All Olmert But The Shoutin'

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Israelis to their Knesset leadership: Drop dead.

The Israeli government came under increased pressure today with the
publication of a newspaper poll showing that for the first time a
majority want Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign over perceived
failings in his handling of the war with Hizbullah.A poll in the
mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper showed 63% want Mr Olmert
to go.

The defence minister, Amir Peretz, appears even more vulnerable
with 74% calling for his resignation, while 54% want the chief of
staff, Lieutenant General Dan Halutz, to resign as well.

Who's going to break it to the Israelis that their undermining of the prime minister is emboldening the enemy? Ken Mehlman to Tel Aviv, ASAP!

UPDATE: Philip Klein at the American Spectator makes a valid point:

That comparison makes some
sense and I've personally never made the "don't criticize the president
during wartime" argument because I know that if I disagreed with the
president, I wouldn't want to be silent. But a crucial difference
is that Israel
is a parliamentary system in which elections can be held at any time.
So, by calling for Olmert to go, there's a better chance that a new
government will be put in place. And that's quite common. However, in
the American form of government, barring an extraordinary set of
circumstances, a president who gets elected is going to serve out a
full four years. Only once has a president been forced to resign, and
it had nothing to do with policy. So, by not just criticizing but
villainizing the president, you're just weakening someone who, like it
or not, is going to be in power through the next election.

The dynamics of Israeli and American politics are different, sure, but not all criticism of the president is "villainizing." Long-term, honest public pressure can force an administration to make changes or change course on a failed policy. It works on domestic issues: witness the Porkbusters campaign, which has rapped the president and Congress without apologies in an effort to shame them into cutting spending. The American public has been clamoring for a change of course in Iraq for months now; I think the GOP could have done all of us a favor by responding and opening investigations into the conduct of war, instead of resorting to the "you're undermining the president/troops" political attacks.

NEXT: Campaign Wishes and Libertarian Dreams

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  1. Throw the bums out. Yes, good, fine. Why am I so sure the bums they replace em with will be just as bad?

  2. I guess most Israelis didn’t bother read Michael Young’s article explaining how they, in fact, won the war.

  3. I agree with Young about the war. That said, it appears that Chicago Tom and Joe and the rest of the Reason staff feel that Israel lost. Maybe you are right. Regardless, could you guys at least try to contain your glee? It is amazing how happy you all seem to be that Israel lost a war to a bunch of fanatical, religious lunatics. Is this Reason or The American Conservative? I can’t tell anymore.

  4. I’m with John, why are you reveling in Israel’s defeat?

  5. I thought the point of this post was to be a (somewhat) indirect criticism of Bush and particularly of pro-war Americans who aren’t (as Weigel sees it) critical enough of Bush for how things are going in Iraq, and who believe that criticisms of Bush will be of propaganda value to or simply encourage bad behavior by terrorists and the leadership of places like Iran and North Korea. When I opened the threads I expected to see the thousandth “Why does X hate America?” joke, something like “Why do Israelis hate Israel?”

  6. That said, it appears that Chicago Tom and Joe and the rest of the Reason staff feel that Israel lost. Maybe you are right. Regardless, could you guys at least try to contain your glee?

    John what glee? In fact, I personally haven’t posted anything about the cease fire. (or about much at all since I was out of the country all last week) — so once again you are spouting out biased opinion that isn’t based on fact, but rather your own personal demons. ( I challenge you to show me even one post where I took glee in any of the events that went on between Israel and Lebanon)

    Furthermore, I don’t see how you can infer my beliefs about who won or lost based on a sarcastic comment about Michael Young’s “I’m smarter then everyone else” article.

    If you are actually interested about my personal beliefs, I’ll tell you. There were no winners in this war. Ultimately, there was a lot of destruction and lost lives but very little was gained – so I just can’t see anyone being a “winner”. The Lebanese people and their fledling political system were the biggest losers, IMO.

    Strategically speaking, Israel failed to “break the back” of Hez (which seemed to be their stated goal), and quite likely empowered and helped them gain support in the region. Hez has most likely gained in standing and will probably be emboldened and be more aggressive in the future. I believe this will result in more instability in the region — so I guess thats a loss for the whole world.

    If you want to mischaracterize that as “glee” – I can’t stop you. But it will only make you look like more of an ass

  7. olmert and peretz aren’t knesset members — knesset members are like congressman. this is like saying bush and rumsfeld should be given the boot. and why? because they didn’t smash lebanon hard enough and they treated the troops and the people up north like shit.

  8. I’ve been complaining about the outcome, not reveling in it.

    Typical of the dumbassery that’s taken over this country’s political discourse, John and Randian can’t distinguish between acknowledging an unfortunate reality and enjoying it. So they just refuse to acknowledge unfortunate realities.

    No different from calling be a “longtime enabler and supporter of Saddam Hussein” for noticing a couple years before he did that things weren’t going well in Iraq.

  9. it appears that Chicago Tom and Joe and the rest of the Reason staff feel that Israel lost.

    If you didn’t win, you lost.

  10. Mobius, they certainly are Knesset members. Israeli has a parliamentary democracy, not a three branch one like the US. The government (executive) is drawn from members of the Knesset. The PM is generally the leader of the party with the most seats.
    http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/mk_eng.asp?mk_individual_id_t=3
    Saying they want Olmert to go is roughly equivalent to saying they want the Democrats in control of Congress.

  11. The fact is Israel did not acheive any of its objectives.

    Hostages not rescued or freed.
    Hezbollah neither disarmed or crushed.

    I’m not sure how that can be considered a success or promoted as a victory.

  12. I have no dog in the fight.

    And I read the other Israel/ Hesbullah thread below, and went back and forth between what Joe and John believed. Both did good enough to have me switch sides varios times of who I thought was right.

    I do have one constant quible with Joe though.

    I gather that Joe thinks there was somethine else Israel could have done. Like there is some special forces ninja answer. When to me the two alternatives to what Israel did was 1)random pinprick attacks that would have only encouraged Hezbullah. And 2)a continued with the ground attack and risked many more casualties, and a much higher cost, and a possible battlefield loss.

    To me 2) would have been the better answer. But maybe they knew something that I don’t.

    1) would have been a disaster, eventually, and some SF fantasy would have been worse.

  13. “John and Randian can’t distinguish between acknowledging an unfortunate reality and enjoying it”

    A_R:

    You seem to be arguing the opposite of what you state on Grylliade. You defended your position there by stating that you were distinguishing between speculations of what causes misogyny, but that you don’t think it’s right. I guess we’ll apply the “Hit and Run” standard to you – you actually are misogynist.

    Isn’t that what Chicago T. and Joe are doing? But you’re not cutting them slack.

    Your quest for absolutes have gotten you tied up in knots. (BTW: I loved how you tried bringing “contextualism” into the mix while stating your absolutes). If you’re representative of people from Columbus (sorry, Iconoclast), may the Maize and Gold win.

    Sadly,
    Lumpy

  14. “John and Randian can’t distinguish between acknowledging an unfortunate reality and enjoying it”

    Right on. John, Lamar, etc. on the posting on Michael Youngs article predictably jumped on the bandwagon of mental gymnastics to find that Israel’s slaughters were all “worth it” because they really ‘won.’ Anything, anything, to keep from ever thinking Israel has ever done something wrong! But, Whoops, someone forgot to tell that to the majority of Israelis, who don’t seem to think they won, or the majority of Lebanese and Arabs, who now revere Hez more than ever…As I’ve pointed our elsewhere Israels reckless actions have endangered the US by undermining our strategic allies in the region, inflaming opinion against us in key areas such as Iraq where our troops are in danger, and makeing us the laughinstock of diplomacy (THE world power was not invited to play any major role in implementing the ceasefire because the rest of the world sees us as a dishonest broker). I don’t “favor” Hez over Israel: Israel has the freest most enlightened nation in the region. But that does not give them a blank check to do what they want, violating morality and injuring the US. And, I might add, not helping themselves in any way (over 100 citizens now dead because of Olmerts stupid aggression).

  15. “over 100 citizens now dead because of Olmerts stupid aggression)”.

    I guess that pretty much sums it up. What aggression? Hezbollah invaded Israel and kidnapped Israelis citizens and somehow Israel is the agressor. It not so much that Tom and Joe and their supporters are against as much as they can’t stand it when anyone defends themselves against agressive fanatics. The glee on this forum is really glee over seeing someone stand up for themselves and it being portrayed as a defeat. No doubt if the Isrealis gladly went to the gas chambers that Hezbollah would like to build for them, ChicagoTom and Joe would declare them the winners in the whole affair.

  16. Ken: I doubt that the Israeli public wants Olmert out and Netanyahu in because it thinks the attack on Lebanon was “stupid agression”.

  17. “I think the GOP could have done all of us a favor by responding and opening investigations into the conduct of war, instead of resorting to the “you’re undermining the president/troops” political attacks.”

    The David Weigel theory of military, “you don’t win wars by dying for your country. you win wars by investigating for your country.” WTF is that supposed to mean? You got a better idea for running the war in Iraq, then bring it on and for God sakes lets have an honest debate about and if it is a better idea or you can win an election with it, more power to you.

    Jesus, why don’t you just be honest and say “GOP could have done us all a favor and committed ritual suicide on the floor of the house and all of their supporters could help us out a lot by agreeing to serve the 20 year sentences in a re-education camp they so richly deserve.” It would make about as much sense.

  18. Ken: I doubt that the Israeli public wants Olmert out and Netanyahu in because it thinks the attack on Lebanon was “stupid agression”.

    Exactomundo, in fact I’d go as far as saying the public feels that they werent aggresive enough. I very much doubt that the outcry from the Israely public has anything to do with moral ambiguities but rather the displeasure with tactical military decissions.

  19. schadenfreude SHOD-n-froy-duh, noun:
    A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.

    Here? Nah.

  20. It’s always a good feeling when your opponent demonstrates himself to a loony. Thanks for the gas chamber reference, John. I win.

    kiran,

    A military response that was more carefully calibrated agains Hezbollah, rather than an effort to punish Lebanese civilians, would have been both more moral and more effective in promoting Israel’s security. And no, this doesn’t descend into Special Forces Super Ninja territory. Arms shipments from Syria, Hezbollah road blocks and the like would have been perfectly legitimate targets, and would have met with no complaints from me. Would that have ended the problem? Of course not – but it would have incrementally advanced Israel’s security and dealt a setback to Hezbollah, rather than setting back Israel’s position and, most frustratingly, bolstering Hezbollah. And for what? A combination of idiotic, discredited neocon ideology and the feeling that “tit for tat” isn’t emotially satisfying enough.

    It’s the shallow, irresponsible, self-indulgent determination that hides behind slogans like “no tit for tat” and “transform the region” that got Israel into this mess, and that ended the lives of over 1000 innocent people on both sides.

  21. John,

    I don’t think you should be lecturing anyone on how to win a war.

    Everything you have supported in the past five years on this forum has led to military disaster, for Israel and for the United States.

    Your military advice is like a south-pointing compass, and this would be a good time to start keeping your mouth shut.

  22. Yes Joe

    “Arms shipments from Syria, Hezbollah road blocks and the like would have been perfectly legitimate targets, and would have met with no complaints from me. Would that have ended the problem? ”

    You are kidding right? Do you think that Hezbollah put up big neon signs where there roadblocks and arms shipments are? Hezbollah set up within cizilian areas making it impossible for Israel to fire back without killing civilians. There is no way Israel could have responded without killing civilians. That is a product of Hezbollah using civilians as human shields. Hezbollah is not stupid. They know that they can commit war crimes by hiding among civilians and as soon as Israel defends itself, they can get people like you in the West condeming Israel for “not having a calibrated response”. Since Hezbollah made it impossible for Israel to defend itself without killing civlians, you are saying in effect that Israel should have done nothing in response.

  23. For the record Joe, the gas chamber remark does not call you a fascist, it calls Hezbollah fascists. A name I sure they would accept with pride, since obliterating Israel and the Jews is their primary reason for being.

  24. Arms shipments from Syria, Hezbollah road blocks and the like would have been perfectly legitimate targets, and would have met with no complaints from me.

    Joe, you usually have fairly reasoned arguments for your opinions, but that advice is just flat out idiotic. And you actually suggest to John no to lecture people on how to win a war? I think you should take a deep breath and take your own advice.

    What you basically suggested was that Israel once again occupy Lebanon, with no specific time line. So you feel that Hezbollah would simply let those road blocks stand right? Have you actually ever looked at a map of Lebanon, its whole northern and western borders are next to Syria. The IDF incursion to set up these miraculous roadblocks to stop weapon imports would need to cover the whole area of Lebanon. And what the hell does a road block accomplish in enemy territory anyways, as soon as the road block is gone the weapons flow again, unless ofcourse the IDF commits a very large force indefinetely to enforce the said roadblocks. Thats not to even mention the massive IDF casualties and logistical problems that would be inflicted with your plan.

  25. “Do you think that Hezbollah put up big neon signs where there roadblocks and arms shipments are?”

    No, genius, I think Israel has a highly effective, well placed intelligence apparatus and access to a highly sophisticated satellite network. If you actually knew, well, anything, you might have learned that uses these resources to strike resupply convoys from Syria in the recent war.

    Hitting civilians as collateral damage when striking a military target is one thing; regrettable, and needs to be minimized, but an unavoidable part of war. What weapons or troop formations were in the vicinity of the civilian power plants Israel struck? When you hit a civilian target like that, in the hopes that may 1% of the people harmed by it are military, it is the military damage that is collateral to a criminal attack against a civilian target.

    Every 17 year old Coast Guard Reserve recruit is taught about the responsibility to avoid civilian casualties, and the fact that you remain determinedly ignorant of this is yet more evidence that the phoney military-man persona you like to adopt is bogus.

    “For the record Joe, the gas chamber remark does not call you a fascist, it calls Hezbollah fascists.” And saying I would approve of that, and of having sympathies for genocidists (when you yourself are the only one justifying the killing of civilians in this war) is what, exactly? Other than a projection of your own delusions, and the desperate lashing out of a cornered rat.

    val, I’m sorry you misunderstood. Hezbollah has established a series of roadblocks and other military facilities, staffed by their fighters, throughout southern Lebanon. I was singling these out as appropriate targets for Israel to strike in response to the incursion and capture of their soldiers, along with arms shipments coming over the border. I assumed interested readers knew about the existence of this infrastructure, but apparently not.

    I hope this clears things up.

  26. Believe me, Val, I’m the last person who needs an explanation of the problems with such an occupation!

  27. you’re just weakening someone who, like it or not, is going to be in power through the next election.

    And if there’s one thing we can’t have, it’s any weakening of people in power. It’s unamerican to allow powerful people to be weakened.

  28. Chicago Tom and Joe and the rest of the Reason staff

    Well it’s news to me, but Joe, Chicago Tom, welcome to the Reason staff. New hires are responsible for buying donuts.

  29. You know what’s really bad for Da Troops and for our security?

    Losing a war, when a change in policy could avert it. Hell of a lot worse than a president losing a little face.

  30. “And if there’s one thing we can’t have, it’s any weakening of people in power. It’s unamerican to allow powerful people to be weakened.”

    Your right Tim.

    To weaken the people in power provides comfort to the terrorist and is treason!!! So why would we hate America.

    Well, so the people in power tell me.

  31. “Israel has the freest most enlightened nation in the region.”

    Tell that to the Palestinians.

  32. “Hezbollah invaded Israel and kidnapped Israelis citizens and somehow Israel is the agressor.”

    Hesbollah kednapped Israeli soldiers to exchange for the freedom of Lebanese that are being held in Israel without a trial.

  33. Gentlemen, gentlemen …

    Israeli politics is very different than ours and not just because of their institutions. When the public don’t like what is happening, they blame their leaders and hold them accountable by making them ex-leaders.

    Look back to 1973 (one example of many). Israel defeated their enemies, no? So what happened to the Chief of Staff? Elazar was forced out by the conclusions of the Argranat Commission, 1974-1975. But the people were not satisfied by this – many thought not he but the political leadership responsible for the initial surprise and near defeat – and forced out Meir and Dayan.

    Even the example of the Kahan Commission, 1982-1983, shows this effect. It was no accident that Eitan (the Chief of Staff) retired soon after its report and it took Sharon nearly a decade to both gain control of Likud and win an election.

    Of course, we are talking about Jews here, so perhaps they’re neither as susceptible to being deceived by their leaders nor as timorous in their criticism of them as Americans are.

    Although I think we can – or should – all agree that Israel’s punitive raids failed to achieve the objective of recovering its captured soldiers. Whether or not they will have a deterrent effect very much remains to be seen.

    Tschussie!

  34. Is it too much to ask that our money not be used for this bloody mess? It’s unethical and the money that our government gives the Israeli government for war and the prosecution of the occupation engenders hate toward us and makes us terror targets, just as it motivated the 9/11 attacks against us.

  35. “Hezbollah invaded Israel and kidnapped Israelis citizens and somehow Israel is the agressor.”

    I think this one needs to have the difference split.

    Hezbollah was the aggressor against Israel.

    But Israel was the aggressor against Lebanon.

    Had Israel not seized on the crisis to carry out a long-desired plan to attack Lebanon, had they carried out a campaign that targetted the people who attacked them, the moral calculus of this war would have been entirely different.

  36. Apostate Jew,

    I’d attribute the difference between Israelis’ response to their fiasco and Americans’ response to our own in Iraq not to the fact that they are Jews, but because they do not have the luxury of indulding their pride and partisanship at the expense of their nation’s security.

    Whereas our own stateside Keyboard Kommandos can ignore reality and congratulate themselves for not flinching as the train goes over the cliff, without there being the immediate and severe repercussions that Israel would have to face if it engaged in the same self-delusion.

    In other words, it’s material conditions, not culture, dammit! 😉

  37. Joe, good comments on Israel being the aggressor against Lebanon though Hezbollah was the aggressor against them. But Israel’s supporters seem to see no moral problem with collective punishment or disporportionate response.
    For the record I think after the kidnapping raid Israel should have launched a similarly limited attack in response (I have always maintained on this post that the destruction of the Hez leaders compound was appropriate). I don’t think it would have been feasible or appropriate to “cut off Hezbollah’s arms.” Remember Hez does advocate “death to Israel” but thats largely because they originated as a resistance movement against Israel’s occupation of their land (Israel and their thuggish Southern Lebanonese Army proxies). Look, I realize Israelis are (justifiably) paranoid given the past, but they still have to play by the rules of civilization or people will call them on it. At least people with some striving towards objectivity.
    I also notice not one person has tried to rebut my argument that this was astoundingly bad for the US, no matter who was right or wrong or “started it.”
    Its also sadly predictable that Israel’s fantical supporters (John for example) then accuse Reason and its posters of being “anti-Israel” for occasionaly pointing out where Israel breaks the rules. Don’t they know that we are supposed to avert our eyes to such things and engage in apologetic polemics to protect our great ally? But the majority of Reason posters actually favor Israel overall, and while Tim has been mildy (and very mildly compared to the international consensus) critical of Israel Michael Young has been stalwartly anti-Hez and behind them…

  38. This Rick Barton guy is a regular one-man anti-Israel campaign. Some Israeli must have harmed a member of his family or something.

  39. Rick Barton-

    Wait just a minute. I thought Israel, together with the Zionist-controlled Bush administration, staged the 9/11 attack to justify attacking Iraq, Israel’s enemy. Now you’re telling me the 9/11 attack was motivated by our support for Israel. Who was motivated? I’m really confused. Could you go over everything one more time?

  40. Sometimes I find Rick Barton’s obsession with Israel to be a bit creepy, too, but the accusations that he is antisemitic or a fringe conspiracist are the products of lazy minds who can’t be bothered to refute what he actually says, because they think that uttering the magic words from an identity politics spellbook obviates the need.

    Israel apologists are falling back on the antisemite charge in the same intellectually vacant manner that Al Sharpton fell back on the racist charge during the welfare reform debate. It’s indicative of a lack of a real intellectual foundation for their beliefs, and of thinkers grown soft from too many meetings of the Mutual Admiration Society, and too few experiences actually defending their beliefs through rigorous debate.

    I’m a Democrat, and I saw my party go from the post-New Deal supermajority to 1994 in just a few short years because of this corpulent laziness. I wouldn’t recommend it.

  41. Okay, we agree on creepy. And how do you define a fringe conspiricist, Joe?

  42. RE: Rick Barton

    I’ve “known” the guy on H&R for years, and my considered conclusion is that he is not such a bad guy, and not an anti-semite or a conspiracy-monger.

    What is peculiar is the discordance betwwen his obviously ardor over Israel-Palastinian issues, and his otherwise fairly standard and consistent Libertarian views.

    Tempermentally, most pure Libertarians are unapt to hold to strong forms of romantic cultural nationalism. I personally have sort of “mixed” libertarian and conservative sentiments, and such patriotic loyalties as I hold reside in the more conservative portions of my beliefs.

    I have always assumed RB was Palastinian in background, and feels he has a personal involvement. That is his business of course, and doesn’t compromise the force (or lack) of any of his contentions.

    On the larger issue, the Israeli air assault on Lebanese infrastructure was not principally intended to strike at dispersed Hizbollah targets – it was meant to compell the “Cedar” government to act against Hizbollah.

    It is the ultimate dead end of the “regional transformation” policy. Suppressing Hezbollah was supposed to be good for the Cedar Revolution…so let’s push ’em into it!

    So, like…restart the Lebanese Civil War – and THIS time the Good Guys win. Last time Syria, Aml and, eventually, Hizbollah and Iran won. But this time – owing I suppose to a more committed US and Israel – the winners are the Beirut sophisticates, the Marionites and the neo-Phalange?

    Ah, the Mid East. The very area seems to have always provoked such wishful thinking! Although Young does not believe so (I’m sure) his quite understandable wishes for the future of Lebanon are leading him down this path.

    I can attest to a lot of that kind of thing in my own history…so, no, I certainly feel no schadenfreude.

  43. It hadn’t occurred to me that RB is a Palestinian. That would explain a lot.

  44. A good idea from John!
    ” “GOP could have done us all a favor and committed ritual suicide on the floor of the house and all of their supporters could help us out a lot by agreeing to serve the 20 year sentences in a re-education camp they so richly deserve.”
    I hereby volunteer to mop up the blood……any volunteers for chauffers on the drive to Florence Supermax??

  45. One more time, slowly, for Bob:

    You are an asshole. Check that. A CREEPY asshole.

  46. One commenter posits
    I have always assumed RB was Palastinian in background, and feels he has a personal involvement. That is his business of course, and doesn’t compromise the force (or lack) of any of his contentions.

    …and another snarks off
    It hadn’t occurred to me that RB is a Palestinian. That would explain a lot.

    You can figure out for yourselves who’s interested in honest dialogue, and who’s too busy with ugly fantasies of ethnicity-based collective punishment.

  47. Sidney:

    This Rick Barton guy is a regular one-man anti-Israel campaign.

    Thank you, but it’s the Israeli government and its supporters that are a problem, not the whole country. I think that we make a mistake when we inaccurately identify peoples and their governments as the same.

    Bob:

    Wait just a minute. I thought Israel, together with the Zionist-controlled Bush administration, staged the 9/11 attack to justify attacking Iraq, Israel’s enemy.

    There is overwhelming evidence that the Israeli government had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks and failed to tell us. I know of no direct evidence that they had any role in their facilitation. But in view of the fact that they had pryor knowledge we should, at least, keep an eye open for any evidence.

    But RE my original point; 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

    And btw, lets say that it’s revealed that the Israeli government marshaled the attacks; it still wouldn’t justify antipathy toward the Israeli population in general.

    joe:

    Sometimes I find Rick Barton’s obsession with Israel to be a bit creepy

    Ouch. Why joe? (I’ll ignore the misapplication of “obsession”) It seems that the only reason would be if it were just a cover for racism, and you know that that’s not me. My concern is with the pursuit of a non-interventionist foreign policy and the Israeli government and its supporters are the major obstacle here.

    So joe, does my “obsession” with the promotion and defense of capitalism also seem creepy to you sometimes? Ummm, well that wasn’t the best example to use with you but you know what I mean.

    Bob:

    Okay, we agree on creepy. And how do you define a fringe conspiricist

    If after reading all of loe’s comment that’s all you can say, You’re guilty as charged of having a lazy mind.

  48. Andrew,

    Thank you. And even with your sometimes neocon leanings, I think that you’re ok too.

    …and doesn’t compromise the force (or lack) of any of his contentions.

    I commend that scientific view.

    For the record; I’m not a Palestinian. Although; I do have a chess buddy who is. 🙂

  49. Peoples and their governments are two very different things. It’s common knowlegde that Martians staff all the world’s governments. Capitalism isn’t the same as the people who buy and sell stuff either. Colonel Sanders was an ardvaark.

  50. Who’s loe?

    joe

  51. When we debase conspiracy analysis, we’re throwing out an invaluable tool for understanding real politic. Political power is often transmitted via the machinations of hidden collusion and miss-direction. Often, conspiracy theorizing is the only way to apprehend political reality.

    I think we need to engage in conspiracy analysis to understand political power. We need to ask the question; who benefits? I like Rothbard’s extension of common sense conspiracy analysis from smaller political situations like the collusion of labor and management to enact tariffs, to larger things like entry into war, the creation of the Fed, etc.

  52. Capitalism isn’t the same as the people who buy and sell stuff either.

    Actually, capitalism is indeed much more accurately identified with the people who buy and sell stuff than governments are accurately identified with the governed cuz people’s capitalistic relationships are voluntary, while relationships with government are largely based on coercion.

  53. Rick
    Some governments have overwhelming popular support.
    How exactly does conspiracy analysis work? Can you run through a concrete example. Thanks.

  54. Dou,

    It’s true that governments sometimes have overwhelming popular support and when those governments commit transgressions, the folks who supported them are to be faulted. Sometimes they are to be faulted for being too gullible vis a vis the claims of their governments.

    I wanna split now but I’ll give an example of conspiracy analysis sometime Saturday or Sunday. Thanks.

  55. I’m not going to follow the argument, I just have a comment.

    Did Israel win or lose? I have no idea. I just know the people who most definitely lost where the normal fucking people who’s lives where destroyed because two groups of stupid shitheads decided to get into a dick measuring contest.
    The normal people are always the ones who lose when governments (or quasi governments) do anything, wars most of all. I’d hope a bunch of people who read libertarian blogs would get that.

  56. I’m looking forward to Rick Barton’s elucidation of conspiracy analysis.

  57. Dou,

    Conspiracy analysis starts with a healthy skepticism toward the claims of government, its supporters, and those who seek to be the beneficiaries of government power. An example of the type of dynamic that conspiracy analysts look for (often it’s rather common senseicle) is when certain large concerns work for regulation of their own industries cuz they are better able to afford the costs of the regulations than thier smaller competitors are. Thus the smaller competitors are harmed. The FDA has regulations that stipulate that on occasions, a fee may be tendered by drug companies to expedite the long approval time for new medications. Of course, smaller companies have a harder time paying the fee. (BTW, besides being unfair, this anti-capitalistic arrangement is anti-health.)

    For a first example (another later if there’s time), let’s do the election of 1912 and big buisiness’s rejection of the GOP and support of the Progressive party.

    Background:

    In his history of the progressive era, The Triumph of Conservatism Gabriel Kolko (BTW, in the title, Kolko meant “conservatism” as big business, not a political philosophy), makes a strong case that the dominant trend in the last three decades of the nineteenth century and the first two of the twentieth was not towards increasing centralization but rather was “toward growing competition. Competition was unacceptable to many key business and financial leaders, and the merger movement was to a large extent a reflection of voluntary, unsuccessful business efforts to bring the irresistible trends (of more players in the market place) under control.”

    As new competitors sprang up, and as economic power was diffused throughout an expanding nation, it became apparent to many important businessmen that only the national government could “control and stabilize” the economy. Ironically, it was not the existence of monopoly which caused the federal government to intervene in the economy, but the lack of it.

    The election of 1912:

    Incumbent President William Howard Taft was re-nominated by the Republican party with the support of the conservative (smaller government) wing of the party, defeating former president, Theodore Roosevelt But there was a huge split in the party since after Roosevelt failed to get the Republican nomination, he called his own convention and created a new Progressive Party (nicknamed the “Bull Moose Party”).

    The election is remarkable cuz it saw so much big business support and infiltration of the avowedly anti-big business, Progressive Party. Why?

    A number of leaders of big business and big finance claimed to suddenly agree with the Progressive agenda. Others claimed that it was Theodore Roosevelt, himself, that motivated their support.
    A look at what transpired since during Wilson’s administration after he won that election, and other evidence indicates a more likely motivation.

    Much of big business abandoned Taft and the GOP since the GOP’s limited government agenda was offering no favors to big business. The trusts, (merger activity) was to a large extent a reflection of voluntary, unsuccessful, business leader’s efforts to limit the rampant competition of the day. They were a huge issue. The Taft position was that the market will take care of the situation (it largely did exactly that). And while Progressive Party took the position that trusts were intolerable, the Wilson campaign said that they could be allowed and regulated for the “public good”.

    After Wilson won, big business had the key roles with in the administration in planning and pushing for regulations which were billed as being for the public but in fact hampered smaller competitors.

    So the evidence is strong that certain big business’s goal in financing and infiltrating the Progressive party was to make sure that the GOP didn’t win so that the Democrats would likely win, and their activist agenda was ideologically suited for more regulation, which some big business wanted in order to limit and hamper new entrants into different market places. The documentary evidence is that the Wilson campaign made arrangements with certain big business during the campaign to implement their agenda after the election.

    The fact that members of some big finance and big business staffed the Progressive campaign and made position recommendations might be due to the concern that TR’s Bull Moose party could actually win and thus preparing for that contingency. There were others in the progressive movement who were aghast at the position changes, but I think that the progressive’s big government agenda would have been ripe for utilization of large concerns who wanted to limit their competition. Capitalism was proving to be wonderful for the consumers but it made it tough to stay on top.

  58. Rick,

    You put an awful lot of effort into bashing Israel, its actions, and its policies, even to the point of introducing the subject on unrelated threads.

    I’d say I agree with most of your criticisms, but I sometimes wonder why it is such a big deal to you.

    I’ve seen you snarl and beat up on actual antisemites on previous threads, so I know that’s not it.

  59. Doug,

    That was an historical example. I’ll give a current events example if time permits.

  60. Doug,

    A fuller explanation of the 1912 election example may be found in the very interesting The Triumph of Conservatism volume by Gabriel Kolko that I cited.

  61. A current affairs example:

    Evidence that the war on Iraq is the fruition of the neocon’s, the war’s chief motivators, plans to spill American blood and money for what they think is good for Israel:

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

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

    . In “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”, a plan for Israel for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new government written by a group headed by Richard Perle in 1996 which included Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan and other prominent neocons, we find: Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.

    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

    In 1998, a group of neos including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol and four others who wound up on the Bush team wrote a letter to Clinton urging him to take out Saddam. And about Wolfowitz; incredibly, right after 9/11, he argued that Afghanistan be put on the back burner and Iraq be attacked instead! It was Wolfowitz’ Pentagon Office of Special Plans, OSP, that cooked up many of the WMD and “terrorist connection” fabrications used to justify the war. Note that in the current Israeli spy case, Larry Franklin who worked for Douglas Feith in the Pentagon (second in command to Wolfowitz) is charged with five counts of handing over classified information to officials of American Israel Public Affairs Committee , AIPAC, a pro-Israeli government lobbying group, who passed it on to Israeli diplomatic personnel is charged along with two other accused spies, Steve Rosen, who for 20 years was the chief lobbyist over at AIPAC, and Keith Weissman, AIPAC’s top foreign policy analyst.

    In their book “The Mossad”, Dennis Eisenberg, and Israeli journalists and former members of the IDF, Uri Dan and Eli Landau, the authors provide evidence of the Israeli government tactic of getting people with assumed allegiance to their native nation but with real loyalty to the Israeli government in positions of power in various nations. We may have seen this dynamic played out in the case of Perle and other neocons.

  62. joe,

    There is a neat trick going on here. The old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claimed that an international Jewish conspiracy manipulated world events. The new anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claim that Israel manipulates world events.
    Like any other state Israel is flawed and open to criticism. Its brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, its use of collective punishments, the second-class stautus of its Arab citizens–all this is legitimately criticized both inside and outside Israel by Jews and non-Jews and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
    The new anti-Semites mix this legitimate criticism with the old demonization. Israel isn’t just a flawed Middle Eastern democracy; it’s a powerfully dark force just like the old Internation Jewish conspiracy. Israel may have had–all the evidence isn’t in–a hand in plotting the 9/11 attacks. Just imagine. The attacks were carried out by radical Islamists–sworn enemies of Israel–but it’s just possible that Israel itself is really behind the attacks. How do we know? Well, the evidence is overwhelming that Israel knew that the attacks were imminent but did nothing to warn the U.S. Of course, the “evidence” for this is highly debatable, but it’s important to just keep repeating it in order to make the much larger insinuation that Israel actually planned and carried out the attacks. It’s the same old anti-Semitism. It simply substitutes Israel for the International Jewish Conspiracy and allows the anti-Semite to deny the charge of anti-Semitism.

  63. Evidence that the main concern of the most influential neocons is what they think is good for the Israeli state, and that they are not conservatives at all, is provided by the fact that Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News and Kristol’s Weekly Standard magazine, has held two fundraisers for Hillary Clinton. Along with all of her obnoxious big government liberal advocacies, she is a big hawk on Iraq and the MidEast.

  64. Thanks, Rick. I think I get it now.

  65. Uri,

    I don’t think that we want to dismiss certain criticisms of the Israeli state cuz they resemble anti-Jewish racism. No government deserves that sort of leeway. I understand and sympathize with your concern, but time in that regard would be better would be better spent actually fighting anti-Jewish racism.

    Also, labeling observations that the Isreali government had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attack as anti-Semitic will lead folks astray cuz, for example, as evidenced by my confrontations with anti-Semites on these threads, I vehemently oppose that ugly and primitive collectivism.

  66. Suggesting that American blood is being spilt in Iraq to benefit Israel is an example of the most vicious anti-Semitism. It makes the Bush administration a puppet in the hands of clever Israeli infiltrators and manipulators and appeals to a very ugly racism. Your so-called conspiracy analysis focuses on whatever supports the conspiracy and ignores everything else.

  67. Uri:

    Suggesting that American blood is being spilt in Iraq to benefit Israel is an example of the most vicious anti-Semitism

    No it isn’t cuz it’s a critique of the Israeli government and its supporters and the US government. I’m sure that it’s been used by anti-Semites to somehow justify their racism, but the critique itself is not racist. And the Israeli government most certainly did help make the case, full of lies, that we should attack Iraq.

    Don’t you see what you’re doing? You’re giving implicit sanction to the false and racist proposition that, if the Israeli government and it’s supporters do wrong, it’s due to the nature of Jews in general.

    …appeals to a very ugly racism.

    But that doesn’t mean that it is racism.

    Your so-called conspiracy analysis focuses on whatever supports the conspiracy and ignores everything else.

    So tell me why you think so instead of making ridiculous insinuations of racism. Instead, let’s talk about the evidence.

  68. Michael Young in an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Indifferent to Democracy
    Why the Arab world roots for American failure in Iraq” wrote the following:

    “Arab rejection of the Iraqi project rested on another foundation: sympathy for the Palestinians. Here again, Iraq offered opportunities never considered. How could the U.S. be serious about Iraqi democracy, the critics muttered, when Palestinians still suffered? The statement was a non sequitur, but it undercut efforts to draw on what was best in Iraq to advance Arab liberty and Palestinian self-determination.

    Some neocons indeed argued that victory in Iraq, by sounding the death knell of terrorism, would oblige Palestinians to accept a settlement with Israel. This was incredibly simplistic, but no less so is the widely held view in the Arab world that Iraq was mainly done to help Israel. There is little evidence of even a consensus in Israel over Iraq, let alone that the alligator-skinned Ariel Sharon seriously bought into a plan positing Arab democracy. But again, that is less important than another question: Could Arabs have used Iraq to help the Palestinians?

    The answer seems evident. From the Arab side, encouragement of a democratic Iraq, and its fulfillment, would have proved the viability of an Arab democracy, denting Israel’s presumption that it is the “only democracy in the Middle East.” By becoming a dominant cornerstone of U.S. policy, Iraq would have relativized Israel’s paramountcy; and a truly representative Iraq would have highlighted Israel’s denial of Palestinian representativeness in the occupied territories. For all these reasons, American achievement in Iraq could have been looked on with greater self-interested approval and imagination by the Arab publics. It never was.”

    There are many possible reasons for the invasion of Iraq, but the idea that Israel’s supporters tricked the U.S. into invading is not one taken seriously by serious commentators. Outside the Aarab world, it is a line pushed by anti-Semites.

  69. but the idea that Israel’s supporters tricked the U.S. into invading is not one taken seriously by serious commentators

    What?? That’s ridiculous. “Tricked” is a loaded word but that the neocons who had long advocated regime change in Iraq were the chief motivators of the war is common knowledge:

    The Israel Lobby
    John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

    … and is the basis for a debate in the current issue Foreign Policy

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3501

  70. There’s nothing conspiratorial about advocating a policy, and the assumption that the neo-cons work on behalf of Israel is unjustified. As Michael Young pointed out, Israel isn’t necessarily a beneficiary of the U.S. Iraq policy.

  71. Here’s another “source.”

    Why Cindy Sheehan is Right!
    By David Duke

    Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost a son in the Iraq War, is determined to prevent other mothers and fathers from experiencing the same loss.

    Courageously she has gone to Texas near the ranch of President Bush and braved the elements and a hostile Jewish supremacist media to demand a meeting with him and a good explanation why her son and other?s sons and daughters must die and be disfigured in a war for Israel rather than for America.

    Recently, she had the courage to state the obvious that her son signed up in the military to protect America not to die for Israel.

    In a recent letter to ?Nightline,? she wrote the following hard-hitting words:

    Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel. Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by George [W.] Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11. We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy?not for the real reason, because the Arab-Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy. That hasn?t changed since America invaded and occupied Iraq?in fact it has gotten worse.

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