Home > World Events > Defining victory down, part 2 (Crossposted at CT)

Defining victory down, part 2 (Crossposted at CT)

January 10th, 2006

In this post, I mentioned that I hadn’t seen any commentary from pro-war bloggers on reports that the US will spend no more on Iraqi infrastructure once the current allocation of $18 billion, most of which was diverted to military projects, is exhausted. Although there was lengthy discussion both here and at Crooked Timber, no one pointed to any examples of comments on the topic.

I said at the time I didn’t want to get into a “Silence of the Hawks” pointscoring exercise on this. As a general rule, no particular blogger is obliged to post on any particular topic. But I would have thought, if you made it your business to report regularly on Iraqi reconstruction, that such a report was worth covering or correcting.

The Winds of Change website gives a weekly report on Iraq, with a focus on reconstruction news. It appears to be a successor to Chrenkoff’s Good News from Iraq, though less relentlessly upbeat. This week’s report contains no mention of the end of reconstruction funding. In case the WOC editors missed it, the WP report is here.

Update Armed Liberal at WoC responds (graciously) to this provocation, calling the Administration’s decision “bizarre” and pointing to an earlier critique of the wiretapping policy. That still leaves the policy undefended, so I thought I’d try again.

Instapundit is usually quick to disseminate pro-Administration talking points (for example on wiretapping) and has posted regularly on Iraqi reconstruction. Only a month ago, Instapundit linked to an Austin Bay post headed (rather ironically in retrospect) The White House Finally Gets Serious About Iraqi Reconstruction. So, now that the nature of “seriousness” in the White House has become clear, does Glenn Reynolds support the cessation of reconstruction funding? Does anybody? End update

Oddly enough WOC links to a WP piece from October 2004 on the diversion of funds to military purposes with the revealing quote

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in a written statement that the administration always knew that “reconstructing Iraq’s infrastructure would require enormous resources beyond what the Congress appropriated — after 30 years of neglect, decay and corruption.”

Whitman said the United States is working to ensure it is “not starting any project without finishing it.”

Presumably that statement does not apply to the big project of building a “peaceful and prosperous” Iraq.

Winds of Change has done a more reasonable job than many of presenting a case for war, but they’ve relied heavily on the assumption that the Administration is committed to the task of leaving Iraq, in its own words “peaceful and prosperous”. Now that the second of these goals has been abandoned, thereby undermining the first (which in any case looks further away than ever), I’d be interested to know if their views have changed.

A final note on all this is that Kim Beazley, has finally called for the withdrawal of Coalition troops from Iraq, arguing, correctly in my view, that their presence is doing more harm than good. Given Beazley’s extreme caution and love of all things military, he must really believe that the whole project is beyond any chance of redemption.

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  1. Katz
    January 10th, 2006 at 15:21 | #1

    Yes, complete silence from the braying claque of bunker-hunkered geopoliticians, pink mist-addicted voyeurs, chicken-hawks and assorted true believers in the “Revolution in Military Affairs.”.

    If any members of this dysfunctional community had any intellectual honesty they’d be reviewing how the came to get it all so wrong.

    Here are some useful headings:

    1. How did you come to believe that the Iraq adventure would end in anything but tears?

    2. When did you start to doubt your own confidence?

    3. Did you find yourself going into denial?

    4. If so, provide examples of how denial was manifested.

    5. How did you achieve acceptance?

    6. Where is the “Central Front in the War Against Terror” now?

    And finally, welcome to the Reality-Based Community.

  2. January 10th, 2006 at 20:34 | #2

    In Defining Victory Down P1, JQ specifically asked: “I’m not interested in a “silence of the hawksâ€? pointscoring exercise, but I’d really be interested to know what supporters of the war have made of this”

    As usual Katz, you insist on petty point scoring.

  3. Katz
    January 10th, 2006 at 20:53 | #3

    No W by W. They’re BIG points.

    Because over at Winds of Change, big boosters of Bush’s Awfully Big Adventure

    http://www.windsofchange.net/

    they’re calling this “bizarre” decision “catstrophic”.

    So you can see W by W, painfully Winds of change are getting over their denial. Because they know that Bush has pushed all his chips onto the table and he’s just thrown snake-eyes.

    And as you can see from my previous posy W by W I’ve posed some challenging questions to help pro-war folks to work through their grief.

    I pose these questions in the spirit enunciated by JQ. To wit:

    “I’d really be interested to know what supporters of the war have made of this [news of abandoning Iraq reconstruction],”

    W by W, they say confession’s good for the soul.

    Wanna try to answer them yourself?

  4. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 04:35 | #4

    (Sigh)…….What does it say about the Left today when their eyes positively bulge at the prospect of a 3rd world nation imploding, if it means they can feel warm and fuzzy inside for the first time in years?

  5. Paul
    January 11th, 2006 at 06:26 | #5

    (sigh)…..What does it say about the Right today when they are proud that they are the cause of a 3rd world nation imploding, if it means they can feel warm and fuzzy inside for the first time in years?

  6. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 06:48 | #6

    Pablo, I guess it would be too much to ask for you to stay on topic and to explain your attitude to the Bush administration’s decision to abandon funding Iraq’s reconstruction.

    I give up Pablo. What “does it say about the Left”?

    Here are your thoughts extracted from another thread about the the fate of 3rd World nations in what appears to be your hoped for scenario of US domination:

    “Only for the US government of the day to be slagged off, criticised, and hurt in US domestic politics?
    No, a future US government won’t intervene on the ground.
    A future US government will simply drop bombs from afar.
    Cheap, no casualities, and quick enough for people to mentally digest and forget before the TV ‘news’ sports and weather segment.”

    You seem to be achieving a degree of tumescence for yourself over the prospect of indiscriminate revenge bombing for the delight of US TV viewers.

    In this scenario you have constructed a sad example of RWDB snuff porn.

    And you’re so far into denial that you can’t acknowledge that the world you describe can never exist. You can’t acknowledge that the US and the rest of the world needs Iraq. That nation sits on top of almost the biggest lake of oil in the world. How could it be possible to exploit that resource were the US to follow your absurd policy?

    Were you just an isolated fantasist I wouldn’t bother responding to your drivel. But the problem is Pablo your thinking is a crude reflection of policymaking briefly dominant in the Pentagon and the White House.

    The current fiasco in Iraq and the dire position of the US in much of the world is a product of thinking scarily similar to yours.

  7. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 08:28 | #7

    Pable: What does it say about the Left today when their eyes positively bulge at the prospect of a 3rd world nation imploding, if it means they can feel warm and fuzzy inside for the first time in years?

    Resposne: what does it say about the American Right that they precipitated the implosion of a 3rd world nation (and incidentally a loss of American life that will almost definitely end up exceeding that of September 11, 2001) to show how tough they were?

    Jesus, when Ronnie Reagan wanted to reassert his manhood after Vietnam he picked Granada and Panama. Surely there was some tiny meso-American or Caribbean state you could have terrorised?

    Or if you had to attack an arab state why not pick Sudan, Osama Bin Laden’s former hang-out? (BTW, don’t bothet trying to hihack the thread with the “Clinton let Bin Laden Go” nonsense – it’s been debunked too many times already.)

  8. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 08:36 | #8

    John, I remain unconvinced bythe arguments for immediate Allied withdrawal.

    As things stand, the US military presence seems to be the only thing preventing the secession of Kurdistan and a full-scale assault on the Sunni minority by the Sunni fundamentalists who now dominated the Iraqi government and security forces.

    As a matter of abstract principle, I support self-determination for Kurdistan. What I DON’T support is the current campaign of political repression inside Kurdistan (funny how that hardly ever makes it to the “liberal mainstream media”) and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of non-kurds from the Mosul area. Hundreds of Sunnis and Turkmen (mostly young men of military age) have been arrested in Mosul and “disappeared”.

    If Kurdistan secedes I expect that figure to escalate dramatically (I also expect the Mosul oil-fields to be effectively shut down for months or years plunging the Iraqis, Kurds and non-kurds alike, further into poverty.)

  9. January 11th, 2006 at 08:53 | #9

    Kats would love to answer the questions you pose, though I’m sure there are many people more articulate and have a greater sophisticated knowledge to answer and rebut your contention(s).

    I for one, keep coming back to the position that Saddam was never going to live forever. And the Shia and the Kurds and possibly the Islamists, were never going to peacefully accept succession to the sons (who most likely would have been in immediate conflict themselves).

    In the end, the US and the West inevitably would have been dragged into a civil war. At the moment, the civil war is an option, but there are political constraints in place to minimise this scenario.

    As to the US reducing funding to Iraq. As with its reduction of military forces on the ground, could both proposals be seen that Iraq is basically on track for some sort of normality? The Government is in place, the Iraqi police and military structures are developing. Other systems of government, health and education are markedly improved.

    Sure there remain problems, but Iraq has a history of volatility, of which this period is but a chapter.

  10. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 09:36 | #10

    “In the end, the US and the West inevitably would have been dragged into a civil war. At the moment, the civil war is an option, but there are political constraints in place to minimise this scenario.”

    So Weekly, you never bought the WMD argument, or the assertion that Saddam’s Iraq was an al Qaeda training ground.* If not, then why the big hurry? As you say, Saddam couldn’t live forever. What was wrong with the US waiting for a more propitious moment to intervene in Iraq?

    “As to the US reducing funding to Iraq. As with its reduction of military forces on the ground, could both proposals be seen that Iraq is basically on track for some sort of normality? The Government is in place, the Iraqi police and military structures are developing. Other systems of government, health and education are markedly improved.”

    Here’s the parallel bit from Nixon’s “Vietnamization Speech”, 23 Jan 1973.

    “First, to the people and Government of South Vietnam: By your courage, by your sacrifice, you have won the precious right to determine your own future and you have developed the strength to defend that right. We look forward to working with you in the future, friends in peace as we have been allies in war.”

    Government is in place? CHECK!

    Police and military structures are developing? CHECK!

    Other systems of government, health and education are markedly improved? CHECK!

    Denial. Denial, Denial. Denial.

    *[BTW, did they ever find Wee Johnnie Howard's Dreaded Human Shredding Machine?]

  11. January 11th, 2006 at 09:50 | #11

    Kats you asked some more questions:

    “So Weekly, you never bought the WMD argument, or the assertion that Saddam’s Iraq was an al Qaeda training ground.”

    I did given the considerable circumstantial evidence that existed! And so did Scott Ritter and so did Richard Butler when they were Chief UN weapons inspectors. If the issue of the WMDs was a con, then why didn’t the US just conveniently plant some in front of the Hilton in downtown Bagdad before the international media?

    And there is evidence that Saddam had provided support to groups (Al Qaeda like). Will find the link and re-post.

    “What was wrong with the US waiting for a more propitious moment to intervene in Iraq?”
    Odd comment Katz; you support an invasion of Iraq given the right conditions?

    Thank you for pointing out parallels with Nixon. Can’t claim to have been aware of the comparison when I made the earlier comments, but will take it nonetheless.

    “BTW, did they ever find Wee Johnnie Howard’s Dreaded Human Shredding Machine?”
    Yes: its called Abu Mussab al-Zakawi

  12. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 10:03 | #12

    “Odd comment Katz; you support an invasion of Iraq given the right conditions?’

    Never say never, Weekly. For example, I favoured invasion of Afghanistan.

    “BTW, did they ever find Wee Johnnie Howard’s Dreaded Human Shredding Machine?â€?
    Yes: its called Abu Mussab al-Zakawi ”

    That’s just silly. The Rodent stood up in Parliament and asserted that he had certain knowledge of Saddam Hussein’s “human shredding machine’. He said it be before anyone knew of the existence of Zaqawi.

    John Howard, televised adressed to the nation, 20 March 2003.

    “This week, the Times of London detailed the use of a human shredding machine as a vehicle for putting to death critics of Saddam Hussein. This is the man, this is the apparatus of terror we are dealing with.”

    http://www.australianpolitics.com/news/2003/03/03-03-20c.shtml

    Add the human shredder to the stolen humidicribs of GWI and the crucified canadian soldier of WWI.

  13. January 11th, 2006 at 10:27 | #13

    Katz, Howard clearly references the Times re: the shredding Machine

    “This week, the Times of London detailed the use of a human shredding machine as a vehicle for putting to death critics of Saddam Hussein.”

    So it wasn’t Howard’s afterall.

    Plus, have you read the transcript at http://www.australianpolitics.com/news/2003/03/03-03-20c.shtml

    Reads more convincing now than when he delivered it!

  14. wilful
    January 11th, 2006 at 11:26 | #14

    As things stand, the US military presence seems to be the only thing preventing the secession of Kurdistan and a full-scale assault on the Sunni minority by the Sunni fundamentalists who now dominated the Iraqi government and security forces.

    But that’s basically a matter of when not if. In the meantime, troops get shot up and nothing positive happens.

  15. wilful
    January 11th, 2006 at 11:32 | #15

    And there is evidence that Saddam had provided support to groups (Al Qaeda like). Will find the link and re-post.

    This will be a good one, I’ll wait for this one with bated breath. In the meantime, have a read of this.

  16. Bring Back EP at LP
    January 11th, 2006 at 12:11 | #16

    I think it is funny how the US could photograph Habib at a training camp yet hasn’t got one photo of any camps in Iraq.

    don’t you think if the US had photos they would have produced by now after all it isn’t hard to photograph there!

  17. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 12:34 | #17

    >As to the US reducing funding to Iraq. As with its reduction of military forces on the ground, could both proposals be seen that Iraq is basically on track for some sort of normality? The Government is in place, the Iraqi police and military structures are developing. Other systems of government, health and education are markedly improved.

    The number of attacks targetting Iraqi civilians is increasing not decreasing, as are the fatalities in such attacks.

    Petrol exports peaked over a year ago and have been declining in volume terms ever since (higher oil prices have offset some of that decline).

    Electricity production peaked a year ago.

    There is little if any evidence of any improvement in Iraq.

  18. January 11th, 2006 at 12:35 | #18

    Wilful, so the CIA was wrong to start with – and that was bad. Now you say they are right now? How can you be so sure? Is the CIA only RIGHT when you say it is?

    As for Katz earlier about Saddam and Al Qaeda:

    What about this:
    http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040624-112921-3401r.htm

    this is an especially good one: http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/cRosett/?id=110006953

    and this one (though from 2003) http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/033jgqyi.asp

  19. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 12:42 | #19

    >In the end, the US and the West inevitably would have been dragged into a civil war.

    The overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy in the 1950′s wasn;t follwoed by a civil war, neither was the Baathist overthrow of the military dictatorship in the 1970′s or Saddam’s coup against his fellow Ba’athists a few years later.

    Neither did the abortive Shia uprising after the Gulf War.

    The US government spent the 1990′s pursuing what was referred to as the “Sunni General” option i.e. trying to forment a military coup from with the Sunni/Baathist establishment.

    Had Saddam died, such a coup would have been the most likely outcome – as nationalists many Baathists had to be unhappy withe the impact of sanctions on Iraq’s military power and woudl probably have supported the removal of Saddam’s inner circle if that were the cost of restoring normal relations with the US and ending sanctions.

  20. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 12:50 | #20

    Willful – I’d rather be shot next week than shot today.

    Staving off civil war – with it’s likely consequences of hundreds of thousands of dead, extended disruption of oil exports and destabilisation of surrounding countries – may not sound as attractive “ending the tyranny” but it’s still a valid argument.

    I think the world community needs to admit that a USwithdrawal from Iraq would be as catastrophic as the initial invasion and take steps to:

    a. support the US presence and
    b. develop a policy that will actually work to establish that “free and prosperous Iraq” we all want to see.

    I think Australia, the UK and the other partners in the so-called Coalition of the Willing hve a particular obligation to step up their military contribution to Iraq.

    I fear it is no longer realistic to hope for other countries to provide troops. But they can, for example, support the US by taking a larger role in Afghanistan and by providing more reconstruction aid.

  21. January 11th, 2006 at 12:54 | #21

    I’m not sure that the death of Saddam would have led to a revolutionary coup. After 1991, the Ba’ath party still wielded enough power in the army to quash the Shia rebellions and retain power, and this was after a bit of a pasting from the coaltion forces. Anyway, its all academic now.

    Iraq is a mess. The people still live in fear, except now they have less food, water and electricity. Regardless of whether you’re a RWDB or a left-’whinger’ , something needs to be done instead of focussing on political pointscoring.

    So, the next question is how do you rebuild an (almost) completely gutted nation in this new era of globalisation and Charles Darwinomics? After WWII, the rebuilding of Japan and Germany was accomplished by unprecedented investment and trade concessions by the Allies (primarily the US), but I don’t see any kind of meaningful investment being made in Iraq by the ‘Coalition’, nor is there any talk of future trading arrangements regarding oil or any other commodity. Anyone got any ideas?

  22. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 12:57 | #22

    IGould:
    What does it say about the American Right that they precipitated the implosion of a 3rd world nation (and incidentally a loss of American life that will almost definitely end up exceeding that of September 11, 2001) to show how tough they were?
    ====
    I guess it demonstrates they actually are pretty tough! :) Seriously.
    .
    On Iraq, the difference between the political Right and the Left is that the Right is trying to stabilise Iraq right now. The Left wants to see the Iraq project fall apart to achieve a nihilistic, emotional satisfaction against the backdrop of the ‘New Right’ dismantling the dreams of the 60′s Left back home.

  23. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 12:58 | #23

    >Anyone got any ideas?

    In one of my first posts here I suggested paying US$500 or $1,000 directly to every Iraq family (at an approximate cost of US$2.5-5 billion) to kick-start domestic demand.

  24. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 13:03 | #24

    Mind you, it is nice when I see people who are a mixture between Right and Left, it’s refreshing. Nice to know that there are many people who aren’t so ideological (as people like myself, be they Right or Left). :)

  25. January 11th, 2006 at 13:44 | #25

    “The Left wants to see the Iraq project fall apart to achieve a nihilistic, emotional satisfaction against the backdrop of the ‘New Right’ dismantling the dreams of the 60’s Left back home.”

    Man knows me better than I know myself! How did he find out?

  26. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 14:12 | #26

    DTiley:
    ‘Man knows me better than I know myself! How did he find out?’
    ====
    Yeeeeaaaars of research, and direct exposure to the Left. :)

  27. January 11th, 2006 at 15:26 | #27
  28. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 15:55 | #28

    Weekly, only a very naive person would assume that governments remain simon pure in their relations with terrorists.

    Here’s one for you. It’s a story about US contacts with Iraqi “insurgents”. (Yesterday they were “terrorists”). Remember, these folks are killing US soldiers as we speak. (Kissinger was talking to the North Vietnamese in secret too back in the early 1970s. No one told the South Vietnamese or the Australians.)

    http://today.reuters.com/News/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=N07351070

    So I guess the US should invade itself for declining to hunt down terrorists and killing them on the spot. (They might win that one.)

    Which brings me to the nub of the issue. The point about fighting wars is to win them. Smart administrations construct war aims that are achievable. And even then they construct exit strategies in case things go wrong.

    Now let’s look at Bush:

    Achievable war aims? NUP.

    Credible exit strategy? NUP.

    Tens of thousands of RWDBs worldwide in various stages of denial and despair? YOU BET.

  29. January 11th, 2006 at 16:06 | #29

    Katz, it seems that you are set in concrete boots on this issue. You’ll find it hard to swim with those.

    Despite putting up some counter views, which bona fide oppose yours, you don’t at least acknowledge that views contrary to yours hold some validity. Isn’t that called bias, or at least intellectual immaturity?

  30. January 11th, 2006 at 16:16 | #30

    Ian said:

    In one of my first posts here I suggested paying US$500 or $1,000 directly to every Iraq family (at an approximate cost of US$2.5-5 billion) to kick-start domestic demand.

    It’s nice in principle, but IMHO it may be difficult to implement. I know that a new currency was introduced in Iraq after the invasion, but I haven’t heard anything about the banking system (in either the Saddam or post-invasion days). Has anyone heard anything about it?

    If a banking system does exist, then Ian’s suggestion looks like a good one to me.

  31. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 16:25 | #31

    Alpaca, most of the Iraqi population would either be enrolled in the government ration program or on the electoral roll.

    Realistically you have to figure in a significant element of fraud but even so I think you could reach the majority of Iraqi families.

  32. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 16:26 | #32

    Weekly, if you want to construct a straw man to argue your arid points feel free to do so. Just don’t give your feeble creation my name.

    Just for the record I never denied that Saddam had dealings with terrorists. Many nations do.

    The issue is, as JQ first set it: what do supporters of the Iraq War think about the Bush administration’s cessation of reconstruction aid for Iraq?

  33. Andrew Reynolds
    January 11th, 2006 at 16:27 | #33

    Katz,
    If you insist on wallowing in triumphalism, I am happy to provide my answer to your six questions, however leading they are. As you may remember, I supported the original invasion and, as a side note, I still believe that, based on what we knew, or believed we knew, then it was right. With the benfit of hind sight, it was probably wrong.
    1. All wars will naturally end in tears for many, so the question you are really putting is – How did you come to believe that the Iraq adventure would end in anything but tears for the US and other coalition governments? My answer is clear – the ‘adventure’ is not over and any judgement yet is grossly premature. The only way we will know will be in 20 to 30 years or so.
    2. I started to doubt at the beginning – I always have doubts about government action; that is why I believe I sit on the liberal right.
    3. Never.
    4. N/A.
    5. N/A
    6. The central front in the war on terror is where it always was – Islamic terrorism, like all others, is rooted in poverty (normally relative poverty, rather than absolute) and repression. It is the reduction of these (mainly the second) that will, in the long term, reduce terrorism. The agenda of the liberal right is to reduce both of these.
    Thanks for the welcome – perhaps I will see you there sometime; but, given the triumphalism, somehow I doubt it.

  34. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 16:56 | #34

    Andrew Reynolds has set a fine example.

    He’s admitted his mistake, which was to conflate “morally right” with “intelligent”. He still thinks that the invasion was morally right. He now doubts its intelligence.

    Just three more questions Andrew:

    1. Do you believe that the Iraq invasion has lengthened the time before success might have been achieved in the GWOT?

    2. What do you think about your erstwhile fellow-travelling proponents of the war? Many of them disagree profoundly with you. You claim that terrorism is “rooted in poverty (normally relative poverty, rather than absolute) and repression.’ (I happen to agree with you.) Many on the Right claim that terrorism inheres in Islam and that these folks are impervious to the benefits of freedom and prosperity.

    3. Given the course of the GWOT, do you see libertarians and ethnocentrists dividing seriously over means and ends? (How did libertarians like yourself end up on their side in the first place?)

  35. Andrew Reynolds
    January 11th, 2006 at 17:43 | #35

    Katz,
    I do not doubt the intelligence of the decision to go to war, but clearly at least part of the decision was based on faulty intelligence, as in information.
    Answers, then.
    1. No – the jury is still out on this and, like all social science experiments, it will be debated ad nauseum until long after we are both dead. Personally, I believe it has increased its immediate intensity while reducing its long term life – provided it acts to reduce the repression in the Middle East. While in the main in the ME it appears to be working – many of the regimes are being forced to open up, even if only a little – the real worry is now Iran – but I do not think that this process has been accelerated much by the Iraq situation.
    2. I have stated my belief. What others believe is up to them. I believe in the freedom to disagree.
    3. Two questions here, really – so:
    3a. I am not sure what you mean by ‘ethnocentrist’ in this case, but the right, like the left, has always been divided between the socially conservative and the socially liberal. We disagree frequently, as do the ‘old’ left and the ‘new’ left.
    3b. Some libertarians (in as much as I can speak for them) are sufficiently suspicious of government action to oppose almost all of it. Call me naive, but I believe that there is still a role (if a small one) for government in correcting its mistakes. We in the West at the very least partially supported the Baathist dictatorship for a long time. Correcting that mistake I saw as one of the aims of the invasion – or at least it should have been.
    Perhaps I was wrong, though and should have been more suspicious of government action.
    Perhaps you on the left could be, too.

  36. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 17:53 | #36

    The US Government’s own Energy Information Agency is predicting:

    “Most analysts believe that there will be no major additions to Iraqi production capacity for at least two-three years, with Shell’s vice-president recently stating that any auction of Iraqi’s oilfields was unlikely before 2007.”

    http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__business&articleid=260957

    That’s from current level of circa 1.9 million barrels per day – approximately 15% below 1990′s levels.

    At this point virtually the entire Iraqi economy seems to consist of the oil industry, reconstruction projects funded by international aid and “security” operations which seem to merge with a thriving criminal sector focusing on kidnapping and extortion.

  37. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 18:07 | #37

    Thanks Andrew.

    In your response to my first question, do you disagree with many proponents of the US war on Iraq when they say that withdrawal wil be “disastrous” and “catastrophic”. If the US does not withdraw, and if the US chooses not to fund reconstruction, what might the US do in Iraq that could be said to prosecute effectively the GWOT?

    My second question, in relation to the decision to invade Iraq, was more concerned with who took whom for a ride? Mostly were the non-libertarians the dupes of the libertarians, or vice versa, in your opinion? I take it that you endorse many of the neocon positions. Yet the neocons have been pushed out of policymaking by so-called “realists”. Is this a good thing?

    As a left libertarian I bow to no one in my suspicion of government. The very idea that a government led by Cheney and Bush could be mistaken for an agent of liberty is utterly bizarre.

  38. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 18:46 | #38

    Katz, firstly, your Jihadi Allies in Iraq have not ‘won’, so don’t jump the gun like you guys did 2 hours after polls closed in the 2004 US election…..
    .
    Second, what is the practical point of the Left jittering on about ’causes for the war’ at this stage? The Left didn’t stop the war in the streets, at the UN, in opposition politics, at the Hague, at subsequent elections, didn’t defeat the people who made it happen, so what is the point now? It’s as if yabbering on about the 1066 Norman invasion of England on the internet will reverse the 1066 invasion from having happened.
    .
    On the other hand…..Lefties might be THAT GOOD at arguing, so who knows?

  39. Andrew Reynolds
    January 11th, 2006 at 19:33 | #39

    Katz,
    I am perplexed on this phrase ‘left libertarian’. Does that mean you do not trust the government with your social life, but you do with economics? If that is the case then I find that a touch on the bizarre side. As an aside, I also find the opposite view, traditionally called ‘conservative’ a bit odd.
    I do think that withdrawal now would be a step back – and a politically motivated one, drawn by the isolationist tendency in the US which the US President may feel he now has to pander to. I also think it would be a step back in the GWOT – and be taken by the militants in the same way as the withdrawal from Lebanon in 1982 was – as a sign of weakness, which, in essence, it would be.
    On the question of who was a dupe – I do not believe that anyone was ‘duped’ by the other political side. I feel there was a genuine belief that WMD would be found because politically, and has it has turned out, it would be difficult if they were not found. There was also certainty that Saddam was a destabilising force and, due to his contribution to the repression in the Middle East, his removal would contribute to the overall GWOT, even if he was not guilty of directly helping the Jihadi.
    I try to avoid using labels for others than myself. What do you see as the positions of the ‘neo-cons’ and the ‘realists’ so that I can answer your further question?

  40. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 20:03 | #40

    Excellent point AReynolds on the ‘Left libertarian’ call.
    .
    Also, on the use of the word ‘conservatives’, does it not occur to Leftists that they are now the ‘conservatives’, trying to defend an existing economic and social order? They fight to keep the status quo. A cultural and economic status quo that they themselves created in the 1960′s and 1970′s when the Left was ascendent.
    .
    It’s the young today who are the most Rightwing generation, since, well, their grandparents. 62% of 25-30 year old Australian males voted Coalition at the last Federal election. ‘No you can’t fool the children of the Revolution’ :)

  41. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 20:25 | #41

    On the issue of duping. Read this. Believe me, it’s a fascinating read.

    http://www.laweekly.com/ink/printme.php?eid=51202

    Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski was the person responsible for constructing the lies Cheney and Rumsfeld used to justify invasion of Iraq.

    Kwiatkowski was a right winger and a true believer until she perceived her role. she is still a right winger but is now contemptuous of the Bush administration.

    Of course punters like us couldn’t know what was going on behind the scenes. Nevertheless there were sufficient straws in the wind to indicate that an elaborate ruse was beng concocted. For example the botched effort to foist Niger yellowcake on to the world as evidence of a smoking gun.

    Left libertarianism is well enough known. Google it.

  42. James Farrell
    January 11th, 2006 at 20:48 | #42

    Andrew

    Were you really unaware that there is such a thing as left libertarianism? Perhaps you were aware of it, but were trying to make out that it’s some kind of self-evident contradiction in terms. But it’s not, unless you take it for granted that market interactions are by definition the opposite of centralised power and hierarchy. In that case, you need to know that there is a venerable tradition of libertarian thought that distrusts the market as much as the state, in terms of its ability to protect liberties and meet human needs. You may choose not to embrace this school of thought – I don’t particularly – but at least you can recognise it as a respectable intellectual position. In any case, I suspect you’re being playfully disingenuous.

  43. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 20:48 | #43

    Andrew:’ I am perplexed on this phrase ‘left libertarian’ ”

    How about the phrase anarcho-syndicalism? I suspect that’s close enough to Katz’s meaning.

  44. Ian Gould
    January 11th, 2006 at 20:50 | #44

    To expand slightly: left libertarians are equally distrustful of big business and government and generally want to expropriate and redistribute the assets of big business and convert companies into worker-owned co-operatives.

  45. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 20:57 | #45

    ‘Left libertarianism is well enough known. Google it’.
    ====
    Katz, I googled and all I found was “How to enforce the practical application of political correctness upon a Western population, while taxing them up to their eyeballs for our enlightened leadership’.

  46. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 21:01 | #46

    ====
    To expand slightly: left libertarians are equally distrustful of big business and government and generally want to expropriate and redistribute the assets of big business and convert companies into worker-owned co-operatives.
    ====
    So, um, it’s just the rebranding of Marxists. :(
    “Marxism Max, maximum taste, zero sugar!”

  47. jquiggin
    January 11th, 2006 at 21:51 | #47

    Pablo, search this site for “conservative” and you’ll find that, however original your insights may seem to you, they’ve been discussed here for years.

  48. January 11th, 2006 at 22:00 | #48

    Katz you reference (again) Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski via http://www.laweekly.com/ink/printme.php?eid=51202

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence dismissed her allegations as baseless in its report on pre-war intelligence (pp. 282-283).
    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Kwiatkowski

    Whose with the strawpersons this time :)

  49. Katz
    January 11th, 2006 at 22:25 | #49

    That would be the Republican-controlled Senate, W by W? You must learn how to do better than that.

  50. Pablo
    January 11th, 2006 at 22:37 | #50

    “Pablo, search this site for “conservativeâ€? and you’ll find that, however original your insights may seem to you, they’ve been discussed here for years”.
    ====
    Well, that makes you JQuiggin, as a Leftwing social theorist raging against the dying of the light, quite a “conservative” in John Howard’s Australia. :)

  51. James Farrell
    January 11th, 2006 at 23:14 | #51

    No need to rage, Pablito. The sun will rise again in the morning.

  52. abb1
    January 11th, 2006 at 23:18 | #52

    Libertarian socialism

    Libertarian socialism is any one of a group of political philosophies dedicated to opposing coercive forms of authority and social hierarchy, in particular the institutions of capitalism and the state. Some of the best known libertarian socialist ideologies are anarchism (particularly anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism), council communism, autonomist Marxism, and social ecology. However, the terms anarcho-communism and libertarian communism should not be considered synonyms for libertarian socialism. Anarcho-communism is a particular branch of libertarian socialism.

    Libertarian socialists believe in the abolition of the state and of private control over the means of production, considering both to be unnecessary and harmful institutions. Most libertarian socialists support personal property or use rights over certain goods destined for individual use, but there are exceptions. The most notable of these are the anarcho-communists, who wish to abolish not only private property over the means of production but individual ownership in the produce of labor as well.

  53. January 11th, 2006 at 23:40 | #53

    IG, the ovewrthrow of the Iraqi monarchy was followed by atrocities, the beginning of a downward slope in methods and standards applied to people, and (as part of that) actual expression was given to antisemitism. (The squeezing out of Iraqi Jews was not, however, as Zionists like to claim all of a piece with their squeezing out of Palestinians a decade earlier – they were distinct.)

    However, this isn’t a simple case of causality. It actually stems from the loss of British influence and the collapse of the Baghdad Pact following the misguided US (lack of) statesmanship over Suez. This isn’t hindsight speaking – precisely these reasons were provided by European diplomats. They were all dismissed as hogwash because none of the big boys had any sense of history and the time scales involved.

    But the USA was being told repeatedly why there were empires, and what they involved, from at least the ’30s – and applied brute force and ignorance threw away all the benefits of the sunk costs after 1945, probably starting with the Dutch. The USA created today’s problems of this sort, and has no excuse for not knowing – they were told at the time.

  54. January 11th, 2006 at 23:55 | #54

    sorry Katz, I forgot, both sides of Congress are in on the conspiracy.

  55. Nabakov
    January 12th, 2006 at 00:17 | #55

    Gee, getting a bit heated around here chaps. How about spreading some rose water and flowers around?

  56. Harry Clarke
    January 12th, 2006 at 05:41 | #56

    Beazley is wrong just as Latham was. The reasons for remaining in Iraq are distinct from the reasons for going there in the first place. As The Economist puts it this week, most Iraqis (Shia and Kurds make up 80% of the population) support the aims of the Americans and many Sunni voted in the recent referendum. Those Islamic terrorists who blow up mosques in Bhagdad and at Palastininian weddings in Jordan should be defeated and will be as muslims themselves come to see them for what they are. But it will take time and will be costly in terms of blood and money.

    Gradually military operations should be turned over to Iraqis but a precipitous withdrawal would encourage the murderous fanatics. The cost of Americans remaining in Iraq is high as pointed out on this blog before but the costs of withdrawing will be worse.

    Attempts to privartise infrastructure in Iraq should cease and an emphasis placed on getting young Iraqi males back to work whether it be collecting garbage or constructing buildings. The important thing is to increase the capacity of the Iraqi economy to absorb new investment — this will mainly be via public rather than private investments given expectations of violence and instability. Its not just the volume of investment but the ability of the economy to absorb it.

  57. jquiggin
    January 12th, 2006 at 06:02 | #57

    “Attempts to privartise infrastructure in Iraq should cease and an emphasis placed on getting young Iraqi males back to work whether it be collecting garbage or constructing buildings.”

    How is this to happen with no more US reconstruction funding? The Iraqi government can barely pay its bills as it is, even with high oil prices.

  58. Harry Clarke
    January 12th, 2006 at 06:32 | #58

    Miss your point on that one John. I agree the Iraqi government is broke and non-military investment and other aid should continue. There was no implication in anything I wrote that US reconstruction investment or other non-military aid should cease. Just keep investment public and emphasise employment creation at this stage.

    I think this is crucial to stabilising situation in Iraq.

  59. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 07:48 | #59

    US reconstruction funding won’t get young Iraqi males back to work. That is something young Iraqi males have to do themselves and they should not look to the government, either Iraq’s or the US’ to get them back to work.

    “The important thing is to increase the capacity of the Iraqi economy to absorb new investment”

    This is such a key point, and one you don’t hear much about.

  60. Katz
    January 12th, 2006 at 07:56 | #60

    A quick lesson in civics for W by W.

    1. The majority determines what’s in a Senate Committee report.

    2. Kwiatkowski never testified to the Senate Committee on Intelligence.

    The Senate Committee on Intelligence tipped a bucket on Kwiatkowski without ever testing her evidence.

  61. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 08:07 | #61

    “The important thing is to increase the capacity of the Iraqi economy to absorb new investment — this will mainly be via public rather than private investments given expectations of violence and instability.”

    Not sure I agree with you here. Private investment from all over the world would move into Iraq in a heartbeat. Iraqi’s have only to clear the path for it to do so.

  62. Ian Gould
    January 12th, 2006 at 08:44 | #62

    Avaroo. let me guess – lower wages, cut taxes and remove any remaining labor laws.

    What’s the old saying: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”?

  63. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 08:45 | #63

    “Avaroo. let me guess – lower wages, cut taxes and remove any remaining labor laws.”

    I haven’t a clue what you’re referring to.

  64. Ian Gould
    January 12th, 2006 at 08:47 | #64

    Well that’s the standard right wing prescription for encouraging private investment.

    If you had some other idea in mind let’s hear it.

  65. January 12th, 2006 at 09:04 | #65

    Katz on said January 12th, 2006 at 7:56 am “A quick lesson in civics for W by W.”

    “1. The majority determines what’s in a Senate Committee report.”
    Yes, its called representative democracy when the majority, as elected, makes the call.

    “2. Kwiatkowski never testified to the Senate Committee on Intelligence.”
    She’s written enough stuff, so what would her testimony have added. See the George Galloway episode when he lied under oath

    “The Senate Committee on Intelligence tipped a bucket on Kwiatkowski without ever testing her evidence. ”

    See answer to 2: the committee researched her written materials.

  66. Katz
    January 12th, 2006 at 09:53 | #66

    “See answer to 2: the committee researched her written materials.”

    So Kwiatkowski’s assertions were important enough to impugn, but not important enough to discredit by cross examination. Hundreds of wackos were making wild claims about Cheney’s Office of Special Plans. Did the Senate Committee take time out to tip a bucket on them too?

    Refusal to give a forum to eye witnesses with an unwelcome story to tell is an old technique. For example, neither the Warren Commission nor the House Assassinations Committee took testimony from the Parkland Hospital surgeons who tended JFK’s wounds.

    There are many potential explanations for this behaviour. None of them are consonant with a desire to discover the best evidence.

  67. January 12th, 2006 at 10:48 | #67

    Katz, I am starting to see your logic chain; Iraq is connected to the Kennedy assassination conspiracy.

    Ties in with the original “smoking gun” theme about WMDs and Iraq, and the ‘magic bullet’ theory.

    All we now need is Mulder and Scully to save us from the Smoking Man.

  68. Steve Munn
    January 12th, 2006 at 11:23 | #68

    Katz, you do appear to be gloating. You sound like one of those nuf-nufs who demonstrated against the first Gulf War, when the US kicked Saddam out of Kuwait. The Chicken Little Left squawked about how that campaign would lead us all to ruin, only to end up with yoke on their faces.

    In spite of the Chicken Little Left’s whining, the war isn’t over yet. There are still a variety of ideas that may be worth trying, like partitioning Iraq into Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni zones, as per the former Yugoslavia.

    At the end of the day the US can not walk away from Iraq and leave it as a “failed state” since it would end up a haven for Islamo-fascist terrorists. The US is in for the long haul whether it likes it or not.

    Finally, do you really believe Iraqis would be better off with Saddam being re-installed? If yes, why don’t you say so?

  69. Hal9000
    January 12th, 2006 at 11:30 | #69

    “Iraq is connected to the Kennedy assassination conspiracy”

    Strange attempt at irony, weekly, when you consider the alleged Iraq-Iran-Pyongyang axis hypothesis, the Saddam-Osama cabal theory and the al-Zarqawi mastermind of the insurgency proposition – all brought to you by G W Bush and Associates, purveyors of counter-reality nightmares to frighten the chronically credulous.

  70. Katz
    January 12th, 2006 at 12:24 | #70

    Andrew Reynolds (above) is an erstwhile supporter of the Iraq War who is willing to engage with evidence that undermines the premises for his support.

    One of the best things about JQ’s website is the opportunity it provides for RWDBs to make fools of themselves. Pablo, Weekly and Steve Munn are merely recent examples of this entertaining breed who come and go.

    For a glimpse into their futures check out the fates of Observa, Tipper, Michael Burgess and a particularly tragic esample of the genus who called himself Roberto. All made huge claims but burned out.

    1. Weekly, you clearly are addicted to straw men. Michael Burgess used to do that too.

    2. Steve Munn, if you must put words into my mouth, at least find the correct ones. i know I can’t prove it now because it was long before the coming of the web, but I actually underestimated the time i’d take to beat Iraq in GW1. And notice, Steve, here you commit the logical fallacy of the excluded middle:

    “Finally, do you really believe Iraqis would be better off with Saddam being re-installed? If yes, why don’t you say so? ”

    If you need help on this, here’s an easy-to-read guide.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_the_excluded_middle

    Roberto used to do this too.

  71. Andrew Reynolds
    January 12th, 2006 at 12:28 | #71

    Ian,
    I take it this was sarcasm – “lower wages, cut taxes and remove any remaining labor laws”. Wages almost could not be lower, taxes are effectively non-existent and I do not think that labour laws are of high importance at the moment.
    No – what I think avaroo is referring to is the basics: institutional stability, moderate to low crime levels and some assurance that, if profits are made, they can be kept.

  72. January 12th, 2006 at 12:37 | #72

    Avaroo said:

    US reconstruction funding won’t get young Iraqi males back to work. That is something young Iraqi males have to do themselves and they should not look to the government, either Iraq’s or the US’ to get them back to work.

    I think you’d find a lot of people agreeing with this sentiment given the popular economic theory of today, and you’d probably find a lot more people agreeing that this is one sentiment that’s important in sustaining productivity and a healthy economy in a developed nation. However, I don’t know how effective a proposition this is for an economy that’s recently had the stuffing bombed out of it and where markets and infrastructure need to be established. In particular, relying on the private sector to provide infrastructure in Iraq could be problematic, considering that the majority of the Iraqis can’t afford to pay the tolls (even if they are competitively priced) on such infrastructure. And without an infrastructure, its difficult to see how ‘young Iraqi males’ (not to mention females) will get back to being productive.

  73. January 12th, 2006 at 12:46 | #73

    Katz, surely you mean Strawperson! Or are you deliberately choosing to be sexist.

    Hal9000 it was Katz that introduced the “Iraq is connected to the Kennedy assassination conspiracyâ€? theme. Can’t take credit for that one.

  74. Troll
    January 12th, 2006 at 14:04 | #74

    Jst wtng fr Ktz t strt p bt th ‘Jwwwwwws!’, n ncrsngly cmmn Lftst/slmst bckslp fr nw lls n tdy’s wrld.

  75. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 14:12 | #75

    “No – what I think avaroo is referring to is the basics: institutional stability, moderate to low crime levels and some assurance that, if profits are made, they can be kept. ”

    I would think that basic safety would be the first consideration. Iraqis must ensure that investors considering bringing private investment into Iraq are safe.

  76. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 14:14 | #76

    alpaca, others have rebuilt their nations, infrastructure included. Germany comes to mind. Japan too. There’s nothing fundamentally different about Iraqis.

  77. January 12th, 2006 at 15:38 | #77

    Interesting article in the Guardian, which I’ve had a fisk of, about a senior British officer who has gone to town on the incompetence and institutionalised racism exhibited by the US military in Iraq.

    Bludgeoning, singular approach that precludes winning of hearts and minds gets a good going over.

    Is it any wonder the occupation is less than a total success.

  78. Pablo
    January 12th, 2006 at 15:49 | #78

    The US being accused of ‘racism’ in the Guardian? Who would have thought? The Guardian loathes Americans with a passion.

  79. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 15:53 | #79

    I thought the Guardian’s position on the US military was that it is 100% minorities.

  80. Pablo
    January 12th, 2006 at 16:10 | #80

    LOL! And wide-eyed Lefties will tell you that they were captured by John HoWARd’s ‘Slave-trading sail barge’!

    http://www.starwars.com/databank/vehicle/sailbarge/

  81. Pablo
    January 12th, 2006 at 16:18 | #81

    OMG Lefties, this is the ‘REAL’ reason behind all that money being put into Howard’s ‘future fund’!

    http://www.nobell.org/~gjm/nobell/images/sw02.jpg

  82. wilful
  83. wilful
  84. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 16:32 | #84

    rigid heirarchies? Whoever heard of such a thing in any military?

  85. Hal9000
    January 12th, 2006 at 16:45 | #85

    “it was Katz that introduced the “Iraq is connected to the Kennedy assassination conspiracyâ€? theme. Can’t take credit for that one.”

    No, weekly, Katz merely gave the inquiries into the assassination as other examples of similarly poor inquiry methodology. The linkages are all yours.

    The trouble with wars is that by the time the shooting is over the original aims of the belligerents are almost invariably forgotten. By 1919 could anyone recall it was Serbia’s alleged territorial claims on Austro-Hungarian Bosnia that started it all? In 1945 was Polish territorial integrity and independence a serious issue? In 1975 did anyone remember it was Diem’s failure to implement the 1954 Geneva Accords in regard to elections and reunification that got the post-French fighting under way?

    The justifications for this war have come and gone with such bewildering speed it’s difficult now to recall the seriousness with which Rice’s ‘smoking gun = mushroom cloud’ nonsense was received at the time. If I have it right, the current justification is to protect the Sunni minority (who are the ones we are bombing back into the stone age because they keep blowing us up) from reprisals by the Shiite majority (who are the ones we betrayed in 1990) for the beastly things Saddam did to them (before we deposed him). God forbid we should cut and run in the face of such a clearly defined and present danger, or before such a well-structured job is done. The Vietnamisation exit strategy is looking shakier and shakier as time goes by, since (as WB Yeats would have it) the centre cannot hold.

    On the other hand the US has the military capacity to remain in occupation for the foreseeable future. It has fortified its bases and presumably could hang onto those whatever happens to the country surrounding them. Such is the advanced state of the historical Alzheimer’s syndrome afflicting the US that even the humiliation of withdrawal under fire would be forgotten in a month, so the disaster wouldn’t be catastrophic for US hegemony. The real catastrophe for us in the rest of the world is that this vast treasure – enough to address serious global issues like non-polluting energy, disease and hunger, or at the very least poverty in the US itself – has been squandered for base political purposes. That opportunity has been lost forever.

  86. avaroo
    January 12th, 2006 at 17:05 | #86

    “The justifications for this war have come and gone with such bewildering speed ”

    Actually, every justification for the war, and there were several I agree, were all present in March of 2003 when the war started.

    “The Vietnamisation exit strategy is looking shakier and shakier as time goes by, since (as WB Yeats would have it) the centre cannot hold. ”

    This exit strategy was never a possibility.

  87. Steve Munn
    January 12th, 2006 at 17:19 | #87

    Katz says: “One of the best things about JQ’s website is the opportunity it provides for RWDBs to make fools of themselves. Pablo, Weekly and Steve Munn are merely recent examples of this entertaining breed who come and go.”

    You appear to have a defective memory Katz. I clearly place myself on the Left of the spectrum. Social Democrat would be an apt description.

    Are you of the opinion that a dictator, no matter no noxious, shouldn’t be removed from power by an external force? For instance, was Vietnam wrong to displace Pol Pot?

  88. Pablo
    January 12th, 2006 at 17:24 | #88

    Wilful: ‘ :) I found a member of the military that I can agree with!’.

    Ahem. The Left loves nothing more than to find an individual fitting a profile that the Left traditionally despises, who happens to agree with the Left on one of their positions, at one point in time.

    Such as a member of the military (a ‘racist’), a dissenting Liberal backbencher (Petro Georgio), a person who didn’t go to uni (‘working class’ and ‘probably racist’) a member of the police (a ‘racist’), a billionaire (‘slave-trading racist’), a christian (‘clearly a racist’)…..

  89. Paul Kelly
    January 12th, 2006 at 18:24 | #89

    I note that satire is currently fashionable among some vistors to this site. In that vein …

    It seems lefties care more about David Hicks than Australian police killed in a bus accident in Egypt. Where are they now? Don’t they care? The left hasn’t a clue, etc.

  90. Paul Kelly
    January 12th, 2006 at 18:28 | #90

    Where were the Left when a hurricane hit Louisina? Wallowing in chardonnay. They care more about David Hicks than Americans.

  91. Ian Gould
    January 12th, 2006 at 18:50 | #91

    Pablo: Just waiting for Katz to start up about the ‘Jewwwwwws!’, an increasingly common Leftist/Islamist backslap for new allies in today’s world.

    Pablo: . The Left loves nothing more than to find an individual fitting a profile that the Left traditionally despises

    Pablo, I’m a Jew and I’m the son of a World War II vet (who as it happens was also a member of the Communsit Party of Australia).

    I find your comments offensive – I can’t think of any way to make clear just HOW offensive that wouldn’t violate John’s rules for conduct on this blog.

  92. Andrew Reynolds
    January 12th, 2006 at 18:59 | #92

    Paul,
    I sit on what I believe to be the right and I think the treatment of David Hicks repellant. We are meant to be the ones who count the individual over the collective, yet here is an Australian individual held overseas for over 4 years now without charge or trial. He may be guilty or innocent, but that is not the point.
    A hurricane is a natural event – holding someone without charge or trial is not. Work out what individul rights are sometime, please.

  93. SJ
    January 12th, 2006 at 19:36 | #93

    A bit satire-challenged, are we, Andrew?

  94. Katz
    January 12th, 2006 at 19:39 | #94

    Weekly, Steve Munz, Pablo,

    Here’s an article that you may find will help you to avoid some very amusing errors.

    The article is about “special pleading”. Special pleading is one of the most indicative signs of an untrained and/or undisciplined mind.

    To quote Wikipedia;

    “Special pleading is a form of spurious argumentation where a position in a dispute introduces favorable details or excludes unfavorable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations themselves.”

    I hope you understand this. If you need more assistance click on the following;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading

  95. jquiggin
    January 12th, 2006 at 20:06 | #95

    I’ve disemvowelled an offensive comment from “Pablo”. Given that this is the second occasion I’ve had to take this kind of action during his appearance here, I’ve placed him on automoderation.

    Pablo, please stick to the point and to civilised discussion./

  96. January 12th, 2006 at 20:24 | #96

    Katz, I assume that the same “special pleading” applies to your comments which I answered @ January 12th, 2006 at 9:04 am re: Kwiatkowski

    Your comments on that example were ‘special pleading’ were they not?

  97. Ian Gould
    January 12th, 2006 at 20:27 | #97

    Katz – I have to say that on the specific issue of the Senate Intelligence Committee I think you are incorrect.

    The Democrat members of the committe made dissenting comments at a number of points. Presumably they would have done likewise in relation to Kwiatkowski if they found her evidence compelling.

  98. Steve Munn
    January 12th, 2006 at 20:45 | #98

    Katz, why is it that the opinions of the Iraqi people never rate a mention in your anti-war rants? Is it because they are little brown people who need to be patronised by those who know better?

    I recommend you check the opinion polls on Iraqi attitudes, which are conveniently located in the monthly Brooking’s reports. See http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf

    You will note that when the November 2005 ABC-Time News Poll asked the question “Was the US right to invade Iraq” 46% said yes. This included 80% support in Kurdish areas, 56% in Shiite areas and 16% in Sunni areas.

    If you exclude Saddam’s “blue-eyed boys”, the Sunnis, support for the invasion is overwhelming.

    The same poll found only 26% of Iraqis support an immediate Coalition pull-out.

    Let’s learn to listen to what the little brown people really think, rather than tell them what they must think.

  99. SJ
    January 12th, 2006 at 21:40 | #99

    “Let’s learn to listen to what the little brown people really think, rather than tell them what they must think.”

    Yes, let’s. From your source:

    Iraqis who believe attacks against British and American troops are
    justified: 45% (65% in Maysan province)

    Iraqis “strongly opposed� to presence of Coalition troops: 82%

    Iraqis who believe coalition forces are responsible for any
    improvement in security:

    Granted, that was from a different poll, but even from the poll you quoted, you get these results:

    I oppose Coalition Forces: 64%

    Do you support or oppose the presence of Coalition
    Forces in Iraq?: Strongly support: 13%
    Somewhat support: 19%
    Somewhat oppose: 21%
    Strongly oppose: 44%

    I guess you’ve swallowed someone else’s spin, without actually reading the document that you thought supported it.

  100. SJ
    January 12th, 2006 at 21:43 | #100

    The software must have thought that the “less than” symbol was an unclosed HTML tag.

    Iraqis who believe coalition forces are responsible for any
    improvement in security: [less than] 1%

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