This Week's Debate: A Civil War in Iraq?

As sectarian violence continues -- with three mosques attacked over the weekend -- The Debate turns once again to the situation in Iraq.

Following the Feb. 22 bombing in Samarra of the Askariya mosque, which is of particular significance to Shiite Muslims, violence between Sunnis and Shiites spiked, prompting cliché-filled speculation that the country is "spiraling into civil war." The Baghdad Burning blog offers readers a portrait of the beginnings of the crisis. Within a week, the violence had claimed the lives of more than 1,300 Iraqis.

Just two days after the Samarra attack, the New York Times (subscription required for articles more than a week old) reported in the second sentence of a page one story that the "threat of full-scale civil war loomed over the country." Two days after that, in the Sunday Times's Week in Review section, Steven R. Weisman was already imagining what a civil war might look like.

Over at the iraqpundit blog, the Times takes a beating for having "already decided that what's happening now is an open civil war." The Times wasn't alone in rushing to judgment; plenty of media outlets ran similar stories. Iraqpundit says, "I see a media that are determined to find a civil war in Iraq at any cost."

Does former-AP-reporter-turned-pro-blogger Christopher Allbritton count as part of the media? I'd say he does, but either way, he's reporting the inevitability of a civil war, too. "For the last 18 months, we've been in a low-grade civil war," he writes. "The Askariya bombing kicked us up to 'medium-grade,' I guess you might call it. Both Sunnis and Shi'a I've spoken with are waiting and preparing for it, and that very preparation might make for a self-fulfilling prophecy. For too many Iraqis, it's only a matter of time."

Gwynne Dyer believes "Iraq may never go the full distance, because it is hard to hold a proper civil war unless the different ethnic or religious groups hold separate territories." But as Sunni areas and Shiite areas purge members of the opposing sect -- through evictions backed by threats or by other means -- those territories could become much more defined.

So far, though, the division is far from total. "There's so much talk of civil war and yet, with the people I know -- Sunnis and Shia alike -- I can hardly believe it is a possibility," writes River, the Baghdad Burning blogger. "Educated, sophisticated Iraqis are horrified with the idea of turning against each other."

This jibes with what my Iraqi friends (who reside in Baghdad) have said when asked about the chances of a civil war. A year ago, one said he thought it was impossible; a few weeks ago, another said that while it was possible, most Iraqis didn't want a civil war. He explained that although Iraq is an amalgamation of three major ethnic groups, there has been much intermarriage, creating plenty of mixed families -- including his own, which is made up of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.*

River mentions the outrage felt by her neighbors, Sunni and Shiite alike, at the sectarian violence that surrounds (but hasn't yet infiltrated) their little enclave. Still, she wonders whether this is a turning point for the country. "I'm reading, and hearing, about the possibility of civil war," she says. "The possibility. Yet I'm sitting here wondering if this is actually what civil war is like. Has it become a reality? Will we look back at this in one year, two years ... ten ... and say, 'It began in February 2006 ...'?"

In the Mar. 13 issue of The New Republic (subscription required), Larry Diamond contends the civil war is already in progress, just as River fears. Indeed, Diamond believes the civil war started long ago, noting that "by one common social science definition -- at least 1,000 dead (with at least 100 on each side) from internal hostilities in which one side tries violently to change the state or its policies -- Iraq's civil war began in the first year of the 'postwar' era and has been particularly bloody."

At the moment, the situation appears to have cooled somewhat, thanks in part to a ban on vehicle traffic in the capital that helped ensure there were no attacks on mosques during Friday prayers. But with attacks, kidnappings and murders happening daily -- and the formation of an official Iraqi government still many difficult compromises away -- the country's situation remains precarious.

Debaters, what's your take? According to some polls, most Americans now think Iraq headed for civil war. Do you agree? Is the civil war already in progress, and if so, by what criteria do you make that judgment? Or have the media gotten way ahead of themselves, anticipating a civil war that isn't likely to happen?

* Clarification: The Kurds are in fact mostly Sunni Muslims, but usually when Shiite vs. Sunni violence is being discussed, the Kurds are not included as part of the Sunni group. That will hold true throughout this debate; "Sunnis" will generally refer to Sunni Arabs, while Kurds will be identified specifically as Kurds.

By Emily Messner |  March 6, 2006; 6:47 AM ET  | Category:  Middle East
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Comments

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http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m21255
http://www.nysun.com/article/27151

[EMILY interjects: Since Che won't observe basic comment etiquette, in spite of the multiple requests of his fellow debaters, I reluctantly take it upon myself to enforce it. I have chopped this comment and the one below it down from a total of 1,700 words to leave just the Web addresses where you can find the stories Che originally posted here in their entirety. I have also included a link to the New York Sun article to which the story he posted in this comment referred.

I just want you all to know that it is not within my power to ban commenters -- that happens higher up the washingtonpost.com food chain -- and I would never insert myself into a comment except in extraordinary circumstances. In this case, it seems this interjection is the only way to make the point that we won't tolerate regurgitation of lengthy articles when links would suffice. As always, lengthy, well-argued, original comments are most welcome.

Che, next time you wish to share an article with us, please be courteous and post only the link and, if necessary, a headline for context. If you are not willing to abide by this simple request, you can expect any articles you post in future to be deleted.]

Posted by: CHE [cropped by Emily] | March 6, 2006 07:26 AM

[Che, please use this as an example. --em]

Associated Press: Thousands of federal court cases kept secret
http://www.townhall.com/news/ap/online/headlines/D8G4SFRG1.html

Posted by: che [cropped by Emily] | March 6, 2006 08:30 AM

I do hope you some day have your WP Webmaster block "CHE". The dude is always linking his efforts to the Trotskyite World Socialist Web Site and the (still kicking around in the grave) 4th Internationale Trotsky created in 1934. Dredging the WSWS daily gruel and slapping it up in as many forums as have yet not seen fit to ban his SPAM.

"CHE" has invaded other WP blogs. It is usually off-topic, boilerplate SPAM, and "CHE" deliberately violates US copyright law.

He has refused requests to simply link his articles and to post on-topic.

Time for the lad to go. You can be a Trotskyite and an intelligent contributor to debate, but that sort of Trotskyite is obviously not CHE, who posts mainly it seems as a form of vandalism or e-graffitti.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 6, 2006 10:21 AM

So US Forces are training Iraqi Forces to fight Iraqis fighting the Occupation Forces, sounds like a civil war to me. US Forces are a terrorist Organization. US Forces are defending Tyranny! 1,000,000+ Iraqis killed during the 16 year territorial pissings in Iraq. Saddam was our SOB. UBL was our SOB! The Shah, etc.
I look forward to the War Party of Republicans and Democrats being "brought to swift justice". I also look forward to the US Corporate Liberal Media being "brought to swift justice"! Fluff up the feather pillows, heat up the tar!

It's been 1,631 days since GWB said he'd catch UBL 'Dead or Alive, UBL is dead BTW.

Posted by: No Peace With Occupation | March 6, 2006 10:27 AM

Here we go again with this pattern of having terms and phrases and even words themselves redefined by Bush and his propagandists on talk radio and within selected media outlets to conform to the world of denial that they work and operate in.

Look. You have three distinct and dysfunctional groups in Iraq who have never in its history been at peace with one another except through the iron fisted grip os a strongman who uses murder and assassination to keep them in line. Absent such a strongman, Iraq is reverting to the chaotic and violent state of civil srife that existed prior to time Britain intervened to establish a centralized state--events that ultimately led to the advent of Sadaam Hussein.

Alas, Santayana lives again....those who fail to remember history, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Count us in the sad litany of those who do not remember and therefore do not learn. Iraq is in a civil war because it must be in a civil war to accommodate the unwelcome reality of those forces that are always present in such conditions--mutual hostilities and rank hatreds that have festered for centuries.

The quenching element for such fires has always been a civil war that ultimately forces a solution. Like the Americans, it will take years of bathing in blood before they reach that point where the taste for blood has been quenched.

What we do not need is a horde of hagiographers for George W. Bush attempting to rewrite the history of events over there on a day-by-day basis to obtain a legacy that will never be--Bush, the Great Liberator. The only thing Bush has liberated the Iraqis from is the oppression of a strongman who for all of his faults, did stave off chaos.

If Bush had followed Santayana's sage counsel, he would have remembered that only Iraqis can liberate themselves. I would have taken longer, but there would have been no Sadaam mock trials that serve no more useful purpose than allowing him to thumb his nose at the world from the perch within his cell while his subjects set about the task of blowing each other up.

But then, you know Bush: He thinks he is History, rather than one of its minor figures passing through. That is why he fails.

Posted by: Jaxas | March 6, 2006 10:27 AM

Civil War? Really? has anyone mentioned this to the Iraqi's? Seems the problem is that the Al-Queda (oh, I forgot, they're not in Iraq) and Baathist remnants have been trying to foment a civil war for awhile now. Breathless MSM reports aside, I think they've succeeded in pissing off a majority of the Iraqi's against them.

Posted by: D. | March 6, 2006 10:39 AM

D., posters like you amaze and confound me. Does it never occur to you that in the America of the 19th century, it is more than little likely that a majority of Americans were probably "pissed off" at the abolitionists on one side and the freestaters on the other who were engaging in precisely the same sort of terrorist acts that occuring in Iraq right now? Did that sentiment prevent the advent of civil war?

The same seeds of civil war exist in Iraq as existed here. Prior to our own civil war, there were numberless acts of violence from abolitionists like John Brown to Freestaters on the other side like Bloody Bill Anderson. Innocent men, women and children were slaughtered, murdered in their beds, hanged, burned and cut to pieces. In the middle was an Army that was as much divided on the questions of slavery and the role of the central government as is the present infant Iraqi army that we have created in Iraq.

It isn't simply a bloodthirsty band of outside terrroists that are doing all of this killing. Sunnis and Shias are at each others throats. You can look at it with the pink glasses Bush has handed you all you want. You people need to get beyond George W. Bush. If you do, you will see the world a good deal cclearer.

Posted by: Jaxas | March 6, 2006 11:13 AM

I get it now. Iraqis wake up each morning and go out to buy and New York Times to decide if they are having a civil war or if they want one. Who would have ever imagined that our newspapers drove their beliefs!

DUH!

My favorite Tom Tomorrow cartoon is a few years old now. Two people are in a car with a cliff looming ahead. The passenger is entreating the driver to stop before they go over the cliff. But the driver responds there is no cliff there - he looked at a map and there is no cliff there. This goes back and forth. In the last scene as the car plunges over the cliff the passenger says "you didn't have a map, did you", and the driver says "its all your fault, you wanted us to fail".

Whether or not there will be civil war has nothing to do with the NY Times. The war will not have been caused by the people who said "told ya so". And even the people who screamed that we were falling of a cliff will pay the price for our failure. I too have family of fighting age who will have to clean up this mess and my grandkids will pay for the clean up. Any son of a bitch who thinks I'm gleeful about our failure has serious psychiatric issues.

George Bush had approval ratings of 65-70% when he invaded Iraq. I'm not making this up, look for yourself: http://www.pollingreport.com/BushJob1.htm

My friends, WE did this. Two thirds of our countrymen approved of it at the time. Now its a valid arguement that they were excessively naive and hoodwinked by a lying administration and a complicit msm. But if your kid ruins a library book or breaks a window or hits a someone's car accidentally you still make them take responsibility for it.

This is not Bush's war. It is our war, and we let him invade Iraq even though the evidence was there all along the way that the intelligence did not support it. And that intelligence was reported in the msm, only on page 25 in a small column near the bottom.

So now what do we do? Is the mess in Iraq fixable? At some point we have to face the facts that our foreign policy now best serves Iran, North Korea, al Qaeda and China. And we can't allow that to continue.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 6, 2006 12:15 PM

Posted by: | March 6, 2006 12:20 PM

Dear Chris,

Is it so difficult to open your eyes and see that we are loosing our freedoms?

What does bother you more? my postings or loosing your freedoms?

I am not against you Chris.

Yours truly,
Che

Posted by: Che | March 6, 2006 12:34 PM

Posted by: No Peace With Occupation

"It's been 1,631 days since GWB said he'd catch UBL 'Dead or Alive, UBL is dead BTW."

It can see some justification to your comment. After seeing the turmoil a few cartoons can create. Why would we want to parade the dead corps, at the hands of the United States, of OBL around for the world to see. It would only make him more of a threat in death than in life. He would be a martyr to Islamic fundamentalists causing his movement to expand. And if he died of natural causes, it would not be in the best interest to his movement to let his followers know he was dead of natural causes, unless it could be blamed on the United States. I think if he died, no matter what the cause of death, his followers would find a way to blame the United States to make him a martyr, maybe even as murdered Islamic Prophet. He is still alive.

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 12:44 PM

And another question is; was Iraq a product of Sadam, or was Sadam a product of Iraq? Lebanon is an even more diverse country than Iraq and just as educated. Its citizens would have never thought it would have fallen into a violent bloody civil war. The Reagan Administration tried to intervene in Lebanon's Civil War only to have the Marine Bunker Suicide Bombing occur, at that point we quickly retreated. Syria used an Iron Fist Chris Ford method to put an end to the civil war and Lebanon is still under the Syrian Iron Fist.

Should draw lessions from Lebanon?

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 12:55 PM

Posted by: patriot 1957

"But my point is it isn't Bush's war. We, the American people, 70% of us, ran like lemmings over the cliff willingly. Now we blame the head lemming for leading us there. And he deserves a good share of the blame. But no one held a gun to our backs making us walk over that cliff."

I disagree; Bush had all the intelligence on Iraq. It was his duty to take all intelligence into his decision making process as well as arguments contrary to invading and share it with congress. Instead he used the intelligence data to create a false threat to the United States to get his war, he was dishonest. His mind was made up long before 911 to invade Iraq and most likely before he was elected to his first term. Even if 911 had not occurred he would have still invaded Iraq. It's Bushes war, and it's a quagmire. His war is causing more casualties and cost money than 911 did. Before the invasion there was a balance of power in the Middle East, Iran and Iraq kept one another in check, we had to pay nothing in blood or money. Sadam feared Islamic Fundamentalist more than the United States. It shouldn't be any surprise about how Bush got his war if you look at how his political campaigns were operated.

But as long as the NARROW majority of Americans continue to vote blindly Republican and destroy checks and balances in our government we will continue down this path of unchecked one man rule for our Nation. And I say rule, not leader.

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 01:28 PM

On its face a civil war is a war between citizens of the same country. A bit simplistic but it qualifies as a description of what is occuring in Iraq. There are those who contend it must be named as The American Civil War. As of yet the war in Iraq has not been named either, but the Iraqi people are living every day under war-like conditions. I doubt that they could be convinced that because there is no name for the war they are experiencing, they are not experiencing a war. Is it so then that because Bushco has not proclaimed it The Iraq Civil War, it isn't one?

Posted by: felicity smith | March 6, 2006 01:36 PM

If Saddam Hussein is guilty of genocide for gassing Kurds in 1982 and the Reagan Administration via Rumsfeld's efforts concluded an agreement with him one year later that supplied weapons and important weapons technology, including the wherewithal to manufacture poison gas, then can Rumsfeld and other involved parties be anything other than complicit in genocide?

Posted by: rebellion to tyrants | March 6, 2006 02:02 PM

14,000 DETAINED WITHOUT TRIAL
US and UK forces in Iraq have detained thousands of people without charge or trial for long periods and there is growing evidence of Iraqi security forces torturing detainees, Amnesty International said today....
03/06/06 BBC: Iraqi brigadier killed by sniper
A senior Iraqi army brigadier has been shot dead in western Baghdad, police sources have said. He is also thought to be the most senior Iraqi officer to be killed since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
03/06/06 Scotsman: British troops under attack in road blast
BRITISH troops came under attack from a roadside bomb outside the Iraqi city of Basra today. No-one was hurt in the incident which took place on a road around seven miles south of the city.
03/06/06 AP: More blacks deciding not to serve
Defense Department statistics show that the number of black active-duty enlisted personnel has declined 14 percent since 2000.
03/06/06 KUNA: Four civilians killed west Kirkuk
The source added a timed bomb exploded on Al-Huwaijah road, causing the death of one civilian, Faiq Ibrahim Abdullah. Another bomb exploded in the area destroying cars nearby.
03/06/06 Arizona Daily Star: Brain injury means he'll 'never be the same'
Army Spc. Erik Castillo, was hit by mortar fire while on convoy duty in Baghdad, leaving a grapefruit-size hole in his skull--about 40 percent of his cranium was gone.
03/06/06 CENTCOM: SOLDIER DIES DUE TO ENEMY ACTION (confirmed)
A Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province March 5.
03/06/06 Reuters: Three civilians killed in Baqubah
Three civilians were killed by gunmen in separate attacks in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
03/06/06 Reuters: Dean kidnapped in Baghdad
Ali Hussein al-Khafaji, the dean of the college of engineering, was abducted by gunmen while he was heading to work in Baghdad, police said.
03/06/06 Reuters: Mortars kill civilian in Sadr City
One civilian was wounded when four mortar rounds landed in Sadr city in eastern Baghdad, police said.
03/06/06 Reuters: U.S. soldier killed in western Anbar Province
A U.S. soldier was killed by "enemy action" on Sunday in western Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent stronghold, the U.S. military said.
03/06/06 AP: Four bodies found in Baghdad
Police found at least four more bodies that were shot in the head and dumped in parts of Baghdad.
03/06/06 Xinhuanet: Car bomb wounds three in central Baghdad
A car bomb rocked central Baghdad at around 10:10 a.m. (0710 GMT), injuring three people, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. "The bomb blew off at around near the Higher Education and Science Research Ministry," the source said.
03/06/06 Xinhuanet: Car bomb wounds four in Baghdad's Dura district
A suicide car bomb went off in the restive southern Dora district in Baghdad, injuring four people.
03/06/06 Xinhuanet: Another car bomb kills one in baghdad
About an hour earlier before the Jadriya explosion, a car bomb blew up in Mahmudiya, 30 km south of central Baghdad, killing one person and wounding three others including two policemen, said the police sources.
03/06/06 Xinhuanet: Car bomb kills policeman in Baghdad
A latest explosion occurred in Jadriya neighborhood of central Baghdad, killing one policeman and injuring three others, police sources told Xinhua.
03/06/06 AP: Roadside bomb explodes in Mosul
A roadside bomb missed a passing U.S. convoy, killing an Iraqi civilian and injuring two others instead, police and hospital officials said. The attack happened in Mosul.
03/06/06 KUNA: 3 civialians killed in Kirkut
A Kirkuk police source told KUNA that unidentified gunmen opened fire at the civilian Nasser Binayan, a restaurant owner in the area, and his two sons Ali and Khalid, killing all three instantly.
03/06/06 AP: Policeman and civilian killed by car bomb
Another bomb exploded as a police patrol drove through the northern Azamiyah neighborhood, killing a policeman and a civilian bystander, said Interior Ministry official Maj. Falah al-Mohammedawi. Three people were wounded, including another policeman
03/06/06 CNN: Car bomb kills at least 6 in Baquba
A car bomb exploded in a Baquba marketplace Monday morning, killing at least six people and wounding 23 others, police and hospital officials said. Three children were among the dead.
03/06/06 Timesonline: Children die in Iraq violence
Two girls under the age of four died today when a car bomb exploded in a bustling market in Baquba northeast of Baghdad, killing six people and wounding 20
03/06/06 CP: Two policemn killd by car bomb in Baghdad
In eastern Baghdad, a suicide car bomber struck a police patrol near al-Mustansiriyah University, killing two policemen and wounding three, said police Capt. Ahmed Qassim.
03/05/06 TheHerald: British Army to withdraw 1200 troops from Iraq
The Army plans to withdraw 1200 soldiers from three of the four southern Iraqi provinces under its control this year to free up scarce manpower and air transport resources for the UK's new Afghan deployment.
03/05/06 ABC: Expert on Iraq: 'We're In a Civil War'
"We're in a civil war now; it's just that not everybody's joined in," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place...
03/05/06 UPI: Pace Plays Down Iraq Violence
Despite hundreds killed in secular attacks in Iraq this week, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace said he is optimistic for Iraq's future. "I don't think we're getting the goodness out to the American people the way we should," he said.
03/05/06 AP: Report - Iraqi Detainees Still Being Tortured
Amnesty International charges detainees in Iraq are still being tortured by their captors despite the negative attention generated by the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
03/05/06 AFP: Two Iraqi soldiers killed in Tikrit
Two Iraqi soldiers were also killed by gunmen who fired on their vehicle in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Sunday, while police said the bodies of three men, two of them Shiites, were discovered in Nabai...
03/05/06 AP: Four killed in scattered gunfire in Baghdad
At least four people _ a policeman, a taxi driver and two electricity workers _ were killed in scattered gunfire in Baghdad and south of the capital, police said.
03/05/06 AP: Two killed in shooting in west baghdad
two relatives of an influential Sunni leader were killed in a drive-by shooting in another part of west Baghdad. The Shiite-led Interior Ministry denied involvement in either attack.
03/05/06 thetimesonline: Policeman killed in Musayyib
South of the capital, a policeman was killed and his son injured in a drive-by shooting in the mainly Sunni town of Musayyib. Police found two more bullet-riddled bodies, with hand and legs bound, in Kazimiyah, a northern Shiite suburb of Baghdad.
03/05/06 sunherald: Wounded Corporal greets old friends
Cpl. Zach Schudrowitz...has spent the last several months in a burn unit in San Antonio. He was recovering from injuries received when his amphibious assault vehicle, or Amtrac, blew up last May, killing eight Marines...
03/05/06 AP/AFP: Attack on Iraq Mosque Kills at Least Three (update)
Iraqi police say gunmen have attacked a Sunni mosque in west Baghdad, killing at least three people and wounding at least six others. Police officials say the attackers stormed the al-Nour mosque in Baghdad's Jihad neighborhood...
03/05/06 RTE: US military denies reports over Iraq pullout
The US military in Iraq has said British newspaper reports that US and British troops would start leaving the country by the spring of next year were completely false.
03/05/06 Xinhua: Insurgent sniper shoots dead US soldier (not confirmed)
"A sniper shot dead a U.S. soldier in the Sorah intersection in central Dhuluiyah town while the U.S. troops were near an Iraqi army checkpoint at the site," a witness told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Posted by: WMDS? PNAC? WARGAMES ON 9/11? ISRAELI SPIES? AIPAC? BOOM! | March 6, 2006 02:05 PM

Anyway, this is not going to solve any sort of freedom struggle. Instead it will worsen the current situation not only in iraq but also in other parts of the world.Innocent americans will be attacked by the fundamentalists and heavily armed ruling class would walk unharmed at the cost of UStaxpayers. US is the only country in the world that sacrifices its own people just for OIL and WEALTH meant for the protection of the richer class.

Posted by: P S JAYANTHAN, INDIA | March 6, 2006 02:24 PM

CHE writes - "Dear Chris,Is it so difficult to open your eyes and see that we are loosing our freedoms? What does bother you more? my postings or loosing your freedoms? I am not against you Chris.
Yours truly,Che."

Others have requested you follow basic Internet etiquette, and you blow em off, too.

1. Try to post on topic.
2. Link references, don't paste them in toto as SPAM.
3. I don't speak for everybody here, or Messner, or the other WP Blogs you paste to - but I think your habit of just slapping up other peoples work without comment or inclination to debate the host or other posters isn't appreciated.

On topic:

I'm not sure how this will play out, but the Shia have spent 2 years not retaliating against Sunni suicide bombers or Sunni shootings of Shiite officials. In the North, the US has used it's excellent relations with the Kurds to forestall Kurd payback.

Now it may be time to see if the situation will benefit from some Sunni bloodshed. The Shia - who as the world's biggest ingrates, were happy sit by to see Sunni killing the infidel occupier (us Americans) and avoided ratting the bad guys out (Sunni and foreign fighters) - may start "tagging" the ones they know the locations of. They were patient until they got more control of police and military forces from the US/UK occupiers. Targeted killings by the Shia may take out more Saddamist loyalists and Sunni Jihadis from abroad than the US has done - possibly crippling the rebellion by whacking it's core fighters.

And, with the increasing transfer of Sunni prisoners from the relatively cozy, threat-free American captivity of the last 2 1/2 years to Shiite-led jailors and soldiers....the life of a nabbed IED factory worker and all his male relatives are now on the bargaining table.

The Pesh Merga has also accumulated lists of names of Sunni Iraqis they wish to pay visits to. And, also want to return Mosul and Kirkurk to the pre-Saddam predominance of Kurds living there, before Saddam's settlement campaign of bringing in Sunni Ba'ath loyalists to take over Kurd homes and real estate.

The only thing that stands in the way of Sunni slaughter is the protection of the America forces the Sunnis have inflicted 2,000 of the 2300 deaths on, and 14,000 of the 16,000 casualties. If we stand back and allow some decent amount of righteous killing of Sunni intransigents, that may take the steam out of the desire for a full Civil War, by giving the Shia and Kurds enough of a payback to avenge their honor..

And, fortunately, Iraq is not NYC or California, or a Fed Court with endless 15-25 year long "due process" and ACLU appeals in capital cases. Saddam and several top honcho pals could be found guilty and hanged before Slobbo and Moussaoui are even sentenced in the ICC and the USA.

The combination of the senior Ba'athists made into worm food, certain to never return to power - and the deaths of thousands of Sunni at the hands of Shia and the Kurds may be enough to break them and end the insurgency.

In that situation, where Sunnis are being hunted down by Kurds and Shia, the American role might be to not interpose and stop the payback, but to temper it so it doesn't turn into full war. Turn a blind eye to bad guys being shot and dumped in pits, but stop widespread massacres of the "innocent" Sunni that only cheered past Sunni killings of other Iraqis or Americans. But also permit cleansing out of Shiite and Kurd areas Sunnis were transplanted into, cleansing of Sunnis given prime commercial or residential real estate assets as political rewards from Ba'athists.

That makes the Sunnis very screwed, but if they wanted full US protection they shouldn't have killed and maimed thousands of us. Now they may come to a point where the only thing between them and a Shia militia death squad is the US Army - so it behooves them to not try to kill anymore US soldiers who are already hardly eager to lay down their lives for Sunni killers - outside the Sunni tribes that have already settled their peace with the Americans.

Americans have had occasions in the past where they let ethnic or religious strife resolve itself through low-intensity conflict, while stopping a full civil war from emerging.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 6, 2006 02:25 PM

Methinks all the talk of civil war is a bit overblown. this is not to say that the continuing violence won't have an adverse effect on the political situation, but i think all the attempts by the "insurgents" and the al-Queda terrorists have not achieved their intended goal of igniting a civil war. By bombing the mosque, I think the bad guys jumped the shark...you are actually starting to see more "red-on-red" violence, as insurgent factions turn to fight not the coalition but al-Queda ursurpers.

And everyone seems to forget about the Kurds. The terrorists don't even TRY anything in de facto Kurdistan...the Pesh Merga has a short way with fascists.

Posted by: D. | March 6, 2006 02:38 PM

CHE writes - "Dear Chris,Is it so difficult to open your eyes and see that we are loosing our freedoms? What does bother you more? my postings or loosing your freedoms? I am not against you Chris.
Yours truly,Che."

We all have our unique ways of debating our points. Che always begins with the same links, if you choose not to read, then scroll to the next comment. But don't take Che's voice away.

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 02:42 PM

Jamal wrote:
"I disagree; Bush had all the intelligence on Iraq. It was his duty to take all intelligence into his decision making process as well as arguments contrary to invading and share it with congress."

Sheer BS Jamal. The truth is, unlike Patriot, you are unwilling to take civic responsibility for our decision. Your excuse is the same as post-war Germans used as they pointed towards Hitler.

The fact is that contrary evidence was widely available to the public. Among other things, the UN had found no evidence of WMD whatsoever. Now think about it. Our intelligence asserted they "knew" the Iraqi's had stockpiles. The UN inspecters say OK, tell us where and we'll go find it. This goes on for weeks and they never find any. Does it take a genius to figure out the intelligence isn't worth a shit? Do you need a security clearance to figure that out? Think back. We blasted a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan because we "knew" it was a secret WMD facility, which it wasn't. Then we took out the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in the belief it was some kind of military target, all CIA vetted. Still we take our intelligence capabilities seriously? Our Representatives and Senators take it seriously? Give me a break!

The fact of the matter is quite respectable people made arguments to the contrary before and at the time. Some of the best and most thoughtful came from Republicans, Scowcroft, Hagel, Lugar, and a few others. Then there was Howard Dean, who superbly argued against it on a perfectly rational hardnosed basis (no whining leftie here). John Q. Public just didn't pay attention. You blame Bush for that?

Then there is the Al Qaeda/Iraq connection, which had even less substance than the Dubai/Al Qaeda connection. Even the administration would do no more than allude to the possibility of it. The media thoroughly and widely debunked it. Did the public insist on believing it? Did you? At some point Jamal, the shee-pul had best take a good look in the mirror and recognize this is not an episode of American Idol. Like it or not, and I for damn sure don't and never did, this is "our" war and it is "our" job to deal with it's aftermath as best we can. If you aren't willing to take responsibility for it, you are part of the problem.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 6, 2006 02:44 PM

The only thing stopping an all-out civil war is the presence of US troops. Remove them and Iraq enters the maelstrom.

Posted by: Turnabout | March 6, 2006 03:25 PM

Che:
"Dear Chris,Is it so difficult to open your eyes and see that we are loosing our freedoms? What does bother you more? my postings or loosing your freedoms? I am not against you Chris.
Yours truly,Che"
Holy crap, you have an opinion. Che, while I almost always disagree with Ford, I agree with him on this. Your posts are rather annoying. I know I, and the several that have commented prior, don't read them. They take up space and clutter the forum. It would be much more convenient, for us as readers, to post the link to your websites and offer a brief synopsis. That way, people won't label you as an opinionless hack and skip your posts as much. As is, I (and I assume others) believe you have no opinion as you never post yours. We don't care about some random site. We care about what you think and how that site makes you think.

Jamal:
"We all have our unique ways of debating our points. Che always begins with the same links, if you choose not to read, then scroll to the next comment. But don't take Che's voice away"
I agree with this to an extent, Jamal. As my name was based off the idea of freedom of speech, I can't claim otherwise. But it is frustrating and counterproductive to continuously recieve the same rehashed articles with little or no thought behind them. This is not Che's voice. This is simply something he wants to espouse as correct without discussing why. There is no debate in this, and it is rare that anyone ever responds to his posts. He seems to have a great many thoughts on the issue based on his posts, and I would like to discuss them with him. But I will not discuss an article with none of his own thought behind it. If I want to do that, I will email the author or website.

Posted by: Freedom | March 6, 2006 05:01 PM


Posted by: Cayambe

"Sheer BS Jamal. The truth is, unlike Patriot, you are unwilling to take civic responsibility for our decision. Your excuse is the same as post-war Germans used as they pointed towards Hitler."

You're right and I don't have to take responsibility for Bush's actions, I made sure of that twice in the voting booth when I voted against him. LOL, even my representative in the house, republican Jimmy Duncan Jr., voted against the Iraq War. Cayambe, you don't make since on your Hitler analogy, I think it applies more your position on the war and support for Bush. It applied to Germans that turned their heads to what the Nazis were doing or never spoke up. I think it's very apparent I speak up and voice my opinion on the Bush administration.

"The fact is that contrary evidence was widely available to the public. Among other things, the UN had found no evidence of WMD whatsoever. Now think about it. Our intelligence asserted they "knew" the Iraqi's had stockpiles. The UN inspecters say OK, tell us where and we'll go find it. This goes on for weeks and they never find any. Does it take a genius to figure out the intelligence isn't worth a shit? Do you need a security clearance to figure that out? Think back. We blasted a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan because we "knew" it was a secret WMD facility, which it wasn't. Then we took out the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in the belief it was some kind of military target, all CIA vetted. Still we take our intelligence capabilities seriously? Our Representatives and Senators take it seriously? Give me a break!"

Bush still "cherry picked" the evidence and we did have CIA evidence that was contrary to the administrations. Most who spoke up where quickly discredited with a Bush initiated smear campaign or the evidence was kept suppressed. Representatives and Senators were not given access to all the intelligence, Bush only released to them what supported his case for war.

"The fact of the matter is quite respectable people made arguments to the contrary before and at the time. Some of the best and most thoughtful came from Republicans, Scowcroft, Hagel, Lugar, and a few others. Then there was Howard Dean, who superbly argued against it on a perfectly rational hardnosed basis (no whining leftie here). John Q. Public just didn't pay attention. You blame Bush for that?"

Bush manipulated and coldly calculated what it would take to get into Iraq. To blame the entire country is BS. Your debate point that "quite respectable people made arguments to the contrary before and at the time" only proves we are not all to blame. I have one question for you, if one person and only one person are to be held accountable who is it? The president is accountable for his actions, no matter if 100% supported him or 1% supported him and that's no BS.

"Then there is the Al Qaeda/Iraq connection, which had even less substance than the Dubai/Al Qaeda connection. Even the administration would do no more than allude to the possibility of it. The media thoroughly and widely debunked it. Did the public insist on believing it? Did you? At some point Jamal, the shee-pul had best take a good look in the mirror and recognize this is not an episode of American Idol. Like it or not, and I for damn sure don't and never did, this is "our" war and it is "our" job to deal with it's aftermath as best we can. If you aren't willing to take responsibility for it, you are part of the problem."

Cayambe, you need to look in the mirror. It is beyond any reasonable belief how you can attack everyone but Bush for his incompetence. Some were fooled, but you seem to have known better. The only questions here is why, oh why, did you vote for Bush twice and why, oh why, do you still blindly support him and blame everyone for his screw-ups? An analogy to your logic is defending a proven rapist (Bush) and blaming the rape victim (the American public).

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 05:34 PM

I really don't like all the long 'copy & paste' posts, either.

Posted by: jerry | March 6, 2006 05:46 PM

Potential all-out civil war? Seems more like a revolution.

The situation makes me think of Russian theologian Nicolas Berdyaev, in 1937, in his book The Destiny Man, observing the following: Revolutions do not create evil. They are the regurgitation of evil.

Revolution is ugly; it causes loss, pain, and death. It is a recovery from a sickness. But it might the be only and inevitable way. History, including our own, does not show an alternative.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 6, 2006 06:18 PM

Jamal, I think you may have misread Cayambe a bit.

When your kid breaks a neighbor's window you make him pay for it. If he fails to do so, are you as a parent off the hook - after all, YOU didn't break that window! Or is it your job to take responsibility for your child and fix your neighbor's window (and then take it out of your kids hide/allowance/whatever).

I cast no aspersion on you, personally, You may have been at every anti-war rally you could find, and written letters to multiple editors and stood on streetcorners and carried placards, and signed petitions and done whatever you could to prevent this insane war. But the point is you didn't have much company even from people like me who knew better.

I wrung my hands until I met a Spaniard (at a meeting in Australia in fall 2003) who refused to entertain my protests that I did not support Bush and instead asked "What did YOU do to stop him?. He reminded me that six to eight million people around the world protested the incipient war on Feb 15, 2003. In Spain 2 million protested, 1.3 million in Barcelona and in Madrid 600,000 people. In London 750,000. http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/02/15/sprj.irq.protests.europe/ see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_15,_2003_anti-war_protest

How many of them were Americans? It was pathetic. In New York Between 100,000 and 300,000. In LA about 60,000. In San Francisco 65,000-200,000. Europe, six millions of protesters, USA a few hundred thousand.

He was right. It was a humiliating American response. We LET Bush do this. You may have been at one of those protests but I wasn't.

We are the parents of a terribly two-ish tyrant who made a bad decision to go to war in our name, and made little but rudimentary efforts to stop him. And we will have to fix the mess.

We the People did this and We the People have to fix it. My nephew may well die for it.

But I do have to take back some of my rant at Ford. Perhaps I am gleeful that we failed in Iraq. Because if we hadn't, we would have made matters worse by overextending ourselves into Syria and Iran before meeting a much worse Waterloo.

Posted by: patriot1957 | March 6, 2006 06:34 PM

what difference does it make?


If we're not there for any reason except to control them, we need to do that or leave.....

there are multiple levels of response here...


if our country is sold to the highest bidder this is a moot point...

If it isn't and we have some involvement, that makes us vulnerable, because dumbass has ineffectively intervened and pissed off the hornets....well that's a different kettle of fish....


the thing of it is, is this, this country is going to hell in a handbasket as far as the citizens is concerned....


I mean, they have cut VA benefits....outsourcing is a very real part of the scene _right now_ in all sectors of the economy, except for government work....


we as citizens, could be caught up in a draft, soon.....


and we have a dumbass in control that wants line item veto....


I need to think a little bit, but there's a very real precipice here....


first instinct is to say, better that they're mad at each other than us....


second instinct is to say, arrest a few people and quell some of the dishonesty, wait a few days and then do something....


this is like saying, "what should we do if it rains in April"....


I think a more legitimate question is what are _they_ doing to ensure our economic integrity regardless of what is going on in Iraq....

if life is a piece of shit in the United States what difference does it make....and bottom line is this, a greater conflict will only overextend us more.


If you want life to be better, then you need to make them accountable, here,


right now...that will change the complexity of the situation completely...


part of the economy is defense driven, and there's a great drive by those corporations to get involved....but we don't have the deep pockets that we had, ask any Vet..


they have had benefits cut.....this is not a very realistic congress or administration, that have been watching too many WWII movies and they have their heads up their asses on what is happening outside of Washington....they and the president are isolated emotionally and factually from what their constituency are going through...

Posted by: Hello, what do we know about religious wars in other countries? | March 6, 2006 06:35 PM

patriot1957,

I see your point; perhaps I pursue a more internal view. I hope you can see mine. It was not the American public and the Congress that went to Bush demanding to invade Iraq. It was not the American public and the congress that went to Bush with cherry picked intelligence. It was not the American public and the congress that persecuted those who spoke out against the war in Iraq.

And if my child breaks a neighbor's window I see that he stands up and takes responsibility for his actions. He also pays for it with money or labor. Only then will the neighbor respect him again.

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 08:18 PM

Emily wrote:

"Debaters, what's your take?"

We can't economically afford a prolonged occupation of Iraq to prevent a full civil war. Nor can we afford the human sacrifice. The administration has until the end of its term to get out of Iraq and maybe not that long.

Many Middle Eastern and African countries borders were not created along where ethnic or religious boundaries existed. This has been the direct result of many civil wars, as is the case in Iraq. Perhaps what's best is to let the country divide among ethnic religious boundaries into separate nations. It's already happening. I don't recall who made the comment, that the Kurds should have all land and towns returned to them, but I agree. Divide the oil fields accordingly among the three. The Kurds seem to support the United States and desire a homeland (Turkey is opposed and possibly Iran) and would be an economic partner. The Shiites although religiously linked to Iran are ethnic Arabs, not Persians. Shiites would most likely maintain independence. Sunnis are unpredictable, many still believe they are the true rulers of Iraq. Our occupation is primarily protecting the Sunnis, we pull out and it will be full blown civil war and the Sunnis will be the biggest losers.

"According to some polls, most Americans now think Iraq headed for civil war. Do you agree?"

It's already a low grade civil war.

"Is the civil war already in progress, and if so, by what criteria do you make that judgment?"

I judge by the violence between the Sunnis and Shiites. And as Emily wrote: "Sunni areas and Shiite areas purge members of the opposing sect -- through evictions backed by threats or by other means -- those territories could become much more defined."

"Or have the media gotten way ahead of themselves, anticipating a civil war that isn't likely to happen?"

Civil war is already happening, the MSM is only anticipating a full blown civil war.

Posted by: Jamal | March 6, 2006 09:15 PM

Phew, glad we've finished up the "neighbor's window" metaphor...now, can we get back on topic? After reading your posts today, it's a damn shame you folks aren't in the driver's seat on these issues. You know, with your access to all of the intel and your collective crystal balls, I'm positive we would have had a better outcome. It's just a shame that with all of the area specialists, military, political, economic, social, nuclear, bio, chemical, and intel professionals from many diffrerent countries who looked at this issue (and, inexplicably, drew the exact opposite conclusion), we should have paid closer attention to the opinions of people such as you - folks who are really in the know. This time, let's hope GWB pays more attention to you about the burgeoning civil war...he may be able to pull our nuts out of the fire. One thing is for sure though -- al Zarqawi is listening to you and he's playing to win. Hell, he would be happy to stretch things out a bit longer...blow a few things up (Sunni, Shiite what's the difference) and send more planes back to Dover...doing a little Ho Chi Minh on us. And if he can't muster enough paradise-seekers in Chechnya, Saudi, Yemen or Sudan to put together a blast at another Shiite mosque, well those crazy mullahs in Iran wouldn't be too shy about wasting a few of their fellow Shia...as long as it keeps the party going for awhile. C'mon folks...it's one thing to beat the dead horse of conspiracy, incompetence, messianic mission, etc. (by the looks of this blog...every day, all day, 24x7), but to assume away the other actors in this play and blow off contradictory evidence through one huge suspension of disbelief exercise...I had higher hopes for you.

Posted by: The Other Will | March 6, 2006 09:43 PM

I honestly don't know how Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and Rice can sleep at night with all of the people that have been killed in Iraq.

I'm starting to think this all had to do with oil.

Bush really should be impeached.

The U.S. can't afford to 'nation build'.

We can't even afford good health care for our citizens here at home.

Get the whole 'war happy' crew out of office!

Posted by: mark | March 6, 2006 10:08 PM

Didn't the republicans say that Iraq's oil would pay for Bush's war?

Posted by: | March 6, 2006 10:16 PM

Jamal - "And if my child breaks a neighbor's window I see that he stands up and takes responsibility for his actions. He also pays for it with money or labor. Only then will the neighbor respect him again."

An infantile analogy commensurate with your inadequate education.

1. Shooting at UK and US pilots for 2 years prior to our initiating war was alone enough to justify a legal casus belli. 14 defied UN resolutions were enough. As part of that defiance, no UN WMD inspectors were allowed in Iraq for 4 years until the US assembled an invasion force on the Border. And only because the invasion force was there, and Saddam only played along because he hoped to buy time to set up a defense and a fallback insurgency...

2. Your likening the US to a child and Iraq to a "neighbor" - while infantile, definitely does clearly illustrate your sympathies.

3. There is nothing in Geneva or International Law about one or both parties to a war being required to rebuild opposing enemy territory, infastructure, give out "victim compensation" or whatever other silly Lefty notions fit your fancy. Especially if the conquered are still bushwacking the supposed "rebuilders". Such bushwhacker's "respect" is of very low import. And frankly, your values that dictate what you "respect" or don't - is why your ilk will never be trusted with America's future or its security.

====================

For Emily -

Iraq is based on an honor culture. I expect the Shia are about ready and positioned to avenge their lost honor with Sunni blood. The Kurds stand ready. Only their respect for the USA has help them back so far from reclaiming their lost lands and properties and the blood shed by their ancestors and relatives.

The Sunnis made a big mistake trying to butcher their only possible protectors, the Americans - while continuing to massacre Shia. A strategy that will be looked back on as insane...And allying themselves with Al Qaeda fighters. The US owes them nothing, though if civil war comes, we will try and keep massacres of Sunni women and children from happening. And Western Sunni tribes that stopped hostilities and made peace with the US. But I think we won't risk our lives interposing our soldiers if Shia and Peshmerga show up with lists of Sunni males they wish to take away.

A particularly bad place to be is to be Sunni or Al Qaeda in prison already...Many of those Sunni are hosed, as are the Al Qaeda unless they can work out a deal with Iran to lobby to protect them from Shia executioners...

So there could be a low level civil war, but one that will be euphemistically be called "ethnic strife" by all parties but the Shia - where the Sunnis take bloody punishment until they truly admit defeat and capitulate to terms of peace.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 6, 2006 10:46 PM

C-SPAN is starting to be my favorite show lately. It's the only thing on TV where you can actually find out what's REALLY going on. The president is currently proposing about a 300% increase in the annual veteran medical enrollment fee - not because prices have risen that much - but to drive veterans out the system.

Posted by: great war president we have | March 6, 2006 10:49 PM

Jamal ..." We can't economically afford a prolonged occupation of Iraq to prevent a full civil war. Nor can we afford the human sacrifice. The administration has until the end of its term to get out of Iraq and maybe not that long."
We couldn't really prevent one if we wanted to, and if we could we wouldn't. Nor does the BA have until the end of its term. They either get their act together now, or they will be on their own next year anyway.

Jamal ... "Many Middle Eastern and African countries borders were not created along where ethnic or religious boundaries existed. This has been the direct result of many civil wars, as is the case in Iraq."

True; but it's not the result of many civil wars. It's primarily the result of how the British decided to draw boundaries, i.e as much to divide people instead of uniting them. (Among other things the Brits put half the Pashtuns in Pakistan and half in Afghanistan which is why that border is so particularly porous.)

Jamal ... "Perhaps what's best is to let the country divide among ethnic religious boundaries into separate nations."

Doesn't really work all that well. The Shia end up with the lions share of the oil in the South, the Kurds with the rest in the North and the Sunni get shafted in the middle. Then you have this little problem in Baghdad and surrounding towns that are full of mixed Sunni and Shia neighborhoods. It's Bosnia all over again.

Jamal ... "Our occupation is primarily protecting the Sunnis, we pull out and it will be full blown civil war and the Sunnis will be the biggest losers."

I don't think so, and certainly they don't think so. We have been beating on the Sunni's with the best we got over there. Remember Falluja? How about Ramadi? Not too many Shia in those towns I assure you. It's a Sunni insurgency, remember? The only Shia we beat up on was Sadr's Mahdi army early on when they got uppity down in Najaf.

In a civil war between Sunni and Shia, I'll bet on the Sunni any day. They have the will, the leadership, and Syria is right next door. Besides, their survival depends on it. The Kurds will take care of themselves. The Shia have never been able to get it together and aren't showing any signs yet that I see. Didn't you notice that they picked Jaafari by a one vote margin over the runner-up? And that only because Sadr twisted arms in ways that couldn't be refused.

If we get a full blown civil war we will quickly apply the Murtha maneuver. Kuwait, here we come. Issue of the Week: Do We Take Saddam with Us or give him back to the Sunnis so they can have their own power struggle to sort out. Hmmmmm.

What is it Rummy likes to say? Yup, unknowable. The man is dead right about that.

Nope, it's truly in the Iraqis hands, for better or for worse.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 6, 2006 11:16 PM

Some posters seem to suggest "we" the people are to blame for this war because Mr Bush had support of 2/3 of the people for the invasion. i didn't think we needed to invade, as Saddam was boxed in, and there wasn't any evidence that Al Quada cooperated with Saddam at the time.

the President mislead a lot of people about what was known about Iraq and how well it was known. He also insisted he was the war-time commander in chief. he showed no evidence of being swayed by popular opinion then or since.

no, this is not "our" responsibility when the president mislead us, executed the occupation incompetently, and is utterly dismissive of advice counter to what he wants to do - neither public opinion nor the Constitution restrains this uninformed, incurious loose cannon of a president

i take no responsibility for what he does - let the republican base - they put him there, and support him in spite of the unfolding reality of his incompetence.

i'd support his impeachment if Cheney wasn't next in line for the job. If we could get a 2-fer from congress, kick them both out;

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | March 7, 2006 12:15 AM

Some posters seem to suggest "we" the people are to blame for this war because Mr Bush had support of 2/3 of the people for the invasion. i didn't think we needed to invade, as Saddam was boxed in, and there wasn't any evidence that Al Quada cooperated with Saddam at the time.

the President mislead a lot of people about what was known about Iraq and how well it was known. He also insisted he was the war-time commander in chief. he showed no evidence of being swayed by popular opinion then or since.

no, this is not "our" responsibility when the president mislead us, executed the occupation incompetently, and is utterly dismissive of advice counter to what he wants to do - neither public opinion nor the Constitution restrains this uninformed, incurious loose cannon of a president

i take no responsibility for what he does - let the republican base - they put him there, and support him in spite of the unfolding reality of his incompetence.

i'd support his impeachment if Cheney wasn't next in line for the job. If we could get a 2-fer from congress, kick them both out;

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | March 7, 2006 12:18 AM

we're using plastic to pay for the "war" while the countries resources are pawned...


if this country were a person, they'd be addicted....

and that means the only thing to do is intervene....

can I get a cop to bust the whitehouse, all the presidents men and geo H.W. bush too?

PNAC.

Posted by: it's interesting.... | March 7, 2006 12:24 AM


Chris wrote:
1. Shooting at UK and US pilots for 2 years prior to our initiating war was alone enough to justify a legal casus belli. 14 defied UN resolutions were enough. As part of that defiance, no UN WMD inspectors were allowed in Iraq for 4 years until the US assembled an invasion force on the Border. And only because the invasion force was there, and Saddam only played along because he hoped to buy time to set up a defense and a fallback insurgency...

I have to take the other side of this one.

First...they were actually shooting at our pilots for a lot longer than two years.

Second...these were the so called "no-fly" zones which we arbitrarily declared to protect the Shia in the south and the Kurds in the North long after the ceasefire was signed. The proximate cause for our action was Saddam's use of helicopters in particular, to slaughter the Shia who launched the rebellion in the South that Papa Bush incited. We had no legal basis to arbitrarily declare such a thing and the UN did not endorse it. Saddam rejected it out of hand even as he observed it because not to would cost him his remaining Air Force of mostly helicopters (the Iranians were still holding onto most of his fighter jets). From a legal standpoint we were infringing on Iraq's sovereignty and they were quite entitled to defend themselves with what ground fire they managed to preserve. They didn't do it that often, mostly because they didn't want to die.

Third...defying UN resolutions is a whole lot more common than observing them. In any case, the UN never called upon us to enforce any of these 14 resolutions. The strongest resolution simply promised "serious consequences" for Iraq's failure to comply with it. Might have been a fine, cancellation of Food for Oil, expulsion from the UN, ratcheting up the sanctions, who knows. The Security Council was never able to come to agreement on what the "serious consequences" were to be. So we decided what those were unilaterally, and to this day Kofi Annan maintains our unilateral decision as to what was meant by the phrase "serious consequences" was made without proper authority, and our invasion was therefore illegal.

So no Chris. I fail to see either of these as a valid reason to invade a sovereign country.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 7, 2006 12:26 AM

Most European citizens get:


healthcare

5 weeks of paid vacation

safe cities

vacations


We have more resources than all of Europe combined...many times over...


do you have 5 weeks vacation and healthcare?

why not?


where's your share?


please remember, most blue collar, now service sector workers don't read the Washington Post...


most of them are working two jobs and their wives one, if they can find them

to make up for what they don't have coming in any more..

The Washington D.C. area is much better off than the rest of the United States....


they're insulated, from their constiutency...


they vote from personal experience.....which is they don't get a lot of contact from people working 60 hours a weeks with no benefits...


'cause those people are trying to make it, and don't think much more than hamsters on a wheel...

so if you don't help them out, well, you're both going down...

Posted by: one thing to remember.... | March 7, 2006 12:33 AM

If your side in an election loses do you suddenly stop being an American? Then when your side wins years later are you suddenly an American again?

Sometimes democracy can be "unfair" to those who protest decisions and policies, only to see their views brushed aside, and grave errors in judgement prevail. It is our common belief in the ideas that our nation is founded on that make us all American, even in these frustrating times. This country has been through more difficult challenges, and we have had other times where our actions and decisions as a country have not seemed consistent with our founding ideas. Consider the Dredd Scott case, MacCarthyism, Watergate, Native American massacres, Jim Crow laws, the fact that slavery was actually protected by the Constitution when it was first written and adopted.

Many of these injustices were remedied over time, not by those who said "Its not my fault" and turned away, but by those that accepted the responsibility of the country's actions and kept trying to change and improve. This implies something important: Its not enough to complain, and as Teddy Roosevelt said: Its not enough to just be good. We have to take action to acheive goodness in our world.

The result of those people that held fast to the defining values of freedom, human rights, and democracy was that our Constitution and our society improved over time and we moved our country forward on its journey toward a "more perfect Union".

Obviously we are still struggling toward that goal. Whether we believe that the Iraq invasion was the right thing to do or not, we own it as a country.

Yes, Iraq is our war. 65% of the citizens agreed with it at the time, but the most damning reason for this war being our war as a country, is that we voted Bush back into office after we all knew there never were any WMD. If that doesn't put the public's stamp of approval on the Iraq policy, I don't know what does. Should we be mad at the Bush administration? You bet! But we can't absolve the rest of the country of the blame.
*******************************************
So, is it a civil war yet? When does an insurgency become a civil war? I think once the insurgency started targetting the Iraqi army and police units that we have been organizing and training, it became a civil war. The insurgents just see us as allies of their enemies in the civil war. If we left today, the fighting would not stop. It would escalate. That to me means it is a civil war. I agree that the Sunnis won't get stomped like many seem to think. Many of the insurgents are former republican guards - Saddam's former elite units that know exactly what it takes to fight and win a brutal war of this type.

The scale of this civil war has not gotten out of hand yet. al Sadr's militia will play an important role. Ayatollah Sistani will play a role as well. If those two can keep a lid on things it will probably continue at the low level that it is now. Any more spectacular attacks could blow it wide open, probably led by al Sadr's militia.

Since this is our war and we need to find a way to fix it, what do we do under the current circumstances?

I caught just a glimpse yesterday of ret. general Wesley Clark being interviewed by George Stephanopolous. Clark was saying that we have, for too long, only looked at military options in Iraq and we needed to solve things through political options. He was suggesting that we apply whatever pressure we can to get responsible Sunni leadership included in the Iraqi governmnent.

It seems like that's what we've been trying to do, but Clark seemed to be saying that we should be twisting arms a lot harder and be more hands-on in order to make it happen. The question is, could that level of meddling in the formation of their government backfire on us like so many other things have?

I don't know if that appproach will work or not, but we are now fast running out of viable options. The primary alternative would seem to be step out of the way and let the three factions fight it out for supremacy. Otherwise we'd better settle in for a long long occupation overseeing this slow war of attrition where we bear our own portion of the casualties (5 - 10 per week). Of the options we face:

1) Clarks option of pushing harder for greater Sunni representation to hopefully diffuse insurgent support

2) Step back and let the three sides duke it out for supremacy

3) Maintain status quo

I say try option 1 first and if it doesn't work go with option 2. Option 3 isn't working and we need to change things up. That is, unless someone else has any ideas that haven't been suggested or tried yet?

The very sad bottom line to all this is that there is no clean way for this all to end up. He have to try to minimize damage and leave the country in as good shape as we can within 18 months. If we stay longer than that we won't be doing any more good than postponing the inevitable.

Posted by: DK | March 7, 2006 02:23 AM

One last thing I meant to add. For the long term we need to, as a nation, debate and hopefully alter the "Bush Doctrine" that promotes pre-emptive attacks to remove threats of terrorist attacks before they can occur. How much this policy is altered, refined, or whether it is completely rejected is open to debate, but some change is definitely needed.

Posted by: DK | March 7, 2006 02:39 AM

So Bush and his crew have decided to send our solders to the middle east to exchange their blood for oil.

Powerful lobbyists and corporate america will benefit from this.

Expect more profits for the oil companies and Bush & cheney, who have stocks in oil.

It's the republican conservative way: profits over people!

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 03:13 AM

Corporate america, outsourcing and globalization:
We need all 3 in order to have the "ownership society" Bush is pushing for.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 03:27 AM

If it walks like duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck it is a duck. Yes, this is a civil war. Different groups are waging organized conflict against each other. That is a civil war and no amount of spin will make it otherwise. This nonesense about "low grade" or strife. It is impossible to be a little bit pregnant and it is impossible to have half a civil war. This is the real thing.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | March 7, 2006 08:09 AM

Jamal, sometimes this blog makes me feel my age.

I do understand your point of view. You didn't vote for Bush or support this war so why should you be blamed? I can respect that.

But a great schism has been created by the "uniter not a divider". Everything is divided into "either/or". Either you're with us or with the terrorists. Either you love America my way or you're an America hater (see C Ford). Either you're on God's side or the Other(Democrats, Muslims, Hollywood actors, whatever's) side. And for whatever reason your post of its "his" war (ie vs not "my" war)just hit a nerve as more of the same divisiveness.

When I was growing up we used to say "America, love it or leave it....or change it". We have to own it in order to change it. It has to be OUR country, not George Bush's country or the Repubs country or the Dems country, if we are to snatch it back and change the direction. America made a huge mistake believing we could trust this gang. We made a huge mistake turning our back on the 200+ years of our history to become a first strike state sponsor of torture. ANd while You, personally, weren't one of the 70% that got bamboozled, lots of otherwise decent Americans were.

Here's my uniter commment - thank God people are waking up before its too late.

But the world is in a much sorrier state than it was five years ago. Sadly, it is your war. It will not be Barbara and Jenna Bush who put on the uniform and straighten out the mess papa made, maybe to never come home except in a box. It will be you, or your children or neices/nephews or grandkids. It will not be Barbara and Jenna who have to decide between acne medicine for their kids and new tires for the car because they can't afford both.

Not everyone was duped and I'm glad you weren't. Critical thinkers seem in short supply these days. But we need to make this our war. We need to pull together now in spite of the leadership that would still seek to divide us, find some decent leadership somewhere and fix the problem as best we can, and reclaim our country.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 7, 2006 09:10 AM

"Bush, Cheney and a number of their top security aides are enraged because of the leaking of very embarrassing and sensitive material to the media. I don't think they are really aware of the degree and extent of the leakage.

The CIA has been the source of many leaks as the clumsy and high handed actions of Bush loyalist Porter Goss, DCI has destroyed the morale at that agency. Many very competent agents with years of experience were either fired because they "were not loyal to the President's goals and views" or quit because of the crude activities of their top brass.

Most of these top leaders are Jewish and are too deeply and actively interested in the fate of blessed Israel to suit the rank and file. The name of Pollard is often used to describe their actions. And it is from these disgruntled agents, as well as from those who quit or were fired, that a veritable flood of fascinating material has been, and is being , leaked.

Friends of mine in the media and fellow workers speak about this and although I have never received any of these leaked papers, their contents are certainly not a secret.

A fanatic for secrecy, and terrified of assassination, Cheney would have a fatal heart attack if he knew that builder's plans of his Maryland home, with new security additions, are out there. Also, a number of what the top White House personnel firmly believe is total security on their email and personal telephone conversations has been compromised, from the inside, and recorded messages are now circulating on tape all over Washington, to include the cocktail and Embassy Row circuits.

You have no idea how idiotic some of our wise leaders are when chatting with girl friends, businessmen, stock brokers and boy friends.

Also out there are reams of CIA reports on their intended subversion of various countries, to include Russia, Venezuela, Syria and Iran. There are even studies on what would happen if the CIA's men in Chechen were to assassinate Putin or the CIA/Columbia intelligence groups now in the latter country were to 'off' Chavez.

Most of the senior Republicans inside the White House are racists and their use of the no-no "N" word is legion.

Also floating around are reputed to be lists of many thousands of Americans whom the NSA has spied on in the past and will no doubt continue to spy on in the future.

Your Mr. Harring would be delighted to see the actual death lists (by name) that are far in excess of the DoD published tallies.

One of my friends in a famous investigative agency says that two things are most prominent here; the incredible number of serious threats made against our President and the growing leaks of major, and extremely negative, information.

With Bush on the skids and his grasp on power shrinking day to day and Cheney slipping even worse, many who were afraid to open their mouths before are now singing like an opera star. The interesting aspect of this is that most of this awful and damning material is not being sent to the American media (which is seen as useless and pro-Bush) but to foreign agencies and press entities.

The degree of the damage to the reputation of the United States is appalling but he who sows the wind will certainly reap the whirlwind."

Posted by: IS IT AN ISLAMIC THEOCRACY YET | March 7, 2006 09:28 AM

It's pleasant to read some of the above posts by patriot, Cayambe, Chris Ford, DK, and others concerning personal responibility for the country. This is an extremely productive development here in this blog.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 7, 2006 09:57 AM

Ford states:
"3. There is nothing in Geneva or International Law about one or both parties to a war being required to rebuild opposing enemy territory, infastructure, give out "victim compensation" or whatever other silly Lefty notions fit your fancy. Especially if the conquered are still bushwacking the supposed "rebuilders". Such bushwhacker's "respect" is of very low import. And frankly, your values that dictate what you "respect" or don't - is why your ilk will never be trusted with America's future or its security"

A good point Chris, but you miss the argument entirely. First, the analaogy was used by patriot in reference to our commitment as a people to owning up to the responsibility of the war, for the sole reason that we let Bush get elected. Second, your point would make sense if Jamal, or anyone, claimed we had to pay to fix Iraq based on reasons from the global level. Thats not the case. The case is, we need to fix Iraq because we justified the war (after it became so apparent that even the fundies/righties couldn't deny we weren't going to find WMDS that the war was based off of) that we were fighting to help the Iraq people and make their lives safer, free from a dictator. So if this is how we justify the war, we must live with the consequences of said justification. Leaving Iraq as a pile or rubble, while the media displays images of choas and death as an aftermath of something we caused is not something the administration can do and still expect to have any backing, save the blind Right. Having MSN report stories of Iraqi civilians fleeing their homes while stating "We've never lived in this terror before," as they did last week, is not conducive to justifying the next inane conflict Bush tries to push on us.

Posted by: Freedom | March 7, 2006 10:32 AM

Patriot,

This bush administration has always used polls to justify its actions as "political capital" and "mandate", to name a few. I respect your view and most of what you write. On this I hold my ground and if I don't I endorse Bush's actions. This is Bush's War. The Iraq War is an obvious mistake, it's important that the rest of the world knows that a few did not support invading Iraq. I agree with you that as Nation we are stuck with Bush's War.

Top Three Real Reasons for Bush's War
1. Oil ($$$)
2. Construction Contracts ($$$)
3. His place in history (This one will happen, but not where he wanted to be)

Top Three Excuses for Bush's War
1. Link to 911 (???)
2. WMD's (???)
3. Building a Democracy (Right Wing Islamic Fundamentalist)

Top Three Options of what to do now (From DK)

1) Clarks option of pushing harder for greater Sunni representation to hopefully diffuse insurgent support
2) Step back and let the three sides duke it out for supremacy
3) Maintain status quo

?) Fracture Iraq into three countries by Ethic Religious Borders. The mixed cities will be a problem as already noted.

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 11:09 AM

It's time to wake up and smell the Quagmire. Funny how so many are in denial of a basic fact like the reality of a civil war in Iraq.

When do we leave?

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 7, 2006 11:21 AM

In the Elizabeth Vargas interview with Bush, it was embarrassing evident that we have a President completely divorced from reality. When confronted with even the barest possibility that a civil war might be in the offing, Bush bristled predictably that he did not accept the "premise" that a civil war was ongoing, completely twisting Vargas' hypothetical question into an absolute assertion.

Bush is quite simply incapable of honestly facing questions that might suggest that his policies and decisions regarding Iraq are not having the happy, optimistic outcome he was so certain would be in the offing back prior to the decision to invade Iraq. Ms. Vargas question was a hypothetical. He could simply have responded that he does not engage in hypoothetical answers to hypothetical questions. But that would have required him to admit to himself that hypothetically, civil war was possible.

In the Bush mindset, civil war is not possible. Why? Because he is infallible. His Presidency is blessed by Jehovah. God wants him to be President and to succeed. Ergo, it is impossible for him to have been wrong in even the simple details--the number of troops that would be needed, the time it would take, the level of casualties. Put succinctly, Bush--being selcted for this task by Providence--cannot be seen to have erred in the slightest way.

That is why he cannot envision the multifaceted possiblilitis and outcomes that might result from such a decision. It is why he will never honestly answer a question--even a hypothetical one--that implies an outcome he did not foresee. In the same way that he would not entertain a question about his possible defeat in the 2004 election, Bush cannot fathom a possiblity that any decision he has ever made in his life might just possibly have been wrong.

Posted by: Jaxas | March 7, 2006 11:23 AM

Posted by: Chris Ford

"An infantile analogy commensurate with your inadequate education."

I don't see how anyone could have as many degrees as you say you have, unless it's false. Chris, not to hurt you, your not that educated. Sorry I had to say that, please forgive me.

"1. Shooting at UK and US pilots for 2 years prior to our initiating war was alone enough to justify a legal casus belli. 14 defied UN resolutions were enough. As part of that defiance, no UN WMD inspectors were allowed in Iraq for 4 years until the US assembled an invasion force on the Border. And only because the invasion force was there, and Saddam only played along because he hoped to buy time to set up a defense and a fallback insurgency..."

See Cayambe comment.

"2. Your likening the US to a child and Iraq to a "neighbor" - while infantile, definitely does clearly illustrate your sympathies."

This was originally Patriot 57's analogy, take it up with him. Pay attention!

"3. There is nothing in Geneva or International Law about one or both parties to a war being required to rebuild opposing enemy territory, infastructure, give out "victim compensation" or whatever other silly Lefty notions fit your fancy. Especially if the conquered are still bushwacking the supposed "rebuilders". Such bushwhacker's "respect" is of very low import. And frankly, your values that dictate what you "respect" or don't - is why your ilk will never be trusted with America's future or its security."

See Freedoms Comment.

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 11:32 AM

DK,
"Yes, Iraq is our war. 65% of the citizens agreed with it at the time, but the most damning reason for this war being our war as a country, is that we voted Bush back into office after we all knew there never were any WMD."

First, my complements for a very well written post.

But I can't accept your conclusion in the post above. The Democratic Party, in its wisdom, did not see fit to provide us with a principled choice, not that they couldn't have, they did have one to advance; but because they feared losing. So we were provided with a choice between two men, each of whom supported the war when such support counted (when it came to a vote), one of whom now waffled to and fro in the wind. All we were left to vote on was character, and like him or not, GWB has more of that.

I don't agree that by this election the nation reaffirmed it's misjudgement at time of the invasion. I don't conclude that the Democratic Party reaffirmed its misjudgement at the time of the invasion. What they did reaffirm is their crass obsessive hunger for power at all costs, which is why they lost the election.

Freedom,
"So if this is how we justify the war, we must live with the consequences of said justification."

I agree with you, and we have, to the tune of 2000+ dead and many billions of bucks. But we are not Shia and self-flagilation for us has its limits. I'm very close to reaching mine.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 7, 2006 11:38 AM

Cayambe,
I agree. I was close to reaching mine with the first death. I've been against this war from before it started and sadly, my predictions have by and large come true. The problem is, the administration cannot give up nation building as it's loss will have a high price on their support. The war was sold as a fixerupper and if it doesn't fix, it will be considered a failure. Unfortunately, this seems to be the current course and slowly, the American people are starting to realize the true cost and futility. I only wish two things. First, that we were actually paying for the war so that the people would actually know what we are paying. Second, that the democrats can get their act together and actually offer a better candidate/platform/offer.

Posted by: Freedom | March 7, 2006 11:47 AM

Jaxas,
"In the same way that he would not entertain a question about his possible defeat in the 2004 election, ...

Hmmmmmm ... and did he lose? :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | March 7, 2006 11:50 AM

Freedom,
"First, that we were actually paying for the war so that the people would actually know what we are paying. Second, that the democrats can get their act together and actually offer a better candidate/platform/offer."

Right on. But I would say the first is more probable than the second, and I wouldn't mind if the Republicans got their act together as well, and went back to conservatism as we used to know it before it got hijacked by religion.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 7, 2006 11:57 AM

Freedom Wrote:

"First, that we were actually paying for the war so that the people would actually know what we are paying."

And in terms of a "long war", say over a ten year period, assuming it does not get worse:
how many dead,
how many permanently crippled,
how many elderly go with medical care, because there is no money due to the war,
how large a deficit,
what will we have to fight a legitimate war,
.......?

I don't think the electorate would like the facts.

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 12:09 PM

Posted by: Cayambe

"Right on. But I would say the first is more probable than the second, and I wouldn't mind if the Republicans got their act together as well, and went back to conservatism as we used to know it before it got hijacked by religion."

I disagree; it was the Republican Party that hijacked religion. It was a calculated move to win elections with push button issues like abortion and Gay bashing. Now the religious right controls the Republican Party and you. And until you pull your vote from them, it's not going to change.

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 12:16 PM

Posted by: Cayambe

"Jamal ... "Our occupation is primarily protecting the Sunnis, we pull out and it will be full blown civil war and the Sunnis will be the biggest losers."
I don't think so, and certainly they don't think so. We have been beating on the Sunni's with the best we got over there. Remember Falluja? How about Ramadi? Not too many Shia in those towns I assure you. It's a Sunni insurgency, remember? The only Shia we beat up on was Sadr's Mahdi army early on when they got uppity down in Najaf."

I don't think the Sunni can win a war against the Shia. The Kurds would not allow the Sunni to return to power and would aid the Shia. Sunni no longer have the weapons they used to subdue the Shia and Kurds with. And those missing Jets that went to Iran would re-appear with the Shia.

Sunni attacks have primarily concentrated on Shia and Americans. Sunni will not control a post war Iraq and to some Sunni this is not acceptable. Shia by their shear numbers will take legitimate control of the Iraq Government with free elections and this fact has held the Shia from participating in a full blown civil war.

If Iraq falls into full blown civil war will Iran and Syria be drawn in on opposing sides? Most Muslims are Sunni, will they stand by and let their Sunni brothers be slaughters by Shiites. Will Shiite Iran stand by and let its Shiites brothers be slaughters by Sunni? The American occupation prevents this. Will oil production in Iraq and Iran become a military target?

In the Katrina/NOLA comments several debated "only idiots would build houses on geological faults." Can it be debated that only idiots would build countries on ethnic/religious faults?

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 12:20 PM

I get a big kick out of how the republicans are ranting on and on about how the democrats are weak on the war issue and don't have a solution to the situation in Iraq.

Have everyone forgotten that it was Bush and the republicans that wanted and started the war to begin with?

The democrats who went along with it did so under the false premises of WMD's.

And now the republicans finger point and say 'you voted for it, too!

The republicans are the majority in power. The democrats have very little say in a lot of what happens on capital hill.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 12:23 PM

Jamal wrote: it was the Republican Party that hijacked religion. It was a calculated move to win elections with push button issues like abortion and Gay bashing. Now the religious right controls the Republican Party and you. And until you pull your vote from them, it's not going to change.

I totally agree. And I find it most convenient and Rove-like of what's currently happening in South Dakota.

Get ready for the same ol', same ol' 2000 and 20004 B.S. everyone.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 12:27 PM

There is much discussion on how 65% of Americans got bamboozled by this whole deal. The implicit assumption is that Americans must be stupid, or perhaps too many good Americans did nothing.

I disagree.

You cannot expect a constituency to make the correct decision when they are never asked to sacrifice anything of worth if those decisions have consequences.

We are currently participating in a war utilizing an all volunteer military. The hardships of war are faced not by 290 million Americans at home, but by the 2nd and 3rd tour soldiers in Iraq.

The government quietly spends 70 billion dollars a year for a war in Iraq but refuses to levi any taxes to pay for it. Even worse, it cuts taxes. The message we send to voters has terrifying consequences: if you support wars you will pay fewer taxes.

So what cost has this war incurred on any of us at home? From where I'm sitting, this is the cheapest (free) war in American history. That is unless you are my grandchildren.

Perhaps Americans would inform themselves about the consequences of war, or the justifications of them, if they really did "own" the wars they start. For all this high minded talk about us "owning" this war, who has suggested a tax increase to pay for it? Who has suggested a draft to releave the soldiers soon to be facing a fourth tour of duty?

Maybe Americans would make more informed decisions if the Government forced them to carry rifles every once in a while. At the very least, Americans might have a more informed opinion on preemptive strikes if their Income Taxes shot up by 5-10%.

But if that's not what you meant by "owning" this war, what did you mean?

Posted by: Will | March 7, 2006 12:29 PM

"The government quietly spends 70 billion dollars a year for a war in Iraq but refuses to levi any taxes to pay for it. Even worse, it cuts taxes. The message we send to voters has terrifying consequences: if you support wars you will pay fewer taxes"

It's part of their strategy. Once the democrats get in office, they'll inherit so much debt / deficit to deal with that something will have to give.

Then the media and talk show hosts will ramble on and on about how "them dems took away your tax cuts" people!

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 12:33 PM

Of course the republicans won't raise taxes! The only reason they're in office is because of all the lobbyists that paid them so they could get their corporate tax breaks! America for Sale to the Highest Bidder!

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 12:38 PM

Wake up! Our laws are not made by the people. They are made by the lobbyists. The one with the most cash wins.

Posted by: wow | March 7, 2006 12:39 PM

Civil war in Iraq? It depends who you listen to, or what news channel you watch. I gave up watching the cable news months ago. Fox news is extremely right wing. CNN is busy trying to catch up with Fox. MSNBC is about the middle.

Why is everyone so afraid to give us the truth in news? My son made the comment the other day that he thinks they are afraid they are all being secretly wire-tapped.

Who knows? I've never seen so many people on TV suddenly 'cut off' via commercial, etc, as soon as they start to say something the interviewer doesn't want to hear.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 12:44 PM

I don't post on here much, but I just had to say "Wow!" That is the first time I've seen Che post anything that was not just a copy-and-paste. Very refreshing.

Posted by: KB | March 7, 2006 12:44 PM

The republicans won't raise taxes because the only thing they've got going for them is their rosy ecomomy report.

If only they knew.

What world to they live in?

Posted by: mike | March 7, 2006 12:57 PM

By the way I'm with Ford on the CHE issue. Constantly posting other people's work is intellectually lazy and dishonest. Not to mention it's annoying that I have to scroll through each and every one of your posts.

Give us a link and a summary, out of respect please.

Posted by: Will | March 7, 2006 01:04 PM

Note to Bush and the neo-cons: Arab Muslims are not like us. They are not worse or better - just different. Quit trying to change the world to be carbon copies of the united states.

How much of this has to do with outsourcing, globalization, and huge corporations wanting tax breaks and perks?
Do Americans really want 25% of their country to be owned by other countries for the sake of profits and corporations?

Posted by: sam | March 7, 2006 01:07 PM

Here's what Mr. Bush said in India, when someone raised the question of the political backlash against outsourcing: "Losing jobs is painful, so let's make sure people are educated so they can find -- fill the jobs of the 21st century.

And then he makes cuts to financial aid.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 01:26 PM

"You cannot expect a constituency to make the correct decision when they are never asked to sacrifice anything of worth if those decisions have consequences."

It is a sad truth that people change not when they see the light but when they feel the heat. And much as I would rail against that and wish it were different, your assessment that: "Maybe Americans would make more informed decisions if the Government forced them to carry rifles every once in a while. At the very least, Americans might have a more informed opinion on preemptive strikes if their Income Taxes shot up by 5-10%." is pretty much on target.

By own it I meant grasp that bamboozled or not, 2/3 of our nation f'd up and helped put this country on the wrong course, and rather than infighting among ourselves whose fault it is, form a united front and FIX IT. We have to turn our back on divide and conquer.

That means seeking desperately for real information instead of swallowing partisan pablum. It means changing the channel of faux news or Rush or Air America and getting news from many sources. (Acutally, if you can only pick one source, NPR listeners answered polling questions correctly much more often than all other sources, although this post only compares them to Faux news - I'll keep looking for the full survey that lists all the sources and what percent answered questions correctly: http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/1003181/posts ) It means reading newspapers, even online (but watch out, when my Jewish friend started reading al Jazeera on line he started getting special searches at airports, even with his Jewish garb).

I means either demandingand getting a full accounting from this administration or throwing the bums out - and I don't think we can wait until 2008 to get started. If we can get a 2-fer I'd be thrilled, otherwise there's enough dirt on Cheney just from Halliburton (without even the Plame case and other recent stuff) that he'd be rotting in jail already if he had two X chromosomes and his name was Martha or Leah (Fastow) or he wasn't in bed with the Carlyle group.

It means stepping up the plate in local government or peace movements. We can become community leaders.

We CAN do this. Americans have an amazing will to band together and get things done when we choose. So lets choose. If Americans understood how little sacrifice it would take to be free of ME oil imports I believe they would do so.

Actually I don't believe the ME would allow it to continue for long - I think if we told them our orders would decrease by 10% per year until THEY solved the problem of support for terrorism in their countries (as we got better a making hybrids, better at recycling and severely reducing plastic packaging and waste, etc, better at conserving etc)and we made good on it, it wouldn't be long before the price dropped and they started doing something about their own support for terrorism. Instead we rewarded them by driving bigger more gas guzzling cars, funded more terrorists with our dollars from imports, and now will put more money in their coffers running our ports. Sometimes money talks louder than bombs.

Like the Spaniard told me, the rest of the world does not blame this on George Bush. They saw the 65% approval ratings and the pathetic anti-war effort here too. Their press actually reported things about the true state of affairs pre-war that never made it into the American msm (or if it did it was on page 23 at the bottom). If we want the world to think this is Bush's war we better get busy!

Posted by: patriot1957 | March 7, 2006 02:13 PM

I've had some interesting 'defining moments' in my life this past winter. At the ages of 47, My husband and I have decided to quit playing the 'be like everybody else game' and decided to make some lifestyle changes. We kept our thermostat on 55 all winter and wore sweaters and slippers around the house. How freeing it was to get low heat bills when all our friends and neighbors were using their credit cards to pay their heat bills.

We decided to quit eating out at restaurants. This not only saves money and gas, but we both lost about 12 pounds each in the process.

We decided to splurge on a couple of used bikes for this spring/summer, and will be using those for short jaunts for milk and bread.

Our vacation this summer will be checking out our local state parks and maybe do some camping. We will no longer be buying expensive airplane tickets nor paying the high cost for hotel rooms, which were mostly put on our credit cards anyway.

We're gradually opting for a more 'simple lifestyle', and it feels so freeing to not be dependent on the thrills of the buy-buy-buy mentality or waiting in long lines at the local walmart.

It just seems like a lot of the country's problems, and now it's becoming international problems boils down to one thing: consumerism in America. We want our cheap chinese imports, and that's why our ports are full, and we have a trade deficit, and it's why Walmart can put the mom and pop stores out of business.

Not a day goes by when we don't get about 3 offers for credit cards in the mail.

The only way to get our country back to the way our founding fathers fought for it, is to quit playing the corporate america spend-spend-spend game.

It's too bad our government can't do the same. I genuinely fear for our grandchildren's lives with all the debt this country has.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 03:07 PM

All your points are well taken, but again one of my concerns is that this kind of unfettered by partisan garbage debate cannot even occur because we don't factor in any consequences of significant worth when discussing either/or policy initiatives.

Should we expect Americans, or anyone, to reject the premise of constant warfare if it doesn't impose any undue financial burden on actual living/participating Americans (nevermind our unborn grand children and great-grand children, since they do not have a voice)?

Does anyone else find it strange that there is a lot of noise made about how horribly expensive this war in Iraq is... yet no one has even suggested a means of paying for it?

If we want to "own" the war in Iraq, I mean if we take seriously that argument, don't we have to "own" the 200 billion we've spent on it? Doesn't that mean paying for it?

I guess the deafening silence on this point has been for a lack of actual proposals. I'll chime in with at least one.

The two largest sources of Federal Revenues are Income and Social Insurance taxes. I don't have a grasp on the Social Insurance numbers, but some have suggested lifting the 90,000 ceiling on Social Insurance taxation to generate more revenue. If someone has plausible numbers on how much actual revenue this would generate, I'd love to hear them.

The only other option is an increase in Income Taxes. Realistically we cannot pay off the 200 billion in past-Iraq costs in one year, but we could pay it off over many. Let's say... 40 billion over 5 years? That seems reasonable and achievable.

And we have to pay the 60-80 billion we invest in Iraq every year. So for the fiscal year 2006 there should be a proposed increase in income taxes that should account for 100-120 billion in revenues. Based off Income Tax Revenues generated from 2005, this would require about a 12% increase in income taxes. This would not be a straight increase; if you paid 10% you would not pay 22% and if you paid 35% you would not pay 47%. We would just increase the tax burden on all Americans by 12%. So if you pay 10% of your income to the government you would now pay 11.2%. Or if you paid 20% you would pay 22.4%. So on and so forth.

And this tax would continue until such time that the past Iraq war debt was paid AND we no longer needed to fund large scale operations in Iraq.

And Americans could very easily calculate the true "cost" of the War in Iraq on their Federal Income Tax Returns.

It is immoral and undemocratic to force the costs of wars we start on non-voting unborn grandchildren and great grandchildren. If we want wars we have to pay for them; we must truly "own" them.

It is also impractical to continue debt-spending ad infinitum.

We don't "own" Iraq yet.

Posted by: Will | March 7, 2006 03:12 PM

Cayambe -

On war, I believe once historians examine it past this overheated present point dripping in poisoned partisan oppositional politics, the Iraq War will be seen as reasonable, given the chain of events. Bush was not responsible for the intelligence failure, it was the global intelligence community and Saddam's own deception. As for war, we have a European welfare state now crumbling under mass immigration and globalization that tried to erect an edifice of "international law" and UN moral supremacy that operated on a premise that NOTHING was worth losing lives in war for, NOTHING worth fighting for. That is why it is impossible for the UN to be efective, even when Security Council Resolutions (14) are defied, why Israel can get away with screwing the Pals, why 4th Generation Warfare is flourishing under the UN's nose. That is why the Euros have refused to intervene in genocides or stand up for themselves - as when the Soviets moved MRBMs into East Europe and the protests were all about the US counter of matching that with cruise missiles and Pershing MRBMs. That is why Clinton, BushI, Reagan all bypassed the UN for needed actions to keep the stability of Europe (Bosnia, Kosovo), protect lives (Grenada, Panama, Desert Fox). International Law - fast and stern justice to deter genocide and war crimes? Ha! Are the Hutus shivering in fear of Swedish judges? Is Slobbo done lecturing the Hague yet?

The Euros have some very bad situations emerging from their "Peace at All Costs" mindset as Iran flips them the finger and radical Islamists inside Europe are beginning to dictate the emerging culture that Europe must adopt. Best slogan? The French supermarket chain Cermaine, which ran a poster after the cartoon riots: "We treasure our Muslim patrons. We oppose the criminal George Bush. We no longer stock Danish produce."

Freedom -

Telling people we would free them from a dictator and doing so has not obligated us to rebuild other places. Your conjecture that "it would look bad" if we failed to rebuild a bridge 5 US Marines died on defeating the bad guys is just the illusion Lefties have that war can be perfect, with no civilian deaths or damage to their infastructure...and any such damage is a "mistake" we are morally obligated to repair or the "people will hate us"

I submit that the blood and treasure America spent in ousting an evil government, Nazi, Imperial Jap, Saddam is enough. Anything more is an extra we are in bo way obligated to. And the Italians, Dutch, Kuwaitis, Filipinos, Germans, French, Japanese, Iraqi people, etc. - have primary responsibility for rebuilding their own damn countries post-war. And they mostly have. The Marshall Plan was a limited assist. Most of the rebuilding work and costs have always been on the people living in a post-war country.

Why the Lefty insistance that the US pay for damages in Iraq with nary a peep about Iraq's fabulous oil wealth compensating maimed or dead US soldiers? Civilians? Foreign workers butchered doing reconstruction like the Nepalese, Bangladeshis, Turks, American aid workers? Or the damages from Saddam's unprovoked Scud missile attacks on Israel?

It all comes down to the Lefty meme of the "moral superiority" of oppressed peoples over oppressor ones. And considering any one working for an "oppressor race", as "tools of the oppressor". Thus, the Lefty howls to compensate the "persecuted innocent civilians of Fallujah - while US civilian security, Nepalis strung up - are derided with "screw 'em, they were just mercs and tools" proclaimations of the Left exculpating the "oppressed" from any responsibility.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 7, 2006 03:27 PM

It will be the vast majority of americans who will have to sacrifice when the Iraq bill comes due. The top 3% of americans, including Bush, Cheney, Rumfield and those who invested in Halliburton and other war related stocks, will be sleeping soundly at night without worrying about grocery money and paying their bills.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 03:30 PM

How much of the $xxx billion cost of the Iraq war (plus fees directly paid to Dubai to use their port facilities) contributed to a more stable ME commercial environment, and therein backed-up a stronger buyer of our ports?

One might chalk it up as unintended consequences, but who can be sure about the "unintended" part.

While New Orleans sinks, Dubai rises.

Posted by: On the plantation | March 7, 2006 03:39 PM

On the plantation-

Ultimately those kinds of "unintended" consequences aren't as relevant as the "intended but unpaid for" consequence which of course include the 200 billion we've already explicitly paid for the war in Iraq through Congressional requests for funds.

We need to pay the 200 billion irregardless of how much "unintended" revenue it generates for anyone, even Americans. If it turns out to be advantageous, it is money well SPENT, that is if we actually spend it (and not lump it on non-voting unborn ancestors).

Posted by: Will | March 7, 2006 03:47 PM

Chris Ford-

If you will remember, it was the Bush admininstration that told the American people that we would be greeted with flowers as liberators, that the war would be a "slam-dunk", and that Iraq's oil revenues would pay for the war. Are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield, et al closet Lefties?

Posted by: wiccan | March 7, 2006 03:48 PM

Ford,
Yet again, you focus on what you think the argument should be, rather than what it actually is. I did not say we need to fix Iraq for the Iraqi people. If you would care to look at my post and actually read it this time, you will see that I justify the rebuilding of Iraq from a standpoint of for our own good; or at least, for the good of the adminstration. The original intent of the war was WMDs. Failing that, the adminstration changed the focus to OIF (notice how it was not operation iraqi liberation, the gramatically correct title for what we had in mind). To cut now and not rebuild the country would be political disaster. In the next instance that an adminstration wished to use 'goodwill' or 'moral superiority' to justify a conflict, the opposition would immeadiately point out what happened in Iraq. If we let a civil war occur, people die, and the country remain in ruins, people will state that our intervention did not help the country. Its much easier to use images of happy, healthy, and free people than images of starving people living in ruins that WE caused.

On this topic though:
"It all comes down to the Lefty meme of the "moral superiority" of oppressed peoples over oppressor ones. And considering any one working for an "oppressor race", as "tools of the oppressor". Thus, the Lefty howls to compensate the "persecuted innocent civilians of Fallujah - while US civilian security, Nepalis strung up - are derided with "screw 'em, they were just mercs and tools" proclaimations of the Left exculpating the "oppressed" from any responsibility"
I find it interesting that you attack moral superiority so greatly. I'm sorry Chris, but please explain. Just what is the basis for the conflict if not moral superiority? Maybe I'm wrong, but after seeing Bush espouse the ideals of democracy and freedom as justification for the war in Iraq after it was becoming apparent he would be exposed as a liar, its rather hard not to think that this entire war is about moral superiority. The examples you use are absurd in that they suggest that we are not necessarily better than Saddam. Despite your obvious contempt as shown in your posts, the Iraqi civilians are human beings as well Ford. To treat them otherwise is to treat them as Saddam did. Are you saying the administration should mimic Saddam?

Posted by: Freedom | March 7, 2006 04:06 PM

India rail, temple blasts kill 14

Someone should tell our great president that maybe he's making things worse instead of better.

Posted by: mia | March 7, 2006 04:20 PM

"If we want to "own" the war in Iraq, I mean if we take seriously that argument, don't we have to "own" the 200 billion we've spent on it? Doesn't that mean paying for it?"

Yup. I say let's have a national plebiscite it - raise the SS ceiling, revoke the tax cuts, hold bake sales, cut veteran's benefits, etc. Let people see the choices in black in white and go from there.

"Bush was not responsible for the intelligence failure, it was the global intelligence community and Saddam's own deception. "

How is the weather there in Wonderland, Mr. Ford? Say hi to Alice for me when you see her.

Posted by: what is the meaning of democracy | March 7, 2006 04:34 PM

Democracy-

I agree with your post except for cutting vetran's benefits. They have paid their fair share in blood, sweat, and tears. To cut their benefits would be an action without honor.

I do like Will's proposal of a 12% tax increase. I'm willing to bear that burden and a bit more to put America on a wholesome financial basis. I'd just like to believe it will fall on all Americans, not just those of us that used to be in the middle class.

Posted by: wiccan | March 7, 2006 04:46 PM

Freedom - "Just what is the basis for the conflict if not moral superiority?"

Wars are fought when they are determined to be in the vital national interests of the United States. Lefties would be the last people to say wars are legitimately waged when one side is morally superior to the foe.

Freedom - "Maybe I'm wrong, but after seeing Bush espouse the ideals of democracy and freedom as justification for the war in Iraq after it was becoming apparent he would be exposed as a liar, its rather hard not to think that this entire war is about moral superiority."

Yes you are wrong.

Freedom, liberation, democracy for others are side benefits. Nice things, but not why we send young men to die.

We fought the Japs and Nazis not to bring democracy to Indonesia or "liberate" Bulgaria, but because they threatened our vital national interests. Same with the Cold War - fought as a threat, not to "liberate Poland". Same with Bosnia - not fought as a nice humanitarian thing to do, but mainly because it was a conflict that could destabilize the Eastern Med, and affect us and NATO.

Though it's psychologically reinforcing to use Lefty memes constantly, the "Bush lied, babies died" - a nursery school level slogan America-hating Lefties love to chant back and forth amongst themselves, its not a lie. It's about a collective intelligence failure that was in large part generated by Saddams non-cooperation with UN inspectors and a long time deliberate misdirection he orchestrated on WMD programs.

Freedom then regurgitates his "moral equivalency" case.

"Despite your obvious contempt as shown in your posts, the Iraqi civilians are human beings as well Ford. To treat them otherwise is to treat them as Saddam did. Are you saying the administration should mimic Saddam?"

It's the old, Hitler killed innocent people in war, so did we in WWII, so the GI was no better than Hitler, argument, Freedom.

Posted by: Chris Ford | March 7, 2006 05:27 PM

Your tax dollars at work: $40,000 for Bush to fly to texas to vote. He could have spent 32 cents on a stamp.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 06:09 PM

Hey, stamps are more than that now!

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 06:10 PM

Chris Ford, you say it was 'collective intelligence failure regarding what led up to the war'?

If you honestly believe that, you are truly in the minority.

They were talking about war in Iraq BEFORE 911 even happened!

Posted by: mark | March 7, 2006 06:14 PM

"I agree with your post except for cutting vetran's benefits."

I didn't mean we should vote for it. I meant the options should be put on the table and people could actually see who gets screwed and who makes out like a bandit. Unlike our present system where the veterans and the kids get screwed and the Bush cronies make out like bandits.

Posted by: what is the meaning of democracy | March 7, 2006 06:15 PM

Democracy means the people actually choose. So, lets let the people choose. California has propositions on the ballot all the time decided by plebiscite.

Is there something in the constitution that prevents this? If so, let Congress hold real town meetings - not the fake kind the Bushies hold. My repub Congressman just had one. We filled the town hall and chewed his ass out. I told him I was going to send him a copy of 1984 to read on the plane on the way to Washington - haven't done it but its only been a few weeks. So, let Congress prepare a list of potential places to cut. And let each Representative pose them in a series of town meetings and see what the constituents want.

And then we'll see who is owned by special interests and who is not. Don't forget those Representatives go up for vote every two years. The Veterans won't forget.

Posted by: what is the meaning of democracy | March 7, 2006 06:23 PM

"We kept our thermostat on 55 all winter and wore sweaters and slippers around the house. How freeing it was to get low heat bills when all our friends and neighbors were using their credit cards to pay their heat bills."

You mean how "freezing" it was. 55 degrees is cold, be careful you don't get sick. Also, on saving money and having fun, check out scooters. Some are fast enough to blow way out ahead of the traffic, and cost just pennies a mile. Beats paying over 250/mo. for downtown parking and it uses $5 a week in gas! I drive one every day and I'm (a little) older than you.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 7, 2006 06:24 PM

Freedom we all know that Ford deliberately misquotes us and twists our words into barely recognizable tools for his cannon fodder.

He is what is known as a jerk and a bully.

Didn't your dad teach you to ignore jerks and bullies? If we ignore him maybe he'll go away and we can have civilized debate. The problem is its kind of hard to find conservatives on this blog with independent thought. Johnnyg in neDC is one. If D would just stop reguritating talking points and give us some independent thought he'd be interesting to debate with. Sandyk seems to walk both sides of the line. I'm sure there are more out there.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 06:30 PM

Chris Ford, do you work for Fox news?

Posted by: sam | March 7, 2006 06:37 PM

Chris ... "Wars are fought when they are determined to be in the vital national interests of the United States."

Not entirely true. What is missing is the phrase "and we are attacked". Japs-Pearl Harbor. Germans-Declaration of war. Korea - attack (damn near successful one too). Vietnam - attack (Phony Gulf of Tonkin). Iraq 1 - pursuant to UN resolution. Iraq 2 - unilateral decision.

There have been others, Guatemala, Grenada, Panama, Nicaragua (sort of), Haiti but we don't think of these as wars actually.

What is also missing is the phrase "or misdetermined" after determined above. I would support the case for the legitimacy of our vital interests in all but Vietnam and Iraq 2. In the case of Vietnam we entirely misjudged the nature of the indigenous civil conflict, insisting on seeing it in terms of the spread of global communism by the hidden hand of Russia and China. That wasn't it. What it reflected was the rebirth of nationalism following the defeat of French colonialism. In Iraq 2 I am entirely puzzled as to which of our vital national interests required us to invade that country. Seriously, we went to great lengths to deliberately preserve this nation (during Iraq 1), at the expense of many Shia lives I might add, in order to have a bulwark against Iran for the benefit of the Gulf States and Turkey to the Northwest. Now we destroy it, just as Iran is rising to become a real nuclear threat.


Chris ... "We fought the Japs and Nazis not to bring democracy to Indonesia or "liberate" Bulgaria, but because they threatened our vital national interests."

No, we fought them when and because we were attacked. It was also in our vital national interest to do so, but we didn't until we were attacked.


Chris ... "Same with Bosnia - not fought as a nice humanitarian thing to do, but mainly because it was a conflict that could destabilize the Eastern Med, and affect us and NATO."

I don't believe that. Bush I stayed out of it in the face of considerable lefty whining about ethnic cleansing and torture, etc.; because it was NOT in our national interest to get involved. The Europeans met, and met, and met, and met, and finally the UN came in to peacekeep. Alas, we saw the Sarajevo market blow up on TV. We saw the UN humiliated at Sebrenizca. We saw Muslims slaughtered by Serbs on TV. Mass graves on TV. We couldn't stand it anymore and Clinton finally had to do something or get hammered politically. So it went to NATO, not because there was any threat to NATO, but because the UN was utterly hapless. The only vital national interest at stake here was our empathy for people that looked like us, on TV. You didn't see us doing that in Rwanda though.

Chris ... "It's about a collective intelligence failure that was in large part generated by Saddams non-cooperation with UN inspectors and a long time deliberate misdirection he orchestrated on WMD programs."

I note that you blame Iraq for our intelligence failure, because Saddam sought to preserve the illusion that he had nuclear weapons even as he claimed (correctly) not to. But, from his point of view, this was absolutely necessary to keep Iran at bay (and himself in power), wasn't it? It is an odd state of affairs when our intelligence is expected to depend on the willing cooperation of our enemies for its accuracy. Talk about "blaming the victim", this one takes the cake.


We are pretty much in agreement on how to wage war, not quite so much on when to wage war. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | March 7, 2006 07:08 PM

Will wrote:

Ultimately those kinds of "unintended" consequences aren't as relevant as the "intended but unpaid for" consequence which of course include the 200 billion we've already explicitly paid for the war in Iraq . . ."
_____________

Going back to orginal intentions, the thing to bear in mind is Wolf's concept that this war would somehow be self-financing. That delusion is laid open now.

The present state of affairs really is unintended. Absurd, but unintended.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 07:35 PM

At least there *was* a plan to fund the war, no matter how delusional it might have been.

That dialogue has been conspicuously missing from the national debate. Why should we expect Americans to make informed decisions about a war they don't have to pay for? What consequences are they weighing, exactly?

Posted by: Will | March 7, 2006 07:45 PM

Through the 20/20 lens of hindsight would you have declared war on Germany earlier? We put Saddam in a box when he began expanding his empire, but I suspect it was more for our oil interests in the region than lessons learned from Hitler about tolerating empire building dictators an ocean away.

So, knowing what we know, how much of a stretch is it to say Hitler's invasion of Poland, etc, hurt our national interests? Or didn't and therefore justify our not getting involved until we had war declared against us.

Off topic I'm sure, but you piqued my curiosity.

Posted by: patriot1957 | March 7, 2006 07:57 PM

sorry, last post was for Cayambe

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 07:59 PM

Will wrote:

At least there *was* a plan to fund the war, no matter how delusional it might have been.
_____________

Maybe your head will be working better in the morning.

At the moment, I see swirling contradictory snakes. Once you've figured out your line of thought, let us know.

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 08:14 PM

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC

"check out scooters. Some are fast enough to blow way out ahead of the traffic, and cost just pennies a mile. Beats paying over 250/mo. for downtown parking and it uses $5 a week in gas! I drive one every day"


Scooter Johnny and Scooter Libby

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 09:16 PM

Chris Crass Ford wrote:

"It's about a collective intelligence failure that was in large part generated by Saddams non-cooperation with UN inspectors and a long time deliberate misdirection he orchestrated on WMD programs."

There was some accurate inteligence, it was kept suppressed by Bush. Chris, what are you smoking?

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 09:21 PM

How much money would we save if we cut out the ambulance that follows Cheney around and made the Prez and Congress pay what the average American pays for their health care plan?

How much did we pay to turn Crawford into an alternate White House? Lets ask for that back too - no need to spend all that time there.

And that death tax? Every buck I earn I have to pay taxes on. Every buck over $10,000 or so that is a gift to me I pay taxes on. But when Grandpa Bush kicks the bucket what will Babs and Jenna pay for their millions of inheritance? NOTHING Real sweat equity. Oh yea, the family farm/family business thing. Easily dealt with by taxing inherited farms/businesses over a multi-year period according to the profits vs the liabilities of the business. Yea, Bill Gate's kid might cheat and give bizillions to charity for the first 3 yrs to kill profits and avoid paying inheritance tax, but at least he'll be paying the AMT on his trust fund income, unlike the true family farmer or mom and pop store where income is pretty much solely tied to the business and they can't afford to defer all profits for 3 years if they want to eat and pay the rent/mortgage.

How much more would be save by cancelling the tax cuts for the top 10% (mean income 375,000/yr. ).

Did we get there yet?

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 09:22 PM

With regards to blame and who feels the pain, this has been a common thread here on this post.
I remember when I was about 5. We went camping in a National Park that was notorious for having aggressive garbage bears. One came into our camp one night and began to rummage around. It liked the ice chest and began to rip the lid off. I was a bold young lad and picked up what I remember as being a large rock and began to throw it at the bear to chase it away. Suddenly, a hand reached out and grabbed mine. I remember the words of my dad to this day, "Don't you start something I'm going to have to finish." The American people are going to have to finish, one way or the other, what our 'fearless leaders' started in Iraq. Lessons: Be careful when and where one throws stones? Are we are realizing the consequences of 'throwing rocks at bears'? Oh, and was the 'ice chest' worth it?

Posted by: McGillicutty | March 7, 2006 09:56 PM

Posted by: McGillicutty "With regards to blame and who feels the pain, this has been a common thread here on this post.
I remember when I was about 5. We went camping in a National Park that was notorious for having aggressive garbage bears. One came into our camp one night and began to rummage around. It liked the ice chest and began to rip the lid off. I was a bold young lad and picked up what I remember as being a large rock and began to throw it at the bear to chase it away. Suddenly, a hand reached out and grabbed mine. I remember the words of my dad to this day, "Don't you start something I'm going to have to finish." The American people are going to have to finish, one way or the other, what our 'fearless leaders' started in Iraq. Lessons: Be careful when and where one throws stones? Are we are realizing the consequences of 'throwing rocks at bears'? Oh, and was the 'ice chest' worth it?"

Good comment, I assume your analogy is Iraq (the rock was thrown), but it could it be Iran (rock in hand and taking aim)?

Or ready, shoot, aim......we go into Iran for WMD and Syria has them?

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 10:24 PM

I sometimes wonder how those Iraqis feel who have lost children and loved ones in Bushes war over there.

I mean seriously, can anyone here think of maybe 100,000 or so more reasons for them to maybe hate us?

This is bound to affect our future.

Another thing I want to mention: I really get sick of hearing that we're "nation building" over there. That is such B.S.

How do you even know their lives were so miserable that we'd be greeted as 'liberators'. That is an entirely made-up american assumption.

Let's say a person has only eaten hamburger in their lifetime, but never steak. Do you actually think that they really know what they are missing?

No.

For the U.S. to get involved over there, as we are getting deeper and deeper in debt simply defies all common sense.

Do we really have such inept people in government? Or is it all about power and macho pride?

Posted by: js | March 7, 2006 10:41 PM

let's see. we give India nuclear plans. It's okay for THEM to have them.

but we'll probably attack Iran for having them?

ha ha ha ha ha ha

Does this crap ever end?

Posted by: jerry | March 7, 2006 10:45 PM

From the New York Times

U.S. Is Seeking Better Balance In Iraqi Police

By EDWARD WONG
Published: March 7, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/07/international/middleeast/07military.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin
"The United States faces the possibility that it has been arming one side in a prospective civil war. Early on, Americans ceded operational control of the police to the Iraqi government. Now, the police forces are overseen at the highest levels by religious Shiite parties with militias, and reports of uniformed death squads have risen sharply in the past year."

Posted by: Jamal | March 7, 2006 10:55 PM

Wow, are those liberals messing up our lives or what???

Conserative Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance -- now conservative Joe gets it, too.

He prepares his morning breakfast: bacon and eggs. Conservative Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Conserative Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Conserative Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Conservative Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If conservative Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment checks because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Conservative Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Conservative Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some left wing liberals fought for car safety standards to go along with the taxpayer funded roads.

Posted by: left wing wacko | March 7, 2006 10:57 PM

The civil war in Iraq would be a humanitarian tragedy but a strategic success to a govt and occupant forces who are caliaming to defend the liberty, freedom and democracy. Yes really the civil war in Iraq is a humanitarian tragedy as the Iraqis distinguish themselves as human from those who think themselves as socail animals. The new emenrgence of monopoly of superpower after cold war are discovering a new face of human history that is really amazing. I this turn of history two new camps emerged as "socail humans" and "socail animals". The concept of Hitler's ethnic cleansing or ethnic superiority that resulted in second world war was based on "evolution of human out of animals" but it was ignored after war by intellectuals. The cold war between communist blocks and capitalist blocks dimmed the concept of ethnic superirity based of evolution from animals, as both blocks focused on liberty and equality of men from different point of views but the turns of communist blocks again awakened the old concepts. The societies that were based on concept of socail animals again claimed of their superirity and making this claim real start designing conflicts, wars and offense to nations that were already war torn. If you remember the Hitler was also offend and attacked to make true his claim of ethnic superiority. This is a real animal behavior. Animals for showing their superiority and strength offend and kill weaker ones. The rise of "social human camp" and "socail animal's camp" replacing "communist block" and "capitalist block" is an interesting turn in human history and a serious point and sood for thought for intellectuals.
Super animals look really highly skilled in stragic planing and succesful offens that can cause eye catching humanitarain tragedies like civil war in Iraq.
khuda dad azara, Quetta, 8/3/2006.
khdddazara@yahoo.com

Posted by: khuda dad azara | March 7, 2006 11:09 PM

From the definition given above, civil war exists. However, I doubt any organized "territorial armies" will evolve because the booty in the south in the hands on the Shiites. It is hard to imagine what other objective the Sunni's may have other than to regain control of the entire southern part of the country. This seems improbable while the US is present. Hence, the low to mid-grade "civil war" that has been occurring over the past couple years.

It seems that as long as we are there, the Sunni's will never cease hostilities. Nor will they cease in the absence of US forces. The only way out of this quandary is for the Shiite controlled government to offer major concessions, as mentioned above. Hard to imagine this happening from the Sunni's impressive track record.

The remedy appears to lie with the Shiites. If they do not yield, we should present a timetable, withdraw to the north, protect the oil fields, and let the present situation develop into the mighty bloodbath they apparently want.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 7, 2006 11:18 PM

should be: "is in the hands of the Shiites ...," sorry

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 7, 2006 11:32 PM

I predict that in 10 years Iraq will be like it was pre-war, and with someone like saddam in power again.

Posted by: larry | March 7, 2006 11:35 PM

That may very well happen larry, if the Shiites were to give in.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 7, 2006 11:39 PM

Will the "civil war" in Iraq spread?

Mr Cheney was sabre-rattling at the Iranians for allegedly sending some of their top security troops to support shiite groups ....

how involved are the Iranians militarily?

assume we bug out (something i support, btw)

if Iran "annexed" southern Iraq through occupation troops once we left, as Saddam once tried to annex Kuwait ... what would be the appropriate western response?

what would the Saudi's et al want to happen?

is there any way of preventing a defacto annexation of southern Iraq by Iran, through culturally common interest and governance policies, if not by actual occupation?

would the sunni's ever "stand down" in the face of such defacto control? there's not much oil in the western Iraq areas that are Sunni dominated ...

can US troops play any constructive role at this point, other than to pull out in an orderly fashion .. so we hand off control to what ever local official is foolish enough to accept while we keep secure our evacuation routes?

would Turkey enter into Iraq, if the Iranians actually invaded? would the Saudi's?

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | March 7, 2006 11:45 PM

We just don't have the resources or the funds to change a whole culture.

http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

Posted by: larry | March 7, 2006 11:45 PM

Ta Da Le Da! The United States of America to the Rescue!!!

Posted by: | March 7, 2006 11:47 PM

I'd like to know why everything is so secretive with this administration? Even before they said there were WMD's, they were holding secret meetings.

Posted by: mark | March 7, 2006 11:50 PM

Is that true....


aren't we economically, sort of at half mast right now?


12 million illegal aliens, none of them terrorists apparently though....


outsourcing, as a way of life with no relief in sight, no legislation that I'm aware of to put the chips back on our side of the table....


and they want to start another intervention...

We can't afford the intervention that we have now....


We need to close our borders, to foreign competition from our corporations and foreign competition from _illegal_ aliens

I mean it, who needs to compete for a job at Walmart?

Things have never been this bad future wise, or retirement wise....

People used to retire after 30 years at Macy's, with a pension....

.

Posted by: It's my understanding that we're to go into Iran... | March 7, 2006 11:56 PM

forget retiring with a pension from your job. This is the new ownership society that Bush keeps bragging about!

Posted by: | March 8, 2006 12:08 AM

Chris ... "Wars are fought when they are determined to be in the vital national interests of the United States."

Cayambe ... "No, we fought them when and because we were attacked. It was also in our vital national interest to do so, but we didn't until we were attacked."

Patriot ... "Through the 20/20 lens of hindsight would you have declared war on Germany earlier?"

Hmmmmmmm. I think you may have missed something in your reading (or maybe I just wasn't clear enough). Chris asserts a sufficient condition for our unilateral use of military force is a threat to one of our vital national interests. I assert a sufficient and necessary condition for our unilateral use of force is an actual attack on our nation. Actually, we would both add treaty obligations to allies in those so its not quite that simple.

So no, I would not have attacked Germany or Japan earlier than we did. My point to Chris was that historically we have generally required an actual attack before entering military conflict. Gulf 1 was the first exception; where we entered military conflict without an attack on ourselves but rather pursuant to a specific UN Security Council authorization and mandate. Gulf 2 is the first time we have attacked with neither a UN authorization/mandate or a prior attack on us. Further, I go on to question whether Iraq even met his own criteria of a vital national interest. In truth, I really doubt he seriously thinks it actually did.

Now, if your question was outside of my debate with Chris, i.e. if you are asking me whether I think we should have followed a different criteria than I have outlined with respect to Hitler's Germany, my answer is still no. Should we have started earlier to prepare to do so? Absolutely, but we were in no position to be of any serious help in Europe until late 1942-1943 as it was, and by then the Axis was already getting stretched thin by Russia and Africa-Italy and the Brits had done a number on their air forces.


Moving to the modern era, you and I would probably disagree over my rather stark and cold-hearted criteria. Darfur is the latest sprouting of lefty hand-wringing genomecide as Chris might put it. You would probably think we are morally bound to send in the cavalry to save a million innocent women and children refugees. But it's not that simple. What you actually have is a Black Christian rebellion against an Arab Muslim government with Darfur caught in the middle, a civil war if you will. Until you deal with that, you aren't going to solve the problem. You want us to pick sides in that one? With all the baggage we are currently carrying around from Iraq and Afghanistan? We are going to put more troops to take over a 3rd Arab country? That ought to help our image. Load some more expense onto our grandchildren. Nope, if bleeding hearts must prevail, let the European hearts step up to the plate for a change, or the African hearts, or the Indian hearts, or the Chinese hearts.

I wouldn't go so far as to say never. I think we probably could have stopped the Rwanda thing cold in its tracks by dropping in the 82nd Airborne division for three-four weeks until more appropriate UN forces could deploy. But we should never move without first having an international force lined up to replace us for either peacekeeping or nation building purposes. Our forces are not well suited for either role and we don't do local politics well at all. Nor should we ever move in this kind of affair unilaterally. If the UN can't come up with a mandate, forget it. As I recall Chris putting it, "we are not the worlds 911 service". I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 8, 2006 12:57 AM

we left the kurds blowin in the winds


at the end of operation desert scam...

and helped the Turks, who were our allies after a fashion....

we told the kurds that we would free them if they would help us in Desert Storm, we lied.....


it's really a tribal war....power based, if you want to intervene you have to nuetralize the power to be gained and minimize it....

we're there for the oil, and the International ELITE....

to even believe

on any level, that this is our concern is to really capitulate your


senses and to give into training.

it's a framing thing.


war, civil war


like it's yours, it's not...


it's his and he's still trying to sell it to you....


in a sense, getting you to talk about it

involves you.

it's not your conflict on any level...


what happens to the United States is important NOW....


you take care of yourself FIRST....if there's anything else left over, then you worry about giving to someone else....

you keep forgettin
you're being sold something continuously...

you're not at war,


you're in occupation,


for a class of people,


you're not of that class...


at best you're house slaves,
about to learn what a field slave already knows...


the massuh don't care about your raggedy ass...


and he mights be shippin yoh chillun to Iran...on the 28th of March.

Posted by: who gives a shit about civil war? | March 8, 2006 01:07 AM

Posted by: | March 8, 2006 01:16 AM

9/11

no Iraqi connection.

saddam hussein sneaks out of bagdhad with 3 tractor trailers loaded with $9 BILLION Dollars while surrounded by


awacs, dawgs, ground and air surveillance, drones, infiltrators, troops, radio surviellance, in-house operatives, spys....


it's not possible.....unless it was part of the plan....


the people that flew the 9/11 planes were trained by our people....


geo h.w. bush, your presidents father has been working on this job for over 30 years....his son's the puppet....


saddam might as well be Noriega, this has all been done before, under similar false pretenses...

remember the maine, remember the alamo, remember pearl harbor (we needed to be in the war on that one), but remember 9/11 is really sort of like


selling your sister so her rapist can get a new suit....

that's how low this is....


I mean really, why aren't we actively seeking to invest in our country's infrastructure and stop the invasion by illegal aliens instead of spending our money making sure that the presidents friends get leverage in oil futures????


eh?!


.

Posted by: again: | March 8, 2006 01:17 AM

most of our states were near bankruptcy a few years ago....


that hasn't really changed, people have just gotten used to it...

most states have just gone through another round of cutting back on services...

as someone else said earlier, the president, and his friends that are invested in defense, oil, and other markets will have plenty of money....

they
will
have
plenty of your money....


and you will have to compete with Jose' for a job at walmart and the 3 million jobs that we lost in the white collar sector,

we lost the automotive battle with the Japanse....

we didn't compete....we didn't change tactics, we didn't retool, increase our front-end engineering....we just kept using the same old factories until no one would buy American....


we're doing the same thing with oil...


no _REAL_ changes


the presidents people are invested in oil and defense....


and you've given him the keys to the car, with war powers....

you've given a fuckin drug addict the keys to the nations treasure ry...


.and he's addicted to more than one substance....power is right up there, when it comes to stimulatin.

Posted by: you all tend to forget.... | March 8, 2006 01:37 AM

I leave my house to save my neighbors. They need my help. I have to leave my kids at home, though. Some of my kids are hungry, and some have very little money.

I use my credit cards and run up huge debt. I have to! It's the only way I can afford to help my neighbors.

It doesn't matter that my own kids have to go without.

I have to help my neighbors!!

My kids will pay off my credit card debt when they are older. They don't mind.

After all, it is the 'politically correct' thing to do.

Posted by: U.S. Government | March 8, 2006 01:39 AM

A previous poster wrote:
most of our states were near bankruptcy a few years ago....

that hasn't really changed, people have just gotten used to it...

most states have just gone through another round of cutting back on services...

----
They might be cutting back in some areas, but mostly the states are putting the cost back onto the people. Our property taxes have gone up the last 3 years because our state doesn't have the funds like it used to. At our local caucus tonight I found out that there was less total income tax paid in this past year to our state.

I'm not really sure what to make about this 'great economy' they keep bragging about. Bush takes pride in not raising taxes. Hey, somebody is paying for it, in one form or another. Fees are going up everywhere.

A rose by any other name....

Posted by: | March 8, 2006 01:46 AM

this just in..

First Lady Laura Bush introduces President George W. Bush, March 7 at a White House celebration of Women's History Month.

President Bush pledges that the United States will "help women stand up for their freedom no matter where they live"

(I trust that doesn't mean reproductive freedom?)

Posted by: dl | March 8, 2006 01:53 AM

Re: Che
Thank you Emily.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 8, 2006 01:57 AM

thanks emily!

Posted by: mark | March 8, 2006 02:00 AM

Will wrote:

"Perhaps Americans would inform themselves about the consequences of war, or the justifications of them, if they really did "own" the wars they start. For all this high minded talk about us "owning" this war, who has suggested a tax increase to pay for it? Who has suggested a draft to releave the soldiers soon to be facing a fourth tour of duty?

Maybe Americans would make more informed decisions if the Government forced them to carry rifles every once in a while. At the very least, Americans might have a more informed opinion on preemptive strikes if their Income Taxes shot up by 5-10%."

I have to tip my hat to you, Will. You are right on the money here. I'm sorry its taken me so long to respond to your post. I saw it earlier in the day and I've been thinking about it ever since. I wish I had thought to bring up this point in my earlier post, but since I didn't I'm glad you did.

I suppose what I meant by saying that we all own Iraq was that we need to set aside our anger at how the situation has unfolded and focus on salvaging the best outcome that we can obtain. Outside of the Cindy Sheehan followers, the Democrats really haven't set forth any plans. Neither have any Republicans outside the White House. There's just been plenty of complaining. Murtha is the one that has done the most in terms of suggesting alternate courses of action in terms of a phased withdrawal. Now Wesley Clark seems to be weighing in with some different ideas. I am most encouraged by what I heard Clark saying the other day because I can't quite get with the Cindy Sheehan approach. I believe that since we invaded we need to accomplish some milestones as best as we can before we leave. Those are to see the Iraqis through establishment of their new government based on their constitution (It may be necessary to try some of Clark's suggestions to make this work). Continue to recruit and train their troops/police for an additional period of time until they are ready to take on the duties of security within Iraq on their own. Remove the obstacles to infrastructure rebuilding, whether red tape or technical and at least get their power grid up to a level at or above what existed before the invasion. My understanding is that now it is not consistently there. Continue opposing the insurgency/keep a lid on the civil war to give the Iraqis a chance to get their feet under them before we leave. Complete the trial and sentencing of Saddam Hussien. Finally, if we could capture the bastard Zarkawi I think it would be a victory for all concerned - Shiia, Sunni, Kurd, and U.S. If we take any more than another 18 months to see these things accomplished, we will probably by that time just be doing more harm than good.

Cayembe:

It is true there wasn't a striking difference between Bush's policy and Kerry's policy in the 2004 election. However, I want to point out a few things that justify the statement I made regarding the reelection of Bush as evidence of the American public approving Bush's Iraq policy. By the time of the 2004 election there were many indications of poor judgement and miscalculations on the part of the Bush administration in prosecuting the war in Iraq. Some of those indications included the Abu Ghraib scandal, failure to guard ammo dumps, and incompetent use of rebuilding funds. Many claimed that responsibility for these and other failures belonged to entities or people below the level of the BA. I disagreed then and still do. I believe the Abu Ghraib scandal has been shown to be more than an isolated instance. It was the product of an overall policy approach condoning torture supported by the BA. Failure to guard ammo dumps reflects overall priorities set by the Defense Department combined with the hard choices set up by the decision to use so few troops in the beginning of the invasion. The slow application of funds to actual rebuilding projects indicated a lack of priority and oversight in that area.

Many pundits at the time suggested that the American public would be reluctant to "change horses in the middle of the stream", meaning we wouldn't want to vote out a sitting president in wartime. By then I didn't see it that way. Although I know Kerry meant to stay in Iraq as well, my take was that he would bring clearer thinking, a new level of credibility, and a more competent administration to the table.

I certainly don't agree with your assessment that GWB has more character than Kerry. I believe that has been especially borne out by the way events have unfolded since the election.

I don't want to turn this post into a long defense of John Kerry. After all - what's done is done, but I do want to mention one thing that brings us full circle back to Will's point about financing the war in Iraq. Much was made about Kerry's vote against funding for the troops after he voted for the Senate resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq. This situation triggered Kerry's infamous line about voting for the funding before he voted against it. Obviously a major blunder, but what was lost to many was that the first vote Kerry referred to was a vote on a proposed amendment sponsored by Senators Biden and Kerry to change the financing of the funding from a loan that added to the deficit to a rollback of tax cuts, which I believe would have been the more responsible way to go. Bush threatened to use his veto if the amendment passed and the republicans in Congress shot the amendment down. After that Kerry should have voted for the bill anyway, but he decided to make a stand on principle and vote against the bill based on its financing. Kerry's fatal flaw was following convoluted reasoning and taking too many nuanced stances. It may have been a perfectly good reason not to vote for him, but I don't think it was a lack of character.

So that brings me back to you Will, if you're still reading this and not snoring as you try to wade through my meandering post. When you ask who has suggested a tax increase to pay for the war in Iraq, you now have your answer and also the result that came of it. Unfortunately the Democrats have since dropped the issue like a hot potato. In too many ways the Democrats are pyschologically whipped. Cayembe says they aren't principled because they are afraid to lose. Well they are afraid to lose and the reason they are afraid is that they have lost. In 2000 Gore lost largely because he wasn't considered as strong on cutting taxes. In 2004 Kerry ran suggesting a partial rollback of the Bush tax cuts and he was labeled too liberal and he lost. Will, there won't be a responsible approach to the financing of this war, not to mention meeting the promises for post-Katrina rebuilding until the American people either accept higher taxes to provide the revenue we need to chew all that we bite off, or demand that we stop biting off more than we can chew.

Posted by: DK | March 8, 2006 02:06 AM

I've been thinking about some of these posts also. The huge deficit really bothers me.

In fact, I just can't seem to equate hearing the words "good ecomomy" with the words "huge deficit". It doesn't make any sense.

I would really prefer that the U.S. does NOT raise the ceiling on the debt cap. It seems so totally irresponsible, to say the least!

And to think that as little as 6 years ago, I was feeling really good about my future.

Posted by: js | March 8, 2006 03:05 AM

I know what you mean. If the republicans win again in November, it's 2 more years of even higher debt!

Posted by: mark | March 8, 2006 03:07 AM

Chris confuses the issue:
"Wars are fought when they are determined to be in the vital national interests of the United States. Lefties would be the last people to say wars are legitimately waged when one side is morally superior to the foe"

I'm sorry Chris, but in case you've never looked at American Politics, wars are sold. Both to congress and the American people. They are sold as 'vital,' in our 'defense,' for 'strategic gain,' or 'moral superiority,' to name a few. This was sold originally as in our defense and switched to moral superiority when Bush realized that wasn't going to fly. So please, don't try to sell the old 'war is war, it's only done when necesary spiel. Because in this case, it wasn't sold that way after the WMD myth was debunked. If you truly believe otherwise, I suggest you pay attention to your fox news, or any other news site for that matter, and actually listen to your President.

And your argument to moral equivalency is pathetic Ford.
"It's the old, Hitler killed innocent people in war, so did we in WWII, so the GI was no better than Hitler, argument, Freedom."
That is not why Hitler is remembered as a bad man Ford, and if this is what you truly believe, you are more deluded than I thought. Hitler is remembered for atrocities. Hitler is remembered for torture, gassing, SS, and disregarding human rights.

The idea of moral equivalency is not how you are again trying to misframe it Ford. In this sense, its because people are people, when it comes down to it. And in a situation where the President take the moral highground for removing a sovereign leader, by claiming that Iraqi people are oppressed and tortured, doing the same will not help him justify his next conflict.

/Interested to see how you will try to misframe it this time, as well as which points you will disregard as in the prior posts.

Posted by: Freedom | March 8, 2006 10:13 AM

Ugh. All I can say is thank God none of you pansies stormed the beaches of Normandy in '44 cause my family would have never had the opportunity to become Americans.

F**'n pathetic hippies.

Posted by: Forza! | March 8, 2006 10:22 AM

Cayambe, my question to you was peripherally related to your posting with Chris Ford.

Many blogs ago when this group was discussing if the invasion of Iraq and the whole Bush doctrine was justified, one of CF's rants was that us liberal weenies (who really aren't so liberal after all) didn't learn anything from the WWII experience and would just go on appeasing Hitler if we had been in charge in WWII. And we in fact didn't declare war on him until he did on us. I'm not enough of a scholar of the period to know exactly what justification we might have had to declare war on him earlier - "righteousness" over the "final solution" - sadly probably not a big factor then or now, Germany was getting too close to the natural resources of the middle East and Africa? maybe. An entire Europe owned by Germany might not be in our best interests? likely.

Its not entirely clear to me what lesson we learned from WWII. The lesson that we must stop totalitarianism wherever we can (except in Eastern Europe, of course, where it was too close to MAD) got our nose into a pointless war in Vietnam less than two decades later that ought to have taught us a lesson about rushing into places we know absolutely nothing about and angels fear to tread. And no matter how much people cried "never again", today we continue to allow genoicide to continue, especially when the people being slaughtered don't look like us.

Thus when I read your response it set off this cascade of questions about what exactly we have learned since 1940, and what a reasonable person with more military sense than I would do differently. Perhaps a bit off topic but peripherally connected.

Anyway, johnnyg this surprised me a bit because you've had a well thought out but hard line about this war being justified based on what we thought we knew in March 2003: "... we should present a timetable, withdraw to the north, protect the oil fields, and let the present situation develop into the mighty bloodbath they apparently want."

This sounds almost, well, Murthaesque. It reminded me of when Walter Cronkite came out against Vietnam and LBJ realized he'd lost the reasonable people. When a war supporter says someting like this, I want to know where it came from and why, because I do believe it likely reflects a national change of mood among the reasonable conseratives.

And about bankrupt states and taxes - my increase in sales and property taxes more than offset the decrease in my income tax. Its all smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: patriot1957 | March 8, 2006 10:28 AM

Rummy's address. Seems the media got it wrong...again...

It's instructive to take note of several things that have happened in Iraq since the bombing of the shrine that must be disappointing to those who seek a civil war.
First, the Iraqi security forces have taken the lead in controlling the situation. Coalition forces assisted in a supporting role, according to General Casey.

And second, the Iraqi government leaders took a number of key steps that have had a calming effect in the situation. They imposed a curfew, and the leaders of most of the major parties have stepped forward to publicly urge restraint on all parties.

From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey. The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated. The behavior of the Iraqi security forces had been mischaracterized in some instances. And I guess that is to say nothing of the apparently inaccurate and harmful reports of U.S. military conduct in connection with a bus filled with passengers in Iraq.

Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq.

And then I notice today that there's been a public opinion poll reporting that the readers of these exaggerations believe Iraq is in a civil war -- a majority do, which I suppose is little wonder that the reports we've seen have had that effect on the American people.

General Casey has reported that overall levels of violence have not increased substantially as a result of the Golden Dome bombing.

Posted by: | March 8, 2006 10:48 AM

DK-

Great post. Any thoughts on why this has happened? Why are the Republicans so quiet on the projected budget deficit? Why haven't the democrats seized the opportunity of paying for the war as a way to look tough on defense?

If Americans dislike the Iraq war so much without ever having to pay for it, why didn't anyone think to propose a tax increase to pay for the war? Wouldn't public opinion be tempered moreso than now if Americans saw on their tax returns just how much Iraq cost us?

That's the *political* argument for introducing taxes. I'm not particularly fond of that argument.

It is immoral not to pay for the war because it demands we lump this sum on some one else who has no necessary want or need for this war in Iraq. Furthermore, refusing to tax during war, or even worse cutting taxes during war, invites constituencies to make frivolous or uninformed decisions about wars in the future. These wars have a mortality consequence that is ignored by those who suffer no financial consequence of that war.

It is impractical not to pay for the war because such mindless deficit spending will increase our national debt interest tax burden which, by the way, is nets us a cost of 180 billion a year. In case you were taking notes at home, that's nearly 3 times the cost of the war in Iraq on any given year. Or about the cost of Medicaid.

Then again, the only thing keeping that 180 billion net national debt interest from the 350 billion actual interest on the national debt is the interest we receive from the government's Social Security "trust fund". But hey, that won't ever change, right?

Finally it is undemocratic not to pay for the war because it lumps those costs on unborn children who have not and cannot give their consent to this military action.

Of course the economy is great, it's easy to sink unemployment and consistently show healthy growth when you drastically cut taxes while increasing government spending. Doesn't hurt when you project 500 billion of unaccounted for government spending to be pumped back into the economy in one form or another.

The miracle is not encouraging economic growth, any idiot can do that. The miracle is doing so with a ballanced budget. The Republicans used to take themselves seriously, in that regard. Pity they don't anymore.

Posted by: Will | March 8, 2006 10:53 AM

The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated. The behavior of the Iraqi security forces had been mischaracterized in some instances. And I guess that is to say nothing of the apparently inaccurate and harmful reports of U.S. military conduct in connection with a bus filled with passengers in Iraq.

"Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq. "

Please post some links showing what the media reported (# attacks, # mosques, etc) vs the "truth" as viewed through some other lens than the BA.

Do you really think the terrorists get up in the morning, read the NY Times and decide if they will be "heartened" to fight harder today, vs responding to conditions on the ground?

Posted by: | March 8, 2006 11:00 AM

Cayambe, if you are out there: You missed my point about Bush's mindset yesterday.

It had nothing to do with whether or not he won the election. It had to do with is utter incapability of facing a possibility that he might be wrong. A more diciplined mind would have answered the question as to what one would do if one lost in a bid for the Presidency would have been more philosophical about it, but not Bush.

His dogged refusal to even countenance the possiblity that he might lose the election is a windown into his flawed character and goes a long way toward explaining his present difficulties. It is an indicator of a dangerous mental condition that crimps any possiblity of expanding one's mind to the broad variety of alternative outcomes in any endeavor.

When Bush shuts off the possibility of losing the election, he is leaving himself no possibilty of a grqaceful exit, just as he has done with the Iraq war, and just as he has done on the Port controversy. He has painted himself into a corner on the Port question that now stands an excellent chance of giving him yet another embarrassment.

He has left himself no graceful way to retreat. That seems to be his downfall. Such odd and quirk character traits may endear him to cranky personalities like Rush Limbaugh, but to the vast majority of Americans, it comes off as the dangerous delusions of a President who is in way over his head.

Winning elections is no barometer for greatness Cayambe. Greatness comes from those who are fully cognizant of their own personal flaws and are willing to acknowledge them. I cannot imagine Bush ever owning up to a flaw in his character.

Posted by: Jaxas | March 8, 2006 11:08 AM

Actually, not to pile on, but I consider the inability/refusal to admit error and learn from one's mistakes, and to willingly adopt carefully crafted speech (a la Luntz) to deliberately create a false impression without your actual words being able to be pinned down as lies, evidence of exceptionally poor character.

Posted by: patriot1957 | March 8, 2006 11:24 AM

Posted by Unknown,
"From what I've seen thus far, much of the reporting in the U.S. and abroad has exaggerated the situation, according to General Casey. The number of attacks on mosques, as he pointed out, had been exaggerated. The number of Iraqi deaths had been exaggerated. The behavior of the Iraqi security forces had been mischaracterized in some instances. And I guess that is to say nothing of the apparently inaccurate and harmful reports of U.S. military conduct in connection with a bus filled with passengers in Iraq."
General Casey is censored by the same administration that told us the war was justified by 911 and WMD's, it is his job to paint a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq. General Casey has no option to speak truthfully.
"Interestingly, all of the exaggerations seem to be on one side. It isn't as though there simply have been a series of random errors on both sides of issues. On the contrary, the steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq."
The Iraqi police and Military are nothing more than Shiite militia avenging atrocities on the Sunni. The insurgents are essentially Sunni trying to prevent a Shiite control of Iraq. After posting these comments I can see why you didn't sign your name.
"And then I notice today that there's been a public opinion poll reporting that the readers of these exaggerations believe Iraq is in a civil war -- a majority do, which I suppose is little wonder that the reports we've seen have had that effect on the American people."
I can see your point; it was a majority of the American people that fell for 911 connection and WMD justification for the Invasion and occupation. Did you? Most of the press is a little wiser now than they were before the Iraqi invasion; I think the MSM and American public have it right this time on civil war.
"General Casey has reported that overall levels of violence have not increased substantially as a result of the Golden Dome bombing."
Substantially is a general term, please define?

Posted by: Jamal | March 8, 2006 12:45 PM

Posted by: Jaxas

"Winning elections is no barometer for greatness Cayambe. Greatness comes from those who are fully cognizant of their own personal flaws and are willing to acknowledge them. I cannot imagine Bush ever owning up to a flaw in his character."

I couldn't agree more. The Republican Revolution of the Early 90's was engineered to win elections, attack, and discredit opposition parties, not put competent government managers in office. After a decade now, they have accomplished very little, we are worse off. The Republican Party was taken over by those who were HIRED to win elections not govern, Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, and Newt Gingrige.

It's becoming more and more apparent that the person and methodology it takes to win an election, is not the person and methodology it take to govern. The Bush administration has never been able to stop running for election and govern this country for all its citizens now and in the future.

Posted by: Jamal | March 8, 2006 01:10 PM

patriot:

"Anyway, johnnyg this surprised me a bit because you've had a well thought out but hard line about this war being justified based on what we thought we knew in March 2003: "... we should present a timetable, withdraw to the north, protect the oil fields, and let the present situation develop into the mighty bloodbath they apparently want."

This sounds almost, well, Murthaesque. It reminded me of when Walter Cronkite came out against Vietnam and LBJ realized he'd lost the reasonable people. When a war supporter says someting like this, I want to know where it came from and why, because I do believe it likely reflects a national change of mood among the reasonable conseratives."

I believe that all is not lost yet. We should heavily pressure the Shiites to give the Sunnis a bigger piece of the pie. If this goes nowhere, maybe after some imposed deadline, we proceed as I discussed above. It seems to me, after reading much about this in the last couple days, that this might be our way out, while holding on to a slim chance at some level of a desireable outcome.

My belief about the US going in to Iraq had to do with PNAC theory of changing the politcal landscapes of strategically valued areas. Obviously, this is failing at the moment, and the outlook appears dismal if we were to continue the status quo. I think the plan could have been achieved, but not on the cheap.

If we invade another country while we are over there in our full force, it should be made clear there are no promises to fix anything we destroy (and very much should be destroyed). Iraq was a completely different situation.

Posted by: | March 8, 2006 01:14 PM

Anon stated: "If we invade another country while we are over there in our full force, it should be made clear there are no promises to fix anything we destroy (and very much should be destroyed). Iraq was a completely different situation."

We may have more than 100,000 troops in Iraq, and several thousand in Afghanistan, but they're not available to suddenly redeploy to invade somewhere else (say Iran, for example.) Afghanistan is unstable, and the Taliban operate freely along the border with Pakistan. They will fill any power vacuum should the US or UN pull out suddenly.

If we withdraw from Iraq, we need to do it in orderly fashion, with ceremonies handing off each town to local officials, who can then be blamed for subsequent violence - otherwise it's our fault for withdrawing - also we need to evacuate in a way that protects our troops as they move out - going north is not practical - the Turks did not let us come from that direction, remember, and the Russkies and other bits of the former soviet union would not welcome our presence in their back yard

And any build up of US troops to invade Iran - absent international support and a real coalition with significant troops - would further alienate our real allies, since we haven't given diplomacy it's chance - further, it would give the Iranians plenty of time to prepare - Iran's terrain is different and more difficult to invade than Iraq, and they're a more prosperous much larger population - and American military aggression would not be welcomed, even by their pro-western citizens -

if holding Iraq was a failure, given our troop strength, and "liberation" intentions, etc., what could possibly be accomplished by a destructive invasion of Iran? The only outcome i foresee is that Shiites and Sunni's would finally have their reason to unite against their common enemy - we couldn't stay as an occupying force for very long, and Iran would restart their nuclear program the second we left, probably with virtually unanimous support by the citizens of the country. We can't bomb Iran into submission to US dictates, and we can't invade to force it either, unless we mobilize a HUGE armed force, well beyond anything we currently have available ...

sabre-rattling about punching Iran militarily may feel good, but would be even dumber than invading Iraq turned out to be ...

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | March 8, 2006 01:58 PM

you'd be the beach I was stormin Forza!...


and you'd be my beach...

but you already are....


when you're stupid enough to think that every fight is a good one...


well you're too stupid to contribute.

Posted by: If I had you here now... | March 8, 2006 04:40 PM

forget about Chris...


he's a shill.....he doesn't have views that he doesn't get paid for...


he's a plant, sometimes he's not even the same person...ask Emily.

Posted by: dear Che... | March 8, 2006 04:42 PM

short clip:

Retirement Fund Tapped to Avoid National Debt Limit

By Stephen Barr Washington Post
Wednesday, March 8, 2006; Page D04

The Treasury Department has started drawing from the civil service pension fund to avoid hitting the $8.2 trillion national debt limit. The move to tap the pension fund follows last month's decision to suspend investments in a retirement savings plan held by government employees.

In a letter to Congress this week, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said he would rely on the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund to avoid bumping up against the statutory debt limit. He said the Treasury is suspending investments and will redeem a portion of the money credited to the fund.


well at least you Federal Workers will now begin feeling the nations pain...

isn't Snow sort of like


Bush's "we need this," guy on the UAE PORTS deal?

and also a member of the Carlyle Group?

Posted by: regarding bankrupting the United States... | March 8, 2006 04:48 PM

Like I said...F**'n pathetic hippies.

Posted by: Forza | March 8, 2006 04:55 PM

stupid as I indicated.

3rd grade rhetoric...


show some intelligence pretty boy, CSI...


I _know_ what I'm looking at,


you're a believer, not a knower...


dogma, for the masses that can't think for themselves...


spainish inquisition....

but the church wouldn't do anything


_illegal_


would it?


yes.


the church was created from something illegal....


stealing christianity from the people to create an official one sanctioned by Rome, in the 4th Century AD, by Roman Emporer Constantine....

yes, your presidente' would lie to you and being well paid isn't the same thing as being smart...punk.

Posted by: nice to see that you're as | March 8, 2006 06:08 PM

Mill_of_Mn ... "sabre-rattling about punching Iran militarily may feel good, but would be even dumber than invading Iraq turned out to be"

Very good analysis. We could actually sweep in, destroy some of the facilities, and then bail out quickly. That is about the best we could do and you are right, the political costs would be awful and the benefit not nearly worth the price.

Posted by: Cayambe | March 8, 2006 06:13 PM

I usually skip Che's contributions but in his defense he did post one a few weeks ago that caught my eye. It said the server had been found with the missing emails and Fitzgerald was swooping in on them.
I can't find that anywhere else. Was the story every verified?

Posted by: patriot1957 | March 8, 2006 06:29 PM

That anon was me, answering patriot. I agree we should get more on board with Iran. I believe we have a good amount of potential allies to begin pursuading. As I said before, I'd bet anything the Iranians would blink if push came to shove.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | March 8, 2006 09:37 PM

Posted by: patriot1957 "I usually skip Che's contributions but in his defense he did post one a few weeks ago that caught my eye. It said the server had been found with the missing emails and Fitzgerald was swooping in on them.
I can't find that anywhere else. Was the story every verified?"

I read that, but can't remember where, someting about being archived.

Posted by: Jamal | March 9, 2006 12:02 AM

I knew it was ye, Johnnyg.

I'm not following you about Iran. Are you suggesting we drum up another coalition and go in and flatten Iran? After the way Iraq worked out? You've got cojones, man.

If we hadn't invaded Iraq I don't think Iran would be so hastily pursuing this course. And even if we did, if we were fresh off a successful (and completed) campaign in Afghanistan I think we would be in a different position than we are.

If Iran made a large scale attack in the US we could raise the army to smash them overnight. But face it johnnyg, how many more kids are going to sign up to die to fight WMD's in Iran to fight another potential threat? Been there, done that, no thanks.

I was listening to the radio as I walked Her Royal Highness (the Dog) tonight and realized I have absolutely no idea who to trust on this. Can't trust the neocons, and beyond them there is no unified voice.

I have heard the theory argued by I think Cayambe and others that we should take out their accessible nuclear facilities. And then I've heard that Iran would start some kind of terrible but unnamed retribution if we did that (maybe annex Iraq?).

Our position of trust and respect is so low in the world right now I don't even know if we could raise a real coalition like we had in Gulf I or Afghanistan. And now that we gave the store away to India we don't exactly have much credibility as the world leaders in ending nuclear proliferation. (Yes, I know we need a strong ally for when Musharraf gets a bullet and the Taliban get a hold of Pakistan's nukes, not to mention China rearing up over there. But damn, did he have to give away the store?)

Ahh, time to go to bed. I'll worry about it tomorrow.

But thanks for answering.

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 9, 2006 12:11 AM

Patriot ... "I have heard the theory argued by I think Cayambe and others that we should take out their accessible nuclear facilities."

Oh my goodness me. No NO NO NO not I, dear Patriot. Quite the contrary indeed. My personal position is quite simple and just cuts to the chase without all this sticking our noses in everyone elses business. To wit:

It shall be the policy of the United States to immediately anihilate any nation which offensively launch's a nuclear attack on another nation.

It shall be the policy of the United States to immediately anihilate any nation which is found to be the source of a nuclear weapon used to attack another nation.

In other words, you can build them, but you will be vaporized if you use them, or let someone else get their hands on one of yours and he uses it.

Actually, I'm working this into an insurance proposal so we can get some revenue to offset the deficit. It's a bit like the mob, where you pay for protection, know what I mean?

Now with that pleasant thought I go to bed!

Posted by: Cayambe | March 9, 2006 01:42 AM

sorry for the mistaken id. There's a bit too much info floating around on this to keep it all straight.

Interesting idea though.

I'm off work today. Maybe I'll invest some of the time wisely and try to educate myself better on this issue!

Posted by: patriot 1957 | March 9, 2006 07:41 AM

Poll shows Americans expect civil war in Iraq, but press is "exaggerating" violence, Rumsfeld claims

"C'mon guys (BLAM), I've been (Ka-POW, ARRRGH) watching the situation (RAT -A-TAT-TAT-TAT 'Ouch') in (KATHOOM, SHATTER, THUD) Iraq, and all this (SWISH...BANG) talk of increasing violence ("INCOMING!") is just an (BOOM, POW, BOOM, KABLAM) exaggeration! Really!"

A corrupted Congress never impeaches a corrupted President. Professional courtesy. The real question is when a revolution gets triggered.

I'm more and more convinced that it will be Republicans, many of them of the true conservative and realist kind, who effectively will do in the Bush Administration.
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m21397&hd=0&size=1&l=e
The crimes of the Bush Administration are so many and varied that none of us should be surprised by anything that might happen in the coming weeks and months: Bin Laden captured or reported killed, a U.S.-Israeli air assault on Iran's nuclear facilities, a major terrorist attack inside the U.S. to be followed by martial law, the announcement of a bird-flu outbreak with the military placed in charge. I'm pretty level-headed and don't usually think in these dire terms, but these guys have backed themselves into a tight political corner and are desperate -- and dangerous.

BOOM! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

Posted by: UBL - RIP | March 10, 2006 03:49 PM

We often marvel at the power of words. In the case of Iraq there is a fear of the use of certain words. When the MSM reports on a bomb, we complain that they are not showing us a soldier handing out candy. A child accepting candy makes no indication of the disposition of the population...a bomb does.
I am 100% in favor of our having gone there and being there. I'm a Bush supporter etc. It's time however for intellectual honesty. Iraq is not responding as we thought to our TLC. Civil war would be a gift as it would allow us an out. Clearly this is being considered as we hear the comments that civil war is for Iraqi forces, not ours.
The endgame possibilities in Iraq are 3. One we leave...bad idea, two we keep lumbering along as now where Bush says it is a bumpy road and I say we are not even on a road, or it escalates in the region and gets alot worse before it gets better. Likely the choice will be made for us and it is number 3. In that case a distracted Iraq in civil war is good for us.

Posted by: Chris L | March 11, 2006 11:26 AM

The American Civil War, as any historian will tell you, is defined as beginning with the the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. After an exchange of artillery, during which there were ZERO casualties, the Union soldiers surrendered the fort, and were released. Not taken prisoner, not executed, but released. This is the start of the American Civil War.

Iraq has been in a state of civil war since the first insurgent fired that first shot at a fellow Iraqi, as a matter of definition. Call it "low grade" if you want, it's still a civil war, despite the desperate attempt by pundits and the Bush administration to reframe it into something else.

Educated, sophisticated Iraqis may not seem capable of entering into a civil war, but educated, sophisticated people make up a very small minority of any population, even in America. In fact, many educated, sophisticated Iraqis have fled the country, predicting even worse violence.

I should also point out that most Americans did not want a civil war, and of course educated, sophisticated Americans seemed an unlikely source of such violence. But the civil war happened anyway. Wishing it away isn't going to have any effect.

Posted by: Prof Raze | March 22, 2006 12:25 PM

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