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Friday, April 30, 2004

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You know, one of the problems of the Internet is that it gives people the opportunity to post all the time and whip themselves into a hysteria.

Here is what I think, based on decades of working in and writing about mainstream electoral politics.

If John Kerry is standing in November, he has a decent chance of being the next President of the United States.

Period.

Bill Bradley

Huh, what kinda glitch was that? "David Warner," WTF?!

As was saying:

You know, one of the problems of the Internet is that it gives people the opportunity to post all the time and whip themselves into a hysteria.

Here is what I think, based on decades of working in and writing about mainstream electoral politics.

If John Kerry is standing in November, he has a decent chance of being the next President of the United States.

Period.

steve

Perhaps Zinn CAN distinguish between fascists and cowboy conservatives, but the conclusion he reaches, that the cowboys are worse, is little comfort.

--I don't see anything there that would qualify as Zinn seeing cowboys being 'worse' than fascists, that's not the argument he's making there, not even close. It's an argument that there is little good reason, based on the record, to trust our leaders intentions to intervene in countries like Iraq on behalf of the cause of human rights. If nothing else, the last few days belated "revelations" [i.e. what amnesty and human rights watch has been reporting for almost half a year now] would seem to confirm the validity of Zinn's perspective, or at least makes it one worthy of debate.

David Warner

"Huh, what kinda glitch was that? "David Warner," WTF?!"

Sorry Bill, missed the joke here. You're probably right about Kerry, and he wouldn't make a disastrous one. If "non-disastrous" is your number one criteria, Kerry would be your man.

"--I don't see anything there that would qualify as Zinn seeing cowboys being 'worse' than fascists"

A. Zinn claimed U.S. is the most dangerous.

B. Fascist regimes exist.

C. Therefore U.S. is more dangerous than fascist regimes.

D. If leadership is correlative with country danger level, then cowboys are worse than fascists.

Logic hole? Flawed asumption?

BTW, thx for the respectful reply. I agree that the recent revelations do call for such debate - it will come whether we call for it or not, so might as well get warmed up. As for trust, here's one I know you'll love:

"Trust, but verify."

;-)

Good thing we have folks like youself to help out with the verification.

David Warner

"--by having 'the social skills of a five year old' you really mean 'people I disagree with'."

Mo, I really mean what I really say, and I would expect you to do likewise.

"--I would agree, i.e. it's a cheap shot that has little substance when we look at the real world left in the US."

No, your understanding shows little evidence of agreement. I made no claim that Marc was cheap - indeed, my comparison to friendly fire implies good intention.

I also did not claim that Marc lacks substance. Like friendly fire, he was shooting at something, even if friendlies get caught in that fire. In this case, that something is the lack of perspective mentioned. As he was speaking of the Left, the immediate context is the Left's lack of perspective, but that could be, and in fact is, one instance of a general trend that goes beyond the Left.

"military actions taken in reprisal"

Again, you beg the question. Can you prove that the actions were taken in reprisal? i.e. as opposed to "in enforcement of international law" or even "in conquest"?

"I don't think it matters whether or not it could be 'proven'"

So protections of our civil liberties, such as the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" have no meaning for you?

"The overwhelming no. of worst abuses by Saddam were in the 80's and early 90's,"

This was when our government was leaving him alone or offering token support. Why would he act differently if we employed a similar policy today, as you advocate?


A. Zinn claimed U.S. is the most dangerous.

B. Fascist regimes exist.

--well, yes, abstractly that seems absolutely unjustifiable. now, add in a little contextual reality, for example, 1) the likelihood that most of those 'fascist' (by which you probably mean very right wing, very authoritarian, oppressive,...I don't know how many really share a fascist philosophy as their means of governance, even guatemala seems to have given that up now...). Many such regimes, zinn would probably argue, would have trouble surviving without US support, [think egypt, saudi arabia, pakistan, guatemala, etc.]
And of course, we are far more powerful and far more capable of creating damage worldwide than weakling tinpot dictators...even the evil Sodom... One might disagre with such a presumption [indeed it is very anti-PC], but it is debate worthy.
------------------------------------------
BTW, thx for the respectful reply. I agree that the recent revelations do call for such debate - it will come whether we call for it or not, so might as well get warmed up. As for trust, here's one I know you'll love:


-------------------------------
It's not a problem, marc and michael t's insistence otherwise, quite possible to debate issues without vague and unsubstantiated claims about the 'left'...

steve

Again, you beg the question. Can you prove that the actions were taken in reprisal? i.e. as opposed to "in enforcement of international law" or even "in conquest"?

--how about in conquest and reprisal? in terms of enforcement of international law, well if that was the case, how putting a mayor of kabul and warlords in control of afghanistan enforces international law is lost on me. i suspect in the end the taliban were ripe for being bought off to get osama's turnover, if that was really the endgoal...
the afghanistan 'victory' did however give Bush the much needed media deference when planning and carrying out the official invasion of Iraq...

steve

So protections of our civil liberties, such as the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" have no meaning for you?

--no david, that's not what i'm saying at all. not sure what makes you think that.
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This [the worst abuses of saddam's regime] was when our government was leaving him alone or offering token support. Why would he act differently if we employed a similar policy today, as you advocate?

---sure, i don't see why not, we do that with other regimes once classified as evildoers, ghadaffi stands out...we seem to have had a stronger interest in getting rid of saddam and replacing him with leaders that we like who are much friendlier to our interests in privatizing the country and pressuring other mideast countries to do likewise.
would he act differently? if he weren't at war, probably the answer is yes. i remember hearing from a moderate before the war when asked about the 'stalin-saddam' equation, he stated that in the estimation of most experts on Iraq the better comparison was 'breszhnev-saddam'...But that idea wasn't PC enough at the time, so few picked up on it.
The most accurate answer is we can't know, but it's a safe bet that not invading [and Bush's way of invading was the only way it could be pulled off btw, the whole unilateral-multinational business misses the point] would have left the Iraqis to figure out how to deal with the saddam problem instead of facing the mess they are faced with with foreign occupiers who know little or nothing about their history and cultures. forget the horrific amount of unecessary deaths that have devestated countless thousands of Iraqis in the aftermath of 'liberation'...

yfb

"As to the two purer-than-thou revolutionary leftists trolls... well.. some commentators have emailed me urging me to squelch you off the blog.. but no need.. you're kinda reminding me od those two singing chipmunks from 40 years ago.. Alvin and ??? Who? anybody remember the second one's name?"

This from the guy who falsely accuses Steve of calling him names.
When did you become such a fan of the ad hominem, Marc?

David Warner

Steve,

Sorry for the delay - life and stuff.

>>So protections of our civil liberties, such as the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" have no meaning for you?

>--no david, that's not what i'm saying at all. not sure what makes you think that.

perhaps it was when you said, "I don't think it matters whether or not it could be 'proven'"

"'fascist' (by which you probably mean very right wing, very authoritarian, oppressive,...I don't know how many really share a fascist philosophy as their means of governance, even guatemala seems to have given that up now...)."

Actually, I mean fascist. Followers of Michel Aflaq. Have I misread his philosophy?

"--how about in conquest and reprisal?"

As I would expect, and that's fine. That's where proof comes in. The current case put forward by the left here is about as persuasive as Powell's WMD presentation to the U.N. - good for those already convinced, but unlikely to clear a reasonable doubt hurdle. To clear that hurdle, a good strategy would be to speak to those doubts, not to ignore them.

The "enforcement of international law" argument offers a compelling alternative. Here I'm speaking of Iraq more so than Afghanistan. Like the Whiskey Rebellion in the U.S., Iraq was a good opportunity for the U.N. to assert it's authority in upholding international law, something it failed to do, apparently due to internal corruption.

If the young republic here had failed to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, would the state of Virginia have been justified in recruiting, say, Georgia and Massachusetts in putting it down "unilaterally"? I'll agree that this would not have strengthened the union, but the action is certainly debatable.

"And of course, we are far more powerful and far more capable of creating damage worldwide than weakling tinpot dictators...even the evil Sodom... One might disagre with such a presumption [indeed it is very anti-PC], but it is debate worthy."

Of course we are more powerful and capable, but is capable the same as culpable?

The federal government is also more powerful and capacble of craeting damage than any one corrupt corporation, though given your avowed enthusiasm for populist themes, you don't seem to adovcate domestic restraint on the power of that same government.

According to your theory, and you may be right, people are wary of government power, but even more wary of other less-powerful but demonstrably more malignant forces on the domestic front. Why could this not also apply outside our borders?

"forget the horrific amount of unecessary deaths that have devestated countless thousands of Iraqis in the aftermath of 'liberation'..."

Actually, it's the job of folks like yourself to make sure we don't forget that. Keep up the good work on this front. Just hope you take care not to scare off your reinforcements. It's a thankless job, you need all the help you can get.



David wrote:
perhaps it was when you said, "I don't think it matters whether or not it could be 'proven'"

--yeah, as in I don't think it matters to the US whether or not it could be proven.
-------------------------------------
The current case put forward by the left here is about as persuasive as Powell's WMD presentation to the U.N. - good for those already convinced, but unlikely to clear a reasonable doubt hurdle.

--I'm not sure about that, I think there is far more evidence of conquest and reprisal than there ever was of so-called "WMDs" in Iraq from Powell et al.
---------------------------
Of course we are more powerful and capable, but is capable the same as culpable?

--I think here Zinn would, reasonably, cite the factual record of our government's history of creating a lot more damage than an Ossama could ever dream of. I don't think that's incorrect nor unproblematic. The problem of hawks of course is that they then take that statement to mean "I love Ossama", and of course in the case of Zinn no such sentiment exists.
------------------------------------
According to your theory, and you may be right, people are wary of government power, but even more wary of other less-powerful but demonstrably more malignant forces on the domestic front. Why could this not also apply outside our borders?

--I wouldn't show nearly as much support for governments that are powerless in the face of their ruling classes as the US has given in the past and present. As a matter of fact, a major source of resentment in much of the Arab and developing world is centered around that social fact.
------------------------------------
Actually, it's the job of folks like yourself to make sure we don't forget that. Keep up the good work on this front. Just hope you take care not to scare off your reinforcements. It's a thankless job, you need all the help you can get.


--I do the best I can, though there is no rush, it becomes more and more evident with each passing day it seems? cheers.

David Warner

"--yeah, as in I don't think it matters to the US whether or not it could be proven."

Condescension is not terribly persuasive.

"--I'm not sure about that, I think there is far more evidence of conquest and reprisal than there ever was of so-called "WMDs" in Iraq from Powell et al."

Again, if you are trying to make a case to convince those who do not already agree with you, and if you care about these issues to the extent that you profess then you would be, what you think is beside the point. What your fellow citizens think and how best to go about changing it would seem more pertinent.

"The problem of hawks of course is that they then take that statement to mean "I love Ossama", and of course in the case of Zinn no such sentiment exists."

The hawks have far more problems than that. The rest of us, however, are more concerned about solutions at this point. Your evident obsession with the hawks' problems is touching, but ultimately impotent.

"--I wouldn't show nearly as much support for governments that are powerless in the face of their ruling classes as the US has given in the past and present. As a matter of fact, a major source of resentment in much of the Arab and developing world is centered around that social fact."

You've either missed or dodged my point here.

You do not trust our government to take action against external threats. Why do you trust the same government to take action against internal ones? i.e. "special interests"

"though there is no rush, it becomes more and more evident with each passing day it seems?"

Events do not interpret themselves. The manner in which you convey your interpretations is undermining the potential validity they contain.

David Warner

Re: what fascism?

See:

http://www.techcentralstation.com/050504D.html

Matthew Cromer

Slumping Economy.


HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHA! A good one! Thanks for the laughs!

steve

David wrote:
Condescension is not terribly persuasive.

--David, you misread what i wrote perhaps, it's clear that's not 'condescending'. it's a judgement based on history. our gov't has little regard for judgements made against the US in international courts.
----------------------------------
The rest of us, however, are more concerned about solutions at this point.

--I hardly noticed. I see a continuation of the same failed policies actually. little in the way of 'solutions'. even something simple like the release of 200 detainees the other day turns into a fiasco that can only create more anger in Iraq.
----------------------------------
You do not trust our government to take action against external threats. Why do you trust the same government to take action against internal ones? i.e. "special interests"

--I don't 'trust' it anymore in either arena. if you're trying to equate dropping bombs on people who had nothing to do with 911 with, say, the NLRB, sorry I don't see the connection. I can say the NLRB is a good thing that should be encouraged, dropping bombs on people who had nothing to do with 911 is a pretty bad idea--entirely reasonable to me.
further, the forces pushing for internal regulation are quite different from those pushing for increases in the military budget for adventures abroad. very different constituencies. Military contractors in one instance, a national labor confederation of unions in the other. I do trust the latter more.
----------------------------
Events do not interpret themselves. The manner in which you convey your interpretations is undermining the potential validity they contain.

--my sense is that your own interpretation of events is more a factor in whether or not your convinced by my arguments than how i present them, to be honest.

---------------------

Totten argues: Saddam had publicly threatened to "burn half of Israel" with chemical weapons, no small threat considering "Chemical" Ali, one of Saddam's top goons, used chemical weapons in the Anfal Campaign against northern Iraqi Kurds

--and yet Israel's leaders themselves were pretty unconcerned about the military 'threat' of Iraq before the 2003 invasion. ditto Iraq's neighbors. Interesting line of argument.

David Warner

"our gov't has little regard for judgements made against the US in international courts."

our gov't is not the pertinent audience for your arguments at this point. I'm speaking of your fellow citizens.

"--I hardly noticed. I see a continuation of the same failed policies actually."

I'm aware of what exists. I'm curious about what might exist. For about the hundreth time - any ideas?

"I can say the NLRB is a good thing that should be encouraged, dropping bombs on people who had nothing to do with 911 is a pretty bad idea"

The NRLB is an entity, dropping bombs is a policy (and in the current case a narrowly twisted caricature of one at that). The record of the NRLB and the NSC, say, could be considered divergent. I will grant you that. However, your test based on power is not what reveals that divergence. Both are powerful - it is performance that separates them.

"--my sense is that your own interpretation of events is more a factor in whether or not your convinced by my arguments than how i present them, to be honest."

Yes, perhaps more than I'd like to admit. Though our interpretations are never truly just our own. I will allow that the patience and reasonable tone you've taken with me (in contrast to that you took with Cooper) has influenced my interpretations more than you know. My perception of Zinn has had to adjust to your very different take on him, for one.

I happen to think we have somewhat divergent roles to play in the pursuit of broadly similar purposes.

"--and yet Israel's leaders themselves were pretty unconcerned about the military 'threat' of Iraq before the 2003 invasion. ditto Iraq's neighbors. Interesting line of argument."

So the Baath do not fit your definition of fascism? I'm aware that it annoys you when people make these kinds of inferences from how you respond.

This is what I'm trying to lift up to your attention - when you dodge (not sure if that's the right term) the jist of people's arguments, you leave yourself open to some serious misinterpretation.


sdgs

Helloooo.... h are u?

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