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Republican Insider Hint #1: Apply foot to mouth and win. America ain't no democracy.
September 29, 2002 11:41 PM   Subscribe

Republican Insider Hint #1: Apply foot to mouth and win. America ain't no democracy. Trent Lott on McDermott: "For him to be in Baghdad, the center of one of the most dangerous dictators in the world, with all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, to be questioning the veracity of our own American president, is the height of irresponsible," said Lott, R-Mississippi. "He needs to come home and keep his mouth shut." Yes, yes, we have three traitorous democratic congressmen in Baghdad presently, who are lobbying that government to allow the return of UN weapons inspectors.
posted by crasspastor (94 comments total)

 
"[Saddam is] saying, 'Look, you can come inspect, but I will tell you where you can go, when you can go and under what conditions you can inspect our country.' And that's not acceptable," Breaux told "Fox News Sunday."

Sen. John Breaux, D-Louisiana, compared the Iraqi offer of new inspections to a statement attributed to Prohibition-era mobster Al Capone: '"You can inspect my business anywhere you want -- just don't go in the back room where the girls and the gambling happens to be.'
posted by hama7 at 11:55 PM on September 29, 2002


Well, you missed the point hama7.
posted by crasspastor at 11:59 PM on September 29, 2002


Well, the comments quoted above seem a fairly accurate assessment of the situation.

Or were you trying to employ that new crazy thing all the kids are talking about called "irony"?

And if you were, I still don't get it.
posted by hama7 at 12:22 AM on September 30, 2002


Maybe McDermott, Bonior, and Thompson can get their photograph taken, while standing next to an Iraq anti-aircraft gun. Hey it worked for Jane Fonda in Vietnam.
posted by Beholder at 12:34 AM on September 30, 2002


Speaking of the administration, Mr. McDermott said, "I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation." Then he added: "It would not surprise me if they came up with some information that is not provable, and they've shifted. First they said it was Al Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they're going back and saying it's Al Qaeda again." When pressed for evidence about whether President Bush had lied, Mr. McDermott said, "I think the president would mislead the American people."

Agents of the government should not, while visiting the capital city of a country led by a dictatorial enemy of the United States, make such statements, period. It's the height of irresponsibility, if not vagurely treasonous. What makes these statements so inflammatory is that they're all the vaguest conjecture and personal opinion:

"I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation."

"It would not surprise me if they came up with some information that is not provable, and they've shifted."

When pressed for evidence about whether President Bush had lied, Mr. McDermott said, "I think the president would mislead the American people."

That's evidence? What exactly did McDermott actually say with those statements? Zilch. Making such statements would be one thing if you were on your home soil, or friendly soil (although it would still be stupid unless you had something more to back up your accusations than "I think" and "I believe"). But, coming from Iraqui soil while on an official governmental mission, these pronouncements will only serve as propaganda fuel for Saddam. It was a ridiculous move, and one he will hopefully have to explain to the voters of his state come election time.
posted by evanizer at 12:35 AM on September 30, 2002


This business of what 'soil' a person is on when he makes a statement is mere empty rhetoric. The issue is who he said it to: he said it to the press. He is entitled to say it -- Shrubya has made many wilfully misleading statements about the Iraqi weapons program, and about Saddam's (totally unproven and on the face of it, not credible) ties to al Quaeda. Where the congressman was standing when he pointed it out is not at issue: he said it to CNN, and CNN's audience is the same no matter where the interviewee is standing at the time.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:56 AM on September 30, 2002


Agents of the government should not, while visiting the capital city of a country led by a dictatorial enemy of the United States, make such statements, period. It's the height of irresponsibility, if not vagurely treasonous. What makes these statements so inflammatory is that they're all the vaguest conjecture and personal opinion...

Staking out subjective positions and making judgement calls is the central job of our congressmen and in fact all politicians. We have experts and professionals to handle the governmental decisions that have clear answers independent of perception and values. As a democratic republic, we elect representatives to handle the fuzzy, human dimension to policy questions.

Plus, as a member of the legislature, its McDermott'sjob to follow the actions of the executive and protect us if he feels it is misleading the American public, and vice-versa. And as for those statements being made in Iraq, what would you have him talk about there- prescription drug benefits?

Personal opinion is the only thing congressmen are elected for.
posted by gsteff at 1:02 AM on September 30, 2002


What I still have yet to determine is how the (fabulously irresponsible) comments of a few Representatives in Iraq, equal "America ain't no democracy".

As of this moment, no American clerics or mullahs have issued edicts calling for their execution, as far as I know.
posted by hama7 at 1:08 AM on September 30, 2002


he said it to CNN

Said what to CNN? That he "thinks" and "believes" lots of things? Why did he wait until he was in Iraq to unburden himself of his vague "feelings" and conjecture? Does he have any proof or evidence of any sort to back up his hunch? No. And, as politicians (especially Democrats), McDermott et al should be fully aware of the power of image, and the symbolism of making his statements where he made them, CNN notwithstanding.

As an aside- what is the point of using the silly "Shrubya" etc. taunts/misnomers? That rhetorical device always comes across as juvenile desperation. If you want me to automatically dismiss what you've said then, by all means, "Shrub" away. Otherwise, it's a lame joke, and gets lamer by the minute. if this is a serious discussion, lets leave the rhyming slang back in kindergarten where it belongs.
posted by evanizer at 1:11 AM on September 30, 2002


evanizer: and one he will hopefully have to explain to the voters of his state come election time.

I am a voter in his state and his district (Seattle). McDermott's won in a landslide in every damn election over the past few terms, and you can kindly go fuck yourself, outsider. You want a say in Washington politics, you can move your sorry ass to the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise, shut yer trap.

Look, McDermott showed restraint and some political tact by not screaming at the top of his lungs exactly how the Bush administration has lied, mislead, misinformed about Iraq (and let's not even get into the hypocrisy of Trent Lott, the voice of restraint and relativism on Iraq when KKKLinton was president). That same information has been posted countless times here on MeFi, including the recent LIE about "6 months from nuclear weapons", but you among several other woeful Bush apologists have apparently wrapped your whole sense of self so tightly up into this notion that you are the lone visionaries at lib'rul MetaFilter who see the piercing light of truth, that you have apparently become incapable (presumably under pain of psychotic breakdown should you yield) of even considering an alternate viewpoint.

Of course, it seems it's also part of your dementia that the idea of multiple viewpoints or anyone disagreeing with you or your boy Bush is like a physical strike at the core of your being (a vulnerability not unlike the discomfort Christian fundamentalists feel when challenged on their doctrine, or homophobes feel when confronted with their lack of sexual introspection). This must be the reason the idea of dissent is so maddening to you, and why you craft ludicrous rationales for how McDermott was wrong to say this (that elected leaders shouldn't speak out again politicians they disagree with from the opposing party, even if their constituency supports it, or that the particular plot of land someone's standing on somehow matters in the veracity of their claims).
posted by hincandenza at 1:14 AM on September 30, 2002


Political FPP degenerates into ad hominem attacks. Film at eleven.
posted by gsteff at 1:19 AM on September 30, 2002


Evanizer:

Do you believe that sometimes the US government does not give out misinformation?

"I think the president would mislead the American people."

Finally a representative with the guts to say it.

Everything from this administration is meant to mislead, hence the fact that anybody believes or stands up for them at all. Elected by absolute fraud. Rule by fraud and deletion of the freedoms of one to speak and do whatever his conscience wills, lest he be cowed by the rightist totalitarians.

Said what to CNN? That he "thinks" and "believes" lots of things? Why did he wait until he was in Iraq to unburden himself of his vague "feelings" and conjecture?

Why did he even fucking go there in the first place? To imbibe in some of the Baghdad nightlife, while they're feeling at the moment, rather punchy and frivolous? Hardly. He sought and seeks to make a difference, as such, many of us in the liberal salmon town of Seattle completely are behind him on and seek to do ourselves. He speaks for his constituency. An asshat peacenik speaking on behalf of other asshat peaceniks who voted for him. Imagine that. Democracy, what a concept.

More importantly though is this of course, lest I repeat it:

For him to be in Baghdad, the center of one of the most dangerous dictators in the world, with all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, to be questioning the veracity of our own American president, is the height of irresponsible. He needs to come home and keep his mouth shut."

You people stand behind this?
posted by crasspastor at 1:27 AM on September 30, 2002


He sought and seeks to make a difference, as such, many of us in the liberal salmon town of Seattle completely are behind him on and seek to do ourselves. He speaks for his constituency. An asshat peacenik speaking on behalf of other asshat peaceniks who voted for him. Imagine that. Democracy, what a concept.

A fark reader, I see...

Seriously, though. This guy should be able to say whatever he wants wherever he wants to. If it undermines shrubya, more power to 'em.
posted by delmoi at 1:35 AM on September 30, 2002


Yes, I stand behind everything except the last sentence, which I will amend to read:

"He needs to keep his mouth shut until he comes home."

As for your other statements, I don't care what the good congressman "feels". I want proof of what he calls Bush's "misleading". I want to know exactly what McDermott calls "misinformation". Otherwise it's just political spam, like all the other political spam that comes out of the mouths of politicians.

Everything from this administration is meant to mislead
Even McDermott didn't say that. He said "I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation." Hardly sounds like the statement of the radical that you make him out to be.

If McDermott is Seattle's idea of a valiant defender of truth and candor, you guys need to have another macchiatto and reprioritize.
posted by evanizer at 1:38 AM on September 30, 2002


As an aside- what is the point of using the silly "Shrubya" etc. taunts/misnomers? That rhetorical device always comes across as juvenile desperation. If you want me to automatically dismiss what you've said then, by all means, "Shrub" away. Otherwise, it's a lame joke, and gets lamer by the minute. if this is a serious discussion, lets leave the rhyming slang back in kindergarten where it belongs.

You might want to have a look at this, evanizer. I think it makes a reasonable case for calling him that, and I for one will continue to refer to him with the pejorative diminutive. Better 'Shrub' than the swarm of 4-letter anglo-saxonisms that come to mind when I ponder the little...well, enough said.

Feel free to dismiss what I have to say, though, if you're so inclined.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:47 AM on September 30, 2002


I think I meant fuckwit delmoi. I do check fark, perhaps twice weekly, but never for the commentary. All them online curses and insults have somehow conflated themselves to me.

The proof of bush's "misleading" is rife. Do you not pay attention evan? It's right here on the pages of Metafilter.

Otherwise it's just political spam, like all the other political spam that comes out of the mouths of politicians.

How many other politicians are in Iraq hankering to get the low-down on the showdown?

It's like we've set up these partitions of political representation. The emissaries of the people take all the flak, as long as they are on the people's side. And the monarchy this administraion is provong itself to be, has absolutely no oversight that it must concern itself with. As it is, after all, the George W. Bush administration(mp3). God help us, if that's who you must defend in order to thwart the anti-juvenile-presisdent league of concerned voters.
posted by crasspastor at 1:59 AM on September 30, 2002


I'm suprised one of the treasonous 3 was Senator Breaux, isn't he more of a moderate and not part of the looney left-wing of the Democratic Party? McDermott is a socialist so I think that speaks in volume how much of an idiot that guy is. I wonder what Senator Biden is going to think about all this. I have a gut feeling he's not going to be impressed.

-Z
posted by ZupanGOD at 2:14 AM on September 30, 2002


It is so amazingly ironic that the turns of events have come to favor oil companies. I mean, it's at least kinda weird, since Condi almost had a friggin' tanker named after her, right? (um, can I say weird? I meant beautifully american.)

-speaking when we can
posted by Sr_Cluba at 2:29 AM on September 30, 2002


As an aside- what is the point of using the silly "Shrubya" etc. taunts/misnomers? That rhetorical device always comes across as juvenile desperation. If you want me to automatically dismiss what you've said then, by all means, "Shrub" away. Otherwise, it's a lame joke, and gets lamer by the minute. if this is a serious discussion, lets leave the rhyming slang back in kindergarten where it belongs.

ha! look who's talking! the label-maker himself.
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:30 AM on September 30, 2002


Agents of the government should not, while visiting the capital city of a country led by a dictatorial enemy of the United States, make such statements, period.

What nonsense. The truth is the truth, wherever one may happen to be standing, and one has not only the right but the obligation to state it. Your criteria for "treason" is appalling.
posted by rushmc at 8:48 AM on September 30, 2002


Now I am certainly no fan of Trent Lott. But I do think it's the "height of irresponsible" for a U.S. Representative to criticize the U.S. President -- in Baghdad -- at a time when highly sensitive and complex diplomatic and other initiatives are taking place.

I think Glenn Reynolds over at InstaPundit says it best: "Are the Democrats' tracking polls so bad that they think they're going to lose everyone but the Nation/NPR hard core among their base, so they're just trying to energize that regardless of the cost among swing voters? This seems hard for me to believe. The other possibility is that these guys are just idiots, and there's no organizing principle beyond generalized hostility toward America. This is a risky game. It's likely to do a lot of damage in the coming elections. And if there's another big terror attack, it's going to kill the Democrats for years. What are they thinking? Are they thinking?"

Sorry to tell those of you on the left-of-left, but Trent Lott's statements are going to resonate a hell of a lot more with Americans than McDermott's.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:52 AM on September 30, 2002


As an aside- what is the point of using the silly "Shrubya" etc. taunts/misnomers? That rhetorical device always comes across as juvenile desperation. If you want me to automatically dismiss what you've said then, by all means, "Shrub" away. Otherwise, it's a lame joke, and gets lamer by the minute. if this is a serious discussion, lets leave the rhyming slang back in kindergarten where it belongs.

I would propose, inasmuch as it's pretty clear that the Bush administration represents the leading edge of American fascism, that we stop referrring to the President as "shrub" and "shrubya" and instead adopt Generalismo Wanker. This much more fascist appropriate deprecating name has the advantage of having the initials GW.
posted by shagoth at 8:52 AM on September 30, 2002


Heaven forbid that our elected officials engage in some debate about the wisdom of going to war. We need more jingoistic congressmen that don't bother with that pesky thinking thing and 'keep their mouth shut'.

What do those three congressmen think they are doing? It's almost like they are trying to make an informed decision. Don't they know that these decisions have already been made? We have *always* been at war with Oceania, err, Iraq...
posted by Argyle at 8:56 AM on September 30, 2002


As for your other statements, I don't care what the good congressman "feels". I want proof of what he calls Bush's "misleading". I want to know exactly what McDermott calls "misinformation". Otherwise it's just political spam, like all the other political spam that comes out of the mouths of politicians.

Interesting that you would apply this standard to a representative but not to the president.
posted by Tempus67 at 8:57 AM on September 30, 2002


Evanizer and the people arguing with him both have a point. It is not the most responsible thing for a politician to criticize his leader (as an American citizen) when he is on hostile soil. Evanizer's brittle and sometimes ridiculous arguing stategy notwithstanding, this congressmen is not helping his cause, and Evanizer's point that he should wait until he comes home is a good one.

But to suggest that administration does not mislead the people is silly. They want a war (for a variety of reasons both good and bad) and will do and say what it takes to get one. The more people go against them, the more they'll say. It's just the nature of war.
posted by cell divide at 9:02 AM on September 30, 2002


Wasn't anyone much more bothered by what Trent Lott had to say than what McDermott had to say? We have congressmen in Baghdad trying to find a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi weapon situation. They are actually doing something to avoid a war, and Lott is angry about this? Does he want to send in the troops and make sure that people on both sides will die in the name of maintaining the ridiculous party line and artificially inflating the Republican's image for midterm elections? I admire the courage of McDermott et al in trying to find a diplomatic solution. Lott, on the other hand, seems to be afraid that someone might let Americans know that Bush doesn't know what he is doing. (At least half of us have figured that out already.) I think it is patriotic to question the President when he needs questioning. I regret that I moved from Seattle and no longer can vote for McDermott in his next election. Maybe I'll move to Mississippi and try to get Lott out.
posted by cholstro at 9:14 AM on September 30, 2002


Said what to CNN? That he "thinks" and "believes" lots of things? Why did he wait until he was in Iraq to unburden himself of his vague "feelings" and conjecture? Does he have any proof or evidence of any sort to back up his hunch? No.

Good point: You should have proof before shooting your mouth off.

Better point: You should have proof before shooting your guns off. The Bush administration has shown no proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Scott Ritter, the former head of the U.N. weapons-inspection team, has said there is no way that Sadaam has rebuilt any significant weapons programs.

We are about to engage in war for something that a country might do; a dicey proposition at best. The idea of it has pissed off the entire rest of the world--except for Tony Blair.

And ties to al Queda? That's ridiculous. Sadaam is a secular dictator. He actively suppresses religious zealots with political views. He is probably al Queda's least favorite Arab leader. The last thing he wants is a bunch of religious fanatics in his country that might get it into their head to turn Iraq into an Islamic Republic and install an Ayatollah to run it.

Hipnerd
badmouth
posted by hipnerd at 9:18 AM on September 30, 2002


"...McDermott et al in trying to find a diplomatic solution"

Slamming your President and his administration on enemy soil is hardly diplomatic. They sound more like traitors to me (slightly exaggerated).
posted by Witty at 9:18 AM on September 30, 2002


Okay...let me see if I understand this correctly.

Three Democratic congressmen went to Baghdad to try to persude Iraq to allow UN arms inspectors back into the country, and, while there, one of them suggested that the President of the United States was misleading the American people?

This is an embarrassment for both the Democratic party and the constituencies who elected those idiots.

And you guys are upset because Trent Lott said they should keep their mouths shut? I simply don't get it.
posted by Durwood at 9:20 AM on September 30, 2002


crasspastor, I cannot find the words traitor or treason in the articles linked to. In fact, the strongest word used by Lott seems to be irresponsible.

Care to explain your reasons for ratcheting up the rhetoric? Or is it simply that the martyr pose is attractive?
posted by dhartung at 9:30 AM on September 30, 2002


Meanwhile the war has already started (we discussed this here) and Basra Airport has been attacked twice last week.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:32 AM on September 30, 2002


Scott Ritter, the former head of the U.N. weapons-inspection team, has said there is no way that Sadaam has rebuilt any significant weapons programs.

Do you by any chance mean the same Scott Ritter who accepted $400,000 from a pro-Saddam Iraqi businessman to finance a movie intended -- in Ritter's own words -- to "de-demonize" Iraq?
posted by pardonyou? at 9:33 AM on September 30, 2002


And you guys are upset because Trent Lott said they should keep their mouths shut? I simply don't get it.

Group think. Right attacks, left circles wagons. The results of the mid-term elections are going to come as a bit of a shock to a large number of people here.

There will be much teeth-gnashing and whining about how amerika is full of sheep and no one gets it, this again will be wagon circling.

It amazes (and amuses) me how out-of-touch the vocal left is with the voters and how quickly they fall to insults and finger pointing instead of constructive attempts to win the debate.
posted by Mick at 9:34 AM on September 30, 2002


George Bush would never mislead us into war.
Agency disavows report on Iraq arms
posted by owillis at 9:39 AM on September 30, 2002


I simply don't get it.

I don't get many things, too, politics are a strange business

For example I don't get how Lott and especially those cheerful old segregationists Helms and Thurmond can actually be in the Senate of the world's oldest democracy, and worse, how people seem to take them seriously, and forget about their past.

I don't also get how simple democratic nonviolent dissent on a new and controversial and potentially very risky government policy can instantly be labeled as treason -- a McCarthyite reflex not to be proud of
posted by matteo at 9:41 AM on September 30, 2002


As of this moment, no American clerics or mullahs have issued edicts calling for their execution, as far as I know

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that such calls are not being made on conservative radio talk shows this afternoon. Check out Rush Limbaugh et al and see.
posted by moonbiter at 9:45 AM on September 30, 2002


"We want every diplomatic effort made to resolve this without war. We have no interest in war and want our administration to pursue every area before war," McDermott said upon his arrival in Baghdad

These three men are my heroes. I wish every person in congress felt like this, but sadly there is far too much interest in starting a war. Personally, I blame "Desert Storm." Too much glory, not enough pain.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:46 AM on September 30, 2002


It amazes (and amuses) me how out-of-touch the vocal right is with the voters and how quickly they fall to insults and finger pointing instead of constructive attempts to win the debate.
posted by moonbiter at 9:47 AM on September 30, 2002


It amazes (and amuses) me how out-of-touch the vocal left is with the voters and how quickly they fall to insults and finger pointing instead of constructive attempts to win the debate.

And it's precisely this attitude that bemuses and annoys the rest of the world (remember us?).

We don't agree with you, you don't give a fuck, indeed you demonize and deny space for any of your citizens who do - sounds familiar.
posted by niceness at 9:49 AM on September 30, 2002


I have 2 siblings who are in the middle of the dauphin's war right now, so for me it's personal. Anyone who looks for a peaceful solution to this situation is fine by me.
And I am convinced that the US is only going to be brought back into line through external pressure, considering the fact that the democratic process is all but dead.
This war is about one thing and one thing only - stealing Iraqi oil in the same manner that Iraq tried to steal Kuwaiti oil.
posted by 2sheets at 9:50 AM on September 30, 2002


Although I agree that standing in Iraq is a bad place to be voicing doubts about the US government, I am so frantic for someone to stand up and say "This is wrong!" and "we need proof!" that I am happy they are doing it somewhere....anywhere. And if the Democrats go down in flames this election but go down in history as making a stand against disinformation, lies, the destruction of the constituion, and violence for violence's sake, I don't think it will have been in vain.

I sincerely doubt that the administration is telling the whole truth..this whole thing stinks of The Gulf of Tonkin. Thank god someone has the balls to say something. Trent Lott seems to be forgetting that it's his duty as a senator to discuss and question the other 2/3's of the power structure in America. Not rubber-stamp everything and walk lock-step the way the executive branch wants him to. In fact, the legislative branch gets its' power by questioning and researching and the more they hand that power away to the White House, the more impotent they become, and the US suffers.

I have no doubt that Saddam is trying to get nuclear weapons and perhaps already has chemical weapons. The thing is, It does not seem to me that we make America any safer by attacking Iraq. In fact, we would likely increase the vehemence and numbers of those who oppose us in the world by doing so. I think we are more vulnerable to attack by individuals (or small groups of individuals) than we are to attack by the leader of a nation. It appears that Saddam's main interest is in maintaining his power in his region. He has everything to lose by attacking the United States. However, if we attack him, he will have no choice but to fight us in return, and will at that point have little to lose since we have stated clearly that our intention is to eliminate him. In addition, there are many people around the world whose anger against our country increases with our every belligerent threat, and who appear to be willing to give their lives to express their hate and frustration.
posted by aacheson at 10:25 AM on September 30, 2002


It's worth remembering that back in the late 1930s and early 1940s, U.S. Embassador to England, Joseph Kennedy, strongly advocated appeasement of Hitler, and wanted the U.S. to stay out of war at all costs. Obviously in hindsight that was the wrong call, and it cost Kennedy his political career (though not those of his sons). This pbs piece from The American Experience is interesting:

"It was Joe Kennedy's response to Hitler that would ruin his political career. Awed by the strength of the Nazi military machine, Kennedy wanted Britain and America to keep out of war. Like most Americans in 1938, he believed the democracies had to coexist with the Nazis. He recommended appeasement....Kennedy seemed unable to see the moral case against the Nazis. He told the German ambassador that he ''understood their Jewish policy completely'' and downplayed reports from his staff of what they saw happening in Germany....In a sensational interview he thought was largely off the record, he predicted that democracy was finished in Britain, perhaps in the United States. The interview ended Joseph Kennedy's political career. Even in an America reluctant to go to war, his defeatism set off a storm of controversy that would not be forgotten. In February 1941, Kennedy submitted his formal resignation. He was 52 years old. He told his daughter Kathleen he thought his life was over."

Kennedy was quoted as saying: "The horns of the dilemma are economic chaos and war and any step to prevent either of these is worthwhile taking." That sounds remarkably similar to the McDermott statement quoted above. And while I don't necessarily agree that the case has been convincingly made for an invasion of Iraq, I do believe that history will judge these sorts of statements very harshly should Iraq acquire and use nuclear weapons. And if you don't think Hussein would do it if he could, you're as naive as Joe Kennedy.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:31 AM on September 30, 2002


Trent Lott is a total disgrace. Thus far we have been told over and over that there is proof but as yet no hard evidence given us. Now this lout (Lott) tells us that to question the president is disgraceful. Better three fools in Iraq to see for themselves and be wrong than to state as an elected official that they do not have the right to go there or, there, question our president. I don't think this is what the American Rev. wasall about.
posted by Postroad at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2002


This is the age of global media. Why does it matter what's in the background when the talking head shows up on CNN? People are acting as though the same comments would have been OK if McDermott had been standing at the Pike Place Market. What's the difference? It's the words that matter, and if that's his position, he might as well state it when asked.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:39 AM on September 30, 2002


pardonyou: Nobody is suggesting appeasement with Iraq. Nobody is awed by their military machine. Nobody is even saying we have to coexist with Saddam.

What we are saying is: don't rush off to bomb the hell out of another country's population on fake evidence and for purposes of misdirection. And don't do it unilaterally -- enraging the whole Arab world (not just the fraction of radical islam that hates us now) spending us even deeper into a deficit, getting Americans gassed and killed simply because your polls are slipping.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2002


George_Spiggott: If you don't feel there's enough evidence to go to war over, that's one thing. Calling the evidence fake requires the same amount of counter-proof as the former.

Why does it matter what's in the background when the talking head shows up on CNN?

Mars Saxman: It matters to some. It also seems a bit cowardly.
posted by Witty at 10:51 AM on September 30, 2002


Pardonyou?
I agree that with 20/20 hindsight, we were wrong about Hitler. However, history may have remembered us differently if we had attacked a country unprovoked to remove a freely elected soverign of the nation (Hitler reached power legally-it was handed to him by the legislation.) Yes, we would have stopped WW2 (but wouldn't have known that was the future) and the holocost, but we would have been seen as agressors who took out an elected official who had done nothing AT THAT POINT to warrent removal.

Although Saddam is different (not elected), he has also done nothing to provoke an attack. Owning weapons is not a reason to be attacked. We can't just go attack people all over the world because we don't agree with their way of doing things.
posted by aacheson at 10:52 AM on September 30, 2002


"Witty": If you don't feel there's enough evidence to go to war over, that's one thing. Calling the evidence fake requires the same amount of counter-proof as the former.

You're grasping at a very thin straw there. By "fake" evidence I was referring to his unsubstantiated (and even countersubstantiated) claims of al-Quaeda ties and approaching nuclear capability. I don't need to prove these false (though there is mounting evidence that they are), the burden of proof is on him: if he wants to use these claims as a casus belli, he needs to prove them true. Instead, his administration, having had 'bullshit' called on it, simply dodges the issue now. I guess the word 'fake' just gave you something to scramble at, but if "fake" is not a good synonym for "uncontestedly false", it's not a bad one either.

In the same way, Lott is unable to argue the point of the Administration misleading the public, so he argues about where they said it from, and calls that treasonous! As misdirection goes, that's pretty weak stuff; I'd even call it pathetic: why are we giving it so much house room?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:08 AM on September 30, 2002


but we would have been seen as agressors who took out an elected official who had done nothing AT THAT POINT to warrent removal.

Yes, but times are different: If we cannot act until Hussein does something, it'll be far too late -- millions could be dead.

But don't get me wrong -- I do not believe that the case has been made. I'm still waiting for good, hard evidence that Hussein is close to having a nuclear weapon. I don't think we should strike first without such evidence. My point was simply that going to Baghdad to publicly criticize the sitting U.S. President is bad form that will come to be viewed as unconscionable if Iraq does use weapons of mass destruction.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2002


George_Spiggott: I agree that the burden of proof is on him. I just think the word fake implies that the 'evidence' has been created from scratch and is purely fictional. I'm not so sure I could agree with that as said.

I think some evidence real, some of it is spun and some can be assumed.

What evidence would you like to see in your ultimate scenario?
posted by Witty at 11:25 AM on September 30, 2002


What evidence would you like to see in your ultimate scenario?

A big mushroom cloud would be pretty convincing.

Yeah, as soon as we see that bigass mushroom he is toast!

Ho hum. Back to my nap, who's making pancakes?
posted by a3matrix at 11:41 AM on September 30, 2002


"In a sensational interview he thought was largely off the record, he predicted that democracy was finished in Britain, perhaps in the United States."

Hmm...Kennedy may have only been off by 50-60 years.
posted by black8 at 11:53 AM on September 30, 2002


what is the point of using the silly "Shrubya" etc. taunts/misnomers? That rhetorical device always comes across as juvenile desperation. If you want me to automatically dismiss what you've said then, by all means, "Shrub" away.

I agree. Name calling is a juvenile activity that completely invalidates the speaker's arguments.
posted by moonbiter at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2002


witty, that's a little off-topic, since the discussion is about whether it's treasonable to exercise free speech with a minaret visible in the background.

But if I were to follow you off-topic, first it would be interesting to see evidence that Saddam is even still alive. We know he has doubles, and it has been suggested that the real Saddam hasn't been seen in several years. If Tariq Aziz and his ilk are clinging to power using doubles to stand in for a dead, missing, mortally ill, captive or clinically insane Saddam, than arguably they have other fish to fry besides attacking other nations.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2002


After reading the comments in this thread and previous ones, I have some questions for those here.

Does anyone here trust Saddam?

Does anyone here trust him more than they trust Bush? (Please be honest here and think about it before making a knee jerk reaction.)

Does anyone believe that Iraq intends to live up to ALL of the UN resolutions? (Just note that they are violating them daily by shooting at planes in the no-fly zones.)

I personally feel that the leaders of the free world, from the Americas to Europe to any place where people can live in relative freedom, have a duty and a moral obligation to oppose tyranny and evil. Terrorism and countries that support it should be opposed. Every effort should be made to end the rule of these dictators and oppressive regimes, up to and including war.

I understand that war is terrible. The loss of life is horrific. The destruction is mind numbing. But isn’t a short time of this better than the decades of terror, oppression, starvation, torture and other horrors that has been suffered and endured by so many? I used to think that it was not. My mind was changed listening to my Korean mother-in-law and other relatives describe what it was like to live under the oppression of Japan before and during WWII. Then, after the war, the continued oppression and cruel brutality towards the people in the north by Kim Il Sung. I listened to their stories of fleeing the North and relocating in the South. Then, their stories of the Korean War and their town’s dubious honor of changing hands more times than any other (6 times during the war). I’ve listened to stories of the utter brutality of war and yet, how grateful they are the war was fought. Their only regret is that it ended when it did, with the country still divided. To them, the thought of living under such regimes as that of Kim Il Sung and now Kim Jong Il is unbearable. Much better to fight, and even die, so that future generations would not have to suffer as they did. To fight so that maybe their children or their grandchildren would have a chance to grow up with freedom and opportunity. They felt shame that the regime in the North has been allowed to stand as long as it has.

Instead of why here why now, I’m more of the opinion hopefully we will finally be doing something! Finally, we are standing up and maybe freeing a people. Hopefully, this will be the beginning. Hopefully, other oppressive nations will notice and maybe change their ways rather than risk a war. Maybe Iraq can serve as an example. My dream is, with a bare minimum of fighting, Saddam’s troops turn against him and the war would be over in weeks. I feel this is not unreasonable given their quick collapse during the gulf war.

Wow! What a slippery slope I’m talking about. Opposing Iraq on moral grounds. Who is the final arbiter? What arrogance! I can see the comments already. I don’t have all the answers. Still, I look at it as a possible start to gaining freedom for millions of oppressed around the world.

With that,

Annyong.
posted by Plunge at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2002


Yeah, as soon as we see that bigass mushroom he is toast!


This has been the basis of U.S. policy for the past 55 years, and it has worked excellently--deterrence has prevented the use of nuclear weapons. Why change the policy now? Won't Sadaam be more likely to use weapons of mass destruction defensively? And don't start telling me about "madmen": if there's anything Hussein is "mad" about, it's his lust for power, and he knows he will lose this power if he tries a preemptive attack, as the whole world would certainly be allied against him. Sadaam Hussein is no more a "madman" than Josef Stalin, and the policy of nuclear deterrence worked well against him.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:08 PM on September 30, 2002


Plunge this is the good argument for action, shared by Christopher Hitchens and others. However do you think that this is the central argument that is holding sway with American and British leaders? If the US and Britian would like to remake the world in their own image (places of tolerance, democracy, and human rights) doesn't their spectacular failure to do so in other places, and long history of opposing these basic rights if they are contrary to their percieved interests (Saudi Arabia, Israel, Chile, Iran, etc) give you pause?

I am all for a benevolent force that rights wrongs, brings freedom to the masses, and opposes tyranny and violations of human rights everywhere. However this sounds more like the Justice League led by Superman than a nation with its own needs, interests, and, yes its own "evildoers" who will abuse such immense power with an immense mandate for their own "evil" ends. No nation has a monopoly on selfish bastards who manipulate the system for their own personal and material gain.

Of course I trust George Bush and his clique more than i trust Saddam Hussein. But I don't trust anyone to go around the world deciding who is evil and who is not, sacrificing millions of lives in order to save the world from itself. The idea is a fantasy that everyone can get behind, including those who will use it as a cover for hegemony by regional and international powers.
posted by cell divide at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2002


I would agree with you Plunge, except that the upcoming event is not really about opposing tyranny and evil.

There are plenty of terrible and evil governments in the world that the USA does nothing about, and will continue to do nothing about, because it suits the interests of the Homeland.

Instead, this war is about trying to ensure that the world is organized in such a way that maximizes the safety and economic well-being of Americans, especially a certain top percentage of rich citizens who fear for their lives and their wealth.
posted by moonbiter at 12:18 PM on September 30, 2002


Sadaam Hussein is no more a "madman" than Josef Stalin, and the policy of nuclear deterrence worked well against him.

Didn't work well for the 10 to 20 million people who died in the USSR because of him.
posted by Plunge at 12:18 PM on September 30, 2002


Didn't work well for the 10 to 20 million people who died in the USSR because of him.

There's certainly a human-rights argument for overthrowing Hussein (and a good one, at that). This is not, however, the argument that our leaders are making. Our leaders are arguing that we should invade Iraq to disarm the country, since Iraq's weapons threaten us. This argument goes against decades of policy and experience, is the point I was trying to make.

The Western Powers could have tried invading the USSR to overthrow Stalin. I would argue, however, that this would have been a dire mistake, resulting in years of terrible war and possible nuclear holocaust. Similarly, an unilateral invasion of Iraq would be a terrible strategic mistake on the part of the U.S., as it would destabilize the region (leading to the potential overthrow of governments by nascent fundamentalist movements and protracted regional warfare) and lead to the diplomatic isolation of the United States, at a time when our leaders claim we need international support in fighting terrorism. This is the main thing I don't get about the war on Iraq: aside from the arguments about motivation, it simply doesn't seem to make strategic sense.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:33 PM on September 30, 2002


Why Iraq?

Why not Saudi Arabia? Or Pakistan?

Where's the proof of involvement in terrorism? I thought we were fighting a war against terrorism. How did Iraq become a favored target? Where the hell IS "Wanted, Dead Or Alive, Smoke 'em Out" Osama anyway?

Is Iraq a convenient distraction? Can't we fight terrorism first? No? Can't we prosecute corrupt CEO's, investigate Halliburton and Harken, talk about the tanking economy and jobs lost at the same time? How the hell do any of you qualify what a person says relative to where they are? Ever heard of the internet and 'blogs? For all I know Mr. Witty may be in Iraq this very moment!
posted by nofundy at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2002


If we don't attack now...
posted by PugAchev at 12:51 PM on September 30, 2002


Sorry to tell those of you on the left-of-left, but Trent Lott's statements are going to resonate a hell of a lot more with Americans than McDermott's.

I would rather lose an election and be right. I don't give rat's patootie if every Democrat is elected out of Congress. It will still be right to question the motives of this president and this administration. The fact that InstaPundict even mentions how this will look in elections shows what we all already know... the President is trying to use Iraq as a way to win votes. If you ask me, the fact that he will put his party and the election above American lives (who do you think will fight this war) should be considered treason. Especially if the Republicans are the ones who claim that getting a blow job in the White House is treason.

I find it encouraging when someone is willing to speak the truth even when it is unpopular. To me, that is something to be admired.
posted by terrapin at 1:01 PM on September 30, 2002


This is the main thing I don't get about the war on Iraq: aside from the arguments about motivation, it simply doesn't seem to make strategic sense.

If one replaced the word 'Iraq' with 'Hussein', does it make sense? (rhetorical question)

As far as destabilizing the region? The u.s. and other powers where 'destabilizing' the area for years. History records these events and they read like a cavalcade of unforgiving mistrust. Is the region more destabilized then it was say in 66' or 83'. Syria, Egypt, Jordan all fought the fundamentalists and used them in the same turn.

Saudia Arabia put two 'hits' out on OBL.
why? He might destabilize the region.
just a few token examples. I believe the real issue is How america will handle this Iraq situation, not the Why.

It makes no stategic sense other then getting Hussien out.
posted by clavdivs at 1:24 PM on September 30, 2002


I have certainly enjoyed all the comments.

Might I just add the following from the President.

For more than a decade, Saddam Hussein has deceived and defied the will and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by, among other things: continuing to seek and develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, and prohibited long-range missiles; brutalizing the Iraqi people, including committing gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity; supporting international terrorism; refusing to release or account for prisoners of war and other missing individuals from the Gulf War era; refusing to return stolen Kuwaiti property; and working to circumvent the UN's economic sanctions.

I added the bold to highlight the fact that there are humanitarian reasons for this.

We focus so much on the other motives that we forget that inside, most of us are decent human beings. No blame here, with all the talk of UN inspections, oil, WMDs and the like, the humanitarian issues have taken a backseat. Yet they are still there.

It's just too easy to see the bad in those we don't agree with. I'm far too guilty of this. When I saw this topic, as well as posting a link to a similar article on the three congressmen yesterday, I was infuriated at what they did. To me, it seemed no more than a political ploy. A crass and cowardly action. Yet, the more I think on it, while I still completely disagree with the way they presented their message and their comments on the President irk me to no end, I can not condemn their feelings towards action in Iraq nor condemn their message of trying all diplomatic means before war.

Peace is something I'm pretty sure we all want and strive for. Yet, at times, I feel it is through war that we can gain a longer lasting peace for all and not just for those of us who are currently enjoying the freedoms of some great nations.
posted by Plunge at 1:25 PM on September 30, 2002


sorry about the 'stategic...'
like...statego...'the board game of bean counting warlords.' No disrespect Mr. Roboto. Educating myself to the regions conflicts is more taxing then i had hoped and i see the quagmire that Sen. Fullbright and others saw.
posted by clavdivs at 1:29 PM on September 30, 2002


Did anyone see the 60 Minutes story last night about the documents seized in Rammallah (sp?) showing all the connections and transactions between Arafat and Iraq and Iran? Seems like pretty damning evidence of Iraq's continuing threat. I have not been against invading Iraq, but I am against Bush railroading it through and is bone headedness at making the case to the rest of the world. Let the process take it's course, let the inspections fail, let the US gain more support and THEN invade (hmm... isn't that what Gore has been saying in his often mischaracterized speech)?
posted by McBain at 2:12 PM on September 30, 2002


If one replaced the word 'Iraq' with 'Hussein', does it make sense?

If one replaced the word 'Afghanistan' with 'Osama', does it make sense?
posted by riviera at 3:44 PM on September 30, 2002


Witty said:
Mars Saxman: It matters to some. It also seems a bit cowardly.

Well, I can *see* that it matters to some, but I cannot figure out why. Nor can I see why it is cowardly - it's not as though McDermott is somehow going to avoid some consequence of his statement by making it in Iraq. If anything, it's gotten him more publicity, which will make whatever consequences he faces that much more dramatic. That doesn't sound like cowardice to me.

I suppose I would like to hear, from someone who thinks it matters that the quoted comments were made in Iraq rather than Seattle, just why the geography is supposed to be significant.

pardonyou? said:
Sorry to tell those of you on the left-of-left, but Trent Lott's statements are going to resonate a hell of a lot more with Americans than McDermott's.

What is that supposed to mean? Am I supposed to change my mind just because people disagree with me? I don't really care if the entire population of the United States rolls over and kisses Trent Lott's toes; if he really believes what he said in that CNN article, he's a small-minded nationalist with no appreciation for the country that affords him the freedom to proclaim his ill-considered views.
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:02 PM on September 30, 2002


By going to Iraq to make these statements the three Congressmen have given aid and comfort to our enemy. They should be hauled before the ethics committee and tossed out of Congress, whereupon they can be tried and convicted of treason and promptly hung.
posted by paleocon at 4:07 PM on September 30, 2002


The rabble is upset because someone came to their house and knocked down their big shiny buildings and killed their heroes. ("Were they all heroes before?" "Yes. Shut up. That's not the point.")

The rabble is of a mind to kick some foreign ass.

There are some foreign asses that have stuff we want. Plus our dad doesn't like them.

The rabble doesn't care. They'll go along with anything the heroes say. ("Wait, are they heroes now, too?" "Shut up. What, aren't you patriotic? Of course they are. And they're always right.")

Questioning this, or any administration, is not only patriotic, but sensible. It doesn't matter where. At least they will get credit for not being complete dupes. Politicians seem to think that creating a flimsy excuse is better than revealing their true motivations. Honestly, if they just flat-out said, 'Let's face it, we need the oil and he's a scumbag, anyway,' I'd at least consider the idea. It's not like we're fooling anyone else in the wold. Just ourselves. This hidden oiligarchy shit just makes us look stupid and pliant.
posted by umberto at 4:11 PM on September 30, 2002


By going to Iraq to make these statements the three Congressmen have given aid and comfort to our enemy. They should be hauled before the ethics committee and tossed out of Congress, whereupon they can be tried and convicted of treason and promptly hung.

This is one of the more perverse comments in a very perverse thread. We are not at war. The case for even going war is anything but iron-proof as we can see from all the dissection here in this very forum.

So what we have are three congressmen who disagree with the president.

This has somehow become treason.

As has been pointed out, it is Congress's job to represent their constituency to the best of their ability--not to simply rubber-stamp the president's policies.

If you want to live in a land where all politicians support their president without question...

maybe you should move to Iraq.

Hipnerd
badmouth
posted by hipnerd at 4:25 PM on September 30, 2002


...whereupon they can be tried and convicted of treason and promptly hung.

Thanks, that was a good one, though I think hanged is the correct usage here.
posted by jalexei at 4:45 PM on September 30, 2002


paleocon: nice troll.

That's right, to speak freely and to dissent from the opinions of our ruler is treason! We should execute them immediately.

This will show the world that we do things differently than the way they do in a totalitarian dictatorship!

hipnerd is right, paleocon. You'd be right at home in Iraq.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:52 PM on September 30, 2002


pardonyou: Sorry to tell those of you on the left-of-left, but Trent Lott's statements are going to resonate a hell of a lot more with Americans than McDermott's.

Why must everything be about appealing to the American LCD? Heaven forbid there's a minority voice or an opposing voice. We don't have representatives just to appease everyone on a national scale. McDermott probably feels he is reflecting the thoughts of his constituents, as he should be.

Plunge: brutalizing the Iraqi people, including committing gross human rights violations and crimes against humanity | I added the bold to highlight the fact that there are humanitarian reasons for this.

And how would you describe the effect of 12 years of sanctions on Iraq? I doubt you would use the word humanitarian. If the US is going to attack Iraq it will not be for humanitarian reasons. Don't kid yourself. Even the hawks aren't using that tired line.
posted by skallas at 6:06 PM on September 30, 2002


If you ask me, the fact that he will put his party and the election above American lives (who do you think will fight this war) should be considered treason. Especially if the Republicans are the ones who claim that getting a blow job in the White House is treason.

Now we're talkin'.

Also, hipnerd, just a heads-up : there's no need to append your name and 'sig' (which I assume is a link to your site) to each comment you make. The posted by serves the same purpose, and keeps things a little more readable. Thanks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:13 PM on September 30, 2002


paleocon: nice troll.

No it wasn't; it was a shitty, obvious, uncreative troll. Barely even worthy of the time-honored title of troll. Here's a nice troll:

What no one here seems to be aware of is the fact that McDermott is in violation of UN sanctions against travel to Iraq. That's right; he travelled there without permission of the U.S. government or the UN body that oversees the Iraq sanctions regime (UNSIPT). He's in serious trouble when he gets back: he could face fines and possible jail time. Add to that the fact that he's travelling on money from U.S. taxpayers, and this is a pretty disturbing situation.

See that? A collection of semi-believable (though completely false) facts, structured to create a sense of uncertainty in the mind of the reader. That's a nice troll, in the classic tradition. Not: "Let's kill them thar traitors, hyuk, hyuk!" Now I just sit back and see if anyone bites....
posted by mr_roboto at 6:27 PM on September 30, 2002


And how would you describe the effect of 12 years of sanctions on Iraq?

I would describe it as more brutalization of the people of Iraq by their fearless leader. He could have ended this years ago and even with his pertinacious attitude, he has been given many opportunities by the UN to reduce the suffering of his people. Suffering that HE is responsible for.

Also, I have seen the humanitarian aspect of this discussed in many diverse venues. I'm sorry you've missed this.
posted by Plunge at 6:29 PM on September 30, 2002


Living in McDermott's district, I am more inclined to vote for him now than I was before his trip to Iraq. Not that it matters since he always runs unopposed.

Heck, in McDermott's district, the only republicans you're likely to find are of the log cabin variety.
posted by wrench at 7:02 PM on September 30, 2002


Plunge: Suffering that HE is responsible for.

You really have to have a pretty myopic and simplistic view of things to blame the effect of sanctions on one guy and one guy only. Not to re-hash the old sanctions debate and the famous 500,000 dead children quote, but there is room for argument that those who sanction are also responsible for things they knew would certainly come about, appropriate response to long term sanction failure, who the sanctions are affecting the most, etc. Cuba is a good example of how not to do things.

Again, it is hard to believe the US and the UN would suddenly go purely hard-core humanitarian after tolerating and producing whats been going on in Iraq for the past 12 years.

Plunge: Also, I have seen the humanitarian aspect of this discussed in many diverse venues.

and its more or less bullshit. Perhaps I should have said credible or convincing hawks. The only way this war is going to be sold is by a self-defense argument not some convoluted feel-good humanitarian argument. The US doesn't casually go into war for the sake of humanitarianism and it would be a pretty poor precedent if it did. Now I'll wait for the Europeans to invade us for our lack of universal healthcare.
posted by skallas at 7:15 PM on September 30, 2002


This has been the basis of U.S. policy for the past 55 years, and it has worked excellently-

hmmm. that would starting in 1947. The Russians had the bomb in 49'. Whom where we deterring for those two years? Dont want to tax you mr. roboto with to many questions. I believe deterrence was in a working model before Los Alamos.

If one replaced the word 'Afghanistan' with 'Osama', does it make sense?

sure does. IMO, time to wrap it up. Let them grow dope. i don't care. let them kill themselves in T-55 tank duels in Kabul. I dont care. Let them figure it out for themselves. this i care about. They want us out, we should go.

I never liked Bonier, never will. he is a lame duck rep. whos running for governor in my state. I can tell you this, from the reaction to some hard core dems I've talked too, he may as well run for drain commissioner.

But they needed to go, to give the press some yap time. appearances and all.
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 PM on September 30, 2002


hmmm. that would starting in 1947. The Russians had the bomb in 49'.

I rounded up, to the nearest 55...
posted by mr_roboto at 8:21 PM on September 30, 2002


Dhartung: You had to know it was coming. But it was me predicting, the repubutainer-corpo-slogan-makers response to the presence of the three congressmen in Iraq. Of course, you predicted it too. I went out on the limb.

I'm testing the waters of practically irrational, meaningless noise you see. As I look out upon the fruited plain, I find there are voices, not of democratic empowerment, but rather corporate obfuscation, that are not in the business of informing, but seek to appeal to business interests and the amount of listenership that will make them ever more wealthy with the lucrative forte of streaming civically worthless rhetoric to all corners of the land. And the people buy it see. The noise. Spock, what's that noise? You can't even think let alone retort with all this noise. Emotional fucking noise. He needs to keep his mouth shut type shit. Just coming back with what I can in the current climate.
posted by crasspastor at 10:07 PM on September 30, 2002


and its more or less bullshit. Perhaps I should have said credible or convincing hawks. The only way this war is going to be sold is by a self-defense argument not some convoluted feel-good humanitarian argument. The US doesn't casually go into war for the sake of humanitarianism and it would be a pretty poor precedent if it did.

It is not "bullshit" or any other epithet you wish to use. It’s something that is discussed constantly by the "hawks." If you wish to reject it out of hand, so be it.

I also wouldn’t call going to war for humanitarian reasons “casually going to war.” For example, you have a harsh totalitarian regime. The people are starving. The people are oppressed. The women are treated as chattel. The only ones with any semblance of freedom are the upper echelons of the government and the military. There is really no way for the people themselves to foment a rebellion. Yet, in this example, it is a regime that we can most likely topple with relative ease. There are ulterior motives that we can include in the argument for war such as their support of terrorism or maybe their WMD capabilities to appease the masses. Also, bringing down this regime just might serve as an example to other dictators and help implement reform in their countries. But no, we can't help them. We'll let them suffer decade after decade. Why? Because, for some odd reason, starting a war to free a people from this suffering is wrong. Yes, it's much more humane to let them starve to death or be tortured or used as slave labor.

Better yet, with the Iraqi issue, let's blame it on the sanctions! Yes, the sanctions! Much better to end them. Heck, let's just apologize for ever implementing them in the first place so that the next time he decides to gas a group of people living in his country they will at least be well fed. In fact, let's throw in Kuwait as an appeasement for the mental anguish we've caused Saddam. There’s the “myopic” “simplistic” view you were looking for. Sarcasm aside, I’ve read the arguments for both sides of the issue. The problem I find with the calls to end the sanctions is that you prolong the regime and the suffering of the people. Besides the fact that he has flaunted the UN sanctions almost from the moment they were implemented.

Finally, Cuba is an exception because of the fact that the US is just about the only country that honors the sanctions and they have become more a joke than a form of “punishing” Cuba.

Now I'll wait for the Europeans to invade us for our lack of universal healthcare.

Let me be the first to welcome our new European Overlords...
posted by Plunge at 11:53 PM on September 30, 2002


WAS running for governor...damn. Bonior was running. which would not make him lame duck.
dam, quack, dam.
posted by clavdivs at 6:12 AM on October 1, 2002


If you ask me, the fact that he will put his party and the election above American lives (who do you think will fight this war) should be considered treason.

Best comment in this thread.
posted by rushmc at 7:44 AM on October 1, 2002


I think the issue, which some have touched on but I wanted to isolate for its importance, is that every Congressman has the right and the duty to question the president and nobody has implied otherwise. But, the country is called "The United States of America" which means that while we can debate the issues, our message to the world should be UNITED. It would be the same as having a SO who tore you down in public. Great, you may not agree with me on this or that issue but you've certainly notched up the debate if you decide to call me on it in front of our friends.

We need strong leaders. We need people who are willing to stand up and voice unpopular opinions but they also need to understand the difference between grandstanding and appropriate venues. As many have pointed out, McDermott's actions are less likely to influence anyone for no other reason than his choice of venue. If he's preaching to the choir, then his actions were at best self-serving. If he was trying to raise awareness and call attention to his views, he should have known he would only polarize his opposition even with those who tend to agree with him.

It was a stupid move made by a man who is either tragically naive or just plain stupid.
posted by billman at 10:15 AM on October 1, 2002


It would be the same as having a SO who tore you down in public.

If you trashed your SO in public as often as Bush trashes Congressmen (individually and en masse), your SO would not only be perfectly entitled to trash you in public right back, she/he wouldn't be your SO anymore.

As for this "it's unamerican to disagree in public" stuff, where else should we disagree: in secret meetings closed to the public? Yeah, that's real American.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:56 AM on October 1, 2002


George_Spiggott, let me further explain the analogy:

In the US, is in effect, in private. We can debate, we can disagree, we can fight. But when we go out in public, like to the capital of a country we're possibly going to war with, you don't start trash talking your SO. If McDermott wanted to wait until his return and then blast Bush in print, television, and radio, fine. That's his thing. By private, I don't mean outside of public view I mean outside our borders.

Again, like I said, McDermott did this specifically because he knew it would gain attention but as I pointed out in my previous post, it doesn't accomplish anything. It convinces those already convinced and makes everyone else want to distance themselves from his actions.
posted by billman at 2:21 PM on October 1, 2002


billman, I still don't understand: McDermott's comments were made via global media. Why does the backdrop matter? It's all public, no matter where you stand, if CNN is listening.
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:11 PM on October 1, 2002


Mars, I think CNN was only listening and giving them airtime because they were in Iraq, and Lott made his stink also because they were in Iraq, standing where our bombs are likely to be falling soon....

but I disagree with billman: It accomplished a lot--we need to see congressmen (on all sides), wherever they are, speaking their minds on this issue, and not just accusing other people of disloyalty or echoing the administration's words....
posted by amberglow at 4:22 PM on October 1, 2002


We need strong leaders. We need people who are willing to stand up and voice unpopular opinions but they also need to understand the difference between grandstanding and appropriate venues.

I'm not sure what portion of that the previous three people who responded to my post are unclear on.

Inappropriate: Standing in the capital of a nation who your country may be going to war against and grandstanding by bad mouthing the leadership of your own country.

Appropriate: Waiting until you return from your trip and calling a press conference to grandstand by bad mouthing the leadership of your country.

I don't give a hoot about what he said, just that his choice of venue has no real upside. Those who responded to my posts, I'm betting, already felt a war with Iraq was a bad idea. He didn't convince you of anything. Those sitting on the fence on this issue are far more likely to view his actions as inappropriate thus moving him further away from his goal. Even moderate liberals are painting him as being somewhat off.

Plus it sends a mixed message to someone like Saddam. If he is under the impression that a mixed Congress can be used to his advantage he may not take the threat as seriously as he should. I have no doubt Bush is serious but if Saddam is getting a mixed message from visting memebers of Congress then they are partially to blame should Saddam misjudge US sentiment based on McDermott's actions.
posted by billman at 10:27 PM on October 1, 2002


billman, I hear you. Were the United States of America a corporation or a church where appearances matter the most, insofar as persuading customers, investors and converts you'd have a point. Were America a totalitarian dictatorship, a dictatorship we all stand behind, because goddamnit this dictatorship is good for America, well then, you'd also have a point. Fantasy of what the corporatist, military before domestic, hardlining public-pray-ers might bode for the generalizing American ethicist does nothing but shut your own intellect down and pit you against the fellow inhabitants of this country you love so much as to throw truth along out with the justice you just wiped your ass with.

The truth is, is that there is a multifarious community of many hands, minds and souls who do not need to be browbeaten into submission by hardassed online or offline military magicians. We don't need your admonition to toe the line or be cast away. It's threatening, and frankly it is the wedge that will in fact be the undoing of this land. Where do we go as torsos with an inconveniently attached cranium full of moving and shimmering gray matter? Do you think that your incipient chest thumpings to the call of all to follow "authority" will be met with blind obedience? And if so, why the fuck would you want a country like that?

Spare us, kill us or detain us. We're people just like you, using that same gray matter you do. If you cannot ascertain that this gray matter is the stuff of democracy perhaps you one day might find a drip of lead dollop out of your ear.
posted by crasspastor at 11:32 PM on October 1, 2002


If he is under the impression that a mixed Congress can be used to his advantage he may not take the threat as seriously as he should.

Further: So Hussein (I don't quite know why we refer to him as if he's Madonna, Cher or Dubya in the first name), is manipulating congress in the like fashion that BushII is? Interesting. Very.
posted by crasspastor at 11:45 PM on October 1, 2002


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