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I would not claim to have any knowledge of the real reasons the US is in Iraq, or the reasons why that is good, if it is. What I stated above are the reasons the Bush administration is currently giving for regime changed having been needed. These are, of course, different from the reasons they initially gave (which had to do with the existence of WMD).

Oh please. Surely this is not your definition of "decent"? It's not mine.

(I'm tempted to ask whether I'm really being so very unclear, or whether you're buttuming the worst about what's behind everything I write, or what. The above reply seems to almost deliberately misunderstand, and -- that "WRONG" comes across as angry shouting.)


This time I didn't put it strongly enough: It's not clear to me (and some others) that what the US is doing in Iraq is effective in reducing terrorism, and in fact may do just the opposite. If this strategy is in fact counterproductive, then it might have been better to have done nothing. "Do something, even if it's wrong" is not always a good strategy -- though sometimes it is.


So you *don't* think that what the Bush administration is doing is sensible and will help in the long run?

Okay, maybe you're saying that it's not sensible and will help, but it's closer than what any other group is proposing, and to take no action at all would be truly a bad idea.


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Having observed Senator Kennedy from a distance for as long as anyone else, I would think that what Senator Kennedy thinks is good for America is that Senator Kennedy gets...

He claims to be justified in having intelligence agencies monitor phone conversations in a way that normally would require a warrant, on the grounds that this is covered by the same Congressional act that authorized military action in Iraq. Authorization to monitor phone calls without judicial oversight, when judicial oversight would normally be required, is an example of what I mean when I say "more power than would normally be acceptable."

Where did I say this, or even imply it?

Could you try that one again, please? I don't understand what you're saying.


I'm trying to ignore the parts of your reply that seem deliberately inflammatory, but I can't resist that "you are unbelievable":

If you're going to explain to me just why you think no sane person could possibly think that no danger exists, you should probably mention not only the enemy's rhetoric but also something that indicates why you think .... As in the paragraph below:


It's that last part -- the reference to the enemy's ability to carry out the threats -- that's significant.

I'm quibbling about words here, really. I don't think we disagree as much as it seems about whether there's a threat. We probably do disagree about the severity.

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Dumb question time: What is a Hava? I don't think I've seen that word before now. been blown into outer space years...


And I believe you (that you are not talking about politics) -- not just because you say it over and over (and in the absence of contrary evidence I *do* try to believe what people tell me about their motives), but because I think I do get the distinction you're making, which I would describe as "I think only one of the major political parties has any hope of preventing a major mess" rather than unquestioning support of the Republican party as such.

What confuses me, maybe, is that that you seem to rarely miss a chance to slam Bush's critics, or the Democrats in general, even when it doesn't seem to be necessary to make the point I would think you're trying to make. That stuff about the "anti-Bush flavored people" thinking the Iraqis are incapable is a case in point. An even better example is the remark in another subthread about -- was it duct-taping Bill Clinton's mouth shut? something along those lines. This sort of thing makes you sound partisan and potentially biased. If you're doing this regularly with the Republicans and Bush, I'm not noticing that. Maybe you believe that the Democrats are such a menace that it's good to call attention to that at every opportunity?

Unless you think you know better than I do what's in my mind -- no, that's not true (about my underlying buttumptions). I might say something about your never attributing any good to anything buttociated with the Democratic party, but I don't buttume that that means you let the other party do your thinking for you.

But maybe I didn't make clear what I mean here. The "where did this come from?" was specifically aimed at your use of the word "male". If you had said "told by someone in authority", I would not have, um, flipped out as I did.


If it's not difficult to find them or identify them, why is Bin Laden still at large?


At last a whole paragraph with which I can more or less agree!!


No. I am saying that he has good reason to exaggerate the threat (which is not the same as saying that I think there is no threat at all, and he made it all up), and that he has a record of distorting the truth (possibly even to himself) for political ends, and that therefore there is reason to believe that he *is* exaggerating. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't; I don't know.

And I don't know where you get that "more power than anybody else" -- I didn't say it, and I don't know why you'd buttume that that's what I meant when I said "more power than would normally be acceptable".

Maybe this is where I can make a point that I maybe should have made earlier, which is that I think both major parties have political motives for distorting the truth:

For the Republicans, exaggerating the threat is a way to keep themselves in power and to paint their opponents as weak fools who won't keep the nation safe. For the Democrats, downplaying the threat is a way to try to regain power and to paint their opponents as war-mongerers who are wasting the lives of the US military (plus all those Iraqi civilians we don't hear so much about). I don't trust either side not to distort the truth for political gain.

And distorting the truth *either way* can have bad consequences.


I thought you'd probably take it that way, even though that wasn't my intent. I don't know how to fix that; if I say that I respect what you're doing even though I don't like most of your conclusions, that will probably be taken as more condescension.


For the record, the paper (report) I read can be found online at I don't know anything about the organization that did the poll and reported the results. They could well be a "think tank" biased in favor of -- something. Certainly that would affect the credibility of the whole thing.

Here's a paragraph describing one of the questions they asked and the result.

We were concerned that when only given the two options of saying that Iraq was involved in September 11 or not, some respondents might respond affirmatively when they only believed that there was some link, but not necessarily direct Iraqi involvement in September 11. Thus in February we offered respondents four options for describing "the relationship between the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein and the person group al-Qaeda." Indeed, only 20% chose the option that "Iraq was directly involved in carrying out the September 11th attacks." Another 36% chose the position that "Iraq gave substantial support to al-Qaeda, but was not involved in the September 11th attacks" ??still a position at odds with the dominant view of the intelligence community, but less egregiously so. Twenty-nine percent chose the position that has some evidence in support of it, that "a few al-Qaeda individuals visited Iraq or had contact with Iraqi officials." Just 7% chose the option, "There was no connection at all."

Does that tell you enough to determine whether the poll results are as I described them, and valid?


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Muslim No so. I am not a Muslim, and realized during my time in Syria how much I don't know. That was unsettling during the...

-- B. L. Mbuttingill ObDisclaimer: I don't speak for my employers; they return the favor.

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