mlah The “culture” that has evolved here isn’t conducive to sissies

August 9, 2007

Saudi Arms Deal

Filed under: Politics — mlah @ 1:00 pm

so what’s the deal?

i’m hearing a lot of uproar about the proposed sale of arms to the saudis.

(never mind the fact the BAE is about to dell them typhoon fighters, more advanced than any other aircraft in the world save the f22)

mainly, i’m hearing people upset with bush that it is aid. a lot of people are saying that we’re giving them 20 billion dollars.

i know from experience that we routinely give away old military hardware to allies. i can name a number of items in the orders of battle for many countires that are exactly this. f-16s fopr egypt. m60a1’a for egypt. destroyers for turkey. destroyers for mexico.

but the saudis like new. and they have always paid.

i did a quick google news search and the first article i found was this. confirming my suspicions that they are buying. our military aid is usually in the form of gifting old hardware, or selling new stuff (unless you’re israel, they get everything new and free).

now true. the real issue at hand is whether or not we should be aiding the saudis.

but i see this devolve continuously into a bush hating rant. how can THIS administration do this? not like every president since kennedy has supported the saudis.

maybe we shouldn’t be supporting the saudis. maybe it IS time to re-evaluate our relationship with them. i mean, we were basically asked to leave their country recently and consequently relocated our middle eastern logistics bases from saudi to qatar.

maybe they have re-evaluated their commitment to us.

but really. this is business as usual for every american administration. why are so many people throwing dirt at shrub?

it’s a typical invectiveness to me. the sky was cloudy today. must be bush’s fault. cowboys didn’t win the superbowl. was a rovian conspiracy. and the japanese attack on pearl harbor? bush convinced fdr to let it happen.

15 Comments »

  1. You make it sound like this “invectiveness” is coming from the Left. But is it, really? Don’t some fiscal conservatives hate all foreign aid? Aren’t terrism-obsessed FoxNews watchers uncomfortable with further arming the state from which so many of the 9/11 hijackers came from? Isn’t Israel uncomfortable with it? Hint about that last one: yes:
    “The United States has sought to allay Israeli concerns about the forthcoming package. The senior U.S. defense official said Washington was working on a military assistance deal for Israel expected to top $30 billion during the next decade, a significant increase over current levels.”
    http://ca.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-07-30T130517Z_01_DAH028241_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-IRAN-USA-ARMS-COL.XML

    “but really. this is business as usual for every american administration.”
    True, that. Except for the Iran and Iraq wrinkles, i.e. that we are being extra-generous with our Sunni allies at this time in order to offset potential problems with Shi’ite Iran and also to entice them to make nice in Iraq insofar as they have influence with Sunnis there.

    Comment by trick_shot_f-in_cheny — August 9, 2007 @ 9:36 pm

  2. Our support for Iraq to offset Iran is nothing new since 1979. It’s one of the reasons supporters of Bush the Elder used for not toppling Saddam in 1991. It’s one of the reasons the “defensive” nature of Iraq’s military was never questioned or limited by the cease fire agreement; only “offensive” weapons, such as CBR agents and missiles with a range greater than 300 miles, were banned. The Iraqi army, “fourth largest in the world,” was a force in being to offset the Iranian army.

    Iraq is a Shia majority country! Which is one of the reasons Iran is so powerful in that society. Did you also see the article yesterday in which Iran told the Iraqi government that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is key to stability in the country? Hmmm…. you guys tell the Amis to leave and we’ll stop having our proxy groups fight in your country.

    As Mlah pointed out, this is not gift aid. This is sales. The Saudis are paying full price. Fiscal conservatives don’t have a problem with market sales, as a general rule.

    Terrorism-obsessed FoxNews watchers? Well, I suppose NBCNews watchers get more stories about pretty kittens from Dolores, I mean Katie, but what does the news venue have to do with it? And what’s wrong with worrying about security to prevent terrorism? You think terrorism went away after 9/11? Or do you think that the terrorists would never try that one again? Or perhaps you are of the opinion that two oceans keep our borders secure? And why call it an obsession? Should we ignore it? Should we hope that by depriving terrorists of any attention they will eventually go away? (Which brings about some secondary questions: should the government suppress all public knowledge of terrorist attacks, to starve the groups of the oxygen of publicity which their cause needs? How would the public react if the government never warned them about pending terror attacks? How would the public feel if the government never let them know about successful terror attacks? How would the public feel if the government never mentioned terrorists again? “Nothing to see here folks, just move along.” Would the government then be doing its job?) Just wondering.

    And the last I checked, the 9/11 attackers never took an F16 out of the Saudi Air Force inventory to carry out an attack on the U.S. So why would you expect them to do so with this new batch of military equipment? We sell to our friends and allies. If those friends or allies turn on us — as did Iran in 1979 — then we deal with that later. The Magic Eight Ball does not work in this situation.

    Comment by yup — August 10, 2007 @ 12:29 am

  3. Yup: “Our support for Iraq to offset Iran is nothing new since 1979.”
    If you think I was addressing military support for Iraq, you misread my last paragraph. I applaud your considerable knowledge, but it is totally irrelevant to anything I said. Allow me to annotate it [see brackets] for you:
    Gus: “Except for the Iran and Iraq wrinkles, i.e. that we are being extra-generous with our Sunni allies [incl. Saudi Arabia] at this time in order to offset potential problems with Shi’ite Iran and also to entice them [i.e. SA] to make nice in Iraq insofar as they have influence with Sunnis there.” I don’t think any of that is debatable.
    Or was your beef with my considering Iran to be newly problematic? Of course we’ve had issues with them since ’79, but the nuke issue is what’s really causing us to lose sleep nowadays.

    Yup: “Iraq is a Shia majority country! Which is one of the reasons Iran is so powerful in that society.”
    No shit! Again, I think you’ve misread me.

    “what does the news venue have to do with it?”
    Fox just seems like it’s always on high alert, keeping people twitchy so they’ll keep voting for the Party of Fear, the Republicans.

    “And what’s wrong with worrying about security to prevent terrorism?”
    Nothing, if it’s commensurate with the actual threat, or even a bit more. But some haven’t stopped running around like chickens with their heads cut off since 9/11. The terrists are not coming to Bumfuck, Idaho, for you (not you, Yup, but the type I have in mind), dude! The American Way of Life is in precisely zero danger of being toppled by Islamofascists. Then again, rereading all the dumb questions you ask in the rest of that paragraph (to which, in each case, I would give the correct, sensible, obvious response), maybe I should include you. There are realistic measures anyone can take; then there is obsession/political desperation. Dems/Liberals are not too stupid to see or ignoring anything about the real terrist threat– that’s just pure, cheap-ass political slander. It’s what you guys campaigned on in ’06, and, luckily, enough people saw right thru it. So give it a frickin’ rest.

    “And the last I checked, the 9/11 attackers never took an F16 out of the Saudi Air Force inventory to carry out an attack on the U.S. So why would you expect them to do so with this new batch of military equipment?”
    I personally don’t. Some people, however, distrust Saudi Arabia because of 9/11 and the Wahhabism they export with OK from the top of their gov’t.

    Comment by Trick_Shot_F-in_Cheney — August 10, 2007 @ 2:04 am

  4. I hate to break the news to you but THIS administration sucks ass. So have most of the others but THIS one has raised ass-sucking to new heights. Our great-grandchildren will be paying for what THIS administration has done and I’m not just talking about your personal hero Bush. He’s had plenty of help screwing things up.

    Comment by Joe — August 10, 2007 @ 4:28 am

  5. Joe, please enlighten me as to exactly what this administration has done to raise ass-sucking to new and unparalleled heights? i’m dieing to know.

    Comment by mlah — August 10, 2007 @ 9:20 am

  6. “personal hero Bush” Joe? Huh? Whose personal hero, Joe? And like Gus said.

    “It’s what you guys campaigned on in ‘06, and, luckily, enough people saw right thru it.” Hmmm… so what you are saying, Gus, is that the U.S. populace sees nothing to fear in Islamic terrorism. In fact, there is no terrorist threat. We are safe, except of course for all the “little Eichmanns” that work on Wall Street. That of course is why the populace overwhelmingly supports the open borders/amnesty policies of the Left, and why CAIR is such a successful purveyor of our social will. The bs that the government and Faux “News” keeps throwing at us is simply Bush’s attempt to scare the populace into accepting his annointment as emperor for life, right?

    Unfortunately, I recall a number of issues that divided the political scene in 2006. The anti-war issue, with its derivative “no threat from Islamic terrorism to our society” meme, was simply the one that most people focused on thanks to a culpable MSM, particularly after Lieberman was so handily defeated in the Democratic primary. What’s that? Lieberman’s still in the Senate? Hmmm, perhaps the pundits like you, Gus, and your Kossian friends, were wrong. Care to consider that at all?

    Moreover, have you seen the poll data on popular satisfaction with the new Democratic Congress? The Pelosi- and Reid-lead Congress is even less popular than Bush. Now why would that be, Gus?

    But thank you for clarifying your posting on Saudi Arabia versus Iraq. I suppose I can accept what you are saying now. We are in an unfortunate position of having to prop up an unpopular and corrupt regime (it’s called an absolute monarchy which by definition is not answerable to democratic forces, which makes these labels much more easily applied) in order to prevent the state from being taken over by the same Wahhabist fundamentalists that the government has been allowing to flourish lo these many decades as a relief valve for popular discontent, and which produced none other than Osama bin Laden. Care to offer an alternative policy to doing so, Gus? And give your reasoning behind the proposed alternative. None of this “that is wrong” ranting without proffering any reasonable alternatives!

    Comment by yup — August 11, 2007 @ 5:06 am

  7. Yup: “so what you are saying, Gus, is that the U.S. populace sees nothing to fear in Islamic terrorism. In fact, there is no terrorist threat.”
    Where’d I say that, shit-for-brains?
    I said: “There are realistic measures anyone can take; then there is obsession/political desperation. Dems/Liberals are not too stupid to see or ignoring anything about the real terrist threat– that’s just pure, cheap-ass political slander.”
    I/We support all the anti-terror measures currently being taken (by FBI/CIA/DHS, etc.) that are consistent with our Constitution (i.e. most of them). We can quibble about extraordinary rendition, warrant-less phone taps and the invasion of Iraq, but most of our anti-terror activity is perfectly acceptable to people in both parties.
    You just did exactly what I accused Fox and the R’s of doing, and you’re an idiot liar for pulling that shit.

    “the open borders/amnesty policies of the Left”
    W’s a leftist, then? That was his policy.

    “The bs that the government and Faux “News” keeps throwing at us is simply Bush’s attempt to scare the populace into accepting his annointment as emperor for life, right?”
    Not W as “emperor for life” (though it did get him a second term), but certainly Rove’s dream of a “permanent Republican majority”. How’s that working out for y’all?

    “Hmmm, perhaps the pundits like you, Gus, and your Kossian friends, were wrong. Care to consider that at all?”
    What was a bigger issue than the war in 2006? BTW I’m not a pundit, I’m a troll (and proud of it!).

    “The Pelosi- and Reid-lead Congress is even less popular than Bush. Now why would that be, Gus?”
    Congress is never very popular, but most of the recent decreases in their favorability rating can be tied to Dem voters’ discontent:
    http://www.galluppoll.com/content/?ci=27937
    Was a Repub-led Congress ever, to your knowledge, more popular than W? I doubt that.

    “Care to offer an alternative policy to doing so, Gus? And give your reasoning behind the proposed alternative. None of this “that is wrong” ranting without proffering any reasonable alternatives!”
    Oh, yes, another of the big slags against Dems, that they only complain and don’t offer any alternatives.
    Show me my “ranting” about SA, please (i.e. I didn’t, douchebag). My concerns are your concerns (lack of democracy, exporting Wahhabism). The only thing that’s gonna make them more amenable is when the oil runs out or we stop needing their oil because the technology is there, whichever comes first. At the moment, they have us by the balls, and no one’s pretending otherwise.

    Comment by trick_shot_f-in_cheny — August 14, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  8. Well Gus, I suppose that all you can do is cast personal aspersions. That’s pretty basic Leftist fare, using personal attacks. I really feel sorry for you. You must spend all sorts of time dreaming up names like “shit-for-brains” and “idiot liar” for use in online anonymous arguments. Tell me, do you eat something other than chee-toes and mountain due while you’re coming up with such zingers.

    W — and many members of Congress who have -R after their name — are in cahoots with the Leftists on the immigration issue either by design or because they don’t want to rock the boat and take a stand that might cost them votes. That was one of the biggest complaints from the conservatives, and an issue that played big in the 2006 elections. If you are capable of the critical thought processes, bear in mind that it was not only the anti-war activists who played a role in the elections.

    Yeah, I was wondering why anybody ever spoke about W since Rove is the real power behind the White House throne. After all, Rove was the dude won the election. He was the one who told W what to think and what to do. You know what? Rove obviously was more important to American politics over the past seven years than W, Howard Dean, Gore, Kerry, McCain, et al. They were merely elected or campaigning for election. Rove was the REAL power pulling the strings. I can see why you would be so worked up about anything Rove said, since he exercised so much power to back up his words. Just like George Stephanopolous did so many years ago in the Clinton White House.

    And can’t you consider that the reason the Dims lost the 2004 election to W was that their candidate simpy did not appeal to the electorate as much as did W? That they fielded the lesser candidate? Or do you honestly think that the only way W won was because Rove and his cabal somehow engineered the victory, perhaps by playing the “fear” card?

    You, and by extension the Left, keep telling us that the conservatives are hawking the national security issue, particularly the threat from terrorists, as a ploy to dupe the electorate. Prey tell, how many terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been thwarted since 9/11? If you are capable, consider the effect on society had those attacks NOT been thwarted. How many attacks on the “soft targets” of our society would it take to cause panic and chaos? Analyze the social breakdown in post-Katrina New Orleans and project those results to New York, for instance. Ah, you say, we made it through 9/11 without significant problems. But that was only the first such attack. What if the attacks were to continue — in other words, the government was proved incapable, despite its best efforts, to thwart such attacks? Are terrorist attacks in and of themselves enough to disrupt our society? You state not. However, what about the after effects of those attacks? Consider: a “dirty bomb” goes off in Chicago, for example, only kills a few dozen people, only a few thousand are injured or made sick because the radius of the fallout was limited by the strength of the home-made explosive device. But how are the rest of the people not directly affected by the bomb or its fallout going to react? How will people in other major metropolitan centers react? I use the example of a dirty bomb, but what if a couple of cells decided to conduct mass shootouts in shopping malls around the country? Think I am stretching the realm of possibility? Well, I suppose some Israelis once thought it ludicrous that the terrorists would attack pizza parlors and ice cream shops full of kids. Some Londoners probably once thought it impossible to have several simultaneous bombings in the Underground, given the pervasive use of surveillance technology in that city. The list is potentially endless in the attacks that can be carried out against us (simultaneous loss of power and water through attack on the SCADA system combined with a few car bombs, fire bombs, or attacks on mass transit systems in a large city, a bombing at a major televised ball game, etc.).

    I don’t know what arguments you think that the conservatives are using when you characterize them as “running around like chickens with their heads cut off.” However, I think that there are (lesser) measures needed to look after potential attacks in Buehl, Idaho, and elsewhere in the country that are not urban population centers. After all, terrorism is an asymmetric threat that can have repurcussions far beyond the scale of any attack. And given its asymmetric nature, the methods to counter the threat will necessarily demand far greater investment than the cost of posing the threat itself.

    Finally, consider the consequences of sustained terrorist attacks in the U.S. What will the American people demand of their government if terrorist attacks succeed on a successive basis within the country? What then will happen to the “American Way of Life?”

    I am glad to see that you do not have a problem, other than a quibble or two, about the measures taken by the government to counter the terrorist threat. But that’s not the message I see coming from the Left in their political pronouncements and in the press. And “quibble” is not exactly how to describe the attacks the Left is heaping upon such programs. Ironic how there are so many loud, vicious attacks against, for example, the so-called “warrant-less phone taps” when those self-same Dim Congress members vote to allow them to continue.

    You might as well proclaim that the Left supports the troops while you’re at it, Gus. We hear that mantra “we support the troops” coming from the Left all the time, while at the same time they snicker that only the dumbass losers who suffer through the underfunded public education system (pander for those NEA votes!) have no choice but to join the dumbass military in the first place, and then they get out there and those dumbass troops “we support” are just too damn stupid and raggle-taggle to know any better so we just know they all commit the worst atrocities a human can commit (while giving the terrorists a pass, of course, since we forced them to be so horrible in the first place), so that when an unsubstantiated allegation does arise we can immediately declare those troops “we support” guilty — and blame W.

    Nicely deflected argument to explain away the lack of satisfaction with the Democratic-run Congress. ‘Oh, Congress always gets a bad rap. That means nothing, I tell you, nothing! W is the poor leader, he’s the one that deserves scorn.’ And I find it ironic that you cite dissatisfaction from Dim supporters as the cause of the poor polling numbers, without granting that the dissatisfaction among Rep supporters played any part in the 2006 elections. It was all the anti-war movement, baby!

    You offer a political explanation for the arms deal with the Saudis, such that it effectively becomes a bribe for them to support our actions in Iraq: “we are being extra-generous with our Sunni allies at this time in order to offset potential problems with Shi’ite Iran and also to entice them to make nice in Iraq insofar as they have influence with Sunnis there.” We have always, since 1979, propped up the Saudis to help counter Iran’s regional power. Nothing new there. Care to elaborate how this arms deal, out of so many others we have made with the Saudis, constitutes a bribe to get Saudi influence on our side in Iraq as you intimated? And what might you do otherwise? Do we simply not deal at all with non-democratic states? Shall we cut off all ties with China? Shall we cut off all ties with Pakistan? Shall we cut off all ties with Kuwait? How about Bahrain? Qatar? UAE? Vietnam? What about Russia, where “democracy” is a wobbly concept? Where is your objection to this arms deal leading? Or are you simply saying in a perfect world we would not sell them arms because their government does not meet our idealized standards?

    Comment by yup — August 15, 2007 @ 5:09 am

  9. Yup: “Well Gus, I suppose that all you can do is cast personal aspersions. That’s pretty basic Leftist fare, using personal attacks.”
    Oh, grow some, ya big girl! I’ve always had a saucy mouth around here, and I’ve also always offered much more rational argument than insults. After all we’ve been thru, Yup! And cussing is not in the least a partisan issue, as Dick F-in Cheney himself, among others, proves, so give it a rest, Miss Manners.
    For those of you keeping score at home, I only do it when someone says something extremely fatuous or ignorant. In the cases above:
    1) “shit-for-brains” for your saying “so what you are saying, Gus, is that the U.S. populace sees nothing to fear in Islamic terrorism” when I had already mentioned “the real terrist threat”. There’s no excuse for that.
    2) an “idiot-liar” for perpetuating the old and losing trope that Dems don’t care about terrorism. News flash: 58% of the US population now trusts Dems more than Rethugs re: terror.
    3) And “douchebag” when you accused me of “ranting” about this SA arms deal, about which I only share the same concerns as you, as far as I can tell.

    “chee-toes and mountain due (sic)”
    There ya go, I knew you had it in ya! Too bad we’ve been thru this particular one soooo many times before: While the sedentary lifestyle of the IT professional is indeed a great way to become a lardass, I am in good shape, unlike you and Mlah.

    “W — and many members of Congress who have -R after their name — are in cahoots with the Leftists on the immigration issue either by design or because they don’t want to rock the boat and take a stand that might cost them votes.”
    Yes, the R’s had their business-folk who rely on immigrant labor to worry about. Thus your characterization of the initial failed immigration bill as “leftist” is hardly accurate. R’s controlled Congress at the time, and it was W’s baby, so it was at least 1/2 rightist as opposed to leftist.
    Incidentally, I was happy to see W this week introduce measures to stem illegals:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/10/AR2007081001113.html?hpid=moreheadlines
    Did you hear me? I, a liberal, said I’m **pleased w/ W** for his action to **curb illegal immigration**. I’ve always thought that sort of thing made sense, so I’m not sure why you think all libs are for throwing the border open.

    “If you are capable of the critical thought processes, bear in mind that it was not only the anti-war activists who played a role in the elections.”
    Get off it, pinhead. I never said it was the “only” issue in ’06. I just said the war was “the biggest” and I stand by that.

    “Rove was the REAL power pulling the strings.”
    Again, poo-poo head, I never said he was omnipotent, only that he, as the chief WH political advisor in the most partisan WH ever (as all agree), he had big plans. Do you need a hearing-aid, grampa?

    “Or do you honestly think that the only way W won was because Rove and his cabal somehow engineered the victory, perhaps by playing the “fear” card?”‘
    It was not a landslide. Kerry got more votes than any other prez candidate in history (except for W, unfortunately). Largely attributable, I daresay, to the despicable Swift Boaters, who surely had Karl’s blessing. In the wider election, the big lie was more that only R’s were capable of protecting the American people from terror, yes.

    “Prey (sic) tell, how many terrorist attacks in the U.S. have been thwarted since 9/11?”
    At least a handful, maybe many dozens. Why do you ask? If it’s to prove that only R’s can keep us safe, then answer this: How many have we had since the Dems retook Congress?

    “Are terrorist attacks in and of themselves enough to disrupt our society? You state not.”
    I stated no such thing. Of course they’re disruptive. Very disruptive. I said our way of life was not in any danger, i.e. that the foundations of our society were not going to be overwritten by sharia and whatnot, as many of you whackos fear. This is the answer to your question about “I don’t know what arguments you think that the conservatives are using when you characterize them as ‘running around like chickens with their heads cut off.'”

    “Think I am stretching the realm of possibility?”
    Not at all. Your scenarios are pretty likely, in fact. But so what? Dems are for strong anti-terror measures, too.

    “I think that there are (lesser) measures needed to look after potential attacks in Buehl (sic), Idaho”
    Ah yes, Buhl– “The Trout Capital of the World”! Only 4000 people, but 20 million pounds of rainbow trout!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buhl,_Idaho
    Their food-processing plant and every local PD could indeed take a few precautions, just in case. But by and large, they are totally fucking flattering themselves. Remember that news story about the WMD truck some little backwater got? Osama’s a bastard, but he’s not stupid enough to waste his energy and resources in rural America, but that’s just my opinion. I promise that when it really goes down {guffaw}, I will admit that you were right, okey-dokey artichokey?

    “I am glad to see that you do not have a problem, other than a quibble or two, about the measures taken by the government to counter the terrorist threat. But that’s not the message I see coming from the Left in their political pronouncements and in the press.”
    If you are referring to the dustups over FISA, Guantanamo stuff and CIA rendition to torturers, those were tiny corners of our anti-terror platform and perfectly legitimate constitutional concerns. But you’re making it sound like the left/MSM is against the vast majority of the stuff we do every day to keep us safe, which is absurd and ignorant.

    “And ‘quibble’ is not exactly how to describe the attacks the Left is heaping upon such programs.”
    The language was heated on both sides over, as I said, very small aspects of a few programs.

    “Ironic how there are so many loud, vicious attacks against, for example, the so-called “warrant-less phone taps” when those self-same Dim Congress members vote to allow them to continue.”
    Who, exactly, are you referring to? Show me these “loud, vicious attacks” and their later votes for the same thing.

    “You might as well proclaim that the Left supports the troops while you’re at it, Gus. ”
    OK. The Left supports the troops!

    “We hear that mantra “we support the troops” coming from the Left all the time, while at the same time they snicker that only the dumbass losers who suffer through the underfunded public education system (pander for those NEA votes!) have no choice but to join the dumbass military in the first place, and then they get out there and those dumbass troops “we support” are just too damn stupid and raggle-taggle to know any better so we just know they all commit the worst atrocities a human can commit (while giving the terrorists a pass, of course, since we forced them to be so horrible in the first place), so that when an unsubstantiated allegation does arise we can immediately declare those troops “we support” guilty — and blame W.”
    What the fuck are you talking about here? Kerry’s joke? That was about W, dimwit. People who took offense to that solely did so to make political points. What atrocities? You’re babbling. Be specific and concrete.

    “Nicely deflected argument to explain away the lack of satisfaction with the Democratic-run Congress.”
    That really is the way it goes. You still haven’t provided any evidence that any R-led Congress under Bush was more popular than him at any point.

    “And I find it ironic that you cite dissatisfaction from Dim supporters as the cause of the poor polling numbers, without granting that the dissatisfaction among Rep supporters played any part in the 2006 elections. It was all the anti-war movement, baby!”
    I never denied that dissatisfaction among R’s played some part, only that the war was “the biggest” ingredient. I find it ironic that you can obviously write English well, but not read it.

    “We have always, since 1979, propped up the Saudis to help counter Iran’s regional power. Nothing new there.”
    Yeah, dude, you already said that. Do you have Alzheimer’s? And as I already said, that is true in general, and I simply added that the nuke issue is especially vexing today. What’s the problem?

    “Care to elaborate how this arms deal, out of so many others we have made with the Saudis, constitutes a bribe to get Saudi influence on our side in Iraq as you intimated?”
    SA can talk– and has been talking– to leaders of some Sunni resistance groups who don’t want to deal with us directly. It is imperative for Iraq and for W’s legacy that the country land on its feet somehow, someday soonish. It only stands to reason that we would make them extra happy for helping us out in this way. Does that seem so unlikely to you?

    “And what might you do otherwise? … Where is your objection to this arms deal leading?”
    I wasn’t complaining, merely describing what I think the bases of negotiation were.

    Comment by Trick_Shot_F-in_Cheney — August 16, 2007 @ 3:27 am

  10. “Oh, grow some, ya big girl!” I hope the conservatives can successfully use that retort next time they are faced with all the sound and furor caused by a “macaca” moment. And mind, Gus, that you are being sexist! Bad thing for a liberal to do, you know. People might think you’re an angry white conservative man if you don’t watch out.

    “Remember that news story about the WMD truck some little backwater got?” Umm, actually, no I don’t. When and where was this? Sounds like a big waste, but then again, I know nothing of the specifics of the story. Was the “backwater” sitting next to a strategic arsenal? I grew up in a small city near a huge CW arsenal.

    You characterised “terrism-obsessed [sic] FoxNews watchers” as “running around like chickens with their heads cut off” because their concerns are not “commensurate with the actual threat” of terrorism. You failed to define what, “the actual threat” is, let alone exactly what you disagree with, other than “Fox just seems like it’s always on high alert, keeping people twitchy” which somehow makes people vote Republican. The few times I have seen any Fox News in the past two years they simply reflect the terrorism alert level that the federal government is using. So shall I infer that you object to the federal alert level system as a mere political tool to induce fear in the electorate, thus producing votes for the Republicans? (Hmmm, shall we also explore the conservative view regarding the longstanding populist class divisions inherent to the Democrats’ political talking points — millionaire white trial lawyer Edwards and his “Two Americas” theory, for example — as a scare tactic to entice the electorate into voting Democrat?)

    You did not mention your notion of “the actual threat” but I see from your subsequent posts that you agree there is in fact danger from physical terrorist attacks on various levels of our society. Since you admit the danger is present, then with what actions on the part of those noting the danger do you disagree? Moreover, you admit there is danger of such attacks within the U.S. Many, many people still think, even after 9/11, that our ocean borders prevent the bad guys from getting to us. Complacency. The same sort of thing that makes people see no problem with our economy. But that’s a whole different topic.

    You said “There are realistic measures anyone can take; then there is obsession/political desperation. Dems/Liberals are not too stupid to see or ignoring anything about the real terrist threat– that’s just pure, cheap-ass political slander.” Umm, prior to that, I never mentioned the Democrat/Liberal attitudes toward terrorism. You brought that up, then tried to put those words in my mouth, and accuse me of political slander: “You just did exactly what I accused Fox and the R’s of doing.” You did not elaborate, and even your response simply said that there are “realistic measures” that can be taken. You wrote without substance, and when I challenged you on your zero-calorie pronouncement, you got all hot and bothered and accused me of “cheap-ass political slander.” To quote you: “Oh, grow some, ya big girl!”

    “You still haven’t provided any evidence that any R-led Congress under Bush was more popular than him at any point.” That was never my goal, you are trying to redirect the argument. My point was that the poll readings show the president in a better light than the Democratic Congress which was, according to you, elected as a result of peoples’ discontent with the war effort: “It’s what you guys campaigned on in ‘06, and, luckily, enough people saw right thru it.” You cite the election of a Democratic Congress as some sort of a political shift in the electorate, which has supposedly grown weary of the constant threats and fearmongering emanating from the Republicans, yet if that’s the case, then why are so many people unhappy with the Congress, and in fact more pleased with the President?

    “What atrocities? You’re babbling.” John Murtha. Haditha. While there are still a few Marines whose cases are pending, the ones which have appeared in court thus far have been dismissed. Murtha made his condemnation before any investigation was ever conducted.

    You say W’s is “the most partisan WH ever (as all agree).” All agree? Are you sure? Shouldn’t you write it as “all my friends and the political pundits I listen to agree” and not try to make such a sweeping statement?

    “I am in good shape, unlike you and Mlah.” Would you care to spar with Mlah in the tkd ring? Me, on the other hand. I sit on the couch all day watching movies. So you got me there.

    Comment by yup — August 16, 2007 @ 8:55 am

  11. gus, i’m a bit hard on myself when it comes to being in shape. while i love food too much to ever be bulemic, i always think i’m fat.

    don’t let that fool you though. i’d be willing to wager i’m in better shape than you. sight unseen. i ran a 10k before i left afghanistan.

    it professionals lead a lifestyle which tends to being a lardass? not casting broad generalizations are you?

    Comment by mlah — August 17, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  12. Mlah: “i’d be willing to wager i’m in better shape than you. sight unseen. i ran a 10k before i left afghanistan.”
    Perhaps. I’m just flashing back on the last picture you posted of yourself, but that was probably from several years ago. I’ll bet you have to work hard at it, though, huh? Congrats, keep up the good work.

    “it professionals lead a lifestyle which tends to being a lardass? not casting broad generalizations are you?”
    You haven’t seen all my pear-shaped co-workers! Of course some people are blessed with a high metabolism and more and more people are aware of the health benefits of staying in shape, but I think it’s a fairly valid generalization– about any sedentary occupation.

    Comment by trick_shot_f-in_cheny — August 17, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  13. Yup: “I hope the conservatives can successfully use that retort next time they are faced with all the sound and furor caused by a ‘macaca’ moment.”
    You think public figures who use racial slurs deserve a pass? Wow, that is fucked up, man. No politician of either party would follow your counsel, unless perhaps David Duke is still around.

    “And mind, Gus, that you are being sexist! Bad thing for a liberal to do”
    While I’m happy to hear that your consciousness has been raised somewhat (assuming that you’re sincere, which I know you aren’t), I will defer to the judgement of my peers on that one, thanks.

    “When and where was this? Sounds like a big waste, but then again, I know nothing of the specifics of the story. Was the backwater sitting next to a strategic arsenal?”
    I think it was Zanesville, OH:

    “In the past decade or so, their worst incidents included a farmer pinned in a grain silo, a city worker trapped in a trench and a vacant building that collapsed…
    So after outfitting the hazardous-materials trailer and another rescue vehicle with an $87,500 grant from 2002, the county is getting ready to spend another $312,000 in federal homeland security money for 2003. Hanning’s office plans to buy two $5,000 search cameras, a $15,500 communications trailer, emergency sirens — maybe even a radiation detector.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-10-29-security-cover-usat_x.htm

    “The few times I have seen any Fox News in the past two years they simply reflect the terrorism alert level that the federal government is using.”
    How about previous to the last 2 years? Why did you cut off the time frame there? Beyond their straight news, Fox doesn’t “simply” do anything. They are quite sophisticated at manufacturing burning needs in the viewer 1) to belong to their conservative Republican clique and 2) to scorn all who oppose them.

    “So shall I infer that you object to the federal alert level system as a mere political tool to induce fear in the electorate, thus producing votes for the Republicans?”
    I suspect it has been abused a few times, but in general, no, it is harmless in itself. The fear-mongering has mostly come from various other sources, and is not color-coded.

    “(Hmmm, shall we also explore the conservative view regarding the longstanding populist class divisions inherent to the Democrats’ political talking points — millionaire white trial lawyer Edwards and his “Two Americas” theory, for example — as a scare tactic to entice the electorate into voting Democrat?)”
    If you like. But why bother twisting yourself up like that just to get skewered by me again? Dems take substantive action to help the poor, much more so than Repubs. What do Edwards’ race, net worth and occupation have to do with it? They don’t disqualify him from trying to help people. In fact, it could be argued that those qualities are practically prerequisites to getting elected to Federal office, where one can have the best chance of having an effect on the issue, in the first place.

    “Since you admit the danger is present, then with what actions on the part of those noting the danger do you disagree?”
    When the threat is implied to be larger or more likely than it really is and it’s used mainly for partisan political advantage. WMD! Yellowcake from Niger! Mushroom cloud! Al-Qaida is our main enemy in Iraq!

    “Umm, prior to that, I never mentioned the Democrat/Liberal attitudes toward terrorism. You brought that up, then tried to put those words in my mouth, and accuse me of political slander: ‘You just did exactly what I accused Fox and the R’s of doing.’ You did not elaborate, and even your response simply said that there are ‘realistic measures’ that can be taken. You wrote without substance, and when I challenged you on your zero-calorie pronouncement, you got all hot and bothered and accused me of ‘cheap-ass political slander.'”
    I’m not so sure about your chronology. More importantly, I think we have both somewhat conflated the other with everything we hate about “the other side of the aisle”, so it’s not always clear who we’re talking at. Let’s go thru this slowly. Here’s what I think happened:
    1) Mlah’s post implied, in my view, that Leftists were bitching about the SA arms deal.
    2) I retorted that plenty of conservatives were uncomfortable with it, too, incl. “terrism-obsessed FoxNews watchers”.
    3) You took umbrage at that characterization and defended the desirability of being very concerned w/ terrism.
    4) I largely agreed but insisted that some conservatives (and I specified that I was not necessarily talking about you personally) do indeed go overboard, and that there is slander coming from the Right that the Left doesn’t take terrism to heart because we have a few quibbles (even if they’re vociferous, they’re still just quibbles).
    5) When you said “so what you are saying, Gus, is that the U.S. populace sees nothing to fear in Islamic terrorism”, you seemed (correct me if you didn’t mean it this way) to fall into that same dumb, insulting trope of framing anti-terror in an all-or-nothing, black-or-white way, which is bullshit. I had said voters didn’t fall for this scare tactic of the Right in ’06, then you simultaneously mocked those voters and me because, presumably, the only way they wouldn’t vote R must be because they don’t believe Islamic terrism is real– so when you say, as you did directly above my numbered items that “I never mentioned the Democrat/Liberal attitudes toward terrorism”, well, you kinda did, indirectly. I hope that clears things up.

    Gus: “You still haven’t provided any evidence that any R-led Congress under Bush was more popular than him at any point.”
    Yup: “That was never my goal”
    Well it should be. Otherwise you are only comparing apples to oranges (prez vs. present Congress). You have to either compare apples to apples or oranges to oranges or different sets of apples-and-oranges with each other to make a meaningful statement. Here’s a tidy Gallup graph of Congressional approval ratings from 6/99 to present:
    http://www.galluppoll.com/content/default.aspx?ci=1600
    Here’s W’s approval since 2/01:
    http://www.galluppoll.com/content/default.aspx?ci=1729
    Here are some interesting observations betwixt the two that blow your shit out of the water:
    –Neither party’s congress-critters were EVER above 50% except briefly after 9/11. GWB was ALWAYS stayed above 50% until mid-late 2005.
    –Since 5/05, Congressional Dems have only lost a net 3 points while R’s have lost 13. So the Dems’ time back in control of Congress hasn’t had much effect on their #’s.
    –Pick any point and measure how much lower Congress is than W. Here, allow me (when not exact same month, I found the closest):
    8/01 W=60, R’s=52, D’s=49
    5/02 W=80 4/02 R=59, D=57 (Jeez, so soon after 9/11 and Congress can’t break 60%?! Note: this is their high point over the past 8 years!)
    1/04 W=65 11/03 R=48, D=47
    4/05 W=54, R=42, D=40
    6/06 W=40, R=33, D=38
    7/07 W=37 8/07 R=29, D=37
    In other words, W is higher in each period by this much:
    ’01 8-11 pts.
    ’02 21-23
    ’03/’04 17-18
    ’05 12-14
    ’06 2-7
    ’07 0-8
    So the proper way to think about the most recent numbers is that ***W, AT HIS ALL-TIME LOW, HAS FINALLY FALLEN TO THE LEVEL OF CONGRESS– A CONGRESS WHERE REPUBLICANS ARE HELD IN SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER ESTEEM THAN DEMOCRATS ALL THE TIME (kind of like your credibility vs. mine at this point, ya punk ass bitch)***

    “John Murtha. Haditha. While there are still a few Marines whose cases are pending, the ones which have appeared in court thus far have been dismissed. Murtha made his condemnation before any investigation was ever conducted.”
    I haven’t been following this drama very closely, but hasn’t the thrust of his initial comments been borne out by the investigations thusfar made public? If you’re blaming him for rushing to judgement before we know all the facts, aren’t you doing the same when you condemn him before all the info has come out? Like any (alleged) criminal conspiracy, it’s best to prosecute from the small fry upwards, dropping charges and giving immunity for testimony, so any conclusions you draw about the remaining fellas probably aren’t worth much.
    Out of curiosity, do you see any glaring errors on its WikiPedia page?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haditha_killings
    Anyway, let’s get back to the context you brought it up in:
    “then they get out there and those dumbass troops “we support” are just too damn stupid and raggle-taggle to know any better so we just know they all commit the worst atrocities a human can commit (while giving the terrorists a pass, of course, since we forced them to be so horrible in the first place), so that when an unsubstantiated allegation does arise we can immediately declare those troops “we support” guilty — and blame W.”
    He didn’t call anybody “stupid”. What does “raggle-taggle” mean? He said “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them”. Where does he imply that “we just know they all commit the worst atrocities”– he seems to be aware that it’s an isolated incident involving a specific, small group of Marines, from which he retired a colonel. Where does he mention anything about “giving the terrorists a pass, of course, since we forced them to be so horrible in the first place”? Where did he blame W?
    I asked you to be specific and concrete, but you’re just created a gigantic, imaginary Frankenstein monster from disparate narratives (which don’t even hold much water unto themselves) and claiming it represents the Left. Fuck you, I say!

    “You say W’s is “the most partisan WH ever (as all agree).” All agree? Are you sure? Shouldn’t you write it as “all my friends and the political pundits I listen to agree” and not try to make such a sweeping statement?”
    No, it’s objectively true. Whose was more partisan, in your opinion?

    Comment by Trick_Shot_F-in_Cheney — August 18, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  14. Gus: Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say! Fuck you, I say!

    To quote you. Glad to see that you can engage in a meaningful conversation.

    I’m too tired to read through the rest of your post. Enjoy your weekend.

    Comment by yup — August 19, 2007 @ 5:00 am

  15. “There are realistic measures anyone can take; then there is obsession/political desperation. Dems/Liberals are not too stupid to see or ignoring anything about the real terrist threat– that’s just pure, cheap-ass political slander.”

    Soooo, somebody ‘splain me please why President Clinton did not actively seek to counter the incidents preceding 9/11? I mean, gee, wasn’t he the one who turned down the offer of capturing bin Ladin? Or was that the Dems/Liberals not being too stupide to see or ignore the real terrorist threat, because nothing had recently occured on our actual land? It was ok as long as it occured at embassies around the world, and against one of our naval vessels?

    Sheesh. If that isn’t a blue light special sending a message, I don’t know what is. My point here is there were major in-your-face clues about the threat, but China and Lewinski were far more important. I’d rather be overly cautious now than go back to sleep in blissful ignorance.

    Comment by Miachelle — August 22, 2007 @ 10:20 am

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