"The Arabian Spring"

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The Times of London features an extended look at the changing Middle East, offering something for everyone. Bush, the article notes, is widely reviled in the region (there's an anti-Bush drama entitled Vietnam Two now running in Cairo), while Lebanese political journalist Michel Nawfal argues that even if the Iraqi elections were a regional benchmark, the Iraqis were only voting to get rid of the U.S.

Egyptian newspaper publisher Hisham Kassem, on the other hand, thinks that "The Americans have done a wonderful job. It is because of their pressure that we have had this opening in Egypt. Criticising Mubarak was forbidden prior to the pressure they put on him."

A British Arabist named General Sir Peter de la Billiere will either please or frustrate everyone by arguing that "There's a degree of change unthinkable five years ago, but it's not dramatic and it's not going to change the Middle East overnight." Andre Azoulay, an adviser to the king of Morocco, is pondering it all. "There is a breath of fresh air in the region. But I can't tell you quite what it means," he told the Times.

The piece's closing notes go to Georgetown U prof Tom Melia, who thinks that, "You don't have to be an enthusiast for Bush to know that many of his critics were wrong. Making democracy a strategic goal for American interests in the world doesn't sound so wacky any more," and to war critic Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian, who wrote last week that the Iraq war "may have carried a silver lining."

The NYT also features a big-picture piece from one of its best Mideast reporters, Neil MacFarquhar: Unexpected Whiff of Freedom Proves Bracing for the Mideast.

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  1. Michal Nawfal:

    “… most (Iraqi voters) braved the dangers and participated in the elections as a means of installing a government that they hoped would speed up the withdrawal of the American forces and bring about an end to occupation.”

    So let’s do our part and persuade our government to bring the troops home. 1,500 Americans have now died in this war justified by deception.

    Hisham Kassem:

    “The Americans have done a wonderful job. It is because of their pressure that we have had this opening in Egypt. Criticising Mubarak was forbidden prior to the pressure they put on him.”

    What?? Our government has been supporting the savagely repressive Mubarak regime in the amount of about three billion a year for some time now. This amount is second only to the tax dollars that go to the Israeli government and their brutal occupation of Palestinian land.

  2. British and Egyptians and Morrocans, oh my!

    So they don’t mind anymore if American troops fight and die for their freedom? –imagine that! …Did any of them question the appropriatness of using American troops under false pretenses to promote liberal movements throughout the Muslim world?

    …Now that we know what they think of our troops dying for their freedom, tell me, what do they think of the way we spend our tax revenue?

    *Disclaimer–the preceding comment was written under the assumption that occupying one country boosts liberal movements in third party countries, and, as we all know, to assume is to make an ass of you and me.

  3. The New York Times’ Neil MacFarquhar fails to mention in his tour d’horizon that Libya, next door to Egypt, got rid of its WMD.

    If the region gets better, Israel’s hardliners will no longer be able to say, look, we’re in a bad neighborhood and therefor need to resort to torture, “targeted assassinations,” etc.

    Turkey’s democracy is run by an Islamist party and they’re backing away from Israel.

    Looks like Iran will get nukes though and sorta turn into a North Korea. Its youth don’t want to fight for democracy, they just want to move to America.

  4. Peter, you should know better. Ken, Rick AND Gary are supposed to have first response rights to any post even hinting at the US actually doing something good or right or at least being perceived as such.

    I don’t care if Gary is still in bed with a hangover on a Sunday afternoon, wait your turn.

  5. Jimmy,

    What?? The net result of the activity of the American people is overwhelmingly good and right. The degree to which we enjoy the economic liberty known as capitalism benefits much of the world, both in their emulation of it and from the products it brings tom their doors.

    Our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech is second to none and acts as a standard to which the world’s people may aspire and use to put pressure on their own governments, even as we must work to protect our own and the neocons who lied us into the Iraq war try to make the case to limit free speech.

    Now if by “US” you meant only the actions of our government; well then, there is much to criticize and condemn. But that’s a very narrow and bias way to view America.

  6. …of course that sholuld be: “and from the products it brings to their doors.

    Excuse me.

  7. “So let’s do our part and persuade our government to bring the troops home. 1,500 Americans have now died in this war justified by deception.”

    Absolutely. Just when things are starting to look good, let’s just give up and let it all collapse. Far better for that to happen than for Bush to get credit for anything, eh?

    {/sarcasm}

    You anti-Bush people (I can’t call you anti-war, because I don’t think that’s what motivates you) just astound me. You would rather condemn the Middle East to another few decades of chaos than allow anything to happen that might reflect positively on Bush. That is a small-minded position. Heck, when Jon Stewart has come in from the cold, anyone should be able to tell it’s time to reconsider.

    On another note, when are you going to get over the “war justified by deception” angle? It just makes you look uninformed, or possibly dishonest yourself. The facts are:

    (1) Everybody, from Bill Clinton to the French, thought the WMD were there.

    (2) WMD was not the only reason for the war. (It doesn’t matter how many times you claim it was. Those of us who were actually paying attention to what Bush said know better.)

  8. Joe, I agree that disagreeing with the war just out of hatred for Bush is stupid. Hell, I actually liked the guy when he ran in 2000. And, no, I don’t think pulling out right now is a possibility, as much as I disagreed with this war from the beginning.

    But to deny that WMD was the primary and most prominant reason for going to war, and to deny that we would’ve gone to war for only the other reasons you ellude to (assuming WMD was not brought up) is equally dishonest.

    This war had to be justified on the premise that Iraq was a threat to our national security, and WMD was the easiest (and most dishonest) way to do it.

    The fact of the matter is that the administration felt we had to fuck someone up in the ME to show everyone we meant business, and Iraq was the easiest target. The facts were secondary to that calculation.

  9. Hans:

    I won’t argue with those points. Yes, WMD was emphasized as the primary reason. And, while I think Bush really did think it was there, it was not the main reason – the main reason was just as you state, to let them know we meant business, and facilitate change throughout the region.

    I also do not fault Bush for not stressing that strategy beforehand. It would have stupid to antagonize the Saudis, Syrians, and Iranians, and thereby make the Iraq operation more risky and probably lose more American lives. So Bush merely mentioned it as one of the reasons and went ahead and did what he had to do.

    His approach carried considerable risk, both as a military operation and also to his chances for re-election. But he was vindicated on the battlefield and at the ballot box. And we are now seeing that his risk is beginning to pay off in a big way throughout the Middle East. I think he deserves credit for that, and the naysayers need to stop crying “Bush lied! People died!”

    We still have a long haul in the Middle East, just as we did after WWII in Japan and Germany. But we ought to be pretty thankful today that we carried out such a strategy with the Japanese, since it looks like we’re going to need them (and every other ally we can get in the Pacific) to face down China in the future.

    Likewise, the good effects of Middle Eastern transformation will resonate through decades. It starts with diminishing the threat of terrorism, particularly of the atomic variety, and if things go well, will end with positive political economic consequences for everyone involved.

    I don’t care much for George Bush overall. I think signing McCain Feingold was as cowardly an act as I’ve seen a president do in my lifetime. The Medicare drug bill, expanding federal interference in education – I can list plenty of reasons to dislike George Bush.

    But his foreign policy is not on the list. It has been generally well considered, and by historic standards, spectacularly successful.

  10. Bush was wrong, and people died. I have no idea if he lied or not.

    Most Americans thought Iraq participated in 9/11 when the War started. If you think it’s a good thing he left America so uninformed, that’s fine. Just don’t expect the rest of us to grin and nod and clap like a bunch of chimps

    Secondly, I remain unconvinced that the occupation of Iraq is the cause of the positive developments we’re seeing. To what extent does the American withdrawal from Saudi Arabia influence this? What about the death of Arafat? What about the Syrian occupation? What about the recent asassination?

    Last, but not least, I voted for Bush the first time ’round–what difference does that make? The only people who listen to those who come through the door spoutin’ ad hominems are Republican propaganda victims.

    …I don’t think you’re going to find a lot of those around here.

  11. Most Americans thought Iraq participated in 9/11 when the War started. If you think it’s a good thing he left America so uninformed, that’s fine. Just don’t expect the rest of us to grin and nod and clap like a bunch of chimps

    First off, I’m more than a bit skeptical of polls that purport to show that most Americans are utter fools. But even if the poll is correct, since when is it the president’s duty to make sure the public doesn’t believe such nonsense? If anyone is to be faulted, it is the news media.

  12. “First off, I’m more than a bit skeptical of polls that purport to show that most Americans are utter fools.”

    Ever looked at polls regarding the percentage of Americans who believe in the Creation myth?

  13. This “Arabian Spring” has got to be a feint from the Arab League.
    It is a trap, big time, for clueless Dubya.
    I notice Gary Gunnels hasn’t commented yet. I’m pretty sure his sentiments will be mine.

  14. Joe Bonforte:

    Just when things are starting to look good, let’s just give up and let it all collapse.

    Since most of the violence seems to be directed at US troops or Iraqis associated with US troops, it’s clear that our government’s presence is the problem. There are no episodes of violence or threats of blood baths directed at Sunni enclaves in the Shiite south or at Shiite areas in the Sunni north. This situation is nothing like the Balkans.

    Everybody, from Bill Clinton to the French, thought the WMD were there.

    What a worthless claim. I don’t know why you put so much stake in the opinions of Bill Clinton and the French government but both of them and most of the rest of the world wanted the inspection regime to continue. But all that is beside the point that the war was most certainly justified by deception, and those deceptions are now a matter of record-Powell’s whoppers at the UN, the Niger uranium purchase BS and all the rest. They were all products of Douglas Feith’s OSP Pentagon “lie factory”-Now under criminal investigation for passing classified information to the Israeli government-Charges pending.

    WMD was not the only reason for the war.

    Right, there were also the “terror connections” lies.

    Also, it can’t be claimed that this war that the neocons lied us into because they thought it would be a good thing for the Israeli government has made us safer from terror, since it was exactly our government’s interventions in the Mideast, particularly its support of the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land that motivated the 9/11 attacks.

  15. I don’t know why you put so much stake in the opinions of Bill Clinton and the French government but both of them and most of the rest of the world wanted the inspection regime to continue.

    Is honesty possible on this issue? I have doubts.

    Why did France, Germany, and Russia want the inspections to continue? I’ll give you three guesses and the first four don’t count.

    Still, Bush very probably lied.

    And still more, there is very good reason to think that the elections in Iraq started a snowball rolling down a big long Middle Eastern hill.

    It would seem that everyone, from every angle on Iraq, feels the need to deny one or the other of the above.

    What nobody talks about, is the fact that “democracy” is worthless, everywhere and always, if there aren’t quality leaders on the ballots. We’ll see what’s available in the Mid East. Quality people often shy away from politics.

    First hint that a quality leader has arisen: Uncle Sam won’t like him/her….

    You may now resume the finger pointing, name calling, and the necessary denunciation of my heresies.

    But we ought to be pretty thankful today that we carried out such a strategy with the Japanese, since it looks like we’re going to need them (and every other ally we can get in the Pacific) to face down China in the future.

    I agree, but we better hope they’re interested in helping us by the time we need them. The Japanese have always marched to their own drum.

  16. “Since most of the violence seems to be directed at US troops or Iraqis associated with US troops, it’s clear that our government’s presence is the problem.”

    Do the bombings in Najaf and Karbala ring a bell? Or the bombings of churches and Shia mosques in other parts of the country? I’m in agreement that this war wasn’t a good idea, at least the way things stand right now, but it doesn’t take more than five seconds of analysis to recognize that it’s not just “US troops or Iraqis associated with US troops” that many of the insurgents have a problem with.

    “it was exactly our government’s interventions in the Mideast, particularly its support of the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land that motivated the 9/11 attacks”

    Which explains why Bin Laden never mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his rhetoric until 1998.

    “it can’t be claimed that this war that the neocons lied us into because they thought it would be a good thing for the Israeli government”

    I’m not going to accuse you of anti-semitism, given that my skill set doesn’t encompass mind-reading, but you’re begging for the accusation with disingenuous lines like that. I know, I know, criticism of Israel isn’t etc. etc.

  17. Jimmy,

    People are going to believe what they want to believe.

    ____________________________________________

    I think I agree most with this statement:

    “But I can’t tell you quite what it means.”

    ____________________________________________

    joe bonforte,

    …to the French, thought the WMD were there.

    That’s a pro-war canard. The French government’s position was very clear on the matter. The General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) (France’s CIA) stated specifically that it thought it “possible” that the Iraqis might have WMDs; the DGSE never stated anything like the categorical truth that you claim true of them. Nor did Chirac or de Villipen – the foreign police frontmen of the French government after all – ever make a claim along the the lines of your statement.

  18. Since most of the violence seems to be directed at US troops or Iraqis associated with US troops, it’s clear that our government’s presence is the problem.

    That’s a huge over simplification.

    Which doesn’t change the fact that the war was sold to us on bogus premises. The WMD’s weren’t there, and I can’t believe Bush had no clue.

    What amazes me is that anyone is giving Bush “credit” for what’s happening in the Middle East now. I was clueless about the neo-con/liberal democrat connection before (and now that I see it I’m terrified — what’s next?).

    I don’t doubt that the Iraqi elections made their neighbors bold. But does anybody think Bush was really so smart that he could see a domino effect?

    The domino theory is bogus. It’s more like, if you toss out seeds at the right time of year, in the right place, some of them will sprout. It wasn’t clear a priori that circumstances in the Mid East were right (or else, if intel was that good then they had to know the WMD’s were there).

    Bush got a little lucky at the black jack table. How far luck will carry any of it remains to be seen. But odds favor the house.

  19. Bush got a little lucky at the black jack table. How far luck will carry any of it remains to be seen. But odds favor the house.

    To follow up on that, the Democratic Domino Theory (DDT) seems to be working well at the moment, even though there’s a long way to go. Now, does the success of DDT eliminate the need for further wars, as the chain reaction continues to sustain itself? Or is the success of DDT a vindication that can be used to justify even more wars?

    Given how government programs go, my hunch is that the success of DDT will be used to justify even more wars.

  20. Eric II:

    it’s not just “US troops or Iraqis associated with US troops” that many of the insurgents have a problem with.

    It’s clearly the main thing as they are the main targets of the attacks. If it were mostly an anti- Shia motivation there would be wholesale slaughter in the isolated and vulnerable Shia communities in the Sunni North. This just isn’t a Balkans type situation.

    Eric II:

    Which explains why Bin Laden never mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his rhetoric until 1998.

    And 9/11 was in 2001. Bin Laden mentioned our government’s support of the Israeli government’s occupation in his 9/11 Fatwa and it was the first item of complaint in his “Letter to America”:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6537.htm

    Note that the findings of the 9/11 commission reveal:

    “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.”

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

    Eric II:

    I’m not going to accuse you of anti-semitism…but you’re begging for the accusation with disingenuous lines like that.

    Only from idiots maybe. There is nothing disingenuous about it. I think that the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the main motivators behind the Iraq war were the neocons acting on behalf of the Israeli government, or at least what they thought was good for the Israeli government. And I think that they will make an effort to get our government to go after Syria next. Remember that Wolfowitz actually pounded the table for going after Iraq right after 9/11 instead of Afghanistan! Wolfowitz was one of the authors, with a number of neocon biggies, of “A Clean Break” a 1996 policy advisory written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The advisory advocated the elimination of Saddam Hussein as a primary goal. Baghdad was depicted as the lynch pin in the undermining of both Iran and Syria for the good of the Israeli State. After A Clean Break the neocons started a campaign to put forth those goals laid for the Israeli government as something America must do in its own interest. Fabrication and exaggeration of Saddam’s WMD capacity were part of this campaign.

    “Only ground forces can remove Saddam and his regime from power and open the way for a new post-Saddam Iraq.” PNAC founder Kristol wrote in a 1997 report. Kristol’s Weekly Standard magazine is owned by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox News

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/011604Leopold/011604leopold.html

    One of PNAC’s first goals when it was founded in 1997 was to urge Congress and the Clinton administration to support regime change in Iraq. This was before Rumsfeld was approached by the group.

    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) sent this letter to President Clinton in January of 1998:

    http://themoderntribune.com/letter_to_clinton_1998_war_on_iraq_project_new_american_century.htm

    It’s signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, James Woolsey, Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams and others. The letter argues for aggression against Iraq. They lobbied both Clinton and Gingrich to remove former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power using military force and indict him as a “war criminal.”

    Unsatisfied with Clinton’s response, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, Kristol and others from the Project for the New American Century wrote another letter on May 29, 1998, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott:

    “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power…”

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/022003Leopold/022003leopold.html

    Note also that the propaganda campaign for the Iraq war was carried out by the Pentagon “Office of Special Plans” (OSP), created by Wolfowitz’s command and presided over by Douglas Feith. This is the same Douglas Feith whose office is involved in the current Pentagon -Israeli government-AIPAC spy scandal.

    Speaking of spying, note that Richard Perle, the man at the nexus of so many neo-con “pro-democracy” organizations that have a long history of advocating an attack on Iraq, back in 1970, while working for Sen. “Scoop” Jackson’s office was caught on a NSA wiretap giving classified information to the Israeli Embassy.

    http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/82may/hershwh2.htm

    See also:

    “Whose War?”

    A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America?s interest. (This makes a very solid case)

    http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

    For the record, Eric II. I despise anti-Semitism and all racism. All libertarians should, and reject all bigotry as anti-individualistic.

  21. it’s not just “US troops or Iraqis associated with US troops” that many of the insurgents have a problem with.

    It’s clearly the main thing as they are the main targets of the attacks. If it were mostly an anti- Shia motivation there would be wholesale slaughter in the isolated and vulnerable Shia communities in the Sunni North. This just isn’t a Balkans type situation.

    And 9/11 was in 2001. Bin Laden mentioned our government’s support of the Israeli government’s occupation in his 9/11 Fatwa and it was the first item of complaint in his “Letter to America”:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6537.htm

    Note that the findings of the 9/11 commission reveal:

    Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

    I’m not going to accuse you of anti-semitism…but you’re begging for the accusation with disingenuous lines like that.

    Only from idiots maybe. There is nothing disingenuous about it. I think that the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the main motivators behind the Iraq war were the neocons acting on behalf of the Israeli government, or at least what they thought was good for the Israeli government. And I think that they will make an effort to get our government to go after Syria next. Remember that Wolfowitz actually pounded the table for going after Iraq right after 9/11 instead of Afghanistan! Wolfowitz was one of the authors, with a number of neocon biggies, of A Clean Break a 1996 policy advisory written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The advisory advocated the elimination of Saddam Hussein as a primary goal. Baghdad was depicted as the lynch pin in the undermining of both Iran and Syria for the good of the Israeli State. After A Clean Break the neocons started a campaign to put forth those goals laid for the Israeli government as something America must do in its own interest. Fabrication and exaggeration of Saddam’s WMD capacity were part of this campaign.

    “Only ground forces can remove Saddam and his regime from power and open the way for a new post-Saddam Iraq.” PNAC founder Kristol wrote in a 1997 report. Kristol’s Weekly Standard magazine is owned by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Fox News

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/011604Leopold/011604leopold.html

    One of PNAC’s first goals when it was founded in 1997 was to urge Congress and the Clinton administration to support regime change in Iraq. This was before Rumsfeld was approached by the group.

    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) sent this letter to President Clinton in January of 1998:

    http://themoderntribune.com/letter_to_clinton_1998_war_on_iraq_project_new_american_century.htm

    It’s signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, James Woolsey, Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams and others. The letter argues for aggression against Iraq. They lobbied both Clinton and Gingrich to remove former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power using military force and indict him as a “war criminal.”

    Unsatisfied with Clinton’s response, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, Kristol and others from the Project for the New American Century wrote another letter on May 29, 1998, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott:

    “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power…”

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/022003Leopold/022003leopold.html

    Note also that the propaganda campaign for the Iraq war was carried out by the Pentagon “Office of Special Plans” (OSP), created by Wolfowitz’s command and presided over by Douglas Feith. This is the same Douglas Feith whose office is involved in the current Pentagon -Israeli government-AIPAC spy scandal.

    Speaking of spying, note that Richard Perle, the man at the nexus of so many neo-con “pro-democracy” organizations that have a long history of advocating an attack on Iraq, back in 1970, while working for Sen. “Scoop” Jackson’s office was caught on a NSA wiretap giving classified information to the Israeli Embassy.

    http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/82may/hershwh2.htm

    See also:

    Whose War?

    A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America?s interest. (This makes a very solid case)

    http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

    For the record, Eric II.. I despise all racism. All libertarians should, and reject all bigotry as anti-individualistic.

  22. thoreau, as I said above, now that I see the the neo-con/democrat connection, I’m terrified myself about where they’ll go with it.

    DDT isn’t self sustaining. It’s a matter of circumstances being just right, and that’s really really hard to see a priori.

    But as I also said on another thread, “democracy” is useless if there aren’t quality leaders on the ballots.

    Paradox: the one ruler of any quality that South Vietnam ever had was Ky. Uncle Sam hated him, because Ky was worried first and last about what was good for his country. That meant Ky wasn’t a yes man….

    Do I detect a strain of latent Roman Conquest Instinct (RCI, newly identified by psychologists) in the neo-con/democrat idealogy?

  23. thoreau,

    The great thing about Presidential second terms is that Presidents are prone to overreach during them. Overreach tends to lead to in turn scandal.

  24. Hezboallah is planning a pro-Syrian demonstration. I wonder if Charles and Michael Young would consider it part of the “Arabian Spring,” Or is it only rallies that fit the US agenda that count?

  25. a,

    I saw a a picture pro-Syrian rally this morning. One of the men in it was cutting on his chest.

  26. GG:

    “One of the men in it was cutting on his chest.”

    I’m not sure about the case you mention. But, yeah Shiite muslims do that, especially during Ashoura. It is very gruesome. I’m surprised that you are not aware of that!

  27. I’m not too worried about the Hizbollah demonstrations. All we need is for a few Republican Congressment to wave their index fingers at them, and their grinch hearts will all grow three sizes that day.

  28. a,

    Yeah, I wasn’t thinking of it in its religious context for some reason.

  29. Bush got a little lucky at the black jack table.

    As the old saying goes, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

    No doubt you think it’s all luck. The lack of attacks here since 9/11, the easy fall of Afghanistan (after warnings of “graveyard of empires”), the Republican’s increase in Congressional majority in 2002 to Bush’s decisive re-election, the relative non-violence and success of the Iraqi elections. And now activity in the general direction of freedom in various parts of the Middle East. Damn, it’s amazing how that ignorant cowboy just seems to have all the luck!

    Can you not just come out and say, as have various notable leftists in the last few weeks, “Maybe Bush was right”? It would do your soul good to face up to reality, and stop dodging behind rationalizations like “Bush is just lucky”.

  30. So Joe Bonforte, did Clinton’s 1993 economic/fiscal program cause the subsequent economic boom?

  31. Sorry about my double post.

  32. Bush got a little lucky at the black jack table. How far luck will carry any of it remains to be seen.

    i think it’s a bit premature to say that even this much has happened. mubarak’s concessions amount to very little — and thank god, because any elected government in egypt would likely be much less secular and humanist (as iraq’s now is under sistani’s influence). should egypt actually experience a populist revolt a la ukraine, what would emerge? also, what lebanon will be without syrian occupation is yet to be seen, and no one should blithely discount the clear possibility of a return to civil war.

    what no one seems to be able to challenge is this quasi-religious notion that more freedom/democracy is an absolute good. though freedom can be beneficial under the right circumstances, it can also be very destabilizing and bloody. some people feel, i’m sure, that any number of corpses are justified in manifesting the ideal of freedom regardless of the particular circumstances; but i can’t bring myself to that point of view.

    in any case, i think its fair to say that, whatever has actually happened, it is far too early to start patting people on the back. lebanon is closer to violence, not further; mubarak has changed some window dressing; iraq has gone from secular dictatorship to nascent shi’ite islamic republic (killing untold thousands and ruining several cities in the process). something to be proud of? i’m not at all sure.

  33. It’s clearly the main thing as they are the main targets of the attacks. If it were mostly an anti- Shia motivation there would be wholesale slaughter in the isolated and vulnerable Shia communities in the Sunni North.

    But they are engaging in the “wholesale slaughter” of Shia civillians deep within the Shia heartland. And Zarqawi has already gone on record about his desire to ignite a sectarian war. Do you really think that if the US pulled out tomorrow, these guys would rush to sign a peace agreement with Sistani and his pals?

    And 9/11 was in 2001. Bin Laden mentioned our government’s support of the Israeli government’s occupation in his 9/11 Fatwa and it was the first item of complaint in his “Letter to America”:

    The point is that Bin Laden spent a lot of years in the global jihad business before he ever seemed to give a damn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We see our elected leaders shed crocodile tears for a cause in the name of political expediency all the time; what makes you think a guy like Osama isn’t doing the same? Particularly when he subscribes to a murderous, nihilistic ideology whose promulgation he and his cohorts would be pushing for regardless of whether Israel existed? And when a lot of evidence suggests that, as far as specific policies go, it was the presence of American troops on Saudi soil that really sparked his ire?

    Now if you want to talk about whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict creats anger towards America in the broader Arab world, that’s a seperate matter. But blaming 9/11 on American support for Israel demonstrates the same kind of intellectual laziness exhibited by the “they hate us because we’re free” crowd.

    the neocons acting on behalf of the Israeli government, or at least what they thought was good for the Israeli government.

    If they were really obsessed with aiding Israel, they would’ve been pounding the table for an attack on Iran, not Iraq. The Israeli government has repeatedly singled out Tehran to be its largest threat, rather than Baghdad. As things presently stand, the removal of Saddam’s regims appears to have strengthened Iran’s hand rather than weakened it.

    Remember that Wolfowitz actually pounded the table for going after Iraq right after 9/11 instead of Afghanistan!

    Wolfowitz also got booed at a pro-Israel rally a couple years back for reminding the crowd that innocent Palestinians suffer in the conflict along with innocent Israelis. He’s also been critical of Israel’s settlement policies at times, and has spoken at length (too optimisticly, from my view) about the benefits of promoting Arab democracy. But I guess you forgot about that.

    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) sent this letter to President Clinton in January of 1998:

    No kidding. And Israel is mentioned just once in a passing reference, along with the “moderate Arab states”.

    It’s also worth noting that many of the proverbial neocons have strongly advocated a hawkish foreign policy towards China. Israel has long sold arms to China, and the US has had to coerce the Israelis into cancelling certain arms deals with the PRC. Douglas Feith has actually been reported to be infuriated at the Israelis for this. Exactly how does the Chinese angle fit into your view of the neocons being nothing more than an Israeli front group?

    It’s signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, James Woolsey,

    So Rumsfeld and Woolsey are “neocons” now? The conspiracy grows every day!

    This would be a good time to remember that Bush and Cheney, and to a lesser extent Rice and Powell, also had something to do with giving the go-ahead for the war. Somehow I don’t see the “do it for Israel” argument doing much to sell them on the idea, particularly when Bush’s Presidency and all of their legacies were at stake.

    See also:

    Pat Buchanan…how did I know that you’d get around to that guy? No way you could ever accuse him of harboring a prejudice towards Jews. Are you going to link to Taki as well?

    For the record, Eric II.. I despise all racism. All libertarians should, and reject all bigotry as anti-individualistic.

    Yet you feel the need to talk about those evil Israelis, and those American Jews whom you consider to b their lackeys, with a near-pathological fixation. And a post to you on this subject yields a response with links to enough reading material to suggest that this subject is much more than just another interest for you. You remind me a lot of a relative who has the same kind of obsession regarding the Israeli government, and on the influence of Jews on American politics. Accuse him of anti-semitism and he’ll make the same vociferous denials, but his demeanor suggests otherwise.

    It’s true that a lot of Israel’s supporters try to stifle legitimate criticism of the Israeli government by making charges of anti-semitism. But I think it’s also true that, whether or not they admit it to others or themselves, a lot of anti-semites use criticism of Israel as a convenient shield to mask their prejudices.

  34. a lot of anti-semites use criticism of Israel as a convenient shield to mask their prejudices.

    that’s all well in general if you want to believe that, mr eric — but you have nothing like proof that anyone here fits this description. in the interests of maintaining a civilized debate, can we agree that tagging people as jew-haters should be a last resort, not a first?

    mr barton can defend himself, i’m sure. but it is not insane nor is it racist to point out that 1) there is a neoconservative political group; 2) that they have demonstrated some power in making foreign policy in the bush administration; and 3) ensuring israeli security is central to their foreign policy in the middle east.

    that does not mean wolfowitz is secretly working for sharon. but it does open a line of questioning on neoconservatives — specifically, why do they believe israeli security to be fundamental to american interests? that is a legitimate question, and one i’ve not seen answered yet (though i’m sure it does have an answer that does not involve secret conspiracies).

  35. Eric II,

    I wouldn’t want to live in Israel. From what I know of the place freedom is curtailed there in a manner I would find repulsive. Does that make me an anti-semite?

  36. that’s all well in general if you want to believe that, mr eric — but you have nothing like proof that anyone here fits this description

    Well, duh. Did you read my first post?

  37. I wouldn’t want to live in Israel.

    Neither would I.

    From what I know of the place freedom is curtailed there in a manner I would find repulsive.

    Ditto. The marriage laws are particularly atrocious.

    Does that make me an anti-semite?

    I think you know the answer to that question. Or at least I hope you do.

  38. Eric II,

    I’m curious just how far your labelling effort goes.

  39. I’m curious just how far your labelling effort goes.

    I think you misunderstood me here. I’ve been critical of several Israeli policies myself (both domestic and vis a vis the Palstinians), and it goes without saying that such criticism by itself shouldn’t lead to questions of anti-semitism. But if you see someone…

    a) Harp continuously about Israel’s behavior although he appears to have no personal connection to the land

    b) Pay relatively little attention to markedly worse abuses/injustices in other nations

    c) Form highly tenuous conspiracy theories about certain American Jews controlling US foreign policy while acting as an Israeli front group

    d) All while blaming most of America’s foreign policy problems on its support for Israel

    …alarm bells start to go off. Particularly if you’ve seen a very similar behavior pattern in the real world from someone whose attitudes are almost certainly driven by anti-semitism, at least on a collective basis.

  40. “So Joe Bonforte, did Clinton’s 1993 economic/fiscal program cause the subsequent economic boom?”

    The other day, I saw joe comment in an argument–and I’m oversimplifying it–but it seemed like joe was arguing with this Republican propaganda victim who wouldn’t accept the idea that wealthy people pay more in income taxes than poor people.

    …ever since, I’ve had this feeling that some of these commenters somehow slipped into our universe from Bizarro World. In Bizarro World, conservative Republicans won’t accept that the wealthy pay more in income taxes, and those who lean toward the Democrats try to reason with them.

    In Bizarro World, conservative Republicans think that it’s the duty of wealthy countries like the Untied States to sacrifice and die for poor people in poor countries, and they label everyone who disagrees an insensitive racist.

  41. Ken, I’d say we’re even heading to Bizarro World on fiscal policy.

    In Bizarro world, a Republican President is proud of the largest expansion in entitlement spending since LBJ, while also overseeing huge increases in non-defense discretionary spending.

    I long for the old-school conservatives. I’m not sure anymore that they ever really existed, but I used to think that they existed. I’m talking about the grown-ups who tried to keep the liberals from doing something stupid.

    The grown-ups would look at Bush’s tax cuts and be fine with it. After all, the state should be smaller and more frugal. So far so good. But they’d look at his spending and be like “Idiot! We’re conservatives! We pay with cash, not credit cards! Now stop spending so much!”

    The grown-ups would look at Bush’s plans to democratize an entire region by starting a war and be like “Idiot! You don’t stick your hand in a hornet’s nest and expect nothing but honey!”

    And when today’s “conservatives” talk about how everything must change in response to terrorism, and we must throw out the old legal norms and civil liberties because we’re facing the deadliest threat ever, the grown-ups would be like “Uh, hello! Ever hear of the Cold War? 40 years of imminent nuclear annihilation? And yet you think that a handful of guys with boxcutters and anthrax are a reason to shred the Bill of Rights?”

    Can we get the grown-ups back in charge? Because the new conservatives aren’t much better than the liberals.

  42. “No doubt you think it’s all luck.”

    I think the statement in question was in fact a suggestion that the Bush Administration gambled that liberal movements in places like Lebanon would flourish if he invaded Iraq. I don’t see how you could claim otherwise because you still can’t explain why invading one nation makes liberal movements in third party nations overthrow dictators.

    “The lack of attacks here since 9/11, the easy fall of Afghanistan (after warnings of “graveyard of empires”)”

    The invasion of Afghanistan wasn’t, as far as I’m concerned, an elective war. I wasn’t against the invasion of Afghanistan. Out of curiosity, is there anyone here who was?

    “…the Republican’s increase in Congressional majority in 2002 to Bush’s decisive re-election

    Who was surprised by this? Has anyone in this thread showed surprise at this? Where?

    “…the relative non-violence and success of the Iraqi elections.”

    What do you mean by “relative non-violence”?

    The Iraqi elections would have been more successful if the Sunnis had participated. I’m concerned about what’s going to happen in the areas where the Kurds and Sunnis predominate but Sunnis didn’t participate. Aren’t you? Kurds ruling over Sunnis in areas where the Sunnis outnumber them–nice recipe.

    “And now activity in the general direction of freedom in various parts of the Middle East.”

    Let’s go ahead and ignore the American withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, the death of Arafat, the fact that Lebanon is an occupied country and the recent assassination. Can you tie that “activity” to the invasion of Iraq for me?

    “Damn, it’s amazing how that ignorant cowboy just seems to have all the luck!”

    I don’t recall suggesting that the President is ignorant. I do remember suggesting that he’s incompetent. He gambled with American lives in an elective war. Even if he did win–and once again, please show me how third party nations benefit directly from another nation’s occupation–if gambling on an elective war with American lives doesn’t make a President incompetent, what does?

  43. “Can we get the grown-ups back in charge? Because the new conservatives aren’t much better than the liberals.”

    I’m right there with you thoreau. I think the stars are realigning and our labeling system just hasn’t caught up yet.

    …Libertarian could be a big label.

  44. Ken Schultz: “The other day, I saw joe comment in an argument–and I’m oversimplifying it–but it seemed like joe was arguing with this Republican propaganda victim who wouldn’t accept the idea that wealthy people pay more in income taxes than poor people.”

    Sorry, you got the wrong Joe. I would suggest better research before posting your “refutations”.

  45. Eric II:

    Do you really think that if the US pulled out tomorrow, these guys would rush to sign a peace agreement with Sistani and his pals?

    The evidence is that if our troops left, there would be less violence. Even if that assessment is wrong, our troops should still leave, as their being there is unnecessary for our security. The whole war wasn’t necessary for our security.

    Eric II:

    But blaming 9/11 on American support for Israel demonstrates the same kind of intellectual laziness exhibited by the “they hate us because we’re free” crowd.

    Calling names does not constitute a refutation, or even an attempted one. You’re ignoring the Fatwa and the “Letter to America” that I cited. First item of complaint from the “Letter to America”:

    a) “You attacked us in Palestine:”

    “The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally revenged. You must know that the Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone.”

    The 9/11 commission concluded that it was exactly our government’s support of the Israeli government’s occupation that motivated the 9/11 attacks:

    “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.”

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

    Eric II:

    If they were really obsessed with aiding Israel, they would’ve been pounding the table for an attack on Iran, not Iraq. The Israeli government has repeatedly singled out Tehran to be its largest threat, rather than Baghdad.

    From the 90s’ to the invasion that’s just not true. Look at the links that I cited that show the reports written by neocons, some paid for by the Israeli government and the other links of neocon advocacy urging that Saddam be taken out.

    Eric II:

    But I guess you forgot about that.

    Eric, you’ve written some things that are half-truths at best. You need to provide links to back up your claims. It will keep you from posting in error, among other benefits. That Wolfowitz has his own views on internal Israeli politics in no way negates his outrageous behavior in advocating going after Iraq right after 9/11 instead of Afghanistan. And his speaking at length about the benefits of promoting Arab democracy is consistent with his long time advocacy of taking out Saddam.

    Eric II:

    No kidding. And Israel is mentioned just once in a passing reference, along with the “moderate Arab states”.

    That’s not even germane to the point. The letter from The Project for the New American Century in January of 1998 to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott states:

    “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power…”

    Eric II:

    Exactly how does the Chinese angle fit into your view of the neocons being nothing more than an Israeli front group?

    It’s not my view that the neocons are nothing more than an Israeli front group, it’s my view that the evidence indicates that they pushed the Iraq war with the interest of the Israeli government in mind.

    Eric II:

    Pat Buchanan…how did I know that you’d get around to that guy? No way you could ever accuse him of harboring a prejudice towards Jews.

    Sure Eric, don’t bother to read the citation. Your blissful ignorance is undisturbed when you can just comfort yourself with the specter of racism. Buchanan seems to employ Jewish writers. Maybe you should ask them.

    Eric II:

    Yet you feel the need to talk about those evil Israelis, and those American Jews whom you consider to b their lackeys

    What?? The complaint is with the Israeli government. Also, there are non-Jewish neocons and plenty of Jewish critics of the noecons.

    Eric II:

    Accuse him of anti-semitism and he’ll make the same vociferous denials, but his demeanor suggests otherwise.

    So Eric, you have a racist relative then. Maybe that explains your resort to unfounded accusations of racism in place of the ability to fortify your arguments.

    And a post to you on this subject yields a response with links to enough reading material to suggest that this subject is much more than just another interest for you.

    It’s a very important issue to me. It should be to all libertarians. You really need to read the links.

  46. Not you, Joe Bonforte–you dolt–I’m talkin’ about “joe”, regular poster for years who only goes by “joe” and we all call “joe”.

    You know–the “joe” I quoted above the comment you’re responding to. You must get confused going to the bathroom.

  47. Eric II:

    But I think it’s also true that a lot of anti-semites use criticism of Israel as a convenient shield to mask their prejudices.

    That seems like a reasonable supposition Eric, but when you make unfounded insinuations of anti-Semitism, it surley lets real anti-Semites off the hook.

  48. A link for How Israel Lost: The Four Questions by Richard Ben Cramer:

    http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/cgi-bin/item/parent-0743250281

  49. “But I think it’s also true that a lot of anti-semites use criticism of Israel as a convenient shield to mask their prejudices.”

    Fine. Let’s also note that a lot of anti-semites use support of Israel, and of America’s foreign policy towards Israel, as a convenient shield to mask THEIR prejudices. As in, “Sure I stated that only Christians should have civil rights in our Christian Republic, but I voted to send $1 billion in military aid to Israel, and I get a chubby every time I see footage of the IDF kicking in some some terrorist’s door, so I can’t be an antisemite.”

    Then, once we’ve taken note of the fact that antisemites cloak their arguments in mainstream-sounding language, let’s get back to debating the issue on its merits.

  50. So Joe Bonforte, did Clinton’s 1993 economic/fiscal program cause the subsequent economic boom?

    My memory is admittedly a bit dim and I don’t have time to do a lot of research now, but wasn’t that about the time the Republicans gained control of both houses of Congress?

    I think one element in the economic boom was the realization that Republicans weren’t going to let Clinton’s grand proposal for remaking the health care industry, health insurance and employee benefits become law. When that was looming on the horizon, it made it hard to plan, and businesses were reluctant to spend money — at least that’s how I recall the tenor of the times. Then came the “Republic Revolution” and the “Contract With America” circa 1994 and the expectation of a more pro-business environment.

  51. I don’t think you get it, Steveo. First, he became President. Then, he said he wanted something to happen. Then, he pursued a policy intended to make that thing happen. Then, some things that sould like his intended results came to pass.

    The logic is flawless: Bill Clinton’s economic policy caused the boom. Why are you so pathologically determined to deny the president credit for his achievements? You’re being churlish. And partisan.

    And churlish.

  52. Even if that assessment is wrong, our troops should still leave, as their being there is unnecessary for our security.

    A complete non sequitir that has nothing to do with the argument at hand.

    You’re ignoring the Fatwa and the “Letter to America” that I cited.

    I’ve ignored nothing. My point was that Bin Laden was quite late in lumping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into his list of grievances, thus suggesting that he was driven by political expediency, not that he hasn’t mentioned the issue.

    One would think Bin Laden’s recent remarks about becoming an anti-American jihadi after our Lebanese expedition in the ’80s, even though he and his mujahidin pals were in cahoots with the CIA in Afghanistan for years after that, would tell you something about his cynicism in these matters.

    The 9/11 commission concluded that it was exactly our government’s support of the Israeli government’s occupation that motivated the 9/11 attacks:

    Care to take a breather? That leap of logic must’ve worn you out. You take the remarks of one terrorist as reflecting the motivations of the organization at large. Care to go over all of Bin Laden’s comments about opposing the US military presence in the region and the “infidel” Arab regimes that it defends? Or Al-Zawahiri’s obsession with launching an Islamist revolution in Egypt, and using 9/11 to generate local sympathy for their cause?

    From the 90s’ to the invasion that’s just not true.

    It’s entirely true, and the fact that you haven’t noticed Israel’s repeated remarks about Iran being its largest threat, in spite of your enormous fixation with Israeli policies, is a testament to your massive biases. Just spend some time going through these search results.

    Eric, you’ve written some things that are half-truths at best. You need to provide links to back up your claims. It will keep you from posting in error, among other benefits.

    Once more, it’s your ignorance that shines through. Here are some stories about the time Wolfowitz was booed at a pro-Israel rally. And this David Ignatius column shows that Wolfowitz is by no means a Greater Israel Likudnik, and was clearly driven to support war in Iraq by an excessively optimistic belief in the transformative power of Arab democracy. An excerpt:

    That passion undercuts the widespread notion that Wolfowitz is simply a neoconservative tool of Israel. He is instead a kind of amateur Orientalist: He reads about the Arab world, bleeds for its oppression and dreams of liberating it. He seeks out Arab intellectuals who can advise him on policy, and he says he opposes Israeli settlements. Wolfowitz, as an outsider, may romanticize the Arab world, but there’s no denying his intellectual interest.

    This stuff is common knowledge. The fact that you don’t seem to be aware of it, in spite of the voluminous knowledge you’ve taken the time to obtain on related subjects, says a lot.

    The letter from The Project for the New American Century in January of 1998 to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott states:

    So? Your point was that they were driven by a desire to benefit Israel, and that’s what I responded to. That a lot of neocons (and regular old conservatives) wanted Saddam taken out before 9/11 is old news.

    Sure Eric, don’t bother to read the citation. Your blissful ignorance is undisturbed when you can just comfort yourself with the specter of racism.

    I read it. A long time ago, actually. I’ve also read Pat’s apologetics for Hitler, and his attempts to deny recorded Holocaust events.

    Buchanan seems to employ Jewish writers.

    And I’m sure he also has some black friends.

  53. Eric II:

    A complete non sequitir

    Well, there is a certain satisfaction in seeing that you, someone who resorts to unfounded insinuations of racism, also misuses and apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of “non sequitur”.

    “Bin Laden was quite late in lumping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into his list of grievances

    That doesn’t take away from the evidence that it was one of the main, if not the main motivating factors in the 9/11 attack. Read his words in the “Letter to America” and the 9/11 Fatwa.

    Just spend some time going through these search results.

    The fact that you can perform a google search that is broad enough to yield 41,000 hits doesn’t refute the history that from the 90’s to the invasion, Iraq was seem by the Israeli government and the neocons as a more promising and vital overthrow target than Iran. Have you even bothered to look at the links that I provided, Eric? You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts!

    And this David Ignatius column shows that Wolfowitz is by no means a Greater Israel Likudnik, and was clearly driven to support war in Iraq by an excessively optimistic belief in the transformative power of Arab democracy.

    I never said that Wolfowitz was a “Greater Israel” advocate. But I see your strategy now. You make an untenable statement and then try to switch the subject when I point it out to you. There is nothing in the Ignatius column that undoes the evidence that Wolfowitz engineered the attack on Iraq, and the lies that went into it, for the benefit of the Israeli government.

    There is nothing about “belief in the transformative power of Arab democracy” by Wolfowitz in his A Clean Break a 1996 policy advisory written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The advisory advocated the elimination of Saddam Hussein as a primary goal. Baghdad was depicted as the lynch pin in the undermining of both Iran and Syria for the good of the Israeli State. After A Clean Break the neocons started a campaign to put forth those goals laid for the Israeli government as something America must do in its own interest. Fabrication and exaggeration of Saddam’s WMD capacity were part of this campaign. As is evidenced in the links that I provided, the Iraq war is the result of a long and consistent effort by the neocons.

    And I’m sure he also has some black friends.

    Your pride must be about as elevated as your scholarship. What is the Hell does that mean? I cite a piece by him and you try to brush it off with an insinuation of racism and then I point out that he seems to employ Jews and have Jewish friends and so all you can offer is a flip remark. During this exchange you’ve attempted to compensate for your inability to defend the neocons complicity in foisting the Iraq war on this nation with unfounded insinuations of anti-Semitism. That might have appeal in some quarters, but not here.

  54. Eric II

    You take the remarks of one terrorist as reflecting the motivations of the organization at
    large

    What?? Not just “one terrorist”. Rather, the terrorist who “conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks”!

    The findings of the 9/11 commission reveal:

    “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.”

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

  55. Eric II,

    This quote actually undercuts your case: “My point was that Bin Laden was quite late in lumping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into his list of grievances, thus suggesting that he was driven by political expediency…”

    The fact that bin Laden’s attention to the issue was politically expedient, rather than genuine, suggests that it is more, not less, important to our security. We don’t need to worry as much about issues that only piss off the extreme hard core of Al Qaeda – they’ll be after us regardless. What matters is the much larger body of people who are convinceable for that extreme hard core. If bin Laden is reaching for an issue because it’s politically expedient, it means it’s one that he feels can be successfully expoited in rallying public opinion against us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t WANT Middle Eastern public opinion rallied against us.

    So pointing out the cynicism behind his Palestinian appeals doesn’t indicate tht the issue needs to be less important to us, but more important.

  56. Not you, Joe Bonforte–you dolt–I’m talkin’ about “joe”, regular poster for years who only goes by “joe” and we all call “joe”.


    You know–the “joe” I quoted above the comment you’re responding to. You must get confused going to the bathroom.

    Touchy, touchy. So you include a quote that references me, and then immediately start talking about “joe” with no qualifiers, and you expect others to get your intentions via ESP?

    Understandable, though. When reality is intruding on your delusional worldview, anger is a common response.

  57. The fact that you can perform a google search that is broad enough to yield 41,000 hits doesn’t refute the history that from the 90’s to the invasion, Iraq was seem by the Israeli government and the neocons as a more promising and vital overthrow target than Iran.

    Did you see the articles from 2001, by any chance? The pre-invasion pronouncements on Iran being Israel’s largest threat are a mile long. And it makes a lot of sense considering that Iran was 2.5x as populous as Saddam’s Iraq, was a greater state sponsor of terrorism (as State Department reports can corroborate), and had an economy and a military that weren’t crippled by UN sanctions.

    There is nothing in the Ignatius column that undoes the evidence that Wolfowitz engineered the attack on Iraq, and the lies that went into it, for the benefit of the Israeli government.

    That’s because you’re evidently so blinded by your pathological Israel-hatred that you don’t care to recognize anything that contradicts your agenda. Look at how fanatical Wolfowitz is about the cause of spreading Arab democracy. Only a partisan twit would subsequently think that this was all about Israel for him.

    There is nothing about “belief in the transformative power of Arab democracy” by Wolfowitz in his A Clean Break a 1996 policy advisory written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Since your paranoid mind is so obsessed with this document, let’s take a look at it. Here’s the text.

    The document:

    a) Suggests that Syria, rather than Iraq, is Israel’s largest threat

    b) Advocates regime change in Iraq not by means of invasion, but by (delusionally) trying to restore Hashemite rule through cooperation with Jordan. No reference to US involvement is provided.

    c) Makes no mention of Saddam’s removal being the linchpin in countering Iran. The closest it comes is a reference (also delusional) about Hashemite control over Najaf leading to Lebanese Shias abandoning “Hizballah, Iran, and Syria”.

    d) Spends only a small fraction of its length discussing Iraq.

    In addition to being signed by neocons, the text was supported by “realists” such as Richard Armitage, who until recently was Colin Powell’s right-hand man at State.

    Your intellectual dishonesty knows no bounds.

  58. The fact that bin Laden’s attention to the issue was politically expedient, rather than genuine, suggests that it is more, not less, important to our security.

    Maybe – I’ve long held that there is a lot of genuine anger towards the US in the Arab world over its policies regarding Israel, though it’s simplistic to boil everything down to that. And for that reason, though we shouldn’t sell out Israel, trying to create a lasting two-state solution is important from a national security perspective.

    But that wasn’t the issue being covered. The issue was what served as the primary motivation for Al-Qaeda’s terrorist campaign. It’s clear to me, at least, that outside of the nihilistic pleasure they take from the attacks themselves, their primary agenda has been to spawn Islamist revolutions in the Muslim world, a process they hope to accelerate by getting the US to pull its troops from the region and end its support for “infidel” regimes. Everything else is secondary.

  59. Eric II

    You’re name-calling is no substitute for reasoned debate. Do you claim to have actually missed this?:

    From “A Clean Break”:

    “This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions…The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. “

    Exactly how I characterized it:

    “Baghdad was depicted as the lynch pin in the undermining of both Iran and Syria for the good of the Israeli State.”

    Eric II:

    “Only a partisan twit would subsequently think that this was all about Israel for him.”

    The contention is not that “this was all about Israel for him”, but the evidence is that Israel was the main factor. You really need to read all the links, Eric

    Makes no mention of Saddam’s removal being the linchpin in countering Iran. The closest it comes is a reference (also delusional) about Hashemite control over Najaf leading to Lebanese Shias abandoning “Hizballah, Iran, and Syria”.

    What?? Come on Eric. The text speculates on Hashemite control over all of Iraq. Read it. How in the Hell do you think that Hashemite control over Iraq could be affected with out Saddam’s removal??

    Eric II:

    Advocates regime change in Iraq not by means of invasion

    That’s not the only neocon document that I cited:

    “Only ground forces can remove Saddam and his regime from power and open the way for a new post-Saddam Iraq.” PNAC founder Kristol wrote in a 1997 report.

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/011604Leopold/011604leopold.html

    Eric II:

    No reference to US involvement is provided.

    You really need to read more than just one of the citations:

    “Wolfowitz, Kristol and others from the Project for the New American Century wrote another letter on May 29, 1998, to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott:

    “U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power…”

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/022003Leopold/022003leopold.html

    Eric II:

    You’re evidently so blinded by your pathological Israel…

    What?? Well, I guess that’s better than calling me a racist but you are still so wrong. My interest is in liberty, not hate. I think that there is much to like about Israel, away from its government and the religious nuts that Sharon has made league with. To understand the background of the racist, fundamentalist, Jewish religious extremism that Israeli polity is currently gripped by, see the fascinating Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak and also Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel by Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky

    Eric II:

    Your intellectual dishonesty knows no bounds.

    Thank you Eric, coming from one who ignores citations that don’t fit his POV, that’s a complement!

    .

  60. The fact that you took, and continue to take the following line:

    The predominantly Shia population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shia leadership in Najf, Iraq rather than Iran.

    …to suggest that the authors of “A Clean Break” (who again included “realists” along with neocons) believed that taking out Iraq would act as a linchpin for countering Iran, is prime evidence that you’re either intellectually dishonest beyond all belief, or are incapable of reading beyond a third-grade level.

    The text speculates on Hashemite control over all of Iraq. Read it. How in the Hell do you think that Hashemite control over Iraq could be affected with out Saddam’s removal??

    I guess this would be example B. I pointed out that the text called for Saddam’s removal and a Hashemite restoration, and that it did so by advocating an alliance with Jordan, with no US involvement being mentioned.

    That’s not the only neocon document that I cited:

    And this would be example C. As I mentioned before, the PNAC call-to-arms against Saddam was supported by many non-neocons, and barely mentioned Israel as a cause.

    To understand the background of the racist, fundamentalist, Jewish religious extremism that Israeli polity is currently gripped by, see the fascinating Jewish History, Jewish Religion by Israel Shahak and also Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel by Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky

    Like all disingenuous bigots, your unwillingness to recognize the simplest of facts that go against your prejudices is complemented by a willingness to digest enormous volumes of information and propoganda that back them up.

    I say this as someone who is no fan of Sharon and is quite aware of the extremist fringe within Israeli politics, but who also thinks it’s ridiculous to say that they dominate the Israeli political scene in light of recent and not-so-recent events. And that it’s downright pathetic to argue as such without taking note of the fringe’s counterparts on the Palestinian side.

    The last word’s yours. I couldn’t care less as to whether you take it.

  61. …is prime evidence that you’re either intellectually dishonest beyond all belief, or are incapable of reading beyond a third-grade level.

    OK insult boy. I’ll repeat it. The documents clearly show that there was a long term plan to focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. That was the contention that I made and that you challenged.

    Like all disingenuous bigots,

    Another ridiculous insult. I’ve tangled with bigots in these threads. If they appear here again, please stay out Eric. You’ll only hurt the cause of tollerance. Please stick to arguing with your relative and try to understand the connection between his racism and your making unfounded accusations of racism. The two really are strains of the same defect. Although, your resort is an attempt to compensate because you have been unable to defend your attack on my contention’s concerning the linage of the attack on Iraq. This is made manifest in reading our exchanges in this thread.

    And that it’s downright pathetic to argue as such without taking note of the fringe’s counterparts on the Palestinian side.

    That wasn’t even germane to the discussion! And you complained when I interjected the the question of the legitimacy of the war! There are certainly undesirable influences on Palestinian polity as well. In both Israel and Palestine these influences cannot be accurately said to occupy only a “fringe” position.

  62. Would anybody like to hear about my impressive sexual conquests? After all, this is where all of this originates as well as culminates to. A more simple world that acknowledges this fact might diffuse much of this confusion. I, for one, could go on for days on end to a willing ear. I have mounted and pleasured some of the most beautiful examples of femalia that nature is capable of producing, yet I am neither a president, prime minister or advocate of “half ass” invasions. Perhaps I should be president.

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