikes against Iraq were a convenient excuse to deflect attention from his blowjob difficulties. Further, though the WMD argument was there, I didn't buy it at all. We were attacking an already defeated foe. His weapons programs were bound to have been as crushed as he was. I couldn't imagine why the US would be interested in an enemy that was as small a danger to us as any I might imagine. I remember at the time I thought that I'd never see a president I had such an innate distaste for as Clinton. Of course, I was wrong. Which brings me to:

    Bush II's war: I thought that this was the worst of the lot. All of the problems of Clinton's war, except now an even more crushed enemy who was clearly no threat to the US. I was really pissed at this one, in part because I couldn't see any valid reason the US was doing it. It didn't seem to even touch on any American interests. I'm still not sure why, and this has made me disagree with TWC's test statement:

    GWB isn't as stupid as everyone thinks

    even more than I already did. (...and I always thought he was pretty dumb - of course I think that about a lot of people...no one here though; you guys are all wonderful and brilliant!)

  • ||

    The test was, of course, designed to measure reactions to statements. Knee jerk or otherwise.

    The questions were carefully chosen to elicit already known answers from certain people who claim no partisanship. Hence, the chem-lawn question :-) and the GWB intelligence question and, well, all the rest of the questions. The Building Code question was there because He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is a city planner (I believe).

    But, it seems that one or two people enjoyed the test just on it's own merits and had fun with it. That's okay too.

  • ||

    Losin' Your Job.....I went backwards to you. Desert Storm pissed me off, big time anti-war on that one.

    Clinton's stuff? More of a distraction than an irritation although he, like GWB, is clumsy in his execution.

    I was ok with Afghanistan.

    On the fence with Iraq, probably for the same reason others were okay with it. 9/11 influence. But as I said way upthread, I'm very very done. And like a reformed smoker with no patience or tolerance for second hand smoke or those who couldn't quit, I'm outraged.

  • ||

    Don't mean to imply that I didn't beat on Clinton for stuff like the Aspirin Plant bombing. Not at all, just mean that I wasn't frothing at the mouth.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    TWC: No problem, dude.
    Like I said, I didn't like Clinton at all at the time, but once they started doing the skits on Conan O'Brien I actually warmed up to him (at least the fictional version) a little, and the whole blowjob prosecution wore thin on me pretty quick too. I still don't think much of him as a human being or a political figure, though.
    Bush II pissed me off from the get go; his election struck me as too much monarchy and the man himself as too dim. I kind of want every president to be Jefferson, so I know I'm aiming too high, but still... I was one of the Iraq War II viewers who traveled on the following progression:

    Very Opposed (I pissed off some very pro-war friends a lot in those days.)
    Uncertain (Purple thumbs, right, what else? I still thought most of the justification was hogwash, but I thought maybe some good might come out of it.)
    Opposed (Regardless of how things are there now, not enough good has come out of it to be worth staying there.)

    I was a big reader of Instapundit and watcher of Daily Show during the purple thumb days. I was happy to see those elections, and probably too naive about what it meant, considering how things have gone since then.

    Instapundit has gotten to be too predictable to read these days; it's almost as bad as watching Sean Hannity.

    I was pretty much OK with Afghanistan at the time too.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Oh yeah, and the beer didn't open a temporal rift as I had hoped: too citrus-y.

    I was sad because I had lame beer until I met a man who had no beer. Then he asked me for some spare change.

  • ||

    Speaking of beer, I think that PO'd me more than anything about the Iraq war (priorities man). US soldiers and Marines in Iraq can't have beer on base? WTF? Course, that may just be urban myth, but I don't think so.

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