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Postby Moderator » Tue May 29, 2007 6:30 pm

Jim Davis wrote:
Barber wrote:I don't agree that the party is not anti-war. It IS anti-war.[. . .]

But, back to the original point: you'll find that the Democratic party -- while Anti-War -- is not anti-military, a huge differentiation.


The Democrats have traditionally supported almost every military operation the US has ever been involved in, including this one, so I'm not sure where you're getting this anti-war vibe, Steve. Despite the frowny faces politicians make when soldiers die, they've had no problem conducting war as "politics by other means." Sure, no one likes war when it happens to them--but when it happens to other people, including our own troops? They eat that shit up!

As for the differentiation between "anti-war" and "anti-military," the recent surrender by the Dems over the funding bill shows how meaningless and debased the terms have become. The party line is that "We oppose the war, but we support the troops and therefore must fund them," which is inane. When Bush shows no sign of deviating from his policies even an iota, opposition to a war necessarily includes opposition to its funding. I oppose the war, and I also oppose the military having more money to conduct it, especially when it's doomed to failure. If that makes me anti-military, even if only in a strictly limited sense, then by all means, I'm anti-military. Unlike Bush and the Democrats who rolled over and signed off on the supplemental, however, I don't want to send more of our troops to what has increasingly become the equivalent of a meat-grinder.

You support the troops? Then bring them home. Anything else is like giving someone a lethal injection with a sterilized needle and then rubbing an alcohol wipe on the puncture wound. Sure, he's not going to die from infection, but there's this little problem of the poison . . .

(One thing I would like to see changed, however, is the reference to War. We're not "warring" with anyone. Frankly, if it were a WAR we'd be firmly kicking someone's ass right now. This is an occupation as you noted above. Again, big difference.)


Eh, I don't see the big difference. Wars can go badly and they can also happen in the context of an occupation, which is exactly what's going on now.


I get the anti-war vibe based, admittedly, upon public statements and votes. Perhaps it's Anti THIS war that is a more appropriate commentary. Secondly, a "war" is conducted, tactically, in a different way than an occupation is. So far, unfortunately, the Bush administration has been running (again tactically) an occupation as if it were a war. On those two points we disagree as to the importance of "definitions".

But, what may come as a mind-numbing surprise to you, I agree with virtually everything else you wrote (highlighted in bold above, just for hoots).

But I will note, for posterity, that the military doesn't want to go to war. The number of "warmongering generals/admirals" in the U.S. military is far, far smaller than Hollywood would have you believe. In point of fact, having risen up through the ranks and performed many of the tasks which lead to the death of soldiers, most of them will fight when absolutely necessary -- and upon the orders of a cvilian authority -- but understanding much better than the politicians what, exactly, the true costs of political military decisions ARE. Why do you think Colin Powell was percieved as a dove in the midst of civilian hawks???

Military leaders understand what they are doing. They know they are leading some of their soldiers to their death. (And, in truth, most of the retired senior officers spoke up because they knew their serving counterparts could not.)

Unfortunately, to politicians who have never served (and this includes the Texas National Guard), those decisions have all the significance of a round of Stratego -- or worse, Global Thermonuclear War.

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Postby Jim Davis » Tue May 29, 2007 8:44 pm

Barber wrote:I get the anti-war vibe based, admittedly, upon public statements and votes. Perhaps it's Anti THIS war that is a more appropriate commentary.


See, I don't even get the anti-this-war vibe from the Dems, and that's based entirely on their public statements and votes. Sure, they talk about how poorly Bush and co. have conducted things, but how many have actually gone on record as stating the invasion of a sovereign country itself was wrong? (Hillary Clinton hasn't, that's for sure!) And as for votes, from the Iraq Liberation Act in '98, to the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution of '02, to last week's funding bill (which almost half of the freshman Dems in the House voted for), Democrats as a whole have had no problem giving their support to whatever the White House wants in regards to Iraq. By and large, they think this whole thing was a great opportunity that's been screwed up, which is hardly an anti-war position, no matter how you define it.

The Democratic Party doesn't want to stop the war. End of story. Any belief that they do is based more on wishful thinking and projection on the part of, well, Democrats and naive Independants than on anything else.
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Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Tue May 29, 2007 11:54 pm

Oh, cripe, I find myself leaning toward JD's viewpoint....

Lately I've been depressed because (for instance) the government thugs are apparently still sending U.S. citizens to Guantanamo.

Why is X-Ray even still operating -- much less getting new residents???

And is this a "sneak preview" of what vast world-changing differences will (not) ensue when the President is swapped out for a non-Lizardian?

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Postby Moderator » Wed May 30, 2007 9:28 am

This'll shock no one, but I disagree the Dems support the war. If this were the case, the first round of voting would not have yielded a timeline for withdrawal. In point of record, the difficulty the Dems had in drafting the first bill was that too many Dems thought the timeline was too long. Secondly, if the majority of Dems (and a few Reps) did support the war/occupation, the timeline bill would never have been approved and sent to Bush.

Yes. That they capitulated -- which I mention above as a realistic fait accompli -- is the offense, not their support for withdrawal.

But their opposition to the occupation itself is a matter of the public record in the form of the first vote and the debate preceding it.
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Postby Jim Davis » Wed May 30, 2007 11:38 am

Barber wrote:This'll shock no one, but I disagree the Dems support the war. If this were the case, the first round of voting would not have yielded a timeline for withdrawal. In point of record, the difficulty the Dems had in drafting the first bill was that too many Dems thought the timeline was too long. Secondly, if the majority of Dems (and a few Reps) did support the war/occupation, the timeline bill would never have been approved and sent to Bush.

Yes. That they capitulated -- which I mention above as a realistic fait accompli -- is the offense, not their support for withdrawal.

But their opposition to the occupation itself is a matter of the public record the form of the first vote and the debate preceding it.


That's a nice story, Steve. One problem, though: the timeline in the first bill was non-binding; even if it had passed, Bush could've ignored it with no consequences whatsoever.

This is what I'm talking about when I say that terms like "anti-war" have become debased and virtually meaningless. The Democrats refuse to include even one requirement for troop withdrawals in the initial bill, and ultimately support extending our presence in Iraq for another year and a half, and liberals fall all over themselves to congratulate them for their supposed "bravery" in "opposing the war." And when all is said and done, they won't even make a token effort to force Bush to a second veto, and sign off on practically everything he wants to continue this fiasco.

Like I said before, the Democratic leadership is not anti-war by any stretch of the imagination. Vague noises and shows of hand-wringing don't trump action in my world, Steve, and by their acts, the Democrats will be judged for exactly what they are: enablers of Bush's policies who differ from the Republicans only in the smallest possible degree. (For more details on how the Dems manipulated and ultimately sidelined anti-war activism, read this informative Counterpunch article by David Swanson.)

Oh, and you want a timetable for troop withdrawals? How about this: out of Iraq as soon as humanly possible. For once, I agree with the Repubs: timetables show you have no intention of winning. Of course, since this whole mess is impossible to "win" in any conventional sense, a timetable of more than a few months into the future is not only cynical, but downright useless. If the war is hopeless, then don't fuck around and waste more lives in the interim. Get out our troops out now.
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Postby Moderator » Wed May 30, 2007 1:02 pm

Jim Davis wrote: That's a nice story, Steve.


And that's a bit of a condescending tone there, Jim.

Jim Davis wrote: One problem, though: the timeline in the first bill was non-binding; even if it had passed, Bush could've ignored it with no consequences whatsoever.


The timeline was non-binding in an attempt to get as many Republicans to join the vote as possible. Like every bit of legislation ever passed through Congress, it's a compromise. That is pretty much the exact function of Congressional action -- compromise. Not everyone gets what tey want, and therefore holding them individually accountable for what was a group consensus doesn't recognize that extreme and obstinate positions will never be given passage. By design, not the nature of the beast.

Jim Davis wrote:This is what I'm talking about when I say that terms like "anti-war" have become debased and virtually meaningless. The Democrats refuse to include even one requirement for troop withdrawals in the initial bill, and ultimately support extending our presence in Iraq for another year and a half, and liberals fall all over themselves to congratulate them for their supposed "bravery" in "opposing the war." And when all is said and done, they won't even make a token effort to force Bush to a second veto, and sign off on practically everything he wants to continue this fiasco.


I agree with you that forcing Bush to a second veto would have been appropriate. Nor do I believe the current direction on the occupation is the correct one from either the Congress or the President. Then again, in the spirit of compromise, the funding was not everything the president wanted, nor was it a complete capitulation.

It contains, among other things, a provision for bi-monthly updates with an option to cut off funding -- items the Prez certainly didn't want. As well, it specifies a complete report by September as to the success of the "surge".

It's that Congressional Oversight thingy.

Is it perfect? No. Is it a compromise? Yes. Is it what I personally wanted? No. Is it a step? Yeah, not a big one but a step. But I think you'll find that the every day Liberal (like me) are not tripping all over ourselves in self-congratulation. Congress capitulated, and that sucks and it makes me (and a buncha my Liberal Commie friends) mad as all Hell.

Jim Davis wrote:Like I said before, the Democratic leadership is not anti-war by any stretch of the imagination. Vague noises and shows of hand-wringing don't trump action in my world, Steve,


Again with the lecturing, condescending tone.

Jim Davis wrote:Oh, and you want a timetable for troop withdrawals? How about this: out of Iraq as soon as humanly possible. For once, I agree with the Repubs: timetables show you have no intention of winning. Of course, since this whole mess is impossible to "win" in any conventional sense, a timetable of more than a few months into the future is not only cynical, but downright useless. If the war is hopeless, then don't fuck around and waste more lives in the interim. Get out our troops out now.


Okay. Let me follow the logic: A timetable so that the local government at least has a chance to step up is defeatist and means you're not fighting to win -- but if you're for a complete immediate pullout, which strikes me as decidedly "not winning" and a pretty strong "fuck you" to the people you're supposedly fighting to protect, that's a position Congress would be right in taking?

(And -- obviously -- there ain't no way in Hell The Decider would go along with it.)

Let's suppose Congress pulled the funding. Do you honestly believe that Bush has shown himself to be incapable of funding it other ways? With all of the underhanded, illegal and downright in-your-face arrogance from this guy, what makes you believe he will knuckle under even if Congress pulls the plug?

If the Republicans in Congress grow as tired of his failure as the rest of the nation has (and a few of them appear to be doing so), then maybe we'll see teeth in the legislation -- but as long as they control half the Senate vote the Dems will have to accept compromises -- besides, compromise is a fundamental part of a working democracy.

Am I happy about the knuckling under? No. But is a stretch to believe the current situation in Congress or Iraq is the Dems exclusive fault? You bet it is. It's about taking democratic (small d) steps until you have an un-overturnable majority who can then impose its will. But as long as enough members of the GOP stand firmly at Bush's side, anything that actually makes progress is going to have to appeal to both sides of the aisle.


Nice try though.
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Postby markabaddon » Wed May 30, 2007 2:37 pm

Jim,

The Democrats have a small majority in Congress. Thus, as Steve stated, they need to compromise with the Repugs to get through any legislation. Even though it was not what most of America wants (with polling showing pulling the troops out running at around 70%) the initial piece of legislation was a step in the right direction.

The revised legislation that did not include any timetable was a fucking betrayal. Flat out, no sugar coating, betrayal. John Stewart said it best when he called the Democrats a bunch of pussies.

In Bush you have one of the most unpopular Presidents in history, facing one of the most unpopular military actions in history, and you do not have the guts to dare him to veto another bill?

From a political perspective I understand their logic: allow anger towards the War to build up over the summer, and, when the objectives are not met in September, then convince enough Republicans that their political futures could be toast if they do not bring the troops home.

The problem with viewing this solely from a political perspective is that kisd are dying for politics. The Dems know this war is not right, Harry Reid, Pelosi, Obama and especially Edwards have all been very clear on where they stand on the war. Yet they are willing to sit back and let teh Repugs implode, rather than taking a chance and going after them. They are thowing away the lives of young men and women to score political points and that sickens me.

When I think of the Democrats versus the Republicans, I am reminded of the old line, from the Untouchables I think, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight." While I depsise the autocratic, religious zealotry of the Republican party leadership, I do respect that they are willing to go to the mat on the issues they deem most important.

I do believe that the Democrats are against this war, but I do not believe they have the conviction to stand up to the President and say, here is the legislation we are going to pass. You want to veto it, we are going to keep bringing it back to you until you sign it, and the the American Public will see who is trying to protect the troops.
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed May 30, 2007 3:43 pm

They are always against the war when it is going bad, but they support it when it goes good, or what is perceived as going good. Better to be someone who was consistenly against it at all times, before and after.

Hillary and others would still support it if it were going better. The same thing happened with Vietnam.

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Postby Jim Davis » Wed May 30, 2007 4:44 pm

Barber wrote:The timeline was non-binding in an attempt to get as many Republicans to join the vote as possible.


All to support a bill that, as I've pointed out, had no teeth to it whatsoever. Why bother? And why not just jettison any pretense at an anti-war stance if gettting Republicans is the goal? Sometimes, you have to wonder if an attempt at "inclusion" (if that's what it was) is really worth the result.

Like every bit of legislation ever passed through Congress, it's a compromise. That is pretty much the exact function of Congressional action -- compromise. Not everyone gets what tey want, and therefore holding them individually accountable for what was a group consensus doesn't recognize that extreme and obstinate positions will never be given passage. By design, not the nature of the beast.


How was this funding bill in way, shape, or form a compromise? From my understanding of the term, it involves mutual concessions towards an intermediate position; the White House got every penny of the supplemental it asked for, with no timelines or conditions whatsoever! And the bi-monthly updates with an option to cut off funding? That's a joke! If the Democrats couldn't muster the will to stop funds now, when Bush's ratings are in the toilet and troops have suffered a month of the third highest fatalities since the invasion, what makes you think they'll suddenly change their minds and grow a collective spine in another four months? It beggars belief!

Is it perfect? No. Is it a compromise? Yes. Is it what I personally wanted? No. Is it a step? Yeah, not a big one but a step. But I think you'll find that the every day Liberal (like me) are not tripping all over ourselves in self-congratulation. Congress capitulated, and that sucks and it makes me (and a buncha my Liberal Commie friends) mad as all Hell.


Honestly, Steve, with some of the excuses you've given, you don't seem "mad as all Hell." If you think that this was a compromise and a step in the right direction, then why is it also, in your words, a "capitulation"?

Okay. Let me follow the logic: A timetable so that the local government at least has a chance to step up is defeatist and means you're not fighting to win -- but if you're for a complete immediate pullout, which strikes me as decidedly "not winning" and a pretty strong "fuck you" to the people you're supposedly fighting to protect, that's a position Congress would be right in taking?


If they make it clear that this war isn't winnable (whatever that means) in any situation, and keeping the troops there for another year isn't going to improve things at all, sure it is! There is no scenario where an occupying force that doesn't have the support of the indigenous population and is embroiled in a mutli-tribal/religious civil war ends in anything but an eventual retreat--unless it involves genocide. The Dems know this (or they should), so any talk of staying in Iraq another year that doesn't acknowledge this is sophistry, pure and simple.

Let's suppose Congress pulled the funding. Do you honestly believe that Bush has shown himself to be incapable of funding it other ways? With all of the underhanded, illegal and downright in-your-face arrogance from this guy, what makes you believe he will knuckle under even if Congress pulls the plug?


I don't understand. Are you saying that if Congress withholds the billions of dollars it takes to maintain a US presence--covering not just weapons systems and ammunition, but salaries, rations, water, gasoline, motor oil, paper, spare parts, and virtually anything else you can think of--Bush is going to . . . do what? Knock over a liquor store? Without funding, the military has no choice but to cease operations, and as heinous as Bush and his cronies are, I don't believe they have a counterfeiting plant in the basement of the White House. (Though I'm waiting for the Seymour Hersh expose any day now.)

If the Republicans in Congress grow as tired of his failure as the rest of the nation has (and a few of them appear to be doing so), then maybe we'll see teeth in the legislation -- but as long as they control half the Senate vote the Dems will have to accept compromises -- besides, compromise is a fundamental part of a working democracy.


Then someone should tell the White House, because they've been able to operate almost without impunity when it comes to Iraq for the past five years.

Am I happy about the knuckling under? No. But is a stretch to believe the current situation in Congress or Iraq is the Dems exclusive fault? You bet it is. It's about taking democratic (small d) steps until you have an un-overturnable majority who can then impose its will. But as long as enough members of the GOP stand firmly at Bush's side, anything that actually makes progress is going to have to appeal to both sides of the aisle.


Never said it was the Dems' exclusive fault, just that they have bent over backwards to enable this president and his failed policies. As for progress, I don't see it. To recap: Bush got all the funding he wanted, with no need of a second veto and with no requirements other than a meaningless bi-monthly accounting (and we know the White House would never cook the books there!), and has been given free rein to do whatever he wants until September or so, when the brass will report back that the surge has failed.

At which time, the Democrats will bend over for the requisite buggering. Again.
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Postby Jim Davis » Wed May 30, 2007 4:58 pm

markabaddon wrote:The Democrats have a small majority in Congress. Thus, as Steve stated, they need to compromise with the Repugs to get through any legislation. Even though it was not what most of America wants (with polling showing pulling the troops out running at around 70%) the initial piece of legislation was a step in the right direction.


I would agree, if it had had a binding resolution. But it didn't.

From a political perspective I understand their logic: allow anger towards the War to build up over the summer, and, when the objectives are not met in September, then convince enough Republicans that their political futures could be toast if they do not bring the troops home.


Or, Bush could pull another Plan B out of his ass, and the Democrats could capitulate again. You have to admit that's a likely scenario.

I do believe that the Democrats are against this war, but I do not believe they have the conviction to stand up to the President and say, here is the legislation we are going to pass. You want to veto it, we are going to keep bringing it back to you until you sign it, and the the American Public will see who is trying to protect the troops.


Sure, some Democrats are genuinely anti-war. Most of the actual leadership, however, has voted for this thing every step of the way and only think Bush has conducted it poorly, not that the entire enterprise was illegal, ill-conceived, and doomed to failure from the very beginning.

Needless to say, that's not my position, and the past week makes me think that registering as "Non-Party" at the age of twenty-one was the one of the most prescient things I've ever done.

Other than that, I'm basically in agreement.
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