Comments
First, a Bin Laden quote about al qaeda in Iraq hardly proves anything. The fact is that while they may be ’related,’ al qaeda in Iraq emerged after the US invasion as a way to draw people otherwise not involved with al qaeda into an easy way to bleed the Americans. Take poor Saudis, Syrians and Jordanians, send them across the border to ’fight the infidel.’ This provided al qaeda a cheap way to hurt the US at no cost to themselves. These fighters were not main al qaeda operatives, would not have been involved anyway (except for a few top leaders) and have helped create a situation where nobody expects Iraqi stability any time soon, and the idea of a pro-American democratic Iraq is very distant, if not dead.

Second, note the important fact here: al qaeda and its way of thinking is NOT the norm in the Muslim world. They in fact have tactics most Muslims consider to be anti-Islamic. That’s why it is only ignorant folk who argue that this is some kind of long war against the Islamic world, and see this as a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. Most Muslims do not want an al qaeda like government, and do not want some kind of jihad. They are anti-western and anti-American, but that’s mostly because of our policies which appear to them to be self-evidently imperialistic. We go there, try to socially engineer a country, treat Iraqis with disrespect, killing parents and civilians at check points because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, and causing massive upheavels. How could you not hate the Americans if you are an average Arab, we are the outsiders going in, killing, destroying, and acting arrogant. An average Arab is perfectly rational to see the US as an evil outside invading force.

That, of course, only helps al qaeda and other extremists in the battle for the hearts and minds of the youth — more than half the population in most of these countries.

To turn this around we have to recognize the failure of Iraq policy, and the relative impotence of the military to shape political outcomes. We have to acknowledge that while we may tell ourselves we’re ’trying to help’ or ’getting rid of bad guys,’ we’re actually causing the death of massive numbers of civilians, and even if we don’t want to accept that responsibility (we’re very good at trying to wash our hands of anything bad that happesn) that’s the way they see it, and that perception matters in the fight for the future. We simply have to recognized that warfare — organized murder — is not the way to go here. It doesn’t work - Iraq proves that - and it helps the extremists.

And, by the way, since when do libertarians cheer lead the state when it uses massive power to try a social engineering experiment in another culture, killing, destroying, and essentially putting the state above the individual? Military indoctrination? You’re not able to think critically about military power because some of you were in the military?

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
since when do libertarians cheer lead the state
Erb, you need to accept the "reality" of libertarianism and move away from your limited view of what is an "ideal" libertarian. Your limited viewpoint clearly indicates you would not do well in the social sciences.

Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I could see this a a really funny SNL skit if it wasn’t true.

and then when I did the preview I saw this.
First, a Bin Laden quote about al qaeda in Iraq hardly proves anything. ...
What is it with leftists and their apologia for AQ. What massive amount of cognitive dissonance is at work here? Is it any wonder that we mock you and do not take you seriously. It kills me that the amount of BDS/ADS(America) is so bad that you feel obliged to defined AQ and Bin Laden of all people.

Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Obviously, al Qaeda’s image around the world has suffered.
Maybe they need to elect Obama, Reid, Kerry, Pelosi or Murtha to improve their image. They need a "NewD irection".

You really have to wonder just what this folks are thinking when they say that they don’t want to go and fight the Americans. I keep seeing how we are "evil" and the most hated country (which I’m sure is true among the Davos set), but it sure seems to look like many have come to believe that going up against American military power is useless suicide.

Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Sorry, there al Qaeda. What was I thinking when I included Pelosi ?

Written By: Neo
URL: http://
They are anti-western and anti-American, but that’s mostly because of our policies which appear to them to be self-evidently imperialistic. We go there, try to socially engineer a country, treat Iraqis with disrespect, killing parents and civilians at check points because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do, and causing massive upheavels. How could you not hate the Americans if you are an average Arab, we are the outsiders going in, killing, destroying, and acting arrogant. An average Arab is perfectly rational to see the US as an evil outside invading force.
Here everyone, I pulled the relevant quote from the rest of the egghead’s twaddle so as to spare you that chore. Have at it.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
What is it with leftists and their apologia for AQ.
Think of the illogic behind denying the bin Laden quote. Now we’re to believe that bin Laden and AQ are apologizing for things for which they supposedly have no responsibility.

Wouldn’t it be easier and much more logical to deny an association with and thus responsibility for the excesses of AQI if, in fact, it was true they weren’t associated?

Of course unlike some on the left, bin Laden is trying to maintain credibility and he knows he can’t do so by denying what he has previously claimed.

Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
First, a Bin Laden quote about al qaeda in Iraq hardly proves anything. He’s not a wise leftist, he’s just a sometimes convenient ally for us on the left. The fact is that while they may be ’related,’ al qaeda in Iraq emerged after the US invasion as a way to draw people otherwise not involved with al qaeda into an easy way to bleed the Americans. And since we didn’t plan it that way, the fact that we got to kill thousands of terrorists, many of them al Qaeda members doesn’t count. It just doesn’t. I decree it. Take poor Saudis, Syrians and Jordanians, send them across the border to ’fight the infidel.’ This provided al qaeda a cheap way to hurt the US at no cost to themselves, except, of course that they came to be seen as amoral savages, and let me tell you, we on the left have had to work overtime to mute notice of that in the media. These fighters were not main al qaeda operatives, they were just grunts, yeah, that’s the ticket, they were just grunts who would not have been involved anyway (except for a few top leaders) and have helped create a situation where nobody on the left expects Iraqi stability any time within the next century, and the idea of a pro-American democratic Iraq is very distant, if not dead. And stop piling any evidence to the contrary in front of me. I can’t hear you, la, la, la, I’ll just put my fingers in my ears.

Second, note the important fact here: al qaeda and its way of thinking is NOT the norm in the Muslim world. Now, you might think that exposing such tactics of the extremists, and fighting the extremists would thus make us closer to mainstream Muslims, but that just shows that you don’t have godlike powers of political science to tell you that the US will never ingratiate itself with those brown people in the Middle East. Even though the extremists in fact have tactics most Muslims consider to be anti-Islamic, we ought to just get out of the whole area and let the locals fight them. That’s why it is only ignorant folk who argue that this is some kind of long war against the Islamic world, and see this as a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam. Yes, and I will continue to say that no matter how many westerners are killed by terrorists or how many pro-Islamic laws are passed in Europe and no matter how much freedom of speech is trampled in Canada at the behest of Muslims. Because it’s just a tiny fraction, I tell you! Islam is religion of peace! I’ve studied it and found Koran verses that say Islam should never, ever be used the way the extremists use it, and the fact that the extremists have other verses that say the exact opposite and that these supposed extremists are supported by supposed moderates like CAIR is completely beside the point. Really! I decree it! Stop laughing!!

Most Muslims do not want an al qaeda like government, and do not want some kind of jihad. It’s just a rank coincidence that this type of government actually ever existed in Afghanistan and challenges the legitimate government in many other countries. Just a coincidence, I tell you! They’re powerless! They are anti-western and anti-American, but that’s mostly because of our policies which appear to them to be self-evidently imperialistic. That’s right, it’s all our fault, as it always is whenever something goes wrong in the world. We should never attempt to hold them responsible for their actions, because they’re just wogs who don’t know any better. We go there, try to socially engineer a country, treat Iraqis with disrespect (though why our mild disrespect is worse than the beheadings and execution-style murders of al qaeda is a complicated political sciency thing that you would have to take my class to have explained), killing parents and civilians at check points because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do and thereby proving that war is unhealthy for children and other living things, and causing massive upheavels. Yes, we should have just left things the way they were, no matter how bad, to avoid upheavels, which are the worst thing that could ever happen. How could you not hate the Americans if you are an average Arab, we are the outsiders going in, killing, destroying, and acting arrogant. And we’re not even the same color as them! Sure, their locals can kill, destroy, and act arrogant, on a scale far beyond us, and it’s OK because they’re just wogs and part of the indigineous culture. But Americans! We stink! An average Arab is perfectly rational to see the US as an evil outside invading force, no matter how much better their life is now or how much potential it has. They should see us as wise leftists see us, evil, evil, evil! And we’ll keep on being evil until we turn into a socialist paradise that would never ever intervene anywhere in the world no matter what the provocation!

Our presence, of course, only helps al qaeda and other extremists in the battle for the hearts and minds of the youth — more than half the population in most of these countries. That’s right, no matter how many schools our soldiers build or how many friendships they make, our very presense will help al qaeda. I decree it! It’s a matter of post modern definition in foreign policy! You must accept it! Stop laughing!

To turn this around we have to recognize the failure of Iraq policy, and the relative impotence of the military to shape political outcomes. It always comes back to these two things: the failure indicates that you all should have listened to wise leftists all along, and the impotence of the military is an axiom of post-modern leftist thought since Vietnam. I don’t care how many Kuwaits or Iraq or Afghanistans our military wins, it’s just impotent, I tell you! I decree it! We have to acknowledge that while we may tell ourselves we’re ’trying to help’ or ’getting rid of bad guys,’ we’re actually causing the death of massive numbers of civilians, as exposed by our leftist allies at the Lancet, and don’t start with all the debunking of those guys, because debunking only counts if it’s done by Wikipedia to debunk the swift boat guys, and even if we don’t want to accept that responsibility (we’re very good at trying to wash our hands of anything bad that happesn) that’s the way they see it, and that perception matters in the fight for the future, and this sentence has gone on way too long, but that’s just a consequence of my righteous anger at you dense righties for denying any of this even though I’ve patiently explained it a thousand times. We simply have to recognized that warfare — organized murder — is not the way to go here. It never is. Under any circumstances. The US needs to be humble and under decades of self-effacement to pay for our sins. Military action doesn’t work - Iraq proves that - and it helps the extremists. And for God’s sake, don’t start up with Afghanistan and Kuwait as counterpoints, because I’ve worked myself into a righteous lather here, and I don’t have any time to write the hundred thousand word post it would take to prove that you’re completely wrong, wrong, wrong, do you hear, wrong!

And, by the way, since when do libertarians cheer lead the state when it uses massive power to try a social engineering experiment in another culture, killing, destroying, and essentially putting the state above the individual? How many times can I work this wanton behavior that is completely unsupported by anything except leftist dogma into my comment? And who cares about libertarians supporting national defense? Is it military indoctrination? You’re not able to think critically about military power because some of you were in the military? I’m reaching for every strawman I can at this point to get you to respond, because you guys have stopped taking me seriously! I can’t stand it! Answer me as an equal! I demand it! Please!!!!!!!!

Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Think of the illogic behind denying the bin Laden quote. Now we’re to believe that bin Laden and AQ are apologizing for things for which they supposedly have no responsibility.
Al qaeda considers itself at war, and the propaganda war is but one of the battlefields. Thus they are not concerned with logic, they are concerned with PR. One thing I do with students is role playing, where the take on the perspective of say, an al qaeda leader, a US foreign policy maker, a CIA agent, an average Arab. We look through how each perspective views a situation. The more one learns about the Arab world, the clearer it is that there is a huge number of young people coming of age (some have 50% or so 14 or younger, I believe) in a world where there are competing pressures. Some learn English watching movies from hollywood, and wish their society had the opportunities we have. Others might drift towards extremist schools and clerics, to give them a sense of meaning in an life otherwise devoid of real opportunity, or the chance for political change.

This makes for a volatile situation. It also means that the key is not to ’kill the enemy’ — the numbers of the enemy are small. The key is to make sure the extremists don’t expand their appeal to this growing youth class, and that states in the region find a way to handle the impact of globalization on their still traditional societies. The war in Iraq was one effort to do that — show we can get rid of corrupt dictators and help build a model democratic society, to show Arabs what they can have. It turns out that bit of social engineering was overly ambitious. Accept that. Lesson learned. The intent was good, but this isn’t the way to deal with the threat. Stop the spin. Stop seeing this as ’them vs. us’ in some kind of political debate. That leads only cherry picking the ’good news’ — something some have been doing for five years now — and say things are changing. After half a decade, that becomes stale. Time to face reality.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
That leads only cherry picking the ’good news’
The how about the cherry picking of ’bad news’ like, for instance, al Sadr win in Basra which now looks like anything but a win as JAM is in a real jam. It it time to face reality, and reevaluate your position.

Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Think of the illogic behind denying the bin Laden quote. Now we’re to believe that bin Laden and AQ are apologizing for things for which they supposedly have no responsibility.
Al qaeda considers itself at war, and the propaganda war is but one of the battlefields. Thus they are not concerned with logic, they are concerned with PR. And as part of their PR arm, we have to help them with that every way we can, and that means putting spin on their message for an American audience. One thing I do with students is role playing, where the take on the perspective of say, an al qaeda leader, a US foreign policy maker, a CIA agent, an average Arab. Each role is, of course, slotted with the caricature that we on the left associate with it: the al qaeda leader is noble, but misguided, the US foreign policy maker is a deluded lackey of Bush, the CIA agent varies between being a cold-war holdover and a noble dissident to the Bush administration, etc. We look through how each perspective views a situation.

The more one learns about the Arab world, the clearer it is that there is a huge number of young people coming of age (some have 50% or so 14 or younger, I believe) in a world where there are competing pressures. And we certainly have no business putting our preferred pro-American position in from of them during this critical time, because that would dilute their native, noble-savage cultures. Some learn English watching movies from hollywood, and wish their society had the opportunities we have. But they certainly don’t leap from that to hoping that vicious dictators should be removed to give them the opportunity to be a part of the wider world, oh no! That’s just contrary to post-modernist political philosophy, so those brown wogs would never go that far. Others might drift towards extremist schools and clerics, to give them a sense of meaning in an life otherwise devoid of real opportunity, or the chance for political change. That’s the only kind of political change we on the left might sanction: driven by rich, noble-savage passion, and which simultaneously pokes Bush in the eye. Besides, those al qaeda types with their instruments of torture and their native robes and headdresses sometimes make me fantasize about... oh, sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, anything that makes the US look good is bad and anything that makes the US look bad is good. I think that about sums it up.

This makes for a volatile situation. It also means that the key is not to ’kill the enemy’ - no, killing the enemy is the last thing we hubristic, arrogant Americans need to do. The numbers of the enemy are small. And the fact that it only took eighteen of them to kill three thousand on 9/11 is completely beside the point. And don’t start up with that nuclear bombing of an American city stuff. Just don’t, you hear me!

The key is to make sure the extremists don’t expand their appeal to this growing youth class, and that states in the region find a way to handle the impact of globalization on their still traditional societies. Now, you might think that this is meaningless blather, but I got it from a real book written by a wise leftist, and in fact it was the preferred answer to a question on one of my recent exams, and the guy at the back that said it didn’t mean anything got a bad grade, you can be sure. Anyway, the war in Iraq was one effort to do that — show we can get rid of corrupt dictators and help build a model democratic society, to show Arabs what they can have. It turns out that bit of social engineering was overly ambitious. Accept that. Just accpet it, you hear! It’s gone all wrong and nothing good can come of it! I decree it! Lesson learned. The intent was good, but this isn’t the way to deal with the threat. Stop the spin. Stop seeing this as ’them vs. us’ in some kind of political debate. Instead, listen to we wise leftists who have been right about every foreign policy decision for the last forty years. Well, maybe except for that Soviet accommodation thing. And the Jimmy Carter hostages thing. And off-hand I can’t think of other places that the leftist position was adopted, but that just goes to show why everything is going so wrong - because nobody is listening to we wise leftists as they should. It’s certainly clear that no one is listening to me around here, and I’m getting pretty tired of you dense righties having the arrogance to ignore or make fun of a PhD political science professor who deigns to come here and try to educate you ignorant proles only to have you make fun of me at ever turn. Do you realize how childish that is? Any time now, all of you will have a sudden change of heart and realize that your position is taken from emotional bias. That leads only cherry picking the ’good news’ — something some have been doing for five years now — and say things are changing. After half a decade, that becomes stale. Time to face reality. And the reality is that we leftists are never going to be convinced that anything good could come from Iraq no matter how much evidence you come up with. So just accept it. Stop being totally committed to your position and failing to account for new evidence of how wrong everything is. And no, that doesn’t mean I have to account for new evidence in my own adamant position. That’s just not the way it works. Stop laughing!!

Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
The how about the cherry picking of ’bad news’ like, for instance, al Sadr win in Basra which now looks like anything but a win as JAM is in a real jam. It it time to face reality, and reevaluate your position.
How you can paint it as a win is beyond me (though I have seen the ’usual suspects’ try, usually by ignoring the facts). Most recognize that the offensive was called off, and Iran stepped in to dictate a settlement. The US is also accused of exaggeration to try to put the best face on the failure.

I posted on my blog and here that a win for Maliki would require that his demand that the Mahdi army disarm be adhered to. That was his stated goal. That did not happen. Instead Sadr, who called for a return to the truce at the start, got his way. In exchange for letting the Iraqi army go into Basra, the Mahdi army stayed armed, and their essential power is unchanged. Note also that Maliki is very close to the Iranians, that seems to be something you constantly ignore.

We may not seem to know it (or admit it), but the Saudis do:

Diplomats in Riyadh say Saudi Arabia, which considers itself the leading representative of mainstream Sunni Islam, decided last year to reduce its dealings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki after concluding he was running a Shi’ite sectarian government too close to Iran.


Also, do you realize that the US and Iran both oppose the al-Sadr movement, that in some sense the US and Iran are on the same side here?

But this is typical of the kinds of spin some of you guys have been doing for five years. How many times have we heard of major progress, victories, significant change, and improvement, only to see things drag on and on.

Tell is, is there ANYTHING that can get you to question the decision to invade Iraq and continue this attempt at social engineering. What will ’victory’ look like? What about Iran’s close ties to Dawa and Maliki? What’s the point?



Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, here’s part of what I wrote in my blog on March 26th, as the Basra battle was unfolding:
It could also happen that both sides decide not to push this to a clear conclusion, and instead reach a deal. If the deal allows the Sadrists to keep their weapons and share real power, especially in the South, there will be no conclusive judgment on the US ’surge.’ Supporters will call it an important show of will by the Maliki government, and point to any gains the government made in limiting Mahdi power as progress. Opponents will note the continued strength of Shi’ite militas and relative weakness of the government. In such a case the argument will continue, but the public will become far more skeptical — the "surge" will take its place alongside "stay the course."
I think this is what happened.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
One of the reasons that I don’t pay too much attention to the latest from or about al Qaeda, other than generally noting that neither they nor their tentacle groups have attacked the U.S. in coming on seven years, is that the data stream on the war on terror will not get out to historians, let alone mere citizens, for many years to come.

I know what the U.S. should be doing globally (and domestically), but it can’t do it and talk about it at the same time. Once a method of attack/defend is talked about its effectiveness is lost. So, the hard data is "we haven’t been attacked." That ought to be enough for the time being for most Americans, but into the gap between that and operational details, the inexplicable America-haters in, good God, the Democratic Party have run wild with accusations and recriminations. They do it only for political gain, but it’s the filthy lying that bothers me most.

Iraq is a more visible matter, but as success looms it will fade from the media screen. In truth, it is a complicated hairball that needed to be slowly picked apart. Mixing metaphors: we didn’t make progress until the Sheriff figured out who all the customers in the saloon were, who was drinking hard whisky, who was cheating at cards, who the whores were, who was likely to shoot you in the back, etc.

One thing I do know is that our soldiers in Iraq, trumping any significance they have as symbols of infidel occupation, offer Iraqis starved for manliness and individuality the living breathing magnetic heroic greatness of true warriors. That language transcends culture and ideology and speaks directly to the heart of people. To come from the most comfortable society on earth, in the prime of your young life, to risk your own life to build something on the ruins of the totalitarian catastrophe of Ba’athist Iraq in the face of medieval social structures, is the greatest, bravest, most courageous act in this sad world.

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Erb, you need to accept the "reality" of libertarianism and move away from your limited view of what is an "ideal" libertarian. Your limited viewpoint clearly indicates you would not do well in the social sciences
Or, parties for that matter.

Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
McQ: Think of the illogic behind denying the bin Laden quote. Now we’re to believe that bin Laden and AQ are apologizing for things for which they supposedly have no responsibility.
Erb: Al qaeda considers itself at war, and the propaganda war is but one of the battlefields. Thus they are not concerned with logic, they are concerned with PR.
Yes, and apologizing is bad PR. Unless you are actually guilty, and everyone realizes it.

Written By: Don
URL: http://
Oh, here’s part of what I wrote in my blog on March 26th, as the Basra battle was unfolding:
We know your are good at rationalizing.

You still think John Kerry wasn’t lying about Cambodia, clearly you can fool yourself into believing whatever it is you want to believe.

Written By: Don
URL: http://
Yes, and apologizing is bad PR. Unless you are actually guilty, and everyone realizes it.
And of course that’s what is happening with al qaeda.

Don, as for Kerry, I think the swiftboaters have been shown to be wrong on a host of charges, it was a political hack job, done to smear a decorated veteran with whom they disagreed politically. Whether Kerry told lies or exaggerations is a different issue. Some people think that one Kerry exaggeration vindicates the swiftboaters, that’s not true at all. Most people exaggerate, leave out some details, or even have things converge in their mind and thus make factual mistakes. I think it’s very likely Kerry did that. But even if he told some lies, that does not vindicate the underhanded gutter hack job — which is why swiftboating refers to an attempt to personally smear another, with a barrage of attacks, some of which might be true, but most are false and twisted.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Look, let me explain things in simple terms even you dense righties can understand:

1. Even though what I call "social engineering" worked in Japan, Korea, Kuwait, and is now working in Afghanistan, it cannot and will not work in Iraq. QED.

2. Our presence inflames the violence in Iraq, even though we’ve been in Kuwait far longer and it doesn’t inflame violence there and even though there are no signs that our presence in Afghanistan inflames violence. Iraq is just different. Don’t you see it? It’s just different. I decree it.

3. Most of the al qaeda operatives we’ve killed in Iraq came from outside Iraq. And that proves that the Iraqi people will never accept us. Don’t you see?

4. The Battle of Basra was a loss for Malaki because he didn’t meet the goals that I and other wise leftists set for him. Nothing else matters. He didn’t meet our goals, so he lost. There’s nothing ambiguous about it, and Sadr won, and I just don’t see why you righties keep focusing on the number of Sadr’s fighters that were killed or the falling-out between Sadr and the Iranians or the desertion of Sadr by senior clerics. None of those things were the original goal as envisioned by we wise leftists, so they just don’t matter. I decree it.

5. Kerry might have lied, but those swift boat guys are just icky for attacking a Democratic presidential candidate and actually having the chutzpah to believe they as American citizens should be able to affect an election. They should have left the portrayal of Kerry to we wise leftist supporters so that we emphasize his golden qualities and he could have been elected and ejected the odious Bush. And if you believe that someone who lied and was attacked by fifty people he served with is not he best candidate for president, then you have Kerry Derangement Syndrome. I decree it.

None of these positions has any logical inconsistencies whatsoever. If you think you see some, it’s just because you don’t understand post modernist reasoning, which most dense righties don’t. So I’m going to keep coming here and posting and posting and posting, and repeating the same stuff over and over and over until the sheer repetition forces you to acknowledge my superior acumen and my godlike powers of political science. So you might as well get used to me posting the same stuff over and over. And don’t even think about ignoring it because you’ve seen it all before. You owe it to me to take everything I write seriously no matter how logically flawed it seems to be and no matter how many times I’ve written it before. Otherwise, you are just biased righties who are cherry-picking evidence. So there.

Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
I think the swiftboaters have been shown to be wrong on a host of charges,
A host? When your argument is as weak as the claim that O’Neil is lying because of an old statement he made to Nixon, it’s obvious you don’t have much of substance on your side.
it was a political hack job, done to smear a decorated veteran with whom they disagreed politically.
He had run a policitical hack job against them, back in the early ’70s when it was politically expedient for him to do so. Payback is a bitch . . .
Most people exaggerate, leave out some details,


He lied about being in Cambodia (not just the date). And he did so for crass, premeditated political reasons.

He lied about his first Purple Heart.

He may have lied about his second Purple Heart.

And he lied to get the "V" device with his Bronze Star.

Besides which he made freaky home videos, playing soldier while he was over there.
But even if he told some lies, that does not vindicate the underhanded gutter hack job
You don’t get it. He betrayed his comrads. He lied about them during his Winter Soldier testamony. He’s the one that used an underhanded gutter hack job.

The Swiftboat vets were getting back at Kerry for what he did to them back in the ’70s. If Kerry was running on relevent experience, the vets points about Kerry would have been largely moot, but since Kerry was "reporting for duty", he was effectively asking us to judge him by his ’nam experience. And he fell short.

Written By: Don
URL: http://
BTW, have you read Robert Kagan’s TNR article, or Francis Fukuyama’s book "America at the Crossroads." I think that as some neo-conservative thinkers reflect on the lessons learned by the failures in Iraq (and the word failure is appropriate at least in talking about neo-conservative expectations), they are coming up with interesting insights. Kagan and Fukuyama’s reflections show an evolution of that thought. It doesn’t seem that people like Kristol and Krauthammer want to veer from their original theory, they want to simply blame it on poor execution.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, Lord, don’t miss this construction:
I think that as some neo-conservative thinkers reflect on the lessons learned by the failures in Iraq (and the word failure is appropriate at least in talking about neo-conservative expectations),
Boris must have gotten his invitation to the Baghdad conference sponsored by The New York Times (Six days and five nights of fine dining and visits to wonderful archeological sites!) on "How Neo-conservatives Failed in Iraq" (formerly "How America Failed in Iraq).

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris must have gotten his invitation to the Baghdad conference sponsored by The New York Times (Six days and five nights of fine dining and visits to wonderful archeological sites!) on "How Neo-conservatives Failed in Iraq" (formerly "How America Failed in Iraq).
He was referring to failed predictions by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Kristol, et al. and not a general failure of American actions in Iraq. We weren’t greeted as liberators, oil revenues didn’t pay for the war, more than a small postwar occupation force was needed, etc. I agree that many of the predictions made by those termed neo-conservatives were not correct. That doesn’t mean that the ultimate goal is unreachable, but the predicted course didn’t materialize. They were, in fact, wrong.

Written By: Is
URL: http://
Is:
He was referring to failed predictions by Cheney, [etc.]
Yes, I know what he was referring to.

What I was referring to was his construction regarding failure, where it was shifted (probably just for the moment because Erb "experiments" with such shifts all the time before hitting his reset button) from "Iraq is a total failure" (his normal declaration) to the failure of Neo-Con predictions.

P.S.:

I don’t think that neo-con "best case scenario" predictions have any relevance to anything except "don’t make predictions." No one misunderstood the fact that when we went into Iraq things could go wrong and get crazy. Civil war, for instance, was always a possibility. But the "best case" would have been an Iraqi "let’s get about our business" new order. That could have been what happened.

But Saddam prepared and left behind an explosive Ba’athist/Sunni insurgency that in turn made it easy for al Qaeda to get its operations going and that included provoking the Shi’a.

All in all, for us, a minor war with complications. For the Iraqis an extended period of turmoil during which they showed they wanted democracy but had to be tortured for it by extremists from every camp.

Erb was a cheerleader for every single aspect of that destruction: every single aspect of it. In fact, he was a member of the terrorist’s target audience in the West, and happily and enthusiastically so.

Now, consider the moral void in that, as opposed to the "best case" predictions of some of the Neo-Cons.

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
He was referring to failed predictions by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Kristol, et al. and not a general failure of American actions in Iraq. We weren’t greeted as liberators, oil revenues didn’t pay for the war, more than a small postwar occupation force was needed, etc. I agree that many of the predictions made by those termed neo-conservatives were not correct. That doesn’t mean that the ultimate goal is unreachable, but the predicted course didn’t materialize. They were, in fact, wrong.
That’s one reason I find Fukuyama’s book and Kagan’s recent article The End of History really interesting. I don’t agree with Kagan on a number of things, but neo-conservative thought is evolving, and some are willing to reflect on how they really were wrong about what to expect in Iraq.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris:
neo-conservative thought is evolving,
Now there’s a condemnation of neo-conservative thought.

I mean, aside from the fact that Erb doesn’t know anything about neo-conservatism. As easy a matter as the neo-conservative concept is to grasp, Erb can’t do it.

That’s because he bought, of course, the Lefty caricature, and also loves the implicit anti-semitisme (a lot of neocons are Jews) invoked by the repeated use of the term "neocon" as an epithet.

P.S. to Boris: Francis Fukuyama is your rather ordinary ex-State Department polysci guy who had a job in the Reagan administration and came out the other end slightly not like the standard anti-anti-communist unto frank Marxists who usually inhabit the academic polysci pens, hence, just by rubbing himself up against the leg of neoconservatism he was labeled a neocon, by some.

Fukuyama’s reach exceeds his grasp by a considerable degree, and The End of History is sufficient proof of that.

"Oooops, where’d that strange Islamic civilization come from, and why are these odd postmodernist Westerners suckling on its breasts? And why does the West seem to be consuming itself?"

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Oops, typo there, Kagan’s article is The End of the End of History.

Sort of like Paris in the


Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Six and half years after Al Qaeda attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center and our big victory is that they have to change their PR tactics. Wooo. Hooo. We’re really smokin’ ’em outta their holes aren’t we.

Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Six and half years after Al Qaeda attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center and our big victory is that they have to change their PR tactics.
We have been successful in preventing another attack here in the US.

Written By: Is
URL: http://
We have been successful in preventing another attack here in the US.
Yeah, but we were successful in doing that from 1993 to 2001. They are very patient. They spent eight years after the failed attempt to bring down the WTC before they succeeded. It could be eight years again, maybe 15. At that point, the success we perceive now might be seen as having been illusionary.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris:
Yeah, but we were successful in doing that from 1993 to 2001. They are very patient. They spent eight years after the failed attempt to bring down the WTC before they succeeded. It could be eight years again, maybe 15. At that point, the success we perceive now might be seen as having been illusionary.
Note the slight difference in our response after 9/11 as opposed to the period after the 1973 bombing, Boris:

After 1973: Essentially no response other than to institute a criminal investigation and arrest a handful of the principals. Message: We’ll be very polite and treat this as a minor indiscretion; after all, you didn’t succeed in bringing down the towers or in blowing up the bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan.

After 9/11: Respond by yanking Afghanistan out of Taliban/al Qaeda control, hunting down terrorist cells worldwide, and taking down a terror-sponsoring regime in the middle of the Middle East. Message: You’re going to die now, big time, and you’re going to pay in any case. And to state sponsors: you’re next (Cf. Libya after Iraq).

Note the difference between letting them off the hook, and putting them on the hook, Boris.

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
OKC bombing was in 95.

Written By: Is
URL: http://
OKC bombing was in 95.
You’re not blaming that on al qaeda, are you? Al qaeda can take years between attacks. One good book is Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counter Terrorism. It gives a very interesting picture of the development of counter terrorism, especially how from about 1996 on we (i.e., a part of the Clinton Administration, led by Richard Clarke) were at war with al qaeda. In fact, Clarke warned the in coming Bush administration that al qaeda and Bin Laden were planning something, but Bush focused on Russia and China (Wolfowitz questioned whether Bin Laden was a real threat). Then of course came 9-11. Thanks to the Iraq war, al qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan have resumed their planning and activities, without much opposition (even some help from Pakistan). They are no doubt assessing America’s counter terrorism planning, and don’t be surprised if within the first year of the next administration they try something big. They have time on their side, they believe, and they think it was a gift from Allah that the Americans got bogged down in Iraq, a war that doesn’t hurt them at all.

I think we have made real improvements in counter-terrorism, but al qaeda and other radical groups are as strong as ever. The US government certainly considers al qaeda a major threat.

So don’t get too over confident.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris:
Al qaeda can take years between attacks.
Yes, but the difference is that they can no longer take year between getting killed.

And as I understand it they rarely even get a day off in that regard, now.

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
More Boris:
Americans got bogged down in Iraq, a war that doesn’t hurt [al Qaeda] at all.
Other than being drawn by the thousands as if on a conveyor belt into the immediate kill zone of the U.S. military, the Iraq war hasn’t hurt al Qaeda at all.

Much as you declared victory in Iraq for al Qaeda, Boris, so did they. A little early on both accounts, although they’ll long be grateful for your solidarity with their cause.


Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Even more Boris:
the Clinton Administration, led by Richard Clarke
The Clinton administration did next to nothing about bin Laden or al Qaeda. Except give them confidence in their belief that America was weak and would never respond to something like 9/11 by, for instance, taking Afghanistan away from them, starting less than thirty days after 9/11 (sooner if you count the CIA special forces in there a couple of weeks before the military landed).

And Richard Clarke, yes, I remember him. I saw him sitting there with Bill Maher the other night while Maher was calling Pope Benedict a Nazi and an enabler of pedophiles. Clarke was grinning.

Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
You’re not blaming that on al qaeda, are you?
Of course not. I was pointing out that our country was successful in preventing a terrorist attack in the US from 1995 - 2001. I don’t like giving our government any more credit than what they deserve.

Written By: Is
URL: http://
I don’t like giving our government any more credit than what they deserve.
Fair enough. Point well taken.

Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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