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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OTP: April 2013: Daily Caller: Baseball and the GOP: To rebrand the party, think like a sports fan

This week’s GOP autopsy report, commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, is a great start in the much-needed task of rebranding the Republican Party. As the chairman acknowledged, “the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough” and “we have to be more inclusive.” The report contains 219 recommendations to “connect people to our principles.” To achieve that goal, the party will need a strategic vision of how voters think about politics, which is something that the report lacks. For that, the GOP can learn a lot from another American passion: baseball.

This year, about 75 million Americans will go to the baseball stadium to watch a ballgame, about the same number as those who will vote in next year’s election. We rarely think about why someone becomes a baseball fan, or why they root for a certain team. Nor do we usually think about why someone chooses to vote for a certain political party. But it’s actually a very useful exercise.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty has almost nothing to do with the brain, and almost everything to do with the heart. In all of history, there’s never been a baseball fan who rooted for his team because it had the lowest ticket prices, or because it had the most taxpayer-friendly stadium deal, or because its players did the most community service. For the vast majority of Americans, rooting for a baseball team — not to mention, voting for a political party — isn’t really a rational choice; it’s more of a statement of personal identity — a statement telling the world, “This is who I am.” And for most people, defining “who I am” starts with family and community, before branching out into areas like race, age, gender, and class.

Family is pretty straightforward. If your mom and dad are Yankee fans, you’re almost certainly a Yankee fan. The same is true in politics. If your mom and dad are Republicans, you’re almost certainly a Republican.

Community is also pretty straightforward. If you grew up in, say, Philadelphia, chances are pretty great you’re a Phillies fan. Likewise, someone who grew up in Republican territory like, say, suburban Dallas or rural Indiana is much more likely to become a Republican than a nearly identical person from Seattle or Santa Fe.

Cities with more than one baseball team, like New York or Chicago, show revealing breakdowns by race and gender. The racial split in Chicago between Cubs fans on the North Side and White Sox fans on the South Side is well-documented. In New York, there’s an intriguing gender gap between Mets and Yankee fans, with women gravitating a lot more to the Yanks. While there’s a few theories out there trying to explain that, one obvious answer leaps out: Yankees heartthrob Derek Jeter.

In sports, as in politics, people’s convictions can’t be conveniently reduced to who their parents are or what they look like. But those things are an important foundation, upon which more rational sentiments come into being. Once you’re attached to your team on an emotional level — seeing them as a personal reflection of who you are and what you care about most — a rational exterior comes into being through phrases like “the Red Sox are the best team because they have the most heart” or “the Republicans are the best party because they know how to create jobs.”

Tripon Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | 6544 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   3401. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4417943)
#3390- IF the death is an unplanned outcome of the attempt to bring into custody, so be it. If its a planned outcome it's little better than a drone strike.


To be clear, this is where I stand on it too. And I think the biggest issue with the targeted strikes, especially as applied to US citizens,* is that the process by which they're authorized is completely opaque. It wasn't enough when Bush said "trust us on this 'enhanced interrogation' thing" and it's not enough when Obama says "trust us on this drone strike thing." The OLC memos should be released, and if drones are going to be used then we need to know they're going about it instead of being told not to worry about it.

* I do make a distinction between citizens and non-citizens, others might not. Both are defensible positions.
   3402. Lassus Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4417945)
I'm hearing reports from actual human beings that one of the "bag men" on the cover of the NY Post is a regular high school track runner with a Facebook page and everything. Surprised not to see any comment yea or nay here, though, so...
   3403. Dale Sams Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4417949)
where the son was not targeted but was instead a civilian casualty.


All I've seen on that is some mumbling out the side of one guys mouth. Not an official explanation (How could there be when there's no transparency). Also....YEAH RIGHT.

Edit: "Two U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity stated that the target of the October 14, 2011 airstrike was Ibrahim al-Banna, an Egyptian believed to be a senior operative in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula"

Sounds legit.
   3404. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4417950)
Populism and democracy have nothing to do with it. The President doesn't have the constitutional authority to murder US citizens, even treasonous ones. The Consitution itself sets out threshold requirements for a valid conviction for treason (as well as defining what treason is) -- a confession in open court or two witnesses, thus taking as self-evident that the charge would be subject to proof in court and therefore entirely vitiating any possible legal basis for such power.

   3405. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4417953)
“Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.


That's from AG Holder. It's not exactly unclear, unless you're going to argue that Lincoln had no authority to order the Union army into battle with Confederate forces. Terms like "combat" have meanings and importance, and just because you're unaware of their definitions doesn't mean they don't exist. You don't seem to understand the factual background of what you're talking about, and you clearly don't understand the legal aspect of the issue.
   3406. Ron J2 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4417955)
#3382 Cornwallis' eventual defeat has squat to do with not prosecuting the war with sufficient vigor. It mostly falls on a couple of late decisions. He split his army and Ferguson was defeated at Kings Mountain (with the bulk of Cornwallis' forces just a day away). He then split the army again -- giving the most mobile forces to Tarleton. Tarleton was beaten at Cowpens.

He then won the type of victory he couldn't really afford at Guilford Courthouse. And then with a much reduced army he burned his supply train (to speed up his pursuit of Greene)

So he has a much smaller army with self-inflicted supply problems and then wanders into Virginia, takes up position in the Peninsula in response to orders from Clinton and is cut off (didn't help anybody that Clinton's orders weren't exactly clear. And nobody anticipated that the Royal Navy would be temporarily unable to control the area. A more able commander of the Royal Navy forces and Cornwallis can be easily extracted).

Kings Mountain and Cowpens were defeats based on overconfidence. Entirely unnecessary. The decision to destroy his own supply train is just weird.
   3407. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4417959)
I'm hearing reports from actual human beings that one of the "bag men" on the cover of the NY Post is a regular high school track runner with a Facebook page and everything. Surprised not to see any comment yea or nay here, though, so...


We discussed this on the last page. Scott provided a link to the story.
   3408. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4417961)
I think we are talking past each other a bit. There is a conflict, but in my mind it is the populist "majority rules" versus the bedrock principles our country is (or perhaps should be) based on. No matter how popular some actions might be, we don't do them - even though we are a Democracy and they are popular - because they violate first principles. That is a big part of the point of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so on.

I don't think we are explicitly making a constitutional argument (Maybe we could, but IANAL), but that is the basic idea. So just saying Democracy and its popular does not end the discussion.


Fair enough. I would disagree about the notion of there being extra-constitutional "bedrock principles", because your bedrock principles are my oppresion. The whole point of the constitution is to memorialize the bedrock principles into some legal document - granted, one subject to later interpretation and reinterpretation - but still something a bit more tangible and discrete than "bedrock principles". Accordingly, I think you are ultimately making a constituional argument, and the Supreme Court has generally sided with an expansive executive with respect to national security matters. That being said, reasonable people certainly disagree with the Court's interpretation, so I think its entirely fair to say that what Obama and Bush are doing is legal, but something that you vigorously disagree with.
   3409. Ron J2 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4417964)
#3390, had typed a response that is almost identical to 3396. Saved myself a virtual coke this time.

Also, put me down as being fine with a drone strike if a special forces raid is not feasible.

As I've said before I'd prefer some form of judicial oversight, but if it's nothing more than a rubber stamp it's not truly oversight. Some form of trial in absentia with credible representation is what I'd like.
   3410. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4417966)
Dale, why do you think they'd target Abdulrahman al-Awlaki? Isn't it more likely that he was killed because the government didn't care enough to make sure they avoided civilian casualties in targeting an AQAP leader than that we decided to kill a 16 year old after we'd already killed the member of the Awlaki family we wanted to kill? Unless you're not being sarcastic.

I'm hearing reports from actual human beings that one of the "bag men" on the cover of the NY Post is a regular high school track runner with a Facebook page and everything. Surprised not to see any comment yea or nay here, though, so...


I got sidetracked by the drone thing. I feel bad for the two of them, but I'm comforted by the fact that they're likely going to be able to sue the #### out of Newscorp and get a pretty nice settlement. Of course, in this particular area of law I don't have specific expertise... but given that they're non-public figures the bar to recovery for libel is much lower.
   3411. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4417967)
That's from AG Holder. It's not exactly unclear, unless you're going to argue that Lincoln had no authority to order the Union army into battle with Confederate forces. Terms like "combat" have meanings and importance, and just because you're unaware of their definitions doesn't mean they don't exist. You don't seem to understand the factual background of what you're talking about, and you clearly don't understand the legal aspect of the issue.

That letter's a month old, and "engaged in combat" is a very pliable term. al-Alwaki wasn't "engaged in combat" either, nor was his son.

There was also another letter saying that the military could kill a US citizen on US soil "in extraordianry circumstances" -- another very pliable term -- which prompted the further question.

The whole enterprise is extralegal, anyway.

   3412. Lassus Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4417971)
We discussed this on the last page. Scott provided a link to the story.

Ah. Was in a meeting for 90 minutes.
   3413. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4417974)
#3402 -- The fact that the kid's a track-team member who was meeting there with his coach has been reported. Kid's already been to the police, per that report, and his FB page has his comments, but the report I read kept his name out of it.

gotta love The Post.
   3414. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4417982)
Fortunately, JihadWatch injects a little sanity into the coverage:

UPDATE: Gawker and CBS's John Miller say that these aren't the guys, although Gawker's case is that one of them is a high school track runner, which hardly means that he couldn't be a jihadi. In any case, this is yet more of the weird and confusing element of this case. They're going to announce an arrest, they're not going to announce an arrest, these are the guys, these are not the guys -- it's the Keystone Kops or a growing coverup.
   3415. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4417983)
gotta love The Post.


I like that we're getting the straight inside dope from the Post as to which paths the authorities are going down. So the Post is basically like a player projection system designed to hit on big seasons (like Gary Huckabay's Wilton system was back in the day), rather than a more conservative approach that just does a weighted average of the player's last three years.

The Post is ahead of a far more conservative pack.
   3416. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4417986)
The fact that one guy is a high school track coach isn't relevant to anything - I don't know why people think this is Proof Of Innocence We Told You So.

OTOH, the fact that he turned himself in voluntarily (if true) points towards innocence.
   3417. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4417988)
Actually, and this is speculation on my part, I'm guessing the reason why Awlaki got blown up was because the Obama administration believed/had evidence he was involved with the planning and undertaking terrorist acts, which under the 2001 AUMF makes him a combatant and thus a potential target.* But the lack of information on that subject, and the lack of any independent process to determine whether the evidence was great enough to support an assassination, is yet another example of why there needs to be a formalized legal system if we're going to use drone assassinations.

We could also get into how broad the 2001 AUMF is, and how if Congress wasn't perfectly happy ceding all this power to the executive they could easily restrict the executive's power simply by modifying it.

As for Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, you'd need to make a colorable argument that he was actually the target of the drone strike. I'd invoke Hanlon's Razor here.

eta: And on the issue of the first letter, OF COURSE under extraordinary circumstances the military can kill civilians on US soil, are you saying the US military in World War 2 couldn't have killed German-Americans serving in the German military who were in the US? I mean, heck, that actually happened- one of the German agents snuck into the US during WW2 was a citizen, and we executed him after a secret military tribunal!
   3418. OCF Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4417994)
Reacting to the story on the explosion in West, Texas (which, confusingly enough, is not in West Texas).

I'm non getting the slightest whiff of a chance that this could be terrorism. This was an industrial accident. As with many industrial accidents, it shouldn't have happened and someone is to blame, but it will take a long time to sort that out.

The facility keeps being described as a fertilizer manufacturing plant. It's pretty clear that it was not engaged in the making of basic chemicals, and the Google maps view doesn't show anything that looks like chemical manufacture. It was a storage and distribution depot, and maybe they mixed things together. I'm also hearing a lot of discussion of anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia is certainly dangerously toxic, and it will burn, and a tank could cause an explosion as a BLEVE, but there was a major detonation there, and I don't think it was ammonia that detonated. I would assume that the detonation was caused by ammonium nitrate.

I did see a short Wall Street Journal article that flatly stated that ammonium nitrate won't detonate by itself but has to be mixed with a fuel such as fuel oil in order to be explosive. That's flat wrong. Yes, the practical explosive is ammonium nitrate - fuel oil, and yes, it is very hard to get pure ammonium nitrate to detonate at all - but it will detonate, especially if it is raised to a high enough temperature in a fire first. The classic case is the Texas City disaster of 1947. Thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate were loaded onto a ship. The ship caught fire. They thought they had the fire put out. It re-lit. They put it out again. It re-lit again. They were starting to try some more desperate fire fighting techniques when the whole ship exploded, leveling much of the city and killing more than 500 people.

The explosion in West was smaller then 1947 Texas City, but it was still quite a blast. There was a fire, and there were firefighters there trying to fight it. Maybe those were the locals, which would probably have been a volunteer fire department? In retrospect, those local firefighters should have just supervised the evacuation of the whole town and then gotten themselves far away.
   3419. zenbitz Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4417998)
(a) Obama wants to set up a quasi-imperial executive for no good reason other than because leadas gonna lead


Seems about right.

I don't really care about executing "enemy combatant non-citizens" vs. those who happen to have US citizenship. US citizens have no *inherent* right to justice that others lack.
aside: They obviously have legal rights under US law, but don't really care about the LEGALITY of blowing people up under US law. If whomever blew up the Boston Marathon produced a warrant of executive bombing from some foreign nation I wouldn't respect that either. The only reason Drone strikes are "allowed" by *international* law is that no one has the stones or guns to tell the US to knock it off. Or they don't care as long as it's not their airspace the gets violated and their citizens who get shrapnalized.

As for al-Alwaki ... he was executed without trial for ... what exactly? Plotting to blow up people? Actually blowing up US soldiers on the ground in the middle east? Conspiracy to do the same? I honestly have no idea -- and I am not sure it really matters. If a Canadian serial killer was prowling in Niagara Falls, should we hit him with a drone? What about a suspected killer? Kidnapper? Rapist? Corrupt hedgefund trader? Illegal Double parker?

The War on Terror -- much like the Israeli actions on the west bank etc. -- fights Terror with Terror. That's a thing, I guess. Hard to see yourself on the moral high ground, though.

Should he have been bagged and brought to Gitmo? I suppose that's better but more expensive. Again, how would the US respond if China started kidnapping suspected "cyber terrorists"?
   3420. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4418001)
Maybe those were the locals, which would probably have been a volunteer fire department?

The NPR report I heard this morning said that yes, they were volunteer firefighters.

In retrospect, those local firefighters should have just supervised the evacuation of the whole town and then gotten themselves far away.

The report also said that apparently they had begun just that undertaking when the thing blew.
   3421. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4418004)
We could also get into how broad the 2001 AUMF is, and how if Congress wasn't perfectly happy ceding all this power to the executive they could easily restrict the executive's power simply by modifying it.


I should also add that atop how broad the original language is, it's been stretched even further by both the Bush and Obama administrations. It's friggin ridiculous, but Congress is perfectly happy to let the Executive branch handle this, because they're a bunch of idiot cowards.
   3422. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4418005)
The War on Terror -- much like the Israeli actions on the west bank etc. -- fights Terror with Terror. That's a thing, I guess. Hard to see yourself on the moral high ground, though.

Yep.
   3423. bunyon Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4418006)
OCF, that is true, if (IF!) the firefighters got an accurate account of what was present. It wouldn't surprise me all that much if there wasn't a good inventory of chemicals present or if someone had put too much ammonium nitrate in one place, against regs and didn't want to say so. (responding to 3418).

Wild speculation, of course. But Ray is down with that.


The fact that one guy is a high school track coach isn't relevant to anything - I don't know why people think this is Proof Of Innocence We Told You So.

They don't have to prove their innocence. The POST has to prove they're involved somehow. I mean, would it bug you if the POST had run a photo of you this morning with that headline? Can they just do anything they want and not be criticized?
   3424. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4418009)
We could also get into how broad the 2001 AUMF is, and how if Congress wasn't perfectly happy ceding all this power to the executive they could easily restrict the executive's power simply by modifying it.


QFT. "The People" may be somewhat complicit in their apathy, but Congress has been actively complicit and cawardly for running away from their consititutional responsibility in this arena for generations.

EDIT: Coke to CTRC(scott) for getting there first.
   3425. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4418014)
By the way, the focus on making life better for the Iraqi people was not something that just surfaced as an after-the-fact justification later after no WMD were found. Bush specifically mentioned it in his 2003 SOTU speech, as a secondary justification, along the lines of "Well, if we're wrong, at least we will be liberating the Iraqi people."

You can take issue with the logic, and with whether life is better over there etc., but you can't make up facts and say that Bush wasn't interested in this aspect of it from the beginning. (I mean, I guess you can call him a liar. But you can't say that this just popped up later.)

As to the WMD, I was pretty shocked that we didn't find any.

   3426. Lassus Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4418016)
Proof Of Innocence

Bunyon beat me to it, but christ, Ray.


Bush specifically mentioned it in his 2003 SOTU speech, as a secondary justification, along the lines of "Well, if we're wrong, at least we will be liberating the Iraqi people."

So you personally agree with this foreign policy, which is directly against the Libertarian foreign policy platform of Paul's? Not that you need to be in favor if he is, but you differ from the Libertarians here as far as tax dollars and lives spent in this specific case, Iraq? (Also, what was the actual quote from that SOTU?)

   3427. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4418017)
I've lost what your point is. Are you worried from a defamation perspective, from a journalistic standards perspective, from a law enforcement perspective, or from a pure facts perspective? Which aspect of this are we discussing? Because certainly what the Post posted, if true -- the authorities circulating photos of men they'd like to investigate -- is newsworthy.


Are the two guys in the photo not the ones in the FBI circulated photo? If so, then all of the above. How can you not see anything wrong with the Post putting a picture, on the front page no less, of two guys with a caption that reads "Authorities are circulating photos of two men involved in the bombings", and have those two guys NOT BE THE ONES THE AUTHORITIES ARE LOOKING FOR? If the Post put your DL photo on the front page with a caption that read "Authorities are circulating photo of wanted serial child molester", would you shrug it off and say "Well, the story is true, so no problem."?
   3428. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4418019)
West, Texas (which, confusingly enough, is not in West Texas).


Never been to West, Texas, but I have been to North, South Carolina, which is not in north South Carolina either.
   3429. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4418020)
They don't have to prove their innocence. The POST has to prove they're involved somehow. I mean, would it bug you if the POST had run a photo of you this morning with that headline? Can they just do anything they want and not be criticized?


Bad phrasing on my part but what I was responding to was people saying "He is a high school track coach so he is obviously innocent, effing NY Post" - and I'm just saying that that fact doesn't go towards anything.

(And the Post doesn't have to "prove they're involved," so you made the opposite error as I did.)
   3430. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4418023)
Never been to West, Texas, but I have been to North, South Carolina, which is not in north South Carolina either.

I've never been to Spain, but I kind of like the music.
   3431. GregD Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4418024)
By the way, the focus on making life better for the Iraqi people was not something that just surfaced as an after-the-fact justification later after no WMD were found. Bush specifically mentioned it in his 2003 SOTU speech, as a secondary justification, along the lines of "Well, if we're wrong, at least we will be liberating the Iraqi people."

You can take issue with the logic, and with whether life is better over there etc., but you can't make up facts and say that Bush wasn't interested in this aspect of it from the beginning. (I mean, I guess you can call him a liar. But you can't say that this just popped up later.)
That's fair enough. But is it sufficient for invading? Should that be our standard? Do you think we should invade every country where we believe the people are in need of liberation? If not, then can you accept that whether or not we improved the lives of Iraqis isn't the best criterion for whether the invasion was a success?
   3432. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4418026)
   3433. BrianBrianson Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4418027)
But the people support the war on drugs and they support the war on terror. You're trying to have it both ways; you say that the application of power to prosecute wars is anti-democratic because tactical decisions about the use of force aren't being checked by other branches of power, and disenfranchising the people is a bad thing


I most certainly never said any of those things. People support the War on Drugs (ish), people support the War on Terror (a lot). That doesn't mean that either is done intelligent or effectively, and it's our responsibility as citizens to speak out against it when it's being done dumbly or it's popular for bad reasons to stop people from supporting it. Now, it would be better if Obama would say "The way we win the War on Drugs isn't to throw people in jail for smoking a joint, but to ensure people have access to rehab, to jobs, to education, to mental health services, whatever." In lieu of him saying that, I have to. So long as randomly bombing brown people is a popular way to fight terrorism, the problem isn't randomly bombing brown people (well, okay, it is), but that it's popular. The latter problem I can't fix single-handedly, but I should do my part, as should we all.
   3434. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4418028)
I've never been to Spain, but I kind of like the music.


Say the ladies are insane there, and they sure know how to use it.
   3435. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4418031)
The only reason Drone strikes are "allowed" by *international* law is that no one has the stones or guns to tell the US to knock it off.


It's more two other things:

1) The governments of Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan all have granted the US access to use drones. Even though all three of those governments are totally corrupt, undemocratic, and deeply ###### up, it's a bit much to say that sovereign powers aren't allowed to say what's allowed to operate in their countries. Pakistan at the very least has a sophisticated enough military where they would easily be able to prevent the US from operating drones if they weren't giving the OK for it on the down low. That doesn't make drone's any less gross from a moral standpoint, we're putting ourselves in bed with regimes that are happy to let us blow up alleged combatants so long as they can feed us intelligence that leads us to blow up their enemies as well. This has been a particular problem in Yemen, where we've apparently blown up several groups of Al-Houthi Shia after being told they're AQAP types.

2) Every single other country with decent technology either already has their own drones or are making them. It has nothing to do with having the "stones or guns" to tell us to stop, it's that there's zero threat to them because current generation drones are sitting ducks in the sky and you really need complete control of the air to use them for strikes. Why tell us to stop when it can't be at all harmful to you and you might want to use the same technology yourself in the future?

eta: Also, I rode right past the whole "international" law thing. Unless you're talking about a multilateral treaty commitment which the US joins, there's nothing illegal about using drone strikes qua drone strikes. I mean, there's issues of legality using CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, which is why it's a CIA program, but the US military ones in Afghanistan are completely kosher. And when compared with regular air strikes, you can make an argument that drones are preferable because they stay on site far longer and thus can wait to strike at the most effective/least collateral damage moment.
   3436. BDC Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4418032)
West features the primo pit stop on I-35, the Czech Stop: good gas prices, clean restrooms, and kolaches. Lots and lots of kolaches.

It's an interesting little town that trades on its origins as an immigrant community: worth going beyond just the Czech Stop. I am sorry to hear about the explosion and my thoughts are with those killed and hurt.
   3437. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4418033)
That's fair enough. But is it sufficient for invading?


Um, Bush did not say it was sufficient for invading.

Once more: it was a secondary justification, as part of his whole case for war, not the primary justification.
   3438. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4418035)
The report also said that apparently they had begun just that undertaking when the thing blew.


Hell, with a town as small as West, it probably took a good half hour to an hour just to get the guys out of their day jobs and on location. Volunteer fire departments are not equipped to deal with that sort of ####.
   3439. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4418038)
& because every crazy deserves his day,
North Korea did it!
   3440. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:23 PM (#4418040)
Um, Bush did not say it was sufficient for invading.

Once more: it was a secondary justification, as part of his whole case for war, not the primary justification.


Yes, and it's every bit as stupid now as it was stupid then.

The invasion of Iraq was a blunder of epic proportion. Some things in the world are close calls. This one isn't.
   3441. bunyon Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4418044)
And the Post doesn't have to "prove they're involved," so you made the opposite error as I did.

I'm really trying to understand your point, Ray. Are you saying that the POST can, accurately, claim that the Feds are looking into two suspects who they identified with photographs and then show, to support that, two random people in photographs?

I mean, legally, perhaps. But that they shouldn't be criticized, and harshly, if they do?

I agree, if it turns out that these two guys are the guys the cops are after, all is well.

If they aren't, the POST should go down, IMO.
   3442. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4418046)
eta: And on the issue of the first letter, OF COURSE under extraordinary circumstances the military can kill civilians on US soil, are you saying the US military in World War 2 couldn't have killed German-Americans serving in the German military who were in the US? I mean, heck, that actually happened- one of the German agents snuck into the US during WW2 was a citizen, and we executed him after a secret military tribunal!

You see the differences there, right? He was serving in the military of an enemy state, and he was convicted by a tribunal.

There is no enemy state here, and there are no tribunals.
   3443. Dale Sams Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4418047)
I fear also that the public conflation of drones with ,disposition matrixes, assasinations et al...will limit legitimate uses of drones on US soil.

EX: Armed people holed up in non-hostage situations who have no intention of surrendering and are a threat (firing upon people). Why should a SWAT team have to storm the place? You've attempted to arrest the person in person. He refuses to surrender. He's firing out the windows. Drop a bomb on him. Get a tank.

Admittedly, perfect situations like this are fairly rare.
   3444. The Good Face Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4418048)
The War on Terror -- much like the Israeli actions on the west bank etc. -- fights Terror with Terror. That's a thing, I guess. Hard to see yourself on the moral high ground, though.


Pretty much, yes. And it might not even be a terrible idea if we committed to it; it's possible to pacify vast populations if you're ruthless enough to make them considerably less vast. But that's pretty clearly not an option, so we get the status quo; an ongoing "war" against terror that's terrible for all parties involved. Except of course the politicians and bureaucrats who get to prosecute it.
   3445. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4418051)
So long as randomly bombing brown people is a popular way to fight terrorism, the problem isn't randomly bombing brown people (well, okay, it is), but that it's popular. The latter problem I can't fix single-handedly, but I should do my part, as should we all.


This isn't a serious argument, because we're not "randomly bombing brown people". At worst, we're recklessly assassinating targets.

As for all the discussion about the moral high ground, I neither care nor want elected leaders to disregard my interests for their personal moral high ground. If terror is needed to fight terror, and our terror is legal under our law, then, bring on the terror.
   3446. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4418052)

That letter's a month old, and "engaged in combat" is a very pliable term. al-Alwaki wasn't "engaged in combat" either, nor was his son.


I'd say he was as much as Admiral Yamamoto was when he was killed.
   3447. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4418055)
I'm really trying to understand your point, Ray. Are you saying that the POST can, accurately, claim that the Feds are looking into two suspects who they identified with photographs and then show, to support that, two random people in photographs?


The Post didn't show two random people. The Post showed two people from (according to their source) an email with photo that the authorities were forwarding around to other authorities.

   3448. bunyon Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4418057)
Pretty much, yes. And it might not even be a terrible idea if we committed to it; it's possible to pacify vast populations if you're ruthless enough to make them considerably less vast. But that's pretty clearly not an option, so we get the status quo; an ongoing "war" against terror that's terrible for all parties involved. Except of course the politicians and bureaucrats who get to prosecute it.

This is where I was going with realizing we're an empire. If we're going to conquer people, conquer them for pete's sake. But because we want to see ourselves as good guys we wind up with endless low level war. It's insane. It's terrible for the occupied territory, it's very expensive for us and we get no real tangible benefit. Either conquer them or leave them alone.
   3449. zenbitz Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4418058)
Those are all reasonable points @3435, I did not know that we had permission, although in retrospect it's pretty obvious. But my whole point was that I don't really care about the LEGAL nuances. Lots of horrible things are illegal and lots of harmless things are illegal. It's not a particularly valid HARD moral filter.
   3450. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4418062)
Also: I'm not trying to dodge the defamation question. I'd have to look at it more.
   3451. bunyon Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4418065)
The Post showed two people from (according to their source) an email with photo that the authorities were forwarding around to other authorities.

Fair enough, but if those photos being forwarded don't turn out to be about these guys or if their source is wrong, the POST should go down. No need to jump to a conclusion, though, we'll know soon enough.
   3452. GregD Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4418069)
Um, Bush did not say it was sufficient for invading.

Once more: it was a secondary justification, as part of his whole case for war, not the primary justification.
Right. We agree on this. So you accept then that improving the lives of Iraqis can't after the fact be used as the primary justification for why it was a good idea? At least without opening up the floodgates to plenty of other potential invasions that could be justified on those grounds? My question stems from the response to someone opposing Iraq that asked--it may not have been you--if the Iraqi people were better off. There are certainly ways to justify the invasion, but it seems to me that that isn't one of them unless one is willing to justify any invasion that will likely improve the lives of the invaded country's people.
   3453. Ron J2 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4418070)
#3443 I think the saga of MOVE shows why we generally prefer to either wait the guys out, use a sharpshooter or SWAT.
   3454. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4418072)

You see the differences there, right? He was serving in the military of an enemy state,


Spies are not considered members of the military; that is why they are subject to execution.
   3455. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4418073)
There is no enemy state here, and there are no tribunals.


You're right, Ex Parte Quirin isn't an apposite case. So to go back to my original example, was it unconstitutional for Lincoln to order the Union armies into combat with the US citizens who comprised the confederacy?

Moreover, are you saying the AUMF is unconstitutional because it does not specify a state but instead people, organizations, and states that are connected with Al Qaeda/seeking to attack the United States?

Lastly, do you still not understand that there's a very real legal difference between actions undertaken where the US has jurisdiction and where it doesn't?
   3456. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4418074)
Fair enough, but if those photos being forwarded don't turn out to be about these guys or if their source is wrong, the POST should go down. No need to jump to a conclusion, though, we'll know soon enough.


I don't view the issue of whether they turn out to be the same 2 guys as interesting.

1. If they turn out to be the same 2 guys, then I believe the Post is fine as far as defamation goes, yes.

2. But if they turn out to be 2 different guys, that issue is irrelevant to a defamation claim. All the Post claimed is that authorities were looking at these 2 guys, not THESE ARE THE ONLY TWO GUYS THE AUTHORITIES ARE LOOKING AT AND THE AUTHORITIES WILL SOON RELEASE THEIR PHOTOS!!!!!!

If they are 2 different guys, the Post got nothing "wrong," as everyone seems to be bizarrely claiming. All the Post said is "here is a picture of 2 guys the authorities are circulating to each other via email."
   3457. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4418075)
At worst, we're recklessly assassinating targets.


Well, at worst we're recklessly assassinating targets and people whose behavior on high altitude surveillance cameras looks like "terrorists" and all the poor bastards who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But point taken.
   3458. GregD Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4418081)
If they are 2 different guys, the Post got nothing "wrong," as everyone seems to be bizarrely claiming. All the Post said is "here is a picture of 2 guys the authorities are circulating to each other via email."
On their front page! I don't know the legal ramifications and can believe they are going to escape even in that case, but morally we can all agree that it is despicable to hold private citizens up to hatred and vigilantism lightly, right? And if that turns out to be the case, an organization that does so--when all other organizations are holding back because of those concerns--should be dismissed out of hand until it can prove it has dramatically changed its procedures and personnel?
   3459. zenbitz Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4418083)
I am going to go further.

Being a target of international terrorism is the price we (and to a much lesser extent, our NATO allies) pay for Hegemony. Just like a cop being shot by criminals when you pull them over for erratic driving, or a fireman getting a burning building collapsed on them -- it's an occupational hazard. It's not an outrage when these things happen - it is the cost of doing business. It's a personal tragedy - almost any early death is - but it's not a call to arms and most certainly NOT an excuse to kill OTHER innocent folks with collateral damage.

It's NOT a declared war, nor even a 20th century Police action (well, obviously Iraq and Afghanistan are exactly that... but likewise blowing up US soliders with IED is NOT a terrorist act).

If the US renounces hegemony, if it refused to be the world's police force, if it pulls out of the middle east and africa and where ever else - the war on terror ends in 6 months. Now it's debatable (on utilitarian principles and other grounds) whether or not that is overall better for everyone. But the choice is not: "Press 1 for a Cruise Missile, Press 2 for a Drone Strike, Press 3 for a Special Forces Raid". I'm mashing the 0 button and trying to get the operator.



   3460. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4418086)
So to go back to my original example, was it unconstitutional for Lincoln to order the Union armies into combat with the US citizens who comprised the confederacy?

Of course not. Why would it be? They were uniformed combatants of defined territories with openly-stated political aims who had entered into war and combat with the United States. This is nothing of the sort. (They may also have forfeited their US citizenship upon the declaration of the rebellion, but that point isn't necessary to distinguish the cases.)

Moreover, are you saying the AUMF is unconstitutional because it does not specify a state but instead people, organizations, and states that are connected with Al Qaeda/seeking to attack the United States?

To the extent that it permits the executive power claimed here, of course. Just as the line item veto was unconstiutional. Congress has no authority to give the executive powers not granted to the executive by the Constitution.

Lastly, do you still not understand that there's a very real legal difference between actions undertaken where the US has jurisdiction and where it doesn't?

Inapposite to the issue here. The rights of a US citizen as against the US government are not dependent on his location. If I take a trip to Italy, the president can't target me for drone killing and kill me with a drone. Nothing in the logic "justifying" the drone strikes would limit their use to foreign soil.
   3461. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4418097)
Lots of horrible things are illegal and lots of harmless things are illegal. It's not a particularly valid HARD moral filter.


Agreed, I think the CIA program of drone strikes is from an effectiveness standpoint dubious, and from a moral standpoint unacceptable. That being said, If I had to make a choice I'd rather use a drone strike than an air strike/cruise missile, and I think drones are incredibly valuable for intelligence gathering. But I just wanted to clarify that the reason we're using drones is because those nations we're using them in are perfectly happy to let us and because we're less likely to blow up people we don't intend to. And yeah, comparing this to all the other evils this country has perpetrated in the past doesn't excuse any of this, but the drone war is tiddlywinks to even lesser horrors like the Moro Rebellion.
   3462. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4418100)
OK, I'm done with you SBB. Wander off back to Democratic Underground, or wherever you came from. You can say you "won" or whatever, because this is just going to be a circular argument for the next page or so. But I really hope this is in no way indicative of your knowledge of your profession, because you really, really don't know what you're talking about.
   3463. The Good Face Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4418102)
This is where I was going with realizing we're an empire. If we're going to conquer people, conquer them for pete's sake. But because we want to see ourselves as good guys we wind up with endless low level war. It's insane. It's terrible for the occupied territory, it's very expensive for us and we get no real tangible benefit. Either conquer them or leave them alone.


Yep, it's yet another example of how half-measures doom almost any enterprise to failure. Better that we operate as an Empire in truth, with Obama Imperator gazing down from his gilded chariot as miles-long columns of enslaved peoples from conquered Wtfistans pile tribute at his feet.

As #3459 points out, we're already paying the price of hegemony. Might as well accept the perks.
   3464. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 18, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4418103)
How do we determine what is morally acceptable or unacceptable? Whose morals?
   3465. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4418106)
As for all the discussion about the moral high ground, I neither care nor want elected leaders to disregard my interests for their personal moral high ground. If terror is needed to fight terror, and our terror is legal under our law, then, bring on the terror.


Fortunately for me in this instance moral high ground and effective go hand in hand. Drone attacks without due process are a terrible, horrible, no good way to actually solve the problem in a long term fashion. The situation we have created (allowed, enabled, encouraged) is basically a breeder reactor where we create new enemies even as we kill old ones. People recognize how "moral low ground" what we are doing is and they hold it against us. That is exactly what we don't want to do.

If we can be half as effective at killing (removing, neutering) existing bad guys and not create (create fewer) new ones by doing it that way then we come out way ahead in the long run.

My objections to the whole thing is not only is it a terrible precedent, no only is it morally repugnant, but it is - over the long run - counter productive. It is not the worst of all possible ways of going about it, but that is not the bar I want to use to evaluate such things.

Still my favorite MLK quote:
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

   3466. Dale Sams Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4418109)
This isn't a serious argument, because we're not "randomly bombing brown people".


We're not? When we target first responders or funerals...we're not randomly bombing brown people?
   3467. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4418116)
Might as well accept the perks.


Well, we are accepting the perks. And really, hegemons get ###### up in one of two ways, a conflict between themselves and a rising great power who wants to run the global order or decline due to overextension. I'd rather not go down either route. Give me a nice gentle slide back to a multipolar world where we retain top dog status for another couple decades and then nominal top dog status for another several decades.
   3468. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4418117)
My objections to the whole thing is not only is it a terrible precedent, no only is it morally repugnant, but it is - over the long run - counter productive. It is not the worst of all possible ways of going about it, but that is not the bar I want to use to evaluate such things.


I agree completely with this.

eta:
When we target first responders or funerals...we're not randomly bombing brown people?


Horrible, but not random.
   3469. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4418122)
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.


If history teaches us anything, it's this. The moral high ground has real consequences.
   3470. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:17 PM (#4418131)
The invasion of Iraq was a blunder of epic proportion. Some things in the world are close calls. This one isn't.
T
The occupation was certainly bungled but critics need to answer how, absent the removal of Saddam, they would have propped up our deteriorating Iraq containment policy, not to mention the concern, shared by the British, that Saddam did possess WMD stockpiles.

As Victor Davis Hanson pointed out: "The Iraq War was predicated, rightly or wrongly, on the notion that the past war with Saddam had failed and containment would fail, and that after 9/11 it was the proper time to end a sponsor of global terrorism that should have been ended in 1991 — a decision that, incidentally, would save Kurdistan and allow it to turn into one of the most successful and pro-American regions in the Middle East."
   3471. Greg K Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:18 PM (#4418134)
Give me a nice gentle slide back to a multipolar world where we retain top dog status for another couple decades and then nominal top dog status for another several decades.

Like Britain!

Though, I guess ideally without the First World War.
   3472. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4418135)
The Post is reporting that the two men in its photo have been cleared:

The two men whose photos were being circulated internally among police have been cleared as authorities determined that neither man had any role in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Investigators have now cleared the two men whose pictures were circulated last night in an email among law enforcement officials, sources told The Post today.

Authorities determined neither had any information or role in Monday’s attacks at the Boston Marathon.

The pictures, which were distributed yesterday evening in an attempt to identify them, show the two men standing with a backpack and duffel bag near the finish line, where a pair of bombs killed three and maimed 176.

   3473. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4418137)
Victor Davis Hanson is a tool.

"The Iraq War was predicated, rightly or wrongly, on the notion that the past war with Saddam had failed and containment would fail, and that after 9/11 it was the proper time to end a sponsor of global terrorism that should have been ended in 1991 — a decision that, incidentally, would save Kurdistan and allow it to turn into one of the most successful and pro-American regions in the Middle East."

It was predicated wrongly.
   3474. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4418145)
Victor Davis Hanson is a tool.

Is not.

So how would you have propped up a failing containment policy?
   3475. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4418146)
Has anybody checked the New York Post editor's head for bolts, nails and other shrapnel? This is some week they're having.
   3476. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4418157)
Yeah, those notions were dumb all the way back in 2003. But hey, lets use those same reasons (containment's failed, diplomacy's failed, it's time to take out a sponsor of terrorism, it will foster a supporter in Kurdistan, they're going to get nukes and are crazy enough to use them/give them away) to go to war with Iran!
   3477. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4418161)
So how would you have propped up a failing containment policy?


What, the containment policy that turned Iraq into a shell of it's former self and unable to pose a threat to any of it's neighbors, much less defend itself when we invaded, and that successfully eradicated Saddam's chemical, biological, and nuclear programs, even if he was still bluffing about having some of those chemical weapons? Not sure you can define that as failing, unless you're looking for an excuse to go to war.

After the Gulf War Saddam was only a threat to his own people. Attacking him, especially when we still had an active war in Afghanistan, was monumentally stupid. There shouldn't be an argument about this, but having no shame really does mean you never have to say you're sorry.
   3478. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4418162)
So how would you have propped up a failing containment policy?


Hey, let's go back to the domino theory that helped drag us into Vietnam!

Sometimes you (policy folks) are asking the wrong question.
   3479. spike Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4418164)
Marathon Trutherism is a thing already, plus mo' help on what a "suspect" is...

An FBI source has told TheBlaze that the Saudi Student was “taken into custody”. This means, when we he was reported as a person of interest, he was actually a suspect the entire time.

TheBlaze has been told that by a source that this “looks like they were trying to make this a ‘lone wolf’ crime, so the Saudi government would be spared embarrassment and the U.S. would avoid explaining how a terror cell was active when we had AQ on the run.”
One source at the FBI and another at the Saudi Embassy referred to the student as connected to an important Saudi family.
A source told TheBlaze that the FBI believes the Saudi student is tied to 2 to 3 more people.


Link - like you can't guess who.

Also, the person is being deported, or not, because "they" won't allow it
   3480. GregD Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4418168)
I totally understand the neocon objections to pacifism or liberal non-interventionism in the Iraq case. I have a harder time understanding the neocon aversion to the argument coming from the hard-ass realists--why should we go out of our way to help Iran? I am open to a specialist telling me the reasons the Iraq war didn't prove such a boost to Iran, but as a non-specialist the argument that it boosted Iran's regional influence seem both convincing and totally predictable. Whether that was because Iranian intelligence was planting intelligence for US spies or the US just blundered in on its own, I don't know.
   3481. spike Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4418170)
Can you provide some quantifiable citations that the Iraq containment policy was "deteriorating"?
   3482. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4418174)
Containment had failed.
Diplomacy was failing.
We should take steps -- sometimes by promoting opposition movements, sometimes by force -- to take out sponsors of terrorism if they threaten US interests.
Kurdistan is very pro-American.

One day we may have to use military force against Iran, particularly if the mullahs remain in charge. Hopefully, it won't be necessary.
   3483. BrianBrianson Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4418175)
"Randomly" is slightly too strong, although in most cases it's bad luck, rather than cause. It's worth a little inaccuracy to save a ton of rambling.

Popular support isn't really contingent on whether it's random or not, though, which is why those making decisions can be pretty much as reckless as they like.
   3484. zonk Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4418179)
The occupation was certainly bungled but critics need to answer how, absent the removal of Saddam, they would have propped up our deteriorating Iraq containment policy, not to mention the concern, shared by the British, that Saddam did possess WMD stockpiles.

As Victor Davis Hanson pointed out: "The Iraq War was predicated, rightly or wrongly, on the notion that the past war with Saddam had failed and containment would fail, and that after 9/11 it was the proper time to end a sponsor of global terrorism that should have been ended in 1991 — a decision that, incidentally, would save Kurdistan and allow it to turn into one of the most successful and pro-American regions in the Middle East."


But containment didn't fail!

We now know with a certainty that Saddam wasn't rearming -- he didn't have the WMDs and really had no active weapons program. What's more - one of the excuses for the bungling of the post-war decade was that "we had no idea the country had turned to crap"; i.e., containment was very much working, the evidence was in a dilapidated infrastructure.

Even on the eve of the war -- inspectors were actually IN Iraq... yes, yes, Saddam Hussein was being a pain in the rump... but find me one despot that isn't. The inspectors weren't finding anything NOT because it was being hidden, but simply because there was nothing to find.

Containment had succeeded! The evidence is clear: We had a dictator rattling his saber because he was dearly afraid of neighbors and the international community, not to mention - no longer having anything approaching majority control over the northern and southern half of the nation itself. That's the very essence of a successful containment strategy.
   3485. zonk Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4418182)
What evidence is there -- what is the basis of claiming containment failed?

I mean, hindsight makes it pretty clear containment hadn't failed -- but even in early 2003, what evidence was there of failing containment?
   3486. Ron J2 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4418185)
So how would you have propped up a failing containment policy?


I'd start by questioning the premise. What evidence is there that it was failing?
   3487. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4418187)
Moreover, one reason North Korea went ahead and got a bomb and Iran is seeking to become at least nuclear capable is because they saw what happened to Iraq. Iraq didn't have the threat of nuclear retaliation, and even after completely successful containment had left him a shell of his former self we went ahead and took him out. Why wouldn't they go ahead and ensure that they don't have to risk us invading? And look at Qaddafi, he gave up whatever weapons programs he had and less than a decade later got killed in a civil war that was essentially decided by western air power. If he'd had a nuke, we'd never have helped take him out either!
   3488. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4418190)
I mean, hindsight makes it pretty clear containment hadn't failed -- but even in early 2003, what evidence was there of failing containment?

None. But the Bush/Cheney administration didn't truck with hippie frills like evidence in order to draw conclusions.
   3489. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 18, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4418204)
My argument then and now (and many years ago) is that containment is the wrong strategy, so I don't think failing or not failing really matters.

Iraq, evil though they may have been, were pretty rational. Their adventures in Iran and elsewhere were failures. Once the decision was made to not invade Iraq post Kuwait, then decalre victory and leave. Try to engage the government, having shown that if they misbehave we can in fact kick their ass pretty easily in a conventional war. Trade with them, act like they are another nation, one who is certainly not an ally, but is not our forever enemy either.

Why is Iraq special when there are plenty of other nations also "bad guys" that we deal with every day? The whole idea of containment assumes Iraq is a special kind of enemey, much like our attitude towards Cuba assumes they are special, but both are countries that it is better to engage with and try to use both carrot and stick, rather than just hitting them repeatedly with a stick for years and years.

EDIT: Heck for years we had a more constructive relationship with North korea than we did Iraq, and NK is just plain crazy on many/most levels.
   3490. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4418206)
The crude-for-food scandal demonstrated that the sanctions policy had failed.

Greg, Iran did get a huge boost. I am no military expert but the decision to completely disbanded Saddam's military, instead of only removing those in higher-level positions, probably did more to fuel the insurgency than any other decision taken in 2003-04.
   3491. Ron J2 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4418207)
#3488 It's a little more complicated than that. It's absolutely clear that they genuinely believed there were WMDs and were extremely frustrated with the UN investigators. (I've read interviews with the UN investigators. They were consistently getting "check this out!" from the Americans. They'd check it out, find nothing and to the neocons this would become evidence of either corruption or incompetence)

The thing that both the US and Britain were doing at the time was asking for "everything" from their intelligence agencies and picking that which backed their preconceived notions. Very dangerous in that you can find some support for pretty much anything.
   3492. spike Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4418208)
In '02 I was working at Prince Sultan AFB in Saudi Arabia during Operation Southern Watch. It was interdicting pretty much anything that moved. They had everything - Prowlers, Tomcats, Blackbirds, you name it - in place to detect and turn back attempts to break the containment.
   3493. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4418209)
Has anybody checked the New York Post editor's head for bolts, nails and other shrapnel? This is some week they're having.


The New York Post should never have published fake photos.
   3494. Ron J2 Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4418211)
#3490 It did nothing of the sort.
   3495. spike Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4418216)
The crude-for-food scandal demonstrated that the sanctions policy had failed.

Weak. A single program, and a scandal that was about diversion of profits rather than the containment capability of the UN/US.

/edited for clarity
   3496. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4418217)
The thing that both the US and Britain were doing at the time was asking for "everything" from their intelligence agencies and picking that which backed their preconceived notions. Very dangerous in that you can find some support for pretty much anything.


So which world governments believed that Iraq had no WMD? I'll spot you Scott Ritter, even though he wasn't a government.

(Hmm. Had no idea Ritter is now sitting in jail for soliticing minors for sex on the internet.)
   3497. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4418218)
Has anybody checked the New York Post editor's head for bolts, nails and other shrapnel? This is some week they're having.

The New York Post should never have published fake photos.


That's an inane retort. The NY Daily News was derelict to have altered the photo, and idiotic to think it wouldn't be noticed. CNN also performed terribly yesterday. And for that matter, John Lannan pitched like shit. How does any of that mitigate a series of inept-to-incompetent choices by the Post?
   3498. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4418220)
This is sort of weird: Ricin suspect hired by senator as Elvis impersonator.

A U.S. senator who was the intended recipient of a letter apparently laced with ricin said he had hired the suspected sender, an Elvis impersonator, to play at a wedding a decade ago.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a quiet two-term senator who was trailed by security in the Capitol on Thursday, said he had hired Paul Kevin Curtis and "he was quite entertaining."


   3499. Steve Treder Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4418221)
Okay, granted, "asking for 'everything' from their intelligence agencies and picking that which backed their preconceived notions" is a more accurate description of the Bush/Cheney MO than "didn't truck with hippie frills like evidence in order to draw conclusions." But in the end the effect is the same: rather than being driven by the evidence to whatever conclusion it may lead, they were wishfully searching for evidence to support pre-existing conclusions. It's still a recipe for disaster, and that's what they cooked up.
   3500. zonk Posted: April 18, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4418222)
The crude-for-food scandal demonstrated that the sanctions policy had failed.


No - it actually proves Saddam was pretty inept at graft, too.... the total was what, 1-1.5 billion?

We've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 billion unaccounted for from our Iraq outlays.

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