Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! (Turn and Face the Strain)

>> Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The promised "change" continues.

Patterico notes the correct perspective.

David Bowie provides the title.


Feodor November 26, 2008 at 11:47 AM  

"What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking," Obama said. "But understand where the vision for change comes from. First and foremost, it comes from me. That's my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing."

Yet you wold endanger our troops with change at Defense from the person who opposed Rumsfeld and Cheney.

We will get out of Iraq responsibly. That is big change.

Al-Ozarka November 26, 2008 at 3:29 PM  

"We will get out of Iraq responsibly. That is big change.

The point is...getting out of Iraq responsibly is no change at all, Feodork.

Bringing our troops home irresponsibly will endanger our troops worldwide for generations.

Irresponsibly, as in declaring the effort lost and ordering the removal of all troops from Iraq immediately as the immoral, irresponsible Democrat Party would have done two years ago.

Getting out troops out of Iraq responsibly IS big...and it's why we'll wait until it's appropriate to do so.

Probably in twenty years or so.

The Democrat Party is the champion of immorality and irresponsibility.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 26, 2008 at 4:06 PM  

Whether it is responsible or not - and I certainly think it is not only responsible, but necessary to reorder our priorities - the simple reality is that it is going to happen over the next year or two.

Deal with it.

Marshall Art November 26, 2008 at 5:28 PM  

And we will deal with it if it happens before its time. From a lefty whine about how the world views us, we will be viewed as undependable when the shit hits the fan. That viewpoint is what got us 9/11.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 26, 2008 at 6:55 PM  

First, you don't care what the world thinks. Then, you think the world is laughing at us because we elected Barack Obama President. Now, you're worried that the world - which despises us not only for the Iraq invasion, but for the entire conduct of our affairs, foreign and domestic, for the past eight years - will somehow view us in a bad light for doing something they have wanted us to do for years?

This is a squared dodecahedron if I ever saw one.

Al-Ozarka November 26, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

"...but for the entire conduct of our affairs, foreign and domestic, for the past eight years -

Tell me, J-Off...what has the "world" done that's so admirable? In the last eight years.

Tell me, what admirable thing has the "world" done in the past 16 years that has been so admirable?

The world either owes its very freedom to this nation...or it hopes this nation will provide aid to acheive it at some point in the future.

The world certainly doesn't think Obama cwill deliver it or defend it.

Our enemies are laughing at us for electing Obama, J-Off...not the world. The world knows on whose sacrifice it depends....that of the American citizen-soldier.

Bill Clinton proved that when he sent American troops to fight Europe's war in the Balkans.

I'm sure, though, the European leaders were laughing at him behind his back.

European leaders may hate us, J-Off...and communists...and terrorist supporting nations. Dope-pushing Latin-American leaders may loathe us.

But not because our nation has done anything wrong.

It's because they are envious of our power...and yes...our people's liberty.

Personally, if you agree with European leaders, communists, terror-supporting nations, and Dope-dealing Latin-American leaders and hate America as well (because...if you believe that others have a right to hate America then certainly you must hate her too), then you are an enemy of America.

Obama doesn't offer security, prosperity or peace. He offers America up to the wolves who have stalked her for generations.'ve elected the terminator. It must make you very happy.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 26, 2008 at 8:58 PM  

"Personally, if you agree with European leaders, communists, terror-supporting nations, and Dope-dealing Latin-American leaders and hate America as well (because...if you believe that others have a right to hate America then certainly you must hate her too), then you are an enemy of America."

I have a whole series going at my blog on people who use words, even put them together in things that resemble sentences and even whole paragraphs, yet in fact just babble nonsense. I'm adding this particular bit of typing to the list.

The only one's laughing right now are me and other liberal readers at this pathetic blog.

I know you won't accept it, Ozzie, from an American-hating, anti-life, anti-family, anti-freedom fake Christian like me, but have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Al-Ozarka November 27, 2008 at 6:31 AM  

J-Off, I'm not at all surprised that you don't get it.

How are you going to celebrate Thanksgiving, anyway? By cursing the White Europeans who systematically wiped out the Native Americans?

Have fun.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 27, 2008 at 3:27 PM  

Actually, I'm trolling abortion clinics for a fetus to use in an unholy ritual, and the blood will be mixed with the stuffing (kind of like Blood pudding, only better). Then we will all pray to Cthulhu as we sit down at our repast.

Actually, my wife baked the turkey while I slept from a night at work, and my in-laws will be here so we can eat around five. The, I will go leave for another night of work, and get ready for a crazy day, and then it will be all over as the weekend will be here.

See? I'm just a normal guy, with my two kids and my dog and cat and guinea pigs (well, maybe not the guinea pigs). The only differences between us, really, are the way we see the world. I'm not evil, neither are you - we're just different people who want America to be both great and good, with different ideas about what that means. That's all.

That you don't see that - not just you, Ozzie, but you, Marshall, Mark, and Eric - doesn't make me angry (although some of the things you say make me a tad p-o'ed). It just makes me sad. There are no enemies of America here. We don't hate anyone, certainly not the President. We just want America to be better than it is, which is nothing more or less than the hope and dream of every American.

I am profoundly grateful for living in America. I love this country, and am so grateful to be alive in this moment here in this wonderful, beautiful country. For all its problems, we have so much to return thanks for. It seems to me that you might open your eyes just a little and realize that you and those who write for this blog are not the only patriots. Everyone sitting down and eating turkey and cheering on a football game and drinking a beer or soda right now - we are all Americans, free, still relatively prosperous, and living in the most blessed land in the world.

If you think these sentiments of mine are lies, because of some of the political positions I take, then the problem, Ozzie, is most definitely yours. I feel no need to prove how much I love this country, especially to the likes of someone who assumes that my criticism of some of the policies of the current Administration automatically means I am an "enemy" of America. If you mean that in all seriousness, then you are, I am sad to say, more than deluded.

You are a fool.

Marshall Art November 28, 2008 at 12:47 AM  

"First, you don't care what the world thinks."

Personally, I don't in a general sense. I don't care if the world thinks we aren't sophisticated enough as concerns some social deviancy, or if it thinks our president is a reckless cowboy or that we have some mythical imperialist intentions.

But I DO care if a portion of the world thinks we are lacking in resolve (which most of the left are) when it comes to doing what is right (by our standards), when it comes to finishing a fight. I DO care if the a portion of the world thinks we're a perfect target as a result of that lack of resolve. So when we have a "cowboy" president that has shown the world we DO have some resolve and that we WILL finish a tough job, then we have projected, at least partially, an image of our nation that serves us well for the world to have. In short, there is one thought I DO want the world to have regarding us, and that is that we are the toughest sons-of-bitches on the planetary block and to f**k with us is a bad idea. If they haven't gotten hip to our blatantly benevolent side by now, screw 'em. But they should damn well find someone else to attack.

Al-Ozarka November 28, 2008 at 7:03 AM  

"Actually, I'm trolling abortion clinics for a fetus to use in an unholy ritual, and the blood will be mixed with the stuffing (kind of like Blood pudding, only better). Then we will all pray to Cthulhu as we sit down at our repast."

Hmmm...doesn't surprise me.

"We don't hate anyone..."

Neither do's your world-view we hate.

"...and living in the most blessed land in the world."

Hmmm, again! You see, we haven't been getting that vibe from you leftists for the past eight years.

"If you mean that in all seriousness, then you are, I am sad to say, more than deluded."

Oh, I mean it. But you give me good reason to hold that position.

If you believe the "world" hates the USA...if you believe the "world" is somehow BETTER than the USA, then you're the deluded one, pal.

The only people who believe America is hated in the world...are those who hate America.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 28, 2008 at 7:42 AM  

Ozzie, you apparently have a tin ear, because you managed to not hear or understand a single thing I wrote.

I do not care one way or another if people around the world hate us or not. I do very much care if other governments do not cooperate with us, or we with them, in the pursuit of common interests and goals. I really don't care if that means we have to be nice to Russia, China, Cuba, and be mean to France, Britain, and Israel. We have only our interests to pursue, and while it would be better to do so with our long-term allies in tow, we should be willing to work with any nation-state who is willing to cooperate. That is what diplomacy and international relations are about.

I'm not sure what "vibe" you want from us "lefties". Nor do I much care. Again, no one in America has to prove their patriotism, last time I checked.

As far as "hating America" goes, again, people and governments hate America, others don't, and whether I approve of it or not really doesn't mean a whole lot. Getting angry because the government of Venezuela does things to thwart our interests in South America (for example) doesn't do anything to change the situation; it just makes us look rather petulant.

Look, you seem far more interested in making far more of my political views that I do of yours. Since I spend the vast majority of my day doing things like laundry, checking my daughters' homework, hugging and kissing my wife, petting my dog and cat, and (obviously) a third of it, five days a week, thinking and doing the job I get paid to do, it seems to me you are making huge deal out of what is really something minor.

Yet, politics is important. This election was important. I am happy at the outcome, although I do not believe for one moment that the election of Barack Obama will bring about paradise on earth, the end of pain and suffering, and the promise of a chicken in every pot and two hybrid cars in every garage. He's a politician, and a gifted one at that, as well as being both intelligent and intellectually curious (a surprise after our very incurious incumbent). But, at the end of the day, he's just a politician.

For you folks on the right, however, it's all about heroes and villains, good guys and bad guys, civilization hanging by a thread, with the lives of innocent fetuses hanging in the balance. For the rest of us, it's just life, with our concerns caught up in the larger national concerns we all share - a faltering economy and banking system, the threats to all our jobs and livelihoods, the uncertainty that awaits us all in the future.

I do not deny the reality that international terrorism is still a threat; nor do I deny there are people intent on doing this country harm. I live not ten miles from the Cherry Vale Mall, which two years ago was the potential site of a planned terrorist attack; a man was arrested attempting to buy hand grenades from an undercover agent, which he planned on dropping in garbage cans around the Mall during the holiday season. That's a Mall I shop in, and my family as well. While I do not consider myself very important whatsoever, I was haunted for a long time by the thought, "What if this man succeeded, and it was my daughters who were standing by one of those garbage cans when this crazy man's hand grenades went off?"

I didn't stop shopping at the Mall, nor did I turn around and think we should kill everyone who even threatens to do us harm. All I thought was one deluded person would have done us all a lot of harm. I refused to succumb to fear and hatred.

That's all any of us should do. Be aware, certainly, but afraid? Why should I let them win by terrorizing me? Why should we as a nation let them win by overreacting, stretching our military to the limits in the pursuit of a few people scattered about in ill-defined places? It seems such a waste of time and resources to me, especially when one considers that Pres. Clinton's policy of international legal cooperation was much more effective at shutting down funding and recruitment networks than the kind of war we have been waging in Iraq.

This is what I mean, Ozzie. We aren't one person representing the heroic few who understand the truth, with me as a variant of a type, the "America-hating liberal". We're just two Americans who live in different parts of the country, were raised to think a little differently, and make our voices heard. I don't think you are an evil or bad person. I might think you are ignorant about a few things, but that's hardly a moral failing, because there are many things of which I am ignorant. In that respect, the only difference is I do not parade my ignorance as a virtue, or try to pretend it is something other than what it is.

Anyway, I hope your Thanksgiving was good. Far too much food here, and laughter around the table and afterward. One thing made me happy, one tradition was unbroken - the Detroit Lions lost another Thanksgiving Day football game. . .

Al-Ozarka November 28, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

"I do very much care if other governments do not cooperate with us, or we with them, in the pursuit of common interests and goals"

We do. The problem comes when World Leaders' goals are different than America's goals.

I prefer America's goals.

Perhaps you prefer France's? Germany's? Russia's? China's?

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 28, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

Obviously, I prefer ours. Sometimes. Other times, I think our goals are wrong.

That's what politics is about, Ozzie.

It's not which country's interests I prefer; that's a kindergartner's answer. It is whether what we are doing, and how we are going about doing it, further our interests, or ever are our interests. That is why international cooperation is important, but is quite different from capitulation. You work with what you got, not what you want; so, yeah, if Russia's answers sound better, we should listen, ditto China, Venezuela, Mali, and Mongolia. To dismiss out of hand another country's perspective simply because it is another country's perspective is both nonsensical and short-sited.

Again, there are no good guys and bad guys, there is no cosmic battle of good and evil. There are just countries trying to further their interests. Those interests clash, not necessarily violently, but sometimes robustly. TO see the world as a cops and robbers show, or worse, a theological shadow play where God and the devil are using different groups to further their ends not only doesn't make sense, it makes it more difficult to figure out what's going on.

So, for example, the recent Georgia-Russian war. My first instinct was to hop all over Russia. After reading details on the run-up to the war, the statements of Georgia's President, as well as the long-standing position of Russia, reiterated both by Putin and Medvedev, it seems to me that Georgia believed - wrongly - that the US and NATO would come to their rescue, when NATO told Georgia to go hang, and the US made a few noises but basically told Georgia to go hang. Screwing up our long-term interests with keeping good relations with the Russians outweighs supporting the Georgian government in an ill-conceived "war" against a huge world power. The entire Georgian military is smaller than a single Corps of the Russian Army. Even if the Georgians were right - and I do not believe they were, at least in hindsight - they did a really stupid thing and were either misled or naive to believe any major power would rush to their rescue. They aren't South Korea and this isn't 1950. Besides, in that conflict, the North Koreans struck first.

Anyway, you see what I mean? The Georgians and Russians, neither one was evil or wrong or a villain. The Georgians were stupid, misguided, and put in play a series of events that were catastrophic for their country, while the Russians were firm, measured, and (relatively speaking) disciplined in the use of their military force. If they haven't withdrawn from Georgian territory, it seems to me, in the words of one movie critic watching the first ever multiple gun-killing in a single take in a western, "the sons-of-bitches deserved it". Hard lumps come with bad decisions sometimes, and you pays your money and takes your choice.

This example is a demonstration of what I am trying to say - no good-vs-bad, just countries trying, and very often failing gloriously, to advance their interests. That includes the US. When I believe we are doing something correct and in the right way, no problem. Since different people think different ways, there is nothing at all wrong with disagreeing, even vociferously about both goals and methods of our foreign policy. One of the prices we pay for living in a free society is just this - people disagree and it adds fuel to our political fires.

That's all it is.

Al-Ozarka November 28, 2008 at 10:20 PM  

"...there is no cosmic battle of good and evil..."

And you call me a fool.

Look around, for crying out loud!

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 29, 2008 at 9:45 AM  

Look around at what? Mumbai?

When I was in college, over Christmas break one year, a group of Palestinians opened up with automatic weapons in the Rome airport. The Italians, having armed security forces in the airport, killed the terrorists involved, as well as some civilians, going Rambo on the airport, shooting indiscriminately.

In 1984, the liner Achille Lauro was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, and an American was killed in a horrific way, his wheelchair pushed overboard.

In October, 1983, members of the fledgling Lebanese terrorist/political party Hezbollah bombed a Marine barracks in Beirut.

During the 1970's, Palestinians hijacked plane after plane, including an El Al airliner they diverted to Entebbe, Uganda, which ended with a spectacular Israeli commando raid.

In 1972, the PLO kidnapped the Israeli Olympic team in Munich. The last, immortalized in a recent, bad, film by Steven Spielberg, ended with Israeli intelligence hunting down and killing all those involved. It took a few years, and was done mostly on the sly, but it was done.

In 1995, two young American veterans parked a truck in front of the Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. After leaving by cab, a little time passed and the truck, filled with homemade explosives, detonated, destroying the building and killing 153 people, including children in the day-care center. One person, asking Timothy McVeigh about the deaths of the children, was told that, as the building was a "legitimate target", the employees shouldn't have brought their kids to work with them, exposing them to the threat of death.

Terrorism comes in all sorts of forms, existed long before 2001, and will continue to exist as long as people believe they have no voice in the political process and can gain attention through violence. The 1970's were a high point of European terrorism, with the IRA, the Red Brigades in Italy, the Baader-Meinhof in West Germany, and the perennial problem of the Basque separatists in Spain. Indeed, in 1984, the IRA bombed a building then-PM Margaret Thatcher was staying in, and the only reason she wasn't killed was she just happened to be out of the building. Her itinerary had her there at the time of the blast, but some last minute changes put her out of danger.

Militant terrorist organizations, like the poor, will always be with us. As long as some insist we identify them by their own claims of support with whatever ideology or religion they profess, rather than call them what they are, political criminals, any discussion will go nowhere.

Are their acts evil? Of course they are! Are they, the perpetrators, "Evil", that is to say somehow metaphysically imbued with a theological flaw that pervades their entire being, rendering them the personification of anti-God and anti-life? Even to ask such a question is silly. Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the little TV and radio sex expert, was a terrorist once, blowing up buildings in and around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in pursuit of the goal of chasing the British out of Palestine after the Second World War (the late Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan, lost his eye in such a terrorist raid, in which a young Ruth Westheimer participated). You see, terrorists are just people who do terrible things. Their leaders, sometimes, perhaps often, are either mentally ill or so obsessed with some or another political ideology they are not in contact with reality. Your run-of-the-mill participant in these organizations, however, is just a person.

We do not fight terrorism by making more of them than they are. One of the best tactics is to marginalize them, reduce them to an annoyance, even if that means raising the threat level of a higher-profile attack at some point in the future. You ignore them publicly, reduce them to something of little consequence, at least publicly. Then, you go after their finances, their recruiting. You infiltrate their organizations (the Brits were great at this with the IRA; of course, they also tortured a whole bunch of Irish in the process, which only shows that we aren't alone in the torture business), you intercept their phone calls and emails, you disrupt their communications so they can't coordinate their activities. You do all this on the down-low, as kids say these days, not only so as not to attract attention, but to keep these groups from getting attention.

You don't invade a country that has nothing to do with terrorism, and was never a serious threat to the interests of the US, spending billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives and in the process creating a giant recruitment poster for the very people you claim you are fighting against. That is why I opposed the Iraq war. It isn't because I hate Bush, or am a pacifist. I opposed it because it was antithetical to everything we were claiming we needed to do in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001.

I do not feel vindicated by events. I feel sad that so much life and treasure and money has been wasted, that a beautiful country led by a horrible dictator has been ravaged and left a near-anarchic mess, and that so many lies continue to fly around about our presence there. As events in Mumbai showed this week, al Qaeda isn't the only group of terrorists out there, although this latter example seems almost like a direct provocation of India by either home-grown militants, or either Pakistani militants or (far worse) agents of Pakistan.

So I've looked around, and I have to wonder what, exactly, you want me to see other than what I do see.

Al-Ozarka November 29, 2008 at 12:19 PM  

"Look around at what? Mumbai?"

Dude, you have a severe case of tunnel vision.

And it's amazing how much you can write without saying a damned thing.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford November 29, 2008 at 2:11 PM  

And it is a credit to your own dedication to Ockham's Razor that you manage meaninglessness in as few words as possible.

My point was simple - and summed up in one sentence: Terrorism will always be with us.

Marshall Art November 29, 2008 at 2:55 PM  

"You don't invade a country that has nothing to do with terrorism, and was never a serious threat to the interests of the US, spending billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives and in the process creating a giant recruitment poster for the very people you claim you are fighting against."

I don't believe Japan was our first target after Pearl Harbor. As Hussein was the most vocal and active supporter of terrorism, his overthrow was a natural. Besides, I, like some, believe that this was merely the continuation of the war begun during the GHW Bush admin. Now, as we near the end of our mission there, we should have an ally smack dab in the middle of the region. Not a bad thing at all. And though it remains to be seen that it should actually play out that way, it is going in that direction.

"... it was antithetical to everything we were claiming we needed to do in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001."

Not true at all. As Bush said, anyone who is supporting terrorism would be on alert. The Hussein regime was supporting terrorism.

Your list of terrorist acts includes those that are not part of this particular war. McVeigh, for example. There is a distinction between Islamofascist terror, which is worldwide, and the various others you listed, such as the IRA. We are currently engaged in fighting Islamic radicals.

Later, in the same comment, Geoffrey, you list a variety of ways in which we should, according to you, address the issue. Most of these things, such as marginalizing the terrorists and ignoring them publicly, will have no effect on them or their tactics. They intend on making themselves known. The survivors of the dead will certainly know of them.

But then you speak of surveilance, which many on the left have squealed about as being unConstitutional if they in any way involve American communications. If we can get the NY Times to shut the hell up when they get wind of our tactics, we might stand a chance.

Much of the rest of what you've listed is being done in a variety of ways. But this threat is unique and I don't believe restricting ourselves from every possible arrow in the quiver is pragmatic.

Al-Ozarka November 29, 2008 at 8:18 PM  

"Terrorism will always be with us."

Thus endures the cosmic battle between good and philosophy

Feodor December 3, 2008 at 5:21 PM  

MA says, "I, like some, believe that this was merely the continuation of the war begun during the GHW Bush admin."

Well, now GWB wants out of this group. He regrets not having true intelligence on WMD and Rove says there would have been no invasion if we'd known there were no WMD.

I don't believe what they say but what they say now is opposed to MA's continued defense of their reasons.

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