Saturday, July 26, 2008

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

And excellent Ralph Peters piece for your consideration. Indeed, the same could be said for those who think diplomacy can change the hearts of despots intent on destroying their imagined enemies.

68 comments:

Vinny said...

Very amusing.

Did it ever occur to you that the mess in Iraq is the result of an Administration that chose to listen to yakking neocon intellectuals like Paul Wolfowitz, Laurie Mylroie, and Bill Kristol who claimed we would be greeted as liberators, the war would pay for itself, and we would be out of there in a couple of months?

Democracy Lover said...

Peters has a point. There is no mechanism for enforcing the rule of law in states where the government is lawless. Whether Sudan, Zimbabwe, or anywhere else. Why not?

First, because no single nation, even with a couple of allies, can afford to take on the role of world policeman, and none would except when it was in their own national interest. That's why the US was hot to topple Saddam, but not Mugabe or the Saudi royal family.

Second, the only legitimate way that the "international community" can intervene inside sovereign nations would be through an international organization with a broad worldwide membership and with the power to intervene where needed without regard to the national interests of powerful nations. The US has made absolutely sure that the UN would never be such a force, and the price of that stance is the mess in Zimbabwe, and in Darfur.

Marshall Art said...

No, Vinny. That oversimplistic explanation never occurred to me, though I have heard it before. If you'll recall, for example, Bush said from the very beginning that nothing would come easy and that the war could be a struggle requiring our perserverance and determination.

Bush also made it clear that he felt, as did his predecessor and almost every Dem that went on to oppose him after making the move, that Hussein needed to be deposed to eliminate the threat he posed.

We were greeted as liberators by some, but not to the level suggested by your observations. That you choose to listen only to those that wanted us out from the beginning isn't surprising. On our side of the issue, we heard both voices.

I don't believe there's ever been a military action where the planners didn't think it would be a quick deal. As I've presented in the past, both the British and Colonials felt the same way about their struggle. It's a common sentiment at the beginning of every war.

As to paying for itself? Perhaps we'll see payment yet, though it might not be in dollars, but in the form of another ally in the region.

Marshall Art said...

DL,

For the most part I agree with your comments, until here:

"The US has made absolutely sure that the UN would never be such a force, and the price of that stance is the mess in Zimbabwe, and in Darfur."

The UN has made sure all by itself that it will be a worthless and impotent force in the world. We've tried to rattle their cage, but whiners blocked the appointment of the no-nonsense John Bolton.

Nor did we create the mess in Zimbabwe and Darfur. That's all home-grown crap with a little radical Islamic influence for good measure.

Vinny said...

I recall Wolfowitz publicly dismissing General Shinseki's opinion that it would take several thousand troops to secure Iraq after Saddam's was deposed.

I recall Bush playing "dress up" in the flight suit so he could get a photo op on the aircraft carrier under the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

I recall Bush daring the insurgents to "bring it on" because he thought the war was already won.

I recall Bush sticking with the incompetent Rumsfeld until the American people forced him to make a change by voting Democrats into office in 2006.

The politicians who start wars like to claim publicly that they are going to be quick and easy because that is the only way to sell them to the people. Sometimes they are smart enough to listen privately to the military men with the experience to know how hard wars can be. Bush wasn't.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Whilst researching to counter your last comments, I came across this article at AmericanThinker.com. It covers the silly references to Shinseki's calls for a billion troops. Consider, some call it an occupation now. Just think if we'd sent the half million Shinseki wanted! It also speaks to the "incompetency" of Rumsfeld, a totally political dismissal, not one based on his competency.

Regarding the Bush in the flight suit whine, I offer this one.

I also support Bush's "bring it on" statement. It's just the kind of response I want to hear from my president when confronted by Islamofacist wackjobs. Bush understands what you don't, that any other kind of response would be taken as a sign of weakness by the wackjobs. Only total fearlessness has any impression at all if anything truly does. They're coming anyway, why be a pussy?

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Regarding the flight suit issue, be sure to read some of the comments after the article. A couple of commenters were there at the time.

Vinny said...

Just think if we'd sent the half million Shinseki wanted!

We could have secured the Iraqi army's weapons stockpiles so that they did not fall into the hands of the insurgents. We could have provided security so that the Iraqi people would not have turned to sectarian militias for protection. Rumsfeld sure was clever not to let that happen!

Marshall Art said...

That might have been true, but whether or not reluctant draftees would have performed as well as most of the volunteers is debatable. That's the point of the first link in it's dismissal of Shinseki's perspective. In fact, in the period that followed the toppling of the Hussein regime, the troubles and mistakes made would most likely have been multiplied with an army composed mostly of draftees. It would have guaranteed nothing.

blamin said...

Vinny,

A half million? You’re absolutely correct.

But for some strange reason, I believe we would have heard such a bellyaching, witnessed such a panty-wetting, that was here-to-for unprecedented in the history of this country!

And then – no matter the successfulness of said strategy, we’d be privy to one of the most cunning re-writes of history ever witnessed. Hell, I’ve got it all wrong, there’d be no “history” to it, the re-write would be going on before our very eyes.

kind of like Obama and his cult-of-personality

Vinny said...

Marshall,

Shinseki was not proposing a draft. He was suggesting the use of troops that had already been mobilized. That many troops had been used in the first Gulf War without any need to institute a draft.

Blamin',

I don't understand your point. Are you suggesting (or admitting)that Rumsfeld tried to run the war on the cheap because he was afraid of the political consequences if he did the job right?

blamin said...

Vinny,

I think you understand my point just fine. To clarify – it matters not how this war was approached. Your opposition was pre-ordained.

Vinny said...

blamin'

You are correct that I was never persuaded that this war was a good idea. Most Americans were though. Perhaps they would not have been if Rumsfeld had told the truth.

blamin said...

Vinny,


After reading your beliefs as expressed on this blog and your own, I don’t think persuasion had anything to do with your conclusions. Hence the term “pre-ordained”.

Your mantra of Rumsfield selling a false bill of goods is stated as fact when in reality it is opinion, or an assumption that is based on other assumptions, biases, and pre-conceived notions.

Unfortunately, your “truth” seems to be based on what you perceive to be commonly held beliefs (commonly being defined as the perception projected by the MSM and other “progressive” thinkers (?!) ). Commonly held beliefs does not a truth make.

No need to rehash the Iraq war debate; more eloquent writers (Marshall for one) than myself have consistently reduced your sides arguments to a bunch of “ya…but’s”.

Vinny said...

blamin',

Rumsfeld said publicly that Shinseki was wrong about how many troops were needed. It sounds like you are saying that Rumsfeld knew that Shinseki was right, but would not say so out of fear that Congress and the American people would not support the war. I think that makes his public statement a lie.

Personally, I don't think he knew that Shinseki was right. I think that Rumsfeld just thought that he was smarter than everyone else.

I always supported the war in Afghanistan so I don't know what would have pre-ordained my decision on Iraq.

blamin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blamin said...

Vinny,

You should realize that any opinion on every facet of the many decisions in a war can be found. That Rumsfeld may have been wrong about anything in the ever-changing circumstances that is war is not unusual, and does not make him liar. He can join the ranks of just about every President, high-ranking military officer, or Secretary of Defense that ever served during a war. Further more we are not privy to every piece of intelligence that comes down the pike.

It’s such a vapid argument made by the lefty arm-chair/Monday morning quarterbacks.

BTW – the old “I supported the war in Afghanistan, but not Iraq” argument huh? Good one ;-)

Vinny said...

That Rumsfeld may have been wrong about anything in the ever-changing circumstances that is war is not unusual, and does not make him liar.

I agree. However, if Rumsfeld told Congress and the American people that he had plenty of troops when he knew that he was trying to fight the war on the cheap, that would make him a liar.

BTW, Are you suggesting that a person could not rationally oppose the war in Iraq while simultaneously supporting the war in Afghanistan?

Democracy Lover said...

Since Vinny is doing such a good job of debating here, I ducked out. I did post an alternative view on the subject of US foreign policy on my blog, for any who are interested.

Cameron said...

The UN is not worth much more than a venue for talking. Which is fine, so long as everyone understands that's all it is.

It takes no action because its members want no action. It has Roosevelt's "talk softly and carry a big stick" exactly backwards; it is long on resolutions and short on anything else.

It is incredibly corrupt, and corruptible. I want no part of that organization controlling what my own government can do.

Cameron said...

I have often wondered if Rumsfeld's war plan was designed specifically to avoid the "quagmire" he is so often accused of causing.

It was a small, quick force that got in and took out Saddam's forces without the need for big, slow infrastructure.

Of course, in hindsight we see that al Queda seized on sectarian distrust and instigated huge amounts of violence. The idea was to turn Rumsfeld's strategy against him, and cause the very "quagmire" his detractors were calling for. All al Queda had to do was stir the pot long enough to make America tire of it and leave. Fortunately, Rumsfeld's plan was changed and more troops were sent in to provide security. Ironically, many of the people calling for more troops in the beginning changed course and argued against more troops last year.

Cameron said...

As to the article which prompted this post-

I think it's sort of true. Yes, there comes a time when only action can stop violence and oppression. Yet it is folly to underestimate the power of the pen.

Not every American considered themselves "American". Many wanted nothing whatever to do with a war for independence. It was the pen that persuaded them. The same could be said for the Constitution itself; it was the Federalist Papers that greatly influenced its passage.

In every case, in every war, there is a concurrent battle for hearts and minds. Without that, no war can be won.

I think that's the reason for Somalia, for Rwanda. President Clinton wanted no part in a large scale military action, and doubted American resolve to endure one. This, of course, was noticed by not a few. Saddam Hussein continued to bluster to the very end because he continued to doubt our resolve. Al Queda stirred the pot in Iraq because they doubted our resolve.

And frankly, the results of Iraq have been mixed, at best. We've had leaders lose resolve throughout the campaign. I think the power of the pen was not used wisely or sufficiently. And in America, no military action can be sustained for long without the power of the pen.

Vinny said...

I have often wondered if Rumsfeld's war plan was designed specifically to avoid the "quagmire" he is so often accused of causing.

It was a small, quick force that got in and took out Saddam's forces without the need for big, slow infrastructure.


I don't doubt that, but it strikes me as wishful thinking of an astonishing degree. Cheney had defended Bush 41's decision not to topple Saddam on the grounds that the United States would be stuck in a quagmire of sectarian violence. Shinseki had explained that several hundred soldiers would be needed to secure the country. I think it took a great deal of arrogance to suppose that we could go in, knock off Saddam, and leave Iraq just as quickly without having to worry about the consequences.

Cameron said...

I think you're missing the point. The idea wasn't to not worry about the consequences. It was a strategy designed to avoid creating those consequences.

Vinny said...

I think you're missing the point. The idea wasn't to not worry about the consequences. It was a strategy designed to avoid creating those consequences.

I get the point, but the problems foreseen by Cheney and Shinseki seem to be the natural consequences of toppling a government. I cannot see how Rumsfeld's light footprint could have been expected to have any impact on the vacuum that would be created by the fall of Saddam's government.

I suspect that Rumsfeld never really worried about post-invasion Iraq because he was relying on intellectual yakkers like Wolfowitz who told him that Ahmed Chalabi would step in and run things.

Cameron said...

The idea can't be that hard to believe, since it was one of the arguments against the surge that was used by many, including Obama and our very own Democracy Lover.

Vinny said...

The idea can't be that hard to believe, since it was one of the arguments against the surge that was used by many, including Obama and our very own Democracy Lover.

Regarding the surge, I think the issue to which you are referring was whether the legitimate government of Iraq would be more likely to step up to take control if it could not lean on American troops. In Rumsfeld's case the question was whether a legitimate government would appear from thin air to replace Sadaam if there were no American troops to maintain security. It does not sound like the same argument to me.

Democracy Lover said...

I have a post reacting to this on my blog, but since Cameron is using my name in vain, I'll have to respond.

No sane individual with a modicum of knowledge of Iraq would have envisioned a cakewalk, "greet with flowers", hunky-dory invasion of Iraq. I don't believe for one moment that anyone in the Bush administration actually believed the BS they were handing the public before the war. The intention was and is to setup a client state in Iraq that will funnel Iraqi crude to US companies, and let certain insider corporations suck a few billion out of the public treasury in the process.

The so-called surge has been a flop. For the first 6 months after troop strength was increased, violence increased also. The reduction in violence is because the US decided to bribe Sunni insurgents to join our side.

As long as our tax money flows to these former car bombers (the terrorists who were killing American troops), there will be fewer American troop deaths - a good thing, especially if you're McCain. Once the money stops flowing, the bomb-laden cars and IEDs will once again be aimed at the occupying US troops - look for the late November casualty figures.

This was an inane, unnecessary, and patently illegal invasion and the ensuing occupation has only compounded the error. The blood of 4,126 American soldiers, 274 coalition soldiers, and over 600,000 Iraqi civilians are on the hands of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and those who aided them. The only surge we need is a surge in arrests for war crimes.

Cameron said...

The issue to which I refer is the idea that the mere presence of US troops causes the violence in the first place. Obama said as much last year as the surge was being debated, and DL said it to me on a number of occassions (Sorry to use your name in "vain" DL).

The idea that a huge number of troops could hinder rather than help any recovery effort after deposing Saddam Hussein is what I'm referring to.

Hindsight, of course, shows that we did need more troops. But that eventuality only really came about because of al Queda's civil war strategy. Who's to say that had there been more troops, something else wouldn't have occured? That's the danger of hindsight.

Vinny said...

The idea that a huge number of troops could hinder rather than help any recovery effort after deposing Saddam Hussein is what I'm referring to.

If by "recovery" you mean unconstrained looting, I suspect that a larger number of troops might have been useful for hindering purposes.

Do you have any reason to think that Rumsfeld had the "non-hindering" idea in mind when he rejected Shinseki's assessment? One of the advantages of hindsight is we can invent reasons to explain actions that would never have occurred to the actors at the time.

mom2 said...

Another thing about hindsight is you can think that if you were in the other person's shoes that you would not have made their mistakes. That comes from an arrogant mind that thinks they know the future and that is foolishness.

Democracy Lover said...

So Cameron, do you think the presence of foreign troops on American soil and running everything in our country would cause any violent acts by US citizens? Gee, it sure might. Why would anyone expect Iraqis to act differently?

If the US had carefully managed the immediate post-invasion situation to prevent looting and then pulled all our troops out within 3-6 months to allow a international nation-building effort, there might have been a peaceful transition to democracy in Iraq. Of course, that was never a goal.

Cameron said...

"I suspect that a larger number of troops might have been useful for hindering purposes"

Why, that sounds an awful lot like General Petraeus' reasoning behind the surge.

"If the US had carefully managed the immediate post-invasion situation to prevent looting and then pulled all our troops out within 3-6 months"

Again, sounds an awful lot like what's going on right now.

Vinny said...

Why, that sounds an awful lot like General Petraeus' reasoning behind the surge.

Aren't you glad the American people voted the Democrats into office into 2006 so Bush finally got rid of Rumsfeld?

Cameron said...

I hadn't realized the surge was a Democratic plan. Thanks for the info.

Vinny said...

I hadn't realized the surge was a Democratic plan.

I don't think it was, but it was certainly the result of the choices Americans made in the 2006 election. If the Republicans had maintained control of the House and the Senate, Bush would have continued listening to Rumsfeld.

Cameron said...

That's certainly debatable.

Though Democratic strategy towards the surge does give credence to the "oppose anything the Republicans do" label often given them.

They were for more troops before they were against it.

Vinny said...

Given the unholy mess the Republicans have made of Iraq, opposing anything the Republicans do isn't a label, it's a badge of honor.

Cameron said...

That's fine, just so long as we recognize that "oppose Republicans no matter what" isn't really a platform that inspires. Or gets anything done. But it does get a 9% approval rating.

Vinny said...

It makes a better platform than running against Paris and Britney.

Marshall Art said...

Not quite, Vinny. As weak as the ad is, it does convey the message it's supposed to, which is that just like those talentless girls, Obama's fame is based on nothing. No accomplishments of any kind, no track record.

Vinny said...

The only thing that commercial conveys is McCain's desparation. At least its not based on outright lies like most of his commercials.

Marshall Art said...

Sorry Vinny,

Reread my comment previous to your last. The message is quite clear. If you think it's sign of desperation, that's fine. But objective observers should have no problem understanding the point, and serious thinkers will see the truth of it. So once again, like Paris Hilton, Barak is popular for...no particular reason. Not true. I give one reason: he reads out loud well. Somehow, that's quite enough for the wacky center left.

BTW, which lies are those to which you refer? As one who isn't a fan of McCain, I haven't been soaking up his ads at all. He only gets my vote for being the better candidate, which wouldn't be hard for most people on the right, even those just barely on the right like McCain.

Vinny said...

It would have been nice if you right wingers had shown as much concern with resumes while the Bush administration was packing the government with Goodlings and Brownies whose only qualifications were their willingness to worship at the George W. Bush Cult of Personality.

Marshall Art said...

Are you aware of just how many appointments a president can make? Are you suggesting that the hiring of a guy to a position of some obscurity until a Level 5 hurricane destroys a poorly protected city was something you were monitoring from the start? But as you know, with Harriet Meiers and the so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, we do speak out against our own.

But put that aside and tell me if those you've mentioned were running for POTUS. The higher the job title, the more concern for who the hell it is that wants it. Obama wants the big job. He's got nothing to show he deserves any serious support, which he doesn't really have when you consider those who have supported him the most.

Vinny said...

You would think after 911 that heading emergency response would not be considered a "position of some obscurity."

Isn't eight years of an incoherent President who owes his education and his career to his daddy's influence enough? Wouldn't it be nice to have a President whose achievements (however scant you might deem them to be) are the product of his own abilities?

Marshall Art said...

It would be far nicer to see those who oppose Bush actually deal with his actions objectively and not from the perspective of one's own agenda. No honest person can call him incoherent, particularly when one recalls all the predictions by Dems regarding our entry into the current military situation. He didn't nail his every point, but neither did his opponents, and in fact they shouldn't feel they're in a position to brag. But just as the left grants Obama Messiah status, they demand perfection from the opposition. In other words, they insist that the conservative play by the rules conservatives seem to demand, and expect that we should allow theirs play by their rules. The fact is our side wants everyone to play by the same rules.

Vinny said...

Do you know how workers were selected for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq? Do you know that competent experienced professionals with experience in crisis management situations were passed over in favor of inexperienced ideologues who held the right position on Roe v. Wade? Did you know that half the people who went to work for the CPA had to apply for a passport for the first time? The problems in Iraq are not simply the result of the inherent unpredictability of war. They are the result of a conscious policy by the Bush administration to ignore expertise in hiring decisions in favor of loyalty to the Bush agenda.

I have no problem with a President who gives jobs to friends, but they have to be friends who are at least minimally qualified to do the job. The head of emergency response can’t be a guy whose prior experience was organizing horse shows.

Do you understand what Monica Goodling was doing at the Justice Department? Do you understand that the Justice Department is the one department that has to be perceived as non-partisan by the American people? Do you realize that it has been for the most part prior to George W. Bush? Do you realize that the U.S. Attorneys who were fired for refusing to pursue politically motivated cases were conservative Republicans?

I find it very hard to take your comments about objectivity seriously. As far as I can tell from your blog, your only sources of information are right wing websites and conservative talk radio and you swallow everything they have to say without question. Like Bush, you seem to make your decisions based on ideology rather than reality.

Marshall Art said...

Your first paragraph deals with issues that have since been rectified or improved upon. You assume much regarding the mind of Bush in denouncing his selections based on the words of people who validate your opinions. In fact, you seem to swallow everything such people say without question. I can say this for the simple fact that there are quite a few people within the administration who don't share the sentiments of those who's self-serving books you've read. This is not to say that his selections were or were not good ones or bad ones, only that your perception of his motivations are not based on anything substantive, only the subjective opinions of those who find fault with Bush's every move.

Brown's experience has been mischaracterized because his horse show period made for good cheap shots, not because it was the true extent of his experience. I've heard him interviewed on Medved's show, and that point was roundly mocked for it's blatant BS factor. Was he the right man for the job? Obviously, things were less than perfect. A better man was needed, but his failures were after the fact and less worthy of condemnation than those who could have prevented or lessened the effects of the storm. It is easy to assume someone else could have done it better, but hard to prove. Such doesn't matter for the left.

I don't know enough about Goodling to comment. But I do know that firings of the type for which Bush is criticized is routine, but not necessarily the timing. He has full authority to hire and fire within that dept at will. Most, like Clinton, replace the whole crew upon taking office. Bush did less of that seeking to unite the parties (a foolish task to undertake considering the character of the Dem party at the time). He suffered for that move more than once. If people have the perception that the JD is non-partisan, it's a false one as they are all considered to be somewhat of an extension or reflection of the office holder. The question is whether or not the prez has the authority to influence the direction of any investigations, or if the lawyers had the right to refuse his requests. Obviously we know what the left thinks about this, considering it's Bush who's involved. But I don't think the question has been answered by objective parties, or else legal action would already have been taken to some degree.

It doesn't matter the source of my opinions or info. What matters is how they are presented and how they are refuted. I present them with the full understanding that they might be shown to be false or wrong or in any way misinterpreted. I have not been shown here or anywhere else that the sources I use lack credibility or deal in lies and half-truths. Someone like you saying so isn't good enough.

You seem somewhat proud in the belief that you read enough to get all the data necessary to discern the real truth. Good for you. You haven't proven it in the least. You want to prove your side? Try relating those things you've read that have been proven false by those things upon which you lean. Until you can do that, you have not shown that you are more objective than me.

Marshall Art said...

I do appreciate your comments, though. Never think differently as far as that goes.

Vinny said...

Wow! Brownie told Michael Medved that he got a bum rap! What could be more reliable than that? Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? Was it verified by Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter? What did Sandy Rios have to say about it?

By the way, it is not routine to fire a U.S. Attorney based on a Congressman's complaint. What makes you think it is? Which right wing source assured you that this wasn't something you needed to think about it? How are any of your sources ever going to be refuted if you never consult anything that does not reinforce your preconceptions?

Marshall Art said...

Keep it in your pants, Vinny. The point of mentioning Medved's interview with Brown was to show that talk of his "only" previous experience was that of horse show co-ordinator was overblown liberal crapola, which has not been refuted. When you can prove or present evidence that Medved is in the habit of conspiring to shore up lies, then we can accept your wild insinuations regarding Medved's credibility. Until then, trying to separate my sources from amongst those who are "honest and unbiased" is a mere ploy by one who can't deal with facts that do not go his way. The tough part for me on this one is how trivial the point was. Jeesh. Take a freakin' pill.

Regarding you second paragraph, I don't know what you mean. All I said was that it was my understanding that firing attornies in the JD wasn't out of the ordinary and that other presidents have replaced the whole lot of 'em, with, I believe, Clinton being one. Does the president or does he not have authority to hire and fire such people at his pleasure?

As to refuting my sources, have at it. I welcome any corrections to wrongly held beliefs under which I operate. Thus far, you've offered only opposing opinions and suggested that their name or position gives them more credibility. Not good enough.

Vinny said...

The point of mentioning Medved's interview with Brown was to show that talk of his "only" previous experience was that of horse show co-ordinator was overblown liberal crapola, which has not been refuted.

And how do you know that it has not been refuted? What liberal sources of information do you regularly consult in order to confirm the version of facts that you are getting from your right wing sources? One of the reasons I read The Wall Street and The Economist is because they are conservative publications with a reputation for being careful about checking their facts. I watch Joe Scarborough because I know that he will jump on liberals who distort the facts while acknowledging when they have gotten the facts rights. I am not sitting around waiting for some conservative blogger to refute my understanding of what is going on in the world. I am going out and looking for the information that will refute it.

Marshall Art said...

I have no reason to doubt the credibility of my sources. This is particularly true when I hear them correct themselves on occasion when a mistake comes to light. In other words, the people to whom I listen have equally good reputations for checking facts before broadcasting their opinions.

As to having liberal sources for crosschecking, why would I? I am unaware of any that are worthy as such a reference. In fact, conservative talk radio, for example, was borne out of need for correcting the flaws in reportage and filling in the holes so often left by the mainstream liberal media. I chose my sources because of the bad rep of the lefty sources.

Vinny said...

I chose my sources because of the bad rep of the lefty sources.

That is why you will always remain poorly informed. The notion that conservatives are any less likely to shape their coverage to suit their agenda is simply absurd.
The only way to have any confidence in your knowledge is to take both sides with a grain of salt and check them against each other and against independent sources.

Marshall Art said...

Who do you use that you can confirm are without bias? How do you prove the reliability of the sources you use vs. those you don't, and conversely, how do think you know when conservative sources are spinning to suit their agenda. As far as I've been able to tell, the sources I use don't need to spin because conservative principles work. I'm not so concerned about an individual conservative as much as conservative philosophy. It's no surprise to find a rotten apple now and again, but the thing is, my side isn't prone to covering for bad behavior. I just don't see that you have a real argument regarding the sources I use, which I've never listed in total by the way. One way I use to check out my sources is to freakin' see if things work out as they described it. If it does, they're worth reading or giving a listen. If not, then I have to decide if it's routine or a fluke, but I put them on the back burner until I know for sure.

As I said, I have no reason to doubt the credibility of the sources I use, and I think I'm smart enough to separate the reporting of facts from the reporting of spin. It's not rocket science, after all. To put it in the simplest terms, my sources haven't been proven to be liars.

Vinny said...

MA,

I was so amazed by your last comment that it has taken me awhile to think of anything that might penetrate the intellectual cocoon that you have created for yourself.

I am currently reading David Halberstam’s history of the Korean War, The Coldest Winter. It confirms a number of points that most good military histories tend to confirm.

As you have previously noted, wars seldom go as planned. However, battles and lives are often lost because the planning is so poor. Sometimes the planning is poor because the guy responsible for the plan is some arrogant son of a bitch who thinks he knows everything and isn’t interested in listening to anyone who tells him anything he does not want to hear. Sometimes the arrogant son of a bitch surrounds himself with sycophantic toadies who will tell him that he is right about everything rather than seeking out strong independent thinkers who will tell him when he’s wrong.

The book has also confirmed for me that there is probably no human endeavor in which the propensity to cover up mistakes and bad behavior is more pronounced. The general who has blundered into a military defeat is responsible for the deaths of brave young men. The temptation to find a scapegoat is powerful and it takes great character to admit mistakes. For the politicians and the pundits back home that backed the general, the temptation is even greater and the character is generally much weaker.

There is an interesting story about General Matthew Ridgeway who took over command of the armies in Korea after MacArthur’s hubris had led them into an ambush near the Chinese border. He asked one of his regimental commanders about a map on the wall with red pins showing the position of Chinese forces. Ridgeway wanted to know how recently the regiment had made contact with any of those forces and was told five days. Ridgeway ripped the pins off the map and demanded that no red pin should appear on any map if the presence of the Chinese had not been confirmed by patrols in the last forty-eight hours. Part of the reason that Ridgeway was able to turn things around in Korea in part because he was fanatical about getting the facts.

There is a saying in the newspaper business, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.” You, on the other hand, are content to listen to people who think like you because you think they are somehow more virtuous and truthful than people that think differently. You trust the people who told you that the war was a good idea in the first place when they tell you that the blunders were unforeseeable and excusable, that the losses were acceptable, and that the achievements justified the costs. I find your attitude incredibly naive.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

If it helps you to believe I exist in an "intellectual cocoon", go right ahead. I say such accusations come only when one such as yourself has failed to make his point. "Sure, it must be the other guy. Can't be me."

I'm well aware at this point just how well read you are. But my point stands. Just how many strainers must I put my sources through before a Vinny feels they are, not so much unbaised, but factual and not spun? It also obviously makes you feel better to assume that I merely swallow without chewing, every word that emanates from the sources I use. This is done without realizing that this here blog is a strainer in itself. If I post something that catches my eye, a Vinny will surely point out with credible sources just how the post went wrong. At that point, based on the source used (and sometimes how it's presented---face it, not a science or artform for some) one can then track down the rebuttal. It's a good system.

But again, feel free to tell me which of my sources are known liars, or routinely shown to be wrong, and I will adjust my research routines. (That would be routinely shown to be false, as in, more than every blue moon.) When you can do that, you might be on to something.

Personally, I think you research until you find enough stuff that agrees with you, so nya nya.

Vinny said...

Unfortunately, you have this absurd notion that people who think like you are inherently more truthful and reliable than people who think differently. Until you abandon that bit of silliness, there is little hope for you.

It may comfort you to think that I do the exact same thing, but I cannot imagine why. It would not make what you are doing any less foolish.

Marshall Art said...

"...you have this absurd notion that people who think like you are inherently more truthful and reliable than people who think differently."

This is fantasy unsupported by anything you'd find posted here. A more accurate assessment would be that I rely on people that think like me until they can be proven to be liars or consistently wrong. I will say that people that think like me are likely to be truthful and reliable. As to those who don't think like me, they are typically wrong in what they believe. Whether they are liars or unreliable is another story.

YOU, however, seem to rely on those who back up your belief. Richard Clarke, for example, is absolutely truthful without fail. Why? Because he craps on Bush. And that's good enough for you to believe your right on the money. Why do I believe this? Because nothing you've ever offered has shown that Bush is ever right, and even the worst president ever, Jimma Carter, must have been right once in a while (though I can't think of any examples). If everything you've offered about Bush is negative, I'd have to say that the bottom line is that you don't like Bush at all and would doubt the credibility of anything that speaks positively of him. You're not required to spend such time posted nice things about Bush, but lacking anything of the kind doesn't shore up your opinion of your well-read, clear eyed objectivity.

Vinny said...

This is fantasy unsupported by anything you'd find posted here.

Really? How about "It's no surprise to find a rotten apple now and again, but the thing is, my side isn't prone to covering for bad behavior."

Actually, I did not find Clarke's book as impressive as others I have read. He seemed a little too willing to give Clinton a pass for the things that went wrong on his watch. Nevertheless, he was certainly someone who was in a position to know what was going on. Moreover, I think a lot of his criticisms of the Bush administration, such as its fixation on Saddam Hussein, have been corroborated by other sources.

You are correct that I think Bush is the worst president of my lifetime, however, I voted for Reagan and Ford so I don't think I am incapable of considering the possibility that conservatives might be right about something.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Help with this one. How does this

Really? How about "It's no surprise to find a rotten apple now and again, but the thing is, my side isn't prone to covering for bad behavior."

support this

This is fantasy unsupported by anything you'd find posted here.

which was in response to this

"...you have this absurd notion that people who think like you are inherently more truthful and reliable than people who think differently."

I don't get it.

As for Clarke, I haven't read his book, only heard an interview or two, and find it fascinating that he gives himself a pass as well. By that, I mean that he reports as if his every move was perfect. Kinda reminds me of those situation comedies in which two people relate two very different versions of the same events. Each speaker always positions himself as without fault. Clarke sounds the same.

And what of your corroborating sources? Are they also people who just had to "tell their story" during an administration rather than after it is ended? Such stories smell like kids trying to distance themselves from that which they were a part. My feeling is there'd be less such tales told if the war went perfectly, if so many media people weren't in the bag for Dems against Bush, and approval ratings stayed high. They write their stories for people like you, who already hate Bush.

Good for you that you've found some on the right to support. I've never found anyone on the left to support because their ideas are crap. But there are two major areas in which Bush is in tune with Reagan, and they are on taxes and standing up to threats. As you may know, Reagan's drive to defeat communism wasn't looked upon with goodness. Many wanted to maintain the status quo to prevent friction with the USSR. It the same way, many believe Bush is goofy for standing up to Islamic exremism. But like Reagan, he sees it for the evil it is.

In addition, a third way Bush is like Reagan is with amnesty. Both were wrong.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Help with this one. How does this

Really? How about "It's no surprise to find a rotten apple now and again, but the thing is, my side isn't prone to covering for bad behavior."

support this

This is fantasy unsupported by anything you'd find posted here.

which was in response to this

"...you have this absurd notion that people who think like you are inherently more truthful and reliable than people who think differently."

I don't get it.

As for Clarke, I haven't read his book, only heard an interview or two, and find it fascinating that he gives himself a pass as well. By that, I mean that he reports as if his every move was perfect. Kinda reminds me of those situation comedies in which two people relate two very different versions of the same events. Each speaker always positions himself as without fault. Clarke sounds the same.

And what of your corroborating sources? Are they also people who just had to "tell their story" during an administration rather than after it is ended? Such stories smell like kids trying to distance themselves from that which they were a part. My feeling is there'd be less such tales told if the war went perfectly, if so many media people weren't in the bag for Dems against Bush, and approval ratings stayed high. They write their stories for people like you, who already hate Bush.

Good for you that you've found some on the right to support. I've never found anyone on the left to support because their ideas are crap. But there are two major areas in which Bush is in tune with Reagan, and they are on taxes and standing up to threats. As you may know, Reagan's drive to defeat communism wasn't looked upon with goodness. Many wanted to maintain the status quo to prevent friction with the USSR. It the same way, many believe Bush is goofy for standing up to Islamic exremism. But like Reagan, he sees it for the evil it is.

In addition, a third way Bush is like Reagan is with amnesty. Both were wrong.

Marshall Art said...

Vinny,

Help with this one. How does this

Really? How about "It's no surprise to find a rotten apple now and again, but the thing is, my side isn't prone to covering for bad behavior."

support this

This is fantasy unsupported by anything you'd find posted here.

which was in response to this

"...you have this absurd notion that people who think like you are inherently more truthful and reliable than people who think differently."

I don't get it.

As for Clarke, I haven't read his book, only heard an interview or two, and find it fascinating that he gives himself a pass as well. By that, I mean that he reports as if his every move was perfect. Kinda reminds me of those situation comedies in which two people relate two very different versions of the same events. Each speaker always positions himself as without fault. Clarke sounds the same.

And what of your corroborating sources? Are they also people who just had to "tell their story" during an administration rather than after it is ended? Such stories smell like kids trying to distance themselves from that which they were a part. My feeling is there'd be less such tales told if the war went perfectly, if so many media people weren't in the bag for Dems against Bush, and approval ratings stayed high. They write their stories for people like you, who already hate Bush.

Good for you that you've found some on the right to support. I've never found anyone on the left to support because their ideas are crap. But there are two major areas in which Bush is in tune with Reagan, and they are on taxes and standing up to threats. As you may know, Reagan's drive to defeat communism wasn't looked upon with goodness. Many wanted to maintain the status quo to prevent friction with the USSR. It the same way, many believe Bush is goofy for standing up to Islamic exremism. But like Reagan, he sees it for the evil it is.

In addition, a third way Bush is like Reagan is with amnesty. Both were wrong.

Vinny said...

If your side isn’t prone to covering bad behavior, doesn’t that make them more honest than others? Doesn’t it make them more reliable as sources of information? What is it you don’t get?

Marshall Art said...

If your side isn’t prone to covering bad behavior, doesn’t that make them more honest than others?

Then the notion isn't that absurd, is it?

Vinny said...

Did you not notice the "if" there? I am not conceding that your side is less prone to lying. Indeed it is precisely that point that is absurd. I am showing that my characterization of your position was logically dervived from your own statement.

Marshall Art said...

OK, fine. Are we done now? This is getting really boring for me. How about for you?

Of course if there is a real point you wish to go over again, feel free.