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Really?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 07, 2008

I sometimes just shake my head in wonder at the mouthings of politicians:
"Foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident." — Barack Obama, on competing with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, "Huffington Post," 4/7.
 
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<brain slug>It makes perfect sense.</brain slug>
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
And why shouldn’t he be confident? I think his foreign policy ideas make far more sense than a lot of his domestic policy ideas, and he certainly has had good advisers. He also sees McCain still supporting a war that most Americans oppose, and making gaffe after gaffe on Iran and Iraq. Hillary confuses cameras shooting pictures with sniper fire. Why not confidence?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Well since "confident" != "qualified" I see nothing wrong with that statement. Heck, any barroom is packed with numerous "confident" armchair quarterbacks on a typical Sunday afternoon...
 
Written By: CR
URL: http://
I am entirely confident of my ability to woo, win, wed and bed Angelina Jolie...true I have no EXPERIENCE in the actual process but I have great CONFIDENCE. So too, Barack Obama.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And why shouldn’t he be confident? I think his foreign policy ideas make far more sense than a lot of his domestic policy ideas,
I’m not gonna say it.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"Foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident."
Actually he was just filling out a questionaire. Didn’t you notice the notes he pencilled in the margins? The form stated "(Fill in the Blank) is the area where I am probably most confident." He just filled it out 7 or 8 times and for each version put something different in the form. He just wanted to show he was multi-talented. He is just as credible in the Foreign Policy arena as he is in (Fill in the Blank).

Just ask him.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Then I will: Erb is right; Obama’s foreign policy ideas are wishful thinking combined with arrogance and largely based on a wish to avoid any hint of history intruding on idealism, which almost always leads to failure. This is better than Obama’s domestic policy schemes, which have a proven zero per cent success record.

 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Bush’s foreign policy ideas are wishful thinking combined with arrogance and largely based on a wish to avoid any hint of history intruding on idealism
You put "Obama" where "Bush" should be. Invading Iraq with an idealistic view of ’spreading democracy’ (very Wilsonian) and using big government social engineering to create a ’model Iraq’ is indeed wishful thinking combined with arrogance, ignorant of the history of post-Ottoman cultures and society, a very naive form of idealism. Or do you mean to say Obama will be like Bush?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Obama has about the same sense for foreign policy as Henry Wallace and George McGovern: a sense that would result in a policy of pre-emptive capitulation.

Most of the fools who support that sort of approach are academics, who are generally (almost all) hard Left practitioners of anti-Americanism.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
And why shouldn’t he be confident?
Exactly, there was that policy he put thought the senate which, ah, um, what was it again?

And there that was that time when we visited, er, it was on the tip of my tongue, drat.

lots of good experience and policies, definitely. not
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Exactly, there was that policy he put thought the senate which, ah, um, what was it again?
Obama almost certainly is more knowledgable about foreign affairs than Bush was in 2000. Did it bother you then? Hmmmm, a theme is emerging here, maybe Obama is too much like Bush...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Obama almost certainly is more knowledgable about foreign affairs than Bush was in 2000.
And your basis for that statement would be what? Certainly not his sub-committee chairmanship as his committee has NEVER met...

Dubya, father POTUS...Obama, father, Kenyan and absent

Dubya, Governor of a major industrial/agricultural/primary commodity producing state, that borders on Mexico, Obama State Senator from Chicago, and then junior Senator from Ill. that borders on a large lake....

I see how it works. Obama=Dubya in Foreign Policy...in your dreams.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
And Dr. Erb are you saying democracy has failed in Iraq? I think it’s a little early to pronounce that, don’t you? Oh that’s right it’s never to early for you pronounce failure on a project your never supported at all...I mean it took almost 40 years for the BRD to wear down the DDR and the WTO, or was everyone in the Middle East supposed to instantaneously become a democratic republic...straw man much?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
capt. joe:
lots of good experience and policies, definitely. not
Obama has the experience of being committed to defeat in Iraq. So, he’s all that an enemy could ask for. He’s very confident that he’ll be able to surrender in a way that will restore America’s image among its enemies, as a country that runs even from small wars and allows an impressive fifth column to operate within its universities, media and government.

Obama will have a Vichy-like foreign policy.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise".

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Joe, the administration’s efforts in Iraq have failed because you can’t force democracy on people, and they totally misjudged the situation (you recall, oil revenues pay for reconstruction, greeted as liberators, it won’t last six months, last throes, all of that). Now the Sunni tribes are allowed local rule, women are much worse off than during Saddam (I discuss that in my blog today), Shi’ites are fragmented, and we’re impotent to do much. Perhaps they’ll make democracy work over time, but we seem to be doing more harm than good at this point.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Dubya, Governor of a major industrial/agricultural/primary commodity producing state, that borders on Mexico, Obama State Senator from Chicago, and then junior Senator from Ill. that borders on a large lake....
Wait a minute, Illinois does border on Wisconsin which is kind of like a foreign country. And Chicago does have the largest Polish population of any city outside Warsaw. That and all those Palestinian writings he read at his church should count for something.
 
Written By: GBW
URL: http://
Joe, the administration’s efforts in Iraq have failed because you can’t force democracy on people, and they totally misjudged the situation (you recall, oil revenues pay for reconstruction, greeted as liberators, it won’t last six months, last throes, all of that). Now the Sunni tribes are allowed local rule, women are much worse off than during Saddam (I discuss that in my blog today), Shi’ites are fragmented, and we’re impotent to do much. Perhaps they’ll make democracy work over time, but we seem to be doing more harm than good at this point.


In time, eh DOC, did you notice the trajectory of the place prior to our failure? Not democratic at all, and I love it, ARE womyn worse off in Iraq today than under Saddam? Really it would be your contention that a democracy is is worse for womyn than rape rooms, no matter what the constitutional guarantees the Hussein/Ba’athist regime promised?

You can’t force democracy on people...I keep saying JAPAN, you keep trying to say it was democratic in the 1920’s but it wasn’t....And the Sunni having local rule is BAD, why? Isn’t that also a hall mark of democracy? And the Shi’i are fragmented? OK, we call that POLITCS, you you big galoot! It seems to me that some of your criticisms of Iraq prove the point democracy is taking root there! Just stating somehting even if it is a fact, doesn’t provide support for your position...sheeeesh. Local rule and political division ae now PROOF of the failure of democracy...Man your students must have strong necks to keep up with all the twisting and turning that goes on in your world...

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m rather surprised he’s still confident, given the bonehead statement about attacking Pakistan, the NAFTA incident and his general inclination towards doing everything possible to start a trade war. I’m sure the rest of the world would absolutely love an Obama presidency.
 
Written By: InebriatedArsonist
URL: http://
I’m sure the rest of the world would absolutely love an Obama presidency.
Yeah, except maybe for the ones who voted for Sarkozy, Howard, Blair, Merkel, etc. Since all the international media is even more left than the US media, they could renaming towns after Bush in Europe and we’d never know.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Inebriate:
I’m sure the rest of the world would absolutely love an Obama presidency.
You’re being sardonic, but Obama’s desire to surrender as a matter of policy will light up "world opinion" and the "world" will love us again.

Of course, the "world" won’t actually have any different attitude than it has now, but the "world hates us" line will go out of fashion in the media.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Of course, the "world"
Wrong, the WORLD is what the media wants us to believe it is.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Joe, the administration’s efforts in Iraq have failed because you can’t force democracy on people. Please don’t start up with Japan - that’s totally different, for reasons I’ve discussed before in posts of word count so massive they threaten to create a black hole that sinks to the center of the Earth and destroys it. I mean, really, if they can’t get a functioning modern society up and going in five years, they’re just wogs who don’t know how to run their own lives, so they’ll keep on killing each other over religious reasons for, oh, at least a thousand years, and maybe until the sun burns out.

They totally misjudged the situation (you recall, oil revenues pay for reconstruction, greeted as liberators, it won’t last six months, last throes, all of that). Of course, most of those are strawmen because we on the anti-war left have distorted or exaggerated what the pro-war side said, but I’m very comfortable with those strawmen, and it doesn’t matter how often you call me on them. I’ll just say you’re wrong, or you need more proof, or that you should engage me as an equal, or that you’re being emotional. One thing is for sure - I’ll never, ever grant that your points are valid, no matter how much evidence you pile in front of me. I mean, face it, if I’m still harping on how Kerry is a stainless knight being slandered by fifty soldiers, every single one of which is a liar, how could you possibly get me to admit any mistake I make?

Now the Sunni tribes are allowed local rule, and why that’s not a step in the democratic direction, I really can’t say, but since it has happened under our occupation, there must be something wrong with it. Women are much worse off than during Saddam (I discuss that in my blog today in which I’ve constructed a truly elaborate fantasy as to why rape rooms are not really as bad as you might think). Shi’ites are fragmented, and we’re impotent to do much, and of course they’ll never get past that since they’re just ignorant wogs. Perhaps they’ll make democracy work over time, if you define "time" in geological epochs. We seem to be doing more harm than good at this point, even though the whole area would likely descend into chaos if we left. But chaos is good. Well, good for we on the anti-war left, anyway, because it furthers our ultimate aim of a totally impotent United States.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Dubya, father POTUS...Obama, father, Kenyan and absent
Chelsea’s father, a successful two term POTUS, Dubya’s father, a failed one term President. She was probably a class President or something, which would equate to being governor of Texas.


By this logic, Chelsea is more qualified, and she has done a LOT more international travel than Dubya did prior to being elected.
All things being equal, I would choose the candidate with the most relevant experience. (Joe Biden was my primary choice)

But all things aren’t equal.

Chelsea for President!!!

Ya know it’s funny, if there ever is another Clinton in the WH, she might just be the one.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Ott Scerb has defeated me I concede to his superior Political Sciencey wisdom...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You’re being sardonic, but Obama’s desire to surrender as a matter of policy will light up "world opinion" and the "world" will love us again.

Of course, the "world" won’t actually have any different attitude than it has now, but the "world hates us" line will go out of fashion in the media.
Anyone who alters our forign policy so that the tinpots of the world will love us is doomed to two failures... the failure of the policy to get people to loge us.. by definition, tinpots never will. And, the failure of the country, because the first duty of any office holder to to look out for the interest of these United States.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Obama almost certainly is more knowledgable about foreign affairs than Bush was in 2000.
I can’t believe we have to ask this...

You DO know Bush isn’t running again, right?

How about you stack up what he knows to Hillary, and then McCain, since those are the people he’s up against...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I can’t believe we have to ask this...

You DO know Bush isn’t running again, right?
How relevant is that to the point that those who criticize Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience are overlooking Bush’s lack in 2000? I put Obama about even with Hillary, and above McCain, who seems to be getting his facts mixed up all the time.
Yeah, except maybe for the ones who voted for Sarkozy, Howard, Blair, Merkel, etc. Since all the international media is even more left than the US media, they could renaming towns after Bush in Europe and we’d never know.
Sarkozy, Blair and Merkel have views similar to that of Obama. The "right" in Europe would be the "left" in the US. I think Merkel and Sarkozy are good leaders, better choices than Schroeder or Royal.

Joe, you can’t use Japan to somehow say democracy can be forced on people. First, Japan was westernizing, and had tried democracy. Second, Japan after WWII became a one party state with close finance-business-government ties, much like before the war, all they lost was their militarism. Their political culture changed only slowly, as they chose. In Iraq you have a post-Ottoman political culture, fragmented, divided, and doing worse. And, while you may mock the plight of women, read the Newsweek article and you’ll see that this is a real problem. Women are facing medieval like laws and have been hurt by the changes. Face it: Iraq has been a fiasco, hurting both Iraqis and the American national interest. I’m amazed you guys can be in denial so long! Deal with reality, Joe. Trying to pretend the last five years didn’t go wrong and holding out hope that somehow Iraq will change because Japan did shows a complete lack of willingness to deal with the world as it is. Educate yourself!

And a conservative, Henry Kissinger, has a pretty interesting take on things that is worth reading. I especially agree with his conclusion:
In a world in which the sole superpower is a proponent of the prerogatives of the traditional nation-state, where Europe is stuck in halfway status, where the Middle East does not fit the nation-state model and faces a religiously motivated revolution, and where the nations of South and East Asia still practice the balance of power, what is the nature of the international order that can accommodate these different perspectives? What should be the role of Russia, which is affirming a notion of sovereignty comparable to America’s and a strategic concept of the balance of power similar to Asia’s? Are existing international organizations adequate for this purpose? What goals can America realistically set for itself and the world community? Is the internal transformation of major countries an attainable goal? What objectives must be sought in concert, and what are the extreme circumstances that would justify unilateral action?

This is the kind of debate we need, not focus-group-driven slogans designed to grab headlines.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I can’t believe we have to ask this...

You DO know Bush isn’t running again, right?
How relevant is that to the point that those who criticize Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience are overlooking Bush’s lack in 2000? Really, Scott, we on the anti-war left need to ride the Bush horse until past the time that it’s dead.

I put Obama about even with Hillary, and above McCain, who seems to be getting his facts mixed up all the time. How I can put both Democrats ahead of someone like McCain, who has decades more experience, is all explained on my blog, using word counts that require exponential notation to enumerate, in which I explain that our godlike powers of political science on the left enable us to magically endow anyone we like with foreign policy acumen and simultaneously strip it away from those we don’t like, that is, Republicans.
Yeah, except maybe for the ones who voted for Sarkozy, Howard, Blair, Merkel, etc. Since all the international media is even more left than the US media, they could renaming towns after Bush in Europe and we’d never know.
Sarkozy, Blair and Merkel have views similar to that of Obama. Well, I mean, they’re all for reining in the unions, and they don’t criticize Bush’s foreign policy nearly as much as Obama and Hillary, and none of them have a racist pastor who advocates socialist policies in favor of a minority, but still. The "right" in Europe would be the "left" in the US. And the left in Europe are basically communists, which of course we on the left in the US see as our role models. I think Merkel and Sarkozy are good leaders, better choices than Schroeder or Royal. And I’ll keep saying until the next time they line up behind the US for some foreign policy adventure, at which time my godlike powers of political science will turn them into pariahs.

Joe, you can’t use Japan to somehow say democracy can be forced on people. You just can’t. I decree it. And with my godlike powers of political science, I have the ability to decree an opinion beyond reasonable discourse. And I have done so on this Japan thing, because otherwise I might have to admit that I have made an error, which of course I could never do. It would threaten the post-modern structure of my entire worldview.

First, Japan was westernizing, and had tried democracy. I know you claim otherwise, but again my godlike powers of political science enable me to know democracy when I see it, even though you proles who merely study world history might not. Second, Japan after WWII became a one party state with close finance-business-government ties, much like before the war, all they lost was their militarism. That is, they just stopped blowing up other people. Now I realize that this is our exact goal in the Middle East, but that’s not good enough for me. They have to become equivalent to, say, Canada before I’ll grant that Iraq might have been a good choice.

Their political culture changed only slowly, as they chose. Though they became a world economic power through trade which completely changed their entire business climate in a couple of decades, that didn’t really change their underlying culture, oh, no. So, even though they stopped fighting, became economically successful, and eventually evolved into a first-rank democracy, you just can’t use them as an example of why Iraq might succeed, because my godlike powers of political science forbid it.

In Iraq you have a post-Ottoman political culture, fragmented, divided, and doing worse. Yes, worse, no matter what people say. And, while you may mock the plight of women, read the Newsweek article and you’ll see that this is a real problem. Women are facing medieval like laws and have been hurt by the changes. Of course, Newsweek doesn’t know squat about what they really faced before, but they understand that their job is to make America look bad, and they’ve done yeoman’s work in that area, starting with the Koran flushing story. And it doesn’t matter that they were sloppy enough not to check that you even could flush a Koran down a toilet, this time they’re completely right about the status of women in Iraq. It’s just bad, and that story proves it. And any other story that contradicts it has no weight, because it would not fit with the intuition that my godlike powers of political science give me.

Face it: Iraq has been a fiasco, hurting both Iraqis and the American national interest. I’m never going to admit otherwise, so I don’t know why you go on about it. I’m amazed you guys can be in denial so long! Deal with reality, Joe. And the reality is that we wise anti-war leftists are never going to give up until this thing is a failure. I don’t care what we have to do to make it look bad - fabricate, exaggerate, deny obvious progress. We just can’t stand the thought that Iraq might succeed, proving us wrong. So we won’t let it, and you might as well get used to that. Trying to pretend the last five years didn’t go wrong and holding out hope that somehow Iraq will change because Japan did shows a complete lack of willingness to deal with the world as it is, when the anti-war left is on the job. Educate yourself! Can’t you see, right here on this blog, how I never give up stating the anti-war case, no matter how much it gets shredded? I’m just an example of how the anti-war left is going to make Iraq a failure, using our godlike powers of political science.

And a conservative, Henry Kissinger, has a pretty interesting take on things that is worth reading. I especially agree with his conclusion:
In a world in which the sole superpower is a proponent of the prerogatives of the traditional nation-state, where Europe is stuck in halfway status, where the Middle East does not fit the nation-state model and faces a religiously motivated revolution, and where the nations of South and East Asia still practice the balance of power, what is the nature of the international order that can accommodate these different perspectives? What should be the role of Russia, which is affirming a notion of sovereignty comparable to America’s and a strategic concept of the balance of power similar to Asia’s? Are existing international organizations adequate for this purpose? What goals can America realistically set for itself and the world community? Is the internal transformation of major countries an attainable goal? What objectives must be sought in concert, and what are the extreme circumstances that would justify unilateral action?

This is the kind of debate we need, not focus-group-driven slogans designed to grab headlines.
I just love this conclusion because it’s not really a conclusion. It’s just a bunch of questions, and everyone can put their own spin on them. And, of course, my spin is the Jimmy Carter was right all along, and those wogs in the Middle East will never get their act together, and the US is in decline. And America should not set any goals for itself at all, because it’s overdue for a decades-long comprehensive program of self-effacement, under the guidance of we wise anti-war leftists who will make darn sure that America never does anything the least bit aggressive again. No matter how many of us the terrorists kill.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Scott Erb: "Or do you mean to say Obama will be like Bush?"

You’re not asking me the question, but my answer would be ’I hope so’. For me, as a liberal OIF supporter, Senator McCain is the safest choice - Senator Obama, after all, has been endorsed my Moveon.org. However, I see Barack Obama as having the best potential of the remaining candidates to be the articulate (I say that not as a veiled reference to Obama’s ethnicity but as a comparison to the current president’s PR skills) ideologically liberal representative that’s badly needed for President Bush’s definitively liberal strategy goals in OIF and the Long War.




 
Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://
... endorsed by Moveon.org.

Normally, I’d let a typo go, but not ’my Moveon.org’.
 
Written By: Eric Chen
URL: http://
However, I see Barack Obama as having the best potential of the remaining candidates to be the articulate (I say that not as a veiled reference to Obama’s ethnicity but as a comparison to the current president’s PR skills) ideologically liberal representative that’s badly needed for President Bush’s definitively liberal strategy goals in OIF and the Long War.
If there is a "long war," what is it, and how does Iraq fit in? In the last five years I’ve learned more about Islam, Mideast history, and Arab culture than I ever thought I would, and the more I study, the more I find myself convinced we’re going into this without truly understanding the cultural landscape. We seem to be acting much like the British did in the early 20th century, and that arouses and inspires opposition. So I’d like to know what exactly the "long war" is — what are the goals, who are the opponents, etc., and then think about the best strategy to deal with it. Because right now, Iraq really looks to be hurting us far more than it hurts any opponents, and most of the energy goes to deal with internal Iraqi problems rather than enemies focused on hitting America.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
However, I see Barack Obama as having the best potential of the remaining candidates to be the articulate (I say that not as a veiled reference to Obama’s ethnicity but as a comparison to the current president’s PR skills) ideologically liberal representative that’s badly needed for President Bush’s definitively liberal strategy goals in OIF and the Long War.
If there is a "long war," what is it, and how does Iraq fit in? Yes, I know the Iran thing started in 1979 with what would have been an act of war except that we had the wise Jimmy Carter in office. And of course, a couple of hundred marines killed in Beirut, but those jarheads should not have been stationed there supposedly attempting to bring peace but really spreading cultural imperialism to those brown people in Lebanon. But really, war? Can’t we call it a police action? That reminds me of Vietnam, which I liked so much better because of how the US got humiliated.

In the last five years I’ve learned more about Islam, Mideast history, and Arab culture than I ever thought I would. Which means I’ve read a couple of articles that agreed with my preceived point of view, because with my godlike powers of political science I can instantly grasp the basics of any issue with only minimal exposure. And the more I study, the more I find myself convinced we’re going into this without truly understanding the cultural landscape. We seem to be acting much like the British did in the early 20th century, and that arouses and inspires opposition. The fact that we’re now held in high regard by many Iraqis, especially the Kurds, is beside the point. We’re just imperialists like the British, and we need to get out as soon as possible, so the whole place can go back to being the mess the British left it in, with the added zest of anti-American terrorists running around all over the place.

So I’d like to know what exactly the "long war" is — what are the goals, who are the opponents, etc. If you attempt to define that, of course, I’ll tell you how wrong you are, because my godlike powers of policical science already let me know that I can be completely obtuse to any point of view that has not been fed to me by fellow anti-war leftists. Then we can think about the best strategy to deal with it. Or rather, the rest of you can think about it, since we on the anti-war side realize the best strategy is to pull out as soon as possible, let the whole thing collapse into chaos, and allow we on the anti-war left to write thousands of dense, high-word-count articles in which we rejoice over America’s humiliation. We’ll be pretending to be wise-but-sad - you know, how only things would have gone great if you had all listened to us. But let me tell you, we’ll be singing inside at having finally proved that we can outlast you righties, just like I outlast anyone in any thread at this blog. And of course, seeing how things turned out, McQ will stop posting and turn his responsibilities over to me so that I can explain over and over and over how important it is for you righties to never have any control again.

Because right now, Iraq really looks to be hurting us far more than it hurts any opponents except the ones who are being vaporized weekly, and most of the energy goes to deal with internal Iraqi problems rather than enemies focused on hitting America. The fact that we have not seen any serious attacks against us since the Iraq effort began is, I’m sure, the merest coincidence, and those enemies focused on hitting America are going to get started any day now. I can’t wait, so that I can rub it into you righties faces.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu

If there is a "long war," what is it, and how does Iraq fit in? In the last five years I’ve learned more about Islam, Mideast history, and Arab culture than I ever thought I would, and the more I study, the more I find myself convinced we’re going into this without truly understanding the cultural landscape. We seem to be acting much like the British did in the early 20th century, and that arouses and inspires opposition. So I’d like to know what exactly the "long war" is — what are the goals, who are the opponents, etc., and then think about the best strategy to deal with it. Because right now, Iraq really looks to be hurting us far more than it hurts any opponents, and most of the energy goes to deal with internal Iraqi problems rather than enemies focused on hitting America.
These are precisely the issues the anti-war should have brought up 6 years ago.

You have had 6 years, how about some answers from you?

What is the struggle?

What are our strengths, what are our weaknesses? What are theirs?

How do we exploit the imbalances? What is your strategy?

As much as I thought it was both high risk and poorly explained, at least Bush had a strategy: challenge both the collectivist and feudal Arab states by establishing a liberal democracy in their midst, and thus undercut the long term support for jihadist terrorists.

Bushes strategy may still work, even with all the execution problems and implementation difficulties, even with the obstructionist, "know nothing" opponents.

Stand up and present your solution, or sit down and shut up.
 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
Stand up and present your solution, or sit down and shut up.
The first option would presume that the anti-war contingent has a solution. They don’t, except to withdraw as soon as possible. Even they are not so clueless as to realize the loss of life and other bad effects of such a move, so only the most radical are even willing to broach that subject, and even then they resort to subterfuge to deny the bad effects or distortion to claim the current situation is worse.

The second option would require that the anti-war types have both the capacity to realize when they have nothing to say and the self-control to be quiet.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
What is the struggle?
I’d say the people advocating mass killing via war have to answer that question first.


What are our strengths, what are our weaknesses? What are theirs?
Who are "they"? The small group of Islamic extremists out there who would be terrorists? They are very weak. Our strength is our values and the appeal of our system. We undercut our strengths when we use violence to try to change whole cultures in big government social engineering experiments.
How do we exploit the imbalances? What is your strategy?
Strategy to achieve what, exactly? If you are supporting a war, you had better lay out your strategy.
As much as I thought it was both high risk and poorly explained, at least Bush had a strategy: challenge both the collectivist and feudal Arab states by establishing a liberal democracy in their midst, and thus undercut the long term support for jihadist terrorists.
What is that supposed to accomplish? The terrorists are a tiny minority, the jihadists relatively impotent in much of the Muslim world. But if that’s what you see as the problem, then I’ll cast it in my terms:

Islam is undergoing a reformation. You can see it building in 19th century movements like that of al-Afghani and the 20th century Muslim brotherhood. They are reacting to changes of gloalization by in many cases modernizing (esp. European and American Muslims) but in other cases trying to find a completely non-western alternative (esp. in places with a history of colonial domination).

To the extent that we act like colonizers — try to put our kind of political system into their culture — we increase the strength and appeal of the anti-westerners, and undercut the modernizers. Thus Iraq is a huge error in that it undercuts our desire to see the modernizers win in Islam. It is based on a correct perception of the problem: a post-Ottoman culture that is authoritarian and reactionary. But trying to ’make them more like us’ is a foolish approach. They have to chart their own path, just like the west did when Christianity went through a similar process, though one not pushed on by more developed outside powers. Thus we should minimize interventions that look like past colonialism or that kill large numbers of natives (especially when we’re the aggressors) and focus on positive efforts and building cultural understandings with those not already caught up in the extremist movement (which is the vast majority).


Stand up and present your solution, or sit down and shut up.
You haven’t even defined the problem. You have the burden of proof if you are going to justify launching a war that kills a lot of people and devastates a society.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The first option would presume that the anti-war contingent has a solution. They don’t, except to withdraw as soon as possible. Even they are not so clueless as to realize the loss of life and other bad effects of such a move, so only the most radical are even willing to broach that subject, and even then they resort to subterfuge to deny the bad effects or distortion to claim the current situation is worse.

The second option would require that the anti-war types have both the capacity to realize when they have nothing to say and the self-control to be quiet.
Billy, the pro-war types have been wrong on virtually every claim and prediction for five years. Easy war, greeted as liberators, oil revenues pay for reconstruction, no sectarian divides, last throes, stay the course, and now the surge looks to be falling apart. When you are wrong for five years, and the anti-war folk have been right, then you need to have the intellectual honesty to question your premises. The pro-war side was clueless to the loss of life and other bad effects that going to war would cause; the anti-war side pointed that out clearly. The anti-war side understood what was coming back in 2003, clearly the pro-war side had it totally wrong. That’s why the public has turned against the war, that’s why the pro-war side is increasingly in the minority, and find it very difficult to defend this fiasco instead to simply attack the other side and say "bad things will happen if we leave." That’s really lame, Billy. But apparently that’s all you have. It’s bad enough you can’t bring yourself to admit how wrong the pro-war side has been from the start and question your premises, it’s disgusting that you then insult and attack those who have had it right, and call them ’clueless.’ What a defense mechanism!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Billy, the pro-war types have been wrong on virtually every claim and prediction for five years. And I’m going to keep saying that no matter how much contradictory evidence comes up or how many strawmen I have to put up to justify it. Such as, easy war, greeted as liberators, oil revenues pay for reconstruction, no sectarian divides, last throes, stay the course, and now the surge looks to be falling apart. Why the surge is falling apart when it now looks like the whole episode last month has completely isolated Sadr is a complex political-sciency thing, but trust me, you pro-war types just have it all wrong, and we anti-war types, with our godlike powers of political science, have been completely correct on everything concerning the war for five years. Everything. And don’t start up with that ten thousand killed during the invasion, or what things were like under Saddam, or the long term prospects of Iraq. You’re wrong, I tell you! Wrong, wrong, wrong! You have to be wrong! I refuse to admit even the possibility that you have ever been right about anything!

When you are wrong for five years, and the anti-war folk have been right, then you need to have the intellectual honesty to question your premises. Yes, you righties have no intellectual honesty, in addition to being so dense and lacking godlike powers of political science. And I’m going to keep telling you that even when you are not responding directly to me. I’m going to keep putting up vacuous posts that merely assert my own point of view, because that’s all I need to do. It’s my obsession, to point out how intellectually dishonest and dense you righties are, especially the front page posters at this blog, which somehow despite your denseness and dishonesty, has a faithful readership, but what does that matter really, since they’re all too dense to recognize my superiority in reasoning, verboseness, and my godlike powers of political science.

The pro-war side was clueless to the loss of life and other bad effects that going to war would cause. Even though I can’t point to a shred of evidence for that, I just feel it. I’m sure that the pro-war side never, ever considered any of those bad effects, because they’re so dense. Besides, they couldn’t possibly have done that, or they would recoil in horror from icky war, the way we enlightened anti-war leftists have. The anti-war side pointed that out clearly. We stated again and again that war is just bad and you should never do it and intervention always turns out bad and non-intervention is a perfect policy with a thousand year history of constant success. And Saddam wasn’t so bad either, and his sons would probably have turned into liberal democrats if we had just given them a chance. You righties just never give anyone a chance the way we enlightened leftists do.

The anti-war side understood what was coming back in 2003, well, except maybe for the ten thousand death thing, and how Baghdad was going to be like Stalingrad, and maybe a few other things, but clearly the pro-war side had it totally wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, I tell you! You’re just wrong, you have to be. I refuse to accept any other possibility.

That’s why the public has turned against the war, though again I can’t find any evidence that they want us to give up, I just feel that they are totally against it. You can feel it in the air all across my college campus, and it’s so thick in the faculty lounge you could cut it with a knife. That’s why the pro-war side is increasingly in the minority, and find it very difficult to defend this fiasco instead to simply attack the other side and say "bad things will happen if we leave." That’s really lame, Billy. I mean, it’s true and all, but it’s lame. Even though we don’t have a time machine so that we can go back in history and stop the invasion, I still have to drone on, as the entire anti-war side does, as if we do. First because I have no clue what to do from this point except to try to get us to pull out so our failure is obvious and the US is humbled, and second because if it does anything to question my fundamental principles and all the assertions I’ve made on this blog, it’s lame by definition. But apparently that’s all you have. It’s bad enough you can’t bring yourself to admit how wrong the pro-war side has been from the start and question your premises. It’s so black and white, I tell you! You’re just wrong, wrong, wrong! Can’t you see it! Because of the strawberries, I’ve proven the whole thing with ironclad logic! It’s disgusting that you then insult and attack those who have had it right, and call them ’clueless.’ With our godlike powers of political science, we’ve never made a mistake on foreign policy in history. What a defense mechanism! See, I know psychological terms that make you look bad, so that’s even more proof that you’re wrong, wrong, wrong! Now excuse me while I wipe the spittle from my mouth.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
I think his foreign policy ideas make far more sense than a lot of his domestic policy ideas
Now there is a real bumper sticker if I ever heard one.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Just to emphasize:
The second option [sit down and shut up] would require that the anti-war types have both the capacity to realize when they have nothing to say and the self-control to be quiet.
Too much to expect, apparently.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net

What is the struggle?
I’d say the people advocating mass killing via war have to answer that question first.
Anyone who wants to honestly take a part in the debate needs an answer for that question. Many on the left give me the impression that the struggle against corporations and Republicans is more important. This is the key starting place. Against whom are is one contending? If one is primarily focused on the Marxian class struggle, then I doubt that one will contribute much to the discussion.
Who are "they"?
Well, that depends on what you identify as the struggle.
Strategy to achieve what, exactly?
Well, win the struggle that you have neglected to identify.
If you are supporting a war, you had better lay out your strategy.
Those that support the war have. Even with all the strategic missteps and bungling from the government that are normal when the US takes military action, Iraq is not lost yet. And even though I considered starting the war unwise, I think leaving Iraq in chaos to be unwiser.

But this is not about me, it is about you.
Islam is undergoing a reformation.....
A little better, still too much on what we should not have done 5 years ago and much too little on what we should do now, no real clarity on what the struggle is, too few details contrasting strengths and weaknesses, thus not much support for what seems to be your strategy

You seem to be arguing for a mostly laissez-faire strategy. You should provide examples of when this sort of thing has worked (or would have worked better) like the struggle against Communism (Vietnam is a good example of the limitations of the US using war to create democracy, and the eventual chaos of an inevitable withdrawl). The natural tendency of people is to want to be doing something. To tell them to sit back and cross their fingers is a difficult sell. It requires a lot more persuasion and a lot less condemnation.

Don’t forget to include details on what you would do with the current Iraq situation and any policy differences with respect to Israel, Iran, or Afghanistan/Pakistan.

Put some effort into this, post it on your blog and provide a pointer next time you criticize current policy, you will have a leg to stand on.
 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
Voters are left to wonder, and to ponder which would be worse: that the candidates are sincere and misguided or are insincere and lacking the courage to speak honestly.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I’d say the people advocating mass killing via war have to answer that question first.
Had it occurred to you you’re making an assumption not entered to evdience, as yet... that being the Islamic radicals WANT peace?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

You seem to be arguing for a mostly laissez-faire strategy.
You seem to think that the only thing not laissez-faire is military action, which is counter productive and harms our cause. Nothing has helped the extremists more than our invasion of Iraq, nothing has weakened us more. The problem is we’ve not really come face to face with the truth, the story just gets spun. (I talk about this a bit today in my blog). We can play a positive role, but military intervention reeks too much of past colonialism, or a crusade to import our notions of democracy and capitalism. That will arouse the most angry responses, and push aside moderates and modernizers, who will be seen as sympathetic to the foreign invaders.

Oh, and newshutz, while you try to push the burden of proof to those critical of the policy to come up with their own policy, that’s a farce. There is no assumption that the current policy is good — quite the contrary. If you can’t defend the current policy, then simply ignoring criticism and saying "what would you do" is a cop out. It shows you are incapable of defending the current policy, but are trying to evade having to answer tough questions. Bottom line: some things are none of our business, and sometimes it is better not to kill people because we think we know better what they should be doing. You are defending the indefensible.

Also, you need to acknowledge that people like me have had it right the last five years when we noted the danger of war, and people pro-war had it wrong. I repeat:

Billy, the pro-war types have been wrong on virtually every claim and prediction for five years. Easy war, greeted as liberators, oil revenues pay for reconstruction, no sectarian divides, last throes, stay the course, and now the surge looks to be falling apart. When you are wrong for five years, and the anti-war folk have been right, then you need to have the intellectual honesty to question your premises. The pro-war side was clueless to the loss of life and other bad effects that going to war would cause; the anti-war side pointed that out clearly. The anti-war side understood what was coming back in 2003, clearly the pro-war side had it totally wrong.

Now, if you wish for my opinions on policy recommendations you need to be more specific. You’re just saying "what about Pakistan." Well, that’s pretty broad. It’s like you’re just trying to distract. Say what you think the problems are, what you think our goals should be, what kind of policy recommendation would you like me to give you. Because you’re not doing the hard work. Perhaps you realize you don’t have a good argument because, as hard as it is for you to admit, the anti-war side has been proven right the last five years.

Bithead, the Islamic radicals are a tiny minority. They don’t want peace. They want war, because that helps them recruit and gain strength. We are playing into the hands of those you define as the enemy! Sheesh. You guys so want to avoid admitting you’re wrong you cling to dangerous ignorance.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, and newshutz, while you try to push the burden of proof to those critical of the policy to come up with their own policy, that’s a farce. There is no assumption that the current policy is good — quite the contrary. If you can’t defend the current policy, then simply ignoring criticism and saying "what would you do" is a cop out. It shows you are incapable of defending the current policy, but are trying to evade having to answer tough questions. Bottom line: some things are none of our business, and sometimes it is better not to kill people because we think we know better what they should be doing. You are defending the indefensible.
The "cop out" is criticism without alternatives. "The current policy is bad" is an empty statement. "The current policy is worse than this policy ....", is not.

There is no burden on anyone to defend against your attacks, unless you provide a basis for comparison.

There is no avoidance of your "hard questions" as long as your argument is incomplete.

 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
When you are wrong for five years, and the anti-war folk have been right, then you need to have the intellectual honesty to question your premises.
The antiwar folk haven’t been right. In fact, they have had essentially no plan at all. Pulling out of Iraq ASAP isn’t a plan, unless you are planning for defeat.
The pro-war side was clueless to the loss of life and other bad effects that going to war would cause;
Who would of thought someone might get killed in war?
Now, if you wish for my opinions on policy recommendations you need to be more specific.
No, don’t really want your opinions.
the Islamic radicals are a tiny minority. They don’t want peace. They want war, because that helps them recruit and gain strength.
I understand that’s been working out real well for AQI . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The "cop out" is criticism without alternatives.


Criticism doesn’t require alternatives beyond "stop the bad policy." And when I did give alternatives, you snipped most of it and dismissed it. Moreover, you don’t define why we need alternatives. You need to specify the goals and interests that cannot be met without implementing alternatives. Otherwise, I have no idea what you want.
"The current policy is bad" is an empty statement.


No, if one shows a policy is failing, it’s important to understand that, and for proponents of the policy to defend it. If they chicken out and refuse to defend it and just try to dodge and weave with "show me something better" (and then dismiss any attempt to do so as not enough, and do not explain why we need something), then it’s purely an effort to avoid confronting hard questions.


There is no burden on anyone to defend against your attacks, unless you provide a basis for comparison.
If you lack the intellectual honesty to confront the problems and errors of the last five years, you can choose not to. Probably people like me won’t get dialogue from people like you, and this has to be fought out politically and culturally. I’m giving a public talk this week which will probably draw a rather large audience, and in my professional and private life I guess I just have to do whatever I can to convince Americans that this Iraq policy is against our interests and causes needless death and destruction, while taking money which could protect our ports, engage in real counter terrorism, and solve domestic problems. I guess the focus will be on forcing a change this November, especially if those who support the policy want to pretend like they don’t have to deal with the reality of how bad the policy has gone.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
In fact, they have had essentially no plan at all.
For what, precisely, do they need a plan? A withdrawal plan certainly, it will likely take quite awhile to have an orderly withdrawal. But what, exactly, has to be planned for beyond that?

War is mass killing. That’s why it should not be chosen lightly, or on the basis of some idealistic goal of ’spreading democracy’ like we did in 2003. And, of course, you can’t wipe all the death and destruction under the rug by saying "people die in war." That is a consequence that needs to be justified. Perhaps you just don’t care about people dying, especially Iraqi civilians. They may not matter to you at all. I suspect that’s why Iraqis did not embrace the American invasion.

What, exactly, is the reason we have to keep killing, dying, spending hundreds of billions of dollars, dividing the American public, and weakening our status on the world stage? What exactly is our interest in staying in this quagmire, how does it help us? This is weakening the US immensely, and unless the public starts really pressuring the politicians to be courageous enough to force a change, we’re going to see the US continue to lose relative importance on the world stage, and prove the relatively impotence of US military power in shaping political outcomes.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Don, don’t bother. This is the same Erb that called the surge a failure this time last year. This is the same Erb that said the Army could not stand continuing surge operations beyond March of 2008 (look at the calendar, its April!). This is the same Erb that has been preaching US gloom and doom on these pages since Christ was a Corporal.

Personally - YAWN - most of us are just tired of Erb.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
This is the same Erb that said the Army could not stand continuing surge operations beyond March of 2008 (look at the calendar, its April!).
I was quoting a military source on the March 2008. And if looker is right, then we are indeed about to leave after that date.

You can, of course, choose to ignore — ignorance is bliss. You cannot even state what the reason for staying in Iraq is, why is it worth all the money we are spending, all the death, destruction and human tragedy? What is the point of all this? It’s a complete waste. You can’t even defend it, you can’t stay why it’s worth the tremendous cost.

So I guess the point now will be to let you hard core pro-war types ignore the arguments about the cost of the war, and then work politically, professionally and personally to try to convince people to pressure Washington to end this fiasco. Maybe this November we can move in that direction. As Joe Biden noted, we spend more in three weeks in Iraq than we’ve spent in Afghanistan since the invasion, and that is the place with Bin Laden, al qaeda, and the real threat to America. This policy is INSANE.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
What possible treat to America is Bin Laden?

Seriously.

I can’t believe you just made that claim, Scott. I know I hear it and have heard it often enough about how Bin Laden matters still. He doesn’t. Not except for the way that symbols matter to very young children.

As for Iraqi civilian deaths and not caring...

I’ve come to the conclusion that deaths only count if they are Americans or Americans are involved. No other deaths in the world count at all. In fact, since we can’t force democracy or peace or anything else on anyone, the best plan is to just let them kill each other until they get it out of their systems. Because we don’t want Americans to die, but more than that, we don’t want to have to pay attention to anyone else dying and when Americans are involved we are made to pay attention.

I think it’s sort of nasty. Don’t you?

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
threat not treat. bah.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Criticism doesn’t require alternatives beyond "stop the bad policy." And when I did give alternatives, you snipped most of it and dismissed it. Moreover, you don’t define why we need alternatives. You need to specify the goals and interests that cannot be met without implementing alternatives. Otherwise, I have no idea what you want.
Policy cannot be "bad" unless it is in comparison to something.

I did not dismiss your alternatives, I recognized that your work was incomplete.

I cannot specify your goals and interests. You need to be clear on what your goals and interests are.
Probably people like me won’t get dialogue from people like you, and this has to be fought out politically and culturally.
You are probably right. People like me that want to explore real alternatives to what we see as a problematic policy, probably cannot rely on help from people like you that only want to blame Bush and gain points with your lefty buddies.
 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
Bin Laden and the strengthening al qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan are definitely a threat. They are planning, and they are able to act — remember, it was eight years between 1993 WTC attack and the 2001 attack. Nobody in Iraq is a real threat, that war was simply a fiasco, something that should never have been done (I suspect people in the administration would admit that if they didn’t have to worry about the politics of it all) and something which has made us less secure, not more. Moreover, since we are seen as outsider invaders, colonizers trying to control the situation, it’s very likely we add to the instability more than we work against it. I see no point for spending any more money, killing any more people, having any more Americans killed, or wasting our national prestige on such a pointless and irrelevant big government social engineering experiment.

I am stating this clearly to see if anyone is able to actually explain why Iraq is worth this huge cost.

Newshutz: again, if you want alternatives, you have to specify what the point of the alternatives are — what goals or interests do you want to pursue. If you can’t do that, then you don’t make a case for the need for alternatives.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bin Laden and the strengthening al qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan are definitely a threat. So we should just drop everything else, throw away all the Iraq investment we’ve made, and turn our attention to them. They are planning, and they are able to act — remember, it was eight years between 1993 WTC attack and the 2001 attack. By the logic of numerology, we’re due!

Nobody in Iraq is a real threat, especially those we’ve already vaporized. That war was simply a fiasco, something that should never have been done. We should have wasted money on containing Saddam for the next hundred years rather than do that war, because war is just icky. We should have appeared completely impotent in the Middle East, by letting Saddam get away with bribing the whole world, especially since many of the beneficiaries of his bribes were wise leftists. It has made us less secure, not more, and I’m going to keep saying that with no proof because my godlike powers of political science allow me to make assertions like that without proof, and you just have to accept them. Moreover, since we are seen as outsider invaders, colonizers trying to control the situation, it’s very likely we add to the instability more than we work against it. Even though parts of Iraq are more stable than the residents have seen in their entire lifetime, I’m just sure that we are causing instability, because American occupiers must cause bad things by definition. I see no point for spending any more money, killing any more people, having any more Americans killed, or wasting our national prestige on such a pointless and irrelevant big government social engineering experiment. I’d much rather see the US rendered impotent, and wait on the next terrorist attack, which would do a lot to steer us in the police state direction I secretly want us to go. Especially since Maine is extremely unlikely to be a terrorist target.

I am stating this clearly to see if anyone is able to actually explain why Iraq is worth this huge cost. Explain it in a way that I’ll accept, I mean. I confidently predict that won’t happen, because I don’t care what proof you put in front of me, I can come up with a rationalization, or in an emergency just an outright preposterous assertion, why I don’t accept it. Heck, I’m still defending Kerry and declaring the Swift Boat guys as all liars, even though various commenters here have nailed me to the wall on that.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu

 
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