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October 04, 2004

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I do not understand why people who are presumably able to tie their own shoes will scratch their head and moan incessantly that they don't know what Kerrrryyy meeannnttt. Moooooommm!!! But the phrase "global test," which candidate Kerry explained... [Read More]

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Comments

Slartibartfast

Italics off?

Patrick R. Sullivan

"he inspected the photographs in great detail, and was impressed with the quality of them."

Yes, and I remember the scene in the made for TV movie circa 1975 in which it was re-enacted. De Gaulle looks at the pictures and says, "Amazing."

old maltese

My question: did 'former Secretary of State Dean Acheson' realize that he was '[President Kennedy's] secretary of state'?

TM

Dean Acheson was Sec of Sate from 1949 to 1953, so by 1962 he was a "former"; Dean Rusk Was kennedy's Sec of State.

Why so many college administrators, I cannot tell you; what was your question?

abb1

Saletan has a good line in Slate:


"If I were to ever say, 'This is the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place,' the troops would wonder, 'How can I follow this guy?' "

Exactly, Mr. President. If you were ever to give them the correct assessment, they would ask the correct question.

Right on. Enough of this "it's unpatriotic to point out to my mistakes" crap.

Read the while column, folks, it's good.

Slartibartfast

Odd. Cole shows three meanings for "global", and then evidently picks none of them for what Kerry meant. Maybe going outside of commonplace definitions is a sign of nuance.

On the off-chance that Cole's going with the mathematical sense of "global", he's dead wrong. If he's thinking just countrymen, the mathematical analogue to that would be "local", or over some limited region. Sans supporting context, the assertion that "global", in this particular instance, meant just US citizens, is completely unsupported.

This is nearly as bad as one of his earlier flubs.

Slartibartfast

And, incidentally, if by "global" Kerry did in fact mean just us'ns, the global test was passed. In the form of Congress empowering the President to go to war.

Brian

"Now the blogosphere is alive with savants trying to figure out just what that might mean."

Most people have a general idea of what he means.

"A brilliant new comedic talent has emerged, as Juan Cole mocks Kerry's supporters with a parody of an attempt to parse Kerry's words and find true meaning."

He has a little bit more experience in this stuff, to say the last, than any of us have.

" hate to step on his punchline, but the bit where we learn that "global" means 'domestic' is priceless."

He said no such thing. What he said was that if you cannot convince the citizens of your own country about going to war, you aren't going to convince any other countries, and thus, you won't be able to have an effective coalition.

"This confounds the attempt by some to explain that Kerry simply intends to take the Global Test after he graduates, or gets his driver's license, or whatever it is the darn test applies to."

I feel like you are making a point here, but I am just not sure what it is.

"We only have a few days until the Kerry Clarification, in which Kerry "re-explains" the "Global Test", and we start hooting that he was for the Global Test until he was against it, so I want to get this other cheap shot in while there is still time."

Well, at least you admitted that you are making a cheap shot.

"...is currently touted by the WaPo as a candidate for Secretary of Defense in a Kerry Administration."

I'm appalled that The Washington Post doesn't realize that Clark cannot be Secretary of Defense, since he hasn't been out of the military for at least ten years.

"A more bellicose Andrew Sullivan was unimpressed; a younger "MinuteMan" was equally skeptical and less kind (the unkindness consisted of excerpting the General)."

[Scoffs.] While both you and Andrew Sullivan have undoubtedly deep expertise in military science , I'm willing to give General Clark the benefit of a doubt here.

"...Kerry is echoing the Declaration of Independence! Bravo!...Sorry, gents, Juan Cole was funnier."

I don't think anybody presented the signers as serious arguments. I surely didn't. I was just kidding. (By the way, if any of my detractors out there are going to say, "Well, good, because you are saying is scary, Brian, as it always is," save it.)

"We all agree that seeking domestic and international support is sensible. Still unanswered from the Kerry side - what does a president do if he thinks his presentation will fail the global test?"

First, it's necessary to stop trying to distort what he said.

"is it wise to have a President who is this opaque on a critical topic, or will his confusing rhetoric prompt miscalculation by our enemies?"

My response to this empty question: "Is it wise to have a president who cannot defend his bold new foreign venture with little more than tired campaign slogans?"


abb1

So, what do you, folks, think about that "let me finish" thing - earpiece? I think it was an earpiece, definitely.

He needs a little more training. Memorizing a stump speech is good, good, but to repeat what a voice in the earpiece says is a bit trickier.

J Mann

The global test is pretty funny.

Still, viewed most generously to Kerry, what he meant was probably that the US can explain its darned good reason for intervention to the world, and that Bush didn't have a good enough reason. He didn't say that the world has to approve, just that the President has to be able "to prove to the world that you're doing it for the right reasons." (Why the lefties are resting on this, more reasonable, defense of Kerry, I don't know).

Presumably, some examples of how this test would apply:

- Iraq didn't pass a "global test" because the inspectors 'needed more time to finish their work' - if only Bush had waited a few more months (and maybe had a "summit," then France, Russia and China would have gone along.

- Kosovo did pass a "global test" even though the Russians and the UN opposed US intervention (together with our coerced and bribed coalition, of course), because even if the world didn't agree, we were able to explain our reasons to the world, and they were right.

buzz harsher

Earpiece/"let me finish"

Why would GWB say, "Let me finish" to someone talking to him via earpiece? We would have to imagine that the puppet-master told GWB, "Okay, stop now," and GWB wanted to continue, with his _own_ thoughts, despite the fact that he was parrotting his audio feed...


Here's a much more plausible explanation:

GWB paused during his speech, and Lehrer turned towards Kerry for Kerry's "turn." We don't see this, because the cameras were looking at GWB. GWB said, _to_Lehrer_, "Let me finish," indicating that the pause did not mean he was done with his point.

timshel

Try though I might, I don't understand why the Right chooses to embrace ignorance as their rallying point. What Kerry meant was plain. You have to be willfully ignorant to read the transcript and be 'confused' about what he meant when he said 'global test'. Yet, the Right says 'haha! Kerry said something more complicated than Tax cuts good! Terrorism bad! We have a second-grade comprehension level! See how stupid we are!'

Really, I just don't get it.

Rocketeer

Really, I just don't get it.

The Left, in a nutshell.

Jim in Chicago

Oy. The fever swamp lefties have invaded. Up is down, black is white.

/LLL on

Actualy it wasn't an earpiece at all. I reviewed the tape with Josh Marshall, Atrios and Kos and noticed that Bush had little suture marks just at the base of his hairline. Guess what folks, before the debate Karl Rove's brain was transplanted into Bush's head. You heard it here first!

/LLL off

Seriously tho:

abb1's quote from Saletan is even funnier than Cole's twisting. So . . . Saletan knows more about the situation in Iraq than the soldiers fighting in Iraq? Priceless.

If only the troops knew the truith. Bush lied and Iraqis a quagmire. The AP's Batthists stringers, the fat cat WP and NYT journos hanging at their green zone hotel bar with their former MofInfo minders, and Saletan have spoken.

Matt

I know this is complicated, but it seems to me like "passing the global test" might mean "not doing something that would piss of nearly everyone else on the globe."

Snark all you want (France! Germany! Fake Turk...oh that's our line...), but we do share* the globe and we probably ought to take others' opinions into account before we go blowing up parts of it.

Baffling for some, I know.

*considering our disproportionate consumption of resources, we don't exactly "share," but you know what I mean.

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Kerry says "a real coalition" that we supposedly did not have going into Iraq, then Al Queda contradicts his mincy words by public proclaiming Jihad war against a whole slew of nations they see as supporting the U.S. "crusade" against radical homicidal Mohammedism.

Kerry says "a global test" for multi-lateral action in Iraq, but then says "unilateral" summit with North Korea and the U.S., leaving out China.

Bush: attack Kerry's voting record and contradictory tactics.

Kerry's message = "Vote for Me. I stand on all sides of every issue."

Red Stater

I'm sorry, but I guess I fail to understand what you're making lots of noise about? I reread the transcript and the meaning is fairly plain:
there is some objective point where a country goes from "protecting itself and its interests" and "asinine unilateralism". If you can't even make a good showing at convincing the world community that they're right, then perhaps you're wrong. In the preceding sentences, Kerry made it fairly clear (as much as at any other time) that he wouldn't cede the power to do it regardless.

The fact that you've pounced on two words in a fairly lengthy answer makes you a tool.

I hate the blogosphere for this. You're worse sometimes than the liberal media. Let's stay on target here folks.

Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

"stay on target"?

Okay, try this for your target: the world community sucks because there is genocide and religious/political persecution all over the globe, and look how fast anything is done about it.

Convince the world that your desire to defend yourself is right?

When does any other country try to get a global consensus for anything?

What is global consensus doing about the Sudan? or North Korea? or Iran? or Syria? or anything?

As usual, the U.S. has to go straightening things out, because the European Union and others don't want to spend the money and troops to do it. They want us to collapse in exhaustion so they can take over.

Red Stater

Ummm... the world consensus is that what is happening in Sudan, North Korea, and Iran are bad things. They fail the world test. That was easy.

You're looking at it from the wrong perspective. Quit trying to change the argument.

From Kerry's statement, the only thing that makes sense is that actions are accountable. And again, in no part of his answer does he deny the right to do it despite world objections. I think action in Afghanistan is pretty classic example of that.

Red Stater

Afghanistan is an example of doing things correctly, that is.

Not of taking action against world wishes.

Harry

So, Red Stater, exactly who will administer the Global Test and give us our grade? To whom must the U.S. apply for permission before we act, and why? And will other countries be held to the same standard? If not, why?

bill

Juan Cole is unintentionally parodying himself and all Kerry supporters. It would be just like Kerry supporters to believe that Kerry's using the THIRD meaning in the dictionary, rather than a more immediatley understandable word like "complete," or "thorough" was to Kerry's credit, instead of making him seem again like the ambiguity ridden intellectual elitist he is. Or is the ambiguity in "global" intentional?

Cecil Turner

"From Kerry's statement, the only thing that makes sense is that actions are accountable. "

I'm glad somebody knows what he meant, maybe now you can explain it to me. Are national defense decisions dependent on "world" opinion? And if so, to what degree? For example: if everyone else in the world thinks Iran ought to be able to have its own nuclear arsenal, are we required to abide by their decison? More on point: if the UN passes a resolution stating Iran can't have its own nuclear arsenal but then refuse to enforce it are we obliged to sit on our hands until they attack someone?

Leland

The "Let me finish" part... At the beginning of the debate, Lehrer explained the functions of the lights on the candidates' podiums. Bush's warning light went on just prior to him saying "Let me finish".

Bush's stump speech is far better than his debate performance. If he was listening to an earpiece, I'm sure someone would have asked him to quit repeating:
"It's hard work. I know it's hard work."

TM

Well, Kerry somewhat undermines Cole's "global means domestic" argument by citing Powell's presentation to the UN, and Kennedy's presentation to DeGaulle.

Both of those examples also undermine the present tense / past tense argument.

But I am sure Mr. Cole knew that.

So, do any of Kerry's supporters care to help me out - what does Kerry do if his presentation fails the global test? Seems like an easy question.

Slartibartfast

The best face that could be put on this is that Kerry said "global" when he really meant "local".

Tman

How about this for a global test?

We get attacked by a rogue group of Islamic terrorists, resulting in the wirst domestic attack in the nations history.

The "global test" is passed for Afghanistan, as the world agrees with us that Osama and al-qaeda should be either given up or killed. So we go after him. Afghanistan gets liberated, Osama and his buddies scram, many of whom head to IRaq, where they previously had much support.

Powell and Bush go to the UN, and other international summits claiming that Saddam is harboring these very same Islamic terrorists and reconstituting his WMD programs. We state this is unacceptable. The UN tells the insepctors to go back in, Saddam lies as usual and give the ultimatum.

Saddam calls our bluff, we liberate the country and behold!- find all kinds of Islamic terrorists and their plans to attack the US.

Global test passed. Kerry sounds foolish.

Adam

To anyone who was actually watching the debate, it's obvious that the idea Kerry was grasping for when he spat out "global test" was that of a "universal test." (And actually, if you look in a dictionary, they mean the same thing.) I would have thought critics would have found it endearing that Kerry could believe that there was some ultimate good or evil answer to every question. Kind of a "what would Jesus do?" sort of thing.

More

Matt

I'm not sure the terrorists had started heading into Iraq until after we started bombing. We've become the best recruiting tool Al Qaeda ever had. Seems like an "F" to me.

Fred

"considering our disproportionate consumption of resources, we don't exactly "share," "

America consumes more resources because we generate far more goods & services than anyone else in the world. Leftists conveniently forget this fact. Judging our energy consumption solely by population is asinine.

Slartibartfast
We've become the best recruiting tool Al Qaeda ever had.

Really? By what percentage has Al Qaeda recruiting increased since we went into Iraq?

Slartibartfast

So, to Adam Kerry's words obviously meant one thing, while to Juan Cole they obviously meant something quite different.

John Kerry: Making All Things To All People A Reality!

Rob W

This is all a straw man argument put forth by BC '04 because they have nothing but a failed presidency to lean on. Kerry was very clear--he would never put the decision to go to war in the hands of another country. He said it at the debates, and he said in his acceptance speech. You can spend all of the time parsing out the comment as you like, but Kerry has been more than clear on the subject.

When you take away the endless series of straw man arguments against Kerry, there's nothing left. Playing childish word games won't win you the election. When I saw the whole "global test" argument on the BC '04 website, I realized they were out of ammo over there.

p.s. Please no more B.S. about "what Kerry really means" is. He's been clear as day about this.

Rocketeer

p.s. Please no more B.S. about "what Kerry really means" is. He's been clear as day about this.

I'm pretty sure you mean "clear as mud."

Saying it's so doesn't mean it's so, and no matter how hard you may wish it, Kerry has failed to make clear a single thing.

Slartibartfast
but Kerry has been more than clear on the subject.

Which neatly explains why Kerry supporters cannot agree on what he meant.

So...clearly ambiguous?

John

"The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control." - Kerry

Ummm... am I the only one who realizes how utterly wrong this is?

John

rhodeymark

Kerry's Global Test™ - from the fine folks that brought you Oil-for-Food™

Birkel

Occam's Razor-- lost on the left.

Some of what the leftist posters have written is bizarre.

Conflation of issues has become an art form.

Wow!

Ernest Brown

Matt,

Yea, that's why the very first enemy casualty in Gulf War II was a high-level terrorist planner.


God, these jackasses really want us to lose to the terrorists. They nominate a filthbag who IS everything they accuse Bush of being, while ignoring the truth about islamic terrorism. The leftists and "progressives" who are actual natives of Africa and Iraq have no such illusions about Islamo-fascism's consistent history of cultural imperialism, which is why leftist racists here patronizingly ignore their cries for help. (cf. Wole Soyinka and Ousmane Sembene)

Bill Peschel

The above discussion proves that Kerry can't put forth a clear statement understandable to those of the meanest understanding.

I suggest that's his plan, his usual equivication that prevents him from being judged on his positions.

Here's what I mean: If, at the end of the above "global test" statement, he said, "And if the world doesn't agree with our valid, correct position, we'll tell 'em to piss up a rope and do what we have to do," we wouldn't be having this discussion here today. We'd know that, if pressed to the wall, say, by a U.N. Security Council in which France and Russia were bought off (by, say, Saddam's oil contracts, as they were), we'd know that he'd be willing to take the political risk associated with going to war.

We may not know at what point that would happen, or how long he would take, but at least WE WOULD KNOW THIS MUCH.

Instead, we don't. Kerry has failed to make it clear that he will do what he feels is the morally right act, knowing that he would be criticized for it.

Like Lincoln did when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Like Roosevelt did when he used the Lend-Lease Act to aid Britain against Germany.

Like Nixon did when he agreed to open relations with China.

Right now, given what Kerry has told us, he would not have done those things. He will always take the politically safe position.

Silver Sea Lotus

Kerry did not mean "Global Test". He meant "Globular Test". If the globs of tanning solution on his face turn orange, he goes. If they turn purple, he doesn't.

As a snide, aside: The fact that Kerry had prostate cancer goes a long way in explaining why Teresa is so grumpy all the time . . . ouch!

Brian Jones

Now, now, guys.

"To anyone who was truly watching the debate..." (would have seen the thought balloon over my guy's head where his actual meaning was written.)

"Second-grade reading level..." (is insufficient to parse the response into something that makes my guy look like Mr. Sensible Yet Determined.)

"You have to be willfully ignorant..." (not to put the tortured spin on it I'm about to.)

None of this sounds much like folks who are confident of victory and their positions.

Mike

Mr Cole is not one of the brightest lamps in the blogosphere. That he thinks he has to go to Websters to instruct us as to what "global" means says a lot about his opinion of his readers. Who among us doesn't know what they mean by "global warming"?

The depths of his attempt to rescue his hero from that Freudian slip reminds me of Clinton's agonizing over "what the meaning of 'is' is".

Syl

"When you take away the endless series of straw man arguments against Kerry, there's nothing left."

True. Nothing left but the strawman himself. The ol' botoxed scarecrow. What was it that the scarecrow was searching for again?

Brian

"And, incidentally, if by "global" Kerry did in fact mean just us'ns, the global test was passed. In the form of Congress empowering the President to go to war."

If in your style you meant "us," as in only us, that's wrong. That's not what Kerry meant.

Abu Qa'Qa

Agree with it or not, everyone here knows what Bush means or stands for.

Not everyone here understands what Kerry means or stands for.

That is Occam's razor applied to this issue.

Slartibartfast
If in your style you meant "us," as in only us, that's wrong.

Brian: try to follow the thread. Cole attempted to make "global test" mean approval by Americans, and that's what was being discussed. Your disagreement with Juan Cole is noted, however.

The Lonewacko Blog

what does a president do if he thinks his presentation will fail the global test?

Under that condition, he won't be able to justify the strike. Perhaps he shouldn't make the strike then, since apparently he doesn't have enough evidence. Perhaps the president should examine the evidence and determine whether a strike is really necessary, or whether it's just something he feels like doing.

I put a link to my discussion of the global test in the earlier post, and I've updated that since then.

I've also posted How you fail the global test. Failing the global test, as shown at that post, shouldn't be a laughing matter.

Bill
Still unanswered from the Kerry side - what does a president do if he thinks his presentation will fail the global test?

A better one would be "what does a president do if he things the 'world community has failed the global test"

Answer. What Bush, Blair and the rest did. Ooopps. Forgot, the "Global Test" is only to be held against the US. The World gets a pass.

Doug Macdonald

I think people are missing the most important aspect of the Acheson meeting with de Gaulle on October 22, 1962 mentioned by John Kerry in the presidential debate last week. It is true, as Kerry stated in the debate, that de Gaulle declined to look at the evidence being offered of the missiles in Cuba because he thought it unnecessary. (He looked at it later and was reportedly impressed.) But what Kerry and others miss is that de Gaulle began the meeting by accepting US “unilateralism” on the issue:

“On 22 October 1962, Dean Acheson entered the [French] presidential office at the Elysee, followed by a colleague [Sherman Kent of the CIA] carrying several rolled-up maps and photographic documents and embarked at once on the question of Cuba. “I understand that you have not come to consult me,” said de Gaulle, “but to inform me.” “That is correct,” the visitor [i.e., Acheson] replied, and went on to in form him that irrevocable decisions had already been taken, while anxious to show de Gaulle maps and photographs proving that the US was in the right.”

[Jean Lacouture, *De Gaulle: The Ruler, 1945-1970* (New York: Norton, 1992), p. 375. This is the second volume of Lacouture’s more-or-less definitive biography of de Gaulle.]

It was at this point that de Gaulle said he did not have to see the evidence and that Kennedy’s word was good enough. This gives it a very different context, it seems to me, and there was no "global test" involved. Full disclosure: I am sending this to several other blogs also, because I think it deserves wide distribution.


Brian

"Brian: try to follow the thread. Cole attempted to make "global test" mean approval by Americans, and that's what was being discussed. Your disagreement with Juan Cole is noted, however."

To imply that's all that he meant, which is what several people have tried to do, is wrong.

Slartibartfast
To imply that's all that he meant, which is what several people have tried to do, is wrong.

At this point the usual procedure is to introduce evidence in support of your point. Given that you've been repeatedly notified that you can't just make a claim without some sort of support, I'm just going to declare you wrong until you've rectified the situation.

Brian

"At this point the usual procedure is to introduce evidence in support of your point."

Well, you could start by rereading what Cole actually said.

Matthew Ryan

"You have to be willfully ignorant to read the transcript and be 'confused' about what he meant when he said 'global test'."

I don't think you can flat out say that. Has your assertion passed the 'global test'?


Slartibartfast
Well, you could start by rereading what Cole actually said.

Thrice done, Brian, before I ever posted a word here. Again, point out something or put a sock in it.

scott

Brian

Well, you could start by rereading what Cole actually said.

Mr. Cole wrote- The "global test" Kerry speaks of relates in his mind to convincing "your countrymen"

Err... Was Kerry speaking of his French countrymen, maybe?

Cole:- Military action has to pass a complete test, in order to gain the entire confidence of the US public

My confidence was gained when Kerry/Edwards were both among those who voted for the resolution authorizing military action in a wildly popular measure among Americans.

Cole again- Kerry is saying that Bush's reasons for going to war were flawed and incomplete, so that in some polls less than half of Americans now say it was justified.

I seem to remember that the approval ratings were much higher when we actually began the war... does that help us pass our "locally-global-thoroughgoing" test?

And the Cole quote that blows your butt away- Misunderstanding Kerry's "global" to mean "worldwide" is just as bad an error as misunderstanding it to mean "spherical."

Flash

I liked the global test better the first time ... when it was called the "Powell Doctrine."

I do not understand why people who are presumably able to tie their own shoes will scratch their head and moan incessantly that they don't know what Kerrrryyy meeannnttt. Moooooommm!!!

Good Lord. It's very clear from what he said in the moment and what he's been saying at least since his acceptance speech: In order to not lose standing in the eyes of the world, it is important to prove the case.

That does NOT mean other countries have to approve. It only means that they should not be able to point and laugh when every single brick in your wall of evidence crumbles into dust the way Bush's has.

Scorpio

As someone pointed out, Thomas Jefferson used similar language to mean the people of the US. Go argue with him.

ahem

Not everyone here understands what Kerry means or stands for.

Well, that particular subset is fucking stupid. Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them to gain domestic support. Domestic support is a demonstration (i.e. 'a proof') to others.

Obviously, this is hard work for you.

ahem

Err... Was Kerry speaking of his French countrymen, maybe?

No, but thanks for epitomizing the first syllable of 'countryman'.

Wow, this is hard work for people here.

Cecil Turner

"Good Lord. It's very clear from what he said in the moment and what he's been saying at least since his acceptance speech: In order to not lose standing in the eyes of the world, it is important to prove the case. "

What does that mean in real life? Do you hold strike aircraft waiting for evidence? Do you have lawyers review combat operations before execution? Do you really want the most powerful man in the world making life-and-death decisions based on appearances? Sorry, no sale. Defending the nation is not a global popularity contest, and decisions on going to war should not depend on how well we can spin it later.

Besides, what I think he really meant was: "55% of the American people think Iraq wasn't worth it, so I'm gonna bash Bush on the issue." Which would be perfectly reasonable hardball politics. But he got a bit excited with the delivery, and ran off the reservation. I hope so. Because if he meant what you just wrote, he's a blithering idiot.

Flash

Cecil, where in what I said do you see anything about appearances? It's just the opposite. It's REALITY. The reality in Iraq has turned out to be nothing like what Bush and his administration assured everyone ... Americans and the world both ... that it was.

Because of that, our credbility has suffered, our ability to build alliances is weakened. The next time we assert that another country poses a gathering threat that has to be dealt with militarily, it's even more likely that we won't be able to build a coaltion.

You can scorn France and Germany all you like for daring to question Bush, but they were right, and nothing can change that.

So it's precisely the reverse of what you say. You make decisions based on facts that can't be disputed, or at worst, very strong inferences drawn from intelligence information that isn't based on disregarding information you don't want to hear.

As I said, this is exactly the doctrine that Colin Powell has long espoused and that conservatives used to like until it got in the way of Bush's Iraq intentions.

Brian

"Again, point out something or put a sock in it."

I'll try it again: you have high standards to go to war, that both the country would accept, since it's the one that is behind the war, and that those around the globe would accept, since you will probably need support in various ways. You can try to squeeze different things out of this, but that's basically it.

Hopefully, Kerry can make this a bit clearer on Friday so the Bush-Cheney campaign's nonsense will be entirely ineffective.

ahem

Do you really want the most powerful man in the world making life-and-death decisions based on appearances? Sorry, no sale.

Wow, where did you get that strawman? A state fair? It's not about appearances. Surely this isn't that much hard work.

Iraq wasn't a life-and-death decision, was it? It didn't look like one, it didn't feel like one, it didn't smell like one. (Although now it has become one.) And that's the damn point.

There's something of a parallel with the much-debated 'ticking timebomb' scenario with relation to torture from some months back. The ethically-sound position is to not legalize torture, while respecting the fact that individuals facing such in extremis situations may have to do something illegal, but be vindicated afterwards, either by a jury or by the power of pardon. You don't lower the standard.

As commander-in-chief, you do what's necessary, in the belief that your actions are justifiable afterwards. In some situations, you do it as part of an ongoing domestic debate; in others you don't have that luxury.

And this isn't about France. Heck, Canada didn't even want a part of it.

Brian

"Err... Was Kerry speaking of his French countrymen, maybe?"

Hysterical comments like that don't earn points.

"My confidence was gained when Kerry/Edwards were both among those who voted for the resolution authorizing military action in a wildly popular measure among Americans."

I don't place a great deal of emphasis on what the American public thinks in these matters, at least not most of the time, since the issues are so complex. There's a great chance for misinformation, which the Bush-Cheney people capitalized on perfectly. Witness the startling number of people that believed Saddam was connected to 9/11 when that was never the case.

If you actually look at what Kerry said, take out the bullshit factor that we have to allow for any candidate, you will see...nah, nevermind. It's too easy for you to demagogue the issue.

"I seem to remember that the approval ratings were much higher when we actually began the war... does that help us pass our "locally-global-thoroughgoing" test?"

See above for at least a partial explaination.

"And the Cole quote that blows your butt away"

Yeah, right.

Cecil Turner

"Cecil, where in what I said do you see anything about appearances? It's just the opposite. It's REALITY. "

Okay, what does "In order to not lose standing in the eyes of the world" have to do with REALITY? Because I sure don't see the relationship.

"You can scorn France and Germany all you like. . ."

I don't recall scorning them. But, it's worth pointing out they don't really have our best interests at heart (France especially . . . Chirac in particular has been complaining about US "hyperpower" since at least 1999)--and really have no incentive to help. Trying to come up with a plan that they'll sign on to sounds like an exercise in futility.

Cecil Turner

"There's something of a parallel with the much-debated 'ticking timebomb' scenario with relation to torture from some months back. . . As commander-in-chief, you do what's necessary, in the belief that your actions are justifiable afterwards."

No. It's not a law-enforcement exercise and the analogy is inapt. The President's duty is to protect, not justify, and justification has no part in the decision-making process. You do what's necessary . . . period.

Thersites

The President's duty is to protect, not justify, and justification has no part in the decision-making process. You do what's necessary . . . period.

Replace "president" with "dictator" and you have a point there.

Ally

Kerry says "a global test" for multi-lateral action in Iraq, but then says "unilateral" summit with North Korea and the U.S., leaving out China.

Actually, no. He wants to integrate bilateral (us and NK) and multi-lateral (us, NK, and the other countries in the region, including China) summits and govern accordingly with the fullest, most global (or comprehensive) form of diplomacy.

Jim Leher stated this himself, asking, “And you want both?” Kerry said yes. One of his surrogates, Gen. Wesley Clarke talked about how we’d given up a lot of our “power” and “face” (meaning the face we show the world, as in the phrase “losing face”) in that region by asking China to help us out, which indicated to the culture in that region that we were unable to talk with North Korea ourselves. (Apparently in China, they don’t do the “I’m not talking to Billy. Susie, you tell Billy I said XYZ” crap that kids learn to do here.)

Try not distort Kerry’s positions. I know it’s hard when you can’t win honestly, but seriously, I don’t think you want the karma.

To whom must the U.S. apply for permission before we act, and why? And will other countries be held to the same standard? If not, why?

The “global test” has nothing to do with permission. As Juan Cole actually points out, it was said in past tense: it’s about what you can later prove. It’s better if you can show, going in, but if you attempt to show and fail, you can still later, pass the global test (and you’re correct – this is where Bush went wrong, his attempts were feeble and his assertions turned out, at best, to be wrong and, at worst, to be lies). For instance, if we had found nuclear weapons in Sadaam’s closet, then we would have passed the global test. If there had been a proven link between 9/11 and Sadaam Hussein, we would have passed the global test. It has to do with legitimacy, in the eyes of your people and the eyes of the world.

People say that you can’t have legitimacy when you’re losing a war, but that’s bullshit. When the British were “losing” World War II and half of Europe had fallen, there was no assertion that fighting the war was wrong. All wars are somewhat “wrong” I suppose (in that war itself is, obviously not a positive thing), but some are legitimate. Even the Gulf War passed the global test. The war in Afghanistan passed the global test. Iraq doesn’t.

More on point: if the UN passes a resolution stating Iran can't have its own nuclear arsenal but then refuse to enforce it are we obliged to sit on our hands until they attack someone?

No, but you have to actually prove – and be right – that Iran has its own nuclear arsenal. Then, you have to exhaust the diplomatic steps. In Bush’s case, his diplomatic failings were both an issue of arrogance and incompetence. Remember, this President had global support, which he did nothing to earn – it was handed to him, graciously, by the world after 9/11. He did nothing to live up to that support and everything to erode it. It’s not that the world deserves “veto” power – it’s that they deserve to be respectfully welcomed to the table and properly conversed with. The President failed to build a coalition primarily because he failed to show the world respect and good manners, as well as because he lacked any sort of strategic planning in either his diplomacy or his management of the war.

Well, Kerry somewhat undermines Cole's "global means domestic" argument by citing Powell's presentation to the UN, and Kennedy's presentation to DeGaulle.

It doesn’t say “global means domestic” – it says it means complete. That is it has to pass a thorough test. You have to be doing the right things for the right reasons, and you have to go about it the right way.

It fits the definition, per dictionary.com (also per Webster) which reads: Comprehensive; total: i.e. “a... global, generalized sense of loss”

Of course, it could have been a spherical test too, I suppose. Even if it means the one that the Right is currently using – they’re not using it correctly. Beyond spherical and total, global can also mean: “Of, relating to, or involving the entire earth; worldwide.”

Yet the Right is saying that forces primarily outside of our nation would determine policy, which is not so, even with this definition (which is not, based on reading it for context, what I think he meant). We live on the earth, and our policies that affect this earth should involve the entire earth, including (but not limited to) ourselves. He didn’t say the foreign test, or the UN test. In no way, no matter which definition you choose, does “global” mean “foreign.”

The fourth and final definition is “of or relating to an entire document, program, or file,” which is connected to computer science by the dictionary.

The "global test" is passed for Afghanistan, as the world agrees with us that Osama and al-qaeda should be either given up or killed. So we go after him. Afghanistan gets liberated, Osama and his buddies scram, many of whom head to IRaq, where they previously had much support.
Except they didn’t head to Iraq, and Osama bin Laden escaped through the mountains because we didn’t send in sufficient troops.
Powell and Bush go to the UN, and other international summits claiming that Saddam is harboring these very same Islamic terrorists and reconstituting his WMD programs.
Except, years later, they now can prove neither of these, and Colin Powell had to apologize for the speech he gave.
We state this is unacceptable. The UN tells the insepctors to go back in, Saddam lies as usual and give the ultimatum.
Actually, many international experts say he was on the cusp of allowing the inspectors back in. We also promised to hold two more separate U.N. votes, but when it was evident that we’d lose, the President decides not to even though he has agreed to. (Don’t y’all have a word for that? Changing your position?)\
Saddam calls our bluff, we liberate the country and behold!- find all kinds of Islamic terrorists and their plans to attack the US.
Except the terrorists didn’t have a strong-hold in the country until we “broke” (I mean that in the Pottery Barn, “you break it, you own it,” Colin Powell sense) it. Oh, and we haven’t “liberated” them yet. When we aren’t training Iraquis to fight Iraquis and there are actual free elections, then we can say “liberated” – right now, we’re occupying them. It will be lovely for Iraquis if there ever is a free Iraq; there are several problems still, even if they are free, namely that that’s not why we said we were going to war, we haven’t liberated plenty of other countries with brutal dictators (and can’t afford to), and the reconstruction “oil money” that belonged to their country, rightly, was improperly spent. However, I certainly hope that we win the war at this point, and that we do, in fact, liberate Iraq. I seriously doubt that this President, who has mismanaged at every turn, can do that. I’m not sure if John Kerry can – I’m not sure if anybody can – but I am in agreement with the former President Eisenhower’s son and many other former Ambassadors and Generals in saying I think it’s possible and that he has shown, at the very least, a level of competency and understanding that this President does not have.

Here's what I mean: If, at the end of the above "global test" statement, he said, "And if the world doesn't agree with our valid, correct position, we'll tell 'em to piss up a rope and do what we have to do," we wouldn't be having this discussion here today.

I personally want my President to have a better grasp of language than “we’ll tell ‘em to piss up a rope,” but if you want the sentiment, you can find it here, in a speech:
“I will never cede America's security to any institution or any other country.' No one gets a veto over our security. No one. And if they were honest enough to give America the full quote, which America heard, they would know that I'm never going to allow America's security to be outsourced.”
-John Kerry

Agree with it or not, everyone here knows what Bush means or stands for.
You mean the same George Bush who ran as a moderate in 2000, and said, “I would never pass Federal legislation on gay marriage. That’s for the states to decide,” in a debate against Al Gore. You mean the same George Bush who said he was going to hold another vote in the U.N. and then cancelled it when he couldn’t get the support for the measures he wanted. You mean the same George Bush who said he wanted Osama bin Laden “dead or alive,” and then, after not finding him years later, said, “I don’t really think about him,” and has diverted our military strength into an unrelated country in the Middle East. You mean the same George Bush who supports the Assault Weapons ban and is the leader of the party that controls every branch of government, yet he couldn’t manage to get it renewed – and didn’t even appear to try? I could go on and on…
Although, to be fair, there is one thing about George Bush that I am certain on – I’m certain the surest way to be proven wrong is to give him the benefit of the doubt on anything.
Not everyone here understands what Kerry means or stands for.
I usually understand pretty much what he means, but honestly, I can understand if some of y’all don’t. He doesn’t talk down to people like many politicians. He doesn’t speak the language of the people, that I’ll grant you, and that’s a political weakness. Oddly enough, your argument against Kerry seems to be that he’s too political – our greatest frustration with him (and by “our,” I mean Kerry supporters, not Democrats, as I’m a registered Independent) is that he’s not political enough.
I’ve seen the man speak. I understand him. I don’t always agree with him on every single issue, but I believe he has the competency and character needed to make the tough decisions. And I believe he has the character needed to admit when you make a mistake, as all humans are bound to do. This President has hubris where he should have judgement – and hubris should not be mistaken for certainty or strength, though it often is at first.

what does a president do if he thinks his presentation will fail the global test?

Then thing you’re missing is you cannot be right and truly fail the global test. If the whole world had disagree with us, and we had thus far come up with actual “proof” that we had good reason to attack Iraq (there is no such conclusive proof, and neither the world, nor the majority of Americans believes there is), we would still have passed the global test. The global test, put very simply, is justification.

Perhaps the President believed he would be eventually justified in his war on Iraq. If that’s the case, he did not lie, but he was still vitally wrong. He presided over an administration that allowed and submitted erroneous intelligence, and he made a grave error in judgement that made us less safe. On competence alone then, he should not be re-elected. If he never cared about – or believed we would be – being justified in his war, then he also acted wrongly on that count as well – and that, of course, is much worse.

Defending the nation is not a global popularity contest, and decisions on going to war should not depend on how well we can spin it later.

It’s not about spin: it’s about reality. Justification is either there, or it’s not. That’s the global test. It’s not a popularity contest; it’s being right, being truthful, and being able to prove it either before or after you take action.


Cecil Turner

"Replace "president" with "dictator" and you have a point there."

Wow, deep. (And the nifty echo of Bush=Hitler is a bonus.) But since we already had a Joint Resolution for the use of force in Iraq, and nobody appears to be claiming the Administration failed to follow either the Constitution or the law, or that there's any legal requirement to conduct the "global test," or that the President's actions in any way interfered with the subsequent presidential elections, it's hard to see how the "dictator" point would be pertinent.

Cecil Turner

"It’s not about spin: it’s about reality. Justification is either there, or it’s not. That’s the global test. It’s not a popularity contest; it’s being right, being truthful, and being able to prove it either before or after you take action."

Your definition of "justification" and "prove[ing] it" appear to be predominantly in the eye of the beholder. And I can reasonably expect that if the beholder is a nation that's a strategic competitor receiving billions in oil contracts and bribes, they aren't likely to buy off on our "justification."

If it's just a matter of doing the right thing, hey, no problem. But then I don't see the need for a "global test."

Ally

Your definition of "justification" and "prove[ing] it" appear to be predominantly in the eye of the beholder. And I can reasonably expect that if the beholder is a nation that's a strategic competitor receiving billions in oil contracts and bribes, they aren't likely to buy off on our "justification."

Justification is being right. If we said Sadaam had stockpiles of WMDs, and he actually did and we could conclusively prove it, then we'd be right whether France liked it or not and we'd pass the global test. This administration cannot prove, in any way, that there was legitimacy in their methods or reasoning for invading Iraq the way we did. That's especially noted by the ever-changing false justification for the war. First, it was WMDs (even though we didn't find them). Then, it was there's a link (even though there wasn't). Then, it was hey, look the Iraqis are free. The President misled (whether it was intentional or not) his way into this war, and that's why it cannot pass the global test.

If it's just a matter of doing the right thing, hey, no problem. But then I don't see the need for a "global test."

The "right thing," is subjective, I guess. I would say you have to actually be correct and base your decisions on sound intelligence. You also have to do things the right way. Even if you believe Bush had the best of intentions (I would disagree, personally), you have to remember that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Results matter. The result of this war is that there was no justification for our initial reason to go to war.

And I can reasonably expect that if the beholder is a nation that's a strategic competitor receiving billions in oil contracts and bribes, they aren't likely to buy off on our "justification."

It's always so ironic when y'all criticize any company in any nation for "reveiving billions in oil contracts and bribes." It's a classic case of national projection. That's what the leaders of our nation base their choices on, after all. The only people who are better off today because of the Iraq war is Haliburton. Someday, God willing, if we get some real leadership in control of the war, the Iraqi people might become free, and that will be a pleasant side effect of a bad policy. As I've said above, I certainly hope it happens, but it's a long way off.

Ally

The Eradicator!

it's hard to see how the "dictator" point would be pertinent.

Yes, it's hard work. It's hard. It's hard work.

It is pertinent in that this statement...

The President's duty is to protect, not justify, and justification has no part in the decision-making process. You do what's necessary . . . period.

... could only applies to a dictatorship.

Cecil Turner

"Justification is being right. If we said Sadaam had stockpiles of WMDs, and he actually did and we could conclusively prove it, then we'd be right whether France liked it or not and we'd pass the global test."

ISTM the final UNSC resolution (1441) required Iraq provide "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop . . .[WMD] . . . including . . . related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other . . . programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material."

If we're going to have a "global test," ISTM we ought to use the "global" reference. I'm not sure why the bar got raised to "stockpiles," (especially since we've got proof he was cheating on the R&D and precursor stuff) except perhaps the person administering the test wants to record a failure.

Ally

If we're going to have a "global test," ISTM we ought to use the "global" reference. I'm not sure why the bar got raised to "stockpiles," (especially since we've got proof he was cheating on the R&D and precursor stuff) except perhaps the person administering the test wants to record a failure.

First of all, you are again misunderstanding the word "global" as it was used within the context.

Second of all, the U.N. also required we go through the process before using force. You can't use the parts of their decision you agree with and not use the parts you disagree with. It got raised to stockpiles because of the language the President and his administration used in speaking to this nation and the world on why they wanted to go to war. Condi Rice said, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," and used that as the reasoning to go to war, yet we have no proof that there was any sort of weapons or any sort of plot.

The administration painted their own picture, and it was not the reality of the situation. That's how they misled (intentionally or not) the people.

Was Sadaam Hussein a bad guy? Yeah. Was he a threat? Somewhat, yes, but nowhere near our gravest threat; he was weak enough that there was a good chance of breaking his back through diplomacy with force as the loaded gun. That's why Congress ceded the powers of war to the President, because he actually said in a speech that it would help him come to a peaceful resolution. Then, he took the gun and shot the guy without asking any more questions. It wasn't smart, and it wasn't the right way to keep law and order in the global community. Period.

Ally

Cecil Turner

"Second of all, the U.N. also required we go through the process before using force."

Not true, it didn't. There was a requirement to meet again, not necessarily for a second resolution. (It was vague, apparently intentionally, to allow passage of 1441.) Amb Negroponte in a statement immediately afterward:

If there is a further Iraqi breach . . . the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required in paragraph 12 . . . If the Security Council fails to act decisively in the event of a further Iraqi violation, this resolution does not constrain any member state from acting to defend itself against the threat posed by Iraq, or to enforce relevant UN resolutions . . .
"Condi Rice said, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,"

The President summarized the threat:
"It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."
"yet we have no proof that there was any sort of weapons or any sort of plot."

Again not true. Two chem/bio rounds were used as roadside bombs (ineffectively) and about a dozen others were subsequently found. We found significant program activity, and considerable evidence parts of programs were shipped into Syria. Saddam's secret labs were quite capable of making anthrax, one kilogram of which, dropped over a major US city, could cause over 100,000 deaths (according to this report). Prisoners at Guantanamo indicated Iraq provided chem/bio training to Al Qaeda members, and that Al Qaeda was looking to Iraq for help in manufacturing chem/bio weapons.

He was a brutal dictator who'd started two wars, ran two genocide campaigns (Kurds and Marsh Arabs), used chemical weapons in warfare and on his own people, with whom we'd fought one previous war, and who was currently failing to abide by the cease-fire. And shooting at our aircraft on a regular basis. He was flouting seventeen Chapter VII UNSC resolutions, and had a US law passed requiring regime change.

Seems like a pretty easy decision to me. Which had to be made in real time with available real-world intelligence. I'd call it "justified." I'm not sure how you'd apply your "global test," especially since you seem to need a crystal ball to figure out how things will work out. But it seems a dangerously silly precedent to apply to national defense decisions.

The Eradicator!

Two chem/bio rounds were used as roadside bombs (ineffectively) and about a dozen others were subsequently found. We found significant program activity, and considerable evidence parts of programs were shipped into Syria.

In other news, the Fairytale Kingdom has been found to be hoarding Magical Gumdrops of Mass Destruction.

Cecil Turner

"In other news, the Fairytale Kingdom has been found to be hoarding Magical Gumdrops of Mass Destruction."

I take it that's a cutesy request for cites. Here's a few: CentCom:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraq Survey Group confirmed that a 155mm artillery round found here May 15 in the early morning contained Sarin nerve agent. The round was rigged as part of an improvised explosive device . . .
FoxNews had more:
BAGHDAD, Iraq--A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent (search) recently exploded near a U.S. military convoy, the U.S. military said Monday. Bush administration officials told Fox News that mustard gas (search) was also recently discovered.
Reuters covered the story about the shells found by the Polish contingent:
WARSAW (Reuters) - Artillery shells found by Polish troops in Iraq definitely contained the deadly nerve agent cyclosarin, the Polish army said on Friday. . .
ISG's David Kay:
"We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."

Brian

Cecil,

Two things. First, none of that is significant. If there was anything to justify the administration's claims for weapons, we would be hearing about it. Maybe they will find something one day, but as we've seen numerous times since the end of major combat operations, we've been told that we've finally found something, only to be disappointed some time later.

Second, if I sent you an e-mail, would you respond?

Hrubec

I think the brouhaha the Repubs are trying to whip up about the "global test" phrase proves both their desperation and their increasingly tired reliance on the politics of deception and misrepresentation. They play semantics to distort perfectly clear principles. Is this the best they can do to cover up their President's impression of a retarded chimpanzee in the first debate? I noticed he leapt on it, as it fit the programming he's been given - find a WORD or PHRASE to mock, never mind about substance or reality. Remember, as Repubs always do, people are D.U.M.B.

Kerry probably would have chosen a different term if he had not been under the severe time restraints of a debate. However, his point was crystal clear and is no different from the kind of "moral test" we all place on ourselves day to day. If you are going to take an action that appears on the surface to be perhaps unwise, where you don't have time to get agreement from other parties who may be involved, you will do so only if you know that WHEN the time comes for being accountable for your behavior, you will be able to explain it satisfactorily. If you feel you will not be able to justify the action, that is a sign the action may be wrong.

It's extremely simple, basic and the essence of rational behavior. If Bush had behaved using this standard, perhaps we would not find ourselves in a situation where we learn almost daily that intelligence was cooked and cherry picked. Even today Bremer has come out agreeing with the military professionals who were fired or deposed by the Bushies that we went into Iraq with inadequate manpower and planning.

Repubs are trying to make the case that the US should be free to be trigger happy, that being trigger happy is equivalent to good leadership, and that the threats to our security are so grave and immediate that we do not have to be bound by common sense or moral responsibility. It is shocking really to hear this apologia from this bastion of uprightness (or was that the old, pre-Bush Republican party?) - We now have the Bush Doctrine (penned by Dick Cheney, ironically enough) that says we are a nation that does NOT need to have accountability. Proof of this is that Rumsfeld is still Defense Sec. after creating the worst military debacle in our history, not to mention the eternal disgrace of Abu Ghraib, Rice is still Nat Security chief after failing apparently to advise her dumbfuck boss that the intelligence he was using was garbage, Feith is still Undersec. months after we learn his office is infested with spies., Ashcroft is still bloviating despite not producing ONE STINKING CONVICTION in the great War on Terra...the list could go on and on.

What Repubs are advocating is endless war, where the US puts itself above the rights of all other humans, and deems its own security so sacrosanct that it need not ever justify actions taken even if civiilains in other lands are decimated wrongly. This coiincides with the world view of Goebbels: Just tell your people they are threatened from the outside. Keep them in a constant state of fear. Denounce and punish all dissent as unpatriotic....With this policy, there is no limit to what power can do.

anon

Laptops Stolen From Bush Campaign Officehttp://apnews.myway.com/article/20041001/D85EUJG01.html

Historian: Kerry FBI files stolen (April 2004)
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/West/03/27/kerry.documents/

Cecil Turner

Brian: "First, none of that is significant. Second, if I sent you an e-mail, would you respond?"

First, it is if you want to claim there were "no WMDs in Iraq," or that Saddam was complying with 1441. Second, it depends on content.

Hrubec:"What Repubs are advocating is endless war, where the US puts itself above the rights of all other humans, and deems its own security so sacrosanct that it need not ever justify actions taken even if civiilains in other lands are decimated wrongly."

So far, in this "endless war," we've taken about 2/3 of our casualties in the first, sneak, attack. We've toppled two totalitarian governments with an unprecedentedly low level of civilian casualties, and our military strikes have been remarkably precise. By contrast, enemy attacks have killed thousands of civilians, often intentionally.

You seem to think the "rights of all other humans" means dictatorial terror sponsors must be allowed to fund and train Islamist terrorists without interference. I disagree. I think our security is "so sacrosanct" that we can legitimately change regimes that insist on arming and training our enemies. And that stands in stark contrast to the "law enforcement" or "global test" approach to the WoT.

"This coiincides with the world view of Goebbels: Just tell your people they are threatened from the outside. Keep them in a constant state of fear. Denounce and punish all dissent as unpatriotic..."

I detest Nazi analogies--and most of the electorate does too. This kind of stuff is singularly unconvicing, and for every barking moonbat you whip into a voting frenzy, you'll drive two swing voters away. When did Michael Moore get punished? Must've been after the Dem convention, cuz I'm pretty sure I saw him there.

Hrubec

Cecil, SOURCE PLEASE that the enemy has killed more civilians than we have. Oh, that's right, you can't source it because guess what? We don't keep track of civilian casualties! How convenient! So you can basically say whatever you want, never have to source it...because the information isn't available! Clever. Modern warfare.

Listen, your problem here is that your argument sounds fine on paper. Sure, we can destroy any regime that arms and hides our enemies. But since we now have a regime here in Washington DC that puts no stock in telling the truth, that has no transparency, that only admits wrongdoing when it gets caught, that has no accountability...what exactly is holding their feet to the fire of HUMAN DECENCY?

You can't answer that. Any answer you give will necessarily be bullshit. Because this is a secret administration. They do not tell the truth to the American people, and are all too willing to politicize anything for political purposes. Believe me, as a New Yorker, the spectacle of watching these beasts whore our dead for their reelection campaign was the most sickening thing I've ever witnessed. (And please don't bring up Giuliani - the man sealed his fate. He may run for Governor of Mississippi someday if he chooses, but he is dead to us after what he did that day.)These men will do anything for political gain. Nazi references may be unwelcome, but sadly, in this case, perfectly applicable.

There is no logical argument against what Kerry REALLY said. Not the semantic ploy you guys are playing. A civilized government must "possess a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." It is the simplest thing in the world. If preemptive action is needed, Kerry will take it. However, in taking it, he will have convinced himself that is justifiable in keeping with both national and international norms of decency - and that such a case can be made AFTER THE FACT, not as a deterrent to action. What the fuck is your problem with this? It is asinine.

The Repubs are desperate. They got nothing. Can't wait for Friday.

Ally

Prisoners at Guantanamo indicated Iraq provided chem/bio training to Al Qaeda members, and that Al Qaeda was looking to Iraq for help in manufacturing chem/bio weapons.

Prisoners that are being intimidated into cooperating are giving us information? Great. I can rest easy. Prisoners are not the most reliable source of information. The only outside source you linked to was from Febuary 2003, back when the bad intelligence was saying what a threat Sadaam was, and the article didn't even say that there was a link. It said "officials disagree whether there's a link or not," --- well, in case you haven't heard, the disagreement has been resolved. There wasn't a link.

The other two links you provided with support seemed to be for this site, and they were broken. Some evidence.

If the Bush administration could prove Sadaam was the sort of considerable and immediate threat that they painted him as, they would prove it. They can't.

I'd call it "justified." I'm not sure how you'd apply your "global test," especially since you seem to need a crystal ball to figure out how things will work out. But it seems a dangerously silly precedent to apply to national defense decisions.

There's a right way to go about waging war and a wrong way. First, you have to exhaust every possible diplomatic effort you can afford. Sadaam was not an immediate threat, and we could have --- and should have --- gone through the proper measures, even if they failed, before choosing war. Second, you have to have some good data. When the intelligence is considered laughable a year later, your data wasn't up to par. When more than half of Americans think the war is incorrect, your data wasn't up to par. If there was real justification for this war, the vast majority of Americans would continue to rally behind the President no matter how many casualties were lost.

The war in Iraq was reckless, irresponsible, and possibly (if we had gone the diplomatic route to our fullest capabilities) unneccesary.

I think our security is "so sacrosanct" that we can legitimately change regimes that insist on arming and training our enemies.

There was no link. This is like someone insisting that the world is flat. No, it's round. Deal with it.

And that stands in stark contrast to the "law enforcement" or "global test" approach to the WoT.

If stark contrast is all you want, then that's fine, but it's not making us safer. It's not making less terrorists or fewer terror attacks. Al Queda is not being crippled and crushed out of existence because of Iraq; quite the contrary. Because of our diversionary war in Iraq, al Queda is growing strong again and Osama bin Laden is still a free man.

There's a smart way to fight the War on Terror, and that's with every weapon in our arsenal, including restraint and diplomacy. We have to realize that military resources are finite, not infinite. We have to have the best intelligence, and the best planning; military strength alone is not enough. Plus, our military strength is actually diminishing as the army is finding it harder and harder to recruit new troops.

Say, perhaps you ought to sign up?

When did Michael Moore get punished? Must've been after the Dem convention, cuz I'm pretty sure I saw him there.

The poster said that y'all "denounce and punish all dissent as unpatriotic," which is exactly what you do to Michael Moore. Nobody said anyone wanted to killed him, but there was a hate-fest for him at the RNC, so he's obviously being denounced. It does not say punish, full-stop. It says "punish as unpatriotic." I hear the Rightwing spin machine call Michael Moore unpatriotic all week long. You just actually proved the poster's point.

Ally

Hrubec

"We have to realize that military resources are finite, not infinite. "

Ally you will find if you hang out at this site often enough, that the posters here do not recognize any limits to militarism. It is almost a religion. It proves manhood, leadership, decisiveness. It is basically, the same macho ethic that teenage boys in inner city gangs use - they are at risk of being killed, therefore they arm themselves and kill first. However, when a fat man with a pacemaker wearing a thousand dollar suit uses the same principle, he is a patriot.

The Republican media message could not survive without all the subconscious undertones so skillfully placed,i.e. bringing in the Governator clown to say "girly man" at regular intervals. The insinuation is that reason, decency and adherence to the principles of Thomas Jefferson are in fact effeminate and irrelevant to today's world. In this brave new neocon universe, might makes right. Period. And as long as they can terrify all the cowardly undereducated Americans into peeing their pants with panic, they can do just about anything they want - ethics be damned. (There, Cecil, I rephrased Goebbels into the way we talk here in 2004. Better?)

Cecil Turner

"There's a right way to go about waging war and a wrong way."

Your opinion is noted. You teach at a war college? If so, how do you explain the "global test" when applied to a go-to-war decision? Or do you not really apply it, except after the fact? (I thought so.)

"There was no link."

No link between whom? Saddam and terrorists? Puh-leeze. Again from 1441:

Deploring also that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) with regard to terrorism, pursuant to resolution 688 (1991) to end repression of its civilian population . . .
Hrubec, I got the "Bush=Hitler" thing. Repetition doesn't make it more convincing.

Hrubec

Cecil, did you get the Kerry=Jefferson thing? Why do you refuse to address the central point I am making? Do you object to the United States being held to any international standards whatsoever? Do you have a problem with the basic principles upon which our nation is founded?

Bush isn't Hitler. He's just a cowardly, amoral, intellectually deficient, weak little front man for a neocon cabal that has no respect whatsoever for the brave, noble principles embodied in our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution.

Why won't you just address this issue? We not only have a Conservative party that believes in Borrow and Spend, we have a Republican party that shamelessly waves the flag of a country whose founding principles they spit on.

Cecil Turner

"Cecil, did you get the Kerry=Jefferson thing? Why do you refuse to address the central point I am making?"

Hrubec, I must have missed the part where Kerry was Jefferson reincarnated, and I'm not wading back through your diatribes to find it. If you have a sensible point to make, try trimming all the crap (e.g., "cowardly, amoral, intellectually deficient, weak little . . . ") from it and repost. Or, better yet, don't bother.

Hrubec

Kerry = Upholding the Jeffersonian principle of "a decent respect to the opinion of mankind" upon which our nation was based. Or do they not teach that part of our history down in the red states? This whole "global test" nonsense is just political semantics about him restating this basic American principle. Nothing more. I think you know it. I just think you can't give in, and you need to keep propping up your Chimp in Chief.

The biggest surprise I've had during this election cycle is learning that today's Republicans are the biggest pussies our country has ever known. ONE terrorist attack, in a city they all DESPISE, and they're ready to sell the store. We don't need no stinkin' American values. They're acting like frightened teenage gang members and calling it courage. Talk about caving into terrorists. Geez, it didn't take much to have you guys handing over our Constitutional rights, responsibilities or principles...What easy targets you are. I think if Al Queda ever gets to Georgia, you'd all be just fall down and cry for mercy.

Do any of you EVER wonder why we New Yorkers hate Bush with the passion of a billion suns? We're the ones who took the biggest hit. If we aren't running to Daddy Bush's shelter with our tails between our legs, what exactly is wrong with you rednecks? All hat and no cattle, it seems.

dai

No link between whom? Saddam and terrorists? Puh-leeze.

Care to explain this?

Rumsfeld questions Saddam-Bin Laden link

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cast doubt on whether there was ever a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

dai

And this, from the same article:

On Monday, Mr Rumsfeld also said intelligence about weapons of mass destruction before the invasion had been faulty and that the US had been unable to find any such weapons.

Why is that radical leftist Rumsfeld "raising the bar"?

Thesaurus

Thesaurus entry for "global" at http://www.yourdictionary.com

global (adjective)

1) So pervasive and all-inclusive as to exist in or affect the whole world:

catholic, cosmic, cosmopolitan, ecumenical, pandemic, planetary, universal, worldwide.

2) Covering a wide scope:

all-around, all-inclusive, all-round, broad, broad-spectrum, comprehensive, expansive, extended, extensive, far-ranging, far-reaching, general, inclusive, large, overall, sweeping, wide-ranging, wide-reaching, widespread.

Ant. See limited, specific.

Cecil Turner

"Kerry = Upholding the Jeffersonian principle of "a decent respect to the opinion of mankind" upon which our nation was based"

Well, to quibble, the Revolution was based on that. The Nation was based more on "We the people . . ." But I take your point. However, Jefferson's "requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course . . ." doesn't seem to require any "global test" or "proof." (And "holding these truths to be self-evident" doesn't appear to be an attempt to lay out a provable case. Moreover, it'd be hard to find an comparable way to characterize intelligence estimates.) At any rate, I think you've stretched the analogy past the breaking point.

". .. Republicans are the biggest pussies. . . We don't need no stinkin' . . . frightened teenage gang members . . caving into terrorists. . . easy targets . . .cry for mercy . . . the passion of a billion suns"

Ah, good, more entertaining than last time.

Cecil Turner

"Care to explain this? Rumsfeld questions Saddam-Bin Laden link"

Like Rumsfeld, I'm not aware of any "strong, hard evidence that links" Saddam and Bin Laden. But to extend that to no links between Saddam and Al Qaeda is incorrect, and to stretch it even further to no links between Saddam and terrorists is demonstrably false:

Iraq . . . has given some support to anti-peace process Palestinian groups, and hosts the Abu Nidal Organization, Abu Abbas’ Palestine Liberation Front, and other minor groups. . . . Iraq continues to host and provide some older surplus weaponry to the PMOI’s army, the National Liberation Army (NLA), which has bases near the border with Iran. However, Iraq apparently has reduced support for the group as Iraq’s relations with Tehran have improved over the past two years.
There's also public check-signing ceremonies for families of suicide bombers, and links to some Al Qaeda factions, like hosting Zarqawi in Baghdad, and various meetings documented by the 9/11 commission (though almost completely unreported by the media). E.g., Tenet's statement:
"We have credible reporting that al-Qaeda's leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."
There's also evidence Oil-for-food money may have been
diverted to Al Qaeda accounts, though that's somewhat speculative (and supposedly under internal investigation by the UN).

Hrubec

Glad to give you entertainment, Cecil. You're the rare Repub who doesn't back down from a confrontation. Why are all your pals such wimps that they require a bloviating echo chamber in order to discuss their opinions?

I see you're very adept at semantics and word twisting. But you (and the completely irrelevant Thesaurus above) certainly realize what you're doing is willfully missing the point.

I think I'll let someone else speak for me this time, William Saletan, one of the growing numbers of Republicans with too much principle and decency to remain attached to this President. His article at MSN today is called "Global Test - it's called Reality " and ends thusly:

"This is the test Bush has failed. He has failed to produce evidence for his prewar claims of Iraqi WMD and operational ties to al-Qaida, or for his postwar claims of success against the insurgency. Now he's going further. He's not simply failing the test. He's refusing to take it.

Listen to Bush's words again. "The president's job is not to take an international poll," he says. "Our national security decisions will be made in the Oval Office, not in foreign capitals." Bush doesn't say these decisions belong to the United States. He says they belong to the Oval Office. He frames this as patriotism, boasting that he doesn't care whether he offers evidence sufficient to convince people in France. He shows no awareness or concern that evidence is also necessary to convince people in Ohio. He says it isn't his job to take a "poll," to hear what others think. He needs no validation.

Bush pretends he's just blowing off the French. But his comments show a pattern of blowing off external feedback in general. He shrugs off information that debunks his claims about WMD, arguing that it's more important for a president to understand the overall nature of the world. He defines credibility as agreement with himself. He reinterprets evidence of policy mistakes in postwar Iraq as evidence of success. In Thursday's debate, he dismissed unwelcome reports from that country as too offensive to heed. And according to Sunday's New York Times, he and his aides exaggerated Iraq's nuclear capability, ignoring warnings from "the government's foremost nuclear experts."

Bush claims he has done all this to protect you. But that claim is precisely what's challenged by the evidence he conceals or disregards. What he's protecting you from is the ability to measure his assertions against the world that you and I can see. That's the global test he's mocking. And he expects you to applaud him for it, because he thinks you resent the French so much you'd rather have a president accountable to no one."

That about wraps it up. I'm loving this global test actually, gives Kerry another opening the size of Ohio to explain American fundamentals and the president's shameless warping of them to favor himself. As Ronald Reagan said, trust in the simple decency of the American people and you won't go wrong. How ironic that Kerry is the one who will end up benefiting from that little homespun message. (His son recently gave Kerry another line from Dad: Always remember every bully is in essence a coward, and you need only show them you won't back down before they crumble...Sounds like W. on Thursday, no?)

I'm also loving his emergency Mulligan speech tomorrow. Sounds like a kind of "What I shoulda said at the debate" speech. Kerry has him on the defensive now. Sounds like Bushy's about to toss him a few more fat ones to knock over the wall....Man this is getting fun!

Cecil Turner

"But you (and the completely irrelevant Thesaurus above) certainly realize what you're doing is willfully missing the point."

Actually, I think Thesaurus was defending Kerry, by suggesting his use of "global" meant "inclusive". Of course, if he'd gone to the dictionary entry instead he'd have gotten:

1.Having the shape of a globe; spherical.
2.Of, relating to, or involving the entire earth; worldwide: global war; global monetary policies.
3.Comprehensive; total: "a . . . global, generalized sense of loss" (Maggie Scarf).
And since the Candidate used the term "world" in the same breath, I suspect he was doing number two.

"'And he expects you to applaud him for it, because he thinks you resent the French so much you'd rather have a president accountable to no one.'"

I suspect there's a lot more of us who just aren't terribly concerned about the French opinion of our national defense decisions--and don't really want to give them any input on them. (Especially since their track record on grand strategy over the last century suggests they aren't terribly swift at it.)

Ally

How do you explain the "global test" when applied to a go-to-war decision? Or do you not really apply it, except after the fact? (I thought so.)

You apply it in several measures, hence the "comprehensive" aspect of the test. First, do you have credible information. We did not. The President can say all day long, "He looked at the same intelligence as me," but the fact is, it was the President's intelligence. He is ultimately responsible (not solely, but ultimately) for how good the intelligence collected is. He is ultimately responsible in knowing how to read it, how to know if we can trust the source, etc. If he doesn't know enough, he is responsible to hear as many points of view, to do as much homework neccesary until he feels completely confident that he has sound intelligence. If he does all that and still does not have sound intelligence, afterwards heads should roll in the intelligence community and he should, responsibly, accept the blame. The buck stops there. Personal accountability in action.

Beyond collecting good information and analyzing it in a proper and thorough fashion, the President is responsible for exhausting every possible diplomatic route. Not trying a little, getting impatient, and then cutting them off. Exhausting them. The President has to be the ultimate strategist in war (or has to at least have them on staff and know enough to listen to them well), but he has to be an even better strategist in diplomacy. Diplomacy is one of the only weapons in our arsenal that is practically infinite, and that makes it one of our strongest weapons.

Some think we can scare the world into cooperating, but that has never worked for long. You can only rule the world at the barrel of a gun for so long before you become irrelevant. That's why we are the world leader to day, simply because we have never tried that. If we do try, we will fail, and while I doubt our society will end, we may well lose a lot of our superiority in the process (of course, we're going to lose it anyway if we don't somehow jump-start education and energy). Overextending your army is the surest way to lose dominance. That's the reason the Roman empire collapsed, not because they allowed homosexuality.

We're overextending our financial resources too. The debt is up something over 30% and they want to raise the debt cieling again --- it's now I think half the GDP. That's not good. China could screw us over wholeheartedly if they chose to. It's one thing to have a debt (a well-managed debt isn't a bad thing), but the only President who put anything towards paying it down in the last thirty years was President Clinton, and even he didn't commit that much money towards it. With the events he faced, I didn't really expect President Bush to pay back any more of it, but I didn't expect that huge an addition.

We're not headed on a pretty course with complete and constant overextension of every resource.

Additionally, the third and final part of the global test (now that I'm back from my tangent) is can you prove to your people and to the world, after the fact, that you did what you did for legitimate reasons (preferably those you set forth earlier) and in legitimate ways.

No link between whom? Saddam and terrorists? Puh-leeze. Again from 1441

You don't seem to be able to read text properly. He failed to comply with a resolution "in regard to terrorism" --- if a library fails to tell someone what book I checked out, because of the PATRIOT Act, they failed to comply with a law (resolutions are international laws, so that's why this metaphor) in "regard to terrorism." It doesn't make the librarian an imminent threat. It technically makes her a criminal, though that portion of the PATRIOT Act is ridiculous it is still law, but it does not make her an imminent threat.

Sadaam was not a good guy. He was a hateful, brutal dictator. He may even be an international criminal. He was not an imminent threat.

Cite me an example of him supporting al Quaida, a link between Iraq and 9/11. There isn't one. There isn't any evidence that he was a real comprehensive and imminent threat. Was he a potential threat, yes of course. I'd agree with the President that he hated America. I'd disagree that immediate war was the way to go about marginalizing Sadaam Hussein. It was extraordinarily imprudent for both diplomatic, military, and economic reasons. It's like using a sledge hammer to get the mosquito that's on your wall: it was unneccesary overreaction that knocks your own wall down.

As to whether it was right or wrong morally, I am honestly not sure. Wars are never particularly humanitarian by their very nature, so perhaps it's an unfair question. The means, to me seemed very wrong; however, it's hard to say that anything was right in the region in the first place. I am personally uncertain whether war should be waged for humanitarian reasons. I certainly hope, at least, that when all of the smoke clears in Iraq, there is some good there. I hope that the nation is better for it's people; otherwise, our soldiers really did die for nothing. Either way, that's not how the war was sold, so this administration has that to explain to the American people. There's no good moral answer about what to do with so many places in the world where the suffering is so great and the government so tyrranical. I'm not sure any nation can be "freed" and become free. It seems to work better when they free themselves (with some help, perhaps) because then they have a more clear objective and identity to use in the aftermath. Whenever we "free" someone, there seems to be chaos.

Ally

Flash

It's simply a matter of credibility, Cecil. If you launch a war based on justifications that later fall apart, other countries that were already skeptical of us become even more so. And because the president is correct in noting that the fight against terrorism is global, it's not a stretch to realize that having other countries firmly on our side is better than having them dubious or even openly scornful.

All Kerry did was re-state a common sense principle that has always been a key part of American foreign policy. Not only did he not suggest giving other countries veto power, he's stated clearly and unambiguously many times that he would not do so. You may choose not to believe him, but you can't credibly pretend that it's not what he's said.

The Bush administration didn't make an honest mistake in this, they knew all along that the information they had was unreliable. They chose to ignore dissenting opinions and they chose to tell Congress, the American people and the world community that the evidence was far stronger than they knew it to be. They had "possibly" and "maybe" and put it forward as "certainly" or at least "very likely."

I don't see how you can support that.

Ally

And since the Candidate used the term "world" in the same breath, I suspect he was doing number two.

He also used "your own people," and many other phrases that indicate it was the third. I suspect it was both denotations he used (yes, you can do that, and writers often do). Even if it was the second one, as I've stated above, the Right spin is still grossly misleading the public by twisting the definition. "Foreign" is not a synonym for "global." You ignore that worldwide would include us, not exclude us. The test is inclusive and comprehensive.

I suspect there's a lot more of us who just aren't terribly concerned about the French opinion of our national defense decisions--and don't really want to give them any input on them. (Especially since their track record on grand strategy over the last century suggests they aren't terribly swift at it.)

Wow, way to pick out the strawman of that poster's point, which was: Okay, so the President can't defend his actions in Paris. Why can't he defend them here? Why do 55% of people say that Iraq is bad now? Is he not accountable to the American people? If not, then he's either a monarch or a dictator, not an elected official. The President only has powers because the people endow him with powers; therefore, it is his responsibility --- not a weakness in character --- to care about proving to his people that he has not steered them wrong and that his action is just.

Ally

Flash

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraq Survey Group confirmed that a 155mm artillery round found here May 15 in the early morning contained Sarin nerve agent. The round was rigged as part of an improvised explosive device . .

That brings back memories of all the pundits who insisted "We know he had weapons of mass destruction because he used them on his own people!" (Left unsaid: Almost 20 years ago.)

No one has ever denied that Saddam had WMDs, chemical weapons anyway, at one time. We provided them to him back when he was our friend. But there's never been any credible evidence that he had any current stockpiles or active production. The fact that some guerillas found one old shell that may have contained Sarin (IIRC, it was never proved conclusively) is a far cry from the war justification.

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