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Saving Lieberman

Whether you're Republican or Democrat (unless you're an Angry Leftist), if you support(ed) the War in Iraq, did until it turned out tougher than you thought, or never did (we know, there are a few of you out there), we believe most agree that leaving now would have disastrous results.

Iraq would be the new Afghanistan, a fledgling democracy would descend into civil war, and terrorists and terror sponsoring states 'round the globe would be emboldened.

If that's the reality you live in (you know, the post-9/11 one) as opposed to the conspiracy theory dominated alternative reality of the Angry Left, then you'll also understand why it's important Joe Lieberman beat Ned Lamont in November.

From across the pond in King's College, Cambridge comes our latest post. We discuss the recently foiled terrorist plot and Lieberman's place in the War on Terror. Click here to read more. Please do and please comment.

Angry

I notice that you use the term Angry Left often. While I appreciate name calling as much as the next guy I think everyone (both on the right and the left) has plenty to be angry about.
The current administration has made plenty of mistakes and yet their line seems to always be "Trust us, we'll be better off in the long run." I just don't see alot to be happy about.
Would a Dem do any better? How about an Angry Leftist? I don't know if they could fix the mess Bush has made. Would they make it worse? Could things get worse? Well, these questions are going to make for some fun elections, huh?

Old Joe

Even though I think Lieberman is wrong on the Iraq War issue I respect him for reaching across party lines and trying to bridge the gap on other issues. There should be more republicans like him. But the war is the defining issue. I won't be surprised if Hillary Clinton, another pro-war dem who is trying to look moderate, will also suffer for not going along with reported 80% of dems who want out of Iraq.

Iraq would be the new Afghanistan, a fledgling democracy would descend into civil war, and terrorists and terror sponsoring states 'round the globe would be emboldened.

A question for Jacob:
Which Afghanistan are you referring to? The Afghanistan that we have occupied for nearly 5 years? Or the post-soviet Taliban Afghanistan? Because if you are talking about today's Afghanistan than look no further than the Bush Administration for screwing that up. The same guys you think are on the right track in Iraq. And what is this "fledgling democracy WOULD descend into civil war" stuff. WOULD! It is civil war.

Oh and...

Is Jack Black and Steve Zahn going to be in Saving Lieberman? Because if so I am so there.

Let's get out of Iraq

Jacob, the disastrous results have already occurred. The civil war is inevitable or as Vegor says, has already begun.
Apparently the occupation forces are doing little to relieve sectarian violence in Iraq as this Iraqi blogger notes:

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

She points out that US forces are mostly spectators to the current violence.

As I've pointed out in previous comments, most Iraqis are in favor of getting the US occupation forces out of Iraq sooner than later.

Also, the fledgling democracy you describe in Iraq apparently has power over the Green zone and nowhere else in Iraq. It was somewhat humorous when Bush told Putin to have the same kind of democracy that is budding in Iraq and Putin, to the delight of the crowd, said he most decidedly didn't want that kind of democracy. I'd have to agree with Putin on that one. We need to get out of there sooner than later. I've never supported the war from the beginning and now less than ever.

60% of Americans are "Angry Leftists"

According to Mr. Lybbert, you are an "Angry Leftist" if you believe that "leaving [Iraq] now would have distastrous results".

Hmmm... According to recent polls, about 60% of Americans are in favor of leaving Iraq within the next year. That's a lot of "Angry Leftists"!

Or, perhaps Jacob needs to tone down the rhetoric just a bit? There are an awful lot of perfectly reasonable Americans who are in favor of a gradual withdrawl, a timetable, or a set of milestones - this is a centrist position, not an "angry left" one.

Thanks for the tip!

Come on guys. Have you actually read my post? I mean the one that contains 1048 words rather than the 152 word, hastily written tag for provopulse on which you seem to base your critiques.

Mattctr: The quote is usually attributed to Franklin. However, don't you give up liberties in exchange for security on a daily basis? I mean things like speed limits, airport security, etc. I defy you (no helping him guys) to come up with one, just one, essential liberty you have given up as a result of the much maligned Patriot Act (I'm assuming that's what you refer to when you mention the erosion of liberty). However, I do agree with you about term limits.

Vegor: your 80% stat doesn't bear scrutiny. Lieberman, a supporter of the war, lost by a mere 4 points in a democrat only election, in a liberal state, with high turnout among those widely identified as the Angry Left, or, if you prefer, neo-McGovernites. If 80% of dems truly wanted out of Iraq now, wouldn't this election have been more of a landslide? Because it truly was a single-issue election. Oh, and I'm referring to Afghanistan from during the Soviet invasion till the NATO led, UN sanctioned, Taliban toppling regime change. During this period Afghanistan was the opium, terrorist, warlord capital of the world. That's probably why UBL felt so at home.

Curtis & Vegor: Please inform your evaluation of Iraq with a little bit of historical perspective and realism. The Bush administration isn't the only one that miscalculated in their assumptions about how difficult the transition into a democracy would be. However, they have had 3 successful elections with turnouts exceeding 70%--beating by far turnout in the US. What must they do to prove to you that they really, really, want this thing to work? Personally, I'll take the results of three elections over the latest reports from a suposedly independent and unbiased survey. Furthermore, Iraqi security forces have taken over complete control of security in several southern territories and have expanding roles in other areas. Sure Iraqis want us out. However, a vast majority of them recognize that they need us there to help continue the transition and maintain security. Do you honestly think that if we pulled out, that Iran and Syria would say, 'alright, we'll quit training terrorists, supplying them with weapons, and sending them into Iraq'? Get a grip. Iran and their proxies in Damascus and Lebanon (Hezbollah) want to dominate the Middle East. Iraq is the battleground. Lebanon is another. If we pull out before Iraq can protect itself from these outside influences then it will become, like Afghanistan before it, a haven for terrorists who hate Israel, America, and the rest of the West.

LaurenceB: I'm the one who thinks leaving now would have disastrous results. The Angry Left disagrees or doesn't care or both. Fortunately for us, US foreign policy (or any other policy for that matter) isn't determined by the latest poll. Plus, I identify the Angry Left as those who want out immediately. You are right that there are positions between pull-out immediately and stay as long as needed. I think you would have understood my distinction better had you actually read my post rather than getting hung up on the aforementioned hastily written lines for provopulse. Still, a timetable or immediate withdrawal would send the same message to islamofascists that Clinton's pullout in Somalia and Reagan's in Lebanon sent--that we have no backbone, that we can be pushed around, that we don't really mean what we say in fighting the war on terror. They will know that, as I said in my full post, they just have to outwait us. What's needed is historical perspective, leavened by realistic expectations. I want us out of Iraq as much as the Iraqis, but that is tempered by an understanding that premature withdrawal will, as I said before, have disastrous results--not only for Iraq, but also for America.

I did read your article...

Dear Jacob,

I have read your article. If I had responded to your article, however, my point would have been roughly the same: You need to tone down the rhetoric.

You claim that you were referring only to those who want to pull out immediately as the "Angry Left". Well, that makes no sense. Ned Lamont has not advocated that we pull out immediately. Has he?

The majority of Americans (including Lamont) favor a withdrawal from Iraq within the next year. This is not an extreme position, it is the pre-dominant one. When you refer to those who hold this position as "The angry left", or as "fools", I think that says more about you than it does about them.

Sincerely,
Laurence "The Fool" Burton

I'm glad you read my article

Dear LaurenceB:

Actually, he has. In fact, just to be sure, I re-watched him on a recent episode of the Colbert Report--31 July 2006, should you care to watch--and he said just that.

You're right about one thing. I should distinguish between an idea I think is foolish and the person who espouses it. I think the idea of pulling out immediately is foolish. I shouldn't have called Mr. Lamont foolish (note: I never called you foolish), just his position. I'm sure he has lots of other good ideas. Will you make sure he gets the word?

I repeat what I said before: thank goodness this country isn't run by the latest opinion poll.

Sincerely,

Jacob Lybbert

ps. thanks for the idea El Mad Dog. I'm just not ready to syndicate or give up my own blog. If anyone else has any other ideas on how to grow my readership I'd greatly appreciate it if you would share them with me. Thanks.

Jacob In the face of such

Jacob

In the face of such alarmism and anti-American sentiment from so many reactionary posters, your comments bring much needed historical perspective and moderation to a discussion that is, to say the least, difficult to wade through. While your writing may never influence the opinion of Vegor, MattCTR, Laurence, Curtis, and other like minds, know that it has influenced this poster, and certainly many others who read but refrain from the discussion. Thanks for the level-headed, well-researched posts.

And Curtis, regarding UN action against Israel, please read the following:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JonahGoldberg/2006/07/21/the_great_un_delusion

Important stuff on Iran/Israel

The views of Jacob, regurgitated presumably, from official US propoganda, is really alien to reality in what is occuring in the middle east. Noam Chomsky really puts things into perspective here. If you really want to know what has been going on with Iran/Israel in the last few years, read his brief summary here. Everything he says is verifiable. Google it yourself if you doubt. Very important stuff.

Let us begin with Iran. In 2003, Iran offered to negotiate all outstanding issues with the US, including nuclear issues and a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. The offer was made by the moderate Khatami government, with the support of the hard-line "supreme leader" Ayatollah Khamenei. The Bush administration response was to censure the Swiss diplomat who brought the offer.

In June 2006, Khamenei issued an official declaration stating that Iran agrees with the Arab countries on the issue of Palestine, meaning that it accepts the 2002 Arab League call for full normalization of relations with Israel in a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus. The timing suggests that this might have been a reprimand to his subordinate Ahmadenijad, whose inflammatory statements are given wide publicity in the West, unlike the far more important declaration by his superior Khamenei. Just a few days ago, former Iranian diplomat Saddagh Kharazzi "reaffirmed that Iran would back a two-state solution if the Palestinians accepted" (Financial Times, July 26, 2006). Of course, the PLO has officially backed a two-state solution for many years, and backed the 2002 Arab League proposal. Hamas has also indicated its willingness to negotiate a two-state settlement, as is surely well-known in Israel. Kharazzi is reported to be the author of the 2003 proposal of Khatami and Khamanei.

The US and Israel do not want to hear any of this. They prefer to hear that Iran "is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state" (Jerusalem correspondent Charles Radin, Boston Globe, 2 August), the standard and more convenient story.

They also do not want to hear that Iran appears to be the only country to have accepted the proposal by IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradei that all weapons-usable fissile materials be placed under international control, a step towards a verifiable Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT), as mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1993. ElBaradei's proposal, if implemented, would not only end the Iranian nuclear crisis but would also deal with a vastly more serious crisis: the growing threat of nuclear war, which leads prominent strategic analysts to warn of "apocalypse soon" (Robert McNamara) if policies continue on their current course. The US strongly opposes a verifiable FMCT, but over US objections, the treaty came to a vote at the United Nations, where it passed 147-1, with two abstentions: Israel, which cannot oppose its patron, and more interestingly, Blair's Britain, which retains a degree of sovereignty. The British ambassador stated that Britain supports the treaty, but it "divides the international community" ­ 147 to 1. These again are matters that are virtually suppressed outside of specialist circles, and are matters of literal survival of the species, extending far beyond Iran.

It is commonly said that the "international community" has called on Iran to abandon its legal right to enrich uranium. That is true, if we define the "international community" as Washington and whoever happens to go along with it. It is surely not true of the world. The non-aligned countries have forcefully endorsed Iran's "inalienable right" to enrich uranium. And, rather remarkably, in Turkey, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, a majority of the population favor accepting a nuclear-armed Iran over any American military action, international polls reveal.

The non-aligned countries also called for a nuclear-free Middle East, a longstanding demand of the authentic international community, again blocked by the US and Israel. It should be recognized that the threat of Israeli nuclear weapons is taken very seriously in the world. As explained by the former Commander-in-Chief of the US Strategic Command, General Lee Butler, "it is dangerous in the extreme that in the cauldron of animosities that we call the Middle East, one nation has armed itself, ostensibly, with stockpiles of nuclear weapons, perhaps numbering in the hundreds, and that inspires other nations to do so." Israel is doing itself no favors if it ignores these concerns.

It is also of some interest that when Iran was ruled by the tryant installed by a US-UK military coup, the United States ­ including Rumsfeld, Cheney, Kissinger, Wolfowitz and others -- strongly supported the Iranian nuclear programs they now condemn and helped provide Iran with the means to pursue them. These facts are surely not lost on the Iranians, just as they have not forgotten the very strong support of the US and its allies for Saddam Hussein during his murderous aggression, including help in developing the chemical weapons that helped kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians.

Full text of this interview is here:

http://www.counterpunch.org/chomsky08162006.html

All Apologies

Curtis, Vegor, LaurenceB and the rest of the echo chamber:

I'm sorry I thought we could have a reasoned debate about these issues. It started out well enough, but then it deteriorated into Curtis posting, wholesale, from his Angry Leftwing, moonbat of a website, counterpunch.org. Yeah Curtis, I'm the one taking marching orders from a propaganda machine. Noam Chomsky has long been identified as a moderate thinker, right?

Your posts are characterized by anti/blame America sentiment, unrealistic expectation, and utter lack of historical perspective. The history you use--when you attempt to use it--is completely outside, and would not bear the scrutiny of, acceptable scholarship. Historians--you know, the ones who study American history over the last half-century or so--are critical of American support of autocratic regimes in places like Chile and Greece (you didn't even cite these examples), but this critique is understood in the overall context of the Cold War. To truly understand American foreign policy, you have to start before WWII, but you don't even go that far. Your posts belie an ignorance of Realpolitik, the Cold War, and the various trends and politics that entered into the formation of American foreign policy. Talk about regurgitation, yours is so blatant that if you submitted your posts in a college class, you would be failed for plagiarism. What's worse, the website (do you read anything else besides counterpunch.org?) you use isn't real history, it's conspiracy history. Proving my point is the advertisement, prominently placed on counterpunch's mainpage, explaining that the toppling of the twin-towers was not, in fact, caused by planes being flown into them, but was instead a conspiracy involving the US government and some strategically placed explosives. But you probably believe that too.

I love your reliance on popularity polls. '87% support Hezbollah and love Nasrallah.' I'll bet we could find evidence to suggest that some 90% of Germans supported the Nazis and loved Hitler. What does that prove? Furthermore, your constant attacks on Israel border on anti-semitism. If you weren't so ignorant of the UN's history with Israel and had read Goldberg's article (hat tip: patientobserver), you would know that the UN has more sanctions, resolutions, etc., against Israel than it does against China, Soviet Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and Cambodia combined. Maybe you just think that's because Israel has committed as many human rights violations and slaughtered as many people as Mao, Stalin, Castro, Kim Jong-il (and father), and the Khmer Rouge? Is that what your narrow-minded, ignorant of history, worldview tells you? That Israel really is worse than all of these states?

To cap off all of this ridiculousness is the blatant moral relativism that rises to the surface of each and every one of your posts. The best example is your repeated insistence that 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' Only moral relativists like you would be unable to see the difference between Hezbollah, which deliberately kills civilians, and uses hospitals and schools as shields, and Israel. You know why they do it don't you? So that when Israel tries to target Hezbollah and their missile installations, and one of their bombs strays and unfortunately kills an innocent civilian, people like you, who are anxious to blame Israel and America, will call them baby killers. How does it feel Curtis (and echo chamber), to be the puppet of terrorists who hate the very institutions that guarantee your right to make such ridiculous assertions? I know, I know, your moral relativism assuages your conscience and makes my intolerance of terrorists the only depravity in a relativistic world. A world where 9/11 was not evil, but just 'freedom fighters,' waging war against the oppressive, American-led West.

Re: All Apologies

Before I'm mistakenly assumed to be an Angry Leftie® (or some such nonsense), let's get a few some things out of the way... I'm against abortion, a believer in the right to bear arms, and dislike Bill Clinton as much as I do George Bush. That said...

...his Angry Leftwing, moonbat of a website, counterpunch.org.

I dislike Noam Chomsky (for different reasons), but any evidence should be evaluated on its' own merits. To dismiss information solely because of its' point of origin would be a mistake.

Your posts are characterized by anti/blame America sentiment, unrealistic expectation, and utter lack of historical perspective.

These are generalizations. Examples please. Maybe your definition of anti-american is anything with which you disagree?

The history you use--when you attempt to use it--is completely outside, and would not bear the scrutiny of, acceptable scholarship.

As opposed to the many accepted scholars that you have clearly cited for easy verification? Accepted by whom? "Well, everybody knows that..." is never a good reason to believe anything. It amounts to little more than peer pressure.

Historians--you know, the ones who study American history over the last half-century or so--

Thanks for the much needed definition of historian. I think, however, I'd prefer an historian that has done a bit more in-depth study of the first 100 years of United States history as well as the years leading up to the American Revolution.

Your posts belie an ignorance of Realpolitik, the Cold War, and the various trends and politics that entered into the formation of American foreign policy.

Until you can give examples of where the OP has demonstrated his ignorance in these areas and explain why they're even relevant, this is nothing more than another cheap logical fallacy. IMHO Henry Kissinger's cowardly Realpolitik is a prime example what is wrong in the U.S. today -- The idea that principles like justice and liberty are outmoded and unrealistic. You might instead try standing up for what's right. Make sure to lecture Thomas Jefferson and James Madison about your nonsensical Realpolitik next time you bump into them.

Talk about regurgitation, yours is so blatant that if you submitted your posts in a college class, you would be failed for plagiarism.

Actually, plagiarism is putting forth unoriginal ideas and passing them off as your own. No "college" would accuse someone of plagiarism that has properly cited their sources. In most university settings citing some kind of percieved "authority" is routinely *required* for undergrad research papers -- presenting original research as authoritative is generally discouraged at that level. I do agree, however, that the OP's choice of sources is lacking.

it's conspiracy history. ...explaining that the toppling of the twin-towers was not, in fact, caused by planes being flown into them, but was instead a conspiracy involving the US government and some strategically placed explosives.

Because we all know that conspiracies have never taken place anywhere throughout the long history of mankind. Until the *hypothesis* that the towers were brought down by a kerosine fire holds up to the "scrutiny of scholarship" that you claim to hold so dear, I have no reason to believe it. For that matter why take a ridiculous site like counterpunch's word for it? You might want to read in what direction peer-reviewed scientific studies are pointing. BTW, if you believe the jet-fuel hypothesis, how does that apply to WTC 7? You may be interested to know that 9 Arabs working in collusion to commit crime is, by definition, a conspiracy -- not a theory, though. "Theory" would imply that it has stood up to repeatable and demonstrable testing -- it has not.

I'll bet we could find evidence to suggest that some 90% of Germans supported the Nazis and loved Hitler.

Is this a concession of defeat? You lose.

Your constant attacks on Israel border on anti-Semitism.

There are many Jews that oppose the direction Israel has taken at times. Are they Anti-Semites®, too? Ok, the Godwin's Law thing was a bit of a joke, but surely name-calling really could be considered a concession.

If you weren't so ignorant of the UN's history with Israel and had read Goldberg's article (hat tip: patientobserver), you would know that the UN has more sanctions, resolutions, etc., against Israel than it does against China, Soviet Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and Cambodia combined.

Wow -- something in your post that I actually agree with! I'd like nothing more than to see the U.S. withdraw from the U.N. and kick them off our soil. Wanna know a secret? It's just another fake 2-party system. Dems vs. Reps, Europe vs. the U.S., bourgeoisie vs. proletariat, capitalism vs. socialism -- all fake labels meant to distract you and me, while the only fight that really matters -- personal liberty vs. tyrrany (aka. jesus' freedom versus the satanism of totalitarianism) is lost to the forces in power in whom you've placed your trust.

Only moral relativists like you would be unable to see the difference between Hezbollah, which deliberately kills civilians...

I despise moral relativism as much as the next guy... You got me here. Anyone that deliberately puts civilians in the line of fire surely must be engaging in terrorism -- or not?!

How does it feel Curtis (and echo chamber), to be the puppet of terrorists who hate the very institutions that guarantee your right to make such ridiculous assertions?

I'm not defending all of Curtis' views (I can't speak for them), but he only referenced the website twice -- posting evidence in response to the accusation that he had made "baseless" statements. If he is truly an Angry Leftie® I think his blind faith in "liberalism" and the Democratic party is every bit as ridiculous as your apparent blind faith in "conservatism" and the Republican party. I think we'd all do well to put our faith in the God of Abraham and listen to His real representatives on earth -- the First Presidency and combined voice of the 12 -- and not in the false prophets of the dominant political parties -- the arm of flesh, if you will. With respect to how it feels -- I was gonna ask you the same question. How does it feel to be a puppet of the terrorists that head the Republicrat® party -- the ones that hate (and have actively taken steps to eliminate) your right to make such ridiculous assertions?

I hope you'll find it in your heart to permit me to keep posting on your blog. I mean no malice to you or yours. I'm here because a friend of mine told me about your website. My post is sincere, and I hope that even though we don't see eye to eye on every issue, we can still engage in intelligent discussion (as opposed to a meaningless exchange of debate techniques) in the future.

No Such Thing As "Left or Right"

A good friend of mine recently summed-up American politics by saying: "The "two" major political parties are just two different collars put on the same dog, and it's either going to run away or bite us."

The whole "left vs. right," "liberal vs. conservative," "democrat vs. republican," or politcal "polarization" in anyform is an artificial means to keep people occupied and entertained by side-shows and so-called "issues," so the lawmakers can hi-jack and sell us down the river to the highest bidder.

Our constitution is being abandoned more and more by people who claim to be belong to "different" sides.

Was it Washington or Franklin who once spoke to the effect: "A people who would surrender freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security."

Simply saying "Post 9/11" does not change the reality that "We the people " who currently inhabit America are losing our freedoms--not because of terrorists but because we sit back and let leaders on "both sides" get away with it. Bless their hearts, some of them probably think they're doing what's best. However, I believe the Constitution was inspired, as it recognizes that the rights of the people belong to the people and not the government--no matter how well-meaning some politicians may be.

Ned? Probably just as bad as any other Democrat or Republican in office today. Don't expect any changes, demand it. Term limits across the board would be a good place to start.

Start Here...

Hey Jacob...

Here is an idea instead of using ProvoPulse to drive additional traffic to your site why not post your articles here in their entirety?

A little information on the middle east

Jacob,

The Bush administration isn't the only one that miscalculated in their assumptions about how difficult the transition into a democracy would be. However, they have had 3 successful elections with turnouts exceeding 70%--beating by far turnout in the US.

Actually, at first, the Bush administration wanted nothing to do with democracy. They set up very undemocratic laws in Iraq with the departure of Paul Bremer. There were harsh anti-collective bargaining laws made, and laws governing corporations allowed for 100% foreign ownership of big business in Iraq. There were laws put into place that no democracy would ever stand for. It was only after Sistani made a peaceful and persistant stand for elections or nothing that we gave in and supported elections.

The elections were done in an atmosphere of fear and violence. The people didn't even know who they were voting for since the candidates had to remain anonymous or risk assassination.

What must they do to prove to you that they really, really, want this thing to work?

I'm sure that most Iraqis want democracy to work, that's not their issue. Their issue is with the occupation and their increasing insecurity and their joblessness and their lack of utilities and etc etc.

Furthermore, Iraqi security forces have taken over complete control of security in several southern territories and have expanding roles in other areas.

Iraqi security forces are apparently the bad guys to a lot of Iraqi citizens, participating in the sectarian violence as much as the militias. Bagdad is so out of control that the US forces apparently just sit back and spectate alot of the time, contributing nothing to security.

Do you honestly think that if we pulled out, that Iran and Syria would say, 'alright, we'll quit training terrorists, supplying them with weapons, and sending them into Iraq'?

If you think Iran and Syria are the problem here you are sadly mistaken. The vast majority of the violence in Iraq is carried out by Iraqis. The participants are either civil war bound, or resistant to the US occupation. Of all the prisoners taken by the US, only a very small percentage are foreign fighters.

Iran and their proxies in Damascus and Lebanon (Hezbollah) want to dominate the Middle East. Iraq is the battleground. Lebanon is another. If we pull out before Iraq can protect itself from these outside influences then it will become, like Afghanistan before it, a haven for terrorists who hate Israel, America, and the rest of the West.

This is a prettly loaded statement. Iran has shown no inclinations toward trying to dominate the middle east. They have not acted aggressively against anyone in the middle east in recent history.

In fact, here is an article today, where a US general says Iran has no influence in Iraq.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/14/AR2006081400362_pf.html

Iraq, on the other hand, showed inclinations toward aggressive behavior. They attacked Iran with the support of the USA during the 80's and killed multitudes of Iranians and Iraqi shiites. The US has done a lot of attacking in the middle east lately. Hezbollah, contrary to what the spinmasters want you to think, has not attacked Israel lately. The prisoners they took were leverage for prisoner release negotiations as Israel holds lebanese prisoners without charge for over a decade in some situations. They haven't carried out any missile attacks against Israel lately (until Israel started bombing that is). Quite to the contrary, it was Israel that killed a Lebanese sheperd boy recently and carried out many military manouvers crossing the Lebanese border and taking Lebanese prisoners many times during the era of relative peace from 2000 to the present.

It makes perfect sense to me that when we pull out from Afganistan (we're still there by the way) we leave a trail of hatred for the US and our client in the region, Israel. We have the bomb their lands into the stone ages and kill alot of people while we're at it. It should be no wonder why 100,000 people march in Iraq recently chanting, "death to America." Of course, in our view, they are just sufferring from the "birth pangs" of a new middle-east which is actually opportunity knocking their house down. Surely we understand how they feel as we celebrated the opportunity of 9/11.

Clarification on Lamont

By way of clarification:

I suspect that you and I both know what Lamont has said about "redeployment" of troops. He has advocated beginning to remove combat troops from the front lines, while maintaining that support and logistics troops will be necessary for some time. That is his position. I assume you are aware of it, but if you are not, feel free to look it up on his website.

I suppose its not completely incorrect to characterize Lamont's position as you have - but it is also far from completely correct. In fact, if it is "cutting and running" to advocate that a reduction in troops begin immediately, I guess even Rumsfeld is guilty - since he has suggested more than once that he would like to see that happen. Right?

I read the post and...

I read the post and my favorite part is how you felt the need to tell us that you were writing it from Cambridge. You mention it once in the intro here and again in the piece itself. Namedropping is cool...Placedropping is even cooler!

Problems at the UN

The writer of the article you link to complains justly about some UN failures. Other problems with the UN he mentions stem from his world view, which is quite different from the world view of others. He balks at Hamas having any role within the UN, but they are the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people. Do you suggest they have no representation at the UN? He says a UN proposed ceasefire would be disastrous if it didn't allow the annhilation of Hezbollah. In Lebanon the Hezbollah enjoyed 87% popular support during the recently ended war as they were defending their land which was under attack. To the Lebanese, the Hezbollah were freedom fighters and Nasrallah a hero. If the UN would have tried for a cease fire, you would have seen a lot fewer lebanese babies fried to a crisp. The cease fire was rejected by the US and we continued to send our cluster bomb (baby killing) M26 weapons to Israel and our depleted uranium weapons (repsonsible for a 10 fold increase in birth defects in Iraq and a 5 fold increase in childhood cancer in Iraq) to Israel.
The UN is what the countries which compose it, make of it. Usually the USA is biggest veto throwing bully in the place, including vetoing key propositions such as FISSBAN, a movement that aims at ceasing the production of nuclear weapons grade fissile material around the world (vetoed 147-1). When there is obstruction by influential members, the UN becomes pretty worthless.
Of course there have been problems with peacekeeping forces committing atrocities, which problems need attention.

At a red light in the middle of the night?

You said:

However, don't you give up liberties in exchange for security on a daily basis? ...I defy you (no helping him guys) to come up with one, just one, essential liberty you have given up as a result of the much maligned Patriot Act...

Hmm... "just one, essential liberty...." Define "essential liberty" for me, Jacob. You see, my friends in China live day to day under Communist rule just fine, where arguably many of their "essential liberties" are refused them, so I guess an argument could be made that no liberties are really essential. Perhaps, we should just let big brother tell us what is best, so we can go on enjoying the free food (food stamps) and the two-ring circus (two party system) in our cozy, little Zion-like homes. And, if we ever dare consider the bigger picture, "Your papers, please."

Jacob, thanks for "defying" me, I hope to find occasion to "encourage" you--someday--to stop following every line fed by your "Fatherland's" party. However, if you re-read my post, I was not referring to the Patriot Act, specifically. I was referring to all freedoms, under attack from all sides--both left and right--at all levels--from Socialist local zoning laws to artificial constructs--both corporations and government entities/monopolies--being given preference over individual rights. Just try to exercise your constitutional right to form a militia or bear a real weapon, and let me know how that goes. It seems to me that many people--both Democrat, Republican, Green, Choose your brand--are willing to accept marching/spinning orders from "leaders" of "their party" that they would never accept from the "other party." After all, it's "my party, I'm one of them!"

Since you bring up the Patriot Act, do you honestly think Republicans would have expressed the same level of support for it had been signed by Bill Clinton? Keep in mind the level of distrust that existed under Clinton after Ruby Ridge, Waco, Elian Gonzalez, etc. What if it had come out that Clinton was wire-tapping citizens during his administration (He was) , conducting warrant-less searches, or closed military tribunals for non military personnel? My point is... any power you now give Bush may... probably will... come back to haunt you. (Unless he can figure out how to fix our elections--wait, we've just turned that whole pesky "voting" over to the completely trustworthy "Die"-"bold" Corporation, so I guess that won't ever be a problem. Right???)

It seems that no matter which party we elect, we are slipping down the same slippery slope. Both parties give lip-service to issues to get into office, yet once in office they play tag-team and pass laws that limit freedoms and expand government power, resources, and control--laws that would not have been accepted had the other party passed them. Like a masterful orchestra, Republicans sign bills ("Patriot" Act) that would never get through if the Democrats tried to pass them, and visa-versa. This scenario left Sen. Ron Paul (R) asking on the House floor:

Since the change of the political party in charge has not made a difference, who’s really in charge? If the particular party in power makes little difference, whose policy is it that permits expanded government programs, increased spending, huge deficits, nation building and the pervasive invasion of our privacy, with fewer Fourth Amendment protections than ever before?

Truth be known:

The different states, and even Congress itself, have passed many laws diametrically contrary to the Constitution of the United States…. Shall we be such fools as to be governed by its laws, which are unconstitutional? No! . . . Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.278

You said:

However, I do agree with you about term limits.

And yet you're trying to save Lieberman??? How many terms were you going to suggest?

To Jacob

Jacob,
Well, gg3po has done a lot of the talking for me. He says he doesn't speak for me, nor agree with everything I say, but he has done a lot of the work I was going to do this morning. Thus my comment will be a bit shorter than originally planned and please see gg3po's comment as I second a lot of his views (with a few exceptions).

In the first place. Similar to gg3po, I am against abortion in general, homosexual marriage (though I don't think it's the most important issue out there) and am to the right on issues regarding the family and the sanctity of marriage in general. I too despised Clinton almost as much as Bush. I'm not a democrat, though I'm certainly no republican either. I've never been called an "angry leftist." Maybe I would be better referred to as a, "sad leftist." What are you best referred to as? You don't sound too happy yourself.

In support of Noam Chomsky, I've seen most of his material thru the years and with the exception of his interviews, most of his books back up his views to the hilt with verifiable references. If you know of a specific incident in which he is off-base, I'd like to be aware of it. I've checked out a few incidents where someone has criticized his information, and he has come out on the side of truth each time. Having said as much though, he is not a believer in Christianity, so when you read his words, sometimes it helps to remember that.

As far as Counterpunch.org goes, I admit there are some flaws and propoganda in their messages. However, the site is a posting site for many different intellectuals and journalists and there are a variety of views and topics brought up there. I am usually astute enough to recognize trash when I see it. Of course, when someone like Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Dahr Jamail, Jonathan Cook, Patrick Cockburn, Gabriel Kolko, types of guys post, I pay attention.

Maligning my education in history doesn't make sense to me. I'd like to know which specific historical event I've quoted wrongly.

I am glad to know that you have acceptable historians. Does your acceptance of historians encompass Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States) or Gabriel Kolko (The Politics of War, and Anatomy of a War)? If you like history, I'd recommend these books to anyone.

are critical of American support of autocratic regimes in places like Chile and Greece (you didn't even cite these examples), but this critique is understood in the overall context of the Cold War.

Excuse me, which historians are critical of our support of Chile and Greece? As you know, when the socialist democrat, Allende of Chile was elected, it was against the massive spending by the US on the opposing candidate. We spent more per capita on defeating him than we spent on the 1968 presidential election in the USA. (As I've been accused of not posting references here, I'll make a tiny bit more effort)

The US Dept. of State says that the CIA, "funneled millions of dollars to strengthen opposition political parties..." in Chile in 1970. Read the full report of US interference in Chilean democracy here:

http://foia.state.gov/Reports/HincheyReport.asp

We then supported the financial stranglehold on his country, the coup against Allende, and the brutal and murderous regime of Pinochet. Which historians of that era have spoken in protest of these things?

Your posts belie an ignorance of Realpolitik, the Cold War, and the various trends and politics that entered into the formation of American foreign policy.

So, you'd like me to write about the Iraq war from the perspective of WWII? You'd like me to write about Iran and Israel from the perspective of Realpolitik? I guess I could, but I don't want to write a novel. So, how does the cold war change my arguements on Iraq/Israel/Iran/Lebanon?

I know that our views on the soviets and communism helped form our foreign policy, but I don't excuse it. Why should I be any kinder to our foreign policy in view of the Soviet-Post WWII era, when it led to Suharto killing his million in 1965,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesia/History#Civil_War

and his brutal genocidal rule over East Timor (another baby of Kissinger's by the way)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_East_Timor#Indonesian_invasion_and_occupation

Why should I excuse the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Guatemala in the 1950's and our machinations in defense of the United Fruit Company, which led to a brutal military regime that killed thousands (I think the official number is 70,000) in the succeeding civil war?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_conquest_of_Guatemala#Civil_war

If you weren't so ignorant of the UN's history with Israel and had read Goldberg's article (hat tip: patientobserver), you would know that the UN has more sanctions, resolutions, etc., against Israel than it does against China, Soviet Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and Cambodia combined. Maybe you just think that's because Israel has committed as many human rights violations and slaughtered as many people as Mao, Stalin, Castro, Kim Jong-il (and father), and the Khmer Rouge? Is that what your narrow-minded, ignorant of history, worldview tells you? That Israel really is worse than all of these states?

So that when Israel tries to target Hezbollah and their missile installations, and one of their bombs strays and unfortunately kills an innocent civilian, people like you, who are anxious to blame Israel and America, will call them baby killers.

It is instructive here to see what the soldiers/civilian kill ratio was on each side. I don't know the exact numbers yet, but the ratio was definitely high on the hezbollah side and low on the Israeli side. I don't excuse Hezbollah for bombing Israeli cities, but you could easily make the arguement that Israeli forces were in those cities and the IDF based there was putting Israeli civilians in harms way.

I'll leave it at this for now with a lot of seconding of what gg3po has said. I hope you can come up with some morsels for discussion rather than accusing me of having a baseless foundation. I hope you can come up with some sources to show that my understanding of history is messed up instead of accusing me without providing your own base.

To Jacob continued

Wow, looks like my post was too long. Here's the continuation.

I did read Goldberg's article. It appears that you need a little historical perspective here. In the first place, China and Soviet Russia are on the Security Council. Therefore, their illegal actions, just like the illegal actions of the USA (illegal invasion of Iraq, Afganistan, atrocities at Abu Graib, overthrow of democratically elected governments, support of terrorism in places like Nicaragua etc) will never receive condemnation. Therefore, one reform that needs to be undertaken at the UN is a reform of the veto-power of the Security Council. The UN is definitely not democratic in its administration.

As far as Cuba, North Korea and Cambodia go, these nations have not been involved in the ongoing occupation of its neighbor, war crimes against its neighbors, or illegal imprisonments and torture of its neighbors citizens amounting to a blatant disregard for international law and the 4th Geneva Convention. Israel is far above and beyond your other examples in these areas and does deserve all the attention it is getting from the UN. That's why the US also voted in favor of these resolutions against Israel back in the day. We are more protective of our little buddy over their now though and favor them heavily as evidenced in our support of their latest atrocities.

As far as moral relativism goes, you are as guilty as the next guy. As gg3po pointed out, your hypocrisy reaches crisis proportions in this field. You who cry, "moral relativism!" are ignorant of the same or worse actions that your own government undertakes, which policies you support.

A great example of this is the exampe of Jose Posada-Carilles. He's a wonderful terrorist who blasted a Cuban passenger airliner out of the sky in the 70's, killing 72 people. So, whether you like Castro or not, the guy's a terrorist. He has confessed to other terrorist crimes such as killing an Italian tourist in Cuba with a bomb etc. The FBI has incriminated him and apparently knew about the Airliner bombing before it happened. One of the worst terrorists in the hemisphere. We capture him here last year I believe it was, and hold him. Venezuela asks to extradite him, producing mounds of evidence against him. Because of our apparent dislike for Venezuelan democracy and for Castro, (under the guise of worrying about his potential for being tortured in Venezuela due to one man's testimony)(Imagine that... we care about people being tortured in prison!) we refuse to extradite him and hold him instead on minor Immigration charges and he will soon go free if he hasn't already, to join his partner in the bombing, Orlando Bosch (who has already received a presidential pardon from Bush I and lives as a free man in Miami) to live out his days here under the protection of the banner of our great flag. The irony of course is, that Bush was declaring at the same time that whoever is harboring the terrorists, is the same as the terrorists! It appears that those who undertake terrorism against those we dislike, are perfectly ok, while those who fight against us are the condemned terrorists. This is a good example of moral relativism as it relates to terrorism.

So that when Israel tries to target Hezbollah and their missile installations, and one of their bombs strays and unfortunately kills an innocent civilian, people like you, who are anxious to blame Israel and America, will call them baby killers.

It is instructive here to see what the soldiers/civilian kill ratio was on each side. I don't know the exact numbers yet, but the ratio was definitely high on the hezbollah side and low on the Israeli side. I don't excuse Hezbollah for bombing Israeli cities, but you could just as easily make the arguement that Israeli forces were in those cities and the IDF based there was putting Israeli civilians in harms way as you could make the arguement that Hezbollah put civilians in harms way by making their bases in towns. In many cases, it was claimed that there were no Hezbollah in towns attacked by the IDF as in the case of Qana where there was a massive slaughter of children in an apartment basement by the IDF. Red Cross workers claimed that there were no Hezbollah in town and that no missiles had been fired from there.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0801-02.htm

I'll leave it at this for now with a lot of seconding of what gg3po has said. I hope you can come up with some morsels for discussion rather than accusing me of having a baseless foundation. I hope you can come up with some sources to show that my understanding of history is messed up instead of accusing me without providing your own base.

Hello... Hello...... Hello........ Greetings from the echo chamb

I'm sorry I thought we could have a reasoned debate about these issues.

Sort of hard to have a reasoned debate when you start out throwing terms like "Angry Leftisits" around. Do you see how that might rub folks the wrong way?

I notice how you lumped me in with those you call the "echo chamber" and that is fine. These guys seem to have a good grip on the situation. I find nothing in my posts or their posts that I would classify as Anti-American, but you seem to love labels, so feel free to apply them to whoever you want. It is a great way to ignore the issues.

And what are the issues? If we look back at Lieberman (remember him...he started this whole thread) here is a popular democrat who is respected by many on both sides of the aisle, and was once deemed democrat enough to earn his party's VP spot. And now just a few short years later he can't win a primary. And why can't an incumbant win what is usually a given? Because the majority of voters think his position in Iraq is wrong.

So go ahead and throw everyone who disagrees with you in the anti-American camp. What a great way to build understanding!

Who is angry now?

Echo Chamber indeed

Wow, you guys really enjoy this game of mutual back-patting, yeah?

And is this the banned Narrator in disguise?

Godwin's law

Had never heard of that one before. I love it. I am even guily of it myself!

Objections for Curtis

Curtis,
You and I are in agreement that this war was a very bad idea, and that we, the Iraqis, and the world is probably best served if we end our occupation as soon as possible... However...

I must object to your insistence on framing everything as an American failing or a Bush mistake. Certainly Bush will go down in history as one of our worst Presidents, and certainly America has chosen the wrong course in the matter of the Iraq war, but I think your fault-finding is excessive. You seem to over-reach.

First, I find it difficult to be so critical of the Iraqi election. Was it perfect? No. But it was acceptable. There's nothing wrong with celebrating that.

Second, I don't think its appropriate to be as critical as you are of the Iraqi security forces. Certainly, they are not up to American standards, but that's to be expected. Why be so critical?

Finally, although you are correct that the United States was no angel during the Iraq/Iran war, you seem to want to whitewash the role of the Iranians - who were just as scheming, just as belligerent, and just as bloodthirsty as the Iraqis.

Once again, I agree with you on many counts. I just thing you go overboard. Democracy as a goal is good. Deposing Saddam was good. The war is a net negative, but that doesn't mean there can't be any positive.

Just my two cents.

Seriously?

Curtis,

Your latest commentary reflects exactly the lack of historical perspective and realistic expectation I refer to in every comment I've made regarding Iraq. You mistake a transitional government for Bush and America's long term goals of democracy in Iraq. Are you familiar with Japanese history immediately post-WWII? Douglas MacArthur led a pretty un-democratic US military government that oversaw the creation of the Japanese constitution and eventually handed over control to the Japanese. It was a long and difficult process then and remains a long and difficult process now.

What's amazing, Curtis, is that despite the fear caused by Baathists and Iranian influenced Shiite terrorists, Iraqis still turned out in overwhelming numbers. Why? Because for the first time since Saddam took power, they were actually self-determining. If you think it's an important detail that they didn't actually know who they were voting for on an individual basis, I encourage you to take a comparative government course. There you will learn that most parliamentary democracies vote for parties, not individuals. America is the exception in that sense.

The Iraqi security forces are not "apparently" the bad guys. In some cases we know for certain that they have been co-opted by Shiite and Sunni militias. But these few exceptions should not be mistaken for a general trend. As noted before, Iraqi security forces maintain security in a number of southern territories and as they become better trained, they are being given increasing roles in the rest of the country.

Where do you get this crazy information that US forces simply sit back and watch while violence occurs? That's ridiculous. Do you honestly think that American forces generally, would just look on as innocents are killed? Come on Curtis, don't make such untenable arguments.

I don't just think Iran and Syria are major contributors to the security problems in Iraq, I know. In fact, the article you cite to prove that they do not, says exactly the opposite of what you claim.

Caldwell said recently-manufactured Iranian weapons and munitions had been found in Iraq.

"We do believe that some Shi'ite elements have been in Iran receiving training. But the degree to which this is known and endorsed by the government of Iran is uncertain," he said.

Several powerful Shi'ite militias, including the Badr Organization and the Mehdi Army, supporters of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al Sadr, have long-standing ties with Tehran.

Caldwell said the contacts were via "third elements associated with Iran."

"We do know that weapons have been provided and IED (improvised explosive device) technology has been made available to these extremist elements," he said.

That this directly contradicts the statement you made makes me wonder if you actually read the articles you use to support your argument or simply the headlines. Not only did that article not support the reality you create, but the blog you cite, so clearly written by someone with anti-American beliefs, even blames Iran for many of the problems in Iraq. Or didn't you read that one closely either? Or maybe you just didn't read what I wrote. I argue that Iran and Syria exert influence and cause violence through their proxies in Lebanon and Iraq. You burned the straw man that Iran had forces in Iraq. Fine. No Iranian military forces in Iraq. That does not materially affect my argument that Iran supports through training, arms, intelligence, money, etc., terrorits forces operating inside Iraq and Lebanon.

Furthermore, if you think that Iran is a peaceful state with no aggresive ambitions in the Middle Easy, you are sadly living in an alternative reality. Where have you been for the last 18+ months as Iran has very publicly pursued a nuclear program? Additionally, they have made threats against Israel that are impossible to misunderstand or miscontrue. Statments like wiping Israel off the map, killing all Jews, etc., are pretty belligerant statements. Iran wants the nuke so it can dominate regional-politics in the Middle East. It supports Shiite terrorists in Iraq and Lebanon to expand its influence into countries that are controlled by either Sunni or secular regimes. The writing is on the wall Curtis.

Regarding Hezbollah: Here's the dirt on the "political prisoner" Hezbollah wanted released (excerpt from Best of the Web by James Taranto)

When Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers two weeks ago, provoking the current conflagration, the Shiite terrorist outfit apparently intended to use them as bargaining chips to demand the release of prisoners. Press reports often discuss this as if there were an equivalence between the Israeli soldiers, who committed no crimes but were simply defending their own country within its borders, and Arab terrorists. So it's worth pointing out just who the "prisoners" in Israeli hands are.

According to the BBC "the prisoner Hezbollah wants most" is Samir Qantar. On April 22, 1979, Qantar murdered 28-year-old Danny Haran and his 4-year-old daughter and caused the death of another Haran daughter, age 2. Haran's widow, Smadar Haran Kaiser, describes the crime (she transliterates the murderer's name as "Kuntar"):

It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border.

Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer.

As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat.

They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother," I thought.

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.

The BBC gives a rather more sanitized account of the crime: "Qantar . . . attacked a block of flats in Nahariha in 1979, killing a father and his daughter."

Enough with this moral relativism. Hezbollah is bad and Israel, with few outstanding exceptions, is good. Your baseless claims that Israel made frequent incursions into Lebanon for whatever reason are just that, baseless claims. The truth is that it was Hezbollah, a terrorist group operating under the nose of the UN and the Lebanese government, in direct contradiction of a UN order to disarm, with the support of Iran and Syria, made frequent attacks on Israel.

Also, please review Afghanistan history. Compare for yourself if it is better off now than it was during the Soviet invasion, following their pullout, under Massoud, and finally under the Taliban. Your skewed vision of Afghanistan and inability to place it in its proper historical make your claims ridiculous in the extreme. Afghanistan is better off. Women can vote and attend school. Democratic elections take place. Opium production, warlordism, and terrorism are on the decline.

Do not mistake isolated incidence of sectarian violence, terrorism, or other setbacks for general failure of US policy in Afghanistan or Iraq.

You got me!

Maybe because subconsciously I think I'm smarter than you.

Dang it, did I say that out loud?

Check yourself, bro

Mattctr:

Remember, I'm not the one who used the modifier "essential" in setting the terms of the debate. You did when you introduced (and you quoted it more accurately in your post for provopulse) it in the form of Franklin's quote.

The burden to define the term is yours, not mine. I understood the inherent difficulty in defining "essential" when I challenged you to identify a single right that had been violated. The closest you came was with imminent domain. And I'm with you there. I believe the Supreme Court will overturn the ruling sometime in the not too distant future.

However, the question you raised regarded security and rights. I challenged you to come up with a single [essential] right you had exchanged for temporary security and you still have not met the challenge.

Lawrence's objections

All right Lawrence, I can handle your criticisms. I think you are right about the election. I will back off a bit. It was very imperfect as demonstrated by the lack of international observers (it was too dangerous to observe except from Jordan), but nonetheless, an election unlike any election they'd had in their history.
The Iraqi Security forces are another story. Many of them are involved in the sectarian violence that has devastated the country recently. It is entirely appropriate to be as critical of them as I am. Did you see the link I provided from the lady that blogs from Bagdad?
As far as the Iran Iraq war goes, as I recall, it was Iraq that attacked Iran with US approval, and it was Iraq that used chemical weapons on Iran, also with US approval. Surely Iran was no sweetheart, but at least they didn't start the conflict.

Short reply

Just a short reply as I have not time to reply fully now.

As for American forces sitting back and watching what is going on, I get that from the lady blogging from Iraq. I don't know that she is telling the truth, but she has been a consistent source of good information in the past.
It does seem like a reasonable assumption though. Didn't we put 75,000 soldiers in Bagdad with a heavy curfew a few months ago? If we are not sitting back, we are incompetent nincompoops. Violence has exploded in Bagdad since we went there to cool it off recently. Her statement is perfectly tenable.
More later.