State of the Union Cheat Sheet


So, I’m heeding tankboy’s advice:

25 things you can expect to hear in tonight’s State Of The Union:
1. Condolences to the King family upon the loss of Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist and widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Cue release of small amount of CS gas onstage in order to simulate teary, heartfelt emotion in the President.
2. “Our thoughts are with you” message to the families of Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt. Wait, aren’t these guys part of the liberal media? OK, cue the gas anyways.
3. Congratulations to new Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.
4. Congratulations to his wife, whom the mean Democrats brought to tears. She’s up in the balcony with First Lady Laura Bush and somebody else that we will use as a political prop and then kick to the curb.
5. Congratulations to Hamas on their victory in the democratic Palestinian election. (OK, maybe not).
6. Bush and the Republican party are the only Americans fit to lead America. Bush has a bold agenda of leadership planned for the next few years, although it will feel like longer.
7. 9/11 changed everything.
8. Democrats have a pre-9/11 mindset.
9. 9/11 changed everything.
10. Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.
11. We will fight the terrorists there instead of here.
12. 9/11 changed everything.
13. We are winning the war in Iraq, as evidenced by Bin Laden’s and Zawahiri’s recent recordings.
14. Recordings, by the way, which sound an awful lot like “some” Democratic critics.
15. 9/11 changed everything.
16. Only Bush can deal with Iran, because Bush is a leader. Cue saber rattling.
17. Bush must continue his “terrorist surveillance program” (formerly known as the “warrantless wiretapping of innocent American citizens program”) because 9/11 changed everything.
18. Bush breaks the law in the name of national security because he is a leader.
19. Bush to renew pledge to balance the federal budget, despite the fact he was the idiot that wrecked it in the first place.
20. The economy is stronger than ever, although making the tax cuts permanent would really help those down-on-their-luck Republican gazillionaires.
21. The new Medicaid prescription drug program is working perfectly. Ignore the chagrined pleas for help from the elderly.
22. New Orleans will be better than ever.
23. America is stronger than ever.
24. May God continue to bless America.
25. Vote Republican.

15 Comments so far

  1. nikkos (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 9:30 am

    Thoughts? Reactions?

    The speech was pretty much as predicted; not much new or surprising. However, even I couldn’t have predicted that a dog would be an honored guest.

    Tough talk on Iran, touh talk on dissent, but very little of substance, particularly in regards to domestic programs. Wean ourselves from foreign oil by 2025? Well, that’s pretty fuckin bold. Did it just occur to Bush that America is “addicted to oil?” How long has this clown been in office?

    Best laugh line: when Bush said that he sent a Social Security proposal to Congress “but you didn’t pass it” and the Dem side of the aisle erupted in cheers while the GOP sat in mute silence. Bushie looked pissed and proceeded to stumble over his comeback, jaw working furiously and eyes squinting down into cold little beads.

    The Democratic response by VA Gov. Tim Kaine was better than expected. It started off a bit weird- Kaine throws off an odd vibe at first- but I think it settled down into a straightforward and comprehensive speech. The recurring theme of “we can bo better” wasn’t bad.

    The one fault of the speech was the backdrop of the governor’s mansion. The fireplace, flower arrangements and overstuffed chairs lent the proceedings an air of a cheap funeral home commercial. But then again it’s better than another eye-popping performance by Nancy Pelosi.

  2. EJ (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 9:58 am

    I actually thought it was one of his better speeches. The education front bothered me though. His no child left behind has wreaked havoc on the schools and now he wants to put more emphasis on math and science? While I agree that’s important to be globally competitive…what about funding to bring back art and music and recess for our chronically diabetic, obese children. They take away recess and put them all on Ritilin because they have ADD? They need to get out and run! Any child that has to sit for 8 hours will fidgit. But I digress….

    I actually thought he touched more on domestic programs than I anticipated. Being a former texas oil man I was pleased to hear him at least address our addiction and propose a new way to ween ourselves off- rather than the drilling in Alaska idea again.

    I was also pleased that he addressed the domestic issues of AIDS. That should not be forgotton. It’s happening here, in our community.

    What drives me the craziest about these speeches is the media coverage. He mentions New Orleans and the camera men pan to any black man within reach. Same with the King statements. Drives me BONKERS.

    And nikkos, I agree, the governor’s mansion was too bizarre. I think they were trying to say, see, we have southern gentleman too who appreciate a nice conservative home and have morals and values. Did they try too hard perhaps?

  3. nikkos (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 10:39 am

    I for one was diappointed we did not get an update on last year’s bold SOTU proposal that we conquer Mars. MARS bitches! Remember that?

    Anywyas, EJ, when you say it was one of his better speeches, are you referring to the content of the speech or the delivery? I would agree that from a delivery perspective that he didn’t bumble as much as usual. However on the content side, so little of what he talked about had any substance.

    And I agree- whenever Bush talks about fixing things, they usually need fixing because he fucked them up in the first place. Math and science/NCLB. The economy. Iraq. Iran. The budget. And on and on and on. Much like my criticism of Denny Hastert’s “reform” proposals, this schtick is getting stale and lacks all credibility, particularly his proposals to wean the U.S. off oil. It’s a little late in coming, don’t yopu think? And, his proposal is so modest as to be worth nothing. Wean us off 70% of Mideast oil by 2025? Will we be in Iraq til then?

    Beyond that, framing opposition to the war in Iraq as “defeatism” or “isolationsim” yet again offers the American people a false choice: follow George to victory or be mocked as a loser wussyman and risk being killed by terrorists in the streets of your suburbs.

    In addition, Bush continues to defend his illegal wiretapping of Americans. To claim that this program would have prevented 9/11 is a lie of outrageous proportion, an insult to those that died on 9/11, an affront to our civil liberties and an outright insult to the intelligence of average Americans.

    As Kaine made clear, it is not that Bush;s critics seek to bow out of the war on terro and retreat within our borders, as Bush falsely put it. Rather, we question whether Bush’s policies are the best way to win this struggle. Unfortunately, in George Bush’s America, such dissent is characterized as defeatism. I find this deeply insulting and deeply wrong. Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing a t-shirt to the address. Arrested for wearing a fucking t-shirt. This is America?

    I am sick of WWII references. Why does Bush never mentioned the Korean War and/or Vietnam? Because they remind Americans that not every foreign military adventure has been wise and that mistakes have been made in the past. Bush wants us to think of the struggle against terror in the same terms Americans think of WWII, but the comparison is simply not there.

  4. nikkos (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    Further reading:

    I found it very interesting to go back yesterdya and re-read previous SOTU addresses by Bush. here are the links:





    So many hollow statements and empty promises.

  5. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 3:50 pm

    Allright I guess I can throw in a few cents.

    He spent half the speech on the “State of the Union” talking about foreign countries. A little odd, of course security is necessary, but domestic issues should have been foremost in my humble opinion.

    His domestic policy is pretty lame overall. Spend spend spend, there is no difference between Dems and Republicans anymore on that front. We can argue all day about what the government’s real powers and responsibilities are, but we don’t have a choice when both candidates are for making the government bigger.

    I would also say that SOTU speeches usually are quite meaningless in the scheme of things. They are always “The Union is Strong, Everything’s Great, Let’s Spend Here.”

    I guess our fundamental differences Nikkos lie in the fact that you don’t think terrorism is a war like WW2. Do you think its a war like Vietnam? Or the Spanish-American War? Personally I think its like none of the above, although at its core it is a war of idealogy and principle and less of army-army battling. One idealogy (Islamic Fundamentalism) and another (Western Liberalism) clash because they have irreconcilable differences. Is that a tough concept?

    Iran is obviously a problem. My thought is that Israel is going to bomb them, pretty easy, and since everyone but America hates Israel for some reason, its not like they will lose any friends.

    As far as the Democratic response… I ask what your alternative is to how Bush is going about the war. What is it? Do we completely withdrawl from Iraq? I don’t care what we could have done, the past is in the past for better or worse, but what do we do now?

    Do we let Iran have nukes?

    Do we pull completely out of Iraq?

    Do we treat terrorism as a criminal offense and not a war?

    Do we base our laws and principles on what everyone else says and thinks?

    I’d like to here an alternative view because I do think we need better options.

    As far as Cindy Sheehan goes, I can’t really get past my scathing contempt for the woman. But of course, when you are sitting in a crowd of well-dressed officials listening to the President of the United States speak, A) do you think a TShirt is appropriate? B) Do you think a protest is appropriate during the speech? C) Do you think the Capitol should be able to regulate proceedings for the security and decency of its events?

    You can disagree all you want, but respect the office. You can be livid and angry about how Bush is running the office, but banging pots and trying to start a protest or scene on the floor is juvenile, lame, and frankly makes everyone who agrees with it look bad.

  6. nikkos (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

    Ben 2:

    You are correct- I do not believe that the fight against terror is similar to WWII. While all armed struggles contain a clash of ideologies, WWII was truly an existential conflict for both the United States and our European allies. Existential, meaning, that a failure to win the war would have meant that the United States, for all intents and purposes, would cease to exist.

    The war on terror, on the other hand, does not rise to this level. Al Qaeda simply does not have the capacity to wage an existential war against the U.S. Can they inflict damage? Yes, of course- we have seen the damage. But is that damage tantamount to an existential threat? My answer is no.

    Now, if the threat posed by AQ is not existential in nature, then what is it? How to define it? And once defined, how to defeat it? The best proof that we are not in an existential struggle is that the American public clearly does not believe that we are in an existential struggle. Perhaps some think this is a result of the media, libruls, etc. I happen to think this is because the American people are smarter than most give them credit for, and they know a real threat when they see one.

    I would define it as a nuisance level threat that is best dealt with using a combination of diplomatic and political pressure, intelligence services, law enforcement, special operations forces and limited military force.

    I would treat the conflict as a war, but one in which the U.S. follows international law (such as the Geneva Convention) and utilizes international legal entities (like the U.N. and The Hague) in order to prosecute the perpetrators. If captured, terrorists should stand trial, not be held incommunicado in secret prisons.

    At present, we have inverted this approach in that we are relying most heavily on large scale military means- to borrow your formulation, we are fighting an “army vs army” conflict yet our enemy is not the army of a nation-state, which obviously throws this strategy into a confused place from which we have yet to emerge.

    As for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is too early for me to say with any decisiveness what to do. I fear that once again, we will employ military means in order to address sthe issue when that is, as always, the least desirable course of action and should be a last resort. I agree that for several reasons if a strike occurs, Isarael will most likely be in the lead.

    As for where to go from here in Iraq, I support Murtha’s plan, which, although it was charaterized by Bush and others as a complete pullout, is in fact, upon closer inspection, a shrewd plan which pragmatically limits our losses in men, materiel and prestige. Murtha suggests we draw down our forces within the Iraqi theater and move them “over the horizon” to Kuwait or a similar locale. The advantages of this plan are obvious:
    1. American forces are no longer present on Iraqi soil, thus removing the main impetus for Iraqi nationalist insurgents.
    2. Our departure would force control of Iraq upon Iraqis. If Iraqis truly want a democratic country, they must fiht for it. Iraqis know better than us whom is a friend and whom is a foe and can better deal with their enemies on the ground.
    3. If all hell breaks loose and civil war erupts in our wake, we will be just over the border in the event we wish to intercede.

    As for Cindy Sheehan, I thin kyour scathing hatred of her is clouding your judgement. To recap, she was arrested for wearing a t-shirt. Think about that for a moment. Is that the America you were born and raised to respect? It certainly doesn’t sound like the America I know and love.

    Please, set aside your rancor and ask yourself- don’t our laws apply to us all equally?

    Is a fashion choice really grounds for ejection and arrrest?

    Is sitting quietly wile wearing a t-shirt some sort of inappropriate protest?

    Of course the Cpaitol police should be able to regulate the proceedings. But tossing out those with opposing views- particularly when they are raising no ruckus- is simply unAmerican, and probably illegal. Besides, these people are so stupid they threw out a Bush supporter wearing a “Siupport our troops” t-shirt on the grounds that it was “protest” as well. I suppose that implies that the current administration does not support the troops, but of course I already knew that.

    You larger point- that protest is juvenile and makes everyone associated with look bad- is misguided. Tell that to MLK, Gandhi or any number of visionary human beings whom have made peaceful protest their preferred means of achieving their goals. It may not always be “classy” but then again, that’s not the point. The point is to draw attention to policies with which you disagree. If it takes banging of pots and pans, so be it.

    I wonder: what would you have thought of MLK’s march on Selma, Brimingham and D.C.? That they were ineffective, cras displays and that the goals of the marchers should be disregarded? If so, you can see how you would been on the wrong-ass end of history on that one.

    As my own thoughts have evolved in regards to how mbest to register my dissent and allow my voice to be heard, I have come to accept that I will not always approve of the methods and tactics of those that share my goals. However, as long as those tactics are legal or fall within the rubric of civil disobedience, I recognize the bravery and courage it takes to stand up and speak, particularly when those around you simply wish you would sit down and shut up.

    Thanks for writing.

  7. nikkos (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

    P.S., please feel free to join in the discussion concerning Iran here:

  8. Danny Doom (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 6:17 pm

    this is a quote from a capitol deputy:

    “The fact that she (Sheehan) was wearing a T-shirt is not enough reason to be asked to leave the gallery, or be removed from the gallery, or be arrested.”

    i would include the link but then it wouldn’t post.

    anyway, the other woman who wore the “support the troops” shirt was not arrested. why the cuffs for Cindy? stupid to kick her out too, though, and as it turns out, unjustified.

    i don’t think that there was any talk of a protest or banging pots and pans during the speech. what exactly is wrong here? what kind of people think that this is a good move?

  9. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 8:28 am


    This may be a set of issues we have more agreement on than I thought.

    There are two main points that arose from my post and your response as far as I can see: The nature of the war on terror and its reprecussions as well as Cindy Sheehan.

    As far as Cindy Sheehan and protesting. I never ever insinuated that protesting was juvenile. Dr. King, Ghandi, and other revolutionary non-violent protestors set a new standard and achieved in a positive way incredible results. Their methods are far from juvenile. As far as Cindy Sheehan, I know that now both ladies escorted out of the Capitol were wrongly removed.

    But I think that that fact is not important to the greater idea. Yes, I am for free speech. I believe that free speech is essential to society at large and especially a republic such as ours. The problem with Cindy Sheehan in this case was her utter lack of respect for the place she was and the individuals she was around. Her protest was nothing like Ghandi. She aimed to create a disruption because she knew the media would focus on her like hounds and take away attention from the speech. Had she done it well before or after, or outside, it would not be a problem. Yes we have laws allowing her to do what she did, but I guess what is missing from her conduct is any sort of decency and respect. Whether you think President Bush is worthy of that is your choice, but I doubt that there are zero people in that room worthy of any respect and I doubt that the proceedings of the Presidential Office and the Legislative Branch are not worthy of respect.

    Maybe I mischaracterized my ideas on Cindy Sheehan. I have contempt for her, not hate. I believe that she is suffering grief because of her son’s death and that has clouded her judgment. She obviously is so overwhelmed with that grief and now the publicity she receives that she is willing to do almost anything to keep her message in the spotlight.

    Now onto Terror.

    I completely understand your point that Al Qaeda is not a “United States ending” threat. Right now, the most they could probably do is nuke a city or two, they are in no way able to physically threaten our nation. But of course you must ask yourself, are you willing to take the risk of Chicago being levelled by terrorists? Don’t think they wouldn’t do it.

    I agree that army-army battles aren’t going to get us anywhere, except maybe in Iran if it comes to it, because of its rogue-nation status. You must realize though that we ARE doing everything in our power diplomatically and special forces-wise to stop it. Out intelligence gathering ability is horrible and is corrupt at the moment, the nature of our inherent rights mars the ability of intelligence to operate, as well as the relative peace we’ve had has made them weak. We need to rebuild it.

    As far as Murtha’s plan, I see the value in it. I disagree that it would create any better situation than we have now though. The first problem is that it is believed that the “insurgents” are Iraqi nationalists, which is false. We are giving them their state, they don’t need to fight us for it. Most of them are Islamic Fundamentalists opposed to the West. Pulling out will do nothing to stop them, it will merely relieve pressure on them there and allow them to strike elsewhere.

    I guess finally that our fundamental disagreement here is that I see it as a “War on Terror” and you seem to see it as a “Crime of Terror.” Of course if they were criminals they would have rights as such. My problem with that concept lies in the fact that, yes, this is a new kind of problem that the world has never seen on this scale. It is not an individual country that is attacking, it is truly an idealogy. But what shall we do? We cannot hold other people accountable to our laws! The attackers of the USS Cole, if we caught them, what would we do? Deport them to Yemen for justice? Do you think justice would be served then? I disagree whole-heartedly that this is a criminal issue. We certainly should hold to the Geneva Conventions and treat the individuals as humans, but giving them the privelege of the rights we value is not something I can agree with.

  10. nikkos (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 9:21 am


    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    The last point I will make in regards to Cindy Sheehan and protesting is this: legality trumps decency every time. I disagree that her acts were somehow indecent or disrespectful in any way. That being said, she has every right to do exactly what she did, and the fact that our current government cannot tolerate any dissent- even that which it erroneously defines as dissent- should send a chill down the spine of every American. This is one issue- maintaining the civil liberties of free speech and assembly- we should all be able to get behind, regardless of party affiliation.

    In regards to terror, yes, I think we perhaps are in more agreement than disagreement. However, I think we may yet still be talking past each other in one regard. When I posit an approach to terror that inverts our present approach- from one focused primarily on military action at the expense of the rule of law, diplomacy, etc. towards an approach that places law enforcement, intelligence gathering etc at the forefront, the goal is the same: to stop “Chicago being levelled by terrorists” as you put it. The approaches are not mutually exclusive, meaning the military solution is not superior than the law enforcement solution in alleviating and eliminating this threat.

    In addition, I would submit to you that our over-reliance on the big footprint of the military has made it more, not less, likely that terrorists would attack us in such a manner. I believe the War on Terror is a “war” about as much as the “War in Drugs” is a war. Both are law enforcement missions, aided by elements of the military.

    Insofar as our Constitutional rights impede intelligence gathering, well, tough. This is the way our democracy and our republic operate. I am not willing to give up one tiny shred of my Constitutional rights to make the CIA, NSA or FBI’s job easier. Not one. They will just have to work harder and smarter. This is non-negotiable.

    Besides, it has always been difficult for our intelligence agencies to be successful- they operate in a shadowy and complicated world. Yet, our nation and our Constitutional rights have survived every onslaught imaginable- and some that weren’t. To alter our Constitutional system of rights simply because we are afraid would be the ultimate defeat for the U.S. and the ultimate victory for our enemies. Yet this is exactly the course the Bush administratio has sought.

    As for Iraq, I believe we will simply have to disagree as to the nature of the threat we face there. I think, if reliable numbers were available, one would find the highest proportion of our enemies there are in fact Iraqi nationalists. Are they muslims? Yes, but what animates their actions is less religious fervor and more a nationalist sense that the Americans must leave Iraqi soil, by force if necessary.

    When you say “we are giving them their state, they do not have to fight us for it,” I think you misunderstand their perspective, and the facts on the ground. Iraqis see our big, “persisting” (i.e., “permanent”) military bases and they ask themselves: “are these people really gonna leave or are they planning on staying and having access to our oil, etc.?” This is a fair question, and many Iraqis have concluded that, no, we do not intend to leave. They conclude we have spilled too much blood and invested too much national treasure to just hand it over and leave. I follow the Bush administration very closely and I am unsure as to what their intentions are- but I suspect some permanent presence is part of the plan.

    Are foreign Islamic fundamentalists present in Iraq? You bet. All reports seem to indicate that their numbers are relatively small. But their impact is great because they bring a true jihadi fervor to bear on the situation. They see us a sitting duck in the desert; truly, a fish out of water. They see us as vulnerable in Iraq and that is why they have struck us there. And they would be correct- without a clear mission, definition of success and exit strategy, we are vulnerable.

    Pulling out U.S. forces will force those Iraqis that desire a nation to step up and battle- and hopefully defeat- the Islamic fundamentalists. The scenario in which Bin Laden or Zarqawi somehow take over Iraq is I think, a dark fantasy cooked up by certain people in Washington who wish to scare us into following the party line. I don’t think Iraqis would let it happen.

    As for how to handle terrorism in regards to the law: again, this discussion makes clear how the arrogance of the Bush administration has hobbled our efforts and limited our options. If the U.S. were a signatory on the International Criminal Court, there would be a perfect international legal venue in which to try and convict our enemies.

    After all, at the end of WWII (favorite war-template of Iraq war supporters everywhere) we put the Nazis on trial at Nuremburg. This was an international court, enforcing international law. To be clear, an international court does not give a defendant the same rights as an American citizen. But it does ensure that basic human rights are upheld. After the horrible atrocities of the Nazis, it was clear to the Allies that the only way to help prevent such horrors in the future was to make a public case against the hateful Nazi ideology. Only by reducing these once powerful men to the stature of the common criminals they truly were, could the world see that justice had been done, and that the Nazi ideology was bankrupt and destined for the ashbin of history. At the end of the day, most of the Nazi defendenat were hung. A few were acquitted. And the entire world agreed that justice had been done.

    On the other hand, our current approach- to lock terrorists away in a Gitmo cage or former Soviet dungeon, or to “rendition” them to torture-friendly nations, does nothing in the eyes of the world to serve justice. In fact, it undermines our standing in the world. If you believe this is an ideological struggle, as you say, you must also admit that from an ideological perspective, we are losing that aspect of the battle. Why do I say this? Because we are abandoning the principles upon which our country was founded, in the name of convenience. Are the terrorists we now face a greater threat than the NAZIS?

    This is perhaps a longer answer than you were seeking, but when I begin to articulate my position, it becomes clearer to me that Bush and his administration have pursued this threat in the most bass-ackwards way possible:

    They value convenience over principle, they value action for the sake of action, they would rather look tough than be tough and take on tough problems in tough ways, they value brutality over humanity, they value cheap and empty slogans over well-though out positions and policies, they value war movie clichés over real communication.

  11. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 3:48 pm


    My last point on Cindy Sheehan is as follows: Yes, what you are allowed to do is a much broader range of actions than what is decent to do. Law cannot control behavior, only decency can truly make a society better. I am in no way saying that if Cindy has no right to wear the shirt. If she created a scene, she should have been thrown out, the Congress has the right to control its procedings with decency. But it is not until individuals themselves decide to control themselves with respect and decency that humanity will get better. Cindy is disrespectful, overly-emotional and enraged, and her actions were wrong. She had the right to do them, but her decision to act on her rights in that sense were inappropriate.

    As far as Iraq:
    I completely disagree that there are more “nationalists” in Iraq than Islamic militants fighting out of hatred for the West. I think it is that disagreement that colors our view on what is the best route to choose. Iraqis by and large from every source I have seen are extremely optimistic and, though they view American occupation as occupation, they know it is necessary until they can stand on their two feet. Everywhere they see US soldiers rebuilding schools and utilites and rooting out terrorists. This is from news sources and first-hand accounts. I cannot agree with your nationalist Iraq insurgent claim in this light.

    I in no way insinuated that we should give up rights for intelligence gathering. I agree 100% with you that I would rather be free than secure. Intelligence must find a way around it. But it was merely a point to describe the problem that our intelligence faces and why it is in no way up to par with its foreign counterparts.

    I completely disagree with including ourselves in any iteration of the current International Criminal Courts. They have expressed desire out of hatred for the US to try US troops for atrocities that they did not commit… atrocities defined as “going into Iraq” etc. Giving foreign bodies control over punishing OUR troops is unacceptable especially in the current climate of anti-Americanism.

    I do not have an opinion, though, about Gitmo. The main difference between Nuremburg and our current situation is that Nuremburg was held AFTER the war. According to the “War on Terror” mentality we are STILL at war. Therefor they could be held as POWs until the war is over. Defining when that is is tough, though, but they are not US citizens so they do not receive our rights, every indication is that foreign courts will let them off to attack again (which has happened mutliple times), and they are being treated ridiculously well for prisoners.

    I agree that we need a clear mission statement, but the problem with the current situation, being completely unlike any foe we have faced, is that defining when an idealogy is “beaten” may be all but impossible in this case. Yes, Iraqi POWs should be tried and released when the Iraq war is over, which can be defined as when we leave Iraq and they defend themselves. Afghani POWs are different in that we are clearing out international terrorist camps there, so they are not tied to a single “battle.”

    The war on terror will not be won with military or criminal measures. It will only be won when one set of values triumphs, when people accept liberalism over fundamentalism, or scarily vice versa. Until the eyes of the world look at fundamentalism with the contempt it deserves and those that spew its filth are rooted out, it will not stop. Military may be the only way to stop them before they attack us though in some circumstances, and in no way should future decisions be marred by our experience in Iraq or Vietnam when the safety of our nation is at stake.

  12. chicagoist (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 7:24 pm

    The scenario in which Bin Laden or Zarqawi somehow take over Iraq is I think, a dark fantasy cooked up by certain people in Washington who wish to scare us into following the party line. I don’t think Iraqis would let it happen.

    >>>Didn’t Hamas just win an election?

  13. nikkos (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2006 @ 11:28 am

    Hamas won a democratic Palestinian election. We may ot like it, but that’s the way it is.

    Hamas is not foreign jihadi force taking another nation by force against the will of its native inhabitants, so your analogy does not hold.

  14. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

    I actually view the Hamas election as a potential good. We know that Hamas’s platform is “Death to Israel and the West” so now that they are in charge of a country and their people gave them the mandate, we can hold the State of Palestine accountable. If the Hamas in power acts on its wishes and attacks or terrorizes, we can hold them accoutable.
    But more importantly, if they take on the huge responsibility that they have been clamoring for for decades of running their own independant State, they may realize it is much harder to keep the people happy than they thought. It may require moderating their positions and becoming a world player. Though this is a very small chance, it is still there.
    So with the responsibilities of Statehood and their newfound accountability, this may be a chance to show the world what a moderate Islamic state can be, or show them the consequences of truly not being a good world citizen.

  15. nikkos (unregistered) on February 9th, 2006 @ 3:10 pm

    I said:
    “As for Iraq, I believe we will simply have to disagree as to the nature of the threat we face there. I think, if reliable numbers were available, one would find the highest proportion of our enemies there are in fact Iraqi nationalists. Are they muslims? Yes, but what animates their actions is less religious fervor and more a nationalist sense that the Americans must leave Iraqi soil, by force if necessary.”

    Ben2 replied:
    “I completely disagree that there are more “nationalists” in Iraq than Islamic militants fighting out of hatred for the West. I think it is that disagreement that colors our view on what is the best route to choose.”

    The Government Accounting Office (GAO) settles it in a new report:

    “According to a senior U.S. military officer, attack levels ebb and flow as the various insurgent groups—almost all of which are an intrinsic part of Iraq’s population—rearm and attack again.

    Iraqi Sunnis make up the largest portion of the insurgency and present the most significant threat to stability in Iraq.
    …The remainder of the insurgency consists of radical Shia groups, some of whom are supported by Iran, violent extremists, criminals, and, to a lesser degree, foreign fighters.”

    Note that foreign fighters are listed LAST, meaning that tney represent the smallest faction, and that Iraqis themselves represent the largest faction, as I stated above.

    If, Ben2, our approaches to this conflict differ, as you suggest, mainly because we disagree as to the make up of the enemy’s ranks, this report should serve as a non-partisan evaluation that may cause you to re-examine your approach, and the approach of the Bush administration.

    The link:

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