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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   2601. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4725976)
But unless you start getting into Marxist concepts like "neo-imperialism", it does have something to do with the idea of semi-permanent occupation, the milking of natural resources for home consumption, and the elimination of any real form of "native" self-determination. That hardly described our policies in postwar Germany and Japan.

It wasn't my word. I was simply explaining that there's plenty of precedent for the United States imposing its civilization at gunpoint -- very recent history. Sam got poo all over himself playing with big words and I had to clear that up.

There's nothing immoral or anything contrary to western civilization to be found in imposing our civilization on other civilizations. We've done so in the very recent past, and could do so in Iraq.

Whether that's the wisest course of action is a different question.
   2602. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 14, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4725978)
But unless you start getting into Marxist concepts like "neo-imperialism", it does have something to do with the idea of semi-permanent occupation, the milking of natural resources for home consumption, and the elimination of any real form of "native" self-determination. That hardly described our policies in postwar Germany and Japan.

True, but it's somewhat apples and oranges. The U.S. didn't just beat the German and Japanese militaries; their civilian populations took a beating, too. Our escapades in the Middle East have been much more surgical — i.e., we haven't tried pounding them into submission like we did in WWII.*


(* I'm not necessarily saying we should try that now. I'm just saying the surgical approach probably explains many of our recent failures, or "successes" quickly followed by backsliding.)
   2603. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4725986)
Our escapades in the Middle East have been much more surgical — i.e., we haven't tried pounding them into submission like we did in WWII.*

Our intent in Iraq was certainly more benign than it was towards our WWII enemies, but that didn't prevent half a million Iraqis from dying as a result of the war and occupation between 2003 and 2011. Good intentions aren't always enough.
   2604. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4725989)
Our intent in Iraq was certainly more benign than it was towards our WWII enemies, but that didn't prevent half a million Iraqis from dying as a result of the war and occupation between 2003 and 2011. Good intentions aren't always enough.

Far fewer Iraqis would have died in those years had we occupied with the proper force size, and civilized.

Occupation and civilization would be a far more moral approach than the W approach. Invasion and chaos through insufficient occupation force is about as immoral as it gets.
   2605. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4725990)
The only argument for getting involved is "but we tried so hard to polish that turd into a diamond from 2002-12, we can't just ignore it now."

Yup. Casinos are built on the backs of the suckers who doubled down to break even.
   2606. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4725993)
And dumb moves are built on the backs of suckers who ignore the concept of sunk costs.
   2607. tshipman Posted: June 14, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4726044)
And dumb moves are built on the backs of suckers who ignore the concept of sunk costs.


That is literally the exact same sentiment that Gonfalon expressed one point above.
   2608. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4726057)
Shhhh. Let it ride. Baby needs a new pair of plastic legs.
   2609. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4726060)
Can one of you geniuses tell me what the end game is? What exactly do you want to accomplish and how are you going to get there?

Drawing upon Ray's suggestion that liberals need to give up all their personal wealth in order to prove their sincerity about addressing inequality, I'm assuming that if can set up a recruiting station here on BTF, it'll get at least a few volunteers, starting with that grizzled old warhorse Kehoskie.


The analogy doesn't work. We have a volunteer military already. You took my money (at gunpoint!) forcefully, essentially drafting me into part time slavery. But Kehoskie isn't advocating that anyone be drafted into war in Iraq.
   2610. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:12 PM (#4726063)
But Kehoskie isn't advocating that anyone be drafted into war in Iraq.


Not people, just their money. Unless you misread those hippie bumper stickers and actually believed that the Army, Air Force and Navy held bake sales to pay for all those soldiers and their munitions.

How funny is it that we never hear you squealing about the tyranny of taxation when it comes to the cost of killing brown people in far away places ...

I guess some things are just worth the price of admission, eh, RayRay?
   2611. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4726064)
And dumb moves are built on the backs of suckers who ignore the concept of sunk costs.


You're misspeaking here. The concept of sunk costs is that you don't let the money/resources you've already expended in a failed venture dictate hanging on to that failed venture.
   2612. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4726065)
You're misspeaking here. The concept of sunk costs is that you don't let the money/resources you've already expended in a failed venture dictate hanging on to that failed venture.

But likewise the fact that you've lost a bunch of hands in a row (Iraq to date) prevent you from doubling down when the odds are in your favor (bombing the crap out of ISIS).
   2613. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4726066)
He doesn't need to be a tyrant. Growing a spine would be a start. Obama, heretofore the King of Drones, is allowing a bunch of guys in pickup trucks to undo over a decade's worth of hard and expensive work in Iraq in a week's time. Not real bright.


That's one view of it -- remember when this all started a decade ago I think it was Cheney who was warned by a cabinet member that this was "Pottery Barn Rules" -- you break it, you buy it (*) -- and I guess Obama looks "bad" by sending troops back in after he pulled them out, the reading being that maybe if he didn't pull them out to begin with then this situation wouldn't have occurred.

But the other view is that a failed effort is a failed effort, and we shouldn't throw more blood, sweat, and tears down a rabbit hole. I'm actually closer to this view.

(*) Pottery Barn had to come out with a statement explaining that that wasn't their store's policy.
   2614. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4726069)
But Kehoskie isn't advocating that anyone be drafted into war in Iraq.

Not people, just their money.


But the whole point was that Andy wanted volunteers -- "people."

How funny is it that we never hear you squealing about the tyranny of taxation when it comes to the cost of killing brown people in far away places ...

I guess some things are just worth the price of admission, eh, RayRay?


Not sure what you're talking about - I guess you're accusing me of hating Iraqi people or Muslims or something - but thank you for helpfully telegraphing to me that you're not worth my time anymore, so I won't have to waste any more of it on you.
   2615. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:39 PM (#4726072)
That's one view of it -- remember when this all started a decade ago I think it was Cheney who was warned by a cabinet member that this was "Pottery Barn Rules" -- you break it, you buy it (*)

That was Colin Powell, according to Bob Woodward.
   2616. bobm Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4726073)
I think it was Cheney who was warned by a cabinet member that this was "Pottery Barn Rules" -- you break it, you buy it

It was Colin Powell IIRC

EDIT: Brown caffeinated beverage to YC

See William Safire on Powell attributing to Tom Friedman

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/arts/17iht-saf18.html
   2617. tshipman Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4726075)
But the other view is that a failed effort is a failed effort, and we shouldn't throw more blood, sweat, and tears down a rabbit hole. I'm actually closer to this view.


Indeed. We completely eradicated ISIS in 2011. What happened? Al-Maliki has been a disaster and alienated the Sunni population. In tandem, a lawless zone with combat was opened up in Syria to the north, allowing for militias to gather and train.

If we bomb the crap out of ISIS again, how will that solve the underlying political realities in Iraq that it is a sharply divided country with a Shi'a elite and a Sunni majority in many provinces?

By far a better solution would be pressure on Egypt, Jordan or other nominal allies to help stomp out the cancer. Or, you know, pressure on Saudi Arabia, Qatar or other nominal allies to stop funding the ####### Islamist extremists.

Apparently Iran will send troops, which seems likely to make things worse. I think it's bizarre that the lesson that some people seem to feel that the rise of ISIS means anything but that the Middle East is a volatile hellhole we should stay well away from.
   2618. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4726076)
The concept of sunk costs means you don't let money already spent or owed impact your decisions. A more ambitious effort in Iraq wouldn't be *because* we've already spent money; it would be *even though* we've already spent money.
   2619. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:47 PM (#4726078)
I think it's bizarre that the lesson that some people seem to feel that the rise of ISIS means anything but that the Middle East is a volatile hellhole we should stay well away from.

It would be bizarre if by staying away, they'd stay away from us. But that isn't reality.
   2620. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 14, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4726089)
Headline says it all - How Does A Paralyzed President Move The Needle?
Boxed in by events largely beyond its control, the White House is still struggling to find a coherent message for the midterm elections. This was supposed to be a summer in which President Obama's political operation could work on fine-tuning its midterm message and making the Democrats' case to voters. But as congressional races have started to heat up, the White House has consistently found itself distracted and paralyzed by A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Take this week. The administration rolled out a student-loan initiative intended to provide relief to overburdened graduates while, ideally, also motivating some of them to come to the polls in the fall to support Democrats. But White House aides instead found themselves still fending off questions about the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap, a hoped-for feel-good moment that went bad in a hurry. Later in the week, a speech on college affordability was overshadowed by bad news from Iraq, as events there swiftly seized the spotlight. Moreover, the two most-talked about people of the week were Eric Cantor and Hillary Clinton, not the president of the United States.

The rocky week came right on the heels of a Veterans Administration scandal caught the White House flat-footed and amid a crisis in Ukraine that shows no sign of abating despite the administration's best diplomatic efforts. To make matters worse, the steady economic progress that many had anticipated this year has come only in dribs and drabs. And the president's approval rating remains mired in the low 40s, unlikely to rebound soon.

All of it has made crafting any sort of coherent stay-the-course message a challenge, to put it mildly. Questions remain, too, about whether this White House is more committed to the president's liberal legacy than to backstopping endangered Democrats. The Environmental Protection Agency's new power-plant regulations, for example, couldn't have landed at a worse time for Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana or Senate aspirant Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky—two embattled Democratic candidates in fossil-fuel states. Nor has the administration shown any inclination to approve the Keystone XL pipeline any time soon, a move that would help them and other candidates in similar straits.

"A Series of Unfortunate Events"? That's kind of Malaise-like, no? How long before Obama's Job Approval Rating Is Down To 40%?
   2621. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4726162)
Can one of you geniuses tell me what the end game is? What exactly do you want to accomplish and how are you going to get there?


Drawing upon Ray's suggestion that liberals need to give up all their personal wealth in order to prove their sincerity about addressing inequality, I'm assuming that if can set up a recruiting station here on BTF, it'll get at least a few volunteers, starting with that grizzled old warhorse Kehoskie.

The analogy doesn't work. We have a volunteer military already. You took my money (at gunpoint!) forcefully, essentially drafting me into part time slavery. But Kehoskie isn't advocating that anyone be drafted into war in Iraq.


Forgetting your tired "slavery" meme, the point is why don't people who support things like turning the Mideast into a parking lot volunteer for that sort of duty themselves?** Is a citizen's obligation in a time of alleged crisis now reduced to having the ability to afford staying out of harm's way?

How funny is it that we never hear you squealing about the tyranny of taxation when it comes to the cost of killing brown people in far away places ...

I guess some things are just worth the price of admission, eh, RayRay?


Not sure what you're talking about - I guess you're accusing me of hating Iraqi people or Muslims or something -

And forgetting the unfair accusation that you've got anything particular against the Iraqis or "brown people", the point that you complain about being taxed for Obamacare but not for being taxed for the military still hits home. I'm sure we'd all love to have our tax returns include a personal line item veto for parts of the budget we don't like, but I wouldn't exactly call that much of a principle.

**That's assuming that Joe winds up favoring the LeMay model rather than just avoiding involvement altogether.
   2622. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 14, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4726184)
Forgetting your tired "slavery" meme, the point is why don't people who support things like turning the Mideast into a parking lot volunteer for that sort of duty themselves?** Is a citizen's obligation in a time of alleged crisis now reduced to having the ability to afford staying out of harm's way?

Andy, you realize the U.S. military isn't currently soliciting volunteers to help turn the Middle East into a parking lot, right?

(And that, were the U.S. government to decide that it wanted to turn the Middle East into a parking lot, it likely wouldn't need volunteers, since military reenlistment would probably approach 100 percent for such a goal? And that, even in the absence of any new volunteers, the number of active-duty U.S. military personnel could probably be slashed by 50 percent without hurting its ability to turn the Middle East into a parking lot via LeMay's methods?)

***
But the other view is that a failed effort is a failed effort, and we shouldn't throw more blood, sweat, and tears down a rabbit hole. I'm actually closer to this view.

I'm closer to that view, too, if we're talking about another massive ground presence and having military members get blown up while out in the streets handing out candy. In the current discussion, my support for military intervention is limited to air strikes against known militants, especially when they're lined up like sitting ducks (e.g., the recent ISIS convoys).
   2623. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4726216)
The ISIS columns should have already been bombarded.
   2624. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4726234)
Headline says it all - How Does A Paralyzed President Move The Needle?

And the article says so little. Who was the last president to "move the needle" in his sixth year of office? Who was the last president not to be sent "off message" by external events? And who was the last sixth-year president to put the midterm elections on his back, and carry his party to victory?
   2625. GregD Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4726235)
On airstrikes, I think one challenge is that some of the people (in DC, not on this board) who call for airstrikes have no credibility since they have called for airstrikes in 999 of the last 999 crises anywhere in the world. So there's a group that includes:

1) old LeMay types who truly think that airstrikes will solve the problem of war forever and can't fail--so sincere believers who can't separate useful from non-useful scenarios
2) people who actually want ground action but realize calling for airstrikes is an easier sell and support it precisely because it is the wedge to bigger war--so pure cynics who see it as the best way to light the flames of war
3) paid employees of defense contractors who see air strikes as easy profitability since it costs good money but doesn't have the political problems of land forces.

but the problem is that for different reasons these people--who include huge chunks of both parties' foreign policy establishments--support literally any opportunity to use air strikes wherever they can.

Given that, there's no choice but to ignore them completely, whether their stance is sincere or purely cynical. They can't answer the only relevant question: Why this one and not the other one.

That said, sometimes air strikes are worthwhile, and I'm sincerely interested in any links anyone can post to people who have opposed air strikes in other situations and can explain why this time it is different.
   2626. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:36 PM (#4726238)
From an NPR interview this week:

Terry Gross: So what’s it like when you’re in office and not be able to support something like gay marriage, that you actually believe in? Obviously you support gay rights, but decided politically that you couldn't. Correct me if I’m reading it wrong.
Hillary Clinton: You're reading it *very* wrong. Over the years, I have evolved - just as all Americans, just as all of us, have evolved - including you, I hope! Nothing stays static over the passage of time, and that's been some twenty years worth of, of conceptual evolution.
Terry Gross: I don't think you gave me the answer I was going for, so I'm going to ask you to answer the question again.
Hillary Clinton: In 1993, very few people came out in support of gay marriage. There were some fighters for civil rights back in those days, but honestly not that many.
Terry Gross: And you weren't one of them.
Hillary Clinton: What you have to understand, Terry, is that I didn't grow up thinking about gay rights nor, do I think, did you, probably. Nor did, really, President Obama. I had a standard Methodist upbringing, whereas President Obama was raised... well, y'know. And so I just didn't give it a moment's thought when I was in office in Washington.
Terry Gross: Or when, you mean, when Bill was in office...?
Hillary Clinton: Who? Oh... Right, right. "Bill."
Terry Gross: So what you're saying is this; Political calculations played no role in your denying gay marriage in 1993. You were just plain, old wrong back then, and you're a new, reformed person today.
Hillary Clinton: I am an American, Terry. I am just as American as you, or George Washington, or President Obam... uh, President Clinton. The first President Clinton. And as an American, I have evolved just as much as...
Terry Gross: Let me throw this question at you yet again, since you don't seem to want to tell me what I want to hear...
Hillary Clinton: You know, I think you're being very persistent, and have been playing with my words, but here's what I want to clarify. In 1993, I did not believe that gays had the right to marry, just as most Americans believed at that time. But today, I fully support gay marriage, just as most Americans do today. I fail to see how that's political at all.
Terry Gross: Okay. So that's one for you changed your mind?
Hillary Clinton: No. No, that's not right at all. I haven't changed my mind on anything. I simply evolved, just as all Americans have.
Terry Gross: Okay.
Hillary Clinton: So I really have to repudiate what it is that I think you're implying.
Terry Gross: Okay, thank you for clarifying that. Now, let's talk about Monica...
   2627. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4726243)
And forgetting the unfair accusation that you've got anything particular against the Iraqis or "brown people", the point that you complain about being taxed for Obamacare but not for being taxed for the military still hits home. I'm sure we'd all love to have our tax returns include a personal line item veto for parts of the budget we don't like, but I wouldn't exactly call that much of a principle.


"Forget that he called you a despicable racist for no reason, and answer his question anyway!"

Sorry, but I don't play that game.
   2628. steagles Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4726244)
I think it's bizarre that the lesson that some people seem to feel that the rise of ISIS means anything but that the Middle East is a volatile hellhole we should stay well away from.
as long as they're just killing each other in a sandbox, that's one thing, but when a group rises above like ISIS appears to be, and it's both violent and competent, you need to deal with that before they put down political roots.

Nor has the administration shown any inclination to approve the Keystone XL pipeline any time soon, a move that would help them and other candidates in similar straits.
i guess this is the corollary to democrats saying republicans need to pass immigration reform. anyone who is politically motivated by keystone has already chosen their side one way or the other, and any concession could only hurt them at the polls.

i believe the phrase often used in these conversation is "concern trolling".
   2629. tshipman Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4726248)
I'm closer to that view, too, if we're talking about another massive ground presence and having military members get blown up while out in the streets handing out candy. In the current discussion, my support for military intervention is limited to air strikes against known militants, especially when they're lined up like sitting ducks (e.g., the recent ISIS convoys).


I would be on board with this POV if al-Maliki weren't such a clown. Given his general clownitude, any support you give him is just more likely to make things worse in the long run.
   2630. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 14, 2014 at 08:50 PM (#4726251)
No. No, that's not right at all. I haven't changed my mind on anything. I simply evolved, just as all Americans have.

Good ####### Lord.
   2631. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4726259)
No. No, that's not right at all. I haven't changed my mind on anything. I simply evolved, just as all Americans have.

Good ####### Lord.


WTF do you expect? Anytime a big time pol admits to changing their mind, they get bombarded with the label of flip flopper. Remember "I voted for it before I voted against it?"
   2632. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:07 PM (#4726262)
The Turks seem relatively OK with the Kurds these days, though I'd defer to Jason's opinion. They certainly would rather have Kurdistan as a neighbor than a openly Jihadist Sharia state.

Literally nothing is worse for regional stability than allowing ISIS to form a state.

Sorry for the delay in responding, Snapper, but I was out all afternoon.

The Turks have been working more closely with the KRG in recent years. However, Ankara is not going to be a vocal advocate for any military activity as long as the entire consular staff in Mosul, including the CG, is in ISIS custody.

EDIT: Coke Zero to Clapper.
   2633. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4726280)
I'm fully supportive of it, it's not our camel. As Shane MacGowan once sang, "Let Englishmen fight English wars, it's nearly time we started ours ..."

Be careful what you wish for, CoB. A full-blown, multi-sided civil war in Iraq on top of a full-blown, multi-sided civil war in Syria will eventually spread to Jordan and Lebanon and possibly even the Gulf and southern Turkey.
   2634. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4726285)
Forgetting your tired "slavery" meme, the point is why don't people who support things like turning the Mideast into a parking lot volunteer for that sort of duty themselves?** Is a citizen's obligation in a time of alleged crisis now reduced to having the ability to afford staying out of harm's way?

Andy, you realize the U.S. military isn't currently soliciting volunteers to help turn the Middle East into a parking lot, right?


I realize that, but I also realize that "Let's you and him fight" is one of the easiest suggestions in the world.

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

And forgetting the unfair accusation that you've got anything particular against the Iraqis or "brown people", the point that you complain about being taxed for Obamacare but not for being taxed for the military still hits home. I'm sure we'd all love to have our tax returns include a personal line item veto for parts of the budget we don't like, but I wouldn't exactly call that much of a principle.

"Forget that he called you a despicable racist for no reason, and answer his question anyway!"

Sorry, but I don't play that game.


Understandable, but I haven't called you any such thing, and the point still remains that we don't get line item vetoes in our tax returns for the programs you don't like any more than for the ones I'd like to eliminate. If taking your taxes for Obamacare amounts to "slavery", then what do you have to say about taking taxes from a pacifist to pay for the war in Iraq? Is that equally involuntary contribution from a pacifist to the Pentagon also "slavery"?
   2635. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:29 PM (#4726288)
The goal at this point should be to 1) protect the Kurds, 2) make sure that Sunni state isn't Islamist, and 3) keep the Iranian client state as small as possible.

That scenario would require what is now referred to as ethnic cleansing, Snapper. Many of these communities aren't neatly separated by geography.
   2636. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:29 PM (#4726290)
If taking your taxes for Obamacare amounts to "slavery", then what do you have to say about taking taxes from a pacifist to pay for the war in Iraq? Is that equally involuntary contribution from a pacifist to the Pentagon also "slavery"?


Pacifists would probably insist on collecting taxes from Ray at ... ummm ... I dunno. Flower-point?
   2637. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4726294)
I am an American, Terry. I am just as American as you, or George Washington, or President Obam... uh, President Clinton.


HILLARY ADMITS THAT OBAMA'S NOT AN AMERICAN!!!

The first President Clinton.


FREUDIAN SLIP----OR SLIP OF ENTITLEMENT????
   2638. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:32 PM (#4726295)
The United States has no strategic interest in Iraq. We never did. Take your neocon wet dreams back to the dark closet in the back and try not to soil the rest of the nation with your fetishes.

Tell that to every US administration since FDR, Sammy. Every. Single. One. We have been intimately involved in the Middle East, from Egypt to Iran, since Roosevelt attended the Teheran Conference.
   2639. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4726297)
If taking your taxes for Obamacare amounts to "slavery", then what do you have to say about taking taxes from a pacifist to pay for the war in Iraq? Is that equally involuntary contribution from a pacifist to the Pentagon also "slavery"?

Pacifists would probably insist on collecting taxes from Ray at ... ummm ... I dunno. Flower-point?


Your taxes or else!
   2640. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:38 PM (#4726300)
No. No, that's not right at all. I haven't changed my mind on anything. I simply evolved, just as all Americans have.

That's what happens when Hillary Clinton ventures outside of the sycophantic liberal lamestream media bubble that has circled its wagons around her, and faces tough questioning from... NPR.

On a related note, two of the most venal and cowardly political stances of the last few years have been Barack Obama's "personal journey" to supporting gay marriage and Mitt Romney opposing stem cell research on "moral grounds." Obama's parents had a marriage that wasn't recognized as a marriage in a third of the USA the day he popped out. Ann Romney has multiple sclerosis.

Hillary gets to move one space ahead of Obama and Romney on the gutless shitbag board game re: gay marriage, because her pollwatching ethics weren't directly betraying a mother or a wife.
   2641. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:38 PM (#4726301)
Andy, that's the photo I was thinking of, of course. Quite something to learn 40-odd years later, via a documentary on the group, that that kid would subsequently become Hyacinth of the Cockettes.
   2642. Howie Menckel Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:40 PM (#4726304)

Every time Presidential power flips, the party out of power wants the incumbent to admit mistakes, which as noted is politically foolish. I sympathize with the President of either party in that case.

That said:

"In 1993, I did not believe that gays had the right to marry, just as most Americans believed at that time. But today, I fully support gay marriage, just as most Americans do today. I fail to see how that's political at all."

Whew, that's awkward. Not impossible, but....

   2643. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4726305)
I think everyone here agrees the invasion turned into a disaster. But it doesn't matter one whit now.

The occupation was the disaster, Snapper, particularly the decision to disband the Iraqi army and all political vestiges of Baathism. The invasion was a remarkable success.
   2644. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:42 PM (#4726308)
Be careful what you wish for, CoB. A full-blown, multi-sided civil war in Iraq on top of a full-blown, multi-sided civil war in Syria will eventually spread to Jordan and Lebanon and possibly even the Gulf and southern Turkey.


Oh noes, next thing, they'll be in Irvine!
   2645. tshipman Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4726317)
Gonfalon's quotes do not appear in the transcripts I've seen. Just FYI.
   2646. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4726319)
I would be on board with this POV if al-Maliki weren't such a clown. Given his general clownitude, any support you give him is just more likely to make things worse in the long run.

It's better to back a clown who was pretty much kept in line while the SOFA was in effect than to stand aside and watch Iraq slide into the abyss. ISIS is deliberately massacring hundreds, if not thousands of Shi'a in order to provoke similar atrocities on the other side, meaning paramilitary forces backed by Iran, which will turn push the Sunnis into ISIS' arms.
   2647. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4726322)
Oh noes, next thing, they'll be in Irvine!

Thanks for reminding me one more time that you're supremely uninterested in having a serious conversation.
   2648. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4726326)
Thanks for reminding me one more time that you're supremely uninterested in having a serious conversation.


I've been uninterested in having a serious conversation with you since 2003, mostly because, well, you're at least bright enough to puzzle that one out ...
   2649. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4726328)
I've been uninterested in having a serious conversation with you since 2003

Make it the 1930s. I'm pretty sure you and Charles Lindbergh would have gotten along just fine.
   2650. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:07 PM (#4726330)
Make it the 1930s. I'm pretty sure you and Charles Lindbergh would have gotten along just fine


Well, since he was as wrong on the merits as you were, I'm going to call that an analogy fail. But, keep plugging away, I'm sure that Saddam Hussein ISIS will turn into the "new Hitler" any day now ...
   2651. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4726331)
Obama RCP Job Approval On Foreign Policy: 39% Approve - 52.7 Disapprove. It's even worse
on the Economy: 39.6% Approve - 56.4% Disapprove.
   2652. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4726333)
Well, since he was as wrong on the merits as you were

Are you this boring in person too?

***

David Schenker: Jordan Has a Jihadi Problem Too
These days, Jordanian officials are attributing unrest in Maan to a criminal element in an isolated and habitually recalcitrant tribal redoubt. To be sure, Maan has long been a challenge to govern, but the addition of Islamic radicalism to the already incendiary mix will further complicate efforts to pacify the city. With no end in sight to the sectarian war in Syria, an increasing number of Sunni Muslim Jordanians—in Maan and throughout the kingdom—may be tempted to join the jihad.

Last month, Western concerns about foreign fighters spiked after an American-born suicide bomber detonated in Syria and a former French jihadi attacked Jewish tourists in Belgium. With the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now controlling vast tracts of territory in these states, Sunni Islamist militancy in the Middle East has become a central concern for the West and its regional partners.

For Jordan, a regime historically targeted by al-Qaeda for its close relations with the United States, the threat is increasingly proximate. Still, the extent of Salafi jihadi inroads in the kingdom will likely remain unknown until the war in Syria ends and these battle-hardened foreign fighters return home. If the problem turns out to be as pervasive as it now seems to be, the first sign may be an uptick in terrorism in Jordan.
   2653. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4726341)
Gonfalon's quotes do not appear in the transcripts I've seen. Just FYI.

Full-on apology from me. The text I copied was posted unironically as the authentic conversation on Facebook. It looks like someone rewrote the actual NPR exhange into playlet form while attempting very oblique satire.

The correct transcript (I certainly hope this is it!) isn't flattering to Hillary Clinton, either. Gross does repeatedly press her, and Clinton does give lame answers. But the stuff about "the first President Clinton" or "President Obama was raised... well, y'know" is imaginary.
   2654. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4726345)

Are you this boring in person too?


Awwww, and here I was hoping for the subsumed frisson of the "hate me, secretly love me" trope.

How ever will I recover?

Of course, any time you're willing to admit your apostasies and repent*, we can, of course, have a "serious" conversation.

But, frankly, that seems far, far beyond your capacities of knowledge and self-awareness ...

*Which means admitting the error of not only the "occupation", but refuting the "honesty" of the argument for the invasion and the underlying "reasons" that drove it.
   2655. Howie Menckel Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:23 PM (#4726351)

good catch by tshipman - HUGE difference there...

   2656. JE (Jason) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:34 PM (#4726371)
*Which means admitting the error of not only the "occupation", but refuting the "honesty" of the argument for the invasion and the underlying reasons that drove it.

Yeah, I'm not spending my Saturday evening (or any other evening) debating you and your boring straw man arguments (e.g., "Irvine!") on the decision to go to war in 2002-03.

And go and consult a dictionary on the meaning of self-awareness while you're at it.
   2657. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 10:38 PM (#4726373)
Yeah, I'm not spending my Saturday evening (or any other evening) debating you and your boring straw man arguments (e.g., "Irvine!") on the decision to go to war in 2002-03.


Well, of course not! You were mendacious then and your claim that your lies then were merely ignorance, are now merely mendacious icing lying on the top of the foundation of lies you had already built ...

And go and consult a dictionary on the meaning of self-awareness while you're at it.


And you make my point for me. Anytime you want to own up on your own guilt and come clean, we can have a conversation ...
   2658. bobm Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4726392)
WTF do you expect? Anytime a big time pol admits to changing their mind, they get bombarded with the label of flip flopper. Remember "I voted for it before I voted against it?"

Gaffes resonate more when they appear to confirm people's beliefs about a politician. (See also Christie and Traffic-gate)

Andrew Sullivan's perspective is instructive:

She was the second most powerful person in an administration in a critical era for gay rights. And in that era, her husband signed the HIV travel ban into law (it remained on the books for 22 years thereafter), making it the only medical condition ever legislated as a bar to even a tourist entering the US. Clinton also left gay service-members in the lurch, doubling the rate of their discharges from the military, and signed DOMA, the high watermark of anti-gay legislation in American history. Where and when it counted, the Clintons gave critical credibility to the religious right’s jihad against us. And on the day we testified against DOMA in 1996, their Justice Department argued that there were no constitutional problems with DOMA at all (the Supreme Court eventually disagreed).

What I’d like to hear her answer is whether she regrets that period and whether she will ever take responsibility for it. But she got pissed when merely asked how calculated her position on this was. Here’s my guess: Unlike Obama, she was personally deeply uncomfortable with this for a long time and politically believed the issue was a Republican wedge issue to torment the Clintons rather than a core civil rights cause. I was editor of TNR for five years of the Clintons, aggressively writing and publishing articles in favor of marriage equality and military service, and saw the Clintons’ irritation with and hostility to gay activists up close. Under my editorship, we were a very early 1991 backer of Clinton – so I sure didn’t start out prejudiced against them. They taught me that skepticism all by themselves, and mainly by lying all the time.

So when did she evolve? Maybe in the middle 2000s. Was political calculation as big an influence as genuine personal wrestling? She’s a Clinton. They poll-tested where to go on vacation. Of course it was. But she’s also a human being and probably came around personally as well. She’s not a robot, after all. But I think of her position as the same as the eponymous gay rights organization the Clintons controlled in the 1990s, the Human Rights Campaign. As long as marriage equality hurt the Democrats, they were against it. Now it may even hurt Republicans, they’re for it. So Hillary is for it now.
[...]

The Defense of Marriage Act was a federal law, signed by Bill Clinton, that barred same-sex couples from being recognized as married partners. Hillary Clinton said during her Senate run in 2000 that she would have signed the law, and as late as 2003 she was not willing to reverse her position, saying through a spokesperson only that she was in the process of "evolving" on it. So it is inaccurate for Clinton to say that she has always thought that marriage should be left up to the states, and to imply that it was just a matter for the states while she was a senator. Also notice how she elides the fact that she ran for president of the United States in 2008, openly opposing same-sex marriage.


The Atlantic: Hillary Clinton's Gay Marriage Problem
   2659. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:22 PM (#4726406)
Andy, that's the photo I was thinking of, of course. Quite something to learn 40-odd years later, via a documentary on the group, that that kid would subsequently become Hyacinth of the Cockettes.

Well, you learn something every day. I had no idea.

If you know the Cockettes, you've got to love Tricia's Wedding. By pure coincidence, I was at what I think was the premiere of that movie in San Francisco in 1971** (a midnight movie, natch), and I remember totally cracking up at it, especially when the "Kennedy sisters" sang "Don't sit under the apple tree" after "Eartha Kitt" spiked the punch with LSD. I wish I could find the full movie on YouTube, but they've only got a few snippets from a French documentary.

**My GF and I were helping a college friend of ours set up phony campus "film societies" at UC/Berkeley, and his partner, a distinctly minor underground director named Mark Lester, was a friend of some of the Cockettes and got us passes to the screening. That was our one and only contact with the group, but they're hard to forget.
   2660. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4726413)
As long as marriage equality hurt the Democrats, they were against it. Now it may even hurt Republicans, they’re for it. So Hillary is for it now. [...]


Of course the Republicans could just as easily "evolve" their own position and neutralize the gay marriage issue, which I suspect they'll get around to doing by about 2020 when their Bible thumping base starts learning to accept reality.
   2661. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4726414)
So is the claim that Hillary opposed gay marriage because:

1. It was politically expedient to do so; and/or
2. She was bigoted against gays

?

And now she has changed her mind because:

1. It is politically expedient to do so; and/or
2. She is no longer bigoted against gays

?

Is she claiming that she was against gay marriage at the time because:

1. The country was largely against it and she followed suit, not really thinking about it much, or at least not enough, and then as the country changed she saw the light

?

What is:

1. The best defense for her?
2. The worst?
3. The actual reason she was against it before she was for it

?

To me, this is sort of unseemly by gay marriage proponents like Sullivan. You win victory on gay marriage by changing peoples' minds and/or by gaining their public support, but it's not enough that you won victory -- you have to attack the people whose minds you changed, or at least who are now publicly supporting you.

Of course, the real way victory was won was though use of activist judges as a battering ram, and smearing people who disagreed with you as bigots, to the point where they stopped disagreeing with you so that you would stop calling them bigots.

Attacking Hillary on this point is sore winning at its worst. She is right: the country was in a different place back then. So she wasn't leading the charge for gay marriage, and actually was holding it back. Big whoop. Most people viewed the concept of marriage as between a man and a woman back then, and indeed most people didn't even think the claim that it was supposed to be anything else was a serious one.
   2662. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:32 PM (#4726416)
So which will happen first: The Republicans accept gay marriage, or the BBWAA votes Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame? I wonder if Lloyd's of London would put a price on that. (smile)
   2663. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4726418)
Andy, haven't the Republicans already accepted gay marriage, by and large?

EDIT: I mean the Republican politicians. I presume the base is still generally opposed.
   2664. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4726419)
To me, this is sort of unseemly by gay marriage proponents like Sullivan. You win victory on gay marriage by changing peoples' minds and/or by gaining their public support, but it's not enough that you won victory -- you have to attack the people whose minds you changed, or at least who are now publicly supporting you.

I completely agree with what you're saying here, but it's such a common reaction from people involved in many political issues that I don't really hold it that much against him. I'm pretty sure that once this moment passes, whatever flack she gets on this issue (from the Left, anyway) will be directly related to any perceived future flip-flopping, and not because of whatever flip-flopping she's done up to now. Not all commentators are quite as redassed about politicians who "evolve" towards their own position as Sullivan is. He makes his living on defining issues in sharp relief and this is but one more example of that.
   2665. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4726421)
Andy, haven't the Republicans already accepted gay marriage, by and large?

EDIT: I mean the Republican politicians.


In the sense that they've largely given up the fight as a lost cause on the federal level, yes. But not on the state level by any means, if you look at a list that shows which states still forbid gay marriage. That list is nearly entirely made up of Republican controlled states, with only West Virginia and one other state being the exception.**

I think the real test will be how the 2016 party platform addresses the subject. Since that's still more than two years down the road, it's possible that their position may also "evolve" by then.

**Meaning that those states were Republican controlled at the time that the laws were passed, and for the most part still are.
   2666. tshipman Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:48 PM (#4726425)
To me, this is sort of unseemly by gay marriage proponents like Sullivan. You win victory on gay marriage by changing peoples' minds and/or by gaining their public support, but it's not enough that you won victory -- you have to attack the people whose minds you changed, or at least who are now publicly supporting you.


Yes. Sullivan has a personal grudge against the Clintons because he opposed them before he switched teams around 2004 or 2005.

You'd be hard pressed to find a national politician active in the 90's who didn't oppose gay marriage. Were they all bad people?
   2667. GregD Posted: June 14, 2014 at 11:50 PM (#4726428)
I would guess that what people from the 1990s movement want from the Clintons is an apology. Not for their words or beliefs but for their actions (or really for his actions, but if Hillary's going to claim the good stuff, she's going to have to deal with the bad.) It's hard for people to get over DOMA because it wasn't "hurtful language"; it was an action that had serious consequences and still did until the last SC decision.

I don't think it is fair or useful to beat people up over their changes on issues. To that degree, Ray, I agree with you totally.

I do think it is reasonable to ask people to reflect more deeply than the Clintons have done about their actions.

I also doubt it will make a difference since the gay activists I hear from--not that many but some--who care about politics care about the court. And I think they'll decide Hillary is their best chance to get a supporter on the court, and they'll accept whatever they need to accept to get that. And that's also to me reasonable politics.
   2668. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4726449)
Sullivan has a personal grudge against the Clintons because he opposed them before he switched teams around 2004 or 2005.

Sullivan's also a lot like the late Christopher Hitchens, a pair of supercharged expat Brits who love(d) the American scene, love(d) the limelight, cherish(ed) their political independence, and love(d) even more a good flame war that let them show off their world class sarcastic wit in full gear. I've always found myself vacillating between taking them at face value and seeing them primarily as performance artists, but either way they're always worth reading. Fortunately or unfortunately (I'd say unfortunately), there are few if any American commentators quite like them.
   2669. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4726451)
Sullivan has a personal grudge against the Clintons


What's Terry Gross's excuse?
   2670. tshipman Posted: June 15, 2014 at 12:38 AM (#4726454)
What's Terry Gross's excuse?


I thought Terry Gross asked an interesting question that Hilary was never going to answer honestly. The actual transcript is quite a bit different.

What is:

1. The best defense for her?
2. The worst?
3. The actual reason she was against it before she was for it


1. The best defense is the one she offered, I think. I was against it because in the 90's I didn't know any gay people who wanted to get married and I didn't think that what they were asking for was appropriate, based on my upbringing.
2. The worst defense would be: I knew we had the gay vote, but we needed to win Appalachian states, and I knew that DOMA would neutralize an R talking point. That's a pretty awful thing to say.
3. I think the actual reason was probably a mix of one and two. She really didn't feel strongly about gay people being allowed to marry (all the prominent gay people in the Clinton admin had different priorities). She also thought it would neutralize a Dole talking point that polled well. Since she didn't think it was going to happen anytime soon, she was fine to make life tougher for a few people she didn't know well.
   2671. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 15, 2014 at 06:06 AM (#4726471)
To me, this is sort of unseemly by gay marriage proponents like Sullivan. You win victory on gay marriage by changing peoples' minds and/or by gaining their public support, but it's not enough that you won victory -- you have to attack the people whose minds you changed, or at least who are now publicly supporting you.

It wasn't a matter of the issues not being thought about. Her husband's administration took actively anti-gay stances, including the anti-marriage Defense of Marriage Act.

Her claim that no one was thinking of these issues in the early and mid 1990s (*) is a flat-out lie. They were thinking of them, and her husband took the opposite of her position today.

(*) Assuming it's in the real and not Facebook transcript.
   2672. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 15, 2014 at 06:08 AM (#4726472)
You'd be hard pressed to find a national politician active in the 90's who didn't oppose gay marriage. Were they all bad people?

Of course. If the issue is presented to you, and you support and enact legislation directly contrary to it, it makes you a bad person on the issue.

How wouldn't it?
   2673. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4726478)
Yeah, I'm not spending my Saturday evening (or any other evening) debating you and your boring straw man arguments (e.g., "Irvine!") on the decision to go to war in 2002-03.


Mission Accomplished!
   2674. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4726491)
I have long thought that both HRC and Obama have been quite poor on gay rights and on explaining their "evolution" as anything other than political cowardice and opportunity, combined with a follow the herd mentality.

Of course most ordinary people went through a very similar "evolution" on gay rights so I doubt their cowardice really hurts Obama or HRC much (as unseemly as I find it).
   2675. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4726496)
That scenario would require what is now referred to as ethnic cleansing, Snapper. Many of these communities aren't neatly separated by geography.

Ethnic cleansing is already happening. The Christian Arabs have been largely "cleansed" out of Iraq, and now are being "cleansed" out of Syria, where many of them fled. If the Sunni Islamists win in Syria, what do you think is going to happen to the Alawites?

If we can keep the ethnic reshuffling largely non-lethal, we'll have done about all we can do.

The occupation was the disaster, Snapper, particularly the decision to disband the Iraqi army and all political vestiges of Baathism. The invasion was a remarkable success.

Hence my phrasing, the invasion "turned into a disaster".

But the seeds of the disaster were there from the beginning. That moron Rumsfeld, with his "victory through special forces and precision munitions" idiocy, never sent enough troops. And then, the Turks backstabbed us and didn't let the 4th Infantry Division move through.

Disbanding the Iraqi Army was a further self-inflicted wound, and the whole occupation was run about as badly as possible.
   2676. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4726526)
Of course. If the issue is presented to you, and you support and enact legislation directly contrary to it, it makes you a bad person on the issue.

How wouldn't it?
The system of government. If you want to stay elected, there are compromises on issues that you have to make to appeal to the voting base. We're always critical of pols who pander, but if you're a pol who wants to make a difference in office then you have to win elections, and that means hedging statements and stances and being shifting on certain issues. It's easy to be principled when you don't have to care about what other people think, but national politicians have to care about what millions of people think.
   2677. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4726551)
If you want to stay elected, there are compromises on issues that you have to make to appeal to the voting base.

Of course you do. During the Jim Crow era with virtually no blacks able to vote, no southern politician was going to vote in favor of anti-lynching or civil rights bill, and when the Southern Manifesto denouncing the Brown decision was circulated in the Senate, only Lyndon Johnson, Estes Kefauver and Al Gore Sr. refused to sign it. And yet when it came to setting the racial tone, there were enormous differences among the signees, ranging from hardcore racists like Thurmond and Eastland to relative moderates like Lister Hill and Russell Long.

This is the sort of ruse that liberal southern politicians would have to employ in order to get anything positive done on the racial front: When Huey Long was governor and wanted to hire black nurses to work in the "colored" hospitals of Louisiana, he ran into fierce opposition from the usual suspects. So when he was accused of being a "nigger lover", he turned it right back on them by framing his position as a desire to keep white women from being exposed to disease ridden blacks. He'd told his black supporters in advance what he was going to do, and recognizing the impossible racial climate of Louisiana in the early 30's, they completely approved of his strategy, which got the nurses hired.

Individuals can afford to be "right" on the issues, and there are plenty of times where a politician's lack of courage for standing up is worthy of condemnation. But it's not always so easy to tell the difference between cowardice and caution, and they're not necessarily identical.
   2678. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4726578)
there were enormous differences among the signees, ranging from hardcore racists like Thurmond and Eastland to relative moderates like Lister Hill and Russell Long.


Not to mention, of course, J.W. Fulbright.

/Arkansas native
   2679. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4726594)
Fulbright wasn't as bad as Thurmond or Eastland, but he actively filibustered against civil rights bills as long as Jim Crow was in force. His role during Vietnam was somewhat similar to the Clintons and gay rights, given that he first sponsored the Tonkin Gulf resolution that gave LBJ a free hand to escalate, but then later turned against the war. IMO somewhat of a mixed bag, though given his time and place he was a lot better than any likely alternative.

   2680. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4726595)
Fulbright wasn't as bad as Thurmond or Eastland, but he actively filibustered against civil rights bills as long as Jim Crow was in force.

Thurmond was the first Southern Senator to hire black professional staff members (not chauffeurs), although that was after he switched to the GOP.
   2681. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4726604)
To me, this is sort of unseemly by gay marriage proponents like Sullivan. You win victory on gay marriage by changing peoples' minds and/or by gaining their public support, but it's not enough that you won victory -- you have to attack the people whose minds you changed, or at least who are now publicly supporting you.



Correct


Of course, the real way victory was won was though use of activist judges as a battering ram, and smearing people who disagreed with you as bigots, to the point where they stopped disagreeing with you so that you would stop calling them bigots.


Ooh, you were so close. The fact is that Hillary is correct when she notes that public sentiment changed. People used to be majority opposed to mixed marriages. Not any more. Same with gay marriage. It was not the judges changing the public. As Mr. Dooley said, "th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns".

Your suggestion that they only changed their minds under duress is your way of saying, as you always do, that you are right about everything, and if anyone disagrees with you, they are stupid or being coerced.
   2682. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4726605)
I think the real test will be how the 2016 party platform addresses the subject


If Cruz is the nominee, we know the answer: Reparative Therapy
   2683. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4726612)
Fulbright wasn't as bad as Thurmond or Eastland, but he actively filibustered against civil rights bills as long as Jim Crow was in force.

Thurmond was the first Southern Senator to hire black professional staff members (not chauffeurs), although that was after he switched to the GOP.


Thurmond was welcomed as a hero into the GOP exactly two and a half months after he had been one of the main filibusterers against the 1964 civil rights bill. He switched parties in the middle of the 1964 campaign in great part because the Republican candidate Barry Goldwater also opposed that landmark bill. The Republican most identified with a history of supporting civil rights legislation, Nelson Rockefeller, was loudly booed while trying to speak at the convention that nominated Goldwater.

But yeah, hiring a black staff member once blacks were voting in much greater numbers---thanks to a voting rights bill that Thurmond (now a Republican) also opposed with equal passion---makes up for all of that. Give me a break.
   2684. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4726620)
And then, the Turks backstabbed us and didn't let the 4th Infantry Division move through.

The Turks didn't backstab us, Snapper.* There was plenty of blame to go around. The problem was that everyone involved had their eyes wide shut. In short, the State Department and Pentagon were clueless as to how to assuage Ankara's concerns, career and politico alike; meanwhile, the new AKP government in Turkey was only half-hearted in its support of the American request and didn't know how to conduct a whip count of its own MPs.

* Full disclosure: I was part of the Turkish Embassy's outside public relations team in 2003.
   2685. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4726630)
I don't understand the debate.

If the ISIS branch of Al Qaeda is out in the open, and the Iraqis let us, we should kill as many of them as we can.

Planes, drones, smallpox infect blankets, whatever it takes. We don't need troops on the ground to do that kind of damage.

If Al Qaeda sets up a state, they will be training terrorists to come here. They may not invade Irvine California, but I seem to recall a certain amount of damage they did around 13 years ago.

   2686. Ron J Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4726672)
#2595 They're a name change on the group that Osama Bin Laden found too extreme.

But it is worth noting that ISIS isn't running the show in (for instance) Tikrit. It's mostly pissed off Sunnis that have taken over there. ISIS isn't much interested in actually governing -- at least not so far.
   2687. Ron J Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4726679)
#2624 Teddy R might qualify.
   2688. GregD Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4726680)
ISIS are truly bad guys, but the Al Qaeda connection seems to be different than your comment indicates. Al Qaeda disavowed them and expelled them months ago. I think it is false to say that they would set up an Al Qaeda state or that they are a branch of Al Qaeda.

Any bombing campaign has to begin with an assement of:
1) the effectiveness of the bombing in terms of weakening the enemy's actual forces--this is often overstated beforehand
2) the likely civilian casaulties
3) the possibility that bombing will actually help insurgents recruit so inadvertently strengthen the enemy
4) the possibility that bombing another country's enemies may weaken their push to build up their own response
5) the possibility that bombing will lead to further interventions. Bombing is not always so neatly concluded as its supporters say

Additionally I think the US has to ask itself the nasty question of whether we can deal with them. Probably not, but we would be foolish not to figure it out.

I can imagine supporting bombing, but that can only be persuasive if it is coupled with acknowledging the problems that bombing itself will cause. Bombing is not a problem free method. Those problems may be worth the outcome, but people who don't acknowledge that bombing has often had negative unintended consequences simply can't be taken seriously as guides.
   2689. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4726685)
think it is false to say that they would set up an Al Qaeda state or that they are a branch of Al Qaeda.


I think it might be more accurate to say they are the successor to Al Qaeda. ISIS and AQAP are the current rock stars of the Jihadi world. Anyone who ignores the threat they represent is a wishcasting fool.

Is your suggestion of a reaction anything more than holding hands and singing Kumbaya?
   2690. Ron J Posted: June 15, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4726686)
#2625 My feeling this time is that there is a chance of extremely specific deterrent working. That is to say that ISIS doesn't have wide backing and as long as you're careful (yeah I know) not to manage their recruiting drives by indiscriminate targeting, air strikes can have a real impact on their combat power.

But it's practically inevitable that we'll be reading about some wedding party being blown up due to some kind of intelligence failure.

Incidentally Snapper, arming the Kurds is the kind of thing that could lead to an Iran/Turkey alliance. Both have significant concerns about a strong independent Kurdistan. Balanced against that though Turkey's actually chosen to work with the semi-independent Kurdish region. And the Kurd have been very careful to not to push even slightly into the Kurdish areas of Turkey and to stay away from harboring the anti-Turk activists. So just maybe that's a minor concern.
   2691. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4726700)
I think the Kurdish State being formed in Iraq will be able to find a modus vivendi with Turkey. They now have something, which means they have something to lose. They appear ready to grow into responsibility, while the Turks have other fish to fry.
   2692. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4726702)
Ladies and gentlemen, Tony Blair:
Though the challenge of terrorism was and is very real, the sectarianism of the Maliki Government snuffed out what was a genuine opportunity to build a cohesive Iraq. This, combined with the failure to use the oil money to re-build the country, and the inadequacy of the Iraqi forces have led to the alienation of the Sunni community and the inability of the Iraqi army to repulse the attack on Mosul and the earlier loss of Fallujah. And there will be debate about whether the withdrawal of US forces happened too soon.

However there is also no doubt that a major proximate cause of the takeover of Mosul by Isis is the situation in Syria. To argue otherwise is wilful. The operation in Mosul was planned and organised from Raqqa across the Syria border. The fighters were trained and battle-hardened in the Syrian war. It is true that they originate in Iraq and have shifted focus to Iraq over the past months. But, Islamist extremism in all its different manifestations as a group, rebuilt refinanced and re-armed mainly as a result of its ability to grow and gain experience through the war in Syria.

As for how these events reflect on the original decision to remove Saddam, if we want to have this debate, we have to do something that is rarely done: put the counterfactual ie suppose in 2003, Saddam had been left running Iraq. Now take each of the arguments against the decision in turn.

The first is there was no WMD risk from Saddam and therefore the casus belli was wrong. What we now know from Syria is that Assad, without any detection from the West, was manufacturing chemical weapons. We only discovered this when he used them. We also know, from the final weapons inspectors reports, that though it is true that Saddam got rid of the physical weapons, he retained the expertise and capability to manufacture them. Is it likely that, knowing what we now know about Assad, Saddam, who had used chemical weapons against both the Iranians in the 1980s war that resulted in over one million casualties and against his own people, would have refrained from returning to his old ways? Surely it is at least as likely that he would have gone back to them.

The second argument is that but for the invasion of 2003, Iraq would be a stable country today. Leave aside the treatment Saddam meted out to the majority of his people whether Kurds, Shia or marsh Arabs, whose position of ‘stability’ was that of appalling oppression. Consider the post 2011 Arab uprisings. Put into the equation the counterfactual – that Saddam and his two sons would be running Iraq in 2011 when the uprisings began. Is it seriously being said that the revolution sweeping the Arab world would have hit Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, to say nothing of the smaller upheavals all over the region, but miraculously Iraq, under the most brutal and tyrannical of all the regimes, would have been an oasis of calm?

Easily the most likely scenario is that Iraq would have been engulfed by precisely the same convulsion. Take the hypothesis further. The most likely response of Saddam would have been to fight to stay in power. Here we would have a Sunni leader trying to retain power in the face of a Shia revolt. Imagine the consequences. Next door in Syria a Shia backed minority would be clinging to power trying to stop a Sunni majority insurgency. In Iraq the opposite would be the case. The risk would have been of a full blown sectarian war across the region, with States not fighting by proxy, but with national armies.

So it is a bizarre reading of the cauldron that is the Middle East today, to claim that but for the removal of Saddam, we would not have a crisis.

And it is here that if we want the right policy for the future, we have to learn properly the lessons not just of Iraq in 2003 but of the Arab uprisings from 2011 onwards.

The reality is that the whole of the Middle East and beyond is going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition. We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this. We haven't. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it.

The problems of the Middle East are the product of bad systems of politics mixed with a bad abuse of religion going back over a long time. Poor governance, weak institutions, oppressive rule and a failure within parts of Islam to work out a sensible relationship between religion and Government have combined to create countries which are simply unprepared for the modern world. Put into that mix, young populations with no effective job opportunities and education systems that do not correspond to the requirements of the future economy, and you have a toxic, inherently unstable matrix of factors that was always – repeat always - going to lead to a revolution.

But because of the way these factors interrelate, the revolution was never going to be straightforward. This is the true lesson of Iraq. But it is also the lesson from the whole of the so-called Arab Spring. The fact is that as a result of the way these societies have developed and because Islamism of various descriptions became the focal point of opposition to oppression, the removal of the dictatorship is only the beginning not the end of the challenge. Once the regime changes, then out come pouring all the tensions – tribal, ethnic and of course above all religious; and the rebuilding of the country, with functioning institutions and systems of Government, becomes incredibly hard. The extremism de-stabilises the country, hinders the attempts at development, the sectarian divisions become even more acute and the result is the mess we see all over the region. And beyond it. Look at Pakistan or Afghanistan and the same elements are present.

Understanding this and analysing properly what has happened, is absolutely vital to the severe challenge of working out what we can do about it. So rather than continuing to re-run the debate over Iraq from over 11 years ago, realise that whatever we had done or not done, we would be facing a big challenge today.

Agree or disagree, this opus -- yup, the above is only an excerpt -- is definitely worth a read.
   2693. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4726704)
Additionally I think the US has to ask itself the nasty question of whether we can deal with them. Probably not


Probably not? Have you read anything about these guys? They are about as hard core as you can get. Unless your idea of "dealing with them" is agreeing to a mass conversion of the US to Islam, there is nothing for them to talk about.
   2694. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4726708)
Incidentally Snapper, arming the Kurds is the kind of thing that could lead to an Iran/Turkey alliance. Both have significant concerns about a strong independent Kurdistan. Balanced against that though Turkey's actually chosen to work with the semi-independent Kurdish region. And the Kurd have been very careful to not to push even slightly into the Kurdish areas of Turkey and to stay away from harboring the anti-Turk activists. So just maybe that's a minor concern.

Never mind Rouhani's recent visit to Ankara, Ron, Iran and Turkey are too busy backing opposite sides in Syria to cooperate on Northern Iraq. While Turkey needs Iran's natural gas, it has also been working closely with the KRG to exploit the hydrocarbons in northern Iraq.
   2695. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4726710)
Breaking news:
ERBIL, Iraq — The American Embassy in Baghdad plans to evacuate a substantial number of its personnel this week in the face of a militant advance that rapidly swept from the north toward the capital, the State Department announced on Sunday.

The embassy, a beige fortress on the banks of the Tigris River within the heavily-secured Green Zone, where Iraqi government buildings are also located, has the largest staff of any United States Embassy.

The exact number of people being evacuated was not clear Sunday. The embassy would remain open, a person familiar with the planning said, and much of its staff of about 5,500 would stay in Baghdad. The American government is expected to call the move a relocation, suggesting that it is a temporary precaution, the person said.
   2696. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4726711)
Blair makes some self-evident and obvious observations about the Middle East, and weaves them into an effort to deflect any blame from himself. I love this part from the beginning:

We will have to re-think our strategy towards Syria; support the Iraqi Government in beating back the insurgency; whilst making it clear that Iraq’s politics will have to change for any resolution of the current crisis to be sustained


Just what we need, another round of Nation Building. It has worked so well everywhere.

Also this:

In doing so, we should listen to and work closely with our allies across the region, whose understanding of these issues is crucial and who are prepared to work with us in fighting the root causes of this extremism which goes far beyond the crisis in Iraq or Syria.


Dude, our main ally in the area (other than Israel) is Saudi Arabia, whose export of Wahhabi-ism through Madrassas IS one of the root causes of the extremism.

   2697. Srul Itza At Home Posted: June 15, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4726713)
I have been saying for a long time that the best analog to Iraq is Yugoslavia -- a "Nation" of people who really don't like each other, and who don't want to be in the same nation, held together by a dictator. The dictator gets removed, and the long knives come out. Literally.

The end result in Yugoslavia was that it was not possible to hold the country together. I don't know how you hold Iraq together, either. The big problem here seems to be that while Yugoslavia had what might be called an 18th or 19th century perspective, Iraq (and the Middle East) seems somewhat more medieval -- i.e., they have lot longer trek to modernity ahead of them. And I don't think that kind of growth can be imposed. Perhaps the best we can do is to contain it, and to target the worst aspects of the Islamo-Fascist movements that threaten us.

Oh well, at least they don't have too many nukes, yet. We got through the Cold War. We can get through this.
   2698. Mefisto Posted: June 15, 2014 at 05:07 PM (#4726730)
There's probably no one in the world with less credibility on the ME than Tony Blair.
   2699. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 15, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4726733)
But yeah, hiring a black staff member once blacks were voting in much greater numbers---thanks to a voting rights bill that Thurmond (now a Republican) also opposed with equal passion---makes up for all of that. Give me a break.

Andy likes Fullbright's foreign policy views so that mitigates his support for the Southern Manifesto; Andy doesn't like Thurmond, so his hiring black staff ahead of any Southern Democrat doesn't count. Got it now.
   2700. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4726734)
Flip.
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