Free Markets, Free People


So what has Obama wrought?

A mess.  Yes, a gold-plated, only-Obama-could-manage-it, mess.  All because he has absolutely no leadership experience and still hasn’t figured out you have to be careful what you say when you’re the president.

It’s not like he hasn’t had enough time on the job to figure that out, but apparently he’s a slow learner.

This is all about him putting himself in a box.  He shot his mouth off, his “red line” was crossed and now he’s stuck trying to back up his words with no support.  The problem is then compounded by his not having the diplomatic skills or relationships to put any sort of coalition together.  Nor did he really try to put one together.  He assumed it would just happen, like with Libya (Europe led that one, he just tagged along).

And, arrogantly, he claimed he had all of the authorization he needed to pretty much do whatever he wanted.  He’d just use his army.

Then the UK parliament said “no” to PM Cameron, Russia said “no” in terms of the UN security council and he was left twisting in the wind with … just France on his side.  And they made it clear they wouldn’t act alone.

So how to get out of the pickle?  Well, of course, he reverted to the only thing he seems to really half-way understand.

Politics.

It was the parliamentary vote in the UK that brought the idea to mind.  After essentially dismissing both “the people” and Congress, Mr. Obama suddenly decided both were critical to policy (or lack there of) on Syria.

So he “took it to the people” in a Rose Garden speech (on a Saturday afternoon, on a holiday weekend and the first weekend of college football) and announced that he was going to ask Congress for authorization to strike Syria.  And then he immediately hit the links.

Wow … so much for immediacy.  Congress is in recess and won’t be back for another week.  The Syrian rebels are hung out to dry (not that I mind that at all, but again he’s the one spouting off about immediacy).

But …

Now he’s set up something that can help ameliorate the total fiasco he’s fostered. At least at home.  Sort of a win-win.  If Congress says “ok” then he attacks and he can claim leadership (or if something goes terribly wrong, he can point to Congress and try to blame them).  If Congress says “no”, then he can back down and immediately politicize the decision claiming his favorite whipping boy, the GOP, doesn’t care about Syrian children … or something.

Not that any of that will change how the world views him … weak, timid, unreliable and incompetent.

I can’t imagine how long it will take to rebuild the image of the US in not only the Middle East, but the world.  When you have other leaders openly mocking  yours, well, that’s not much of a sign of respect, is it?

~McQ

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164 Responses to So what has Obama wrought?

  • I think this pretty much sums it up for me …

    Democratic National Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says there are “dozens” of nations supporting the United States’ intervention in Syria, but regrets she’s “not at liberty to say” which ones.
    ... I suppose these nations are on “double secret probation” or some such.

    • We have Ents and moonpony battalions all lined up, ready to go.

    • Via Ace, I think I spotted a young Wasserman-Shultz after using a hair iron:

      https://twitter.com/m_mgrant/status/374891325159907328/photo/1

       

       

    • I’ll be they were bribed to support us.

    • What’s Erb going to say when they include tiny little countries that were bribed?
      Though he has covered his backside by saying no UN, no bombing.

      • Not quite, he said he’d criticize Obama if he went ahead and bombed without US Congress OR UN authority.     He doesn’t say that he thinks neither should grant him that authority.  Erb is perfectly willing to bomb if only SOMEONE will bless it.

        • Draft A: attack results in bad consequences, emphasize the lack of UN authority, cherry pick the portions of comments in which caution was advised, make a skewed list of the ways in which Bush was worse
          Draft B: attack is portrayed as “successful” (no escalation to regional warfare, no massive civilian casualties, a halt to use of chemical weapons), emphasize the wisdom of getting Congressional approval (pretending it was different than the Congressional votes before the 2003 Iraq invasion), crow about the greatness of Obama, make childish remarks about critics having “derangement syndrome”, etc.

  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324202304579051280341316034.html?mod=wsj_share_tweet
    Nope. There is no rational reason to support a “strike” on Syria.

    We’ve KNOWN they had WMD. Using them is what people do when they have munitions and are pushed. They will NOT forswear the HAVING of WMD by any stretch, and Russia will do everything they can to prop them up.

    Nor am I sanguine that Assad used the WMD. I can readily accept his opposition did it.

    • It made little sense for Assad to use them.
      1) There were ‘peace’ talks coming up,
      2) Assad knew it would piss the west off and until the Boy King telegraphed that he was going to fumble the ball, Assad couldn’t be sure we WOULDN’T actually do something abrupt and destructive.
      3) Unless that was just a massive strong hold of rebels it seems rather like Edward Longshanks firing arrows into the melee in Braveheart on the premise that the barrage would hit his enemies too.
      4) The photo ops play to the Rebels, and Assad knows that’s the only way that could play out.   Why provide your enemy a clean and certain propaganda victory?
      5) What tactical/strategic objective was the Syrian army trying to achieve with this?

      In the same way we’re trying to sort out what we’re going to hit that will be meaningful you can presume that regular units equipped with that ordnance aren’t a bunch of drunken frat boys playing with Sarin to see what it does.   It would be like us firing a W80 5 kt warhead at some target just to see the mushroom cloud.   Chem and Bio weapons are part of the dreaded not to be used Nuclear Chem Bio WMD triad.   Given the horror we’ve been programmed to evince from their use, the people who have them KNOW they’re in an off limits weight class that pretty much rules out accidental use.

      So you assume it wasn’t accidental, and it WAS Assad>  What did he have to gain except for what we see now?   If he wants to wipe out a section of Damascus, there are more conventional methods that are much easier to control and predict and more precise than gas dispersion from missiles.  There had to be some very high profile targets in that part of town that he wanted to blanket kill.  And they can reduce/avoid the effects by clothing and masks, so it’s not even sure you’re going to get WHO you’re after if they’re at all prepared for Sarin.

      Unless he’s counting on that line of thinking on our part, or unless it was a rogue commander (which is what’s being painted).    But on the whole, it makes way more sense for the rebels to use it.

      • Rogue commander who is actually sympathetic to the rebels?
        Also, supposedly rebels were caught in Turkey with Sarin before.

        I lean more to Assad using them, but its not a slam dunk.

        • It’s not enough to say he used them.   Why did he use them?    This isn’t a Batman movie where the Joker does shit just for the entertainment value of causing mayhem in Gotham city.

          http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE94409Z20130505

          So, Assad uses them, thinking it can be blamed on the Rebels?   Risky risky risky.   Whereas Rebels have every thing to gain.
          The article notes the administration came to a different conclusion than the UN investigators about who used the gas.

          “Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
          “This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.”
          VS
          “The United States has said it has “varying degrees of confidence” that sarin has been used by Syria’s government on its people.”

          Considering the administration has been backing the rebels, I should come to the same conclusion because…..I’m supposed to believe the UN investigators like Assad?

          • To be clear, that’s an article from May 2013, and the conclusion of the UN team leans towards the rebels.  They couldn’t find the smoking gun they wanted to say it was a certainty.

    • This whole thing is a violation of …
      “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” ― Napoleon
      In this case, it is two enemies fighting each other.
      Obama is making the same mistake made by Americans who stop at an accident involving an Italian and a Frenchman … the American automatically becomes th cause of the accident.

  • I don’t care about Syrian Children. I do care about Americans. I wish Syria a long and bloody war with a huge casualty count.

    Them them kill them all, let Allah sort them out. No US involvement.

  • “I can’t imagine how long it will take to rebuild the image of the US in not only the Middle East, but the world.”  -

    When he leaves office..we can’t start patching the damage until after the next President is sworn in on Jan 20, 2017.
    So we’re in the hole for 3+ years.    Till then, secure yourself to the sidewall, because he ain’t done digging by a long shot.

    • The Middle East will never like us. So why worry?

      • I’m not worried about whether or not they like us.   I’m worried about what further damage the Boy King will do to the US, over, apart, above, beyond anything that happens in the Middle East.

        An idiot doesn’t generally get suddenly brilliant if you lead him from the garden into the kitchen.

    • If we elect a strong president, then the time required to rebuild the image of the US could be quite short. Remember the abysmal Jimmy Carter and the dozens of Americans who were held hostage in Iran for 444 days? They were released the instant that Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. The rest of the world sat up straight and started behaving themselves a bit better because they knew that a mature and principled leader had taken the lead.
      The world is laughing at OBAMA, not at the United States. Replacing him with a strong leader would instantly knock the sneer off the faces of those who are reveling in the failure of Obama’s naive faith in leftist ideals.
      Whether the American people can find and elect a leader of Reagan’s standing is another question. I know we will never have another Reagan, but we could have another great leader who would help restore a lot of what Obama has squandered.

  • The Syrian ambassador has fun with Christiane Amanpour at Obama’s expense …

    “Yes, wrong doings happened in the past,” he said. “Yes, injustices took place in Syria in the past. We need to correct these and we believe in what Obama said as his logo in elections, a change, yes we can, and yes we need. In Syria itself as well as outside of Syria, the whole area needs peace.”

    Hope and Change and the smell of tyranny

  • US international prestige and power was at an extremely low ebb when Obama took over in 2008; we’ve improved dramatically since then.  My own view is that President Obama is doing the wise thing going to Congress (I explain that in my blog).  Obama inherited a mess, and has handled difficult times wisely.  He knew it would be futile to try to support obsolete dictatorships in the Mideast, but also recognized that the US can’t and should not control the politics there.   The Arab world is going through a necessary but lengthy process of change, and the US should not try to prevent or guide it.  Luckily, it’s becoming clear that the fear people had of Islam in the past has receded.   Dangerous extremists are a minority.
    So I’m cautiously optimistic the President will come out good on Syria, and continue his deft management of US policy during domestic Mideast turmoil.  I fear he’ll be too militaristic (we need to learn the limits of power, as proven in 2003-09).  He’s also doing much better in relationships than President Bush did when he had Chirac, Putin and Schroeder lined up against him.  BUT that’s not because Bush was so bad (or Obama) – it’s because the US is no longer structurally in a position of being as important a power.   No President can “lead” the world, or even the “West.”  Those days are gone – and have been really since the 90s.  The US is having to deal with being part of a multi-polar system, requiring compromise and not thinking we can run the show.  I think Obama is handling that very well.

    • Sorry Erby, Obama has to meet the warmaking standard you whined about for so many years:
      1) He has to get UN approval
      2) He has to get Congress approval.

      This is the rules you wanted. Now you have it. Have a nice day!

      PS- How did the stolen pizza taste?

      • I hear it tasted like the tears of infinite sadness from a million bourgeois running-dog capitalist pig kulaks refusing to see the coming glory of the Marxist paradise as we line them up against the wall to receive their just payment for oppressing the proletariat. In other words, pepperoni.

        • It’s still confusing whether the theft occurred on one single night or if “the employees ate free from then on when [Scott] was in charge” .

          • Pizza Hood Pizza Hood giving out free food.
            Pizza Hood Pizza Hood what an awesome dude.
            The boss was a naughty guy
            So Scott stole pizza pie
            Pizza Hood, Pizza Hood, Pizza Hood.

             

          • Oh that never gets old, re-reading Scott’s own account of his exploits sticking it to the man. I had not really noticed it before, but his justification for doing the stealing (which was not just petty theft, since he was placed in a position of trust to supervise others and set an example) amounts to “the guy had it coming”. Which is a remarkable defense/justification, which I think nowadays fails in, for example, rape trials. It is clear even as a teenager our dear Scott had a terribly busted moral compass.

          • I enjoyed the part where he determined, without checking the books, that the guy was using company funds.    Boom.  After all, I’m absolutely certain the boss and the over boss discussed it exactly in his presence.
            I sort of see the whole adventure in my mind like this -


            “Get me a hookah, and….use da entertainment budget for dat.  Make sure she has a heaving bosom, and naughty librarian glasses, you know how I like dem kinda dames.  And get me some booze too, definitely gonna need some booze.”.

            “sure boss, sure, the entertainment budget, right, I’ll put it down under, uh….exercise equipment”.

            “Dat’s good!  Dat’s good!  I gotta remember dat one.  You gonna go far wid dis company, you stick wid me, you’ll be fartin through silk, ya know?”  Pats underboss on the shoulder in a fatherly fashion.
            Turning to go back to his temporary office, he sees Erb eavesdropping on the conversation.
            “Hey, you!  What!  You got nuttin better to do den stand around wid your head up your butt?  Get back to woik!  Go make me some money!”

          • “Hey, you!  What!  You got nuttin better to do den stand around wid your head up your butt?  Get back to woik!  Go make me some money!”

            Follow the logic:
            1. the CEO steals from the corporation
            2. not charging for pizza is stealing from the corporation
            3. stealing from the corporation is revenge for stealing from the corporation
            If you can keep those contradictions in your head, you’re ready to take Scott’s class and learn how Marx was a really smart guy who is unjustly put down by those magical thinkers.

            ALL PROPERTY IS THEFT!!!

          • Bombing Syria for bombing Syria.  See, it really does all fit.

          • Pah, we all know that Scott never stole that pizza as some sort of act of class-warfare. He was 18-ish, he was put in charge of a few like-minded individuals who probably thought he was a bit of a dick. Being the narcissist that we know him to be he attempted to buy their affections with “free” pizza. He has later concocted a story to ameliorate his guilt somewhat, by turning it into a “noble” act (noble in the eyes of himself, anyway). Despite his postmodernist protestations that principles are linguistic constructs, deep down he knows that theft is theft regardless of who you steal the pizza from and that he did it for the shallowest of self-serving reasons.

    • He’s also doing much better in relationships than President Bush did when he had Chirac, Putin and Schroeder lined up against him
      >>> Yeah, Obama traded Chirac for Cameron LOL idiot

    • “and the US should not try to prevent or guide it”Except, of course, by throwing Tomahawks at it. Which amount to neither guiding nor preventing, just… ermmm… well…

      • Very expensive fireworks…?

      • Regime changing?   Not what we want you know, but hey, shit happens, I mean, Libya Gaddhafi….who knew?

         

        • I was going more for “incoherent contradictory stream of meaningless verbiage”. Hey, you can’t make meaningless vERBiage without Erb!

        • Thank God Qaddafi is gone – Obama finished a project Reagan began but couldn’t complete!

          • Another big surprise, unable to distinguish the difference between couldn’t and chose not to.   Again, I’m sure that’s been the story of your life….couldn’t, and so you are confused by the concept of capable people choosing a course other than one you were forced into.

          • If Obama was trying to finish Reagan’s attempt, why didn’t he attack Libya in 2009?

          • Thank God Qaddafi is gone – Obama finished a project Reagan began but couldn’t complete!

            Incidentally, if this “project” was not completed due to Reagan’s failure, why didn’t Bill Clinton ride in on his white horse and do it right?  And, why didn’t Obama do it his first week in office?
            Could it be that the revolt had nothing to do with any “project” of Reagan?
            You’re a partisan propagandist, as usual.

          • Reagan wanted Qaddafi out, he couldn’t do it.  Why ask me about Clinton (or Bush for that matter)?  I’m just saying I’m glad the bastard is out.  It’ll take Libya awhile to transform, but at least the change is underway.  I think we should be as little involved as possible.

          • “Another big surprise, unable to distinguish the difference between couldn’t and chose not to.  ”

             

          • Reagan wanted Qaddafi out, he couldn’t do it.  Why ask me about Clinton (or Bush for that matter)?

            Reagan was the 40th president.  Obama is the 44th president.
            If you’re going to pretend that Obama completed a project that Reagan couldn’t, you imply that the “project” was the same, that Gadaffi’s disavowal of terrorism and his removal from the renegade nation list didn’t occur.
            Again, if Obama was just completing a task which needed to be done since Reagan, why wait several years?

            I think we should be as little involved as possible.

            If the US government was involved as little as possible, that would mean that Obama’s going to war to support Libyan rebels was a mistake.  You contradict yourself.

          • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/special-report-we-all-thought-libya-had-moved-on–it-has-but-into-lawlessness-and-ruin-8797041.html
            “now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.
            Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.
            As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.
            In an escalating crisis little regarded hitherto outside the oil markets, output of Libya’s prized high-quality crude oil has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. Despite threats to use military force to retake the oil ports, the government in Tripoli has been unable to move effectively against striking guards and mutinous military units that are linked to secessionist forces in the east of the country.
            Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law. Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire; 31 demonstrators were shot dead and many others wounded as they protested outside the barracks of “the Libyan Shield Brigade” in the eastern capital Benghazi in June.”

            Erb considers this a success story.

          • Harun, that article is damned inconvenient -
            it has material facts from Libya,
            it was written by someone other than a Libertarian Tea Party ODS loon like McQ,
            doesn’t have a bunch of right wing whackjob commentators supporting it
            And presents a pretty ugly picture of the direct result of American intervention under President Lead from Behind
            Is a bad example for the Syrian discussion at hand.

            Therefore, it will be ignored….no matter how many times you quote from it.

      • Don’t prevent it, don’t guide it, blow it up, kill Assad.   It’s all the same right?  Words mean what he wants them to mean.

        • It’s like watching a campy Sci Fi show in which a computer or robot keeps repeating contradictory facts, starts sparking and smoking, and then self-destructs due to infinite recursion, or something.

    • US international prestige and power was at an extremely low ebb when Obama took over in 2008; we’ve improved dramatically since then.

      Now THERE is a paroxysm of delusional bung-sucking by a pure Collectivist tool.
      A-flucking-mazing….

    • ” we’ve improved dramatically since then”    One need look no further than this stupid statement.
      You’re back to being an Obama cheerleader, when just yesterday you were going to be critical, and planned to be critical based on the stars and the movements of higher authority cosmic whims as they directed you.
      You can’t even be consistent with yourself over a 2 day period when absolutely nothing has changed in the interim.

      This is complete and utter nonsense, the rest of your post deserves no more attention, and I predict all of your posts on this thread will be as brainless and stupid.

      • You have to give him credit for a sterling piece of “foreign policy as astrology” this time! Just imagine how confused his more intelligent students must be when reality catches up in the classroom.

      • Since when was Erp ever anything but in the tank. Sure, he will sometimes sing a different tune, but it is just a distraction. He’s really in the tank 100%, and when he’s saying something that suggests otherwise he’s lying.

      • Hmmm, I’m reading a lot of name calling and claims I’m wrong, but no one is giving a reason or making an argument that counters mine.  So until you do, you’ve given me no reason to alter my opinion (one which is shared by a lot of people who study foreign policy).

        • Not even going to bother, except the name calling….in this case…..asshat.

        • ” (one which is shared by a lot of people who study foreign policy)”
          Appeal to authority only works if you have actual authority and expertise in the matter.
          And even then its considered a bad form of logic.

          • Besides, I’ll wager he can’t name five people who aren’t partisan mouthpieces, who have a record of quality foreign policy analysis.   He probably saw a couple people on MSNBC saying similar things.

        • “Hmmm, I’m reading a lot of name calling and claims I’m wrong”

          Think of it like a marriage Scott. Sometimes, at some stage, the cohabitants just get sick of the sound of each other and decide to call it a day. Naturally one party (let’s say the woman) reaches the point first where they cannot bear the droning and supercilious overbearing tone of the other (let’s say the man). The woman then merely responds with mild abuse and curt comments in the hope that the man will just STFU and go away. Ultimately someone is forced to leave, so it is just then a matter of who gets the house and kids. Now Professor, can you identify yourself in any of this and at what stage the relationship is at?

        • “…no one is giving a reason or making an argument that counters mine.  So until you do, you’ve given me no reason to alter my opinion….”

          Your “opinion” on Libya has no substance.  All you do is discuss the political impact on Obama while trolling with preposterous propaganda about what a super great guy he is.  You haven’t expressed an opinion on the ethics or the strategic efficacy of attacking Libya.
          Many have refuted what statements you have made and pretending that they haven’t is just another lie–perhaps a troll, perhaps a symptom of some personality disorder or drunkenness.
          Nobody cares if you pretend to be unpersuaded.  A two-year-old can pretend to be unpersuaded.  Do you have any more tricks in your bag?

          …(one which is shared by a lot of people who study foreign policy).

          Oh, yeah, the appeal to authority fallacy.  How droll.
          Just out of curiosity, can you name five well-known public figures who share your “opinion”, such as it is?  Pick the ones with the most gravitas, the least entanglements with partisan motives.

          • Your post has no substance Elliot.  You just make a bunch of vague accusations and claims (“many have refuted” is meaningless if you don’t give a refutation or an argument).  Also, I’m a foreign policy scholar so as far as naming non-partisan names I could just give you names from foreign policy books on my shelves (Gaddis, etc.).  Seriously, Elliot, rather than showing such a desire to attack (you clearly are holding grudges – that’s unhealthy), try just conversing.  Try being civil, go for substance.  It’ll generate good karma ;-)

          • “Also, I’m a foreign policy scholar so as far as naming non-partisan names I could just give you names from foreign policy books on my shelves (Gaddis, etc.).”
            Wow, already written books on Syria have they.   Hrrrmmmmmm, fast.    Could you wave your hands faster, it’s having a cool butterfly effect on the Gulf of Mexico.

             

          • Again: You haven’t expressed an opinion on the ethics or the strategic efficacy of attacking Libya.
            I don’t care whether you think Obama is doing a good job.  I don’t care if you think he is “deft” or how his going to Congress is smart or wise or whatever.
            All I want to know is, assuming that there are votes and approvals and all the political ducks are in a row, can you give your opinion on whether firing missiles at Assad’s forces is morally justified, particularly when there will certainly be civilian casualties?  And, what’s your prediction of the likelihood of such an attack being strategically successful–i.e., it does sufficient damage to harm Assad, it effectively acts as a deterrent to the use of chemical weapons, and it doesn’t escalate the conflict beyond Syrian borders?
            Put politics and personal attacks aside.  Please answer those questions.

          • Wow, already written books on Syria have they.   Hrrrmmmmmm, fast.

            That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in days.

          • I’m a foreign policy scholar so as far as naming non-partisan names I could just give you names from foreign policy books on my shelves (Gaddis, etc.).

            Books on shelves?  No.  Name five people who have, this week, published articles or made public statements (which can be cited) which support your “opinion”?  Again, you haven’t addressed the ethics or military strategy questions, so what opinions you have expressed don’t really mean much, as they are only about how good Obama is and how the process of getting approval is “deft” or whatever.

      • I’m critical of Obama when I disagree with him, but overall I think he’s been very good, especially on foreign policy.  I’ll defend that position if I hear a real argument to the contrary (not just assertions and name calling).  I also thought President Bush was good 2007-08, though he made major harmful errors before then.

        • So you like the sharp increase in drone strikes, the surge in Afghanistan which has not resulted in stability, the Benghazi debacle, the resurgence of Russian influence and muscle flexing, the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood (which proved to be a huge mistake)?
          If that’s “very good”, I’d hate to see what you consider mediocre, or sub-par.

          • No, I don’t like the drone strikes.  I disagree with Obama on that.   Since I don’t look at all this as a personal thing (Obama is all good or all bad), I praise him when I think he warrants it, and criticize/disagree when I think that’s warranted.  I can disagree with some of what he does and still consider him a very good President.

          • I’m not sure, but I think he has the President confused with his cat.

          • No, I don’t like the drone strikes.  I disagree with Obama on that.

            Why do you dislike them?  On what principles do you base your opposition?  And, when have you publicly criticized Obama or shown support for those who do so, and those who call for an end to their use?
            Since Obama has engaged in a sharp increase in the use of drone strikes as a fundamental part of his foreign policy, it seems bizarre that you would overlook that and still give him such high marks.
            Well, it only seems so until we remember you’re just a partisan tool.

          • Yes, I criticize Obama for drone strikes.  You call names, Elliot, but your argument is on its face irrational.  If I think Obama has done overall well despite things I disagree with, you call me a partisan tool.   By your logic, I was a partisan tool for Bush in 2007-08 because I publicly praised how he had learned on the job and became a good President.   Gee, I’m one of the few partisan “Obama” tools who at one point was a partisan “Bush” tool – by your logic.  Or maybe you’re just so itching to launch personal attacks that you go over the top and leave reason and rationality behind.   To your other issues.  I do think the resurgence of Muslim Brotherhood is good because they have to be part of the transition.  I’ve talked to scholars who study the Islamic world and they point out that within the Brotherhood there are diverse views, and ultimately the chances are great that they’ll help push a modernization agenda, even if takes awhile.  Cultural change takes time.  I don’t know what you mean by the Benghazi debacle – the only debacle I saw was the GOP trying to turn something into a scandal which I think pretty much everyone knows now was not.  Russian muscle flexing isn’t new (Yeltsin threatened WWIII, Putin was actively undercutting Bush) – it’s expected.

          • If I think Obama has done overall well despite things I disagree with, you call me a partisan tool.

            There are many, many reasons for which I deem you to be partisan.  I find it quite strange that the use of drone strikes, which is a significant aspect of US foreign policy now, has so little influence.  If a student gets a whole page of questions wrong on a test you give, wouldn’t it be impossible for that student to still get an “A”?  Given your stated opposition to drone strikes, I would expect him to get a “C”, at best, from you.

            By your logic, I was a partisan tool for Bush in 2007-08 because I publicly praised how he had learned on the job and became a good President.

            What does it cost to throw faint praise at a lame duck?
            A person of principle, who is non-partisan, objective, intelligent will criticize a law, policy, or candidate regardless of party, even during the run-up to an election, a critical vote, a potential scandal, or the like.
            It’s like your self description of being a “left libertarian”, for smaller, decentralized government.  Sure, when nothing is at stake, you can claim to be whatever you want.  But when elections and legislative battles which involve contests in which the Democrats are growing government, centralizing power in the federal government, and you consistently back them, how am I to believe your self description?
            I could call myself an environmentalist and if you point out that I drive a big truck, that I don’t recycle, that I use styrofoam cups, etc., wouldn’t you be asking me when I’m going to do something “green”?

          • I do think the resurgence of Muslim Brotherhood is good because they have to be part of the transition.  I’ve talked to scholars who study the Islamic world and they point out that within the Brotherhood there are diverse views, and ultimately the chances are great that they’ll help push a modernization agenda, even if takes awhile.  Cultural change takes time.

            Resurgence?  So, you think a group which has shown itself to be ruthless towards Coptic Christians, who put relations with Israel back several decades, who moved quickly to pull a Hugo Chavez and make Morsi a de facto dictator, should get more power?
            That’s like saying that the Southern Democrats needed to get more power in the 1950s because there were some moderate ones who, over time, would have gradually pushed them to be more modern, maybe make Jim Crow laws a bit less drastic sometime in the late 70s, and by now maybe the debate could be about miscegenation instead of gay marriage.  Cultural change takes time.

            I don’t know what you mean by the Benghazi debacle….

            When you do the Sargent Schultz thing, it’s funnier if we can see your face and hear the accent.  In text, it just falls flat.
            Alternatively, you can put on the crazy-eyed glasses and scream in a shrill, faux-indignant voice: WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!??!?!
            It must suck to feel compelled to defend such people.  I know it was a lot easier once I decided that the Republican party could just go to hell and that I had no need to defend the bullspit coming from them.
            Free yourself!!

          • Liberating indeed.  It was a pleasure to realize I no longer needed to defend the party of unprincipled Stupid.

            And I’d like to point out how much they are re-affirming that decision for me this year.

        • You are an idiot.  That’s a statement of fact, not an opinion.

        • I’m critical of Obama when I disagree with him….

          Please, as a self-described “left-libertarian” who claims to advocate decentralized, smaller government, can you list three major policy matters on which you have gone on record criticizing Obama?

          …overall I think he’s been very good….

          Yes, yes, we all know you’re an ersatz propagandist for the Democrats.  As such, you will never, ever admit that arguments against them are “convincing” to you.  That’s an obvious ploy and nobody cares if you pretend to be unconvinced.
          We’re just mocking you for how ineptly you’re playing your games.  By all means, continue to make a fool of yourself and continue to assert you have not been convinced.  It’s worked so well for you so far.

    • “The Arab world is going through a necessary but lengthy process of change, and the US should not try to prevent or guide it. “
      So when has the first part this statement not been true?  Ottoman Empire, Nasser, PLO, and now the rise of Militant Islam.  In regard to the second part of your sentence, why to you now support intervention in Syria?He apparently thinks he can “run the show” without Congressional input (oops – changed his mind) or serious allies.  It’ll be interesting to see who the ‘dozens’ of allies backing the President’s play turn out to be.  Peru?  Trinidad and Tobago?  Mauritius?

      Dangerous extremists are a minority.”
      Small comfort to the Coptic Christians in Egypt and Christians throughout the area.  Except of course Israel.

      • Erb does not realize that the communist party was a minority party, too, but they managed to kill millions.

    • Ott Scerb!   You naughty boy!  it’s not polite to post your satire AS Professor Erb.    You’ve crossed a red-line this time mister!   Biiiiiiig Trouble, big big big.

      • You caught me!

        Though I confess I was in such a hurry I completely forgot to mention anything about magenta caterpillars. Sorry. Only delusions and handwaving today, I’m afraid. Especially delusions about how Obama has improved foreign relations. Hey, I decree it. Stop laughing.

        • Sarah Palin’s heaving bosom also forgotten in the heat of the moment.

          • That would be hard to forget in the heat of the moment I’m thinking.

            Sorry, I’m older, and am apparently an unreconstructed guy from the 60′s.

      • +1

        Except, of course, Ott is more eloquent and comprehensible.

        • and consistent!

          I should apologize, the post isn’t stupid, it’s brilliant.   He’s completely captured the slavish devotion to Obama’s messianic genius exhibited by Erb (in sober moments) again and again.

          I suppose the false post thing is consistent with my hypothesis that Al-Queda rebels might be behind this.    Perhaps I deserved it, but sheesh, such a surprise after that long drawn out dissertation Erb gave the other day to prove he wasn’t desperate to be lackey Smithers to Obama’s Mr.Burns.

    • US international prestige and power was at an extremely low ebb when Obama took over in 2008; we’ve improved dramatically since then.

      You’re stuck in 2009, when they were handing out Nobel Peace Prizes like candy.
      Obama’s more recent international trips, as well as polls of foreigners, took a nose dive since then and do not support your partisan wishful thinking.

      My own view is that President Obama is doing the wise thing going to Congress….

      That’s meaningless.  The GOP establishment are rolling over, afraid of being portrayed as undermining the troops.  Their political calculus doesn’t create some magical ethical justification, nor change the order of battle.  If anything, the delay gives Assad time to prepare, hide assets among civilians, rattle his saber at Israel.
      You previously argued that soldiers who shoot to kill are guilty of murder.  How has the world changed so that you now think that firing missiles into Syria, which will most likely kill civilians as well as soldiers, somehow is a “wise thing”, even with a Congressional stamp of approval?

      The Arab world is going through a necessary but lengthy process of change, and the US should not try to prevent or guide it.

      Guide it?  You mean like attacking Syria?  Didn’t you just say that was wise, once he gets Congress to vote yes?

      Luckily, it’s becoming clear that the fear people had of Islam in the past has receded.   Dangerous extremists are a minority.

      The Muslim Brotherhood controlled Egypt until they got too extreme for the military.  The rebels in Syria include al Qaeda types, which are about as “extreme” on the dangerous fanatical Muslim scale as you get.  And,  you want to benefit them, for some insane reason.

      “…I’m cautiously optimistic the President will come out good on Syria, and continue his deft management of US policy….”

      More mindless partisanship.  These are a bunch of amateurs.  The f!cked up Benghazi and swept it under the rug (with the help of a complicit media) to secure the election and protect Hillary for 2016.  This past week has been a comedy of errors, with bluster about the “red line” and then a retreat, and now throwing red meat to Congress so they’ll roll over and permit him to save face.  None of that is “deft”.

      I fear he’ll be too militaristic….

      Which is it?  Deft or overly militaristic?
      Are you drunk?

      • I do not think soldiers are guilty of murder. I don’t recall ever making that argument.  If I did, I was wrong.  Egypt’s internal politics have to run their course, but the Muslim Brotherhood there wasn’t a threat to us.   I don’t agree with an attack on Syria, but I’m not going to consider Obama a demon if he does something I disagree with (just as I praised Bush for the end of his term, even though I disagreed with a lot of what he was doing).   I don’t require a President to do what I think right for me to think he’s doing a good job – I can even praise an effective President whose views and actions are contrary to what I think would be best.  The book on Syria is still unwritten, let’s see what happens.

        • I do not think soldiers are guilty of murder. I don’t recall ever making that argument. If I did, I was wrong.

          I’m hard pressed to believe that you could have written the following and now completely disavow ever having opinions like that:

          Finally, as a pacifist, I would think that all soldiers who shoot to kill are committing murder. They could in some countries be contentious objectors, in others they may be tried for treason if they refuse to fight. Oh, you say, that’s different. They are killing other soldiers, not helpless civilians. (Not really true, civilians are killed by soldiers too). They could have chosen not to fight.
          Scott Erb, 1996/08/23

          That was just one example I plucked at random, the first instance I found in which you explicated your pacifist principles with real-world examples.
          Maybe you rethought such opinions and don’t now believe that soldiers who kill other soldiers are necessarily murderers.  But aren’t you troubled with the use of aerial attacks (bombs and missiles) which have a record of causing civilian casualties, the way that the drone strikes you allegedly oppose do?  That is what is being proposed in Syria.  That, plus all the contingencies involving chemical weaponry, al Qaeda-type rebels, threats to drag Israel or others in the area into a regional conflict, ought to make the man who wrote what you did in 1996 have grave concerns about an attack, regardless of the political calculus.
          Here’s a chance for us to drop the name calling and personal attacks.  Can you please explain how you judge the ethics of the proposed Syrian attacks?  Regardless of how votes go, putting aside the image of Obama or other politicians, can you give your opinion on whether firing missiles at Assad’s forces is morally justified, particularly when there will certainly be civilian casualties?  And, again, putting aside politics, what’s your prediction of the likelihood of such an attack being strategically successful–i.e., it does sufficient damage to harm Assad, it effectively acts as a deterrent to the use of chemical weapons, and it doesn’t escalate the conflict beyond Syrian borders?
          I just can’t understand how you transitioned from being a pacifist into supporting aggressive military force.

          • “I just can’t understand how you transitioned from being a pacifist into supporting aggressive military force.”

            Democratic President.

          • My views are very different now than they were nearly 20 years ago, so that’s irrelevant.  The ethics of Syria involve acting to prevent atrocities and potentially save lives.   I believe it is only ethical if it is defensive rather than offensive (i.e., isn’t a war to topple Assad), is likely to succeed (tomahawk missile attacks just to show muscle but unable to halt the use of chemical weapons would do more harm than good) and is based on a strong international consensus.  Moreover, I do not believe the US should act without Congressional approval (without it the likelihood of success is lower, and the chances of unintended consequences higher).  That’s why I would want Congressional approval and UN approval (or something akin to the UN that shows widespread international support and broader participation).   These ethical principles are derived from Just War Theory, as put forth by Augustine, Aquinas, and others and refined over the years in a rather developed theory of war and ethics in the realm of political thought/international relations.   However, I do not think you can whittle ethics down to core principles – reality is too complex for that.   That effort to work from core principles led to some of my mistaken earlier beliefs – pacifism is not valid because it does not take into account the complexity of reality.

          • “is likely to succeed”
            heh…succeed at what?   Give us what they are about to attempt to succeed at.   You’ve ruled out regime change, you’re ruled out done to show muscle, you’ve acknowledge that doing it without halting the use of chem weapons does more harm than good.

            What’s left to succeed at.  What objective can be achieved by blowing things up with cruise missiles given what you’ve ruled out.
            We know the answer, let’s see if you do.

          • Dear Looker,
            I will not answer this question, thank you, you’re a name calling doodie head.

            Respectfully yours, your pal
            Scott

          • Elliot you do find gems of Erbtastic glory…

            “Would I have participated in the holocaust, or at least gone along with much of what the Nazis did if I was born in Germany in 1920? With my current values (being a pacifist), I’d like to say of course not.”
            So now he claims he is not the pacifist of 17 years ago. No, he is the pragmatic war-monger so presumably his argument back then is inverted and he WOULD indeed have “participated” in the Holocaust… or at least just gone along with the Nazis. My my, things do get ugly when you renounce all ideals and morals in the name of pragmatic Obama worship.

          • My views are very different now than they were nearly 20 years ago, so that’s irrelevant.

            Contrasting your past views with your current views is completely relevant to my question of how you made such a transition, intellectually (or, emotionally, “spiritually”, etc.).
            My views on the use of military force have evolved in a more enlightened, civilized direction, from being hawkish to being anti-war.  The more I learned about the truth behind the mythical casus belli, the brutal tyrants which were supported by the US government due to political calculations (Cold War, oil, trade), and the ugly human cost to civilians and troops (particularly those who are drafted), the more I grew to see the hawkish point of view as untenable.  Yes, the use of force in defense is justifiable and the ethical calculations in all out war rather complex.  But, in so many cases in which the US government (as well as other “good guys”) have gone to war, the justification was insufficient and the result far worse than promised.
            I simply don’t understand going from pacifist to expressing support for going to war on Libya and, potentially, Syria.

            I believe it is only ethical if it is defensive rather than offensive (i.e., isn’t a war to topple Assad)….

            Assad has not attacked the United States, France, or other nations.  He is fighting rebels and Islamist guerrillas who have come in from other war zones.  The test for offensive vs. defensive is not regime change.  Regime change is something that strategists avoid because (1) they don’t want to empower rebels with terrorist ties or other dangerous replacements, and (2) toppling a regime tends to bring with it the expectation that you follow up with nation building, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, which puts you in a quagmire.  Bur neither of them have anything to do with the question of whether your involvement is aggressive or defensive.

            …is based on a strong international consensus….

            What does that have to do with ethics?  If civilians are dying, or if the US is acting aggressively, that won’t change because people vote.

            These ethical principles are derived from Just War Theory, as put forth by Augustine, Aquinas, and others and refined over the years in a rather developed theory of war and ethics in the realm of political thought/international relations.   However, I do not think you can whittle ethics down to core principles – reality is too complex for that.   That effort to work from core principles led to some of my mistaken earlier beliefs – pacifism is not valid because it does not take into account the complexity of reality.

            Your first and second sentences are contradictory.  Just War Theory is based upon core principles.
            You don’t simply “work from core principles”.  You start with principles that others have put forth, compare them against reality, adopt those you judge to be accurate, constantly test your principles against reality, and refine them when you discover that reality conflicts with some of those principles.
            For example, the non-aggression principle, interpreted simplistically, would oppose a preemptive strike against a neighbor who is building forces on the border and planning an attack.  In such a case, it’s not that the NAP fails, but that one must include an eminent threat in the definition of aggression.

          • You start with principles that others have put forth, compare them against reality, adopt those you judge to be accurate, constantly test your principles against reality, and refine them when you discover that reality conflicts with some of those principles.

            This rational approach to ethics is akin to the Scientific method of inquiry.  Using Science, one makes hypotheses, tests, challenges to refute or reproduce results, etc..  Certain hypotheses, when sufficiently confirmed, become scientific laws, in the manner of a moral principle.  That doesn’t rule out groundbreaking new information which may overturn a given scientific law, or require that it be refined.
            Attacking deontological ethics on the basis that reality is complicated is like attacking science for similar reasons.  Science led to Newtonian physics, which are accurate within the realm of human experience, before the space age.  New discoveries found discrepancies between reality and the Newtonian model, for certain circumstances (very small, very large, high speed, high energy).  Did that mean that people were foolish to adopt Newton’s laws of physics?  Did that mean such revelations meant that the scientific approach should be abandoned?
            Or, did it simply mean that the complexities of reality require the ability to recognize mistakes, the flexibility to adapt?

    • “Luckily, it’s becoming clear that the fear people had of Islam in the past has receded.”
      You listed as part of your experience living in Italy and Germany, IIRC.
      Have you ever lived in a Muslim country?
      What are you qualifications on this opinion?
       

    • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/special-report-we-all-thought-libya-had-moved-on–it-has-but-into-lawlessness-and-ruin-8797041.html

      Yes yes, Libya, deft management if there ever was deftness.   Highly deft deftness.    Awesome, awe inspiring, wise, well handled, epic success, feather in the cap on the boy King’s pointy little head.     We’re all impressed with the complete lack of badness that is Libya today after the brilliant Obama lead from behind campaign in Libya.  Obama is a foreign policy god.

      Coming soon….Barack Obama and his side kick Hillary Clinton stared in “The Road to Benghazi!”   You loved him then, now see Barack teamed up with John in a new epic adventure and search for peace!  See “The Road to Damascus!”

      It’s nearly as difficult to spread peanut butter on bread as it is to demonstrate what a dolt you are.

      • I think Obama handled Libya very well.  I’m not sure what you’re criticizing here.  I don’t think there’s a big Benghazi scandal, nor do most people.  Even mainstream Republicans agree there (though some on the extremes want to keep anti-Obama scandals alive true or not).   I think you call names (very mature!) because you don’t have facts on your side.

        • Its not too difficult to bomb the main coastal road from Tripoli to Benghazi and make Qaddaffi lose. That was the easy part, like the March to Bagdad.
          The hard part is getting the weapons away from AQ, and removing AQ from Libya, while getting some democracy going. That did not succeed.
          Getting your rock-start Arabist ambassador killed, having your consulate overrun, losing your CIA safe house, with God know what secrets and weapons, those are all VERY BAD THINGS.
          I could give them the benefit of the errors in judgement on those if they had not LIED about what happened, especially to the families. There is the scandal. The other parts are incompetence, which should also be punished by perhaps a few people losing their jobs at State. (Did not happen of course.) They also have not caught any of the perps. Sad.
          Oh, and if they really were shipping arms to anti-Assad forces, I’d like to know which forces since they still can’t find any Democratic ones even now…50 or so have been trained.

          • The hard part is up to the Libyan people, not us.   They have to make their future in their own way.  Bad things happen all the time – there will be people killed, terror attacks, and difficulties as the Arab world transforms.  That’s how reality works.  But trying to control them or preventing change by supporting dictators would be worse in the long run, in my opinion.

          • “Bad things happen all the time – there will be people killed, terror attacks, and difficulties as the Arab world transforms.  That’s how reality works.  But trying to control them or preventing change by supporting dictators would be worse in the long run, in my opinion.”

            And so we’re proposing to attack Syria because?

        • “I think Obama handled Libya very well.  I’m not sure what you’re criticizing here.”

          (Rolls eyes and smiles benevolently) You must learn to read for comprehension Scott.   Let’s review….here’s me….
          “Yes yes, Libya, deft management if there ever was deftness.   Highly deft deftness.    Awesome, awe inspiring, wise, well handled, epic success, feather in the cap on the boy King’s pointy little head.     We’re all impressed with the complete lack of badness that is Libya today after the brilliant Obama lead from behind campaign in Libya.  Obama is a foreign policy god.”

          You mean the pointy little head part?   My grandparents were fuzzy foreigners, and sometimes that sort of thing was actually a term of endearment.  As to the rest, well, aside from me being a bit over the top in enthusiasm for the success that is the Obama Administration, I don’t see anything like criticism there.  I mean really.   Awesome, well handled, success, I’m impressed.     I’m like you, see?   “I think Obama handled Libya very well.”

          No no, if you want to argue, go over and take issue with the author of the Guardian article, they have a comment section, go forth and comment for them.  Give them some of your hard biting analysis.  That fellow is one of your European genius types, the wise pragmatic guys like you who can be found all over the continent.   Someone needs to set him right on the glory that is our President and the well handled success that is Libya today as a result of Barack’s adroit foreign policies.  He thinks Libya is worse off, and of course you know that couldn’t be more wrong.  I was bringing that to your attention so you could address the man’s issues in your fact based, precise and factual fact way, as you do so often for us here.

          I do the name calling thing for you especially though, I admit.   You big silly guy.  I’m sure it’s all meant in good fun, or something.

        • “handled Libya well”
          Killing the dictator is the easy part of the war, just like in Iraq. I doubt you would claim that if we removed Saddam and then left Iraq in shambles that it would have been “handled well.” So please comment:

          “now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.
          Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.
          As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.
          In an escalating crisis little regarded hitherto outside the oil markets, output of Libya’s prized high-quality crude oil has plunged from 1.4 million barrels a day earlier this year to just 160,000 barrels a day now. Despite threats to use military force to retake the oil ports, the government in Tripoli has been unable to move effectively against striking guards and mutinous military units that are linked to secessionist forces in the east of the country.
          Libyans are increasingly at the mercy of militias which act outside the law. Popular protests against militiamen have been met with gunfire; 31 demonstrators were shot dead and many others wounded as they protested outside the barracks of “the Libyan Shield Brigade” in the eastern capital Benghazi in June.”

  • I don’t think this play will help Obama nearly as much as he thinks it will. This action is pretty unpopular and that’s not gonna change. Even if the idiot wing of the GOP gives him the fig leaf of going along, this is pretty much acknowledged as Obama’s war.

    And one that he’s unilaterally waging in violation of international law at that.

    • If the GOP leadership goes ahead, I doubt they get the full party vote. It will pass with a mix of Dems and GOP votes.

  • Obama has sure done a good job creating safe havens in the ME for al Quida.

  • It boils down to one thing: Israel.
    Either you are a committed Neo-Conservative that believes that we should fight for Israel to the death —-or you are not.
    …..and I am not.

  • “So I’m cautiously optimistic he President will come out good on Syria, and continue his deft management of US policy during Mideast turmoil.”  � Are you on drugs?  Deft management?  Let’s take a sane moment and review the bidding on just this one issue, Syria.  It was through his “deft management” that he opened his mouth and stuck his foot deep inside with his BS “Red Line” statement to begin with.  What was he doing?  Playing Chicken with a Middle Eastern Tyrant?  So what was Assad going to do?  Cower in fear over Obama’s threat?  � He didn’t.  About 6 months ago he hit his own people with chemical weapons.  The French told him they confirmed it’s use.  And Obama responded with the equivalent of Clinton’s “It depends on what the definition of is is” with “What Red Line?” When the dust settle, the administration finally responded by announcing, through a Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State in charge of counting paper clips that the US would be “Arming the rebels with convention weapons immediately” and that this single action was to be a “game changer!”  � It turns out he weapons that were supposed to be “game changers” have still not turned up on the battlefield because they can’t figure out who to give them to.  � And now – we are not even going to review what has transpired over the last 2 weeks since the latest chemical warfare attack in Syria except to note the one big difference between this one and the first one?  Hours of film and hundreds of photos of dead and dying children coughing up their blood & guts for all the world to see without so much as a mark on their bodies.   � And now fast forward to todays hearing on the hill.  This is the Administration’s first team.  The Varsity!  The big guns!  They seemed more like the three stooges than the leaders of our government they were supposed to be.  At times I laughed out loud at their collective buffoonery.  Kerry stated numerous times in his opening statement and responding to questions that this was not a war but a limited action only to be followed by our esteemed Secretary of Defense who, in his opening statement, called this proposed action a call to war.  They couldn’t even get the basic spin between them right.  � And then, when asked about the hoped for effect of the proposed strike, Kerry stated it was to degrade Assad’s chemical weapon capability and also be a momentum changer in the larger battle.  He turned to his Chief of staff of the Army who stated he was only aware of the mission to degrade the chemical weapon capability and had no knowledge of any momentum changing actions.  Kerry tried to make light of the moment by stating sarcastically that the general had “Cut his feet out from under him.”  � And this is the administration that you claim to have “deft management”?  At this point I do not know how I feel  Prior to today I was willing to give Obama some level of support if his plan included something more than swatting at flies in order to save some face for his own buffoonery for making his “Red Line” statement.  But now I don’t know if I can trust this guy to do anything right.  “Deft Management.”  LOL!!!!!!!!

    • Assad crossed a red line.  But that doesn’t mean the US has to act, especially not if the GOP opposes it and stops it from passing Congress (can’t blame Obama for what the GOP does), or the international community refuses to go along.   We’re not the world cop, we’re not required to act.  Obama is trying to rally both the country and the international community to stand up for international law.  If he fails, you can blame Obama (blame America first) or you can blame the international community.  You’ll do the former, I’m sure, because you don’t like Obama.  I think he’s doing well.

      • Actually, I wish Obama would have secret talks with the GOP and have them vote No so that everyone can climb down with some face.
        But, its quite false to claim Obama is “doing well” when he cannot convince allies to join him in his endeavors. That is a sign of weakness.
        Unless you mean to say those countries are “bad” countries simply because they did not sign up for what Obama is selling.
        In which case, the same exact argument can be made for Bush..he did the right thing, and the international community was wrong.
        You cannot have it both ways.

      • Assad crossed a red line.  But that doesn’t mean the US has to act
        >>>> True….but then, how stupid does the Boy King look for making a “red line” that is as meaningless as “Tuesday”?

        • No, no, embrace the new history, Obama never said anything about a red line.   That’s another scandal we’re manufacturing!

          Fortunately today he’s rewriting, I mean, correcting what we think we heard him say about a red-line.   We thought he said it so clearly even Erb heard it.   But I’m sure shortly we’ll be led to understand that was never the case.

          :)

          Oh, and the chocolate ration has been increased from 30 grams to 20 grams at the end of this week.

    • you were supposed to summarize with “I’m Optimistic!”.    That makes everything taste better.

  • Erb said, “I think he’s doing well.”  Response: Let me clarify some points.  Earlier you complained about the name calling and stated no one “is giving a reason or making an argument that counters mine.”  I did and as usual in stead of responding to my comments you deflect from the points I made.  How?  Let’s walk through them.  First, it doesn’t matter what line Assad crossed, only that it was drawn by Obama.  And I seriously doubt we would be having all of this angst over Assad’s use of chemical weapons had he not drawn it (Oh, and by the way, don’t go down the same path Kerry tried today by claiming Obama had not drawn the line, history notwithstanding).  Do you?  Really?  Second: I am not blaming Obama for what the GOP does.  He has not needed the GOP for this state of affairs.  He has brought everything regarding Syria down upon himself by his own actions.  The GOP has had nothing to do with it.  Third: I did not ever mention anything about the US being the world cop, nor did I say anything about being required to act.  Nowhere was that even hinted at in my comment.  My comment related to the sad state of this administrations action and the buffoonery I have witness over the last 2 weeks, what you called “deft management.”  Finally: Now you then state “I think he’s doing well.”  I think it is sad to have set the bar so low for you to think Obama’s actions regarding Syria is “doing well.”  From a line in the Princess Bride: “I don’t think that means what you think it means.”  I do not wish him to fail – nor do I wish for my country to be the laughing stock of the world.  But Syria, Iran, and Russia are openly taunting us over the actions by him and his administration.  And for that reason and the others, that I have enumerated in my previous comment, I can clearly say, without deflection, that I would never characterize this administration’s foreign policy as “deft management”.  Clear it up for you?

    • From all that wordiness, it seems your main complaint is that Obama should not have set a red line if he didn’t intend to use military force.  Fair point.  I think it was right to say there is a red line, and expect that the world won’t accept crossing it.  But Obama can’t use force if his country and the international community isn’t behind it.  I’m not as bothered about the “red line” as you are, but I see your point.  Syria, Iran and Russia taunted us during the Bush years, as well as even the Clinton years.  That’s nothing new, and certainly nothing particular to Obama!  I also don’t blame Obama for that – he has to handle that, and so far I think he’s doing well, especially compared to recent predecessors.

      • “Red Line”   Odd, one would think a country that no longer leads the world and is in decline should recognize that it can’t use military force to accomplish goals, and that it can no longer act unilaterally and threaten people with ‘Red Line”s to get them to do the biding of that country, on behalf of the world at large of course.
        I mean, you said so yourself, right here, in this comment section.

        “No President can “lead” the world, or even the “West.”  Those days are gone – and have been really since the 90s.  The US is having to deal with being part of a multi-polar system, requiring compromise and not thinking we can run the show.

        How do we resolve this….unfortunate inconsistency in perspective?   Tell us more about the political science learning that allows us to reconcile what would appear to be inconsistent views.  Is it perhaps that we don’t as firm a background in spiritual matters and how they relate to the world and quantum physics?   I’m really really quite sure others.  Billy or Elliot, Harun, DocD or even that big silly SShiell fellow are as eager to learn from you as I am.   And Shark, and Rags, too of course, lest I forget them….(Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester…and other famous English people named after quaint New England towns….)

        • I’m not sure what inconsistent views you think I have.  I think a red line was crossed, but it’s a global red line based on international norms.   I don’t think it was just Obama’s.

          • Really?
            Huh.
            Where are the other people on this red-line thing?  This international coalition of red line drawing countries.   Was the media unable to provide quotes of the red-line drawing leaders from all those other red-line drawing world powers on this Syrian issue?   Why does Obama seem to be so alone on this?    Where are the Russians? the Chinese? on this issue.   Why aren’t the other Arab nations like Jordan coming forward.  How bout Germany?  England?  Japan?

            France?  Where’s France?   Is France loading up on bombs? sending ships?  Ready to make their mark without us if we’re weak kneed and won’t lead the way?
            Allons enfants de la patrieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!   Le jour de gloire est arrive!

            Are the other red-line countries drawing up plans to bomb, or are they only discussing embargo’s and restrictions and economic or travel punishments for this red-line breech.   Where’s the UN?  Surely the UN is going to do something about this red-line breech and the US can follow their lead, right?

            It’s all so confusing.
            First you tell us the US can’t lead the world, but now you tell us the US has to lead the world on this international red-line drawn thing in Syria.   You tell us that once the appropriate other red-line outraged countries vote on this, or the US Congress votes on this (which would strike me as very, um, not international, but I admit I’m confused) that we can proceed, by ourselves, of course, to, on behalf of the world, lead the way and bomb Syria.

            You don’t see just a teensy bit of, uh, contradiction in all this?
            Tell us what books we should read by Aquinas or Augustine that will resolve this seeming contradiction of us having to not lead while we’re leading.   Are they not the right authors?
            Wait, is it sort of like a somebody else’s problem field, where if you look at the field your eyes sort of slide off of it to something else because your brains realizes it’s somebody else’s problem?
            And so you have to sort of sneak up on it and catch a glimpse out of the corner of your eye before your brain can disregard it?

            No wonder you have to have an advanced degree, boy, this sure is hard thinking work.

          • Saddam Hussein killed more people with poison gas than Assad has.

          • Where are the Russians? the Chinese?

            They used up all their domestic red ink on communist stuff.  Now they have to import it and the prices are just outrageous.  Can’t spare any for chemical weapon policies.

          • Harun, the US was supporting Saddam, at least indirectly, when he used chemical weapons, and worked against French and German efforts to act against Iraq in the 80s.
            Looker, I haven’t argued the things you say I’ve argued – you go into a long bit about red lines, etc., but none of it corresponds to what I’ve argued.  Any inconsistency you find is one you created, not one from me.  If you can concisely show two quotes of mine that are inconsistent (I’m not saying there aren’t any, I’m just saying I can’t tell what they are from what you post), I’ll work through that with you.   The only possible thing you may not get is that “The US can’t lead the world” in terms of trying to get our way and do whatever we want is NOT the same as “as the US can be a leader in helping build international consensus, even if it is slow.”   The difference is between raw use of power to get what we want, and soft power – persuasion, compromise and cooperation – to build consensus.  I do think those are two different things.

          • Really, again.

            So, the red line, which Obama now didn’t declare, has been crossed.

            And for oh, since Bush II,  you’ve maintained that the US can no longer tell the world what to do.

            But in this case,

            no one else, but Obama, is talking about blowing up Syria,  to, uh, we’re not sure what.

            But not for regime change, not to destroy things and certainly not to get the egg off of Obama’s face for the red-line it turned out the rest of us drew ( while we were sleeping)  that HE noticed one day last year and now has pointed out to the rest of us.

            And we’re going to do this,…with or without UN support, with or without Congressional support.   Almost as if we were some leader like thing.

            Which would indicate we’re leading a charge for a red line being crossed that the rest of the world drew but seemingly isn’t willing to do anything about.

            And  you’re in favor of it provided some authority figures, like  Congress, OR the UN say it’s okay, even though “The Arab world is going through a necessary but lengthy process of change, and the US should not try to prevent or guide it. ”

            So the US isn’t the world leader, except now, and we shouldn’t intervene in the Middle East, except now,  and you’re against drone strikes but are in favor of cruise missile strikes, as long as they succeed in doing…..objective unknown.  Presumably whatever objective your god tells you he was trying to accomplish you will accept he accomplished, and if it turns out as successfully as Libya, you’ll think you’ve achieved a major victory and declare Obama handled it all very deftly and it was most excellent (Wild Stallions!)

            Nope, you’re right, no contradictions at all.

             

          • damn, what was it I said when this all started….oh yes….there it is…..

            ” I predict all of your posts on this thread will be as brainless and stupid.”

            Success.

          • Harun, the US was supporting Saddam, at least indirectly, when he used chemical weapons, and worked against French and German efforts to act against Iraq in the 80s.

            France and Germany were some of the major suppliers of the precursors for Saddam to make his chemical weapons, and France sold them the Osiris-class nuclear reactor which Israel then destroyed in 1981.
            There are no clean hands among those in government.  Not even your “deft” idol.

      • …your main complaint is that Obama should not have set a red line if he didn’t intend to use military force.  Fair point.  I think it was right to say there is a red line, and expect that the world won’t accept crossing it.  But Obama can’t use force if his country and the international community isn’t behind it.

        When you see parents attempting to manage a misbehaving child giving warnings but never following through, and watch the children continue to misbehave, do you praise them as good parents?  Do you say their parenting skills are “deft”?
        How you give Obama such high marks when you admit to many of his failings is beyond me.  Oh, wait, you’re just a partisan mouthpiece who will say anything.  Yes, that explains things.

        • Foreign relations is not analogous to parenting.   The US is nobody’s “parent.”

          • There is also no international law, because there is no judge, police men, jails, etc for nations.
            There is only national sovereignty, if you can defend it.

          • Sure there are!  Like the sacred ground of embassies!   Unless they’re American Embassies in Islamic countries of course.

          • Foreign relations is not analogous to parenting.   The US is nobody’s ‘parent.’

            You’re dodging the substantive point.  Instead of parents, make it about someone witnessing a neighbor beating their child.  Use your imagination.  Don’t get caught up trying to be overly literal.
            When you make threats, but then fail to deliver on those threats, that isn’t “deft”.

          • “Don’t get caught up trying to be overly literal.”
            What!  and escape the opportunity to use that as a dodge when he’s backed in to a corner?  Never sir!  Never!

            He’s a survivor, a pragmatic wise leftist.   No excuse will go unused, no technique untried.  You’re not up against a mere boy here sir, he’s an expert at this, unchallenged on the field of victory in his own mind.   You would do well to remember that!

          • Survivors? Of what? Particularly snide comments in the faculty lounge about his stellar publications list? How can anyone with tenure be described as a survivor?

            Oh, you was joking.

          • No, there is no analogy to beating up a child, or anything like that.  Talk foreign affairs, the issue gets mangled when you use inappropriate analogies.   Also, just because someone makes a threat, doesn’t mean one should follow up on it if the context doesn’t warrant it – only a fool refuses to reconsider.  Of course, with Syria it’s (unfortunately) likely that Obama WILL follow up, and do so in a way to maximize support and efficacy.
            There is international law, and sovereignty is weaker than ever.  The era of the sovereign nation state is probably over, and international law is MASSIVE.   However, in terms of issues like actions like what Syria is doing, or states engaged in military action, enforcing it when military force is required is the most difficult step.  But the idea that there is “only national sovereignty if you can defend it” is 40 years obsolete for most of the globe.

          • Also, just because someone makes a threat, doesn’t mean one should follow up on it if the context doesn’t warrant it – only a fool refuses to reconsider.

            A fool makes threats without being prepared, then scrambles around and reconsiders the wisdom of having made the threat.  You look at a threat, you make contingency plans, you consider the ramifications of drawing a line and having the bad guy step over it, and when you know how to handle that eventuality, you draw your line.
            A fool makes bluffs, making threats and then not carrying them out.  When you hear that North Korea is threatening to destroy American cities, do you think people on the west coast need to start evacuating the cities?  Or, do you just laugh at their empty bullspit, like everyone else?

            Of course, with Syria it’s (unfortunately) likely that Obama WILL follow up, and do so in a way to maximize support and efficacy.

            Here’s one of those contradictions.  You use the word “unfortunately” to indicate you think it is a bad idea, or morally wrong, for Obama to attack Syria.  Then, you immediately predict that his handling will be optimal.  It’s a Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde in one sentence.
            Strange.

          • Silly Elliot, there is no contradiction in thinking someone will do something I oppose effectively.  If my team is going into  the ninth inning and the other team’s star reliever comes on board, I might say “he’ll likely strike out the side and end the game.”  Then you’d say “You are contradictory!  You wrote for your team but say the other pitcher will likely strike out the side.”   Again, I don’t think Obama has mad any threats, you haven’t pointed any out.  In any event, you’re left with very little substance to your claims – you argue 90% ad hominem (which is a logical fallacy, by the way).  I seem to have irritated you long ago and you just can’t let go.  Oh well, you can take things personally if you want.  I’ve learned not to, carrying grudges is self-defeating.

          • Seems like you were on some really good medications at the end of the day yesterday.

  • The first 50 troops we trained are now in action. Awesome!
    Just another 49,950 more to go and we can have a moderate, democratic militia that can win it all!

  • “First of all, I didn’t set a red line,” said Obama. “The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are [inaudble] and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war. Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation entitled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things happening on the ground there need to be answered for. So, when I said in a press conference that my calculus about what’s happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air. There’s a reason for it.”

    The Syria Accountability Act of 2003 is based on the same intelligence that got us into Iraq …

    According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s ‘‘Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions’’, released January 7, 2003: ‘‘[Syria] already holds a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin but apparently is trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents. Syria remains dependent on foreign sources for key elements of its [chemical weapons] program, including precursor chemicals and key production equipment. It is highly probable that Syria also is developing an offensive [biological weapons] capability.’’.

    … of course, “It’s Bush’s fault !”

  • Red line!   Whatchutalkinbout Willis!     This is the international communities fault!   If they don’t want to save kids in Syria well that’s not my fault!    But I never said nuthin about a red line!

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/04/politics/us-syria/index.html


    God Lord.   Does he think he’s a comic character from “Friday”?

    • You can tell he’s more threatened than ever. “My credibility isn’t on the line….”   oh yes it is champ.  Too bad you can’t speak off the cuff, jerkstore.

      So the UK isn’t onboard.  The UNSC isn’t on board.  If Congress isn’t on board – and I’m laying odds it won’t be – what’s left except for Obamwarmonger to go alone?

      What if we threw a war and nobody came? Obama is about to find out. Pass the popcorn.

      • Visibly on the line, on the world stage, in front of everyone.

        The Emperor
        Has
        No
        Clothes.

        Butter and salt?

      • …If Congress isn’t on board – and I’m laying odds it won’t be….

        Where can I get some of that action?
        I was a little heartened to see that McCain had changed his mind and decided not to support Obama’s war plan.  Then I read the article and discovered that his complaint was that the plan didn’t involve enough war.
        The Republican establishment is already supporting going to war.  With Democrats on board, it will sail through.

    • Erb just parroted this up thread!
      But Bush with his Congressional approval and his UN resolutions was a complete cowboy going after another dictator who used poison gas on women and kids.
      BTW, the US didn’t think we needed the final UN resolution that failed. The UK wanted that.

      • Send a signal – talking points received, proceeding as ordered.   Obama expects that every man will do his duty.

      • Erb just parroted this up thread!

        That’s what a partisan does.  He waits for the talking point and then acts like it was something he figured out and knew all along.
        Genius!

  • Obama has got this so screwed up that I can’t even think of something sarcastic to say! I just remember my Grandfather telling me, “there is a limit to everything in this world except for human stupidity, and that knows no boundries!” That may apply here!

  • A question i would have asked Gen Dempsey had i been a Senator:

    General, if the Congress were to not authorize the use of military force on Syria and if the President issued a strike order anyway, would obeying such an order be a legal or illegal act by military officers?

  • Elliot, I do not follow your view on ethics, I think you have a very strange and misguided approach – but you probably think the same about me.  I also think ethics do NOT have to come from core principles (in fact, I’d argue that core principles are illusions – linguistic constructs).  One has values, balances and weighs values and makes a pragmatic call.   One can have principles in terms of basic values, but they’re always vague and subjective.  You build from there, but there is always uncertainty and interpretive flux.  Some people aren’t comfortable with that – they want clear answers and simple formulas – but I think that’s an illusion.  That’s not how the world works, in my opinion.

    • In synopsis for you.

      You’re unwilling to accept that you were stomped flat, shown to be a contradictory idiot with muddled thinking, muddled values and a slavish devotion to all things Obama, which may ONLY be a slavish devotion to all thinks Democratic party.

      You have no clear clue what you intend to accomplish in Syria assuming there is approval, but you do think blowing things up serves a useful purpose and you think Obama did wizards work in blowing up Libya and that Libya is a better country today as a result.

      You don’ t understand what any of us are talking about with respect to your views.

      You excel, as always, at dismissive hand waving.

      Please, invite your students here to see how you once again bested us on the field of verbal and intellectual point counterpoint.

      • True, I do not believe I was stomped flat, or that I had any contradiction.  You seem to think there is one, so *shrug*.  I do think Libya is better without Qaddafi and a very necessary process of transformation has begun.  In Syria I fully expect to oppose Obama since I think he’ll get Congressional approval but not have international support.  I don’t think the US should act without a strong international consensus.  But we’ll see – I hope Obama decides that without true international support, US action would be wrong headed.

        • There won’t be.

          The rest of the world suddenly understands there’s a certain calculus in Putin also having to save face.

        • Oh, I forgot to mention, but we’ll blow things up anyway.

    • …in fact, I’d argue that core principles are illusions – linguistic constructs….One can have principles in terms of basic values, but they’re always vague and subjective.”

      You don’t know how to think.  And, what’s worse, you don’t want to learn how to think.
      I give up.

      • It is my profession to think and help others learn how to think.  I’ve been trying to help you, Elliot, but you’re locked in a very stilted way of understanding reality.  I believe that you truly can’t comprehend what I wrote or that way of thinking.  Oh well, you think my way is wrong, I think your way is wrong.  So I guess we’re even.

        • ” I’ve been trying to help you, Elliot”

          Why does an invitation to help and learn from the PoMo Pro always sound like you’ll one day end up sipping the Koolaid?

        • It is my profession to think and help others learn how to think.

          And yet, you’re paid anyway.
          Your typical student is probably around 20 years old when he or she sets foot in your classroom the first time.  If that person doesn’t yet know how to think, listening to your narrow-minded interpretation of politics and watching “Simpsons” cartoons in class isn’t going to set them on the road to enlightenment.

          I’ve been trying to help you, Elliot….

          Help?

          Captain, Road Prison 36: You gonna get used to wearin’ them chains afer a while, Luke. Don’t you never stop listenin’ to them clinking. ‘Cause they gonna remind you of what I been saying. For your own good.
          Luke: Wish you’d stop bein’ so good to me, cap’n.

          [ beating ]

          Don’t get overly literal.  You’ve never had power over me, like the warden in that movie, but your notion of “help” is just as twisted and dishonest.
          I’ve seen dozens of people over the years who have attempted to have sincere, substantive debates with you, only to have you play games, to assert your superiority, to dismiss ideas outside your narrow, partisan, ideological mantras as “silly”, “strange”, “last century thinking”, “locked in”, “stilted”, “extremist”, “ideological”, “magical”, or what have you.  When presented with cited facts, you arrogantly wave them away, repeating party talking points or some of your stump speeches filled with imitative, yet meaningless, jargon.
          I don’t know if you’ve convinced yourself that you have sincerely attempted to “help” us, or if you’re just cynically posturing–and, I don’t care.  But what you’ve done, in thousands of exchanges with dozens of people, has been to destroy trust in your sincerity, subvert the process of dialogue in which both sides make reasonable attempts to take turns attempting to persuade one another, and induce others to ridicule you and dismiss you as insincere and inept, a clownish figure to be lampooned when all other attempts to get through to you have failed.

          …but you’re locked in a very stilted way of understanding reality.  I believe that you truly can’t comprehend what I wrote or that way of thinking.

          Captain, Road Prison 36: Don’t you ever talk that way to me. Never! Never! What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.

          I comprehend just fine what the words mean which you string together and I easily identify the myriad misuse of terms, errors, fallacies, false premises, and clumsy attempts to manipulate.  I see through you, wondering how a man in his 50s who has had decades to change, to consider being actually open-minded, put aside his prejudices, and give other ideas a shot, just said no, thousands of times.  My guess is that is the product of a dull wit, laziness, and recalcitrance.  But no matter what the source, you’ve missed your chances.
          Meanwhile, I and many others with whom you attempt to spar, have evolved.  We’ve been open-minded enough to consider all sorts of different philosophical perspectives, a wide range of art, many different cultures from around the world and around the country.  For me, I’ve made radical, transformative changes–when I see the value in doing so.  Decades ago, I disliked and, at times, despised, people like me: anti-war, atheist, anti-government…leaving decisions to individuals instead of “authorities”, accepting that freedom has messy results.   Rather than being “locked in” on a religion, political party, cultural stereotype, or strict view of how others ought to behave (a system to rule others, a blueprint for society), I liberated myself.

          Oh well, you think my way is wrong, I think your way is wrong.  So I guess we’re even.

          Even?  There’s no equality here.  You’re narrow-minded, partisan, an adherent to your own slight variation of an ideology behind some of the worst carnage and destruction of freedom in history, a dishonest, arrogant propagandist.  I’m open-minded, non-partisan, objective, a seeker of those ideological positions which have resulted in the least harm and the most freedom, honest, and humble, when appropriate, but confident without unjustified arrogance.
          I disagree with a creationist and we both make our cases.  The fact that we can’t persuade one another is not a situation of being “even”, but symptomatic of the creationist refusing to consider facts and reason, clinging to myths handed down by forefathers.  The same goes for a debate on drug prohibition or gun rights.  Sometimes, you just can’t get people to drop popular dogmatism.

          • OMG!  I’m literally laughing outloud.  Erb is “trying to help” you?  His profession is “to think and help others learn how to think?”

            What an utter failure at the latter and what clueless arrogance at the former.  He can’t even help himself do what he claims is his profession much less help others.

            No wonder Ott Scerb is taking a break.  This is absolutely hilarious.

          • Wow, Elliot, so many words, so little substance.  I think you’re trying to convince yourself.  Look at what you write.  It’s clear you hold a grudge and you’re trying as hard as you can to insult and denigrate me, but you can’t.  My life tells me that not only can I think (and very well), but that I’m successful, an excellent teacher, and get along great with my colleagues.  I’ve worked on advanced projects on ethics in world politics, and understand a variety of ethical approaches.  You have a particular way of viewing the world.  I understand it.  I find it limiting and misguided, but that’s cool.

            You make all sorts of weird attacks about “carnage, ideology” – verbose barrage that means nothing, and certainly doesn’t relate to what I’ve argued.   I don’t dislike you at all, nor am I bothered by your attacks, I just wish I was able to help you see beyond your angry and disdain to open your mind a bit.  Oh well, you have your beliefs and emotions – I wish you will.  This is really the only place in my life I’ve met such personal animosity.  I know it’s not me because if it were, this would repeat elsewhere.  I find it puzzling and fascinating, but realize that you’ve put up a wall and have all sorts of preconceived notions and grudges.  *shrug*  I truly wish you all the best!

          • Scotty’s man-crush on Elliot is getting a wee bit conspicuous.

          • Kinda creepy really.   Makes you wonder if he has someone trapped in a hole in his basement that he ‘forgives’ on a regular basis.

            “You feel trapped, I understand, I forgive you, you’re angry that I’ve had to confine you to this pit, you yell at me, and call me names, but…..I forgive you.
            You know I had a lot of time to think about life while I dug that hole and I realized that it gave me time to think, which I do very well.
            I’m successful, an excellent all around guy and I never had a single argument with the shovel I used, though I admit I didn’t understand the way the pick sometimes thought, but I forgave it too after a while.
            Digging this hole was a kind of advanced project in the ethics of confining someone in my basement and understanding what it would be like to do that.
            I wish you wouldn’t be angry and hate me, but oh well, you have your beliefs and emotions, and I wish you well.  I just wish at night you wouldn’t make so much noise, it sometimes wakes me up when you randomly scream like that.  But you know, you’re the only person who does that so it must be you, because if it were me it would repeat elsewhere.   I find it puzzling and fascinating, but realize you have all kinds of preconceived notions and grudges.   *shrut*, I only wish you the all the best!

            Now….it rubs the lotion on it’s skin, okay?”

          • I still think you’d be a better person if you were still a pacifist, Scott.

          • Hell, he’d be a better person if we could get him to see blowing things up to save face isn’t reasonable.   I’d settle for that as a start.

    • “I’d argue that core principles are illusions – linguistic constructs”

      Would you buy a car (or even a slice of pizza) from this man?

  • International law only has bite when it has the backing of military power. To the extent international law matters, it does so because the US military makes it so. The Europeans are too weak to back anything up, and the rest of the world is weaker or more barbaric.

  • In retrospect, killing Osama Bin Laden was a mistake, we took Al Queda’s general away.  If he were alive today, John McCain and John Kerry could meet with him and map out the bombing strategy that would be most effective in Syria.

  • Whatever the outcome of “Erb v Rest of world”, I have to admire that this post managed to generate references to Cool Hand Luke, Silence of the Lambs and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Plus the obligatory nod to the Simpsons. That is some serious foreign policy seminar material right there.