As Hillary Might Say, “Let’s Start the Conversation…”

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Wed, 2007-01-31 08:20

For me, and for most of my friends, “supporting” the ideas of either major political party in America is impossible. Both offer some form of deadly poison or another from which we are forced to choose.

In the heart of every Democrat beats the desire for a more socialist America – including, and especially, much more environmental regulation and (at a “civilized” minimum) socialized medicine.

Yet, the Republicans support, and cherish, and foster the Welfare State themselves – only with a different focus and a bit less enthusiasm. They also add the dimension of religiously motivated oppressions of all kinds – to take but one example, they have started enacting laws limiting abortion access, with the aim of eventually outlawing abortion altogether. More recently, they have shown a desire to co-opt the Welfare State itself with their “Faith Based Initiatives” receiving public funding.

But, as I have said elsewhere, Democrats are to socialism what Republicans are to religiously motivated oppression.

This debate, it seems to me, revolves around which set of ideas (socialism and environmentalism vs. religious conservatism) poses the greater danger to America. That’s how Peikoff has framed it, as well. That's how I would imagine most Objectivists would.

Let’s dispense with some inevitable nonsense: supporting a Republican candidate does not necessarily mean that one is endorsing religious oppression. But, if that is the case, then it is also true that voting Democrat does not mean being a “Saddamite.” I will presume that both sides of this debate (Linz vs. Peikoff) would have NOT considered anything like a limp-dicked “Light Footprint” strategery such as we were offered by the President in Iraq – and that both support regime change in Iran and possibly Syria, as well.

Of course, in this context, neither Republicans nor Democrats have given us anything like what is required in this war.

Yes, Linz, this war is about the future of Western Civilization. But, no, the future of that civilization does not hinge on the minor differences, such as they are, between the major parties on the subject of national security.

The current administration blew the incredible political capital for aggressive action that 9-11 presented it with on a golden platter. It failed to name the enemy properly, and has only just recently begun to speak of “Jihadists” and “Islamo-Fascism” (wouldn’t want to offend or anything). Can there be any doubt that Bush was afraid to name our enemy precisely because it is, at root, a religious one?

This has proved to be only an ever-so-slight improvement over the call of some on the Left to stop at the idea of bringing just the 9-11 plotters to “justice” in a criminal court somewhere. Certainly, this has proved an insufficient difference to make much difference to my actual, physical security.

Indeed, should Bush’s campaign in Iraq fail, it will have – to some extent – discredited military action in the eyes of the American public. Whether we like it or not, a war cannot be fought by a modern democracy without a degree of popular consensus. Americans are willing to fight, but they also need to see how victory is to be achieved. On this score, Bush is a disaster.

Was it right to go to war? Was Saddam evil? I believe so – but I also believe that such an endeavor should have included the overthrow of Iran from the start and, even absent this, we should never have adopted this “Light Footprint” nonsense. “Shock and awe” simply proved insufficient, as many of us worried from the start.

In short, there’s really not much to choose from between the two parties on these issues. Of course, Linz will say that any support for the Dems only takes America further away from aggressive action, and that, in the meantime, we support “Saddamites,” and other choice labels.

This would only make sense, however, if the Republicans were offering anything like a sufficient alternative.

And, Linz, this can be turned right around – do you support the Religious Right’s agenda – on school prayer, abortion, Terri Schiavo, stem cell research, the Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, the “bloody war on drugs,” as Casey calls it, the reinstatement of sodomy laws (yeah, Linz, overturning the recent Supreme Court decision striking down such laws has become part of the agenda, you know) – when you support the Republicans yourself?

As you know, Linz, your rhetorical opponents here cheer the demise of any dictator and see no ethical problem toppling a monster responsible for the murder of probably more than a third of a million innocent civilians.

Let me say this again for emphasis: Democrats are to socialism what Republicans are to religiously motivated oppression. Let me also suggest that the marginalization of the peace-niks, and the development of any real consensus needed to win this war, cannot emerge until the Democrats hold the reins of power – and the responsibility for fighting this war – at least to some extent. Until then, they are free to attack from every angle and to bemoan every lost soldier – and all without having to present a viable alternative.

Sure, the Dems have joined the “Gimme That Old Time Religion” lip-service parade. This only shows its growing political power.

And the Republicans are quick to insist that they are rock-solid supporters of the environment and the Welfare State, too.

Does anyone believe that the Dems will significantly change on abortion and the like? And, if they ever do, how far out will the Republicans have to have also moved?

Does anyone believe that, as of today, the Religious Right believes that it doesn’t control the Republican primary process for nominating a President? Of course, there is no one like Bush running, so far, someone the religious Right can really “trust.” Even Romney is "born again" on most of these issues.

But the situation on the Left is far, far worse. When Tony Blair and Bill Clinton ushered in the era of “New Democrats” and “New Labor,” this signaled the culmination of a decades-long process of intellectual drift and decline. It's just plain hard for anyone on the Left to "inspire" the crowd anymore.

When Ayn Rand declared the Left to be intellectually bankrupt almost half a century ago, she could not have foreseen the pathetic spectacle that then actually ensued. The 70’s shattered Keynesian orthodoxy and, in America, a reaction to the 60’s was setting in deep – and has yet to run out of cultural steam. From Pop Culture films like “Death Wish” and Rambo” on up, the American middle-class was “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” about the status quo that the “Liberal Elites” (as the Right began to call them, with a suspicious glare at anyone with an Ivy League degree) had delivered to the country.

It was not merely the extremities of hippies and Marxists and Black Power types causing the recoil, but something much, much deeper – the lack of heroes and love stories in their movies, a disgust with cultural relativism, etc. – in short, it was the recoil from 20th Century nihilism as such which has so profoundly powered the growth of the Religious Right.

Yes, of course, there have been religious revival movements in American history. They form an important back-story to its social and political currents from the beginning. They were on BOTH sides of the slavery issue, and played an instrumental role, for example, in the Prohibition Movement (echoes of which still plague America today).

But their influence has been in steady decline as the march of truly liberal ideas seemed inevitable – women got the vote, evolution would be taught, Prohibition was overturned, and the idea that science and progress would “triumph” remained a core American value.

That is, until recent decades.

Even if the proportion of self-proclaimed evangelicals and fundamentalists hasn’t changed all that much – still, the estimates of 75-80 millions in America are frightening – some things have profoundly changed – their confidence, their media savvy, and the power and wealth of their organs of propaganda.

Like Objectivists, only with far vaster numbers, they have done an end-run around conventional academia to get their books and ideas out there – whole colleges, television stations, publishing houses, etc.

Unlike the Left, which has consistently cowered away from any consistency lately, they actually have an ideology that they articulate with some consistency and pride. The only real exception to this lately has been the increasing power – and religious dimension – of environmentalism.

As Objectivists we know that the question comes down to whether one considers the threat posed by the ideas of the Religious Right to be the greater concern – or that posed by the ideas of the Enviro-Socialist Left. In either case, it’s a question of ideas.

No, it isn’t a question of weighing mere issues, but the relative power of the ideas in man's history. This isn’t rationalism, it’s the recognition that the mind is his tool of cognition and survival. It’s the recognition of what really matters in the long run.

If I lived in Europe, there would be little doubt in my mind of the secular Left's continued domination. In America – where I immodestly think the issue most matters – I’m honestly uncertain.

Yes, questions about the future cannot really be answered with certainty – human beings have free will and, ultimately, there’s no telling which set of ideas will dominate. However, in this issue, the more philosophical the mind, the more that mind’s volition “counts,” in a sense. And in this sense, the Right is by far the more frightening.

The ominous aspect of religion is that, unlike the ideologies of the Left, it provides a complete metaphysics and, most crucially, an ethics (a subject the Left instinctively shies away from, it seems) – it has the power provided by an integrated philosophy – and one which, unlike socialism, has not been thoroughly discredited in the minds of many Americans.

An integrated philosophical approach has been noticeably lacking on the Left – whose approach is seemingly disintegrating into the most small-minded, issue-by-issue concerns imaginable. The detailed laundry lists Clinton provided in his State of the Union addresses proved sufficient to garner certain interest groups’ support, but were hardly "inspirational."

Ominously, “inspiration” is one thing that can be found by the bucket load on the Right these days.

For myself, I remain unconvinced that the ideas of the Left have no more life remaining in them. However, if long-term trends remain unchanged, there is little doubt in my mind that the future of America belongs to the Religious Right. In my own mind, we are getting very close to the tipping point. For whatever else one can say about Peikoff’s position, the recent election was (somewhat) reassuring on this score – even if the overwhelming issue was clearly Iraq in that election.

If I were really convinced that the Left’s real impact was behind us, I would not hesitate to join Peikoff’s crusade to destroy the current Republican Party and its devotion to what Rand called “the God, family, tradition swamp.”

When Rand said that line – while denouncing Reagan for his alliance with the Moral Majority – I thought that she was too concerned about the Jerry Falwell’s of America. "Reagan will give those kooks only lip service," I thought, "and what can they realistically hope to gain?"

With a new Supreme Court – with horrifying amendments (which seem overwhelmingly popular) being proposed to the Constitution – with Social Security Reform being back-burnered for Terri Schiavo – with increasing stridency and confidence from the Religious Right – I no longer ask that question.

For me, much will depend on the degree to which the Republican candidates, most of them with careers not beholden to the kooks, are compelled to kowtow to the Religious Right in order to get their party’s nomination.

But there can be no doubt: the Religious Right poses a kind of ~ philosophical ~ threat unseen on America’s political horizon in many decades.


( categories: )

The shot that won't ring around the world!

Jameson's picture

Now that’s a march I would love to have joined! Yeah, Lindsay, won't see that on Kiwi-Jazeera news.

In other news: seems the maggots are already starting to feed on themselves…

You Tube – Obama’s “Hillary as Big Brother” spoof

More Decency

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I wonder why this wasn't widely reported?! Good to see some KASS decency and old-fashioned honour flourishing.

Glenn: ... it would appear only Giuliani (and Clinton for Lenny and the Lily-Livered Lefties) has the money to fight it out this time round.

Surely to Galt Lenny will revoke the fatwa if it's Rudy vs. Hillary. He can't be that batty!

Rudy vs Hillary looking likely

Jameson's picture

Now that California has passed the bill to move its Presidential Primary to February 5th, 2008 it effectively knocks out the second-tier contenders like Obama bin Laden and Brownback who don’t have the funds to sustain a campaign for the rest of this year. California looks likely to determine the Republican nominee for the first time since Goldwater and Rockefeller back in ’64, and it would appear only Giuliani (and Clinton for Lenny and the Lily-Livered Lefties) has the money to fight it out this time round.

The big concern among the hardcore conservatives is that the GOP faithful will abandon their nominee if it turns out to be that pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-prayer mayor from New York. But I bet they’ll change their god-addled minds when they see Hillary Rodham Cunton’s shit-eating grin bombarding their TV sets till Christmas.

I think Ayn would agree

Jameson's picture

that being an Anti-Clintonite for Clinton is idiotic.

Indeed Glenn ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Hillary Cunton's planning to shut down talk radio (and with it the 1st Amendment) and there are Objectivists out there who think, next to Giuliani, she's the lesser of two evils?!
I hope they wake up and smell the sulphur before we all end up in hell.

Well said! But note how quiet the Hsiekovians have gone? I suspect/hope sanity is sinking in.

Linz

Even the Evangelicals like Rudy

Jameson's picture

Paul M. Weyrich reports from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that Rudy's looking better than good:

As these conservatives look for the line-up, they are not impressed by McCain, they think Romney is insincere and that none of the second-tier candidates can go the distance, so in view of all of that Giuliani looks good. According to polls released during CPAC he was the one candidate who could defeat Hillary.

Unfortunately, fear of Hillary dominates this campaign on the conservative side. They believe if she were elected, with a strongly Democratic Congress, she would shut down talk radio by the re-enactment of the Fairness Doctrine. They believe further she would censor and tax the Internet. They know she is for higher taxes and her proposal to take the profits of the oil companies and turn them over to companies which are developing alternative fuels scares the life out of these activists. So Rudy with his third marriage, and favoring gay rights and gun control, can have his issue views overlooked simply because he can defeat Hillary. That is why he has gained even among white Evangelical conservatives. Later, when his positions become clearer, and the details of his marriages are known, Rudy’s support is likely to begin to drop. Who will get that support is anyone’s guess. Some, but not all, Evangelicals feel they cannot support Romney because, they believe, the Mormon Church is a cult.

Hillary Cunton's planning to shut down talk radio (and with it the 1st Amendment) and there are Objectivists out there who think, next to Giuliani, she's the lesser of two evils?!

I hope they wake up and smell the sulphur before we all end up in hell.

Against the odds

Jameson's picture

and the grain, Rudy does indeed have his nose in front with the average American – at the moment. But Romney has a well-established national network and remains a hot favourite with party insiders, pulling the majority in a straw poll held at the recent CPAC conference. Evidently Romney (that’s a variety of sheep isn’t it?) was so desperate to win it he hired vans to collect supporters and put them up in hotels. The Mormon snaffled 21% against Rudy’s second place 17%. Interestingly, McCain finished fourth on 12% behind Brownback (15%) and Gingrich (14%).

Hard to believe, but I read that most of the hard-line conservatives in the GOP are unaware of Rudy’s pro-choice, pro-gay stance, and if that’s the case then who knows what will happen to his support when they wake up. The biggest thing going for him amongst the party faithful is his freshness. He’s something quite different to the Bush legacy, which maybe the very thing that’ll tip the balance for all those who are knee-jerking left.

Did you note the latest Newsweek poll had Giuliani ahead of all the Democrazy candidates?

Rudy ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... is actually the frontrunner right now. So we could indeed be looking at Rudy vs. Hillary, Rudy vs. Obama, or Rudy vs. Gore even. A "cigarette paper" betweeen them?! That's the sort of lunacy to which slavish devotion to the fatwa on account of who issued it leads!

Linz

Sarcasm, Ted?

Jameson's picture

I’ve been away from SOLO for a while now and I’m rather late coming into this debate, so forgive me if I’m covering well-trodden ground here. If the thrust of this thread is to determine the lesser of the two evils, then I’m simply pointing out that there’s a bit more than a “cigarette paper’s distance” between some of these potential candidates.

Giuliani is gung-ho regarding the Islamofascists, he’s pro-choice and doesn’t want a ban on partial-birth abortions, he’s pro gay rights and opposed Bush's ban on gay marriage, he wants to slash taxes, he opposes prayer in school and he supports embryonic stem cell research.

Of course all this means it would take a small miracle for him to win the Republican nomination, but if he DID become their man then you could fly a fleet of 747s between him and any cocksucker the Democrazies will offer up.

Where they stand...

Ted Coxhead's picture

"Rudy Giuliani is a 'moderate Libertarian'."
Phew! That's OK then. For a minute I was worried!! Shame about his party though. (Still, not as epochally bad as those social democrats - except the ones in England. They are OK because they're for the war and Iraqi freedom).

Where they stand...

Jameson's picture

and what they stand for...

Here's an interesting political site called "On The Issues". Taken from public statements and voting records, it's essentially an Idiot's Guide to U.S. Politicians detailing their respective positions on all the major issues.

Based on the analysis they sit them on this nifty (if a little simplistic) political spectrum:

Rudy Giuliani is a "Moderate Libertarian"

Mitt Romney is a "Moderate Populist Conservative"

John McCain is a "Moderate Conservative"

Hillary Cunton is a "Moderate Liberal"

Obama bin Laden is just as bad

So is John Kerry

John Edwards is a lilly-livered lefty

And Al Gore is a total Ellsworth Toohey...

And it's essentialization,

PhilipC's picture

And it's essentialization, not essentialisation...and characterization, not characterisation.

You need to get your z's or else your s's in a sling.

(I'd tell -you- to assume the position, except for most people that is supposed to be something unpleasant.)

Well Phyll

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If you keep writing rational things like your last post about the war on terror and your sane posts on the republicodemogoguoobjectivoidtracinskish fued, etc., I may be willling to consider the possibility of maybe conceivably investigating provisional removal of the EEEO label.....no promises, dude.

But I like the label. It's an essentialisation of certain Hsiekovians' crazed characterisations of me. Besides, I wouldn't want to be under any reciprocal obligation to desist from "Mistress Phyllis." It's "Phyllis" phorever phor me!

Linz, EEEO

Oh, and it's "feud," boy, not "fued." Go stand in the corner and assume the position!

> ...Evil Emotionalist Enemy

PhilipC's picture

> ...Evil Emotionalist Enemy of Objectivism Linz

If you keep writing rational things like your last post about the war on terror and your sane posts on the republicodemogoguoobjectivoidtracinskish fued, etc., I may be willling to consider the possibility of maybe conceivably investigating provisional removal of the EEEO label.....no promises, dude.

My Humble Lemming

Lindsay Perigo's picture

The worst stuff to swallow is when Rudy says things like, "Heck, we all have our differences... I even disagree with myself sometimes."

I can live with "I disagree with myself sometimes" more readily than with "It takes a village," "Let's confiscate the oil companies' profits," "Let's nationalise the health system," or "Let's wave the white flag of surrender in Iraq." As Glenn says in the post above/below, it's a no-brainer. Except for our lovably batty old Lenny I guess.

But, on the plus side, he's got a sex scandal in his background and this should offend the right people.

He needs a better class of sex scandal. That last one was pretty KASSless. He should consider a goat or something.

Main concern: he needs to be far more critical of Bush.

Well, he's a patriot. You Hsiekovians equate "being critical of" with "trashing." You can't expect Rudi to do that. If you read the speech I linked to, you'll see it's clear Rudi would have waged the war more aggressively already.

Interestingly, the evil apostate Tracinski's mate Jack Wakeland wrote a piece in last Friday's TIA saying he was through with Bush for being a wuss. But he added: "If Mr. Bush were the Republican Party's nominee for re-election to president of the United States today, I would, however, campaign for his re-election as I did by writing in his favor in 2004. That's because the Democratic Party offers us something worse than a non-philosophical man who has lost his way. They offer us a choice between several candidates who are actively and publicly mulling over a variety of ideas for how to protect and support the enemy."

Which is pretty much the perspective I've been urging on you folk in the months since the fatwa.

Evil Emotionalist Enemy of Objectivism Linz

President Giuliani

Jameson's picture

Yeah, that sounds right...

From the New York Sun article: "We have to say to the rest of the world, ‘America doesn't like war,'" Mr. Giuliani said… national leaders have fallen into an "analytical warp" by defining the battle as a war on terrorism and not, as he deemed it, a "war of the terrorists against us."

Semantics perhaps, but I like the simple way he’s attempting to change the direction of the finger pointing.

Tough on Terrorists, Taxes and Crime - I'd vote for Rudy. He was my mayor when I lived in NYC, and I saw the aggressive way he cleaned it up, taking it from the 3rd most dangerous city in America to the 3rd safest. Also among the country's most heavily taxed cities, he turned a $2 billion budget deficit into a $2 billion surplus by massively lowering taxes (hello Dr. Cullen!!).

I love his optimism: “We will see an end to global terrorism,” he says, “I can see it. I believe it. I know it will happen. Look how quickly the Berlin Wall was torn down, the Iron Curtain ripped open and the Soviet Union disintegrated because of the power of the pent-up demand for freedom. When it catches hold there is nothing more powerful than freedom. Give it some hope, and it will overwhelm dictators, and even defeat terrorists. That is what we have done and must continue to do in Iraq.”

It's a different story when you're dealing with a borderless Islamoland, but I like his positive, can-do attitude.

For now, the big question mark for me is his policy advisor, Bill Simon, a Roman Catholic pro-lifer. Nevertheless, it would still be a no-brainer if Rudy’s opposition was Hillary Cunton or Obama Bin Laden.

Thinking About Rudy

James S. Valliant's picture

Well, Linz, it is worth noting that -- so far -- Giuliani has (mostly) stuck to his positions on abortion and the like -- with only modest moves in the direction the Religious Right -- while remaining in the lead. An early California primary will also help him.

The worst stuff to swallow is when Rudy says things like, "Heck, we all have our differences... I even disagree with myself sometimes." But, on the plus side, he's got a sex scandal in his background and this should offend the right people.

Your humble lemming is considering this guy carefully before doing any jumping...

Main concern: he needs to be far more critical of Bush.

Mr Perigo "hopes"

Ted Coxhead's picture

Thanks Bill. Instead of Objectivists hoping that war might be on the table in the talks with the Iranians (which of course it might be), it's more interesting to see that there is only a cigarette paper distance between the Republicans and the Dems on CONCRETE policy; but a big distance between D and M in the alphabet.

James ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Okay, assuming that Sec. Rice's statement is not an overture to war, let's consider the situation as of today. With the Bush administration talkin' with the Mullahs and with the House Dem's efforts to de-fund the war having collapsed (causing the inevitable anger from the Sheehan-Left)... what is the big difference again?

VP Cheney has just been rattling the sabre down in this part of the world, so I hope this conference and the Americans' attendance are just a prelude to the war that Cheney says is among the options on the table. As to "what is the big difference again?", let me know when you hear a Dem saying the things Rudi Giuliani is saying here

And remember, the fatwa requires that if it's Clinton vs Giuliani, you must vote for Clinton. And her party, en masse.

Linz
Conservative, Libertarian, Evil Enemy of Objectivism

TIA Comparison - Brilliant

Bill Visconti's picture

"Robert's posts are beginning to sound like TIA articles. Much more and they'll ask him to guest for Jack. But this is what happens if you lose the big picture and concentrate on how to tweak the altruist war for Iraqi Freedom."

Ted, you are starting to restore my faith in merry old England. This is an excellent identification and I don't think it is by accident that those who are most pro-Bush are the most pro-Tracinski and anti-DIM. But this is even better:

"The only real contribution to that war that a handful of Objectivists can make is under a banner which includes some "choice quotes from Jefferson", as well as Ayn Rand. They sure will not be listened to as unpaid web-warrior consultants for the Pentagon."

This is an excellent point about what types of intellectual activism Objectivists should take. I agree with you. Objectivists should foucus on the "ought" not the "is" for purposes of advocacy. We should offer a real alternative not the same altruistic Republican pro-Iraq talking points that Tracinski (and Robert) bombard us (and bore us) with daily. This is what makes Yaron Brook and Dr. Lewis special.

Proud Member Of The "Nuke-Them-Till-They-Glow" School Of Foreign Policy

That Neighbours Meeting

Ted Coxhead's picture

Faith meets Faith, or Faith meets Fatwas, I guess, folks.

William

James S. Valliant's picture

Okay, assuming that Sec. Rice's statement is not an overture to war, let's consider the situation as of today. With the Bush administration talkin' with the Mullahs and with the House Dem's efforts to de-fund the war having collapsed (causing the inevitable anger from the Sheehan-Left)... what is the big difference again?

One caveat is we also opened

One caveat is we also opened negotiations with Iraq shortly before destroying their government. I hate to see US treat such evil with the dignity of diplomacy.

Wm

Islam insofar as it is directed by governments, and as a measure enforced from above by any government, is to be done away with.

Bill

James S. Valliant's picture

"I have resigned myself to the reality that President Bush is the limit of pro-war leadership that the current culture will allow."

I can sure understand your despair, but I'm not there, yet. I think that a better leader was possible after 9/11 -- even in this culture.

I even think that the Dems are sounding much worse than reality would compel them to be if they had held any of the reigns of power until now. (We are already seeing the start of the alienation of the peacenik Left necessitated by their coming to power -- by the time of the Presidential debates, we might even see a third party candidate like Nader emerge.)

I still suspect that a Dem in the White House will spell either a new "realism" from that party -- or the termination of its Presidential hopes for a generation. (Okay, call me a naive optimist, but the evidence from the polling data and the previous Republican victories is hard to ignore.)

In the meantime, Republicans will open negotiations with Iran, so what's the diff?

Newsflash for "Anti-Fatwa Folk"

Ted Coxhead's picture

Daily Telegraph headline, front page today: "Bush Clears Way for Talks with Iran on Future of Iraq".

"President George Bush signalled a dramatic shift in his Middle East policy last night by agreeing to discuss the future of Iraq with Iran and Syria."

Condoleezza Rice described this as a "neighbours meeting", to which other interested parties such as Britain, will be invited. Well the "Anti-Fatwa Folk" can rest content that Bush is certainly trying not to "piss off" the Muslim world which seems to be a concern of theirs at this difficult time. Whether we should support the CinC in these endeavours - in the name of not being "treasonous" - is of course another matter.

"Anti-Fatwa Folk"

Ted Coxhead's picture

Robert's posts are beginning to sound like TIA articles. Much more and they'll ask him to guest for Jack. But this is what happens if you lose the big picture and concentrate on how to tweak the altruist war for Iraqi Freedom. You become not much more than an unpaid consultancy for the Republican "war" department.
If we go back a little, what has happened? A leading Objectivist philosopher makes an analysis after hundreds of hours of thought and expresses his conclusion with what Mr Perigo would call "KASS". Immediately, people who are influenced by that analysis on this site, are grouped into tribes such as "Hsiehkovians", a collective that Mr Perigo feels more comfortable in attacking. Any invective is then suitable in describing these "treasonous" tribes. Indeed the philosopher himself is deemed as having issued a "fatwa", which under the circumstances and given the HEROIC campaign for free speech waged by the ARI, is probably about the most despicable epithet yet. (I suppose it's all part of the normal shock-jock language of conservative/libertarian broadcast journalism).
Now we have Mr Perigo's new grouping or tribe: the "anti fatwa folk". It's quite cutesy isn't it, quite homey? You can almost picture these innocent "anti-fatwa folk" in front of their log fires, in their homespun, wishing the treasonous ones would get thou gone.
Meanwhile the logic of the "anti-fatwa folk", even those who want to set up an Objectivist Party (!), leads them in a very strange direction. Although of course they are not "blanketeers", they will move heaven and earth (well maybe not heaven in this case), to defend the CinC, yes, even when he lies and evades. "And do you think any president could be candid in the current situation..." asks one of the "folk". Well, actually, yes I do!
Candid does not mean sending an email to your enemies explaining what you will do next. Candid, in my posts protesting against people defending the evasions, means the call for separation of church and state and everything summed up in America's belief in individual rights. It would be like fighting under the banner of the Declaration of Independence (not a few choice quotes from Jefferson, Robert, but the choicest quotes). That would be a revolutionary war and yep, that would be worth a few divisions and also worth fighting.
But the war for civilisation is not just, or even mainly, taking place in Iraq/Afghanistan. It's taking place in America too. The only real contribution to that war that a handful of Objectivists can make is under a banner which includes some "choice quotes from Jefferson", as well as Ayn Rand. They sure will not be listened to as unpaid web-warrior consultants for the Pentagon. As I said in earlier posts, this is the call that Bush and the present Republicans cannot make, for the simple reason that they don't believe in it themselves. They are big government welfarists, they want to conserve (as conservatives do - like, you know, that is their job), the big statist culture they have helped create. But they are also Christianist religios and want that to run your life. This is what needs to be stopped in its tracks.
Unfortunately the "anti-fatwa folk" have no chance of stopping it given the support they extend to the Republicans.

Ha, JT!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I've never voted for - nor have I agreed with voting for - dem-scum "across the board". I thought I'd made that clear by now.

Where did I say you advocated that? But you have defended its chief advocate's apoplexy in proposing such a course and attacked me for my apoplexy in denouncing it. No biggie. Bruises, to invoke another thread. It's having one's honesty and genuiness questioned that is off-pissing.

I do, however, think it is clear that American politics has reached a point of crisis - the system spits out nothing but god-awful options...on both sides of the aisle.

American politics has been in a state of crisis for as long as I remember. Hell, at one point the choice was Humphrey and Nixon! Then McGovern and Nixon!! Voting for the worst possible candidates blanketly is not the answer. Bitching about the paucity of decent choices while dissing political activism is not the answer either. No wonder Mr. Winefield is off-pissed with the Hsiekovians. Smiling

Linz

Linz

jtgagnon's picture

I've never voted for - nor have I agreed with voting for - dem-scum "across the board". I thought I'd made that clear by now.

I do, however, think it is clear that American politics has reached a point of crisis - the system spits out nothing but god-awful options...on both sides of the aisle.

Well, JT ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

How to increase awareness to a "tipping point" is a worthy point of discussion...and action. I, for one, am not sure the best way to achieve this.

One thing we can know with certainty—advocacy of voting Dem-scum across the board sure as hell won't do it!

Linz

Ground forces will be

jtgagnon's picture

Ground forces will be necessary, if only to counter the threat of the Iranian army. An army which is substancially bigger than the one the US has in Iraq. Or are you proposing that the US should make no provision against a counter invasion by Iran?

The ground forces are already there...I maintain, and I have been doing so for some time, that the U.S. should refocus on the Iran/Iraq border, and let the Iraqis figure out their own shit (what we need in Iraq itself is better tactics and freer ROE, not more troops).  More troops makes sense if we intend to counter the threat of the Iranian army, but this is not absolutely necessary if the focus is shifted from, say, Baghdad to the border.

The key battlefield in this war isn't the war for the minds of the Iraqis. It's for the minds of the American people - the ones who will pay for the war and vote for people who support it. And that war is one no one - not even objectivists on this site is prepared to wage politically.

On this, you and I agree - and you'd know that if you read my prior posts on this topic.  The only reason we aren't truly on a war footing is because the American public would never stand for it.  I agree that this is a war for civilization - and the American public remains largely in the dark and infuriatingly apathetic.  They need to be made aware of it - not only on the political level, but on a very personal level.  How to increase awareness to a "tipping point" is a worthy point of discussion...and action.  I, for one, am not sure the best way to achieve this.

"2) You're assuming that the

Robert's picture

"2) You're assuming that the use of ground forces is necessary."

Ground forces will be necessary, if only to counter the threat of the Iranian army. An army which is substancially bigger than the one the US has in Iraq. Or are you proposing that the US should make no provision against a counter invasion by Iran?

Perhaps you think that it's a smart idea to fight multiple enemies all at once, rather than one at a time?

"We could put substantially more troops on the ground, if we wanted to (or had the guts to)."

And you are going to support them how? The key battlefield in this war isn't the war for the minds of the Iraqis. It's for the minds of the American people - the ones who will pay for the war and vote for people who support it. And that war is one no one - not even objectivists on this site is prepared to wage politically.

Why the hell do you think I've been banging on about an objectivist party all this time?

Bush is castigated for not fighting the philosophical fight on the political home front. That's pretty fucking rich coming from people who refuse to engage in that fight themselves.

Given that, and the Democratic opposition that you lot voted for, he is doing as well IMHO as anyone could in the current context. And that is my point.

You want Bush to say things in the political arena that you aren't prepared to say yourselves from your own political platform and you call me all wet?

You fucking hypocrites.

PS: Thank you for goading me into finally telling you morons what I really think of you. I should have saved the electrons arguing about the periphery and just come out and said it - Valiant's covenant be damned!

Robert

jtgagnon's picture

You're all wet.

1) The claim that "The twin campaigns being fought are stretching the US ground forces" doesn't quite match the reality of the numbers. We could put substantially more troops on the ground, if we wanted to (or had the guts to). Sure, we'd have to shift some troops out of Asia and Eurupe, but considering the situation in the Middle East, I wouldn't be opposed to doing so. Furthermore, recruitment numbers have been relatively consistent...some branches have seen increases. Have you been reading the liberal media sources too much?

2) You're assuming that the use of ground forces is necessary. Granted, this is a common belief (just like point #1), but it (again) doesn't match the reality. We could easily wage a vigorous - and overwhelming - campaign by air and sea in, say, Iran without having to put a single boot on the ground.

No it doesn't Ted

Robert's picture

""pissing off the entire Muslim world with a public declaration that Islam is the enemy", goes to the root of why the Republicans should be voted out."

The root of the issue I'm talking about is the size of the US Military. Go take your head out of your arse and have a look at the numbers, specifically recruitment numbers. The military is having trouble keeping the brigades it does have at full strength let alone finding the soldiers for new ones. The twin campaigns being fought are stretching the US ground forces. My point was that your 'brilliant' idea would make the job of those troops even fucking harder. And I was crystal clear on that.

"It would be worth several divisions of infantry I think" Care to prove that?

"But here's the rub : the CinC can't make the call. He does not believe in it." Care to prove that or will you have to repair to telepathic evidence? So what other evidence have you got? Are you basing your conclusion on the fact that Bush is a christian? Bolstering your case with Peikoff's hallucinations about religionists under his bed? Damn, that's a open and shut case there, but I forgot - proving you case with real facts is out of favour with ARIan acolytes these days. So Ted who do you propose to replace Bush with? Someone willing to identify Islam as the enemy or Hillary?

And do you really think that any president could be candid in the current situation -- when they are reliant on Muslim countries to help with the war? Or are you suggesting that the troops the US requires to fight this war properly could be recruited, trained and equipped in five minutes flat with a waive of a magic wand and an "abera cadabera?"

Oh but that's right, you seriously believe that a few choice Jefferson quotes can substitute for 30,000 troops (the rough equivalent of two US divisions). Quite frankly I think you're smoking crack. Without some sort of security the people of Iraq are going to think your words are empty platitudes  - just as they were in 1991 when the US encouraged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam and then left them to be butchered. That's assuming that they'll bother listening after 3-years of violence, most of it caused by Iraqis from an opposing religious sect or tribe.

Perhaps you'd like to evaluate your idiotic declaration in the light of this TIME article.

More troops and harder rules of engagement are the US' only option in Iraq. Good luck trying to get funding for that out of a Democratic congress. And the last thing they need is another ground war. The cupboard is almost bare supporting campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that's OK. I'm sure you guys can rationalise your way around the inconvient size of the US military and the magnitude of it's current commitments.

Linz

Bill Visconti's picture

I have resigned myself to the reality that President Bush is the limit of pro-war leadership that the current culture will allow. Forget John Galt, not even a Harry Truman would be possible. What I haven't reached a conclusion about is whether or not doing nothing would have been better or worse than Bush's altruistic war. But just because the Left terrifies me the way they do, I will probably still vote Republican even though I don't think it will make any difference. My main objections is with the argument that Bush represents anything positive. The only argument that I am willing to concede is that he is not as traitorous and suicidal as the leftists. But again that is not saying much.

Proud Member Of The "Nuke-Them-Till-They-Glow" School Of Foreign Policy

Bill ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm sure we all wish Bush had prosecuted the war as you describe. But it's one thing to criticise him for lack of KASS and quite another to turn against him entirely in a time of mortal danger and advocate a wholesale vote for his truly scummy opponents, especially when he is KASSing up in the teeth of their opposition. Why not urge more Surge and diss the Dems?

Throughout this debate the Hsiekovians have tried to paint the anti-fatwa folk as blind Bush-worshippers, where any honest reading of the hundreds and hundreds of posts on multiple threads shows clearly this is not so. There is, however, a world of difference between criticism and the outright treachery embraced by Hsiekovians.

Linz

That is truly disgraceful, the cancelling of Lewis's talk. "Benevolent Muslims" is a contradiction in terms. This is war, declared by them. When they renounce it, I'll cease regarding them all as Islamo-Fascist filth.

Ted - Spot On

Bill Visconti's picture

"Surely you can see that a call for an end to religious domination of the state; a call for free speech and individual rights; a call that went something like, say, the Declaration of Independence, would be a clarion call to the best of the dissident groups."

I think this is spot on. It is the point that John Lewis has been making.* Bush need not have condemned Islam per se (let Objectivists do that). All he had to say was that the violence was ultimately connected to the joining of religion and government; ie mosque and state. He could then have declard war on Iran and Afghantistan (there are other arguments he could have used for Iraq and Syria). He could have destroyed the Mullah's regime, demilitarized the country, instituted some kind of provisional government, left a few bases and left. Post 9/11, the American people would have gone for it. He would have been done by now (for the most part) and he would have been a hero and the Republicans would have been the party that saved America, a distinction they could have used in the fight to scale back the welfare state.

But no, as Ted has laid out, Bush and his cronies are far too Christian for that. I too share Ted's puzzlement at how some Objectivists are defending Bush in his prosecution of this war.

* Bad news coming out of the States. George Mason University has cacelled Dr. Lewis' campus talk (sponsored by the university's Objectivist club) at the request of muslim student groups. Those benevolent muslims that some on this forum or so damn busy defending.

Proud Member Of The "Nuke-Them-Till-They-Glow" School Of Foreign Policy

Robert's Clanger

Ted Coxhead's picture

This plea of yours, Robert, that we excuse and defend the Bush leadership for lying and evading, in the name of not "pissing off the entire Muslim world with a public declaration that Islam is the enemy", goes to the root of why the Republicans should be voted out.
Even from your own point of view, your defence of him does not help the cause of the Bush war. (Incidentally, an Objectivist Party based on the premises you have, in relation to the defence of Bush, would be worse than useless and actually harmful).Even on the war,there are reports in the UK now that in Iran, the US government is funding various "terrorist" groups fighting against the Islamist leadership. A bomb exploded recently killing some Revolutionary Guards. Hangings of dissidents have taken place, (photos in the Daily Telegraph). Some of these groups will be good: some bad.
Surely you can see that a call for an end to religious domination of the state; a call for free speech and individual rights; a call that went something like, say, the Declaration of Independence, would be a clarion call to the best of the dissident groups. It would be worth several divisions of infantry I think. According to some reports, Iran is already one of the most pro-western populations in the region.
But here's the rub : the CinC can't make the call. He does not believe in it. He does not believe in it, either for the Iranians, or the American people. This is because he is a Christianist and his faith makes it impossible.
This is why this conversation is not just about the war. The Bush war failure is a failure of his religion and faith against reason and rationality. The best job Objectivists can do is show this up for what it is, not become lost and mired in evasion in the name of defending the indefensible.
I am genuinely puzzled why some of you can't see this. Is it because the person who forced the issue, Dr Peikoff, did it in a way that was a little too "KASS", if I might borrow one of Mr Perigo's colourful phrases?

Imaginary Slight?

Bill Visconti's picture

Robert, Michel Malkin has a name for people like you, "unhinged." Ed Hudgin's and David Kelley's bastardization of Objectivsm has been too well documented for you to be ignorant of it. So I can only assume that you support it. If that's the case, then you and I will never see eye to eye on anything.

In my opinion, your arguments for an Objectivist political party are so unrealistic as to be absurd, your assessment of Bush is riddled with altruistic sentiments masqueraded as "real politik", and your defense of Fraser on the Halal thread and your failure to see that he is apologizing for Dhimmification is enough to mark you as pathetic in my eyes.

Bottom line, I don't like you either.

Proud ARIan Warmonger

"The acid test in life is what you do."

Robert's picture

"...who are to be judged by what they say or write"

Ah. Well then perhaps you should reread what I wrote at the beginning of this debate.

As for my 'defence' of Bush. I'm only concerned that people be convicted for crimes they have committed, not for some imaginary slight . But given your recent behaviour Bill, it would seem that that point is lost on you.

But I'll try one more time to let the point penetrate your bust: It does the intellectual reputation of objectivism no good to demonise someone based on the fantastic or the exagerated or the imaginary. The facts, considered in their proper context, are sufficient to judge a man. My concern is that glandular squirtings from a self-described 'ARIan' hard-man such as yourself , as well as Peikoff, do nothing to improve the reputation of Objectivism as a serious pursuit.

If your argument is that powerful, why are you supporting it with half-truths and rationalisations?

But worst of all, in the eyes of a neutral observer, your smears diminish the effect of any genuine indictments you may level against the man. But hey, if it's good enough for the tabloids and the Michael Moores of this world, it's gotta be good enough for an ARIan warrior...

Tell me Bill, does the ARI know are acting like this whilst borrowing their name?

"So why do you only talk about the war?"

Robert's picture

Because it keeps coming up time and again as a direct consequence of voting Democrat across the board.

I'm also picking on what I percieve to be silly statements made against Bush. Statements that IMHO, don't do objectivism any credit what so ever.

By all means attack Bush. But attack him on things that he ~has~ done wrong. Don't bitch (for instance) about the fact he hasn't declared war on Islam or Iran or whatever when doing so would be a propaganda boon to the enemy. Don't whine (for instance) about the fact he hasn't bombed Iran back to the stoneage whilst ignoring the fact that the military he commands that is already stretched, possibly to breaking point, fighting two wars in the region.

Castigate him for leaving things undone that were within his power to do. Is that too much to ask of an objectivist?

Ted - How Dare You

Bill Visconti's picture

"He is a faith based, welfare statist, big government, high taxing Christianist."

How dare you, you ingorant, traitorous Hseikovian. Don't you know that Bush is an honorable, dedicated, American-loving everyman with an individualist sense of life who is tirelessly fighting the war to defend Western Cilivization from Islamo-fascist filth. How can you possibly insult our beloved Commander-In-Chief during a time of war. You can only be a total rationalist who believes that if a President doesn't live up to John Galt than he is a total failure. Now that you have revealed yourself to be a soulmate of DemScum everywhere I command you to go vote for Hillary and trouble us no more.

/Sarcasm off

Proud ARIan Warmonger

Robert

Bill Visconti's picture

You're a pussy.

And you also are creating straw men type arguments on top of it. Bush could have looked into every camera in the world and said Islam is not the enemy (wink, wink) but then gone ahead and demilitarized Iran, Iraq and Syria and we all would have been calling him a hero. The acid test in life is what you do. That is how men are to be judged (with the exception of intellectuals who are to be judged by what they say or write). Bush's actions are what mark him as weak. Your excuses for him notwithstanding.

Proud ARIan Warmonger

Robert..

Ted Coxhead's picture

You wrote: "The basis for this argument was the call to vote Democrat across the board." Yes that is precisely what I keep saying. So why do you only talk about the war? There is a big problem even trying to continue this conversation, since for you it all comes down to Bush's war for Iraqi freedom.
The discussion fired off by Dr Peikoff concerns the need to oust the Christianist Republican religios and is not centred on how badly they are fighting a war. You even speculate about what an Objectivist President would do! (And you criticised me for a "what if"?) But I'll tell you what, I don't think an Objectivist President would lie, or evade, like you are defending Bush for doing. You declare: "You guys (those of you advocating pissing off the entire Muslim world with a public declaration that Islam is the enemy)...", well you got that right, if you meant that we should name Islamic totalitarian fundamentalism and its denial of all individual rights. That is of course just about page one in the book of things Bush should do. Also while we are at it, he should call for complete separation of church and state in the Muslim world. In some of the countries you mention, that might actually play very well. But he can't do it can he? He can't tell the truth and we know why. He doesn't believe it himself! He is a faith based, welfare statist, big government, high taxing Christianist.
You criticise people like me for saying Dems/Republicans can be turned from within when the time is right. I never said that precisely, but even if I concede it, the truth is that if by "when the time is right", you mean when Objectivism is preponderent in the culture, then that would certainly be the case: the Dems and/or Republicans would by definition be different parties. Your Objectivist party would be an irrelevance: both the parties would be parties within an Objectivist culture and one or both might stand candidates for the Presidency who even called themselves Objectivists. But I'll leave the "what ifs" to you Robert.
The battle for civilisation does not revolve around this half fought war: it is about getting Objectivism preponderant in the culture. Does Bush's Republican Party help or hinder that, with or without this war? My answer is that with or without this war and whatever its outcome, it hinders it.

Sir Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

But I have supported Bush. I voted for him. Twice. As you know, I have put my vocal cords at risk while arguing for aggressive action. "Succoring Islamo-Fascists"? No, I leave that to you and to Bush himself. Smiling For example, Robert, below, worries about alienating moderate Muslim states. Dear me, wouldn't want to do that!

Ted...

Robert's picture

The basis for this argument was the call to vote Democrat across the board. You say there are wider issues than this current Iraq war. I agree and I've already given my solution to those wider problems, only to be told that it's too early to start an objectivist party. And that the Democrats/Republicans can be turned from within when the time is right...

And in the meantime the Iraq war rages, men are dying while we flap our gums and America is no closer to being a theocracy... So what is the more urgent problem? Yourself and others argue that Bush is screwing up in Iraq. Maybe his isn't the best strategy, but it's light-years ahead of the Democrats. I'm pointing out that he is at least doing something whereas your Democrats are doing nothing. Nothing to prevent that American Theocracy you guys fear and nothing to stop or win the Iraq war. And still it's too early for an objectivist political party? Really?

As to your quibble with his not being able to identify the enemy. Tell me, in which country is the major logistical base that serves the troops deployed in Iraq? Answer: A muslim country. Alienate Kuwait, Bahrain and the other little countries in the region that are hosting US naval and logistical elements - providing a local sanctuary to them - and you will compound the US's military problems.

Are you telling me that the best way to win this war is to have angry (and previously friendly) governments expel your rear-area troops? Do you really think that the poor bloody infantry will be served better if their nearest major ration/med-supply/fuel and ammunition dump is in the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia?

You guys (those of you advocating pissing off the entire Muslim world with a public declaration that Islam is the enemy) really think that the best way to fight a war with a small army is to ask every possible enemy to come fight you simultaneously? To make sure that every thing from buttons to battle-tanks has to be shipped from the USA because you've made sure that there is nowhere nearby where the stuff can be stockpiled?

Assume for one second that an Objectivist President was in power & fighting this war. Are you telling me that you would consider him to be morally obligated to tell the world the absolute and utter truth even though doing so would swell the ranks of the enemy at a time when your army is under pressure? To whom does the Commander in Chief of the US military owe a greater allegence? The men in combat under his command or the civilian population whose chances of getting an RPG enema will remain the same whether he opens his cake hole or keeps it shut?

And if you wouldn't expect an Objectivist to do something that dumb, why do you berate Bush for not doing it? You think that Bush doesn't get it based on what he hasn't said. But it would be irresponcible of him to say those things wouldn't it? So basically, your conclusions are based on what you think he is thinking... Are you telepathic?

There are US troops in the field fighting to barely contain a ruthless enemy & you are berating the President for not uttering something that will surely swell the ranks of the enemy??!? And I don't really give a toss about Bush. But I get annoyed when people berate him for NOT taking a course no sane man in his position would take. Only a complete F---wit would publically identify the enemy in the way you propose in the current context.

I say again. The US army has limitations. Limitations that a responsible Commander in Chief (The President) has to take into account when he plans his political and military strategies. That would be the case if a Democratic or Objectivist President were in power. The tools they have at hand have strengths and weaknesses. And a smart man would play to their strengths, rather than set them up to fail.

So the next time you berate the President for not following through on his Axis of Evil rhetoric in this time of War, remember that there are men in combat this moment who are stretched (thanks to his & the Democrat's insistance that this war be fought with a light foot-print) as it is. Mouthing off would not help them one iota.

And before you mention the fact that things would have been different if he'd gone into this thing with both boots, let me remind you again that there is no one, not a single party in the US system, willing and intellectually able to lobby for that. And that will remain the case, IMHO, until US objectivists engage politically and with both boots...

Robert

Ted Coxhead's picture

James wrote in his piece at the start of this conversation: "Yes, Linz, this war is about the future of Western Civilization. But, no, the future of that civilization does not hinge on the minor differences, such as they are, between the major parties on the subject of national security."
I think this point is being missed in your concentration only on the war for Iraqi Freedom. Whilst I'm perfectly happy to accept your analysis of the root cause of what you call this Iraq mess, including British culpability historically, I don't think I have been pondering that in my posts in the way you suggest.
The war is only one reason for ousting the present Republican Party.They may have gone into Iraq through faulty intelligence, as you say, but I'm not even sure of that, since most other intelligence agencies plus Saddam himself, seemed to agree with the evidence. Having a vast military base in Iraq will do no harm, it's what Bush didn't do with it that fits right in with their whole world view that highlights the problem. (On "what ifs" I'm sure that some figures from the Pentagon or wherever will want a long talk with Hillary or whoever, to explain just how important this base will be. Watch this space will be the watchword whatever Dem contenders now yap, pre-election, whilst capitalising on Bush's distress).
Bush cannot name the enemy because it's his faith versus theirs. The danger for the battle for civilisation is located in his faith more than in Iraq. You say the premier election issue is the war. On that I don't think there would be a cigarette paper between the parties in actual practice: the point is that for us is that the premier issue?

Ted

Robert's picture

No I don't know what a Dem Prez would do. But I know what the Dem hopefuls are doing right now - Obama wants to pull out and Hillary is betwixt and between. This is the premier election issue and only one of the front runners for the Dems has a definite plan. Is that good enough?

"My point was about the war itself when I said that it's not always better to do something rather than nothing."

That I'm afraid is a meaningless 'what if' hypothetical. Meaningless because we are in a war and wishing we weren't won't make it so. And we went to war believing that this would be one of the times when doing nothing would be worse.

We went to war based on imperfect intelligence information. Well here's a newsflash: Military Intelligence gathering is not a perfect business. It's failed before  (Pearl Harbour, Hitler's 1944 Ardennes offensive, Tet etc. etc.) and those who do it will continue to stub their toes occasionally. They aren't omnicient! And because of that, going to war is a gamble. Thus you can only judge whether this was one of those sometimes when doing nothing was better than doing something  with 20/20 hindsight - as you are now doing.

And seeing as you are pondering the root cause of this Iraq mess, may I humbly suggest that the root of the Middle East mire began a lot further back in history than 2001, 1991 or even 1945. There is an argument that it was Britain's lack of diplomacy and military skill that led to the Ottoman's siding with the Kaiser at the start of WWII. Iraq was under Ottoman control you see, meaning this whole mess could have been left to the Turks to clean up.

I leave it to those who like 'what ifs' to speculate about whether things would have been better or worse under those circumstances.

Know thy enemy...

Jameson's picture

Not in Opposition

Ted Coxhead's picture

Correction accepted, Robert. I've been called on my slip ups on the nitty gritty of the way government works in the US before! When I said the Dems are in opposition I meant simply that they do not have the Presidency.(In the UK it is all much simpler of course given that the Prime Minister - who is NOT head of state - is the leader of the party with the largest number of seats by simple majority in the House).
But frankly my argument still stands I think. Having a majority in the Senate and Congress gives the Dems a great opportunity to score political points and capitalise on Bush's unpopularity, but they do not seem ready to starve the US military out of Iraq. I think I would be right in saying that you would probably only see a big move in Dem strategy if they won the Presidential election. Until then their tactic is to snipe and cause trouble. You wrote: "It would be better for the troops on the ground if the Dems pulled out of Iraq rather than obfuscated." But you know maybe they just don't know whether they want to pull out or not. A Dem President could pull a lot of surprises given the events that may well unfold between now and when/if they are elected. As I said re FDR, it has all happened before.
Your point about doing something being better than doing nothing, seems to be restricted to the suggestion that Bush has freed up the military somewhat, about which I am ignorant. My point was about the war itself when I said that it's not always better to do something rather than nothing. It might well have been better to have Dems after 9/11 who did "nothing" (if indeed thay had done "nothing" which we will never know); rather than the "something" which the religios have done. What Bush has done has paralysed the will and understanding of the need for a major, decisive, war against the enemy he cannot name.
And the fact that he cannot name the enemy gets us back to what this discussion is all about which was not primarily or solely the war, but the danger represented by Bush and his Republican Party as it is at the present time.
When I say that they should be voted out it's not because I think the Dems will fight the war better, although I cannot see how they could fight it worse. Maybe whatever Bush does and the Dems eventually do will be all that the culture of the American people will allow at the moment. My reason for arguing for a vote against the Republicans is because of the poison they are adding to that culture.
Wasn't Rand's main opposition to Reagan around the abortion issue? (Again correct me if I have that wrong). Can you just imagine the thunder that would have come from the platform at the Ford Hall Forum regarding Bush and the God Squad! OK, we don't know, but I reckon it would be a fair bet. Just to remind you : "I want to fight religion as the root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering." And that was 1934!

Principles

Fred Weiss's picture

"If your principles dictate that the US should exit Iraq & you have no confidence in Bush's plan, then I see no reason for delaying - unless of course the Dems are more concerned with defeating Bush..." etc.

Your basic mistake here, Robert, is assuming the Dems have principles. In this regard the Republicans arguably may have some - or the veneer of some - or the faint remnant of some - which however is what makes them more dangerous. So if they are both waving around a pistol pointed in your direction, I'd work on the assumption it's more likely the Republican's is loaded.

"All I ask is that you come up with some newer insults Fred."

Sheesh, do I have to do everything around here? But, ok, I'll work on it.

"And that's even in opposition."

Robert's picture

Oh but they aren't in opposition Ted. They have the majority in the Senate and Congress. They have the power of the purse strings. They could end the war right now... That's what they say they want. So why won't they?

And as for the 'do nothing' is better than 'doing nothing' argument, consider this: The military is an instrument of the US government. It cannot off it's own bat, change the strategic focus of the war. It cannot change the targets it aims at or the countries it fights in or even increase (or decrease) the number and composition of the forces it needs.

Leaving the military in strategic limbo inhibits their ability to react to an enemy that has no such quibbles. That's how the US lost the Vietnam war. That's why the US suffered so many casualties in Vietnam.

Bush at least has loosened the reigns slightly. That is what he has done. That is what the Dems are fighting. Murtha, I believe, is actually agitating for more restrictive rules of engagement. This against an enemy that thinks nothing of turning a fuel truck into a suicide bomb.

Doing nothing will get soldiers killed. War is a Darwinian process. The one who adapts quicker will live. Having a government that does nothing, leaving the restrivtive rules of engagement in place for fear of loosing their domestic political advantage hamstrings the soldiers at the sharp end.

Just as it did in Somalia when Clinton made the political & strategic military decision to send in troops bereft of heavy armour. He left the Rangers to face RPGs with personal body armour. Just as it did earlier in this war when Bush prohibited his forces from assaulting Mosques suspected of harbouring terrorists. Both were political decisions taken at a strategic level that limited the soldier's ability to complete the mission they were assigned. They were decisions that, in both cases, were expolited with deadly results by the enemy.

Doing nothing & leaving such restrictions in place only gets US soldiers killed. That's a lesson you older folks should remember from Vietnam... Apparently not it seems.

Bush at least has loosened the reigns slightly. That is what he has done. That will at least allow the local commanders to temporarily gain the initiative with a change in tactics not possible before when there were fewer troops and more restrictive rules for fighting the enemy. It is better than doing nothing and allowing the Army to accomplish the mission with tactics it knows to be faulty but is powerless to change.

And now you see what impact a political decision has on the men on the ground. In the military context, with men in close combat, doing nothing politically costs mens their lives - needlessly.

Doing something -- in this context -- is better than doing nothing.

As I say. It would be better for the troops on the ground if the Dems pulled out of Iraq rather than obfuscated. That would be an example of doing something! Their current do-nothing political strategy makes the military's job harder. The terrorists don't give a shit about poll results, they will constantly adapt to find successful tactics or die in the process.

Is making the job of the troops harder what you Dem-voting objectivists were wanting? Is this yet another example of the law of unintended consequences? I think so. Obviously Ted, Fred et al. will differ vociferously.

All I ask is that you come up with some newer insults Fred. Linzinski's/Perigoon etc. is getting tired.

perhaps you could tell me what they are doing?

Ted Coxhead's picture

As you say in para 2 of your post, Robert, doesn't look like the Dems are doing much different to Bush does it? And that's even in opposition. In government they could fight the war no worse than him could they?
I expect the altruist war for Iraqi Freedom would continue much as it is. But it might no longer be disguised as a war in self defence thus gutting the concept and making it impossible to galvanise the American people for the real war.
It's not always better to be doing #something# rather than nothing - that's how chickens lose their heads.
And all that is without even touching on the awful religiosity of the Bush Republicans which is at the bottom of it all.
"I want to fight religion as the root of all human lying and the only excuse for suffering," wrote a very young Ayn Rand in April 1934. (The Objectivist Forum ed H Binswanger).
Nothing's changed.

"while the Dems would do *nothing*"

Robert's picture

So if Linz & I are exagerating about the Dems doing nothing, perhaps you could tell me what they are doing? I've been watching 2 of the many 24 hour news channels covering the actions of the Democratic Senate and Congress. And I haven't seen them *do* anything other than expel hot air and generate land-fill with 'non binding resolutions.'

If they believe that the struggle in Iraq is hopeless why aren't they defunding the war now? What are they waiting for? The US fatality tally to top 5,000? Such a tally would strengthen the position of any Democrat Presidential hopeful, but that's cynical of me to think that of your beloved - do nothing - Dems isn't it.

If your principles dictate that the US should exit Iraq & you have no confidence in Bush's plan, then I see no reason for delaying - unless of course the Dems are more concerned with defeating Bush rather than the US's enemies in Iraq... Is that what they are doing Fred? And if so, is defeating the Republicans worth the life of a single US serviceman?

James, my dearest of dear fellows ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If Bush were fighting this war like Churchill and FDR fought the Nazis (for all of their imperfections), it would sure be easier to "get behind" him, even recognizing that our leaders usually leave more wars to be fought.

But you're not getting behind him at all. You're trashing him, and making excuses for Peikoff's call for everyone to vote for the anti-war Dems across the board. You're succouring the Islamo-Fascists.

But are YOU suggesting that Bush is fighting Islamic militants anything like how we once fought the Nazis?! Of course, this enemy is different -- and our comparative military advantage also much better -- but, seriously, should there be any doubt as to "victory" at this point?

As I've said repeatedly, Bush himself has acknowledged it's been "slow failure" hitherto. He's replaced the previous KASSless commander with a KASS one, is trying to send in more troops in the teeth of opposition from your friends the Dems, all the while being accused—accurately, we hope—of preparing for war with Iran. Get in behind, man!

THAT is precisely what I am complaining about, my dear fellow.

Elementary, my dear Valliant.

I may not be able to contribute for a few days, heading off as I am to Auckland for a TV gig and Duncan's farewell party. I hope you don't miss me too much, or get withdrawal symptoms from lack of flagellation. Smiling

Sir Edward Coxhead—I'll deal to you when I return. In the meantime, a belated welcome to the board.

Rt. Hon. Sir Linz

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

You write: "Are you seriously suggesting the election of Gore or Kerry, as advocated by the master to whom you mindlessly defer, Peikoff, would have marked a stage for the better in the battle for civilisation?? I repeat—to win the battle for (imperfect but infinitely preferable to the alternative) civilisation requires we get in behind imperfect leaders, as we—or at least I—would have gotten in behind Churchill, Peter Fraser, even FDR."

Since the jury is still out on whether Iraq will mark a "stage for the better" in this "battle for civilization" -- as the defeat of the Nazis surely did -- at least we can say that Gore or Kerry wouldn't have marked what might become ~ a much worse stage in the battle for civilization ~ while still leaving us hawks free to demand more.

Of course I would have "gotten behind" FDR and Churchill during WWII when we were taking on the Nazis -- with appropriate force. But, like Rand, I would have denounced the alliance with Stalin at the same time. (See, e.g., her letter to Dashiell Hammett dated August 1, 1940, pages 43-44, LETTERS OF AYN RAND, or her testimony before HUAC in the late 40s.)

If Bush were fighting this war like Churchill and FDR fought the Nazis (for all of their imperfections), it would sure be easier to "get behind" him, even recognizing that our leaders usually leave more wars to be fought.

But are YOU suggesting that Bush is fighting Islamic militants anything like how we once fought the Nazis?! Of course, this enemy is different -- and our comparative military advantage also much better -- but, seriously, should there be any doubt as to "victory" at this point?

THAT is precisely what I am complaining about, my dear fellow.

Cold Light of Day

Ted Coxhead's picture

I'll take your points in order, Mr Perigo. (There aren't after all that many when you strip out the invective. That's journalism for you I suppose.)
First. Bush is not about to ban abortion. Interestingly your new hero, Giuliani, is quoted in the Daily Telegraph today as saying in contrast to 2 of the other Republican candidates, that he is still pro-choice. (He feels it necessary to have to say this as a Republican). But even he hedges his bets with: "I would advise my daughter or anyone else not to have an abortion. I'd do anything I could to help and assist with an adoption. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT ENDED but ultimately I believe a woman has a right to choose." (my emphasis) Gee thanks, Dad. So even, accepting at face value that he really means he supports individual choice on abortion, there is a question mark. And he's about the best of the bunch!
So in the world superpower there is actually a serious discussion about abortion rights. There's a great big question mark over it. Why? Which party's epistemology leads to this? The same party that has a President who interrupts his holiday to intervene to against the Court to "save" the braindead. The same guy who takes creationism seriously. The same man who is fighting with Allied blood and treasure for Iraqi freedom to elect gynophobic madmen. (There will certainly be no debate about abortion rights in the next UK election and I'll be surprised if there is one in the coming French elections. But in modern day America? Incredible).
Second. Kerry/Gore. I have no idea how they would have shaped up on the war. Nor do you. None. It didn't happen. But I did remind you many posts ago how well earlier Democrats managed to shape up. So the question is open.
We DO know how Bush shaped up. The war for Iraqi Freedom shows us that. Fighting the war more like FDR fought might have gutted the Dem opposition to Bush and actually advanced the culture.
So I do think that in contrast to the Democrats, Bush and the present Republicans throw the cause of fighting for REASON backwards. They could change and we could have a different discussion, but there is no sign of that. So until then this Republican Party has to be defeated. It's also the biggest shame that the party which I believe has had the reputation for small government and defending the country (my knowledge of US politics makes me uncertain of this, but that is what I have understood), has squandered its reputation.

The debate that Dr Peikoff opened was far wider than this war. Again like I said some posts back, to paraphrase (Clinton wasn't it?): "It's the philosophy, stupid."

Tunnels for Sale

Fred Weiss's picture

If you don't want the bridge Linz has to sell, how about his tunnel? That's the package-deal under the bridge.

It goes like this: Bush is doing *something*, isn't he, while the Dems would do *nothing*? It's always better to do something vs. nothing, right?

The fact that the "something" is crumbling right in front of our eyes and because of its faulty design (premises) could never have succeeded in the first place is a matter of complete indifference.

It's something, isn't it?

(The danger/threat which Linz refuses to see is that people will now be suspicious of *legitimate* attempts to build bridges. Whereas when the policies of the Dems fail, that will be clearly understood and we'll at least have a chance to salvage the situation *WITH THE RIGHT APPROACH*)

P.S.: Linz, you should know by now that I never whine about being insulted. I insult back.

Ted/Fred

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Instead of whining about being insulted, answer the following, a reiteration, since you didn't get it the first time, of my previous post:

Read this post to which I'm replying in the cold light of day. You're an hysteric. Bush is not anti-gay, he's not about to have gays stoned to death, and he's not about to ban abortion.

"The election of Bush marked a new stage for the worse in the battle for civilisation."

Are you seriously suggesting the election of Gore or Kerry, as advocated by the master to whom you mindlessly defer, Peikoff, would have marked a stage for the better in the battle for civilisation?? I repeat—to win the battle for (imperfect but infinitely preferable to the alternative) civilisation requires we get in behind imperfect leaders, as we—or at least I—would have gotten in behind Churchill, Peter Fraser, even FDR. Ted, like all the orthodox crowd, you're a rationalist—if Bush isn't Galt, he's to be trashed and betrayed and his enemies succoured and voted for. That's sick. Sick Hsiekovianism. Shove it up your Saddamite ass. And when the Islamo-Fascist dirty bomb is dropped on you, enabled because of your appeasement, savour it as the cashing in of your vile premises. Enjoy!

Linz

Mr Perigo debates

Ted Coxhead's picture

Mr Perigo writes in response to Mr JoeM: "Then debate it, you flouncing Hsiekovian wuss."
In response to me I could not help notice words like : hysteric, orthodox, rationalist, sick, vile. All of which were followed by an invitation to "shove it up my ass".
Well, call me old fashioned, but this is an odd way to "debate" for someone who is confident of his own premises.
Dr Peikoff has certainly put his finger on something. Perhaps it's a raw nerve.

Bridges for sale

Fred Weiss's picture

re: Linz and his blather about "imperfect leaders" which is also more broadly defined as the "not John Galts".

Of course that's a pretty broad group, but he confines it for the sake of the phoney package-deal he is trying to sell to the likes of genuine heroes like Winston Churchill.

The point of endlessly repeating this package-deal is to suggest that Bush's not-perfectness merely makes him another Churchill.

Uh, huh.

If we just rally around the little Shrub he will transform into a blooming Churchill right in front of our eyes. Why, he might even learn how to speak English.

If you buy that deal, Linz has a bridge he'd like to sell you.

But Linz is right about one thing. What he's doing is not rationalism. In fact it doesn't even rise to the level of epistemology. It's not even an attempt at epistemology. It's just delusion masquerading as epistemology. Even a truck-driver would see through it.

Linz will now respond with a cute/sarcastic remark which is his way of ignoring/dismissing what you've just said and not having to deal with it - and then he can repeat his package-deal again. And again. And again. And again. Ad infinitum, as if you've said nothing and never addressed his point.

But we're the Randroids.*

*That being another of his package-deals, this one consisting of "anyone who generally agrees with Ayn Rand and/or ARI intellectuals and it not being possible for such agreement to be based on reason (afterall if you agree with someone it can only be to fulfill your loyality oath or to avoid being purged)." What the package-deal really means is: "you disagree with Linz".

Teddy, my dear old thing ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Read this post to which I'm replying in the cold light of day. You're an hysteric. Bush is not anti-gay, he's not about to have gays stoned to death, and he's not about to ban abortion.

The election of Bush marked a new stage for the worse in the battle for civilisation.

Are you seriously suggesting the election of Gore or Kerry, as advocated by the master to whom you mindlessly defer, Peikoff, would have marked a stage for the better in the battle for civilisation??

I repeat—to win the battle for (imperfect but infinitely preferable to the alternative) civilisation requires we get in behind imperfect leaders, as we—or at least I—would have gotten in behind Churchill, Peter Fraser, even FDR. Ted, like all the orthodox crowd, you're a rationalist—if Bush isn't Galt, he's to be trashed and betrayed and his enemies succoured and voted for. That's sick. Sick Hsiekovianism. Shove it up your Saddamite ass. And when the Islamo-Fascist dirty bomb is dropped on you, enabled because of your appeasement, savour it as the cashing in of your vile premises. Enjoy!

Linz

Ill met by moonlight, falsely proud Giuseppe

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"To fight that battle requires linking arms with folk we would ordinarily keep at arm's length, to say the least." This is debatable, to say the least.

Then debate it, you flouncing Hsiekovian wuss.

Linz

Mr Perigo, guvner

Ted Coxhead's picture

I'll stay with the Mr in recognition of you being the landlord. (You can't be a real Lord unless you paid Tony Blair a large sum of money and even you don't like him that much! Mind you he is solid on the war for Iraqi Freedom..........)
Like I said, I am getting a glimpse of your logic, but it is very strange.
You are prepared to look past the crap that Blair has pulled domestically (that would be a full Hillary programme with added bells and whistles, by the way), until we get the war for civilisation over and done with.
When Blair and Bush have made the world safe for capitalism and individual freedom, then you and your co-thinkers will get stuck in and fight against the very epistemology which got us where we are. And where we are is with a war for Iraqi Freedom that has given them the freedom to elect whichever gynophobic, Islamo fascist filth they like. They could even vote for DemScum if they liked.
But then since Bush himself wishes to have a Born Again faith based society of caring social welfare you can see the type of world that beckons. A nice kaliphate covering a chunk of the globe, living in peace with Bush's new Holy Roman Empire. Circumcision and masks for females over there and no abortions over here. (That's to say nothing of how each empire might treat gays).
The battle for civilisation did not begin with 9/11. It began a lot earlier and has remained unwon which is why we got 9/11. The election of Bush marked a new stage for the worse in the battle for civilisation. That battle is not helped by people who should know better saying of Bush that: "To win it requires that we all get in behind". In other words we all get in behind the person and ideas that are part of the problem - not the solution.

Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight

JoeM's picture

"To fight that battle requires linking arms with folk we would ordinarily keep at arm's length, to say the least."

This is debatable, to say the least.

Yes, Fred ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What is most bizarre is having to endure insults from people claiming to be Objectivists while at the same time they blatantly reject the most basic principles Ayn Rand upheld and defended all her life.

I keep trying to tell you that.

Linz

Surrender

Fred Weiss's picture

We already surrendered - and any victory is therefore impossible - the moment we allowed them to establish Islamic states, i.e. when they rejected the separation of church and state which *is precisely the source of the fucking problem in the Mideast*.

Did we allow the Germans to vote the Nazis back in on some premise of "democracy" the way that we allowed the Palestinians to vote in Hamas - and note how we've been doing nothing but dancing around it since?

It's bizarre to be subjected to accusations of treason from those who obviously don't grasp the first principles of a free society - actually from those who don't grasp principles at all and who wave them away as "rationalism". "Oh, we can't be bothered with principles when we have to deal with the here and now and the need to accept the pathetic situation as it exists and in the process completely forget that it is that very epistemology which got us into this fucking mess in the first place."

What is most bizarre is having to endure insults from people claiming to be Objectivists while at the same time they blatantly reject the most basic principles Ayn Rand upheld and defended all her life.

Then to take absurdity to the level of total delusion these very same people want to spearhead a political party supposedly based on Objectivist principles - which principles obviously they do not grasp (and very likely cannot grasp).

So...

Robert's picture

we should start a party that doesn't offer surrender terms... Was that what you were about to say James?

James ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

We do need more Kiwis, but the idea that either the President is "doing as much as he can" or that the Senate Republican leadership would continue to back further efforts but for those "treasonous" Democrats is absurd. The Minority Leader could have said what you are suggesting if he had wanted to, right? Could've said, "As long as it takes," or "Whatever it takes..." He chose to say "Last chance, buddy." (Okay, I added the "buddy.")
Is HE a traitor?

OK, yes! You persuaded me. Smiling

More to the point, if the President had really decided to do "whatever it takes to win," we should have known this by now, eh?

I think he now has the wisdom of the same hindsight. He said the previous strategy amounted to "slow failure." He's put that new commander with the reassuringly Roman name in there to KASS. Let's keep urging Bush to do more KASSing, while getting in behind, not voting blanketly for his treasonous opponents!

You need more Kiwis there urgently!!! Smiling

Linz

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

This war that civilization indeed faces cannot be "won" by the surrender-terms offered by Bush or by the Democrats, so...

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

We do need more Kiwis, but the idea that either the President is "doing as much as he can" or that the Senate Republican leadership would continue to back further efforts but for those "treasonous" Democrats is absurd. The Minority Leader could have said what you are suggesting if he had wanted to, right? Could've said, "As long as it takes," or "Whatever it takes..." He chose to say "Last chance, buddy." (Okay, I added the "buddy.")

Is HE a traitor?

More to the point, if the President had really decided to do "whatever it takes to win," we should have known this by now, eh? Smiling

Edward my dear fellow ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You don't have to call me "Mr. Perigo" you know. "Lord Linz" will suffice.

For Hsiekovians, Dem-Scum and Other Treasonists
OK I think I get the logic. Dem-Scum in US very bad, Dem-Scum and Other Treasonists worse. But in the UK Dem-Scum good and not Treasonists because they support the war for Iraqi Freedom.
But where does that leave the war for civilisation?

The war for civilisation requires that we recognise civilisation's biggest threat right now, which is Islamo-Fascism, not some bogeyman theocracy established by religious Republicans. To fight that battle requires linking arms with folk we would ordinarily keep at arm's length, to say the least. Even the Hsiekovians acknowledge this in their amusingly revisionist latter-day eulogies to Franklin Roosevelt! And wouldn't we all have been behind Kennedy in his showdown with Khruschev (or would we have screamed, "Eeek! Kennedy's a Catholic. He's about to establish a new Inquisition in America!")?

New Zealand's contribution to the fight against Hitler was spearheaded by the same Labour Government that established our welfare state. Winston Churchill said post-war that that government "never put a foot wrong" in its war effort. Churchill, of course, had Attlee and other Labourites in his war cabinet, just as NZ's Labour Prime Minister Peter Fraser had members of the National Party in his.

The battle for civilisation is the battle for civilisation with its current imperfections and its current imperfect leaders against out-and-out tyranny. Tony Blair's staunchness through the Iraq War means I'll look past, for the moment, all the crap he's pulled off domestically. As long as civilisation wins this battle, we'll still be free to fight and overturn the crap. To win it requires that we all get in behind.

Linz

James ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Everyone already knows it's the "last chance" because the Dems simply won't allow him to do anything more. Hell, they may yet block the surge, treasonous filth that they are. The President will do what he can. It behoves us, even while urging him to do more, to get in behind him. That's what a patriot would do, not vote for the treasonous filth.

You guys need more Kiwis over there! Smiling

Linz

Linz

James S. Valliant's picture

Now that we are in Iraq, we should win. The leader of the Republicans in the Senate calls this surge Bush's "last chance." Isn't he, too, "validating" the strategy of al-Qaeda-in-Iraq? For that matter, isn't the President, if his actions will amount to surrender?

Poor Mr Perigo (sniff)

Ted Coxhead's picture

For Hsiekovians, Dem-Scum and Other Treasonists
OK I think I get the logic. Dem-Scum in US very bad, Dem-Scum and Other Treasonists worse. But in the UK Dem-Scum good and not Treasonists because they support the war for Iraqi Freedom.
But where does that leave the war for civilisation?

Thank Galt indeed

Fred Weiss's picture

Thank Galt for decency combined with intelligence - a capacity notably absent among Linzinskis

"A few decades ago, conservatives wanted to use our military only for our own defense, and with quick and overwhelming force. They set a policy tone that Ronald Reagan claimed as his own. But Reagan retreated from Lebanon, and George Bush, Sr. never did anything without an international consensus. So it is with Bush Jr., who attacked Iraq only after months of building a coalition, and who sees democracy for them—even if based on Islamic Law—as constituting our success. If this sounds more like Woodrow Wilson than Douglas MacArthur, it should." - John Lewis

"If this be treason, make the most of it." - Patrick Henry

For Hsiekovians, Dem-Scum and Other Treasonists

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Thank Galt for decency

Poor Nancy (sniff)!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Gnarly Nancy is blubbering that Vice-President Cheney impugned her patriotism when saying the Dems' actions are "validating" the strategy of al-Qaeda-in-Iraq. She rang the President to complain but could raise only a lowly minion. Boo-fucking-hoo, as I like to say.

> As for Mr Coates. Thank

PhilipC's picture

> As for Mr Coates. Thank you for checking our work. It would be nice to know what you think about things yourself, or are you here just to keep an eye on the class? [Ted]

I'm just here to keep an eye on the class.

And to rap knuckles.

William

James S. Valliant's picture

Bush is very bad. So are the Democrats. The Dems defend secularism about as well as Bush fights this war. The media (with its own perspectives and motives) is all screwed up about Bush, who ain't stupid, just wrong -- and playing to a certain audience. That audience is scary. But, so is the Dem's.

So, here we are.

In the US, it is whatever

In the US, it is whatever can get a 60/100 vote to end debate in the Senate that gets done. While in the house the majority party can do whatever it wants, this is not so in the Senate. So this is quite different in the US then under the UK system. I want to see Bush defeated in many of the issues you cite as well. Bush was the first President in American history to allow federal funding for stem cell research and has promised to veto any bill that would criminalize the research. This is hardly the reactionary policy you insinuate when you say "oppose science and research". I guess you can be forgiven since your sources no doubt are the drive-by media. I personally oppose all federal funding for science research, education and a host of other things. As far as creationism and abortion (the holy sacrament of the Left in this country) I ask, who on the Left has stood up to this that I can vote for? This election proved that the Left will run toward religion if it will get them votes. This only gives support to the idea of starting a new party or staying home, not voting Democrat across the board. I am fighting a war against irrationality in all its forms, the religion of both the Christianists and the Godless Liberals. In one thing we are in perfect agreement -- I don't see how you fight that war by voting at all.

After re-reading this post it is clearly the constant pattern of some on the "vote Dem's" crowd to parrot drive-by media falsehoods and distortions about Bush. I think this is on purpose so that they can point to it as 'look you are defending Bush'. I plan to short circuit that right away -- I am defending truth, not Bush. Bush is terrible President in many ways and we must identify and deal with them appropriately by adhering to reality, not political smears by a media hostile to a powerful and morally confident United States.

Wm

Islam insofar as it is directed by governments, and as a measure enforced from above by any government, is to be done away with.

Ageing 60's

Ted Coxhead's picture

"Ted, you are demonstrating an ignorance of American politics. There are people on every side of the Iraq war to be found in both political parties. The problem is who is funding them and why. In the case of the Democrat kook base, it is aging 60's types who want to see nothing more then the destruction of Bush and the humiliation and defeat of the United States."
It is true that my knowledge of how US party politics and government works in detail is limited. My original challenge was essentially on Mr Perigo's attitude to "DemScum" in Britain where they are of course war heroes of his.
There are people on every side of the Iraq war in both parties in Britain too. My point is that it's only those in the majority party, the governing party, that will count. (So cherry picking can defeat your guy). Is that so different in the US?
The problem is who is funding them and why? Well we really do know which kooks are doing that for Bush.
As for me as an ageing 60's type myself, yes, I would love to see the destruction of Bush's evil religiosity which is terrifyng in the world superpower. Yes I would love to see the destruction of the faith and supernaturalism which makes the glorious United States a laughing stock. I believe this is the only way to ensure that the United States will NOT be humiliated and defeated. You know, people here who are FRIENDS of the US, look in utter disbelief that the most powerful leader in the world can oppose science and research; can talk such idiocy in relation to creationism; can equivocate on abortion. The founding of the United States was the greatest cultural victory for mankind. The war for civilisation that is NOT being fought in Iraq (because Bush is incapable of identifying the real war that he could have fought)is just as urgent at home in the US, against religion in the culture. I don't see how you fight that war by voting for Republicans at this time.

Seriously?

James S. Valliant's picture

"The only thing making it nearly impossible to fight the real war right now are the traitorous Democrats and the support they are getting from the unlikeliest of places."

No... seriously?! I'm still laughing! Now, who exactly is being naive, rationalistic, and unrealistic?

Last I checked, Hagel, Snowe and Co., are Republicans. It's the Republican leader of the Senate who calls this surge Mr. Bush's "last chance." And, previously, it was that patriot McCain who was telling the President that he was screwing up by not having enough boots on the ground!

And are you saying that the President's errors in war cannot be criticized at this point -- except by a "traitor"?! What kind of collectivist-statist crap is that? Have we just been photographed on top of Iranian anti-aircraft weapons or something? Have we just donated to Ho Chi Minh or something?

As I have been complaining for years now, Mr. Bush squandered the enormous political capital he had after 9/11. Back then, the Dems would have asked "How high?" if Bush had said "Jump." To be sure, one could sense the delight in the faces of Democrats as Bush failed to define our enemy -- and as he laid out a rather modest set of proposals (which also included a lot more needless bureaucracy). Bush's manner of warfare has been "surgical" -- aimed at avoiding "collateral damage " and leaving only a "light footprint." This has been an unprecedented "war." Having left Iran off the hit list, Bush has only shot himself in the foot in Iraq (and everywhere else). By defining Iraq as the outer limits of his ambition (no, talk of an "axis of evil" was not meant to require any immediate response, after all...), he has the Dems scrambling to express "regret" for their votes to authorize that action. Gosh, if only they were now regretting their votes to authorize a more serious and comprehensive war in the region!

Even if the Democrats hadn't given Bush all that I would have asked for, at least the hawks wouldn't be the only one's discredited in the current political zoo, as is now the case. The option button for "more" would still be viable.

The Democrats question whether Iraq has anything to do with this "war on terror" that Bush defined -- and achieved consensus about -- from the outset. But had we decent leadership from the start, there would currently be no doubt in anyone's mind why a response to more folks than just al Qaeda was imperative -- and who exactly the enemy is. (During WWII no one questioned why the U.S. was going after the Nazis when they weren't "responsible" for Pearl Harbor!)

But, alas, Mr. Bush defined the parameters of this whole debate long ago.

Like his dad, he shares that same sense of "realism" which kept Saddam in power after the first Gulf War -- to slaughter thousands -- that same sense of James Baker "realism" which keeps us from antagonizing our "friends" in France, Russia, China, and that bestower of all legitimacy, the UN.

No, Phil, Bush is not stupid -- but his leadership has been objectively inadequate in the wake of 9/11 -- and one need not be a West Point graduate to see this.

Across the board

Ted, you are demonstrating an ignorance of American politics. There are people on every side of the Iraq war to be found in both political parties. The problem is who is funding them and why. In the case of the Democrat kook base, it is aging 60's types who want to see nothing more then the destruction of Bush and the humiliation and defeat of the United States.

Wm

Islam insofar as it is directed by governments, and as a measure enforced from above by any government, is to be done away with.

Figured

Ted Coxhead's picture

Smoking not totally banned despite large pro total ban groups in each party. Fox hunting absolutely thriving (along with pheasant shooting - trust me!) despite large pro total ban groups across party lines - it was subject to another Tony fudge. Governments are unlikely to fall on issues like this.
Wars however, even for Iraqi Freedom, are a bit more serious and would of course attract the attention of Party whips.
Sorry boys, but if you want your man in and no traitorous behaviour you have to vote for him across the board.
And if you want him out you have to do the same - across the board.

I did say the British system is different...

Marcus's picture

However, a good counter example to Ted's argument comes to mind. Remember the original vote in the UK parliament to send troops to Iraq? Well, Blair would have lost the vote due to his own Labour party rebels, unless he had the support of conservative MPs.

Funny that, the Labour Government has often been forced from its manifesto position by rebels. For example, the unfortunate passing of legislation for implementation of total smoking and fox hunting bans. But according to Ted, if I supported those policies in their original "Government" form I could only afford to vote for Labour MP's.

Go figure?

Treason = Immoral

JoeM's picture

"To urge blanket voting for his anti-war opponents when he's waging war and for a complete scumbucket like John Kerry to replace him is treasonous."

Isn't this the same thing as Peikoff said (Voting for the greater of two evils is immoral?

Who's wonky?

Ted Coxhead's picture

Mr Perigo, of course you did not say it would be traitorous to unseat the Commander in Chief and replace him with someone better. Clearly we would all like a better Commander in Chief and a proper war. But that was never the subject of the last US elections or of this discussion on the need to defeat the current Republican Party as it exists now.
Your problem, my old cocker, is that you aint going to find a better CinC anytime soon are you? Your other problem is that half a war is not better than no war. We are doomed to have a half war because of the religiosity of the present Republicans who are epochally dangerous, if I may use the terminology which you apply to half baked, every day, common or garden measures of social democracy. Furthermore, this outfit's half war is not even what is most dangerous about it.
Clearly you are not troubled by the danger to the culture represented by this brand of Republican religios.
But despite Marcus's helping hand, you have not solved the problem of what to do about your Cin C's best ally - the ardent Hillaryite government of the UK of which she is but an apprentice. Marcus says:"Exactly the same logic applies to the UK parliament. If we voted for candidates that claimed they supported the war, regardless of which party they belonged to, then they would vote with the "pro-war" group (if their stated intentions were honest) on those issues before parliament - reagrdless of which party the Government comprised." Oh blimey mates! It just doesn't work like that as the United Kingdom Independence Party found on the issue of leaving the EU. The pro war group, (again as though that's the only issue), can be as big as you like, but unless the pro war group was big enough to lead the party with the MOST SEATS, you can whistle "Tipperrary", or the NZ equivalent of "Waltzing Matilda", because the government wouldn't be pro war. What you would have is a government presiding over a Parliament with "pro" factions split up in each party. As for UKIP what happened? Tories who hate the EU broke ranks and voted for it: Labour wins valuable extra seats.
That's the logic of cherry picking. The logistics might be different in the USA but the principle remains. You may lose your man and "pro" groups notwithstanding, you don't have a majority.
The war for Iraqi Freedom is an altruistic disaster whether run ON by Republicans or OUT by Democrats. The problem is there are bigger fish to fry in all this and the ones Bush has spawned are rotten.
Heave 'em out!
Tootle pip.

Ted your logic is wonky...

Marcus's picture

You wrote...

"If it is traitorous to unseat the Commander in Chief during the war for Iraqi Freedom, then you can't risk cherry picking this Dem here and that Republican there. It doesn't work that way. In the UK, the party that gets the most seats get to have their leader as Prime Minister. Your cherry picking might stop the "war party" from winning."

If I or Linz voted for a Democrat candidate that supported the Iraq war - we would do it because we believed them.

Now, assuming that we were correct in our trust, that would not undermine our "pro-war" commander-in-chief when he needed support for the war.

Exactly the same logic applies to the UK parliament. If we voted for candidates that claimed they supported the war, regardless of which party they belonged to, then they would vote with the "pro-war" group (if their stated intentions were honest) on those issues before parliament - reagrdless of which party the Government comprised.

What is so difficult to understand about that?

You can either vote for a politician as an individual or as part of a herd mentality. Both forms do exist to various degrees. Granted that MP's have less freedom to rebel from their party line in the UK parliamentary system than they do in the US.

I say, Teddy, old bean ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

When you write: "Not every Republican is worth supporting, by a long shot; not every Democrat is worth NOT supporting, by a short shot. What's hard about that?" you illustrate the logical problem you have. Irish or English there is nothing wrong with my logic on this issue, but there is a big gap in your NZ logic. This is why you avoid the British question that has been posed to you. If it is traitorous to unseat the Commander in Chief during the war for Iraqi Freedom, then you can't risk cherry picking this Dem here and that Republican there. It doesn't work that way. In the UK, the party that gets the most seats get to have their leader as Prime Minister. Your cherry picking might stop the "war party" from winning. Your logic drives you to blanketeer, like it or lump it.

Ask me again the British question that was posed to me. I must have missed it.

I didn't say it's traitorous to unseat the Commander-in-Chief if it's to replace him with someone better. To urge blanket voting for his anti-war opponents when he's waging war and for a complete scumbucket like John Kerry to replace him is treasonous. And yes, I sure would vote for a Republican like Giuliani over Hillary Clinton.

You might be interested to know that notwithstanding Rand's unbalanced antipathy toward Reagan, Peikoff voted for him. As any sensible person would. You would have voted for Carter? Mondale? Bally rum show, old thing, what?!

Linz

Mr Perigo, old chap

Ted Coxhead's picture

When you write: "Not every Republican is worth supporting, by a long shot; not every Democrat is worth NOT supporting, by a short shot. What's hard about that?" you illustrate the logical problem you have. Irish or English there is nothing wrong with my logic on this issue, but there is a big gap in your NZ logic. This is why you avoid the British question that has been posed to you. If it is traitorous to unseat the Commander in Chief during the war for Iraqi Freedom, then you can't risk cherry picking this Dem here and that Republican there. It doesn't work that way. In the UK, the party that gets the most seats get to have their leader as Prime Minister. Your cherry picking might stop the "war party" from winning. Your logic drives you to blanketeer, like it or lump it.
It's also a pity that you know nothing about businessmen literally in chains. I can understand that the American in the street would be unaware of this, since their press has not publicised it, they live in a vast country that is a super power and some of them don't get out much; but I would expect a New Zealand journalist who advocates voting for the Commander in Chief to know more about it. There have been bowler hat demonstrations of British businessmen through the City of London in support of the Natwest 3 and against American hyper regulation. But I guess this news is inconvenient in that it shows just how anti-capitalist the government for Iraqi Freedom can be.
You talk of Hillary on oil company profits. Yes she certainly echoes many of her Republican brethren on price gouging doesn't she. But I don't hear the echo in her for the right to life of the brain dead, or the evils of stem cell research or teaching the equivalence of creationism, or equivocation on abortion. (These issues alone would give her an interesting profile against the gynophobic imams). And you'd vote for a Republican over her? "Jesus Christ, to coin a phrase!"
Of course if Giuliani wins the nomination and slams religion and stands up for science and defends capitalism, I might have to re-consider. But how long can you hold your breath? In any case if he did that before the nomination, he wouldn't get the nomination.
As for Mr Coates. Thank you for checking our work. It would be nice to know what you think about things yourself, or are you here just to keep an eye on the class? I could even remove "par excellence" from the Republicans being an anti-business party, but I'll leave you to tell the guys in the Texas jail.

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