Sunday, August 01, 2004


I'm watching Zell Miller on Meet the Press. You know, the "democrat" from GA that will speak at the RNC?

He just said (correction - implied) Kerry is unpatriotic, and angrily said "how can you talk about Old Glory and at the same time vote several times against an amendment to keep people from burning it?" Indeed. I guess the only way would be to understand that the flag symbolizes the Constitution, and not the other way around. Can you imagine burning a flag NOT being political speech? Why else would anybody burn a flag other than to send a message? That message is disgusting to me, as a veteran who served under that flag, but I would fight to defend anybody's right to send their message, however offensive. See, Zell doesn't understand the difference between serving a flag and serving the Constitution. Kerry seems to. How unpatriotic of him.

He repeated the RNC party line criticizing Kerry for voting for war and then not supporting the troops by voting to give them body armor, etc. (the $87 billion). This is fast becoming conventional wisdom - that this is what Kerry did - but it is hogwash and he knows it. Congress voted to give the President authorization to invade Iraq only after Bush indicated he needed it to have credibility at the UN and would go to war only as a last resort. Kerry even gave a speech before the vote in which he called on the President to seek UN authorization and seek diplomatic solutions before resorting to force. He also voted that way based on the evidence presented by the administration. It was not a vote for war but a vote authorizing military force in the hope it would not be needed. Conventional wisdom now holds that Kerry and everybody else who voted for this resolution supported the idea of invading Iraq. That isn't true, but like our president most people don't do "nuance." Then, after the president invaded despite the pleas from military professionals that it was a mistake, the president wanted a bill providing $87 billion for the efforts there. Kerry and everybody else knew that it was needed, but the president insisted on keeping the tax cuts and borrowing the money to pay for it. Kerry sponsored a bill to provide $67 billion immediately in non-discretionary funds, and the remaining $20 billion that was discretionary be voted in a separate bill with more safeguards to ensure the money would be properly spent. His bill also required a repeal of the tax break on the richest 1% of Americans in order to pay for all of this. The Republicans voted against it and it didn't pass. Their bill then went forward and Kerry, after seeing it would pass anyway, had the courage to vote against it. So he did vote for it before he voted against it - an incredibly poor choice of words. Instead he should have asked why the republicans who speak so much about supporting the troops voted against funding the troops. They would answer they voted against it before they voted for it. See the deal? Everybody wanted to provide for the troops, but Kerry wanted to do it in a responsible manner that didn't require borrowing from our children so that rich people could buy another Lexus. BTW, the $20 billion that republicans swore was needed immediately for construction in Iraq? Less than half a billion has been spent.

Those who are intellectually honest with themselves should wonder why the Republicans need to lie to make their case (like WMDs), why after 3 1/2 years of a Bush administration the republicans don't run on their record but against Kerry - they don't talk about what they have done, but what he has done or hasn't done. And they twist the truth in doing it!

This president has made us weaker, has not gone after the terrorists, and is a miserable failure at a time our nation needs strength. Today in the paper ties b/w Iran and Al Queda are discussed. Let's say they are proven true. Let's assume that Iran says "We conrol Osama and we ordered 9/11." What would we do? Our army is tied down in Iraq unnecessarily, we have destroyed the international credibility and trust our nation built up over decades, we have alienated our allies, and we have a record deficit. What would we be able to do?

What pisses me off the most is that I have not forgotten or forgiven 9/11, and that is why I'm voting Kerry, yet the Bush camp claims successes in the war on terror that don't exist and constantly uses 9/11 as a refrain for why people should vote for Bush. They call Kerry weak on defense. And people lap it up.

I would rather have a guy by my side that knows how to shoot straight but is reluctant to pull the trigger than a guy by my side that is emptying a magazine in the wrong direction and causing friendly fire. Bush is dangerous and must be sent back to Texas.

Vote Kerry.


vrangel said...

Man, don't make it a purely intellectual exercise. Try to get as many facts as possible first. Here is one for you.
Some reporter spoke to a guy high inside Kerry campaign and asked about that $87B vote that cost him so much grief. Insider apologetically said that at the time Kerry was under huge pressure from Dean and had to vote that way.
You are talking about "courage" when in fact it was just the opposite.
I've heard the story yesterday on FOX , they mentioned it as something everybody knows , so names didn't come up.

this we'll defend said...

Well if it was on FOX then I must be wrong. Especially if it came from a some "guy" described as an insider. And especially since it doesn't contradict any of the facts I provided above, only the conclusion I came to.

On another note, my son turned Meet the Press off and we watched Thomas the Tank Engine instead. He loves that stuff - and that is where all my money goes. I have to go play choo choo now before we go to church.

Kat said...

Personally, I hate the word "nuance". "Nuance" just means you are hedging your bets. Not coming right out and saying what you mean, just in case you have to back track. a lawyer, "nuance" is probably a good word. You can "nuance" a jury into thinking all sorts of things without actually coming out and saying it, thus avoiding being fined for contempt when the judge expressly forbade you to say it.

Politicians can "nuance" a campaign promise so later, when they can't deliver, they can claim they didn't actually promise it.

I think I'll write the president and tell him he needs to brush up on his nuance. That way, next time he won't come out and say exactly what he means, you all will be hard pressed to call him a liar.

Of course, that is probably a waste of time, since then you will just say he meant to say something else and he is still a liar. When a Republican "nuances" it's a lie, but when a Democrat "nuances" he's just thinking about it.

Regards to "lying" and Kerry asking the President to go to the UN. I think this issue has been covered a million times, but we'll try again. Kerry saw the same data the President had. It was the same data that Clinton had in the 90s. It was the same data that Kerry pressured Clinton on to invade Iraq. Apparently, the only smart guy here was Clinton for deciding he didn't want to risk our "allies" good feelings. Of course, that's the same guy that had bin Laden in his sites 4 times and didn't pull the trigger. Is that "nuance"? "all the federales say, they could have had him anyday. They just let him slip away."

I believe we were at the UN 3 times between Sept 2002 and March 2003. And that was just the major players. If I recall correctly, Powell thought he had a slam dunk and De Villpein threw it back in his face. Of course, that could be because they were hip deep in the Oil for food scandal. Or maybe because, the company with the largest oil contracts in Iraq was France's ElfFina?

WAit, wait...I forgot. Only the US was trying to steal Iraq's oil. Sorry. I'll try to remember that the next time they block a vote against Iran since they have major contracts there, too.

But maybe that's just "nuance"?

vrangel said...

I think it was on Beltway Boys (Kondracke&Barnes).
I wonder if it reruns on Sunday.

ALa said...

TWD: Even though I disagree with most of your politics -I love your service to our country and protective attitude towards those serving now and, of course, enjoy the discourse. You have won a place in the list of people I consider friends in blogland. Go figure...haha
Anyway, I added you to my list of vital blogs (as all good neo-cons should be abreast of both sides of a discussion)...and who knows when we'll need a good lawyer!

~Jen~ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
~Jen~ said...

I'm glad you've started blogging. It's stressful, but fun. I'll add you to my list too.

~Jen~ said...

Aw hell. I trashcanned my darn post. I'll re-write it when I get back from shopping.

this we'll defend said...

Thanks Kat, Vrangel, and ALa71, Jen, anybody else that posts before I publish this. This blogging stuff is addictive, isn't it? Pretty soon I'll be wandering the streets in search of an internet cafe, willing to sell my blood for a quick fix - I mean post. I would sell my body but that wouldn't get me very far. :) I remember the time I was hooked on phonics - sure, the first lesson is free, but after that...

ALa71, I hope I'll be a good lawyer. Thanks Kat for giving me a way to avoid contempt of court! :) "Your Honor, I didn't say that, I just insinuated it." "Oh well then Counselor, I'll just insinuate that you spend the night in jail for contempt and we'll see what happens." Damn.

What Kat said about politicians is of course true. My point is that there are some problems that require a deeper understanding than just a simple good/bad or right/wrong or ignore/invade. It is uncomfortable to analyze and ponder a difficult problem in depth. Understanding all the "nuances" of a problem is hard work, but you will usually come to a better solution if you make the effort. I don't think our current commander-in-chief fully understood the nuances of the Iraq situation and the risks/rewards of his chosen course of action. The Army War College (NOT a bunch of lawyers) did and pretty much have been shown to be right on the money so far. Senior military leadership agreed that invading Iraq was a risky proposition. They were marginalized at best for not toeing the administration's line, and Gen. Shinseki was cashiered for telling the Senate that post-war Iraq would be a mess requiring hundreds of thousands of troops for a long long time. That bugs me.

The data that suggested Iraq was a threat was true. The WMD data that led everybody (myself included) to conclude that he had chem weapons was convincing. Saddam was a threat, a real and viable one. An understanding the nuances of the threat should have shown that the solution wasn't as simple as ignore or invade. There were a lot of options in between those two that would have worked much better. We chose to invade instead.

And the French being wrong doesn't make us right. Nuance again.

As for Clinton not taking Osama out - that was a lesson that we all learned on 9/11. It was a mistake not to take him out, no doubt about it. Of course, we still haven't taken Osama out, which I think is a HUGE mistake even though Mr. Bush doesn't.

Thanks everybody for stopping by and getting my pathetic blog off and running - your intelligent commentary is much appreciated! I will link you guys as soon as I figure out how.

~Jen~ said...

Linking is easy. If I can do it, you can do it.

I can email you the code if you like.

vrangel said...

Can you make your lengthy comment on CBFTW a separate post here?
The one about Combat Infantry being our new elite.
I think it deserves more than being buried in comments somewhere.
It was real eye opener for me.

As for nuances of Iraq I think nobody , absolutely nobody had a clue what was going to happen.
A year ago I read an interview with kurdish politician, who used to be a Chairman of Kurdish Parliament before it dissolved in mid-nineties due to mini-civil war between Talabani and Barzani.

He laid out the case that what happened after April 9 was a revolution, which was enabled by invasion.
(Pretty much like the one in Russia in February of 1917.)

Now all we do is managing revolutionary chaos the best we can. In Russia it disintegrated into bolshevik takeover in October and then civil war.
In Iraq our Infantry stopped Al Sadr from doing the same thing.

Managing post-revolution chaos as well as we did is a major accomplishment even though it looks like a mess.

I think Bush team realized it awhile ago. In several speeches Bush was talking about our goals and Iraqi goals being the same.
As long as we dont stand on the way of revolution and just help it along the way and keep things from completely falling apart we will be OK.

I think thats the Bush strategy right now.

this we'll defend said...

Vrangel - not sure which comment you meant. Let me know and I'll post it here.

vrangel said...

Its in July 23 Mail Call comments.

Discussion about women in combat infantry.

There are also quite a few nuggets in comments about fucked up feet, infantrymen job prospects etc.

Gradually I came to a conclusion that our combat infantry is a true military elite, not marines/specops/navyseals etc...

Articles like this helped too :

Kat said... know I have to give you a hard time. Especially on your own blog. Makes it that much more fun. And, if you get nuanced into jail for contempt, you could always email us and we'll try to get you out. At least within a day or so. LOL

Yeah...clinton and Osama waa a cheap blow becuase that's just a crappy thing to have not taken seriously. However, I don't think that Bush is not taking Osama seriously. If he's in Pakistan, we can't go in with 30k troops anyway cause the Paks would freak. Personally, I think he might be in Iran considering his son is there and in regular contact with the crazies. And arguments about ideological differences don't fly. The main ideology that both AQ and the mules of Iran have in common is the desire to see a Pan Arab Islamic state complete with Shari'a law. I think they could work together long enought to make it happen and then figure they could work some sort of deal about power afterwards.

Just a thought.

this we'll defend said...

Kat, yep, the Iranian thing scares the hell out of me.

And no we couldn't have gone into Pakistan with 30K troops. I think we should have gone into Afghanistan with 800,000 troops, and ignored the border with Pakistan when chasing (and killing or capturing) Al Queda. And if they were disturbed - too f'ing bad we will hunt down and destroy Osama & Co. wherever they may be found. Had Hitler fled to Switzerland would we have honored Swiss nuetrality? We should have fought the war on terrorism at a high boil instead of just putting it on the back burner to simmer.

But we didn't do that, we let them get away and we don't know where they are now, every day brings new "terror warnings", our Army is tied down in Iraq for the foreseeable future, and Iran scares the hell out of me. But, don't forget, we are safer. I know this because the President said so and he wouldn't say it if it weren't true.

MickeyMe said...

Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker: Vote Democrat in 2004 to re-defeat Bush.

this we'll defend said...

LOL. I saw one that said "George W: born on 3rd base, thinks he hit a triple"

Bathus said...

Your posts begins with a fabrication:

"I'm watching Zell Miller on Meet the Press. You know, the "democrat" from GA that will speak at the RNC? He just said Kerry is unpatriotic, . . ."

Your fabrication is yet another example of liberals' sacred victimology: Liberals respond to critics by claiming that their patriotism has been questioned. Here's the link to the transcript of Zell Miller's appearance on Meet the Press:

Zell Miller did not call Kerry unpatriotic. But that does not prevent you from claiming otherwise.

Newspeak, indeed!

this we'll defend said...

He implied it all day long. Quote from the interview with goingtoZellinahandbasket Miller:

"How can a person say--how can they talk about the glory of Old Glory whenever they voted three times for an amendment--against an amendment that would have protected the flag against abuse? He's not for family values. He's completely out of sync." So Mr. Kerry is apparently not respectful enough to speak of the flag because he voted to keep the 1st Amendment untouched?

"If he had had his policies adopted in the Senate instead of the Ronald Reagan policies being adopted, we would still be in the Cold War. We'd still have a Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall would still be up." So Mr. Kerry is weak on communism?

But it is true, he never said Kerry was unpatriotic. He implied it.

Zealot also said we were right to fight in Iraq because "it kept it from being on the streets of America. I think we'd rather fight the enemy over there than over here." Interestingly enough, the right-wing take on Vietnam was that it was better to fight the commies there than in the streets of Santa Monica (this was obviously before Santa Monica became the kind of city it is today).

"Pitchfork" Ben Tillman of South Carolina used to carry a pitchfork to debates and stump speeches. Whenever anyone would question him on things like his misuse of government funds he would wave the pitchfork and yell "Don't let the nigras take over the white race!" Of course he was re-elected many, many times.

Times are different now. We are more enlightened. Now it is "Don't let the terrorists win!" and we wave color-coded terror alerts.

Bathus said...

Thank you for your admission that you stated a falsehood when you claimed that Zell Miller "said Kerry is unpatriotic."

You've now "corrected" that falsehood with the word "implied." Yet "implications" are in the eye of the beholder. For example, someone might say that in my previous comment I "implied" that you are a bald-faced liar. But, of course, I have done no such thing. I merely pointed out your falsehood, and left it for others to judge for themselves whether your falsehood was:

1. purposeful--in which case you would be a liar;

2. reckless (perhaps the result of a zealous, almost willful, deafness to the reality presented to your senses) -- in which case "liar" might be slightly too strong a term;

3. negligent,--a simple error, not motivated by animus toward Zell Miller, in which case (after apologizing for your mistake) you would be guilty of nothing more serious than being human.

Yes, I "imply" nothing about whether you were lying knowlingly or were simply mistaken about what Zell Miller "said."

Instead, I leave it for your readers to judge. But as your readers make that determination, it would be fair for them to keep in mind the following: If we use the same standard that you employ to infer "implications" in the words of others, we quickly discover that you have no qualms about "implying" that your ideological opponents are unpatriotic. For example, if Zell Miller's words "imply" that Kerry is unpatriotic, did you not "imply" the same about George Bush when you suggested that he "skipped every military funeral" and "dodged the draft and then claimed veterans status"? Or when you wrote: "I thought it despicable when Bush wrapped himself in the flag . . . . 'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,'" were you not "implying" that Bush's falsifies patriotism and therefore is unpatriotic?

So in deciding whether to judge your falsehood about Zell Miller generously or strictly, your readers should keep in mind how you treat those with whom you disagree. They should keep in mind that, although you rise in indignation at every supposed implication of unpatriotism coming from those with whom you disagree, you grant yourself an unlimited license to "imply" the same or worse about them.

this we'll defend said...

Well, let's just clear it up then:

Mr. Bush loves this country. He is Patriotic. He and the right-wing also feel they are MORE patriotic than the left and use it to justify their actions by calling into question the patriotism of their opponents.

Thus Ann Coulter has a book called "Treason." The attorney general claims that questioning of presidential policies helps the enemy. The president has a commercial running that says Kerry was "wrong on defense" after twisting a single vote into what seem like multiple votes (the vote I explain above, the one where republicans first voted against giving troops what they need before voting for it - and borrowed the money from our kids to pay for it). Right-wing radio and countless pundits repeat the "we love America and the democrats don't" refrain (to claim you don't know this is to claim you are un-informed, but I've been to your website so don't try it). So yes Mr. Bush is a patriot that loves his counry. My point is, so what? Why is that an issue in a presidential campaign? Because he seeks to make it so. The opposition that seeks to unseat him is patriotic too, but they don't use the flag as a weapon. Kerry was on defense, not on offense, at the DNC.

As for Mr. Miller - I didn't lie as you well know, and implying otherwise is a cheap trick. I don't call him unpatriotic. I call him a spineless opportunist that puts his own re-election above all other things. And I say he will fit in quite well in the Republican party after he finally admits that he is one.

Bathus said...

At the close of your last comment, you call Zell Miller a "spineless opportunist that puts his own re-election above all other things."

You seem not to have noticed that Miller is not running for re-election.

Alas, your claim that Miller "puts his own re-election above all other things" is demostrated false.

But take heart! With your latest error you've almost convinced me that your falsehoods are more a product of ignorance than ill-will.

Changing the subject a bit: It would be ungracious of me not to acknowledge the compliment you paid me by stating in your last comment that I am not uninformed. Thank you for saying that. But your kind remark leaves me in the uncomfortable position of being unable, in good conscience, to return the compliment precisely in kind. Instead, I will substitute the honest (and equal) compliment that you are "highly spirited."

Spiritedness can be a magnificent trait in a lawyer . . . if admixed with humility. Otherwise, it is a self-wearisome burden that will spur you into battles you would wish you never entered on sides you would wish you never took. The lesson here is:

"Think before you speak. And while thinking, think less about what you suppose might defeat your adversary and think more about whether your argument is sound and true."

Notwithstanding all our jousting, I can tell you are a good man, and (as we compassionate conservatives like to say) your heart is in the right place.

this we'll defend said...

Mr. Miller already "retired." Miller first "retired" from politics in 1998 after his second term as governor. He then ran for the Senate in a special election two years later.

Alas, all your flowery and condescending language falls apart upon further examination.

Miller will probably be back, and my expectation is that he will be. He will either run for some office or, more likely, he will expect an appointment in a second Bush administration.

But of course you are right that he isn't running for re-election to the Senate in 2004. Amazing how you can jump on my statement and tear it to pieces for its inconsistency while missing the truth of the larger message... no, actually, it is pretty much the standard practice of this administration. As when they claim Kerry didn't support the troops in Iraq by twisting the reality of his vote against the $87 billion, which was, I believe, one of my original points. Your charge of ignorance or "high-spiritedness" based on my re-election of Zell Miller statement is in the same vein - true at first glance, but it falls apart when the details come out. Of course your hope must be that the American people never bother to learn the details and believe what they are told in 30-second sound bites and interviews with hucksters like Mr. Miller.

Miller is a spineless opportunist who puts winning this election above ethics. He is a conservative populist who wants to re-elect George W. Bush and will do or say anything to win.

Bathus said...

As often as you get your facts out of whack, you need to learn the art of how to back-peddle a little more gracefully.

You say it is "Amazing how [I] can jump on [your] statement and tear it to pieces for its inconsistency while missing the truth of the larger message." What is more amazing is how comfortable you are suggesting that a little falsehood should be excused, if it is in the service of a larger truth--or what you believe is a larger truth. Now that is a truly "liberal" philosophy. But I wonder: Just how large does one of your "inconsistencies" have to get before it can no longer be justified by your larger truth?

It is not amazing that you reject the well-meant advice in my last post. That's okay. You'll find plenty of occassions to remember it later.

this we'll defend said...

Not sure I need to "backpeddle" since you keep saying "falsehood" instead of a poor choice of words.

No falsehood - I believe Mr. Miller will do anything to win an election, and I don't believe he is done with politics. As I said. And given the point of my message, the context of my message, it was an unimportant point whether he was running for the Senate in 2004. Just as Mr. Kerry did not seek to prevent funding for the troops when he voted against the republican $87 billion bill.

So no backpedaling, and thanks for being so gracious as to imply dishonesty on my part. Quite well-meaning of you.

Still, don't go away - I enjoy your posts and your wit, even though of course we probably disagree about most things.