November 22, 2004


Glimmers of Hope: Hang in there. Things may not be quite as good as Bush-lovers think.
(James Ridgeway, November 16th, 2004, Village Voice)

Poking their heads aboveground in the second week of the newly mandated Bush government, liberals are finding the countryside to be not as bleak as they had originally thought. [...]

With Chief Justice William Rehnquist dying of cancer, there is nobody in charge of the Supreme Court.

The CIA, widely viewed as a Bush enemy during the war, is in turmoil, with new director Porter Goss forcing out top officials. Two big guns in the agency's Clandestine Service, Stephen R. Kappes and Michael Sulick, resigned Monday following infighting with Goss.

In Iraq, there's of course even more turmoil.

Ah, the things that make the Left happy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2004 4:38 PM

Didn't you say that you ah.. rooted for the National Guard at Kent State? Maybe it was someone else that said that.

Posted by: h-man at November 22, 2004 5:13 PM

Yes, I said it. They represented us.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 5:24 PM

The Ohio National Guard didn't exactly go to Kent State to execute students...

They were actually chased around campus for a bit by a mob before turning and firing.

It was a bad decision by a green and panicked officer.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 22, 2004 5:54 PM

Speaking of which, a nice little argument trap to spring is as follows: After you get your hapless victim to state that the dead students at Kent State were martyrs to the movement to end an unjust war, slip in the stiletto of the fact that those particular protests were not about Vietnam.... they were specifically about US incursions into Cambodia against the nascent Khmer Rouge movement (as well as Viet Cong hiding there, but feel free to play that down ;-).

Thus the "martyrs" got what they wanted. The US withdrew, the enemies of the US triumphed, and went on to implement a holocaust that, per capita, was likely the worst in human history (unless you ask Chomsky).

So, nice work, martyrs. We're all real impressed.

1970.... 2002-4.... same bat time, same bat channel....

Posted by: Andrew X at November 22, 2004 5:58 PM

The Left and the CIA have become allies, or at least the Left is putting its hopes on the CIA helping to save it? Maybe the '60x are dead...

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 22, 2004 6:11 PM

This would be an infinitely better nation had all the protestors at all the anti-Vietnam protests been summarily executed.

Posted by: Bart at November 22, 2004 6:15 PM

That's real clear thinking there, Andrew. The protestors forced us out of Cambodia against the wishes of a helpless Nixon, thereby destabilizing a nation that was somehow stabilized by our incursion.

I see the justification for the ruin we will shortly leave behind in Iraq is already in place.

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 22, 2004 7:47 PM

Whenever I hear someone bringing up Nixon and Cambodia in the context of today in Iraq, I can't help but think of the "Weird Al" Yankovic song, "When I Was Your Age."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 22, 2004 8:04 PM

If anyone else can figure out what point Social Scientist is trying to make up there, please chime in.

Here's the deal:

The protesters actively and forthrightly acted in a manner that benefited the Khmer Rouge, then in direct conflict with the US. The words "aid and comfort" come to mind.

I'm not certain that France was "stabilized by our incursion" of June, 1944. Stabilization is not a be-all-and-end-all of a moral world. "Destabilization" in the fight against totalitarianism is no vice.

And I (we), CATEGORICALLY and without dilution, REJECT the idea, held by the Left, that they can actively and forthrightly act in manner that benefits totalitarians (obvious totalitarians), and then when the totalitarians triumph and begin to do what they do... wholesale slaughter on an unimaginable scale.... as sure as night follows day...., the Left can then turn their backs, walk away, and say "Who, us? Nothin' to do with little ole me! We stopped a war! Aren't we wonderful?"

Nope. Not this time. That as much as anything was what November 2nd was about.

Posted by: Andrew X at November 22, 2004 8:37 PM

"Tin soldiers and Kerry's coming..." PTL NO!

Posted by: Phil at November 22, 2004 8:38 PM


"In 1970, Prince Sihanouk was ousted, not by Pol Pot, but due to a U.S.-backed right-wing military coup. An embittered Sihanouk retaliated by joining with Pol Pot, his former enemy, in opposing Cambodia's new military government. That same year, the U.S. invaded Cambodia to expel the North Vietnamese from their border encampments, but instead drove them deeper into Cambodia where they allied themselves with the Khmer Rouge.

"From 1969 until 1973, the U.S. intermittently bombed North Vietnamese sanctuaries in eastern Cambodia, killing up to 150,000 Cambodian peasants. As a result, peasants fled the countryside by the hundreds of thousands and settled in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh.

"All of these events resulted in economic and military destabilization in Cambodia and a surge of popular support for Pol Pot."

Sounds just like France, 1944.

BTW, I was against Saddam when Reagan and Rumsfeld were selling him arms. Were you?

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 22, 2004 9:13 PM

SS -

Were you pro-Khomeini?

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 22, 2004 9:30 PM

SS --

So when exactly did you turn pro-Saddam?

Posted by: Moe from NC at November 22, 2004 9:32 PM

Ah, yes, the good old "We created Saddam" mythology. How could we have been so inconsistent to have sold him a relatively small amount of arms and then turn around, oh, 20 years later and depose him? Much better to have been like France, Germany, Russia, etc., and never stopped selling him weapons.

Posted by: brian at November 22, 2004 9:36 PM

Jim--Do you mean to imply that regional considerations (e.g. the ascendance of Iranian mullahs) should play a part in our calculations? You must be objectively pro-Saddam!

Moe--Still waiting.

Brian--I think we (meaning you) turned against him when he invaded Kuwait. You could probably look that up.

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 22, 2004 10:19 PM

Tyrranies seek stability above all else--anyone who threatens destabilization (i.e. speaks up against the existing order) gets hauled off by the secret police and ends up in a mass grave somewhere.

SS has declared himself/herself in favor of "stability"--that is to say, he/she sides with the tyrant against the oppressed.

Well, at least you've picked an appropriate set of initials there, pal.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 22, 2004 10:40 PM

Actually, Saddam and his Baathist cohorts were seen as pretty rotten folks by the U.S. oreign policy people way back in the late 1970s, because of their pro-Soviet leanings in the Middle East. It was only when Saddam decided to attack Iran during the hostage crisis in 1980 that American policy towards his regime softened under the "an enemy of my enemy is my friend" mindset (and remember, this shift came under Carter, not Reagan, though the latter continued the policy, and it remained through Bush 41 until the invasion of Kuwait).

Posted by: John at November 22, 2004 10:41 PM

We created Saddam. We created Pol Pot. We armed the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan. Grant that it's all true without qualification. Grant that there were no honorable intentions in relation to any of these outcomes. Grant that they were all brought about by a sinister, imperialist nation out to exploit and oppress the noble 'people of color' around the world. The questions still remains:

What to do now?

The "secular" and "scientific" left advocates doing nothing apparently because doing nothing (in their minds) can have no moral consequences. After all, by doing nothing we will not be waging war, and if we're not waging war, we're being peaceful. And being peaceful is good! No matter how much violence and killing (not of our own hands) our inaction permits.

But more than anything else, the "secular" left advocates doing nothing because America doing something good challenges the most basic tenet of their religion, their most cherished article of faith - that America is Evil. That it can do no good. Watching the United States helping to bring about 2 emerging liberal democracies that have the potential to provide a decent future for 50 million people must be extremely upsetting for them.

Hence all of the strained arguments many of which seem to take the following form (try and keep up):
• A current situation is bad, but a prior U.S. action (read sinister and greedy action) helped bring about that situation.
• Therefore, doing something about the situation is wrong.
These various desperate attempts to invalidate and minimize the obvious good the U.S. is achieving in the middle east is just the left’s attempt to deny reality.

Reminds me a little bit of the Scopes Trial.

Posted by: djs at November 22, 2004 10:49 PM


Since you believe that stability = tyranny, you should really get out of here and go to the Sudan or the Congo, and be truly free. Good luck.


"What to do now?" Why, it's obvious. Explain our failure as being caused by "the enemy within." After that, it's not obvious. I don't believe I've actually expressed myself to the question of withdrawal, but since every Democratic primary candidate except Kucinich said we can't pull out, your representation hardly holds water for the "left," does it?

As for "doing nothing"--your definition seems to preclude doing anything except invading. Aren't we "doing nothing" in regard to Iran, North Korea, Syria? Not to mention Uzbekistan, Cuba, and Belarus?

When will we start to do something?

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 22, 2004 11:10 PM


My definition of "doing nothing" certainly includes explaining our failure as being caused by 'the enemy within', which by the way, seems a very clear expression on the question of withdrawal. As for the Democratic candidate's "positions" on withdrawal, they were just trying to survive in a country in which their viewpoints are in the minority - not to please their core constituents (who hold a very different view).

Posted by: djs at November 22, 2004 11:20 PM


You're right though that we need to do Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc. All in good time.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 11:20 PM


Kissinger and Nixon deserve much blame for what happened in Cambodia, but so does the Left which, as always, romaticized our enemies:

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2004 11:23 PM

The thirst for blood, er, freedom here is really quite exciting. Not to mention the optimism. We can barely hold on in Iraq, and now we're off to so many other countries. Of course, one or two of them might actually use WMDs, possibly killing millions. But that will just prove that they had them, that we were right!

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 22, 2004 11:59 PM

They don't have WMD either. It's just about the form of their political systems.

Posted by: oj at November 23, 2004 12:02 AM


"I was against Saddam when Reagan and Rumsfeld were selling him arms"

Were you now? According to the Swedish International Peace Institute (good Swedish leftists), The U.S. contributed 1% of Saddam's arms between 1979 and 2001. France, Russia and China contributed 87%.

So, who were you mad at? Oh, let me guess.

Posted by: Peter B at November 23, 2004 6:25 AM

SS: Sudan and the Congo are examples of anarchy, and not either tyranny or ordered liberty. Gotta give you points for a snappy comeback, but don't forget, you're the one who came out of the blocks criticizing the "destabilization" of the Middle East.

You've shown yourself quite adept at witty repartee. Now here's a real challenge for you: what would you do different? What's your plan of action? What do you propose we do in Iraq? Afghanistan? With the Iranian nuclear threat? In response to al-Qaida? And no snappy one-liners about "regime change in Washington," that's not good enough--you have to tell us what you'd do after you depose "Chimpy McHitler" and the evil Likud/Halliburton/Enron conspiracy.

Bring it on, dude.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 23, 2004 6:40 AM

boys, boys!

at least we can all be happy that Rehnquist is dying of cancer!


Posted by: JonofAtlanta at November 23, 2004 10:01 AM

SS, your handle tells me where you're coming from. Never saw a Marxist/Socialist/totalitarian government you didn't like.

Saddam's weaponary was Soviet/Russian/Eastern European provided as with every Marxist/socialist/totalitarian organization worldwide.

Your point of view pervades your opinions.

Move to Cuba where your opinions will be widely shared.

Posted by: genecis at November 23, 2004 10:34 AM