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Friday, December 09, 2005


So I didn't really completely defend myself yet. I was taken aback by the vim and vigor, and let's say it, down right mean spiritedness of Dave's post. I should expect that, though. Mean spiritedness is what won the election for George this last time. That's how neo-cons win, and they like to win, don't they? I mean everybody likes to win, I like to win, but they really like to win, they have to win, not winning is unacceptable.

I also took some psychology. One of the main things that seems to have brought the spleen out in Dave is my insinuation that he must not be well read in history. I was wrong about that, obviously Dave is very well read. Unfortunately he can't grasp what any of it means. He sees it as not useful, or inapplicable, and I think that is dangerous.

Dave says:

I didn't just imply that saying we aren't going to win is dangerous or irresponsible; I said it directly. It is irresponsible and dangerous. It's dangerous because it hands a lot of credit (and a huge PR victory) to an insurgency that has no way of winning short of wearing down public opinion in the U.S.

Dave sees all this as World PR, as if America will be seen as weak if we don't continue. I see it differently. I see the world view more like; America will look stupid for making such an obvious tactical error in continuing the war as an occupying force in Iraq. We have already shown the Jihadists, and the world, that we won't lie down and take it. We've certainly done more damage in Iraq than Al Queda did here.

The Americans didn't win their emancipation from the British by wearing down public opinion for the war in English society. They won by sticking it out, engaging the British in a protracted conflict, and wearing them down financially.

Dave also says:

I've read more than a little bit of history in my day and I'm not certain I follow Ted's examples. Historical analogies, in my opinion, don't shed much light on current situations because they are so imprecise.

When was your day Dave, the 3rd grade? My God, that statement is scary. So, what's next on the list Dave, shall we invade Russia during the winter?

More from Dave:

Ted calls the American Revolution "not really a revolution," but offers no explanation for that fairly bold comment (I already covered this, and was surprised he needed to have it spelled out), so I don't know what he is getting at. Again, the historical parallel sheds little light because it is so imprecise. If Iraq were filled with English-speaking, American citizens who were protesting a relatively light tax to pay for, say, the earlier Iran-Iraq war, it might make a good parallel. But that is not at all close to the situation in Iraq.

This statement clearly shows that Dave, for his wealth of historical education, can't connect the dots. We're talking about a protracted war on foreign soil with little local support. I think the historical parallel is apparent, and legitimate. It also shows Dave's convenient reversal of political stance when it comes to taxation. I dare say that Dave would have felt different if he were among those who were paying 'a relatively light tax' back in 1775. Dave would have been one of our founding fathers, probably one of the 56 signatures on the Declaration of Independence. I wouldn't have. I wouldn't have had enough assets to be included in that club. I'd have been in the taverns banging my hands on tables with Tony Alva.

Dave again:

Another lesson we can draw from Vietnam is that the entire world saw that the way to overcome the overwhelming advantage in military power of the United States was to undermine public opinion.

So Dave would have stayed the course in Vietnam. If Dave was in charge, we'd still be there. Public opinion is not just some political posturing, it's just what it says, public opinion. There is reason behind it, economic factors; to say public opinion is what defeated us in Vietnam is to miss the point entirely. Going in to begin with is what defeated us in Vietnam, and we've made just the same mistake again.

Dave continues:

This is not simply a theory of mine, it is something that has been mentioned over and over by people like Bin Laden, al-Zawahiri and Zarqawi in their public statements. This image of America was further enhanced when Reagan turned tail and fled Lebanon in the early 80s and when Clinton tried to respond to bin Laden with cruise missiles.

Now I'm confused. What's not confusing is how Dave cherry picks Jihadist rhetoric, using what suits his aggressive policy, and disregarding what doesn't as lies and propaganda. He sounds like his uncle George. What is confusing are his examples. Reagan fled, that was bad, and Clinton engaged, and that was bad. What's good? Who has done it right Dave?


They know they have played the Ho Chi Minh strategy to win.

You said it. All they have to do is dig in and hold on. For them, 'staying the course' IS a plan for victory.

I was pretty amused to learn the following in this post

1) I am a neo-con.
2) I was reacting to the fact that Ted made an insinuation that I am not well-read in history. Ted, you need to re-read your original post. It wasn't directed at me. I didn't read it as an insult to me.
3)Despite my undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, I comprehended nothing.
4) I see everything as American PR.
5) The Americans won the Revolution by sticking out the British financially. This was news to me. I always thought it was because we got the French on our side, but, then again, I comprehend nothing.
6) My comprehension of history is at a 3rd grade level.
7) I stated, somewhere I can't find, that nothing can be learned from history.
8)I wouldn't have protested British taxation in the 1770s
9) I would have kept us in Vietnam

These were surprising finds, but I guess the disqualify me from further comment, so Ted wins!
I learned that sometimes italics look funny.
Before the war started I voiced my opinion against it, I argued, I marched along with MILLIONS making George Bush the most protested man in history, I voted,... I did what I could. All these revelations that have come to light in recent months were painfully obvious to me as they were to many. But once we invaded, I thought it highly unethical to "cut and run" as they say because the US had created much of the instability that was plagueing Iraq. Pottery Barn rules in effect as Colin Powell had erroneously warned. But now it's time to start making sense. We've reached the point of diminishing returns, and unless someone can define what victory is, and justify pursuing it than I have no problem advocating "cut and run." Contrary to what that inane woman fabricated and her draft dodging cohorts claimed, Marines do "cut and run" when it makes sense. We are long overdue for a cost-benefit analysis of the human currency spent on this war. Oh yeah, maybe we should consider how much friggin money it's costing too. What is our purpose this week - hunting down al queda (who weren't there until we showed up), deposing hussein (got him) wmd's (none found), rebuilding all the things we blew up(with American companies standing to make billions in contracts that should have gone to Iraqis), training a new Iraqi army (clearly makes more sense to do this elsewhere),fighting terrorism (no link between Iraq and 9/11 so someone please tell the President to stop purposely mentioning them together in the same sentence. That is really starting to annoy me), it's better to fight terrorists abroad than at home (better still, don't pick fights with them). Say what you want about Cindy Sheehan but the woman's got a point. What noble cause? And she of all people has the right to have that question answered and answered well. The tv is fond of showing us clips of happy,proud servicemen (usually officers)pleading with the American public to "let us finish the job." What's the job? These people have to believe that rhetoric to get through the day; to make sense of the mayhem around even at the cost of the truth and common sense. What the tv rarely shows is that for every one of these folks, there's ten or twenty poor mother fuckers who WANT TO GO HOME. Not because they are cowards, because it doesn't make any sense to be there anymore. Is this the sort of bad PR that Dave Cavalier was warning us about? He's got a point. When I watch tv and see all the servicemen killed, civilians killed, limbs lost, lives destroyed, children covered in white phosphorous, mayhem ensuing, roadside bombs, islamic fundamentalists gaining power, women being veiled and losing their rights, dependency on foriegn oil increasing, disdain and murderous thoughts for Americans increasing, deficits ballooning, while social maladies at home run rampant, I find myself swayed from wanting to "stay the course."

By the way, Ted, I think you're being hypersensitive. I don't think your friend was being mean-spirited towards you.

I thought I was smart but I keep failing the word verification test.
We missed you Clarkie. Welcome back!
#8 you have wrong, you would certainly have protested - you hate tax. You alluded that it was a light tax, and coming from you I was surprises that you considered any tax light.

#5 certainly the French helped.

#7 "Historical analogies, in my opinion, don't shed much light on current situations because they are so imprecise."

Then why study it Dave?

Ereything else seems to wash.
Clarkie, it's all in the name of fun and mean spiritedness. Don't worry, Dave and I are fine.
I was talking to a guy today who said something really funny. When someone reminded him we never found any WMDs in Iraq. He said, "we haven't found them, YET".

Anyway, I've been out of town for a while and I'm glad I have a lot to read.

Gotta run now, I'm going to protest our President in Downtown MPLS where he is here to raise money for Mark Kennedy's senate run...


Go get him, Hue. But don't you be walking around downtown with your jacket open so you can show off your shirt, you'll catch your death. Wear it outside your jacket if you have to, like one of those pathetic midwestern Halloween costumes. What is wellstone?

p.s. Thanks Tony, I missed you too.


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