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Chickenhawks And Other Interest Group Politics

| 88 Comments | 5 TrackBacks
I had an "aha" moment about the chickenhawk debate this morning. It wasn't about the fact that it's used as a slur, with the intent of shaming people into silencing debate (which I obviously think of as a bad thing). It was a moment in which the argument also illuminated what I have trouble supporting at the core of progressive values (and I'm not talking about self-righteousness). Think of it in terms of a 'community of interest groups,' rather than 'a community' and find the parallel arguments: * No one who could be and isn't serving should speak out on Iraq; * No one except women of child-bearing age should speak out on abortion; * No one who isn't poor should speak out on welfare; * No one who isn't in school should speak out on education; * No one who isn't (I can't decide on this one between 'a criminal' and 'a victim of crime') should speak out on criminal justice. It's a fun game and all can play; add your own in the comments below. And it's horribly destructive, if you see the tie that connects us as Americans as the bonds of common obligation and 'reverence' that Schaar talks about below. Just thinkin'...

5 TrackBacks

Tracked: November 13, 2003 6:17 PM
Chickenhawk from Matthew J. Stinson | weblog
Excerpt: It seems that the Tom Tomorrow cartoon noted below has started an interblog debate over the use of the term "chickenhawk" to refer to anyone who supports the war in Iraq but hasn't served in the military. Before I begin...
Tracked: November 14, 2003 3:39 PM
Linkfest from Cold Fury
Excerpt: So much good stuff at Winds of Change this week I hardly even know where to begin linking it all....
Tracked: October 16, 2004 12:30 AM
Excerpt: Perhaps my final word on the "Chickenhawk"debate. I know, it's done to death, but I've something new to add, hear me out. As a military guy stationed overseas it has meant much to me to have stateside Blogs to read...
Tracked: July 4, 2005 7:36 PM
The phoenix rises from Media Lies
Excerpt: The "chickhawk" meme is popping up again. Rev. Sensing puts it in perspective quickly. Outside The Beltway responds...
Tracked: July 5, 2005 10:10 PM
Recycled Weapons from baldilocks
Excerpt: Everything old is new again; at least wh

88 Comments

"No one who could be and isn't serving should speak out on Iraq"

I think the position is more like "No one who could be and isn't serving should speak out in favor of intervention in Iraq." Obviously everybody and their dog is allowed to be against.

I don't know, AL, would this really be so bad:

"Nobody who isn't an active shooter can speak out on gun control."

If that's what TT wants, well, maybe I'll let him have it.

But I think J has TT's number: only people who disagree with him must meet strict criteria; there is no requirement for those who agree.

Otherwise:

"Only those who have enlisted and then tried to be conscientious objectors have the right to protest the war."

Excellent point. Not only do accusations of "chickenhawk" lead to logical absurdities, they also backfire.

There are plenty of boomer who didn't serve in Vietnam for a variety of reasons, and they feel very uncomfortable when accusations start to fly about who did and didn't serve. Clinton and Bush's quite obvious draft-dodging never seem to have hurt them too much.

That said, when accusations about who is and isn't patriotic start to fly, I think it's OK to talk about who did and didn't serve in the military.

To be clear:

Accusing people who didn't serve yet advocate a certain military intervention: BAD

Accusing people who have served in the military of being unpatriotic because they oppose a certain military intervention: BAD

"Any debate on the tax rate in any given bracket may only include those in that particular tax bracket."

I mean really, why should those of us down here care how much the richest are paying? It's not like it impacts me. . .

How about: "Nobody who isn't an Israeli can criticize Israel's response to terrorism."

Uh Don, are you sure that you really do benefit from higher taxes on folks who make more than you do? I don't have that kind of faith in actual gov'ts as an agent of redistribution. Or, to paraphrase PJ O'Rourke, it's not so much taking loaves from the rich and giving them to the poor, it is more like taking loaves from the rich and giving them back subsidized opera tickets.

Here is an illustration I find kinda useful in this vein. Suppose government were really in the business of redistribution, it, just taking money from those above the median and giving it to those below. With the existing distribution of income, the state would have to take less than 20% of GDP to achieve total income equality. To see how the math works, start with the simplest case where there are equal #'s of people at all income levels, from zero to some upper level. Then we'd need gov't to redistribute 25% to achieve perfect equality. Take 50% of the richest persons' income and boost the poorest to their now-reduced level. And smaller and smaller bits as you walk down the distribution.

Bottome line? Actual gov'ts take a lot more than 20% and we have nothing like income equality. Can't tell whether this is good or bad, but you can tell that the gov't is not primarily engaged in redistribution.

No one but a veteran should be president. After all, we don't know when we'll get in a war. Since civilians can't understand war, we must only elect someone who's been in one. For that matter, no one but veterans should be allowed to vote. Civilians don't understand such weighty issues. They might vote for a warmonger who doesn't understand war. Starship Troopers, anyone? This is the natural conclusion of the "chickenhawk' argument. I don't think the liberals behind the meme have this in mind.

BTW, our best wartime presidents had minimal or no military experience. FDR, Lincoln, etc.
Not allowing anyone but the military to have an opinion on matters of war and peace is unconstitutional and dangerous. Trust me, I served seven years. Civilians are supposed to be in control, and make the decisions.

I like the Roman-based Starship Troopers design of serving one's country in order to achieve full citizenship. It wouldn't have to be military service, necessarily, but it would benefit our country if everyone had some job experience and political experience. We'd be more able to work and more informed citizens.

At risk of getting my chickenhawk head cut off, I must say that I never take a man's opinion on abortion as seriously as I take a woman's or a girl's. They are just never going to be a scared, pregnant girl.

No one except a lawyer should speak on the law.

Only a [Amerasian/African American/Hispanic] can play an [Amerasian/African American/Hispanic] role in a [play/movie/tv show].

(Argument most recently raised by some people objecting to Anthony Hopkins playing the lead in "The Human Stain")

Related argument that I heard a lot in College was that only [Asian-Americans/African Americans/Latino Americans] could write stories revolving around [Asian/African/Latino] characters. Sometimes women were thrown in (only women could really portray female characters in a story) as well. The argument being that White Males couldn't because they lacked the requisite experience of opression.

It was part of the "Multicultural Mosaic" theory.

Um, how about no one who hasn't been shot can speak out about gun control?

No one who hasn't shaved their head can speak out about bad hair days.

No one who hasn't had a tonsillectomy can speak out about sore throats.

No one who hasn't written a book can speak out about literature.

No one who hasn't been raped can speak out about rape.

No one who hasn't voted can speak out about politicians or politics. Wait... I kinda like that one.

Leisha,

Why take the "woman's" opinion seriously? If she's in a position of relative maturity and financial stability, she's never going to be a "frightened pregnant girl" either.

Thus:

Only sexually active teenage girls get to have an opinion on abortion.

Only anyone who has already gone through everything any of the rest of us might go or have gone through may speak about anything.

"Only sexually active teenage girls get to have an opinion on abortion."

Which brings us to the implementation phase. Obviously, a national registry is required to cross-reference for voting purposes. As a service to young guys everywhere, it will of course include phone numbers.

The "chickenhawk" argument is simply illogical, as illustrated below:

Chickendove: No blogger can argue against the war in Iraq unless they have personally volunteered as a human shield.

Like Praktike, what bothers me is when pro-war hawks who avoided service in Vietnam accuse anti-war opponents of cowardice, treason, or unwillingness to defend America. That goes beyond a perfectly reasonable policy disagreement to a personal level that they are particularly unqualified to make. It's a little like family values speeches from notorious adulterers Newt Gingrich and George Will (and Bill Clinton, if he were ever so tasteless as to make such a speech).

Only foreigners can have an opinion on our immigration policy.

Andrew,

1) I think that a significant number of anti-war types are, in fact, unpatriotic, treasonous, etc. Not all of them, of course, but think of Ted Rall and ANSWER. I agree, however, that policy arguments are much, much, more important than motives. That's why I'm so delighted that opponents of the Iraq war have never suggested that Bush or war supporters have anything but honorable motivations.

2) I don't buy hypocrisy as a silencing device. What's worse: an alcoholic who tells teenagers not to drink, or a teetotaler who actively encourages them to? Ditto for the adulterer who preaches that adultery is wrong: it's still wrong, even if he does it. If you're leading an anti-adultery NGO, you might want a different spokesman, but that doesn't mean that your message is somehow false.

3) Vietnam ended 30 years ago. It is possible that some of those who dodged the draft have matured a tiny little bit since then, being, in many cases, more than twice as old.

And Joe, you're a dirty old man. I don't know how old you are, but still...

Joe, anyone who wants to phone a "sexually active teenage girl", can call a 900-number service. Once again, the private sector is ahead of the government ;-)

Riyadh delenda est!

Rob, I'll concede on ANSWER, you pegged them. (Not sure on Rall though.) Nor am I talking about people who explain they've had a genuine change of heart: if I heard Tom DeLay say he didn't join the Army because he was scared of Vietnam, I'd be willing to listen to him on Iraq. If Limbaugh says, "I think anti-Iraq protestors are just angry at the USA because it's so big and powerful and they can't deal with that, and I understand because that's how I felt in 1968", I'd respect that. If Newt Gingrich said, "Adultery hurts family and society but sometimes I just can't help thinking with my prick," I'd leave him alone. (I think that is what Clinton would say!)

But that's not what they say. They accuse all their opponents (or is there no difference between ANSWER, Howard Dean, and Max Cleland?) of allegedly shameful traits that look more like projection and compensation to me.

No one who doesn't live in Alaska should have a say about drilling in the ANWR.

No one who isn't a current or former felon should have any say about prison conditions.

No one who isn't severly mentally retarded should have any say about the care of the severly mentally retarded.

There are a whole raft of logical absurdities to be had with the whole Chickenhawk thing. The interesting bit is that this comes from a group of people who are used to pandering to influential minority groups who get planks in the Democratic platform, all over the place. The notion that folks from the far left trended towards an argument that states that an influential minority group should have the sole authority to send the US to war isn't too surprising. In fact, it rather mimics the campaign of Wesley Clark - some folks seem to feel that if they can just choose the right minority then everyone else will be shamed into silence. This is a bit ironic when compared with the strongly State's Rights platforms of S. Thurmond and the like who basically applied similar arguments to the validity of free association rights.

To take to the next logical step, only those who have served in combat should be allowed to have a say on deploying troops (after all, is being a stateside supply clerk really getting a feel for what combat is like? Please note I am not really putting down those who serve in any capacity.)

Therefore, in order to assure us a steady stream of presidents, congress members, etc., we must constantly be at war somewhere. Is that what the peaceniks want?

And only doctors & nurses get a say on healthcare.

- Is the suggestion that the decision of a democratic republic whether to wage war ought to be reserved to the military?

- No one who hasn't been killed in action may opine on combat deaths.

"the argument also illuminated what I have trouble supporting at the core of progressive values"

Has this phrase also been contaminated beyond further usefulness?

When the Left opposes military action against America's enemies, without proposing a workable alternative, they are refusing to defend the country. Waiting for Jacko Chirac to approve of American military operations is Waiting for Godot.
Estragon: Let's go.

Vladimir: We can't.

Estragon: Why not?

Vladimir: We're waiting for Godot.

Chirac wants America weakened. Does anyone really think he opposed invading Iraq because doing so would hurt America? The Hate-America-Left (think Chomsky, Sontag, Vidal, etc.) agrees with Chirac because they want America weakened, too. They believe the world is better off when America is too weak to strike back at it's enemies. IMO, that is grounds to question their patriotism.

I did not serve in Vietnam. I graduated from high school in 1974. By that time, it had become clear that America just wanted out of Vietnam. I wasn't drafted, and I saw no reason to volunteer for a war that the country no longer cared about. If I had been drafted, I would have done my best to serve honorably and come home in one piece.

I don't think support for one war requires you to support all wars. Every military action must stand on its own merits.

Ultimately, the best weapon against Islamonazism is freedom. Iraq has become freedom's beachhead. The beachhead isn't secure, yet, but once it is, freedom can and will spread to the other regimes in the region. The Islamonazis understand this, and that's why they're so desperate to drive us out.

Riyadh delenda est!

Cato the Youngest:

When the right moves ahead with an unworkable plan against Americas enemies, they are risk the security of this country.

And on topic:

No one who disagrees with the administration ought to be given information to support their cause.

No one who disagrees with the administration ought to provide advice for the administration.

No one who isn't a clueless traitor should talk about the Democratic party.

Is the suggestion that the decision of a democratic republic whether to wage war ought to be reserved to the military?

No, no, no. The suggestion is that persons who refused to make any sacrifices during the Vietnam War, and who do not appear to make any sacrifices during the Iraq War,[*] should be wary of ridiculing their opponents as unwilling to contribute to the defense of America. I don't mind their questioning my judgment, but for draft dodgers to question my motives is too much.

[*] Taking time from work to write scathing attacks on liberal weenies is not a sacrifice.

Everyone is not someone else. Therefore, I conclude that communication is not possible.

If elected, I....

Or, no one can "feel" or "experience" - or at least be assured that they feel or experience -what anyone else does experience - short of hooking up our brains together? Therefore, we cannot understand what any other means when they speak. Words, therefore, are merely noises or images which occasion correlative sensations or feelings within our brains, depending upon our past. Issues and views are merely subjective in the sense that everyone is terminally "biased" by their own experience or history.

The above kind of argument, akin to the "chickenhawk" fallacy, obviously intends, or tends, to prohibit thought, or the possibility of objectivity. When, in contrast, it is rather true that any view can be analyzed simply on its face [with ongoing dialogue], regardless of the source, unless the source is attempting to mislead. Even then, the view might happen to be correct if the source has not actually looked into the situation being discussed to be relatively certain that view is not "true".

In the case of different conditionings of people based on their different situations - experienced hawk, chicken hawk, nonexperienced non-hawk - it must be presumed that understanding or convincing is possible. Otherwise there is, again, no reason to speak.

chickentotalitarians :
Clueless rich kids who argue against toppling totalitarian regimes, and believe in the right of people to be opressed. No amount of opression justifies military intervention. These people have never lived under a dictatorship, altough they insult the rest of us that did, by saying the US is just as bad.

chickencheguevaras :
Clueless rich kids who fancy themselves as revolutionaries by attending protests in the safety of a country with free speech. They stage puppet shows, celebrate in the nude, and instigate police so that they can be arrester just for propaganda values. These people have never been to a real protest, where there's real danger of getting shot or being impressioned for a long time.

augusto, shame on you...

Only those people that are or have been in a "vegatative state" can decicde the fate of Terri Schivio.

chickenlittleshits: Thoughtless vandalizers who fancy themselves as revolutionaries by defacing public property and sacred ground.

MORE BAD PRESS for the antiwar movement

Gabe,

Since those who are veterans, are by definition, not at risk of death in a combat operation, should the nation go to war, how about we just delgate the decision to go to war completely to the military, and just shuck this whole 'civilian control' thing, eh?

praktike

Shame on my why? This is the same logic that creates this "chickenhawk" nonsense.

If we carry that insult to other areas, we end up with people not having an opinion nor making decisions. I have no problem with people arguing pro or against the war, but these attempts at insulting opinions of others are insulting.

Then again, I am very offended by the chickencheguevaras, I mean, some of these people do fancy themselves are revolutionaries, as dissenters, and they think the government is out to get them. C'mon, why don't they go to China and stage some protest? Where were they when in Latin America we used to get shot by totalitarian regimes, where they protesting there with the students?

It's "cool" to fancy yourself a revolutionary in a country like the US, it's not so cool when you can get shot. Anyways, that's a bit off topic but ...

ok, i get you now. you're trying to show the absurdity of the "chickenhawk" label. as long as we can agree that none of these labels are constructive, then we're cool.

Andrew,

I have no problem with reasonable disagreements (and in fact have conceded that arguments against the war that you yourself have made in comments on this site were to be taken seriously).

There were firstly serious arguments based on prudence as well as cost versus benefit (on a number of parameters). Kissinger and Albright (perhaps even Brezinski if he would only down a couple of valiums first) have voiced serious reservations along these lines.

There were secondly other serious arguments based on avoiding foreign entanglements and lack of obligation or national interest in fighting for freedom abroad. (viz Pat Buchanan).

There were (and are) thirdly unserious arguments about oil, empire or, more pedantically, imperium, lies about WMD, Zionist control over U.S. policy, and the general ill intentions of the evil American (or Bush) hegemon.

There are liberals who make arguments of the first kind on which reasonable people might differ, but there is nothing per se liberal or left about such arguments (not that liberals can't make them) and indeed I believe you have advanced arguments along these lines. However, I begin to question political consistency when I hear liberals making arguments of the second type, since there is nothing liberal about them other than, apparently, that they can be voiced in opposition to either U.S. policy generally or George Bush specifically. I begin to question motives when we get around to nonsense of the third type, which hardly reflects values I would describe as "progressive" in any meaningful sense.

There were (and are) thirdly unserious arguments about oil, empire or, more pedantically, imperium, lies about WMD, Zionist control over U.S. policy, and the general ill intentions of the evil American (or Bush) hegemon.

Can you elaborate on these?

It isn't completely obvious to me why arguments about WMD, or the wisdom of empire, are prima facie "unserious." The unserious label tends to get thrown around a lot on this blog, and I'm not sure I always understand it.

It isn't completely obvious to me why arguments about WMD, or the wisdom of empire, are prima facie "unserious."

Praktike (Is that your real name?)

I stipulate: Discussion of WMD exaggerations and the "wisdom of empire" (whatever that means?) are not prima facie unserious, but deeply unserious arguments have been made to the effect that the war was premised on Bush's lies about WMD and/or on an imperial desire for conquest or hegemony contrary to observable facts, common sense and reason.

As for further elaboration, only dead horses are entitled to express views on beatings.

When Starship Troopers is outlawed, only outlaws will read Starship Troopers.

Loved the book. Hated the movie. Anyone for a bug hunt?

Seriously, Troopers was one of the great SF books of the '50's generation of writers who had served in the Pacific Campaign in one form or another. This remains one of Heinlein's shorter works, but still one of his best.

The more I go back to the written Troopers, the more I appreciate it. Not the damn movie, although the bugs were probably close to how Heinlein might have envisioned them, the lack of dropsuits and a serious treatment of Heinlein's political vision pissed me off. Allowing Paul Verhoeven to buttrape Heinlein is akin to allowing Gerry Trudeau to write the screenplay for an adaptation of "Atlas Shrugged" (starring Maureen Dowd as Dagny Taggart...).

Now my cousin kept insisting that Heinlein's society was fascist. I disagreed, given the fact that there was no draft and induction into the service was strictly voluntary. In point of fact, on the Federal Service form that Rico fills out after high school graduation, "Mobile Infantry" is at the very bottom of the list of choices. Heinlein's firm belief was that a society that could not find volunteers to defend the civilization was not worth defending; needless to say, RAH would have been aghast at the current talk of a draft that exists just below the political radar.

Heinlein, iirc, indicated in Troopers that the franchise, when used, was a form of force. One had to earn the right to use force by serving the larger polis for a period of years. I must say that it has a certain inner logic, especially in light of the recent California Licensces for Illegals fiasco.

So, who wants to volunteer to send a copy of Troopers to Ted Rall for Christmas?

No takers? Oh, okay. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

Gabriel Gonzalez, except for WMD, I agree with your classification. I most definitely do not think isolationist arguments against the Iraq War are liberal, and I don't think the ANSWER/Falwell convergent America-loathing deserves even to be located on the standard political map.

It would seem to me, however, that arguments before the war that we were greatly overestimating Saddam's WMD capabilities (as we were) were simply one part of the cost-benefit analysis entailed by the first type of argument. The liberal claims after the war that the WMD hype was deliberately misleading seem to me similarly valid for two reasons: (1), that the cost-benefit analysis offered by the pro-war forces was skewed, possibly intentionally and (2) in simple language, that the Administration is intellectually corrupt. Neither of these are strictly speaking arguments against the war per se, as there might have been other totally-irrefutable arguments in its favor not predicated on the WMD. (For example, Osama might have been found cowering in a Baghdad basement.) But in practice, there weren't such arguments. This isn't the thread to rehash WMD, but I don't at all see how it falls into the third category with the disreputable anti-Semitic canards.

By the way, into what category would we put "Karl Rove saw that war on Iraq would split the Democratic Party in two."?

Not to rehash WMD Andrew, but I strongly suspect that Bush went to bed at night fearing that he'd wake up one morning and we'd get hammered by a WMD attack. Put yourself in Bush's shoes: if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it would make sense to Bush (and to me, for that matter) that some day Saddam's wealth would ally itself with Usama's fanaticism, if it hadn't already done so.

There are still folks who, to this day, believe that the 2001 Anthrax attacks were a message sent by Saddam to leave Iraq alone. Didn't work, however. We never did find out who set those up, despite the FBI's feverish attempts to finger that poor patsy in Maryland or American "right wing antigovernment groups".

What many liberals fail to understand is that Bush had no reason to believe that Saddam would have destroyed his hole card after 1995. It went totally against his entire career track. Why would Saddam get rid of the instruments of his revenge? I wouldn't have believed it either, and if Bush erred, he erred on the side of caution.

After all, as Kay made pretty clear, Saddam merely disassembled the program into its component parts, waiting for the day when the sanctions were off and he was trading with the Russians, the Chinese, and the Eurotrash again.

They didn't call him the Thief of Baghdad for nothing, I suppose.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

Andrew,

I agree that criticisms re: the administration's presentation of the WMD case are not per se ridiculous but really at the margin of debate on the issue: Bush added some icing to a rather large cake. But I guess I recognize that some people were making their minds up within that margin; it would seem to me to be those in particular who had not paid much attention to the 12-year history of the Iraq WMD issue.

Recognizing the obvious fact that people could come to good faith, reasonable, informed but opposing views on the liberation of Iraq, my more general point was that there are a rather large number of leftists and liberals who have in fact adopted knee-jerk anti-war positions so driven by fantasy and blame-America-firstism that they should hardly be surprised that their sense of allegiance, good faith or balance is questioned.

As for the point about Karl Rove, I would put that into the paranoid or irrelevant category, depending on what you are trying to imply.

... allowing Gerry Trudeau to write the screenplay for an adaptation of "Atlas Shrugged" (starring Maureen Dowd as Dagny Taggart...).

Thanks a lot, Chris. I'm going to have nightmares over that image.

Riyadh delenda est!

Andrew, If you think Rall's not treasonous, please explain this article.

Riyadh delenda est!

When the right moves ahead with an unworkable plan against Americas enemies, they are risk the security of this country.

At least the Right was trying to do something. About all the Left had to offer were platitudes about "understanding the root causes" and "ending the cycles of violence". They've not offered anything but snide criticism of President Bush's efforts and obvious non-starters like waiting for Jacko Chirac's approval of American military action.

Riyadh delenda est!

The reason for President Bush's overemphasis on the WMD issue, is that the U.N. didn't care about anything else. They didn't care about mass graves. They didn't care about 5,000 Iraqi children dying per month, due to sanctions-related shortages. They didn't care about people stuffed in industrial shredders. They didn't care about child prisons. They didn't care about things that any decent human being ought to care about, because the U.N. is run by thugs and friends of thugs; cowards and whores who sell their votes to the highest bidder.

Riyadh delenda est!

Cato: Most of those "sexually active teenage girls" at those 900 numbers. . .ain't. (There was a funny Bevis & Butthead once - yah, there was a funny one - where they called a number like that and we got to see the person who answered the phone. Also arguably, lots of the people manning those phones are. . .men mimicing women's voices).

As for the rest of the arguments from Andrew &tc here, I'll just repost what I posted in the "no worse than your average dictator" thread here:

Joe wrote:

"Matt is an isolated example, and you can't build a case on that..."

The problem is, Matt isn't an isolated example - it's just that he's treated that way and no matter how many such examples accumulate, putting weight behind them to the point where they are no longer really isolated examples but begin to be something more than that, they are dismissed as such.

I've noticed the "well, you don't condemn Freepers" meme has become the latest rather widespread way that the MoveAlong.org set dismisses this stuff so that they don't have to face and deal with it. But i'll note that the "right" (generally speaking) is far more likely to express their disagreement with, and disassociate themselves from, unprompted by critics on the Left, of extremists of the Freeper sort, to the point where Buchananites and the like had to set up their own magazine & website because they no longer felt welcome among "mainstream" conservative outlets.

But the anti-war movement as a whole seems to have no objection to protests where not just anti-war arguments, but out-and-out anti-American venom is spewed by the speakers, no objection to having the most prominent spokesmen articulating the message of the Left in magazines and webpages of the "mainstream" Left people who, at best, are suspicious not just of the motives of the current American President, but American foreign policy in general, seeing it in the worst possible light and forming arguments that amount to saying "heads, America is wrong, tails, its critics are right".

People for the American Way, a group listened to by very many "mainstream" Democratic office-holders on Capital Hill on matters of policy, put their weight behind an "alternative" anti-war organizing group which differs from A.N.S.W.E.R. only cosmetically - the people they considered appropriate and less controvercial than A.N.S.W.E.R. turned out to still be members of the far Left who are, in the substance of their criticisms, hardly less extreme than either Matt or A.N.S.W.E.R.

There is a problem among Liberalism when the only time they're willing to really make a distinction between a reasonable criticism and unreasonable ones are when a conservative (or Libertarian like Glenn makes a criticism of the extremists who wag the dog of the anti-War movement, and then their criticism is reluctant, rhetorical, and formulaic (this Freeper thing being so common over the last couple weeks that it's reasonable to believe it came from talking points. In any case, it makes it seem hardly sincere when people are spouting the same argument but not really as a means of distancing themselves from the extremists among themselves, but just to dismiss criticism that they're in a Popular Front that is led by such folks.

Yes, I mean led. The Free Republic analogy would be apt if the "pro-war" side had its intellectual and organizational tone set by such people, which it doesn't. But the simple fact is, one can read years upon years of articles in The Nation, The Progressive (considered acceptably "Democratic"), Mother Jones, and the like which differ in no real, substantive way from "isolated example" Matt's arguments. The anti-war movement, like the anti-globalization movement before it, is organized, promoted, and derives its intellectual guidance from these extreme Leftists with their anti-American position (which supposedly doesn't exist; the earlier argument employed by the Hive was that anti-Americanism was just a phantasm of the Right, it didn't really exist). Thus the likes of Robert Scheer can pen editorials in major, mainstream newspapers, while one won't likely find a Freeper doing that on a regular basis. Similarly, the voices of anti-American writers, intellectuals, historians, and the like are favorably quoted in "mainstream" Liberal, anti-War organs very frequently (the other day, looking for something else, I ran across a piece in Salon that quoted I.F. Stone as an authority on something; I.F. Stone was sort of the "original Howard Zinn"). Now, people have every right to say what they believe, including people who don't like America very much. But to then want to not receive criticism for being approving of such things is rather much.

As far as by praktike's Point F, I think it highlights the real reason why folks like him would rather associate themselves with anti-Americans than not. Now, whether or not this boogieman is real or not (that this is all just an attempt by evil Republicans to break the Left's Popular Front and thus create a Reactionary Majority), this is a sentiment out there - but it begs the question of whether clinging to the fringe Left like a wino clinging to his last bottle, as praktike and those like him are doing, alienates more voters than not. I mean, sure, that way you keep the Popular Front together, but at the expense of alienating voters that you need to win, sensible Liberals who are strong on defense and the "moderate middle".

It's a strategy, I guess. Whether it's a winning one or not is anyone's guess. Whether its a principled strategy is also open to question. I'd argue that it's strategy in action, not principled politics. I will note that guys like praktike are holding themselves to a low standard, by their own standards, in excusing their behavior by pointing fingers at the other side - after all, it sort of undermines the presumption that they're the Good People who are above such things and who do what's good for the country regardless, when they are marching with those who are overtly not in favor of the country.

However, the counter-arguments praktike raises in response to Joe illustrate one thing, which totally demolishes praktike's position: that, when it comes right down to it, they'd rather be among those who he tacitly agrees do not like America and do not want America to succeed than to make common cause with those who do. Then he scratches his head and wonders why patriotic Liberals like A.L. are troubled by the attitudes he sees as becoming more and more widespread among Liberals.

Praktike says he doesn't see a threat to society in this attitude of preferring to make common cause with those who don't like the society he's talking about rather than those who want to defend it (and argue about the best way to do so). I guess I'll leave that to an argument for another time (and refer folks to my blog archives), along with the other points he made (A) through (E). But it IS in my opinion a threat to Liberalism, to sincere Liberalism, which by the way I am FOR.

Btw, one more thing on the "hey, the Right criticising our political alliance with the hard Left is just an attempt to divide the Democratic Party" argument:

Folks making that argument really should, in my opinion, consider the degree to which they're cutting off their own nose out of spite and hatred towards Republicans and conservatives. That is, they might want to ask themselves why Democrats won the Presidency more often before 1968/72 than since, and take into consideration that the most major exception, 92-2000, took place in the aftermath of the Cold War when security & defense concerns weren't as significant a concern for most voters as they were during the Cold War and will be now, for at least the next ten years (I agree with praktike's comment in A.L's post above and also with George Bush that this isn't going to be a short, quick thing, but will be an ongoing project that will extend beyond the Bush Administration).

Keep telling yourselves that you need to cling to the hard Left or the Right-Wing boogieman will beat you and IMO you're guaranteeing that the Hard Left will drag you down to political defeat after political defeat because it will cause the sort of people both parties need if they want to win elections, the uncommitted middle, to see you as unacceptably serious when it comes to defense and security matters, because in doing what you need to do in order to keep the Hard Left from defecting (to, say, the Greens or a modern incarnation of the "Progressives" that defected from Truman) you'll have to trim, as Dean and others do, in order to woo them.

So, yes, Andrew is right that Dean isn't on the A.N.S.W.E.R. fringe; he just insures that his policies will appeal to the anti-War set and make sure that the Popular Front hangs together - at the expense of alienating other voters.

Again, it's a strategy. Go for it if you want. But puh-leeze, enough with the whining when people highlight it and point out that it tends to limit your political appeal when you are more vocal in your objection to people criticizing these fringe extremists than you are in criticizing the fringe extremists. And at some point you'll have to accept some responsibility for the consequences of the political alliances you make, just as Republicans are often forced to face the consequences of some of the political alliances they make. If it's not out of line for Liberal groups to put out political advertisements critical of the affiliations of Republicans with fringe groups, then it's not out of line for conservative people to do the same with regards to Liberal's Popular Front alliance with Leftist extremists.

No one who has never slaughtered a cow should be allowed to preach against eating meat.

No one who isn't a capitalist should be allowed to criticize the WTO.

No one who hasn't been to the moon should be allowed to criticize the space program.

No one who hasn't served in congress should be allowed to criticize congress.

No one who hasn't been a Republican should be allowed to criticize Republicans (the collary is true to, but since I was once a Democrat, I'm free to criticize Democratic; and I was also once a Republican, soooooo ... but I've never been a Green or Libertarian, so they're both safe from my wrath).

No one who has never been a journalist should complain about media bias.

No one who has never blogged should criticize bloggers.

No one who has never played music should be a music critic (ditto for movies, teevee, theater and art -- and all the sports, too ... no more Monday morning quarterback if you've never been a Sunday morning quarterback).

Gee, what a fun parlor game ... if I had more time, I'd continue.

H.

Porphyrogenitus, if your intention was to take a civil discussion and turning it into name-calling and dishonest rhetoric, congratulations. And by the way, you posted on the wrong thread.

If you're never going to be able to accept the fact that we disagree, please don't bother reading the rest of this comment. In fact, why debate at all? Moreover, if you dispute the fundamental American right to peaceful dissent, don't bother reading this. Ditto if you believe that it's not possible to be strong on defense and yet oppose a certain military action.

First of all, I'm not sure exactly what thought crime you're accusing me of committing. I didn't think the war was the best way to make America secure. Should I have supported it merely because other members of my party opposed the war for other reasons? Or should I have magically changed my mind to your point of view?

Either the war is right on its merits or it isn't; the political makeup of each side of the debate is completely irrelevant.

With that out of the way, some points:

I wasn't using the Free Republic to excuse anything. I was merely saying that it's very easy to find extreme viewpoints to mock by searching within blog comments.

Regarding agenda-setting, I think you'd find that most American see the PNAC agenda as extreme, which is exactly why the administration didn't feel they could sell the transformational idea in a straightforward manner. If the complete political realignment of the Middle East by unilateral force of arms were so mainstream, why not just discuss it openly?

Next, within any sample there is a distribution of viewpoints.

If your sample is likely voters, you'll get one distribution; within each party, you'll get another.

If you mean to suggest that somehow the right has banished its extremists, dream on.

Was there a protest movement? Yes. MoveOn.org was certainly a player.

Yet as of late March, over 70% of Americans favored the war.

Bush's approval rating went from 55% on 9/9/01 to 86% on 9/13/01. From 9/13/01 through June 22, 2003, Bush's approval rating never dipped below 69%, and was usually well above 60%. See here for more

In other words, he had bipartisan support for his policies, and it's clear that Afghanistan, Iraq, and the broader War on Terror were the main reasons that support remained high, since the economy wasn't doing so great back then.

As for my point F, why else was there a Roll Call vote on the war resolution? DeLay and Rove have been pretty explicit about their desire to establish a permanent majority. If Tom Daschle were in the position of driving a wedge between various factions of the Republican party, say, on the deficit, would he exploit it? Absolutely. That's how the game of politics is played. I was merely analyzing the situation.

You seem to have missed my larger point, which was that the breakdown of bipartisan foreign policy was inevitable after the Cold War, but redeemable after 9/11.

I'm not sure what the point of constantly bashing pacifists is. There is always, always, always going to be this group. They aren't going away. Neither is the right wing.

By definition, extreme viewpoints will always exist. But with our two-party system, the incentive is going to be for both sides to operate in the middle, at least image-wise.

Next, you really misunderstood and distorted my point about the KKK, unless you're willing to argue that they represent "those who want America to succeed." As I understood Joe's thought experiment, it had nothing to do with the war, but was merely a challenge to me to think about how I'd feel if the extreme right were parading around Manhattan waving placards, and their views were given a serious airing.

But to address the straw man you were so viciously fighting, American society is pretty resilient. The 1960s were much, much more polarizing, but we're still here. It's important to put things in perspective.

What I'm not saying here is that it's acceptable to not deal with the threat of terrorism. What I'm saying is that the protests of a minority do not threaten the collapse of American civilization.

As an aside, I would point out that the "moderate" position on a given issue is not fixed in time, so it's not clear that being "moderate" and being "sensible" always go hand in hand. Be careful with that.

Finally, let me just say that I am a patriot. I think America's great, and I will fight like hell to protect ANSWER's right to protest, just as I will fight like hell to protect the right of Neo-Nazis to march in Skokie.

Only those that hold no single opinion about any issue are allowed to have an opinion about opinions.

If only people whose lives are on the line can make the decision to go to war, then that includes New York bond traders and firefighters and Pentagon civilians.

"No one who hasn't been to the moon should be allowed to criticize the space program."

I think this one's my favorite . . .

to Pratike & Porphyrogenitus:

As far as the left's refusal to marginalize ANSWER and people like that (and please, no discussion about their "right to express their views"-that's not the issue here-the issue is refusing to dissasociate from people like ANSWER by not commenting about them, trivializing their influence ("everybody knows they're crazies-what are you worried about" No, "everybody" doesn't know that if "you" Mr. Mainstream liberal don't speak up about it)etc., etc.)I am EXAMPLE A.
I am a 55 year old would be liberal. Yes, I did vote for Nixon in '72 (for foreign policy reasons-I didn't like McGovern's "Let's get out right now" position-sound familiar?) Watergate disgusted me, Nixon's Southern strategy disgusted me, but for foreign policy reasons I held my nose and voted for Nixon. I rationalized that, living and voting in the District of Columbia at the time, there was no way that my vote would give Nixon any electoral votes, so it was, essentially a protest gesture anyway.
In every Presidential election since then, I've voted Democratic-Carter twice, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton twice, and Gore. I am pro choice, pro gun control, pro gay rights, etc. etc. etc.-a pretty generic liberal. But, living in the San Francisco Bay area as I do now, anti-war movement wise, this is ground zero-I get to see ANSWER signs,rallies, etc. all the time, and I'm disgusted and turned off. IMO, there's a lot of in your face Israel Bashing, and covert, sneaky Anti-semitism, and nobody in the liberal mainstream is calling them on it. (you know, the "Zionism is racism" garbage). BTW, I'm not Jewish, I'm ethnically WASP, but, hey wasn't liberalism supposed to be about not discriminating against people? If you would have told me in 1999 that I would take out a subscription to National Review or The Weekly Standard, I would have thought you were nuts, but that's just what I've done this year (I ignore their pro life stuff, but feast on their foreign policy articles-finally, somebody who is as scared of the crazy left as I am-on foreign policy, anyway)
If the Democrats nominate Lieberman (and they won't), I'll stay on the team. If they nominate Dean, or me too Kerry or me too Clark, I'm jumping ship, just like in '72, and reason #1 will be because I don't see ANY Democrat saying, "I don't like the faculty room anti-semitism I see going around, even if its mostly coming from people on our team".
You know where the major push to dump Trent Lott came from? Bill Kristol and The Weekly Standard. As a liberal, I'm ashamed to admit that, when it comes to cleaning its own house, IMO conservatives are doing a better job than Liberals. So for that reason, I'll probably jump ship next year, and unlike '72, I hope that Bush carries California.

I would have thought that more lefties than Beinart and Hitchens would have figured out that International ANSWER is little more than a front for a gaggle of Birkenstock Brownshirts.

The anti-Semitic undercurrent at ANSWER demos should be enough to get the dander up in any progressive, but good liberals keep showing up at their rallies. Even Michael Lerner, the clueless Rabbi, showed up at one of their "anti-Zionist" hatefests.

Somehow, someway, liberals have to find a way to police their own. We Republicans found a way to marginalize and drum David Duke out of the party, and were able to consign
Pat and his nativist cohorts to Thomas Fleming's Paleoconservative Rockford Institute ( where they've got this thing about being overrrun by little brown Mexican people...). Why can't the libs deal with their own?

Some people should simply be shunned. Not silenced. Everyone, even those Nazis in Skokie, should have the right to speak. But all of us have the right to shun those who are getting in touch with their Inner Ted Rall.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

praktike: "if your intention was to take a civil discussion and turning it into name-calling"

since I didn't do any namecalling whatsoever in that post, your reply is litterally hallucinagenic. As for "dishonest" and the like: puh-leeze.

"By the way, you posted it in the wrong thread"

Failure to read on your part does not constitute a reason to apologize on mine; re-read my comments - I expicitly point out why I'm re-posting that comment in this thread, a comment I did originally post in the "correct" thread.

"If you're never going to be able to accept the fact that we disagree, please don't bother reading the rest of this comment. In fact, why debate at all? Moreover, if you dispute the fundamental American right to peaceful dissent, don't bother reading this."

You're projecting, again, by showing your failing - once again - to have read what I wrote. I suppose that means you got to a certain point and didn't bother to read the rest because you couldn't accept disagreement with your points on the grounds I actually made them.

If you had read what I wrote, you would note that I EXPLICITL said that people can (and should) say whatever they want. But then to expect to not receive criticism themselves (especially in instances when they are criticising others), and whine about how criticism is censorship<?a>, as you are doing here, rather than part of the DEBATE itself, is a bit contemptable and specious.

And, yah, I'm going to feel free to call it as I see it, even though you'll complain that my expression of free speech, my expression of disagreement with you, is a censoring of yours. This is a tactic aimed at delegitimizing the arguments of people you disagree with in a way that avoids dealing with their merits, and is a prefered tactic of a certain sort of person: one who claims to like discourse and debate, but really does not.

"You seem to have missed my larger point, which was that the breakdown of bipartisan foreign policy was inevitable after the Cold War, but redeemable after 9/11."

No, I didn't miss it, I just saw it as insincere as you were rather simoultaniously objecting to anyone who yes, might be more than willing to be bipartisan in making common cause with those who want to defend America, but really don't see any value in an alliance with those who don't - an alliance you were defending and saying was preferable to the alternative (of making common cause with those who do, if they're shock horror - Republicans).

"you really misunderstood and distorted my point about the KKK, unless you're willing to argue that they represent 'those who want America to succeed'."

Now you're the one setting up the straw man here (whole lotta projectin' going on in your reply to me, I'm afraid): my point was to rebut your impication that the anti-American folks on your side aren't as different as you implied; my point was precisely that I see neither the KKK nor your friends in the Popular Front that you're making common cause with as interested in seeing America succeed, but that the difference is I, and people I respect, have no interest in marching in a parade organized by the KKK or in rationalizing a political partnership with them as you did with the radical Left.

"As an aside, I would point out that the "moderate" position on a given issue is not fixed in time, so it's not clear that being "moderate" and being "sensible" always go hand in hand."

I don't know who this was in response to, but it wasn't in reply to me, since that wasn't what I said. I'm using terms as best I can to make some distinctions in what I write - distinctions that usually Liberals castigate people on the Right for failing to make - and you're infusing them with a meaning having nothing to do with the context in which I wrote them. So who's doing the distorting? Not me, again: you.

As far as "fighting like hell" to protect ANSWER's right to protest: that's fine, we're together on that (though, again, your failure to read what I actually wrote meant you missed where I said they and those like them are free to say whatever they want. I guess your only problem is that I extend that freedom to people who are then critical of what they, and their political allies, say and do, while you object to people like me voicing my criticisms). However, standing up for their freedom to say and do what they want in the form of political protest is one thing, but I draw the line in that I wouldn't align with them politically, but rather use my own freedom of speech to be critical of them, while you would, per point, prefer to make common cause with them and criticise their critics.

And my point - which you entirely missed in your reply (and of course you do have a good excuse: you didn't read what I wrote so can't be expected to have caught that point) was that in fighting so hard to keep a political alliance with the extreme Left, the Left that makes their feelings on patriotism and the flag and the like very clear (as they are of course free to do and I do encourage them to say what they believe), you and folks like you are alienating more voters than you're retaining, you're turning off patriotic Liberals who would otherwise be solidly with you in order to maintain an alliance with the Hard Left out of (apparently, from what you wrote) spite for the Republicans. You're making your party and its candidates less appealing to the uncommitted voters that you need to win elections, and thus avoiding the dreaded "split" of this Popular Front, you're guaranteeing your own marginalization (and Karl Rove would be happy).

But you don't want to see that, so you respond to my post with a polemic having nothing to do and making absolutely no reference to this main point of my post, which was not aimed at name-calling (I called you "praktike", which I guess may be an insult since I don't know what "praktike" means, but it's the only name you've provided for yourself), but rather at the most sincere advice I could think of, something for you and those who agree with you to think about. But as usual when this point is made, it is ignored and instead provokes a tirade, a rather unreasonable and non-substantive one that completely ignores the points I made and distorts them utterly so as to not have to face them.

In closing I will say one other thing, which perhaps highlights why we're talking past each other: for me, people are free to say what they believe and act on their beliefs, but then accept whatever consequences befall, including criticisms from others, possibly the fact that people won't agree with them and won't join with them, and will express their disagreement and be critical. This is part of freedom for everyone, as I see it. However, for many, usually on the Left, freedom consists of freedom of responsibility for one's actions. Thus their peturbation over the fact that there may be a downside to making common cause with the extreme, America-hating Left, that it might turn people off and they might receive criticism for it (just as, an analogy I made, Republicans receive criticism from Liberals for some of the political alliances they make).

So that's another reason why I, and others who make a similar point, tend to get intemperate responses along the lines that we're crushing dissent and failing to accept disagreement &tc, when we dissent from people like praktike and express our disagreement with them: freedom, for them, doesn't include people criticising them. Only them criticising us.

I had more in the above expressing my disagreements with pratke's post but it disapeared and isn't even in the Source code, so I'll have to re-write it after I get to work.

"If only people whose lives are on the line can make the decision to go to war, then that includes New York bond traders and firefighters and Pentagon civilians."

Don't forget people living in likely primary blast zones. As somebody whose commute takes him right past the Capitol Building during rush hour, I tend to feel quite strongly about that - although I'm cool with letting people safer than me have a say, too. :)

Continuing more or less where my comment interrupted itself:

"First of all, I'm not sure exactly what thought crime you're accusing me of committing."

That might be because I didn't accuse you of anything along those lines - you're putting words in my mouth.

"Should I have supported it merely because other members of my party opposed the war for other reasons?"

If you had bothered to read my comments instead of simply mischaracterizing them, you'd have noted that they had nothing to do with this. You talk of straw men but your reply consists entirely of setting up straw men. Unless you think that one cannot be against the war without making common cause with the extreme anti-American Left.

The point of MY post was that I think it's possible to be against the war without letting the hard Left set the tone, without making common cause with those who are against the war because they don't like America, and because I think that it is possible for people to be against the war without doing that, I think it is a fair criticism that you folks fail to do that and instead object, rather intemperately, to criticisms of those bonds.

"As for my point F, why else was there a Roll Call vote on the war resolution?"

This argument is specious and contradicted by history; as if the normal practice isn't to have a recorded vote for a war resolution or declaration of war. But I guess this is a lot of people's attitude towards democratic accountability: there shouldn't be any, at least for their side, and that's what constitutes "bipartisanship" (meanwhile organizations like Moveon.org spent the entire period you mention castigating Republicans in the most harsh terms, proving that what folks like you mean by "bipartisanship" is Unilateral Political Disarmament of Republicans).

"I'm not sure what the point of constantly bashing pacifists is."

Another straw-man of your own invention, since no one was bashing pacifists. The radical Left that people are criticising, including A.N.S.W.E.R., are not pacifists.

But I notice that you draw a partisan distinction when it comes to the excersise of free speech: when the Left assails conservatives, that is legitimate debate that isn't to be criticized (criticism of it isn't participation in the debate, it is censorship), while conservative speech is characterized as "bashing". Double-standards are the mother's milk of a certain set of people.

"Next, you really misunderstood and distorted my point about the KKK, unless you're willing to argue that they represent 'those who want America to succeed.' . . .let me just say that I am a patriot. I think America's great, and I will fight like hell to protect ANSWER's right to protest."

Actually, here, it is you again that misunderstand or distort my point: you were drawing a distinction between the attitudes while I think they're similar. But you won't find me making common cause with the KKK. Yes, I believe the KKK, and the Left that hates America, have every right to say what they want, and I'll defend their right to say it and to march. As you would have seen if you had read my post, I explicitly said they have that right. However, you won't find me making common cause with either. I will instead do as I have done - excersise my OWN right to express my disaproval and disagreement with them, however much you don't like it. What I'm saying - as I did in the post you're critical of, is just as Liberals can be critical of the Republican's political alliances, as they are, so too is it just as legitimate for people to be critical of yours.

"You seem to have missed my larger point, which was that the breakdown of bipartisan foreign policy was inevitable after the Cold War, but redeemable after 9/11."

No, I didn't miss it; I just found it to be insincere and ahistorical, given the rest of your statement. Sure, a vast majority of the public has supported Bush's policies. But not for lack of effort by Democrats to change that, using rather intemperate and "divisive" rhetoric. They're free to do that but then I'm free to conclude that they're not very sincere in claims that the war shouldn't be politicized, given how many of them are out there doing just that.

"As an aside, I would point out that the "moderate" position on a given issue is not fixed in time, so it's not clear that being "moderate" and being "sensible" always go hand in hand. Be careful with that."

You know, Liberals often critizise the Right for failing to make distinctions between them and for lumping them all in together. In my post what I was attempting to do was to draw such distinctions. You're imposing another connotation on it, for whatever reason. I suppose it would be fair of me to infer from this statement, given the context of the discussion, that you actually really agree with the hard-Left anti-Americans but are reluctant to come right out and say so candidly, so you do so euphemistically. That is, it would be fair for me to infer that if I thought you had read my comments, but since it's clear you at best skimmed them, I'll simply assume you misunderstood what I wrote.

(I have more in this response but I have to get to work for a bit. Back later with the rest).

"Maybe the matter of understanding has been overrated. Maybe I don't have to understand your situation to sympathize with it, to help you alter it, to be on your side. I've never experienced starvation, either, but I'm opposed to it. When I encounter it, I try to alleviate it. I sympathize with its victims. The question of whether I understand it doesn't arise. ... Maybe civilization is possible, if at all, only because people can care about conditions they haven't experienced."

&nbsp&nbsp -- Robert Parker (b. 1932), A Savage Place (1981)

sigh Well, I'm under time constraints so rather than continuing to go point-by-point I'll just point out one thing:

In his ire, praktike completely missed, or at least completely ignored, the main thrust of my comment which was that yes, he and those who share his views are free to do and say what they want and to make common cause with whomever they prefer. But if they're worried about how Karl Rove is plotting to have Republicans (of all people!) win elections rather than Democrats, they might want to pause and think about the affectss of their ties.

I know that there are two different views of what freedom constitutes. I think freedom means you're free to do and say as you please and then live with the (legitimate - not the illegitimate) consequences of your behavior in the reaction of others who are then free to react as they please and also make decisions. But there is, of course, an alternative view of freedom which views it as freedom from responsibility: they should be free to criticize whoever they want, however they want, but should themselves be free from criticism in response, free to make political hay out of the extremists that Republicans cavort with (as the Left does, don't tell me they don't), but no one dare do the same with respect to who they make common cause with.

But my point, to which praktike's response of completely ignoring and refusing to face it is very typical, is that making common cause with America-hating extremists in order to thwart Karl Rove ironically plays into the hands of a Karl Rove, because you end up alienating more voters than you keep - because one of the consequences, one of the legitimate consiquences, is that people who care about the defense of the country are troubled by the degree to which you're catering to, wooing politically, and dancing to the tune of those who don't, those who make their position very clear on subjects like patriotism and the flag (which they're free to do and which I encourage them to do; they should be as candid and forthright about what they think of patriotism and what the American flag, and America, represents to them, and express their true beliefs). That in keeping the waskally Wepublicans from "dividing" you from those who don't think much not just of the current President but of America's role in the world as a whole, the people who were at the forefront of organizing not just the anti-war movement now but the anti-globalization movement during the Clinton years because they don't like the American society we're talking about, turns off people who would otherwise be inclined to vote for the candidates you want to see win. It alienates people, and people are FREE to decide they can't trust you with the security of the country, just as you're free to say what you want and embrace whomever you want.

I made that point not in any "namecalling" spirit, but out of a sincere effort to put something out there for you to think about, but alas, again with no success whatsoever. I can tell in praktike's response that he does not want to grapple with this AT ALL, so completely does he ignore the thrust of my post and its central point. But I am sure that demonic, invidiously nasty Karl Rove (nasty, invidious, and demonic because he doesn't try to help Democrats win elections) would be smiling happily.

porph-

Let's make this simple and save both of us time and frustration.

I think I understand your point better now.

You think I should repudiate the far left. I do. They're a bunch of wackos.

The End.

I have two major problems with the "chickenhawk" slur. One, it's a bit of a slippery slope. First, it was criticism of those who haven't served stating a position in favor of a war. Now that there are more military bloggers who are also voicing support for the liberation of Iraq, I'm already seeing the argument that in order to voice support for a war, one must not only have served in the military, but must have experienced combat up close. Soon, you will have had to lose a limb to speak in favor of the war with any "credibility."

It's really not worth addressing the chickenhawk argument, because it's not a real argument. In addition to being a personal insult, it is also an exercise by the anti-war crowd to convince themselves that most servicemembers are stoic Smedley Butler types, who hate the war every bit as much as Ted Rall does, but are just upholding the oath they took. I really don't think any dose of reality is going to convince them that this simply isn't the case.

But the chickenhawk argument is objectionable on a more practical level: it presumes that those who have served have a special insight into when and why we should go to war. Clearly, once that decision is made, one should hope that the civilian leadership will pay attention to the military leadership on questions of how to go to war, but there is some truth to Clemenceau's famous quote about war being too important a decision to be left to generals.

There are some career soldiers who were also masters of diplomacy and geopolitical strategy -- which are the most important things to consider in a debate over going to war -- but I can tell you from personal experience that there are also plenty of people in, enlisted and officer alike, who are as clueless about these things as anyone you'd meet on the street. For every Marshall, there is a general who was dumb enough to have his friggin' picture taken with a Serbian war criminal, and wearing said war criminal's uniform cover to boot.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would think that getting shot at makes you and expert in the long-term consequences invading a country would have on long-term balance-of-power political relationships.

How you fight a war is primarily a military decision. But whether to go to war is not. It's a political decision, which should be debated by everyone. There was a time when Liberals believed that.

Only people who have never flown on a jet plane to "foreign country", AND have never eaten "foreign food", AND never watched a "foreign movie", AND never advocated subjecting national sovereignty to a body such as the ...

May now fly to Paris to participate in the current "anti-globalization" summit.

Back on topic, praktike highlights one:

"Only Democrats can decide what is bipartisan. Bipartisan is defined by Democrats, and consists of Republicans adopting Democratic policies and letting Democrats win elections."

Mergetron:

Let's take this incrementally. Do you agree that, by and large, foreign policy was bipartisan during the Cold War?

Praktike,

During the Cold War, there was a common attempt to 'stop politics at the water's edge'. Granted, that wasn't done with stellar success, all the time, but it was at least an avowed aim of both parties.

I'm not convinced that both parties still really adhere to that logic today. That's not to say that I think all Democrats want America to lose the WoT, but rather that many folks (from both sides of the aisle) are not above comingling domestic partisan and legitimate foreign policy. I would be greatly heartened to hear all the denizens of the Hill to renew that vow.

AR

P.S. Praktike, I loved your "You think I should repudiate the far left. I do. They're a bunch of wackos. The End" That's all we asked and hoped to read. :)

Let me be perfectly clear for a moment:

The death of bipartisanship in foreign policy is a bipartisan problem.

While there are greater historical forces at work, both parties are also to blame.

That's clear, praktike. It's an unsupported assertion, but it's clear.

It's an unsupported assertion, but it's clear.

Are you saying it's wrong?

Too easy, nobody who hasn't been murdered can speak out against murder. Who are we, the unmurdered, to judge either way? We have no right! Unless and until the murdered speak up on this matter we really should have no opinion pro or con.

Are you saying it's wrong?

Does my comment above contain a single word synonymous with "wrong"? I'm saying that it's unsupported. In other words, there's no evidence in your comment (or the comments above) that it's right.

the idiotic chickenhawk argument directly implies that if one is for the war/intervention in iraq, then one should pick up a rifle and fight. dennis miller had the best response to this ridiculous notion when he said something to the effect that, by analogy, then, if one is against such things as murder and rape then one should personally go out into the streets and try to solve such crimes and chase down murderers and rapists. but we have paid professionals who do such things, just as we do militarily. it's obvious that just because i have hawkish views on a certain situation it isn't necessarily incumbent that i join the army to back up my ideas. and what about the elderly? pregnant women? the physically challenged? just because they can't serve in the military are they not allowed to put forth pro-war opinions? everytime i've encountered the chickenhawk arugument i've noticed that such blather betrays a dismal lack of substantive insight and unwillingness to approach the argument seriously and honestly.

I'm not sure what the point of constantly bashing pacifists is. There is always, always, always going to be this group. They aren't going away. Neither is the right wing.

I'm not interested in bashing pacifists, per se. I'm interested (at least in time of war) in bashing pacifism. We are engaged in a war that has a major psychological component in it. If ordinary Iraqis believe we will abandon them, they will not support us. If the Saddamite and Islamonazi forces operating in Iraq believe we can be driven out, they will redouble their attacks.

Public pacifism is not helpful, at this time, and if pacifists have the right to frighten our friends and give comfort to our enemies, I have the right to call them unpatriotic jackasses, because their behavior has earned them such abuse. They increase the dangers our troops face, and I care far more for the welfare of those troops than I do for the feelings of some pious popinjay with delusions of sainthood.

The best thing the American people can do, to help bring stability to Iraq, is repudiate any candidate who is not abaolutely unequivocal about his intention to remain in Iraq as long as necessary do destroy the insurgency and establish a free, stable, and prosperous society in Iraq. That includes just about every Democratic candidate except Lieberman and possibly Gephardt. Better still, would be to give President Bush a record-breaking landslide victory.

Also, if those who claim to support defending our country, but don't like the way President Bush is doing it, want to be taken seriously, they should explain, in reasonable detail, what they would do differently, and why they think their ideas would be more effective. They should also explain the circumstances (if any) where they would support the use of military force.

Riyadh delenda est!

Oscar, I could provide plenty of evidence to suggest that blame for the decline of bipartisanship is shared by both sides.

I thought this was so obvious that there was no need to hash through it. In my earlier (and apparently quite controversial) statement, I mentioned that the Democratic primary season had a lot to do with this trend. I also mentioned a few other factors.

I will say that bipartisanship, by its very nature, is much more suited to the realpolitik model than the Wilsonian model. Moral absolutism and compromise seem inimical to one another, in my mind. The "either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists" formulation is much too simplistic; it worked for Afghanistan, but didn't work in Iraq, whose connection to terrorism was weaker and less easily understood by the general public.

Oscar, I could provide plenty of evidence to suggest that blame for the decline of bipartisanship [in foreign policy] is shared by both sides.

Would you mind doing so? That's all I'm seeking here.

Even though I'm a staunch moderate I've finally been convinced by the anti-war Left on this issue; everyone who doesn't wear a military uniform can henceforth only Blog about cats.

I mean, only if they have a cat.

And I am Military, and I declare these comments closed. Shut them off, I, Greyhawk, command thee!

Getting back to the original game:
"No one who hasn't used a gun in their own defense can express an opinion about gun control".

Hey, I'd finally have an excuse to bring my wife into the blogosphere.

Re: nobody who hasn't been in a war has a right to advocate supporting a war.

Okay, I support the war. I'm 55 years old and had a knee operation last month. Obviously, the army won't take me, so, in order to legitimize my support for the war, does anybody here know how to get a job in an NGO office in Iraq?
Oviously, the idea of living in Bagdad
without an M16 to defend myself is a scary thought,
but, hey, if that's what it takes to make my support for the war "legitimate", please, somebody give me the websight for the Red Cross or some other NGO.
Oh, I forgot, the IRC isn't in Iraq any more. I guess that means that any comments they might make about civilian injuries, food and other living conditions, etc. are no longer "legitimate".

Speaking as a frustrated Liberal Democrat:

As far as supporting the war is concerned, I concede that Bush has been clumsy, ineffective, and borderline incomptent. But in an election between Bush and Dean, it looks like a contest between a klutz and a heretic. I'm not crazy about the klutz-and as a liberal, of course I have a whole boxcar load of domestic anxieties-the idiot tax cuts (say what you will about Lyndon Johnson, he was never stupid enough to propose a tax cut in the middle of a war), the reactionary Supreme Court Justice nominations, Ashcroft's war on state by state marijuana legalization, pressuring international aid organizations to abandon any family planning programs, etc. etc.etc.
But at least if I vote for the klutz, I don't have to worry about the state department being taken over by Noam Chomsky clones and Edward Said clones. (Noam Chomsky is the one who thinks we went into Kosovo for "economic" reasons-boy, did Haliburton and Bechtel and Brown & Root ever make a killing in Kosovo! The stockholders are still clipping fat coupons from that oil bonanza)
The Democratic party professionals are all concerned about projecting an image of "responibility" concerning defense policy. As for me, I don't care how many stripes are on a candidates arm or medals on his chest (Clark), or who carried an M-16 through the Mekong delta in 1968 (Kerry)(I didn't, and I don't care whether Clinton or anybody else did or didn't). As far as "a reassuring image regarding defense and foreign Policy" is concerned, my only criterion is "Does this guy have the will, the inclination, and the moxie to tell the People's Republic of Berkeley" to take a hike when they're way out of line.

Gorevotinghawk, Barbara Lee of the PR Berkeley is not one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination, in either body or spirit. (Well, maybe she's channeled by Kucinich, but not by Dean.) But if you're looking for a candidate with the poor sense to throw rocks at a hornets' nest, Bush is your man.

"Throwing rocks at a hornets' nest" may not be the most efficient way of insuring that a child doesn't stumble upon it and get badly stung, but it's better than doing nothing. The Democratic Party seems to be run by people who think we can solve our terrorist problem by sitting around a campfire with the terrorists, and singing "Kumbayah" (or by dismantling Israel).

President Bush may not be the most intelligent creature in the universe, but he seems to understand that:
  • The best enemies are the ones who are dead.
  • The Islamonazis (and the regimes that sponsor them) are our enemies.
  • Therefore, the best Islamonazis (and their sponsors) are dead ones.
If President Bush is such a moron, and he can grasp this elementary bit of logic, what does that say about his Democratic challengers?

Riyadh delenda est!

Andrew J. Lazerus:

Yep, I concede that it looks like Cheney cherry picked information that advanced his agenda, and it looks like Bush didn't try very hard to verify stuff from other sources, and he went along with the "Don't trust the State Department or the CIA; they're all hopelessly ideologically compromised, or they're all wusses, or they don't know jack diddly, etc.,etc.etc." At least his father used to be the CIA director, so his father would have known how to evaluate info coming from the CIA, and would have had greater respect for the CIA, and if he didn't, he would have known where the deadwood was, and would have known who to push into early retirement and who to keep and advance. One has to wonder why he would listen more to Cheney than Bush Senior. Agreed, Conceded.
BUT
In a Madison Avenue advertising metaphore, Dean's "market niche" is the anti-war movement. Bush wouldn't shout it from the rooftops, but as far as liberals are concerned, one of Bushes market niches is big business, big corporations (Jeez, I'm starting to sound like somebody from the World Worker's Party). Now, if Enron, or Ken Lay, or Arthur Anderson screw up, Bush could say, "well, after all, it isn't me." But the proper liberal response (my response) would be, "Yeah, you didn't do anything illegal yourself, but they're your market niche, so were holding you responsible for what THEY do. That's what happens to boys who champion the cause of big business, take their campaign contributions, appoint them to strategic positions in the government, appoint people to regulatory commissions who look the other way when corporations screw up-boys like that get blamed when said corporations screw up. It's a legitimate campaign issue, and we're tying that dead cat to your tail-get used to it!"
Okay, so as far as I personally am concerned, the anti-war movement is Dean's market niche, so if some people in the anti war movement screw up, I hold Dean responsible for what they do-unless, of course, Dean makes some loud, unequivocal, public statements like, "Hey, that's not what the peace movement is all about; I know you're all pissed off at Bush, but this crosses the line and I don't like it". Do you remember Clinton's nomination in 1992? Do you remember the Sister Soulja speech. Okay, in order to reassure me, I personally want to hear a Sister Soulja speech.
Maybe if I lived in Winemucca, Nevada, I wouldn't be so picky about this, but living in the Bay Area and getting into discussions with Greens and Peace and Freedom Party people, and hear them talk, I get scared, like, "Good God, this is Dean's market niche, and I don't see him making any effort to disdance himself from them, or set any limits at all." So, just as I hold Bush responsible for everything Enron did, and Arthur Anderson did, and Harvey Pitt didn't do, until Dean specifically repudiates certain members of the crazy left, I hold him responsible for everything ANSWER or Not In Our Name says or does, and everything Noam Chomsky says, and the late Edward Said said or did-all the hypocracy and double standards about Israel and the Arabs: we're feminists, and we know there were an estimated 30 honor killings in Jordan last year and none in Israel; we support gay rights, and we know there was a gay pride parade in Tel Aviv in September, and nothing like that in any Arab country; we're in favor of reparations to African Americans as compestation for 19th century slavery, but as honorary third world people, we have nothing to say about racially white Saudis and North Sudanese engaging in a slave trade of racially black Ethiopians and Nuer people in the 21st century. Pathetic little bourgeoise values like women's rights, gay rights, and opposition to slavery are all very well and good, but when they come in conflict with THE CULT OF THE THIRD WORLD BOYS WITH KALASHNIKOVS, the agendas and needs of the cult of the third world boys with Kalashnikovs always trump those poor little first world, bourgeoise things like women's rights, gay rights, and opposition to slavery. Getting upset with the Augusta Golf tournement because women aren't allowed to join is okay, because no issues involving the cult of the third world boys with Kalashnikovs aren't in play here, but if somehow some need or agenda of the cult of the third world boys with Kalashnikovs came into play here, it would, of course, take precedence.

"THE CULT OF THE THIRD WORLD BOYS WITH KALASHNIKOVS"

Hmmm. I like that one. Hell of a point, too.

You really voted for Gore? I guess it shouldn't be surprising, based on the stuff in your post that's bugging you. Still... The irony is, if Gore had sounded like you, he might be President Al Gore right now.

Joe Katzman,

Voting for Gore was the right thing to do in 2000. Nobody knew that 9/11 was coming, the country was peaceful and prosperous. If people on the left had a problem with the status quo, IMO Ralph Nader didn't articulate them in any compelling, eloquent way. (Can you or anybody else recall a single memorable quote or policy position of Nader's-I sure can't)
In 2004, IMO Bush is the way to go. Looking back from year 2034, I think that what we will have done in the Middle East will stand out as much more important than what we do about Enron, mutual fund fraud, not that those aren't important, I just think that they aren't AS important. Enron and the California energy ripoff were bad, but 3,000 people didn't die from it. On the other hand, as Andrew J. Lazerus has pointed out, we've already thrown a rock at the hornet's nest, the hornets are out, and we have to deal with that. We broke Iraq, now we have to buy it or fix it.

But isn't it interesting how so MANY of the Right-Wingers now promoting our Middle East war(s) with so much militant zeal and who, BTW, did the same as young men on the subject of Vietnam actually, for one reason or another, managed to sit out that conflict they were so zealous for.

When I hear WWII veterans talk about that war the sentiment most often expressed is that real soldiers who have served in combat and felt the sting of war are the LAST to want our nation in another one. Messengers of death, praying for peace.

How different our current crop of non-serving warriors is! The US has up until now had a tradition of avoiding war whenever possible, but once attacked the US becomes the deadliest foe on earth.

But now that we have cowards running this country we get unnecessary wars "liberating" specific countries on a list. Oh what a sight is man!

JoeL

But isn't it interesting how so MANY of the Conservatives now promoting our Middle East war(s) with so much militant zeal and who, BTW, did the same as young men on the subject of Vietnam actually, for one reason or another, managed to sit out that conflict they were so zealous for.

When I hear WWII veterans talk about that war the sentiment most often expressed is that real soldiers who have served in combat and felt the sting of war are the LAST to want our nation in another one. Messengers of death, praying for peace.

How different our current crop of non-serving warriors is! The US has up until now had a tradition of avoiding war whenever possible, but once attacked the US becomes the deadliest foe on earth.

But now that we have cowards running this country we get unnecessary wars "liberating" specific countries on a list. Oh what a sight is man!

JoeL

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