Why Republicans Are Desperate to Bait the Antiwar Left

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Mr. Sleeper, a former New York Daily News columnist and the author of Liberal Racism, is a lecturer in political science at Yale.

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The uproar in the House of Representatives on the Friday before Thanksgiving over the Republicans’ phony proposal for “immediate withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Iraq revealed not just that their side of the aisle swarms with political reptiles and 40-year-old high-school debaters; that much isn’t news, even to independents like me. What it really showed is that Republicans now desperately need the anti-war movement their Democratic colleagues refused to give them in the vote on the resolution.

Republicans want an anti-war movement like that of the 1960s to cover their own cut-and-run strategy, which has been to send “our brave men and women” to fight while cutting taxes that would pay for adequate armor and benefits, and while dodging the institution of a draft to distribute the war’s burdens fairly; and then to run for re-election on the conservative-Wilsonian philosophy that supposedly drives this dubious grand strategy.

The warmakers’ predicament has become all the more excruciating because it was so completely self-inflicted. Determined in 2003 to show that the Iraq war would be different from the one in Vietnam, they convincingly assailed "deja-vu" Democrats and other dissenters, who were predicting reruns of Vietnam's trumped-up pretexts, massive overkill, and bottomless quagmires.

Iraq is different, the warmakers insisted, but they were right in ways they never intended. They were so successful at deflecting and silencing every warning or doubt that they had no one to blame but themselves when, instead of being conveyed through grateful, flower-strewing throngs on June 30, 2004, Ambassador Paul Bremer III had to be rushed out of the Green Zone two days early, as his American successors may have to be with the desert equivalent of Vietnam "boat people" clinging to their heels.

Nor could Republicans charge that an American anti-war movement had "forced us to fight with one hand tied behind our backs," as Vietnam warriors accused liberals of doing in the 1960s. This time, no Jane Fonda has gone over to visit the enemy and subvert American efforts to win hearts and minds. The Iraq war masterminds have done all of that, all by themselves. It was they who insisted we wouldn’t need more troops than we sent, let alone a draft or fewer tax cuts. It was they who developed the rules and rationales and “culture” that allowed the Abu Ghraib abuses and the systematic outsourcing of torture to gain ground.

And it was the warmakers and their cheerleaders’ whose breathtaking incompetence, hypocrisy, and corruption have put us all in a predicament with no easy solution. New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins, an incisive and trustworthy observer, wrote recently of Iraqi democrats who upon Saddam Hussein’s fall realized “that they had to seize the moment,… started newspapers, organized political parties,… called meetings to start a national conversation. Some of them, surveying the psychological ruins that Hussein and his torturers had left behind, formed institutes to teach their countrymen to think for themselves. And now, today, many of these Iraqis … have been shot, tortured, burned, disfigured, thrown into ditches, disappeared. Thousands of them: editors, lawyers, pamphleteers, men and women. In a remarkable campaign of civic destruction, the Baathists and Islamists who make up the insurgency located the intellectual heart of the nascent Iraqi democracy and, with gruesome precision, cut it out. As much as any single factor, the death of Iraq's political class explains the difficulties of the country's rebirth. The good guys are dead."

By voting against the resolution for immediate withdrawal, House Democrats discredited what may well be Republicans’ final effort to shift the blame. Efforts to tie Rep. John Murtha to Michael Moore and to get liberals on record calling for “immediate withdrawal” haven't worked any better than efforts to “swift-boat” Cindy Sheehan or Joseph Wilson or any other dissenter. Those who conceived and conducted this war so disingenuously, incompetently and corruptly can’t cut and run from their responsibility for it by blaming anyone but themselves.

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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Note the crude tone, the lack of objectivity, and the repeated unsupported tangents dressed up as an argument in the post above.

When pressed, G.W.Bush himself has said that Saddam was not involved with 9-11.
So why continue to press the case ?
Because Big Lies have to be repeated ad nauseum.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Interesting points, Mr. S. Okay, so you are not Heuisler. (Didn't think you were.)

But what if the "nitwit" (which I don't think quite applies) is also a "traitor" (which I think does - at least as much as in the case of his opponent last year.)?

A few people (e.g. not including Nader) had the farsight and honesty to properly and fairly denounce both, but not many.

Ultimately, it will be up to historians to set the record straight (not journalists and who dominate this website).

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Nice that you are finally bothering to provide citations and documentation for some of your arguments, Mr. Heuisler. Now if you could only find "objective", "fair" and "relevant" in a dictionary.

So there are (or WERE up through 2003 !) hard-working patriotic young Americans (probably including a decent-sized minority from "blue" states, though the Heritage foundation doesn't apparently consider the full extent of its question) from all income-levels who have been persuaded to join the military despite G.W. Bush's trashing of it.

So what ?

Therefore it is okay to squander America's military strength and international political clout on a badly planned, badly directed, deceit-ridden foreign misadventure ?
(In that sense, though in few others, the Vietnam analogy applies).

As usual, when you can't win on the issues, you resort to hype, guilt by association and nitpicking. All that matters is winning in the partisan ranting competition. Pitiful.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"So killing terrorists creates more? One of the more inane arguments I've ever heard" proclaimeth HNN's most prolific would-be-propaganda poster, when cornered by reality.

Unfortunately, Bill, this latest pitiful outburst is on behalf of a failed mission headed by a man (Rumsfeld) who made essentially that same argument, which you call "inane" because you can't think of a real reason to rule it out. Asking you to use your brain instead to think of what causes Islamic terrorism would be too much, but try the "encephalitic ganglia" of your google button for Rummy's memo of late 2003. You won't weasel out of this schoolboy error.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I think you and your TV show are on the right track. To the extent America has a even a "strategy" for Iraq (now that the main purpose of the operation -getting Bush elected in 2004- is behind us, as a sad historical reality to shame our country for decades to come), it is the same one as in 1991: Hope for a less volatile "strong man" to replace Saddam. The key differences between 2005 and 1991 are the personal reputations of the Junior Bushmen invested in their failed cakewalk, and the thousands of sitting duck U.S. soldiers stuck over there now. How to cut and run and yet make it seem like victory to the gullible is the question which animates Republican minds, and leads to kindergarten tactics of the kind recently displayed in the U.S. Congress. (As Sleeper, whatever his tangential human frailties, astutely and correctly emphasizes in his piece). As much as I hate the incessant cop-out analogizing to Vietnam, this current mess does recall to mind the early '70s slogan "Peace with Honor" which was followed, a couple of short years later, by the massacres and bodies hanging from the last evacuating helicopters, etc.

By the way, I also agree with your remarks about Americans not thinking things through and over-relying on idiot box TV infotainment. But, I thought the advantage of parliamentary system was more democracy in the executive. Somehow Blair pulled a fast one on the normally shrewd British MPs, and jumped into lap-dogism against the desires of most of his constituents, and it is at least questionable whether Junior Bush would have had the cajones to go it alone without Tony there to provide a fig leaf of statesmanship.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Heuisler: It is possible to disagree with George W. Bush and yet not be part of the "defeatist, anti-American Left". Cases in point: Gerald Ford, John McCain, Pat Buchanan, John W. Dean, and thousands of others. Including most Republicans I know. When one Big Lie flops you switch to another. Why not try the truth for a change ?

If "victory is at hand" in Iraq (which sounds too much like Kissinger's "Peace is at hand" of 1973 to be pure coincidence (but originality was never your strong suit), then have you booked your flight to Baghdad yet?

For rude insults, no one on HNN comes close to you, not even me. What is it all for ? Some grudge against a Marxist teacher 50 years ago ? Marxism is dead, so get over it already.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

George W. Bush was president on September 11, 1001. Not Bill Clinton.
Some big lies are too silly even for you.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Actually, according to Bill's logic, one might infer that every president from James Monroe to Bill Clinton has "gone on the offensive" thus preventing domestic attacks (with minor "exceptions such as the Christianofascist Jihadist Army of McVeigh and Nichols). But this started in 1815 not "1001". Sorry for the bad typing

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It is becoming obvious why Mr. Heuisler (probably the all-time number one comment poster on HNN) has been so steadfastly reluctant, until now, to document his extreme assertions. His approach thereby is to start with foregone conclusions, and then look for smoke and mirrors with which to justify them. This is a procedure wherein careful attention to facts and to their relevance would be a serious hindrance.

Mr. Heuisler's "evidence" (the link in his comment #71797 above) for his Saddam-was-involved-in-the-September-11th-2001-attacks fantasy turns out to be a two year old unsigned EDITORIAL which concludes: "Of course, none of this "proves" any Saddam-9/11 link."

Mr. Heuisler is no dummy. He realized long ago that this Big Lie about Saddam having "attacked us" on Sept. 11, 2001 is crucial to the Bush administration's bogus "central front in the war on terror" excuse for its ineptly handled Iraq fiasco. And that excuse, in turn, is trotted out again and again, to discredit, no matter how tangentially, anyone who criticizes the administration's Iraq "policy" for any reason whatsoever.

What kind of military commander goes up on stage with a high-school-cheerleader-like
"Plan for Victory" billboard nearly 3 years into the botched operation ?

I would not recommend buying either a used car or a used-up excuse, either from Bush or any of his wannabe lackeys.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Marx, Stalin, and Lenin: "my side" ?
As someone said a few posts ago, "what are you smoking" ?

I stand by everything I said previously but I will say this additionally: in the many hundreds of posts of Heuisler's which I've waded through over the past couple of years, I cannot recall him ever saying anything quite that idiotic.

By the way, do have anything to say on concerning the subject line of your post ?

I do think you are right about Clinton and billboards. But he was at least willing to back down when he was obviously wrong. He will forever be associated with lying about his sleaziness. G.W. Bush will forever be associated with lying about the necessity of attacking a tyrant, which America helped put and keep in power, in one of the greatest acts of asinine hypocrisy of all time. I don't care for either presidential style, but it is not hard to figure which hurts America the most.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

After squandering his fortune trying to sue his way to fame and glory, Irving is surely not able to pay the reward either.

I don't quite see why Hitler's knowledge matters to his guilt in the Holocaust or how this justifies Republicans using and Democrats playing along with Nazi-like Big Lies to rationalize their blunders, hypocrisy, and cowardice.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You are being ridiculous, Sweet Man.
I am defending traditional conservative American values of honesty, fairness, common sense, and ingenuity against the lame, crooked arrogant hypocrites and wimps in Washington, D.C. who constitute the most god-awful incompetent bunch in decades (and they had some not exactly stellar predecessors). You almost admitted it awhile back in a moment of honesty. You Republicans blew it amazingly. You could have had a genuine hardworking leader like McCain, instead you backed a juvenile deliquent who is the laughingstock of the world and who is mucking up everything he lays his hands on, from the budget to disaster preparedness, to national defense, to foreign relations. He may not be the worst president of all time but he is giving the bottom of the barrel an awful lot of scrapes. Use your brain, please, and try not to follow the herd here in regurgitating irrelevant and utterly erronenous stock propaganda phrases like "America bashing".

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Your posts speak for themselves, Heuisler. No one here, even those sympathetic to your crusades, is fooled.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Sweetnam,

Re your post 71875:

“Forget about cleaning up America. It'll take care of itself. Clean up 90% of the unecessary adjectives and adverbs frm your syntax instead.”

Second point, first:

Your misspelled adjective “unnecessary” is an example of a necessary adjective in support of an unsupportable claim.

When one is dealing with frauds and charlatans it is difficult to avoid using STRONG adjectives and adverbs, which is almost surely the semantics underlying your misformulated syntax. I would agree that gently prodding sheep is probably a better way to protect them from being fleeced than stampeding them would be. But, if they have already been stampeded, and are following a stubbornly foolish leader over a cliff, what then ?

Your more important first point in this post #71875 flatly contradicts the central import of your immediately preceding post:

“America bashing (#71869)...
I'll say one thing for you Clarke, you seem to practice evenhandedness in your across-the-board hatred of every institution in this country, be it left or right. If I didn't know any better, I'd suspect you were some second-rate editorial hack for a third-rate Canadian newspaper.”

If America can “take care of itself” then there is surely no need to be so paranoid about “America bashing” as to have to hurl the phrase into a conversation where it has no relevance.

Speaking of America-bashing second-rate Canadian hacks, I believe that it was just such a devious scoundrel who coined that asinine but catchy buzz word "axis of evil". Even Ronald Reagan, the famously amiable dunce, was able to be much more geopolitically accurate in his phrase "evil empire". The difference between the 1980s Republicans and most of today's bunch in D.C. is that 25 years ago they at least gave a hoot or two about (a) the future of America and (b) the importance of doing their jobs as public servants competently.

If you want to claim that Democrats in D.C. have nosedived just as badly over the past 2-3 decades, I would not be inclined to argue. Nevertheless, no matter how ridiculously and brazenly Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. brutalize syntax, American history, American traditions, and the English language, two wrongs still do not make a right.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Rumsfeld MET with Saddam trying to wheel and deal as part of the Reagan. administration's propping up of the Iraqi tyrant. BY BILL'S LOGIC, therefore, Rumsfeld has been in cahoots with Saddam all along and should be court martialed ASAP as a rank traitor to America.

Saying that Bush's third-rate bungled colonization of Iraq is about "freedom and Western Civilization" reminds me of Hitler blaming World War II on Polish aggression. The bigger the lie, the more daring and brave the liar who gets away with it according to Nazi mentality. I'm not saying any American today is Hitler, but, as a snide comment poster has nonethless correctly noted on this page, democracy is fragile. Blatant historical fraudulences of the Osama bin Hussein conflation variety have no place in "free Western Civilization".

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The pitiful tempest in teapot in Congress recently is a childness footnote to the history of the Iraq fiasco, but it does underline the appalling disregard for common sense displayed by the architects of this American-made disaster. The "Great Surprise" widely predicted last year turns out not to have been a Bin Laden attack the week before election day, or a sudden discovery of ICBMS in Syria, but the utter absence of any plan for the Iraq mess in the minds of the most incompetent administration (of the past half century at least).

Sleeper is short on both immediate details, and broader perspectives, but nonetheless nails the short-sightedness of the Republican crooks in Congress. (One of the stupidest just resigned today).

The smarter ones will do a better job of hiding their looting, and then get out, hoping the Democrats win the White House so that the all but inevitable cut-and-run from Iraq can be blamed on them. In their cowardly myopia, the Dems are more than likely to fall into that trap which their spinelessness made possible.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You're not too bad as a fiction writer, Sweetnam.

But this is a rather dated theme. One of the consequences of three years of Republican flaming posteriors trashing America's national security and international reputation is that people are not too keen to hear still more reports, especially hyped-up fantasized tales, of Saddam's cat and mouse antics, and of Democratic evasions of that reality. Only someone of G.W. Bush's juvenile arrogant in-the-foot-shooting stubbornness could actually manage to make himself more disliked globally than the Iraqi mass-murderer.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The reckless big lie about 9/11 being connected in any significant way to Saddam remains a reckless big lie no matter how many times you repeat it in various rude concoctions. Time for a new excuse for Republican incompetence. Like: cut-and-run is all the Democrats fault. Recycle the old Rambo myth about the winnability of Vietnam. John Wayne would be sipping whisky at the NRA barbecue in Hanoi right now were not for Jane Fonda. Therefore, Iraqis would be showering the Humvees with rose petals were it not for the sinister southpaw gauche-winged Democrats like Chappaquidix Kennedy.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Bill,

Hello again. I hope you have been well. I see that you are as feisty as ever. Good Bless You and go get 'em.

Before we discuss the War in Iraq any further I ask that you do me a favor. Please google the URL 'Information Clearing House' link posted today, below... my apologies but, I was unable to post as a direct link...

Iraqi Resistance Propaganda Video Showing Iraqi Sniper "Juba" Killing U.S. Forces: - WARNING - Disturbing images - Windows Media

For HNN readers this WARNING is not to be taken lightly as this is a very graphic and disturbing propaganda video perpetrated by our enemies in Iraq.

I am very upset and quite taken aback by these despicable, dastardly and cowardly attacks upon our troops.


Once you confirm that you have watched this video I'll be more than happy to chat with you.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Bill,

I hope nothing is wrong and you are OK? I am still awaiting your response to my previous post and hope you have had the opportunity to view the selected source site mentioned above.

As always, I am eager to share my thoughts with you on the current Iraq War and discuss what our needs are in order to bring this campaign to successful closure.

Also, today is the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Tired of waiting. I should have realized that unless you are spoon fed talking points, like pabulum, you provide only generalizations and a mouthing of the same tired rhetoric, ad nauseam, of the far right.

You write, "repeat one of those "pointed questions" you're so proud of."

I questioned you personally, numerous times, two weeks ago to provide your recommended solution for winning the current Iraq War. Go back and reread the posts. You failed to so then, so let's hear it now...

What is Bill Heuisler's winning formula for the Iraq War?

You write, "Yours are borrowed opinion and shouted slogans."

My ideas are clearly my own as are my slogans. No one else on this post could be as inane, ill informed, asinine or just plain 'out in left field' as I. Yet, unlike you, I am willing to question the actions of my government and not follow along in blind trust. It was "sheeple" mentality that aided in the rise of despots like Hitler.

As I am sure you failed to view the recommended site offered above let me explain it's personal importance to me. The video is a graphic/violent Arab propaganda film of an insurgent sniper shooting Americans...

As reference, in the 1965 movie 'Battle of the Bulge' a scene involved a German general (Kohler) showing the Panzer tank commander colonel (Hessler)... played brilliantly by Robert Shaw... a Boston cream pie. The point... that the Americans has no concept of losing the war... the Germans were at the breaking point, fighting for survival yet the Americans were shipping cake to the front lines from across the Atlantic.

This Arab film shows that the insurgents will never go away... they have nowhere to go... we are the occupiers... The film is a bold, in your face view from an insurgent sniper's nest... How is he able to shoot so many Americans at will? How was he able to film it and get away with it? How are the Arabs able to edit and distribute the film?

The insurgents have no concept of losing. They are fighting for survival. We are fighting with an extraordinarily dedicated/ brave albeit, volunteer Army, a bulk of whom are reservists and national guard... no draft and no pressure on our general populace to be on a WAR FOOTING... After 911 our President told us to "go shopping"...

Here's some more pointed questions...

What if we kill the 10000 or so insurgents will we create 10000 more?

Should we use genocide to kill all Sunni's or should we support the Shia's as our agents to do so?

Can I call them insurgents or are they ‘Enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government’ as Rumsfeld proposed? Should General Pace be sacked for failing to do so?

Do we have a responsibility to stop human rights violations as they occur? Mr. Rumsfield says “obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility” further stating “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.” General Pace countered “It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” specifically, “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it”. Who is correct? Subsequently, who should be sacked?

What should we do with regards to Iranian influence in Iraq and Iran's effect on the wars potential outcome?

What is the importance of the Kurds deal with Norway to begin oil exploration in the north?

I and others have many more "pointed questions".

Bill, I hope this time you will attempt to answer my questions but, if your history of past posting is any barometer you'll provide no answers.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Bill,

Although, not in agreement I understand your position. Unfortunately, it doesn't make the situation in Iraq any less tenuous nor our mission there any easier.

You claim, "We are winning the objective in this piece of the war for freedom against Islamofascism."

Are the insurgents really Islamic Fascists (I doubt if any even understand the concept) or just regular/ everyday Iraqi's, in most all cases Sunni, as we have established uneasy alliances with the Shia and Kurd? How can we win a war when we cannot agree on or define an enemy? Didn't we learn anything from our experience in Vietnam?

Do the insurgents really have a unified political objective or are they a loose confederation of tribes and regions seeking to drive out an unwanted occupier and gain individual, localized autonomy?

What is the true measure of success and subsequent cost of an electoral process that has alienated the Sunni, divided the country into three distinct geographic regions, spurred a civil war and may lead to the subjugation or God forbid genocide of the Sunni minority group.

Is your idea of success killing upwards of 100000 civilians in a country that had not attacked the US?

Germany and Japan were identifiable enemies who controlled definable geographic borders and presented unified political, economic, military and nationalist fronts?

Who is the enemy in Iraq? What is this enemy political structure? What is the enemy economic objectives? Where is the enemy geographic region of control, claims or influence? What is the enemy military structure and objectives? For example, our ally the Kurd claim an area that encompasses northern Iraq, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran. The Kurd are homogeneous, nationalist, strict Muslim, politically authoritarian, socially oppressive leading them to surprisingly meet many of the accepted definitions of Islamofascism that you claim we are fighting against. The Kurd have an economic agenda and the resources for the creation of a self sustaining, self determined nation. Will the US back the Kurd if war erupts with Turkey?

Although I have never read al-Jazeera and do not know of these other sources you mention I cannot or will not condone human rights abuses or torture. I strongly side with General Pace yet, obviously cannot prevent/ convince you to turn against your giddy support for these vile, cowardly acts. I guess your vision of America and mine are vastly different in this respect.

You continue to play the Iraq/911 card when we now know, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the two have never been associated. Not even the Bush administration or Congressional Republicans push this claim. You appear to be the only one at HNN who continues to hold onto this falsehood. In my opinion the 911 attacks were clearly a Saudi planned, organized, financed and manned military operation.

At this juncture there is no way we can or should withdrawal from Iraq. We need more boots on the ground, not less as I argued for and advocated here at HNN at the wars onset. We have wasted mass amounts of treasure to war profiteering contractors, alienated our allies who should be providing us manpower and financial support and most unfortunate of all short shifted our troops on equipment, medical care and the undivided support from a unified homefront.

Lastly, your use of the word freedom to provide yourself with a misguided justification for or absolution from the actions, mistakes, injustices and anguish that our nation has caused in Iraq is not the same as my idea of freedom nor would it measure up to the ideals of freedom set-forth by Americans I admire such as Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, FD Roosevelt or Eisenhower.

Good night and good luck.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Bill,

Not only are you desperate you truly are an imbecile!

The site I referred you to INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE is from California and pulls articles from NYT, WAPO, LA Times, The Independent, The Guardian, Times of India and other reputable sources. It is one stop shopping for folks like me who are too busy to search for individual articles on Iraq. Also, to beat your enemy you need to understand your enemy. Unless, you are reading a wide range of material you're pigeon holed. Much like yourself. I daily read the Weekly Standard and can quote Kagan and Kristol just as easily as Fisk and Krugman.

Reading World Net Daily and Powerline is for Nazi's and racists. I pray you don't prescribe to this philosophy. Your continued push of right wing ideological talking points makes one wonder.

For your information I lean farther to the right than you do. If you want to hear my true opinion we need a full draft, 750000 troops and a scorched earth campaign beginning with Anbar Province. If it moves, it dies. We then need to bomb Damascus, Tehran and Riyadh SA into total submission and unconditional surrender. If it means use of nuclear weapons so be it.

The problem with right wing ideologues such as you is that you want to talk it to death. We should have taken charge after 911 but the Bush's pussy footed around because they are tied at the hip to the Saudi's. They figured that Iraq would be an easy mark and that they could shift operations from Saudi soil to Iraq without so much as mussing their hair. Well they were wrong. DEAD WRONG. Iraq has proven to be one tough customer. Unfortunately, our troops are paying the price. But guess what? The Bush's don't care. Lack of equipment, contractor kick backs & rip offs, veteran benefit cuts, no visits to the VA, no visits to the funeral of the dead troops... this is what you and the right support... I hope you all choke on it!

This is the mess the so called "left" needs to dig you and your rightist ilk out from. Thanks a bunch.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Bill,

You have selected vison/hearing... I prefer to see and hear all sides... even if distasteful/ disturbing... I struggle everyday with an uneasy heart and unbearable conscience over 2127 dead and 15,704 wounded countrymen...

As I stated in HNN posts to the run up of this war we needed 500K-1M combat troops, be prepared to accept 30-50K casualties with ability to sustain 7-10 years of intense military operations, fully convert economy to war footing and be able to fight on two fronts (to include Korean peninsula) simultaneously. If we were not willing to make this heavy of a commitment then we should continue Clinton's low intensity conflict and containment policy.

The Bush administration assessment of the regions geo/realpolitic, man/material needs, plan/strategies coping in 4th generation warfare environs and selling/sensitizing American populace grossly inadequate.

The administration followed the PNAC model, shunned allies, failed to heed field commanders, quit Afghanistan, backed Chalabi, underestimated theological/nationalist/tribal fervor, favored unreliable/negligent/criminal contractors and alienated 50% of Americans.

I may not be fully coherent or lucid but I can still smell a turd. Enlighten us... What should we do now?

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Bill,

As Ed McMahon would drunkenly slur at Johnny's Karnak... YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT SIR...

I am not a General and obviously, neither is Eric K. Shinseki. You remember him. He made the mistake of recommending 350-400k troops to manage a successful campaign in... where was it... Oh yeah... IRAQ...

Rummy and Wolfie wasted no time showing the General the door. Those two mental giants championed 100k troops to show off Rummy's quick/ mobile/ technical/ precision strike force.

So, I guess I am in good company...

But let's look at what has occurred based on this tactical decision...

The war continues unabated. Iraq has splintered. Troops are on third and fourth rotation. National Guard/ Reservists over-stretched/ away from home front & New Orleans. Iraq borders open. Ammunition stores left unsecured/ Museums looted. Overused/ worn out equipment. Multiple operations required to unsecured areas of resistance like Ramadi. Reconstruction slowed/ limited electric, water, oil production. Wrecked alliances with allies. Emboldened Iran/ Syria, belligerent N Korea, empowered China.

All these issues could have been muted by an overwhelming show of force and quick victory. A larger contingent may have accomplished this but as you said "you're not a General".

Again, you're correct in your assessment that Clinton's game was weak and believe me I was no fan of him or his policies. I believe in the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force. To bad Rummy didn't.

Finally, you're correct in that we've not had another domestic attack here. That's because they're... TOO BUSY TRYING TO KILL US OVER THERE!!! We won't mention the attacks on London or Madrid. They don't count cos' their foreigners.

Bill, you were 3 for 3. Batted 1000. Keep up the
good work.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Mr. Harris,

There is no doubt that the removal/trial of Saddam Hussein and free elections in Iraq are truly great and historic events. Despite all of our problems incurred during this occupation the steadfastness of the Bush administration has produced some worthy fruit. Whether by design or happenstance will be left for history to determine. However, let's not pop the champagne corks just yet. No armistice has been signed.

First, I have never met anyone who was liberal nor conversely conservative. I believe most rational people to be a mix, moving within a range, to the right or left, based on the issue, level informed, personal bias/experience and degree the issue impacts each. Pigeonholing a group or framing an issue as either liberal or conservative is what the media does to "sell papers".

Second, labeling a viewpoint as liberal or conservative does disservice to the dialogue, discourages free thought/flow of ideas and subsequent discourse. HNN offers us the opportunity here to air views from all angles.

In response to your discussion points...

It is wonderful that 11 million Iraqis will vote but, shameful that within the United States we cannot muster as high a percentage at election polls.

Although, loss in war is inevitable, the loss of one US soldier is one too many. Fact 2,403 died on December 7, 1941 the first day of WWII while 2, 127 have died in Iraq (more than the 1/2 comparisons total you mention) the Iraq War still rages. We need to ensure the right troop level for the theater of operations, be sure we're properly equipped, fully trained, have the best rations/medical care/support for family left behind and that we do not forget our veterans. It can be argued that some lag has occurred in each of these areas during this war.

It can also be argued, quite convincingly, that the Taliban are not gone. If you can prove that they are I will be more than willing to foot the bill so that you can vacation this winter in Afghanistan.

Do not confuse elections with democracy. Iran has elections again, shamefully outdrawing the US electorate to the polls but, do you define Iran a democracy? Iraq is morphing into a theocracy that is being legitimized though the democratic instrument of elections. Neither does a constitution make a democracy. The former Soviet Union had a swell constitution yet, was not a democracy. Iraq's constitution was implemented under boycott by the Sunni 30% minority. Democracy is to be all inclusive.

Finally, a Republican President was in office when action was taken against Saddam. Thinking back, it was Republican President Reagan who initially armed Saddam. Then turned a blind eye to his atrocities. Then failed (GHW Bush/April Glaspie) to check Saddam before he invaded Kuwait.

As you can see Mr. Harris the Iraq War and the world are much too complicated to be framed as liberal or conservative. Nice talking to you. Hope we can keep this dialogue going.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

I last posted at HNN fourteen days ago assured by some of my worthy colleagues that I was absent of reality, clouded by the drunken haze of my misbegotten beliefs that the War on 'Terra' was being lost by such competent, incorruptible leaders all, while being both unwilling and unable, to discern that victory in Iraq was just around the corner or over the horizon or at the end of a rainbow, wherever, whenever our freedom loving, benevolent benefactors cared to bestow it upon rabble such as I and my ilk... If I only believed in what was being sold... If I would only stop reading leftist defeatism from that subversive Riverbend's Baghdad Burning blog... If I would only go along with the program and stop asking those pointed questions...

Then, I saw it... Like a ball bat strike square between the eyes... What I was missing all along... This war is not about winning or losing or the death of our kids... For certain, not about the deaths of our kids... This war is about MONEY... This war is about MARKETING... This war is about the continuation in MARKETING to grow more MONEY... I must be foolish to make such a disjointed linkage?

This awakening... how did it miraculously occur?

It was the "PLAN FOR VICTORY" stage set used by the President at his Wednesday speech in Annapolis... An imperial backdrop to be sure... More apropos to a television sitcom than the stern setting of the LBJ Oval Office speeches of my childhood memories... Lines of lush blues and vivid yellows. Soft squares. Bold lettering. Elaborate trident capped emblems positioned on each wing flank the podium. An audience of obedient young men and women, in forced fixation, to the droll ramblings of a syntax challenged marketing man...

Mission Accomplished! Strategy For Victory! Now, Plan For Victory... It all flows so smoothly... The very best Madison Avenue campaign pales in comparison... Fittingly, an "AS SEEN ON TV" (35) page, totally pointless, totally useless, souvenir guide 'Victory In Iraq' is yours FREE to commemorate this historic speech to the unity of our nation in our unwavering devotion to winning the War On Terror... CALL TODAY... DON'T DELAY... OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY...

Our tax dollars at work courtesy of the National Security Council... How American... Our money to pay for their marketing...

In the past two weeks so much has happened to right my ignorance and increase my awareness for the need to 'get on board' with the PLAN FOR VICTORY... Randy 'Duke' Cunningham has committed treason against our troops for his own personal financial gain... more names and sordid details to come. Marine 2nd Combat lost ten in Fallujah on this very day although, we'll never see their flag draped coffins hit the runways of Dover... "not a prudent marketing move" says Mr. Rove, the ad man, to the former failed businessman, turned marketing man, who is now the star upon this sitcoms stage...

Where will our nation be fourteen days hence?

"Time makes more converts than reason." Thomas Paine

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

You know, since about 1975 the machete has been the globe's bloodiest WMD. It’s seen various manifestations over the millennia, and it's been around longer than the Great Pyramid.

As to President Bush being "disliked globally [more] than the Iraqi mass-murderer", I think that says more about the rest of the world than it does our president, yes?

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not some fawning presidential groupie. This president, dyslexic or not, has shoved his foot in his mouth on several occasions. The most highly offensive occasion was when he criticized the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and Vietnam combat veterans in general, for our activism in exposing Kerry for the traitorous reprobate he is. Bush thought we were doing that FOR HIM! The nitwit thought our activism was on his behalf, when in fact it had nothing to do with him. It was between us and Kerry, period. Bush’s public criticism of Vietnam veteran activism in this past election gained him more than 30,000 letters of scathing censure in a single week. Of course it was a direct result of our activism that he won a second term. Better a nitwit than a traitor.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

Rangel is a more offensive racist and race-baiter than even the good-ol-boy Democratic Party Deep South contingent that populated congress at mid 20th century. His constituents expect him to hate whites, and to his great credit, he hasn't let them down for a single minute he's been in congress.

The editor of the Army Times was recently interviewed on CNN citing a study that was independantly verified by the network.

Which US military demographic has the highest per capita KIA rate in the War on Terror? Samoans! 6 have died in Iraq. Amongst the larger demographics however, white males have a per capita KIA rate exceeding that of blacks and Hispanics by at least 15% - 20%. White males are also far and away more likely than any other demographic to volunteer for units conducting the most hazordous duties: Rangers, SEALs, bomb disposal technicians, etc. So much for left's latest exercise in unconscionable race-baiting.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

"not journalists who dominate this website"

Does that include semi-retired journalists new to this web site?

; - )

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

You know Mr. Clarke, there's a British historian incarcerated in Austria right now who once offered a $1,000,000 reward to anyone who could produce a scrap of empirical evidence proving Hitler knew about the Nazi massacre of Jews. No one was able to claim the prize, yet some things are so glaringly obvious, we simply take them on faith.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

I'll say one thing for you Clarke, you seem to practice evenhandedness in your across-the-board hatred of every institution in this country, be it left or right. If I didn't know any better, I'd suspect you were some second-rate editorial hack for a third-rate Canadian newspaper.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

Forget about cleaning up America. It'll take care of itself. Clean up 90% of the unecessary adjectives and adverbs frm your syntax instead.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

I thought the Republican strategy in Congress was brilliant. Anger from the congressional left at being shown up for the two-faced hypocrites most of them have been acting of late, is certainly understandable. Considering almost every Democrat in congress has been baying in the media about withdrawing from Iraq at every available sound bite, and then having 185 of them vote against withdrawal of our troops, (caving in not only to the Republicans, but more importantly, their own voting records and constituents, has to be their most embarrassing political comeuppance since a former Democratic president was discovered to be a liar bordering on the pathological.

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

"or a sudden discovery of ICBMS"

Apparently you were so busy with your Anarchist Cookbook this morning, you missed this feed off the wire:

United Press International....dateline 11/28/05....for immediate release.

A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee announced this morning that in spite of yesterday's discovery in Iraq of nine silos containing SS18 ICBMs, Americans shouldn't jump the gun in considering these 40 megaton thermonuclear missiles necessarily to be....under all conditions...at all times...in all places...."weapons of mass destruction".

"We don't know that the Iraqis intended to use these things as offensive weapons," said Bernie Shylock, longtime head legal counsel for the DNC. "As a matter of fact, Democratic notable Ted Kennedy issued a press release only two hours ago stating unequivocally that the missile silos were actually intended to be used as underground antinuclear peace parks."

"It's obvious to anyone with a lick of military sense," said Senator Kennedy during his impromptu Washington news briefing, "That the SS-18 Satan ICBMs contained within the silos were only there to allow the Iraqi people to see exactly what it was they were protesting against during candlelight peace song vigils during malicious and unwarranted US military attacks against this Middle Eastern bastion of peace-loving democracy-enshrining citizenry."

Tom Sweetnam - 12/12/2005

"Frauds" and "charlatans"?

Your posts sound more like an Errol Flynn movie every day.

James Spence - 12/9/2005

Do you know that Alan Greenspan and and Bush and co skewered the American people for decades? All you focus on is Soros. He's not the only one you 've labeled a bad guy. There are many Republican/conservative rich elite who have also clevely and quietly shafted the American people for decades.

Jim B. Harris - 12/7/2005

Or does the left seem totally incapable of discussing the upcoming elections in Iraq.

Within the next few weeks, for the first time in an Arab nation, a free people will elect their Congress.

The early estimates are for there to be even more than the 11 million voters who went to the polls in September and approved the Constitution.

In 1998, President Clinton drafted and the Congress passed the Iraqi Liberation Act. In his speech the day it was put into law, President Clinton said:

" Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are:
The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a
freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that
of our allies within the region.
The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom
at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable
due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis
deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.
The United States looks forward to a democratically supported
regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the
reintegration of Iraq into normal international life."

Clintons hopes and dreams have come true, Iraq has a democratic constitution and is about to go to the polls and elect its congress. Saddam sits in a cell on trial.

Why is the left not celebrating today? After all, at a cost of less than half the troops we lost on the first day of WW2, the Taliban and Saddam are gone and democracies are in their place.

The sad answer, but the true answer is, that a Republican President happened to be in office the day action was taken against Saddam.

Mike Schoenberg - 12/7/2005

Where is the evidence thaat Saddam was linked to al Qaida. Saddam is secular and al-Quaida wants to bring back a totally Ilamic state from 1,000 years ago. Also didn't see any mention of WMD argument put out by the Busht's or mushroomclouds that Saddam had, aluminum tubes or the 16 words that Bush had to retract. To call this war a success is like daying our post-Katrina effort is going beautifuly. Waht really galls me is that soldiers are fighting over there-do they have enough body armour-and we live here without any call for sacrifice, just lower taxes.

Bill Heuisler - 12/5/2005

Another little thing, Pat.

Your, "uneasy heart and unbearable conscience" haven't managed to wrap themselves around the fact that we've not had another domestic attack since our President went on the offensive, have they? Another turd, Pat?
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/5/2005

Mr. Ebbitt,
assuming you're not a General, why should anyone listen to your numbers?

One reason your estimates ring so hollow is that you aren't aware how "Clinton's low intensity conflict and containment policy" you admire so much resulted in the first world trade center bombing, the Cole, the embassy bombings, and, of course the 3000 dead on 9/11.

Gee, you forget lots of turds, didn't you?
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/5/2005

Mr. Portillo,
1) The word idiot strengthens your arguments and adds class. Well done.

2) Murtha? He's been a pull-out artist for years. After terrorists attacked our troops in Mogadishu, Murtha asked President Clinton to pull U.S. troops from Somalia.
"Our welcome has been worn out," Murtha said on NBC 9/93, a month after 4 troops were killed in Somalia by an IED.

But he said more: After 18 Rangers were killed in Mogadishu, Murtha visited Somalia and then told the world the 18 deaths had ruined the Rangers' morale. "They're subdued compared to normal morale of elite forces," Murtha said. "Obviously, it was a very difficult battle. A lot of Somalis were killed, but it was a brutal battle." Murtha then added,
"There's no military solution. Some of them will tell you to get Aidid is the solution. I don't agree with that."
Sound familiar? Last week he said,
"the U.S. cannot accomplish anything further militarily. It is time to bring the troops home."

Clinton took the advice and Osama Bin Laden loved it. He said in a '98 interview on ABC (John Miller),
"Our people realize more than before that the American soldier is a paper tiger that runs defeat after a few blows...and left dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat."
You like that, Portillo?

3) I'm in the Tucson phone book. You can come by the house with a case of Pacifico next May.

4)The operative word is satire.
5)After many years in law enforcement I know death penalty's a deterrent. In the early '70s an armed robber in my screen unit casually mentioned he should've killed the clerks in the store because the penalty was the same, and they were witnesses. (This was when the death penalty was not an option in Arizona.) Besides, how do you know when a crime was deterred? It never happened, there's no record.

Face it, there aren't many 4-star generals who want surrender. And if calling me a fascist and an idiot is the breadth of your wisdom, then you are as much a push-over as Murtha.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/5/2005

Mr. Mocker,
The facts that you use the term corporate-owned, that you must ask why Soros is evil and consider DN! reliable (particularly after the Massey interview) all lead me to the conclusion that you are too far gone in hate-America pessimism to even recognize the significance of 9/11 and to perceive the danger to all of us - Left and Right - presented by Islamofascism. Too bad.

Do you know that 98% of all US corporations are owned by fewer than ten people. Do you know that George Soros made his billions by degrading currencies and wiping out people's savings. Do you know where he lives? Where he keeps his money? He's the largest funder of abortions in the world and funds many campaigns in many countries but pays little if any taxes. Read about him and you will see why most people who believe in Democratic ideals, representative government and the sanctity of life find him reprehensible.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/5/2005

Mr. Ebbitt,
Let me get this straight: You lean farther to the right than I do, but then say, "right wing ideologues such as you...". Incoherent at best.

You say I want to, "talk it to death" but your posts are consistantly more wordy than mine. So you are prolix and incoherent.

You referred me to a specific sniper whose name and claim I forget, but who allegedly was a prolific killer of American troops. But this Jazeera created phony was being trumpeted only on Terrorist-friendly sites.

Do you read your own stuff?
You're prolix, incoherent and don't know who (or where) you are. If I'm an embecile, what level of cognition do you aspire to?
Bill Heuisler

Paul Mocker - 12/5/2005

<Ask yourself why this source of yours should be taken seriously by anyone.</i>

It's evident that you already had your mind made up.

It you are intent on getting your news from corporate-funded sources, you eventually will not know truth from fiction. Actually, it appears you are passed that point.

How long have you listened to Democracy Now!?

Ryan Portillo - 12/5/2005

Mr. Huiseler,
In response to post 71985

1. "We are winning the objective in this piece of the war for freedom against Islamofascism"

Your post contains too many idiotic points to refute and would take 900 pages to sort out the mess of truths and half-truths you put out, nevertheless about the US winning the war in Iraq; if the war is going as great as Bush says it is, travel shouldn’t be much risk but our president has made only one trip in the dead of night for about two hours at the heavily fortified Baghdad airport. Obviously, his not setting foot on Iraqi soil today where we are in control and "winning" speaks volumes - it means that Iraq is still not safe. What people DO, not SAY is what is important here.

2. I also believe the points of view of America’s four-star generals on the Iraq war and yours would differ a lot. The generals happen to pick Murtha to make a speech this month about Iraq because this ex-Marine has maximum credibility in front of congress. The speech was so deadly it stung the White House into panic-stricken and foolish denunciations of Murtha as a clone of Michael Moore.

Read a little of what the generals want this country to know from Murtha’s speech:
"The future of our military is at risk. Our military and our families are stretched thin. Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowered its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. They have been forced to do that to try to meet a reduced quota.
"Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared.
"The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls in our bases at home. I've been to three bases in the United States, and each one of them were short of things they need to train the people going to Iraq.
"Much of our ground equipment is worn out.
"Most importantly -- this is the most important point -- incidents have increased from 150 a week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over a time when we had additional more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revolution at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled."

3. "there'll be a functioning Democracy in Iraq in another few months - 700 or so days after the invasion of a terrorist dictatorship." I will remember this statement so I can slam it back at you in a few months. Don’t get me wrong. I would prefer you to be right.

4. "Ask yourself why Nazis still control central Europe" sources please (are you confusing 2005 with 1939?)

5. "…like saying the death penalty doesn't deter crime" Are you living in America? Take a look at law enforcement views on the death penalty:
"The death penalty does little to prevent crime. It's the fear of apprehension and the likely prospect of swift and certain punishment that provides the largest deterrent to crime."
--Frank Friel, Former Head of Organized Crime Homicide Task Force, Philadelphia

"Victory is at hand in Iraq, in spite of the defeatist, anti-American Left..." Anti-American. Right. That means, in your terms, the 4-star generals who backed Murtha’s speech are anti-American. Hate to say this but in many ways you fit the propaganda poster image of the ranting facist of the 30’s. You and this Administration will never be sure of any "freedom" anywhere. This word is so loaded with meanings it can mean anything you want it to mean.

Paul Mocker - 12/5/2005

Mr. Heuisler,

I have never seen this web site.

How would you rank it on:

a. Reliability
b. Trustworthiness
c. Timeliness
d. Accuracy
e. Completeness

Paul Mocker - 12/5/2005

Thanks for sharing that information.

Why does the right hate Geore Soros?

Paul Mocker - 12/5/2005

Find other sources that aren't so obviously agenda-driven.

It's impossible. No media outlet could meet your outrageous standard which apparently is one untrue news story.

Admit you are partisan.

You're funny because you complain about partisan coverage from the left when you frequently cite the Wall Street Journal.

Bill Heuisler - 12/4/2005

Marshall, Clarke and Ebbitt,
Each of you illustrates a reason why the Left is sliding into oblivion.

Marshall, your intellect shines forth in every scintillating syllable. Clarke, you've regressed to the bad-boy image you think's so cute. And Ebbitt, your protean arguments do not convince, they merely exchange one subject for another and waste my time.
First it was a plan. Then it was human rights. Then resisting the 9/11 connection without refuting obvious connections. You get answers and deny the substance without giving factual con arguments. Sound and fury...

Rudeness, tantrums and confusion are trademarks of those who have no solutions, no optimism or patriotism and who conveniently forget history on a history site. History? 9/11, The Taliban are gone, Saddam's tyranny is gone, elections held in Iraq; Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and even the Sudan are helping the US in the war against Islamofascists. History.

Islamofascists. You pretend, Ebbitt, not to know who they are and directed me to their web sites the other day - you know, Arabic script, heads wound in black, brandishing Kalashnikovs and glorying in American casualties. You know, the cowards who saw heads off civilians and set bombs to kill and maim GIs, children and civilians.

Your web sites call them "resistance fighters". They are the new Nazis, the scum of the earth who will kill innocent people to prevent free elections - who will kill their own women to keep them in slavery. And you sympathize with such scum?

Victory is at hand in Iraq, in spite of the defeatist, anti-American Left so aptly personified in you three.
Bill Heuisler

Ed Marshall - 12/4/2005

That's too stupid for words.

I thought about responding as to points but instead I'll just silently point at the trajectory of "victory" and you can keep your head in the sand until hell freezes over or not, but events are overtaking you.

Bill Heuisler - 12/4/2005

Mr. Ebbitt,
Finally some meat. No answers, but broad, partially misguided, sparks of an arguable point-of-view.

Three points in answer:

We are winning the objective in this piece of the war for freedom against Islamofascism. The third set of elections will be held in two weeks. Projected turn-out? Millions.
Terrorists? Maybe 8000 in Iraq and a few getting killed each day trying to get in. We're killing leadership and hard-core terrorists every day. At this rate, there'll be a functioning Democracy in Iraq in another few months - 700 or so days after the invasion of a terrorist dictatorship.

That's success.

So killing terrorists creates more? One of the more inane arguments I've ever heard - like saying the death penalty doesn't deter crime. Absurd.

Ask yourself why Nazis still control central Europe. Why Japanese occupy Indo China and the Serbs are still killing Muslims in Kosovo. Gee, the PLO runs Jordan, don't they? And that first (or second) Intifada overran Israel like a wave, didn't it?

Iran will profit greatly if we fail. The Kurds are enjoying their new freedom. Wonderful, isn't it?

Human Rights violations? You mean like the outright lies Massey told Amy Goodman? You mean like those broadcast on your favorite web sites like al Jazeera? Give it a rest and realize that beheading civilians and crashing planes into office buildings are the ultimate violations of human rights and dignity.

Terrorists deserve no mercy. Like we exterminate plague-carrying rats or cancer cells, we will exterminate as many as possible until the remainder see the light and rejoin the human race. Don't whine to me about human rights in Iraq. We didn't begin this and we damn sure hadn't violated any terrorists' rights before 9/11.

Withdrawal from Iraq? When we're sure the freedom we've helped foster will survive. When we know our brothers did not die in vain. Someone greater than most once asked Americans:
"that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion," and "that these dead shall not have died in vain."

For freedom. Remember that.

Sites like nausea, al Jazeera and Ogerish are bending your mind in unhealthy directions, Mr. Ebbitt. Can you honestly say their message will help the United States or promote freedom anywhere in the world?

If not, why waste your time?
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/4/2005

Mr. Clarke,
The president said "...no evidence of Saddam’s involvement in 9/11." He also said, "There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties." In fact, Saddam Hussein was a supporter and ally of al Qaeda for many years.

There's a huge difference in saying you have no evidence of something and in saying, "...was not involved."

It would be similar for me to say that, "Up 'til now there has been no evidence of comprehension, or even intellect, in Clarke's snarlings." But even a crude, unobjective fellow like me knows there has to be some small measure of ganglia at the end of your encephalization in order for you to turn on your computer.
Bill Heuisler

Ryan Portillo - 12/4/2005

Republicanism, or rather conservatism is really on the decline because many conservatives, especially those who see our president as "God driven" and impervious to mistakes, have no interest in creating a new intellectual synthesis. Very few reinterpret the doctrines of previous conservative intellectuals Many go into academia or the think-tank world and there they contribute to old research projects that have been under way for the last thirty years and if they go into journalism, they defend an established editorial line. When they are bored they bait and attack.

Many conservatives claim to have uncovered the argument or principle that supposedly exposes the errors of liberalism and every other "ism" under the sun. They really think they've figured it out once and for all.

And because they have appear to have limited intellectual resources for understanding politics these days they resort to naïve heuristics such as "liberals are hypocrites who only care about making themselves feel better."

Bill Heuisler - 12/4/2005

Mr. Thomin,
Thanks for the trouble, and disdain. You must not think I'm not capable of original thought. I've been writing about this on HNN for years prior to Stephen Hayes' book being published.

Your information, however is dated, incomplete and does not say what you imply. I'll take 3 of your "sources" and explain how they're wrong.

Salman Pak, according to your source was "...used to train foreign terrorists, but not al Qaeda members"
Oh, really? What a fine, convenient distinction to make. Al Qaeda means the group in Arabic, so who the hell decided these particular terrorists did not fit? Also, Atta was not a formal member of al Qaeda. So what?This is laughable.

Also your source says Salman Pak was
"used for anti-terrorism training."
Right, Mike, those Iraqis were just scared to death about terrorist attacks. This is a complete joke and you know it. Embarrassing.

Kuala Lumpur? Your source says the ID issue is "still being studied". Right.
What is it? Four years? BS, Mike. Your source is anonymous, but former Navy Secretary and member of the 9/11 Commission, John Lehman says in your source, "We don't know." And he has used the Kuala Lumpur meeting since the Commission Report as reason to look into Iraq-9/11 connections.

Prague? Your sources are dated. After the FBI admitted they had no records of Atta in Fla. or VA. during April of 2001 (except cell-phone use that proves nothing). DCIA Tenet testified to the Senate Intel Committee that,
"It is possible that Atta traveled under an unknown alias to meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. (Committee transcripts 6/02).

Jan Kavan, Czech Foreign Minister in 2001 who deported al Ani, repeated his information of 4/8/01 was correct.
And that the NYT report was wrong. The NYT since retracted their "error" Mr. Kavan is now Czech Coordinator for Intelligence. He repeats that the "Hamburg student" was Atta. He reminds interviewers that Atta had been photographed the year before in the Prague airport (May 26, 2000) en route from Bonn.

Your source again:
New York Times 10/21/02 front page:
"The Czech president, Vaclav Havel, has quietly told the White House he has concluded that there is no evidence to confirm earlier reports that Mohamed Atta...met with an Iraqi Intelligence officer in Prague just before the attacks on New York and Washington, according to Czech officials."

They were wrong. Look it up, Mike.

Within one day after the story ran, Ladislav Spacek, President Havel's spokesman, said the story was, "a fabrication...nothing like this has occurred." On the same day, Czech Interior Minister, Stanislav Gross, reasserted the Atta meeting in April
of 2001.

Two days later the NYT printed a retraction of the Havel story.
So, do you believe a NYT story that was retracted or do you believe the Czech Intel Coordinator? The Czech President? Interior Minister? Do you believe Tenet, or do you believe the FBIs nonexistant records?

There's more, but these three are enough. Look this stuff up yourself before quoting dated, erroneous, badly organized...laughable stuff.

By the way, why is it so important for you to disassociate Iraq from the 9/11 attacks?
Bill Heuisler

Michael Barnes Thomin - 12/3/2005

"Please address the evidence and tell me why it should be ignored."

Because most of the evidence presented comes from the book "The Connection" by Stephen Hayes, and most of the evidence in his book was ripped straight from a memo written by non other then Douglas Feith from the Office of Special Plans. The Office of Special Plans was a group established by Rumsfeld for one purpose- find any evidence, even if it was discarded by the intelligence community, that might link a Iraq and al Qaeda relationship to 9-11 (see from an officer who worked there: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/03/10/osp_moveon/index.html and a respected journalist: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030512fa_fact). The problem with this is that most of it came from raw intelligence reports. Raw intelligence must be analyzed for the simple fact that raw intelligence consists of any information, true or false, from essentially any informant, drunk or sober, that the intelligence community has accumulated. In fact, when reports came out about the “connection” (sort of an ambiguous term) established from the evidence like Bill cites, the Department of Defense came out and stated it was not necessarily accurate and was raw intelligence: http://www.dod.mil/releases/2003/nr20031115-0642.html. So did the CIA, FBI, and NSA. The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is not the greatest source to cite, but in this case I think it does a good job of giving the arguments for and against the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection (it does provide references): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq-al_Qaeda_Connection. It lays down the same evidence Bill has been posting for quite some time, and rebuts it (whether or not one or the other is correct is basically up to the reader).


Bill Heuisler - 12/3/2005

Mr. Rodden,
You cannot simply discard facts as insufficient proof when it suits you.
Absolute Proof is a rare luxury. Direct evidence directly connects a crime to a suspect without the need for inference. Circumstantial needs inference, weight and reinforcement.
We seldom get Direct Evidence like Dahmer's refrigerated body parts.

Example: You cited Somalia and HW's imposition of troops as connected to the Mogadishu disaster. It was not. Marines enforced tribal peace and protected UN workers under HW. They were withdrawn and were replaced with fewer Rangers and a different mission under President Clinton - to arrest Aidid and to monitor/protect UN food deliveries. They could do neither and, when they requested support, were denied by Nunn under the advice of people like Murtha who wanted troops out. The disaster was due to the DC decisions of Clinton and Nunn.

You stated some correct facts, but the devil's usually in the details.

Details. It's convenient that Iraq is merely an innocent victim of Bush's lust for oil/power/validation/etc.
Convenient politically, but unlikely.

There's a preponderance of evidence: Iraq was involved in the first World Trade bombing, embassy bombings in Africa, VX precursor manufacture in Sudan, attempted assassination of HW, many statements of Saddam, and the Kuala Lumpur/Prague meetings of Iraqi officers with 9/11 terrorists.

There is no direct evidence, "proof" of Saddam's help in 9/11, but there's lots of circumstantial evidence. Did you expect Saddam to confess? Or do you want pictures of Saddam handing Atta a plane ticket? Fingerprints?

There was no "proof" Peterson killed his wife and dumped her in the Bay, but a preponderance of circumstantial evidence sent him to prison. Saddam didn't send Iraqis to New York on 9/11 (like he did in 1993) but he sure has left a trail of evidence.

Please address the evidence and tell me why it should be ignored.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/3/2005

Mr. Ebbitt,
Since flag-draped coffins have become part of your rant, please repeat one of those "pointed questions" you're so proud of. Remember, a pointed question generally has a point, and a thought process. Yours are borrowed opinion and shouted slogans.

You wouldn't recognize a pointed question if it were stuck in your eye
Again, may I ask you to engage your mind as well as your practised sneer.

Rebut the facts I supplied you two weeks ago. Write thoughts instead of cat-calls.
Bill Heuisler

Glenn Rodden - 12/3/2005

Bill: Thanks for your response, but the WSJ editorial opinion (a.k.a. Republican Party propaganda) does not support your argument. After rehashing many articles that have speculated about ties between Al Quaeda and Saddam, the article concludes with this statement:

"Of course, none of this "proves" any Saddam-9/11 link, as Mr. Bush acknowledges. But neither can we be sure there wasn't one. Our point is that U.S. government and intelligence officials ought to be open to the evidence of any links between state sponsors and terrorists. But for many Administration critics, it seems, nothing less than smoking-gun proof that 9/11 was an Iraqi-al Qaeda joint operation will do."

If the Republican party does not believe its own propaganda, why should you?

Bill Heuisler - 12/2/2005

Mr. Thomas,
Here's the list from the site I had so much trouble linking you with:

George Soros' "Parallel Anti-War Media/Movement"
by bob feldman

Perhaps Amy Goodman should finally make full disclosure of all foundation grants that either the Pacifica Foundation, WBAI, Democracy Now, WBAI, KPFA, the Indymedia Centers, Free Speech TV, Deep Dish TV, the Pacifica Campaign or the Downtown studio from which she broadcasted in 2000 and/or in 2001 have received since 1992?

Regarding George Soros's U.S. alternative media gatekeeping/censorship network, the following recap might be of use to U.S. grassroots anti-war activists whose political work is not being subsidized by Establishment Foundations such as Billionaire Global Speculator George Soros' Open Society Institute:

1. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $50,000 grant to the Nation Institute "to support project to improve performance and reach of Radio Nation, weekly public radio news and commentary program." George Soros' personal advisor for politics, Hamilton Fish III, is also a top executive at The Nation Institute.

2. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $50,000 grant to the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, which used to be headed by former Pacifica Foundation Executive Director Lynn Chadwick.

3. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute apparently gave a $125,000 grant to the Citizens for Independent Public Broadcasting [CIPB} group (on whose board sits FAIR/CounterSpin co-host Janine Jackson) "to cover administrative and start-up costs for launching national campaign entitled Citizens for Independent Broadcasting."

4. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $78,660 grant to Don Hazen's Institute for Alternative Journalism/IMI/Alternet in San Francisco "to fund start-up of Youth Source, a youth Web site which will be part of a larger web poral, Independent Source."

5. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $126,000 grant to the International Center for Global Communications Foundation "toward launch of Media Channel, first global media and democracy supersite on the Internet."

6. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave 4 grants, totalling $118,000, to the Internews Network.

7. In 1999 George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $12,000 grant to Downtown Community Television Center. (There's a possibility that this was the group which provided studio facilities for Democracy Now after the 1999 WBAI Christmas coup).

8. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $150,000 grant to the Fund for Investigative Journalism. (Is this the same media group which provided some funding for KPFA's Dennis Bernstein during the 1990s?)

9. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave a $35,000 grant to American Prospect magazine.

10. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $30,000 grant to the Center for Defense Information.

11. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $75,000 grant to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

12. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave 4 grants, totalling $220,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists--on whose board sits NATION magazine co-owner and editorial director Victor Navasky.

13. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave 2 grants, totalling $272,000, to the "Project on Media Ownership."

14. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave a $100,000 grant to the Public Media Center in San Francisco.

15. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $73,730 grant to the dance company of a Pacifica Network News staffperson's domestic partner.

16. In 1999, George Soros' Open Society Institute gave a $50,000 grant to Youth Radio in Berkeley.

17. In 1999, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave 2 grants, totalling $393,000, to the Tides Foundation.

18. George Soros's Open Society Institute recent gave a $102,025 grant to Radio Bilingue.

19. George Soros's Open Society Institute has also apparently been providing funds to subsidize a "parallel left" section of the prisoner solidarity movement. Critical Resistance, the Prison Moratorium Project, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and The Sentencing Project are all being funded by George Soros's Open Society Institute.

20. In 2001, George Soros's Open Society Institute also gave grants to help subsidize the Jews for Racial and Economic Justice group, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement group, the Million Mom March group and the Center for Investigative Reporting.

21. After 9/11, George Soros's Open Society Institute gave a $75,000 grant to the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Research Institute, a $250,000 grant to the ACLU and a grant to the LCEF group on whose board Mary Frances Berry used to sit.

Mr. Mocker should realize who is paying for his sources.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/2/2005

Mr. Thomas,
Problems with the site.
Try this one and scroll down below the puppet picture to the blue title "Soros and Amy Goodman"

Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/2/2005

Mr. Thomas,
You are right about Soros.
Before apologizing examine the many Soros contributions to groups and stations affiliated with DN and with Pacifica. Hard to distinguish among the players, isn't it?
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/2/2005

Mr. Mocker,
Find other sources that aren't so obviously agenda-driven. You might notice I don't quote from NRO or News Max or Frontline because references from them carry partisan baggage.

Democracy Now's a partisan joke.
An example?
Amy goodman broadcast a so-called news story Monday, May 24th, 2004. (I've edited parts that repeat or are irrelevant). it's all available: <http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/24/148212>;

Ex-U.S. Marine: "I Killed Civilians in Iraq". Jimmy Massey talks about his time in Iraq where he admitted the U.S. treatment of Iraqi civilians is fueling the Iraqi resistance. In a recent interview he said "I felt like we were committing genocide in Iraq."

"GOODMAN: Welcome to Democracy Now!.
MASSEY: Good morning.
GOODMAN: Can you talk about when you were in Iraq?

MASSEY: Yeah. I was part of the initial invading force. I was part of first marine division categorized into RCP-7. Third battalion seventh marines, weapons company cap 1. I was basically in the main invasion all the way up into Baghdad. Once Baghdad fell, my battalion headed south towards the city of Karbala."

GOODMAN: Can you talk about your experience there?

MASSEY: What led up to my disgust with the war was the civilian casualties we were inflicting.
...whenever we were placed into these situations where civilian vehicles were coming up to our checkpoints, and not heeding our warning shot, we were lighting them up...discharging 50 cals and M-16's into the civilian vehicles...this happened continuously through the fall of Baghdad. I would say my platoon alone killed 30-plus innocent civilians...just average civilians trying to flee out of Iraq, or excuse me ,out of Baghdad, out of the city limits because of the invading American force. They were scared.

GOODMAN: "...describing, quote, lighting up cars, opening fire on Iraqi cars. When you would go up to the cars and see who was dead inside, what would you do with the bodies?

MASSEY: We would take the bodies and search them...toss them in the ditch and off the road..."

GOODMAN: How many children would you estimate you killed?

MASSEY: "...it sickened me so that I had actually brought it up to my lieutenant, and I told him, I said, you know, sir, we're not going to have to worry about the Iraq...we're basically committing genocide over here...setting up genocide for future generations within Iraq."

AMY GOODMAN: "You talk about opening fire on a group of protesters."
GOODMAN: Can you describe it?
MASSEY: Sure, we had just rolled up into this military compound area... there was a group of demonstrators...
holding a peaceful demonstration... holding up signs that looked like a Muslim cleric as well as Saddam Hussein...about four of them and ten in the background...standing next to a highway overpass...my marines opened up on demonstrators...didn't see any weapons. It just horrified me at the thought that we just opened up on a group of peaceful demonstrators.
GOODMAN: "What about the use of cluster bombs?
MASSEY: Cluster bombs were everywhere...long-term casualties of these cluster bombs with children and -- you know, older people working in the fields is going to go on for years.
GOODMAN: Where were they from?
MASSEY: Marine Artillery and air.
GOODMAN: In the case of the protests, when you realized that you had open fire on defenseless civilians, what was the he reaction of your troops? How many people felt the way you did?

MASSEY: The reaction of the troops was they were joyous. However, Iraq violated every rule of engagement violated every rule of the Geneva, Convention that I have been taught.
...the bullets that we put into the civilians were paid for by the U.S. Tax dollar. I believe that the U.S. Taxpayers have a rate to know what's going on over there. When we pulled into that military compound, they had makeshift morgues. They had tractor-trailer beds full of bodies. We would find tractor-trailers literally full of civilian bodies. It was so bad that the plasma from the body and the skin was decomposing and literally oozing out of the crevices of the tractor-trailer bed. We asked some of the Iraqis how come, you know, the bodies are in there, and he told us it was from the bombing."

GOODMAN: Who do you hold most responsible for this?

MASSEY: The president of the United States. He's the win that authorized it. He's the one that said there were weapons of mass destruction. He's the one that gave the case to us for going to war.

GOODMAN: Jimmy Massey, thank you for being with us, former Marine staff sergeant, speaking to us from North Carolina.
MASSEY: Thank you.
GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!

Mr. Mocker, we all know none of this was true. Sergeant Massey has been exposed by fellow Marines and other reporters who were there. He made up the atrocities. They suited Amy's (and Pacifica's) Leftist agenda. Note Amy's leading questions. Ask yourself why no one ever bothered to check these stories before airing them. Ask yourself why this source of yours should be taken seriously by anyone.

Tenet said the Prague meeting was possible. The Czech Premier and his Intelligence minister stand by their report. The FBI have admitted they have no documents that show Atta was in the US during April 4-11 2001.
But Amy Goodman says it's not true.
Ridiculous. Admit it.
Bill Heuisler

Frederick Thomas - 12/2/2005

DN is not associated with Move-On.

Rather, I believe it is a program of Pacifica Radio, and it is, while avowably hard leftist, at least reasonable in its procedures, and I have watched it.

I apologise for confusing it with Al Franken et al which is purely a Soros production.

Have a good weekend!

Paul Mocker - 12/2/2005

failed "Move-On" propaganda outlet.

Have you heard the show or read the transcripts?

If so, you would know that it is a source of credible and legitimate news. It's s source for news one will never hear on Network TV.

I urge you to consider listening in order to supplement the news you intake. The show provides a different POV than the one I read in the NY Times and WSJ. And, as you know, the more perspectives we enjoy, the greater our understanding of this world.

And to understand is why I come to HNN.


Paul Mocker - 12/2/2005

The burden of war is shouldered in the main by the troops who are killed and wounded in that war. To suggest the Heritage study should've counted those who vainly applied to become soldiers is to miss the point of the study. To remain a civilian was no more a burden for uneducated, poor or minorities than they already had. To imply there is a value to knowing the intentions of those turned down is to pretend prescience or to read minds.
And to render the study worthless

The point of the study is to examine the changes in the demographics of SELECTED enlistees as a result of 9/11/01.

An examination of rejected applicants would reveal, or even highlight, the reasons for selection.

Also,we would know more about why applicants were selected by comparing their qualifications to those who were rejected.

The study isn't worthless and it is not rendered worthless by my suggestion.

Paul Mocker - 12/2/2005

Further, when you deny my purported facts on the basis of an ephemeral factoid tumbling in your memory, that denial (of the Prague meeting of an Iraqi Colonel with a 9/11 terrorist 5 months before the attack) insults me and devalues your judgement of what is important.

Re: Prague Meeting
Source: Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: In September of 2003, the Vice President went on the offensive to justify the invasion of Iraq. In a lengthy interview on NBC's Meet the Press, he portrayed Iraq as the geographic base for the September 11 attacks. In the interview, he reasserted the debunked claim that Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer.
VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: With respect to 9/11, of course, you have had the story that's been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack. But we have never been able to develop any more of that yet, either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don't know.
AMY GOODMAN: In fact, that claim had been found to be untrue. The F.B.I. investigated, found nothing to substantiate the report of the meeting. In fact, the F.B.I. concluded Atta was most likely in Florida at the time. Even the Czech president, Vaclav Havel, told The New York Times in October 2002, that there was no evidence to confirm reports of the meeting. In an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, David Wise wrote that only moments before Powell addressed the U.N. in February 2003, Scooter Libby, Cheney's chief of staff at the time, was frantically trying to reach you, Colonel Wilkerson, by cell phone to persuade Powell to include the supposed link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in the speech.
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Yes, I know David. He's an excellent writer, and he's a very incisive voice in terms of criticizing the intelligence community, in particular. As far as the call on the floor of the U.N. Security Council goes, I was not taking any calls that morning. I had told all of the people who were supporting me that I was getting ready for the presentation, that I wasn't going to take any calls. I broke my own rule and took one call from Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, feeling that it was in my interest to take my boss's call. But I didn't take the call from Vice President's chief of staff, Scooter Libby. I referred it to someone else. So I'm not here to say that Scooter Libby called on the floor of the U.N. Security Council to the point that you're addressing or that David addressed; the person to whom I did refer the call could probably assure you of that, because that's the information I obtained later.
But more important than that is, I think, is the story you referred to did keep coming up. It came up a number of times in rehearsals where Dr. Rice, Mr. Hadley, Scooter Libby, Mr. Armitage, the Secretary and I, and the D.C.I. and D.D.C.I., were all present. And I remember one time vividly, because Mr. Tenet and the Secretary of State had agreed that that story did not have enough firmness, did not have enough foundation to be included in his remarks, everyone agreed on that, but I remember one story in particular or one scene in particular where we were rehearsing it, it was one of the later rehearsals in the D.C.I.'s conference room out at Langley, and Stephen Hadley leaned forward and said, “What happened to the Mohammed Atta story?” And the Secretary looked at him and fixed him with his eyes and said, “We took that out.” And to Mr. Hadley's credit, he sheepishly grinned and leaned back in his chair and said, “Oh, yes, I remember now.” So we had completely discounted that story by the time we made the presentation in New York.

Paul Mocker - 12/2/2005

Sorry, but telling me to listen to a program, read a magazine or take a forgotten source on faith does not rise to the level of attribution for specific statements. I could just as well tell you to read the Bible for references to beatitude. Do you have a specific article?

Re Curveball: Democracy Now! transcript

AMY GOODMAN: Then Secretary of State, Colin Powell, speaking at the United Nations February 5, 2003. The Iraqi chemical engineer Powell referred to is an informant codenamed “Curveball.” In a major article this past weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported five senior officials from Germany's federal intelligence service say they warned U.S. intelligence that information provided by Curveball could not be trusted or confirmed. The L.A. Times reports the C.I.A. corroborated Curveball's story with three sources. Two had ties to Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. All three turned out to be frauds. The German authorities also told The Los Angeles Times that the informant suffered from emotional and mental problems and was not psychologically stable. Lieutenant Wilkerson, your response, and your involvement in the preparation of this absolutely key speech in the lead-up to the invasion?
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Well, I must tell you that when I heard Secretary Powell uttering those words yet again, my heart sank another inch or two. I have said before, I'll say it again, it was a low point in my professional career. I was in charge of the task force at the Secretary's orders to put together his presentation on 5 February, 2003 at the U.N. Security Council, and I spent six, seven days and nights at the Central Intelligence Agency barely sleeping, as did my team, and then two days in New York with the same routine, putting this production together.
And I have read the stories, and I have heard people in the government who now continue to talk to me, talk about Curveball. I have also heard them talk about Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose story also, gained under other than Geneva Convention interrogation techniques, has now been recanted. That was the story that connected al-Qaeda and Baghdad very closely prewar. I have heard that story blown out of the water. Now I have heard the Curveball story blown out of the water.
I have no other defense than to say I sat in the room with the Secretary of State and the Director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet, and listened to George Tenet and listened to John McLaughlin, his deputy, the D.D.C.I., and listened to his best national intelligence officers assure the Secretary of State, assure me, that this was a sound source, that indeed it was multiple-sourced, that everything we were seeing about the biological weapons labs was accurate. We could depend on it. It was a slam dunk. And now I have serious questions about -- after reading the L.A. Times piece, the Washington Post piece, I have serious questions in my mind about how we got to that point, because no one ever said a word to us during that intense preparation period, about Ibn Shaykh al-Libi's possible lack of veracity, because of the way he was interrogated, or more seriously, about Curveball and the doubts that existed in a number of places about his veracity.

Frederick Thomas - 12/2/2005

Mr. Mocker:

With due respect, this response does not answer Mr. Heuisler's question.

He asked for a "source," not a failed "Move-On" propaganda outlet.

Bill Heuisler - 12/1/2005

Mr. Mocker,
This particular war is literally for the survival of freedom and Western Civilization. Cost and benefit have no real meaning in self-defense.

You assume arguments not in play when you include a numerical component not measured. No one has suggested the wealthy share - or do not share - any burden at all. This inference is made without defining wealthy and so has no meaning in Rangel's bill or in Sleeper's implication.

The unconnected Sleeper comment was obviously meant to smear the Bush administration as taking advantage of social situations that do not exist in the real world. My response was to show its absurdity and its falsehood.
See Congressman Rangel's comments on the draft and notice the similarities.
Then recall how the Congressman didn't vote for his own bill.

The burden of war is shouldered in the main by the troops who are killed and wounded in that war. To suggest the Heritage study should've counted those who vainly applied to become soldiers is to miss the point of the study. To remain a civilian was no more a burden for uneducated, poor or minorities than they already had. To imply there is a value to knowing the intentions of those turned down is to pretend prescience or to read minds.
And to render the study worthless.

As to your hurt feelings, my intent was to highlight a certain imbalance in sourcing. I provide, you critique. I ask, you decline. You opine and ask me to take it on faith.

Sorry, but telling me to listen to a program, read a magazine or take a forgotten source on faith does not rise to the level of attribution for specific statements. I could just as well tell you to read the Bible for references to beatitude. Do you have a specific article? Testimony?
I do.

And if the Prague meeting hasn't enough importance to jog your memory, that lack of interest signals just how seriously you take the issue.

Further, when you deny my purported facts on the basis of an ephemeral factoid tumbling in your memory, that denial (of the Prague meeting of an Iraqi Colonel with a 9/11 terrorist 5 months before the attack) insults me and devalues your judgement of what is important.
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 12/1/2005

Mr Thomas,
Mr. Kovachev's comments are chilling because they are so accurate. This Clarke character has become a poster-boy for "slander and defeatist and scare-mongering rubbish" and drives Kovachev's point home every time he invades HNN with his empty drivel. I've apparently become a raison d'etre for the poor man - more so since I don't waste time answering.

Before answering Clarke again notice how his posts are so long on inane comment and so short on factual discussion. He spews inference with no induction, deduction or process. There's no thought or weight nor a reasonable point to launch a counter. I refuse to waste my time on vapid fools whose only energy is hatred and envy.

Might I suggest your time, mind and elegant writing is wasted on him also?
Bill Heuisler

Frederick Thomas - 12/1/2005

Mr. Kovachev:

I do not believe that I have seen this thought so well expressed.

I seem to recall that "democracy only lasts until the rabble discovers that it can vote itself money from the government treasury."

Let's hope it is not so.

Frederick Thomas - 12/1/2005

Mr. Mocker:

Your proposal may yield an understanding of how to war was handled. The issue however was always the result, and how should it be evaluated. For that, you need a few numbers, and as I said, it is very easy to do mathematically.

Regarding the "how":

At New Ordeans, Jackson used the rifled musket, a superior technology, to demolish Pakenham's forces at 200-300 paces. The United Stetes used guided munitions to engage the Iraqis at a much greater range than that.

Both involve the use of superior technology to defeat an enemy less well equipped, which is the "how" of most great victories.

Or consider Hannibal at Cannae, in the use of elephants and flanking cavalry in unison, or the Spartans and Persians at Thermopalae, in the critical use of terrain.

However, none of these older battles except Cannae was so decisive as we were in Iraq. It was truly an historic achievement, and it should offend no one to acknowledge that.

Peter Kovachev - 12/1/2005

When political hacks and pseudo-scholars freely publish slander and defeatist and scare-mongering rubbish in the middle of a war, we aren't witnessing intellectual flowering, admirable dissent or heart-warming examples of what democracy is all about, but a sobering reminder that our "liberal democratic experiment" has a finite shelf life.

There is a reason why liberal democracies are so rare in history. From our own example it apparently takes no more than a generation or two to produce a fifth column with a high social status, to provide it with cushy jobs in the media, education and entertainment industries, and to get the public frightened, tied-up in knots of moral self-doubt, and busy with gazing at its navel.

The unfortunate bit is that there is beggar-all we can do about it. Either we'll eventually revert to non-democratic models or we'll get roughly shoved off by others as we mumble profuse apologies; fascism or a form of slavery. And, it doesn't look like there is a remedy. Had there been one, we would have maintained without break our liberal and egalitarian outlooks which served our hunter-gatherer ancestors for tens of thousands of years.

Paul Mocker - 12/1/2005

US intelligence to counting men who don't fight as US fighting men

I think you are referring to the Heritage study. There are flaws in it and if you want to talk about them, let me know.

Paul Mocker - 12/1/2005

Don't preach to me about a search for the truth

I wasn't preaching. I assumed you want to learn more. If that isn't true, feel free to correct me.

Paul Mocker - 12/1/2005

Share a source.

Democracy Now! It's a radio show. I don't write citations to sources when I listen to it so I can't provide specific sources. I believe you could listen to the archives to find out. I don't have the time.

Curveball was mentioned in a show last week.

The Prague incident - I can't recall the particular show. Sorry.

Have you heard the show?

Paul Mocker - 12/1/2005

Mr. Thomas,

I haven't seen your response.

Paul Mocker - 12/1/2005

Your comment is why I usually stop chatting on the Internet. You never would say that to me in person. If you would, say so now, and I will end our conversation.

It's the anonymity provided by the Internet that makes it easy for people to be rude.

Paul Mocker - 12/1/2005

This is good conversation.

If I understand you correctly, what is good for the goose isn't good for the gander, in my opinion. The benefits of war and the costs of war are not shared equally, are they? I'm still learning about war so feel free to share your view.

I can't speak for Gore and Kerry. I don't know why they enlisted (or were drafted); I wouldn't reject any conjecture about their motivations for going to war. On the surface, I agree with you that they are examples of wealthy people being willing to share the burden.

But they haven't disproved it.

The Heritage study doesn't disprove it either. Table 2 shows U.S. Military Recruits by Household Income - by population quintile. The data is too aggregated to make the claim that the wealthy share the burdent equally. I would like to see Decile ranges (or narrower) so that I can see the pattern of enlistment for people in the highest income households (i.e. 100K - 150K, 150K - 200K.)

Frederick Thomas - 12/1/2005

Mr. Clark:

Calm down. Tale a deep breath, and remember your heart condition.

"It is becoming obvious why Mr. Heuisler ... has been so steadfastly reluctant, until now, to document his extreme assertions. ".

Mr. Clark, by my count you exceed him in postings and verbosity, and your extreme assertions outnumber all of us. There is nothing wrong with admitting the flaws in your arguments which all come out the same way, ie mindless Bush, Rove and Rumsfeldt bashing. Karl Marx is dead. Stalin too, and Lenin. Just deal with it. Your side is in a political fight while it loses more all the time.

The Murtha dem fiasco is one hell of a PR setback, and 63% say that we should stay the course. Meanwhile every dumb-a***d dem gets out there braying for a withdrawal. It seems that you gentlemen of the left do not know how to sense the populace, judge a defeat honestly and change course accordingly.

Hint: embrace Zell Miller and Southern whites for a change, fire Chappadequik Ted and your six-pack of racist blacks as press agents, and fire George Soros as your "owner" (sic).

"What kind of military commander goes up on stage with a high-school-cheerleader-like "Plan for Victory" billboard nearly 3 years into the botched operation?"

Uh, Bill Clinton? Posed photo op speeches with a buch of guys standing behind you and billboards are quintessential Bill, and were surely more numerous in the BC era than the present. Unfortunately, they work, so we will see more of them, yuch!

Have an evenhanded, independent day!

Bill Heuisler - 12/1/2005

Mr. Mocker,
You're a selfish man. You demand all kinds of sources and facts, but don't share anything but wispy opinions about everything from US intelligence to counting men who don't fight as US fighting men, anonymous sources and snide advice for simple folk like me who can't quite grasp the complexity of your learned world.

Your turn. Share a source. Give your data that shows US intelligence can't be trusted. Back up your opinions.

And take your own advice before dismissing the al Ani Prague meeting with Atta - the lead 9/11 highjacker.
Your naysaying source is at odds with Tenet, who says it may have happened; with the Czech Prime Minister and his Chief of Intel; with the FBI who said Atta was en-route to Virginia during the April days in question, but who now admit there were no motel records and their only evidence was Atta's cell phone records during the 4th to the 11th of April 2001.

Credibility? Anyone can use a cell phone, but the Czechs deported al Ani immediately after the meeting with the "Hamberg student" the "Arab male in his 20s". No one saw Atta in the US during the time in question and he'd been reported (and photographed) in Prague the year before. It's not like the Czechs would confuse him.

Don't preach to me about a search for the truth while you ignore evidence and base your rejection of such an important matter on "one source" who you can't even name.

Sounds like you don't want to know the truth because it might not agree with your preconceptions. Answer some of my questions now.
Bill Heuisler

Paul Mocker - 11/30/2005

The truth depends on credibility.

U.S. intelligence is not to be trusted because it probably is faulty (i.e. relies on known liars - Curveball is one) or has been politicized by the administration.

The Prague incident did not happen, according to one source.

Listen to Democracy Now to supplement your search for the truth, Mr. Heuisler.

Paul Mocker - 11/30/2005

Thank you for the information, Mr. Heuisler. I will try to find the time to do the research you suggest. In the meantine, we can discuss the Heritage study.

That report has flaws which render the conclusion less valid than it could have been had those flaws been addressed.

The primary weakness is that he should have studied all applicants instead of only those accepted.

I won’t get into the other flaws now, except to point out that had the author followed his own advice, his conclusion would have had more validity. He wrote, “One way to test this [Rangel’s] thesis is to explore demographics of enlistees….” He should have performed these tests, and then analyzed those data PRIOR to reaching the conclusions he made in this study.

Why he didn’t perform the other tests is a matter I would like to explore another day. For now, all I can say is that if it’s indeed true that the middle classes are now providing the soldiers, then there is now a better (though not perfect) match between the those who provide the service of war and those who receive the benefit of war.

Bill Heuisler - 11/30/2005

Mr. Mocker,
You're welcome.
My point in accusing Mr. Sleeper of wanting to send poor blacks into combat was largely rhetorical, but based on the oft-cited "results" by Charles Rangel as he attempts to race-bait the draft issue - those same share-the-burden arguments Sleeper copied for his hyperbolic adventure into twisted partisanship.

A goose-and-gander thing, right?

By the way, Gore and Kerry scions disproved the Rangel argument with their brave exploits in Vietnam...
Didn't they?
Bill Heuisler

Bill Heuisler - 11/30/2005

Mr. Rodden,
Iraq vs. US terror connections are thoroughly explored in:

If you can't open the link it's the WSJ Opinion Journal Monday, September 22, 2003 at 12:01 a.m.

The summary doesn't mention the Jan 2001 meeting in Kuala lumpur between two of the 9/11 highjackers, Midhar and Hazmi, and a senior member of Saddam's Intelligence, Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. But it lays out irrefutable facts about Iraq attacks on the US without even mentioning Saddam's attempt to assassinate HW Bush.

Your demand for evidence puzzles me. This stuff isn't new. Why pretend it doesn't exist? Either refute the names and dates with specific facts, or just say you don't care about the truth. But stop pretending, please. It comes across as boringly partisan.
Bill Heuisler

Glenn Rodden - 11/30/2005

"Since you insist on repeatedly mischaracterizing the ordinary understanding of many of my assertions, I will not argue with them, except your last, which is really gross:"

If you want to cut-and-run that is fine, but which assertion did I mischaracterize? You are the one who cannot understand Sleepers argument. It sounds like you have nothing to support your assertions.

"Al Qua'ida and Saddam himself published press releases stating that Mogadishu proves that the United States will run away when faced with casualties."

So, you believe Al Queda propaganda. That statement, however, does not prove that any terrorists was encouraged to attack the US because of the Somolia incident. Those terrorists need no such encouragement. And please provide evidence of Iraqi terrorists who attacked the US before we invaded Iraq in 2003.

Frederick Thomas - 11/30/2005

Thanks for an intelligent post which eloquently states your argument and the rationale for it, however wrong.

I would like to expand upon a few of your points, if I may.

The Ottomans indeed had a better idea, by separating the nationalities into provinces, something the Mongols had done before, and which Britain unfortunately did not do when she inherited the place.

Britain made the same mistake in India, Nigeria, Kenya Afghanistan, etc. leading to millions of dead and hatreds still flaring. Churchill had it right. I think he called the independence of Iraq a "dog's breakfast," or words to that effect.

Let's set aside the rationale for the war, all sides of which seem difficult to substantiate in the flare of partisan emotion. But consider my point of the success of the war-or not.

You said, " Face it, only the U.N. can clear up this mess. And apart from WWI and WWII, what are the great military exploits of the US anyway? Mexico 1847? The Spanish-American War?"

Actually, the greatest was the Civil War, with over 600,000 dead, and some of the most brilliant, or stupid, but always hard fighting in anyone's history. Chancellorsville, probably not far from where your family lives, was the absolute model for an envelopement. You should walk that one, then ask yourself, "How did they do that?" Then there was 1812, when Pakingham, at New Orleans with his army of 8,000 redcoats backed by a fleet, was destroyed and routed by a lesser number of Ulster-Scots Americans with only two advantages: Andrew Jackson and the rifle. How about Korea? The Inchon landing was as brilliant as any military maneuver in history. How about Gulf War I? And if we do mention WWI or II, we were not initially defeated in these wars as were many, and our presence won them both. Then there's the American Revolution, which I suppose we won against you (merci, France). And finally Vietnam, in which, though prevented from doing it right, we won every battle except the battle for the media, which was won by lefties.

Compared to this the UN has never produced anything, or won anything, or contributed to anything more than systemic corruption and the ritzy restaurants on the east side of New York. Then of course we have the present UN rape scadals in Africa.

I know you don't believe it, but this war was won in a most remarkable way.

And the terrorist phase now underway simply allows us to kill the stinking al-Qua'ida s***s before they come to London to bomb some more busses and trains, or the same thing in New York.

I think that a functioning democracy will result, and soon, in Iraq, which will be what Britain should have done some time ago. Mark my words.

Good luck to you, Brit!

Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 11/30/2005

Give me a break. Both parties have such operatives and shills.

Frederick Thomas - 11/30/2005

Mr. Rodden:

Since you insist on repeatedly mischaracterizing the ordinary understanding of many of my assertions, I will not argue with them, except your last, which is really gross:

"Which terrorists groups were encouraged to attack the US based on this incident?"

Al Qua'ida and Saddam himself published press releases stating that Mogadishu proves that the United States will run away when faced with casualties.

Saddam supplied hundreds of copies of "Black Hawk Down" to his military and intelligence services to demonstrate how to defeat the US after losing a conventional war. This was reported everywhere, including the NY Times.

Is this a clear enough connection for you?

Paul Mocker - 11/30/2005

Mr, Heuisler,


Distributing the burden fairly to you, Mr. Sleeper must mean sending poor, uneducated blacks into combat.

does not follow logically from this:

The professional volunteers in combat now in Iraq are largely middle-class Caucasians, half having some college education and all having a high-school degree.

I realize that you didn't say only poor. But you should have said that sending the poor AND THE RICH would be a fair distribution of the burden.

Somehow you missed it.

P.S. Thanks for the citation of the Heritage study.

Paul Mocker - 11/30/2005

Except, of course, for the "independents" who stand, unaffected by liberal jargon and cant when writing screeds! Who knows what they "care" about?

Mr. Heisler,

I can only speak for myself.

I consider myself independent of the orthodox views and dogma of both major US political parties.

I view both parties as threats to democracy as they have shown they don't want to hear all opinions. Instead of debate, they want silence. Neither party wants to do what is right; each favors actions which entrench their positions of privilege in our system.

I feel that members of both parties give legitimacy to the corruption legalized into our political system. I know that there are hardworking and honest Dems and Repubs and that many of these people agree with me. Many of these people are working to end the abuses and failures of our system. (I admire John McCain for his work in this regard.)

I have voted for a Democrat or Republican presidential candidate only twice out of the seven times I have been eligible to vote. Both times were to prevent a candidate who was clearly unqualified to govern.

If you want to know more about what I "care" about, feel free to email me at:

Best regards.

John Flanagan - 11/30/2005

This argument seems to be a circular one. The point about Iraq is that when we invaded (I opposed going in - like many Brits - but I am not now, nor have I ever been a 'leftie') we demolished the only power structure that kept the place running. After all, a country composed of three distinct groups (Sunni, Shia, Kurd) with a tradition of mutual hatred, needed (believe it) Saddam. When the place was under Ottoman rule, it was divided into three provinces that reflected those nationalities. I am ashamed, utterly ashamed that PM Blair got caught up in this adventure, which seems ill concieved. But I suppose it is also true that the great American characteristics - never give up, and never think things through - meant a bumpy ride from the off.
Don't get me wrong, I love America: I have family in Va. and visit when I'm able. But you guys really need to get some TV news with a millimetre or two of analysis. Over here (UK) we had a show called 'Dispatches' last week, in which the reporter (embedded with US troops) was able to interview Iraqis anonymously. They revealed that the peace on the streets is kept by (Shia) members of the Sadr army; that much of the south around Basra is under de-facto Sharia law already (Sadr army again); and that this phenomenon is spreading fast. It is spreading because the Coalition forces want it that way, because that is the only way in which the country can have the appearance of being peaceful. the doc pointed out that this strategy has a flaw of course, in that it would appear to turn the south of the country over to Islamic/Iranian fundamentalism. If this is a victory, its a sorry one.
But the circularity of the argument is there nonetheless: stay in Iraq and it gets worse; leave, and it still gets worse. Face it, only the U.N. can clear up this mess.
And apart from WWI and WWII, what are the great military exploits of the US anyway? Mexico 1847? The Spanish-American War?
And if you want terrorist groups who have attacked because if Iraq, we had that in London in July. Mind you, compared with the IRA, this lot are revealed to be a collection of amateurs, but they are still lethal.
Sorry to rant, but I had to get it off me chest...

Charles Edward Heisler - 11/29/2005

There you go namesake, destroying another liberal myth! How can you keep up undercutting the very mother's milk from these protectors of the poor and oppressed? They live to "care" because they are so very "caring" and if you keep up showing them that our combat soldiers are middle class then they may stop "caring" for them so very much.
Except, of course, for the "independents" who stand, unaffected by liberal jargon and cant when writing screeds! Who knows what they "care" about?

Glenn Rodden - 11/29/2005

Mr. Thomas: You are still missing the point because Sleeper is writing about a Bush administration strategy for leaving Iraq.

You claim that Mr. Sleeper actually says:

"Republicans want...to cover their own cut-and-run strategy, which has been to send “our brave men and women” to fight while cutting taxes..."

That is an accurate quote, but in his first paragraph Sleeper wrote:

"The uproar in the House of Representatives on the Friday before Thanksgiving over the Republicans’ phony proposal for “immediate withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Iraq revealed not just that their side of the aisle swarms with political reptiles and 40-year-old high-school debaters; that much isn’t news, even to independents like me. What it really showed is that Republicans now desperately need the anti-war movement their Democratic colleagues refused to give them in the vote on the resolution."

So, who "blew it" on this one?

FT: "As far as the rest of your points, sorry, but they too are similarly based upon misreadings. And the very costly wars which "Democrats" started were indeed in two cases ended by Republicans."

Misreading what? Are you arguing that Republicans opposed American entry into WWII after Pearl Harbor, or what? What did it matter which party was in power?

FT: "I note that since Reagan, the Republicans have performed superbly as war managers, the Democrats miserably."

And the evidence to support this claim is what?

FT: "The most humiliating 'cut-and-run' was Clinton's in Mogadishu, after he had denuded the US forces of the heavy equipment they needed to do the job."

Of course this ignores Reagan's retreat from Lebanon when Marine barracks were bombed? But I guess that is an example of great Repbulican decision-making.

FT: "This bit of leftist warmaking specifically encouraged terrorists all over the world."

Which terrorists groups were encouraged to attack the US based on this incident? Please provide evidence for this assertion.

Bill Heuisler - 11/29/2005

Mr. Mocker,
Here's a reference to a Heritage Foundation study:

By Rowan Scarborough
Published November 8, 2005

"Middle-class youths, not the poor, are providing the bulk of wartime recruits to the armed forces, according to a new study by a conservative think tank.
The Heritage Foundation research paper found that a higher percentage of middle-class and upper-middle-class families have been providing enlistees for the war on Islamic militants since the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Researchers matched the ZIP codes of recruits over the past five years with federal government estimates of household incomes in those neighborhoods. Contrary to complaints from some liberal lawmakers and pundits, the data show that the poor are not shouldering the bulk of the military's need for new soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.
The poorest neighborhoods provided 18 percent of recruits in prewar 1999 and 14.6 percent in 2003. By contrast, areas where household incomes ranged from $30,000 to $200,000 provided more than 85 percent.
"We found that recruits tend to come from middle-class areas, with disproportionately fewer from low-income areas," said the report, prepared by Tim Kane, an Air Force Academy graduate and economics scholar. "Overall, the income distribution of military enlistees is more similar to than different from the income distribution of the general population."
The debate was begun in 2002 by Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, as U.S. troops were fighting in Afghanistan and preparing for war in Iraq.
"A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while most privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent," Mr. Rangel wrote in the New York Times. The lawmaker called on the Bush administration to reinstate compulsory service.
Mr. Rangel's Washington office did not respond yesterday to the Heritage report.
The draft was discontinued in 1973, and the all-volunteer force eventually grew into what many national security officials see as the best-trained military force in history.
The Heritage report states that median household income for all enlisted recruits in 1999 was $41,141, compared with the national median of $41,994. By 2003, the recruit household income reached $42,822, when adjusted for inflation.
"In other words, on average, recruits in 2003 were from wealthier neighborhoods than were recruits in 1999," said the report, titled, "Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11."
Mr. Kane said overall evidence "is at odds with the image, painted by some supporters of the draft, that the military exploits poor, ignorant young Americans by using slick advertising that promises technical careers in the military to dupe them into trading their feeble opportunities in the private sector for a meager role as cannon fodder."
About 98 percent of all enlistees from 1999 to 2003 had a high school diploma, compared with 75 percent of nonrecruits nationwide.
"In an education context, rather than attracting underprivileged young Americans, the military seems to be attracting above-average Americans," Mr. Kane wrote.

Bill Heuisler - 11/29/2005

Mr. Mocker,
Caucasian includes hispanic. Middle class is defined as not coming from poverty or wealth. Combat troops are far different demographically than support troops. Google combat troops demographics and spend the afternoon reading all the hits and numbers.

BTW, there's virtually no data that supports the "draft = fair burden" argument any more.

Look up news mag studies/discussions on the draft (there have been quite a few since Charlie proposed the draft resolution and then voted against it). He's the ranking Dem on Armed Services and the Congressional Record is full of stats since he advanced his cynical ploy. Google Rangel's draft proposal, for instance.

Here's the DOD link:
Lots of info. Too much. Closer to home, look up the demographics from HQ Marine Corps which tend to be even more pronounced in the direction of my assertion.
Bill Heuisler

Paul Mocker - 11/29/2005

The professional volunteers in combat now in Iraq are largely middle-class Caucasians, half having some college education and all having a high-school degree.

Mr. Heuisler,

Can you provide support for this assertion?

How are you defining middle-class?

Paul Mocker - 11/29/2005

Mr. Thomas,

You post lacks analysis. Instead, you have provided an ordinal list and concluded that the war with the lowest kill ratio is the most "brilliant" (in your words.)

A proper analysis would examine:

a. Strength of opponents;
b. Changes in technology and their impacts on military weapons and kill ratios;
c. Political factors such as presidential political goals, consensus and diviseness of the U.S. citizenry at the time of the war;
d. All wars. (You left out Kosovo and 19th Century wars)
e. Projections of deaths of soldiers dying after the war from illness or injury suffered during the war. For example, depleted uranium will have some effect on kill ratios.

I suspect that this Iraq war will be lower on your ordinal list after you take into account these factors.

Bill Heuisler - 11/29/2005

J. Kent,
Discussions at HNN are for those who will defend their opinions vigorously and without hard feelings.

Those who rush to declare Iraq a mistake and who assert no connection to terror or 9/11 - armed only with their partisan grudges - should expect disputation. When discussions involve our sons and brothers who fight for the cause of freedom and for the self defense of our nation (whether you agree with them or not, they believe)those discussions become very personal. No offense was meant, unless you meant to insult them.

Thanks for the offer, though.
Best wishes, Bill

Bill Heuisler - 11/29/2005

Mr. Sleeper,
Politically independent? You cheer anti-war Dems' ploy of having their cowardly screed while recording the opposite. Your heroes are the ones who demoralize the real heroes. You parrot Dem talking points that ignore Laffer Curve higher revenues, higher domestic spending and that promote a hateful deceit that only the poor and minorities fight in American wars.

But you - as a reporter - know the truth, don't you? You figure we're just a bunch of rubes interested in history only at academic distance. Wrong, Mr. reporter.

You criticized Repubs, "...dodging the institution of a draft to distribute the war’s burdens fairly."

Really? Ignoring reality to join Rangel's racist ranks sounds very partisan to me. The draft was wrong, racist and anti-poor (and you know that very well, don't you?).

You know the draft gave deferment to college students and military service was disdained by many of the elite, so less educated and less affluent boys went over. You know that.

The professional volunteers in combat now in Iraq are largely middle-class Caucasians, half having some college education and all having a high-school degree. You know that too.

Talk about hypocrisy. Distributing the burden fairly to you, Mr. Sleeper must mean sending poor, uneducated blacks into combat. But you know...

Could you be quoting Democrat talking points? Or does your dishonest HNN article depend on our ignorance?
Independent? Not a chance.
Bill Heuisler

Frederick Thomas - 11/29/2005

Mr. Rodden:

Thank you for your comments, but are we reading the same article? Mr. Sleeper actually says:

"Republicans want...to cover their own cut-and-run strategy, which has been to send “our brave men and women” to fight while cutting taxes..."

In case you did not notice, Mr. Sleeper's poor attempt at humor has nothing to so with your characterization of it; he was talking about cutting taxes, you about leaving Iraq. You said:

"He is arguing that the Bush administration is getting ready to cut-and-run in Iraq because public support for the war is declining."

Agreed that you blew that one totally?

As far as the rest of your points, sorry, but they too are similarly based upon misreadings. And the very costly wars which "Democrats" started were indeed in two cases ended by Republicans.

I note that since Reagan, the Republicans have performed superbly as war managers, the Democrats miserably. The most humiliating 'cut-and-run' was Clinton's in Mogadishu, after he had denuded the US forces of the heavy equipment they needed to do the job. This bit of leftist warmaking specifically encouraged terrorists all over the world.

Charles Edward Heisler - 11/29/2005

I guess it was your very artistic aping of Liberal rhetoric, right down to the clever use of their many buzz words and your convoluted defense of the Democrats cowardly shrinking from from a cause they fostered that had me thinking you weren't an "independent" Jim!
Maybe like the terms "hero" and "victim", "independent" has mutated to mean quite something else these days.

J. Kent McGaughy - 11/29/2005


This is off-topic, but last week I took strong exception to the manner in which you questioned my patriotism and wrote some words I regret.

I wish you could understand that my criticism of the Iraq war and the current administration are motivated by my patriotism.

I've never questioned your patriotism. I do believe, however, your patriotism is tempered by your nationalism. As I read your posts, in many instances I'm reminded of Stephen Decauter's famous toast: "My Country, right or wrong, my Country."

Remember, when it comes down to it all we have is our patriotism and we must never lose sight of it. When the current situation in Iraq is over and past, it will be our mutual love of country that will allow for our nation to heal its wounds and try to put all of the animosity and acrimony behind us.

That being said, if you are interested in reading my book on R. H. Lee and the times in which he lived, I would be glad to send you one free of charge. Let me know a mailing address where it will reach you and I'll send it along.

I will not look to the History News Network for a reply to this post from you. If you are interested, contact me directly through my college email and provide me with a mailing address at that time:


james a sleeper - 11/29/2005

Several commentators here have challenge my self-characterization as "independent." They need to think of me as an ideological leftist or partisan Democrat: Since I call the Iraq venture incompetent, hypocritical, and corrupt, why then, of course I must be not an independent but a propagandist.
I am the author of a book, Liberal Racism, and of many articles that predicted the collapse of liberal-Democratic politics because of its growing incompetence, hypocrisy, and corruption on racial matters. Liberals and leftists called me a conservative and even a right-winger for that. I have been trying for some time to nudge our sad public discourse beyond tiresome, "liberal" vs. "conservative" debates and to use civic-republican lenses, through which conservatives don't come out looking very well these days. But that doesn't mean that liberals look much better. Both have let down the American republic. If you insist on a partisan either/or, we all lose.
My latest substantial effort is a long essay -- "Behind the Deluge of Porn, a Conservative Sea-Change" -- linked here at hnn at http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/18589.html)

John Edward Philips - 11/29/2005

I don't have time to review our entire military history for the successes, there are too many, but maybe I should ask what happened to Kosovo?

John Edward Philips - 11/29/2005

A poll reported today in the Washington Post has 60% of Americans believing that the democratic smear tactics re:Iraq are purely political.

Q: Do you believe that democratic [too bad the lower case doesn't come through in voice] smear tactics about the Iraq war were purely political?

A: 60% slam door, 24% say "Yup!", 16% ask "What have you been smoking?!?"

That makes 60% of those who answered agreeing with the questioners claim that "democratic [sic] smear tactics" were motivated purely by politics.

Charles Edward Heisler - 11/28/2005

Well we do enjoy how a "independent" leftist manages to put a smiley face on last week's dishonorable defection of the anti-war Democrats to political expediency. Face it Sleeper, there were only three Democrats deserving the JFK "Profiles in Courage" award in this vote. The rest of the Democrats were merely standing in a shrinking Quisling like line reading the hand writing on the wall for next year's mid-term.
Let's call spades spades and political cowards political cowards and stop all the painful excuse making.
Finally, if you are an "independent" act and talk like one instead of aping liberal Democrat talk!
Happy Holidays.

Bill Heuisler - 11/28/2005

Heroism? "Enduring for one moment more". But none of that for Sleeper. His heroes are bums, liars and the chronically fainthearted.

One year after victory in Fallugia, one month before Democratic elections and in the midst of one of the most breathtakingly successful military, geopolitical operations in history, Sleeper turns reality upside down.

In noxious counterpoint, he names losers and liars as heroes, favors higher taxes, the draft and - while condemning the war - asserts more troops should have been involved.

Sleeper cites Murtha who's wanted to pull out of every fight since he convinced Clinton to pull out of Somalia after 18 Rangers were killed. He mentions Moore, the confused Flint laborer who never labored; Calls Wilson (who forgot his wife got him a job and lied about Iraq purchasing-agents in Niger he reported to the CIA, but later denied in an Op-Ed piece) a dissenter. Also dissenter, Cindy Sheehan, who dishonored her son saying he died for nothing is one of Sleeper's icons.

He knows better - knows the truth.

He knows these people are addled, misled or plain evil, but it serves his cause to ignore the truth in hopes he can fool enough people who aren't paying attention.

His demons? A hundred or so decorated Americans called Swift Boat Vets. Not one of whom has lied, by the way.

And Sleeper accuses our leaders of breathtaking incompetence,hypocrisy corruption, disingenuous incompetence and corruption. Says they can’t cut and run from the responsibility by blaming anyone but themselves.

But who wants to cut and run? Dems.
Sleeper says it's those who want to stay the course. Blame? The war is rightfully blamed on Saddam and the Terrorists by those paying attention. Sleeper forgets all about 9/11.

And he's suposedly a reporter.
The breathtaking incompetence is in his article.
Bill Heuisler

Glenn Rodden - 11/28/2005

FT: You missed Sleeper's point. He is arguing that the Bush administration is getting ready to cut-and-run in Iraq because public support for the war is declining. According to Sleeper, Bush will blame the opposition to the war for for his strategy. Is this a paranoid theory? Maybe, but it worked for Nixon.

Also, your attempts at revisionst history are interesting. "The authors of Mogadishu, Bosnia, no-fly zones, and bombing the Chinese embassy dare to criticize the most successfully fought military operation in our history as "incompetent?" Whew.

President Bush I put US troops into Somalia, not Clinton. What is your specific complaint about the Bosnia conflict? What no-fly zones are you talking about? The no-fly zones in Iraq were established by Bush I.

"The problem with that is that fewer Americans all the time are willing even to listen, even in New York and new Haven, and the lockstep leftie press is fraying at the edges, among falling Nielsens and declining circulations. RIP."

All we need to know is what Fox News tells us.

"In Iraq an army of 3 millions was defeated by a force just 1/30 that number."

Where do these numbers come from? What 3 million man army did Iraq have.

"Remember: in WW I, 280,000, WW II, 440,000, Korea, 160,000, Vietnam, 56,000-all were under Democratic administrations."

Factually this is not correct. Eisenhower was president at the end of the Korean War and Nixon was president when half of our casualties were sustained during the Vietnam War. Moreover, what does this mean? Are you arguing that the military functions better under Republican administrations?

"The post main combat period is more difficult to measure, since the fighters are mainly recently imported non-Iraqis, and where local they are almost all Sunni arabs."

Difficult to measure? Measure what? Actually, the US military has developed a metric to measure success in Iraq: the body count.

"However, they are being wiped out, no matter how vicious, and at some point, Iraq will be free from them,"

What evidence do you have to support this statement. I have not read anything from the US military that says the insurgency will be soon wiped out. If that were true, why would we need to train 150,000 Iraqi security forces?

"and be a free democratic country in the mideast, like Afghanistan, the other Bush success."

And peace and love will reign supreme in Iraq. Gimme a break.

"I understand that leftist interests were out to make political hay of this situation, and make it appear a disaster. Instead, it is brilliant, and I suggest that Mr. Bush be allowed some credit for that."

What is brillian about getting involved in an endless war in the Middle East? If this is such a worthy cause, why isn't the president sending members of his own family to liberate Iraq and bring peace, love and charity to the Middle East?

"A poll reported today in the Washington Post has 60% of Americans believing that the democratic smear tactics re:Iraq are purely political. So be it."

As I stated before, those polls show that less than one third of Americans believe that Bush was honest about his reasons for going to war with Iraq and more than one half want US troops out in one year.

Frederick Thomas - 11/28/2005

Mr. Mocker:

You really do not have to conduct a poll to measure military success-it is very simple: measure the cost versus what was achieved. In Iraq an army of 3 millions was defeated by a force just 1/30 that number, in a week, with 140 US dead. Notwithstanding the awfulness of any loss of life, this is remarkable in every aspect. Wouldn't it have been nice to have done this well in any other US conflict? Remember: in WW I, 280,000, WW II, 440,000, Korea, 160,000, Vietnam, 56,000-all were under Democratic administrations.

The post main combat period is more difficult to measure, since the fighters are mainly recently imported non-Iraqis, and where local they are almost all Sunni arabs. However, they are being wiped out, no matter how vicious, and at some point, Iraq will be free from them, and be a free democratic country in the mideast, like Afghanistan, the other Bush success.

I understand that leftist interests were out to make political hay of this situation, and make it appear a disaster. Instead, it is brilliant, and I suggest that Mr. Bush be allowed some credit for that.

A poll reported today in the Washington Post has 60% of Americans believing that the democratic smear tactics re:Iraq are purely political. So be it.

Paul Mocker - 11/28/2005

the most successfully fought military operation in our history as "incompetent?"

I would like to know how many agree with this. Can someone give references to other opinions which would either agree or argue with this assertion?

Not to forget the author's laughable assertion that he is "independent."

In all seriousness, what is the test for whether one's political views can be properly called independent? I would like to know whether it is right or wrong to say someone is not independent based on one article, which Mr. Thomas appears to have done.

Frederick Thomas - 11/28/2005

...echoes in the land, expressed as just more strident trash talking.

"Incompetence, hypocrisy, and corruption?"

Hmmm... These bald assertions made without a word of substantiation are from the same smear-and-run leftoid camp followers as propagandised their way to power, with ever decreasing success, since 1932.

The party which is "owned," in his own words, by twice convicted felon and billionaire George Soros dares to accuse the other party of hypocracy and corruption? Amazing.

The authors of Mogadishu, Bosnia, no-fly zones, and bombing the Chinese embassy dare to criticize the most successfully fought military operation in our history as "incompetent?" Whew.

The message here is really, "please believe my trash talk. I so dearly want to be in power."

The problem with that is that fewer Americans all the time are willing even to listen, even in New York and new Haven, and the lockstep leftie press is fraying at the edges, among falling Nielsens and declining circulations. RIP.

Not to forget the author's laughable assertion that he is "independent." Sure. About as independent as Al Gore.

Tim M. Matthewson - 11/28/2005

The author claims that the Republicans are trying to bait the antiwar "left" -- whatever that means-- into taking irresponsible stands and thereby destroy the credibility of the Democrats, liberals and independents with the American people.
Under normal circumstances, I might respond that the author Mr. Sleeper is suffering from a mild case of paranoia and that he attributes too much machiavelian intelligence to the Republicans.
But having followed the careers of Lee Atwater, Carl Rove, David Horowitz, Anne Coulter and others, I'd say that such machiavelian paranoia about the Republicans is appropriate and is useful as a predictor of the behavior of certain Republican operatives.
The willingness of Republicans to play the role of agent provocateurs to reveal the weaknesses of the other side has been amply documented over the years.
When Lee Atwater was dieing of cancer, he asked publically for forgiveness from his opponents and from the American people. He recognized that his dirty tricks had left a long list of unsavory acts that would not resound well to his credit when he was dead.
He was right; his reputation is unsavory, even odious, but he and other like him have been enormously influential among Republicans, who now believe that it is just fine to use any means necessary to win power for Republicans.
Agents of the Republican noise machine such as Anne Coulter and David Horowitz have produced a plethora of best selling books that seek to provoke the opponents of the Iraq war. Coulter's book "Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism" has sold millions of copies.
Horowitz has accused Democrats of attempting to form an alliance with Islamic radicals against the United States. His book "Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left" is selling well.
Coulter and Horowitz are waiting for Democrats to do stupid things and to provide them and Republicans with fodder for this next attacks.
And the Swift Boat teams is warming up their noise machine waiting for Democrats to give them an opening.
Watch out! Certain elements on the right are well funded and ready to go on the offensive.