Lipstick on a Pig


Diplomacy is the art of putting lipstick on a pig.”

United States Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice returned this week from yet another futile negotiating session between Iran and the six world power nations regarding the halting of Iran’s program designed to produce nuclear weapons — a negotiating process that has been going on for five years. Secretary Rice concluded that Iran is not serious about the negotiations and that it has been giving the parties the “run-around.” If, in fact, it has taken Sec. Rice and the diplomats from the other super power nations five years to figure this out, it would suggest that the United State and its five fellow “”super powers” need to clean out the rat holes of their diplomatic corps and start over with people who can realistically and timely assess the character of rogue nations.

The whole concept of diplomacy rests on the notion that all parties to a dispute are reasonable, rational and honorable. Differences arise between nations just as differences arise between people in a civilized society. The art of negotiating a resolution to those differences assumes three things: that all parties want to find a solution, that all parties occupy relatively comparable positions of power, and that all parties are willing to accept a solution short of their initial demand.

In the United States, when negotiations fail between people, we have access to the courts in the form of litigation where the court ultimately imposes a resolution. The parties accept that resolution because 1) they have become accustomed to the process and/or 2) the might and power of the government is present to enforce the resolution. (Remember this latter element.)

On the world stage, however, when negotiations fail between nations there is no court system except in instances where the parties have agreed to submit matters to a world court. And even in those instances, because there is no effective enforcement mechanism, the party nations can choose to ignore both the process before the international tribunals and the results.

When negotiations fail between nations, there is only fight or flight. In most instances continued attempts at “diplomacy” serve only to delay the inevitable or mask the choice of “flight” that has already been made.

John Kenneth Galbraith, not exactly a “take-no-prisoners” hawk, was once quoted as saying,

“There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.”

And that is precisely the case with negotiations with Iran over their intended development of a nuclear arsenal. It was precisely the case with Saddam Hussein and nearly fourteen pointless years of negotiating with him to cease development of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. The same is true with Kim Jong Il and the development of nuclear weapons by North Korea.

What each of these rogue nations has in common is its recognition that diplomacy is a toothless tiger — a process to be manipulated while continuing to pursue the very conduct that is offensive to others. It is uncertain when rogue nations with their tyrants (Chavez in Venezuela), lunatics (Kim Jong Il in North Korea) and zealots (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran) first learned this lesson but it is certainly no later than Neville Chamberlain’s capitulation to Adolph Hitler immediately preceding his attack on Poland and the commencement of World War II.

International relations could use a good dose of playground reality. The only thing that ever stopped a playground bully was superior force — you either beat his eyes shut or the threat of beating his eyes shut became immediate and recognizable. Short of that you were forced to capitulate — you might avoid a beating but you never avoided the imposition of the bully’s arbitrary demands.

Kofi Busia, the Prime Minister of Ghana is quoted as observing that

“Diplomacy means the art of nearly deceiving all your friends, but not quite deceiving all your enemies.“

So it appears today that often times diplomacy is merely the smokescreen of capitulation. It is a means of keeping one’s own citizens at bay while allowing some despot to tweak the nation’s nose. And the consequences of capitulation are extreme. Does anyone think that once Ahmadinejad has access to a nuclear weapon that he will hesitate even a nano second before releasing it on Israel?

Fortunately, in today’s global economy, superior force does not necessarily mean armed conflict. (It does, on the other hand, help to be able to have certainty as to the ability to repel armed aggression.) President Ronald Reagan demonstrated that a superior economic force could bring the mighty Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) to its knees. And the same is true in dealing with Iran. The economic measures available can crush Iran’s economy whether it comes from economic boycotts or by military build up designed to force Iran to spend itself into bankruptcy.

But none of this can be done while the United States is absolutely dependent on oil from the Middle East. Until the nation secures its own energy self-reliance its threats of superior force are just as hollow as its attempts to employ diplomacy.

In the end, we as a nation must decide on fight or flight. Five years of screwing around is quite enough.

(P.S. I searched Bartlett’s Quotations to determine whether anyone had come close to the opening quote. I found nothing and so I lay claim to its origin.)

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  • Crawdude

    Exploration and drilling, much higher CAFE standards, alternative fuels and power sources, more refining capabilities, conservation, etc…. If we do all of it , we can break the strangle hold that non-domestic oil has on us.

    I saw a special on algae produced power, sounds promising.

    Personally, I think all new homes should have at least 1200W direct feed solar panels installed at the time of the building…………sadly, my idea has yet to catch on.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Probably the best thing to do is tell the Iranians that we will see them after January 20th. Clearly we cannot conduct any foreign policy in an election season. Would that we could return to the days of civility under Clinton. Remember when Clinton launched the whole Kosovo thing? Politics stopped at the waters edge, the president sets foreign policy. That’s what Bob Dole said even though a lot of people saw it as a wag the dog scenario. Right or wrong it certainly gave us a stronger position. Now we have congressional leaders who seem perfectly willing to undercut any foreign policy, no matter what it is, if they perceive an edge in winning an election. “The War is Lost” said senate majority Harry Reid, and with that statement he shored up his base, and made sure any victory in Iraq was now that much harder to achieve.

    It doesn’t stop there. Remember the NIE report at the end of last year? Iran had supposedly halted its nuclear program years ago it said. “Oh Bush is such an idiot” chimed all concerned. “What a fool, Bush had us on the verge of yet another war”. Yeah right, well if that’s the case, what in the world are we discussing with Iran now? It sure seems to me there is some mutual incompatibility here. What the hell is going on in our intelligence community when we have clear attempts here to put out misleading information such as the NIE report? How in the world does the CIA send out Joe Williams, to assess whether Iraq attempted to buy yellow cake in Niger? The CIA has no agents qualified to do this work so they have to go to an individual who has no expertise in the area, but was rabidly anti Bush? Are you kidding me?

    I think we should withdraw from all negotiations and get our act together here at home first. If that means relenting and waiting for an Obama victory, so be it. Lets wait until we can get a CIA that actually is capable of putting together a believable NIE report. Lets wait until we have a Democrat president, incompetent or not, who isn’t constantly having his legs cut out from under him just for political advantage. I frankly think that is what it is going to take for the left in this country to stop sabotaging every foreign policy endevour.

    • dean

      The Republicans in Congress supported Clinton’s foreign policy? Please. They whined over Kosovo and ridiculed his efforts to hit bin laden with a missle. And they hardly supported Carter when he was president. Policitcs has never stopped at the water’s edge. Its a myth.

      Besides which, if 60-70% or more of the American people want a wind down to our Iraq adventure, why should congress not reflect that? What is the point of having elections?

      Iran is going to do what they think is in their interest. In modern history, what nation has Iran started a war with? Even if they manage to build a bomb, so what? THey are going to fly it over to New York? I don’t think so. Lets stop being so fearful. THey are not big enough, strong enough, or rich enough to do much other than be a nuisance, o lets stop freaking out over them. Sooner or later they are going to get rid of Amedwahatzisname. People there are not stupid and most are not suicidal.

      Joe Wilson was an ambassador who served under Reagan and Bush 1. He was not “anti-Bush,” and if memory serves even contrivuted to Bush’s campaign in 2000. He became anti-Bush after he saw him lie to the American people about Iraq’s procuement of uranium to gin up the war, and then go after his wife. Understandable.

      Don’t you find it odd that the Iraq president has a position similar to Obamas? And that after calling him an appeaser for wanting to negotiate with Iran without pre-condition, the Bush administration is now doing so? Weird. What next…Bush giving up mountain biking or golf for baskletball?

      Bottom line, if we want to undercut Iran we need to not be the junkie who needs an oil fix. Carwdude has it right.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >The Republicans in Congress supported Clinton’s foreign policy?

    Please tell me the names of Republicans who did things similar to Harry Reid saying “The War is Lost” while we had troops on the ground in Kosovo. I have already listed for you Bob Doles comments. It would be nice if you could come up with something concrete rather than the usual vagaries.

    >They whined over Kosovo

    To my knowledge, some said Clintons notion of having troops out of Kosovo by Christmas, as Clinton promised on national television was the only thing Republicans criticized as being optimistic. When they were not home by that time, I don’t remember Republicans whining away like you guys do about things being a quagmire. Please come up with something concrete, not the usual Dean vagaries.

    >and ridiculed his efforts to hit bin laden with a missle.

    Wrong

    Clinton, in the supposed bin Ladin attack, attacked bases that were clearly vacant. Republicans only brought up the fact that this was fairly obvious and that it really seemed a waste of resources. I don’t recall anything near the vitriol in that event compared to Democrats efforts to undercut things. Second of all, even when Clinton lobbed cruise missiles in order to interrupt the impeachment vote, Republicans were far more deferential than Pelosi or Reid have been when we have had troops on the ground. If you have quotes to the contrary that are anywhere near the insanity of what Pelosi and Reid have said I would love to see them. Please give quotes and sources, not Dean vagaries. Please do not launch into history lessons on irrelevant topics or other non sequitars. I am not interested in Deans Google knowledge of the history of Muslim influence in the former Yugoslavia for example.

    >Besides which, if 60-70% or more of the American people want a wind down to our Iraq adventure, why should congress not reflect that? What is the point of having elections?

    Because foreign policy is not run by polls. There is also a big difference between expressing a desire to wind down a war, and doing everything possible to embolden the enemy. Pelosi and Reid have clearly done the latter. You can certainly encourage a winding down of the war without hurting our forces on the ground. Running around and saying Bush is a failure, as Pelosi has done, and saying the war is lost, as Reid have done, is not constructive. Obviously you cant see that, I think most of us would see it differently. The Republicans handled Kosovo with far more grace than the Democrats handled Iraq. That much is obvious. That you cant admit that is a testament to the Democrats ability to be blind to everything in their quest for power.

    He became anti-Bush after he saw him lie to the American people about Iraq’s procuement of uranium to gin up the war, and then go after his wife. Understandable.

    Wrong.

    The administration never said Iraq procured yellow cake from Niger. They said Iraq sent people to explore buying yellow cake, one of only three things Niger exports. The fact that you have confused this speaks to Joe Wilsons lying, which incidentally he was caught in during congressional testimony. Hard to make the case that a guy who lies to congress, and perpetuates a lie to embarrass an administration was pro Bush.

    >Don’t you find it odd that the Iraq president has a position similar to Obamas?

    Wrong.

    Obama has called for a deadline of sixteen months. The Iraqi president said troops will have to go at some point. Big difference. Everyone agrees they will go at some point.

    >And that after calling him an appeaser for wanting to negotiate with Iran without pre-condition, the Bush administration is now doing so?

    Yes, I do find that odd. What I especially find odd is what we are negotiating. I mean the vaunted NIE said Iran had no nuclear program currently. So what are we talking about? Or was that all just another event to say “Stupid Bush” and now it has been pushed under the rug?

    >Bottom line, if we want to undercut Iran we need to not be the junkie who needs an oil fix.

    Bottom line, if you think that you are an absolute idiot.

    The year is 2020

    The United states uses no oil of any kind, everything runs on solar and jelly beans.

    Iran has nuclear capability due to President Idiot’s announcement we had no more interest in the region the year the jelly bean engine was devised.

    Iran, true to its word to become the regional super power, launches a nuclear attack on Israel.

    President Idiot is notified.

    “The Israeli ambassador is on the line Mr. President, they have just launched nuclear missiles in retaliation for inbound missiles at Tel Aviv, do you care?”

    “Of course not! Why we have no interest in that area! Our nation runs on jelly beans”

    “But Mr. President, I mean don’t you care that a nuclear war in the middle east might spill over?”

    “Of course not, now don’t bring up any Kosovo comparisons, of course a conventional war in Europe could have spilled over and embroiled the entire continent, but nuclear war in the middle east? Its not our business, we use jelly beans, let them nuke it out”

    You like that scenario?

    Yeah, I thought so. So lets stop all this asinine talk that if we didn’t use oil we could divorce ourselves from the middle east. Get real.

  • Bob Clark

    There are some side benefits to America’s costly Iraq misadventure. First, Libya did seem to flip sides shortly after the Iraq invasion. Secondarily, the U.S. currently is in a position to contain Iran – and by the way, Persia has had periods of territorial expansion, making other middle east nations fearful of Iran. It is even possible now the U.S. might over the course of a few years leave Iraq with a stronger government than the Sadam Hussein regime. This government may be able to offer some form of containment against Iran. Iraq has been a hard history lesson, recalling the same type of British experience in Iraq in the early 1900s, and maybe the U.S will be more wary of using military force at least for awhile. So, it’s not all bad. Cross fingers, knock on wood.

    Actually, historians like to wait a decade or so after an event to actually write the final verdict concerning the results of such a policy decision as the Iraq war. I am just another armchair historian.

    • dean

      Rupert…I quote at length below from the NY Times:

      “Whether by chance or by design, the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq chose a day when Mr. Obama was in the country to provide its clearest statement yet about its views on the withdrawal of American troops. After a weekend of dispute about precisely what Mr. Maliki was suggesting, his spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told reporters in Baghdad, “We cannot give any timetables or dates, but the Iraqi government believes the end of 2010 is the appropriate time for the withdrawal.”

      Mr. Obama has said he would seek to withdraw American combat forces over 16 months if he is elected president, starting upon taking office in January, *meaning his plan would be completed on roughly the same timetable as suggested by the Iraqis*. The Bush administration has signaled a willingness to work with the Iraqis on their desire to begin setting at least a general “time horizon” for reducing the American military presence, leaving Mr. McCain at risk of becoming isolated in his position of firm opposition to a withdrawal timetable.”

      So Obama’s 16 month goal appears to closely match the goal of the iraqi government. Bush and McCain say “at some point.” the Iraqi government says 2010.

      On Clinton, the Republicans, and Kosovo, the military conflict was from March to June, 1999. Here are just a few samples:

      Then presidential candidate George Bush criticized Clinton for not having an exit strategy, “Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for a president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.” Houston Chronicle, 4/09/99

      Dan Quayle (also running of rpresident at the time…remember him?): “We have taken a political crisis and escalated it into a full military crisis. The handling of the situation…reflects the inattention of the Clinton Administration to foreign policy…” Omaha World Herald, 03/28/99

      House Majority Whip Tom Delay: “I cannot support a failed foreign policy. But before we get deeper embroiled in this Balkan QUAGMIRE, I think an assessment has to be made of the Kosovo policy so far. President Clinton has never explained to the American people why he was involving the US military in a civil war in a sovereign nation, other than to say it is for humantarian reasons…..Was it worth it to stay in Viet Nam just to save face? What good has been accomplished? Absolutely nothing.” Congressional Record, 04/28/99.

      Assistant majority leader Don Nickles: “I think he’s gotten us into a mess. I don’t think you can bomb a country into signing a peace agreement.” Washington Post, 04/13/99

      Representative Randy (Duke) Cunningham: “This is the most inept foreign policy in the history of the United States.” Washington Times, 04/29/99.

      Given all of these comments were made during the fighting, were these Republicans emboldening the enemy? I suppose so. Fortunately it didn’t work and Clinton prevailed.

      If you want more Rupert? I have lots more. They left a trail.

      Does Iran want a nuke? Probably. Pakistan has them, Israel has them, they suffered a million or so casualties at the hands of the Iraqis. Its a dangerous neighborhood. Will they use one against Israel? Doubful. But if they had one then they would have less worry about Israel or the US bombing them.

      What I presume we are negotiating is whether there is some price Iran has for giving up its quest. Lets hope this is the case.

      Getting ourselves weaned from Mideast oil won’t make peace in the Middle east. But if war does break out between Israel and Iran, it means our economy won’t be hostage to its consequences, including the closing of the straight of Hormuz, which would cut off something like 70% of world oil exports.

      Bob…We were already in a position to contain Iran before we attacked Iraq. In fact, Saddam was doing a lot of the containing for us. What we have now is a bigger, stronger, richer ($150 a barel oil) Iran to have to contain, along with a very weakened military and a blueprint for how to defeat us (car bombs, roadside bombs, suicide attacks, etc….). Knock on wood, I agree we better be more cautious about starting wars in that part of the world.

      I also agree that we will need some time to sort out the costs/benefit ration of the Iraq war. I don’t think there will ever be a final verdict, because we are still debating just about every war we ever waged.

  • NOL

    Pig is too small. Try dinosaur.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >So Obama’s 16 month goal appears to closely match the goal of the iraqi government. Bush and McCain say “at some point.” the Iraqi government says 2010.

    Wrong.

    Sorry, but the Iraqi government is well on record as saying President Maliki’s comments were mis-translated and that he did not in fact call for any specific date.

    >Given all of these comments were made during the fighting, were these Republicans emboldening the enemy? I suppose so.

    Ok, there obviously were Republicans criticizing Clinton. I don’t really count the first two as Bush and Quayle were running for office. Big difference between that and congressional and Senate leaders doing the same. Alright, so maybe Republicans did in fact do the same thing. However, I highly doubt this sort of thing was given near the hang time in the press so I doubt it had anywhere near the effect of the Democrats comments. Does that mean it was equally bad of the Republicans to do this as the Democrats now? Yes.

    >Fortunately it didn’t work and Clinton prevailed.

    Interesting, so for some reason you think it good that criticism of a war in which were clearly had less national interest than Iraq didn’t work. Now, when we are in a war which does have greater national interest, you are in favor of criticism that clearly emboldens the enemy? Why?

    Oh, wait, right, Republican criticism, always wrong, Democrat criticism always right.

    Lets face it, the slaughter of retribution by Muslims in the wars aftermath is now quite well documented. Kosovo was hardly a resounding success.

    >Will they use one against Israel? Doubful.

    You are kidding right? I seriously hope you don’t believe this.

    >What I presume we are negotiating is whether there is some price Iran has for giving up its quest. Lets hope this is the case.

    Well, first of all we are not negotiating, supposedly we are sitting in on the negotiations. Who really knows, but that is the official word.

    >including the closing of the straight of Hormuz, which would cut off something like 70% of world oil exports.

    Could we please see a show of hands of those who think that even if we imported zero Mideast oil, the closing of the straights of Hormuz would have no effect on our economy? Sorry Dean, if you think that removal of our dependence on mid east oil removes our economic dependence on the straights of Hormuz, then you probably don’t know a lot about how much our economy depends on exports.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Oh, and by the way Dean, I do notice that you avoid the Wilson issue as well as the fact that the NIE now seems to have been a scam. I wonder how the Kosovo operation would have gone if Clinton had had to deal with that sort of thing?

    • dean

      Rupert…not avoiding anything, just picking my spots. Clinton had the same CIA, so if they are into scamming the president maybe he just had better managerial skills and a good BS detector. Wilson is a bit of a blowhard, but he was right about the yellow cake issue, which is why Tenet took the fall for the “16 words” and Libby ended up as a convicted felon.

      Maliki government said what he said. It is on the record, and Der Speigel has made a complete trancript and tapes available. There is no question Maliki said 16 months as the right timeframe, and others in his government have since reiterated this. Their initial statement about a “misinterpretation” was just to give Bush a fig leaf. Don’t take my word for it.

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,566852,00.html

      The Republicans were not simply criticizing Clinton. They were protesting his decision to initiate an air war with Serbia, and they were doing so while US piots were in the air and being shot at. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Politics happens on both sides of the aisle, even over foreign policy, even during war.

      Bush was the front runner and republican establishment choice. He was not simply running. And Quayle was a former vice president, not just some yahoo, though he actually is just some yahoo.

      Yes, I think in retrospect Clinton did the right thing and it was fortunate he prevailed. I also think in retrospect Bush did the right thing in going with the Petraeus strategy, and it appears to be a good thing he prevailed over the objections of the Democratic congress. (so no…Democratic criticism not always right). Now maybe we can take advantage of the lull to get the hell out and MAYBE the Iraqis can avoid descending back into chaos unleashed by the initial bad decision of Bush, suported by nearly all Republicans and many Democrats in congress, to invade in the first place.

      Of course, if we lose Afganistan in the meantime, then the surge will have turned out not so good after all. Time will tell.

      No…not kidding. I think the Iranians dropping a bomb on Israel 5 or 10 years down the road is most unlikely. Why? Ahmedinijad won’t be president then, and even if he were he has zero control over military decisions. That is left to the Mullahs, and even though they have beards, wear turbans, and talk funny they are not suicidal. Iran uses Israel bashing as a means to get their props among their fellow Muslims, a few million of whom actually live in Israel, many more just downwind. Its stagecraft. Like “Death to America!” Like Kruschev blethering “We will bury you!” He didn’t manage that. Relax. If we go to war every time some nut mutters something scary we will have to raise your taxes for sure.

      We are negotiating by being there. And at some point one side will put something on the table that causes the other side to say….hmmnn….not bad. And so forth. Or not, and then we can nuke them. We always have that option.

      On the Straights, its the difference between “limited effect” and “got you by the short and curlys.” If we are driving hybrid electric cars with electricity from wind, solar, geothermal and hydro, and living in snug, insulated passive solar homes, eating fruits, veggies, and cheese steaks raised on local farms we held onto by passing M49, then we can manage without their oil longer than they can manage to not sell it. Think of alternative energy as patriotic if it helps you.

      • dean

        I missed your question: “Interesting, so for some reason you think it good that criticism of a war in which were clearly had less national interest than Iraq didn’t work. Now, when we are in a war which does have greater national interest, you are in favor of criticism that clearly emboldens the enemy? Why? ”

        First, I think criticizing a war is patriotic if one believes that war is bad for the nation. Sitting around moping, or not complaining due to fear, is cowardly. The mere act of protesting a war does not, howver, automatically mean one is correct. Wars are always bad, but sometimes not fighting them is worse. Whether a particular war is in the “national interest” or not is a judgement call. You say the Kosovo war was not in the national interest. I and others believe that sometimes we should fight simply to save lives, and that is what Kosovo was about. I’m still trying to understand how the Iraq war was in the national interest. If we had attacked when Saddam was butchering the Kurds, then that would have been understandable. But attacking a nation because someday they might be a threat is a questionable proposition.

        I don’t even know who “the enemy” is in Iraq at this point, do you? I suppose it is anyone trying to kill Americans, but given we are ocupying someone else’s land, that criteria alone is not sufficient. The Sunnis in Anbar were killing us last year. This year they are our friends. Al Queda, or what there is of it in Iraq, is only there because we opened the door. And since they are also in many other countries, particularly headquartered in Pakistan, if that is our main enemy then we are fighting in the wrong place by 1500 or so miles.

        To sum up, I agree with criticism of some wars, and disagree with criticism of other wars, but would always defend the right of someone, in Congress or out, of either party, even yourself, to be critical of any war that is less than existential for our nation. And maybe even then I would defend their right to be critical. Its a right that is a core part of being a free American citizen.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Clinton had the same CIA, so if they are into scamming the president maybe he just had better managerial skills and a good BS detector.

        Ok, so let me get this straight, If Obama holds over the same guys running CIA from the previous administration, and they screw him on intelligence matters, you will say that it is due to Obama having poor managerial skills? You are actually saying that?

        >Wilson is a bit of a blowhard, but he was right about the yellow cake issue

        Actually he wasn’t. Wilson was caught lying about some of the key basis for his decision. Namely he claimed to have based his conclusion on documents that were either unavailable to him at the time, or had not been created yet. He was caught in this during congressional testimony and thus a determination as to whether or not Iraq had sent emissaries to Niger to purchase was inconclusive.

        Obviously this was lost in translation by a willing press at odds with the presidents foreign policy. You yourself fell for it as you have stated you thought the issue whether Iraq had purchased yellow cake. That was never the case. The issue was whether they had tried to purchase it. A big distinction.

        >which is why Tenet took the fall for the “16 words” and Libby ended up as a convicted felon.

        Tenet, the Clinton hold over who headed CIA and probably is the closest thing to the one person responsible for the WMD debacle did not suffer much due to Wilson. In fact nobody really did. Wilson was fairly inconsequential because his testimony could not really be used much. Anyone who did try and use it as an argument against Iraq would quickly be confronted with footage of Wilson stumbling all over himself when he gets caught lying in his testimony. Its a pretty ugly picture.

        Libby’s conviction had nothing to do with Wilsons yellow cake shenanigans. Libby was convicted mostly of making false statements to the FBI and perjury in front of a grand jury about conversations with the late Tim Russert and Matt Cooper.

        >There is no question Maliki said 16 months as the right timeframe, and others in his government have since reiterated this. Their initial statement about a “misinterpretation” was just to give Bush a fig leaf.

        Hmm, ok, so Maliki says one thing, then says he was misinterpreted and Der Spiegal says that’s not true. Ok, whatever. you go with Der Spiegal, Ill go with the Iraqi government.

        >The Republicans were not simply criticizing Clinton. They were protesting his decision to initiate an air war with Serbia, and they were doing so while US piots were in the air and being shot at.

        Ok, look, I conceded to you the point that there were Republicans who said things during Kosovo similar to what Democrats are saying about Iraq. That’s the difference between me and you. I actually admit when I am wrong, you are inseparable of it even when you make the most blundering of errors.

        But now you blow it by getting greedy. The idea that the Republicans were worse in their criticism of Kosovo than the Democrats are in their criticism of Iraq is simply absurd.

        And no, our pilots were not being shot at. Clinton had out pilots flying at a very high ceiling specifically to avoid AA fire. Clinton knew the public would not stand for casualties. This is why we were dropping mostly “dumb bombs” in Kosovo. The high ceiling required that. It is also why we tended to bomb low value targets, to avid collateral damage “dumb bombs” would cause. Madeline Albright even wanted to bomb targets that had already been destroyed just to look like they were doing something. Were you unaware of any of this? The high altitudes of the bombing runs were pretty majorly reported. Bill Maher even made a joke about it that landed him in some major hot water.

        >Bush was the front runner and republican establishment choice. He was not simply running. And Quayle was a former vice president, not just some yahoo, though he actually is just some yahoo.

        Don’t be a nitwit, I was making the distinction between someone in office criticizing and a candidate.

        >Relax. If we go to war every time some nut mutters something scary we will have to raise your taxes for sure.

        Uh oh, I always get real worried when a Democrat tells me to relax when it comes to foreign policy.

        Ok, so you believe that if Iran had a nuclear bomb, they wouldn’t set it off in Israel.

        Well, I think that is about the most idiotic thing I have ever heard.

        Given the number of times the other nations in the region have sworn to destroy Israel and given the number of times they have attempted to invade, and given that Iran sponsors the major terrorist groups in the region, one would have to be a complete and utter fool to think they would not use a nuclear weapon against Israel.

        >Think of alternative energy as patriotic if it helps you.

        I think of alternative energy as totally fine and dandy. I am all for it. It is the taxes and subsidies your side wants to pile on top of it that I find unpatriotic and destructive. Sorry, Al Gores cronies in the cap and trade market and windmill plants can make their money when they have a saleable product, not by stealing from me thank you.

        Oh, and those cheese steak farms saved by M49? I don’t know about you but everything near me seems to be grass farms. Hopefully you are not an allergy sufferer. If you are, then you would realize that you biggest environmental pollution concerns comes not from a tail pipe, but from grass seed farms, the most devastating business to the widest range of Oregonians we have out there. Nothing causes more misery to more people in this state than this industry.

  • Crawdude

    You people write really long posts….

    • dean

      Dude…apologies. So much to litigate, so many words to draw upon. Ignore the rest of post.

      Rupert…from the bottom:

      I do get hay fever, from my own hay field in fact. Ironically if you want to see those grass farms converted back into grain farms, you would support policies that restrict sprawl (grass farms are for the useless grass that covers suburban yards) and ethanol, which raises the price of grain. Plus if you go vegetarian you undercut the hay market, so less grass there as well. Farmers are not stupid. If they can make more money growing grain than grass they will do so. Thus you get less hay fever and more fresh food by electing democrats. Vote Obama in 08!

      Personally I would rather subsidize renewable, home grown energy than spend 12 billion a month patrolling Iraqi oil fields or another 12 billion a month taking on Iran.

      Sponsoring a terrorist group has different consequences than dropping a big one on a nation that has its own bigger ones mounted on submarines that can retailate. Plus like I said, the Iranians would be blowing up their own surrogates. Where the hell do you think Hezbolah and Hamas live? The Soviets sponsored terrorists against us, and we sponsored terrorists against them for over 40 years. Neither of us nuked the other. Maybe the Iranian leadership are all suicidal maniacs, which is what it would take for them to nuke Israel. But I doubt it.

      Whatever altitude our pilots were at in Kosovo, it seemed to work. None were shot down and the Serbs caved. Why argue with success Rupert? You prefer your wars heroic, filled with casualties, and inconclusive?

      Maliki and his representatives have reiterated the 2010 withdrawel goal on several occasions since the interview. And by Der Speigal making the tapes available, we don’t have to take their word. We are being asked to pack our bags, and we ought to begin doing so. McCain’s position has been completely undercut, and this will become increasingly evident over the coming weeks and months. Even you will eventually admit it. We are on the way out, and the likelihood is that Iran will fill much of our space. That will be the unfortunate legacy of this war.

      If Wilson was wrong, then why did the Bush administration retract that portion of Bush’s state of the union speech that Wilson took issue with?

      If a president Obama gets a CIA briefing or position paper, and he takes an action based on what turns out to be deliberately false information fed to him by staff, then his responsibility is to repudiate his action and fire those who misled him, if not prosecute them. And yes, if he fails to do that he is a lousy manager.

      What policy that Bush was misled into has he repudiated? Who has he fired in 7.5 years as CEO in chief? As I recall he gave Tenet a medal and pardoned Scooter, who either lied to his face or let him believe someone else had leaked Plame’s name. He also gave Brownie an attaboy after he left flood victims stranded. Maybe you were right about Harvard after all. An overrated education.

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