I Am A Man of Constant Sores

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Barack Obama, trying to stitch back together his reputation with Jewish voters, gives a hearty interview to Jeffrey Goldberg. They talk about Israel and the settlements.

BO: Look, my interest is in solving this problem not only for Israel but for the United States.

JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America's reputation overseas?

BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy.

Republicans respond:

It is truly disappointing that Senator Obama called Israel a 'constant wound,' 'constant sore,' and that it 'infect[s] all of our foreign policy.'

Warbloggers respond (it's at Little Green Footballs, so I won't link it):

Obama: Israel is a "Constant Sore."

Look: You have to be a liar, idiot, or both to think Obama was referring to Israel with that. How can a country be "constant"? A struggle can be constant, as can a conflict, or a "problem." That's the antecendent of Obama's "constant sore" comment. If the Republican strategy to turn Jewish voters against Obama is to prey on their lack of basic reading skills, well, good luck.

The irony is that Obama provides plenty of grist for honest skeptics, and David Frum goes over them here:

Notice what is embedded here:

(1) a condescending assumption that the so-called hawkish position on the Arab-Israeli dispute is "blind" and adopted by US politicians only because they seek political safety—there's no acknowledgement that the dovish position was ever tried or that it in fact produced a terrible war in 2000-2003;

(2) the attitude, common on the Democratic left, that real friendship to Israel consists in compelling Israeli governments to do things that most Israelis regard as dangerous;

(3) acceptance of the red herring that it is "settlements" that are the source of the Arab-Israeli dispute;

(4) enormous and unexplained confidence that he can solve a problem through his personal intervention.

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  1. LOL gaffe machine Obama continues!!

    How can he be prepared to be President when he keeps screwing up in these interviews and small settings? It seems the only thing hes good at is prepared speeches.

  2. Jewish voters, both in American and in Israel, agree with Obama by large margins.

    Even Ariel Sharon, the father of the settlement movement, adopted this position towards the end of his career.

  3. Quick, someone please quote Ms. Rand on Israel and Taiwan!

    That said, I prefer the David Frum quotes to any of that other stuff in this post.

    Sen. Obama is coming across as another President Carter. He won’t say he wants all the Jews to be pushed into the sea, but it does not sound like he would mind if they just marched in on their own.

  4. Your right guy, another Carter and possible closet anti-semite. No wonder Hamas likes him so much.

    I’m sure Joe can correct us though and tell us what a friend of Israel he really is and how this won’t kill him with the Jewish vote.

  5. Joe wait until McCain choses Eric Cantor as his Vice President.

  6. But Carter did more than any other American President to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. The Egypt-Israeli peace treaty is one of the few substantive and lasting accomplishments of the last 40 years.

  7. Vanya:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Tell another one!

  8. Neil,

    Obama leads McCain by 30 points among Jewish voters. This is probably becasue the overwhelming majority of American Jews agree with his opinion about the settlements.

    As does a large majority of Israeli voters. As did Ariel Sharon when he was Prime Minister.

    This isn’t an effort to woo Jewish voters by the Republicans. This is a classic bank-shot pander, attempmting to make Obama look bad to right-wingers like you and Guy. It has as much to do with winning Jewish votes as putting African-American country commissioners in front of the cameras at the RNC convention in 2000 had to do with winning African-American votes.

    God, you’re naive.

  9. Again, Obama will sound smart but a bit careless at first, get attacked rabidly, and then clarify things in a way that makes him sound even smarter. And, at the same time, he makes those who didn’t like him not like him even more. But unlike a certain Republican senator, he doesn’t get much credit for being willing to talk off the cuff. Of course, unlike that Republican, he’s much more likely to be right.

  10. Jimmy Carter’s Obama-esque foreign policy removed the greatest threat to Israel’s existence that it has ever faced – the danger of an invasion by Egypt, the strongest military power Israel has ever faced.

    That deal involved removing settlements, too, and Israel hasn’t faced a serious military threat since then.

  11. Neil – I recently saw Iron Man over the weekend. Even though it was formulaic, I thought it was fun and RD Jr. really makes that movie.

    What did you think?

  12. LOL Joe Kerry won Jews by much more than 30%. He won them 75-25.

    Only 30% ahead for a Democrat? We could be looking at the Reagan elections where the Republican gets 38% of the Jewish vote!

    Obama: Hard on Israel, soft on terror, endorsed by Hamas.

  13. Ayn_Randian, RD Jr. really shined I agree. Nothing to get you thinking, just a good summer popcorn movie.

  14. a condescending assumption that the so-called hawkish position on the Arab-Israeli dispute is “blind” and adopted by US politicians only because they seek political safety

    What’s the animal that represents staying out of it these foreign quagmires completely? Let’s try being that animal.

  15. Well, looks like we’ve got our prediction from Reverend Wrong.

    Since Obama’s head-to-heads vs. McCain are taking off, just everyone with a head on their shoulders realized they would as soon as the primary ended, it is almost certain that his head-to-heads among different slices of the electorate are doing the same. It will probably go up even more than the national average, given that Jewish voters (almost all of whom are Democrats) favored Hillary Clinton.

    That’s a 30 point lead in early April. It will probably move back up to the mid-40s to 50 within a month. The Repubicans tried the same stunts against Kerry, calling him soft on Israel and sort on terror. As you point out, Neil, he won them by 50 points.

  16. Neil, doesn’t it make you want to watch Less Than Zero?

  17. Obama later mollified irritated Jewish voters, telling them: “C’mon, your people are too clever to think that I was referring to Israel as a ‘sore.’ You’ve always been so clever at shifty schemes and pulling the wool over people’s eyes, I can’t believe you’d fall for such a transparent goyish ploy.”

  18. I’m not worried about polls.

    Remember: Dukakis +14 this time in 1988. How’d he look in November?

  19. Look: You have to be a liar, idiot, or both to think Obama was referring to Israel with that.

    If you look at what he said literally, the “it” can only refer to “Israel”. Now, I don’t think that’s what he meant either, but that’s a gigantic gaffe for a supposedly silver-tongued politician to make. Dangling pronouns are extremely dangerous when discussing sensitive topics; you’re better off avoiding he, she, and especially it (maybe even “you”).

  20. I read Obama’s interview and think, wow, that’s the most straightforward and honest (or honest-seeming) response I’ve ever heard from a politician on a controversial topic. Then I read Frum’s article and he calls Obama’s answers evasive.

    Frum: “Here’s the first question:

    GOLDBERG: I’m curious to hear you talk about the Zionist idea. Do you believe that it has justice on its side?

    Now, how long do you think it takes Obama to deliver a “yes” or “no” to that question? I count five long paragraphs – interrupted by two follow-up questions – before we get to “yes.””

    Actually, it takes half a sentence. Obama’s answer: “I think that the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea”. Apparently Frum prefers a simplistic, thoughtless answer to a complex, thought-out one. Perhaps he wanted Obama to state unequivocally that Israel is always and in every case just, making it the only state in history of which that can be said?

    Frum had one good point, his first one. As for the second, my impression is that the majority of Israelis are unhappy with the settler movement, although that attitude shifts back and forth in response to Palestinian actions. I can’t find anywhere Obama’s stating that settlements are the source of the Arab-Israeli dispute, only that they are not a good idea. And as for point 4, do we really expect or want a presidential candidate not to have confidence in his or her ability to solve a problem?

  21. Chris thanks for pointing out that Obama seems to be a big pile of failure in these small settings.

    When McCain makes gaffes, its not a big deal because everyone (including Hillary Clinton) knows hes prepared to be President thanks to his long record of public service.

    When Obama does this, it seriously questions his ability to lead and his readiness for office. Obama won’t have a big prepared speech when he sits down with foreign heads of state.

  22. Neil | May 13, 2008, 11:28am | #

    I’m not worried about polls.

    That’s funny, because you quote them every time you find one that tells you what you want to hear.

    Come to think of it, you haven’t been doing that lately..

    I wonder why.

  23. Sen. Obama is coming across as another President Carter.

    The same President Carter who broke the long stalemate between Israel and Egypt and brokered the Camp David Accords? This is bad, why?

    He won’t say he wants all the Jews to be pushed into the sea, but it does not sound like he would mind if they just marched in on their own.

    Maybe he doesn’t say that because it’s not what he thinks? Or would that be to simple and realistic?

    Also, there’s a huge difference between wishing/hoping for the Arab-Israeli conflict to resolve, and wishing that the Israeli Jews to disappear. The former is a realistic, pro-everyone position; the latter is an overwrought, paranoid fantasy of the sort often employed by hardcore Israel supporters who view any compromise as tantamount to complete surrender.

  24. Chris Potter,

    “It” refers to “this constant problem.”

    What was “this constant problem” that the interviewer and Obama were talking about, Israel itself or the settlement issue?

    Not a gaffe, a really lame bit of spin. No one who isn’t already bending over backwards to convince themselves Obama is anti-Israel is going to be fooled by it.

  25. Yeah Joe I’m real scared when Obama is +1 in Rasmussen tracking and +4 in Gallup.

    Only the liberal left-leaning, unweighted polls like CBS/NYT And ABC/WaPo have him up outside the margin of error.

  26. Hows he doing in OH, PA, MI, and FL Joe? LOL ask Al Gore how much the popular vote matters.

  27. I don’t think Frum RTFA.

    (1) a condescending assumption that the so-called hawkish position on the Arab-Israeli dispute is “blind” and adopted by US politicians only because they seek political safety – there’s no acknowledgement that the dovish position was ever tried or that it in fact produced a terrible war in 2000-2003;

    Obama says he won’t blindly accept the hawkish position, and (correctly) states that that would be the safer position politically. I’m sorry Frum is so sensitive, but this does not imply that hawks hold THEIR position “blindly,” nor that they only hold it because of that political safety.

    (2) the attitude, common on the Democratic left, that real friendship to Israel consists in compelling Israeli governments to do things that most Israelis regard as dangerous;

    He actually says real friendship to Israel involves telling them to stop building settlements. He doesn’t even say anything about dismantling existing ones.

    (3) acceptance of the red herring that it is “settlements” that are the source of the Arab-Israeli dispute;

    Jeez, he says building settlements is “unhelpful” to the peace process. That’s not the same thing as claiming they’re the source of the dispute (frankly, I’ve never even heard that particular “red herring” before, though I suppose some idiot has probably said it).

    (4) enormous and unexplained confidence that he can solve a problem through his personal intervention.

    Can’t argue with that. Though that really just makes him another person running for president.

  28. Obama will sound smart but a bit careless at first, get attacked rabidly, and then clarify things in a way that makes him sound even smarter.

    Dude, it’s not in his best interest to compare this well-intentioned sloppiness to his two-faced treatment of rural Pennsylvanians a few weeks ago. He revealed his true colors in that incident, and his statement afterwards was more a revision (cutting out his blatant accusations of bigotry and xenophobia) than a clarification.

  29. JG: If you become President, will you denounce settlements publicly?

    BO: What I will say is what I’ve said previously. Settlements at this juncture are not helpful. Look, my interest is in solving this problem not only for Israel but for the United States.

    JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

    BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable.

    The only question is whether the misrepresentation of Obama’s statement about settlements, presenting it as if he was talking about Israel as a whole, is small enough that it will be forgotten, or large enough to cause a backlash against the Republicans.

  30. Neil – I think there’s a strong argument to be made that McCain is peaking right now, as Obama wastes more of his resources finishing off Clinton. McCain, remember, lucked out again and again in the primaries and got through them without much of a political and fundraising machine. Obama’s going into the fall with the most powerful fundraising and organizing armies in politics since at least Reagan ’84, soon to be augmented by all those Hillary-endorsing unions.

    I don’t know many political pros who pay attention to current state polls.

  31. Obama is now winning Pennsylvania by 5 points.

    Looks like Pennsylvanians disagree with you, Chris.

  32. If this incident were like that one, he would have gone to a synagogue and made public speeches about how Israel was the greatest country in the world and can do no wrong, and then gone to a closed-door fundraiser in a mosque and said Jews were money-grubbing Arab-hating materialists.

  33. Dave W., just remember: Dukakis +14 in 1988.

    Dukakis +14. Lets see how well Obama stands up through the stuff the swift boaters will throw at him before we declare that McCain has “peaked”.

  34. Neil, would you say that Downey’s best performance was as Derek in Back to School?

  35. Actually Episiarch I’d say by far his best performance was in Charlie Chaplin.

  36. Finally, proof positive that Obama bin Laden hates the Joo. If only the sheeple were smart enough to read.

  37. State polls, heck most polls, about the general election matchups are useful mainly to refute points, rather than to make them. We’re too far out for those polls to be useful evidence for what will happen, but they can give us snapshots about the dynamics of the race right now, and how current stories are effecting people’s opinions right now.

    McCain’s peak is actually over. He was tied with or leading both Democrats up until about a week and half ago, and now they’re pulling away.

  38. joe,

    Then Pennsylvanians are wrong by 5 points. When a battered wife says it’s not her husband’s fault when he hits her because she forgot to put butter on his sandwich, does that mean it really isn’t his fault?

  39. Weigel is trying to cover up for Obama when he let a little truth fall out. Yes our relationship with Israel is a “sore” or a “wound.” Subsidizing someone to constantly spy on you is bad policy. Also influencing our elections from without is bad for this country. The Bible is fiction. The only claim that Israel has to the land is that they took it from the Arabs and have enough guns to secure it. Their bad choice of real estate should not be our problem. If they can keep the land, fine, but it should not be at our expense. Neutrality is the only sensible policy with regards to Israel and the Palestinians.

  40. But what about The Pick-Up Artist? Or Weird Science? Highly underrated performances of subtlety and depth.

  41. If Frum thinks that a US President can’t impose a settlement on Israel if he chooses, he’s a fool.

    If I was President, I would inform the Israelis that they are exchanging East Jerusalem and the ENTIRE West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinians giving up the right of return, and that’s it. Period. If they refuse, we would:

    1. Immediately end all aid.
    2. Immediately reveal all intelligence we have available about Israel to the world at large, including any information we have about Israeli intelligence assets.
    3. Immediately announce that it will be the policy of the United States to “massively retaliate”, on the Eisenhower model, against ANY power in the Middle East that employs nuclear weapons, regardless of the circumstances of such use.

    The strategic damage that would be done to Israel by these three [particularly #3, which would take their nuclear deterrent out of their hands] would be so massive that they would have no choice but to comply.

  42. I think they can make up their minds all by themselves, Chris, without you having to chew their food them.

  43. I’m voting for Fluffy.

  44. Joe how can you say its too early and then declare McCain has peaked? He could very well rebound this summer after some swift boating of Obama.

  45. They all look the same to me. Maybe its the anti-semite in me, but why do I have to spend money on Israel anyway. Can’t we let them solve their own problems?

    Our involvement probably prolongs the deadly stalemate that exists between Israel and Palestine. Let there be a final resolution one way or another.

  46. Fluffy – while I agree, the chances of an American president doing anything like that in our lifetime are pretty remote.

  47. Fluffy,

    A just settlement would have to involve some trading of already-settled land, especially near Jerusalem, for land inside Israel proper. This also has the advantage of allowing the construction of a contiguous Palestine, with at least a ribbon or meeting of points linking Gaza with the West Bank.

    The maps aren’t the real problem, as tricky as the maps can be. The real problem that sunk Wye River was that Arafat, like the people the Republicans are trying to appeal to with this misrepresentation, didn’t want a just settlement. He wanted ongoing war, because being on a war footing benefitted him politically.

    If an American president laid down the law as you recommend, I think a great many Israelis would be secretly happy, as long as the underlying deal was a good one. It would get them what the large majority of Israelis want, while allowing them to blame the big, mean United States for the concessions.

  48. He could very well rebound this summer after some swift boating of Obama.

    …also known as the dead guy bounce.

  49. Obama leads McCain by 30 points among Jewish voters. This is probably becasue the overwhelming majority of American Jews agree with his opinion about the settlements.

    joe, this statement is pretty damn insulting. Do you think it possible that US Jewish voters might make their decisions based on US issues? Has it occurred to you that not all US Jews care solely about Israel?

  50. Neil,

    Joe how can you say its too early and then declare McCain has peaked?

    Actually, I was going to write another paragraph about how he could have another peak at some later point in the race, but omitted it for brevity. I was just commenting on the state of the race to date. McCain actually took the lead for a few weeks there, and now, that peak is over. That’s what I was trying to say.

  51. joe, this statement is pretty damn insulting. Do you think it possible that US Jewish voters might make their decisions based on US issues? Has it occurred to you that not all US Jews care solely about Israel?

    I’d warrant there are more Christians that care about Israel than Jews in the US, which is why the GOP (not a traditional jewish stronghold) carries on so much about protecting and supporting Israel, to appease the religious right.

  52. He could very well rebound this summer after some swift boating of Obama.

    Wow, you can’t think of a single affirmative argument McCain could make that would cause a rebound?

    stuartl,

    I was responding to a comment that Obama’s position would sink him among Jewish voters, saying that it would not, because most of them are not opposed to his position. You are correct, his big lead (like every Democrat’s big lead) comes mainly from his other positions. I could have choses better wording. He isn’t leading BECAUSE OF his position on Israeli security; it’s just that his position on Israeli security is not causing the Jewish voting bloc to oppose him.

  53. There’s a substantial minority in both Israel and Palestine that is completely irrational and simply wants to kill the other. They don’t want peace, just death. There’s nothing we can do to change their minds; the only worthwhile option is to get out of the way.

  54. Like you’re going to make any specific affirmative statements about Obama’s record. You can’t, because he doesn’t have a record.

  55. Joe,

    I know what you are saying about the map lines, but the good thing about the ’48 borders is that they’re already a known quantity. Once you open the door to the possibility of different borders, you create the likelihood of endless haggling over what those borders should be.

  56. I can’t get past the usage of “honest” and “David Frum” in the same sentence.

    Let there be a final resolution one way or another.

    I’m not touching that one.

  57. I would inform the Israelis that they are exchanging East Jerusalem and the ENTIRE West Bank and Gaza for the Palestinians giving up the right of return, and that’s it. Period. If they refuse, we would

    This, of course, presumes that the Palestinians would take such a deal.

    And why would you force Israel to give up Gaza and the West Bank? Blame Egypt and Jordan for causing (if not actually starting) the Six-Days War.

  58. Fluffy,

    Yes, that is a point in the ’48 (or ’67) borders’ favor. However, there are some big drawbacks. Like, all of those people who’ve lived in their homes for decades – not trailers for a few months, towns and neighborhoods – needing to be moved. People HATE that. Gets ’em all up in arms. Ever read any Kelo threads? And, no, ruminations about root causes don’t make those feelings go away.

    Like I said, I don’t think the haggling is the real problem. If both sides want a solution, a just solution can be worked out. Rather, “endless” haggling is a consequence of not really wanting a solution.

  59. Here’s a couple of statements about Obama’s record:

    He didn’t vote for the war.

    He didn’t vote for the Patriot Act.

    I realize that you might consider these negative statements and not affirmative statements, but we’re at an odd point in American political history, where the failures of the last 7 years have largely tainted both the party in power and the opposition party, because the opposition party leadership largely went along with the party in power’s bad ideas.

    I think you could compare our situation to that of, say, France in 1946, where all the politicians with “records” were discredited by their association with the late Republic, or with the Vichy regime, and the only available credible leadership were the persons with little or no national political history. De Gaulle had almost no domestic political experience at all, and that was one of the most important attributes he possessed.

  60. @PC

    The only claim that Israel has to the land is that they took it from the Arabs and have enough guns to secure it.

    Substitute “Indians” for “Arabs” and that’s pretty much how we came by ours. When has the world ever worked any differently?

    Their bad choice of real estate should not be our problem. If they can keep the land, fine, but it should not be at our expense. Neutrality is the only sensible policy with regards to Israel and the Palestinians.

    Agreed. I find it interesting that many people who feel that way about federal funding for rebuilding New Orleans seem to think Israel is entitled to a blank check for the same bad choice.

  61. Fluffy he wasn’t a Senator when those laws were passed, so thats a cop out. Who knows what he would’ve done in the Senate?

  62. Ayn Randian,

    Blame?

    How many more years of warfare should Israel endure to make a point about who’s right, if they have the chance to make peace?

  63. “When McCain makes gaffes, its not a big deal because everyone (including Hillary Clinton) knows hes prepared to be President thanks to his long record of public service.”

    As long as he has Joe Lieberman to whisper the correct answer in his ear, that is.

  64. L_I_T
    It’s probably more about not supporting the Muslims, who are our friends if they want us to help them and our enemies if they don’t.

  65. Fluffy he wasn’t a Senator when those laws were passed, so thats a cop out. Who knows what he would’ve done in the Senate?

    Nobody. That’s the point.

  66. Fluffy, I have to take serious issue with your entire “if were President plan”:

    For one, I don’t see it as the American President’s business to dictate to Israel how it conducts its affairs.

    1. Immediately end all aid.

    OK. No controversey with me.

    2. Immediately reveal all intelligence we have available about Israel to the world at large, including any information we have about Israeli intelligence assets.

    That’s an act of war, and completely unjustified.

    3. Immediately announce that it will be the policy of the United States to “massively retaliate”, on the Eisenhower model, against ANY power in the Middle East that employs nuclear weapons, regardless of the circumstances of such use.

    What? You’re just against certain countries using nuclear weapons, regardless of the context? “ME Nuke Use = Bad”…secondly, what the hell business is it of ours if the ME does go nuclear?

  67. When John McCain makes a gaffe and admits that he wants us to occupy Iraq for centuries, everyone knows that he means it, because we have his long record of public service, such as his advocacy for that invasion and occupation as far back as the late 1990s.

  68. How many more years of warfare should Israel endure to make a point about who’s right, if they have the chance to make peace?

    joe, I’m not saying one way or the other. I was more addressing Fluffy’s plan of strong-arming/warmongering with Israel to give up land that it won in a defensive war.

  69. I’m not touching that one.

    What’s a matter Rhywun, can’t stomach a little atrocity ridden slaughterfest with ethnic based genocide on the side?

    Some people just won’t get along and if the decision is between me getting the crap kicked out of me so they both can live, I’ll opt with letting one die so I don’t have to get my nose rearranged. Maybe they won’t kill each other in any case. maybe they’ll realize that they both want to live more than they want the other to die and then we all get the best resolution. But I,as a taxpayer, am sick of seeing my money go to fund this low level conflict that needs to end.

  70. This, of course, presumes that the Palestinians would take such a deal.

    They’d never get a better one, and they know it.

    And why would you force Israel to give up Gaza and the West Bank?

    To never have to hear about it again.

  71. “When McCain makes gaffes, its not a big deal because everyone (including Hillary Clinton) knows hes prepared to be President thanks to his long record of public service.”

    So now McCain’s record in the Senate is a point in his favor? News to me.

  72. I think they can make up their minds all by themselves, Chris, without you having to chew their food them.

    Oh, please. I take it you’ve never thought that a majority was wrong when they answered a poll?

  73. It is Brian.

    This is a dangerous world. Not the time to trust it to a man with a paper-thin record.

  74. I was more addressing Fluffy’s plan of strong-arming/warmongering with Israel to give up land that it won in a defensive war.

    A defensive war? Put the crack pipe down.

  75. “Like you’re going to make any specific affirmative statements about Obama’s record. You can’t, because he doesn’t have a record.”

    Which is exactly what makes swiftboating him so difficult.

  76. And why would you force Israel to give up Gaza and the West Bank?

    To never have to hear about it again.

    This is why I would vote for Fluffy. The “right” thing to do would be to get the fuck out of the ME, get our money out, our support (for anyone) out, and our fingers out. But that will never happen as long as the conflict continues. Everyone and their brother will be trying to get us back in every fucking day.

    The only way we no longer have to hear about this bullshit is forcing a solution the hard way. I can say this because Fluffy will never be president and this “solution” will never happen, so I’m really only creating a wish list.

  77. neil,

    Au contraire. It is a dangerous world. Let’s not give control to one of the guys who helped make it that way.

  78. “The only claim that Israel has to the land is that they took it from the Arabs and have enough guns to secure it.”

    Substitute “Indians” for “Arabs” and that’s pretty much how we came by ours. When has the world ever worked any differently?

    Substitute “Slavs” for “Arabs” and “Germany” for “Israel.” Or “Chinese” for “Arabs” and “Japan” for “Israel”. I think the world started working differently in 1939 when we decided that new world powers like Germany and Japan couldn’t do to the Slavs or Chinese what the old powers like England, France and Spain did to the indigenous people in the Americas or Africa. The rules changed but apparently Israel got a grandfather clause to play by the old ones.

  79. Uh, yeah, lord knows I haven’t made any affirmative statements about Obama’s record.

    Videotaping confessions? Earmark transparency? Securing Russian nukes? Timelines in Iraq? What?

    It is a dangerous world, Neil, and has become much moreso over the past few years, due to the blunders that John McCain wishes to continue and extend.

  80. This is a dangerous world. Not the time to trust it to a man with a paper-thin record.

    Which one are you talking about? McCain has as much executive experience as Obama (ie, zero).

    Just because he was a POW doesn’t turn him into some great tested military leader.

  81. Obama said in the Atlantic article,

    One of the things that is frustrating about the recent conversations on Israel is the loss of what I think is the natural affinity between the African-American community and the Jewish community, one that was deeply understood by Jewish and black leaders in the early civil-rights movement but has been estranged for a whole host of reasons that you and I don’t need to elaborate.

    I think Hamas anticipated this side affect. It only costed Hamas a few minutes of air time to create a rift among Americans.

  82. Oh, please. I take it you’ve never thought that a majority was wrong when they answered a poll?

    I find it distasteful for people to try to whip others into a frenzy over identity-politics; particularly so when they do so over an issue that the members of that group don’t care about.

  83. Frum complains that Obama seems to have “enormous and unexplained confidence that he can solve a problem through his personal intervention.”

    Of course, if you buy the right-wing evangelical explanation that Obama is actually the antichrist, then that actually makes a lot of sense. Has anyone ever noticed that “Barack Obama” is an anagram for “aka a car bomb”? That should get some nuts thinking.

    In other news, “Axl Rose” is an anagram for “Oral Sex”, and “Torchwood”…

  84. Barack Obama has an enormous amount of confidence in his ability to talk people into things.

    I don’t think he’s wholly incorrect about that. Did I mention he got the Chicogo Police Department to support a bill that required them to videotape the interrogations of murder suspects?

    It’s too bad he’s so unpersuasive. I’ll bet he had a great deal of difficulty getting laid in college.

  85. To never have to hear about it again.

    Again, not our business.

    Forcing a “compromise” in this mess is only going to make both sides dissatisfied with the United States, and, yet again, demonstrate to the world that we meddle in affairs in which we have no business meddling.

  86. Yeah, that was a very silly and disingenuous interpetration. He’s clearly referring to the conflict, not to Israel.

    Of course, there are only two possible solutions: Arab governments accept Israel’s right to exist, or the Arab states destroy Israel. It is not in our power to accomplish the former, and the latter is morally unacceptable.

  87. I’ll bet he had a great deal of difficulty getting laid in college.

    joe, don’t project your problems onto Obama.

  88. joe,

    I’m not trying to whip anyone into a frenzy, I’m just concerned about whether I myself can trust him. If Obama could lie to Pennsylvanians, he is capable of lying to me as well.

  89. When John McCain makes a gaffe and admits that he wants us to occupy Iraq for centuries . . .

    BAHAHAHA!!! How long before this is exaggerated into millenia or “until the heat-death of the universe”?

  90. Interestingly, Obama is now claiming he never said he would agree to meet unconditionally with Iran’s leadership, which is of course a shameless baldfaced lie, but more importantly a promising indication that he’s tacking rightward.

    I look forward to more concessions to reality in the months ahead.

  91. Barack Obama has an enormous amount of confidence in his ability to talk people into things.

    So do unscrupulous mortgage lenders, but I don’t see you urging us to support them for public office.

  92. Forcing a “compromise” in this mess is only going to make both sides dissatisfied with the United States, and, yet again, demonstrate to the world that we meddle in affairs in which we have no business meddling.

    Dude, chill. Fluffy wasn’t truly serious, he was merely expressing his annoyance with having to hear about Israel day after day after tedious, mind-numbing day.

  93. Actually, Guy, since McCain himself said, “a thousand years, ten thousand years,” I’m afraid we’ll have to be into geological time before the term “exaggeration” applies.

  94. “The only claim that Israel has to the land is that they took it from the Arabs and have enough guns to secure it.”

    Substitute “Indians” for “Arabs” and that’s pretty much how we came by ours. When has the world ever worked any differently?

    The difference is that there have been Jews in Palestine for thousands of years. We actually have less claim to America than the Jews do to Israel.

  95. he was merely expressing his annoyance with having to hear about Israel day after day after tedious, mind-numbing day.

    well, ok…I’m still trying to figure out why this state of affairs means manifest rage against Israel, though.

    I, personally, am tired of hearing day-after-day about the UN passing resolutions condemning Israel while they let freakin’ Saudi Arabia and the Sudan sit on their Commission on Human Rights.

  96. Just because he was a POW doesn’t turn him into some great tested military leader.

    In many traditional military cultures being taken prisoner is not only not heroic, it is actually shameful – see Imperial Japan or Soviet Russia, or even Israel. From the Jerusalem Post:

    “Two or three years ago we had a meeting at the Defense Ministry with a very senior IDF general,” recalls Uri Ehrenfeld, a Yom Kippur War POW, deputy head of the Association of Disabled IDF Veterans’ Jerusalem branch and, like Margalit, a leading activist in Erim Balaila. “At one point the general told us, ‘You know, it’s no great honor to be taken prisoner in war.’ We stormed out of the meeting.”

    According to Tel Aviv University professor Zahava Solomon, the pioneer of Israeli research into the psychological condition of POWs, this sort of disapproval that was shown to soldiers who were tortured for months or years is rooted in the traditional IDF ethic that an honorable soldier “fights to the death, to his last bullet.” By this ethic, he is supposed to die rather than be taken prisoner, which humiliates the army and the nation, and creates the possibility that he will give away secrets under torture. The model POW, Solomon notes, was Uri Ilan, who committed suicide in Syrian captivity in 1955, leaving behind a note that read, “Lo bagadeti” – “I did not betray.”

  97. We should have given them Oklahoma.

    Can you imagine if, instead of Oklahoma, we had Israel in the middle of the country?

    Man, did we ever blow that one.

  98. Fluffy,

    Withdrawing money is a right of any nation, but to threaten a people with extermination regardless of circumstances because they might some day choose to defend themselves is truly monstrous. That would really be crossing into fascist territory. How about nuking half of the world where you have conflicts? After all, Israel won this land in a defensive war that was started by Arabs to eliminate “Zionist Entity” from the river to the sea.
    This kind of stuff has tendency to backfire.

    Also, what kind of state would Palestinians build on what is now West Bank. Palestinians, so far, have not demonstrated any willingness or capability of building a viable state, or to become a people whose goal and purpose of existence is anything else but the elimination of Jews. Gaza is a pretty good example – firing rockets into Israel proper on daily bases. Majority of Israelis have already accepted the “two state solution” but almost none of the Palestinian people did – not really. Not if you listen to when they speak themselves.

  99. The difference is that there have been Jews in Palestine for thousands of years. We actually have less claim to America than the Jews do to Israel.

    Exactly. All the UN did is draw some lines so the Jews could have a state of their own.

    Unfortunately, the rise of Arab nationalism, built on the Nazi/Soviet model, made that unacceptable to its neighbors.

  100. acceptance of the red herring that it is “settlements” that are the source of the Arab-Israeli dispute;

    Sure, a thieving and murderous occupation is but a “red herring”-Can’t imagine why it would be disputatious…

    It’s our government’s paying for the occupation that is the source of the drag on America’s reputation overseas and this constant wound.

    Stop paying for the injustice done by the Israeli government and things will get better. BTW, poll after poll reveals that a majority of Israelis oppose te occupation.

  101. I, personally, am tired of hearing day-after-day about the UN passing resolutions condemning Israel while they let freakin’ Saudi Arabia and the Sudan sit on their Commission on Human Rights.

    Oh, if I were president the UN would go bye-bye instantly, don’t worry about that.

    I’m still trying to figure out why this state of affairs means manifest rage against Israel, though.

    Because having colonial powers create you a new country (because you are understandably frightened that the world wants to murder all of you) by taking away other people’s land was dumb, especially considering the religion and attitude toward you of the people whose land you took.

  102. Being a state senator for eight years and running for President for two does not give one a long record, Joe.

    There are probably state Senators in my state more qualified than Obama.

  103. I, personally, am tired of hearing day-after-day about the UN passing resolutions condemning Israel while they let freakin’ Saudi Arabia and the Sudan sit on their Commission on Human Rights.

    How about we get out of the UN and get it out of the USA?

  104. Push the UN into the sea!!

  105. If the UN is illegitimate, does that mean its actions regarding Israel are illegitimate?

    Take a moment before answering.

  106. Sure, a thieving and murderous occupation is but a “red herring”-Can’t imagine why it would be disputatious…

    So if Israel stopped occupying those areas, the problem would be over? No more rockets fired into Israel? No more suicide bombers?

    Ha.

  107. The difference is that there have been Jews in Palestine for thousands of years. We actually have less claim to America than the Jews do to Israel.

    There have also been Palestinians there for thousands of years. Germans were living in the Sudetenland, Silesia and the Baltic Coast long before the Slavs showed up. Italians lived in Dalmatia long before the Croats got there, etc. Where does it end? I don’t think historical national land claims should be valid beyond 3 living generations. So my claim to America is now perfectly valid, I also submit that the Israeli claim to Israel, while it was certainly invalid in 1948, is now valid. The Arabs had 60 years to reassert their claim, they failed. Maybe that sounds too much like might makes right, but at some point these disputes become too thorny and convoluted to deal with in any “just” way.

  108. Sure, a thieving and murderous occupation is but a “red herring”-Can’t imagine why it would be disputatious…

    Yea, once they got out of Gaza everything calmed down so much. Too bad the original owners of Gaza did not want it.

    Heard the West Bank prior owners don’t want it either? Anything new on that and how much more calm there will be if Israel tosses it to Hamas too?

  109. Neil:

    I’m not worried about polls.

    It’s the two likely candidates of the Dems and the GOP that’s what’s concerning here.

  110. If the UN is illegitimate, does that mean its actions regarding Israel are illegitimate?

    False dichotomy. Past legitimacy is not indicative of future results.

  111. Israel needs to stay there until all resistance to the idea of the Israeli state is CRUSHED in the territories, only then can they talk peace.

  112. It is a red herring to claim that the settlements are the entirety of the problem.

    It is a red herring to claim that the settlements are completely irrelevant to the problem.

    It is a red herring to claim that Barack Obama said either of the above red herrings in this interview.

  113. Withdrawing money is a right of any nation, but to threaten a people with extermination regardless of circumstances because they might some day choose to defend themselves is truly monstrous.

    Oh please. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, we will certainly make nuclear deterrence of Iran our policy.

    We will tell them: It doesn’t matter if Israel bombs you with conventional weapons or not, if you use a nuke, we will obliterate you even if they don’t.

    We absolutely will have that as a policy.

    My policy would simply apply that set of rules to everyone.

    Besides, as in most instances of the use of deterrence, I would be much more anxious to claim to have that policy than I would be to actually carry it out.

    In any event, I don’t accept that having a policy that prevents minor powers from engaging in limited nuclear exchanges is actually all that “monstrous”, actually. As Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal matures, it probably wouldn’t be that bad an idea to tell both India and Pakistan that if they ever have their own private nuclear war, we’re taking out the winner. MAD worked for decades and the real danger in this century is that regional conflicts will arise where nuclear weapons are an available option but because of the limited arsenals available MAD between the parties is not inevitable.

  114. A_R,

    He was just being heavy, maaaaan.

    BTW, check your mail. A Commie on AKO is upset that people get “labeled” in the USA.

  115. So, despite the statements of the progenitor of my handle, we can safely say that we all agree to no aid, no meddling in the Middle East?

  116. Neil | May 13, 2008, 12:44pm | #

    Israel needs to stay there until all resistance to the idea of the Israeli state is CRUSHED in the territories, only then can they talk peace.

    The Revenuers need to stay there until all resistance to law enforcement crushing the black markets is CRUSHED in America. Only then can we talk about legalization.

    Of course, that’s foolish. It was the end of Prohibition that made the dismantling of the black markets in alcohol possible.

    Sort of like immigration liberalization is necessary to secure the borders.

    And the commencement of an Iraqi withdrawal is necessary to achieve a political settlement there.

  117. Oh, and I guess I should specify what should have been obvious in the original post: namely, that since Israel would accept the proposed settlement, the policy would never be announced or put into effect anyway.

  118. We will tell them: It doesn’t matter if Israel bombs you with conventional weapons or not, if you use a nuke, we will obliterate you even if they don’t.

    What if a nuke goes off in Tel Aviv, and they claim they had nothing to do with it?

    OK, so we investigate for six months, and it turns out it was Iran. Do we then nuke Tehran? I doubt that’s going to work out.

  119. Can anyone here explain what’s happened on the land from which Jewish settlements were removed? I don’t know, but am interested.

  120. Yeah Joe after Israel withdraws the PAlestinians will accept the Israeli state and stop the rocket attacks.

    Just like in Gaza.

    LOL keep dreaming. Arabs only understand force.

  121. We will tell them: It doesn’t matter if Israel bombs you with conventional weapons or not, if you use a nuke, we will obliterate you even if they don’t.

    We absolutely will have that as a policy.

    Not under President Carter Obama.

  122. So, despite the statements of the progenitor of my handle, we can safely say that we all agree to no aid, no meddling in the Middle East?

    No.

    When our opponents stop “meddling” then we can. The policy of “leave us alone and nobody gets hurt”.

  123. TallDave:

    So if Israel stopped occupying those areas, the problem would be over? No more rockets fired into Israel? No more suicide bombers?

    Yes, of course reducing the injustice done to the Palestinians would reduce the violent response.

    But we should not be paying for the occupation anyway-for lotsa reasons-foremost cuz it’s unjust.

  124. Rick Barton the Palestinians consider the entire Israeli state the “occupation”.

  125. Can anyone here explain what’s happened on the land from which Jewish settlements were removed? I don’t know, but am interested.

    The land is still there but much of the infrastructure was destroyed by the ‘palestinians’, including the incredibly productive greenhouses that were purchased for the ‘palestinians’ by doners, mostly in the West.

    Added bonus: even more arms shipment tunnels from Egypt so that the ‘fireworks of love’ displays can continue to rain down on Israli towns across the fence.

  126. When our opponents stop “meddling” then we can.

    Who exactly are our “opponents”, in what way are they meddling, and is significantly related to the security of the United States?

    The last question is the big one.

  127. What if a nuke goes off in Tel Aviv, and they claim they had nothing to do with it?

    OK, so we investigate for six months, and it turns out it was Iran. Do we then nuke Tehran? I doubt that’s going to work out.

    Well, Guy, unless that bomb completely decapitates the Israeli response capability, there won’t be much point to nuking Tehran 6 months later. 6 months later Tehran will most likely slowly be filling up with water as the world’s newest crater lake.

    The point of making statements of nuclear policy is to convince your adversary that there is no strategic interest that would be served by deploying a nuclear weapon.

    You can always construct scenarios where the actual implementation of your deterrence threats would be difficult or awkward. But that doesn’t matter. Your adversary can’t know before they deploy the weapon that you won’t figure out it was them in a timely enough way to respond. They might think they can trick you, but your policy puts them in a box where they know that if they fail to trick you they are annihilated. Would you bet your life and the life of your nation on your ability to keep your fingerprints off an attack? That’s the mindset you want to produce.

  128. Yes, of course reducing the injustice done to the Palestinians would reduce the violent response.

    No, I asked what happens if we eliminated the alleged “injustice.”

    Let’s be honest: you know as well as I do it doesn’t matter what Israel does, because until Arab states accept Israel’s right to exist there will continue to be terrorist attacks.

    Then only injustice there is that Israelis have to suffer attacks and are condemned whenever they take action to stop them.

  129. Neil | May 13, 2008, 12:49pm | #

    Yeah Joe after Israel withdraws the PAlestinians will accept the Israeli state and stop the rocket attacks.

    I didn’t write anything about “after.” The closest I came was in my Iraq example, when I wrote “the commencement of…”

    It’s not “withdraw, then talk.” It’s “talk a little, withdraw a little, see how the talks go, and go from there.”

  130. Fluffy | May 13, 2008, 12:57pm,

    You were responding to TallDave, not “Guy”, but maybe it was a typo.

  131. The aren’t interested in talking Joe.

    The “Palestinians” are interested in war and destruction. See what they did to what the Israelis built in Gaza? The “Palestinians” only know how to destroy and kill.

  132. “The only injustice there…”

    Even you cannot possibly believe this to be true.

    There are no injustices being done except those that befall Israelis?

    You can’t think of any others?

    None? At all?

  133. Neil | May 13, 2008, 1:00pm | #

    The aren’t interested in talking Joe.

    There’s your problem, Neil.

    “They” are all just an undifferentiated, dark-skinned mass to you.

    Thanks goodness, the Israelis are a hell of a lot smarter than you.

  134. Perhaps one reason the Palestinians don’t honor ceasefires might be that the Israeli definition of “ceasefire” is “you stop shooting at us, but we can continue to assassinate your leaders if we can find them”. No Israeli ceasefire offer has ever been what a reasonable person would consider a “ceasefire”. The Israelis always assert that they retain the right to punish “criminals” during the purported “ceasefires”.

    We don’t really know how the Palestinians would respond under a settlement that actually provided them sovereignty, and that buried the Israelis’ “criminal” claims under a political settlement.

    If following the end of the American Revolution, the British had said, “Yeah, we’ll declare a ceasefire, but we have all these criminal cases for treason and for killing British soldiers that we’re going to continue to pursue,” what do you think we would have said?

  135. Joe why don’t you visit Gaza sometime and tell me how wonderfully civilized the “Palestinians” are?

  136. Arabs only understand force.

    Has the statement “____________ only understand force” EVER been used for a reason other than justifying atrocities?

  137. Sorry, Guy. I lost track of who I was quoting.

  138. So how come rockets are still flying out of Gaza?

    Right after Hamas won the elections the Israeli government and our government did not recognize them. Border closings and embargos were imposed on the people of Gaza causing all manner of humanitarian crises.

    BTW, years ago it was the Israeli government that helped Hamas to ascendancy cuz they wanted a quieter religious alternative to the PLO-A classic case of blowback.

  139. Who exactly are our “opponents”, in what way are they meddling, and is significantly related to the security of the United States?

    The last question is the big one.

    The last one was answered by Ayn Rand a long time ago and i happen to agree with her.

    You are completly unaware of Iran and others messing with our allies? No, Iran does not get a pass because they are in the neighborhood.

    So, how about your side stop playing games and fess up to what will really happen if all sides “agree” to stop “meddling”. We will be the only party that stops and our allies get screwed.

  140. Who exactly is meddling in our affairs the way we are meddling in the I-P situation?

  141. Neil | May 13, 2008, 1:03pm | #

    Joe why don’t you visit Gaza sometime and tell me how wonderfully civilized the “Palestinians” are?

    Neil’s response to my observation that he is engaged in racist stereotyping is to assure me that his racist stereotype is true.

    Typical.

  142. Joe there are no atrocities.

    The IDF has been remarkably restrained towards the “Palestinians” after what the “Palestinians” have done to the Israelis.

  143. Well, Guy, unless that bomb completely decapitates the Israeli response capability, there won’t be much point to nuking Tehran 6 months later. 6 months later Tehran will most likely slowly be filling up with water as the world’s newest crater lake.

    I doubt it. If they use a proxy like Hamas or Hizbollah, how is Israel going to know for sure where the nuke came from? Syria had its own nuke assembly plant too.

    They might think they can trick you, but your policy puts them in a box where they know that if they fail to trick you they are annihilated. Would you bet your life and the life of your nation on your ability to keep your fingerprints off an attack? That’s the mindset you want to produce.

    The Taliban didn’t seem too deterred by their likely demise in the wake of 9/11. Besides, Iran’s leadership is fractured. The really crazy clerics control the Qods terrorist-enabling forces. If they get nukes, it’s not impossible they would welcome the martyrdom of half their countrymen.

  144. If following the end of the American Revolution, the British had said, “Yeah, we’ll declare a ceasefire, but we have all these criminal cases for treason and for killing British soldiers that we’re going to continue to pursue,” what do you think we would have said?

    We’ll save the children, but not the British children?

  145. Joe – We should have given them Oklahoma.
    I always thought that, in the interest of fairness and justice, “we” should have carved out a piece of Germany to create the state of Israel… 🙂

  146. Neil | May 13, 2008, 1:00pm | #

    The aren’t interested in talking Joe.

    The “Palestinians” are interested in war and destruction. See what they did to what the Israelis built in Gaza? The “Palestinians” only know how to destroy and kill.

    Exactly. They’re just primitive savages who don’t deserve the soft treatment they’re getting. Barricade them in and forget them.

  147. Its not stereotyping Joe its fact.

    The “Palestinians” ravaged the wonderful infrastructure the Israelis built in Gaza.

    The Israelis make the desert bloom, the “Palestinians” make fireworks displays with their RPGs.

  148. Jimmy Carter’s Obama-esque foreign policy removed the greatest threat to Israel’s existence that it has ever faced – the danger of an invasion by Egypt, the strongest military power Israel has ever faced.

    Egypt’s inability to military conquer Israel had already been well-established. All Carter did was get tham to accept billions in U.S. aid in exchange for some public statements accepting that reality.

    And he also helped create an even stronger and more virulent enemy in Iran, with trillions in oil wealth and an active nuclear weapons program.

  149. Neil | May 13, 2008, 1:05pm | #

    Joe there are no atrocities.

    This is how seriously you need to take Neil’s opinion.

    There are no atocities being committed against Palestinians. None. Zero. It is an entirely one-sided problem, featuring heroic, morally-perfect Israelis against dastardly Arabs.

    Don’t pay any attention to the actual civilian body counts. Don’t look at the people who live behind barbed wire.

    Neil has a nice little story about elves and orcs, and that’s all you need to know.

  150. Right after Hamas won the elections the Israeli government and our government did not recognize them. Border closings and embargos were imposed on the people of Gaza causing all manner of humanitarian crises.

    Might have had something to do with Hamas reaffirming their goal to destroy Israel?

    Maybe just a little?

    So, if some person was vowing to kill you, your refusing to trade with them should be viewed as a criminal offense and your home should be open to their visits at any hour?

  151. We’ll save the children, but not the British children?

    LAWL!

  152. Tell us about all the wonderful technologies and economic productivity the “Palestinians” have given us Joe.

  153. Does Obama say anything in that interview that couldn’t have been said by George Bush or Condeleeza Rice?

    JG: What do you make of Jimmy Carter’s suggestion that Israel resembles an apartheid state?

    BO: I strongly reject the characterization. Israel is a vibrant democracy, the only one in the Middle East, and there’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.

    Aha, proof that Obama is exactly like Jimmy Carter!

  154. Neil | May 13, 2008, 1:07pm | #

    Its not stereotyping Joe its fact.

    Go fuck your racist self.

    TallDave,

    Egypt’s inability to military conquer Israel had already been well-established. That’s a fine thing for you to type into your computer in a nice, stateside office in 2008.

    In 1978, the Israelis saw things rather differently, and really did consider the most powerful army in the Arab world sitting on their border and waiting for their chance to be a significant threat.

    And he also helped create an even stronger and more virulent enemy in Iran, with trillions in oil wealth and an active nuclear weapons program. I was discussing the Camp David Accords, not lauding James Earl Carter as some sort of infallable international statesman.

  155. There are no atocities being committed against Palestinians. None. Zero. It is an entirely one-sided problem, featuring heroic, morally-perfect Israelis against dastardly Arabs.

    More or less.

    The Allies may have committed some atrocities against the Axis, but it’s pretty clear where the morality was, just as it is here.

    In the end, the problem still boils down to the fact Palestinians and the Arab states do not accept Israel’s right to exist, and the conflict cannot be resolved until that changes. The other stuff is just a distraction, a red herring.

  156. Neil | May 13, 2008, 1:10pm | #

    Tell us about all the wonderful technologies and economic productivity the “Palestinians” have given us Joe.

    Go fuck your racist self.

  157. Daze,

    Candidate Carter spoke just like Candidate Obama is speaking now.

  158. Ah yes call a conservative a racist, thats what liberals do when they have no facts to stand on.

    How about the “Palestinians” calling Jews “apes and pigs” on their state-run TV Joe? Is that racist?

    Oh I forgot, only white people living in western democracies can be racist.

  159. TallDave believes in elves and orcs, too.

    Last time, the Saddam regime were the orcs, and the Iraqi people were the elves.

    Maybe it’s time to grow up.

  160. Neil,

    Go fuck your racist self.

    You have put yourself on the same level as those Palestinians. Don’t blame me for noticing.

  161. Pigs, dogs, savages, whatever.

    People who use such terms to refer to entire ethnicities are beneath contempt, and have nothing useful to say.

  162. Joe maybe its time for you to grow up and recognize there are people out there that hate the west and want as all dead.

    As Benjamin Netanyahu said (is he a child too, Joe?) the “Palestinians” hate Israel because it represents the west, and they are jealous of the west’s success and just can’t stand seeing that success right next to them.

  163. I can respect a candidate who wants the US to be neutral. I can respect someone who consistently opposes eminent domain abuse. Someone might even combine the two principles by saying the US should not abuse eminent domain or dictate policies to other nations. When a candidate lets Kelo vs New London slide and then opposes settlements, then I conclude that his moral judgements are clouded by the fear of terrorist attacks.

  164. Neil:

    Israel needs to stay there until all resistance to the idea of the Israeli state is CRUSHED in the territories, only then can they talk peace.

    LOL keep dreaming. Arabs only understand force.

    Joe why don’t you visit Gaza sometime and tell me how wonderfully civilized the “Palestinians” are?

    God Neil, you sound like you’re trying to do an impression of a racist Likudnic nut ball-or the worst of the neocons.

    Take your racism somewhere else. It’s not welcome here. I’m embarrassed that you’re a Republican.

  165. Everybody stop giving President Carter the credit for Ted Koppell getting Egypt and Israel to sit down and talk, on his show, live, and then touch up a few things as President Carter watched them.

  166. Well, obviously the Israelis would prefer Eggypt didn’t try to invade again. I just doubt words on paper really accmplished much in terms of reducing the threat. Their national media still regularly refers to Jews as pigs and apes, and they aired “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” State newspaper had this to say:

    “All the evils that currently affect the world are the doings of Zionism. This is not surprising, because the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which were established by their wise men more than a century ago, are proceeding according to a meticulous and precise plan and time schedule, and they are proof that even though they are a minority, their goal is to rule the world and the entire human race.”

    They sound ready to invade tomorrow, if it looks like they can get away with it.

  167. Is the former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a racist? I’m just accepting his characterization of the situation. Guy brought up the “Palestinians” destruction of the infrastructure, not me.

  168. Israel proper is 18% Arab, and they are left in peace.

    How are Jews doing in the “Palestinian” territories?”

    So who are the real racists here?

  169. Neil,

    Go fuck your racist self.

    People who delcare entire ethnicities to be savages have nothing useful to say.

  170. Where did I call the “Palestinians” savages Joe?

    I just described what they did to Gaza, and said that they seem to only understand force.

    I never said they couldn’t change, but they don’t have a great track record. Never said it was genetic.

    Arabs in Israel have been very successful.

  171. TallDave believes in elves and orcs, too. Last time, the Saddam regime were the orcs, and the Iraqi people were the elves. Maybe it’s time to grow up.

    LOL Joe thinks the communists were just well-meaning agrarian reformers.

    Maybe you should grow up and recognize there is real conflict between good and evil in the world, not just people with different viewpoints and infinite shades of grey.

  172. Arabs only understand force.

    Is an incredibly ignorant statement. There are no shortage of non-Arabs who only understand force and no shortage of Arabs who understand cooperation and reason.

    There are no shortage of jerks in the bars, but everybody in the bar is not a jerk.

  173. The real racists here, as everywhere, are those who base their beliefs on the innate inferiority or savagery of people based on their membership in an ethnic, racial, or national group, Neil.

    That would be you.

    Go

    Fuck

    Your

    Racist

    Self.

  174. Do you think theres real evil in the world, Joe?

  175. “They” are all just an undifferentiated, dark-skinned mass to you.

    This is one of the dumbest stock lines used by the “Palestinians as innocent victims/noble resisters” left.

    There is no notable difference in skin color between Israelis and Palestinians.

  176. Neil:

    The Israelis make the desert bloom, the “Palestinians” make fireworks displays with their RPGs.

    I have a Palestinian chess buddy whose family grew oranges in what is now Tel Aviv for hundreds of years until the founding of Istreal when proto Israekis with guns took their lamd away from them.

  177. Maybe you should grow up and recognize there is real conflict between good and evil in the world, not just people with different viewpoints and infinite shades of grey.

    Yawn. Run along, neocon. We’ve seen how trying to live by your pretty little stories works out in the real world.

    There are bad bastards on both sides of every conflict. Merely proclaiming your side the white hats is for children, and for people not really interested in good at all.

  178. Arabs only understand force. Is an incredibly ignorant statement.

    I agree.

    Arabs are no different than anyone else; I work with several and they’re the nicest and most professional people you could hope to meet. It’s only the autocratic governments and religious leaders in the Mideast that are the problem.

  179. Well the “Palestinians” at least only seem to get it when they’re beaten in a conflict.

    But as I said, they’re free to prove me wrong any time.

  180. TallDave, them electing Hamas is not a good sign.

  181. Yawn. Run along, neocon. We’ve seen how trying to live by your pretty little stories works out in the real world.

    Yes, a semblance of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan for 50 million people.

    There are bad bastards on both sides of every conflict. Merely proclaiming your side the white hats is for children, and for people not really interested in good at all.

    So things would be just the same if the Communists or Nazis won? How incredibly stupid. And you say I’m childish? LOL

  182. Of course there is evil in the world, Neil.

    The racist dehumanization that you and the Palestinian propagandists indulge in, for example. Evil.

    Evil, done for the purposes of justifying atrocity. You can find every mass-grave-filler in history doing the same thing.

  183. Daze,

    This is one of the dumbest stock lines used by the “Palestinians as innocent victims/noble resisters” left.

    Very true and it also includes the ignorance that every ‘palestinian’ is “dark skinned”. I have met plenty of folks from the region with light hair and skin.

    Same applies to Hispanics. I keep hearing the closet racists refer to them as “brown” or “dark” when there is no shortage of quite “pale” Hispanics. One fellow of Mexican origin is a bartender near my place, he is whiter than the linen in the restaurant.

  184. Is Hamas evil, Joe?

  185. Allow me to present my roadmap to hit & run peace today. Joe and TallDave, the three of us agree on so much we should not be battling each other. Sure TallDave likes to takes quotes from a foreign language,interpretted by a military industrial complex company, aired on some governemnt controlled media halfway around the world and the present that quote as the ideology supported by 100% of Palestinians so that he can feel comfortable advocating that bombing campaigns or WMD reign down on the heathans…and sure he doesn’t see this as a hypocritical after hyping Sadam as “using chemical weapons on the Kurds”….but at least he believes the government is moral in forcing citizens(under threat of imprisonment) to give it money to fund well meaning projects!

    Sure Joe think state rights are racist, sure he thinks most people against taxes must have some racist angle and that it is anti-science to question Al Gore’s solutions to increasing carbon dioxide, but at least he agrees with me and TallDave that the government should manage all the little people for their own good, right down to how big of a deck they can add on to their house and how many square feet of commercially zoned square feet should be allowed within 100 feet of a multifamily affordable housing unit.

    Sure we disagree on some details, but at least we know who the real enemey is, anyone who advocates a reduction in government intervention into all phases of our lives.

  186. Maybe you should grow up and recognize there is real conflict between good and evil in the world, not just people with different viewpoints and infinite shades of grey.

    Yes, there is good and evil in the world.

    And I have to tell you, if Palestinians came to my town, bulldozed my house, and drove me and my family into Canada, and then built a Palestinian settlement where my house and my neighbors’ houses used to be, I would tell my son, “You know what, son? Palestinians are evil. Let’s kill the people living where our house used to be, until they fucking all leave.” And I would also tell him to never, ever, ever forget it, and never forgive it.

    So the challenge to ending the Fluffy/Palestinian conflict would be coming up with a settlement that would make me take all this back, and that would make me willing to let bygones be bygones. And anybody who looked at the conflict and said, “The problem here is that Fluffy is evil, and won’t recognize the right of these Palestinian towns to exist,” would deserve my spit in their eye, if nothing worse.

  187. More pretty little stories from TallDave.

    The best – the BEST! – defense of the jagged rubble of his foreign policy he can come up with is what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Thanks for the Godwin, loser. Buh bye.

  188. Ok Joe, which of the following qualify as “evil” in liberal land:

    1)Hamas

    2) Al Qaeda

    3) George W. Bush

    4) Muslim Brotherhood

    5) Dick Cheney

    6) A-mad in Iran

    Don’t try too hard now.

  189. Daze,

    Candidate Carter spoke just like Candidate Obama is speaking now.

    Candidate Bush and President Bush speak the same way. If anything, candidate Bush in 2000 made far more effort to sound pro-Muslim than any candidate before or since.

    I still don’t hear anything in the BO interview that sets him apart from the current administration.

  190. Noting one characteristic of the stereotype that racists apply to the Palestinians is not agreement with it.

  191. “They” are all just an undifferentiated, dark-skinned mass to you.

    Thanks goodness, the Israelis are a hell of a lot smarter than you.

    Gee, I wonder what “to you” means in that sentence?

    I mean, it’s just baffling.

  192. CO,

    military industrial complex company

    Leave my people out of this!

    After I get back from scooping up all the money in the E ring I will be back to read your apology!

  193. Neil,.

    Go fuck your racist self. You’re not my interrogator, as much as you might fantasize about it.

  194. TallDave, them electing Hamas is not a good sign.

    No, but you have to realize Palestinians are the victim of a great injustice that is rarely mentioned. The states around them spend billions to ensure every Pali grows up steeped in propaganda preaching such hatred for Israel that Pali mothers proudly send their sons and daughters to die slaughtering Israelis in cafes and busses. And if someone questions those lessons of hate, they are silenced with force by the proxies armed by those states.

    BTW, that’s evil, joe.

  195. “Tell us about all the wonderful technologies and economic productivity the “Palestinians” have given us Joe.”

    Yes, wonderful argument Neil. Now, will you support my endeavor to have East Prussia rightfully restored to German hands? Look at a city like Koenigsberg and you can see how the Russians have just ravaged the wonderful infrastructure the Germans built.

  196. Wow Joe, you can’t even declare Al Qaeda is evil.

  197. Neil:

    Joe there are no atrocities.

    The IDF has been remarkably restrained towards the “Palestinians” after what the “Palestinians” have done to the Israelis.

    WTF?! There have been more Palestinian children killed in the conflict than there have been total Israelis.

    And Neil, what in the Hell are you trying to say the quotes around Palestinians??

  198. Candidate Bush and President Bush speak the same way. If anything, candidate Bush in 2000 made far more effort to sound pro-Muslim than any candidate before or since.

    But he never went anti-Israel and never hinted at it. You can be for fairness without being anti-Israel, you know.

  199. I put quotes around it because a lot of the “Palestinians” are Egyptians and Syrians that moved to Palestine only after the first Zionist came there to be employed by Jewish immigrants.

    A good deal of them have not, in fact, been living on that land for thousands f years despite what far-left propagandists tell you. The idea of a “Palestinian” is a fabricated one.

  200. Gee, TallDave, thank you ever so much for telling me that propagandizing people into racial hatred is “evil.”

    Since, despite the fact that I’ve written three posts making exactly that point before you decided to educate me, I didn’t realize that.

    The problem isn’t that you understand that there is good and evil. The problem is that you are passionately devoted to telling yourself pretty stories at odds with reality, and use the language of good and evil as a defense against having to understand reality.

    “Um, who’s the good guys?” Wait, that gives you too much credit. You don’t ever even have to think to “know” who the good guys are, do you?

  201. More pretty little stories from TallDave.

    You can call facts stories if you like. They’re still facts.

    The best – the BEST! – defense of the jagged rubble of his foreign policy he can come up with is what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Which jagged rubble is that? The doubling in GDP? The emergence of hundreds of independent free newspapers, TV, and radio station? The doubling of basic services like sewer, electric and water? The four free and fair elections? Oh, wait, it doesn’t poll well. I guess we failed.

    Thanks for the Godwin, loser. Buh bye.

    Is this like the last time you said goodbye, or are you actually going away this time?

  202. Rick Barton,

    Neil is far too busy explaining how much more moral he is to bother thinking about dead children.

  203. See?

    He holds out Iraq as his shining example.

    Clearly, this is someone who needs to be listened to.

  204. The problem is that you are passionately devoted to telling yourself pretty stories at odds with reality,

    You’ve just described yourself perfectly. Hell, you can’t even say “goodbye” and stick to it for 5 minutes.

    Oddly, for all your whining, you are never able to point out how these “stories” are odds with reality. Where I actually point out facts and provide links, you just whine.

  205. Of course Iraq is a wonderous success story.

    After all, good guys fought bad guys.

    That’s just the facts.

    Go climb onto the trash heap of history, neocon.

    Oh, and Neil? Your racist stereotyping of Arabs is too much even for Guy Montag and TallDave.

    Did I mention you can go fuck your racist self?

  206. Of course Iraq is a wonderous success story.

    Are Iraqis freer and more prosperous than under Saddam? I’ve provided several examples arguing they are. You have just continued to assert that the effort is a “failure” with no supporting evidence.

  207. Oddly, for all your whining, you are never able to point out how these “stories” are odds with reality.

    You shouldn’t try to teach a pig mathematics. It will just frustrate you, and annoy the pig.

  208. Keep saying it, TallDave.

    I want to make sure everyone reading the thread knows how seriously to take what you have to say about the Middle East.

    I’m not arguing with you, because I no reason to bother arguing with you. I’m just happy to keep watching you bury your credibility.

  209. OK, so you have nothing substantive to add.

    Maybe you could at least live up to your goodbye, so the grownups can talk?

  210. Oh, and Neil? Your racist stereotyping of Arabs is too much even for Guy Montag and TallDave.

    I have never seen TD post anything with a racist attitude and you have never read any of that crap from me either. How this falls into “too much for” me, or even him, is just more light bending around your body.

    Failure to agree with you does not give you license to lie about us.

  211. Yes, Captain Comprehension, that’s why I singled you out…nevermind.

    Great point, Gai! You really got tme there!

  212. Fluffy | May 13, 2008, 1:32pm | #

    Yes, there is good and evil in the world.

    And I have to tell you, if Palestinians came to my town, bulldozed my house, and drove me and my family into Canada, and then built a Palestinian settlement where my house and my neighbors’ houses used to be, I would tell my son, “You know what, son? Palestinians are evil. Let’s kill the people living where our house used to be, until they fucking all leave.” And I would also tell him to never, ever, ever forget it, and never forgive it.

    So Fluffy, does that mean you advocate bombing New London, CT? Your calls for violence are deplorable. There are eniment domain abuse cases in dozens of US cities right now. How much do you care about Americans losing their homes? Have you bothered to write your representatives about them?

  213. Look, ToolDave, I’ll grant you this: to somebody who looks at Iraq and sees a great humanitarian success story, the statement that the Israeli-Palestinians conflict is a clear-cut case of good guys fighting bad guys who are just plain evil must make perfect sense.

    The grownup were dong just fine before you showed up, you know. Take a look at where the thread turned back, chief.

  214. Right after Hamas won the elections the Israeli government and our government did not recognize them. Border closings and embargos were imposed on the people of Gaza causing all manner of humanitarian crises.

    Might have had something to do with Hamas reaffirming their goal to destroy Israel?

    Yeah, that excuse is pretty poor. Democracy is the preferred form of government, not an excuse for a policy endorsing mass atrocity.

    This is like a guy who says he’s going to kill you, and is then shocked when you don’t invite him to dinner.

  215. Yea, Eisenstein, pull your tapdance routine and pretend that is not what you meant.

  216. Look, ToolDave, I’ll grant you this: to somebody who looks at Iraq and sees a great humanitarian success story, the

    Well, if it so obviously isn’t, prove it instead of whining and calling me names. Sheesh.

  217. Neil

    The idea of a “Palestinian” is a fabricated one.

    I’m sorry to say this, Neil. But you’re an ignorant racist f**K! So now you’re trying the Golda Mayer ploy to un-define the Palestinians out of existence.

    The Palestinian have a distinct culture and there’s even a separate Palestinian dialect of Arabic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_Arabic

  218. That is just not a serious argument, not even because of monstrosity of what you are proposing but because of self interest. To demonstrate lets just put Israel aside because of prevalence of anti-Jewish feelings. Many probably would like to see Jews nuked.

    Let’s say that it is France, at some point in the future, having serious disagreements with some other country in the world, not the USA, and they violate one of your MAD rules. After all, they were a major power once now they are a minor power (nothing is permanent under the sun) with about 100 or so nuclear weapons but they are not some darkies from other continents whom you would have no compunction of eliminating. What would you do, order an all out nuclear attack and destroy your ally? What if in their death throws they decide to retaliate with all their might and lets say that they manage to take out New York or San Francisco?

    Of course US will prevail and turn France into radioactive desert for hundreds of years to come, but would this be a good price to pay for some conflict around the world that you understand little about, and care about even less?

    Of course this is a hypothetical and unlikely scenario.

    Also, I do not recall that Israel ever threatening any of its neighbors or Iran with extermination.

    I am sure that, deep inside, you know that this is not a serous argument.

  219. Let’s say that it is [f]rance, at some point in the future, having serious disagreements with some other country in the world, not the USA, and they violate one of your MAD rules.

    Thank you for giving me something to wet dream about tonight! The IDF Maxim pictures were losing their effectiveness.

  220. Rick I guess your proposed solution is to kindly ask Israel to march into the sea?

  221. Also, I do not recall that Israel ever threatening any of its neighbors or Iran with extermination.

    Yep, that’s the central issue here. The guys in the white hats really aren’t that hard to recognize if you aren’t legally blind in the moral sense.

  222. I’m not interested in proving it to you, TallDave. There is no amount of evidence about casualty counts, refugees, mass graves, or leveled cities that could possibly jar you out of your pretty little elves and orcs story. Erstwhile war supporters who are capable of acknowledging reality have already done so; it’s just you blind fanatics left.

    And I knew that when I called you out. That’s why I was confident that I could goad you into destroying your credibility, just by mentioning Iraq.

    Thanks for the assist. You know who believes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a simple, morally clear issue of good guys beset by evil Arabs? People who continue to think that Iraq is a shining, inspirational humanitarian success story.

    They’ll tell you that themselves.

  223. I’ll say it again: considering what Israel has been threatened with, the IDF has been remarkably restrained.

    There have been mistakes but I wouldn’t call them “atrocities”.

  224. The guys in the white hats really aren’t that hard to recognize…

    Children love their fairy tales.

  225. Don’t confuse the liberal left with facts.

    In their world, theres no evil. Only people with honest misunderstandings.

  226. joe | May 13, 2008, 1:46pm | #

    You shouldn’t try to teach a pig mathematics. It will just frustrate you, and annoy the pig.

    Joe, I’m sure everyone blogging here is human.

  227. joe | May 13, 2008, 1:30pm | #

    Of course there is evil in the world, Neil.

    The racist dehumanization that you and the Palestinian propagandists indulge in, for example. Evil.

    Evil, done for the purposes of justifying atrocity. You can find every mass-grave-filler in history doing the same thing.

    Neil | May 13, 2008, 2:05pm | #

    Don’t confuse the liberal left with facts.

    In their world, theres no evil. Only people with honest misunderstandings.

    I’ve never been stupid, Neil. Is it painful? Or is it sort of a numb feeling?

  228. I’m not interested in proving it to you, TallDave.

    Then keep telling yourself pretty little stories, I guess. I’ve proven I’m in touch with reality, you haven’t. You lose.

  229. Mmm.

    So in touch with reality, you proclaim the Iraq War to be a great humanitarian success story.

    A position you keep defending and restating, just to make sure your point is clear.

  230. Oh, I’ll amend that statement for you Joe.

    For the liberal left the only evil is conservatives and the Republican Party. Along with rich people.

    Thats why the left is sympathetic to foreign enemies of the United States–be they Communist or Islamofascist–as long as they also hate conservative Republicans and capitalism.

  231. The guy handing out the mimeographed sheets at the subway station thinks he’s proven himself right, too.

    We just laugh at him.

  232. For the liberal left the only evil is conservatives and the Republican Party. Along with rich people.

    joe | May 13, 2008, 1:30pm | #

    Of course there is evil in the world, Neil.

    The racist dehumanization that you and the Palestinian propagandists indulge in, for example. Evil.

    This is why you don’t bother to argue facts with this sort of person. Their pretty little stories take precedence, always, and everywhere, over what is in front of their faces.

  233. Thats why the left is sympathetic to foreign enemies of the United States–be they Communist or Islamofascist–as long as they also hate conservative Republicans and capitalism.

    The grand unified theory of good guyz and bad guyz. It really does all come down to the Republican Party.

    The cute part is the way they hold themselves out as having unique insight into moral questions.

  234. So in touch with reality, you proclaim the Iraq War to be a great humanitarian success story.

    Sigh. I’ve cited numerous real facts to demonstrate why this is so. You have cited nothing in response but your own opinion.

    Again, enjoy your pretty little stories, your whining, and your childish namecalling. Let me know when you’d like to have a substantive discussion of the issue.

  235. What would you do, order an all out nuclear attack and destroy your ally? What if in their death throws they decide to retaliate with all their might and lets say that they manage to take out New York or San Francisco?

    The entire point, sir, is that if they failed to accept the proposed [ok, dictated] settlement that they would no longer be an ally.

    So yes, if France was no longer our ally, and they were using their nuclear arsenal to intimidate weaker states, I would say, “You are not the only power in the world who can use their nuclear arsenal to intimidate weaker states, France.” At least, I would make that statement if it was in the interest of the US to do so.

    You are basically arguing that I shouldn’t even threaten to adopt a policy which would undermine another state’s nuclear deterrent. The morality of actually engaging in a nuclear conflict with Israel is not what we are discussing, after all. We’re discussing whether I should threaten to adopt a policy which might one day lead to engaging in a nuclear conflict with Israel. And if issuing such a threat advances the security interests of the United States, there is no reason for me to not issue it.

    Launching the entire nuclear arsenal of the US at the former Soviet Union would probably have destroyed virtually all human life on Earth. It would not have been moral or prudent to commit such an act. But that didn’t stop us from making the threat – and making the threat was not an immoral act, because doing so helped us avoid superpower conflict for 50 years.

  236. Info on the palestinian refugees – from as near an unbiased source as I can find.

    The brief version: The war of 1948 created a bunch of palestinian refugees. Israeli sources say 520k, UN numbers say 726k, Arab sources say 800k+.

    According to the United Nations relief works agency, these refugees are “Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict” along with their descendants.

    There’s a whole bunch of crap out there about how the land of modern-day Israel was pretty much unpopulated before the Israelis came along. Neil may believe it, but that doesn’t make it true. Even according to Israeli sources, the creation of Israel was accompanied by ethnic cleansing on a massive scale.

    Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about the modern history of Israel.

  237. So Fluffy, does that mean you advocate bombing New London, CT? Your calls for violence are deplorable. There are eniment domain abuse cases in dozens of US cities right now. How much do you care about Americans losing their homes? Have you bothered to write your representatives about them?

    Actually, in theory I think the victims in the Kelo case have the moral right to engage in insurrectionary violence against the US government. It would be incredibly stupid for them to do so, however, and I certainly would not commit suicide to help them.

  238. “Look: You have to be a liar, idiot, or both to think Obama was referring to Israel with that.”

    Or Guy Montag.

  239. But he never went anti-Israel and never hinted at it. You can be for fairness without being anti-Israel, you know.

    Has BO “gone anti-Israel”? If so, I’ve missed it. In the linked interview, he calls Israel “a vibrant, successful society with incredible economic growth and incredible cultural vitality”. And he says:

    When I visited Ramallah, among a group of Palestinian students, one of the things that I said to those students was: “Look, I am sympathetic to you and the need for you guys to have a country that can function, but understand this: if you’re waiting for America to distance itself from Israel, you are delusional. Because my commitment, our commitment, to Israel’s security is non-negotiable.”

    If BO has said anti-Israel stuff elsewhere, please link it.

  240. TallDave:

    In the end, the problem still boils down to the fact Palestinians and the Arab states do not accept Israel’s right to exist, and the conflict cannot be resolved until that changes. The other stuff is just a distraction, a red herring.

    That is so divorced from reality that I don’t know where to start…

    What about the occupation?
    What about the Israeli government’s not accepting Palestine’s right to exist?

    I suggest that you check out this volume cuz you’re really lost on this issue No disrespect intended but seriously, read this. It’s the best book on the conflict extant:

    “Image and reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict” By Norman G. Finkelstein

    http://tinyurl.com/3nbura

  241. According to the United Nations relief works agency, these refugees are “Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict” along with their descendants.

    Well, it’s somewhat complicated. Many Palestinians left voluntarily, because the Arab states told them they would drive the Jews out and give the country to them. That didn’t work out well for them. Again, the Palis were victims of the Arab states.

    It’s not like everyone left. There are still 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel.

  242. “In their world, theres no evil. Only people with honest misunderstandings.”

    Wrong. But we do think there is no such thing as ENTIRE peoples that are evil, or entire peoples that are good, nor that some peoples are ALWAYS evil and others are ALWAYS evil.

  243. Who is more evil, MNG?

    A-mad or Dick Cheney?

  244. “Palestinians and the Arab states do not accept Israel’s right to exist, and the conflict cannot be resolved until that changes. The other stuff is just a distraction, a red herring.

    That is so divorced from reality that I don’t know where to start…

    What about the occupation?
    What about the Israeli government’s not accepting Palestine’s right to exist? ”

    Thank you Rick. That’s such an obvious answer that it sometimes causes folks to see how it’s also the right one.

  245. Neil,

    Let me help you out.

    Any statement starting with the words “The Palestinians are…” and then describing a characteristic (“stupid,” “backward,” “only capable of understanding force,”) is inherently racist, just as if the sentence started with “White people are…” or “Germans are…”

    Try going with “The Palestinian government…,” “Many Palestinians…,” or even “Most Palestinians…” You will sound much less retarded.

    /snark

  246. What about the occupation?

    Why is Israel occupying those areas?

    What about the Israeli government’s not accepting Palestine’s right to exist?

    Palestine as a separate state from Israel wasn’t even an idea until recently. The Palestinians were supposed to be Jordanian or Egyptian citizens.

    Do you know why they aren’t anymore? Those countries have refused to take them back!

  247. Neil | May 13, 2008, 2:05pm | #

    Don’t confuse the liberal left with facts.

    In their world, theres no evil. Only people with honest misunderstandings.

    The liberal left would have us open the borders to terrorists and socialists who will destroy our culture.

  248. Let’s talk about Israel’s “right to exist.”

    If you mean, did a bunch of Europeans have the right to plop down in land their ancestors had not lived in for 20 centuries and “declare” a state? That this was wrong (i.e, not “right”) and therefore that state exists on an illegitimate base? Then I guess I agree that it has no “right to exist.”

    If what you mean is that the current political social entity known as Israel and the people who are citizens of that entity should be killed or harmed in some way, then I think that is monsterously horrible.

    If the “Arabs” are advocating the former, then they are just right. If the later, then their being evil.

  249. Weigel,

    You’re splitting hairs.
    Since when is the ability to identify the antecedent (not “antecendent”) part of “basic reading skills”? How many Americans know what an “antecedent” is?

  250. I think everyone should remember the kind of state the country was in the last time we had a President from the Democrat Party.

  251. In their world, theres no evil. Only people with honest misunderstandings.

    I’d say there are any number of people with dishonest misunderstandings as well.

    But the main evil I’ve experienced in this world would be “people who can’t feel empathy for others who are in a different situation than they are.” I think that captures Cheney, Ahmadinejad, and Neil nicely.

  252. “Who is more evil, MNG?

    A-mad or Dick Cheney?”

    I don’t care for either of them Neil.

    Cheney I think is responsible for our mess in Iraq due in part to negligent stupidity, but I doubt he is evil. A mean hearted bastard who thinks he’s doing right by something noble probably.

    I really don’t know much about Iran’s President. I know he’s stupid if he thinks the Holocaust never happened. I know he is the head of a nation that truncates its own people’s rights and has been linked to support of terrorist attacks against civilians, both of which strikes me as evil.

  253. Who is more evil, MNG?

    A-mad or Dick Cheney?

    Cheney, absolutely.

    A-mad, as you put it, may have evil ambitions, but almost none of them have ever been brought to fruition.

    Saying “Israel should not exist” or “I doubt the Holocaust actually happened” is less evil than, you know, actually getting people killed.

    And before you hand me any nonsense about how I only think this because I’m a leftist, I’m much, much farther to the right than you are. So spare me.

  254. “I think everyone should remember the kind of state the country was in the last time we had a President from the Democrat Party.”

    It’s statements like this that make me more sure Neil is a put-on. This country was doing fine (comparitively) under Clinton. Economy decent, no wars. Balanced budgets.

  255. You mean the 90s?

  256. I think everyone should remember the kind of state the country was in the last time we had a President from the Democrat Party.

    Last I checked, it’s called the Democratic Party.

    Let’s see, in 2000 the economy was booming, we had a large and growing budget surplus, we were paying down the debt for the first time in decades…wow, what a terrible time that was for everybody.

  257. Yes Joe, the 1990s when Bubba was too busy banging ugly interns to realize that Al Qaeda was plotting against our country. What a joke he was.

  258. Neil:

    Rick I guess your proposed solution is to kindly ask Israel to march into the sea?

    No, of course not. My solution is first, for our government to quit giving the Israeli government our money to prosecute the occupation.

    The Israeli government should withdraw the settlements and every thing else from the West Bank to the 1967 boundaries. They should also honor their the promise of the Right of Return.

  259. “And before you hand me any nonsense about how I only think this because I’m a leftist, I’m much, much farther to the right than you are.”

    I’ve argued against fluffy quite a bit (always enjoyed it though) and can vouch for that.

    But fluffy-don’t confuse Neil, you’re a person on the right with principles. That kind of concept may make Neil’s mind explode.

  260. Bubba, in between banging White House staffers, elevated the Director of Counter-Terrorism to a cabinet-level position.

    One of Bush’s first acts was to demote him.

  261. I think everyone should remember the kind of state the country was in the last time we had a President from the Democrat Party.

    And at long last Neil outs himself as performance art.

    OK, you got me. All this time I kept insisting, “No, really, he’s serious. Keep arguing.”

  262. Joe Clinton failed to execute a regime change in Iraq and failed to send a message to Al Qaeda even after the embassy bombings and the Cole incident.

    Not to mention his spinelessness in black hawk down that emboldened our enemies.

  263. “Rick I guess your proposed solution is to kindly ask Israel to march into the sea?”

    This is the kind of complex and nuanced thought guys like Neil or Guy can give you: you either support everything Israel does or else you must want their utter destruction.

    In logic class we would call that the mother of false dilemmas, but logic is an unwanted foriegner in these Guys (pun intended) “minds”

  264. Not to mention the biggest tax increase in history which gave us the 2001 recession.

  265. TallDave:

    Why is Israel occupying those areas?

    The evidence is that the occupation was intended as land theft, going back for at least 35 years:

    Note that when Winston S. Churchill III in 1973 asked Ariel Sharon: “What is to become of the Palestinian’s land?” Sharon answered: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

    The Israeli government has never bargained in good faith.

  266. Let me pause in my participation in Neil’s performance art piece for a moment, and say to Reason staffers in general:

    Why aren’t you guys amplifying the work Glenn Greenwald is doing to further expose the illegal Pentagon propaganda campaign first uncovered by the New York Times?

    An illegal propaganda campaign paid for by tax dollars would seem to pretty much be as big an outrage against the twin concepts of “free minds and free markets” as you could possibly get without going all Godwin.

    And considering the fact that expenditure of public funds on such an effort was explicitly banned by Congress, we’re talking about stolen taxpayer funds.

    Is this just not a big issue here at Reason? No taco trucks involved?

  267. Yes Joe, the 1990s when Bubba was too busy banging ugly interns to realize that Al Qaeda was plotting against our country. What a joke he was.

    This one always cracks me up. If you’ll recall, when Clinton did try and take action against Al-Qaida by sending cruise missiles, the Republicans in Congress were livid that he was trying a “Wag the Dog” scenario to distract from Interngate. It was not politically possible for him to do more in that environment.

    Now, if you are a prude, you may blame Clinton’s, ah, indiscretions for that. Me, I blame the Republicans who were more interested in scoring political points than in facing down a military threat.

    But no matter. They fixed it by invading and occupying two countries! That worked out well.

  268. Brian24 if Bill Clinton kept his pants up he might have been able to focus his mind on the Islamofascists dont you think?

  269. “Now, if you are a prude, you may blame Clinton’s, ah, indiscretions for that. Me, I blame the Republicans who were more interested in scoring political points than in facing down a military threat.”

    Brian24
    I think fluffy is right, Neil’s a put on.

    And I agree with your point above. But I think more to the point is this: the 9/11 attack happened ON BUSH’S WATCH. He was the Commander in Chief of our intelligence and military forces. And it happened while he was. And his toadies have painted this as all Clinton’s fault.

    WTF?

  270. Why is Israel occupying those areas?

    The evidence is that the occupation was intended as land theft, going back for at least 35 years:

    No, no. What was the series of events that led to those areas being occupied?

  271. Neil,

    Yes, throughout history, leaders of men have refrained from sex in order to be stronger leaders.

    Seriously, you are joking, right?

  272. MNG I admit Bush made mistakes too.

    But he had the right response. He was the right man in the right place at the right time.

    God knows what a liberal appeaser like Al Gore would’ve done.

  273. “Why aren’t you guys amplifying the work Glenn Greenwald is doing to further expose the illegal Pentagon propaganda campaign first uncovered by the New York Times?”

    fluffy-what is this you’re talking about? I honestly want to know.

  274. Brian24, no sex, no investigation, no impeachment, no distraction.

  275. God knows what a liberal appeaser like Al Gore would’ve done.

    Probably not squander the biggest wave of international support for the U.S. of the last fifty years.

  276. Fluffy,

    The Department of Defense is nowhere prohibited from educating the misinformed masses of the real story.

    Just because they did not “leak” the information to the New York Times does not make it a propaganda campaign, but could certainly get that label from them.

  277. Brian24, no sex, no investigation, no impeachment, no distraction.

    Yes, fair enough. As I said, if you are a prude, I see your point.

    However, you will note that MANY of the Republicans leading the impeachment hearings weren’t exactly casting stones without sin.

  278. I consider Neil and TallDave evil. Actually anyone who writes “LOL” is evil in my book, unless they are seventh grade girls. Sorry if that’s homophobic, but that LOL thing really grates on me. That, and people who write “meh.”

  279. Neil:

    Push the UN into the sea!!

    Ok, Neil said something in thread I agree with.

    BTW, the great irony of the UN getting involved in our government’s tragic decision to attack Iraq is that the UN is an infinitely greater threat to our sovereignty than Iraq ever was to our security.

  280. You have to be a liar, idiot, or both to think Obama was referring to Israel with that. How can a country be “constant”? A struggle can be constant, as can a conflict, or a “problem.” That’s the antecendent of Obama’s “constant sore” comment.

    The question to which Obama was responding was:

    Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

    I see no reference in that question to a conflict, a struggle or a problem. I do see a reference to Israel.

    joe posits:

    “It” refers to “this constant problem.”

    What was “this constant problem” that the interviewer and Obama were talking about, Israel itself or the settlement issue?

    Maybe it does. I can’t tell, although joe’s interpretation does mean that Obama was evading the question.

    I will note that two of the three possible antecedents are “Israel”, though. I don’t think its at all unreasonable to press him on just what he meant. I know its a Presidential campaign and all, and Obama has to straddle his black base (which has some antipathy to Jews) and his Jewish supporters, but is it too much to ask for a little clarity?

  281. MNG,

    The Pentagon gave stories to some military analysts. It’s a non-story, except in the minds of the lunatic left and dishonest hacks like Greenwald, because that’s been policy since we had military analysts.

  282. MNG –

    Greenwald is painstakingly going through the 8000 page document dump the Pentagon did on the Military Analysts propaganda story, making the right observations, and asking the right questions.

    Along the way, driving Brian Williams and Larry Di Rita [among others] crazy.

    Really, I’d try to summarize but Greenwald can be extremely detail oriented when combing through a document dump. The best thing I can say is to go to http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/ and read the various recent entries that deal with this issue.

    One reason I think it’s important that other critics of the administration amplify the work that he’s doing is precisely because it’s a problem if even someone wonky like you doesn’t know about it.

  283. God knows what a liberal appeaser like Al Gore would’ve done.

    Gore probably wouldn’t have had the guts to pass the Patriot Act to protect American liberties.

    Also, he’d have probably given in on drugs & let the drug lords take over our cities.

  284. I’d also take the Reagan economy over the Clinton economy any day.

  285. The Department of Defense is nowhere prohibited from educating the misinformed masses of the real story.

    They are expressly prohibited by law from doing so covertly.

    So recruiting and grooming a group of “pet” military analysts, and conspiring to get those analysts into favored positions in broadcast media, while being sure to conceal the fact that this was being done, is a violation of US law.

    And employing government resources to engage in programs expressly forbidden by Congress is theft of services, plain and simple. If anyone at the Pentagon used so much as a single post-it or the toner in one printer to administer this program, they’re felons and should be immediately indicted.


  286. Let’s talk about Israel’s “right to exist.”

    If you mean, did a bunch of Europeans have the right to plop down in land their ancestors had not lived in for 20 centuries and “declare” a state? That this was wrong (i.e, not “right”) and therefore that state exists on an illegitimate base? Then I guess I agree that it has no “right to exist.”

    If what you mean is that the current political social entity known as Israel and the people who are citizens of that entity should be killed or harmed in some way, then I think that is monsterously horrible.

    If the “Arabs” are advocating the former, then they are just right. If the later, then their being evil.

    Wow dude, now you are being pretty pendantic. You mean to imply that when the someone speaks of Israel’s “right to exist”, they might be simply refering to a philosophical distinction regarding the circumstances of its founding? They are not speaking of the present ‘right’, as in should Israel continue to exists as a country, or be dismantled? Really? The first meaning has as much use and validity as the latter?

  287. I’d also take the Reagan economy over the Clinton economy any day.

    *shrug* That’s hardly a case for 1999 being a horrible time to live in America.

  288. TallDave:
    Well, it’s somewhat complicated. Many Palestinians left voluntarily, because the Arab states told them they would drive the Jews out and give the country to them. That didn’t work out well for them. Again, the Palis were victims of the Arab states.

    Two points for you to consider:

    First, a whole lot of the Palestinians didn’t leave voluntarily. In many areas they were expelled by force. Moreover, if your village is a war zone and you choose to leave the area until the fighting is over, does that mean you renounce any claim you have to your home? I don’t think so, and I hope you don’t either.

    Second, the Palestinians weren’t expelled by the Arabs. They were expelled by the Israelis. Even if you believe the Arab states were 100% at fault for the war, the Israelis are the ones who prevented the return of the refugees when the fighting was over.

  289. fluffy-thanks, I’ll check it out. Haven’t been able to keep up with current events like I should.

    RC Dean-Don’t be lazy. Click on the link, here is the Obama quote:

    “BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable.”

    It’s pretty clear the “it” in the first sentence is the “lack of a resolution” in the second, isn’t it?

  290. joe

    Neil is far too busy explaining how much more moral he is to bother thinking about dead children.

    Would it just be too much to say “LOL”?

  291. Obama should take it cool. If he wants to win this election, he better satisfy the status quo set out by the oligarchs (the people who ACTUALLY have the control in a corrupt democracy such as the one in America).

  292. I don’t get it. What is the constant wound he is refering to if not Isreal or our friendship with them?

  293. The last clause “and I also believe Israel has a security interest in solving this” would be unintelligible if the “this” (which is obviously the “it”) he was talking about were “Israel.”

    “I also believe Israel has a security interest in solving Israel.”
    vs.
    “I also believe Israel has a security interest in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    Certainly the first one, which would have to be the reading LGF and their ilk proposes, is crazy to accept.

    But here is the interesting thing: we will see this “controversy” on first the LGF blogs, then Limbaugh, then Fox, and then CNN? If so it surely demonstrates what I’ve often argued: that the consciously right wing press clearly can make more of a difference than the unconsciously left leaning of mainstream journalism. The former are consciously working to elect their man, and will keep throwing shit on the wall hoping something sticks. The latter just “assume” that corporations are greedy, that immigrants are hard working, etc.,

  294. First, a whole lot of the Palestinians didn’t leave voluntarily. In many areas they were expelled by force. Moreover, if your village is a war zone and you choose to leave the area until the fighting is over, does that mean you renounce any claim you have to your home? I don’t think so, and I hope you don’t either.

    The same is true for a whole lot of Jews who left Arab countries. The difference is, they built a nice modern liberal democracy with the highest living standards and most freedoms in the region, so they aren’t clamoring to go back.

  295. I don’t get it. What is the constant wound he is refering to if not Isreal or our friendship with them?

    The conflict, not the state. It’s as dishonest as Obama’s use of the McCain “100 years” remark.

  296. …a condescending assumption…

    enough said, that is BOs problem… condescension. you can’t get through a single speech without it.

  297. I’m no fan of Bill Clinton, but I’d take Clinton’s track record on the economy over either Bush’s, and probably over Reagan’s.

    Clinton actually got the budget under control, turning budget deficits into surpluses. Gingrich & Co probably deserve a big share of the credit, but the budget surpluses – and welfare reform, while we’re at it – came during Clinton’s watch. At the very least, he didn’t foul things up.

    That’s more than I can say for Bush.

  298. “The first meaning has as much use and validity as the latter?”

    I dunno, val. I hear people talk about “Israel’s right to exist” all the time. When people say “Israel has no right to exist” do they mean that Israel, the current social-political entity, it’s citizens, should be blown up? Well, of course that is evil. Or do they mean “Israel was illegally founded and thus has no moral right to exist as it does and morally should be acted against?”

    I think the latter. I just think the “morally should be acted against” should involve cutting off all aid and instituting an economic boycott a la South Africa.

    I think you’re implying that when we hear Arab groups speak of “Israel having no right to exist” they usually mean “our military action, including our terrorist acts, are legit as a means of acting against Israel.” You’re probably right. But another “use” of that term is by Israel’s supporters who imply that those who oppose Israel’s founding and/ore current objectives must support the “drive the people there into the sea” interpretation (see many posts above). And my point is, that one can oppose Israel’s “right” and still wish no harm against the people of Israel.

  299. “Brian24, no sex, no investigation, no impeachment, no distraction.”

    “Yes, fair enough. As I said, if you are a prude, I see your point.”

    “However, you will note that MANY of the Republicans leading the impeachment hearings weren’t exactly casting stones without sin.”

    The issue wasn’t about sex, it was about lying under oath.

  300. meh, LOL

  301. “And my point is, that one can oppose Israel’s “right” and still wish no harm against the people of Israel.”

    After all, I actually totally agree with the accuracy of TallDave’s comment that “they built a nice modern liberal democracy with the highest living standards and most freedoms in the region”, it’s just they built it on someone else’s land and should give it back…I guess in the end I believe in property rights and autonomy more than some of the “libertarians” here…

  302. Fluffy,

    They are expressly prohibited by law from doing so covertly.

    Nope. It is against the law for the PAOs to put out false information, overtly or covertly.

    Now, if you have something that conflicts with the others on this thread have mentioned please provide it.

  303. Neil:

    I’d also take the Reagan economy over the Clinton economy any day.

    The Reagan years are still the longest peacetime expansion in our nation’s history. It saw the ascendancy of statistically significant Black and Hispanic upper-middle classes. Also, the Clinton years probably were helped cuz Republicans were in control of at least one house for six of the years and they shut down most of the Dems big government plans.

    Also, Clinton’s “The era of big government is over” is a far more pro-prosperity sentiment than that held by the current Dems.

  304. RB,

    Don’t forget President Cartsr’s contribution to the economy, doubling the number of women in the workforce.

  305. Cartsr’s Carter’s

  306. “they built a nice modern liberal democracy with the highest living standards and most freedoms in the region”

    For themselves, not for the Palestinians.

  307. The conflict, not the state. It’s as dishonest as Obama’s use of the McCain “100 years” remark.

    Oh I seriously didn’t understand. Thats the risk Obama runs when he dodges hard questions with unclear metaphors.

  308. bookworm,

    All Israeli citizens have the same rights, no matter what their ethnic, racial or religious background.

  309. Rick Barton:
    Also, Clinton’s “The era of big government is over” is a far more pro-prosperity sentiment than that held by the current Dems.

    Or the current republicans.

  310. OT: The government folk are offering refresher sexual harassment training here at work. Have I lost my edge? Should I attend?

  311. Yes Joe, the 1990s when Bubba was too busy banging ugly interns to realize that Al Qaeda was plotting against our country. What a joke he was.

    If I recall, the Clinton administration attacked Bin Laden’s training camp(s) with cruise missles. Republicans accused him of trying to use the attacks to attract attention away from the Lewinsky scandal.

    The Bush administration seemed utterly blindsided by the events of 9/11.

  312. I hear people talk about “Israel’s right to exist” all the time. When people say “Israel has no right to exist” do they mean that Israel, the current social-political entity, it’s citizens, should be blown up? Well, of course that is evil. Or do they mean “Israel was illegally founded and thus has no moral right to exist as it does and morally should be acted against?”

    I think the latter. I just think the “morally should be acted against” should involve cutting off all aid and instituting an economic boycott a la South Africa.

    I did not refer to the means with which you would remedy your pereceived lack of “Israel’s right to exist”. So you would remedy this by economic means while others would do it through military measures?

    And I hightly doubt that any supporter of Israel would question the right of Israel to exists, as that, by most common English uses, would imply that Israel should be dismantled, wether by economic or millitary means. Many Israel supporters, my self included, would question the circumstances by which it was founded, would attempt to right some of the wrongs.

    it’s just they built it on someone else’s land and should give it back…I guess in the end I believe in property rights and autonomy more than some of the “libertarians” here…

    Right well thats very telling. Im assuming you write this from somewhere in North America but will be moving back to Europe as soon as you can find a local tribe to will your estate to?

  313. And i dont’ even understand what point is he trying to make. That the Isreali-Palestinian conflict is a constant wound which infects our policy making? What does that even mean? Espeically since the source of the conflict is one side of it doesn’t think Isreal has a right to exist.

    So the fact that Arab countries don’t think Isreal should exist is a

  314. “they built it on someone else’s land and should give it back”

    True, but should they give it back? Should we give our country back to the Indians whom we took it from?

  315. The issue wasn’t about sex, it was about lying under oath.

    Why, exactly, was Clinton answering questions about his sex life under oath again?

  316. “the source of the conflict is one side of it doesn’t think Isreal has a right to exist.”

    This might be the position of some Arabs in the area, but I don’t think it necessarily applies to all of them. I think some would be satisfied if the Palestinians had their own homeland.

  317. True, but should they give it back? Should we give our country back to the Indians whom we took it from?

    Thise guys are dead, but I am alive and related to them.

    Don’t worry, I will supply the pen for all of you white-eyed-guild-ravaged folk who want to cleanse your spirits.

    Don’t worry, I will bury the hatchet as soon as I get your properly witnessed and notorized signatures.

  318. Why, exactly, was Clinton answering questions about his sex life under oath again?

    Partly because he lied about sexually harassing an Arkansas employee during a trial there?

  319. white-eyed-guild-ravaged

    white-eyed-guilt-ravaged

    Ugh, just decypher the typos please.

  320. “Why, exactly, was Clinton answering questions about his sex life under oath again?”

    To determine a pattern of behavior relevant to sexual harrassment. Remember, Janet Reno gave Starr the authority to take up the Paula Jones case.

  321. The same is true for a whole lot of Jews who left Arab countries. The difference is, they built a nice modern liberal democracy with the highest living standards and most freedoms in the region, so they aren’t clamoring to go back.

    How does that justify the Palestinian expulsion, again? I’m allowed to bulldoze your house if I build a better one in its place?

    I have a co-worker whose parents were newlyweds, living in East Jerusalem. The army came to their apartment and kicked them out at gunpoint. The lived in a refugee camp for two years before settling in Jordan. Now their son lives in the US. They still want to go back to Jerusalem.

    Any justification you can think of to have kicked them out? Not to let them go home?

  322. To determine a pattern of behavior relevant to sexual harrassment. Remember, Janet Reno gave Starr the authority to take up the Paula Jones case.

    In other words, it was all about sex.

  323. Fluffy | May 13, 2008, 2:17pm | #

    So Fluffy, does that mean you advocate bombing New London, CT? Your calls for violence are deplorable. There are eniment domain abuse cases in dozens of US cities right now. How much do you care about Americans losing their homes? Have you bothered to write your representatives about them?

    Actually, in theory I think the victims in the Kelo case have the moral right to engage in insurrectionary violence against the US government. It would be incredibly stupid for them to do so, however, and I certainly would not commit suicide to help them.

    Again I ask, have you contacted any of your representatives on behalf of Americans who suffer eminent domain abuse? I did not propose you commit suicide or be violent against anyone. I do wonder why you jump straight to justifying “insurrectionary violence”.

  324. Tacos,

    Nope.

  325. what the hell business is it of ours if the ME does go nuclear?

    So, I guess you have no problem with Iran pursuing nuclear weapons?

  326. Arab governments accept Israel’s right to exist

    There is a standing offer from the Arab League (lead by Saudi Arabia) offering Israel full normalization (not just recognition) in exchange for withdraw from all land occupied in 1967.

  327. “If I recall, the Clinton administration attacked Bin Laden’s training camp(s) with cruise missles.”

    Why didn’t Clinton kill him or apprehend him when he had the chance to? Not that Bush has done any better. Bush has spent all his time trying to rearrange the Middle East in his nation building scheme while not going after the real culprit of 9/11. He even said on 3/13/02: “I don’t know where [Osama bin Laden] is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him…I truly am not concerned about him.”

  328. “There is a standing offer from the Arab League (lead by Saudi Arabia) offering Israel full normalization (not just recognition) in exchange for withdraw from all land occupied in 1967.”

    That’s right, Israel is the one that is standing in the way of peace in the Middle East.

  329. “So, I guess you have no problem with Iran pursuing nuclear weapons?”

    I think if Iran were to get them, they would be used as a defensive measure. I don’t think they would use them against a nuclear power like Israel, Pakistan, or the US. However, we might need to threaten retaliation to keep them from using them against non-nuclear states.

  330. Currently the bigger problem is not with the Arab-nation collective, but with the Persian Islamic state.

  331. I think we can all acknowledge that the Indians – at least the ones alive at the time – had a very legitimate grievance against the United States. Why is it so hard for people to acknowledge that the Palestinians have very legitimate grievances against Israel? Grievances over ongoing issues, mind you, not just grievances over stuff that happened 60 years ago.

    My impression is that the rulers of Israel have never negotiated in good faith to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian issue. Their approach has been a mix of oppression and delaying tactics. They say they don’t have a “partner” they can talk peace with, while doing their utmost to prevent such a partner from ever arising. I don’t find it surprising at all that the Palestinians eventually turned to Hamas after exhausting all other options.

    BTW, it is entirely possible for terrorists to turn peaceful. The IRA took that route. Heck, you can make a pretty persuasive claim that Israel itself was founded by terrorists: Menachem Begin started out as the leader of Irgun.

  332. There is a standing offer from the Arab League (lead by Saudi Arabia) offering Israel full normalization (not just recognition) in exchange for withdraw from all land occupied in 1967.

    come on now, anon, stop trying to paint this as so clearly black and white, so far even the Palestinians havent signed on to this plan. I dont think Iran has either.

  333. RC Dean-Don’t be lazy. Click on the link,

    That’s asking rather a lot.

    The full quote helps, but its also almost completely void of information. Just what does he think Israel, the Palestinians, and the US should do to resolve the problem?

    Oddly, he doesn’t say, other than to imply that abandoning the settlements will end the threat to Israel so Israeli moms and dads can put their kids on a bus to school with nary a care in the world, a position so vacuous that its hard to believe anyone could take it seriously.

    Lets face it: the “settlement” that Israel’s enemies object to Israel itself.

  334. “In other words, it was all about sex.”

    It was about sexual harrassment, which is a crime. We can argue whether or not it should be a crime, but it is a crime.

  335. Nope. It is against the law for the PAOs to put out false information, overtly or covertly.

    Nope. Sorry, Guy. No way.

    The Congress has included in every appropriations bill since 1951 the language:

    “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.”

    The GAO has held that any covert propaganda of any kind violates this prohibition. The issue of truth or falsehood of the information does not arise, so it is no defense to claim that the Pentagon thought that the information it was putting out was true.

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32750.pdf

    Look, I know that you probably think that one essential and permissible role for the Pentagon in wartime is the maintenance of civilian morale. I would disagree. The Pentagon conducts wars at the pleasure of the sovereign public, and if the public decides it doesn’t want to have a war any more [and moves to end that war through its representatives] the Pentagon has no business putting its finger on the scale to impact the outcome of that entirely political and entirely unmilitary decision in any way. But I understand you would never agree with that, and I understand that’s not currently US law. US law currently allows the Pentagon to try to influence the political process – but not covertly. Whether they were sincere or not, whether they intended well or not, as soon as they farmed this out to third parties, took steps to conceal the Pentagon involvement to enhance the credibility of those parties, and chortled among themselves about it in emails they thought no one would ever see, they were felons. Rumsfeld, Di Rita, and the entire chain of command below them that participated in this program should be breaking rocks at Leavenworth.

  336. It was about sexual harrassment, which is a crime.

    No it’s not. In certain employment and academic situations, it’s a civil tort, but it’s not a crime and never has been a crime.

    Not trying to interfere in your discussion, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine.

  337. “Lets face it: the “settlement” that Israel’s enemies object to Israel itself.”

    What the Palestinians object to is being treated like 2nd class citizens.

  338. Fluffy,

    Okay, so your argument is that anything you do not agree with is propaganda and is a violation of the law. Gotcha.

    Now, how about convincing a court with what you have? I am sure there is one in San Francisco or Manhattan that will agree with you.

  339. “No it’s not. In certain employment and academic situations, it’s a civil tort, but it’s not a crime and never has been a crime.”

    So it’s a misdemeanor. A President can still be impeached for misdemeanors.

  340. Fluffy,

    No it’s not. In certain employment and academic situations, it’s a civil tort, but it’s not a crime and never has been a crime.

    Interesting technical point.

    Now, when the civil case is before a judge, is lieing to the judge or an officer of the court, while under oath, a crime?

  341. On the Indians issue –

    There is lots of land in the US that was legitimately purchased from the Indians. The Indians often got shitty deals, but the entire US from sea to shining sea was not “stolen”.

    I think folks in Georgia might have some issues – a lot of land there was openly stolen. As was most of Oklahoma.

    Other land was ceded by the Indians to the US by treaty. These treaties were obtained by war, that’s true. But if signing a treaty at the end of a war is “stealing”, then all land everywhere is stolen.

    So I guess there are Indians whose grievance for “stolen” land is the same as the Palestinians’ – but there are also lots of Indians whose grievance is NOT the same.

  342. Now, when the civil case is before a judge, is lieing to the judge or an officer of the court, while under oath, a crime?

    Absolutely.

    But I wasn’t trying to get involved in their Clinton discussion.

    I just get annoyed when I see people online say that sexual harassment is “a crime”. Just in general, not in the Clinton context. To me that’s the legal equivalent of using “loose” instead of “lose”. It rubs me the wrong way because it’s not true. So this one time I broke down and stuck my nose in to be contrary.

  343. “come on now, anon, stop trying to paint this as so clearly black and white, so far even the Palestinians havent signed on to this plan. I dont think Iran has either.”

    Iran approached the US State Department in 2003 with an offer of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, not developing nuclear weapons, and to discontinue sponsoring terrorists such as Hizbullah and Hamas. The Bush Administration wasn’t interested. Regime change is the only thing they’ll accept.

  344. Okay, so your argument is that anything you do not agree with is propaganda and is a violation of the law. Gotcha.

    No. Now you are being disingenous, because that’s not what I said and you know it’s not what I said.

    Any government agency that uses resources paid for by the taxpayer to establish a covert publicity campaign is violating the law.

    If you actually expend government resources [even simple things, like toner or phone time or paper or free travel or donuts at a briefing] on a program to conduct a covert publicity campaign, you have violated the US Code:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000641—-000-.html

    641. Public money, property or records

    Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof; or
    Whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted-
    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; but if the value of such property in the aggregate, combining amounts from all the counts for which the defendant is convicted in a single case, does not exceed the sum of $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

  345. What the Palestinians object to is being treated like 2nd class citizens.

    I didn’t think the Palestinians currently living in Gaza/the West Bank were citizens of Israel.

    Doesn’t the Israeli constitution (or basic law, or whatever they call it) guaranteed equal rights for all citizens?

  346. Iran approached the US State Department in 2003 with an offer of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, not developing nuclear weapons, and to discontinue sponsoring terrorists such as Hizbullah and Hamas. The Bush Administration wasn’t interested.

    Like we could trust them, or they would allow us to verify, that they were giving up all their strategic tools and aims.

  347. Doesn’t the Israeli constitution (or basic law, or whatever they call it) guaranteed equal rights for all citizens?

    No, it doesn’t. See land laws, property laws, marriage laws, citizenship laws. Here for example.

  348. Not that Saudia Arabia is any better, btw. But the topic here is Israel.

  349. Joe Clinton failed to execute a regime change in Iraq

    Yeah, remember when we didn’t have an Iraq War killing 800 Americans and 50,000 Iraqis per year?

    Good point.

  350. Guy Montag:

    Don’t forget President Cartsr’s contribution to the economy, doubling the number of women in the workforce.

    Actually, I’m sure that there are, among feminists, some who consider woman being pushed into the work place due to a bad economy to be progress.

  351. Wow, Fluffy. Now all of those Information Operations units will have to be jailed.

    If we did not have enough cells for the illegal aliens, where the heck are we going to get cells for those guys?

    Provided that they embezzled, per your quoted text.

    I had better alert the G-2 immediatly!

  352. RB,

    You get jokes! Cool 🙂

  353. Barring the restoration of (1) the Byzantine Empire or (2) the Ottoman Empire, I think the best bet is to wash our hands of the business and stop getting so involved in the Middle East. I tend to favor Israel somewhat, but more because they are more Western in outlook, not because they hold all of the moral high ground–they don’t.

    I’ve cited this before, but I recommend reading a Prospect article on why we shouldn’t care so much: “The Middle of Nowhere“.

  354. Yeah Joe things were so much better when Saddam Hussein was in his palace opressing the Shia and Kurds, with his son’s rape rooms fully intact.

    Not to mention all the money he was getting under the table from the UN which wouldve enablked him t start his WMD program again someday had we not taken him out.

  355. RC, I’ll pate the quote again, because it really doesn’t leave any room for misinterpretation:

    JG: If you become President, will you denounce settlements publicly?

    BO: What I will say is what I’ve said previously. Settlements at this juncture are not helpful. Look, my interest is in solving this problem not only for Israel but for the United States.

    JG: Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?

    BO: No, no, no. But what I think is that this constant wound, that this constant sore, does infect all of our foreign policy. The lack of a resolution to this problem provides an excuse for anti-American militant jihadists to engage in inexcusable actions, and so we have a national-security interest in solving this, and I also believe that Israel has a security interest in solving this because I believe that the status quo is unsustainable.

    To believe that “it,” that is “this constant wound,” refers to Israel itself, you would have to believe that Obamaa stated that Israel has a national security interest in getting rid of Israel. While doing so, you would have to ignore that he answered the question “Is Israel a drag on our reputation overseas?” with “No no no.” You would also have to ignore the fact that the previous question was explicitly about settlements, which he called “this problem,” and spoke about in exactly the same terms as he used to describe “this constant wound.”

  356. R C Dean:
    Like we could trust them, or they would allow us to verify, that they were giving up all their strategic tools and aims.

    Come on, that’s just lame. Iran has been fully cooperating with the IAEA all along, and the IAEA hasn’t found any evidence of Iran trying to make nuclear weapons. After the Iraq debacle, I dare say I’m more inclined to trust the IAEA than the Bush administration on issues of this nature.

    FWIW, Iran’s leaders have flat-out said that it would be against Islam to develop nukes. If they’re these all-fired religious nuts that they’re portrayed as being (and I’m sure many of them are), I have a hard time seeing them saying that if they were, in fact, busy pursuing nuclear weaponry.

    Pretty much all the news you hear about Iran is tainted by some very nasty spin, and more than a few outright lies. I’ll be the first to agree that the mullahs aren’t saints, but they also aren’t anywhere near as evil or threatening as the white house spin makes them out to be.

    There’s plenty of evidence that the Iranian leaders want to normalize relations with the United States, but the Bush administration won’t have any part of that. If you insist that they’re eeebil and it’s impossible to know that they aren’t developing nukes without conquering their country, then you’re in fact advocating another preventative war – against a nation much tougher to take over than Iraq.

  357. There’s plenty of evidence that the Iranian leaders want to normalize relations with the United States,

    Yeah, our troops receive that evidence in the form of EFP bombs every day.

  358. Huh. Good thing he didn’t say “[t]he lack of a [Final S]olution to this problem”. That could’ve made the Wright problem look tame in comparison.

  359. Yeah, remember when we didn’t have an Iraq War killing 800 Americans and 50,000 Iraqis per year?

    The antiwar, antimilitary IBC finds a much smaller number of Iraqis killed, less than 20,000 per year. That’s about a quarter of the 84,000 average deaths that Hussein racked up. Plus Iraqis can now vote, have doubled GDP, free press, etc.

  360. Also, as tragic as every death is, to put the current wars in perspective we had higher death rates in the 1980s.

  361. No, it doesn’t. See land laws, property laws, marriage laws, citizenship laws. Here for example

    Ali, are u sure you have the right link. A cursary examination of your link and their discussion guide actually spells out that Israel’s declaration independence guarantees equal rights to all citizens regardless of race or religion.

    The prevalent complaint there, and probably a very valid one, is the ineherent jewishness of Israel; ie no Arabic street signs or all holidays being jewish and no public transit on Saturdays.

    Also, and again a very valid complaint, is the control of marriage by religious courts, and a lack of a common civil law with regard to marriage. But again this is supposedly applied evenly through jewish, muslim and druze religious courts.

    Were you refering to something specific Im not seeing?

  362. TallDave:

    …finds a much smaller number of Iraqis killed, less than 20,000 per year. That’s about a quarter of the 84,000 average deaths that Hussein racked up.

    Please provide a link to the stats.

  363. Neil | May 13, 2008, 4:47pm | #

    Yeah Joe things were so much better when Saddam Hussein was in his palace opressing the Shia and Kurds, with his son’s rape rooms fully intact.

    Sadly, that’s true. I didn’t think you shiesskopfs would be able to do it, but you actually made Iraq worse than it was under Saddam Hussein.

    When the war broke out, I thought we’d see a marginal improvement in the lives of the Iraqi people – the installation of a Saddam-lite regime – and we’d be arguing about whether that marginal improvement was worth the costs.

    But no, the administration didn’t even manage to achieve that. They actually made Iraq worse, as the refugee numbers demonstrate. People in Iraq are worse off than they were when they were living under what was probably the second- or third-worst tyranny on the fact of the Earth.

    Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.

  364. Comparing death rates in the 1980s is dishonest, as we had already rendered the Iraqi government incapable of committing the acts of aggression or internal repression that they conducted in the 1980s.

    You might as well say that the Germans killed an average of 1 million people a year in concentration camps between 1940 and 1952, to justify invading Germany in the early 50s. Technically true, but not in any meaningful sense.

  365. we’d be arguing about whether that marginal improvement was worth the costs

    The honest, adult, in-touch-with-reality people are.

    Please provide a link to the stats.

    http://www.iraqbodycount.org/

  366. as we had already rendered the Iraqi government incapable of committing the acts of aggression or internal repression that they conducted in the 1980s.

    I guess you missed what happened after the first Gulf War.

    You might as well say that the Germans killed an average of 1 million people a year in concentration camps between 1940 and 1952, to justify invading Germany in the early 50s

    In the 1950s we had removed Germany’s government.

  367. People who continue to wave their purple fingers – you know, the 28 percenters – don’t get to decide who the honest, adult, in touch with reality people are.

    Nor do they get to decide which sources are the most reliable for deaths in Iraq.

  368. People who refuse to discuss the facts don’t get to decide anything.

  369. I guess you missed what happened after the first Gulf War.

    You guess wrong, as usual.

    The No Fly and No Drive zones were established a full decade before the second Iraq War.

    You know this, and are just playing dumb becasue actual facts don’t matter much to you.

  370. Oh, ToolDave, haven’t you figured it out yet?

    The 3/4 of the American public that thinks you’re full of shit discuss things amongst ourselves all the time.

    And you know what? We get to decide who’s going to control the government for the next generation or two.

  371. We just don’t disucuss them very often with the likes of you, because the past seven years have made it blindingly obvious what a dead end that is.

  372. Joe Harry Truman had a low approval rating, too.

    History has been quite kind to him.

  373. TallDave:

    Plus Iraqis can now vote, have doubled GDP, free press, etc.

    It’s a humanitarian tragedy-Besides the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and injured, more than 4 million Iraqis have been displaced!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19055852/

  374. The no-fly zones and sanctions were an artificial creation that could not have lasted forever. They required us to constantly bomb Iraq with no improvement in Iraqi lives.

  375. Oh, ToolDave, haven’t you figured it out yet?

    There’s that reponsible adult namecalling again.

    We just don’t disucuss them very often with the likes of you

    Yep, there’s a grown up.

  376. Besides the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and injured, more than 4 million Iraqis have been displaced!

    True, but that compares to much higher numbers under Saddam, who carried out active programs of genocide and relocation against Kurds, Shia, and Marsh Arabs. By some estimates, over 2 million Shia and Kurds have returned.

  377. TallDave,

    Thanks for the link. I was looking for a link to your claim of an average of 84,000 Iraqi deaths /yr for Hussein.

  378. TallDave:

    True, but that compares to much higher numbers under Saddam,

    Of displaced folks under Saddam? More than 4M? Link Please.

  379. The fact that the war has created the biggest refugee crisis on earth ( perhaps the greatest crisis in the last 50 years) should alone dispel TallDave’s thesis about the Iraq war being a success.

  380. The fact that the war has created the biggest refugee crisis on earth ( perhaps the greatest crisis in the last 50 years)

    Not even close. The civil war in the DCR was orders of magnitude worse, and Darfur was considerably worse as well. In the lasy 50 yeas, I could bring up the Armenian genocide, the Great Leap Forward, Cambodia… I could go on.

    Also, many of those Iraqi refugees have returned now that security has improved in Baghdad and other areas.

    I was looking for a link to your claim of an average of 84,000 Iraqi deaths /yr for Hussein.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_hussein

    Add together the totals for the invasion of Iran, the invasion of Kuwait, the Kurdish civil war, the Shia civil war, and the March Arabs, along with the general day-to-day police state brutality, and you get 2-4 million dead depending what estimates you believe.

    The numbers displaced is harder to find, but you can probably assume several people displaced for every one killed.

  381. TallDave:

    I can find nothing in the link you provided to substantiate your claim of an average of 84,000 Iraqi deaths/yr for Hussein. If it’s in there could you please quote it?

    The numbers displaced is harder to find, but you can probably assume several people displaced for every one killed.

    What?? So you have nothing to back up your claim that the 4M displaced Iraqis from our government’s war “compares to much higher numbers under Saddam”?

  382. The no-fly zones and sanctions were an artificial creation that could not have lasted forever. They required us to constantly bomb Iraq with no improvement in Iraqi lives

    So what?

    The no-fly zones also didn’t cost 3 trillion dollars and the lives of thousands of American men and the bodies and minds of tens of thousands more.

    And by the way, the Armenian genocide ain’t exactly in the last 50 years. But that’s just a nitpick.

  383. Some points on counting bodies:

    First, iraqbodycount grossly underestimates the death toll. At first the site only counted deaths that were reported in two separate media sources. It now also gets data from morgues and such, but in a war-torn nation like Iraq, that’s only a small fraction of the actual deaths. Iraqbodycount itself stresses that it’s numbers are certain to be an underestimate.

    The Lancet survey of 2006 estimated over 600,000 deaths at that time. A similar survey by ORB suggests over a million deaths as of January 2008. The methodology used in these surveys is standard practice for war conflict zones and has been taken as such for a long time – it’s never been disputed until this current war, when the US and UK administrations found it rather inconvenient to admit to presiding over such a high death toll.

    Anyway, it looks like the Iraq war is resulting in about 200k deaths per year. That’s over twice the death toll you get from Saddam, even if you assign the guy sole responsibility for all the Iran-Iraq war casualties. Bush’s war has now killed more people than the Rwanda genocide.

    Of course, we’re doing it all to benefit the Iraqis, so they really should be grateful. Or something.

  384. Well, I made TallDave disappear. I asked him to back up two sets of numbers he gave.

  385. “Oh I seriously didn’t understand. Thats the risk Obama runs when he dodges hard questions with unclear metaphors.”

    WTF? Where is the dodge?

    “Right well thats very telling. Im assuming you write this from somewhere in North America but will be moving back to Europe as soon as you can find a local tribe to will your estate to?”

    val, that’s stupid. Let’s skip a lot I could say and just ask you this, point blank: was it morally right or wrong for the Europeans to do what they did to the Native Americans? Do you think it morally right? Now, do you think it morally right what the Europeans that made up a majority of the declared state of Israel (1948)? Maybe we both agree that given the wrongs, things are complicated now, but those two acts sure were not morally right were they (I’d love to hear the libertarian argument they were on this one!)

    “Lets face it: the “settlement” that Israel’s enemies object to Israel itself.”
    So do you defend the settlements? Go ahead, I’d love to hear this! Give it a go RC.

    joe-Of course RC can’t defend such a reading of the Obama quote. I explained it earlier. RC is either retarded (evidence: his posts above) or is a hack who is convinced that it is his moral imperative to paint Barak Obama in the worst light possible in front of the most people possible to SAVE THE PLANET FROM ISLAMO-FASCISTS! The reading he speaks of is, lazy or retarded. As I mentioned the full quote way above, I vote retarded.

    OK, I just read RC’s post from 2:56 and I issue the following challenge: given what was clearly posted prior RC, how do you justify your comments? Please prove you are not a retarded person who rode the short bus to school. I don’t think you can do it, given the record above. Give us a reading of the Obama quote which comes to your conclusion which is not, in fact, retarded.

  386. The no-fly zones also didn’t cost 3 trillion dollars and the lives of thousands of American men and the bodies and minds of tens of thousands more.

    How do you know what they would have cost from 2003 — eternity?

  387. First, iraqbodycount grossly underestimates the death toll.

    In fact it probably overestimates them. They aren’t counting death certificates, they’re just picking up whatever the local media report, which is often exaggerated.

  388. I can find nothing in the link you provided to substantiate your claim of an average of 84,000 Iraqi deaths/yr for Hussein. If it’s in there could you please quote it?

    As I said, you have to add up the counts from the various wars Saddam started; follow the links in his wiki bio. You get around 2 million with the more conservative estimates. Over 24 years that comes to about 84,000 a year.

    This boils it down, though it omits some things:

    http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/hussein.html

    What?? So you have nothing to back up your claim that the 4M displaced Iraqis from our government’s war “compares to much higher numbers under Saddam”?

    No one made a big international project of counting them, esp in the 1980s, so there isn’t one source for them. Again, follow the links, make your best guess based on the relative humbers given for the current conflict.

  389. The Lancet survey of 2006 estimated over 600,000 deaths at that time

    The Lancet survey! Ha. Even IBC says their numbers are wrong, they refuse to release their data, they used incorrect prewar numbers, and the 90% confidence interval finds only 6,000 Iraqis dying.

    It’s a very bad survey. Did you know if you include Fallujah, the survey can’t even say with 90% confidence that the war resulted in a single excess death?

  390. TallDave: In fact it probably overestimates them. They aren’t counting death certificates, they’re just picking up whatever the local media report, which is often exaggerated.

    Eh? That’s some incredible wishful thinking on your part. I don’t think any reasonable person who looks at iraqbodycount’s methods could seriously believe that their count is an overestimate.

    As noted, the Lancet/ORB figures, which follow procedures widely acknowledged as the best possible practice, are an order of magnitude larger. Neither study’s researchers are particularly lefty/antiwar.

  391. I just told you their methods: they pick up whatever the media reported.

    Our own media reported for weeks that 10,000 had died on 9/11, and that there were “stacks of corpses” and cannibalism at the Superdome during Katrina. The Iraqi media is five years old in a culture prone to exaggeration.

    As noted, the Lancet/ORB figures, which follow procedures widely acknowledged as the best possible practice,

    No, they followed the worst possible practice. They didn’t even ask for proof of death!

    Neither study’s researchers are particularly lefty/antiwar

    The IBC says right on their site they blame the U.S. military for all casualties.

  392. TallDave,

    Follow the links, make your best guess based on the relative numbers given for the current conflict is not even close to a substantiation for your claim that Saddam displaced much higher number of Iraqis than the 4M displaced in the Iraq war. I think I caught you fabricating.

    I will be cautious of claims you make in the future.

  393. “The authors refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data,” said David Kane, a statistician and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Statistics at Harvard University. Some critics have wondered whether the Iraqi researchers engaged in a practice known as “curb-stoning,” sitting on a curb and filling out the forms to reach a desired result. Another possibility is that the teams went primarily into neighborhoods controlled by anti-American militias and were steered to homes that would provide information about the “crimes” committed by the Americans

    Fritz Scheuren, vice president for statistics at the National Opinion Research Center and a past president of the American Statistical Association, said, “They failed to do any of the [routine] things to prevent fabrication.”

    Each death recorded by the Hopkins surveyors in 2006 extrapolated to 2,000 deaths in the Iraqi population.

    I could go on. It’s quite possibly the worst survey ever done.

  394. Follow the links, make your best guess based on the relative numbers given for the current conflict is not even close to a substantiation for your claim that Saddam displaced much higher number of Iraqis than the 4M displaced in the Iraq war.

    Well, if he killed 2 million, how many do YOU think were displaced? I don’t see how anyone could credibly argue it was less.

  395. I will be cautious of claims you make in the future.

    Good, you should always be cautious of everyone’s claims.

  396. TallDave, you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

    The first Lancet survey, from 2004 – which I didn’t even mention – estimated 98k deaths, with a 95% confidence interval of 8k-194k. To argue that “the 90% confidence interval finds only 6,000 Iraqis dying” is patent nonsense. I’ve studied enough statistics to know that the best estimate is in the middle of the bell curve.

    Incidentally, the initial Lancet survey was set to include Fallujah as one of the data points, but the authors chose to exclude it because they recognized that the assault on Fallujah skewed those data points so that the Fallujah data would be much too high for a representative sample of Iraq.

    The second Lancet survey, from 2006 – the one I referenced – estimated 655k deaths, with a 95% confidence interval of 393k – 943k. In other words, according to that study, it’s 95% certain that there were at least 393k excess Iraqi deaths as of the middle of 2006, when the survey was conducted.

    The articles I’ve seen all say that numerous epidemiologists and statisticians agree that the methodology of the study is sound and follows standard practice. The only dissenting voices I’ve seen on that count were affiliated with the coalition provisional authority, neocon think tanks or the like.

    Just read the damn links. If you don’t buy the results, post links of your own along with your attempted refutations.

  397. Ah, looking back, I see you provided a lancet critique link while I was typing. Good for you!

    Got anything on the ORB study yet? Given that the ORB numbers are inclined to agree with the second Lancet survey’s numbers, even though the studies were conducted by a completely separate set of researchers, I’m inclined to believe the estimate of over a million excess deaths.

    I’ve also seen numerous anecdotal articles supporting an extremely high death toll, e.g. articles comparing the number of corpses in Baghdad morgues with the pre-invasion numbers. I don’t have a link handy at the moment, and Baghdad numbers alone don’t necessarily reflect the entirety of Iraq, but the post-invasion numbers were much, much higher.

  398. Did you know if you include Fallujah, the survey can’t even say with 90% confidence that the war resulted in a single excess death?

    not a single excess death! hear that folks?

    not a single excess death.

    go team go.

  399. I’ve studied enough statistics to know that the best estimate is in the middle of the bell curve.

    Except the “best estimate” isn’t a confidence interval, as you must know, and has no confidence attached to it.

    The only thing they could say with 95% confidence was that at least 8,000 Iraqis died. Not very informative. And when you add in Fallujah, the bottom end actually goes negative.

    The articles I’ve seen all say that numerous epidemiologists and statisticians agree that the methodology of the study is sound and follows standard practice.

    Oh PLEASE. They won’t even release the data!

    Their numbers are completely ridiculous. If that many people were dying, the morgues would all be overfowing, and the hospitals would be filled to 10x their capacity with the people who were only wounded (there are generall5 5 wounded for every death).

    You clearly know next to nothing about how this study was actually done. Read the City Journal piece.

  400. Excuse me, National Journal. Not a right-wing think tank.

    National Journal Group is the leading source of nonpartisan reporting on the current political environment and emerging policy trends. Our print, online and broadcast properties include National Journal, CongressDaily, The Hotline, NationalJournal.com,The Capital Source, The Almanac of American Politics, Convention Daily, “National Journal On Air” and “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal .”

  401. I’m inclined to believe the estimate of over a million excess deaths.

    Then you clearly haven’t thought it through. Where are all those corpses buried? Where are the 5 million wounded?

    Also, keep in mind, when they did this study 2/3 of Iraq was relatively calm. The large majority of those million deaths would have had to happen in the Sunni areas and Baghdad, which have around 10 million people. That means 1 out of 10 died and we should expect half to be wounded.

    It’s flat-out ridiculous.

  402. Oh, and the NJ piece also debunks the ORB study — which even the Lancet authors don’t buy.

    Even Garfield, a co-author of the first Lancet article, is backing away from his previous defense of his fellow authors. In December, Garfield told National Journal that he guesses that 250,000 Iraqis had died by late 2007. That total requires an underlying casualty rate only one-quarter of that offered by Lancet II.

    And the IBC:
    “In the light of such extreme and improbable implications,” the Iraq Body Count report stated, “a rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data.”

    In Belgium, Guha-Sapir’s team is completing a paper outlining numerous mathematical and procedural errors in the Lancet II article, and its corrections will likely lower the estimate of dead Iraqis to 450,000, even without consideration of possible fraud during the surveying, a source said

    How to explain the enormous discrepancy between The Lancet’s estimation of Iraqi war deaths and those from studies that used other methodologies? For starters, the authors of the Lancet study followed a model that ensured that even minor components of the data, when extrapolated over the whole population, would yield huge differences in the death toll. Skeptical commentators have highlighted questionable assumptions, implausible data, and ideological leanings among the authors, Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts.

    Some critics go so far as to suggest that the field research on which the study is based may have been performed improperly — or not at all. The key person involved in collecting the data — Lafta, the researcher who assembled the survey teams, deployed them throughout Iraq, and assembled the results — has refused to answer questions about his methods.

    Worst. Survey. Ever.

  403. No, they followed the worst possible practice. They didn’t even ask for proof of death!

    That’s flatly untrue. The Lancet report itself directly states that “At the conclusion of household interviews where deaths were reported, surveyors requested to see a copy of any death certificate and its presence was recorded”. 92% of the reported deaths were confirmed, and that rate struck the authors as reasonable, since in some places death certificates simply weren’t issued for young children.

    The only thing they could say with 95% confidence was that at least 8,000 Iraqis died.
    That’s true for the original 2004 Lancet article, which I didn’t even originally reference, so you can hardly call me to task on that. As I already pointed out, the 2006 article gives a 95% confidence that there were at least 393k excess Iraqi deaths by mid-2006.

    The National Journal article looks for all the world like a hatchet job. Here’s a response to it that addresses the major complaints.

    Oh PLEASE. They won’t even release the data!

    See the response article link.

    Their numbers are completely ridiculous. If that many people were dying, the morgues would all be overflowing, and the hospitals would be filled to 10x their capacity with the people who were only wounded (there are generall5 5 wounded for every death).

    Funny that you should mention that. The morgues are in fact overflowing.

  404. val, that’s stupid. Let’s skip a lot I could say and just ask you this, point blank: was it morally right or wrong for the Europeans to do what they did to the Native Americans? Do you think it morally right? Now, do you think it morally right what the Europeans that made up a majority of the declared state of Israel (1948)? Maybe we both agree that given the wrongs, things are complicated now, but those two acts sure were not morally right were they (I’d love to hear the libertarian argument they were on this one!)

    Stop obfuscating the issue. Yes, there were alot of wrongs done during the founding of both Israel and USA. SO WHAT? You pretty clearly said, ” it’s just they built it on someone else’s land and should give it back..” There isnt much to interpret there. Since you feel that founding of Israel was morraly wrong and they should return the land to the Palestinians, it only stands to reason that since you feel the founding of the USA was just as wrong, you will be returning your land to its rightful owners.

    Or did I again mistinterpret something you said? Did you unilateraly decide to attach different meanings to words again? Kind of like where you suggest “Israel’s right to exist” refers to the historical moral judgement on its founding rather then wether it should continue to exist as country?

  405. From the Hamas covenant:

    The Islamic Resistance Movement calls on Arab and Islamic nations to take up the line of serious and persevering action to prevent the success of this horrendous plan, to warn the people of the danger eminating from leaving the circle of struggle against Zionism. Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.

  406. The “protocols” are, of course, a vicious fraud, and Hamas should recognize that. The “Nile to Euphrates” stuff, however, is based on the old testament, and a bunch of nut cases in both Israel and the United States believe that accepting anything less amounts to rejecting god’s plan. This is, in fact, one of the main motivations of the settler movement. Israel needs to explicitly reject such expansionist dreams and stop building settlements.

    Hamas has stated that they’re willing to accept any final peace agreement that is approved by the Palestinian people in a referendum. They will not recognize Israel’s right to exist as long as Israel doesn’t officially recognize the Palestinians’ right to have a state of their own, and asking them to do otherwise strikes me as being rather hypocritical.

    From the ruling Likud party’s platform:

    The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.

    The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.

    Hamas has also stated that it’s willing to accept a permanent ceasefire if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders. I think it’s plenty possible to negotiate a final settlement with Hamas in which the Palestinians get a viable state of their own in exchange for recognizing Israel and giving up the refugees’ right of return. However, Israel insists that it will not negotiate as long as Hamas doesn’t disarm and recognize Israel – never mind that Israel doesn’t recognize the right to a Palestinian state, and is hardly about to disarm itself.

    The main obstacle to peace is that the Israeli government has no interest in it. In effect, Israel refuses to negotiate unless the Palestinians agree to everything Israel wants as a precondition to negotiations. Meanwhile, the Israelis are busy creating new settlements – “facts on the ground” – which are designed to make a Palestinian state impossible.

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