Thursday, June 19

Dr. Phil for secretary of state?

My parents are both Dr. Phil fans, and while I don't have any particular affinity for the guy, there is one phrase of his that I kind of like. Sometimes he'll be sitting there with his dysfunctional family du jour, and the mom will be talking about how her kids are a bunch of incorrigible shitheads with no respect for her or anyone else, and when Dr. Phil asks her why she's been doing X, Y, or Z to coddle, enable, or otherwise encourage the asinine behavior of her kids, she'll trot out the usual laundry list of excuses for why she's been doing what she's doing. And then Phil will lean down real close to her with his deadpan expression and ask, "So how's that working out for you now?"

I would love it if Dr. Phil could get Barack Obama and John McCain on his show sometime between now and November, because I hope there'd be an exchange like this:

DR. PHIL: Now, Senator Obama, you say you'd meet with foreign leaders, even those considered enemies of the United States, without preconditions, is that correct?

OBAMA: Yes, I feel that diplomacy and open dialogue between nations is the only way we're going to make any actual progress in solving international disputes and making the world a more secure place.

DR. PHIL: But now Senator McCain, you say you don't want to talk to those leaders without preconditions, or in some cases at all.

McCAIN: That's right, Phil.

DR. PHIL: Talk to me about that.

McCAIN: Phil, Senator Obama is talking about meeting with people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who's talked about wiping Israel of the map and who is supporting the insurgents who are causing the violence and instability in Iraq right now. To agree to a meeting like that would lend legitimacy to an oppressive dictator.

DR. PHIL: So you're worried about guys like Ahmadinejad being "legitimized," and you also told me backstage that you're worried about him developing a nuclear program, is that right?

McCAIN: Absolutely. A nuclear-armed Iran would be an incredibly stabilizing force in the Middle East.

DR. PHIL: And you think we shouldn't be talking to countries like that.

McCAIN: That's right.

DR. PHIL: Well, Senator McCain -- how's that working out for you now?

John McCain has already come under plenty of well-deserved criticism for falling in line with too many of the Bush administration's policies, but this spat over differing foreign-policy platforms highlights just how thoroughly McCain has bought into maybe the most unfortunate theme of the Bush presidency: the idea that we have to keep doing something even when it's not working or in fact worsening the problems we were trying to solve in the first place. Maybe this is their idea of "steering into the skid," but as anyone with any actual winter-driving experience will tell you, "steering into the skid" does not mean "keep steering in the direction in which the car is skidding."

So now we have McCain saying that Iran has a dangerous dictator who's gaining power and developing a nuclear program, and the solution to this is to just ignore him -- exactly what we were doing the whole time he was gaining power and developing a nuclear program. Clearly, severing all diplomatic ties with Iran has neither stemmed the tide of violence in Iraq or slowed down Iran's nuclear ambitions, but in McCain's mind, that just means we need to keep on not talking to them.

McCain has said that Obama "needs to explain why he wants to sit down and talk with a man who is the head of a government that is a state sponsor of terror," but I think that should be plainly obvious -- not talking to them has done nothing to stem that state sponsorship of terror, so maybe talking to them will bring about some progress. It may not end up being effective, sure, but it certainly can't be any less effective than what we've already been doing. If anything, I think the burden should be on McCain to explain exactly what tangible benefits we've gotten from not talking to Iran, Syria, or whoever else these past few years, because I certainly don't see any.

I don't know why the neocons are so taken aback by the idea of an American president merely breathing the same air as someone like Ahmadinejad. They act like such a meeting would be completely unprecedented, but even five minutes' worth of Googling makes clear that that isn't true: Just take a look at the country that held the title of Biggest Threat To The United States before Iran stepped in, i.e. the Soviet Union. If being seen in public with our greatest enemy is such an anathema, what do you make of all these?

Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower with the Khrushchevs, 1959.

Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev at the fricking White House, 1973.

Gerald Ford and Brezhnev in Vladivostok, November 1974.

And here's that symbol of American strength, Ronald Reagan, with Gorbachev in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1985.

Somebody's surely going to come along and say, "Well, the USSR and Iran really aren't comparable situations." And they're right: The Soviet Union was far more dangerous to the U.S. then than Iran is now. The Soviets had hundreds of actual nuclear weapons pointed at us for the better part of 40 years; Iran has a nuclear program that might produce weapons at some indefinite point in the next five to ten.

Now, it bears pointing out that none of those presidential meetings on their own brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union as an opposing superpower; it took 40 years for that empire to finally kick over. But if the choice is between invading Iran now or sitting tight for the next four decades trying to hash out ways to not blow each other to pieces, then I'll take Barack Obama and the 40-year wait (particularly considering that if our adventure in Iraq is any indication, an all-out war might not keep us out of a 40-year commitment to begin with).

The first word that the neocons always seem to jump to when Obama talks about meeting with leaders of hostile foreign countries is "appeasement" -- as if Obama was going to offer them the title deed to Israel in exchange for not shooting at us, which only the most insane right-winger would think was an actual possibility. You know, I'm willing to concede that a meeting between Obama and Ahmadinejad might not make any concrete progress; maybe it becomes clear early on that the Iranians are negotiating in bad faith, or maybe the two sides just can't come to a compromise on how to handle X, Y, or Z. But even if that's what ends up happening, we at least tried, we got our issues out there on the table, and nobody got killed. So what's the fuss about? It's also worth pointing out that at neither the above-pictured Geneva summit nor at the Reykjavik summit a year later did Reagan and Gorbachev actually agree to disarm anything -- but they both laid the groundwork for future talks, and by Christmas 1991 the USSR was a memory.

Would the same thing happen with one of the dictators Obama wants to talk to? Who knows, but it's certainly more likely to happen his way than it is by what we're doing (or not doing) now. John McCain has issued a lot of tough-sounding talk in the service of maintaining the status quo, but not once has he articulated what good that's actually done us. It's a good thing for McCain that Dr. Phil is unlikely to be invited to be a moderator at any of this year's presidential debates, because if Phil ever did succeed in asking him the "How's that working out for you now" question, I think McCain would be at a complete loss to find an answer.


Anonymous said...

Excellent points.

Anonymous said...

So you don't see a problem with publicly legitimizing a dictator who is in favor of genocide?


Anonymous said...

Amen. Great post.

And the funny part is...the Bush admin is actually talking to Iran through channels right now. They don't want a diplomatic disaster on their hands before the election.

Anonymous said...

When did Clinton entertain Castro? Hussein? We all know how effective Clinton was talking through Carter to Kim Jong. Let's not forget how Carter brought peace to the Mideast by talking directly to Arafat and again to Hamas. (He's running out of people to "talk" to.) Obama, the next great "talker." Chamberlain was a "talker" and look what it got him. Talk's cheap.

You libs and your foreign affairs BS. Kennedy talked to Nikita from a position of weakness and look what it got him: missles on there way to Cuba. Only when he threatened force did Nikita back down. Reagan talked with the Russians from a position of strength, after he deployed Pershings to Europe over the criticisms of the left - here and in Europe.

Now Iran. You bitched about W going it alone in Iraq. So, he employs multilateral talks with Iran and our NATO allies and you bitch about him not talking one-on-one with the Iranian head rag head.

I can't figure out if you're more naive or just plain stupid. Either is dangerous.

On another subject near and dear to us all. Didn't Pelosi say that if we voted dems into control of Congress gas prices would go down? Gas was $2.15 when the dems took control. Didn't Hillary tell New Yorkers that she would bring 350,000 new jobs to upstate New York if elected? Jobs are down by 200,000 since she was elected. That's what liberal talk will get you: nothing. Show me a plan with milestones and a willingness to change course if necessary. You know, like the SURGE that worked and continues to work.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10.02 - You are completely full of shit about the cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Kennedy Administration put intermediate range missiles in Turkey, and that frightened the shit out of the Soviets, hence their placing missiles in Cuba. It was a bloody miracle that Kennedy and Kruschev didn't start a nuclear war. Furthermore, at no point was the US ever in a position where the Soviets could do more than have an outside chance of winning a land war in Europe. The various gaps (missile, tank, etc.) were largely lobbying tools for the Pentagon to get their budgets increased.

Talking to North Korea - true, Clinton didn't get very far. And how did the Bush administration succeed? By diplomatic talks and concessions, because they couldn't afford another war. So I guess that's an opportunity missed to rid the world of another dictator due to appeasement?

As for the question of Chamberlain, give me a break -it's not comparable. The only area in which the Iranians have shown an interest in expansion is Iraq, and we opened that door for them. Otherwise it's all been proxy support for terrorist regimes which is a sign of weakness not strength. Not especially similar to a Nazi government that had already taken over Austria and was plainly gearing up for war, in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Anon RF @ 8.41 a.m. - don't be such a naif. Both Democratic and Republican Administrations since the 1930s have a rich history of not just engaging with but also *supporting* governments which were already involved in genocide or genocide-lite, and in some cases simply standing by while their policies amounted to the same.


1) FDR recognized the Soviet Union in 1933, which preceded Stalin's great purges. Every US president after that maintained relations with the USSR and Russia.

2) Nixon normalized relations with the People's Republic of China despite the Great Leap Forward that resulted in 20 million deaths.

3) The Carter and Reagan Administrations recognized the Cambodian Opposition to the Vietnamese Government of Hun Sen, which meant recognizing the Khmer Rouge, who *actually committed* genocide. - because it was more important to try and isolate the Vietnamese than own up to the fact that Nixon's policies of bombing and "incursion" in Cambodia created the conditions that allowed the Khmer Rouge to come to power in the first place.

4) Nixon also ignored reports from the US State Department during the Bengali Liberation War of the Pakistani Army "liquidating" Bengali intellectuals as part of possibly 200,000 other victims and conducting an organized rape campaign - because he was too busy ordering the USS Enterprise off the Indian coast to demonstrate to the People's Republic Of China that the US was a reliable ally.

5) The Ford Administration deliberately ignored the Clark Amendment to funnel aid to UNITA in Angola via the Israelis (and tacitly encouraging South Africa to do the same), and in the 80s Ronald Reagan compared Jonas Savimbi to Abrahama Lincoln. While no genocide was involved - not to minimize the death, displacement, and ongoing problems from land mines - I mention it because it's not often you see more than one Administration make such an effort to support someone who was a Maoist insurgent and a cannibal.

6) The Reagan Administration supported Saddam Hussein in the early 80s in the Iran - Iraq war, turning a blind eye to the use of chemical and biological weapons against Iranian troops and Iraqi citizens. The first Bush Administration encouraged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein after the first US - Iraq war, which resulted in Saddam Hussein murdering enormous numbers of Marsh Arabs in the south and attempting to destroy the ecology of the area that they lived - a fate curiously not shared by the Kurds to the north.

7) The Clinton Administration didn't break relations with Russia despite their use of tactics in Chechnya that plainly constituted war crimes.

And this isn't even covering the smaller scale but nonetheless appalling track record of violence in South and Central America that was undertaken by governments or opposition movements supported or funded by the US.

As for the question of "publicly legitimizing a dictator who is in favor of genocide," are you joking? The man's an elected official in a country that's recognized the world over. It may be more authoritarian than democratic, but as noted above, that's not a necessary bar to being a friend of the US for foregn policy. He doesn't need the US to legitimize him.

My point being: don't get your panties in a bunch over the possibility of the US talking to Iran. Ahmaninejad isn't even the last word in Iranian foreign or nuclear policy anyway, so it's not like it would be mano-a-mano with that particular nutjob anyway.

Anonymous said...


Liberals are soooooooo predictable.

Here's the whole truth:

At the time of Ike, the Russians were still considered our allies.

Richard Nixon? Doug really wants to use Richard Nixon to demonstrate the right thing to do?

Look what talking to the Russians got Ford...nothing and a lost re-election bid.

Reagan? Sent missles to Europe and increased the defense budget to scary new heights that eventually led to talks and the fall of the USSR. Use the Reagan model, that's the ticket, you dumbass. Maybe Obama could scare the shit out of the mullahs by threatening to send Maddy back to the mideast - yikes!

Anonymous said...

"At the time of Ike, the Russians were still considered our allies."


Eisenhower was elected in 1952, took office in 1953.

Many see Winston Churchill's "iron curtain" speech as the first acknowledgement of, if a little later than that actual beginning of, the Cold War.

Excerpts from Churchill's speech here:

That speech took place when? 1946 - over 6 years before Eisenhower was elected, nearly 7 years before he took office.

And let's see what Eisinhower thought of the Russians:
"Eisenhower, too, perceived communism as a monolithic force struggling for world supremacy. He believed that Moscow, under leaders such as Stalin, was trying to orchestrate worldwide revolution. In his first inaugural address, he declared, 'Forces of good and evil are massed and armed and opposed as rarely before in history. Freedom is pitted against slavery, lightness against dark.'"

From here:

Sounds like he thought of the Russians as allies.


Anonymous said...

Once again the left forgets the lessons of its ineffective past of dealing with evil states and must revise history to defend its past failures.

It is well documented by those who were there that Jupiter missiles in Turkey had nothing to do with Russia's motivation to deploy nukes to Cuba. Only after the initial diplomatic interaction to resolve the crisis did Nikita demand the removal of missiles from Turkey...he didn't even suggest the removal of Italy-based NATO nukes.

Here's the truth:

In a New York Times op-ed piece, Nathan Thrall, a journalist whose bio says he has a masters degree from Columbia, and Jesse James Wilkins, a doctoral candidate there, point to a problem with Obama's proposition that President John Kennedy talked with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

"Obama has noted Kennedy's meeting to defend his own stated willingness to meet without preconditions in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of nations adversarial to the U.S. As Thrall and Wilkins note, Kennedy's meeting was an unmitigated disaster. Kennedy viewed it that way himself.

Kennedy's aides convinced the press at the time that behind closed doors the president was performing well, but American diplomats in attendance, including the ambassador to the Soviet Union, later said they were shocked that Kennedy had taken so much abuse. Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was "just a disaster." Khrushchev's aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed "very inexperienced, even immature." Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was "too intelligent and too weak." The Soviet leader left Vienna elated -- and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.

Kennedy's assessment of his own performance was no less severe. Only a few minutes after parting with Khrushchev, Kennedy, a World War II veteran, told James Reston of The New York Times that the summit meeting had been the "roughest thing in my life." Kennedy went on: "He just beat the hell out of me. I've got a terrible problem if he thinks I'm inexperienced and have no guts. Until we remove those ideas we won't get anywhere with him."

A little more than two months later, Khrushchev gave the go-ahead to begin erecting what would become the Berlin Wall. Kennedy had resigned himself to it, telling his aides in private that "a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war." The following spring, Khrushchev made plans to "throw a hedgehog at Uncle Sam's pants": nuclear missiles in Cuba. And while there were many factors that led to the missile crisis, it is no exaggeration to say that the impression Khrushchev formed at Vienna -- of Kennedy as ineffective -- was among them.

Historian Robert Dallek, in his eminently informative and entertaining Kennedy biography "An Unfinished Life" says the Soviet general secretary's "behavior irritated and frustrated Kennedy, since Krushchev did a good job of seeming somewhat unhinged, at turns, congenial then bellicose with the young president.

As Dallek writes:

"A British journalist who saw (Kennedy) as he escorted Krushchev to his car thought (Kennedy) looked 'dazed.' Pacing the floor of his bedroom in the embassy, (Kennedy) exclaimed, "He treated me like a little boy, like a little boy.' "

Kennedy, who had the fatigue-causing Addison's Disease would try to maintain his energy levels with injections of steroids among other medications and as Dallek notes, his performance might have been affected somewhat by his serious medical issues.

According to Dallek:

"A long day under much tension certainly accounts for most of Kennedy's weariness by the early evening, but we cannot discount the impact of (Dr.) Jacobson's chemicals on him as well. As the day wore on and an injection Jacobson had given him just before he met Khrushchev in the early afternoon wore off, Kennedy may have lost the emotional and physical edge initially provided by the shot. But more important than Kennedy's energy level was the fundamental difference in approach that each leader brought to the summit. Kennedy's eagerness to be reasonable and encourage understanding was no match for Khrushchev's determination to debate and out-argue the less experienced president."

Kennedy left Vienna convinced the U.S. had to take steps to show Krushchev that he meant business:

Here's Dallek again:

"He now needed to convince Khrushchev that he could not be pushed around, and the best place currently to make U.S. power credible seemed to be in Vietnam."

Pretty chilling, isn't it, that Kennedy decided to compensate for his inadequate performance with Khrushchev by pushing forward in Vietnam?

Given all this, it's curious that Obama hasn't been more circumspect in how he's used the Kennedy example, especially since the shortcoming of that meeting are well documented and have been known for decades."

Kennedy didn't scare anybody and Obama won't either.

I'll remain concerned about a greenhorn president reaching out to anyone who would do us harm.

Iran doesn't have expansionist goals? Sure, they just want to annihilate Israel. Whew, thank God they don't want to expand. What an idiotic comment.

And Bill? Bill got us into a war in the Balkans based on bad intelligence. No death camps were ever found. Or did he "lie" to get us into the Balkan conflict?

So true, all adminstrations have had to forge uncomfortable alliances with the lesser evil in order to control the greater. When are you libs going to start holding the UN accountable so we don't have to do their job for them?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 11.04 - Oh the attractions of facile comparisons. Kennedy was a crap negotiator, so Obama must necessarily be a bad negotiator also. And then when he's a bad negotiator, he'll find a way to expand conflict in a bipolar superpower opposition with a tendency towards proxy wars. Please.

My comment about Iran and expansionism was in direct relation to the frailty of the analogy of Hitler at Munich / Ahmadinejad at wherever, because it's a crap analogy. You ignored that point for a rhetorical jab about exterminating Israel.

If taking the position that Israel should be wiped off the map is a reason to ignore a middle eastern state, then it's surprising that the US isn't breaking off relations and rattling sabers with every country that we haven't already bought off with aid or liberation. It's a threat without merit, in any case, because even if the US dithered about supporting Israel, the Israelis would nuke the shit out of any country attacking them.

And therein lies the conundrum for looking at Iran and their theoretically suspended nuclear weapons program. Are they doing it to establish a reciprocal deterrence with Israel and the US? Are they doing it to be able to threaten their Arab neighbors? Are they doing it to provide warheads to terrorist groups? Possibly all three.

My objection to this nonsense about refusing to deal with dictators, or even your entertaining burst of relativism (focusing on the lesser evil for the greater good) is not that I think the Iranians are horribly misunderstood and just want a quiet life with cheap tomatoes (well, actually the average Iranian probably does). My objection is that it's demonstrably stupid foreign policy. It creates unnecessary incentives for the Iranians to escalate, it creates a reason for the general Iranian public to get behind a government that they genuinely dislike, and it creates incentives for other states to do the same thing.

You go on about "libs" not being able to learn the lessons of the past, but the same could be said about the so-called conservatives in this foreign policy debate. Framing policy on manichean good versus evil grounds, or on attempting to look tough (invasion of Panama, perhaps?) is just as stupid as your strawman liberal policy of sunshine and lollipops.

This isn't a field for ungoverned emotion or ungoverned optimism. Foreign policy should be the preserve of the grown-ups, and frankly I don't see either side of the two parties in this country having much claim to that title. But starting off from the standpoint of seeing what the other side claims they are up to, and taking the heat out of an escalatory cycle, is more measured and rational than starting from the standpoint of offering to nuke the Iranians back to stone age.

Anonymous said...

There are some things that don't mean what they sound like:

- I'll call you in the morning

- This isn't going to hurt (or the corollary - This will hurt me more than you)

- Almost any politico label for a bill or proposal such "Fair Tax"

But most of all the anonymous above using the phrase "Here's the whole truth" - LMAO

- when

Anonymous said...


What in the hell does that even mean? Every time I hear it or read it I cannot help but chuckle.

We're still spending a couple of billion dollars a week playing in the sand over there. So how is it working?

But back to the topic at hand, talking is never ever a bad idea. As long as we are talking we are not fighting.

And lets let Israel worry about Israel. I think they are Gods chosen people aren't they? Then surely to God they don't need us.

Anonymous said...

...Doug, is it football season yet?!?

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

There have certainly been some interesting viewpoints bandied about here, but the neoconservative commenters still haven't addressed the two questions that were central to this post: 1) What exactly the Bush/McCain policy of non-communication has accomplished for us, and 2) What horrible consequences would befall us from merely talking to our enemies.

11:03 anonymous at least took a stab at addressing #2, but it's important to remember that however disastrous the Kennedy-Khrushchev talks were in terms of Kennedy's stature, we still managed to not get into a nuclear war. Yes, tensions were incredibly high at times, but an exchange of ICBMs was avoided. I would hope we can all agree that that was a good thing.

And yes, any direct talks have to be backed up by a strong military, and increases in troop numbers and military spending are two major parts of Obama's military policy, in spite of the right wing's attempts to paint him as a military-hating flower child. But recall that for all his increases in military strength in the 1980s, Reagan never actually used that military against the Soviets, for which we can be thankful. Reagan understood, as does Obama, that the point of a strong military was to deter a war, not to start one -- but unfortunately, I'm not at all confident that John "Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran" McCain does.

Anonymous said...

Love the retorts from the quisling leftists - most out of context.

Ignoring the past failures of direct talks with despots from a position of weakness...what's that line about ignoring the past? Something about being doomed to repeat something, something, something?

What position of strength will Obama be speaking from? His cut and run position? His kumbayah position? Maybe some future, nuanced Clintonesque triangulation that he has to conjure up due to poll slippage? Or maybe the threat of adjudication by the US courts? Ooooooooooo, that's a scary one. Or how about the "fuck the Jews, they're God's chosen people" position?

As far as your cavalier posit on the efficacy of a demonstration of our will to use force, I suggest you ask Qaddafi what was going through his head during Operation El Dorado Canyon and the days after the coalition invasion of Iraq.

Of course, in your world there are no valid analogies between today's circumstances and the past. Given the liberals' track record, I can appreciate your position. Unlike your war on poverty, people will be free at the end of this war.

In the meantime, ignore the man behind the curtain.

PS Methinks you're an extra small trojan. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about some good news. Like the exonerated Haditha Marines suing the shit out of Murtha for calling them cold blooded murderers. Let's start a legal fund to support the Marines!

Anonymous said...

I can hear Obama talking with Ahamadraghead:

C'mon, bro, give me a break. Hell, my fuckin' middle name is Hussein!

wink, wink


Will said...

I love how Reagan's "Strong talks" with the USSR and "positions of strength" get mentioned, but Reagan's dealings with numerous shady South American dictators is glossed over.

Also, Ahmenajad=closer to a Speaker of the House than final decision maker for Iran.

Bush backers have the mentality of elementary school children. "Oooh, he said bad things about my friend so I'm not going to talk to him."

Anonymous said...

You've obviously never been in the military, much less a shooting war, Doug.

If you had, you wouldn't question McCain's potential use of force. War veterans, POWs even more so, hate the thought of war.

Anonymous said...

One my biggest Obama questions is: when would he use force?

What if all the intelligence agencies that fed Clinton the inaccurate Balkan death camp intelligence and Bush the inaccurate WMD intelligence came to O and told him the Iranians have a nuke ready to fly to Israel within a days time, what would he do?

Pick up the phone and say:

Yo, bro, it's your brother Hussein, wassup with this missile thing?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:47 wrote:

War veterans, POWs even more so, hate the thought of war.

That must be why Bush is so enamored of sending other people's kids off to die in a stupid war.

I agree that McCain, at the very least, has perspective - he has been there and done that, and has children on active duty.

And for what it's worth - I am a liberal and a former Hillary campaign volunteer. I am also a combat veteran from Panama and Desert Storm. And I am perfectly willing to question and challenge McCain's ideas on the use of force.

Anonymous said...

Will, Will, wake up, Will! All administrations have dealt with undesirables. That's been pointed out. Hell, the police deal with undesirables called informants in order to get "Mr. Big." (Is this another invalid analogy?)

Any war can be rationalized to be "stupid." Truman was treated just like Bush over his funding of Greece and Turkey to stop the spread of communism. He propogandized the hell out of the threat of communism and went over the heads of the republican congress to get $400 million to send to the "fredom" fighters in Greece and Turkey. Then he really stepped into it in Korea.

The stupidest war is one that you don't finish to win. Vietnam comes to mind. Iraq could be another Vietnam if we cut and run. That's stupid. Losing is not an option now.

Trivia: Japan attacked us over oil.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1.22

What position of strength will Obama be speaking from?

Notwithstanding the damage done to operational readiness by the Bush Admininstration's war-fighting strategy, I would have assumed the position of strength is what we as taxpayers (and debtors to the Chinese) are paying roughly $625 billion a year for. Was it something else?

Love the retorts from the quisling leftists - most out of context.

You are positing that Iran = USSR in the early 1960s, and Kennedy:Kruschev::Obama:Ahmadinejad, and I am the one talking out context. Well, that is revealing in one regard.

My actual mistake was in assuming that we were having some kind of back-and-forth discussion, as opposed to the low-grade bait-and-switch rhetoric common to low-end conservative rabble rousing. If all else fails, change the subject to something off-topic and attempt to inflame with personal insults.

But I don't see any reason why you should get all the fun.

To which end: Quisling? There's only one person in this exchange who's sold out to authoritarians who undertake pre-emptive wars, and it's not me, sunshine. Maybe if you work extra-hard at spreading the party line to the traitorous lefties, they'll give you a pair of those shiny boots.

Methinks you're an extra small trojan

Funny how insecurity about the old package is the first thing you think of in the midst of all this. But then I suppose all the missile veneration would provide a facile Freudian explanation of your nonsense, and since facile is your stock in trade...

Anonymous said...

Oh, you kids, go on outside and play now.

Anonymous said...

Damn, I thought you were better. Thought you had more than rhetorical poop. Give us something more substantive than facile this, facile that. (Most of your response was, well, facile.) Is facile your word of the day? Since you've got to the "F's" try "flaccid" next. LMAO

Oh, yes, you made a mistake, lots of 'em.

Also, I know war. I hate war. I hate losing worse.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 3.10 - "I know you are, but what am I?" Socrates would weep, sir, if only he knew that he had been eclipsed in the comments section. Fortunately my day wasn't hinging on your validation.

I do like your idea of working through the "F's" though, so I wrote you a little haiku just to show that there are no hard feelings:

fulminator froths
foolishly and frantically
fails fantastically

Since we're just asserting that we're both winning now: I can devote the balance of the afternoon to this - well, I usually leave the office between 6 and 6.30 pm EDT, so until then at least. Hopefully we can get another couple of rhetorical farts in between now and then.

I won't be online this evening because I'll be too busy watching the liberal appeaser's sport of choice, soccer - the one environment in which it's still acceptable for the Germans to relive the glory days of European conquest, absent the mass murder of course.

Anonymous said...

This was probably just a typo, but:

"McCAIN: Absolutely. A nuclear-armed Iran would be an incredibly stabilizing force in the Middle East."

Did you mean "incredibly de-stabilizing"? Or do you think McCain thinks Iran getting the bomb is a good thing?

just wondering.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your soccer. For me, it's poker night. I'll enjoy my single malt, Cohiba and poker with a few close friends.

Anonymous said...

Doug, great post. I like all the questions you raise, I like considering all the possible answers, and I like thinking outside my normal box. Some of the commenters had really well-reasoned points, too, and I've enjoyed reading them.

Anonymous said...

Methinks you're an extra small trojan

Yep. It is all about who has the biggest dick.

I never said fuck the Jews. I said let Israel take care of Israel. They have the nukes for it and we are not going to stop pumping billions of dollars into their economy anytime soon. Plus, they are God's chosen people. If He is for them who can be against them?

Aren't they showing off practice bombing runs to end the Iranian nuclear threat?

Yeah. That should bump the price of oil up nicely.

Maybe we should give them a raise.

If you want to know what war is just google Major General Smedley D. Butler.

He will tell you.

Anonymous said...

A couple of responses:

re: bigblue.

You need to bone-up on what are called mutual defense treaties. We have them with numerous allies, including Israel. Walking from an MDT would have disastrous consequences with NATO, SEATO, Korea, Japan, etc. Next to cutting and running, I can't think of a worse signal to send the world. To a lesser degree Obama's desire to "renegotiate" NAFTA sends a similar message: we dont' keep our agreements. I don't think what works for the NFL will work for the US.

Butler's a good example of a vet who had enough of war for a lifetime. I sense that McCain would support Butler's position.

The problem for Obama is that he has no perspective, no sense of when and how to use his proposed enhanced military power. McCain does. McCain understood what Powell meant when he said if we break it we'll own it...Bush didn't. Wars are always judged by history on their outcome.

Yes, according to my wife, it is whoever has the biggest dick. When they compliment you on your kissing, foreplay, etc., it's just another way of telling you that your dick's undersized.

re: Doug.

I have a problem with how lightly you take a rookie mistake by JFK that brought us to the brink of nuclear war. There's a flaw in your risk assessment process. Now, I understand that as a liberal you are very forgiving (unless it's a repub to be forgiven) but please don't be so nonchalant about our existence.

Also, you talk of Obama's plans to strengthen our military. When confronted with the cost of his new social freebies, where do you think he'll spend our money? Hell, when the guy gave a speech on public service he didn't mention military service once.

Will said...

"The stupidest war is one that you don't finish to win. Vietnam comes to mind. Iraq could be another Vietnam if we cut and run. That's stupid."

I guess I missed that day in history class where we went over how "losing in 'Nam led to the US turning Communist".
It's people getting wounded, shot and killed, not a football game for fuck's sake. But if you want to follow Bush's glorious past as a cheerleader, knock yourself out.

Anonymous said...

What you missed was 2 million killed in the wake of our cutting and running from Nam, you missed the dems failing to fund our commitment to financially support the South Vienamese continued fight against the North after we left, you missed the dems subsequently getting their butts kicked in the subsequent national elections. You missed alot. Including the original point, you moron.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Which election was that? The Democrats gained seats in 1974 thanks to Watergate, beat Ford in the '76 presidential election, and maintained substantial majorities in both houses of Congress even after the off-year elections in '78.

Anonymous said...

"The United States presidential election of 1972 was waged on the issues of radicalism and the Vietnam War. The Democratic nomination was eventually won by George McGovern, who ran an anti-war crusade against incumbent President Richard M. Nixon, but was handicapped by his outsider status. Nixon, proclaiming that peace was at hand in Vietnam because of his policies, ridiculed McGovern as the radical candidate. The election took place on November 7, 1972. Nixon won the election in a landslide, with a 23.2 percentage points margin of victory in the popular vote, the 4th largest such margin in Presidential election history."

Obama=McGovern Lite

Yep, Nixon had it all save Watergate. He was one strange duck but he kicked McGovern's butt.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Then the timeline of your earlier post is all out of whack. Nixon kicked McGovern's ass in 1972, then Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam at the very beginning of 1973, and he withdrew U.S. troops later that year.

It's worth mentioning, too, that while the Democratic nominee for president in 1972 was clobbered, the Republicans only gained 12 seats in the house (not nearly enough to retake the majority) and actually lost two seats in the Senate.

Anonymous said...

The Marine withdrawal began in 1969 as the South Vietnamese began to assume a larger role in the fighting. The last ground forces left Vietnam by June 1971.

A skeleton force of mostly CAP advisors and embassy MPs remained. CAP advisors were gone by March 1972 and the last MPs left in 1975 at the fall of Saigon.

Air strikes in the North continued in order to influence the Paris peace talks to our favor.

Nixon inherited a mismanaged war and a public that was sick of a war that the libs started but didn't want to win. He had little choice but to try and get out with dignity. We got out without the dignity. It got worse when the dems broke our promise to support the South financially after we withdrew.

The 1972 presidential election was a referendum on the war and the anti-war crowd got their collective butts kicked. Now, this is a different time and a different war and a different press that is in the tank for Obama and viscerally anti-war. If it were Bill's war it would be very different. These dynamics will mitigate O's vulnerability. But it doesn't change the facts that O is very liberal, a partisan, not a uniter, naive and an idealogue without the experience to win this war and keep us safe. To wit: he wants to treat terrorism as a criminal event to be handled by law enforcement, just like Bill handled the '93 WTC bombing and we know where that got us. As Hillary said, "he's unqualified to be president."

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Anonymous, I'll give you credit for having some grasp of history and politics, but that just makes it harder for me to understand why you feel the need to undermine your credibility by referring to value judgments like "Obama is naive" and "an idealogue without the experience to keep us safe" as "facts" -- not to mention making up Hillary Clinton quotes out of thin air.

And even if that quote were legitimate -- which, as far as I can ascertain, it isn't -- my only reaction would be to find it fascinating that after 15 years of treating her as the devil incarnate, the right wing is suddenly deferring to her on matters of who'd make a good president and who wouldn't.

Anonymous said...

What's more significant, deferring to Rush Limbaugh's opinion or the dem candidate who garnered the popular majority in O's party? Here's the point from a source that only you could love and consider valid, a liberal comedian from the Huffington Post:

What is incredible about supporting my opinions with facts? You and dctrojan continue to revise history only to be set straight by the historical facts with which I support my counter arguments. For example, is it not "naive" for Obama to pursue a failed strategy to the war on terror, i.e., Clinton's law enforcement approach that led to the Cole bombing, the embassy bombings and 9/11? (When we catch Osama, do we have to read him his Miranda rights?) We haven't enjoyed another attack here since we took the military approach to the problem.

Raising taxes on business and promising more jobs at the same time? Talking to despots without preconditions? He believes that reforming the banking system will create more jobs! He doesn't understand that corporate loopholes and corporate welfare are bipartisan and intentional to create jobs. Naive. Naive. Naive. Naive. Naive.

Obama is not a uniter. Hell, he reneged when McCain reached across the aisle on campaign finance reform.

He is an idealogue. Look at his liberal voting record at the state and while in DC. Dare I raise his 20 years with Rev. Wright?

He's a naive idealogue.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Did you even read that Borowitz column that you linked to? His whole point was to criticize Hillary Clinton, not Obama.

Again, you've got a whole lot of rhetoric and invective but precious little in the way of actual facts to back them up.

Anonymous said...

Jeez. The point you refuse to recognize is that it is Hillary's opinion that Obama ain't ready to take the call at 3 AM. In her opinion, he's not qualified, he doesn't have the necessary experience. I'll draw pictures next time.

Also, I questioned in an earlier thread if blacks were ready for a black president. To my point:

This is what we're going to get with Obama. Someone takes exception to M's comment that only now is she proud to be an American and it's now a racial incident. O says that M is off limits, even though she's campaigning like her husband. It's going to be race card city if he's elected.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the surge is succeeding:

Hope the source is to your liking.

Anonymous said...

Obama, an new kind of politician?

Obama is running on change and yet he proceeds with politics as usual.

He said he wants to "use the hammer of opting out of NAFTA" to make our neighbors renegotiate. Reneging on our treaties? So, this will make other countries like us more? Why stop there? Why not renege on our mutual defense treaties like blue wants? How can you trust this guy? I can't - based on his constant amorphous positions. Someone called trying to understand this guy's positions as "trying to nail jello to the wall."

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

So Hillary thinks Obama isn't "ready to take the call." So what? I happen to disagree.

And I'm not particularly concerned in who's playing the race card, either. The main things I'm concerned about, as I've said before on this blog, are who's going to restore some semblance of respect for our civil liberties and who's going to keep us out of wars we don't need to be fighting. So far, nobody's convinced me that John McCain is interested in doing either of those things.

Anonymous said...

I think George McGovern is still around. LMAO

I didn't expect to convince you, you're a desperate, irrational liberal.