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December 01, 2009





After trying to get an account on LGF for years, I really didn’t want to be associated with all the “anti-Creationism” stuff that seemed to fill about a 1/3 of his posts (I’m neutral on that stuff because neither side can make a coherent argument and probably never will .. it all turns into a philosophical argument roughly equivalent to whether Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream is better).

That said, given his reasons claim too much hate on the Right, I'm sure there is enough hate out there on the Left to keep his posting full of comments, so I expect him to become even more disillusioned before long.


We got Hitchens.

They got Sullivan and Johnson.

... I like our chances.

Dave (in MA)

Read CJ's archives in the months leading up to 9/11. As I recall it was mostly tech-related stuff, but his occasional political comments seemed to lean left, and peppered with references to Shrub here and there. As TM indicates, 9/11 was a smack in the head that appeared to have mostly worn off by '08.

Dave (in MA)

Hitchens is still far-left, only right (correct) on the WOT.


The defining moment for me was back when Charles Johnson splattered his lizard spleen over some talk show host wearing a scarf that looked Palestinian; after which, he descended into complete madness over an arm being raised.

I do not understand AJ Strata and his defense of Charles Johnson; the 'moderate-centrist-independent' needs to clarify exactly what is their position before lecturing Conservative on what not to be.

Really, the Moderate's habit of sitting on the fence playing both sides has evolved into an obnoxious mass of confusion

I think the saying goes something like this:

"A liberal is a baby, a Conservative is an adult and Moderate is a teenager; some Moderate enter adulthood while others remaining forever childish.

Dave (in MA)

Not only has he swung pretty left, he seems to have gotten very touchy. I notice nowadays you can expect LGF bannination as a result of even the mildest of disagreements with the host over AGW, for instance.

If you look at his own "Parted Ways" post, his issue with Palin is her "homophobic bigotry". (An issue where she's consistent with the pResident.) I think the years of being called a "hate site" by the leftLoons got under his skin.

My LGF avatar, if hotlinking works:


It was the anti-Christian stuff that drove me away. One day I just deleted LGF from my bookmarks.


So just as people begin to see Obama as he is, and his popularity is plunging and just as we see that "the settled science" in not that settled Charles Johnson "leaves the right".

It's like someone climbing on to the Titanic as it sinks rather than jumping off.


I can still post there. I haven't in a long time because I thought I would be banned.

Now I plan to go out in a blaze of glory, I just need to think of the right message...


can someone tell me the derivation of the website's name?

Larry Sheldon

I don't read Sullivan.

I don't read Johnson.

I don't read blogs that are so in love with them that the can't shut up about them.

Jack is Back

I believe he fell off his bike riding down to Marina del Mar and got his pony-tail caught in his dérailleur which has resulted in CJ being "one gear short" since then. Too bad since he did do good work (i.e. Rathergate, introducing us to Zombie, etc,). Sully has always been a phony.


--can someone tell me the derivation of the website's name?--

I think it's what you get when you ride a bike by the beach constantly.


LOL, Ignatz!!!!

Dave (in MA)

JiB, that reminds me. A few months ago CJ and Zombie had a one-sided falling out. Zombie posted something on his/her blog that CJ didn't like, and that was the end of that.


LGF was incredible on the CBS fake memo thing in '04. No doubt it made a real difference in the election. It was a great read back then. Things change.


I think he just got tired of the policing of his comment section. After he took out Rather, he was the target of every Moby out there.

(irony+ Moby is playing on my Pandora as I speak)


UK climate scientist to temporarily step down
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s University of East Anglia says the director of its prestigious Climatic Research Unit is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.

The university says Phil Jones will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented.


sammy small

--can someone tell me the derivation of the website's name?--

I believe its the shape you get when you roll a little green booger between your thumb and fore finger.


something that's been bugging me is what the hell must have been going through Indian Prime Minister Singh's mind when he heard about the gate crashers?

Add another major head of state to the list of "Obama as moron" thinkers.

So now he has the Pakistanis utterly paranoid about Afghanistan and Obama's initiatives with India, and the Indians thinking "what a moron". We're are doing just marvey on the subcontinent....


WOW, Windandsea, at last some news and not just computer talk!!!

Charlie (Colorado)

JiB, that reminds me. A few months ago CJ and Zombie had a one-sided falling out. Zombie posted something on his/her blog that CJ didn't like, and that was the end of that.

He de-linked PJM (which he co-founded) because they published something by Stacy McCain.

Charlie (Colorado)

I guess my prediction came true.


Prediction: Jones resigns or retires before 1 Jan.

Not exactly the same as temporarily stepping down until cleared of charges by whitewash committee. Still, good news.



we'll see how "independent" the review is and whether the investigators have the smarts to unravel what Jones has done with temp records

it's a gigantic mess

anyone with tech background who would like a glimpse of the crazy that is "our" world temperature records, check out E.M. Smith who is a very sharp IT pro who been doing analysis of GISS and GHCN temp records, click on AGW & GISStemp issues under categories


does this mean that Little Green Footballs has punted?


The problem is that the investigation will almost certainly be led not by a blue ribbon academic committee but by fellow travelers.


True enough Windandsea but momentum is slowly growing..in Australia the warmest appear to have stepped in political doodoo.


**the warmISTS****


Let's face it, human beings prefer the company of those they agree with. There are very few of us who have the stomach to argue day in and day out. Justice Scalias don't grow on trees. The internet creates an infinite number of ghettos of like minded posters. I am not sure that is a good thing.


I slipped over to LGF to see what his reasons for leaving that which he was never part of were. Pat Buchanan? Seriously? How long has it been since Pat Buchanan mattered to anyone but MSNBC as their token "republican"? Charles is leaving the right and none too soon, IMO. I certainly don't want him linked to the right.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Well if it hasn't been already, you can bet he'll delink JOM and any commenter here who voices an opinion will get banned, if they are members on LGF. He trolls the blogs looking for any sign of heresy and then bans those he deems the evil doers.

It is laughable how he calls the far right hateful, when his posts are nothing but hate and vitriol and absolute nonsense most of the time. I never understood how he had such large numbers.

And BTW, when is the last time you've seen anyone around here or anywhere else in the rightosphere quote Pat Robinson or Buchannan as the arbiters of political thought. I think Chucky confuses religion with politics and he doesn't seem to know much about either.

Now I'm really going out. :)


Let's face it, human beings prefer the company of those they agree with.

At the minimum I don't want to be around people that hate me or my core beliefs. Disagreeing is fine - I actually enjoy debate, and a questioning of my beliefs, but hatred puts me off.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

*Ugh - ROBERTSON, not Robinson.

Captain Hate

Charles never claimed to be a part of "the right" so that's a lie from the get-go. I used to post there quite a bit but the place started changing for the worse and I just left; too bad because I met a lot of good posters there that are now at AoS. The software at the site is a complete POS that takes forever to load; no doubt partially impaired by sooper-genius Chuck making ill-advised changes that he brags about like a clueless douche. The paranoid loon is probably reading this now so "Hi Charles".


The only other blog I kinda keep track of are the ones Spengler/David Goldman connects.

The one at Asia Times has a pretty diverse crew of commentators who are polite (somewhat) with each other and have very interesting opinions.
The big "but" is--it's impossible to just waltz in there and post a comment--which can be frustrating sometimes:)


I bet he hated your name Captain Hate...too filled with that right wing hate!


I decamped from lgf during katrina because somebody there linked to here and I found the discussions here way more interesting and constructive. But I've got to disagree with you captain about the software over there. That lgf thing where you get to the end of a long thread and hit a button that loads only the new stuff and does not spend 5 minutes loading the gazillion gigabytes that you have already read, are not going to re-read, and hasn't changed -- that is pretty slick. Especially to us typepad victims! So no complaints about the software -- it's the content that's crap.

(I'm now going to hide for awhile because I'm doing geek talk on yet another thread and clarice is gonna ***THWACK*** me.)

Captain Hate

Janet, he was pretty good about letting things alone there even though you could tell he was always monitoring the site; this was back when he was still a rational human being which was a while ago. He used to be pretty good at busting the trolls' chops before he completely lost his mind.

Captain Hate

cathyf, I'll grant you that the update feature was pretty slick but the site itself was a complete pig that took forever to initially load.


No I won't, cathy.
In the early days of my IT viewing, I found Sully and LGF wonderful reads. I thought LGF's rathergate work was so good tat it grieves me to learn what has happened.
Blogging is hard work and nerve wracking and if you haven't other things in your life to balance it out, you quickly burn yourself out.

Neil B.

I think many of you are confused about Charles Johnson. He is basically saying, he is giving up on "The Right" - meaning the movement, the people in it. He doesn't AFAICT mean he's giving up on "conservative philosophy" and becoming a liberal. Can you get that, or are many of you so sure the people involved are inseparable from the concept and can do it no wrong?

BTW, what do you think of that whole "more authentic Right" (e.g. strict constructionists bothered by undeclared war and the costs - like Ron Paul, American Conservative mag, libertarians etc? Isn't there a very interesting debate to be had there, and they should be part of it.


Ok, fair enough -- I only did the initial load of the site a few times per year since I have a mac and unix machines don't have to be rebooted constantly. (That crack is gonna get me *thwacked* fer shure...)

Sara (Pal2Pal)

NeilB: Here at JOM you discuss just about any topic you wish as long as you are willing to actually discuss and not just troll and drop ad homs and Bush is evil crap. Even then TM isn't going to step in and ban someone. I think the only thing I've ever seen warrant banning around here is really foul language and threats against others. Those are quite rare. We police our own comments.

As to Ron Paul, he isn't really on my radar, although my own blog co-author is a Paul supporter and wrote quite a bit about his issues pre-election. Paul has good ideas in some areas, but he loses me when he starts in on the military. I can't tolerate that.

I'm a libertarian hawk, but I haven't seen much libertarian thought coming out of Johnson. I haven't plowed thru his comments in at least 3 years, too much hate there.

Captain Hate

Neil B, I don't think Charles ever characterized himself as anything other than a liberal who was influenced by 9/11; at least before he started talking in tongues. Don't get me started on the Ronulans, who are some of the most irritating people in the world, primarily because they think they're the only ones that understand the Constitution but not confined to just that.


I was a "member" at LGF but only commented occasionally. As he began his slide into whatever you'd call his current state, I would occasionally gently critique some of his rants. I finally got banned not for anything I said, but because I down-dinged a couple of his comments in a thread on Rush Limbaugh. He obviously had configured his software to automatically ban anyone who down-dinged his comments--pretty twisted if you ask me.

Old Lurker

"...I think the only thing I've ever seen warrant banning around here is really foul language and threats against others..."

And the very rare racist pig stupid enough to land here.

Charlie (Colorado)

Can you get that, or are many of you so sure the people involved are inseparable from the concept and can do it no wrong?

Neil, could you perhaps enlighten us on which topics you feel CJ is "conservative"?

Charlie (Colorado)

And the very rare racist pig stupid enough to land here.

They usually can't resist vile language and threats for very long, which reduces this to the previous problem.



"...strict constructionists bothered by undeclared war..."

Can you point me to the specific requirements for a formal declaration of war according to our Constitution?

Thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to that debate.

Dave (in MA)

as long as you are willing to actually discuss and not just troll and drop ad homs and Bush is evil crap. Even then TM isn't going to step in and ban someone.

This is a test. :^)

Dave (in MA)

C.(C.), CJ remains "conservative" in regards to Islamofascism.


Charlie: I liked you Pajamas Media piece on 2350 becoming 2035. Nice find.

Rick Ballard

I believe I've seen only one "removal for cause" which involved sock puppeting using regular commenters names. The software here does not really support banning (part of the natural beauty of TyphusPad by SixApart Sux) so I believe that other means were used to achieve the result.


Isn't there a very interesting debate to be had there

Looks like there are several people interested in debating you right here.

Thomas Collins

Reynolds is the Godfather of the blog as news aggregator/quip machine. Sullivan and Johnson were informative and thought provoking at one point. Den Beste I think is the Renaissance blogger. But our own TM best combines breadth and depth (with fascinating commentary on matters ranging from national security strategy to finance to diet and exercise to health policy to Tiger's troubles), a good natured and subtle sense of humor and a blogging style (which I would call "cyberduende") that has attracted a truly diverse, decent, practical and smart group of blog commenters (I shudder to think about what I would have to pay for the insight and analysis I get here for free, and I look forward to the banter, both when it is friendly and even when it becomes not so friendly at times). So, with all due respect to the above four, JOM is the closest to the Platonic form of the blog and TM is closest to the Platonic form of the blogger!


AJAX has been out for years. That's what allows selective updating of a site while leaving the static content alone, typically indicated by a little rotating flower-looking icon, and it isn't that complicated. (For example, in ASP.NET, it only requires some "UpdatePanel" tags.)

Since they still aren't able to allow their right-side comment links to go to the actual comment if it's on a paginated page, it's not surprising that Typepad hasn't been able to provide this capability.

(I'll be ducking now.)

Charlie (Colorado)

C.(C.), CJ remains "conservative" in regards to Islamofascism.

No, he appears to have turned on that too. He just banned and link-blocked Jihad Watch for being too anti-Islam.



Looks like there are several people interested in debating you right here.

Like BHO, neil didn't really mean it.


The vast majority of CJ's exiles went to the link below, and are doing very well, thank you.



While CJ made a long list of folks on the Right that he wants to distance himself from, I haven't seen a list of folks on the Left that he now intends to team up with .. some suggestions:
Cindy Sheehan and the "Code Pink" lasses, Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garofalo, Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin and the whole Hollywood bunch, John Kerry, Harry Reid and his band of renounds, John Edwards, "Excitable Andy," John Conyers, Henry Waxman, Alan Grayson, Nancy Pelosi and her merry budgetbusters, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Van Jones, the folks at ACORN, SEIU, and other assorted labor unions.

Hey ... feel the love.


I was banned for a couple of friendly posts about Jack Cashill's assertion that Bill Ayers wrote "Dreams."

These days Johnson's blog seems to be more about his perceived persecution - that and his anti-creationism crusade. Neither topic holds much interest for me.

JM Hanes

Fortunately for all, the Mongol Horde's Dear Leader is still in fine fettle!


American Power tracked-back with, 'Charles Johnson Completes Auto-Excommunication From the Entire Conservative Blogosphere'.

Neil B.

Yeah I did mean it. The USC says, "The Congress shall have the power to declare war." That means to declare and it's in their hands, it is not the President's job to decide but to "execute" the matter. The people who make this point have left plenty of debate points out there.


it is not the President's job to decide ...

That would be like saying police can't arrest anyone or thwart a crime unless they have a warrant from a judge.

Melinda Romanoff

Is that what "Executive Branch" means?

Wind Rider

Commenting over at LGF was how I started blogging, in the spring of 02. I actually took the time to read almost all of Charles' pre-9/11 material - the were almost apolitical, aside from the occasional shrub joke, which seemed to be humor as opposed to politics.

Charles was, at one time, very, very cutting edge with the site - a lot of folks can poo-poo the gadgets and gizmos he's loaded into it, but the site is virtually unique, in that Charles basically constructed it by overhauling and modifying (not just putting on a pretty template) a rather archaic late-90's content management system, and constantly 'upgraded' it to what you see today - and some of his incorporations were pretty spiffy, in a geek-tech kinda way.

But one thing is perfectly clear, particularly at this point, watching the course of events unfold in that little corner of the interverse - Mr. Johnson definitely has a binary personality. yes/no, good/evil, no in between. It's been his modus cybervendi from the start - I recall one of his posts that traced his anti-jihadi stance to the recollection of some guy outside a mosque making a shooting gesture at Charles with his hand - and for Charles it was the realization that radical muslims just want to kill him, because he's an infidel. Hence, his anti-jihadi stance, exacerbated/magnified by 9/11.

From that, it isn't too much of a leap to trace his thought process (and reaction) as applies to neo-nazis, and even to 'creationists' - he doubtless sees them as extreme totalitarians, to the point that any interaction with or tolerance of them, is (in his mind at least) evil and immoral.

I was absolutely stunned, based on some of the positions he's appeared to take in favor of rationalism (yeah, in retrospect, it gives me a chuckle to think of it that way, now that I look at what I just wrote above) to see Charles fully on the AGW bandwagon, first trying to avoid the topic at his place by threatening to ban anyone who even posted excerpts from the "illegally obtained - so we can't even read them lalalalalalalala" CRU emails, to treating the entire topic with derisive sarcasm ('nontroversy'), to actively engaging, in attack mode, people with "denialist" views - because the science is settled.

The great irony - the man who brought down Dan "fake but accurate" Rather, cheerleading for Phil "fudged the data but trust me" Jones, and company.


Wind Rider

Oh, and lest I forget - I actually suggested the Charles go and have lunch with Den Beste to discuss the science (even though I have NO idea what SDB thinks of AGW, I've had rational science related discussions with him before, so. . .)

Oh, yeah, THAT went over like a turd in the punchbowl at the Cotillion, yessireee.



Once again, can you point me to the specific requirements (hint: form, format, words, phrases?) for a formal declaration of war according to our Constitution?

Better, can you give me an example of what you consider to be "an undeclared war," according to our Constitution?

Perhaps you'd be so kind as to include the Congressional vote tallies with each of your examples. Please include those in which Congress voted to cut off funding for such undeclared wars.

Of course, I am going to presume that you already believe the Executive has absolutely no authority to order or authorize the use of military force, of any kind - to include that employed in self-defense - under any circumstances, without first obtaining a "formal declaration of war" from the Legislature.

Do you believe to 'declare' is to decide? Do you believe responsibility can be delegated?

You'd be wrong on each of those, too.

Tell me, neil...what do you think is in the satchel carried by the President's Military Aides? The launch codes for small-arms fire? A pad of blank, preformatted "Formal Declaration of War" forms? 535 prepaid cell phones?


I know that the LGF thing is still pressing on people or whatever and Den Beste left a while ago, but.... Anime blogging?! Seriously, that's like if good ol' Billy Shakespear wrote a few sonnets cranked out Romeo and Juliet and then decided, "Oh to hell with it. Greeting cards are less hassle." So yeah, that one still burns. Charles Johnson? I've been done.

JM Hanes

"Tell me, neil...what do you think is in the satchel carried by the President's Military Aides....."

LOL! Made my day Mustang.

Gregory Koster

Mustang, let me try to argue with you:

The formal declaration of war you refer to is in Article I Section 8, viz:

"To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;"

Note that the President is nowhere mentioned. The point you are arguing comees from Article II Section 2, viz:

"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States..."

Implicit in the Commander in Chief's power is the the power to defend against surprise attacks, when Congress does not have time to consider a declaration. The attack on Pearl Harbor is a classic example. You could even argue that the initial response to 9/11 falls in this category. But best of all is your example of the "football" that always accompanies the President.

But note: the Framers were not fond of large standing armies, and were uneasy about powerful Executive branches. Hence a Constitution designed not for smooth easy running government, but plenty of checks and balances.

Undeclared war? That's not hard: the savage suppression of the Filipinos, 1899-1902, by American soldiers.(LITTLE BROWN BROTHER by Leon Wolff is a fine book on this painful episode) The Marines were repeatedly sent to Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the 1920s and 30s. American force was deployed in Nicaragua, particularly in 1927. Both Korea and Vietnam never had a declaration of war. Both did have Congressional authorization, just as Afghanistan and Iraq did.

I don't think that's enough. The writers of the Constitution did so in the aftermath of a cruel and bloody war. Some had fought in it. All had experienced years of privation, great anxiety, fear, the knowledge that failure would certainly mean imprisonment, likely hanging as traitors. They, I think would reject Clausewitz's notion that war is the the continuation of state policy by other means. This is why they lodged the war declaring power in Congress. Congress is the people's house, directly elected by the people, originally only the House, with the Senate being brought into closer touch by the 17th Amendment. They meant for war to be discusssed and debated, because they knew, from hard experience, how bitter war could be.

In my view, "authorizations to use military force," however legal they may be seen to be by lawyers, are unwise, just because they don't invovle the citizenry the way the Framers intended. In previous threads, I've argued for a draft, higher taxes, and wartime controls on the population. I think the United States faces an existential threat from radical Islam. It's a tough enemy to fight, because it isn't visible the way nineteenth century wars tended to be (or, in the case of the Filipino insurrection and the Boer War in South Africa, have too small a guerrilla force to be successful, combined with a political sensibility that was far more ruthless than today's is.) But not fighting it, however soothing it is at the moment, leads to what's happening in Europe: murdered filmmakers in the Netherlands, Sweden's second largest city, Malmo, a no-go zone for native Swedes, Spaniards being blown up on pain of voting out their present government, Britain a wreck of political correctness in which the Archbishop of Canterbury, the odious Rowan Williams, is a bootlicker of Islam.

That's a grim choice. Trouble is, it's off in the future. American political culture does not generally reward hard decisions today for the sake of a better tomorrow. It has been done as Paul Volcker's tenure at the Federal Reserve, 1979-87 shows. But it isn't easy. Geo. W. made a mistake in going to Iraq without a declaration of war. I say that the military/political strategy of September 2003 to January 2007 was a failure. Geo. W. was able to get away with it because the forces were all military, coming from a culture that ranks discipline and patriotism far higher than do the cultural and political elites. Had the men and women who were killed come from the general ranks of the population, Geo. W. would have been forced to change strategy long before he did.

Many JOMers don't agree with this notion. Chaco said I was either a practicing psychopath or a dunce unable to think. Holy cow! Coming from the author of the excellent Pajamas Media series on climate fraud, that was a 16 inch broadside straight from the NEW JERSEY (the results of said broadside led JMHanes to say my views were "idiosyncratic," which she is doubtless using as a synonym for "shrapnel-filled.") Chaco then follwed up with the crusher the "The United States doesn't fight wars that way [i.e. all-out war---GK] anymore." He's right. But he has never answered my observation that we don't seem to be winning them the way we used to either.

All-out war is not guaranteed to defeat radical Islam. Chaco's formula is: hit them hard enough so they know we mean business and stop. It's an honorable precept, attempting to civilize war aims. (He also asked me if I was aware that my notion had the seeds of genocide in it.) It has been tried and worked in the past. Ask the Filipinos of 1899-1902. But more recently, it has failed, as Lyndon Johnson found out. I think it will fail here, too. The religious fanaticism that is integral to radical Islam has fertile demography to recruit from. The leaders of radical Islam may even be in the same position members of the Japanese government were in the 1930s: if they weren't militant, they risked being assassinated.

The Once's speech tonight was depressing in this regard. Not least because it leaves me open to: Should we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan in toto, at once? Not because the war aim is wrong, but because we have a Prez who doesn't believe in it, and is bound to make a hash of his half-hearted attempts to make the problem go away? He's got a lot of force pushing him that way: that contemptible swine Chris Matthews outdid himself this evening.

Neil's question deserves a better answer than you have given. You may not like my answer any better. You don't have to. But the questions I've raised need to be answered.


I say that the military/political strategy of September 2003 to January 2007 was a failure.

Could you expand on that a tad?

Gregory Koster

If Sep 2003 - Jan 2007 was a success, why was it replaced with the surge, which has been and is unambiguously producing better results? Did 9/03-1/07 mark a victorious period of the war? Or did it allow the Left to damage the nation's will to fight to a successful conclusion?

Vail Beach

I am of the center-right persuasion, like Instapundit, like Just One Minute, okay with some of NRO. To be honest, I thought LGF was an extreme right-wing blog written by a crazed racist lunatic. It gave off a smarmy, angry tone. I hated it. He's angry at the presence of (admittedly obnoxious) righties like Glen Beck and Ann Coulter? He made them look like Rockefeller Republicans!

Like Sullivan, I think what Johnson really is, is terminally confused.


Or did it allow the Left to damage the nation's will to fight to a successful conclusion?

Gregory, that was done independently of whatever strategy the Bush administration was applying. Hell, you could argue that Durbin, Reid, et al, were actively working for the enemy, it's an easy enough argument to make. If the Democrats had stayed on board, and not emboldened the enemy, I think the strategy was good enough.


And, hell, after Mathews comments tonight, isn't it obvious that they viewed President George Bush as a greater enemy than Saddam Hussein? Hell, they probably figured they could cut a deal with ole uncle Saddam.

JM Hanes


Do you think you squeeze another kitchen sink in there? I'll just pluck out the draft and suggest the you weigh your presumed benefit against the cost if/when we do go to war. The untrained cannon fodder caught in your net will die at prodigious rates and we'll end up with all too little to show for the sacrifice. The reasoning you proffer represents the crudest sort of political calculation imaginable, and what is ironically, IMO, actually a flagrant disregard for the cost of war that you're putatively trying to avoid.


Gregory Koster,

I don't see where you're arguing with me. I also notice Neil dodged my original question to him. My point was, at no time in our nation's history has a 'formal declaration of war' ever been specified, required or strictly necessary. As you alluded to, 'declaring war' is a political decision, a statement of resolve and support. When resolve and support are weak, politicians hide behind 'resolutions' or 'authorizations' (or the U.N.!) Lawful orders, by any other name, to the nation's Armed Forces, issued by the NCA following congressional approval (no matter how slight!).

Neil's 'strict constructionist' concern over 'undeclared wars' seemed an obvious ruse aimed at present events, not historical precedents, and I hoped to lead him to that same conclusion by example. His belief that "congress decides, the executive simply executes" demonstrates a nearly total ignorance of both current events and historical precedent...to say nothing of the nature of the threats which we face today. I'll go further: the U.S. Congress, as presently constituted, will not pass bring to the floor for vote any legislation concerning a "Declaration of War" on any enemy more dangerous than teenage bullying, second-hand smoke, or 100LL aviation fuel, ever again.

I am glad you brought up the P.I. and the Banana Wars. I hoped Neil would also. The Marine Corps has long taken the view that victory in battles may preclude the outbreak of, or necessity for, as you call it, 'total war.' We have a long and honorable history and tradition of fighting and winning battles that never quite captured the passing attention of Congress or the public at large. I believe that ambiguity, due to the expeditionary nature of many of those battles, has proven to be a valuable asset to our nation, a lethal, responsive option short of "total war." A scalpel, rather than a sledgehammer. More than the Navy's police force, much less than a second (& redundant) Army. A battle-winning enabling force, useful across a much wider spectrum of warfare than the Army (including those lacking a suitable 'declaration!'), but unencumbered by the Army's war-winning bulk, mass, and tail.

We finally got that codified back in 1947, after fighting one of the dirtiest, most furious battles in our history: that for our very existence. We fought against a Presidential administration, hostile legislators, and our sister services, and won only by the skin of our teeth - with the support and admiration of a few fans in Congress and the American people.

Title 32, C.F.R., Part 700.202, paragraph (c) - The Mission of the Marine Corps:

"The Marine Corps, within the Department of the Navy, shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign. In addition, the Marine Corps shall provide detachments and organizations for service on armed vessels of the Navy, shall provide security detachments for the protection of naval property at naval stations and bases, and shall perform such other duties as the President may direct. However, these additional duties may not detract from or interfere with the operations for which the Marine Corps is primarily organized."

WRT the legitimacy of AUMF vice "formal declaration of war," and a draft to 'involve the citizenry,' (a) Congress passing the buck to the Commander in Chief? What precludes Congress from passing a FDoW? and (b) No draft, thank you. We are not trained, equipped or employed in any way to make gainful use of dead weight folks that don't want to be there. Any other argument in favor of a draft is simply an effort to hobble us, or to engage in counterproductive social engineering.

I was looking forward to Neil bringing up the War Powers Act, which I think is an unconstitutional infringement upon the President's authority as CINC by Congress, but also so I could invoke the cowardly, dishonorable action of Congress in cutting off funds to/violating treaty obligations toward RSVN allies. Another day.

W/D because POTUS got caught out in insincere campaign rhetoric? No. The man has responsibilities that he cannot duck, cannot delegate, and that he never anticipated in his wildest dreams, that are now sitting squarely in the middle of his chest. He wanted to fight and win 'the good war?' OK. He owns it now. He will be held accountable accordingly.

We've been here before, with LBJ, JEC, and WJC.

For the time being, we've seen worse.

Lack of resolve in an executive is a self-correcting problem; stand on the corner long enough, and we'll see the parade come around the block again.


Gregory Koster & JMH,

I'll see your kitchen sink, and raise you a scuttlebutt!




Or did it allow the Left to damage the nation's will to fight to a successful conclusion?

Pofarmer's right. That was plain ol' treachery.

Gregory Koster

Po, doesn't this:

"If the Democrats had stayed on board, and not emboldened the enemy, I think the strategy was good enough."

show how weak the 2003-07 original strategy was? So long as everything went right, 2003-07 would work. That's not a formula for winning wars. Furhter, what makes you think that if the Dems had stayed on board, it would have worked? Israel's experience suggest the opposite, I think. Again, the sizable under 25 demographic. If I bash Geo. W. for 2003-07, I think he earned enormous credit by admitting the error and trying something quite a bit different. He weighed the risk and went ahead with a seriously different, risky strategy. It is working, and gives promise of final victory in Iraq. That's why I think 2003-07 was a failure.

JMH, many thanks. Realy, you can do better than this: "The untrained cannon fodder caught in your net will die at prodigious rates and we'll end up with all too little to show for the sacrifice." This isn't 1968 with the smell of burning draft cards in the air. Do you really think that this struggle with radical Islam is going to end in, say, the next five years? I don't. There's plenty of time for training, and for deciding what course of action to take. Do you see the present leadership of our Army as Douglas Haigs, itching to slaughter American soldiers by the hundreds of thousands? Further, where's the enemy with an Army large and well equipped enough to inflict such slaughter? Saddam's Republican Guard of 1991 was far better equipped than the foe we face today, and how did that conflict turn out?

In another thread, you expressed relief that The Once is sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. This is 10,000 fewer than McCrystal requested. Supposedly NATO will pick up the slack. Don't bet on it. Does the present leadership satisfy you? If not, what's your plan? You and Chaco don't care for my "big war" plan. It does have big costs. But it also puts those costs squarely in the public view. I do not subscribe to the crude Clausewitz, "War is state policy continued by other means." I think Lord Fisher was nearer right when he wrote: "The essence of war is violence; moderation in warfare is imbecility." The method I propose would be costly. It would also be honest. I think you are dissatisifed with the present conduct, and its half-heartedness and staged photo ops of the returning dead before another date night with Michelle. If neither of these two approaches satisfies, what's your alternative? Chaco's is: "Hit them hard until they rationally realize that they can't win." It's an honorable attempt to civilize war, but I don't think it will work, again because of the religious fanaticism and demographics. Does the present environment, in which Army majors, with advanced degrees, can simmer until they finally explode, killing a dozen? When I discuss this, Chaco makes cracks about genocide, but he has no answers beyond cracks. I hope someone does.

Curtis LeMay did not kill all the inhabitants of Japan, but he walked some ways down that road. He didn't blink while doing so, either. Today he's reviled. It's easy to see why: such steadiness of vision and singleness of purpose, combined with ruthlessness, makes a formidable fighter. I wish Chaco would tell us what backup plan he has if radical Islam refuses to be rationally deterred. The North Vietnamese are a dismaying example of what such resolution and refusal to accept rational calculations can do.

What's our goal?



Are you familiar with Richard Fernandez's Three Conjectures?

Where do you think we stand as of 12/09?

JM Hanes

"There's plenty of time for training, and for deciding what course of action to take."

Unless you're talking about open ended terms of service (good luck with that!) there is not enough time for both training and useful deployment. You're talking about cycling untested, minimally trained troops through battlefields where experience and unit cohesion has never been more important. Your generic prescriptions bear almost no resemblance to the realities we've been watching on the ground -- for years now.

JM Hanes

Think I'll fold on that one Mustang!



You've been holding winning hands all night.


Further, where's the enemy with an Army large and well equipped enough to inflict such slaughter? Saddam's Republican Guard of 1991 was far better equipped than the foe we face today, and how did that conflict turn out?

You are making a couple of lethal mistakes there.

It does have big costs. But it also puts those costs squarely in the public view

Why do you thing Bush used special appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan? To hide the numbers?

The North Vietnamese are a dismaying example of what such resolution and refusal to accept rational calculations can do.

With the help of Democratic treachery.

show how weak the 2003-07 original strategy was? So long as everything went right, 2003-07 would work.

When you have 1/2 of a team, actively working against that team, the defense out sitting on the offense, as it were, then whatever plan you have isn't going to work. It was obvious to EVERYBODY, from the lead up, to right after the Invasion, that the Dim's weren't sincere about Iraq. More people than just us are watching American Politics. Don't underestimate the power of treachery in the ranks. Given what the Dim's were doing in plain sight, who the hell knows what political dirty tricks they were doing behind the scenes. Trips to Syria, anyone?

If Sep 2003 - Jan 2007 was a success, why was it replaced with the surge, which has been and is unambiguously producing better results?
Sep 2003 - Jan 2007 was not replaced by the surge, it was succeeded by the surge. It seems hard for me to believe that a country that has spent 40 years as a fascist totalitarian state was going to instantly transform itself the minute that Saddam was out of power. Looks to me like it took those years for the Iraqis to learn for themselves that getting rid of Saddam was merely the first step -- and that they still had to get their s*** together as a country if they wanted to be a country.

"and that they still had to get their s*** together as a country if they wanted to be a country."

At some point in that process there is a tipping point where people will act to protect what they have gained. When people have nothing to lose they often act irrationally and react with violence.


There seems to be a lingering notion that "the surge" would have worked 4 years sooner if only someone had been smart enough to try it. IMO that is wrong.

If W was only going to get one last shot, it made sense to wait ... "until you see the whites of their eyes".

Captain Hate

There seems to be a lingering notion that "the surge" would have worked 4 years sooner if only someone had been smart enough to try it. IMO that is wrong

I think we've discussed this here before because I've always maintained that Rumsfeld gets a bum rap for how things shook out. His strategy at the beginning was fine for what it accomplished. Perhaps he was too late in switching strategies but the surge couldn't have succeeded without having previously gained the trust of the Iraqi people.


People tend to focus on the fighting and the politics. The factor that gets short shrift is economic development. I have it on good authority (close relative) that there was steady improvement during the Rumsfeld period. The effect on Iraqi attitudes can't be ignored for an accurate picture of how things worked out.

The small Rumsfeld footprint combined with steady increase in prosperity eventually overwhelmed forces driving the other two factors. At that point an increase in footprint was seen more as protective of their gians than as foreign occupation.


You're right on Boris. Too many troops too soon and it just looks like an occupation, gets the rest of the region all riled up, and generally, pisses everybody off. By the time of the "surge" it was pretty evident that something should take place to try to further stabilize the country.

Jack is Back!

One other thing I remember about the pre-2008 LGF was that he created the Idiotarian of the Year award. I don't remember any one from the right on the nominations list. It was all liberals, leftists, moonbats, wobbly Hollywood celebrity types, etc. CJ was as right sided as anyone blogging back then. And his commenters were brutal to trolls from the left. CJ was very tolerant of anti-left comments and like a good NBA ref - let them play.

I go with Clarice on this - consumptive blogging can make you go koo-koo!

JM Hanes


The economic numbers were always a rather jarring contrast to the accepted narrative, weren't they? -- mostly because almost no one ever reported on them. In addition I also think the Iraqis had to find out what living with al Qaeda was going to be like, and perhaps see the horror of what unrestrained sectarian violence would look like up close and personal before they saw the wisdom of working with Americans instead of against them. Watching the U.S actually return power to the first few provinces may simultaneously have reassured them about American intentions.

In other words, Gregory, 2003 through 2006, may well be what shaped the battlefield for the surge . Clearly, a change in tactics was required as the situation deteriorated -- but there's a reason for the proverbial expression about darkness before dawn. There are enormous potential benefits in leaving Iraq as the good guys. If Obama were willing to give Iraq a little love, they could end up being the single game changing ally in respect to Iran.


Here is the blog I follow--some 'cause it gets a little esoteric at time--with some commenters links following the speech last evening.


Related to the issue of gaining the people's trust was the fact that it took time to develop the intelligence network that was essential for the success of the surge. That was a function both of having enough of the Iraqis trust us to provide information,(and despise Al-Q enough to provide us with information) and for us to understand the society/culture in enough depth for us to truly understand the significance of the tips we received from the Iraqis.

It's significant, I think, that we never lost a fight because of a lack of combat power. In the early years we were lacking in "targeting information." By the time of the surge, the Iraqis, in general, were actively in support of us; active opposed to Al-Q; and we had the intelligence network to provide us with a "target rich environment" that could be beneficially "serviced" with the increased combat power available.

The Surge might have worked a bit sooner, but I doubt if it would have worked three years sooner.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Two events made the surge possible and success of the surge assurable. First AQ started killing Iraqis and you had Iranian influenced Muqtada al-Sadr stirring up trouble which ended with blowing up the Golden Mosque and near civil war. And the Akbar Sheiks realized which side their bread was buttered on and joined the Americans. They also put out the word to the province they controlled that cooperation with the Americans was a good thing.

The Iraqis themselves needed time to begin to develop unity and a patriotism for Iraq, meaning the beginnings of feelings of the country over individual factions based on their religious affiliations. As their economy began to grow and the heavy hand of Saddam's totalitarianism began to fade, Iraqis were getting themselves up to speed. Cell phones, more open broadcasting, better utility service, decent food available, and the first elections, not to mention the return of national pride with the wins of their soccer team or again being part of the Olympics. All these factors contributed to the atmosphere that made the surge work. Three years earlier, the Iraqis had no concept of self-governance and were easy marks for AQ. Violent leaders were the norm for them and until they were able to see another side, it would have been impossible.

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