Re: FDR Didn't Have That Problem

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Gil Smart of the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal gives us a refresher course (relatively painless reg. required) on politics during wartime:

[T]he fact is that President Roosevelt was pretty much roundly bashed by Republicans during the entirety of the war. And during the presidential campaign of 1944, things got as nasty as ever.

Indeed, our local Lancaster New Era noted in an editorial on the eve of the election, Nov. 6, 1944, that "The surprising thing about this war-time presidential campaign is that it was no different from all the others." Thomas Dewey, Roosevelt's opponent that year, spent much of the campaign deriding FDR as a "tired old man." The Roosevelt administration, Dewey said the week before the election, was "the most wasteful, extravagant and incompetent administration in the history of the nation." Dewey, in fact, spent that fall all but calling Roosevelt a communist, insisting that FDR was intent on selling the nation down the river to the reds.

But at least Dewey didn't criticize FDR on the war effort, right? To have done that in the wake of the failed Market Garden operation, just before the Battle of the Bulge, would have been grossly unpatriotic, right?

Judge for yourself:

"American fighting men were paying in blood through a prolongation of the battle of Germany for the 'improvised meddling' of the Democratic administration and the 'confused incompetence' of President Roosevelt."

That's from an Associated Press article that ran in this very newspaper on Sunday, Nov. 5, 1944 [?]

Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney, a former Republican National Committee official who once worked for Dick Cheney, told Salon.com last year that Dewey even came close to blaming FDR for Pearl Harbor.

"There's a myth," said Pitney, "that politics was adjourned for the duration of the Second World War."

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  1. I laugh my ass off at the hacks that jump through their ass to deny Iraq is anything like Viet Nam and then go on to compare it to WWII.

  2. Beautiful! Thank you very much for that. I just hope it is spread far and wide. Of course, I’m sure FDR and all the Democrats were making the same objections as the Republicans are these days: “There’s a war on! You can’t say such things!”

  3. I thought what’s his name’s point was not that there was no criticism of the war during WWII, but that today’s media is “actively working” to put the worst face possible on the war, something the WWII media didn’t do.

    Am I missing something?

  4. History, really well-informed history, is sorely lacking these debates as a means of establishing context. However, I wish conservatives and liberals alike would stop trying to justify what they do politically by saying that it’s what the other side did 50 years ago…

  5. A significant number of Republicans were isolationist “America First” types in the face of the fascist threat.

    90 years before that, many Democrat Copperheads were openly calling Lincoln the most vile racist nicknames I have ever read.

    Also, the Democratic opposition to Nixon in 68 and 72 was incredibly dignified and reserved in their opinions regarding Vietnam. I recall a certain talking about “War Crimes” in 1972.

    The U.S. has a 140 year old tradition of each party politicizing war…the opposition using casualties to hammer the competence of the incumbents, and the incumbents using the shield of Patriotism, God and Country to deflect and “shame” the opposition.

  6. My local paper! Gil’s definitely on the left side of the fence, but I enjoy his columns as much for their content as for the reactions they entice from the paleoconservative locals in the following letters to the editor.

    I thougt this was one of his better pieces.

  7. By the bye, the paper to which Matt refers actually goes by the rather ungainly Lancaster Intelligencer Journal. However, Gil Smart’s columns appear in the Lancaster Sunday News.

  8. Dave — Thanks, fixed it.

  9. A significant number of Republicans were isolationist “America First” types in the face of the fascist threat.

    Minor point — there was no fascist threat to the United States of America. There was a fascist threat to Europe, Asia, and Africa. The “America First” crowd were wrong on moral grounds, not strategic ones.

    In any case, I think there’s a qualitative difference between “the President is bungling the war” and “the President lied and forced us into a war we have no business being a part of”. The former is legitimate criticism — and, for that matter, ACCURATE criticism, for FDR and GWB alike. The latter is not legitimate or accurate criticism, but is quite commonly heard from leading Democratic politicians. Was it commonly heard from Republican politicians during WW2? I have no idea.

  10. Whether or not the President lied is a “known unknown,” (though that’s not the case with Cheney, Rice, et al; we KNOW they lied) but why is it not legitimate to express the opinion that we should not have invaded Iraq?

  11. Minor point: Pearl Harbor. Panama Canal. Phillipines. Atlantic Seaboard. New York Bomber.

  12. Well, if that sort of crazed, over-the-top criticism of Roosevelt worked so well for the Republicans in WWII, I guess I should be really excited about how well my fellow Democrats will do this election!

  13. Whether or not the President lied is a “known unknown,”

    If it’s a known unknown, then the statement “the President lied” is, itself, a lie. Just as it would be a lie if, for example, I called you a child molester — I’m making a supposed statement of fact, despite knowing that I have no basis for believing it to be true.

    (though that’s not the case with Cheney, Rice, et al (we KNOW they lied)

    We also know for a fact that Roosevelt lied about the threat Nazism posed to the United States (in reality it posed no threat to us) and lied about the trustworthiness of the USSR (which was inarguably worse than Nazi Germany). The question is, did people accuse Roosevelt of lying about the threat of Nazism at a time when we were actually fighting Nazis?

    but why is it not legitimate to express the opinion that we should not have invaded Iraq?

    There’s nothing wrong with it. When I catch a Democratic politician speaking the truth — “the American people overwhelmingly wanted to invade Iraq, and I think they were foolish and wrong” — I promise not to criticize them for saying it. It’s the lies I have a problem with — the claims that we were misled.

  14. Back again, not sure if I was “banned” or just had ISP problems…
    Any way, so “Bush Lied” about what? He could have been WRONG, but did he LIE? And it’s starting to look like he wasn’t too far wrong, with mustard and sarin turning up.

  15. “We also know for a fact that Roosevelt lied about the threat Nazism posed to the United States (in reality it posed no threat to us)”

    Uh, yeah. Sure. Batshit-crazy genocidal Hitler, no threat to the US.

    I’m sure Nazism would have been no threat to us at all, so long as we did away with our Jewish citizens to make the world safe for the Aryans.

  16. And ANOTHER thing!
    It’s funny, come to think on it, the same sort that oppose the Just War in Iraq are the same ones who opposed the Just War in 1941, Pat Buchanan “America Firsters” from the Right and the American Left, until 23 June 1941. It’s a pity that Saddam wasn’t rounding up Communists and shooting them (that having already been DONE he couldn’t) because if he HAD been at least ANSWER would have supported the War in Iraq.

  17. “If it’s a known unknown, then the statement “the President lied” is, itself, a lie.”

    But it’s not an outright lie. Bush has said so many things that were blatently false that it’s not unreasonable to suggest he lied. It’s just that, personally, I don’t know if Bush has ever said anything that he wasn’t told to say (besides the grammatically tortured generalizations he improvises from time to time) and I’m not convinced that the man is intelligent enough to know whether what he says is true or false.

    “We also know for a fact that Roosevelt lied about the threat Nazism posed to the United States (in reality it posed no threat to us) and lied about the trustworthiness of the USSR (which was inarguably worse than Nazi Germany).”

    I think that once Germany declared war on us, it was safe to say Nazism was a threat. Russia never declared war on us. But if Roosevelt lied about anything (which I’d be surprised if he didn’t), ANYTIME is a good time to remind the American people of it. Anytime is a good time to point out that our leaders are lying if, indeed they are.

    “When I catch a Democratic politician speaking the truth — “the American people overwhelmingly wanted to invade Iraq, and I think they were foolish and wrong” — I promise not to criticize them for saying it. It’s the lies I have a problem with — the claims that we were misled.”

    I hope you’re not implying that Democrats lie more often than Republicans. That would be silly. Most folks here know that neither side is more honest than the other.

    It’s not a lie to say that we were mislead about the reason we went to war, which was to protect ourselves. When the administration said that there was “no doubt” that Iraq possessed WMD’s when, in fact, they’d read reports from the CIA that expressed a good deal of doubt, that was a lie. If they had said, “we believe,” instead of, “we know,” then that would not have been a lie. I know life is usually complex, but this issue is actually quite simple. They said something they knew wasn’t true (not something they believed, but couldn’t prove). They lied.

    And I think it matters just as much when Republican leaders lie as it does when Democratic leaders lie. But lying does mean a little more when it leads to war.

  18. “Any way, so “Bush Lied” about what? He could have been WRONG, but did he LIE?”

    Like I said, I’m not convinced the man is intelligent enough to lie or to know it from the truth. He COULD be. I’ve just not seen any evidence of it.

    And again, considering he’s said so many things that were false (saying the IAEC said Iraq had a nuclear program while not saying that report predated the first Gulf War; saying that Iraq was a known ally of Al Quaeda; saying that he’d been candid about his past, that he first knew Ken Lay in 94, etc.), it’s not unreasonable to suspect him of lying.

    “And it’s starting to look like he wasn’t too far wrong, with mustard and sarin turning up.”

    Even if we find stockpiles (and I hope we do as it will improve our standing in the world and increase the chances of us getting some help and doing the job right), it doesn’t change the fact that Cheney, Rice, et al (all of whom the President supposedly hired) lied when they said there was “no doubt” that Iraq had WMD’s.

    That has no bearing on whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, it just demonstrates that they lied.

    “It’s funny, come to think on it, the same sort that oppose the Just War in Iraq are the same ones who opposed the Just War in 1941”

    And, I’m sorry, but this is just bullshit. Just because someone disagrees about when to go to war doesn’t mean they think that it’s always wrong to go to war. There are lots of military folks who disagree completely with this war. Tell it to them.

  19. 1. Like I said, I’m not convinced the man is intelligent enough to lie or to know it from the truth.
    That old trope, he’s an empty suit, he’s stoopit, let it go. NO ONE gets to President who is stupid… You just don’t like his policies or his philosophy, leave the argumentum ad hominen out of it.

    2. Even if we find stockpiles (and I hope we do … it doesn’t change the fact that Cheney, Rice, et al (all of whom the President supposedly hired) lied when they said there was “no doubt” that Iraq had WMD’s.

    Uh HUH, Les, that statement completely contradicts itself doesn’t it? So stockpiles of chemical weapons won’t prove beyond a doubt the claims about the WMD’s? REALLY, what WOULD?? If not the evidence of the things themselves? Also, this is another soon to be-old tactic, the moving goal posts, “Where are the weapons?” Well how about these two artillery rounds, “Well, where are the stockpiles?” So, no matter what is found it’s not good enough.. Try it if you want do expect me to go along with it.

    3. And, I’m sorry, but this is just bullshit. Just because someone disagrees about when to go to war doesn’t mean they think that it’s always wrong to go to war. There are lots of military folks who disagree completely with this war. Tell it to them.
    And I’m sorry Les, but this doesn’t make a lot of sense either. The folks that opposed WW II and this war have a lot of overlap, again Pat Buchanan today, and Lindbergh then, Answer today the Communists then… I never sadi that they opposed ALL war, then or now, just that they opposed those two just wars. And I’m sure that there ARE those who oppse this war who have served, never said there weren’t. But, I’m willing to bet that they number no more than 25% of the population of former troops… still-and-all, how does your statement count as a criticism?

  20. Not only did Bush not lie, I still don’t believe those like Les who are against him have proved any of his major statements about the war were actually incorrect.

  21. “the same sort that oppose the Just War in Iraq are the same ones who opposed the Just War in 1941, Pat Buchanan “America Firsters” from the Right and the American Left, until 23 June 1941′

    Um, not quite. The faction of the American Right that opposed the invasion of Iraq was a minority faction, who got a lot of press for the “man bites dog” angle. Similarly, the faction of the American Left that opposed entry into WWII prior to Operation Barbarossa was a distinct minority of the American Left. FDR, the godfather of the New Deal, counts as left, correct? And you might want to check out a book called “Dr. Suess Goes to War,” which features the cartoons drawn by Theodore Suess Geisel from a popular front newspaper in New York from 1939-41, which urge the US to enter the war.

  22. Fred,

    unmanned drones capable of delivering gas or germ weapons that can reach our shores bzzt

    reconstituted nuclear weapons program bzzt

    aluminium tubes that could be used in the Iraqi uranium enrichment program bzzt

  23. “That old trope, he’s an empty suit, he’s stoopit, let it go. NO ONE gets to President who is stupid… You just don’t like his policies or his philosophy, leave the argumentum ad hominen out of it.”

    Actually, you’re incorrect. There are a lot of people whose policies and philosophies I disagree with who have demonstrated their intelligence. And I didn’t say that he was stupid. I said he hasn’t demonstrated his intelligence. I’m open minded, though. Since I can give you a long list of incredibly stupid things he’s said, how about you show me some unscripted statements that demonstrate a deep understanding of ANY subject and I’ll accept that he is intelligent.

    Let me add this exchange. Bob Woodward asks how the President thinks history will judge his actions. Bush shrugs his shoulders and says, “History, we don?t know. We?ll all be dead.”

    That is an indefensibly and willfully ignorant answer to a vitally important question. “I don’t know,” would have been honest answer, but we can hardly expect that from a man, an administration, incapable of admitting a mistake. A man who doesn’t read the newspaper, who has an open disdain for intellectuals (by the way, you never answered my question as to why military strategy was not an intellectual pursuit; is chess not an intellectual pursuit?).

    No one gets to be President who is stupid? Right now, I think Bush is proving you wrong.

    “Uh HUH, Les, that statement completely contradicts itself doesn’t it? So stockpiles of chemical weapons won’t prove beyond a doubt the claims about the WMD’s? REALLY, what WOULD?? If not the evidence of the things themselves?”

    Okay, think of it this way. Five wolf hunters tell me that there wolves in the woods and five tell me that there aren’t. If, before I look for the wolves, I say, “There is ‘no doubt’ that there are wolves in the woods,” then I have just told a lie. Even if I find wolves in the woods, what I said before was a lie. If, AFTER I find the wolves, I say, “There is ‘no doubt’ that there are wolves in the woods,” then that is NOT a lie. It’s simple, really. Just because you agree with the philosophies of the Bush administration doesn’t mean you should deny that they have lied when it’s clearly demonstrable that they have.

    “I never sadi that they opposed ALL war, then or now, just that they opposed those two just wars.”

    So you didn’t. Sorry I jumped the gun there. I probably overreacted to your phrase, “the same sort that oppose the Just War in Iraq are the same ones who opposed the Just War in 1941” which implies a certain mindset for all opposed to the war.

    And for the record, I’m not opposed to the war so much as I am to the demonstrably dishonest people who engineered it.

  24. “Not only did Bush not lie, I still don’t believe those like Les who are against him have proved any of his major statements about the war were actually incorrect.”

    Bush said on “Mission Accomplished” day that Hussein was an ally of Al Quaeda. A week or so later, he said we’d found WMD’s. There is no evidence that either of these statements are true.

  25. Oh yeah, and when he said IAEC reported that Iraq had a nuclear program. The report was from BEFORE the FIRST Gulf War. That’s just pathetic.

  26. Oh, Fred?

    How about, the Iraqis could launch WMDs at the US on 45 minutes notice.

  27. Joe! It’s like a game!

    “Uranium from Niger” counts because Bush said it “about the war.”

    Your turn!

  28. I’m still up 4-3.

  29. If we get stuck, can we go on to Powell?

  30. I think you’re all barking up the wrong tree. Someday historians will argue about when the President knew what he knows now, and that will be interesting to the historians of the future. But, right now, the problem the President’s campign is facing isn’t a question of integrity, it’s a question of competence. How incompetent is it to lead a nation into war with justifications that turn out to be bogus?

    Whether or not he lied, he told us that Saddam had WMD. Whether or not he lied, he told us there were Al Qaeda connections to Iraq. Whether or not he lied, he bragged of having shut down the torture chambers and rape rooms even after the Taguba report showed that we were raping and torturing people. At this point, whether or not he lied, that is, when he knew what he knows now, has nothing to do with it.

    Whether or not he knew he was spoon feeding the people of the United States a load of bullshit, he spoon fed the people of the United States a load of bullshit, and, now, everybody knows it. How incompetent was it for the President to kill thousands of Iraqi civilians, sacrifice the lives of hundreds of American troops and throw away the prestige of the United States on a lark?

  31. Dan,

    You know there are some of us that believe that 9/11, was sort of, you know, not to push the analogy too far, like Pearl Harbor.

    And you know well Iraq, uh, in WW2 the main effort went to Europe despite the fact that we were attacked by the Japanese.

    Now Iraq is a battle in the war. It is not a war unto itself. And if you think of it that way – it makes strategic sense. We are smack in the heart of enemy territory. Kind of like being in Germany helped us keep an eye on the Russians.

    So, I’d say there is a war on and Iraq is a battle in that war and that things are going well in Iraq. So far.

  32. “It’s a pity that Saddam wasn’t rounding up Communists and shooting them (that having already been DONE he couldn’t) because if he HAD been at least ANSWER would have supported the War in Iraq.”–Joe L.

    Why do you think Hitchens was so gung ho for it?

  33. Ken,

    You know this administration is SO incompetent. The fact that America has been in Iraq for over a year and yet Bush is not in control of everything that happens in Iraq proves just how incompetent Bush is. Saddam never let things get this bad.

  34. Shultz, you know nothing!

  35. Actually, there’s a few things I know quite a bit about. My knowledge of testing Unix based software for gigantic hospital systems is quite extensive, for instance. My knowledge of how to model, finance, build and sell industrial real estate would blow you away. I know a thing or two about Economics, and, oh yeah, my Latin’s pretty good. I know when an employee is more expensive than useful, and, among the other things, I know that the President is incompetent.

  36. Ken,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Like I said, I don’t know if Bush was lying (but I do believe it’s demonstrable that top members of his administration lied and their continued employment speaks to the competence issue).

    That said, you’re completely right that the incompetence of the administration (part of which is seen in its inability to take responsibility for its mistakes) is more inarguable than its honesty.

  37. Now I get it M. Simon! Bombing, invading and occupying a country, killing thousands of civilians and sacrificing the lives of hundreds of U.S. troops is all justified by the fact that our President makes a better ruler than any given dictator. Never mind the bill of goods the President sold us to justify the invasion of Iraq; Saddam Hussein was a bad ruler, and that’s the justification now. Looking at it from that perspective, I guess, it all clicks for you.

    But I’m not so sure that Iraq is going to end up with something better than Saddam Hussein. I suspect that whatever elected government they get is more likely than not to go the way of the Weimer Republic, with the notable exception that the Weimer Republic didn’t end in a civil war. Will a perpetual Turkish-Kurdish war, a terrorist state centered in the Sunni Triangle and a majority led, Shia state loosely allied with Iran be better for the people of Iraq and better for the United States than a contained Saddam Hussein was? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Either way, at this point in time, suggesting that,”…things are going well in Iraq. So far.” is plainly ridiculous. We’ve lost 800 soldiers since the fall of Baghdad, and the loss of those lives neither protected us from WMD nor protected us from terrorism, the head of the Iraqi Governing Council was killed by a suicide bomber last week, right when we?re getting ready to hand over sovereignty, and people in congress are calling for the resignation of senior Administration officials. Do you think that Bush went to the airwaves this week just because he wanted to tell us how well things are going? Do you think that the Bush Administration agrees that, “…things are going well in Iraq. So far.”?

    If they do, it’s further evidence of incompetence.

  38. Wow. After reading that post I suddenly have a higher opinion of Dewey.

  39. Simon, Germany and Japan were closely allied in WW2, which makes your Al Qaeda/Iraq comparison problematic.

    For a more useful analogy, you’d have to postulate and invasion of Sweden or Turkey. Your strategic argument would apply equally well to those countries.

  40. I see that Dewey’s criticism of Roosevelt were quite succesful–for Roosevelt.

    And an excellent book concerning FDR’s coaxing of the nation to war is T.R. Fehrenbach’s F.D.R.’s Undeclared War.

  41. Two questions for the “anti-war” crowd.

    1) Did you support the battle of Afghanistan? Why?

    2) When we prove that Iraq was in bed with Al Qaida, will you change your mind about the battle of Iraq?

  42. Well, I’m not in the “anti-war” crowd so much as I am in the “anti-architects of the war” crowd, but I’ll bite.

    1) I supported attacking Afghanistan because we knew for a fact that the people who attacked us were there and protected by the totalitarian government there.

    2) Usually, justification for war is demonstrated BEFORE it is engaged in. But, of course, IF you demonstrate that the Iraqi government was involved in 9-11 or an active ally with Al Quaeda, I would have to support the invasion of Iraq. Though it wouldn’t force me to become so loyal that it would affect my opinion that the war has been executed ineptly from the top. There are, after all, many, many people who supported the invasion of Iraq, but who are now ashamed at the incompetence and lack of responsibility demonstrated by the Bush administration.

  43. Actually, on second thought, I guess I am in the “anti-war” crowd because I think a “good” war has to be run by honest, intelligent, and responsible people if it is to succeed.

  44. Matthew Cromer,

    The number of web links you can point is not an adequate metric for determining the credibility of your claim. Indeed, I bet I could post links to thousands of web pages “proving” that the “face on Mars” exists, but that doesn’t make it so.

    If there was a real, substantial or otherwise important link the Bush administration would be trumpeting this to the stars; they have not, which I take as adequate evidence that such a link as I’ve described it does not exist. After a while these shrill claims smack more of true believerism than rational thinking.

    thoreau,

    The Nazis were more dangerous; economically and militarily they had the capacity to be a far more dangerous enemy than the Soviets ever could be. Furthermore, they had the world’s most advanced economies outside of the U.S., and the UK & its commonwealth, at their disposal; in other words, the low countries, France, etc., whereas the Soviets seized what were really lead weights that became a burden by the 1960s. Anyway, there are innumerable reasons to favor the real post-WWII settlement over a counterfactual where the Nazis control Europe.

  45. Gary-

    I 100% agree that the post-WWII settlement was preferable to Nazi conquest. Half of Europe under Communism and the other half free was indisputably better than all of Europe under either Nazism or Communism.

    But if you post here long enough you’ll notice that there’s a perennial tendency of people to adamantly insist that right wing dictators aren’t as bad as left wing dictators. I was arguing against their point, not yours.

  46. Matt,

    1) Yes. I wasn’t terribly happy that we had to do it, but had to do it we did.

    2) What does “in bed with Al Qaeda” mean? We know for a fact that Al Qaeda was not one and the same with the Baathist gov’t, the way they were with the Taliban, so the comparison is not apples to apples. Knocking the Taliban out of power denied AQ the support of a government, with all the power that that implies, and the use of a country’s territory for bases. Neither was the case in Iraq; we know this already.

    So what anti-Al Qaeda outcomes were accomplished by the overthrow of Saddam? Lay those out, and we can compare them to the humanitarian and strategic harms that have been the outcome of the Iraqi invasion – the extent of which are yet to be determined, since we have no idea what Iraq will look like in a year.

    As far as assisting with ramping down the capabilities of Al Qaeda, I haven’t seen anything come out of the invasion to suggest that that’s happened.

  47. Joe,

    “In bed” means meeting with, providing support for, sheltering. For example, giving Zarqawi medical treatment, allowing terrorist camps to operate a few miles from Baghdad, harboring terrorists wanted by the US. Not even to mention acts of war like trying to kill a president of the US in peacetime.

  48. One more point:

    The fact that Saddam paid suicide bombers to blow up American citizens in Israel is not in the least controversial. It’s also an act of war.

    Please give me some more BS about Saddam not being a state sponsor of mideast terror.

    If you are not willing to take out state sponsors of terror, you might as well surrender.

  49. They tried to kill a former President. That’s despicable, but it’s not grounds for war, unless you believe that the death of any private US citizen is grounds for war.

    Remember, every 4 to 8 years on noon of January 20th a President becomes a private citizen, no more or less important than any of the rest of us as far as the government is concerned.

    Would you take it as grounds for war if a foreign government tried to kill Bill Clinton tomorrow?

  50. Thoreau,

    Yes I absolutely would. It is certainly grounds for war — to murder a former president for actions taken during his presidency.

    I didn’t notice a response about paying suicide bombers who have blown up dozens of American citizens. Is that state-sponsored terrorism? Is Saddam a terrorist who attacks Americans.

    We have an airtight case on some of the connections between Saddam and anti-American terrorism, a good case on others, and a speculative case on others. I think it’s clear that the stuff we have him airtight on is more than enough to take him out, and the good case (eg. Al Ani meeting Mohammad Atta in Prague) stuff is icing on the cake. The WMD threat (which was very real, read the Kay report) along with the history of WMD use against civilians just gave yet more reason to end his regime.

    Basically, the US spent 25 years being the “bitch” of Middle Eastern terror, culminating with September 11. Part of ending that scenario means a credible threat to deal with bad actors. Actors who try to assassinate retired heads of state who beat them in wars, who pay islamic terrorists to blow up American citizens — You either take them out or you invite the “bitch” treatment.

  51. Matthew-

    You’ve made an excellent case for why Israel should have attacked Iraq, because there were direct links between Saddam Hussein and terrorism against Israel. And yes, some of the victims of terror on Israeli soil were US citizens, but that does not necessarily mean that the US would have grounds for war from such attacks. The US gov’t’s obligations to protect its citizens are greatly diminished when they leave US soil. I won’t say that there are zero protections, but you can’t treat an attack on any American anywhere in the world as grounds for war.

  52. Dan,

    “Minor point — there was no fascist threat to the United States of America.”

    Which of course explains the attacks on American shipping in 1940; and of course the German declaration of war in December 1941. When another state declares war on you, your choices appear to be either to (a) ignore the declaration, (b) surrender or (c) return the favor in kind.

    “In any case, I think there’s a qualitative difference between ‘the President is bungling the war’ and ‘the President lied and forced us into a war we have no business being a part of.'”

    Well, in the first place, FDR was accused of the latter; which is the heart of the “FDR knew about Pearl Harbor” line of reasoning.

    “The former is legitimate criticism — and, for that matter, ACCURATE criticism, for FDR and GWB alike. The latter is not legitimate or accurate criticism, but is quite commonly heard from leading Democratic politicians. Was it commonly heard from Republican politicians during WW2? I have no idea.”

    Why is the latter not “legitimate” criticism? And whether it is “accurate” is not of course for you to wholly decide.

    “We also know for a fact that Roosevelt lied about the threat Nazism posed to the United States (in reality it posed no threat to us)…”

    Which of course explains why the German state declared war against the U.S.; and of course why the Germans were attacking American shipping from 1940 onward. At least there was a threat to the freedom of the seas that all sovereign states should enjoy.

    “…and lied about the trustworthiness of the USSR (which was inarguably worse than Nazi Germany).”

    You find allies where you may; note that even Churchill was more than willing to make such an alliance, though he of course compared Stalin and Soviet Russia to the “devil.”

    “The question is, did people accuse Roosevelt of lying about the threat of Nazism at a time when we were actually fighting Nazis?”

    Sure they did; indeed, that was the heart of the “America First” program. Indeed, so did members of the American Nazi Party – which was quite largish at one point in the late 1930s.

  53. thoreau,

    Leftists apologize for Stalinism and rightists apologize for a whole variety of little fascist creeps.

    Matthew Cromer,

    “…giving Zarqawi medical treatment…”

    The U.S. let the man escape prior to the invasion as a means to “demonstrate” such involvement; now he’s a major bug up our ass. Given your line of logic, the Bush administration is also in league with al Qaeda.

    “…allowing terrorist camps to operate a few miles from Baghdad…”

    Al Qaeda camps? Keep in mind that you were the one drawing a DIRECT link between the two; not some tertiary, convoluted or otherwise fanciful one.

    “…harboring terrorists wanted by the US.”

    Members of al Qaeda?

    Let me directly qoute from you:

    “As for the links between Al Qaida and Saddam, they are legion…”

    Either demonstrate this point, or shut the fuck up twit. And proof does not equal vague statements about “terrorists,” it equals direct, substantiated ties with al Qaeda, that are long-lasting, consist of operational and strategic control or planning between the two groups, etc.

    “Not even to mention acts of war like trying to kill a president of the US in peacetime.”

    From 1993? Sorry, but in all fairness, waiting ten years to act on the incident makes this sound at best contrived, and at worst dishonest – its a bit like the Austrians waiting several weeks after the Archduke was murdered then claiming a “sudden passion” to invade Serbia to right the wrong.

  54. Matt, the activities you describe are indeed despicable, but none of them represent a significant threat to American security.

    Providing medical treatment for a terrorist, allowing Ansar al Islam (who’ve never attacked the United Stats, btw) to have a base, and paying the families of suicide bombers on the other side of the planet does not come close to the Taliban/Al Qaeda relationship.

    Your decision to slip into the “bitch of Middle East terrorism” rant pretty much gives the game away; you’d have supported any military action against pretty much any Middle Eastern state, because you see the benefit of publically kicking someone’s ass. Your attempt to tie the Baathist government to the 9/11 attacks is a transparent pretext.

  55. Gary,

    I hope you choke on a log next time you toss your dog’s salad.

  56. Joe,

    Obviously having a working relationship with Islamic
    terrorists is a significant threat. BTW Ansar al Islam is a branch of Al Qaeda.

    You’re putting words into my mouth. Which other M.E. states tried to assassinate a US president? I assume you believe the Czech government is mistaken about an ongoing series of meetings between Al Ani and Atta.

  57. OMG, the Czech intel about Atta! As discredited administration claims go, that really is a golden oldie. And here I thought I was hot shit for dredging up the unmanned drones lie.

    “Obviously having a working relationship with Islamic terrorists is a significant threat.” Make sure you post a link to your denunciation of Oliver North and Dana Rorhbacher.

    Ansar is not a branch of Al Qaeda, but an independent group that may have a relationship with people also involved in Al Qaeda.

    Cornered rat, snapping and clawing in every direction. You could almost feel sorry for them at the end, if they weren’t so mean.

  58. I think the complaints of “bungling” are the expected partisan sniping in an election year. Every war involving large numbers of ground troops occupying territory has suffered large numbers of casualties (usually much higher than Iraq) and in war catastrophe is common. A training operation for D-Day suffered 750 KIA when discovered by German submarines. The complaints about troop strength ignore strategic considerations as well as the footprint of 300,000 American soldiers in Iraq making occupation a much more abrasive presence.

    As for the links between Al Qaida and Saddam, they are legion, here are some links to start with:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005133

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/527uwabl.asp

    http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2003/11/15/111243.shtml

    http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/ITeamInsider_030710.html

    Just for starters

  59. I guess complaints of bungling could be attributed to partisan sniping in an election year, but, personally, I’ve voted for every Republican presidential candidate since Reagan including George W Bush. (I was too young to vote when Reagan was running, but I did go door to door for him.) So, for me anyway, I don’t think you can attribute my complaints of bungling to partisan sniping; my complaings of bungling are directly attributable to all the bungling.

  60. I was against the invasion of Iraq, but, just for the record, now that we’re there, I’m in favor of toughing it out until we really do bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Of course, that can happen with or without Bush in the White House.

    I supported the invasion of Afghanistan because the Taliban participated in an attack on U.S. citizens, and one of the few things I want our federal government to do is defend U.S. citizens from foreign attack.

    If Iraq was in fact ?in bed? with Al Qaeda, I would certainly agree that our invasion of Iraq was entirely justifiable, but I haven?t seen any evidence that Iraq was in fact ?in bed? with Al Qaeda; indeed, I haven?t seen any evidence that, Iraq was any threat to us at all.

  61. the USSR (which was inarguably worse than Nazi Germany)

    I don’t know. I’ve commented before about the way that some here automatically assume right-wing dictators aren’t as bad as left-wing dictators.

    Was Stalin worse than Hitler? I say that once a dictator’s body count is in the 7-digit range and he’s invaded a few neighboring countries and helped start a world war, comparisons become pretty much meaningless. One could probably make a good argument as to whether one was worse than the other, but it would be about as pointless as arguing whether Sauron is more evil than Voldemort.

    Now, if you want to argue over whether Balrogs have wings, that’s a whole other issue! 🙂

  62. Matthew Cromer,

    I appreciate your complete and total capitulation. *chuckle*

  63. I have been serving in Iraq for over five months now as a soldier in the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the “ROCK.”

    We entered the country at midnight on the 26th of March; one thousand of my fellow soldiers and I parachuted from 10 jumbo jets (known as C-17s) onto a cold, muddy field in Bashur, Northern Iraq. This parachute operation was the U.S. Army’s only combat jump of the war and opened up the northern front.

    Things have changed tremendously for our battalion since those first cold, wet weeks spent in the mountain city of Bashur. On April 10 our battalion conducted an attack south into the oil-rich town of Kirkuk, the city that has since become our home away from home and the focus of our security and development efforts.

    Kirkuk is a hot and dusty city of just over a million people. The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms. After nearly five months here, the people still come running from their homes, in the 110-degree heat, waving to us as our troops drive by on daily patrols of the city. Children smile and run up to shake hands, in their broken English shouting “Thank you, mister.”

    The people of Kirkuk are all trying to find their way in this new democratic environment. Some major steps have been made in these last three months. A big reason for our steady progress is that our soldiers are living among the people of the city and getting to know their neighbors and the needs of their neighborhoods.

    We also have been instrumental in building a new police force. Kirkuk now has 1,700 police officers. The police are now, ethnically, a fair representation of the community as a whole. So far, we have spent more than $500,000 from the former Iraqi regime to repair each of the stations’ electricity and plumbing, to paint each station and make it a functional place for the police to work.

    The battalion also has assisted in re-establishing Kirkuk’s fire department, which is now even more effective than before the war. New water treatment and sewage plants are being constructed and the distribution of oil and gas are steadily improving.

    All of these functions were started by our soldiers here in this northern city and are now slowly being turned over to the newly elected city government. Laws are being rewritten to reflect democratic principles and a functioning judicial system was recently established to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the rule of law.

    The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored and we are a large part of why that has happened.

    The fruits of all our soldiers’ efforts are clearly visible in the streets of Kirkuk today. There is very little trash in the streets, there are many more people in the markets and shops and children have returned to school.

    This is all evidence that the work we are doing as a battalion and as American soldiers is bettering the lives of Kirkuk’s citizens. I am proud of the work we are doing here in Iraq and I hope all of your readers are as well.

    Lt. Col. Dominic Caraccilo

    “Die dulci fruimini!”

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