Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Blog Banter: JYB's First Golden Bombbelt Award - Con-blogger Bryan Preston has created an award essentially to bestow the charge of treason, if not outright terrorism, on some liberal Bush critic or anti-war exponent. His first awardee is none other than Al Gore. Here's what Bryan concludes with in his post on the subject:

By all rights, by all that is American, Al “Qaeda” Gore should be brought up on charges of treason. He has intentionally given aid and comfort to the enemy. He has nourished their propaganda efforts for years to come. He’s an irresponsible menace, and apparently supports hobbling our government in a time of war. The only way to make any rational sense of his remarks is that he wants us to lose this war.

I don’t have the power to bring charges against Gore, but I can award him the first Golden Bombbelt Award. And Al “Qaeda” Gore, the latest Democrat politician to turn on his country and proclaim the terrorists who beheaded Nick Berg and killed thousands on a sunny fall day “righteous,” deserves it and much, much worse.

He deserves censure, scorn and to be cast into the outer darkness for as long as he lives. For starters.
Now, I can see how conservatives would have a beef with Gore; but is the equation of Gore with an al Qaeda terrorist at all acceptable? I think not. It's no different than making the outlandish claim that the U.S. military abuse at Abu Ghraib is equivalent to Saddam's abusive treatment of people at the same prison. It's no different than equating Bush to Hitler. It's all indecent and unjust. I've had a bit of an exchange with Bryan on his comment board for this post, which you might find interesting to read. But most importantly, I'd be curious as to your opinion on what I consider to be nothing more than an unjust moral equivalence that rightwingers so detest when it comes from the left.

Liberal Lighthouse: Where Y'at, YatPundit ... He's back! - For my regular readers, I just want to bring to your attention that one of my favorite bloggers is back in the mix, with a snappy new look. What's more, he's a true blogmate ... A New Orleanian who likes to analyze the local scene as well as keep up with the national and international current events ... and all from a well-shaped liberal perspective. He calls himself, fittingly, YatPundit. So, pay him a visit and don't hesitate to drop a little "yat" speak on him, dawlin'!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Lagniappe: What Kerry's Iraq Policy Should Be - Much has been made about the absence of a clear Iraq policy from the Kerry campaign. For instance, Andrew Sullivan points out that, even though the Bush Iraq policy leaves much to be desired, it's better than Kerry's non-policy. Well, I've been thinking about this criticism and I'd like to suggest a win-win strategy for Kerry that allows him to stay true to his liberal principles, to appease the anti-war crowd, and to work towards a more stable and democratic Iraq. How is this possible? Well, consider this ...

First, Kerry must emphasize that this war was not of his making. He will inherit it if he wins in November. He doesn't even need to criticize the Bush Administration for leading us into war. He just needs to accept the reality as a given that requires firm, decisive leadership. Furthermore, he should emphasize the need for greater engagement in Iraq (albeit using the language of peace policy as opposed to war policy) instead of disengagement, for which Bush is taking the heat from his pro-war conservative base (i.e. the abdication of Fallujah). He can and should frame this engagement as a moral obligation resulting from an ill-advised war. In other words, if he argues to the American people that the U.S. has a special obligation to nation-rebuilding in Iraq because of its role in nation-destruction, he rides the moral high ground. He can say that the situation in Iraq is messy, but that we can't just up and leave it that way out of a sense of humanitarian concern and just compensation for the destruction inflicted on the people and land of Iraq. If I were Kerry, I'd promise to seek even additional funding from Congress to support nation-building enterprises that include civic reconstruction projects as well as greater security and defense forces by promising more boots on the ground. He can use this need for greater resources to repeal the more unpopular aspects of the Bush tax cuts that seem to disproportionately benefit the wealthy. In the meantime, he can use this leverage to generate funding from the repeals of these parts of the tax cut package to finance his domestic policy proposals as well, while still working towards a balanced budget. What does Kerry gain domestically from this strategy? He gains sympathy from liberal supporters at home of the humanitarian mission in Iraq, he gains support from those who think greater security in Iraq will come from a larger contingent of soldiers on the ground, and if he liberalizes the occupation by multilateralizing it as he promises in ways that don't jeopardize the U.S. independence for action, he will elicit broader international support and participation for Iraqi reconstruction.

All Kerry has to do is to demonstrate how he will throw the U.S. more fully into post-war nation-building (and he can do this by outlining specific programs to influence civic and political culture towards democracy at the grass-roots), develop a realistic timeline and concrete benchmarks for small, but steady progress, and explain a firm commitment to a gradual de-militarization of the occupation.

What risks does this strategy run? Well, it runs the risk of having to deal with a disruptive resistance that will settle for nothing less than complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq ... but how is that different than what we have now? It also runs the risks of losing control and authority that come with decentralization and multilateralization. But that is a risk that I think will produce more of a "peace" dividend that the current unilateralism is able to accomplish.

In the end, I think a more engaged, humanitarian phase of nation-building is the ticket for Kerry. The GOP's contribution is the hawkishness that made for an impressive conventional military victory. But that moment is spent and the GOP is on unfamiliar territory in the post-war reconstruction phase. This is precisely the phase where the Democrats have something to offer. The trick is in not abandoning the new and potentially democratic Iraq, but embracing it and nurturing it more fully and more peacefully.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Blog Banter: Conservatives on Louisiana Politics - I recently asked a question on John Hawkins' blog, RightWingNews regarding an explanation for Louisiana's paradox of being a pretty successful state for Democrats electorally, but a pretty GOP friendly, conservative state ideologically. The responses to my question were interesting. Go here to read Hawkins' answer, and check out other replies on the discussion thread that evolved from Hawkins' posting. I have to thank Hawkins for picking my question out of the many he received to respond to on his main blog page.

Lagniappe: Losing Iraq - Anti-war liberals are always chided by pro-war conservatives for always seeming to emphasize the negatives in Iraq and overlooking the positives. There may be some justification in this charge; but I don't necessarily see it as something to be chided for. The positive outcomes are, in the end, what we expect to see, and so we don't fall all over ourselves and pat ourselves on the back when things go right. This, I think, is pretty much standard operating procedure in any type of performance context. Movie Reviews (or book reviews, for that matter) always mention whether or not the piece is good; but almost always, one can bet that even the few flaws in a very good movie or book will be the items that get undue attention in the reviews. And I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. As we strive for perfection and success, we are always looking at the points where improvement can take place -- even when systems seem to operate very efficiently and productively. Likewise with the war in Iraq and with the post-war occupation. We NEED to emphasize the failures and the negatives and the weaknesses so that we can improve upon them and thus position ourselves better for a successful conclusion in the end. To focus on the positives, even equally, runs the rist of neutralizing the quest and push for improvement. I think such an attitude leads to complacency. So, it is necessary and right for all of us, anti-war liberals and pro-war conservatives alike, to highlight those improvement areas. I mention all of this because I think the post-war occupation situation is perilously close to failure, even in spite of the routine and day-to-day accomplishments that one can point to. The Coalition at the top of the administrative pyramid appears to be self-destructing. Iraqis are after their fellow Iraqis, US civilian and military officials are after not only internal breakdowns in order and command (i.e. Abu Ghraib) but also after Iraqis, both friendly (Chalabi) and unfriendly (Sadr). As the time for transition to an Iraqi government approaches in a few short weeks, the situation appears to be more chaotic as the date draws near. I place the blame squarely on the Bush Administration, which never ever found its footing in post-war management in Iraq. The Bush Administration seems to be functioning like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming 18-wheeler traveling well above the speed limit. There seems to be no sign that it can get its act together in time. And as the situation deteriorates, frustrated and bewildered conservatives and Bush supporters are frantically looking to blame anything and anyone EXCEPT the Bush Administratin for current events in Iraq. In fact, conservatives seem to be drawing their attention away from the Iraqi and muslim terrorists that are struggling on the battlefield and focusing more on the perceived "enemy within" by blaming liberal criticism of the war and liberal media coverage of events in Iraq as the decisive variable in the bleak situation we are witnessing there. I want my fellow Americans to know that the success of this venture in Iraq hinges on NOT avoiding the failures of those responsible for managing the situation, but on emphasizing them and attempting to correct them. To not do so runs the greater risk of losing this war than anything Teddy Kennedy or Michael Moore has to say about it. This is something die-hard conservative pro-war supporters, if they really want to win the war, would do well to keep in mind as they look objectively at the Bush Administration's deplorable record in Iraq to date.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Lagniappe: Bush the Law-Breaker ... Impeach! Impeach! - The Bush Administration breaks federal law by passing along a piece of propaganda as an "objective" news report and failing to identify itself as the source of the piece. But it gets better! The Bush Administration used your Medicare contributions to pay for the thing! How can any conservative who claims to have any concern for integrity in upholding the law and in transparent accountability justify this scandal? YES, SCANDAL! We've been bilched AND duped!

Monday, May 17, 2004

Lagniappe: Gay Marriage in MA - Well, I, for one, am disposed to think of extending the joys and grace of marriage to gay couples as nothing but a positive. How can bringing something good to people be a bad thing? I think it is perhaps this small detail that gives pause to the opponents of gay marriage as they make their case. They have to be careful by somehow conveying that their opposition to gay marriage is not in opposition to the basic human dignity of gay people. But this is a tricky position precisely because gay people, and even many heterosexuals, recognize this distinction as nothing more than hollow words. I am happy for gay people who can now marry because if their lives are more fulfilled and happy because if it, then the world is a better place. And we could always use a better world.

But the frenetic, irrational wrangling coming out of the arguments of gay marriage opponents has reached a fevered pitch. Just today, the National Review Online has published a series of articles on the subject. What do we hear? Well, we all know that prior to this date, the big complaint came from those who decried the "activist" judges who supposedly legislated gay marriage from the bench. But, even this is now not enough, and folks are beginning to say it is just as much the legislature's fault as it is the judiciary's. Others are going in the other direction and saying it is ultimately the executive's fault. This merry-go-round of "blame" only affirms to me that we actually have a pretty good political system and balance of powers that works quite well. If you can find blame for the "failure" of government that transcends one particular branch, you've got to recognize that things just don't happen (or do happen) because of the exclusive behavior of one branch.

In my view, this welcome development on gay marriage has been a long time in coming and it has moved peacefully and procedurally through our political, legal, and judicial system. Our system works fine, and we have to trust that it will, warts and all, produce that which is best for and reflective of our democracy and polity.

Liberal Lighthouse: Fred Kaplan Revisits a Dirty Little Secret - In his most recent piece for Slate, Fred Kaplan gives us a convincing argument that the responsibility for Abu Ghraib goes all the way up the chain of command to none other than Bush himself. But even more striking, in my mind, about Kaplan's piece is that he points us via a weblink to an NBC News report written by Jim Miklaszewski on March 2, 2004, about one Abu Musab Zarqawi, the infamous al Qaeda terrorist who most recently sawed off American Nick Berg's head. You've got to read this article to believe it. Upon retrospect, it's quite astounding. Here's one part of it:

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

“Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn’t do it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.
What's incredible about this article is that it reveals that the Bush Administration had the opportunity to do something about Zarqawi long before the Iraq war started, thus potentially preventing the grisly murder of Berg, but chose not to for political reasons having to do with keeping alive a justification of the war. Conservatives like to complain that Clinton blew his chance to get Osama before 9/11 from the Sudan, but they are eerily silent on this little Bush fiasco regarding Zarqawi. What can we make of this?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Lagniappe: Rumsfeld Prefers Iraq to the U.S. - From this AP Newswire report about his surprise visit to Iraq, Rumsfeld said: "It's generally a lot more fun here than it is back home.'" Party time in Baghdad, Fallujah, and Najaf! Difference with Rumsfeld's mini-vacation to Iraq is that he gets to come home once the "fun" wears off.

Blog Banter: The Kind of Folks Who Visit RightWingNews - I used to have some respect for John Hawkins' site as a hard-line, but respectful conservative blog. But, I wonder if it's not all smoke-and-mirrors -- you know, like David Duke claiming he's not a racist -- ... Now, truthfully, I don't think John Hawkins is the type of conservative that will sanction what you are about to read, but he also has not really come out against these comments on his blog. So, I figured that I'd take a page from Hawkins' own blogger book and post comments on his site like he likes to do on occasion with dialogue coming out of the Democratic Underground comment boards. I'll let you decide what to think of RightWingNews on your own. Keep in mind that the folks speaking in these comments are fairly regular readers and posters on the RightWingNews website. (NOTE: I'm printing this string of comments unedited and as they appeared chronologically and verbatim on the comment board. Out of fairness, I'm not cherry-picking comments like Hawkins does. NOTE 2: Shergald, P_Stick, and Blackman are liberal left-wingers who post to the site. The rest, to my knowledge, are conservative right-wingers.)

UPDATE NOTE: RWN reader sevens takes me to task for not mentioning what the following thread is about. Taking his criticism as a valid point, let me point out right now, if it isn't clear in the context of the discussion board, that the discussion was in response to American Nick Berg's brutal murder and beheading by radical Muslim terrorists. To view the original posting on RWN that generated the discussion, visit here to read the entry Hawkins titles "Arab Street Erupts in Rage Over Beheading Video By Scott Ott," which is posted as a satirical piece. ... That said, with appropriate "context" provided, read the following dialogue and make up your own mind.

These muslims remind me of the jocks at my highschool. They could push you around, call you what ever name they wanted, travled in groups and found the lone geek in the hall to assualt. The moment you said anything back to them, they became enraged at how DARE you insult THEM! They can dish it out all day long, and it's fine, the moment somone else even does a half assed attempt to retaliate, they come unglued and beat you with a baseball bat(yes, that's what they did)for your insolent crime.

Ok, so I have issues with jocks, but this is the same damn attitude that we see here. Flat out, if they did not instigate the majority of the violence, we would not have had the violence. The US, does not bomb or invade people that we like. The US is mostly harmless but has had to be on friendly terms with assholes because the alternitive was worse.

Forgive me if I think that the whole ME should disapear in a radioactive cloud. Forgive me if I want to see the guts of those pig fucking, goat sodamizing bastards spread all over a large blast zone. I could live my whole life without really, really wanting to kill somone, yet these little sand-dick fucks can't go a whole week without the blood of some innocent on their hands.

Do I feel that I am better than them. HELLL FUCKING YES! Do I feel that the US is better than them? GOD DAMN YES! And I don't want to see the wet blanket of liberal equivication thrown on this outrage. KILL THE FUCKS. The Arabs and Muslims have proven time and time again that they can't play well with others. For the sake of this planet, I want a holocost that has never been seen before. I want their fucking MOOOOOSSSLLIM mosqs burnt to the ground, the men hanging from their beards form every telephone pole and fat crows pecking out their eyes. I blame each and every godddam arab/muslim dick for this crime and wish them all a slow and painful death.

Can I make this any more clear?

by useless on 2004-05-12 19:02:29


Blackman asked about the violence potential of extreme right wing Republicans, and I guess his question was answered. Not only useless, but many others seem ready to cut someone's throat in the name of God-fearing religious right Republican Americans and I just hope I'm not around when the bubble breaks because it seems to me that the nearest slimeball traitors who will be targeted are called liberals. Liberals=Arabs=anyone who disagrees with the extreme right wing Republican agenda.

by shergald on 2004-05-12 19:15:28


I don't belive in the white man's god shergald. If it makes you feel any better, this is just how my ancestors felt about you white-skins. I am however, an American and I don't give a rats-fucking-left-nut if you think I am out of pocket, or worse yet "off the reservation". If you have an enemy, it's best to hate him, his children, his friends, his uncle and his third cusion. This is a war, goddamit, a friggin war, not a police action, not a time to "reflect". WAR. You don't spare your enemy an ounce of pitty.

by useless on 2004-05-12 19:22:42



you are a hateful, hateful prat.

why don't you fuck off to Iraq if you are so eager to kill some arabs.

that goes for the rest of you spousing so much shit. why don't you go and do something about it?

Berg was a staunch Bush supporter and followed his beliefs. and to that I take my hat off.

but I wouldn't piss on most of you if you were on fire

by johnson on 2004-05-12 19:47:12


you reserve all your piss for america?

by d_Brit on 2004-05-12 19:58:07


I would not ASK you to piss on anyone if they were on fire. You jello-spined liberals wanna wring your little pasty white hands and wonder about if we are "good" enough to try and win this war on terror. You want to make sure that ony if our cause is noble (and to you, it isn't) then we can try and lift a finger to do something about it. Meanwhile we have a war. You want us to stop and ask about the "feelings" of those arab camel dick sucking swine? THEY are animals. THEY have proven it time and time again. More the the point, they are RABBID animals, and need to be put down.

by useless on 2004-05-12 19:58:21


Oh, and Jhonson, I'll re-enlist and go kill ragheads as soon as you move to some socialist paradise.

by useless on 2004-05-12 20:40:15


I'm guessing we won't see any Conservative outrage over useless' comments.

by P_Stick on 2004-05-12 20:48:02


Was anyone here assigned to this site as part of anger management therapy? If so, I'm afraid it is not working very well for you. Report to your therapist immediately before you hurt somebody.

by shergald on 2004-05-12 20:57:39


Shergald, Im waiting for your cut/paste about Sweden, where the hell is it?

Im in on this one late and I see a lot of baiting and name calling. Too bad it degenerates to that.

Anyway, conservatives are right and liberals are wrong. There; simple, concise, factual. Wasnt that easy?

by BlackCopterAbductee on 2004-05-12 21:38:51


pstick why don't you analyze WHY useless FEELS the way he does - isn't that your usual M.O.?

by texascatbacker on 2004-05-12 21:56:57



useless' comments were over the top. their extremeness pales however next to liberal equivalence of american abuse with berg's beheading. THAT is truely obscene.

by d_Brit on 2004-05-12 22:01:47


Liberals continue to cry.

shergald: "Not only useless, but many others seem ready to cut someone's throat in the name of God-fearing religious right Republican Americans"

Cut a terrorists throat, hell yes. Personally, I'd rather shoot them in the head, since I'm kind of lazy when it comes to animals.

Johnson, I'm not going to re-post what you said, but you're not being very nice. As I recall, you're that sensitive, abnoxious little fellow who thinks I have a "perverted curiosty". I think you need a time out. And I would actually prefer it if you did not "piss on most of you if you were on fire". I would rather you throw a bucket of water on me. Of course, that might endanger the fish that swim in it, so I guess I can't count on that.

P_Stick came out with this: "I'm guessing we won't see any Conservative outrage over useless' comments."

I don't appreciate useless' comments regarding Arabs/Muslims, but I agree with the basis of his argument and can easily see where the anger comes from. As for your crowd, I don't appreciate the comments you make about this country or us religious folk, so I'm more concerned with you.

Shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, I was talking to my father, who is even farther right than I am. He said then that liberals wouldn't understand the danger of terrorism until they wiped out two major liberal cities. I thought he was crazy at the time. In the two years since then, I've learned how wise he was.

By the way, last I checked, Ted Kennedy's car had killed more people than the guards at Abu Ghraib.

by Schroman2002 on 2004-05-12 22:27:39


my government schooling taught me that minorities, such as that of which useless is a part, were more than welcome to go on using racial epithets...i cannot find him at fault here

tounge-in-cheek, and yet dead serious at the same time - lay off useless - he may be pissed, but y'all (shergald, pstick, johnson - who the fuck is this johnson guy?) have used the same exact logic in "feeling" for all other minorities and allowing them to behave in whatever fashion they will for 20 years, because they are of minority status

you owe useless the same, or you're hypocrites - you pick

by texascatbacker on 2004-05-12 22:38:25


Hey, I haven't seen USELESS cut a KIDS head off...

Normally in a situation such as we have on this sight I'd say - "we all need to calm down" - but no, not now... I'm just as pissed as the day 3,000 of my fellow citizens as well as from 90 other countries were murdered. You seem to think because we have anger toward Arabs and Muslims in particular, that that will lead to having anger toward anyone who doesn't agree with us... no, that's frustration. I haven't seen a lib cut a kids head off either - I have seen Arabs and Muslins do it on a number of occasions. We understand the difference - and we always will. We just wish some of you would wise up and realize what you've seen (If you even had the nerve to watch it in the first place)... it will change your life. It should open your eyes since apparently 9/11 meant nothing more than a grief holiday for a couple of weeks, when all the liberals had to fall in line with the rest of the countries outrage and anger - then it was back to hating America and everything it stands for.

If I smacked you, would you try to defend yourself or would you beg me not to kick your ass? What if I smacked you around for centuries? Would you get to the point when you say enough is enough? We've been smacked around enough - to the point where some of you don't even care that a kid got his head cut off. You see it as an opportunity to once again morally equivalate and degrade America. Those on the right have had enough. It's time for the utter destruction of these terrorist and "peace loving" Muslims/Arabs.

by sevens on 2004-05-12 23:57:18



"This just in: it was suggested by someone in the here at work for that the kid might have been Jewish? Does anyone know if this is accurate?"

Berg is also a Scandinavian name. It doesn't really matter; he was American and a civilian. I don't care if he was a purple Satanist, he was one of us.

Personally, I believe that the President should have let the Marines retake Fallujah two weeks ago. Go in with heavy armor & C-130’s and level anything that houses an insurgent.

by Bildo on 2004-05-13 00:11:17


Look, guys, my point of view is simple: If this latest round of "justice" from the islamofacists does not clue you into the reality that these are animals that need to be put down, I just don't know what will. We did not ask our fighting men of WW2 to try and understand the japs. We asked them to kill them. We did not ask our men in ANY war to "understand" the enemy. But in this war, we are. In fact we are not only being fed a line of moral equivication, we are also being told that WE are just as bad or worse than THEY are. As if our troops should do the world a favor and start shooting their officers, that would make the libs happy.

I have heard murderer's, rapists, and all manner of criminals tell me reasons, that their actions were clearly justified. And I would say the same thing to you all. That guy, that chopped up and killed little kids, yea, I'd pull the lever and and his life, gladly. That serial rapist, yes, I would tap a veign and put him out of societies misery. If I was on a jurry, and had to vote death penalty for some dick who deserved it, damn right I would. And I wouldn't loose a minute of sleep either.

Indians, we were warriors. We did far, far worse things to eachother before there were whites. Then we started doing it to whites, and look where it got us. Some of our people knew that it was time to change their ways and forced those changes, or face extermination. We NEED the these raghead fucks to be confronted with the EXACT same situation. Change or die. Learn to live with the reality of a changing world, or die. Adapt or die. Figure out that your religion is a religion of lies and villany. Decide to take care of your own before there none of you left to take care of cuz brother, I hope to god we come gunning for your sick assess.

So, until they can learn to exist with other humans on this planet, then they must learn the lesson of the fruits of their psychotic labors. If these fucks are not the embodyment of what Satanism means, I don't know what it is then. They are an evil infection that should be obliterated. If you are a liberal, and these words hurt your silly little feelings, ask your self what wars were ever won by guys that "felt" for their enemy. NONE.

by useless on 2004-05-13 02:09:38


I think I read this last post somewhere else, possibly in the writings of Goebbel who spoke about the Jews of Europe in similar terms during the 1930s. They used animal images as well to characterize Jews, posters of rats and other vermin. The idea was to dehumanize them which later made it possible for average people like us to operate the extermination machine. You say there is a difference between us and them. I don't think so. There was wide support for lynching of blacks in the south by average people which continued until not too long ago; there was wide support for interment of Japanese citizens during the WWII; and there seems to be wide support for jailing of ' Islamists,' as somebody put it, now. 'We have faced the enemy, and it is us,' said pogo. Let's stop thinking we are something special. We are all human beings and capable of the best and the worst of our kind.

by Blackman on 2004-05-13 10:18:43


"Let's stop thinking we are something special. We are all human beings and capable of the best and the worst of our kind."

Nice moral equivalence you got there. We are all bad, we are all good, so it's all good, right? You forgot something, though. The Jews in Germany and the blacks in America were not the birthing ground for vicious animals that targeted civilians for slaughter, and they did not torture and execute too many people because they were trying to rebuild a country. You can try to take the fact that these murdering scumbags are Muslims out of the equation all you want, but it just will not disappear. You can try to dismiss the fact that just about every war going on right now (with the exception of the actions in South America) has Muslims involved as a belligerent force, but that little fact will not go away, either. No shit, not all Muslims are like this, but then again, not all Germans were Nazis, either. We sure had to kill an awful lot of them, though, to end that madness. The real question is, how many Muslims like this will it take for them to gain more power in Muslim lands, until we are faced with a WWII situation (AKA WWIII). If we could've stopped the Nazis in the early to mid 30's with a preemptive war, should we have? If you have to really think about the answer to that question, then you need your moral barometer checked.

by sabiticus on 2004-05-13 10:39:07


Last poster: a perfect description of the catastrophic results the Iraq invasion is having on world peace. Every week, we are hearing news of terrorist attacks, not just in Iraq, but in numerous countries. One quarter of the world's population is Islamic. These terrorists undoubtedly account for a fraction of a percent of them. Yet, we are seeing this 'war president' stimulating sentiments that we are at war with Islam. Bush has engaged in the most disasterous foreign policy of any president ever and as a consequence, has made the world less safe, and inspired followers such as persons on this site, to talk about 'the war.' Indeed, after two plus years of this war against terror Al Qaeda remains a viable organization that is still a threat here in America.

Unless one believes that all of the 'sand niggers' deserve to be held responsible for 9/11, then there is a moral equivalence here, as most Islamic people do not support Al Qaeda. That there is antiAmerican sentiment in the Islamic world is understandable since they have been watching Israeli mistreatment of Arabs in the westbank for decades, something tacitly supported by America. This conflict has been a symbol of America's attitude toward Arabic and Islamic peoples for generations and needs to be resolved. Even here, Bush has now gone ahead for political reasons and screwed up again.

by Blackman on 2004-05-13 11:21:25


--Sabiticus, you must have missed my post on blackman. To paraphrase: don't bother trying to have reasonale discourse with him. He is a pig in mud and if you wrestle with him, it will get you no where, but he will enjoy it. He is also a flaming moron.

--Useless, thanks for your comments... you spoke for lots and lots and lots of us.

by Devil_Dog on 2004-05-13 11:22:29


PS: Jew in Germany and Blacks in America were not the birthing ground for vicious animals? Really? I gather that you probably have never seen pictures of bodies of Jews heaped in piles around the extermination camps or of mob-lynched blacks hanging from trees in the south. Take a look then come back and give us your impression.

by Blackman on 2004-05-13 11:29:38


blackman's comment says it all,

"You say there is a difference between us and them. I don't think so."

In making the comment, blackman has unwittingly revealed the truth about himself, seeing no real difference between himself and terrorists because it's ALL subjectively relative.

He hasn't a clue as to what that says about him.

by d_Brit on 2004-05-13 11:40:17


Useless doesn't speak for me, although I do understand his rage. I don't consider Arabs "ragheads" and I don't hold the arab ethnic group responsible for the evil of some people who happen to be Arabs. Nor do I hold to blackman's term "sand niggers" because both are equally reprehensible and pointless. I don't want to butcher every person with a robe on, and I don't want to nuke any middle east cities. I want the Arab people to be happy, wealthy, healthy, and comfortable like me.

That's the difference between the US and the extremists over there. They want us dead or cowering at their feet. We want them standing tall and living free, as brothers and friends. We want them to experience the joy of liberty and prosperity that we have every day. They want us to be destroyed and crushed beneath their hatred.

I want the men responsible for terrorist acts dead. I want the ones who supported these acts held to justice and removed from power. I want the people who live in those areas to see the price for evil acts and to see that there's no future in them. I hold the ones responsible in contempt and want them brought to justice.

by Christopher_Taylor on 2004-05-13 11:41:30

Any comments on the comments? Let's hear them.

UPDATE: The full thread of this comment board can be accessed here, if you want to see how the thread started, how it degenerated, and where it is now. Make up your own mind.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Lagniappe: Admissions of Imperialism from a Conservative? - Is it just me, or has George Will, in his most recent column, basically admitted that the U.S. is engaged in an Imperial Adventure in Iraq? What should one make of this little gem in Will's column: "A nation, especially one doing the business of empire, needs high officials to be highly attentive to what is done in their departments -- attentive far down the chain of command, as though their very jobs depended on it." [Emphasis added.]

Blog Banter: Andrew Sullivan's Email of the Day - Well, what do you know ... Andrew Sullivan made my most recent email letter to him his Daily Dish email of the day for May 12, 2004. Thanks, Andrew, I'm truly honored.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Blog Banter: Andrew Sullivan, Abu Ghraib, Nick Berg and the Escalation of Violence - In his justifiable outrage at the grotesque and horrifying public beheading of Nick Berg, Andrew Sullivan calls for an escalation of the propaganda war. I replied to Andrew by sending him this email:

LETTER: Show the Pictures and Watch the Escalation.

Andrew - While I do not necessarily disagree with the release of all images of horror in order to put these abominations into some sort of comparable context, I am very much disturbed and worried by the effect of such acts and the motivations for your calling for this display of a violence-in-the-media free-for-all. It seems to me that we need to be careful of playing one-upsmanship with regard to violence. The murderers that beheaded Nick Berg, in the words of one of my hometown's famous chefs, "kicked it up a notch" and used Abu Ghraib as the excuse for doing so. Now, in the wake of this unfathomable public decapitation horror, we will have U.S. citizens who were once queasy about Abu Ghraib, now frothing at the mouth and calling for the heads of Iraqi POWs on a platter - no matter their innocence or their harmlessness in captivity. It seems to me that the intention of your call to grisly voyeurism is not to create perspective to eliminate the need for atrocities and inhumanities, but rather to desensitize us to the "lesser" cruelties of Abu Ghraib to the point where we perhaps may justify and tolerate it with a wink and a nod -- raising the bar for what is considered "acceptable" levels of abominations. Such grisly voyeurism demands the escalation of "bigger and better" brutality. And in the justifiable outrage you feel at the moment, I think you are unwittingly and unthinkingly walking this dangerous path.
I am more and more worried by all this killing and violence. I'd welcome your thoughts.

Lagniappe: William Buckley on Rumsfeld's Future - What does the Dean of the conservative punditocracy have to say about Rumsfeld's future: TOAST! (almost). Though Buckley doesn't say so directly, the implication of his piece is pretty darn clear. Buckley's no longer clearly on the Rumsfeld bandwagon ... and where Buckley goes, many Conservatives will no doubt follow.

Lagniappe: Retribution for Abu Ghraib ... Violence Begets Violence - Whether or not the barbarous thugs who decapitated American Nick Berg would have done so anyway, the fact that the Abu Ghraib scandal was used as the rationale cannot be ignored. Violence is never met with peaceful resignation, but rather with vengeful retribution. We need to find another way to end the injustice of violence in the world than by giving tit-for-tat. There is no doubt in my mind that Americans will now be justifying prisoner abuse as an "eye-for-an-eye" response to this tragedy. When I see this happening, I'll be sure to reference it as proof of my thesis that violence only begets violence.

Lagniappe: The Right's Moral Equivalence Exposed - From a letter on Andrew Sullivan's Letters Page from May 05, 2004:

I fully support the effort in Iraq. I believe in a democratic experiment in the Arab world. I have family and friends serving there. That said, I am disgusted in the extreme by what a few prison guards have done and what some over here are saying in their defense.

"In war, terrible things happen." "At least they didn't actually hurt them." "The worst thing that they did was to take pictures." I am hearing such things from Americans on television, talk radio, even in my own family. It's repulsive. The only reason someone could say this is if they are afraid to confront the truth. These acts are despicable on their face. They do not need to be compared to anything Saddam did. And our morality demands that we punish those responsible not only for defiling the prisoners' persons, but for doing such profound damage to our cause's credibility.

It may be a conceit, but in order to accomplish the goal of reinventing the Middle East in a positive way demands that we hold ourselves to higher standard. You cannot act in a moral way if you break your own rules, no matter what has been done by others. All those who make excuses and diminish the crimes are cowards.
Although I don't agree with the letter writer's support of the war, I do think this person's sentiments express a moral consistency that is lacking generally in pro-war supporters' reactions to this scandal. I think this level of intellectual and moral honesty is commendable.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Lagniappe: A Full Accounting? - George W. Bush today called for a full accounting of the abuses at Abu Ghraib. What does this mean? Well, let's see ... Bush promised a full accounting in the Enron scandal and we still have Ken Lay on the loose. So, I guess this means that the full accounting only goes so far. Rumsfeld breaths a sigh of relief. His job is safe while the U.S. reputation crumbles all around him.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Lagniappe: Rummy Toast, part III - The Wall Street Journal online reader's poll has a 51/49 Yes/No % split on whether Rummy should resign. That's as of about 9600 votes cast in this unscientific reader survey. And, by Rummy's own admission, we haven't even seen the worst of the abuse scandal yet. Not looking good for Rummy. Not looking good for Bush. Not looking good for the U.S.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Lagniappe: Rummy Toast, part II - Peter Bienart, of The New Republic chimes in on the subject. His verdict: TOAST.

Laginappe: Is Rumsfeld Toast? - I've seen this feeding frenzy before. Fair or not, the end result is always the same: TOAST. The only question is when. And it doesn't help that the Economist, a generally Conservative-friendly venue, is leading the charge calling for Rumsfeld's resignation.

Lagniappe: Abu Ghraib - Episode 2 continued - To reveal or not to reveal. That is now the question. Donald Rumsfeld has admitted to the existence of evidence of even more prisoner abuse that "can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." Sounds like unabashed torture to me. Those are some strong words, words which not long ago Rumsfeld and Bush and all of us used to describe Saddam Hussein and his regime. I'm not sure these photos/videos should be released; but what can be done now that the world knows of their existence? The voyeurism of American pop culture, and the need for transparency in front of the world, will demand their release. But the safety of America and American soldiers demands they stay under wraps. What to do? What to do? How did we ever get into this mess?

Lagniappe: Abu Ghraib - Episode 2 - From this AP Newswire report:

Referring to photos of sexual and physical abuse that have drawn worldwide condemnation, Rumsfeld warned there are "a lot more photographs and videos" that haven't yet been seen. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse."

He said he had not seen the videos, and did not describe them.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters, "The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. we're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience." He did not elaborate.
I think liberals and conservatives alike are finally getting some answers to the question of "why they hate us." This whole situation is embarrassing, shocking, and numbing. The Bush Administration needs to find a way to contain the bleeding. The future of the Middle East, Iraq, and the honor of all those soldiers who died for the cause depends on it. For the sake of America, I desperately want Bush to succeed. And I like what he's done so far, but it's not enough, especially if the ominous warnings of Rumsfeld and Graham come to pass.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

The "Weak" in (National) Review: Nordlinger's Zingers - Jay Nordlinger took a snide potshot at John Kerry recently for his formal salutation in the 1980s of Nicaragua's Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, as "Dear Comandante." Nordlinger write:

Canny or not, Kerry has a record on Latin America ? a substantial one. You will recall the 1980s, and that decade's fierce debates over Central America policy. At the heart of these debates was Nicaragua: the Sandinistas, Castro, and the Soviet Union versus the Contras and the United States (or rather, not all of the United States: the Reagan administration, in particular). Kerry was an important player in all this. He was part of a group derided by Republicans as "'Dear Comandante' Democrats," for they would address letters to Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista No. 1, "Dear Comandante."
Well, I wonder what he'd have to say about George Bush's recent salutation and address to King Abdullah of Jordan:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Your Majesty, welcome once again to the White House. I appreciate your friendship, and I appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts on a range of issues that face your country, and mine, at this time of challenge and opportunity in the Middle East.
Check out the entire address Bush made. I think he fawns over "His Majesty" at least 50 times. Perhaps Nordlinger should take a close look at King Abdullah's ties to Middle East terrorism and see if such fawning is justified.

Lagniappe: Tom DeLay Just Doesn't Get It - I've been reading all the reports on Bush's continued support for Rumsfeld in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. They generally quote some of the reactions by Congressmen and women about whether Rumsfeld should stay or go. Only this AP story, among the stories that I have read so far, contains the following quote by Republican Congressman Tom DeLay:

Democrats, shot back House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, "want to win the White House more than they want to win the war" on terror.
Begging pardon, Mr. DeLay, but Democrats believe that, given the abject failures of the Bush/Rumsfeld war plan to date, their winning the White House IS necessary to win the war on terror. Seems to me that DeLay's Texas hip-shooting big mouth only reveals that DeLay would rather defend an incompetent GOP administration rather than to win the war on terrorism.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Lagniappe: Abu Ghraib and the Taguba Report - You've seen the pictures. Now read it from the lips of those involved. Here are some of the more relevant excerpts from the Taguba Report on abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison facility (please be advised that these excerpts contain some graphic descriptions that you may find objectionable). [The Taguba Report may be viewed in its entirety here]

6. (S) I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

a. (S) Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;

b. (S) Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;

c. (S) Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;

d. (S) Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;

e. (S) Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear;

f. (S) Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;

g. (S) Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;

h. (S) Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;

i. (S) Writing “I am a Rapest” (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked;

j. (S) Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture;

k. (S) A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;

l. (S) Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee;

m. (S) Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.

(ANNEXES 25 and 26)

7.(U) These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements. In reaching my findings, I have carefully considered the pre-existing statements of the following witnesses and suspects (ANNEX 26):

a. (U) SPC Jeremy Sivits, 372nd MP Company - Suspect

b. (U) SPC Sabrina Harman, 372nd MP Company – Suspect

c. (U) SGT Javal S. Davis, 372nd MP Company - Suspect

c. (U) PFC Lynndie R. England, 372nd MP Company - Suspect

d. (U) Adel Nakhla, Civilian Translator, Titan Corp., Assigned to the 205th MI Brigade- Suspect

(Names deleted)

8. (U) In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses (ANNEX 26):

a. (U) Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

b. (U) Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;

c. (U) Pouring cold water on naked detainees;

d. (U) Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

e. (U) Threatening male detainees with rape;

f. (U) Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell;

g. (U) Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.

h. (U) Using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee. ...


11. (U) I reach this finding based on the actual proven abuse that I find was inflicted on detainees and by the following witness statements. (ANNEXES 25 and 26):

a. (U) SPC Sabrina Harman, 372nd MP Company, stated in her sworn statement regarding the incident where a detainee was placed on a box with wires attached to his fingers, toes, and penis, “that her job was to keep detainees awake.” She stated that MI was talking to CPL Grainer. She stated: “MI wanted to get them to talk. It is Grainer and Frederick’s job to do things for MI and OGA to get these people to talk.”

b. (U) SGT Javal S. Davis, 372nd MP Company, stated in his sworn statement as follows: “I witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section, wing 1A being made to do various things that I would question morally. In Wing 1A we were told that they had different rules and different SOP for treatment. I never saw a set of rules or SOP for that section just word of mouth. The Soldier in charge of 1A was Corporal Granier. He stated that the Agents and MI Soldiers would ask him to do things, but nothing was ever in writing he would complain (sic).” When asked why the rules in 1A/1B were different than the rest of the wings, SGT Davis stated: “The rest of the wings are regular prisoners and 1A/B are Military Intelligence (MI) holds.” When asked why he did not inform his chain of command about this abuse, SGT Davis stated: “ Because I assumed that if they were doing things out of the ordinary or outside the guidelines, someone would have said something. Also the wing belongs to MI and it appeared MI personnel approved of the abuse.” SGT Davis also stated that he had heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates. When asked what MI said he stated: “Loosen this guy up for us.” Make sure he has abad night.” “Make sure he gets the treatment.” He claimed these comments were made to CPL Granier and SSG Frederick. Finally, SGT Davis stated that (sic): “the MI staffs to my understanding have been giving Granier compliments on the way he has been handling the MI holds. Example being statements like, “Good job, they’re breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They’re giving out good information, Finally, and Keep up the good work . Stuff like that.”

c. (U) SPC Jason Kennel, 372nd MP Company, was asked if he were present when any detainees were abused. He stated: “I saw them nude, but MI would tell us to take away their mattresses, sheets, and clothes.” He could not recall who in MI had instructed him to do this, but commented that, “if they wanted me to do that they needed to give me paperwork.” He was later informed that “we could not do anything to embarrass the prisoners.”

d. (U) Mr. Adel L. Nakhla, a US civilian contract translator was questioned about several detainees accused of rape. He observed (sic): “They (detainees) were all naked, a bunch of people from MI, the MP were there that night and the inmates were ordered by SGT Granier and SGT Frederick ordered the guys while questioning them to admit what they did. They made them do strange exercises by sliding on their stomach, jump up and down, throw water on them and made them some wet, called them all kinds of names such as “gays” do they like to make love to guys, then they handcuffed their hands together and their legs with shackles and started to stack them on top of each other by insuring that the bottom guys penis will touch the guy on tops butt.”

e. (U) SPC Neil A Wallin, 109th Area Support Medical Battalion, a medic testified that: “Cell 1A was used to house high priority detainees and cell 1B was used to house the high risk or trouble making detainees. During my tour at the prison I observed that when the male detainees were first brought to the facility, some of them were made to wear female underwear, which I think was to somehow break them down.”

Satirical Lagniappe: Bush Appearing on Arab TV - In a wily effort to coax angry Arabs to shoot their GE television sets in fits of blind rage, while at the same time seeming to be reaching out humanely and apologetically to the Arab world, President Bush has decided to appear on Arab TV to discuss the prisoner abuse situation. Bush's hope in his two ten-minute appearances is both to show the Arab world that he really, really, really is on their side, even against his own fellow American troops, and also to boost the U.S. economy by increasing demand for more GE television sets to replace the ones that will inevitably be used as target practice by those Arabs he fails to convince with his Texas twang, his folksy cowboy charm, and his affected humility. Some think that this little bit of genius is really the work of Karl Rove, who is not convinced that the "red, white, and blue" Bush campaign bus tour through the outsourced Midwest battleground states is likely to generate enough voter enthusiasm. A little bit of war distraction, gripping stories of torture and sexual abuse, all glossed over by the congeniality and warmth of an effusive, but apologetic, President Bush to the Arab world will make all the difference. If nothing more, it's guaranteed to get Bush good TV ratings, which, as research has shown, clearly means a bump up in the pre-election polls. An all-around winning scenario -- that is, if you want to win the U.S. Presidential election and not the war on terror.

Lagniappe: Abu Ghraib and the International Criminal Court of Justice - Hmmm... I wonder ... will the penalties for war crimes committed by U.S. soldiers be simply a "reprimand" and a possible dishonorable discharge with no jail time? Well, there's some evidence to indicate that this might be the case. Maybe that's why so many people didn't want to subject U.S. soldiers to some kind of international tribunal. If we did so, these soldiers actually might get the punishment they deserve for their crimes against humanity.

Liberal Lighthouse: Abu Ghraib and Where the Buck Stops -- Apparently not with President Bush or Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In fact, it seems that Bush and Rumsfeld are playing "Pass the Buck" like a game of hot potato, hoping that one or the other doesn't get stuck with the steaming tuber when the music stops.

Lagniappe: Abu Ghraib and the U.S. "Republican" Guard - Here's a bit of tit-for-tat for those who like to give such nicknames to prominent liberals like "MuqTeddy" Kennedy, or John "F'n" Kerry, or "Baghdad" Jim McDermott ... let's just call those members of the George Bush/Don Rumsfeld military serving in Iraq and overseeing Saddam's Abu Ghraib prison, you know ... America's finest ... the new "Republican" Guard, who seem to have managed Iraq's most notorious torture chambers and prison consistent with its other "Republican" Guard legacy -- all under the watchful eye of our Republican President and his illustrious Republican cabinet.