July 16, 2004

Kerry: An Effective Steward of the War on Terror?

You know, Kevin Drum asks the wrong questions:

War supporters insist that John Kerry can't be trusted with our post-9/11 foreign policy. But I'm a little puzzled about exactly what it is that they're afraid he won't do.

It's true that Kerry would not have gone to war with Iraq, and that's certainly a big difference between him and Bush. But does anyone think there are any more wars coming up in the near future?

If not, what are the hawks afraid of? What do they think Kerry will be too wimpy to do? Or is it that they do have a war in mind that they're afraid Kerry might not start? If so, I think we'd all like to hear about it. [emphasis added]

It's not about marching into Iran, Syria or NoKo Kevin.

It's more about myriad threats ranging from al-Qaeda attempting to establish beachheads in 'failed states' in Africa to al-Q affiliates trying to blow up the Strait of Malacca.

Most ships travel in isolation or small convoys, over long distances and sometimes far away from coastlines. They also carry valuable cargo or highly inflammable material such as oil or liquefied natural gas. More importantly, the key shipping routes pass through important 'choke points', such as the Strait of Malacca, which is both long and extremely narrow. An attack on a ship would not only result in extensive damage but would also cause long-term disruption to trade patterns. An oil-laden ship exploding in the approaches to a harbour would cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

The available evidence suggests that terrorists have already considered striking at maritime targets, particularly in the Strait of Malacca. Video tapes seized from Jemaah Islamiyya included footage of Malaysian maritime police patrols, an indication that this extremist organisation was observing safety procedures operating in the strait. Meanwhile, other terrorist groups - including Al-Qaeda - have already engaged in maritime terrorism against the US Navy warship USS Cole in October 2000 and against the French oil tanker Limburg, off the coast of Yemen in October 2002, which was carrying crude oil for Malaysia's Petronas company.


Western intelligence services believe that Islamic extremists are making a determined effort to penetrate West Africa, an emerging world-class oil giant, amid signs that Osama bin Laden has singled out Nigeria for jihad....

...The USA is already deploying small groups of special forces throughout the impoverished Sahel region states of Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger to counter infiltration by Islamic militants moving south from Algeria. With West Africa in danger of becoming the new battleground between the USA and Al-Qaeda, heavier oil-driven US intervention may become unavoidable - a path fraught with pitfalls and one that could have a dramatic impact on US policy in Africa.

Put differently, to Kevin's query: "(b)ut does anyone think there are any more wars coming up in the near future?"--I'd answer--we're in the middle of a war right now....

There's, er, a lot going on--and I'm not confident that Kerry a) fully gets the stakes and b) will field a national security team that will be up to the challenge.

I'm willing to hear why Kerry's the man--but I haven't heard anything persuasive to date.

In fact, I've espied pretty risible attempts to repackage himself as a wise, mature, and tough, "realist" and a lot of mushy-headed prevarication regarding what exactly should be the major strategic thrust of American foreign policy (and the manner by which U.S. power would be exerted) in a prospective Kerry administration. (Contra this, we've got--despite all the hyperbole about a 'rigid, militaristic doctrine' of preemption--a pretty solid document in the NSS from 2002. And estimable commentators like John Lewis Gaddis are pretty impressed too).

And what about, deep down, Kerry's so important gut world-view?

Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said he senses that Kerry in recent years has been refashioning his foreign-policy persona, making it appear tougher, in preparation for a run for the presidency. "The question, setting aside the campaign, is: Where is John Kerry's heart?" said Kagan, who has advocated a muscular U.S. approach to world affairs. "My sense is his heart is in the anti-Vietnam, '70s-'80s left."

Yeah, that's about right.

More Saigon '75 (and, later, chit chat with the Sandinistas) than, say, strategically coherent confrontation of the Soviet Union in muscular Reaganite fashion.

And this is sure weak:

In 1995, Kerry was one of 29 senators who voted against lifting an arms embargo on Bosnia. He argued the congressional action was unacceptably unilateral and had not been coordinated with European allies. Kerry, in this instance, supported the view of the Clinton administration, but he did not automatically provide his support, according to a White House official involved in legislative strategy on the vote.

Not enough coordination with the European allies?

Well, except for coordination related to abetting the mass slaughter of Bosniaks in genocidal like actions on the European continent just a half century after the Holocaust.

But hell, the 'contact group' wasn't quite ready--and regular meetings at Davos were still going on....what's the big fuss?

Pretty underwhelming fare--n'est ce pas--fellow old Yugoslavia hand Laura Rozen (who, incidentally, runs an excellent gauchiste blog well worth reading)?

Er, more on all this soon, as the saying goes.


Laura responds. And so does Kevin (more on his thoughts likely tomorrow).


It should be noted, Bush 41 never campaigned repping that the the cavalry was rushing into Sarajevo to save lives (ie., pursuing the 'lift and strike' option).

Clinton did (ie. lied); while people died--amidst artificially raised expectations in Sarajevo that the cavalry was coming to the rescue

Please be sure to throw that into the post-mortem analysis too.

Posted by Gregory at July 16, 2004 11:38 AM

Scary Stuff.

I truly wonder though. What advantage would Kerry have in being a leftish foreign policy leader? Pretty much none. I see him becoming a hawk at least in name, like Hillary Clinton had done.

He's at root a politician, I am not sure there is any real value or policy he has dear in his heart.

He'll do what them polls tell him to do.

Posted by: Dustin at July 16, 2004 01:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Does anyone doubt that he'd be early-on severely "tested" by the bad guys? So, who will he have brought in with him, to design his skirmish responses? And to whom will these folks be listening? Does anyone believe that the far-left "Let America Be France" crowd will not credit themselves with his election, and thus absolutely insist on some control over foreign policy/war fighting? Hasn't the pattern pretty well established itself, over the last half-century, in actual, objective cause-and-effect?

Posted by: Buddy Larsen at July 16, 2004 02:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Anyone who wd seriously consider voting for this meat head needs to ask themselves one question: What wd Kerry's cabinet look like?

My God it is too freightening to even imagine - Sharpton, Sec of State; Rangel, Sec of Def; Hillary, NSA, etc. Oh yeah AQ is licking their lips over the prospects of the quisling Kerry in charge of our national defense.

Posted by: hen at July 16, 2004 02:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If President Kerry ever got his nose bloody, he would fold the tents, I mean, abandon the tents so fast, that the French would be left in his dust.

Posted by: J_Crater at July 16, 2004 03:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well said, Greg.

Kerry is insufficiently aggressive to do what’s needed and will be unable to put in place the national security team and policies that can keep the nation safe and secure.

Today the US has a military presence – large footprints and small units – in and around the Dark Continent. We’ve got small groups of forces throughout Asia too, and have teamed up with Australia and other right-thinking nations to police the Pacific with assertive naval actions. All of this is being done without UN approval.

That crazed maniac Rumsfeld has pushed the military to lean forward, to be innovative, aggressive, and lethal. He’s caused much discomfort and discontent within the Pentagon, especially in the Army, by pushing, cajoling, intimidating, or firing senior officers who did not meet his standards for action. In short he’s using every management technique he’s acquired to correct the West’s greatest miscue in combating terrorism: the failure to use effective military force against terrorists. He’s become a pariah because he’s been effective, but he was warned that would happen.

In early summer 2001 the Pentagon commissioned a study by Richard Schultz (Director, International Studies Program at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) to find out why pervious administrations had invested billions in developing “these superbly trained Special Operations Forces to fight terrorists, but had never used them for their primary mission. What had kept them out of action?” Schultz’s report was nearing completion when 9/11 struck. An unclassified version of his report starts here:
I strongly recommend that you read it to understand the immensity of the task that the Bush administration faces even today.

In the classified briefing developed for the Pentagon, Schultz described a phenomenon we see today: those who push for aggressive action are soon “pariahized,” made an outcast, so that their counsel is no longer sought, their influence is diminished. Combine that with the resistance of some in the military or intelligence agencies to the unconventional, and you find leaks to guys like Seymour Hersh about effective, legal, but aggressive techniques: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?021223fa_fact
(We could go on and on about Rummy, but that’s a topic for another day).

Would a Kerry administration lean forward? Would it send Gray Fox to Somalia to develop the precise locations of newly arriving al Qaeda, then work with Jordanian special forces to kill them? Does it have a candidate for SecDef who’s an experienced manager, knowledgeable in defense, thick-skinned, and forceful?

Our lives rather depend on that, no?

Which reminds me, have you seen the new Islamo-fascist microwave oven?
It seats 3,000.

Posted by: The Kid at July 16, 2004 03:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah, for a couple of self-styled smart guys, Kerry and Drum (and Kerry's prospective national security team) are idiots and pussies.

They want to dial down the war on terror, reconfigure it as a law enforcement problem and restate it as a manifestation of UN's old "north/south, rich/poor" economic and cultural dynamic rather than virulent, militant Islamic fascism bent on our defeat. That way they can feel good about themselves, since they'll redefine the "axis of evil" away and resurrect that good ol' liberal "roots cause" religion. Then they can get busy on that really important stuff like raising taxes and surrendering national sovereignty to the “international court of justice” and they fatally flawed Kyoto treaty.

And during this time al Qaida, North Korea and others will beaver away, building and restoring the terrorist networks, developing capabilities they currently don't have, all while Kerry and Drum sit on the sidelines, sucking their thumbs and contemplating their navels as if it was September 10th, 2001. But the Euro-wimps will like us again!

Their viewpoint is willfully self-deceitful and ignorant. I don't think any of us enjoy the current war, let alone relish it. But we've got a job to do, and to quote Churchill, “if you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

These morons have learned nothing from history.

Posted by: Tim at July 16, 2004 03:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


The real question might be "How will the liberals cover their ass when Kerry, should he be elected, totally screws up?".

Maybe they'll blame Halliburton.

Posted by: ed at July 16, 2004 03:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"If President Kerry ever got his nose bloody, he would fold the tents, I mean, abandon the tents so fast, that the French would be left in his dust. "

Kerry is a combat vet who earned three purple hearts and a Silver Star while your frat boy cheerleader was busy guarding the Mexican border and getting high .... so shut the hell up.

By the way, nice mess your tough-talking, I like to play dress-up leader got us into. I guess he couldn't learn the lessons of Vietnam since he and 5 time deferment boy weren't there.

Posted by: vetven at July 16, 2004 03:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I agree. One of the biggest benefits of a Bush Presidency has been Rumsfeld at Defense. He is trying to do what needs to be done - redirect our military from defense against the U.S.S.R. to defense in the War on Terror.

I think that all one needs to do to worry about a Kerry Presidency is to look back at Clinton's. During that time, there were no real attempts to change the mission. Indeed, weapons with obsolete missions, such as the Crusader, moved ahead at full steam, while the military was reduced to pay for the Peace Dividend.

Add to this their inability to get the military to do what it wanted it to do, and when they did anything, to do it badly. Recent reports (9/11 commission?) show Clinton somewhat ordering special forces to take out OBL, etc. The military threw up all the logistcal reasons why not, and they didn't happen. And then there was Somolia, where a relatively small number (in comparison with Iraq) of our soldiers were killed because they didn't have sufficient backup (due apparently to meddling by the White House), and we pulled out. Some show of strength.

I see nothing different with a Kerry Presidency. Sure, he served in the military, and Clindon didn't. But he was no Eisenhower. Rather he served as a very low level officer, who was decades away (if he had stayed in) from really understanding the institutional problems facing a military.

So, who does he have on tap to take over Defense? Who indeed on the left today has really addressed defense issues like they need to be addressed? Who are their Paul Wolfowitz's, etc. Maybe John McCain, maverick, etc., son and grandson of admirals, etc. But I don't see that. McCain's selection might throw the Senate to the Demorats (the governor of AZ is now a Democrat). Also, he has no real executive experience. Could he get the Pentagon to do what it doesn't want to as well as Rumsfeld can and does? Doubtful. Indeed, I don't see anyone on the horizon available to Kerry who has the skill and determination to do half of what Rumsfeld has and continues to do.

Posted by: Bruce Hayden at July 16, 2004 03:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hope this isn't true ....


Posted by: kiret at July 16, 2004 04:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, I (kinda) hope it is. Just another thing for the terrorist to fear. Better for them to die fighting like cornered rats than end up clogging up Iraqi prisons, only to be let out again.

These bastards need to understand they've chosen a road that only ends with their death - and that they've no chance for victory.

That's how we stop them from getting new recruits - certain death and no hope of winning.

The "martyr for allah" thing? That's already there and we can't change that.

Posted by: Tim at July 16, 2004 04:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Then how do we control Allawi enough so he doesn't turn into Saddam lite?

And if he does turn into Saddam lite .....
What the hell did we go over there for? To put our own dictator in? Hey, he is an a**hole - but he is our a**hole? What if he doesn't stop with executing insurgents and starts doing the same to his political enemies?

Posted by: kiret at July 16, 2004 04:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"What the hell did we go over there for? To put our own dictator in?"

No -- and yes. We went over there to get rid of Saddam and create conditions on the ground that would support our war against the psychotics who want to burn our babies. Sure, we want a westernized pro-American democracy there. But if we can't get that in the short run, we'll take an otherwise benign dictator who sometimes moonlights as Jesse James in the Abu Graihb yard. So long as he's wasting thugs who want to blow me up because I haven't taken the hajj, that'll be okay.

But, like all dictatorships -- whether benign or malign -- Iraq must in the long run give way to some form of democracy. I'm sure no one here would disagree that a liberal democracy is the only way to insure stability in a pluralistic society. If Allawi's folks nail the punks just for now, it'll be okay. But if they think they're going to be able to do the neo-Baathist thing and hold onto power through gangsterism, I think we'd expect to see Proconsul Negroponte orchestrate a Rose Revolution -- backed up, if necessary, with some well placed precision bombing.

Note, of course, that a vote for Kerry would basically be a vote for our asshole. Kerry's made as clear as he can that he's the realist in this one, and a realist wouldn't keep 150,000 GIs on the ground to support a fledgling democracy. Instead, he'd install the friendly dictator, withdraw the troops, open channels to Iran to keep the regional balance in order, kick some more weapons the Saudis' way, keep the oil pouring out, and, above all, focus his attention on the purported "root cause" of instability in the region: Israel v. Palestinians. In other words, Clinton/Carter redux and, in my opinion, abject failure.

Like it or not, Bush is pissed and he wants to finish the job. He'll transform the Middle East one way or another -- with bombs if he has to, Rose Revolutions if he can. He recognizes that the situation there continues to be intolerable, and that the enemy isn't content anymore to just kill Jews who dare live in their midst. These guys are coming after us, and Kerry hasn't said one thing yet to convince me that he understands.

Posted by: Larry at July 16, 2004 06:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah, Larry's right. We don't even need any precision bombing - we still have 120,000 or so troopers on the ground - and so we're not likely to see this thing spin out of control.

Finally, I'm not sure the story is accurate - but it isn't an altogether bad thing for the terrorist to think it might be.

Posted by: Tim at July 16, 2004 06:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Re "This is a war":

No, it's not. Terrorists are not going to march into Washington and set up a Muslim government. We are not fighting any single entity who has any hope of destroying us. (How many WTC attacks would it take to bring the US down? 10,000? 100,000?)

We are also not fighting an enemy that can ever be destroyed - "fanatical Islam" or "terror" will never walk up and offer surrender There will always be terrorist nuts of one sort or another.

Not a war. Not a struggle against crime. And it's not peacetime.

But one thing is for sure: it needs some creative thinking & some perspective. It needs police work and military action and international cooperation and nation building. It's not going to be solved by George "Let's find a nation to invade" Bush.

The Bush foreign policy team is stuck in the Cold War. From the rhetoric, you would think "the Axis of Evil" was a new incarnation of the Communist Menace. Well, it's not - there is *no* Global Terror Alliance. The only thing all the "arms" of al-Qaeda have in common is - fanatical Islam.

The terror attacks are f'ing pinpricks relative to our size and dominance. The only way al Qaeda will "win" is by irritating us so much with continued pointless bloodshed that we leave the Middle East alone.

That's not going to happen under ANY president.

Response to 9/11 - we invaded Iraq. Hope you feel better now. Now please calm the f*** down.

the wesson

PS The only very substantial danger is nuclear weapons. I believe Kerry would probably work better with the Russians to help keep the nukes from the nuts.

Posted by: thewesson at July 16, 2004 07:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

By the way - if it's an ideological struggle - a war waged against an ideology of fanatical Islam - what is Bush doing to persuade "undecided" Arabs that the West is Better than the Rest?

Posted by: wesson at July 16, 2004 07:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah that crazy-like-a-fox forward-looking Rumsfeld ensured that we spent a year and billions of dollars doing a bad job of occupying Iraq. That accomplished an Iraq bloodier and less stable than it was a year ago.

Could've handed Iraq over to some suitable Iraqis in June 2003 and saved a heap of dough.

Or we could've used 400,000 soldiers and occupied Iraq for a year and handed over a stable, lawful Iraq to a new government.

But basically the entire past year has been a complete waste of resources. This year has accomplished a large uptick in violence and massive dislike of the US in Iraq.

I don't really give a damn about us being liked if we're getting something done in the process of getting to be disliked. However, we've not got much to show.

Anyhow, thanks Rummy. $$$ and blood for the past year and we've got 30 million Iraqis pissed off at us and two car bombs a week.

the wesson

Posted by: thewesson at July 16, 2004 08:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The only way al Qaeda will "win" is by irritating us so much with continued pointless bloodshed that we leave the Middle East alone."

Here's the problem with your approach. Al Qaida is a problem. But they're not as big of a problem as Iran. Al Qaida is defeated. Not in the sense where they no longer exist, but in the sense where nations can no longer support, harbor or defend the organization or its people in any way, shape or form. Iran on the other hand is not defeated. It continues to be THE major terror maestro. It's actions are a direct threat to the United States via its meddling in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and its state policy of endless war to destroy Israel.

Iran has supporters, states, people, religious leaders among its many diplomatic 'sovereign' covers. In addition it has no diplomatic relations with the United States just like a previous middle eastern government. Al Qaida has the people, the religious leaders and the money, but they don't have the UN, nor Europe, nor Asian states. It's closest state support is the tribal regions of Pakistan that are essentially Saudi Arabia Minor.

The money men for Al Qaida are still Arabs, mostly Saudis, but also financiers in Dubai. Iran is the money men for nearly every other terror outfit from Iraq, to Turkey, to Algeria and of course the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Any candidate for President that thinks the WoT is primarily a law enforcement issue needs to have a sit down with Louis Freeh. Then one with Amir Taheri. And finally Fouod Ajami. They need to get a briefing on why war with Iran is inevitable whether it is the United States that fights back or it is Iran that continues to wage it unchallenged.

It should continue to be in the US interest to seek non-proliferation, but that will not last. More nations are going nuclear. They will get them. They will sell them. They will use them. To assume or observe otherwise is to completely misunderstand the premise of Jihad.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 16, 2004 08:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Silly Kerry. I bet he doesn't even believe it's a good idea to give terrorists daily training in how to disrupt oil production for the future overthrow of Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Posted by: praktike at July 16, 2004 08:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thewesson's comment:
"Re "This is a war":
"No, it's not. "

Have you ever seen Ground Zero?
Have you ever seen the actual devastation where the Pentagon was hit?
I have - and I have been in DC and NYC.

The jihadists absolutely believe they are conducting a war against the United States.
That is the most important lesson to learn from this.

As to your comment "Terrorists are not going to march into Washington", they don't march - they sneak. All they need to do is sneak in Washington DC with two or three nuke suitcase bombs and they will destroy the US Govt as we know it.

It is exactly the sense that USA does not need to take them "seriously" and that they are nothing more than "pinpricks" - that was to blame for 9/11 in the first place. The total complacency and sense of invulnerability is misplaced, and based on serious lack of knowledge of the real threats out there.

Lets hope you are not voting in November.
That is exactly what al Qaeda is counting on.


Posted by: Jeffrey Imm at July 16, 2004 10:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hmmmmm....interesting site....

Of course many people will claim an attack in the States before the Elections is a plot by Al Queda to influence the results, just like in Spain. Does anyone actually recall the percentage of the population that supported Aznar's decision to participate in the "folly" of Iraq? Even if there had been no bombs I think it's pretty certain he would have been out.

So, an attack would be to influence the elections, but would it not also point out the total failure of the Bush Administration to deal with Al Queda, how so many of those behind the group are still free, how Afganistan continues to wallow in chaos and insecurity for all. Thats a great success story for the Bush Admin now isn't it.

Tell me, if you consider Bush as CEO of America Inc, after the last 3 1/2 years, would you still want him running your company?

The World is safer, yeah, my ass, at least Kerry has some damn brains in his head, he's not perfect but he's a damn site better that the dunce in the WH now.


Posted by: Caribdude at July 16, 2004 10:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Have you ever seen Ground Zero?"

Yes... I have, I saw the smoking rubble with my own eyes, and I say it's not a war.

"they don't march - they sneak"

Enough of them to conquer the city? Are you nuts? This isn't a British regiment landing on the Potomic and burning the city. It's not a Japanese carrier group. We're talking about a small handful of bloody-minded lunatics, not an army. They can never defeat the United States. They can only scare us into overreacting. That's exactly what we did in Iraq.

"That is exactly what al Qaeda is counting on."

al Qaeda wants us to overreact. They want the US to invade the middle east because it destabilizes the princely states and angers the people. Their ultimate goal is not the defeat of the US, but the establishment of a new Caliphate.

Bush is Osama's tool.

Posted by: Willigula at July 16, 2004 11:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Actually, I've heard it's the other way around, but that could be saavy bluffing on AQ's part.
(link: http://dailyablution.blogs.com/the_daily_ablution/2004/04/alqaida_we_hope.html) A yahoo group does not "actionable intelligence" make, but then again, neither does a blog. ;)

Thanks for inventing "jihad baiting" as a political tactic. The next step is obviously announcing there are a certain number of card carrying jihadists in the US government and Hollywood, and holding Senate hearings about them. Put the pressure on folks to either fess up or denounce others, because, buddy, this is war and if you aren't behind the President, you must be a commie terrorist. Get your white pencils, this kind of list is always written on black.

So, I guess, since we are at war, and, according to the topic, anyone voting for Kerry must be a closet jihadist, we should just round up everyone who intends to vote against Bush and shoot them through the head right now. Welcome to America. It's not democracy, we can't tolerate it, it's too dangerous, and that's why the terrorists have (probably) already won. They bluffed you all into throwing your respect and duty to freedom away to blindly defend a flag and an economic system.

Sadaam bluffed Bush into invading Iraq. Seriously, where did all that Soviet era game theory go? He dragged his feet and pretended to have something to hide. Why would he do that? So the Iranians wouldn't realize he had nothing left from the 80s-90s and just roll into Bhagdad themselves. He totally suckered Bush into this, he's still gonna retire ALIVE and RICH (shades of Pinochet anyone?), and it looks like some Americans who until now have been harping on how we are exporting democracy (something we've never been very good at, we are about 2 for 10 before Iraq, and our successes were hardly ours alone) are preparing to be satisfied with yet-another-strongman. Strongmen ALWAYS turn on you, you idiots. Remember Noriega? He had to kill a Marine to get us mad enough to oust him. Remember Idi Amin? He died of natural causes in Saudi Arabia. Hmmmmm, perhaps I picked the wrong career.

Setting up a strongman isn't what we went there for, especially if you believe that liberation and democratization were the original validating causes belli. If we end up with a strongman in Iraq, every single reason for going there will have been invalid. And we will have created another generation of jihadists willing to die to take a few others with them.

Voting for Bush isn't a vote for AQ, and neither is voting for Kerry. They are both qualified, and it's the American people who will decide this. Please stop "jihad baiting" your opposition. At least the Left has been successful at policing "Hitler baiting" by their mainstream, despite what GWBs campaign might wish to claim. Now I can only hope the Right can police this idiocy as well.

Posted by: Saint Waldo at July 16, 2004 11:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

An incredibly large number of Americans are tired of the U.S. war against al Qaeda terrorism, as evidence by the sellout crowds loudly cheering left-wing extremist Michael Moore's dishonest documentary F911 all over the country. Some of Senator Kerry's less responsible rhetoric, including his deplorable comment that he didn't want to see F911 because he had "lived through it", is obviously designed to appeal to that large constituency.

When Senator Kerry becomes President, however, I believe he will largely abandon those anti-war constituents. To please those constituents, while in office, would be too dangerous for any U.S. President.

Under the new Kerry Administration, God-willing, proposals to water down the USA PATRIOT act will be quietly dropped, and neither Iraq nor Afghanistan will be abandoned to the enemy.

I hopethat President Kerry will betray and even embitter many of his most enthusiastic supporters by continuing to vigorously pursue the war on al Qaeda terrorism.

Posted by: Arjun at July 16, 2004 11:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"by continuing to vigorously pursue the war on al Qaeda terrorism"

Clearly there is a lapse in allegories. It is the primary issue in this race. That issue of whether to strike before struck; to bite before bitten; or in the case of the United States to bite and strike after repeatedly being struck and bitten.

I observe the Kerry supporters as suffering from the same syndrome as the containment theorists of the Cold War. While I want to be surprised, the truth is I cannot for to do so would be to have thrown out the entire record of the New Democrats since their inception.

The Kerry supporter is likely the one that says THEY are they way they are because we made decisions that made them that way. On the other hand you have the Bush supporter that says THEY are the way they are because they are human, with beliefs, with tradition, with original sin.

Saint Waldo tells us that if there exists a strongman then we will have created another generation of "jihadists". On the contrary, by merely existing we have created generation upon generation of jihadists merely because we are human, with beliefs, with tradition, with original sin. Qualities, ones in which we cannot escape less we are to acknowledge the path of Barbara Lee, Ron Dellums and John Conyers vis a vis revolutionary Marxism installed within a population that has rejected it time and time again.

Terrorism, like Communism, is fomented by the actions of man, not nature. It just doesn't exist. It is harbored. It is implemented. It is executed. It's a choice. And our means to defend against it are also a choice. I choose not John Kerry.

Posted by: Brennan Stout at July 17, 2004 12:17 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Interesting........it's not a war, yet we have an enemy who openly states that his intention is to kill Americans. And who has a rather long track record of doing just that.

Frankly, I don't care if you call it war or call it a square dance. There's people who want to kill Americans---and I want them to stop. If we have to kill them to stop them---well, that's the choice they made on how to deal with America.

BTW, why don't you look beyond your nose. Play what-if. As in: "What if the Sears Tower and the Hancock Building go boom and fall into Lake Michigan?" What will be the reaction of the American populace?
Is it more likely to be:
A) "We had it coming. Let's hope they leave San Francisco alone."
B) "That's enough. Lets deplete some of our nuclear arsenal. Halliburton will somehow figure out how to burn radioactive oil."

Posted by: ray at July 17, 2004 12:21 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Saint Waldo said: "If we end up with a strongman in Iraq, every single reason for going there will have been invalid."

Wrongo. Saddam is gone. Remember him? The original WMD? Saddam's gone and Allawi's in our pocket. Sounds like a net gain to me. And why would he turn on us? Who pays his salary?

And this: "And we will have created another generation of jihadists willing to die to take a few others with them."

Prove it. My speculation is as good as yours: 'And we will have created a generation of Arabs who deplore jihadist terrorism and will fight along side Americans to stop it.'

The final story hasn't been filed on our Iraq adventure. Give it another 15 years or so. But in the meantime, consider Greg's right-on analysis: Do you want a President who'll keep boots on the ground to kick a lot of ass and try to turn that sorry corner of the world into a region that exports something other than dead dinosaurs and guys with TNT up their asses? Or do you want a President who'll smoke cigars with Sadr and Arafat and Chirac at their cordial summit to divide the power in the region and keep the criminal kleptocrats in power and the oil flowing -- and batten down the hatches at home when Jihad Joe comes after us again?

Oh, and this isn't "jihad bashing" (whatever that means). There are a few less buildings standing now in a certain corner of Manhattan thanks to a bunch of guys who think it's hip to incinerate children in Allah's name. And they'll do it again and again and again until they've achieved their strategic objective: totaltarian islamism in all of the Near East. That's their stated mission, and to ignore it in this political season is like ignoring stink on shit. Since it's there, we've gotta flush it down.

And which man can we bet on to finish this mission? Arjun might "hope that President Kerry will betray and even embitter many of his most enthusiastic supporters by continuing to vigorously pursue the war on al Qaeda terrorism." But that's just a hope. Here's a fact: Bush will continue to vigorously pursue the war on al Qaeda terrorism. Full stop. Could the choice be clearer?

Oh, one more thing. I REALLY want any Republican or War Democrat who's reading all of these posts to step back and think which man -- Bush or Kerry -- will keep pressing this fight. If you're considering Kerry for a minute because of budget deficit or gay marriage or economic what-not or whatever, ask yourself this: Are those issues existential? And if the answer is no, ask yourself this: Why Kerry?

Posted by: Larry at July 17, 2004 12:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wesson: Do you remeber Slartibadflast's "danger-proof" sunglasses?

Kid: Bingo. I' m shocked everytime I here someone at HQs mumble about the SecDef. Mind you -it's rare. But I...oh wait - favorite part of the movie...

what makes a King out of a slave?
what makes the flag on the mast to wave?

What makes the muskrat guard his musk..

What makes the hotentots so hot?

Sorry - daughter's DVD on downstairs

Answer: Courage

anyway - yes, ..but I'm shocked at the bureucrat's that are bridling under Rummy. Did they not read the brochure? The Army's screwed me several times - but it's never been dishonest about what it was...

Use us - we (most of us) love out jobs..

..If you please, sir, I am Dorothy, the small and meek...

Brilliant film

Posted by: Tommy G at July 17, 2004 01:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You know - Kerry's a little Tin-man-esque. Also love the part where the TM just assumes that the Wizard wants to hear his story - because he's yet to be interupted.

"you see, I while back, my friends and I..."

OK - fine - I'll tell her to turn it- no, on second thought - I'm going to watch the end. Later.

"oh we loathe..."

Posted by: Tommy G at July 17, 2004 01:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There will always be terrorists of one sort or another, but Bush and crew have decided that the Middle East will no longer provide the land, labor, and capital the terror enterprise employs to achieve its goals.

Be clear about this: That idiot Bush has embarked on a world historical gamble: he aims to change history. For almost two generations radical Islam has instilled in millions an adolescent ideology of hate, intolerance, subjugation of women, and moral superiority that seeks to take over the world by whatever means prove necessary. Bush is betting that, over time, this menace can be defeated. To date, most of the Anglosphere (http://www.pattern.com/bennettj-anglosphereprimer.html ), New Europe, and several other countries agree. Again, this is a bet, a gamble; there’s no guaranteed outcome.

The move into Iraq was easily defensible in international law: Iraq was in violation of UN sanctions based on the settlement of the Gulf War – an open-and-shut case. Intervention based on human rights violations and threats to the US were also defensible, but were simply icing on the cake. Saddam was taken by surprise because the French and Russians promised to tie Bush up in the UN. To Saddam’s dismay, they couldn’t. What’s worse is that they’ve probably not apologized to Saddam for this yet.

Bush’s goal is to upset the status quo in the Mid-East to deny safe haven to terrorists and move against those regimes that sponsor terrorism. This is innovative because he’s betting that by this approach, the US can solve the Palestinian problem, strike at the sponsors (those who provide funds or safe haven) of much of the terror, and eliminate WMD threats in the area. The regimes in Iran and Syria (not to mention Lebanon’s Beka Valley) are in our sights too, but the means of their demise is not yet known. We already have tangible results – Libya has turned away from supporting terror and we’ve discovered and are now dismantling the covert network of nuclear weapons development that operated out of Pakistan. But there’s a lot more to do. That’s why we have forces in central Asia and Africa in our full-court press.

What we’ve missed on this post and in our political discussion is the calculus of not proceeding aggressively now. The Bush team knows that at some point some group could detonate a nuke in the US and kill one million people. Were that to happen, even President Ralph Nader, facing the outcry of an enraged, blood-thirsty public, would convene a council of the best and the brightest to determine our response.

This council would assess the available intelligence, confer with allies, and even confer with France and determine that the folks who attacked and their resources are in Country A, Country B, Country C, Country D, or Country E – it’s hard to tell. They’d also advise that if we hit Country A and killed a million, and the bad guys weren’t there, they could launch another attack and kill another million in the US. We could then attack Country E and kill another million. If we missed the bad guys, the cycle would repeat. The really smart guys would point out that repeated attacks would not sit well with the public, so the only reasonable thing to do to protect the nation is to wipe out all of the suspected threats. What the heck, we’ve got the weapons, no?

The logic is inescapable – any president who did not respond with the maximum force would be forced out of office in a skinny minute, leaving his successor no choice but to nuke all the possible threats and kill hundreds of millions. The Bushies understand the calculus and seek to eliminate the conditions that could lead to this horrific event: the US destroying the Muslim world with nuclear weapons.

So if you think Kerry understands all this, cast your vote for him by all means. I don’t see him as able to disregard world opinion to take on the threats we know to exist today. He’s by nature accommodating and rather passive, qualities that allow our enemies to thrive and become more dangerous.

Posted by: The Kid at July 17, 2004 04:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oh, my lord. What nonsense on here. John Kerry is a "pussy"? No, actually, he's seen war up close. He's killed people and had people try to kill him. He's got an intelligence an order of magnitude greater than the current occupant of the White House, whose most dangerous stunt was using 3 illegal substances all in one night. Kerry will actually accomplish things to make the US safer, such as - say - securing our ports, food supply, chemical plants, train system, nuclear (not "nukular") plants, and electrical grid. You know, all the stuff that should have been done over the past 2 1/2 years. He probably won't go invading countries that have nothing to do with terrorism, though, so if that's your thing, please by all means vote against him.

Posted by: Mithras at July 17, 2004 04:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Kerry is a combat vet who earned three purple hearts and a Silver Star while your frat boy cheerleader was busy guarding the Mexican border and getting high .... so shut the hell up."

John Kerry was a hero in an immoral war.

Posted by: J_Crater at July 17, 2004 04:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Saying that Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism is a truly stupid statement. Believing that you can prevent terrorism by "securing the borders" is almost as stupid. You get security from terrorism by killing the terrorists before they get here. And eventually you need to drain the swamps that create terrorists.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at July 17, 2004 04:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Allow me to pile on poor Mithras: This sort of supercilious nonsense is the crap that will cause Democrats to lose not just this election, but perhaps the next ten. I have no doubt that you think you're smarter than the president. Hell, you even pronounce that word nucular pretty dang smart! (See http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary to settle this stupid red herring once and for all.)

But here's the problem for you, college boy: You're not smarter than Bush. If you were, you couldn't possibly think that more rent-a-cops at power stations and grain silos is going to stop homicidal jihadist maniacs from hijacking planes and crashing them into my house. Because, if you recall, that's the issue here: Psychos want to kill you and me, and if every guardsman in every state inspects every ship in every port, it won't stop them from trying. Or ultimately succeeding.

The only thing that will stop these crazies (and this is what geniuses like Mithras and Kerry can't understand) is regime change in the Near East. And unlike the scholarly Mithras, most Americans will grok this when they vote in the fall.

A postscript. Kerry gets kudos, I suppose, for wasting VCs in country. He certainly does not deserve our thanks, though, for tossing his sacrifice (and the sacrifices of thousands of American lives and millions of Vietnamese) in the toilet by working to undermine the war effort when he came home. I'll bet that Vietnamese refugees and political prisoners aren't quite celebrating the nomination of a man who in his own small way helped the communist dictators of Vietnam wreck their lives.

(I repeat my question above to Republicans and War Democrats: Are we going to stand together against totalitarianism this November, or are you with Mithras?)

Posted by: Larry at July 17, 2004 05:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The most important thing the Devil ever accomplished is to convince the world that he didn’t exist.

They can never defeat the United States. They can only scare us into overreacting. That's exactly what we did in Iraq.-Willigula

How can people be so blind? Overreacting? It may seem that way to those that are so blissfully ignorant as to think that 911 was just a one time sucker punch. On the contrary, it was merely the escalation of a conflict that began in 1947. More accurately with Abraham and Sarah, but that’s only for those looking at the entire picture. Now back to our narrow-minded modern view. WWII was not the war to end all wars, and equally so Bushes reinvasion of Iraq will not end anything. It is simply the next step in a long walk that we are all a part of, like it or not. Closing ones eyes and hiding under ones blanket will not make the bogyman go away. Left swinging presidents have a history of doing just that.

There will always be terrorists and there will always be another war. To argue is to be ignorant.

Listen to The Kid

By the way, securing our borders is easy. Didn’t you know that every terrorist has a big “Kill America” stamp on his/her forehead?

Posted by: Michael at July 17, 2004 05:37 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

ok...sounds good. you guys have the mentality of the sean penn character in colors. gang violence has ceased in south central los angeles with the overtly successful drain the swamp mentality. bring out the cretins and we'll just shoot 'em? whoo hoo! kerry is pussy cuz he won't shoot first and ask questions later? who has my gun, my both my hands are on my dick right now!

i don't even know what that means

Posted by: nova silverpill at July 17, 2004 06:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, nova silverpill's ad hominem aside, this has got to be one of the better illustration of who has the grip on reality; Bush's people or Kerry's.

One of the sad things about liberalism is that it used to be so muscular. Before the coalition that FDR built died in the elephant grass of Vietnam, Democrats produced men who understood that foreign policy stops at the water's edge. They literally saw to it that foreign and military policy was a product of consultation with opposition Republicans on the Hill. How else can one explain the success of Truman's policy of containment and Marshall's project to rebuild Europe. They sought out the advice of the Republicans and brought them on board, having learned the lessons of Wilson's disastrous attempt to foist the League on the American people in 1919.

So too did Ike work with Carl Vinson, John Stennis, and Sam Rayburn to continue the Truman policy. It was good for the country. Ike believed in and so did others.
Those days have passed into history, replaced as they are by craven political calculation.

With every passing day, Joe Wilson's credibility sinks into the abyss. Every new release of information indicates that Saddam was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger after all. The notion that this President lied to drag us into war falls further and further into disrepute. Kerry, at long last, has revealed his opposition to the war; this will not stand the test of time. But Democrats, hungry as they are for executive power, will not see that, nor will they understand the harm they are doing.

In their eagerness to upend the Bush Administration and get cushy offices in the West Wing, they have destroyed any notion of a common war effort. Their constant mantra that "Bush lied" has led to a rise in influence of the virulently antiwar and pacifist wing of the Party that Bill Clinton had been so successful in keeping as dormant. Michael Moore's film is merely the logical conclusion of an effort to inspire the shock troops. The left wing that has captured the Democratic Party's apparatus has done so with nary a peep from the Massachusetts senator. Sad to say, should he win, he cannot govern. His acolytes have spent too much time peddling anger and malice instead of reasoned argument and a call to attend to the common danger.

Democrats do this because they are angry. They say they are angry at Bush, but what really gives it away is that they are not terribly pro-Kerry. They simply hate Bush. They hate Bush more than they hate Saddam or Al-Zarqawi, bin Laden, or Al-Zawahiri. But why the hatred?

It's nothing Bush has done. Not really. Liberal Democrats are disoriented by the world bin Laden has created. The Democratic Party as it is presently constituted, is simply not capable of carrying on an elemental struggle for survival over a long period of time. I am not convinced that Democrats have the internal will to send our enemies to the hell they deserve. Kerry goes on about his war record because he understands that he rules a pacifist, accomodationist party. He needs to turn people's attention away from that salient fact. And so, he goes on about his record, while his acolytes go forward to condemn Bush for his own service.

Either fear of bin Laden or fear of uncertainty governs them. They can't do anything about bin Laden except damn him for interrupting their lives, but they can hate Bush.They know this in their inner selves, when they look inside. What they see is fear, of course.

They are afraid, these Democrats. This used to be FDR's Democratic Party. It is no more. I fear that all they have to offer is fear itself.

Posted by: section9 at July 17, 2004 07:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I cannot believe anyone would be delusional enough to compare FDR - our greatest modern President - with that dress up cheerleader in the White House.

FDR with Churchill SAVED the world from fascists
Bush is a fascist lite ("everyone should be careful what they say')

FDR created Social Security, the New Deal, led this country out of the Great Depression
Bush gives away tax cuts his wealthy buddies

FDR worked day and night despite an infirmity
Bush spends 1/3 his time on vacation and likes to play dress up and say things like "Bring it on"

FDR rallied the world and created strong alliances to fight the Nazis
Bush has severly damaged the alliances that FDR created!

FDR's legacy helped creat the UN
Bush thinks we can go it alone and then when he fails slinks back to the institution he dismissed.

And you could go on and on and on ....

Bush is the anti-FDR.

Posted by: kiret at July 17, 2004 08:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Kerry is a combat vet ..."

Love it! Benedict Arnold was a combat vet and one of Washington's most trusted officers.

Your point is?

Posted by: Sven Svenson at July 17, 2004 12:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg's previous post (The 64,000 dollar question) seemed to argue in favour of a vote for Bush, not on the record of the last 4 years, but because in the next 4 his policies were going to be different, more like the Democrats' in fact.

It may well be true that Kerry's election would not make that much difference in relations with Europe. However, Gerhard Schroeder was in London last week. In an interview with the BBC on Friday he stressed that it was necessary to look to the past rather than the future and the importance of Europe not being divided, and not being divided from the US.

The election of Kerry might just make it possible for France and Germany to put behind them the past differences with the US over Iraq. Problem is, when we get to January 2005, with an elected Iraqi government, the talk is likely to be, not of increased, or wider, foreign involvement in Iraq, but of a time-table for withdrawal.

So, the crucial issue for the future may well be Iran. Would Kerry more explicitly support the EU-3's attempts to get Iran to give up uranium enrichment ? Maybe. I also saw the front page of the (London) Times had a story that Bush, in a second term, would seek to foment a revolt in Iran. This would seem to indicate that the neo-con influence (as opposed to the plain conservative or realist) is not as dead in the Bush administration as some would argue.

Most of this, I admit, doesn't add up to a positive argument for Kerry, more for Anybody But Bush.

Posted by: DavidP at July 17, 2004 01:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As I wrote above, I think a lot of Senator Kerry's rhetoric is irresponsible, but you can't predict a President's foreign policies from the Presidential candidate's foreign policy rhetoric.

Once Senator Kerry becomes U.S. President, the reality of al Qaeda's war against the U.S. will compel him to act far more forcefully than his current quasi Moore-ist rhetoric would predict.

I eagerly await the bitter disappointment of Mr. Kerry's most ardent supporters.

Posted by: Arjun at July 17, 2004 04:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Point about what Clinton campaigned on is well taken. Exactly right. That it took him three years and tens of thousands of Bosnian lives - to come through -- well noted. But he ultimately came through, and moved more quickly in Kosovo in his second administration. And Bush 41 didn't even express the conviction that stopping genocide was a value worth pursuing.

Posted by: Laura at July 17, 2004 07:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The problem I have with Kerry is that he will be pulled by poor polling, Democrat Party special interest groups, and his own tendency to seek consensus.

As of today, there are few differences between Bush and Kerry on Iraq, but there’s a wide gulf between them on what comes after. Kerry has announced his preference of following the lead of Old Europe, those who’ve proved feckless in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. He also wants to move away from aggressive military action towards a law enforcement approach in the war on terror, somehow thinking that nations in Africa – Sudan, Somalia, and others on the eastern side of that continent – will too.

I hope that Bush’s exit strategy from Iraq involves splitting the forces and leaving via Syria and Iran, but I’m a dreamer and would so like to see the Beka Valley in the spring…

Kerry’s likely pick for Secretary of State, Richard Holbrooke, is a shameless Europhile. In “How Did 'Never Again' Become Just Words?” (WaPo, Outlook, 4/4/04) (copy here: http://www.artukraine.com/famineart/holbrooke.htm ) compares the Clinton administration’s failure to act in Rwanda to Bush’s failure to send the Marines into Liberia. Okay, he’s partisan and we all must admit that Clinton is the master apologizer. Holbrooke just has to point out that not only did the US not intervene, but we demanded a full UN withdrawal, and follows this with “In fact, only the French did intervene eventually, in a limited way.”

Ex-squeeze me, but why the hat-tip to the French? It was an outrageous attempt to curry favor with the French and lambaste Bush administration foreign policy. I cite in support of this charge Canadian Army General Romeo Dallaire, the hapless commander of U.N. forces in Rwanda. In a 6/15/2002 WaPo article about Dallaire’s Rwanda nightmare, the reporter writes:
But he notes that the Italians and the Belgians were quick to send troops to rescue their nationals, even though they wouldn't help Rwandans. The French, he notes, evacuated not only their nationals but also politically sympathetic Rwandans, "including the bulk of the Rwandan president's family, who are not exactly the nicest people on earth."

(I don’t object to the evacuations, just Holbrooke’s characterization of French intervention. I guess the Italians and Belgians “intervened” a little less by evacuating only their nationals.)

The reason the war will last a long time - a generation? - is that cultural depravity is feeding it. "Depravity" is a strong word, but I can think of none better in describing a structure that humiliates and abuses one half the population - women. The Saudi-financed schools worldwide have been mixing theology with hate and militancy for over 35 years; graduate courses have been available in US prisons for almost as long. Ending that curriculum tomorrow would still leave a couple of generations of students - today's adults and teenagers - who have a peculiar outlook on life, women, modernity, and the universe. Need I mention that tolerance is not given much prominence in this curriculum?

Every time I think about who Kerry might pick for Attorney General, I start doing shooters. His administration will close down Guantanamo and end up duplicating a hundredfold this extra-inning travesty: http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/

But I come closest to despair when I think about his choice for SecDef. Rumsfeld is an experienced executive, financially well-off, and doesn’t need to curry favor with politicians or anybody else – he won’t be looking for a job when his tour is up. He’s successful because he’s independent, a wily bureaucratic infighter, and aggressive. He can do what his boss wants and the country needs.

The Democrats always have a problem with defense; Clinton had to turn to a moderate Republican for his last SecDef after the Army docs killed the first one and the second one needed more money. Kerry will probably find McCain too independent: the latter’s instincts are good and he’d keep the politics that Rumsfeld’s had to crush out, but he doesn’t have the management experience necessary to organize and guide the Pentagon, and would end up as a micro-manager. Kerry is more likely to pick some idiot – he has many to choose from.

Finally, the only way the US has a chance of improving relations with France and Germany is to follow their orders. That will in part require the US to scale back economic growth and transfer wealth to developing countries. Focusing only on the mechanics and standards of the Kyoto Treaty, all signatories must scale back to 1990 emissions levels. I’m sure that this particular year was selected at random; the technocrats probably didn’t realize that the US was entering a recession and the wall had just fallen in Europe. Thus the impact falls harder on the US than it does on Germany. The latter gets credits for all the dirty and inefficient East German factories that have since closed. It’s not too hard either on the French who use nukes to produce 77% of their electricity. The big killer for the US is its economic growth: the GDP grew from $6,707.9B in 1990 to $9,439.9 in 2002, an increase of 136% - most of Europe didn’t achieve half that. It will take carbon taxes and wealth transfers in the form of purchases of emissions credits from countries that pretend to meet their goals. Russia could be a big winner, and China is exempt – that’ll go over well in the heartland.

I guess if you strangle the economy slowly enough, folks won’t notice. It just seems silly to me to spend trillions of dollars to slow warming down by six years and keep the French happy.

Posted by: The Kid at July 17, 2004 08:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'd love to see you cite some backup for your predictions for the Kerry cabinet. Transcriptions of calls into the Psychic Friends Network? When you don't know, the intelligent move generally is to keep your mouth shut. Or you might find yourself bringing things up like...

Milosevic? You're kidding, right? We caught him, if you can remember back to when the US did things efficiently and effectively. Meanwhile, where is that pesky bin Laden these days?

What garbage you spew in every post I read. Garbage, however, with a pattern: Oddball cites to justify word-length (a New Yorker link, fer chrissakes, and please, all right-wingers here, read the NYer every week, pretty please?) sandwiched between fear-baiting speculation, self-serving conclusions and predictions fresh-pulled from your ass.

I'd love to know many people actually bother to read the long-winded, nonsensical blather you spend so much time over?

Posted by: djangone at July 17, 2004 11:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

By the way, Kid, while you're posting Seymour Hersh New Yorker links, how about continuing down the Sy chain a bit to the reportage on how Rumsfeld's 'forward leaning' policy of cutting through the bureaucracy created the Abu Ghraib scandal, the greatest national embarrasment in sixty years.

About which, there will surely be more, except in this go-round it'll be about videotaped, sodomized boys.


Amazingly enough, Hersh has yet fully to report on Abu Ghraib. Expect it before October. I'd hesitate to spread such a vile rumor, except that Hersh has been both first and right in every case so far. Can't wait to hear how pro-FMA social conservatives defend the sexual preferences of these 'bad apples.'

Brennan Stout, king of the amoralists, prepare yourself. This will be your moment to shine with a 'sodomy was the right thing to do' post or six. Yes, I know you from your LGF apologist days (and above, re Allawi. I can always count on you, Brennan, to provide the buzzkill whenever I get too cheery about human nature).

Oh, that Hersh you're clamoring for...
The Gray Zone (re Rumsfeld 'leaning foward' to bring effective torture techniques from Gitmo to Iraq):

Posted by: djangone at July 18, 2004 12:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bush was crippled by fear when we were under attack, sat in a pre-school paralyzed by reality…what else would a Cheerleader from Andover do? Then he reacts like a scared hillbilly going after anything that moves, women and children included…and the other hillbillies think he is a strategic genius.

Oh and he does it in the name of God and country, sounds like Mussolini without the testicles.


Posted by: NeoDude at July 18, 2004 01:58 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ...


Posted by: oneandon at July 18, 2004 02:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

djangone – First of all…how can I put this nicely?

Why is it that left wing people tend to jump into personal insults and digs? That is, after all, the tactic of intellectually deficient schoolyard bullies. Is it not? Why don’t you try again, and this time try debating like an adult.

If and when you figure out how…help out NeoDude (what ever the hell that is)

By the way, I read what The Kid posts.

Posted by: Michael at July 18, 2004 05:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Michael- If you're going to complain about attack posts with on substance, it's best to follow your own policy... sheesh!

All these prediction fo "Kerry turning into a hawk" I find a little weird. I mean, do you think only a 'hawk' would have invaded Afghanistan? Thanks but no. It was the smart and obvious thing to do. A repressive government openly allied with Al Qaeda.

It's not like Kerry is spouting platitudes about how he's a dove right now.

I mean, think about it. What CAN Kerry do if elected? The military will still be tied up in Iraq, or will be undeploying (?). Prepositioned supplies, stockpiles of anything and everything, will be exausted. As soon as the military can plausibly pull out of Iraq it will probably suffer HUGE personnel losses from those leaving the military. The Guard will be mauled in terms of manpower, probably.

In Iraq we had a decade to build a massive supply base in Kuwait and STILL had a near-catastrophe in logistics. The "Thunder Run" of the 3rd Infantry & the Marines prevented it from bogging down due to lack of food or parts...

On the plus side we'll have gained a generation of combat veterans, which is very valuable to the military establishment.

I mean, what can we do after we pull out of Iraq? What if Allawi decides this democracy is for wussies? What can we do? Invade again? Yeah, right.

Posted by: Sandalpocalypse at July 18, 2004 12:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

*crosses eyes* I really shouldn't post at 4:00 AM... damn you random association!

Posted by: Sandalpocalypse at July 18, 2004 12:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I don’t need the Psychic Friends’ Network (PFN) to write that Holbrooke is the likely SecState pick – it’s been around for some time and Holbrooke has been campaigning for the job.
"Several Democrats close to Kerry place Holbrooke, 62, now vice chairman in the same private-investment firm as James Johnson, the director of Kerry's vice-presidential search, as the foreign-policy thinker the Massachusetts senator looks to first."

But hey, we’re on the same page when it comes to Rumsfeld and Abu Grhaib. The PFN told me that Big Dog called Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick directly and suggested that former Pennsylvania prison guard Specialist Charles Graner Jr. be allowed to run wild and do the same sort of bizarre stuff that got him into trouble in civilian life. I don’t think that included getting PFC Lynndie England pregnant, but it was a nice touch, no? That the criminal behavior of this band of morons all happened on the mid shift and seems to indicate poor supervision is again the master’s touch. I’m sure Sy Hersh will fill this all in as he’s fed more documents, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for the hard work he undertook in breaking the story. Don’t forget, he had to sit in his office, read the Army report provided to him, call the usual suspects, and work his thesaurus like it’s never been worked before.

Abu Grhaib surely must be tied to the interrogation of al Qaeda masters in Guantanamo. Fortunately, there are two wonderful, related developments. First, all of the inmates at that Caribbean spa will soon have lawyers, at government expense; some of them will surely retain their own lawyers and sue. Second, al Qaeda and associated groups have updated their training manuals with a comprehensive description of allowable interrogation techniques and methods for countering them. So good news sometimes does come from the bad.

The point about Slobodan Milosevic is that his eighteen-month trial proves the incompetence of international courts when it comes to dealing with murderers. If he ever is convicted, he’ll get twenty years in a cell nicer than any apartment in his hometown. Bush 41 or Clinton 42 should have armed the Muslims. (I write Clinton 42 to differentiate him from Clinton 44 – these posts could be timeless.)

As for Osama bin Laden, according to some reports, he’s scheduled to be captured during the Democrat National Convention later this month. Stand by…

Someone asked what Kerry can do if elected, as if Kerry’s hands will somehow be tied. He will control the military and could stop any and all aggressive efforts currently underway that might offend anybody he wants to be a close ally with. The Russians don’t like what we’re doing in many of the former Soviet Socialist republics, the French don’t like the fact that we have so many aircraft carriers when they have but one that doesn’t work too well, the Chinese don’t like our reconnaissance flights, the French and Chinese don’t like our troops in east Africa so close to their oil concessions, the Saudis are upset that they’re not getting what they’ve paid the Bush family for – there’s a lot for Kerry to stop or change if he so desires.

Finally, would only a hawk have invaded Afghanistan? I think that Bush was lucky in having on hand the team that he did. Rumsfeld’s bias for transformation caused him to press the staff for a combined force with a small footprint that could act quickly. He brought out the best in the services, and that allowed a response in less than thirty days – a remarkable achievement. If you read the Richard Schultz piece linked above, you’ll see the military’s ingrained resistance to deploying special forces. I argue that it takes a hawk to know what weapons are available and insist upon careful selection; a hawk wants to win and is not interested in what people might think. Don’t forget that the first “conventional” forces deployed in Afghanistan were Marine Expeditionary Units that could deploy immediately and operate without support for fourteen days.
Politics and interservice rivalry would normally dictate that an Army division get the glory, but the forceful Big Dog wanted a militarily effective solution, not a politically pleasing one.

I enjoy the exchange here and try to ignore the ad hominem remarks. Most of the posters are honestly trying to sort through the competing concepts, facts, and preferences to arrive at the truth.

Posted by: The Kid at July 18, 2004 05:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Michael: Not a personal insult. A critique on a pseudo-intellectual posting style.

You want me to go on-topic? You might wish I stuck to dissing Kid's whacky posting style. Here's a start, back in 2001:

Clinton admin holdovers nag Ashcroft to pay attention to terror threat. Ashcroft responds by telling naggers to shut up. Bush admin focuses on ABM, rather a little too caught up in throwing away everything the Clintonites did, good or bad. Meanwhile, a document describing, among other things, airliner attacks on lower Manhattan is prepared for senior leaders:

"Osama bin Laden Determined to Attack the United States."

Which Condoleeza Rice goes on to describe as a 'historical' document. The 'ed' on 'Determined' apparently throws her off.

We're not even to 9/11, and either gross incompetence or ideologically driven goofiness are the rule of the day in the White House. Most likely both, considering Bush's prior qualifications as the leader of the free world (which is to say, none).

That's part one of how this Administration can be trusted as a 'Steward of the War on Terror.'

Posted by: djangone at July 18, 2004 05:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Our mighty 'Steward of the War on Terror' continues his mission.

After 9/11, invades Afghanistan, providing a razor-thin respite from doing everything except fight terrorism. Apparently a little confused about this sensation of having done the right thing, Bush proceeds back to doing the exact wrong thing.

He invades Iraq.

A country with no substantial WMD, no substantial terror links and a secular government (a horrible one, but one of many horrible ones around the world).

Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan, Mullah Omar and bin Laden get clean away, warlords rule everything but the immediate vicinity of Kabul, and the poppy crop reaches record levels. Record levels of drug cultivation! In a country we occupy! Now, scratch your head and tell me what kinds of shiny things opium buys...hmmm...weapons, martyrs, terror operation funds... all sorta float to mind.

Iraq does its best impression of a hornet's nest after a brush with a baseball bat. Zero postwar planning results in zero postwar order. Whatever planning was done by State is rejected by Defense, under the leadership of 'forward leaning' Rumsfeld.

Then, in an act of political vindictiveness unequalled in US history, the White House 'outs' a covert CIA operative who works on WMD. Committing, thereby, not only treason, but treason that disables the network of someone working in a vital part of this 'war.'

This picture is so sorry I can't even go on. Yes, we're in a war. Right now we're being led by the gang that can't shoot straight.

To repeat Kevin Drum's question: what part of Bush's Stewardship does anyone like?

Posted by: djangone at July 18, 2004 06:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I read a quote from Michael Moore in the BBC, in which denied that he was a tool of the Democratic Party and warned that he would keep a close eye on President Kerry.

I believe Michael Moore in this instance. He criticized President Clinton, unfairly, in my opinion, for the 1998 missile strike on al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. He states in his website that the 1998 attack "killed only civilians." That is a false statement, unless one considers al Qaeda terrorists and Pakistani intelligence officers to be civilians.

So I predict that Michael Moore, at least, will be disappointed by President Kerry's continued strong leadership in the U.S. war on al Qaeda terrorism, and Michael Moore, at least, will criticize President Kerry unfairly.

Posted by: Arjun at July 18, 2004 06:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Oops, Kid, I owe you an apology. You're back in the park with that last post.

Now I can say, simply, we disagree. Except you do that special trick of yours again in somehow concluding that Guantanamo prisoners will be living in the lap of luxury. And in thinking that Kerry would have his hands tied. If that's the case, it's only because 'Brand America' is now tragically damaged by Bush.

Posted by: djangone at July 18, 2004 06:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bush admin focuses on ABM, rather a little too caught up in throwing away everything the Clintonites did, good or bad. - djangone

To repeat Kevin Drum's question: what part of Bush's Stewardship does anyone like? - djangone

Well in rebuttal to your remark and to answer your question…I can’t and I don’t.

No one is perfect and an American president has more pitfalls in which to fall than most of us can even fathom. You do have a point with the Clinton/Bush admin change, but I do fear the same in a Bush/Kerry handover.

Here is the scenario, tell me if I’m wrong.

Kerry wins and begins to “scale back” the military’s aggressiveness worldwide. One or more of the worlds terror groups takes advantage of this and hits us 911 hard. Most likely a strike on our men and women overseas, to play on Americas “no friendly casualty” mind set. “Bring them home” is the outcry and Kerry pulls back at a faster pace. As a result terror attacks increase worldwide until the US kisses up to every Muslim friendly nation. Don’t forget, despite the rhetoric, these groups don’t intend to take over and or invade the US. They just want us out of the way so as to continue their attempted genocide of the Jewish people. To allow this to happen is the only way to permanently end terrorism. Obviously this is unacceptable.

At this point in time I believe it would be wiser to throw the book at a few US “interrogators”, praise the rest of the men and women over seas for doing a great job, and press on until this chapter can be closed.

A change in policy right now could be detrimental in the long run.

Posted by: Michael at July 18, 2004 07:08 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Kerry wins and begins to “scale back” the military’s aggressiveness worldwide. One or more of the worlds terror groups takes advantage of this and hits us 911 hard. Most likely a strike on our men and women overseas, to play on Americas “no friendly casualty” mind set. “Bring them home” is the outcry and Kerry pulls back at a faster pace. As a result terror attacks increase worldwide until the US kisses up to every Muslim friendly nation. Don’t forget, despite the rhetoric, these groups don’t intend to take over and or invade the US. They just want us out of the way so as to continue their attempted genocide of the Jewish people. To allow this to happen is the only way to permanently end terrorism. Obviously this is unacceptable.

Flawed, flawed, FLAWED!

Explain what "scaling back" the military's aggressiveness means!

Press on to..what?

What is it exactly that Kerry would DO that's so terrible? Secure Afghanistan? Withdraw from Iraq? Are you saying Kerry should never withdraw from Iraq?

Posted by: Sandalpocalypse at July 19, 2004 12:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Up above there’s some discussion of the scaling back of the military’s aggressiveness. The study by Richard Schultz describes why special forces were not used extensively pre-9/11. The fear of some is that Kerry’s desire to turn the war on terror into a law enforcement matter instead of a military offensive will send the wrong message to the bad guys; by weakening our offense, we’ll be weakening the nation’s defense.

But let’s step away from harsh rhetoric for a moment and look at what the situation will be on January 20, 2005. Whoever takes the oath of office will have to govern with a Republican House and divided Senate (i.e., neither party will have the sixty votes needed to invoke cloture). The president will have the executive branch and can therefore wield enormous power through control of the departments of Defense, Justice, State, and Homeland Security, but major legislative initiatives will be the result of compromise, just as it is today.

Many (for and against the guy) expect Bush to continue most policies, practices, and attitudes) now underway. Those who will vote for Bush focus on one or more of these and are counting on him to continue whatever it is that he’s doing that they like. Whether it’s good or not, many will vote for Bush solely because of his attitude and actions on the war on terror.

Here’s the pickle, (I’m not unsympathetic) – many, perhaps the majority, of those who will vote for Kerry will do so because they are against Bush. They may not have thought a lot – they may not even care a lot – about Kerry’s positions, but are firm in their opposition to Bush. This is a small problem for Kerry now and will be a large problem if he’s elected simply because his only mandate will really be “Don’t be Bush.” Rightly or wrongly, Kerry won the primaries simply because primary voters believed that he had the best chance of beating Bush, not because he was their cup of tea. (See today’s Modo for hints of turmoil among Kerry supporters, but understand that her bias is the NY city cocktail chatter circuit: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/18/opinion/18DOWD.html )

Kerry has a ton of advisors, many of whom conflict with each other to one degree or another. How will he go about picking a cabinet with the multitudes pulling him this way or that? He doesn’t handle controversy well, he’s got a tin ear. Even folks who want to vote for Kerry have to wrap duct tape around their heads to keep their skull from exploding every time he says that this statement or that is the fault of his speechwriters and he’ll certainly have a talk with them.

Kerry voters just have to realize that they don’t have a lot in common with each other and will have to compromise on a guy with more flip-flops than Jimmy Buffett. (Ooops! The harsh rhetoric is creeping back in. )

The same is not quite true for Bush because, whether you like it or not, many voters believe that his single-minded focus on the war on terror is enough to warrant their vote. Other voters like his approach on other matters, others still just like him. Don’t misunderestimate a guy with a sense of humor, a sense of purpose, a Harvard MBA, and some skill at poker. http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=3378

Posted by: The Kid at July 19, 2004 02:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It was asked whom Kerry might pick for Secretary of Defense. I don't know, but on the passive to aggressive scale I'm confident he would be a Cyrus Vance, i.e., weak as a kitten. The good news is the tremendous foreign policy successes of George W. Bush will not be easy to undo. Karsai and Allawi are well-liked, and those liberations are OVER. The wall is NOT coming down in Israel. Kerry would not give Khadaffi his bombs back, nor tell Dr. Khan to resume business as usual. The Kleptocracy on the East River is outed for good, and that genie won't go back in the bottle. The Saudis are busy killing al-Quaeda for us--will he ask them to stop?
We can thank George W. Bush that the map is already redrawn, probably beyond Kerry's poor power to add or detract.

Posted by: exguru at July 19, 2004 08:29 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I can't believe that liberal doves think that the minimal amount of money we spend on defense can cover what NOW needs to be done. Peace Dividend - there is no such thing! Kerry would try to work with Old Europe. We all know that these people are not our friends. Most of the world wants us dead and out of competition. We must take them out before they take us out! I believe Bush has shown the world that we will prevail at any cost!

Of course, most of the US discretionary spending is done in the areas of social security and medicare/medicaid, politically untouchable for now. But over time I believe the American electorate will come to see that these programs only ameliorate dependence on government handouts. Privitized programs will put more money in working peoples pockets (and will force people to work and save).

Posted by: truthspeak at July 19, 2004 03:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You know, the only problem with the move away from national drafts is that people like dj and sandal are able to convince themselves that we don't love what we're doing - Not just believe in the necessity of the martial arts, but actually enjoy killing bad people and blowing up war machinery - because they read about it somewhere, or tried to extrapolate their personal experience with some imagined similar vocation.

"greatest national embarrasment"?
"HUGE personnel losses"?

B*tch, Please.

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