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This is hardly sport anymore
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, March 01, 2007

But it is very instructive since it lets you easily separate the "principled" argument from the argument of political convenience.

Carl Levin in March, 1999:
"Whether we like it or not, the Balkans is an important crossroads. […] This is not the time to take risks in undermining those efforts. Those who insist on a debate at this particular moment should think again, or they bear the responsibility for the possible consequences of their actions." — Democratic Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, Congressional record, March 11, 1999
Carl Levin in Feb, 2007:
"I don’t want to put a specific number on (how many troops we want to withdraw from Iraq) because that really should be left to the commanders who decide how many would be needed to carry out those limited functions. But we’ve got to—the issue we’re facing, the key issue is do we want American troops in the middle of a civil war. That’s the fundamental issue which we want to debate. We’ve been wanting to debate that for many, many weeks, but, of course, we were filibustered before." — Carl Levin on Meet The Press, Feb 25, 2007
Steny Hoyer in Mar of 1999:
“The bill that is presently before us says that we shall not use elements... I do know and believe that our enemies will interpret that as a constriction on our maneuverability and ability to act. That is a dangerous policy. We should not be engaged in this conflict with that constriction on our troops. It is dangerous, in my opinion, for them. It gives to our enemy a false sense that he may act to the detriment of our people. We ought to reject this bill as not only premature, but as unwise policy. […]Let us be united with our President and with our fighting men and women in this important endeavor.[…]

It is absolutely unconscionable and irresponsible to be considering legislation which requires the arbitrary withdrawal of our forces participating in the NATO action against Serbia, as does House Concurrent Resolution 82. Such a course would hand Milosevic victory, confirm the genocide he has perpetrated against the Kosovar Albanians, and destroy NATO.[…]

America must lead, Mr. Speaker; we must not equivocate. Such a course would encourage the enemies of peace, the bullies of the world, and would surely endanger our men and women in uniform. As we enter the 21st century, America stands as the beacon of democracy, freedom, and human rights. People around the world look to our country's strength in their struggle for democracy and basic human rights. We must not, Mr. Speaker, stand now in the shadow of weakness and isolationism.”
Steny Hoyer in January of 2007:
"We should begin the phased redeployment of our forces within the next six months."
Jim Moran in March of 1999:
Mr . Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this resolution, which would prohibit funding for ground forces unless deployment is specifically authorized. The only narrow exception provided in this measure is for rescuing US service personnel.

This resolution would undermine our ability to achieve NATO objectives in Kosovo and, more importantly, would send the wrong signal to President Milosevic about our resolve in the Balkans.

I encourage my colleagues to consider the ramifications of this resolution, which limits our country's military leaders. If we are to ensure a stable Europe and stop the atrocities, then we must destroy Milosevic's ability to wage his campaigns of ethnic cleansing.
The resolution in question was one which would have required Clinton to go to Congress for an authorization to use ground forces if the bombing campaign wasn't successful.

Jim Moran yesterday at HuffPo:
The stage was set when Defense Spending Chairman Jack Murtha described his plans to use the President's Supplemental
Iraq spending request for another hundred billion dollars as a vehicle to support our troops in a manner which would limit the President's ability to broaden the war.
What a difference a war makes ... or perhaps the real difference is nothing more complex than who's running the war.
 
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This quoting of Democrats does beg the question, though, of what the Republicans were saying at the time.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
This resolution would undermine our ability to achieve NATO objectives in Kosovo...
The reason that Clinton used NATO for this mission in the first place was that he was unable to gain UN approval.

This point is conveniently forgotten by those who supported Clinton’s various adventures and now condemn the Iraq war as illegal on the basis that it lacked UN authorization (which is itself a debatable assertion).

Like Darfur, it is also an inconvenient example for people who believe that the UN is capable of taking decisive action to stop ethnic cleansing.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
How DARE you smear our duly elected representatives you RethugliKKKan! Go join the ARMY or else your just a neocon tool of BUSHCHENEYHITLERHALLIBURTON cabal! NO BLOOD FOR OYL!

Sorry, just wanted to be first to throw that out there since you know it’s coming.
 
Written By: A fine scotch
URL: http://
Of course this same line of attack works in reverse too. Virtually every Republican in Congress, including McCain, said the exact opposite of what they’re saying now when the topic was Somalia and Bosnia. Such is life in a two party system. There were some people who were consistent, though. Russ Feingold and Joe Lieberman, for example (though on opposite sides).
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Of course this same line of attack works in reverse too. Virtually every Republican in Congress, including McCain, said the exact opposite of what they’re saying now when the topic was Somalia and Bosnia. Such is life in a two party system. There were some people who were consistent, though. Russ Feingold and Joe Lieberman, for example (though on opposite sides).
Then feel free to post examples
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
AL,

Actually McCain was an outspoken supporter of the mission in The Balkans, as was the entire neo-con establishment. The Weekly Standard worked hard on Clinton’s behalf at the time.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Actually McCain was an outspoken supporter of the mission in The Balkans, as was the entire neo-con establishment. The Weekly Standard worked hard on Clinton’s behalf at the time.
Lance, you are going to give AL a hemorrhage dealing with the cognitive dissonance of his position with a statement like that. :)
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Capt. Joe,

Well, I was a subscriber at the time to the Weekly Standard, as well as the Nation, Mother Jones, The New Republic, National Review, etc. The most supportive publication of them all was The Weekly Standard followed by The New Republic and National Review. Needless to say The Nation and Mother Jones were less than enthusiastic overall.

The National Review could be pretty critical, and divided on it, but the Standard, when it did criticize Clinton, was of the feeling he was being too cautious. I agree with that by the way, though it was a while before I could decide whether I wanted us getting involved at all. The Standard was one of the reasons I did.

It was a tough call by Clinton though, so I am not as hard on him for the rather cautious and ineffective way he prosecuted it. I don’t want to sound cavalier, lots of people died because Clinton was afraid to risk casualties, but the public was very reticent about that given the lack of real obvious interests, and nearby European powers who theoretically could have done something themselves. He had been burned in Somalia and, I think, worried he might have to deal with Iraq down the line as well.

Anyway, Clinton deserves props in my mind for taking it on eventually, and Holbrooke did some good work as well. His most important ally in congress was McCain. I have huge problems with McCain, but unwilling to support an opposing party’s president in wartime isn’t one of them.

AL,

I doubt you would like what I have to say on this issue at my site any better, so I will copy my lead in to the quotes:
Now, I know the response to these quotes will be to ask what were Republicans doing then? Maybe the same thing, though I can think of a number who supported Clinton wholeheartedly, even though he didn’t have a UN authorization either. Democrats are free to roast Republicans on similar grounds if they wish.

What interests me is not that they are being hypocritical, nor that now they do not feel the need to support the continuing war in Iraq. Different war, so maybe they now rethink what they thought at that time. I just think it should be recognized that at one time they recognized that it is true that such things as stateside criticism has ramifications and no amount of whining about it will change that. Go ahead and do it, but stop whimpering that it is all in a bunch of “wingers” imagination that, in an information war especially, the words and deeds of our politicians and media have large effects. Toughen up and do it , acknowledge the downside, and make the case why it is necessary.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Virtually every Republican in Congress, including McCain, said the exact opposite of what they’re saying now when the topic was Somalia and Bosnia.
Given Lance’s contribution, the question becomes: is AL ignorant or a lier?

In any case, I opposed Kosovo, Bosnia and Somolia (Somolia was launched by Bush’s daddy, BTW).

At the time, I also opposed Panama, and I was essentially agnostic on the first Gulf War.

I also voted Libertarian in ’92 and ’96, at least in the presidental election.

I still think Kosovo, Bosnia, and Somolia were bad ideas. My opinion on Panama has changed, but it isn’t set in concrete.

How can I support Iraq and not Kosovo, Bosnia, and Somolia? Well, the nubmers "9-11" come to mind. I realize that the likely response is that Saddam wasn’t involved in 9-11. My response in turn is that 9-11 shows that we have to confront the bad guys where they live, and not wait until post-9-11 to do so. Saddam was someone we needed to confront. Supporting KLA terrorists in Kosovo doesn’t seem like an important priority . . .

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
My response in turn is that 9-11 shows that we have to confront the bad guys where they live, and not wait until post-9-11 to do so.
So when do we go after Mugabe, Kim, Burma, Venezuela, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc. ? Is Amnesty International going to decide which countries we go to war with now, or are we going to stick with shady exile groups?

And while I can’t do much to dispute these examples of hypocrisy on the floors of Congress(except to say that Iraq 2007 and Bosnia 1999 are pretty different situations and Democrats aren’t the only ones spending time on the other side of the coin), I would like to draw a little attention to this recent example.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
In fairness to AL, ignorance on this matter is pretty easy to come by. If you were a liberal you probably remember most the complaints of the opponents. Likewise, those who support the Iraq war remember most the most outrageous objections and liberals now look mostly at the most realistic and seemingly prescient reasons and ignore the most prevalent and often less flattering rationales. Human nature, and none of us is immune, myself included. I struggled with the Balkans and the Iraq war, and read pretty widely from all sides at the time, so it is pretty front and center. Even then, if I were to try and detail my recollections and reread the papers and other publications I am sure it would appear different.

Nevertheless, a substantial part of the conservative movement, especially the neo-cons, were on board.

Of course if the point is to show how perfidious the neo-cons are, a left wing sport these days, they would probably reply of course they wanted to go to war, that is what the bloodthirsty neo-cons do (not saying that would be your response AL, but we can all think of people who peddle that line)

I would respond that I think they are too willing to use military power, though far less than they are accused of, but they are not bloodthirsty as a group. They honestly desire for American Power to be used to fight totalitarianism. Hardly a mark of evil, if occasionally unwise.
So when do we go after Mugabe, Kim, Burma, Venezuela, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc. ? Is Amnesty International going to decide which countries we go to war with now, or are we going to stick with shady exile groups?
That is silly Badger. If one wishes to take action in the world it is not incumbent on one or a nation to solve everything. That complaint is one that could be filed against the left, liberals, anybody.
And while I can’t do much to dispute these examples of hypocrisy on the floors of Congress(except to say that Iraq 2007 and Bosnia 1999 are pretty different situations and Democrats aren’t the only ones spending time on the other side of the coin)
Everything is different, and thus always a claim which can be made, thus useless. Iraq was much more connected to our interests, it didn’t have neighboring states which one would expect to take care of it themselves and was at least prospectively just as likely to become a quagmire. That it didn’t become as bloody a mess (as opposed to before our intervention) has more to do with a more determined enemy.

That difference can argue against intervention or highlight the need for it. In the same way that intervening in Panama has turned out pretty painless and WWII was a national tragedy precisely because the enemy was so terrible (and no, I am not equating them to Iraq.)

I see no obvious rule that you can apply in such situations, and pretensions that these things are that clear tells a lot about the speaker but little about what we should do. In my experience generally we really don’t know, we use rules of thumb and other less than satisfactory techniques subsumed into partisan herd mentality. That applies to everybody by the way, not just liberals.
I would like to draw a little attention to this recent example.
I have no idea how it is relevant, but who here is a big Bill Young fan?
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
So when do we go after Mugabe, Kim, Burma, Venezuela, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc. ? Is Amnesty International going to decide which countries we go to war with now, or are we going to stick with shady exile groups?
That is silly Badger. If one wishes to take action in the world it is not incumbent on one or a nation to solve everything. That complaint is one that could be filed against the left, liberals, anybody.
The argument I was going for wasn’t that we should be policeman of the world, it’s just that if the Bush administration hadn’t been pushing faulty intelligence on Iraq’s WMDs and Al Qaeda links, there is virtually no chance that we would have invaded simply on humanitarian grounds, with the list of other brutal dictators (some much worse than Hussein) who we haven’t invaded as evidence of that fact.
I have no idea how it is relevant, but who here is a big Bill Young fan?
I justified its relevance on the basis that it’s an example of hypocrisy (which is a total stretch, I admit). I’ve been infuriated since I’ve read that and every other Walter Reed story. I don’t think it matters what your ideological background is.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Everything is different, and thus always a claim which can be made, thus useless. Iraq was much more connected to our interests, it didn’t have neighboring states which one would expect to take care of it themselves and was at least prospectively just as likely to become a quagmire. That it didn’t become as bloody a mess (as opposed to before our intervention) has more to do with a more determined enemy.
I don’t think Bosnia had a lot of dependable neighboring states either. One of the differences I was looking at was the time difference, in that Democrats are making their arguments for Congressional intervention more than 3 years into an ongoing and probably unwinnable war whereas Republicans were making theirs (and I might be wrong about this) in anticipation of a war that hadn’t even started yet. But it’s a minor distinction. I freely admit that party affiliation has as much to do with the stuff that comes out of most of these guys mouths as actual principles.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
The argument I was going for wasn’t that we should be policeman of the world, it’s just that if the Bush administration hadn’t been pushing faulty intelligence on Iraq’s WMDs and Al Qaeda links, there is virtually no chance that we would have invaded simply on humanitarian grounds, with the list of other brutal dictators (some much worse than Hussein) who we haven’t invaded as evidence of that fact.
Maybe, but not necessarily. In fact there were a large number of people at the time arguing against the WMD tack. I know, I was one of them. The anger about the tack from invasion supporters was that in going to the UN we were making the whole thing about WMD. That was what Blair, not Bush wanted to do, with an assist from Colin Powell. Why did that make it a about WMD? Because everybody knew no other basis would get the UN to act. The UN wouldn’t agree on any other rationale, which was quite correct. It turns out of course that argument didn’t work either. Bush however in speeches not before the UN gave a far more expansive rationale, so I find it doubtful that your conclusion is correct at all.

I agree that the arguments about WMD were faulty, though if so, shouldn’t we blame the Clinton’s since most of that Intelligence and the patterns of analysis were set up under them? To put it another way, if the Clinton administration hadn’t developed a particular way of analyzing the data and already established that there were WMD might the evidence that the administration used have been seen in a less prejudiced light? Probably not, but it was set in place under them (and in virtually every government in the world.)

As for Al Qaeda, the administration made few claims, but I will. They were connected, but I’ll leave that argument for later.

Worse than Hussein? Who? I can only think of Kim, though arguably the Sudanese might be worse as well. Certainly you can’t mean Assad or the Mullahs. Mugabe may well be heading that way, but at the time certainly not. You will have to enlighten me there.

Still, taking out Hussein may have been the wrong humanitarian situation, but that is a judgment call. The situation in the Balkans was mostly a humanitarian gesture, and Milosevic and pals weren’t anywhere close to the big leagues of killers. By your logic it wasn’t a humanitarian mission either. In fact, by your argument Clinton couldn’t have done anything on humanitarian grounds until he had taken out the government of Sudan, North Korea and Iraq. Pretty tall order just to stop Milosovic don’t you think? My guess is that plan would have even lost the Weekly Standard.

The fact is we never do anything for purely humanitarian reasons, it is usually for a number of reasons, humanitarian ones being part of the argument. A simple reason for that is that there are so many humanitarian issues. Usually we will choose ones that we want to do for other reasons as well. Perceived threats, markets, access (through trade, not seizure) to resources, sea lanes, strategic goals, alliances, etc. Otherwise we are left doing nothing or what is way beyond our capabilities.
I don’t think Bosnia had a lot of dependable neighboring states either
I was thinking of Western Europe being as they were a lot closer, but, well, you are right about that. We were the only reliable neighbor if you define it loosely enough. I am glad we eventually did.
One of the differences I was looking at was the time difference, in that Democrats are making their arguments for Congressional intervention more than 3 years into an ongoing and probably unwinnable war whereas Republicans were making theirs (and I might be wrong about this) in anticipation of a war that hadn’t even started yet.
Well I think we were at war with Iraq already. His guns fired on our planes every day for ten years, we responded on a regular basis. This rarely made headlines except for when it involved cruise missiles, but it is the case. More technically we were operating under a ceasefire agreement which he repeatedly violated. While under that cease fire agreement he attempted to assassinate President Bush (the elder) and funded and aided terrorists who carried out attacks against us and our allies. Technically we were in our rights to invade at any time, so the war has been going on for some time longer than three years.

I look at the timing differently than you however, because it is before the war that disapproval should be expressed. Once into the thing the effort should be focused on what it takes to win provided the gains to winning are significantly better than losing. That applies to Iraq. We haven’t been defeated yet, or seen anything resembling defeat and our defeat through either withdrawal or by actually losing or finding the situation untenable would be much worse than the gains from being succesful.

During the Balkans campaign, the Republicans were pretty good soldiers, though not perfect. Once it was underway it was primarily the right arguing for Clinton to be less delicate in how he waged the campaign, which might be criticism, but it wasn’t undercutting the effort, it was asking for more and stronger effort. I wish he had agreed, the air campaign saved American lives, but allowed the cleansing to continue and subjected Belgrade to more bombing that was otherwise necessary.
I freely admit that party affiliation has as much to do with the stuff that comes out of most of these guys mouths as actual principles.
I think that is a popular sentiment here.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
That [Kosovo] didn’t become as bloody a mess (as opposed to before our intervention) has more to do with a more determined enemy [in Iraq].
Maybe it also had something to do with attacking enemy Serbia and overthrowing the Milosevic regime to protect the intervention in Kosovo. Threatening to attack into Albania and Macedonia if the KLA caused problems. Compared to ignoring 3 years of Syrian, Saudi and Iranian enemy action in Iraq. Basically Kosovo was just run better.
...WWII was a national tragedy precisely because the enemy was so terrible (and no, I am not equating them to Iraq.)
Which became a national triumph when the enemy was fought and beaten.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Why did that make it a about WMD? Because everybody knew no other basis would get the UN to act.
I don’t buy this whole blame Blair and Powell excuse. WMD and Al Qaeda were the only ways to tie Iraq to 9/11. There was no way to get domestic support (much the less UN support) for the war without making that connection. This was a specific decision by the Bush Administration.
I agree that the arguments about WMD were faulty, though if so, shouldn’t we blame the Clinton’s since most of that Intelligence and the patterns of analysis were set up under them?
Clinton didn’t create the Office of Special Plans or appoint an apparachik like Doug Feith to head it. The Bush Administration did that, specifically because they thought that the CIA’s assessments were underestimating the amount of WMD in Iraq.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Clinton didn’t create the Office of Special Plans or appoint an apparachik like Doug Feith to head it. The Bush Administration did that, specifically because they thought that the CIA’s assessments were underestimating the amount of WMD in Iraq.
Well let’s not forget that Hillary Clinton’s stated justification for voting for the war included the fact that she, independently, went to Clinton administration officials she trusted and they verified the Bush admin intel on WMD.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ,

The only difference between then and now is:

Then: we won the war
Now: we are NOT winning (which, I would argue, is the same as losing)
 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
Then feel free to post examples
Thanks for the invitation, I posted on this very topic a couple weeks ago entitled:
Senator Chuck Hagel calls BS on Senator Kay Hutchison...
and Senator Joe Lieberman, and Senator John McCain and Senators Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Craig, Hatch, Stevens, Bond & Cochran, not to mention the Senate Leadership of both parties - Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.


One interesting example excerpted here:

A recent Kay Hutchison (R-TX) quote highlighted in the video: "The worst thing we can do as a Congress is to undercut the president internationally. Passing a resolution that is not binding — the president is the commander in chief — I think sends exactly the wrong message.” - Jan ’07.

In the above quote Senator Hutchison is, of course, referencing President Bush. In December of 1995, she felt differently about undercutting President Clinton internationally. This is the non-binding resolution she sponsored on the floor of the Senate (full text):
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 35—RELATIVE TO BOSNIA
(Senate - December 13, 1995) [Page: S18565]

Mrs. HUTCHISON (for herself, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Craig, Mr. Nickles, Mr. Kyl, Mr. Lott, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Brown, Mr. Burns, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Coats, Mr. D’Amato, Mr. Domenici, Mr. Faircloth, Mr. Frist, Mr. Grams, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Helms, Mr. Kempthorne, Mr. Murkowski, Mr. Pressler, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Shelby, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Smith, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Thurmond) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was considered and not agreed to:

S. Con. Res. 35
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring),

SECTION 1. EXPRESSING OPPOSITION TO THE DEPLOYMENT DECISION.
The Congress opposes President Clinton’s decision to deploy United States military ground forces into the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its associated annexes.

SEC. 2 EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR UNITED STATES MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO ARE DEPLOYED.
The Congress strongly supports the United States military personnel who may be ordered by the President to implement the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its associated annexes.

SEC. 3. TRANSMITTAL OF RESOLUTION.
The Secretary of the Senate shall transmit a copy of this concurrent resolution to the President.
The resolution failed 47-52 in favor of Binding Senate Resolution 44 passed a few days later and cosponsored by Lieberman and McCain - also expressing support for the troops and placing limits on President Clinton to conduct the military adventure.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
I don’t buy this whole blame Blair and Powell excuse. WMD and Al Qaeda were the only ways to tie Iraq to 9/11. There was no way to get domestic support (much the less UN support) for the war without making that connection. This was a specific decision by the Bush Administration.
Uh. no it wasn’t. The tie was far larger and less direct than that, while simultaneously very specifically about Iraq and Hussein. It was the consequence of Hussein’s existence which 9/11 connected. It did not require any connection of Hussein to the actual act at all.

The argument on Blair and Powell was before the invasion, or any knowledge the Intel might be wrong. The administration received pressure from war critics that they had to go through the UN and make the argument to the UN. They were being criticized for considering not doing it. Do I need to quote speeches?
Clinton didn’t create the Office of Special Plans or appoint an apparachik like Doug Feith to head it. The Bush Administration did that, specifically because they thought that the CIA’s assessments were underestimating the amount of WMD in Iraq.
Which changes nothing. The war wasn’t justified, even to the extent that it was on WMD, by the analysis of Feith. I also don’t know why Feith is being pilloried outside of being wrong, though in many respects they were more right than the CIA. The UN presentations and most of the other arguments on WMD were based on the CIA for the most part.

Feith’s office did good work on Al Qaeda and other groups in Iraq, which people just hand wave away, but the subsequent legislative investigations showed they put a lot of good stuff together on that topic. Feith never claimed that Hussein was firmly in league with Al qaeda, or that Iraq was connected to 9/11, though they put together some possible connections (which was their job.) They argued he was in contact, offered sanctuary, offered to cooperate, was harboring people (such as Zarqawi) who might cooperate (and did after the invasion) hosted meetings of Islamist terrorists, etc. All of that it seems was true.

Is it significant? Obviously people have decided to just say it isn’t. Obviously you are one of them. I think it shows we probably did have things to worry about (and Kay and Duelfer both agreed on this aspect of the terrorist connections) though until they carried out a mission which could definitely be shown to be funded or otherwise directly at the behest of Hussein we would not have known. That seems a bit late. I think it was inevitable that he would have, though whether we could prove it is another thing.

What we do know is that oil for food funds were being laundered and held in Al qaeda connected banks. Is that being involved? Maybe, but if it was how would we know? That is the problem with terrorism. You launder money and its specific uses are pretty hard to ascertain, and really irrelevant. It is fungible and provides funds for their actions. Is that involved operationally? No. Is it very necessary and vital to the terrorists? Yes. Is it the kind of thing legalistic defenders of Saddam can use to deny his role? Plausible deniability baby.

Nobody actually supports these guys, but somehow the money keeps flowing and nobody is really guilty. Not Iraq, not Iran (who hate Al Qaeda, but gives them transit and shelter....oh well) not Syria, not anybody. Look at the controversy about Iran’s involvement in Iraq. The proof isn’t good enough. What about Syria? Not good enough and the very attempt shows what bloodthirsty warmongers the administration and its supporters are. Yep, Al Qaeda and the other groups get no support from anybody. Saddam was just minding his own business oppressing Kurds an raping young women. He would never slide money to these terrorists. Except when they were fleeing us, but that is different.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
MW,

Which shows that McCain didn’t support such a resolution and ultimately it was he and Lieberman’s which prevailed. McCain was for more aggressive action at the time than Clinton.

It did pledge to support the troops if they were deployed, which most did once they were there, for quite a while. The point would be analogous if the war had a hit a snag, or gotten us bogged down and then they started micromanaging the war.

Still, I think many of the arguments used by some Republicans in 1999 were ridiculous. The quotes of the Senators in the post show what some Republicans were doing and I disagreed at the time. So pillory away.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
So when do we go after Mugabe, Kim, Burma, Venezuela, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, etc. ? Is Amnesty International going to decide which countries we go to war with now, or are we going to stick with shady exile groups?
I presumed that the "9-11" reference would infer that the bad guys we should go after were presumed to be threats to the US. Kim is the only serious threat on the list currently, and he has the bomb . . .
Maybe it also had something to do with attacking enemy Serbia and overthrowing the Milosevic regime to protect the intervention in Kosovo. Threatening to attack into Albania and Macedonia if the KLA caused problems. Compared to ignoring 3 years of Syrian, Saudi and Iranian enemy action in Iraq. Basically Kosovo was just run better.
Kosovo was badly run.

We bombed from 60,000 ft, which resulted in very poor results on the ground. Out of 200-odd claimed tank kills, we only achieved a very small percentage. While Clinton watched his ass, the enemy was taking our measure, and concluding we had no stomach to risk American lives.

Furthermore, we were manipulated into Kosovo by the terrorist KLA. The claims of mass murder proved false after the shooting ended.

Kosovo was, in immediate concrete terms, low cost for us. It was a good choice for a President who cared more for perception and poll numbers than furthering american interests.


 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"Which shows that McCain didn’t support such a resolution and ultimately it was he and Lieberman’s which prevailed. McCain was for more aggressive action at the time than Clinton." -Lance
McQ’s original post purportedly provides a tutorial on how to "easily separate the "principled" argument from the argument of political convenience." Which he proceeds to do by only using Democrats as examples. I am supporting his point by showing how very easy it is to make the exact same point about "arguments of political convenience" when applied to Republicans on the exact same issue.

Regarding 44, the McCain/Lieberman binding resolution that did pass ... Now there is an even more interesting example. Democrats would do well to study that resolution. Unlike the simple wording of 35,it is a detailed blueprint on how to micro-manage, assign time-frames, set political and military objectives, and constrain the use of funds for a Commander-in-Chief conducting a military operation. I posted about that one too - in President v. Congress round 4 & 5 - although I incorrectly identify it as non-binding. It wasn’t. It was binding.

Binding Joint Senate Resolution 44 from December, 1995 -"Concerning the Deployment of United States Armed Forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina." Some resolution excerpts:
* Section 1) Expresses support for the troops saying "The Congress unequivocally supports the men and women of our Armed Forces who are carrying out their missions in support of peace in Bosnia"
* Section 2) Questions President Clinton’s mission for the troops starting with "...reservations expressed about President Clinton’s decision to deploy United States Armed Forces to Bosnia and Herzegovina." and further specifies limitations on the deployment ordered by the President including a hard one year timeframe for certain conditions to be met.
* Sections 3, 4 & 5) Requires the President to regularly report on specific timeframes, starting in 30 days from passage with details on everything from progress in training Bosnia security, to refugees, to costs, to war plan details, and of course an exit strategy.
Joint Resolution 44 passed with bi-partisan support 69-30.

I have to agree with McQ. It is not even sport anymore.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
Kosovo would be the equivalent of "invading" Kurdistan to make it independent while bombing Iraq’s infrastructure and military. Do you think there would be much resistance to this in Kurdistan?

The obvious point to Iraq vs. the Balkans/Haiti/Somalia is that Iraq is far more important strategically.

By the same token, we should have taken criticism more seriously because of that - winning or losing in Iraq would be big, while losing Kosovo would have merely been not fun to watch on TV.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Then: we won the war
Now: we are NOT winning (which, I would argue, is the same as losing)
Ah ... so is the answer quit and take your ball home when it gets a little rough or get behind the effort and do what it takes to win?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
While Clinton watched his ass, the enemy was taking our measure, and concluding we had no stomach to risk American lives.

Given that America/NATO won the war, how is a strategy that results in very few casualties ever worse than one that results in thousands? Surely it is a key objective to make sure casualties are minimised.
Kosovo was, in immediate concrete terms, low cost for us. It was a good choice for a President who cared more for perception and poll numbers than furthering american interests.
It resulted in the crushing of a rump-communist dictatorship of a pro-Russian state, genuinely in American interests.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
McQ’s original post purportedly provides a tutorial on how to "easily separate the "principled" argument from the argument of political convenience." Which he proceeds to do by only using Democrats as examples. I am supporting his point by showing how very easy it is to make the exact same point about "arguments of political convenience" when applied to Republicans on the exact same issue.
I certainly have no problem with you doing that, nor do I doubt it could be easily done. The reason I’m using Democrats is they’re now in power ... they’re current. And they’re the one’s claiming precisely the opposite position on substantive issues concerning war.

Debate. Wrong messages. Undermining our effort. Limiting the military leaders. Etc.

Those are issues which should transcend politics and should be principles both sides adhere too. And that’s really my point here.

But principled people? They’re few and far between in both parties and I’m quite happy to concede that point if I ever really contested it to begin with.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Given that America/NATO won the war ...
Hold on there Angus ... using the new "Iraq calculation" if we’re still there, we haven’t won.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Given that America/NATO won the war, how is a strategy that results in very few casualties ever worse than one that results in thousands? Surely it is a key objective to make sure casualties are minimised.
If we bombed from a lower altitude, we would have been significantly more effective in taking out Serb tanks and gun placements, and only slightly increased the risk to our pilots.

And we would have shown the world that we were serious, and perhaps Saddam would not have been so glib in the build up to our last war with Iraq.

But we bombed at 60,000 ft, and showed the world that our safety (or Clinton’s poll numbers) was a priority over military effectivness.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Hold on there Angus ... using the new "Iraq calculation" if we’re still there, we haven’t won.
Oh - then you haven’t won in Hawaii either, pity.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Oh - then you haven’t won in Hawaii either, pity.
Or Japan.

Germany.

Korea ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"The reason I’m using Democrats is they’re now in power ... they’re current. And they’re the one’s claiming precisely the opposite position on substantive issues concerning war." -McQ
Well, in this looking-glass partisan comparison, if the Democrats are "in power" now then the Republicans were in "in power" when Clinton was president during the Bosnia/Herzegovina debate and also are/were "claiming precisely the opposite position on substantive issues concerning war".

No matter. If this is about finding a prinicpled politician of presidential timber, there are a few. Hagel and Paul come to mind.
 
Written By: mw
URL: http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/
Have a look see at Belmont Club for another assessment of how Iraq is going.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Well, in this looking-glass partisan comparison, if the Democrats are "in power" now then the Republicans were in "in power" when Clinton was president during the Bosnia/Herzegovina debate and also are/were "claiming precisely the opposite position on substantive issues concerning war".
Yeah ... I agreed that was the point you were making and that I agreed with the point.

However, what is current now is Democrats taking those positions in this war.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Geez, I had forgotten I’d left a comment on this thread. I come back to find a bunch of lazy commenters calling me a liar. We’ll, there’s probably no one reading this thread anymore, but in case there are, here’s what I’m talking about. Here’s McCain in 1993:
Dates certain, Mr. President, are not the criteria here. What is the criteria and what should be the criteria is our immediate, orderly withdrawal from Somalia. And if we do not do that and other Americans die, other Americans are wounded, other Americans are captured because we stay too long—longer than necessary—then I would say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States who did not exercise their authority under the Constitution of the United States and mandate that they be brought home quickly and safely as possible. . . .

I know that this debate is going to go on this afternoon and I have a lot more to say, but the argument that somehow the United States would suffer a loss to our prestige and our viability, as far as the No. 1 superpower in the world, I think is baloney. The fact is, we won the cold war. The fact is, we won the Persian Gulf conflict. And the fact is that the United States is still the only major world superpower.

I can tell you what will erode our prestige. I can tell you what will hurt our viability as the world’s superpower, and that is if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aideed’s lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige.

We suffered a terrible tragedy in Beirut, Mr. President; 240 young marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia as rapidly and as promptly and as safely as possible.

I, along with many others, will have an amendment that says exactly that. It does not give any date certain. It does not say anything about any other missions that the United States may need or feels it needs to carry out. It will say that we should get out as rapidly and orderly as possible.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
But we bombed at 60,000 ft, and showed the world that our safety (or Clinton’s poll numbers) was a priority over military effectivness.
The poll numbers are of primary importance if an open ended occupation is intended, the public needs to have a feeling that the war is not a problem. Otherwise the opposition will sieze on anti-war polling to capture power with an anti-war platform.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
AL,

Actually only one of us lazy commenters suggested you might be a liar.

Nobody has disputed what you just posted, though it is not quite analogous. That being said, if you read what I said you are free to roast Republicans for making the opposite argument. McQ has made the same point. I would say you have been rather lazy in your high dudgeon.

That being said, I’ll repost what I said before your comment at my own site:
Now, I know the response to these quotes will be to ask what were Republicans doing then? Maybe the same thing, though I can think of a number who supported Clinton wholeheartedly, even though he didn’t have a UN authorization either. Democrats are free to roast Republicans on similar grounds if they wish.

What interests me is not that they are being hypocritical, nor that now they do not feel the need to support the continuing war in Iraq. Different war, so maybe they now rethink what they thought at that time. I just think it should be recognized that at one time they recognized that it is true that such things as stateside criticism has ramifications and no amount of whining about it will change that. Go ahead and do it, but stop whimpering that it is all in a bunch of “wingers” imagination that, in an information war especially, the words and deeds of our politicians and media have large effects. Toughen up and do it , acknowledge the downside, and make the case why it is necessary.
McCain seems to have done that then and now and he was a huge supporter of the intervention in the Balkans.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com

 
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